Showing posts with label common calibers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label common calibers. Show all posts

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Garand Officially Sold, Tuscon Fun and Various Ramblings

Well the Garand sale was finalized. I do not miss it. The Garand is not an especially practical gun and too expensive to hold onto for collectible's sake or to regularly shoot as a plinker for fun. I am also glad those resources went to other things.

Slowly but surely I am swapping a big messy collection for a slightly less big collection that makes a lot more sense. Part of it is simplifying by eliminating calibers and such. The other part is that I am pretty much done compromising. Selling and trading close enough guns for just right guns if you get what I mean.

Now that the Garand is gone I am halfway toying with getting rid of my other '06. I've been wanting to migrate to .308 anyway so this might be a good excuse. We will see what happens there down the road. 

Spent a fair bit of time driving around Tuscon today from errand to errand. Half of the city looks like a ghetto war zone though in fairness the other half is pretty nice. Diamondback Police Supply was big fun. Plenty of AR's, AK's, etc and some pistols but not much ammo. No .22lr, 9mm or .223 to be had today. Looked at some holsters and such. Ammo aside it is a very well stocked store that is fun to go through.

Wifey and I genuinely like it down here. If there were not the minor issues of undocumented citizens illegal alien criminals and drug cartels with their associated local gangs we would probably settle down here. There is sort of a weird hippy redneck fusion thing going on that suits us really well.

I'm bored of writing now so it is time to wrap this post up.Hope you are all having a good weekend.

 Take care of each other,
Ryan









Saturday, March 9, 2013

Standardization of Weapons

Through a lot of effort and energy some good things have happened over the past few months:
We have standardized pistols to .22lr, .38/.357 revolvers and 9mm Glocks.
Our shotgun platform is the Remington 870 3".
Rifles are still where they are with .223/5.56, 7.62x39, 30-30 and 30'-6. That may or may not change. The working stuff is pretty much consolidated. The outliers are still in common calibers and good guns so I am disinclined to get rid of them.

 It might be worth considering swapping your oddball(s) for another gun that fits into your  situation. Simple is good.

 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Basic Guns Part 1.5: Common Make, Common Caliber and Compact

We did Basic Guns Part 1 and upon reflection I realized a few things were missing.

I am a big fan of common manufacturer/ model guns. This is for a few reasons. First the nature of business is that good gun manufacturers stay around and become common. Winchester, Ruger, Marlin, Remington, Colt, Sig, Glock, Smith and Wesson, Mossberg and the like tend not to make junk. Conversely Bob's Basement Armory might make something very questionable.

Common models are just as important. First they are important because, like the manufacturers, they stand the test of time for a reason; that they tend to be good guns. A rifle like a Ruger 10-22 which has been around forever is around because it is a good gun.

Also common manufacturer/ model guns have much wider availability of spare parts, mags, etc. Ask for a 17 cal mag for your Old Commie Arms Romanian varmit rifle and the guy at the gunshop will laugh at you. Ask him (in the more common non firearmagedon environment) where the Ruger 10/22 mags are and he will point to a big shelf of them. Ditto for a Glock 19/17 or 23/22, Sig P226, 1911, etc.

I believe even more strongly in common calibers. The reason I believe even stronger than in guns/ parts is that ammo is very consumable. Mags can wear out but ammo just can't be shot twice. Pick up a dozen spare mags, a few sets of springs and a few key spare parts and you will probably never need to go hunting for a firing pin for the oddball pistol you love in a lifetime of shooting. This can typically be done for $300 or so and will easily fit into a shoe box. On the other hand all the ammo a semi active shooter will burn up would take up much more space and cost more. Also if you end up at Bob's or in Smithville the ability to use their ammo is almost immediately important, while the ability to get more mags and potentially parts is a more distant theoretical concern. I talked more about the common caliber issue awhile back.

Lastly it is worth talking about pistols a little bit. If you are going to have 1 pistol due to financial or space constraints it needs to be something you will readily conceal in fairly normal clothing. Note that I said "will conceal" instead of "can conceal". The reason is that strictly speaking carrying a big old Glock 34, steel 1911 or 6" N frame revolver concealed is possible. The issue is that the vast majority of people will not actually do it. The old saying 'if somebody says they carry a  (standard size/ weight) 1911 ask them to show it to you right now and they will inevitably mumble some excuse about why it is either in the glove box or nightstand." is definitely true. Now if you are one of the folks who rocks a steel 1911 or 6" .44 mag every day you are the exception and probably will not get much out of this article anyway. The whole point of a pistol is that it is a gun you can carry as close to all the time as possible.

That being said I would recommend against going too small for your only handgun for a couple reasons. First the bullets get smaller and there are fewer of them. Having a decent fighting handgun can be important in rough times so you want that capability. This is a balancing act with the concealability you need to make it practical. Second and more aimed towards beginning type shooters smaller compact (certainly below J frame size and very arguably including the J frame) handguns are usually hard to shoot well. Small grips, short sight radius, microscopic sights and rough triggers can all make these guns difficult to master. Without getting into the weeds I would look hard at guns like the Glock 19, M&P Compact 9/.40 or 3" barreled J/K framed /38/.357mag revolvers to fill a 1 pistol role.

Well that finished up the stuff that should have been in part 1 of this.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Questioning Common Caliber Wisdom

Modern Survival Online did a post recently questioning the conventional wisdom. Though I consider .38 special/.357 mag a common caliber (probably behind 9mm but narrowly ahead of .45 acp and .40 in the real non gunnie world) his point is valid. I have been stewing over it for awhile until today Tam talked about the availability of 5.45 commie which made me want to chime in.

Since common calibers are something I promote it made me really think. First I got to thinking about what makes a caliber common. A few characteristics come to mind:

1-Wide commercial availability. If a small place like a hardware store sells ammo  what they will (normally) have is a pretty common guide. This varies slightly regionally but 12 gauge, 9mm and 30.06 are common while 16 gauge, .357sig and .204 Ruger are not.

2-In the closets/ ammo cans of a large number of average people with whom you could potentially cross level or trade. The stuff your paranoid neighbor, gunnie uncle or whatever are likely to have. Odds he will have a 12 gauge or .308 are higher than that he will have a .300 blackout or 6.8.

3-Modern ammo made in the USA (or wherever you live) is available. If importation was restricted this stuff would become unobtanium even though it's all over the place today. This affects the economy of a lot of old WWII surplus rounds putting them on par with conventional hunting rounds in terms of economics. It is a bigger problem for 5.45 commie and some other rounds that aren't (to my knowledge widely) available in the US made variety at all.  If you choose to go this route stock ammo DEEP. I'm talking closer to pallets than cases because there is a viable possibility you may never be able to find it again.

4-Total rounds available. The sheer amount of a given caliber of ammo in a specific region. This is interestingly different from the first two because it may include military calibers that aren't really used by civilians. Example .50 BMG is not in many gun stores and few people have a gun in it. However there are millions if not billions of rounds stored away at various military installations and a few larger police departments. While admittedly rounds not widely on the market are uncommon by definition in the race to the bottom this gives it an advantage over a round like .408 CheyTac.

I think these criteria are more or less listed in terms of importance. While it isn't exactly quantifiable we could arguably rate these from 1-10 (or whatever) then add them up and divide to get a number. Stuff like .22lr and 12 gauge would probably be 10 but .475 Linebaugh would be more like a 2.

As it relates to the current firearmagedon:

-Since everybody is scared about evil black rifles being messed with this means the ammo associated with them (.223, 7.62x39 and .308) are naturally in high demand. You CAN GET THEM but just at sucky prices. It seems like around here in Southern Arizona bulk pack type .223 (55gr PMC, etc all) is going for 80 cents to a buck a round with more desirable (M855, JHP's etc) ammo going for 85 cents to a buck and change a round. .308 is running at least a buck a round. However you can get it. Since the supply is larger somebody will eventually be induced to sell at the right price.

Conversely there is simply no 6.8 or 10mm auto to be had locally at least without swapping a nubile 18 year old daughter or something else of comparable value. If there are 7 boxes of an uncommon caliber in town it's a lot less likely you can get your hands on 4 of them.

-Any time you try to buy something that is in high demand it's going to cost you no matter how common the item is. Hot pizza is worth more when the pizza joints have closed down. A bottle of Jim Beam is worth more after the liquor stores and bars close. If there are a bunch of hungry folks who want to drink more both are going to cost you dearly. It's simple economics.

-To me the answer to this is to stock enough to ride out the occasional bad 3-6 months. Have some doomsday ammo but put aside a few boxes for range duty to get you through a dry spell.

-Sure like Tam said getting an AR upper or AK in 5.45 commie could give you an option  but you would have to be putting a lot of rounds downrange to break even on the initial investment. Personally since it's a nitche item I wouldn't buy it at the expense of an AK in the common 7.62x39 or another .223 AR.

Anyway those are my .02 cents on that. Thoughts?




Monday, December 20, 2010

Financial Preps for WTSHTF or Your Own Personal TEOTWAWKI

Preparing for the worst can be daunting. It is also easy to focus on putting back several rifles, cases of ammo and everything else that goes along with it (Now you need some optics, a safe, spare mags, lights, another safe, etc.), or other emergency gear that we could spend hours listing. Let’s face it – acquiring the cool gear is fun! It’s also one of the most often talked about topics in this community. People like their toys and that’s perfectly fine. But it’s only one leg on your stool. Food and medical preps are covered to a lesser extent but still fairly regularly. Something I feel that is of equal importance, though not near as fun to discuss, is financial security.
I think many people avoid the financial preparedness topic because it can bring you back to reality: sometimes it’s hard to find enough to go around. How can you pay the bills, buy your beans, bullets, band-aids and still find money to save when disaster seems to be looming over the horizon? You better make room for it. That EMP may happen tomorrow or your small town might look like “Jericho” (TV series) next week, but I guarantee you sometime this year your own personal TEOTWAWKI will happen if you don’t put some cash back now. It could be a transmission that starts slipping, a layoff, an ER visit – Murphy will throw something at you when you least expect it. So where do we start?

Rotate Your Stocks AND Your Priorities

Several thousand rounds of center-fire rifle ammo and several reliable battle rifles for you and the family is a noble effort, but not at the expense of everything else. Set up some sort of system where all of your goals are slowly being met. One example can be found below:

Discretionary Spending Schedule:
Week 1: Guns and Gear
Week 2: Medical Supplies
Week 3: Trip to the Local Sam’s or Costco for Food Stocks
Week 4: Cash, Savings or Silver/Gold

Rinse and Repeat Next Month

It doesn’t have to be as rigid as the above example. I grocery shop at Wal-Mart; I’ll throw a box of 9mm and something for the first aid kit in the buggy every week on the grocery trip. I also will put some money back every week to slowly build our reserve. There is no right way to do this, find something that works and stick to it.

So, you’ve got some money set aside for financial preps. What now?

Cash is (for now) Still King

The manager at your local grocer is going to be pretty darn reluctant to let you leave the store with a gallon of milk for a 1964 quarter. Sure he may exchange it for some cash in his pocket but I bet you’re not going to get the most recent spot price from this transaction. If the power is out from the ____ (insert your regional disaster of choice – hurricane, snow storm, earthquake, etc. - here), chances are that credit card is not going to cut it either. Cash still has its place in your safe. One week’s paycheck is probably a good start to get you through most bumps in the road, especially if you already have at least a few weeks of food and a good first aid kit (you do, right?). For larger bumps in the road…

Make a War chest

Not literally, but treat your savings account with the same passion as you would a chest full of sharp pointy battle implements. A lot of folks say aim for 2-3 months worth of expenditures (everything from the mortgage down to gas for you vehicle). My wife and I are taking it a step further and have set the bar at 3 months worth of income (big difference). This is going to take some people longer than others; that’s OK. As long as you are making progress then don’t get discouraged! If an emergency comes up one month and it cuts your war chest in half then look at it like this: Success! You took a hit on the chin and are still standing! Our strategy has another benefit; life is all about timing. Opportunities come and go; if a great deal comes your way on a piece of land or something else and you have the spare cash to jump on it, do it. Just don’t look for excuses to raid your war chest. Make sure it is a worthwhile investment. Then proceed to build your savings back up immediately. Get your savings built up and then start considering…

Silver and Gold

How much precious metal (PM) is enough? It all depends on whom you ask. Just remember, PMs aren’t an investment (well they can be, more in a minute), they are insurance. Investments grow your wealth. Over the long haul, PMs will simply store your wealth. Short-term plays on PMs can be done to turn a profit, but buying and selling coins is the least efficient way to do it. You might as well trade paper gold on the stock market, and that’s not why we’re here. I once read a very interesting article that stated that an ounce of silver today buys approximately what an ounce of silver bought 2,500 years ago (I believe their example was loaves of bread). Try that with any fiat currency in the world! (Well, you can’t – it never stays in circulation long enough) We want to hedge against inflation. PMs are our insurance against the failure of our currency. Whatever currency becomes the world reserve when ours fails, silver and gold will hold value in that denomination as well.

My personal goal would be to eventually (long term) have 1 year’s salary in PMs. I think an 80/20 gold/silver holdings ratio is reasonable, but do your own Due Diligence and find what is right for you. You will probably want to start with silver, but at some point you have to switch to gold because silver gets bulky quick. I’d recommend starting with Pre-64 junk silver and 5-10 oz. bars. If you run across a good deal on some silver eagles, buy them! I bought some silver eagles last week for under spot! How did I do it? I deal solely with a local merchant who I trust completely and him likewise. I can’t stress the importance of dealing locally. If I find a 1965 dime (no silver content) in my roll I bought from my local guy, he graciously exchanges for a silver dime. No questions asked. Try that on E-bay.

I won’t talk about gold much because if you invest in silver first, by the time you are ready to dive into it, you will be fairly savvy with PMs; you will have done extensive research, right?

Now that we’ve covered some financial ground, let’s see if we can change the way we look at our other areas of preparedness to save us some money.

Streamline Your Gear

I have approached my firearms purchases in a manner that reduces the amount of different ammo we have to purchase. We have multiple pistols and carbines serving multiples purposes chambered in 9mm. We have also chose to standardize 12 gauge and 7.62x39.

A case of ammo in any of the above 3 calibers has the immediate benefit of being utilized by multiple firearms. Stocking up is much easier and cheaper.

Of course we have other firearms that are not in our standard calibers, but we don’t stock ammo for them like we do for the standard calibers. In theory you would want not only the same caliber, but the same brand as well. I say “In theory” because this is a tough one. In practice everyone in the family will have different tastes so it may be hard to convince everyone that carrying Glock 19s is in their best interest when they cringe when they have to hold the ugly bugger. A good goal would be to aim for full uniformity, and settle for caliber uniformity.

Another cost saving measure is go out and buy a .22 rifle and pistol if you don’t already have one as soon as it is financially sound to do so. This will obviously save you countless money over the years.

This doesn’t simply go for firearms. Try to buy battery-operated equipment that takes the same size batteries. Once again, this makes stocking up much easier and cheaper.

Make a Budget

The word “budget” can strike so much fear in a man, you would swear Hessians had just breached the privacy fence and are now occupying the pool house. It doesn’t have to be so scary, however. Your budget can be as loose or strict as you like, as long as it serves its purpose. One of the main benefits of the budget is it forces you to think through your expenditures.

I create a simple budget on spreadsheet that first tallies our income for the month, and then deducts all of our estimated expenditures. This allows me to determine our surplus and project what our end of the month balance should be in our account. If we surpass our goal, I do a little dance and then try to determine where I’m overestimating. If we miss our goal, we take step back and determine what went wrong. I don’t subscribe to the Dave Ramsey School of budgeting (budget down to the very last penny) because to me it seems like a lot of effort for not much of an improvement over my simple system. It works for many people, so I’m not knocking it. Find something that works for YOU.

Trim the Fat

Often people tell themselves that they just don’t have the money to save (you may even hear them say this on their brand new iPhone). They’ll say maybe next year, or after the house/car/boat is paid off or the kids are older/grown/etc. – that’s procrastination. One day you may wake up retired and struggling to make it; let’s avoid that outcome.

Internet, home phone lines, cable TV, cell phones, new vehicles every five years, too much house, etc. are all traps people fall in. I won’t tell you to turn off all of your services and move to the hills, but do take a rational look at your expenses and determine what you can reasonably cut or downgrade to allow you to put back some money. One thing I do recommend that has saved me over the years is brown bagging your lunch. Learn to love it. In one year brown bagging can save you enough money to buy that AR you want (Or – several pounds of silver).

Prepare for TSDTWAWKI (The Slow Decline of the World as We Know It)

TEOTWAWKI has happened for thousands of years, but the sun still rises in the east and the birds still fly south for the winter. If you were born in 1910 in Germany and lived 70 years, I’d say you lived through several TEOTWAWKIs (Weimer Germany, WW2, a literal divided nation, etc.). Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers had it hard at times; but they raised families, grew old, and hopefully were able to enjoy some sort of retirement after decades of work. The world may not end tomorrow, but it may slowly change for the worse for the rest of your life. Don’t rely on entitlement programs in your retirement years. Stock up on beans, bullets, band-aids and bullion, but also contribute to your 401K (at least get your company match, if offered), sock away some cash, buy real estate – diversify. Do not over-leverage yourself in our economy, but at the same time don’t rely solely on tangibles as a store of your wealth.

A true survivor plans for all contingencies. His portfolio is as diverse as his options. He buys cases of ammo and rolls of old coins, but he also contributes to his 401K to at least get the match his company offers. He has several acres of land in God’s country somewhere far from the city lights, but he also strives to be debt free. He has the cash on hand to G.O.O.D. and the savings and insurance to come back and rebuild (and the larder to live on until then). He doesn’t know the future so he prepares for all outcomes; no matter what happens his family will have options. He also recalls that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and American affluence has been squandered slowly for a while now; there is trouble on the horizon, so he starts now.
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