Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day: The Light and the Heavy

Today is Memorial Day. This morning we went for a walk then the kids played in a park for awhile. After lunch and the kids having their nap I ran some errands. Came back to BBQ some dinner and have a few beers. That was the light part of the day.

The heavy part is that Memorial Day is about remembering the sacrifices of people who died fighting for their country while serving in the armed forces in the service of our nation. Thinking about the people I have known and loved who died in war depresses the fucking hell out of me.

One might say soldiers have died in stupid places for stupid reasons (sometimes true) or due to imperfect decisions by their leaders (sometimes true) or because they messed up and died for it (not acceptable to say but also sometimes true). That being said most soldiers die because war is a complicated and messed up situation and if the dice get rolled enough sometimes the snake eyes come up.


As Reid Hendricks of Valor Ridge noted sometimes soldiers (marines, etc all) do things in war they know are dangerous. A medic running through gunfire to treat a casualty or a soldier who runs out and drags a casualty across an open area through a hail of gunfire when self interest would say to stay behind cover.  The guy who organize a company sized defense then run to a damaged vehicle to man a .50 MG and hold off a Company sized enemy element through a hail of gunfire like SFC Paul Ray Smith. Beyond doing dangerous things sometimes soldiers (and marines, etc) do things they know are almost surely going to end in their deaths. The guys who pretty much fight the entire damn NVA despite being shot and blown to hell like MSG Ray Benevidez who voluntarily got into then jumped out of a flying helicopter headed into hell carrying only a bowie knife! The guys like MSG Shuggard and SFC Gordon who voluntarily go into total chaos knowing there is a high probability they are going to die. Lastly there are the numerous soldiers, marines and sailors who have literally jumped on grenades, knowing full well they would die, to save their friends.

The point I am working towards, albeit maybe not that efficiently, is  that while we could argue about whether this conflict is really in the national interest or necessary, the soldier on the ground has about as much input on that decision as a corporate restaurant worker has on the price of french fries or a mid level regional manager at a large company has on their new multi national ad campaign. These soldiers (marines, etc) do brave, often knowingly dangerous things, for the sake of whatever mission they are given at the behest of our nation and to take care of the people around them and not necessarily in that order.

I wouldn't say memorial day is a happy day, maybe it is a day for some deep reflection. 


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Trailer Discussion Continued

We talked about trailers awhile back. It is the plan for a good chunk of our tax return. I had thought about doing a sort of cargo trailer conversion type thing. This idea was pretty heavily inspired by James Yeager's sweet bug out trailer. Honestly after a lot of consideration this idea is just not practical for our situation. When Wifey and my goals were both factored in the end result was not viable within our budget and weight (towing) constraints. Our budget is realistic for a cargo trailer and some stuff but not for the high end ultra light travel trailers that would have everything we would like.

The end result is we went back to the original plan of just getting a cargo trailer. We fiddled with the used market but haven't really seen anything. Digging around in the general area we can get a 6x10 with a side door and the V front which helps a lot with drag brand new in the $2,300-2,600 range. Of course there will be taxes, registration, etc so the end result should be a shade under 3k which is well within the budget.

Basically I am looking at a 6x10 enclosed cargo trailer with a side door. I would prefer a V front and not black paint (due to heat) and if it has a light that would be great. Something like this.

Taking a step back I should better define my goals for a trailer. First and foremost we have two huge dogs so the cargo space in our (practical with one kid and no dogs, probably not so practical with two kids and two dogs) family hauler to do things like camping trips. Secondly I want to be able to move various large things on the occasions (say 5-6x a year) where I need to do that. Moving a big table or some firewood or a couch, the bi annual PCS or whatever. Third (intentionally) is some sort of a bug out scenario. Honestly my concern here is about some sort of a local/ regional event. Not the much talked about zombie apocalypse/ TEOTWAWKI but the sort of thing where it is prudent to pack up the things you really like and to see a sister in Houston or stay at a Holiday Inn in Arkansas. In case A) life support was not available where we ended up or B) A local/ regional event grew wider it would be nice to have say a nice car camping setup with a good tent, pots n pans, sleeping bags and clothes,  a stove with plenty of fuel, etc all, enough food to see ourselves and maybe some friends through a realistic worst case scenario of 4-6 weeks, guns sufficient for protecting ourselves and maybe gathering game with plenty of ammo,  some capacity for charging batteries n such via the Honda EU2000,  the chainsaw n such would be awful nice to have. The end result of the third goal is with a trailer we would have a whole lot of capabilities.

With  preparedness in mind my plan is to have the trailer packed and ready to go for a good camping trip. This means clothes, sleeping bags, diapers for princess, etc all. I plan to store fuel in it sufficient to give us plenty of range with some cans left over to fuel the genny.

So anyway I have a couple questions to pose. 1) Do trailer manufacturers matter? Presuming fairly common names (probably going to buy from Big  Tex) are most trailers basically the same for a normal end user who is not hauling vehicles or whatever very heavy stuff 100k miles  a year? 2) For a basic trailer beside a spare tire (ready to go on a rim) or two and a good jack with a stand (or a 1ftx1ft piece of 1/4 in steel) what would you add on to a trailer? If it doesn't come with internal lights I will get some of the battery powered stick on ones (the $25 ones that actually work not the $5 crap ones) would fill that role.

Input is appreciated.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Todays Events

1) The 30 pound ish female dog we are fostering is humping our 100 pound lab/ dane mix like crazy. Obviously he is at least neutral about it since he's 3x her size. Both are altered so breeding is not an option. I think they have a fundamental confusion about how this works.

To make this even more awkward she has a cone around her head.

2) While going into a store
Walker - "Without my (sun) glasses I can't even read"
Me- "You can't read anyway"

3) Apparently our 105lb female bull mastiff (mutt) has taken to laying on the outside table. The outside table is made of glass and I wouldn't say it is fit to be load bearing. I'm probably going.  to start keeping the table on it's side since this is going to end badly.

4) I was going to BBQ and asked Walker if he wanted to come outside with me. He said "I can see you through the window."


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pic Post

Had plans to do a real post today. There are some good ideas floating around in my head. The CSAT Tac Pistol post is in progress. It is about half done and sitting at 2 pages. I was pretty busy with Mothers Day today. Let Wifey sleep in real late (till she woke up) then did some stuff around here. Called the Mom's to say hi and thanks then cooked us some dinner.

Since I'm too tired and lazy to write a real post today you are going to get some pictures.
Kenny did well on this one. Honestly we could do well with these two rules.

The S&W Model 19. It was the most common man affordable service revolver for years. As TBF mentioned it was the preeminent policeman's revolver for a couple decades. Also as Bill Jordan mentioned you could do a lotworse than a Model 19 if SHTF. For whatever it is worth I trust an S&W .357 a lot and would have no isssue with it as a house gun or whatever.

The point I am getting at is that the .357mag is good to go and you could do a ton wors.



Sometimes you have got to bug out by water with your go geear whhick includes a rife. I would sling it around my neck and roll whih that.

h




My dogs. 200 pounds of hassle nobody wants. Priincess (tan dog) bit a hog leg bone n half in 1 bite.








Saturday, May 9, 2015

AR-15 Pistol Build Discussion

This evening I build an AR-15 for a buddy. He got an 11.5in BCM lightweight upper and the makings for the rest. (note on the 11.5 vs 10.5 from BCM here) The LPK was CMMG and he got a receiver extension and buffer tube cover from Thordsen Customs. I sort of consulted on the whole thing from the beginning.

So I told Buddy I would put it together for him. He's a good dude but a bit intimidated by the process. I've done this before and have the right tools, punches and all that. He brought over a 6 pack of Summer Shandy which was nice after spending the evening mowing the lawn.

Anyway I pulled a complete lower out of the safe for a reference and looked up the step by step instructions on AR15.COM. Last time I used a video also but this time with some more experience the instructions proved sufficient.

Things that worked out well.

-Putting together a lower while drinking beers #1 and 2 for the evening went a fair bit better than doing so while having #5 and 6. Go figure.

-Of course experience helps. I've done this in the past so the process is smoother than the first time.

-Having a compete assembled lower there to look at is handy.

-I used a tiny screwdriver to hold the spring and detent pin in for the front take down pin (or whatever it is officially called) so I could slip the pin over it.
 .
-I did the build on an empty table with nothing nearby. This was handy when I needed to find the launched detent pin.

-The CMMG LPK thoughtfully grouped small parts into color coded little plastic bags. This eliminated the awkward trying to figure out which spring was which phase. Also they were nice enough to toss in an extra roll pin just in case.

Things that could have gone better. .

- The Troy Industries fixed rear sight had the coating worn/ missing on the near edges and they were rusty. This was ridiculous. I have nothing positive to say about that company.

-Fucking Thordsen Custom didn't bother to include a receiver plate, even though buddy bought a buffer tune and buffer tube cover plate. I'm not saying they said it was included but they should have clearly said 'if you have a lower and an LPK plus our kit you have to buy this extra part to put together the gun. We were not going to be able to complete the project. Awkwardness ensued. How they cheaped out on including a needed part I can not say. Regardless awkwardness ensued. Buddy's project was not getting done. I dug through my spare parts stuff and found a reciever plate. A good reminder that we need to be prepared.

-In the end Buddy's little AR pistol CQB machine got built. Next weekend he and I are planning to go shoot it. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From Around The Web

Lucky Gunner's Guide to the S&W .38/.357 Mag revolver. A pretty cool resource to wade through their myriad of different frames, configurations and model numbers. 

Two Commandments by Kenny of Knuckle Draggin My Life Away. Beware. Clicking through the link is fine for anybody. Wading into the general blog will expose you to foul language and pictures of beautiful women in bikini's, thong underwear, etc. Depending on your perspective that might be awesome or offensive.

Captains Journal talks M4 reliability. Looks like we are going back to industry, which makes some great rifles, for suggestions on improving the standard service rifle.

Mike Pattone and Defense Review talk The Big M4 Fouling Myth. They make a compelling case to swap out a few simple, user level, parts to improve the rifles ability to feed and cycle. Specifically a heavier buffer/ buffer spring and an upgraded extractor spring with crane 0 ring. Good to think about and not too expensive to impliment. Keep existing parts as spares.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Long Day and Ghetto Rigging a Thigh Strap for my Safariland 6285

Today was a long day. Went to work earlier than normal. Did some good PT then got cleaned up and did the usual work stuff. Went to the gym at lunch and crushed standing press as well as dead lift and some accessory stuff. Did more work.

Today coming home I saw a bunch of neighbors had lost trees in the real nasty weather. They cut them up and put them out for the trash people to pick up. Down here, as in many places, if it's out on the curb it is free to grab. Well Walker and I got to grabbing. We loaded up the family hauler 4 times. Probably a third of a cord or a shade more. Could have gotten more but I only got decent sized (wrist and larger) stuff that was cut short enough to fit in the soccer mom mobile.

I'll cut it up into stove sized lengths at my earliest convenience. This is probably enough wood for a summer worth of occasional weekend evening fires with the kids. I got it for free with minimal labor. Didn't really want to spend an hour and a half this evening after work doing manual labor but you have to make hay when the sun shines.


I'm getting ready for a class and working on my pistol belt setup. This setup serves as my HD rig and the base for a pistol belt/ chest rig type load out. I have a TT duty belt with a Safariland 6285 on it and a Costa Leg Rig on the other side. I ended up moving the 6285 off the heavy battle belt to make room for more mag. It worked OK on a pistol belt but the bottom of the holster seemed to flex out slightly which kind of jammed up a fairly strait 0 ish degree left to right draw. I pondered selling it and buying a Safariland 6004 drop holster.

3 issues with this problem
1- I didn't get any takers on buying the 6285 which would have displaced some of the cost.
2- Safariland 6004's are ridiculously expensive. Like $200+. Yeah they are cool or whatever but that is a lot of money.
3- I do not love the big old plastic plate they have.

My 6125 which is a 1.5in drop holster puts the gun at a similar level as smart people have their drop holsters set up at. Also the firm way the 6285is on top is pretty nice. I got to wondering if I could put a thigh strap on it, more similar to a conventional (albeit high) drop holster. I had a spare strap from a TT holster as they come with 2 and if worn high the top one is not needed so I figured I'd give it a shot. There was a nice convenient gap in the bolts that mount the holster to the piece that holds onto the belt. 5 minutes later it was done. Initial thoughts are this is going to work real well. It is not uncomfortable and the draw is great. The movement/ snagging issue is totally gone. I might have just made a system that better suits my purposes and saved a bunch of money. Time will tell I guess. Worst case I think this will work till a time when a 6004 is a bit more palatable economically.

So I am sore and tired. Time for bed.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Real Life: Wifey Screamed Out In Panic

Yesterday afternoon was going along normally. My mom is in town. She was outside with Wifey and the kids. I was inside working on the 'honey do list'. I heard Wifey scream 'RYAN!'.

I looked out the window to see if I needed to grab the 870. It turns out Dog #2 was in the chicken coup. She had one of the golden girls in her mouth. By the time I got there the kids were screaming. I got Dog #2 out of there but the damage was done. Got the kids inside, gave them a snack and turned on the tv. I went outside, hit the injured chicken in the head with the back of an ax and got rid of the carcuss. Would have cleaned and eaten it but there was not time to do so as we had plans.

It happened to Wifey but just as easily could have happened to me. We haven't really had an issue with the dogs actively trying to get to the chickens so maybe we've been a bit lax. Lesson learned.


I'm also not mad at Dog #2 as they like have instincts and stuff.

So now we are down to 5 chickens.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Not Jurassic Park Just Two Big Dogs

Commander Zero threw it out there but no, in fact we are not running Jurassic Park here. It came up in a recent post how much dog food we are going through. My initial estimate was a bit off (we had a 3rd dog for awhile and he skewed things) but we are going through around 2/3rds of a 50 pound bag of dog food a week. That actually works well as it means we have around a 90 day supply on hand which is a pretty reasonable place to be at for the beasts.

So these are our dogs. Regrettably Dog #1 is no longer with us. He was a good old boy and I'm sure he is lazily sitting in heaven being petted by a bunch of kids. Seriously that dog was awesome. He was truly kid proof, I do not believe a kid could have done anything to make Dog #1 hurt them. In Arizona we had a walkable convenience store. When I went there I took Dog #1 and tied him up to a rail outside while I shopped inside. Every time I came back to some kids petting him and Dog smiling. He was a good boy. He was my friend and I miss him.

Dog #2 is the big ole tan gal. She is short with her shoulders coming about to my knees but she is thick! That dogs chest, neck and head are just huge! She is built like a linebacker. Walker tried to tackle her once, like a full on running attack. He hit her neck, rolled over the top of it and fell down, she didn't move. Dog #2 is pretty darn strong. I found this out when we were camping last fall. Someone took a cat camping and let it walk around the place. Turns out she hates cats, like a lot. It is a good thing I was holding the leash not Wifey. I am not a weak guy and it took most of what I had to keep my hand on the leash. She really hates cats. Also Dog #2's jaw strength is ridiculous. I don't recall why but we had a big old bone floating around the house. It was at least as big as my fore arm, probably a hog thigh bone. For some reason the other dogs were fighting over it and she got annoyed. Dog #2 picked up that big ole bone in her mouth and bit it in half! Another fun moment with Dog #2 was when my daughter opened up the fridge looking for a cup of milk. There was a half eaten rotisserie chicken in the fridge. Dog #2 got that thing in one bite and ran off.

She is a good girl. Really patient with the kids and stuff. Maybe it's the fact that she's had pups but she seems to get the whole concept of little ones being ridiculous. Occasionally she nips at Walker but only when he really, really deserves it. She gives a ton of warnings beforehand so really it is our fault for not getting Walker to knock it off.

Dog #2 absolutely looks scary and as a matter of fact is scary. She is my dog and I trust her to be around my small children (which is the highest level of trust I could give a dog but) I really, really wouldn't want to make her angry.

Dog #3 is ridiculous. He is just a pup still. That boy is probably going to be 110ish when he is fully grown. He has a little (lab) head but is a big lanky boy. As best we can tell he is part great dane and probably part lab. His head is lab sized which is weird for his big old body. He was pretty skinny at about 65 pounds when we got him (and the pic was shot), probably after starving for awhile.  Also Dog #3 is still a pup at well under a year old. Pretty quickly he gained a bunch of weight and is up to about 90 pounds.

Dog #3 is smart. Also he has all the right instincts. He is super high energy but in no way aggressive to the kids. Oddly he is so hyper Walker doesn't try the stuff he does on Dog #2 with him. Dog #3 is very aware and does not like anything getting into our area or near the kids. He is viciously protective of them and his default reaction is to fight any decently sized dog that tries to get close to them. Dog #2 is genuinely scary, maybe more so than #3. However I am very confident if Dog #3 is around nothing short of a black bear is going to hurt my kids! If a good old doggie deterrent is needed Dog #3 is the answer. He is very protective of his people, especially the kids, and generally cautious to aggressive towards everyone else. That dog would definitely eat someone if he needed thought it was necessary. Woe betide anyone who messes with the kids or wife! Also maybe best of all Dog #3 gets Dog #2, who is a big ole beast, going. She might be too stupid to get the need to fight unless someone smacks her on the nose but she will follow dog #3 when he gets going.

Wifey had Dog #3 at a dog adoption thing, before (she) we decided to keep him. Whenever a decent sized dog got near the kids Dog #3 said hell no and flipped his shit. He will not let an other than midget sized dog near my kids. Dog #3 says screw it he will fight them all. Also he seems to hate German Sheppard's for some weird reason  I guess he is a doggie racist or something.

Those are our two dogs. Dog #2 weights about 104 and Dog #3 weights about 92 pounds. He is still growing and I'd guess he grows up to 110-115ish. He's going to be a big old boy.

They are a handful but we love them. I generally prefer big fairly non aggressive dogs to smaller more aggressive ones. Also they make a very good case as to why someone should pick another place to rob.

Got Dogs?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Priorities, Opportunities, Knives and Whatever

Today I was in an auto accident. I was stopped in a turn lane with my blinker on waiting to turn thinking about getting lunch and the rest of my days plans. Out of nowhere some guy nailed me from behind. He couldn't have been going over 15mph but the jolt was pretty good.

My first thought was a 4 letter word. My second was that I seemed to be OK. My third thought was "Could this be my fault?" After realizing I was in a turn lane and stopped there was no way being read ended could possibly be seen as my fault. I got out of the road into a parking lot and the other vehicle followed. I was pretty hot when I got out of my vehicle probably due to adrenalin. The guy was immediately apologetic about the whole thing which calmed it down fast, since he wasn't being a jerk I chilled out also. He said he swerved to avoid something or another and boom we had a crash.

After getting out to look at it my vehicle was OK. The bumper was a bit out of whack but I figured I'd be able to put it back in place. Their vehicle was OK also. I felt fine. Copied down all their information and whatever. Aside from the bumper being slightly off whack there was a small mark from paint transfer on my bumper.

I told the guy that it didn't seem like a big deal. So long as I could put the bumper back in place and didn't wake up with a wrecked back or something we could call it even; I didn't see a reason to deal with insurance and  cost some decent guy a bunch of money just for a mark and a little scratch or two. If it  was a Lamborghini or  a Chevelle SS maybe I might look at the matter differently but for a normal commuter vehicle I don't see  the reason to bother.

This week I found an excellent opportunity then capitalized on it. There are  some items  I keep an eye  out for and will always purchase at the right price. The keys to doing good at this sort  of thing are regularly checking on available items, having the cash to buy  a good  deal on no notice when it pops up and patience.  Every once in awhile if you do all that  stuff  a  smoking deal will fall into your lap.

I have taken to carrying  my Benchmade Griptillian on the  left hand  side. This puts it in the ideal place if I get in the  dreaded fighting  while trying to retain my handgun situation. Having it there all the time gets me used to grabbing it and opening it with my left hand. Not perfect  but in terms of a real world knife  fight  it is big muscle movements that manifest their selves in a lot of close short stabs and it leaves  my strong hand to retain my weapon.

I have also taken to sharpening  my knife  weekly. Better to keep up on it then let it get dull. My current drill is that on Friday when I'm having a  drink and watching whatever show I am watching the knife  gets a quick touch up. My Benchmade Griptillian is pretty darn sharp  these  days.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Taxes and Trailer?

Got the taxes taken care of for the year. Since it isn't April we are doing better than usual. I am pleased to say we did better than expected which was nice. Things worked out just right to drop us into a lower tax bracket. Will have to look at if we can strategically make that happen for 2015 also.

With these unexpected gains we are looking at purchasing a trailer. Something enclosed either a cargo trailer or just maybe a small camper if we can find one light enough that is still in the budget. This would greatly aid in traveling and camping with 2 kids and 2 big dogs. It would also really be handy in a variety of preparedness type situations. More research will be done and we will talk more later. Exciting times.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Quote of the Day and Small Town Life

"Do you wanna hold the shotgun or get the shovel?" Me to Wifey.

"I'll hold the shotgun."- Wifey

Background. At approximately 2200 the dogs started freaking out. Dogs went outside and kept freaking out so I went and got the shotgun. Shined a light outside and the big dogs were fighting over something. Was it a stuffed animal? They drag them into the yard sometimes. I go to take a closer look. It was a dead possum. Wifey asks "What do we do with it?"

That brought up the quote.

1 possum dead and all my chickens alive, will call that a good day. New dog might be staying around after all.

Also I feel pretty good about our home security status if the dogs lose their shit that much about an overgrown rat I don't like a persons odds of sneaking up undetected at all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Quote(s) of the Day

Walker looks accusingly across the table at Wifey "Mom, This is a terrible dinner."

A couple minutes later after the kids went to play in the other room out of earshot for normal conversations. She leans over and says quietly to me.

"4 year old's are assholes."

For the record she made us philly cheese steaks with fries and salad. It was really good. The kids had cheese sandwiches and fries, usually one of their favorite meals but apparently not today. It as classic kid, say something very matter of fact that is totally outside of social norms.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines Day, 5.56 Ammo Run and Reader Question

Well today is Valentines Day. It was a pretty good on. We did normal stuff during most of the day. This evening I cooked up some Chicken Parmesan with noodles, salad, broccoli and french bread. In hindsight cooking an untried recipe that's pushing my skill level hard probably wasn't the smartest thing to do but it worked out well. Everyone enjoyed the meal.

Now that the kids are fed, bathed and in bed we're going to have a few drinks and watch a movie together. A nice quiet night.

On the downside the whole M855 thing has me pretty irritated.

My rifle likes M855 so I tried to get some from Lucky Gunner but they were sold out. Ended up with  a case of 55 grain 5.56 instead. Honestly I hate to incite a panic but there was plenty of M855 yesterday and probably this afternoon but now there is none to be had. A run seems to be on big time. I suspect more than a couple people had the same thought I did. (Note in 45 seconds by their live inventory LG sold 2 cases of 55gr 5.56). Well I wanted a case of training ammo for the next ban and it looks like I got one. Right now I am, at least once the newest purchase shows up, probably honestly at my happy number ratio in 5.56

Of course the panic is slipping into other bullet offerings in 5.56. Thankfully if you are not too picky about an exact offering there is plenty of 5.56 still available. I don't know what, if anything, is going to happen next but I'd say if you are short on whatever your SHTF goals are for 5.56, plan on buying more in the next year or shoot 5.56 regularly I'd buy enough to ride out at least a few rough months.

Looks like an end run of administrative actions, import regulations, etc all is being used instead of some sort of actual law which given the R's running the house and senate would be DOA. Aside from .22lr Firearmagedon is over and things have been good for awhile. I hope you didn't waste that time. Money is tight all over and there are bills to pay but I hope you have purchased, if not everything you want, at least everything you NEED.

To balance out my, buy all the 5.56 right now OMG tone earlier step back and take a look at your situation. If you are totally happy with your situation in that caliber then don't do anything crazy and spend a couple grand on ammo just because. What I am driving at is that if you own an AR/ Mini 14/ Sig 556 and are not happy with your ammo stash then you should look at doing something about that while it is still fairly affordable.

High Desert Livin asked

I recently traded a glock 26 plus 3 bills for for a colt magpul (total 850 out pocket). Now I have a psa complete lower that I'm not sure what to do with. I thought about dropping a bravo co. On top, but am unsure if a awesome upper on a so so lower makes any sense? 

My thoughts:  It really depends on what you are going for with the build, concept of use if you will. Since you mentioned BCM I presume the goal is not a budget build. As to the upper/ lower question let us go part by part through the lower.

-Lower receiver/ stripped. Any aluminum lower with normal specs is just fine. Unless we are talking about some BS Bob's Basement lower made from melted Busch can's they are all the same. Honestly as Chris noted 'the most important thing about a lower is the roll mark'. With a stripped lower folks mostly pay for a name to brag to their friends about. If you want to pay 4 bills for a Noveske instead of $45 for DPMS or Anderson Arms then by all means do so, it's your money, but don't trick yourself into thinking it's going to make the gun run any better.

-Lower Parts Kit. This is all the little springs and pins that make the gun work as well as the hammer and trigger. I would be more cautious here than with the actual lower itself. Wouldn't go lower than decent sporting brands like DPMS/ Stag/ CMMG/ Bushmaster. That being said it would be an uphill battle to convince me a Daniels Defense LPK (if they sell one) is vastly supperior to say a DPMS LPK.

Personally I have seen very few rifles get deadlined with lower receiver issues. The way the AR works there just isn't that much stress down there.  Sure a spring can wear out over time but that is part of life, not an inherent failure of the weapon.

Presuming mechanically sound parts the only exception to my 'an LPK is an LPK' is the trigger. If you are serious about accuracy, and capable of holding up your end, a good trigger matters a lot. There are a lot of ways this one can go from just getting a good match trigger from say Colt to a drop in upgrade like a Geissele trigger. If I was going to put any extra cash into a lower it would be into the trigger.

-Receiver Extension/ buffer tube. These are all basically the same. They come in mil spec and commercial but otherwise I think they are a common entity.

-Buffer and buffer spring. These matter but any decent one will do. DPMS/ CMMG/ etc are just fine. Actually where people get into trouble here is when they want to upgrade and get fancy messing with spring tension and buffer weight. I'm not a professional firearms builder or a mechanical engineer so I just buy mil spec buffers and buffer springs.

-Stock. These are easily replacable so get whatever one you like. They all work fine.

That lays out my thoughts on each individual part of the lower. As to your situation if you want a BCM upper I'd say get one. If you don't like the trigger in the lower you have then upgrade it. That's really the only part in the lower that is going to affect shootability. If you are somehow unhappy with the PSA internals for a hundred bucks or so you could upgrade the LPK to Rock River or Stag if you really want. The point is that letting a roll mark on the side of a common part built to standard specifications dictate the way you go with the rifle doesn't make too much sense to me.

There are a lot of smoking deals on uppers right now. A buddy mentioned seeing a complete COLT upper in Cheaper Than Dirt's newsletter for 5 and change. Since it would have a bolt, charging handle and hand guards, which a current BCM would not,  that is a darn good deal.

Anyway I wanted to

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Randomness

Watched the Super Bowl. Was semi interested as the Seahawks were playing and it was a fine excuse to do nothing all day, have early cocktails on Sunday and appetizers for dinner. It was good till the end which sucked. Why would you pass on 3rd and 1? At least give the run a shot then go for the hail marry. Doubly so when you heck a beast of a power running back who could probably push a semi truck 1 measly yard. That sucked.

Looked at my blog stats and for some weird reason Trimming Things Down- EAA Bounty Hunter SS 12 Gauge Sold got a bunch of hits. Why I really don't know. Definitely glad I sold that shotgun. It just didn't make much sense as a practical weapon unless I was in a place (like most of Europe) where I couldn't have a pump shotgun. If that was the case I would have 3 or more double barrel shotguns with auto ejectors that worked and the most practical rifle I could own. Anyway....

For my foreseeable future I will confine the shotgun collection to various 870's and single shot New England/ H&R 12 gauges. That being said I am good to go on shotguns. Presuming things stay more or less normal I have, at least in pencil, planned my next 2 years gun purchases. This year I will build some sort of AR, buy some ammo and just maybe get another pistol (either a little .380 or another Glock to put away) or .22 rifle and of course ammo. Next year I would like to acquire some sort of semi auto mag fed .308 and whichever of the pistol or .22 rifle didn't get purchased this year. The only real exception I can see would be if a pretty good deal on an H&R singe shot or plane jane  Maverick 88/ Mossberg 500A fell into my lap.

The option I wanted to work for the Kahr was a bust. I did some thinking and realized the 642 was where my energy, along the deep concealment line of effort, needed to go. They are a very traditional deep concealment/ pocket carry handgun so it SHOULD work. Looking back at Alexander Wolfe's Snub Nose Round Up I decided to try a Safariland pocket holster. Also wanted to have a real quality IWB leather holster. Thankfully to help get this out of the conceptual phase I happened to have an amazon gift card. I figured why not. Those two holsters will show up soon enough. I really hope this will crack the code on my problem.

Something fell into my lap that I had to jump on. It was a smoking deal on for an ever so slightly used piece of professional grade hardware at 50-60% of retail price. Not sure exactly where that will land so I'm going to stay quiet about specifics. I had planned to purchase a case of .223/5.56 soon but that is going to get bumped down the road a couple months.

Last month I ran/ rucked 22 miles. That was not good. In February I want to focus on moving more, do better, and be closer to 35 or maybe 40 miles.

Anyway that is about all I can think of to talk about.




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Carry Update, Life and the Scenario: 1k Cache Challenge at T Blog

Over the past several years I have pretty regularly blogged once a day. Recently I have not felt the need to write if nothing strikes my fancy or I am busy. Part of that is spending more time on my own fitness and preparations and just not forcing it when I am busy. Also I'm trying to focus more on quality. Would rather do 2 good posts, a 'what did you do to prepare' and an 'around the web' than 1 good post, 2 slapped together ones and a random thought. Sure I'll post a link or a quote or a cute little story if one jumps out at me but I am not going to push to make it happen.

Late last night I looked and the last time I had posted was Sunday. OOPS!!!

The Kangaroo carry holster showed up. It arrived 4 days or so after my order in a nice package. I put it on and it was comfortable. However unfortunately it did not work for me. With the horizontal method of carry used in the Kangaroo carry system I had two choices. 1) The holster is ready to grasp but prints. Not a little bit but definitely prints. Given that my concept of use for this holster is deep concealment for legal but less than permissive environments that is obviously a problem. 2) It is adjustable, highly so, to carry the pistol further around ( more armpit than pectoral) the body but that makes it harder to draw. My flexibility in getting a hand that deep to my weak side in a hurry is bad. Basically for me, while set way back, the Kangaroo carry might conceal a pistol the draw is pushing sun dial range pretty hard to the point where ankle carry looks good and sprinting back to my glove box doesn't seem like such a bad option.

The service was good and it was a nice product. I will not speak ill of them or their wares but this holster but it does not seem to work for me. The owner of this company seems to have pistols vanish with the holster but I've probably got 40 or 50 pounds on him. Maybe it is a build thing. I'm a decent sized guy who lifts weights and could maybe stand to lose a couple of pounds. [Am working on it and making measurable progress. Have 10 or maybe 15 to go.] The point is it ain't working. Thankfully they have a very liberal return policy which I plan to exercise. Again I do not have anything bad to say about those folks or their products; it just didn't work for me and as always YMMV.

TEOTWAWKI Blog threw out the Scenario: 1k Cache. A very interesting prospect. My first thought was, well my operational cache would be a darn good option.. However after looking at it even with pretty outdated prices and poor arithmetic there is no way that is a 1k cache.

My second thought is this is a pretty well thought out scenario. The topic is totally valid.  Caches are an incredibly valid topic  far too often talked about but not acted on in preparedness oriented crowds.

I thought about this for a couple days. Alexander's take on his ideal 1k cache is worth looking at. I do not entirely agree but he is a lot closer to right than wrong, at least within that concept of use. As to the dollar amount at first I thought it was an arbitrary, if conveniently round, dollar amount. Upon consideration I realized it was, while still conveniently round, a very valid dollar amount.

The reason it is a very valid dollar amount is that it is an amount that is both attainable and on the other hand meaningful. A grand is a reasonably attainable dollar amount for most people that, given some planning, they could realistically free up for an important purpose to secure their well being. For all but the lowest income people with some planning a a grand could be put back for an important reason.

I am not for a second saying anybody is a bad person because they genuinely can't throw real money at a cache. A guy with a stay at home wife and a couple little ones making 25 or 30 k probably can't throw a grand at a cache. That family are trying to keep a roof over their heads and food in bellies. If they are right minded and preparing I'm sure they are doing the best they can to work on that.

A grand is enough to have some options but not enough to get into unrealistic for most and almost silly "I'll stash a bug out bag, a few cases of MRE's, a tent, a couple glocks, three AR's plus a few dozen ounces of gold ready to go in my jeep territory,"

Will talk more about the cache discussion tomorrow or maybe in a few days the way I have been going lately. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Invisible Friends Met In Real Life

A family member who is active in another online community brought the term 'invisible friend' into my vocabulary. Invisible friends are people you talk to often and know fairly well but have never actually met. Sometimes things work out so you want to meet people in real life. Being semi nomadic there are more opportunities for that to happen for us than might present themselves to a more settled person. The way things worked out some folks were coming through my area and schedules worked out to get together.

C and H are people I have talked to a lot over the years. We've talked about getting together before and it never quite clicked. Anyway this time it did. It's always interesting to meet people for the first time and see how they are in comparison to the picture in our heads.

We went to dinner at a local place. It was under new management which is always a bit iffy. That can always be a risk. Thankfully it was pretty good. Nothing fancy, just the kind of generic Louisiana/ Cajun ish food that is very common here but it's different than normal road fare and sort of the local thing to try.

Anyway I knew I had a lot in common with them and it turned out there was even more than I thought, almost eerily so. The decisions we made similarly were rather boring. While an agreement circle a la 'Why we all love X Gun Thread' in any forum is fun the differences were more interesting. I do not mean in our lives so much as the choices we have and have not made in terms of preparedness. Hearing what they did and why was interesting. For instance we spent a fair bit of coin on a Honda EU2000 while they went with a $100 Harbor Freight generator. They purchased a trailer while we decided to put that off for 2-3 years. None of these choices were necessarily better or worse than the other persons; most of them were explained by some unique consideration or the way other things in our lives cracked out.

We got to talk about more personal stuff than we otherwise would via the interwebz. Good times were had and the evening came to a close too soon. Hopefully I'll get to see them again some time.



Monday, January 5, 2015

Open Lines Friday 2 JAN PT 1- My Former CO Authors

Blogger Matt LBS said...Saw someone ask last time about the other guy(s) you started the site with. Admittedly I joined this party late so I don't know a lot of the backstory, but if OPSEC allows and there's a good lesson to be learned there somewhere I'd love to hear about them. Not in search of gossip, so only if there is something positive to be told.
 
Ryan here: 
When I got this question previously I just dropped the guy a note. Anyway to travel back in time. The blog started late one evening when I was visiting Ryan at the college he was attending. Several drinks into the evening we decided to start a blog and gave it the most ridiculous title we could think of "Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest." He talked about libertarian and legal type stuff and I mostly talked preparedness, which I was just really getting into. The third leg of our proverbial tripod Chad ended up joining also.

The way things worked out I had some knowledge and bit of talent for the whole blogging thing. Between my heavy (Scouts, camping, hiking, skiing, etc) outdoor background and military experience I brought something fairly unique to the table. Also at that time things worked out so I had a lot of free time to do the sweat equity guerrilla advertising type stuff to get it going. Ryan kept writing now and then but the audience I had built was not really interested. Chad mostly joined because we were all doing it.  
 
In terms of blog stuff they both sort of started with minimal amount of interest then had it decline. I started with a  medium amount of interest than found my voice and it increased. After a year or so it was almost exclusively me posting.

Them dropping off the blog did not change our friendships any. Ryan and I are, by guy standards where not talking for 6 months means everything is fine, still definitely friends. We get together almost every time I am back in town. Unfortunately both of us have grown apart from Chad. It wasn't a big dramatic scene or anything, just that our lives changed and over the years there was less and less in common. I still hold out some hope that circumstances and situations may change so we can have more in common to renew our relationship.

So what are they up to? Well Ryan finished school, worked for a small county government for awhile then moved to a major city in the PNW, threw up his shingle and started a practice. He currently has a long term GF who seems like a nice gal. We are all very proud of him. Chad has sort of moved from job to job. He hasn't exactly found just the right thing. He is married with 2 kids and another on the way.

So anyway that is the story there and what those guys are up to.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Obligatory New Years Post

It is New Years Eve. A good time to reflect on the last year and look forward the next year. I pretty much covered the tangibles of buying this or that in the New Years Resolutions piece so no need to rehash that. I got PRK corrective eye surgery which is pretty awesome. We recently got a new dog.

This year we ran a Fighting Load Contest. You can see the all the entries here. That was our second big winter contest. It ended up running piece mil till the summer. In some ways I was quite happy with it and for a variety of reasons I was not so pleased about some parts of it. You might note it is now winter and I have not said anything about a contest this year. Well that is because we are not doing one. Maybe next year.

Overall at the blog not a whole lot changed. Generally that is a good thing as I am pretty happy about where it is at. Stalled out on the book writing efforts but no use crying over spilled milk.

The first half of last year was weird in a lot of ways which threw some things off. That made me miss a CSAT Combat Handgun class which really bummed me out. Also that fundamental uncertainty shaped all manner of plans and goals in different ways.

It was yet another year without a super grid down collapse. Giving further credence to putting at least some of our preparedness time/ money/ efforts into more practical and less sexy areas like saving money, paying down debt, etc. (HT to Commander Zero who pointed this out.) While those risks exist we should not focus on things that MIGHT happen at the risk of ones that ACTUALLY happen.

As to next year:

Politically/ etc-


Interestingly in 2000 the CIA made some predictions for 2015. 


Since the Rep's will own both the house and senate any additional gun control measures at the national level are DOA. However with President Obama's current YOLO stance on executive orders who knows what might happen. Off the top of my head likey targets would be importation of blatantly non sporting (military pattern rifles, ammo, etc) weapons as well as interpretation of various statutes on questionable letter of the law items like bum fire stocks, AR pistol accessories, etc could happen. I generally rate these as unlikely. The biggest pressure against freedom will come from liberal big money backing local initiatives at the state (and major city/ county) level.

It will become increasingly clear that our current 'recovery' is either A) entirely a figment of our imagination or B) best case only benefiting a small number of people who are very wealthy or in specific sectors.

Person-

Work on relationships. Put effort into the ones which already exist and maybe try to start some new ones with people who bring value to my (our) life.

Be more intentional about my use of time (and to a lesser degree money) towards my priorities. Also look at my self identified priorities and how they do/ do not measure up to my actions to figure out of I need to adjust self identified priorities or stop screwing around and make stuff happen.

Get back to where I want to be physically. Things got off track and I was never really able to get back to the right course. This year one of my biggest goals is to fix that.

Cook more. We have pretty traditional gender roles, in no small part because I work and Wifey stays at home with the kids. Still I find cooking relaxing and generally enjoy doing it.

Preparations-

I will address this a lot more specifically in my upcoming New Years Resolutions post. Honestly it should be called 'Annual Goals' but at this point I'm going to stick with the name/ format. My broad goals are to build an AR pistol, buy some .308, 5.56, 12 gauge and 9mm ammo, beef up our fuel storage and round out some odds n ends. As to food I need to do a real inventory then look to fill the holes which come up.

Blog-

Better allocate my efforts in terms of posts. Do 1-2 more in depth posts with pictures, etc instead of 3 ish medium sized ones. Total post frequency won't likely change and worst case it would slip from roughly 1.3 posts a day ave to 1.1ish.

Build new relationships with different entities (blogs, companies, forums etc) for collaboration, fun, growth and profit.

Maximize passive income.

Anyway that is where I plan on going with this coming year. What are your plans?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Evening Chaos and Random Thoughts

Our darn dishwasher kicked the bucket about 2 weeks back. It's a Kenmoore and was installed in '03 so certainly doesn't owe any money but if we could keep it running for awhile that would certainly be nice as it's the most expensive time of the year and all.

It wouldn't cycle or drain. We fiddled with it and through process of elimination realized it was probably the timer. Wifey ordered a new (used) timer off the web for $22. We got the door open and found a chopstick shoved in there and a couple of random loose parts. In Wifey replacing the timer the whole thing was disassembled further than intended. We got it back together except a couple pieces (which are almost surely the issue but we can't find them in the parts lists or diagrams so heck if we know how they fit).  It cycles but won't drain.

About this time we got infested with drain flies. Haven't been able to kill the darn things. Fly strips and spray to catch/ kill them didn't help noticeably and certainly did not interrupt the breeding cycle. Read you are supposed to clean out the pipes real good but the one that doesn't have the garbage disposal has an attached grait so you can't get in there. I could take the pipes under the sink apart and clean them but the odds of that going bad somehow; since I have little experience with that (and IME the first time doing anything often goes bad) are not insignificant and the whole darn sink being down would really suck.

It seems quite odd these two problems popped up together so most likely they are related.

Christmas was coming so we sort of put these issues on hold since we were going out of town and had so much going on. We did bug bomb before leaving though it did little noticeable good. Well now we are back. Got some IG stuff to try and prevent them from breeding but am not exactly confident it will work.

Tomorrow we are going to give fixing the dishwasher one last shot. Given that it's rather old getting a repair man doesn't make any sense so if this doesn't work I suppose we will have to replace it. [We have savings to do so but would prefer not to shell out the $$$] As to the flies heck if I know a good way forward.

Any advice on either front would be appreciated.

Wifey noticed today that Dog #2 is probably pregnant. She is gaining weight and starting to produce milk. We got her and shortly therafter (NOV) found out she was not fixed when she went into heat. Despite our efforts to the contrary that big ole gal might have found the Doggy Mr Right Now. We need her to have puppies like I need another hole in my head. If Dog is preggers I guess she'll have the puppies and we'll find them homes.

There have been some interesting things around the web:

Bayou Renaissance Man is looking to swap some stuff to help himself and his disabled students get squared away.  Knowing the guy a tiny bit I suspect a lot of the cost of helping these folks out comes right out of his pockets. Anyway for sale or trade they have:
  • Two (2) Jarvis drop-in match barrels for Glock 19, caliber 9mm Parabellum:  regular price (as per Jarvis' Web site) $200 apiece.  Brand new and unfired - never installed.
  • One (1) Jarvis drop-in match barrel for Glock 23, caliber .40 Smith & Wesson;  regular price (as per Jarvis' Web site) $200.  Brand new and unfired - never installed.
[It is worth noting that aside from being quality match grade barrels these have conventional rifling so you can shoot lead reloads through them. If I had spare cash lying around I would buy one of the G19 barrels.]
 
 They would be interested in trading for:
  • Good-quality weapon-mounted lights, although (for obvious reasons) not the more expensive brands.  The Streamlight TLR-1 series are particularly desirable (or equivalents).  A specific model that would be very useful is the Streamlight 69217 TLR-1 HP (High Performance) long-range light for mounting on rifles and carbines.
  • Vertical or angled fore-end grips for the AR-15, possibly incorporating a light and/or laser sight, to fit a Picatinny rail or Magpul MOE handguard with the appropriate adapter.  I don't want the cheap Airsoft-type 'toys', but serious-use hardware.
  • Two caliber conversion barrels for the Glock 22, to convert it from .40 S&W to 9mm Parabellum.  These are available from Lone Wolf, KKM Precision (select the G22, then the 'Conversion Barrel' option) and Storm Lake.  I'd particularly like to get one of the longer threaded conversion barrels, if anyone has one lying around.
If you need what Peter is trading and or have what he is looking for leave a comment or contact him via blogger. On general principle since Peter is trying to help our folks on very limited budgets I ask that you take it a bit easy on the negotiating. Not saying you should lose your shirt on the deal but this is for a good cause so please be reasonable.

Commander Zero did a 2014 review. Dude bought a whole lot of guns this year. Lucky for him the guy is in a position, between career choices and building a network, in a place to have a higher than average amount of good deals come across his lap.

Weapons Man mentioned the Simple Sabotage Field Manual. Great stuff. It is possible that a person might end up in a place where they wanted to resist a regime but had few good options on how to do so. Instead of simply getting killed and maybe taking a low level thug along to the afterlife a person in the right place might be able to make a reliable power grid to the regime base become unreliable,  decrease a plants efficiency by 30% or decrease enemy patrols by 50% due to dead lining vehicles.


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