Showing posts with label mags. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mags. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More on Ammo and Magazine Numbers

I talked about this recently and a couple things seemed worth mentioning.

As to ammo numbers. My stated numbers, long on the record, do not factor in training, zeroing a new scope, etc all. This was my biggest lesson from Firearmagedon. To include training ammo one could be really intentional, figure out how much ammo they average shooting every month and how many months they think a shortage will last. So if I shoot 100 rounds of 9mm a month and believe a shortage will, as is about average, last almost 6 months that would be 600 rounds of 9mm I need for training. Say I might want to take a class during that time, well we should round it up to at least an even case of 9mm, maybe even a case and a half. Ditto for the rifle. On a lazier end a person could just get 500 rounds if they do not shoot a lot.

As to mags the primary driver of my minimum magazine numbers is not some SHTF Rorkes Drift storming the walls gun fight scenario. I have no illusion about living through so many SHTF gun fights that 5.56 30 rd PMAG # 20 is going to come into play. Instead it is actually a ban scenario where, as Commander Zero says, what I have is ALL I AM EVER GOING TO GET. Having 10 or more factory full capacity mags per Glock might seem silly now. Say a ban happens (though I think we are safe for 2-4 years). In 2 years I have a good buddy who buys a Glock 19 and really wants just 1 full capacity mag to keep with the gun in his bedside table. He was dumb for not buying mags for a gun he planned to get but he is a buddy and I want to help. In 3 years a mag gets lost in the grass while shooting. In 5 years a mag has the feed lips just plain wear out. You get the idea.

When it comes to mags I stock them DEEP. As a shooter I had the unfortunate luck to come into gun owning age during the tail end of the 1994-2004 Assault Weapons Bag. Full capacity factory Glock mags were going for $150 (in 2002/3 dollars) and it was a sellers market. As soon as that ended I snagged some full capacity mags. (Note, they will not make the mistake of allowing a sunset clause into anti gun legislation again) As I became more of an intentional survivalist I bought more mags. At that point good surplus AK mags were going for 6-7 bucks a pop so even a college kid could afford a dozen. Fast forward a couple years and there was a presidential election coming up. Of course one side wanted to get rid of all that stuff. I happened to graduate from college and start a big boy job where I made decent money.

Swore to myself I would do everything possible to avoid being stuck without the tactical advantage that a good supply of full capacity magazines offered. So I did without other non essential things I wanted and spent some money on mags. Bought mags not just for the Glock,  AR or AK I had but for the one I wanted to purchase down the road some time. Not going to say my situation there is perfect because of course resources are finite and there are competing demands. Still you won't see me paying silly panic prices for mags and if I want to give a couple to a buddy I have them to spare.

Remember kids, the second amendment does not cover full capacity magazines. From a legislative perspective they are definitely the most vulnerable piece since 1) they are not protected and 2) they wear out and are at best semi disposable.

That is all I have to say about that. Thoughts?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Response to Reader Questions

(1)Blogger tpals said...
Showing my ignorance: what exactly is a stripped lower?
July 17, 2015 at 5:10 PM
(2)Blogger Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?

Ryan here:
1) A stripped lower is technically the serial numbered part of an AR-15. It is the metallic piece of the lower without the internals gut and such.
 This is all the parts for an AR-15 lower receiver (and a sight/ carry handle). Put this all together and you have an AR-15 lower. Note the trigger, hammer, springs, take down pins, receiver extension, butt stock, etc. All of these are put together to have a functional AR-15 lower.
The stripped lower is shown in the picture above this text. Saying it is 'stripped' just means it is without all the pieces (trigger, hammer, takedown pins, receiver extension, etc) attached or included. You need to order a lower parts kit, receiver extension, buffer and buffer spring to make this into a complete lower that you could attach an upper to and make a complete rifle.

I said before that the lower is the serialized part of the firearm. In the eyes of the law that little block of aluminum is the gun. You can buy the rest of the pieces anywhere and just walk out or order it online, then get it shipped right to your house.

Stripped lowers are quite affordable. They are regularly available under $50 and always under $100. I don't care about brands much though I do avoid polymer lowers. As Chris said "the most important part of a lower is the roll mark (that shows brand). Brands only really matter to brag to your friends that you have a Noveske, LaRue, Daniels Defense or whatever lower. If that matters to you and you have the extra cash then by all means do it. I would rather put that money into P mags, and start saving for a case of 5.56 ammunition.

The specific advantage a stripped lower has is that under most past US gun laws older pre existing stuff is grandfathered in. So if a gun ban were to happen which I think we are safe from for at least a few years that stripped lower is 'the gun' and is grandfathered in. You could order the stuff to finish it later when you can afford it.

This probable grandfathered status plus the affordability of stripped lowers makes them pretty handy. For a likely gun ban scenario a stripped lower is in effect a physical version of a stock option to have an AR in the future. Maybe you cannot afford to buy an AR today but want one down the road. Most folks can probably scrape up sixty or eights bucks to get a lower then just put it away. Case in point I would like to be able to have a rifle for each of my kids but right now I do not have 1,600-2,000 dollars to do that. On the other hand I could buy a pair of lowers and build the rifles in the future.

A person looking for profit who found a good deal on lowers and mags could do very well in the gun run I have tentatively scheduled for this fall/winter or even better than that if a ban happened. A 'AR party pack' of a stripped lower and 7 new in plastic PMAGs could probably triple their money.

(2)Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?

Yes my thoughts on ammo are on the record.

My thoughts on mags are also but to briefly recap:
 Core Defensive rifle-20
I stock AR-15 mags

Core Defensive pistol-10
I stock Glock 9mm magazines

That roughly correlate to 3x combat loads rounded out a bit. My general thinking is one set to use, one set to replace those when they are worn out/ damaged/ lost and one set for trade/ charity. Lots of people have a rifle and 2-3 mags or a pistol with two. I am happy with those numbers though more is of course merrier.

It is worth noting those numbers are PER WEAPON not per weapon type. So if you have 2 rifles it would be 40 mags. Buy a third rifle and get another 20 mags.

I hope that answers both questions. If not hit me up in the comments section.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sort of Repost- Southern Prepper 1 Scenario Video and Ammo Discussion

I have posted this video before, twice if I recall. Anyway it brings up a very good point. Ammo matters a lot and it is prudent to consider A) stocking it deep and B) the opportunity for resupply in your chosen caliber during some sort of event.This is a point I like to occasionally revisit.

After watching this video I opened the safe and pulled  out my ammo and mag records. I am very pleased to say we are finally above my desired ratio of 5.56 ammo. 3,000 rounds per military pattern rifle is not a bad place to be. You can always use more ammo but I am happy with my 5.56 situation. I have spent a lot of money to get here but the blissful calm that came over me when I saw that the stash exceeded my desired ratio was worth it.

This video is, for me, a sort of gut check that I occasionally revisit. Buying the FAL sort of complicated my situation but then again I sold a 30-30 so it is a wash on logistics and a capability upgrade. This gut check sits well with my goals for the rest of the year which are (roughly in order):
An AR stripped lower receiver (more of a gun ban insurance thing than a SHTF thing)
10-20 more FN-FAL mags
Some more FAL spare parts. Specifically springs.
Another case of 5.56
A case of 7.62x51

maybe some Glock mags if I get to it.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

How Much Ammo Is Enough?

I was discussing how many guns you really need and Tpals asked for my thoughts on ammo. Also today I saw Peter of Bayou Renaissance Man's thoughts on How Much Ammo Is Enough today. Peters thinking certainly has merit. Take it for what it is worth.

I discussed that matter about 4 years back and again about a year ago.

To briefly recap my thoughts. The kind of scenario you are worried about matters a lot here.  Normal everyday defensive stuff just doesn't require a lot of ammo. If you live on a ranch out by the Mexican border and genuinely might end up in a running gun fight with a bunch of drug runners or could get caught in a Hurricane [While not part of our current topic Peters posts on Katrina and Rita as well as Gustav are definitely worth reading. Learn from others so you can avoid the pitfalls of their mistakes.] or a serious riot more ammo would make sense. If you are worried about progressively darker scenarios add ammo (and of course other supplies) as appropriate.
A big part of how much ammo is enough for you is WHAT MAKES YOU PERSONALLY COMFORTABLE. One could say this about preparedness as a whole. Anyway moving on.

Personally I am very comfortable with:
Defensive rifle- 3,000 rounds
Defensive pistol- 1,000 rounds
Shotgun- 1,000 rounds mixed between buckshot, slugs, small game shot like #4 and birdshot
.22lr- 5,000 rounds
Hunting rifle- 1,000 rounds/ 500 rounds*

Wish I could say these numbers were the product of painstaking analysis based on the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as riots, disasters and other events. However that is not the case. Somewhere between my various experiences and an affinity for nice even numbers I decided that the above listed numbers make sense for me. they may or may not work well for you.

* When I posted this a few years ago hunting rifle ammo was a topic of discussion. Anyway when relooking the ammo counts I came up with years ago I generally agreed with them all but the hunting ammo was worth revisiting. With 30-30 at 80 cents to a dollar a round for SP type hunting ammo, .308 FMJ (brass cased) around 90 cents; Federal 150gr SP hunting ammo at a bit over a buck and 30'06 about the same as .308 cost is definitely a consideration here.

Especially since actual harvesting of big game does not require a lot of rounds I can see the sentiment. On this subject Pastor Joe Fox mentioned that the year before writing The Survivalist Family he fired 6 shots, 3 to confirm zero and 1 each for the three deer he killed. Our longtime friend Chris's math figured pessimistically more like a box to zero and more for hunting to total 40 rounds a year.

My specific concern here is for folks who have a hunting rifle as their only centerfire rifle. Guys for whom the '06 or whatever deer rifle is their only real rifle.  The logic of 'I hunt on 20 rounds a year so 3x20 is 3 years of ammo' works sorta OK if the deer rifle is behind an AR/ AK in the safe but it doesn't work if that is the rifle you grab to get into a fight.

If folks have a defensive rifle with a decent stock of ammo and want to keep a bit less ammo for their hunting rifle I wouldn't argue against it. Also I would want to make sure they are not relying on that rifle for long range/ precision as part of a core defensive plan to hold say a long winding road going into a canyon or whatever. If those two conditions are both met less ammo seems just fine. I think 500 rounds seems pretty reasonable to me.  Anyway moving on.

The goals I laid out are not as ambitious as some but more than others. I think that for most folks given some planning they can be met within a reasonable time frame. Also they are generally high enough that if you are most of the way there the situation is pretty decent still. I generally try to set goals that are realistically attainable but aggressive enough that if you fall a bit low you're still in a good spot.

Honestly for all but the darkest scenarios half of what I like would likely be fine. If landed into the LA Riots (aside from that I wasn't shaving yet;) or Hurricane Katrina say visiting a friend or whatever with half of my goals; say an AK with a case and a half of Tuna 7.62x39 JHP, a Glock 9mm with 500 rounds of 9mm 115gr JHP, a shotgun with 500 rounds of ammo and a .22 with 2,500 I would be fine. Whatever issues I had they would not be ammo related.

I should note these counts are for core type weapons. I'm not saying you need to go this deep for every gun that you own. Like many folks maybe you happen to have an oddball (common caliber or otherwise but doesn't fit your plans) like the .38 S&W revolver Grandpa passed down, a .22-250 you shot Coyotes with for awhile or whatever. What it is smart/ necessary to do for that gun depends on how deep you are in core type weapons and ammo. If you have four AR's with a deep stash of ammo and a pair of .308 hunting rifles with a case of ammo between em you can go light on the heirloom/ oddball in the safe. On the other hand if you are a bit lighter on guns then everything matters.

Of course next is the guns overall viability. Say a little heirloom Browning knock off .25 that hasn't been fired since political candidates wore hats is worth a spare mag and a box of ammo while a more viable weapon like a .303 Enfield or .30 Carbine a relative brought back from the big one it would be smart to stash at least a couple hundred rounds.

I should note these counts have some margin for barter/ charity as well as sighting in optics, periodic test fires, etc but do not specifically include training. I keep a bit of ammo above that for training.

Think that pretty much overs my thoughts on ammo. 

Suppose I should touch on mags.

I like 20 per fighting rifle, and 10 per fighting pistol. As to pocket pistols, hunting rifles, rimfire, etc 4-6 seems sufficient. In this context I am more concerned about replacing a mag that wears out than fighting reloads.

Anyway I think that covers my thoughts on ammo and mags. Am interested in hearing the numbers for mags and ammo that make you happy and probably more interestingly the thinking behind it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

PMAG 30 AK Initial Impressions

Picked up a couple of these PMAG 30 AK mags not too long ago. Fiddled with it a little bit. Initial impressions are as follows:

- A lot lighter than a standard Euro surplus AK mag or even one of the lighter thinner metal ones. This shouldn't be a big surprise but given that it is a relatively heavy rifle anyway ounces count.

-Looks like, like a thicker curvy sibling to a normal PMAG. Like it's brick house but still hot sister.

-While normal AK mags seem to work fine without an anti tilt follower it is still a nice touch.

-Initially fit was a bit tight in my rifle. This was sort of a concern for me as these rifles have been made to so many slightly different specifications in so many places over the years it could be a problem. I honestly had to pull pretty hard to get it to seat. After the first couple times practicing the reload it seemed to shave a little bit off the sidewalls and worked just fine after.

-This does bring up a point of concern for me. PMAGs last basically forever in AR's but the attachment mechanism is a lot less strenuous on the mag. The AK mag style could be a lot rougher on the plastic of the mag, especially the front piece that has to hook onto the rifle before you 'rock' the mag in. Time will tell I guess.

- Value seems pretty good with street prices in the $14-16 range. Lucky Gunner has them for $15. Five years ago I would say $15ish AK mags would be a non starter but with surplus ones rising in price and getting worse in quality every year it isn't a bad deal.

I don't know that you NEED to run out and replace already functional mags with these but if you are short on mags it might be worth looking at them.

Oh yeah and Lucky Gunner is selling a case of Tula 7.62x39 for $229.

Have you got any PMAG 30 AK mags? If so what do you think of them?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Russian Siaga and VEPR AK style Rifles Banned by EO

An executive order was signed banning importation of certain weapons from Kalashnikov Concern including Siaga rifles as well as shotguns and VEPR rifles. All of these are basically AK's. Tam's take on it that she is ambivalent about that stuff but concerned about ammo manufacturers being added to the list is in line with my thinking. Personally I have zero desire to get a Siaga shotgun since A) they rarely function well with a wide variety of ammo and B) Anything a Siaga can do an actual AK pattern rifle can do better.

I doubt this ban will be dropped. Heck NORICO stuff is still banned here for absolutely no good reason. As to whether the companies and or weapons involved can be rebranded and get permission to import is an open ended question. Maybe the Siaga could become the Tiaga or something.

My concern is about ammo. Folks running com bloc rifles that shoot stuff like Wolf/ Silverbear/ Tula in 7.62x39 or 5.45 depend on ammo that comes from Eastern Europe to make those rifles economically viable. Additionally the economic viability of the Mosin Nagant depends on readily available low priced 7.62x54R ammo. It is worth noting that much of this stuff is made in other countries such as the Ukraine, Poland and Romania but it is not unthinkable that, due to overlapping company holdings and or political power the ban list could grow.

Personally I am going to take a look at my own situation. I was fine on AK mags and am now definitely good thanks to the help of a buddy. Way above my 20 (per rifle) happy zone. So that is good. As to ammo, you can always use more. If you rely on an AK pattern rifle for defensive use it would be prudent to look at your ammo situation. Hoss USMC's idea to get about 3 years of normal use purchased NOW is a sound one. For me assessing on the heavy side a case of 7.62x39 Wolf ammo would cover it.

Now I urge you to take a deep breath and not panic buy. There are a lot of maybe's here and most stuff banned has competitors from other countries/ brands that can fill the same role. Think about your needs and come to a reasonable decision. If you can use a case of ammo by all means get one but don't blow your life savings trying to make a mountain with cases of Wolf 7.62x39.

Last minute edit to include:
I dug out my inventory to actually see where things stand. Mags, 200% of my stockage goal of 20 per gun on AK mags. Do want to pick up some of the new AK PMAGs just to try em out. If nothing else they are light and not covered in cosmoline, attributes my eastern European surplus mags do not have.

Begin tangent. Personally when it comes to numbers of mags I like 10 per fighting pistol and 20 per fighting rifle. These nice round numbers roughly align (it would be 9 and 21) with 3 full fighting loads per official US Army whatever. These are the numbers where I am comfortable. For a sporting or otherwise not explicitly tactical weapon I would be comfortable with less, say 5 ish.

Do note this is PER GUN. So if you have 4 Glocks it would be 40 mags, 5 AR's would be 100mags.

Honestly these numbers really are not based on anything concrete. A long time ago I thought about it for awhile and these are what I came up with. I figured a combat load of mags, a full replacement load in case the original ones are lost/ damaged/ worn out and some spares for barter or charity.These numbers are where I am comfortable and reasonable people may differ on that topic.If somebody said they were comfortable with 6 pistol mags and 14 rifle mags I wouldn't argue with them. Then again if someone wanted 20 pistol mags and 50 rifle mags I would not argue with them either.

Wouldn't say I have necessarily changed from my thinking on mag numbers over the years. Would however say that I have been trying to front load magazine purchases for guns I plan to buy down the road. This has been an easy decision since I generally stick to AR, AK, Ruger 10/22 and Glock 9mm platforms.  Also the idea of a few mags set away here or there appeals to me a lot. In any case I seem to be vastly over my numbers on most mags. End tangent.

As to ammo I am right about at my stockage goal of 3,000 rounds (per rifle) but decided to order another case of Wolf 7.62x39 JHP for $230 from Lucky Gunner anyway. I had the cash to do it and now, in line with Hoss's idea, I have some 7.62x39 ammo set aside for training.  Interestingly in the time it took to do this post they sold 4 cases of the stuff in a half hour on Saturday afternoon. Folks might be getting worried.

As to spare parts I have a full set (minus receiver) per rifle. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get a few more of the prone to breaking stuff, extractor, ejector, firing pin, springs, etc. Will add that to the list. 

So that is the news and what I think you may want to do about it. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Weeks Preps and Why Saving Aids in Preparedness

This week I received 20 AK magazines. They were a silly deal, like 6.50 a pop for decent (Korean I think) new AK mags. Not eastern euro commie surplus quality but far better than junk US makers. Once a buddy shipped em to me the total cost per mag was $7.50ish. Big shout out to that guy who I will let choose to identify himself or not.

Now I didn't NEED AK mags at all. Honestly wasn't in the market for any but at that price putting some away to set up a future rifle, make cash during a panic or equip a friend or for a rainy day was an easy decision. So I went from bring pretty solid on AK mags to quite solid; amply able to acquire another rifle and stay under ratio (20 mags per rifle) with a few left over to give away, sell or maybe cache.

Today I was at the grocery store which was selling 6 packs of canned veggies for $2 a piece, so like 30 cents a can. Roughly a third of the standard price. Bought 25 or so. They had fruit for $4 or something. Not an amazing deal but still far better than normal prices, bought 6 of those. This purchase of about $50 will be over a year's normal consumption of canned veggies and a few months worth of canned fruit (we consume less of this as we try to feed the kids fresh fruit but sometimes you don't get to the store or whatever). All purchased at a huge savings over the normal price. This is a deep enough stash we can eat out of it till the next time we see a sale, certainly for veggies and probably for fruit, thus keeping the family food cost savings ball rolling.

Both of these were short notice purchases of stuff we can use but were not in the market for at huge savings. However they cost money. If we did not have some cash available we would not have been able to jump at these deals.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I was able to order 20 AK mags at a spectacular price thanks to a good, albeit invisible, friend.

Also ordered a spare parts kit to go along with them.

Plus a belt and holster to try and solidify my Glock EDC setup into something I am happy with.

Picked up 100 rounds of 9mm FMJ to shoot up and 50 rounds of .380 FMJ just in case I get a gun in that caliber (ammo is notoriously hard to find) or for charity/ barter. Along those lines I plan to pick up a hundred or so rounds of  .40S&W at some point.

This week was unintentionally quite gun centric. I am trying to sign up for a class but it didn't work today. Also deals pop up when they pop up so if you have funds taking advantage of them is prudent.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Crystal Ball 2014 Edition

This is the time of year where I talk about what I see coming down the pike. First I will say that I do not have a crystal ball, yadda yadda yadda; then I will immediately follow that with some predictions. Of course it is worth noting that I am not a doctor, lawyer or financial advisory and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn last night. Basically my thoughts are my own so if you choose to follow them all of the risk is on you; the only good part is that I don't take 5% off the top and a third of your growth plus monthly fees.

Indicators will be polarized as to whether our economy is recovering. Some indicators will keep growing because eventually folks will come out of their shells; ex people will buy homes, folks move and families reach the time where buying a house is right for them regardless of the market. The biggest single divide between them will be how easily a number can be inflated or manipulated. Example the stock market will probably do well but the number of people out of the work force will increase and the number in crap jobs (low wage, permanent part time, no bennies high turnover) will increase even more.

I fear that rule of law will continue to diminish on many fronts. Example if a young white thug punches an old black person for no reason it is a hate crime but if a poor disadvantaged urban youth does the exact same thing to a cracker it's somehow not a hate crime, barely a misdemeanor.

If a liberal breaks a firearms law it will not be prosecuted but if a conservative does they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Crime will generally rise but it will be kept quiet in the media and obscured in official reports. I see larger organized robberies including the home invasion type to increase as more people, some of whom have a military background, are unable to gain easy legitimate income and may even be pushed to desperate measures.

Increasingly economic winners and losers will not be decided by good business sense or keen competition but government connections deciding winners and losers.

Generally your job prospects are good in government and get better at higher levels (.gov, .state, .county, .city) with the exception of the military.

We are facing a downsizing not seen since the Clinton era. Lots of soldiers and NCO's as well as company and field grade officers, myself  and American Mercenary included, face the risk of being involuntarily separated. They may cut up to 20% of these officers, of that population probably 6% have derogatory stuff (disciplinary, really bad evaluations, etc) and will be easy pickings but the rest are going to be fully qualified Officers who are probably combat veterans. I'm not too worried largely because there isn't a huge point in worrying about it. I'll get my records strait and if they say I'm fired well I'll be sad then move along n do something else. It would be a weird/ rough/ poor year or so but we'll figure it out. It helps that we've made choices (college, saving, low debt load) that would help if need be.

I think inflation is going to keep eating away at our real purchasing power. Say we call real inflation 6% (to choose a number) well if you let that roll for 3-4 years it hurts a lot. Eventually in the next few years, or maybe sooner, it will reach a point that the government can't keep the proverbial car between the lines on the road. The best case I see is the late 70's and early 80's stagflation, the worst is pretty bad.

The whole health care mess is going to continue. I suspect the more we see of this law the worse it will be for average Americans. As it becomes clear the middle class, specifically it's younger members are subsidizing the working and not working poor to benefit the medical insurance industry many normal people are not going to be happy. This could be sadly entertaining to watch.

I don't think our "representatives" are going to get any better at working together to solve actual problems.

What could we pull from these predictions in terms of actionable ideas? (Again noting I'm just a guy with a blog, don't bet the farm on something I think.)

It would be prudent to get yourself medically squared away, especially if you currently have decent insurance. Get that surgery you've been putting off, get that knee fixed, fix that crown that is about to go, get lasic or family planning type surgeries if you want them. Simply put I do not think health care is going to get more accessible, cheaper or better in the near future so it would be prudent to catch up on whatever you need now.

Along those lines if you have been planning a major purchase such as a home or some land that will require credit I would look hard at getting that done. Rates are climbing and in the mid term (say 3-5 years) I can't see them getting better.

Replacing things large and small that are on the verge of going out while you still have an income so it is a minor inconvenience vs a major problem would be prudent. It could be the daily driver that you know is about to go out or a pair of boots from the 80's held together with shoe glue. Right now if these things break replacing them is unpleasant to some degree, on the high end you might have to put off a vacation. On the other hand if in 9 months you've been out of work for 6 months and are barely keeping a roof over your head replacement could be impossible.

Inflation both hidden (smaller servings, 10 cans in a case instead of 12, etc) and not so hidden will keep pushing food prices up. Stuff like coffee, rice and wheat , canned food or long term emergency kits are simply not going to get cheaper.You might want to reread or read The Alpha Strategy, the PDF is all over the net, for some ideas here.

If there is gun stuff on your annual list I would recommend pushing it towards the front. When we get close to the mid term elections the situation could get ugly. Maybe you want a new carry gun or Momma needs a 20 gauge, whatever. Ammo isn't exactly where I'd love it to be but with 7.62x39 in the $230/1k range and good 62 grain 5.56 in the low 40 (42) cent range it's probably time to weigh the chance of prices dropping another 5-10% with the risk of things going nuts. Personally I've been buying 7.62x39 for a couple months and am going to get some 5.56 soon. Prices on shotgun and hunting rifle (30-30, 30'06, etc ammo have stayed more or less flat so that is a no brainer to buy now. Anyway I would look to be done buying guns, ammo and mags for the year around the middle of summer at the latest.

What to do with money these days is a fun question. If you are smart you save, period. The old saying that if you always save 10% you'll never be broke has a lot of merit. Personally I think the stock market is inflated, dependent on continual federal government crap bond purchases and generally a bad place to put your money. Savings accounts are paying interest that is effectively (when you count inflation) negative. Sure you need at least some of the Emergency Fund in the bank in case you get munsoned in the Philadelphia Airport for 4 days or drop the transmission from the family hauler 2 states away but beyond that it's a bad place to park cash. So what to do with it. Here are a combination of my thoughts and things we are actually doing.

Pay down debt. The conventional wisdom is that paying down debt in an inflationary situation is foolish because you can pay it off later with cheaper dollars. The problems with that idea are 1) it presumes you are making more money to keep up with inflation. If paying off the debt is unpleasant now imagine when the grocery and fuel bills double but you make the same amount? Also 2) Looking at ways to make money or at least save money if you put cash towards a loan with a 5% interest rate you are saving and in effect making back 5%. Also 3) the pay it back in cheaper dollars plan presumes you keep your job/ income. High inflation makes for ruinous economic circumstances. Even if the $1,000 mortgage paying is worth $600 in real dollars it's hard to pay when you are unemployed.

For goodness sakes pay off any adjustable rate debts. Look, rates are going to rise, I cannot say when but they will. To people whose vehicles or homes are dependent on paying a loan whose interest rate will likely increase significantly it will be ruinous.  If you listen to nothing else I say get those debts paid off or turn them into fixed rate loans. The only exception I see is a loan/ card/ line of credit that is at an advantageous rate WHICH YOU CAN PAY OFF AT THE END OF THIS MONTH OR ANY GIVEN ONE IF NEEDED.

-Buy food and ammo. Get all you may possibly need (obviously considering the shelf life of food) and maybe some more. During firearmagedon a guy with a case of 5.56 and a case of 9mm set aside to sell could have done really well for himself. In coming potential events a guy with a couple hundred new in the package PMAGs could double, triple or even quadrupole his money.

-Put money into yourself. Take a class to learn to use a combat rifle by a pro like Max Velocity, get a certification to prove to a stranger you know how to do something like weld, work on engines or whatever. Get a degree or a second degree to improve your competitiveness at the current job or get a better one. Remember nobody can take away what is in your head.

-Put money into things that will let you earn money/ barter. If you are a welder get a genny and a setup to do small jobs on your own. If you are a mechanic buy tools and spare parts. If you are a carpenter buy tools, nails, hardware and lumber. If you can reload any type of ammo stock deep in powder, primers, lead and all manner of casings. If you can garden stock seeds deep for your own use and trade.

-If you have big money there are some bargains out there in real estate. A person could buy a couple duplexes or 3 small houses that are in reasonable shape in decent neighborhoods and get a modest reliable income out of them. When said person eventually sold those homes they would also benefit from appreciation of the property.

Along the big money lines I would look at relatively low upkeep businesses: trailer parks, storage facilities and stuff like that with a proven track record of earning money. In this situation do consider the necessity to have the time to do it yourself or cost to have a competent manager in place. If you don't have managerial desires consider the possibility of buying a share of an existing business. Say Bob's storage is a productive profit earning business but they can use a cash influx to buy 5 acres next door that are for sale and expand, you put up the cash and Bob gives you 25% of the business, win/ win.

-Put money into things that will improve your situation. Build a chicken coup and get chickens, put up a fence you need to use part of your land that has been fallow, buy a milk cow, build some raised beds to grow a bigger garden, put in a good road on the back 40, etc. You get the idea.

-Purchase bargains on useful items. If Joe 6 pack is going to sell Daddy's .357 mag, his mall ninja AR, a good generator or a toy 4 wheel drive truck that screams Bug Out Vehicle fast to make bills somebody is going to show up on short notice with cash offering 70 cents on the dollar, it might as well be you. Either you can flip the stuff to make a quick buck (since you can wait 30 days for a buyer willing to pay 95 cents on the dollar) or you use the stuff for awhile and keep it to sell on a rainy broke day.

-Put money into things you are going to need at some point. Maybe your kids will need AR's to go play with Dad on the weekends or sooner or later your farm/ business is going to grow and you will need a larger generator, another vehicle, a piece of equipment or something. Maybe you've been putting off buying a .338 Lapua for awhile. I don't know what applies to your situation. The point is to look towards future purchases and make them with today's available dollars ideally hiding them from inflation and thus saving money over the future cost of said item(s).

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. What do you think is coming in 2014?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Operational Cache Pack Out

So far it is looking like:
about a dozen mags
full spare parts kit (gun minus barrel and receiver)

Revolver, j frame lightweight type
3x speed loaders
IWB holster
pocket holster

A pretty comprehensive cleaning kit that will cover both weapons.
Good EDC type folder.
Tossed in a few common mags just in case I happen to need them.

Tomorrow I'm going to buy some ammo from Lucky Gunner to go into there. Also a chest rig for the rifle. That's what will come from here. The rest I'll put together on the other end.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rough MILSURP AK Mag Clean Up Bleg

Got some AK mags from a recent order. Condition varied widely. Overall " good " condition was IMO an exaggeration. 2 are in very good/ like new condition, 1 is in legitimately very good condition, a couple MIGHT be on the bottom end of good but the majority were closer to fair. There is a lot of missing blueing and a fair amount of corrosion plus some outright rust. Can't say that I feel awesome about the deal. It wasn't so bad I won't deal with the company again but I would hesitate to buy surplus stuff from them again.

So anyway with some work and touch up on finish, if just to mitigate future corrosion issues, I think they will all be serviceable. Despite buying more than my fair share of surplus mags (mostly AK, a couple dozen HK G-3 mags just in case I get a PTR-91 some day) over the years I have never dealt with significant corrosion type issues in mags. So I need to clean these up.

Getting home tonight I just sprayed them down with some WD-40. Figure I'll take a rag to them tomorrow to see what the situation is. Sometimes a quick clean up and a rag can do miracles. However since my plan is to put most of them away for the proverbial rainy day rust issues need to be solidly licked.

I've heard of folks soaking mags in gas or kerosene to get rust off. Gas is probably the next step off the top of my head.

I'm open to input here. What have you done successfully in the past?

Monday, December 2, 2013

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a good week here. Ordered a gun safe, a bunch of AK mags and some shelves for the garage. The gunsafe and shelves were planned, stuff we've been waiting to pull the trigger on for awhile. The AK mags were an impromptu buy based on an excellent price.

Added a few small things to the BOB. Need to get a machete and a mosquito net then it is good to go. Organized some stuff which was good. Split a bit of firewood.

Other than that not a lot happened. Thanksgiving ate up Thursday and Friday. This weekend we didn't do a darn thing which was really needed. Next week I am going to focus on getting some traction on the book. This month was nowhere near as productive as I wanted but given that weekends went to home improvement projects that was to be expected. Honestly we needed to get our residence set up a lot more than I need to finish a book. Hoping to get it done this winter.

Toying with the idea of putting together a nonfiction "best of the blog" type book. It would be a compilation of articles covering my foundational beliefs about different subjects such as weapons, gear, food storage, finances, fitness, insurgencies, etc all. Cost is TBD but would be in the McDonalds value meal to six pack of decent beer range. Does that interest anyone?

What did you do to prepare this week?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Deals PT III: Yugo Surplus AK Mags With Bolt Hold Open for $11.99

Yugoslavian Surplus AK-47 Steel 7.62x39mm 30rd Magazine w/ Bolt Hold Open Follower for $11.99

Wanted to let you all in on this deal earlier but held off till I ordered because well, I like you but need to get squared away myself. Surplus AK mags have been getting more expensive for awhile and lately drying up entirely. Aftermarket mags vary widely in quality so until the Magpul AK mags come to market I'd recommend sticking with surplus AK mags. If you have an AK, or five, yet are a few mags short this would be a good opportunity to get squared away at a reasonable price.

Black Friday Deals PT II

Black Friday at Camping Survival. The little Kato Voyager radio is an excellent value at $40 so it's a fantastic one at $18. They can be powered multiple ways and charge cell phones. We handed them out to villagers in Afghanistan so they could pick up our fair and balanced radio station. Tons of deals on food also.

Lucky Gunner has electronic ear muff's for $17 which is a good deal. Glock 19 mags for $25 a pop is the best non bulk (10+) deal I've seen in over a year. Eagle ambidextrous drop holsters for $20 are a steal. It would be great to have 2-3 around to equip friends who suddenly need one for their nightstand gun if the schumer hits the ventilator. At what are getting to be fairly normal prices they have 7.62x39 - 122 gr HP - Tula Cartridge Works - 1000 Rounds for $244 and 5.56x45 - 62 gr FMJ M855 - PMC - 1000 Rounds for $455.

If you've got some coin to spend these are excellent deals to take advantage of. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Firearmagedon Sliding Into History?

Going from shop to shop this week things are slowly getting better. Guns are back to normal availability. Mags are getting better, a local store had Glock 19 and Glock 17 mags for the first time in forever. Ammo is slowly getting better except .22lr which is just getting worse. The latest deals from Lucky Gunner reflect this.
My hope is that we all remember what we worried so much about being short on in the darkest days of this whole mess and over time as prices come continue to down work to fill those gaps. Personally I'm going to stash some training ammo and a bit more for a rainy day. Also I can use a few more magazines n such

 Hopefully ammo prices continue to slip back to pre firearmagedon levels in the next 2-3 months. I'd love to be able to shoot more without breaking the bank and put some back.

Does this match what the situation is in your area? What do you think?

Monday, July 22, 2013

How Many Magazines Are Enough?

Modern Survival Online shared their thoughts on ammo and was nice enough to link to my recent post. They also mentioned magazines.Since I didn't address mags it seems to be worth touching on. I will share the numbers of magazines I consider sufficient as well as the thinking behind those numbers.

Core Defensive rifle-20
I stock AR-15 mags

Core Defensive pistol-10
I stock Glock 9mm magazines

Non core defensive rifle-14 magazines
Like mags for an AK that is just lying around

Non core defensive pistol-6 magazines

(These would be for a gun that is useful but not primary so you can get by with a few less.)

Various nonessential weapons- 4-6 magazines
Maybe for a baby Glock or some sort of .22. I am comfortable stocking these lower because they are either ancillary or for various oddball heirloom type guns.

These numbers are roughly 3 basic loads per weapon (strictly speaking that would be 21 rifle mags like these Troy Battle Mags and 9 pistol mags like Glock 17 mags but round numbers are nice). My thinking is as follows. Obviously the first set are to carry. The second set are to replace the first set if they are lost/ broken or wear out. The third set are for equipping friends, barter or trade. The allocations are not exact but that is sort of the thinking. It is worth saying these are minimums. Thirty to forty percent more is great, fifty percent more is even better and double is not totally crazy. Between Armageddon and such I wouldn't mind having a few spare mags cached here or there above the minimums.

How many mags do you think are enough?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Are Things Getting Better?

 One day this week I went out to get some 9mm ammo to shoot. Didn't find any at the first place but another customer mentioned there was some for $15 a box at another shop. While briefly chatting with the worker he mentioned they have PMAG's and Glock 17 mags in stock. I asked how much on the PMAGs just out of curiosity. He said "12.99 and you can buy two" to which I said "at that price why not." The standard Glock magazines were $28 and they had Glock factory happy sticks for $40. Didn't buy any Glock Mags because I do not NEED the normal ones and wasn't ready to buy the happy sticks.
At the next place they did have 9mm ammunition for the excellent price of $15.25 a box. So I will be able to go shooting next weekend which is good. Granted I have 9mm stashed but at this point aside from essential shooting (zeroing a scope, etc) am only putting downrange what I can replace.Went to the third local place just to round things out. They had CCI Mini Mag's at a reasonable price so I snagged the last box.

At any of those places I could have purchased an AR-15, some .223/5.56, plenty of various AR magazines, a Glock or M&P. So at least as of this week things seem a little bit better in my neck of the woods. Gun availability is almost normal though prices are a touch high still. Mags are slim but getting better and are regularly restocked. Ammo is still problematic, specifically .22lr, though either I had a lucky day or the ammo situation is improving if just from dismal to bad.

So how are things in your area? For guns? Mags? Ammo?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Gun Ramblings

Decided to try containing gun related stuff to 1-2 days a week unless something really significant happens.  Anyway here we go. 

Did the gun store loop today. Plenty of AR's at OK prices. Lots of AR, AK and Glock mags available. AR mags varied by make of course. PMAGs were $15 no window and $17 window. One shop has TAPCO AK mags for $12.99. They've had a box of them lying around for long enough that I think the price is sustainable if not high. Glock mags ran $30ish. Since they were $25-27 before this that is not bad.

Any shotgun or precision/ hunting bolt gun can be had. A wide variety of semi auto pistols though the specific model you want might not be there.

Ammo was OK. 9mm brass cased FMJ seems to be stuck at $20. Some .40 and .45 FMJ was present. IN general there was at least some defensive ammo available in each pistol caliber. Didn't see any .223 but I wasn't really looking. Plenty of 7.62x39 @ $7ish/20. .308 FMJ was available at about a buck a shot in multiple stores. Shotgun ammo is generally unaffected. Saw a bit of CCI .22lr standard velocity ammo for $8/100.

I'm going to wrap this up and follow shortly with a second post on the J Frame.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Firearmagedon and Garden Update

Today I had some idle time around mid day. Decided to go out to all the local gun shops kind of inventory/ price checking. Here is what I found

Gun availability- A wide variety of guns were readily available. All sorts of AR's plus other military pattern rifles. Of course lots of hunting/ 'precision' rifles, shotguns and .22's. Pistols were available though you might not be able to get a specific model. Part of that I think is just that a lot more variance is in the pistol market. [EX I wouldn't notice the lack of a 16" mid length BCM rifle when they had a half dozen various AR's on the wall. I would be far more likely to notice a Glock 19 not being there.] You could probably get something pretty comparable though. Lots of XD's and M&P's present. Glocks were sort of hit and miss.

One guy was definitely trying to get some pre panic prices (they may be consignment at which point he doesn't determine the price) on a few military pattern rifles but I've been seeing the same guns there for awhile so there do not seem to be any takers. However broadly speaking prices were OK. They are probably around 125% of normal or so.

Mags- Lots of AR mags. Prices for PMAG's, Lancers, etc were about $21ish. TAPCO AK mags from $15-20ish. Glock mags were semi available with prices around $30. That's not too bad since they were $26-27 retail in a local shop before this. Bunches of XD mags available. Didn't see ANY .Ruger 10/22 mags and only a few off brand AR .22 conversion mags. The shop that had the silly rifle mag prices had some silly prices for AK (unambiguous used steel @ $30) and M1A mags (unambiguous metal @ $50) . Hell I guess you can't fault a guy for being optimistic.

Ammo- Prices are generally coming down but availability is spotty. Saw .223 at a couple places. It seems to be running .60c a rd or so for brass cased range meat. .308 everywhere but it's running a buck to a buck and a quarter for brass cased range meat. No 9mm/ .40/ .45 ball to be found. The stuff is coming in a trickle then going out just as fast.

Full availability of shotgun ammo. Target loads, small game hunting, turkey and buck/ slug are all available. That in and of itself might be a reason to own a 12 gauge shotgun.

.22 ammo. Availability was limited at best. The shop that had the optimistic rifle and mag prices had a few inflation adjusted 325 round bricks of Federal Auto Match for $40. That price was probably optimistic guess somebody might need .22 ammo who will pay that. (In the last month and a half or so I've purchased 3 of them, 1 at $21 and 2 at $17.)

At other places I saw a few various 50-100 round boxes of .22lr. Some Winchester and some CCI. 

Well that's the firearmagedon update. In general things are getting better which is good. Unfortunately ammo is lagging behind. Hopefully that will get better in the coming weeks.

As to the garden. The strawberry plants did not die but they were definitely not going to bear fruit. They went into the trash today. The tomatoes are going well. Except a bird ate the two almost perfectly ripe tomatoes I was waiting to pluck from the vine and put into a meal. That filled me with more rage than was probably reasonable. Talked to some folks about it. Apparently you need nets to protect the maters from birds here. I'll do that tomorrow. The taters and beans seem to be doing just fine. The cherry tomatoes are good. The peppers just haven't done anything, not dead but haven't grown or anything. I'm kinda thinking they might have been in too small of pots. Stuck em in the larger ones the strawberries were in so maybe that will help. Well that's the garden update. Some good, some less good, lots of time outside and learning.

Anyway I hope you all have a good Saturday.

How is the firearm/ mag/ ammo situation in your area?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

RE: When They Come For Your Guns

I enjoyed this Hoss USMC video. Like most things his perspective is well thought out and logical. Dude just makes sense.

Here are my thoughts on the video:
1) It should have been titled "IF They Come For Your Guns". Personally gun confiscation is pretty low on my list of concerns. Though if I lived in Kalifornia, New York, Chicago, etc I might feel differently. Simply cannot see that happening in most of the US. Anyway moving on.

2) People are more important than things. I can get another gun much easier than I can recover from lethal wounds. This is made much easier conceptually if you have backups, in this case guns with ancillary stuff, stored someplace other than your home. That brings us to Caches.

3) Caches. Like I talked about before you have to consider the context of a cache. In this case I would look at the type of people you might store things with first. Like John Mosby said more or less "Hiding crates of Mosin Nagant's in the basement of the Gun Club's President is not a sound plan". An ideal candidate to cache some stuff with would be either for your cause but very quietly so or relatively neutral about it but very pro you and thus willing to help you out.

In terms of proximity a cache would need to be far enough away from you to be unaffected by the event that concerns you but close enough for you to get to if that event happens. Obviously a cache of guns buried 5 feet from your house or stored with the next door neighbor is a bad plan. On the other hand a gun 2,300 miles away isn't very helpful either. Somewhere between a mile and a hundred miles is probably a good way to go. Of course that is just a rough idea. Obviously a quarter mile from home buried in the state park would be fine. Political boundaries are also a consideration. If you live in California a buddy in Oregon/ Nevada/ Arizona would have some real benefits. Ditto for Cook County, Ill and Pop's Farm in Cornville.

Of course like any other cache appropriate planning and preparation is required.

4) Bait Guns. While I have my doubts about how unwinding all the the NCIS and ATFE 4473 mess for all guns on a national scale but lets just say that happened with some degree of effectiveness. In any case unless they are literally going block by block, door to door searching homes the folks knocking at the door probably know you have some guns. It would probably be a hard sell to convince them you do not have a single firearm. At a minimum that would likely garner unwanted attention. Since you want them to leave, not get deeper into your life, that is bad.

Awhile back Maine Prepper had the excellent point not to try giving them a broken rusty BB Gun and saying it is your only gun. A more realistic option might be a handgun as well as a shotgun / .22/ rifle. The first advantage of this plan would be you have these guns in the home prior to this hypothetical confiscation. A rifle to go hunting, a pistol and shotgun to defend your castle, whatever. If these are basic guns they can be very functional but had purchased at modest costs; particularly if you can buy them when opportunities arise. An old .38 and a Mosin Nagant or pump shotgun could be had for under $500. Aside from the benefit of having more quality guns now you can show them what they expected (which is to find some guns) getting them out of your hair. The second benefit would be that you are meeting their expectations which will get them out your door faster.

As to the rest of your guns? If folks are just doing a door to door search they came and found (or you handed over, whatever) your bait guns then I'd keep my mouth shut. Talking as little as possible around Cops is not a bad idea anyway. On the other hand maybe somehow they unwound all or part of the NCIS/ 4473 mess. At this point they are asking about the Glock 19 SN 12345 I purchased on 9 June 2008 at Shooters in Columbus GA. This rather unlikely scenario is one of the biggest reasons to buy paperless guns.

Well in most of the US private sales are currently legal with no requirements for documentation or going through an FFL. A plausible lie that would be very difficult to disprove might be the order of the day. I sold a bunch of guns a few years back: when I was getting stationed in Germany, was out of work for a few months, needed money when the Mrs got pregnant, had to fund a move from Ohio to Kansas, realized I hadn't hunted in years, swapped it for auto repair on a car that's since been sold etc or something else plausible like it fell out of the boat on a fighting trip, was stolen and you mindlessly forgot to report it, lost it in a poker game or whatever. The point would be to choose something that would be plausible and generally matches with some known facts from your life, yet would be just about impossible to disprove. I like events years in the past that occurred in other areas. Sure if the proverbial federal 'eye of mordor' shifted onto me they could try to track down an older shade tree mechanic from Kansas circa 2009 but in a mass confiscation scenario that would not get run down. I suppose this would be easiest for somebody who hasn't bought a papered gun in years that has also made a big move or two. If you've always lived in the same town and bought an AR-15 last summer it might be a bit harder to be convincing and vague at the same time.

It is also worth noting that you would want to rid the home of ammunition, accessories, etc for guns you are hypothetically claiming are no longer in your possession.  I expect a mag or box of ammo in the back of a closet could be explained away. However huge stacks of ammo cans and dozens of AR-15 magazines  and Glock 17 magazines for the guns you claim to have sold/ whatever would be a hard sell.

So anyway those are my thoughts on that. As always your input is welcome.
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