The Backwoods Hunting Weapon You Can Make In 1 Hour (No, It’s Not A Bow)

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The Backwoods Hunting Weapon You Can Make In 1 Hour (No, It’s Not A Bow)

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When suddenly confronted with a wilderness survival situation, finding or building shelter from the elements should be your first priority. However, once you have either located or constructed suitable shelter and found a source of fresh water, obtaining enough food to maintain your heath is of paramount importance — and obtaining sufficient protein is essential. Thus, knowing how to construct and use primitive hunting tools, such as a sling or an atlatl and darts, is extremely beneficial, since they require very little construction time and can be easily made from the materials at hand.

Many if not most survivalists would say a self-bow — any simple bow made from a single piece of wood – should be constructed first. But this requires a significant amount of time to make, because you first have to find a straight sapling of an appropriate species and cut it down, and then you have to remove the bark and wait for the wood to dry before carving it to shape. Also, there is the issue of finding appropriate material from which to construct a bow string that does not stretch.

Consequently, constructing an atlatl (a “spear thrower”) and darts is often a far better strategy, because an atlatl can be built with as little as an hour’s work, and atlatl darts need not be nearly as sophisticated as arrows for a bow; atlatl darts are not subjected to the same stresses that firing an arrow from a bow produces. This is the weapon used by our ancestors to kill small animals, long before there were bows.

Let’s Get Started

In order to make an atlatl, start by finding a straight sapling, approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter and preferably one that is of a very lightweight species of wood, such as poplar. Cut a section from it, approximately 24-28 inches in length. Use your camp knife and a baton to split the sapling down the middle, into two halves. You will need to choose the thicker of the two halves and proceed to use your bushcraft knife to flatten and smooth the split surface while leaving the other side half-round. Next, find an appropriate tree limb with a symmetrical fork, and then cut the fork from the limb, leaving approximately two inches below the fork and then cut each fork to a length of approximately one inch. Then cut a peg, approximately two inches in length.

Story continues below video

Next, drill one hole in the end of the flattened section of sapling using an auger or bow drill with sand for an abrasive and, once the hole is drilled, insert the peg firmly into the hole so that it extends approximately one inch above the flattened surface. Carve a handle on the other end of the sapling section by first rounding the edges and then carving shallow groves in either side for your index finger and thumb to help you retain your grasp on the atlatl when using it to launch a dart. Once you have the grip and finger grooves carved, drill a second hole in the flattened side, approximately one inch above the point where your thumb and index fingers meet when grasping the handle section of the atlatl, and then firmly insert the fork into that hole and you will have a completed (although very primitive), fully functional, atlatl.

Ultimate Tactical Self-Defense And Hunting Weapon That Doesn’t Require A Firearms License!

Now you need to make atlatl darts. They can be made as simple as cutting a reasonably straight section of sapling to approximately 36 inches in length, removing the bark, sharpening one end, and then cutting a nock in the other end that will mate with the peg on your atlatl. Then, to launch your dart at a prospective target, all you have to do is place the dart’s nock against the atlatl’s peg and then lay the shaft into the fork and hold it in place by positioning your thumb and index fingers over the dart’s shaft. Raise the atlatl over your shoulder, point the dart at your intended target, and then move the atlatl forward in an arc while releasing the dart’s shaft from your fingers. This will cause the dart to launch with great speed and momentum. If you’re confused, then watch the video below.

Story continues below video

With more time to work with, you can make much finer atlatl darts by cutting an appropriate sized sapling to length, removing the bark, and then straightening the shaft by suspending the dart over a fire for a short period in order to cause the moisture contained within the wood to heat. Also, you can harden the tip of the shaft by placing it in the coals of a fire for a short period and removing it. Then, sharpen it with your bushcraft knife.

So, although an atlatl and darts may not be as sophisticated a hunting tool as a bow, it requires significantly less time and effort to make it – and yet is every bit as effective at harvesting both small and large game animals. The range over which they can be cast is mainly dependent on the strength of the hunter, but the average person can easily cast a dart 50 yards using an atlatl and, with a little more effort, 100 yards.

What advice would you add on making an atlatl and darts? Share your tips in the section below:

If You Run Out Of Ammo, What Would You Do? Learn How To Make Your Own! Read More Here.

5 EDC Folding Knife Features To Consider

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While several icons of the American knife industry have faded away in recent years, they have been replaced by a new crop of forward-thinking knife companies that have introduced many new and innovative knives designed for EDC (everyday carry). Larger than most traditional pocket knives and more modern in appearance than the classic folding knives […]

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5 Worst Types Of Firearms To Use For Home Defense

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With home invasions becoming more common in urban neighborhoods, having a way to defend your home from violent criminals is crucial. After all, the police can’t be everywhere at once. So despite the exorbitant prices charged by some gun manufacturers these days, gun sales are on the rise. In fact, the AR-15 may be the […]

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3 Subtle Mistakes That Will Get Your Killed In The Wild

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3 Subtle Mistakes That Will Get Your Killed In The Wild

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Every year, thousands of people venture into the wilderness for recreational purposes. And while communing with nature is an excellent way to alleviate the stresses of everyday life, many people fail to take into account just how harsh the wilderness can be to those who are unprepared.

In fact, underestimating the dangers posed by a day or week in the woods and being unprepared to handle them can lead to life or death struggles to survive until help arrives. To help prevent this from happening to you, here’s three major mistakes to avoid:

1. Miscalculating the risk. Most people only venture into the wilderness on weekends or for occasional camping trips. As a result, the first and most common deadly wilderness mistake most people make is miscalculating the level of risk that venturing into the wilderness poses. For instance, because many people plan what they expect to be only a day adventure, they fail to take into account just how quickly the local weather can change and the danger that inclement weather can create. Excessive heat, for example, can quickly cause hypothermia and dehydration, which can lead to disorientation, poor decision making, and ultimately death.

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Also, although most people are aware of the dangers posed by excessively cold weather, they fail to understand that even a light rain in relatively warm weather can lower a person’s core temperature enough to cause hypothermia, which poses the same dangers as excessive heat. Furthermore, many areas of the US are inhabited by dangerous creatures such as bears, wolves, mountain lions, poisonous snakes and poisonous insects. In fact, the black bear can be found in most mountain ranges of the US and is responsible for more attacks on humans than grizzlies or brown bears combined. Numerous people each year are bitten by poisonous snakes in the wilderness, because they are either unaware of their presence or unaware of their preferred habitat.

3 Subtle Mistakes That Will Get Your Killed In The Wild

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2. Not being properly prepared. The wilderness can be deadly for those who are not prepared. It is essential to plan for accidents and emergency situations by carrying a properly stocked daypack that contains extra clothing and extra high-energy, non-perishable foods such as dried meat, dried fruits, trail mixes and hard candies in case you need to unexpectedly spend one or more nights in the wilderness.

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Furthermore, everyone venturing into the wilderness, regardless of how long they intend to stay, should assemble and carry a well-stocked survival kit, along with a sturdy survival knife, and know how to use them to build survival shelters, start a fire and obtain food.

3. Not knowing survival basics. Because most people venture into the wilderness using well-marked trails, they mistakenly feel that they do not need to know how to read a topographical map or how to use a compass. However, people often leave the trail to explore. Because they fail to note and memorize distinguishable landmarks, they suddenly find they are lost. Having both a topographic map and the knowledge of how to read it can be a life-saver. Also, while a person’s general direction of travel can be determined by observing the sun’s path, a compass can be an invaluable tool in determining the proper course for returning to the trail. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes even those who are familiar with wilderness navigation become disoriented and are forced to spend one or more unexpected nights in the wilderness. Therefore, taking the time to learn and practice basic wilderness survival skills can mean the difference between life and death.

Anytime you head into the wild,  prepare accordingly. Having proper supplies and basic survival skills can literally mean the difference between life and death.

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The Right Way To Start A Fire When It’s Wet Outside

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The Right Way To Start A Survival Fire When It's Wet

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Fire has long been considered one of man’s best friends. It provides both light and warmth, it enables us to cook our foods, and it aids us in the production of primitive weapons.

Therefore, understanding how to build a fire is an essential skill for any outdoorsman, and the ability to build a fire in wet conditions is especially useful. Thus, the first thing you need to understand about building a fire is that it is all about the production of BTUs! While that may sound like an oxymoron, the fact is that heat production is the single most important key concept to building and managing a fire, regardless of whether it’s a campfire or the fire in your wood stove. It is essential to understand how heat and air react, with both wood and moisture, in order to gain a proper understanding of how to build a fire in wet conditions. Obviously, a heat source is required to light a fire and both oxygen and fuel are needed to maintain it.

The second concept that you need to be aware of is that the less dense and/or the smaller the diameter of the fuel is, the faster it burns; the denser and/or the larger diameter the fuel is, the slower it burns. Further, it is important that you have enough fuel at hand before you start the fire to get it going so that you don’t have to scramble to find appropriate fuel while you are trying to build your fire.

First Steps

To start a fire in wet conditions, you will first need some lightweight, small diameter fuel known as “tinder.” Next, you will need to build a small platform on which to start your fire; when you build a fire on the ground, some of the heat it produces is absorbed by the ground beneath the fire and when that ground is wet, building a fire on top of it will cause it to produce steam, which will dampen your fire.

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It also should be noted that any small tree branches lying on the ground during a soaking rain also will absorb a significant amount of moisture; when gathering tender in wet conditions, it is best to look above ground. For instance, the upper sections of tall stands of dead grass are often dry enough to burn after a rain, and pine trees often have a plethora of small, dead branches on their lower extremities that can be easily collected.

The Right Way To Start A Survival Fire When It's Wet

Image source: Pixabay.com

Once you have sufficient tinder and fuel to start and maintain your fire, the next step that you need to take is to clear the ground of any debris or leaf litter until you reach bare ground. Then, place several short sections of small diameter dead limbs side by side to create a platform on which to start your fire.

Starting the Fire

Next, place your tender in a pile on the platform that you built and apply heat. While a magnifying glass, a match or a butane lighter will serve the purpose in many cases, sometimes your tinder and fuel are simply too sodden to ignite easily; in those situations, you need a more intense source of heat. Consequently, it is wise to carry a Magnesium fire-starter block with you, in addition to waterproof matches and a butane lighter. With this device, you simply use a knife to remove some shavings from the edge of the block and then, you either use the imbedded flint striker or a match to light the magnesium, which will burn so intensely that it will light anything that is placed on top of it.

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Once your tinder is going, you simply add small bits of slightly larger fuel to the pyre until you have built the fire up to the size that you want. But when doing so, you need to plan ahead, because when placing larger pieces of damp fuel on the fire, those pieces will first need to absorb enough heat to convert the moisture they contain to steam so that it can evaporate and then, they will need to heat further to reach the flash point before they will burn. Thus, it is imperative that your fire be really hot before you start adding larger pieces of wet fuel, and that it has enough heat to dry the fuel that you do add.

If You Can’t Find Dry Wood

The last concept that you need to be familiar with is that split wood burns better than round wood. If are having trouble finding sufficient quantities of small, dead limbs to build your fire, then you can use your survival knife and a baton to split larger pieces of damp wood to expose the dry interiors in order to produce burnable fuel for your fire.

The key concepts to remember when building a fire in wet conditions are that fire is all about the production of heat and thus, you need heat to light and maintain a fire.

Fortunately, all of this is not as difficult as it might sound, since there is really very little difference in building a fire in dry conditions and in wet conditions, other than being aware of the key concepts mentioned above, and planning ahead so that your wood is dry by the time that you need it.

What advice would you add on starting a fire in wet conditions? Share your tips in the section below:

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The Only 3 Knives You Need For Off-Grid Survival

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The Only 3 Knives You Need For Off-Grid Survival

I have had a passion for cutlery since I was about 8 years old, and have endeavored to learn as much as I possibly can about them ever since. In fact, my passion has resulted in me writing quite a lot about knives over the years.

Of course, writing about them is not the same as using them! Thus, as an avid wilderness survivalist, I have come to the conclusion that, contrary to popular belief, there is simply no such thing as a single, do-it-all, survival knife. I now view my survival knives as a system. I now carry:

  • A large, heavy duty, chopper meant to replace a hatchet.
  • A somewhat smaller field knife.
  • A significantly smaller fixed-blade utility knife to enable me to perform all of the jobs that I find necessary in the field.

(Stay tuned for specific suggestions.)

Large, Heavy Duty Chopper

For instance, to an experienced wilderness survivalist, saplings are the single most important building material available because they are used for building shelters, traps, snares and hunting tools such as an atlatl and darts or a self bow and arrows. The ability to cut down and shape saplings is of major importance, but it has also been my experience that the average survival knife is woefully inadequate for this task, and the indigenous peoples of Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines have apparently discovered this as well — since they have a number of different knife designs meant specifically for chopping woody plants. They have different designs such as the enep, the parang, the parang changdong, the barong, the bolo and the Golok that are made for cutting the woody plants that inhabit the jungles where they live, as opposed to the machete, which is a cutting tool designed to cut the soft plants of the South American jungles. Thus, for cutting woody plants, you need a knife with a very thick spine instead of a thin one — and you need a weight-forward blade design. Although any such design could range from 8 to 24 inches in length, for the purpose of wilderness survival, knives with blades in the 10- to 14-inch range tend to work best with the shorter blades, providing a little more control and the longer blades providing more power for deeper cuts.

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After looking at numerous American versions of various ethnic knife designs, I have chosen a version of the Thai enep made by Kershaw Knives called the “Camp 10″ that features a 10-inch blade made from 65Mn high carbon steel, which I find is capable of performing any job that a hatchet is, as well as some that it’s not. There are several other knives, such as the Entrek Destroyer, the Fox Knives Parang XL, the Bark River Knives Grasso Bolo III, the Ontario Knife Company Bolo, the SOG Jungle Bolo, and the Cold Steel Smatchet, that will also fill this niche quite well.

Smaller Field Knife

Image source: EverydayCommentary.com

Image source: EverydayCommentary.com

But there are some jobs for which my Camp 10 is simply too large and thus, I also find it useful to carry a large camp knife. For this purpose, I prefer a large, heavy duty knife with a thick spine and a blade with a length that ranges 6-9 inches — with 8 inches being my ideal length — either a clip point or a drop point design with a flat grind for superior sharpness or a saber grind with a high primary bevel line for a tough edge. My personal choice in a camp knife is a knife designed by A.G. Russell that that features an 8-inch recurved blade design made from AUS-8 stainless steel with a Rockwell hardness of 57 to 59. Therefore, I use this knife as my general purpose knife to handle most of my cutting tasks but, once again, there are several other knives that will serve this purpose well, such as the Fallkniven Odin, the Cold Steel Recon Scout, the Cold Steel Survival Rescue Knife, the Bark River Knives Bravo II, the Randall’s Adventure Training ESEE-6 and the KA-BAR/Becker Combat Bowie.

Utility Knife

But once again, there are some jobs for which even that knife is simply too large. So I also find it useful to carry either a smaller fixed blade knife with a blade length of 3 1/2 inches to 4 inches, or a large folding knife with the same length blade, because I use this knife for any small cutting jobs that require that I maintain extra fine control over the blade as well as using it as a hunting knife for removing the hide from the game animals I catch in my traps and snares — and for gutting and removing the heads from the fish that I catch. It performs exceptionally well when cutting the notches in the sticks that I use to make traps and snares as well as when making a DIY spear or atlatls and darts. I also carry an A.G. Russell Laplander, which features a 3 7/8 fixed blade made from A-2 high carbon tool steel with a Rockwell hardness of 59 to 61 which will take and hold an exceptionally fine edge. But, some other knives that would also serve well in this capacity are the Fallkniven Pilot Survival Knife, the Entrek Javelina, SOG Field Pup, the Kershaw Diskin Hunter, the Randall’s Adventure Training ESSE-4 and the Tops Tennessee Tickler.

Final Thoughts

By carrying three different survival knives on a military surplus utility belt instead of just a single one along with my survival kit and canteens, I find that I am extremely well-prepared to handle nearly anything the wilderness can pit against me, because my three-part survival knife system gives me the ability to build shelters, make hunting tools, and obtain and process food. The concept of a single, do-it-all survival knife simply does not work for me because I find that survival knives are like golf clubs: You simply must have more than one!

Do you agree or disagree? What would be your three knives? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

7 Common Gun Myths That Too Many People Believe

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The first primitive firearms were invented and constructed by the Chinese in the 13th century A.D. to harness the explosive power of gun powder as a powerful weapon of war. Since then, firearms have undergone an extensive progression of refinement from the first crude matchlocks to flintlocks to caplocks and on to the invention of […]

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Is This The Most Versatile And Durable Survival Rifle Out There?

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Is This The Most Versatile And Durable Survival Rifle Out There?

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When most people think of survival rifles, they picture a compact, lightweight, single shot or semi-automatic rifle chambered for the venerable .22 LR ,or perhaps a drilling chambered for a .22 LR and .410 or 20 Ga.

However, when people think of the AR-15 rifle, they tend to automatically picture a home defense rifle or a US Military battlefield rifle, and certainly not a survival rifle! But, when properly configured, the AR-15 platform does make an excellent survival rifle. In fact, because of its .223 inch bore diameter and a chamber sized for either a .223 Remington or a 5.56 mm NATO cartridge, it makes an excellent choice for medium-size game species such as whitetail deer, feral hogs and wild turkeys at close to medium ranges, as long as the heavier bullet designs are used. On the other hand, it is also easily converted to fire the .22 LR cartridge via one of several different, readily available, drop-in conversion kits and thus, the AR-15 is a survival rifle extraordinaire!

When I think of a survival rifle, four criteria immediately come to mind. First, it must be lightweight so that it is easy to carry. Second, it must be compact so that it is easy to maneuver. Third, it must be extremely durable and well able to withstand the extremes of the elements — as well as harsh treatment and lack of care. Third, it must be able to fire the .22 LR cartridge.

Ultimate Tactical Self-Defense And Hunting Weapon That Doesn’t Require A Firearms License!

While there are several extremely well-designed survival rifles out there chambered for the .22 LR, the AR-15 is a far better choice than any of them, because it is able to fire both a high-powered rifle cartridge and a low-powered one by simply exchanging the bolt with a drop-in replacement, and then exchanging the magazine. Also, by installing a collapsible, skeleton, stock in conjunction with a 14 ½-inch or 16-inch barrel, the rifle becomes both very compact and relatively lightweight. Plus, .22 LR drop-in conversion kits are readily available that will easily enable any AR-15 chambered for .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO to also fire .22 LR cartridges, without making any permanent alterations to the rifle.

Is This The Most Versatile And Durable Survival Rifle Out There?

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So, simply by carrying the rifle in its standard configuration chambered for .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO along with a drop-in .22 LR conversion kit, you effectively have two rifles in one that will enable you to harvest game animals, ranging in size from squirrels and rabbits to medium-sized deer and feral pigs. Plus, because the AR-15 was specifically intended to be a battlefield rifle, it was specifically designed to function correctly every time it was needed, even in extremely harsh inclement weather conditions. It also was specifically designed such that all of the internal components can easily be replaced in the field by someone with only a moderate amount of mechanical skill. The AR-15 platform also meets my criteria for a survival rifle that is both extremely durable and very reliable.

Another reason that I feel that this rifle is such an extraordinary survival rifle is because it was specifically designed to be a modular system so that the rifle could be quickly and easily reconfigured to meet the needs of various missions. This has given rise to different manufacturers offering alternate caliber conversion kits in addition to the .22 LR, such as the 6.8mm Remington SPC (special purpose cartridge) or .300 Whisper.

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By adding a second upper receiver/barrel assembly with a 14 ½-inch or 16-inch barrel chambered for 6.8mm SPC or something larger, you would have the ability to harvest larger game animals at much greater distances than you would with the .223 Remington, but you would also retain the ability to hunt medium-size game with the .223 and small game with the .22 LR, simply by sliding two pins out from the lower receiver and then exchanging the upper receiver at will.

If you have never considered the AR-15 to be a viable survival rifle, then perhaps you should take a second look at this amazing modular rifle. Not only is it compact, lightweight and extremely durable, but it can be easily reconfigured to fire any number of cartridges, ranging from low power to high power and thus, it actually makes the perfect survival rifle for hunting wild game species. Plus, if you happen to find yourself in a location inhabited by large, predatory animals, then having an AR-15 as opposed to a .22 LR can provide you with the means to defend yourself if necessary. As you see, the AR-15 is truly a survival rifle extraordinaire!

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Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Ammunition report

The 5 Best Lightweight, Compact, Easy-To-Use Survival Rifles

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The 5 Best Lightweight, Compact, Easy-To-Use Survival Rifles

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In any outdoor survival situation, finding and procuring food is a major concern. Although there are numerous edible plants, finding and consuming protein isn’t always easy.

Protein is essential to good health because it increases your metabolism (which, in turn, increases body heat) and provides you with the energy you need to survive.

There are many different types of snares and traps that will enable you to harvest protein-rich small game and fish, but the fact is that carrying a rifle will make procuring this vital food source much easier.

First of all, a proper survival rifle should be compact, lightweight and should break down into two or more pieces for easy carry in a backpack, canoe or kayak. In addition, since the purpose of a survival rifle is to procure food instead of defending yourself against large predators, it should fire the venerable .22 LR rimfire cartridge. This cartridge is readily available, is very compact and easy to transport, and is capable of bringing down most any small game animal.

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There are five rifles that fit this bill and each of them has their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look:

1. The Browning Grade 1 Semi-Auto .22 Rifle. This rifle is the highest quality and most expensive of the five rifles listed here. It’s an excellent choice for a hunting and plinking rifle and has a very attractive appearance with high-grade, walnut fore and buttstocks. Also, both the forestock and barrel are detachable, and it holds 11 rounds in a tubular magazine that is loaded through a port in the buttstock. It measures 37 inches when assembled and 19.25 inches when taken down, and it weighs 5 pounds, 3 ounces. The current manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $699.99.

Savage Stevens Model 30 Favorite Takedown Version Rifle2. The Savage/Stevens Model 30 Favorite Takedown Version Rifle. The take-down version of the Savage/Stevens Model 30 Favorite is an inexpensive alternative to the Browning Semi-Auto 22 LR. It, too, features walnut fore and buttstocks and is has an attractive appearance. However, it differs from the Browning rifle in that it is a single-shot rifle with a lever action that retracts a falling breech block instead of a semi-automatic action. It measures 36.75 inches when assembled, has a 21-inch barrel, and weighs 4.25 pounds. This rifle is currently out of production, but it can still be found on the pre-owned gun market at sites such as Gunbroker.com.

3. The Marlin “Papoose” Model 70PSS Rifle. Unlike the two rifles listed above, the Marlin Papoose is a no-frills, purpose-built survival rifle. It has a stainless steel receiver and a removable, 16.25-inch stainless steel barrel combined with a black, fiberglass-filled buttstock and no forestock. It has a detachable, seven-round magazine, measures 35.25 inches when assembled, and weighs 3.25 pounds. The current MSRP is $328.82.

4. The Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Rifle. This is also a no-frills survival rifle that has been the exclusive choice of the US Air Force since its introduction. It is available with your choice of a camouflage finish or a black, Teflon-coated finish. It features a semi-automatic action and two detachable, eight-round magazines, combined with a 16-inch barrel and a hollow, ABS plastic, buttstock. The buttstock is designed so that the barrel, the receiver, and both magazines can be stored inside it. It weighs 3.5 pounds and measures a mere 16.5 inches when disassembled. Plus, when the buttstock is sealed with the receiver, barrel and magazines inside, the whole affair floats. The current MSRP for the black version is $290, and the camouflage version retails for $350.

5. The Rossi Single Shot Matched Pair Rifle/Shotgun. This is a unique survival rifle that is available in both blue and matte nickel models. It is available in several different caliber/gauge configurations, but for survival purposes the .22 LR/.410 shotgun combination is the best choice since the shotgun barrel will fire both shot shells and .41 caliber lead slugs. Although no length specifications are listed on the Rossi website, it does say that this particular combination weighs 3.75 pounds. The current MSRP is $263.21.

What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below: 

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4 Foods Every Survivalist Should Know How To Find In The Woods

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4 Foods Every Survivalist Should Know How To Find In The Woods

Jerusalem Artichoke

If you ever find yourself in a wilderness survival situation, then you’ll have two initial goals. One, you’ll need to find or build a suitable shelter. And two, you’ll need food.

Most experienced wilderness survivalists carry simple fishing gear (some line and hooks) as well as the materials to build snares, deadfalls and traps to capture birds and fish. However, the truth is that hunting and fishing with primitive methods requires considerable skill.

Fortunately, nature often provides the observant individual with another bountiful source of calories in the form of wild fruits, nuts, tubers and greens. Although they are seasonal, they are both surprisingly tasty and highly nutritious. Here’s four of the best foods to forage:

1. Wild lettuce

4 Foods Every Survivalist Should Know How To Find In The Woods

Wild lettuce

The human body requires certain vitamins and minerals which are most easily obtained from eating green, leafy vegetables such as wild lettuce. This plant contains the vitamins A, E, C, K, and the minerals iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, folic acid, carotenoids and Omega 3 fatty acids. It is high in fiber, which helps to keep your digestive system working properly, and it contains antioxidants to help prevent cell damage and cell mutations. Located throughout North America in wooded regions where the soil has been disturbed, wild lettuce is commonly found in forested river bottoms, adjacent to roads and trails, along the edges of woods, and in shaded, fallow, fields. Appearing as a biennial plant that grows to a height of approximately three feet, it produces a rosette of large, long, slim, lance-shaped, green leaves up to 10 inches in length.

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The leaves have distinctly lobed edges and the plant produces a dandelion-like head from which the flowers bloom. In addition, all parts of the plant turn light orange-brown upon exposure to the air. It should be noted that there are several different species of wild lettuce throughout North America and that the leaves of this plant appear very similar to the dandelion plant (which is edible as well).

2. Jerusalem artichoke

The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is one of the best known wild tubers in North America and it appears as a green, leafy, flowering weed. Its tubers are high in starch and sugars, which the human body converts to carbohydrates. It also contains thiamin, iron, phosphorus and potassium. Widespread in North America east of the Mississippi River, the Jerusalem artichoke can be found from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Great Plains to the East Coast. It prefers to grow in sandy river bottoms, floodplains, lake edges, creek sides and wet areas where there is plenty of sunlight and where the soil is sand, loamy sand or sandy loam. A member of the sunflower family, this plant is tall, green and leafy with a single, straight, round, unbranched (except occasionally near the top) stalk, usually measuring 1/2 inches to 3/4 inches in diameter. The stalk is covered with short, stiff, raspy hairs which remain after the plant dies in the fall. Jerusalem artichokes produce large flower heads that usually measure two to three inches in diameter and look like miniature sunflowers, except that the discs in the center are yellow instead of black and much smaller. The edible part of this plant is the tubers it produces below ground, which can be dug at any time of the year but are not fully ripe until late fall, winter or early spring. Also, because of their flatulent properties, they should be cooked by either steaming, boiling or baking for one to six hours (depending on the time of year they are harvested) to convert any inulin they contain to simple sugars and reduce the chance of stomach upset. If cooked properly, they have a highly palatable, almost buttery flavor.

3. Morels

4 Foods Every Survivalist Should Know How To Find In The Woods

Morels

Thousands of foragers each year hunt for morel mushrooms simply for their superior taste. This distinctive fungi has a honeycomb-like appearance and the ascocarps are highly prized by gourmet cooks (especially for French cuisine). Morel mushrooms can be found throughout most of the lower 48 states and require moist soil, deep shade, and warm weather to propagate. As a result, they are most often available in the spring. Yellow morels (Morchella esulenta) and black morels (Morchella elata) are commonly found beneath deciduous trees such as oak, ash, elm, sycamore and tulip poplars, as well as fruit-bearing trees such as apple. In addition, morels are seldom found in close proximity to most of the common poisonous mushrooms but they do grow adjacent to false morels (Gryomitra sp.) and elfin saddles (Verpa sp.).

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False morels (which are poisonous) can be differentiated from true morels by careful study of the cap, which is often wrinkled rather than honeycomb or net-like. The easiest way to tell a false morel from a true morel is that false morels contain a cotton ball-like substance inside their stem while true morels have a hollow stem. Also, the caps of the false morel can be easily twisted in comparison to that of the true morel. Lastly, false morels often display a reddish-brown color. Morel mushrooms should be cooked prior to consumption because they occasionally contain insect larvae.

4. Acorns

While neither as palatable nor as glamorous as the other foods mentioned here, the fact is that acorns are one of the most widespread, readily available forage foods in the U.S. In fact, oak trees are so common in the eastern U.S. that most people consider their acorns to be a nuisance. Various species of oak trees exist all across the U.S. except in desert regions, and they all produce acorns. Once you have gathered a store of these nuts, you will need to examine each one carefully and discard any with worm holes or deformed and soft hulls. To crack the shell, you will need to use a baton or a hammer stone, combined with an anvil. Once you remove the nut portion, you must soak it to remove the tannic acid, which has a bitter taste. You will need to repeatedly soak the pieces for a couple of hours (changing the water after each soaking) in order to leech the tannic acid from the nuts. Once they are fully leeched, you can either boil them or crush the pieces and mix them with water to form a paste, which can then be baked like bread.

Although there is actually a very wide variety of edible plants available to a forager in a wilderness survival situation, the five plants listed above are all widespread, commonly available foods that will provide your body with the necessary vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates it needs. They also provide nutrients that you simply cannot obtain from consuming protein alone. If you know where to look and what to look for, there is a veritable banquet of foods to forage throughout the year that can easily keep you alive in a crisis situation.

What wilderness foods would you add to the list? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

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3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

Poison ivy. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

If you are an avid outdoorsman or an avid camper, it is very likely that you have come into contact with the infamous poison ivy plant at one time or another.

Consequently, you are undoubtedly aware of just how miserable the swelling, irritation and incessant itching the oils that this plant exudes can make you. In fact, it can ruin your entire outdoor adventure! But fear not and venture forth with confidence, because nature has a cure for what ails you.

The three most effective and most abundant natural cures in the wilderness for poison ivy – or its cousin, poison oak – are:

  1. Tap root of the wild burdock plant (serves as a natural antiseptic).
  2. Witch hazel bush (serves as a natural astringent).
  3. Jewelweed (serves as a natural cure).

While most of us can see and recognize large, hairy vines growing vigorously up the sides of trees and realize that they are a poison ivy vines, many outdoorsman are unaware that this plant also likes to grow in small patches of ground, hugging plants that commonly reach a height of one to two feet and, of course, display the signature, spear-shaped, tri-foil, leaves.

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3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

Burdock

Because these plants exude an oil (urushiol — which is what irritates the skin and causes the rash) in order to defend itself from predatory insects, your first line of defense after coming into contact should be to get to a source of water where you can wash it off of your skin. But most of us are so absorbed by our surroundings that we are blissfully unaware that we have come into contact with this infamous plant until the rash appears, a different remedy is required.

Wild burdock is a biennial plant common in Asia, England and North America and appears as a flower approximately two to two and a half feet tall, growing in open fields and, when mature, displays beneath the flowers round seed pods covered with small spikes designed to cling to fur or fabric. It’s a “free ride” in order to disperse their seeds. To use this plant as a cure for poison ivy, start by digging up several of the tap roots and then boil them in water for 20 to 30 minutes. Next, remove the roots and allow the infusion to cool. Soak a cloth in the infusion and apply it to the affected area for five to seven minutes and repeat this process every two hours.

3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

Witch hazel. Image source: Pixabay.com

Another effective natural cure for poison ivy is the witch hazel plant, which is a deciduous shrub or small tree common in North America. To create a cure for poison ivy using witch hazel, start by harvesting either a portion of the tree’s bark or some of its leaves and boil it/them in water for approximately 30 minutes. Then, remove the bark or leaves from the water and allow the resulting infusion to cool. Soak the infusion up with a cloth and apply it to the affected area whenever the rash starts to itch.

3 All-Natural, Easy-To-Find Cures For Poison Ivy (And Poison Oak) That Really Work

Jewelweed

Although wild burdock and witch hazel do work and are certainly better than nothing at all, nature’s most effective cure for poison ivy is a plant called jewelweed (aka spotted touch-me-not), which seems to serve as a natural antidote for poison ivy. In fact, it commonly grows right alongside patches of poison ivy! It is predominately found east of the Rocky Mountains but does occur incidentally further west.

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Wild burdock prefers to grow in shady spots where there is moist, sandy, well-drained, soil, and therefore, you will find it in lowlands, wetlands and fens, and adjacent to streams, ponds, lakes and bogs. Jewelweed appears as a smooth annual flower that grows three to five feet in height and has oval leaves with serrated edges. The funnel-shaped flowers are suspended from a single stem and appear yellow with red spots.

But unlike both wild burdock and witch hazel, which have to be boiled to create an infusion, to use jewelweed as a cure for poison ivy all you have to do is harvest and crush the plant and then spread the resulting expressed juice directly onto the rash five or six times a day for five days or until the rash subsides. Therefore, not only is this natural remedy significantly easier to prepare and apply than the other two remedies, but many people have described nearly miraculous results when using this plant to cure poison ivy. In fact, it is so effective at curing the rash caused by poison ivy that some local, hometown drug stores actually carry a soap containing an infusion of this plant.

So, the next time you find yourself suffering from poison ivy while enjoying the great outdoors, give one of nature’s all-natural cures a try.

What all-natural cures for poison ivy do you use? Share your tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

3 ‘Miracle Antiseptic’ Plants Hiding Right Outside Your Home

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3 All-Natural ‘Miracle Antiseptics’ You Can Find In The Woods … Or Right Outside Your Home

Greater burdock. Image source: Pixabay.com

 

It has been my experience that whenever a person is walking through the wilderness, minor cuts, scrapes and abrasions are a matter of time. In fact, they tend to appear so frequently that we don’t even notice them.

But while such minor injuries may go noticed, the infections that they incur can be far from minor. In fact, even relatively minor cuts and scrapes can easily become infected in the wilderness, leading to serious infections which, in turn, can lead to gangrene. Consequently, even the most macho of us could benefit from knowing a little bit about natural, herbal antiseptics and immune system boosters.

First off, what is an antiseptic? Antiseptics are substances that cleanse wounds and kill the germs and bacteria that like to invade and infect open wounds. Thus, they are an absolutely indispensable part of any herbal first-aid kit — and they are readily available in nature if you know what you’re doing.

Also, they can be applied as either an expressed juice where the plant is simply crushed and the resulting juice is applied directly to the wound, or as a poultice for injuries that are already showing signs of infection. They also can be distilled into either a tisane (herbal tea), a tincture or an extract.

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Following are three of the more popular natural antiseptics, as well as an immune system booster:

3 All-Natural ‘Miracle Antiseptics’ You Can Find In The Woods … Or Right Outside Your Home

Wild garlic. Image source: Pixabay.com

1. Wild garlic. This (Allium vineale) is found throughout much of North America and it prefers to grow mainly in fallow fields, but can also be found growing alongside roads, ditches and most any other place where flowering plants and weeds are able to grow. The root bulbs of wild garlic plants contain both a powerful antiseptic and an antibiotic compound. Therefore, the bulbs are usually crushed and applied externally as an expressed juice for cleansing wounds. But, they can also be ingested orally for treatment of colds, sinus congestion, earaches, stomach aches and headaches, as well as for reducing fevers and coughs.

2. Great and common burdock. Both Great Burdock (Arctium lappa) and Common Burdock (Arctium minus) are found throughout the entire temperate zone of North America and they grow mainly in fallow fields but can also be found growing alongside roads, ditches and most any other place that flowering plants and weeds are able to grow. The roots, flowers and leaves of the great burdock plant as well as the common burdock plant contain several antibacterial compounds (most notably artiocpicrin). The leaves, stems and flowers are usually prepared as a poultice and used to treat abrasions, cuts, sores, ulcers, insect bites and snake bites.

3 All-Natural ‘Miracle Antiseptics’ You Can Find In The Woods … Or Right Outside Your Home

Witch hazel. Image source: Pixabay.com

3. Witch hazel. Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) prefers shaded, hardwood forests, and ranges from Canada to Florida, east of the Mississippi River. It is an astringent, hemostatic and an antioxidant and has historically been one of the most important American medicinal plants and is still so today.

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Due to the tannins contained in the leaves and bark of this plant, the leaves are usually prepared as a poultice and applied externally to treat abrasions and minor cuts; as a tisane or a tincture and applied externally to relieve itching, skin irritations and minor pain as well as hemorrhoids; and as a tisane ingested internally to treat sore throat, fevers and colds.

And an immune booster:

Echinacea. Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) consists of three different species: the purple coneflower, the pale purple coneflower, and the narrow-leaved purple coneflower. All three species are considered to be a non-specific immune system booster. It is used similar to an antibiotic to help heal both external and internal infections. It can be used topically as either a poultice, a tincture or a salve to aid in healing cuts and abrasions, wounds and burns, and can be taken internally as either a tisane, a tincture or a dried extract to treat internal infection, colds and flu. In fact, clinical studies have shown that ingesting this plant can significantly reduce both the severity and duration of both cold and flu symptoms. Lastly, it has traditionally been used as a treatment for both spider and snake bites to help alleviate the tissue and nerve damage caused by the poison that these creatures inject.

Final Thoughts

Therefore, due to the tendency of minor cuts and abrasions to become infected in the wilderness, often without our notice until pain brings them to our attention, it is a wise idea to learn all about herbal antiseptics: where to find them, how to identify them and how to apply them. Doing so can prevent relatively minor injuries from becoming serious infections.

Related:

12 Extraordinary Uses For Witch Hazel That Heal, Soothe And Beautify

What advice would you add on natural antiseptics? What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Easy-To-Build Winter Survival Shelters That Could Save Your Life

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Easy-To-Build Winter Survival Shelters That Could Save Your Life

Image source: Pixabay.com

Any time you find yourself in a winter survival situation, the elements are undoubtedly your single greatest enemy, since hypothermia will kill you far faster than either lack of water or lack of food.

Therefore, if you ever find yourself stranded in a survival situation in winter, then a properly constructed and properly insulated survival shelter should be your top priority. Furthermore, it is absolutely imperative that any winter shelter you build must be both wind proof and rain proof; otherwise, the effort required to build it is greater than the benefit gained from doing so. Fortunately, with a little knowledge, a little ingenuity, and a little effort, a good winter survival shelter is not difficult to build from the available materials at hand, and doing so may very well save your life.

Building a Debris Shelter

My favorite type of winter survival shelter is one called a debris shelter, and it is a very appropriate type of shelter to build when you are stranded in the forest. As the name implies, this type of winter survival shelter involves forest “debris” and is constructed by first finding a fallen long, a tree stump, a forked tree, or even a large boulder upon which you can lean a pole. Then, you locate an appropriate log to serve as the ridge pole and “dress it” by removing any protruding limbs. Next, you place one end of the ridge pole on the stump, into the fork, or on top of the boulder and rest the other end on the ground.

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Then, gather any debris you find around you or in the immediate vicinity, ranging from small limbs to small logs which you then lean against the ridge pole in order to create a hollow cavity beneath it. But note that while a thin layer of debris will serve to block some wind and some rain, a really thick layer is need to make the shelter truly warm and dry. Furthermore, if you find yourself in a deciduous hardwood forest, then you can gather dry leaves from the ground around you and stuff them into your shelter to provide additional insulation.

Easy-To-Build Winter Survival Shelters That Could Save Your Life

Image source: spotterup.com

On the other hand, it seems to be a general rule of nature that whenever you find yourself in a sparsely wooded area, you also have a plethora of rocks at hand and thus, rather than lament the lack of wood, you should instead use the material at hand to build your winter survival shelter. The practice of stacking rocks into a wall without the use of mortar is called “free stacking” and, provided that there are plenty of rocks at hand, you can free stack them to construct a low wall that will help to protect you from the wind. If you can find enough wood to construct a ceiling, then you will have a cozy little shelter that will help to retain your body heat. In order to insulate your shelter, you can gather grass from the surrounding terrain, compress it into small balls, and then stuff the balls into the spaces between the rocks to block out the wind.

Building a Snow Cave

Last, if you happen to find yourself in a survival situation in an environment covered in snow, and if the snow is deep enough, then you can construct a snow cave. While it might seem like an oxymoron to ensconce yourself in what is essentially a refrigerator, the temperature inside of a snow cave can be amazingly warm compared to the temperatures outside, especially when the wind is blowing.

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There are two kinds of snow caves: 1) those that you dig and, 2) those that you construct. So, to construct a snow cave, you start by choosing an appropriate location and then you remove the snow from a given area in the shape of a circle and use it to construct vertical walls which you create by packing snow into place with your hands. Then, as the walls begin to rise, you cause them to begin sloping inward until they finally meet at the top, thus enclosing the shelter. Of course, to build the other type of snow cave, you first need to locate an appropriately deep, and solid, snow drift and then, starting from the leeward side, you begin to dig a small tunnel into the side of the drift and, after a few feet, you proceed to excavate a small cave inside of the drift, which serves as your shelter.

So, while none of these winter survival shelters can be said to be as cozy and warm as a well-built log cabin with roaring fire in the fireplace, they will serve to block the wind and the rain in a survival situation and thus, they can prevent you from suffering from hypothermia, frostbite, and/or death. Learning how to construct them may very well one day save your life.

Related: 

4 ‘Lost-In-The-Woods’ Shelters Every Survivalist Should Know How To Build

What advice would you add on building a survival shelter in winter? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

The 5 Best Air Rifles For Off-Grid Survival

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The 5 Best Air Rifles For Off-Grid Survival

Benjamin Trail XL 1100. Image source: AllOutdoor.com

When selecting an air rifle for survival or simply small-game survival hunting, it is extremely important to choose one with both sufficient muzzle velocity and pinpoint accuracy. Therefore, it is imperative that you invest in a high-quality air rifle from a manufacturer with a longstanding reputation for producing air rifles that are both very durable and highly accurate.

But, with so many different manufacturers and models on the market today, how do you determine which air rifle to buy? Well, to start with, you should be aware that air rifles are categorized by the method they use to propel the pellet and that, for small game hunting purposes, air rifles that employ either spring pistons or gas pistons are the best choice. Those that use pumps or Co2 cartridges do not produce sufficient muzzle velocity. Those that employ a pre-charged air chamber are inconvenient because you have to use a pre-charged scuba tank, carbon fiber tank, or a specialized bicycle-type pump to fill them. The five air rifles listed below are all from well-known manufacturers and they all employ either a spring or gas piston to propel the pellet.

1. Gamo Hunter Extreme SE Air Rifle – The Gamo Silent Hunter SE is a special edition, single shot, .177-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 1,650 fps using PBA pellets and a muzzle velocity of 1,250 fps using standard lead pellets. Also, this air rifle features a Monte Carlo stock with a raised cheek piece made from beech hardwood and a ventilated, rubber, recoil pad. In addition, it features a rifled steel barrel sleeve with a bull-barrel configuration, a single-cocking spring piston, break-barrel action requiring 58 lbs. of cocking force and an automatic cocking safety system. Plus, it also has an adjustable, 4.5-pound, trigger pull with a manual trigger safety and a 3 to 9 x 50mm air rifle scope with an illuminated, glass-etched reticule. A single-piece scope mount is included. Suggested retail: $449.99.

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Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle

Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle

2. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle – The Gamo Whisper Silent Cat is a single-shot, .177-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 1,200 fps using PBA pellets and a muzzle velocity of 1,000 fps using standard lead pellets. It features a weatherproof, synthetic stock with a rifled steel barrel sleeve covered with a fluted, polymer jacket with an integral noise reduction system that, Gamo says, is capable of reducing the noise of the pellet exiting the barrel by up to 52 percent. It has an adjustable, two-stage trigger pull with a manual trigger safety and a 4 x 32 air rifle scope with a single-piece scope mount. Fiber-optic front and rear open sights are included. Suggested retail: $269.95.

3. Benjamin Trail XL 1100 Air Rifle – The Benjamin Trail XL 1100 is a single-shot, .22-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 1,100 fps using PBA pellets and a muzzle velocity of 950 fps using standard lead pellets. Also, this air rifle features a very ergonomic, hardwood thumbhole stock with a rubber recoil pad and a rifled steel barrel. It also features a two-stage, adjustable trigger pull, a manual trigger safety and a center point 3 to 9 x 40mm air rifle scope. A single-piece scope mount is included. Suggested retail: $349.99.

4. Benjamin Trail NP2 Air Rifle – The Benjamin Trail NP is a single shot, .22-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 1,100 fps using PBA pellets and a muzzle velocity of 900 fps using standard lead pellets. This air rifle features a very ergonomic, hardwood thumbhole stock with a rubber recoil pad and a rifled steel barrel with an integral sound suppression system. It features a single-cocking, break-barrel, second-generation, nitro piston gas spring (Benjamin Trail says it’s 15 percent faster than the previous version with double the effective shooting range). It also has a two-stage, adjustable clean break trigger with a manual trigger safety and a center point 3 to 9 x 32mm air rifle scope. A single-piece scope mount is included. Suggested retail: $299.99.

5. Crosman Nitro Venom Air Rifle – The Crosman Nitro Venom is a single-shot, .22-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 950 fps using standard lead pellets. This air rifle features a very ergonomic, hardwood thumbhole stock with a rubber recoil pad and a rifled steel barrel with an integral sound suppression system. It also features a two-stage, adjustable trigger with a manual trigger safety and a center point 3 to 9 x 32mm air rifle scope. A single-piece scope mount is included. Suggested retail: $199.99.

While there are more expensive hunting air rifles on the market, the five air rifles listed above were all chosen because they deliver sufficient muzzle velocity for hunting small game along with pinpoint accuracy. In addition, each of the air rifles features an adjustable, two-stage trigger and they all include a variable power scope, which is a must-have item for hunting. Lastly, they span a broad range of prices that are specifically designed to fit most any budget. By choosing any of the air rifles listed above, you are certain to receive a high-quality firearm that will provide many years of service and will serve you well for the purpose of hunting small game.

Related:

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What air rifles would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:

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The Most Deadly Handgun Cartridge You Can Buy For Self-Defense

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The Most Deadly Handgun Cartridge You Can Buy For Self-Defense

Image source: wikipedia

For many years now there has been a debate among handgun owners as to what the single most effective self-defense handgun cartridge is. It was a very valid debate when the choice was limited to the 9mm Parabellum and the .45 ACP.

But prompted by tragedies within law enforcement, the debut of such new cartridges as the .357 Sig, the .40 S&W, and the 10mm Auto has shifted the focus of this debate to these significantly more powerful cartridges. It was not until Sergeant Evan Marshall (formally a member of the homicide section of the Detroit Police Department) decided to undertake a definitive study of wound ballistics based upon his collection of hundreds of autopsy reports that we had access to reliable information on this topic. His findings proved beyond doubt that the 10mm Auto is the single most effective self-defense handgun cartridge yet developed.

The impetus for the development of these new handgun cartridges is an infamous incident known as the “FBI Miami Shootout” that took place on April 11, 1986 between eight FBI agents and two serial bank robbers in which two agents were killed and five others were wounded –despite outnumbering the bank robbers four to one. In fact, despite the fact that the two robbery suspects, William Russell Matix and Michael Lee Platt, were struck multiple times during the shootout, Platt was able to continue firing. It should be noted that although tactical mistakes were made by the FBI agents, the real blame lies with the underpowered 9mm Parabellum cartridges loaded with 147 grain bullets which were standard FBI issue at the time of the incident. Consequently, following the death of its agents, the FBI decided to undergo the search for a more reliable handgun cartridge and thus, it eventually settled on the 10mm Auto.

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Originally developed by eminent firearms expert Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Cooper in 1983 and later modified by Swiss ammunition manufacturer FVV Norma AB for use in the Bren 10 Auto Combat Pistol produced by Dornaus & Dixon, this handgun and its accompanying .40 caliber cartridge was conceived to bridge the gap between the high capacity, but relatively low-powered, auto-loading pistols of the day, and more powerful, but low-capacity, magnum revolvers in order to provide both police and civilians with an auto-loading, semi-automatic, handgun that would combine the best aspects of both designs.

Unfortunately, Dornaus & Dixon decided to subcontract the manufacture of magazines for its new pistol rather than produce them in-house, and the company that D&D chose to do so proved to be far less than reliable which resulted in both defective magazines as well as a shortage of supply. This led to Dornaus & Dixon declaring bankruptcy after only three years of production, despite high demand for the new pistol. However, even though this magnum-powered pistol cartridge produces what many shooters consider to be excessive recoil, the design concept was deemed sound and thus, due to continued demand for the Bren Ten even after production cased, Colt decided to revive this new pistol cartridge by introducing a version based upon the 1911 John Browning design in the form of the Delta Elite 10mm Auto in 1987.

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It should be noted that although the 10mm Auto (aka 10 x 25mm) does seem to provide the ultimate in handgun stopping power when loaded with a relatively lightweight bullet, it is not the best choice for shooters with smaller statures or those who are recoil-shy because it requires a large frame handgun like the .45 ACP and generates a significant amount of recoil. But, for those who can handle both the frame size and the recoil, Marshall’s results have proven that it outperforms even the mighty .44 Magnum (remember Dirty Harry?) as a self-defense cartridge! In fact, according to author Steve Fuller, terminal wound ballistics are dependent on four different factors: the bullet’s muzzle energy, its depth of penetration, the size of the temporary stretch cavity, and the size of the permanent crush cavity. And according to the autopsy results compiled by Marshall, the 10mm Auto loaded with 135 grain hollow point bullets with a muzzle velocity approaching 1,400 fps (as loaded by CorBon) results in a one-shot stop in almost 100 percent of cases studied! Thus, when full-powered loads are employed, the performance of the 10mm Auto can equal, or even exceed, that of the .357 Magnum and retain more kinetic energy at 100 yards than the .45 ACP produces at the muzzle!

So, if you are considering the purchase of a handgun for self-defense purposes and you have a sufficiently large stature to accommodate the frame size of the 10mm Auto as well as the ability to withstand the recoil, it is without a doubt the ultimate “man-stopper” provided that appropriate ammunition is chosen.

However, for those of you with slightly smaller statures or those of you who are recoil-shy, then the .40 Smith & Wesson (aka .40 S&W, Shorty .40, .40 Short & Weak) is a viable alternative since it fires the same diameter bullet as the 10mm Auto from a shorter case (10 x 22mm) and thus, while it provides similar stopping power to the 10mm Auto, it generates significantly less recoil.

Do you agree with the author’s advice? What would you add? Share your gun tips in the section below:

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Slingshots: The Low-Cost, Easy-To-Use Compact Hunting Tool That Can Fit Anywhere

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Slingshots: The Low-Cost, Easy-To-Use Survival Hunting Tool That Can Fit Anywhere

Image source: flippinoutslingshots.com

When I was a kid, one thing that I looked forward to with great anticipation was traveling to visit my grandparents. I clearly recall that my grandfather would often set aside time from his fishing excursions to search out and then cut the perfect, forked, tree branch so that he could make a new slingshot, which he would then give to me as a present.

However, those early slingshots were actually very primitive compared to some of the models available today, since they had forked sticks for handles and power bands made from strips of black rubber cut from a car tire’s innertube. Then, some years after that, I laid eyes on the first wrist-braced slingshot I had ever seen, made by a toy company called Wham-O which had a wrist brace, a handle, and forks made from tubular aluminum with tubular latex power bands. Thus, not only was it considerably more powerful than the ones my grandfather made, but it was also significantly easier to draw due to the wrist brace.

Since then, slingshot technology has continued to progress to the point where there are now numerous manufacturers in the market today and some of them are producing models that look like something from a science fiction movie. However, regardless of whether you choose to purchase a basic model with a single pair of power bands or one of the ultramodern designs with three or even four pairs of power bands, slingshots are an excellent tool for wilderness survival hunting.

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It should be noted that most companies produce models both with, and without, wrist braces but, those without wrist braces tend to be more difficult to draw and shoot accurately — unless you happen to have an exceptionally strong wrist. Therefore, the ones with wrist braces are often a far better choice.

But why would a person want to use a slingshot for wilderness survival hunting, you might ask? Well, the answer to that is because they are relatively lightweight and quite compact and thus, are very easy to carry. The ammunition for them also is relatively inexpensive. Additionally, they generate plenty of kinetic energy for hunting small game species such as small birds, squirrels and rabbits. Plus, they are extremely quiet to shoot.

Some manufacturers also sell steel ball bearings of various sizes as well as white glass marbles which they dub “tracer” ammo, because it is easy to the human eye to follow them all of the way to the target. However, most big box stores also sell bags of standard glass marbles in the toy department which are often significantly cheaper than the so called “tracer” ammo. Another viable option it to purchase lead buckshot in sizes 4 (0.24 diameter) or 00 (0.33 diameter) in 5-pound boxes from a shooters supply such as Midway. They make excellent ammo for hunting game such as squirrels and rabbits, since lead is significantly denser than steel and it delivers more kinetic energy for deeper penetration.

For hunting small birds such as songbirds and waterfowl, the leather pouch of a slingshot can be loaded with a small number of either steel BBs or lead shot in sizes 4, 5, or 6 for a shotgun-like effect that makes if far easier to hit a moving target.

Thus, a person can purchase a slingshot for less than a rifle, carry it with ease and hunt both small game species and birds in a wilderness survival situation, obtaining much-needed protein for continued good health. Ammunition for them is also cheap. The modern slingshot just might be the perfect wilderness survival hunting tool.

Related:

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Have you ever hunted with a slingshot? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Survival Navigation Using Only The Sun, Moon And Stars

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Survival Navigation Using Only The Sun, Moon And Stars

Image source: Pixabay.com

General navigation using the sun, moon and stars is actually a pretty simple process provided that you understand some basic principles.

Such as the fact that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and thus, if you are in the northern hemisphere, the sun is located due south at noon while, if you are in the southern hemisphere, it’s due north of you at noon.

Also, by noting where the sun rises on your horizon and which direction it is traveling, you can determine the cardinal directions of north, south, east and west. Therefore, because the moon and the constellations also follow approximately the same path, you can use them for the same purpose when navigating at night. But, because Earth’s terrain often forces you to travel a less-than-direct path and, because our celestial bodies continue to move across the sky during the course of the day and night, using them to navigate can be a little tricky. However, there are a few techniques that can make doing so significantly easier.

For instance, when using the sun as a navigational aid to keep yourself on course, you should note the position of your shadow because if you are in the northern hemisphere traveling parallel to the sun’s path, you shadow will always be on your right if you are traveling west and, if you are traveling east, the opposite will be true. However, you should also note that the position of your shadow will change slightly as the position of the sun changes and thus, if you are traveling west, it will be in front of you in the morning and behind you in the afternoon and the opposite will be true if you are traveling east.

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Also, provided that you are in the northern hemisphere traveling perpendicular to the sun’s path, if you are traveling north, your shadow will always be in front of you and, if you are traveling south, it will always be behind you. In addition, if you are traveling north or south, your shadow will be longer in the morning and afternoon hours than it is at high noon because the sun’s position is higher in the sky at noon. Therefore, the length of your shadow can also be used as primitive method of keeping track of the time.

Survival Navigation Using Only The Sun, Moon And Stars

Image source: Pixabay.com

Fortunately for us, the moon also follows approximately the same path as the sun and therefore, we can also use the moonrise and moonset to determine the cardinal directions. However, most nights the moon does not reflect enough light from the sun to provide us with a distinct shadow.

But, even though we may or may not have a reliable shadow by moonlight, the moon still serves as a reliable navigational aid by first enabling us to determine in which direction lies north, south, east and west and then by providing us the same guidance as the sun by remaining on our right or left sides when traveling east or west (depending on which hemisphere you are in) and by remaining either in front of us or behind us when traveling north or south (again, depending on which hemisphere you are in).

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Last, even on nights when there is no moon visible, we can still use the constellations of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper to find true north because the northern axis of the Earth just happens to point to one of the brightest star in our night skies which we call Polaris or, the North Star. (It’s the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, also known as the Little Dipper.) Therefore, when you are facing the North Star, you are also facing true north.

So, in order to locate the North Star, first locate the Big Dipper in the northern sky and then locate the two stars that form the outer edge of the cup (the two stars located farthest from the handle). Next, draw an imaginary line straight through the two stars of the cup’s edge across the sky to the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper. Notice that that star is noticeably brighter than all of the other stars around it. You just successfully located the North Star. When you know that you are facing true north,

So, in order to locate the North Star, first locate the Big Dipper in the northern sky and then locate the two stars that form the outer edge of the cup (the two stars located farthest from the handle). Next, draw an imaginary line straight through the two stars of the cup’s edge across the sky to the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper. Notice that that star is noticeably brighter than all of the other stars around it. You just successfully located the North Star. When you know that you are facing true north, south will be located behind you, west will be on your left, and east will be on your right.

So, even though a far better solution is to carry a GPS device, celestial navigation is a viable method of determining a direction of travel – especially if your GPS is misplaced or its batteries drained.

What navigation tips would you add to this story? Share them in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

The Super-Quiet Survival Rifle That Will Always Keep You Hidden

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The Super-Quiet Survival Rifle That Will Keep You Hidden

Image source: varmintair.typepad.com

When contemplating the purchase of a hunting rifle for the purpose of wilderness survival, most hunters automatically think of the venerable .22 LR. They are relatively inexpensive, readily available and the ammunition is both cheap and easy to transport. However, they also are noisy to shoot and a bullet fired from a .22 LR can travel over a mile.

An excellent alternative to the .22 LR is a modern air rifle. They cost about the same and are quieter when fired. In fact, members of the Lewis & Clark expedition carried air rifles for hunting in hostile Native American territory for this very reason. Also, depending on the rifle and caliber chosen, they can be used to hunt both small and large game.

Before purchasing an air rifle it’s important to know they are available with four different types of power plants – spring pistons, gas pistons, pre-charged pneumatics and pumps. Air rifles with pre-charged pneumatic power plants are the most accurate of the four different types, but they also are the least suited for wilderness survival. That’s because they require the use of a pre-charged scuba tank (or similar reservoir) and a special regulator valve, or a special type of manual pump to charge the integral air reservoir.

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In addition, air rifles with pump-up power plants also are not the best for wilderness survival because they have a relatively low pellet velocity and as a result do not generate enough kinetic energy to humanely harvest even small game species. Both spring piston and gas piston power plants, on the other hand, are great choices. Neither type requires any sort of special equipment to charge their air reservoirs and both are capable of generating a significant amount of kinetic energy. Plus, they are plenty accurate for the purpose of hunting since precise accuracy is only required when participating in formal air gun competitions.

The Super-Quiet Survival Rifle That Will Always Keep You Hidden

Image source: airriflecenter.com

In addition, air rifles with pump-up power plants also are not the best for wilderness survival because they have a relatively low pellet velocity and as a result do not generate enough kinetic energy to humanely harvest even small game species. Both spring piston and gas piston power plants, on the other hand, are great choices. Neither type requires any sort of special equipment to charge their air reservoirs and both are capable of generating a significant amount of kinetic energy. Plus, they are plenty accurate for the purpose of hunting since precise accuracy is only required when participating in formal air gun competitions.

In addition to the four different types of power plants, modern air rifles also are available in a myriad of different calibers and it is important to choose the appropriate caliber for your needs. For instance, neither the .177 nor the .20 caliber models are capable of firing pellets that are heavy enough to be particularly useful for hunting. While .22 caliber are by far the most popular choice for air rifle hunting, air rifles also are available in .25, .357 (9mm), .45 and .50 caliber. By simply choosing the proper type of power plant combined with the appropriate caliber, a person could easily hunt most any game species that is available in their area – and supply themselves with enough protein to remain healthy in a wilderness survival situation.

Lastly, there is the matter of appropriate pellet type. For instance, .22 caliber pellets are available in weights as light as 9.8 grains and as heavy as 32.4 grains (440 grains equals one ounce). They also are available with flat noses, round noses, pointed noses, hollow point noses and ballistic tips. However, it should be noted that although lightweight pellets move faster than heavy pellets, they do not penetrate as deeply. Therefore it is important to choose both pellet type and the pellet weight according to the type of game species you intend to hunt. For example, if you’re shooting small birds, lightweight pellets with hollow points work well. But, if you’re hunting squirrels and rabbits, somewhat heavier pellets with either round noses, pointed noses or ballistic tips are a far better choice. In addition, .357, .45, and .50 caliber pellets are all available in your choice of flat-nosed, round-nosed and hollow-point designs and they are an excellent choice for species such as wild turkeys, feral hogs and whitetail deer.

By purchasing a modern air rifle with the appropriate type of power plant and using the correct type of pellet, a hunter can easily get fresh meat and do so without the noisy blast of a .22 LR. An added bonus is that the lead pellets for an air rifle are significantly cheaper to purchase than a .22 LR’s metallic cartridges and also not as bulky to carry.

Have you used an air rifle for survival or hunting? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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