Article – Court strikes down rule forcing toy drone users to register with govt

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A D.C.-based appeals court struck down a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule on Friday requiring recreational drone users to register their model aircraft with the federal government, in a major win for drone hobbyists.

Any time the .gov is told it can’t force you to register something with them…well…I do my happy dance.

Drones have an amazing potential for misuse. But I am more concerned about government overreach than I am about someone strapping a pound of tovex to a drone and flying into city hall.

I’ve never played with drones, but I think that they also have some amazingly useful potential. Regardless, I’m gratified that .gov was smalcked down in this case.

Subsonic stuff

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Still a few bundles left.
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Well, in typical Montana fashion it dropped 2″ of snow the other day, and then today it was dang near 75 degrees. No point even trying to make sense of it…it’s Montana. Just roll with it.

Off to the range.

20170519_165345So I’ve been keeping track of what the supressed .22 likes and doesnt like. So far the best thing I’ve found has been Remington Subsonics. I’ve tried CCI Quiet, CB Longs, and American Eagle Suppresor…and they are positively anemic. In fact, the CCI Quiet didnt even make it to the backstop. I genuinely believe a steel ball bearing out of a slignshot would  have had a better trajectory.  When the thing finally does make it to the backstop, I measure for five-shot group.

20170519_172357Interestingly, just regular CCI ‘Standard’ velocity stuff does pretty well. But, so far, the nod goes to the Rem SS. I need to grab a few boxes of Eley and other premium .22 ammo and see how it performs. But, thus far, it looks like at some point I’m going to want to lay in a few cases of the Rem.

Subsonic stuff

Still a few bundles left.
—————————————
Well, in typical Montana fashion it dropped 2″ of snow the other day, and then today it was dang near 75 degrees. No point even trying to make sense of it…it’s Montana. Just roll with it.

Off to the range.

20170519_165345So I’ve been keeping track of what the supressed .22 likes and doesnt like. So far the best thing I’ve found has been Remington Subsonics. I’ve tried CCI Quiet, CB Longs, and American Eagle Suppresor…and they are positively anemic. In fact, the CCI Quiet didnt even make it to the backstop. I genuinely believe a steel ball bearing out of a slignshot would  have had a better trajectory.  When the thing finally does make it to the backstop, I measure for five-shot group.

20170519_172357Interestingly, just regular CCI ‘Standard’ velocity stuff does pretty well. But, so far, the nod goes to the Rem SS. I need to grab a few boxes of Eley and other premium .22 ammo and see how it performs. But, thus far, it looks like at some point I’m going to want to lay in a few cases of the Rem.

TV bugout bags

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Every so often I watch “Parks and Recreation” simply because I really like the character of Ron Swanson. Another reason I like him: he has a bugout bag hidden in city hall so he can leave his office in a hurry if he has to.

While I admire the creativity, I’m not a huge fan of that sort of “hiding in plain sight”. But, sometimes there’s just no other way.

After 9/11 there were more than a few people in NYC who realized that once the bridges and tunnels are closed for security reasons you pretty much are on foot if you wanna get off that island. I know people who stashed mountain bikes (especially the folding variety) in the storage closet of their law firm’s office and that sort of thing. And more than a few office drones have a small daypack with comfortable shoes, water, and other necessities.

Anyway, I always enjoy it when certain preparedness standbys make an appearance on shows I enjoy. Case in point:

Movie – The Survivalist

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Mags, mags, mags………
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Someone brought this to my attention in email. Apparently yet another movie with the name “The Survivalist”. It seemes to harken more to a Cormac McCarthy sort of apocalypse rather than a jerry Ahern type. I am always amused by UK end-of-the-world films…mostly because their version of the apocalypse has the double-barreled shotgun as the pinnacle of firepower. American end-of-the-world dramas usually carry a tad more firepower.

These sorts of movies come and go pretty quickly…fortunately, Wikipedia, as it turns out, has a category “List of apocalyptic films“. hows that for convenience? As I was reading the synopsis for many of them I noticed a couple interesting trends – in a large percentage of these sorts of thing, the savvy survivalist type invariably gets killed and the unprepared noob winds up living happily ever after, the women often are rescued at the expense of the men’s lives, and no one *ever* gives credit to the survivalist dude for planning ahead. instead, the survivalist is always portrayed as ‘out there’ or ‘crazy’.

But, if you’re bored some evening this week, and Netflix or Amazon Prime isn’t down because of a ransomware attack, you’ve now got some viewing to look forward to.

Range day

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Nineteen bundles of 10/22 mags left. All the cool kids are doing it.
——————————

Well, a fairly abbreviated range day anyway. There was a competition going on so all the ranges I normally like to use were full up. But, I dumped a couple magazines of ball through the new-to-me P95DC.

20170514_102305Good enough for the girls I go with. I’ll drift the sight a tad to center things a bit, but all in all I can live with that. I was packing for the range and discovered that while I have plenty of end-of-the-world 9mm ammo stashed away, my supply of go-to-the-range 9mm ammo is pretty thin. I need to crank up the RL 1050 and spit out a couple thousand rounds of ammo.

The P96DC shot well with one failure to extract as a result of a decidedly weak reload. Otherwise, it chugged along happily. Good little gun. These things were dirt cheap for Ruger to produce…it’s one of the very, very few polymer pistols that doesn’t use metal inserts for the rails to ride on. This is one of the reasons the manufacturing costs were low. The rest of the parts are Rugers usual castings, which also are cheap to make, and the whole gun only has about three dozen parts.

Has it always been a love story? No…I had a first generation P85 way back that was wildly inaccurate. Couldn’t hit the side of a barn if you were standing in it. But, as I understand it, the early guns had two-piece barrels of questionable quality. Ruger polished the P85 up in a hurry and re-ran it as the P89, which did better but was still a brick with a trigger. The guns were extremely overbuilt for a 9mm. Thats all well and good for end-of-the-world durability, but they felt like the handle on a gas pump.

Further refinement begat the P9x series of guns. And, to me, the P95DC with the textured grip and light rail were the pinacle of the the P series. The P95 was still a ’90’s design with it’s double/single-action, ring hammer, and styling. Glock ran the table and hammered autos went the way of tail fins and leisure suits. But…there’s a key for every lock, and for every gun there is a following. Some folks still like the DA/SA hammered autos. I certainly love me some HiPower, and a buddy of mine is practically a walking shrine to the CZ75. No doubt the Ruger P-series has it’s fan base as well, although it is certainly a quiet group.

One of the things I like about the Glock is that it is a gun that I can get wet, dirty, and drop without feeling the remorse I would feel if a similar event befell my 1911 or HiPower. The Ruger is an even hardier animal. I suspect that it’s ‘Isoplast’ frame is a little less forgiving of impact than Glock’s polymer blend, but I have no problem thinking that it would withstand the kind of trauma that would destroy the person holding it.

Anyway, its always nice to get out to the range and make some noise. This P95DC will get cleaned, lubed up, thrown back in it’s case with a couple loaded mags, and go off to the Deep Sleep.

10/22 mag page

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Here.

If you look at the horizontal menu bar across the screen you’ll see “10/22 Mags” listed there. That’s the page for details on getting yourself the bundle of a dozen Butler Creek 10/22 nags for $110 while I still have some. Twenty bundles left.

Tomorrow promises to be a Rugerific day…Im going to test shoot the ‘new’ P95DC (function test, really), play with some 10/22’s, and possible, maybe, perhaps toy around with the pseudo-DM AR I’ve been cobbling together.

Article – 23-year-old hiker found in Montana after surviving nearly 1 week without food

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A 23-year-old woman from Illinois has been found safe nearly one week after she went missing on a hike in Montana.

Madeline Connelly left for a hike in the Great Bear Wilderness on May 4, planning to spend a night camping with her dog, Mogi, ABC affiliate KTMF in Missoula, Montana reported. Local officials launched a search and rescue effort after she didn’t return.

Connelly was located around 11 a.m. on Wednesday by search and rescue crews about five miles from her car, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. She was “uninjured” but “tired and hungry” when she was found, police sad.

In an interview with KTMF broadcast on Facebook Live Wednesday, Connelly said she couldn’t believe that she and Mogi were able to get out of the wilderness, where she spent seven days in “treacherous weather.”

The last several days have been far from treacherous weather, but….

Connelly didn’t have a tent or any supplies, she said, and slept under trees for protection from the elements. She was only wearing overalls, a T-shirt and a sweater with a hood.

Where to start??

Dude(tte), it’s Montana…if you’re going to go hiking, take a damn bag of gear.

Technically not a stranding, but thats the tag Im gonna go with.

It’s not only what you wear, but how you wear it

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10/22 Butler Creek mags, $110 f a dozen, inc. shipping.
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Minding my own business and grabbing a Krispy Kreme before my computer modelling final. In front of me is a guy with a small daypack-type backpack. The pack is ‘coyote’ (or what we used to call brown) and he has his jacket rolled up and secured to the bottom of the bag with two straps. Now, see, this is unusual because I’ve noticed most people don’t do that..they just ball up their fleece and shove it in the bag or through a strap. Interesting. So I look closer. He’s wearing solid hiking-type boots, those hiking pants that are lightweight and zipoff at the knees (subdued color), a heavy leather belt that is absolutely a gunbelt, and a similarly ‘tactical’ 5.11 type shirt. On the straps of his pack are some small pouches and I can see a folding knife and a multitool. Hmm. Add it all up and you get someone who knows their gear and the gunbelt says they might be on the same page as me.

He’s talking to the clerk at the counter and he mentions that he’s a math teacher. There’s my in.

“You’re teaching math at the University?”
“Yeah, summer session.”
“Ah, I  have to take statistics this summer. Are you teaching it?”
“No, but I know the guy who is…”

And we go on to have some friendly banter. I decide to test my theory. “Yeah, summer school sucks. I was hoping to get to spend some time this summer catching up on my pistol shooting.”
“Yeah, me too. I just did my first three-gun match last week.”

Aha!

So we chatted some more for a while, and I’m now about 80% sure this guy is on the same page as me. I’ll have to see if I wind up taking any courses that he’s teaching. Could be useful.

But…that’s how you meet like-minded individuals. You encounter them organically. It just happens. Sure, he could have just been some guy back from the sandbox who likes gear, or he could just be a guy who works at Cabela’s and gets a deal on clothing, but if it dresses like a survivalist, has the gear collection of a survivalist, and has the EDC of a survivalist…well…you know the rest.

Return of the 10/22 mags

As I mentioned earlier, they’re back.

20170316_170810

Serving suggestion. 20mm can not included.

The Butler Creek Hot Lips 25-rd, smoke colored, 10/22 magazines from January’s big to do have returned. I have 24 boxes sitting here packed up and ready to go. Each box contains 12 magazines, packed loose (meaning no packaging. If they were still in their packaging I wouldnt be able to fit them 12 to a Flat Rate Box).

Price is $110 for 12 brand new mags, including shipping. Email me and I’ll email you back a link you can pay through email. When they ship you’ll get a tracking number so you can follow along. Email me and say “Dude! Me want mags!”

Return of the 10/22 mags

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As I mentioned earlier, they’re back.

20170316_170810

Serving suggestion. 20mm can not included.

The Butler Creek Hot Lips 25-rd, smoke colored, 10/22 magazines from January’s big to do have returned. I have 24 boxes sitting here packed up and ready to go. Each box contains 12 magazines, packed loose (meaning no packaging. If they were still in their packaging I wouldnt be able to fit them 12 to a Flat Rate Box).

Price is $110 for 12 brand new mags, including shipping. Email me and I’ll email you back a link you can pay through email. When they ship you’ll get a tracking number so you can follow along. Email me and say “Dude! Me want mags!”

Link – Know Thy Enemy (During the Collapse)

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As I’ve mentioned before, the Mormon theory behind why they let non-LDS use their food storage facilities is something along the lines of being a good neighbor, god would want us to, etc, etc. But there’s the equally plausible reason that if the neighbors have food and supplies they won’t come to your demanding yours and you won’t have to do something ugly.

While stumbling around the blogosphere, I found this:

This guy is your enemy.   (During the Collapse, that is.)

He doesn’t seem like it; in fact, he looks kind of wimpy.  He’s not a jack-booted Homeland Security trooper breaking down your door to take your guns, so he can’t be a threat, right?

Wrong.  Dead wrong.  He’s a bigger threat to most of you than the government.

RTWT. I’m not quite ready to believe that in a crisis everyone is my enemy. However, I am not naive enough to believe everyone is my friend.By and large, my neighbors just figure I’m that cranky old man down the street…like Clint Eastwood in ‘Gran Torino’. I’m sure they know I’ve got a few guns in the house, but this is Montana…it’s the rare household that doesn’t. However they have no idea about the food, fuel, meds, communications, batteries, etc.

My policy with the neighbors is basically this: be friendly, but don’t be their friends. I’ll be the neighbor who shovels your sidewalk when I’m shovelling my own, help you carry something heavy from your car, let you borrow the lawnmower, let your family park in my space when they visit for Thanksgiving, etc, etc….but you’ll never see the inside of my house, know what my views are, or anything else that should remain private. If someone asked my neighbors about me they could say I’m helpful, fairly polite and considerate, and thats it. They couldn’t tell you who I voted for, where I work, what food I like, or anything beyond what you learn waving at someone when you pass them on the sidewalk.

If a crisis comes along, my neighbors have no reason to think that my situation will be any different than theirs. And from a security perspective, that’s exactly how I want it.

Anyway, it’s an interesting post in an interesting blog and it’s worth a read, IMO.

Link – Great-grandmother survives 5 days stranded in mountains with her cat

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AKRON, Colo. — An 85-year-old Colorado great-grandmother is safe at home after she was stranded for five days in her car in the mountains.

Ruby Stein was in Gypsum visiting family last week and she and her cat, Nikki, were just starting the 200-mile trip back to her home in Akron.

“I’d been stuck at Eisenhower tunnel before, and I thought, ‘I want to get out of here before that snow comes in.’ Well, I took a wrong turn,” said Stein.

Instead of going to I-70, she accidentally drove deep into a rural mountainous area, getting her 2007 Nissan Sentra stuck at the end of a muddy dirt road.

Her cell phone didn’t have a signal, and by Wednesday her car battery had died, drained by the lights she kept flashing to bring help.

But Ruby says she didn’t panic.

Stayed with the car and survived. She accidentally had food and ‘blanket’ materials with her. Even without a dedicated survival kit she had one thing that every person who is going to survive a disaster must have: presence of mind.

“I keep myself very calm, which surprised me. Of course, if you raise 5 kids, you know,” she said with a smile. “What will be, will be. You just got to accept it.”

That resourcefulness helped her survive, as she fashioned a makeshift blanket from clothes her granddaughter had given her for donations.

She also melted snow in a can on her dashboard during the day, and she rationed sweet rolls and Rice Krispie treats to two bites a day, wondering if she would have to eat her cat’s food to keep from starving.

It is hoped that she will have learned a lesson and think twice about deviating from her planned route and will have a better stash of food/water and blankets in her car. Spring is kinda sorta here in the mountains, although there’s still plenty of snow higher up….but you can still get stuck pretty easily if you wander too far off the asphalt and think “I’ve got all-wheel-drive…this thing can go anywhere.”

Moral of the story: Stay with the vehicle. Have gear.

Fortune favors the cheap

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Kinda been having a hankering for meatloaf this week. Thing is, have you seen the prices on ground beef these days? Outrageous. But, I figured I’d hit the remaindered meat bin at my local Albertsons. And, to my surprise, there was this:
20170430_192730Now, let’s do some math. Those are 3# rolls of ground beef. They are on sale at $5.99 per ‘log’. Let’s not split hairs and call it $2/#. They are marked down to 30% off since they need to get it our before it hits expiration. Hmm… lets see how many there are…1..2…3…..10. So thats 10 x 3# @ $2/#, or, another way, it’s 30# of ground beef for $60. That’s a pretty good deal. But….I bet they’d like to get rif of all of it. I wander to the guy in the butchers apron cleaning the meat case.

“Howdy. Is the meat department manager around?”
“No, he goes home at 4pm. Can I help you?”
“Can you point me at someone who has the authority to change prices?”
“I can do it if it’s on something that we already have marked down and today is the expiration date.”

20170430_194556

Achievement unlocked…..

“Excellent. Let’s talk money. If you’ll mark these down to 50% off, I’ll take all of them.”
“All of them?”
“All of them.”
“I can call the manager at home.”
“Awesome. I’ll wait.”

And thats how you get this:
20170430_193104And to put that in perspective, thats 30# of ground beef at $0.998/#. That’s right, less than a buck a pound for dead cow flesh.

How does this relate to preparedness? Well, for starters, my deep freeze now has another 30# of meat in it at dang near Carter-era prices. With ground beef hanging in there around $3.99/# that frees up $90 to go towards other foodstuffs.  These sorts of deals are out there, man. You just gotta look and you can’t be embarassed to ask the manager (or whomever has the authority) if they’re willing to make a deal if you take a big enough amount.

It’s a rare thing for me to feel pride in anything I do, but I am a wee bit satisfied with myself on this one.

Taurus AR-15

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(Miami, FL) –Taurus USA announces their new Taurus® T4SA at the 146th annual NRA Meetings in Atlanta, Georgia. Taurus USA, a leading manufacturer of innovative design in the firearms industry, is reinforcing the company’s commitment to American-made quality and ingenuity. The Taurus T4SA is a lightweight gas-impingement 5.56mm semi-automatic carbine that boasts superior reliability and durability.

Hmm…this can open up a deliciously diabolical philosophical debate: it’s the end of the world and you can only grab one of two guns – either a HiPoint 9mm carbine or the Taurus AR.

I can literally jump into my email and order, right this moment, at least three different American-made AR’s for less than $600 ea. Even when you drift into MSRP country, you can still get a decent AR for less than $750. Taurus is going to have to price their product significantly below that if they want to capture any share of the AR market, IMO.

And, according to this source, the MSRP is $1200. Madness.

My experience with Taurus has been almost nil. Taurus is, to me, one of those guns you buy only if you literally have no other option. (Or you want a disposable gun to leave someplace where it might get lost/stolen/destroyed.) I had a buddy with one of their Beretta 92 clones and it was a decent enough gun, but with trade in Berettas going for around $350 these days why bother South American quality control and non-standard magazines?

Oh, thats right…I’m one of those ‘yuppie survivalists’  who can’t grasp the real issues the way ‘us working men’ do. Hey, if ‘yuppie’ means I’m willing to make the sacrifices to buy quality gear the first time around, so be it. There’s a solution to not being able to afford ‘yuppie survivalist’ gear – either earn more money or spend less money elsewhere.

Thus far I haven’t seen any of these Taurus AR’s floating around, and my vendors don’t show them at the moment, but it will be interesting to see how they are received. The AR market is already pretty saturated, and unless you’re bringing something new to the table it is going to be hard, I would think, to draw any appreciable market share unless you have a radically different pricing schedule.

The AR market is such right now that you can buy two brand-name AR carbines for what you’d pay for one of those Taurii at MSRP. The only reason to spend more than a grand on an AR these days is if it has some really sweet options on it…match triggers, special furniture, high-end scope and mount, etc, etc. Right now, though, you can get rack-grade M4geries all day long for less money than I’ve seen them go for in a long time.

Remington gets into the non-NFA shotgun game

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Remington Arms is bringing its newest firearm — the pistol grip 870 Tac-14 — out to meet the public for the first time this week.

While visiting Remington’s Huntsville, Alabama factory on Wednesday, Senior Product Manager Daniel Cox gave Guns.com a peek at the new gun, set to be unveiled at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta on Friday.

At 26.25 inches overall and with a Raptor Shockwave pistol grip, the 12-gauge’s 14-inch cylinder bore barrel is not a National Firearms Act regulated item as it is a “firearm” and not an SBS or AOW, thus no tax stamp is required under federal law, though state and local laws may apply.

While I’m still not 100% sure there’s a niche in a person’s personal armory to be filled by this thing (other than ‘fun gun’), I’ll probably still get one or two anyway. I like the idea of tweaking ATFE’s nose by following the letter of the law.

I am still waiting for my vendors to get the Mossberg Shockwave in stock so I can get one to play with. As I said, questionable utility but looks like a fun gun to play with.

Link – What I Learned Living off a 30 Day Emergency Supply of Food

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Interesting series of posts.

My goal was simple: to see what it would be like to live off a basic food storage kit for 30 days. I had no ulterior motives; I just wanted to see if I could eat what was in the box for 30 days. Sometimes I like to experience things or challenge myself in ways some people might think is odd. To me, I just see it as a fun experiment. Might be a bored housewife thing. Might be a quirk in my personality. Either way, I was actually oddly excited to try this. I was curious about so much.

Not all 30-day kits are the same, though. The Wise brand kits turn up in Costco and a few other places, and I’ve not really heard anyone say too many nice things about them. Mountain House makes a few different kits and most people are have neutral/good comments about them. Augason Farms makes a 30-day kit that I recommend as an entry-level way to try a variety of their products. It’s a broad selection of small cans (not pouches) with about 20 different items. I catch these on sale every once in a while and they make outstanding gifts.

Mountain House offers a few variations on this theme…2-, 3-, 4-, 5, and 14-day kits of pouches. I’ve sold the 3-day kits before and they’re an attractive and convenient option. (By the by –$50 Rebate when you buy the 14-Day Emergency Food Supply + Free Shipping!

All these kits, and this is touched on in the link at the begining of this post, are best when you use them to supplement or augment an existing stockpile of food. Rice, pasta, grain, whatever….these kits help stretch things out and prevent appetite fatigue.

In my opinion, where these kits really shine is in portability. If you have just got to go, go, go and it’s a matter of taking whatever you can grab and throw in the back of the truck in five minutes, thats where these things shine.

Anyway, I’ve seen a few people online do similar types of ‘dietary challenges’ and I thought it would be interesting to bring it to everyones attention.

 

Scenes from the neighborhood

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Another reason I love living in Montana –

Doorbell rings and it’s my neighbor from across the street. He hands me a  couple containers of Accurate #9 and Accurate 1680 and says “Here. I don’t load anything anymore that uses these.”

See, that’s the sorta thing that gets me taking the snowblower to your sidewalk in the winter for free.

 

Multiple purchase dispositions

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A couple years back I touched on what exactly (in Montana) happens when you fill out the ‘yellow sheet’ 4473 form when you buy a gun. Succinctly, nothing happens. Your name isn’t added to a big .gov file somewhere with a list of what you bought. Doesn’t happen here. (In your state, it may be different.)

But…there is a scenario where .gov does get all that info.

Remember this? Well, a guy came in and bought five of those from me last week. Three on a Monday, and two on a Wednesday. So, he bought more than one handgun within five business days from the same dealer….that gets a special form sent, within 24 hours, to the fedgoons.

It’s called the 3310.4 Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers form. It asks for the info off the 4473 and also includes the specifics of what was purchased. This form then has to be transmitted to ATFE and your local CLEO within 24 hours. The gal at the sheriff’s office told me they’ve never had anyone come and ask about the forms. ATFE, on the other hand, takes a more pro-active role.

SO, in case you didnt know, next time you feel like buying a six-pack of handguns from one source, try not to do it within five business days of each other. Or, better yet, buy them in a private sale.

This has been a public service announcement.

New stuff from Repackbox.com

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I got a postcard in the mail the other day (who sends real mail these days??) from repackbox.com telling me that they’ve expanded their product line to include boxes for more calibers of ammo.

What is repackbox.com? Well, they sell a few useful cardboard products that have appeal to those of us who keep ammo onhand. What I’ve been getting from them are cardboard boxes to store ammo in.

Every so often I find deals on ‘bulk’ ammo. Bulk ammo is just that – bulk. You buy a thousand rounds of ammo you dont get a nice cardboard box with fifty little boxes of 20 rounds each. Nope, you get a big ol’ polybag or box filled with loose cartridges. 8290915400329fc2a66d65b6f89dfeaf (1aa)Great savings, but not exactly easy to store. When the zombies are massing at the barricades the last thing you want to be doing is counting ammo into little ziploc baggies and handing them to your buddies. Repackbox gives you small cardboard boxes, appropriately sized to a particular cartridge, so you can have your ammo organized, neat, and ready for the apocalypse. Case in point: a guy came into the shop and sold me a .50 can full of loose 7.62×39 ammo. I’m not just sticking a can of a thousand loose rounds on the shelf…grabbed a stack of 7.62×39 boxes and a little while later everything was neat, organized, and ready for the apocalypse.

The advantage? Plastic ammo boxes are great, but they aren’t cheap. The cardboard boxes are cheap enough that you can hand out ammo to your buddies at the range or at the rally point and not feel like you’re throwing away money. Also, inexpensive storage boxes are hard to find for some calibers. Repackbox just came out with boxes in a buncha new calibers inc. .30-06, .303 brit., 7.62x54R (better than those string-n-paper bundles you get outta the spam can), and, of interest to me, .30-30.

Although I don’t talk about it much, I like the .30-30. My like for it stems from the fact that after the ubiquitous .22 rifle, the .30-30 carbine is probably the most common rifle in many parts of the country (although the SKS may have supplanted that for a while…but since the days of the cheap Chinese SKS are long behind us….) I rather like the .30-30 in an unltralight single shot Contender carbine, but there are still several million Winchester and Marlin rifles out there. (And Savages and other brands as well.) So…I stock a decent amount of .30-30 and now have a convenient way to package it for distribution and storage.

I’m also a huge fan of he old ‘military style; 50-round ammo boxes. Repackbox makes these for .45 ACP as well as other calibers. Extremely handy.

Since I have a Dillon 1050RL sitting on the bench, I can whip out a lot of ammo in a couple hours. There is very little more satisfying than watching the boxes of ammo stack up like bricks as I package the ammo for storage.

Check ’em out.

 

Harder Homes & Gardens – Volume I: Harry Bennett’s castle and cabins

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Sure anyone can build a home out of concrete to keep the zombies at bay. What really throws you into Omega Man territory are the little personal touches that give the homeowner the advantage and gives the bad guys a Very Bad Day. One such fellow was Harry Bennett.

Bennett was a longtime high-level employee at Ford in Michigan. He had absolutely no background in engineering, automobiles, business, or finance. What he did have experience in, however, was boxing, guns, slavish devotion to Ford, and moral flexibility. Hired on a handshake from Ford himself, Bennett put together the Ford Service Division….a division of Ford that did absolutely nothing to fix cars but did everything to fix union problems. Mr. Bennett, for all intents and purposes, was Ford’s top union-busting goon. Given the green light to build what was essentially a private army, Bennett employed “football players, boxers, wrestlers and even Detroit river gang members as Service Department employees”.

fLpV4

Harry Bennett conducting a business meeting with union representatives in his usual style.

With a history of fights, brawls, and machine gun exchanges with union organizers, Mr. Bennett, as you might well imagine, made some enemies. To keep himself whole and intact, Bennett built himself a ‘castle’ in Ypsilanti, MI. He also built a weekend cabin, also out of concrete, with features similar to what he did at his castle.

Here’s a video tour of the castle as it stands today:

Gun ports? Yes. Trick staircases? Absolutely. Hidden tunnels? Naturally? Tunnels patrolled by fearsome jungle cats? Of course! Bennett spared no effort, or aggregate, to build structures he thought would keep him safe. (Yet, he still managed to get shot in his own living room.)

His weekend cottage was similarly designed with staircases with steps of random height to trip pursuers, escape tunnels to a dock and getaway boat, airfield, pillboxes on the roof, a moat with sharpened stakes, and a bridge over said moat rigged with dynamite. Bennett was full Burt Gummer before his time. The lodge, like the castle, still stands today and is owned by the Boy Scouts of America. Here’s a fascinating photo gallery of a tour that shows off the many hardened features.

Bennett’s buildings had quite a few features that we would find highly desirable for our own needs. I am most impressed by the stairs with steps of differing heights. This plays on an observed oddity:

Bennett would as the story goes, practice running up and down the uneven stairs so he’d have an advantage over pursuers who would, presumably, go tumbling down the stairs as they encountered the uneven steps. It’s little details like that that separate the good from the great.

If you read all the links above, you’ll see Bennett had the usual assortment of hidden stairwells, secret gun compartments, false bookshelves, and other gimmicks we come to expect. He’s also the only person I’ve read about, in somewhat modern times, who actually incorporated a moat into his bunker plans. (Being ready to dynamite the bridge over the moat on a moments notice? Thats a baller touch.)

So there you have it, a brawling union-buster from the Prohibition-era could show us a trick or two when it comes to building our fortified homes. Note that it’s dang near 80-some-odd years later and those concrete homes are still standing and still in good enough repair to be occupied. Here to stay, built to last.

 

Patriot(s, s’,’s) Day.. or is it?

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There’s only a handful of holidays I get worked up over…Independence Day, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Paratus, and one or two others. And then there’s Patriot’s Day…the moveable feast of the political right.

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Maybe someone really said this. Maybe not. But the sentiment certainly seems apropos.

First, there’s a bit of ambiguity about the name..is it Patriot’s Day, Patriots Day, or Patriots’ Day? I go with Patriot’s Day. You can figure out which punctuation rings your (liberty) bell. It most certainly is notPatriot Day‘ which is, I think, a holiday in poor taste since  we already have a holiday with that name and ‘re-using’ it is patently disrespectful to the original holiday.

Then there’s the date. To me, Patriot’s Day is April 19. Why? Because that’s when the shooting started. The notion of making it the third Monday of April, regardless of date, for the purpose of creating a three day weekend is abhorrent to me. You make a holiday to remember and act upon a historical event. You don’t make it for the sake of getting a three-day weekend. *

Folks are calling today Patriot’s Day but I’m going to be a stickler….orthodox, if you will…and say that Patriot’s Day is April 19. Period.

* = Having said that, yes, Paratus is a moveable holiday. BUT..Paratus was designed from the get-go to be held on a Friday so you could have a weekend to play with your Paratus gifts. I do not find this inconsistent with my attitude about re-arranging historical holidays to fit modern demands for three-day weekends.

 

Article – Getting ready: Pentagon to protect electric grid from massive attack

Amid warnings that North Korea and Iran have plans to take out parts of the U.S. electric grid through a cyber attack or atmospheric nuclear blast, the Pentagon is taking steps to both protect the nation’s communications and power lifeline.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has charged BAE Systems to map a system that can detect a cyber attack and gin up an alternative communications network for military and civilian use if the grid is fried, according to Defense Systems, the online newsletter.

Interesting article. A lot of people forget that the internet was originally envisioned for exactly this sort of scenario – a resilient communications system that could operate even with chunks of it destroyed. It’s decentralized nature increased survivability and resiliency.

I find it interesting that the focus is on the East Coast which has gotta be a lot tougher for the NorKs than getting a warhead to the West Coast. But, here in Montana we’d be relatively insulated from either coast getting whomped on.

War on the horizon? Nope. I’m putting it right up there with the return of Xenu or Planet X. But, remember, there doesn’t have to be a war to screw up your plans…all that has to happen is for enough people to believe that there’s one on the way and it becomes virtually self-fulfilling. Don’t be surprised if gas prices go up and the metals market does some weird shimmying.

I liked the emphasis on EMP in the article. It’s something that has still never really been done, as far as i know, on any researchable large scale….kinda hard to set of a high altitude nuke these days without someone getting their panties in a twist. I think EMP is a tad overrated in terms of potential damage. Fiction would have us believe that planes will fall from the sky and even your Casio G-Shock will stop working. I suspect that smaller, simpler, electrical systems will probably work just fine.

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, but I think this is such a non-event that I’m not really doing anything special…but then again, life is always a “DOUBLE TAKE” around here anyway.

Article – Getting ready: Pentagon to protect electric grid from massive attack

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Amid warnings that North Korea and Iran have plans to take out parts of the U.S. electric grid through a cyber attack or atmospheric nuclear blast, the Pentagon is taking steps to both protect the nation’s communications and power lifeline.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has charged BAE Systems to map a system that can detect a cyber attack and gin up an alternative communications network for military and civilian use if the grid is fried, according to Defense Systems, the online newsletter.

Interesting article. A lot of people forget that the internet was originally envisioned for exactly this sort of scenario – a resilient communications system that could operate even with chunks of it destroyed. It’s decentralized nature increased survivability and resiliency.

I find it interesting that the focus is on the East Coast which has gotta be a lot tougher for the NorKs than getting a warhead to the West Coast. But, here in Montana we’d be relatively insulated from either coast getting whomped on.

War on the horizon? Nope. I’m putting it right up there with the return of Xenu or Planet X. But, remember, there doesn’t have to be a war to screw up your plans…all that has to happen is for enough people to believe that there’s one on the way and it becomes virtually self-fulfilling. Don’t be surprised if gas prices go up and the metals market does some weird shimmying.

I liked the emphasis on EMP in the article. It’s something that has still never really been done, as far as I know, on any researchable large scale….kinda hard to set off a high altitude nuke these days without someone getting their panties in a twist. I think EMP is a tad overrated in terms of potential damage. Fiction would have us believe that planes will fall from the sky and even your Casio G-Shock will stop working. I suspect that smaller, simpler, electrical systems will probably work just fine. The planes? Mmmmm…(waggles hand).

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, but I think this is such a non-event that I’m not really doing anything special…but then again, life is always a “DOUBLE TAKE” around here anyway.

The stuff that dreams are made of

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20170412_152810Yup…one kilogram of fine gold. There is very little in my or anyone elses life that this will not fix, or go a long way towards fixing. It is not even as big as a PopTart, yet it’s enough to buy a brand new truck, put a down payment on a house, buy five Barrett M82A1s, or get you the best night of your life in Vegas.

Really, what you’re looking at is the most concentrated form of energy that doesn’t require lead shielding to use.

Being a survivalist, your day-to-day is a Venn diagram of gun dealers, precious metals dealers, tradesmen, and a few other colorful folks…and they often have cool stuff. In this case, a kilogram of gold. What didn’t fit in my hand was the 100 gold 1oz. rounds that were sitting next to it.

Kinda looks like something out of Kelly’s heroes, doesn’t it?

Survivalism: introducing you to new experiences since…always.

Tilting Cabins

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I was trolling through Craigslist and found this interesting tidbit. It’s one of those forehead-slapping moments where you think “Why didn’t that ever occur to me?”. Here’s a link to a manufacturer: https://www.tiltcabins.com/design

Floorspace is necessarily small, but I love the vertical element. It has a sort of fire-watch-tower look to it. I couldnt see living in one full time, or for any long length of time really, but it would make a nice weekend cabin for fishing and hunting. I suppose the floorspace is limited by how big a load you figure you can get on the road. Since you’re hauling the thing in a horizontal position, the width of your widest wall will be determined by what you can get away with in terms of a ‘wide load’ on the road. Hmmm.

I do find ‘tiny houses’ interesting from a technical and logistics standpoint, but I could never live in one full time. The only way i could do that is to have it sitting on top of the access stairs to my cavernous underground bunker.

Nonetheless, I really do admire the ‘out of the box’ thinking. I doubt ccargo containers are designed to be stood up vertically, but that was the first thing I thought about when I saw these.

Flare for the dramatic

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,Rawles mentioned the a supplier for 26.5mm flares the other day.

Years back, Sportsmans Guide had a deal on genuine HK21A flare guns. As I recall, they were something like thirtyfive bucks or so and I bought a few. At the time there was a goodly amount of 26.5mm Czech flares on the market (26mm will work also). I wound up with quite a variety of projectiles and smoke. Hey, why not? They were cheap(ish) and definitely fun to play with.

Practical? Mmmmm….not sure. But..here’s where they shine – 26.5mm flares are far more…substantial..for your perimeter tripflare warning systems than those rinkydink 12 ga. Olin flares. A quick trip through the plumbing section of Home Depot gets you pretty much everything you need to build a tripflare warning system.

For the more DIY minded, I recall reading a how-to somewhere on the internet about nailing a rat trap to stake, and then attaching the pull chain off some of those Skyblazer flares to the trap bar. Set the trap, it gets triggered, bar snaps down pulling the chain and igniting the flare. Clever.

Of course, thinking about that sort of thing led me down the rabbit hole to how to make other perimeter warning devices using mousetraps. Interesting stuff.

Remember: primers are dangerous and they might ignite things you didn’t want to ignite that were in close proximity to them. So..be careful. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Video – Target practice

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Found this elsewhere in the blogosphere and it really was too good to not share:

Reminds me…at some point I need to go shooting. The weather is getting nice and it might not be a bad idea to get in some range time.

As an aside, theres a gun show here in town this weekend so that’ll be interesting.

Link – Glock Pistols- What Breaks and How to Fix It

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Worth reading. Note that the parts that break most are parts that are only a few dollars to replace and they do not render the gun inoperable. I’ve seen the issue with the trigger springs firsthand. I don’t shoot as much ammo through my guns as a competitive shooter (or gunwriter) but for $20 I can have a lifetime of spare parts. Good read.

OK…let me get this out of the way right off the bat.  I carry a Glock pistol during about 95% of my waking hours.  My police duty gun is a Glock 21 in .45acp.  A  Glock 26 or a Glock 19 in 9mm are constant companions in my off-duty hours.  I like Glock pistols.  But are they perfect?  Not a chance.

 

I’ve broken almost every Glock I’ve ever owned.  No manufacturer is immune from this reality: If you shoot the gun enough, it will break.  A gun is a mechanical device and it can fail at any time.  I liken it to a car.  Even if you buy the best car in the world, eventually it will break down.

Life musings

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Dropped off the docs to the tax preparer today. I make very little money and even *I* hate the way the tax system screws me over. I’d hate it even more if I actually made big bucks. i really do think we need a simple flat tax. 15% oughtta do it. It wouldn’t be so bad except that the tax codes aren’t even about rasing money to run .gov…it’s gotten into social engineering. They want people to own houses, since that presumably makes for a more stable and docile population, so they jigger the tax code to encourage you to own a house. Or to give money to approved charities. Or whatever other thing .gov wants to ‘encourage’.

Some Treasury secretary once opined, “What this nation needs is a tax system that looks like it was designed on purpose”. And it’s true. The tax code is the Winchester Mystery House of regulations. They never take anything out, they just add and modify whatever is already there.

I’ve been studying accounting and taxes for a few months now and let me tell you what I’ve learned: cash businesses rule. Seriously. Go open a car wash, pizzeria, adult bookstore, video game arcade, laundromat, or newsstand.

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Springlike weather has been going on here and i suspect that we *might* be done with the snow. This winter was a spectacularly annoying one. Not because it was harsh or anything, but rather because it kept doing a snow-thaw-refreeze cycle over and over. It got old real fast. Time to put air in the bike tires and get back to rising my bike around town.

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Saw Leupold’s new thermal imager today. It’s interesting but I wasnt terribly impressed. I was inside one of those big box stores and was playing with it. You could read residual heat signatures on objects, which was neat, but the effective range at which people registered as bright blips was a little short. I suspect it’s because the temperature in the building was a bit warm. Outside, at night, when it’s cooler the temperature contrast would be more pronounced. However, I could see this being a handy device for tracking wounded game or scanning your immediate area to make sure no one was laying in wait for you. It would probably also do a bang up job of seeing if a vehicle had been recently driven.

Interesting and would definitely be fun to explore, but not for the price. Resolution of the digital image was horrible, but I suppose that’s to be expected at this price.

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Also got to handle some newer guns….the CZ Bren rifle looked real nice, and I got to handle an MP5 clone from Zenith firearms. At $2k MSRP for either one, I’d probably stick with the AR15 for my .223 needs. The MP5 copy was cute, but for that price I could get three CZ Evo’s that would fill basically the same role. But…there’s just something so ’80s about the MP5….

Article -Student stranded for 5 days near Grand Canyon grew desperate

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A Texas college student stranded for five days near the Grand Canyon says she was making farewell videos for her family as she grew desperate for help.

Arizona authorities say 24-year-old Amber VanHecke was well-equipped and did everything right after getting lost in a remote area during a solo road trip.

VanHecke said in a Facebook post that she was heading to a hiking trail but was led astray by her maps app and wound up in the middle of nowhere with an empty gas tank.

How ‘well-equpped’ are you if you’re relying on apps to figure out where you are and where you’re going?

It seems like more and more of these stories reference people placing their faith in their technology to guide them. Look, I love me some GPS as much as the next guy…but I always look at a real map beofre dumping myself into unfamiliar terrain. And I take a compass and a copy of that map with me. And I establish baselines to keep me within certain areas.

I’m also a little unclear…if she tried to chase down a truck, that means she knew where a traveled road was, right? So youldn’t you just head to the traveled road and walk it until more traffic came along? Clearly the road must have been within walking distance since she was able to see the truck on it. Lotsa details here are missing, but I’d be interested in more.

This is another of the very few cases of didn‘t stay with the car and things turned out well. However, the article seems to imply rescuers found the car first and then the girl.

How low can you go? More AR fun…

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Well, there was this post about the first sub-$400 AR I’d seen…$399. Can they get any cheaper? Apparently they can:

03-19_06From the guys at MGE Wholesale.

Here’s the thing, lads – what we are experiencing right now is the after effect of, basically, the entire firearms industry following the conventional wisdom and thinking that Clinton was going to win the election. That’s not disloyalty, that’s just the way it appeared to be headed. No one really thought Trump would win. As a result, the firearms industry girded up for a Clinton victory by making as much stuff as possible to have ready for the inevitable post-Clinton-victory buying panic that would ensue. And then….Trump won.

Imagine that you are in a business that relies heavily on Christmas for your big sales season. You know Christmas is coming so you lay in as much of the holiday stuff as you can…Santa themed sweatshirts, reindeer antlers, tree ornaments, little plastic snowmen, all the Christmas stuff. You hit the bank for a little extra capital so you can really have the shelves stocked for that big Christmas rush. And they cancel Christmas. And now you have all that crap sitting in the warehouse and every day you have it in the warehouse you are. Losing. Money.

So, you sell it at bargain prices…sure, you lose money but it’s less than what you’d lose by not selling it at all. And the bank wants that loan they gave you for inventory repaid sometime soon. So…..blowout sales.

That’s what has happened in the gun industry. Those 10/22 mags I got? That’s a really good example. And that’s going on with guns, magazines, and other related materials right now. If you have the money, now is an amazing time to get some smoking deals that will not happen again. (Because, really, what are the odds of this sort of political upset happening again?) But if you can shake some money loose from your budget, now is an amazing time to buy the kinds of things that the industry was betting Clinton would come down hard on.

I don’t think you could even assemble an AR out of parts for less than $379. Might be close though.

Real Estate – Expensive, but pretty sweet…

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The description is nice, but the video at the link is pretty awesome. Nice looking place. I don’thave enough internal organs to sell on the black market to afford such a place, but if I did…

At 120 Acres, this property is truly one of a kind. A sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle and a little slice of heaven. Rock Springs is turn-key, off-the-grid living. All the comforts of home, including Satellite TV, Internet, abundant wild game, and the best views and stargazing you will likely ever see. When you are up this high, the sky seems to wrap around you and the milky way is clearly visible with absolutely zero light pollution. There is ample room to land a small aircraft or a helicopter for those who would prefer not to drive up to the house. The elevation at the house is 6600 feet. The annual property taxes are about $2500. The nearest town is Hyattville, Wyoming, but the property is a fifteen mile drive up a logging road to get there. The road is not maintained by the state, so it can be challenging during or after a snowstorm. There is deeded access to the land, a permanent access to the property owner through Wyoming state land that cannot be revoked so long as you pay the annual fee of $150. The well is almost artesian, down 400 feet, with 1 part per million of dissolved solids, and a flow rate of just over 12 gallons per minute, and it tastes delicious with no odors or contaminants. There are no restrictions on the water from this well.

Mail Call

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This showed up in todays mail:

20170320_120014A few posts back someone mentioned in the comments that they thought it was a book i might find interesting and, surpise, they sent me a copy. Dang nice of ’em, if ya ask me. Much thanks. I’ll post about it when I get done reading it!

I suspect it will be a case of seeing in print a feeling or ideal I’ve always had but had never been able to fully articulate. We shall see.

Link – Air Force Testing Anti-Drone Shotgun Shells

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Three left.
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This is kinda interesting…….(and, yes, clever name)

The Mi-5 shells are anti-drone rounds and contain a five-foot wide capture net. When fired, five tethered segments spin and extend to create the net which travels towards the targeted drone, wraps around the frame, and brings it down, according to pcmag.com.

The only damage caused will be from the impact with the ground, which should offer a chance to inspect and collect evidence from the drone.

The types of drones these shells can target are classed as Category 1 & 2 by the Pentagon. They weigh up to 55 pounds and typically fly at heights of no more than 3,500 feet….

They must be fired from a rifled choke barrel. You can buy them on the web in three packs for $20 each.

I had no idea that there were specific ‘anti-drone’ shotgun shells. To my way of thinking, virtually any shotgun shell is ‘anti-drone’. You see someone floating a drone 80′ over your hot tub one evening, why screw around with specialty ammo? Whatever is sitting in the 870 will probably do the job just fine.

Also, I’ve yet to meet the shotgun shell that has a reach of 3500 feet. If such animals existed, we’d have a lot less geese.

But, it does segue into a larger issue – how do you secure your little slice ‘o heaven against such intrusions? I mean, all the systems I’ve seen…shotguns, jammers, trained eagles, etc, are all active systems – someone has to be directing the action at the time of intrusion. There needs to be some sort of passive ‘electric fence’ sort of preventative. I suppose you could set up some sort of powerful jamming system that is on all the ime and rotates through the most popular known frequencies for these sorts of things. You know, come to think of it, I’m kinda surprised this hasn’t come up on The Walking Dead yet.

I suppose the most logical, although not the easiest, method is to make sure that you don’t keep anything in the open that you wouldn’t want someone to see. It’s not my favorite option since, as I see it, I should be able to do whatever the heck i want on my property without having to worry about airborne peeping toms, but thats just not the world we live in.

Mike Rowe, of ‘Dirty Jobs’ fame and seemingly genuine great guy, had his own incident which he talked about in a podcast which turned into an impromptu advertisement for the Mossberg 500:

I might, just for giggles, pick up a tubes worth of these anti-drone shotgun shells just for the novelty value in rounding out my ‘specialty’ shotgun ammo selection. But, really, if I need to knock down something like that I’d imagine the cheap bulk shotgun ammo from WalMart will do just fine.

Organization

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You know, a big part of being a survivalist is simply being he manager of your own personal warehouse. Sure we have to learn skills, read a lot of books, practice various tasks, etc., but we also have to be curator to a stockpile of gear. Think about it, you keep gear in your vehicle, in your home, at work, at a friends house, buried at some middle-of-nowhere cache, etc, etc. And all that gear has information about it that needs to be kept – where is it, what is it, how much of it is there, when does it expire, etc, etc. It can be a major pain in the ass.

Someone I used to know turned me on to a program called Evernote. It runs on your desktop machine as well as on your phone/pad. I’ve found it to be exceptionally useful..more so than a simple spreasheet (although the data can be imported/exported through spreadsheets). Right about now there’s a contingent of people mentally screaming “No! Government sees everything on the interweb! They’ll know to come to your house for your guns and food!”.

Not worried. If you’re really worried about it, do your inventory management on your mobile device while youre snagging McDonalds free wifi. Or just don’t put your name and address in any of the files.

I find evernote most useful for tracking inventory of Deep Sleep stuff. For example, if a vendor emails me a deal on magazines I can pop into Evernote, bring up my ‘Mag’ notebook (or just search for ‘magazines’) and view my list of what I have on hand. Then I can make an informed decision about whether I need to sell the other kidney and buy more mags.

Another useful thing about Evernote is the ability to selectively share some of the data. For example, lets say you and your brother are planning on riding out the apocalypse together. You can have one notebook that is shared between the two of you. Say the two of you want to stock up on radio equipment. You might have a notebook named ‘Radio Gear’. You give him access to it. Now when he’s at some hamfest in Iowa he can check and see a live version of the list of gear and know what does or does not need to be purchased. Handy. Excellent for avoiding those awkward moments of “I didn’t know if we had [name of item] so I picked up three cases of it. I wish I’d know we already had plenty.”

Having said that, spreadsheets are still amazingly useful…especially if your Excel skills are good enough to take advantage of tables and conditional formatting. Again, it’s going to knock some people’s tinfoil hats off, but Excel is great for keeping track of guns. I also use it to keep track of the long term food storage… having those spreadsheets accessible to me was quite handy when I was up at the Mormon cannery a few weeks back. I immediately knoew what I did and did not need, which means whatever money I spent was spent wisely.

There’s that old saying that the first step to wisdom is knowing what you do not know. If you don’t know what you have vs. what you need to get then you’re not using your resources wisely. You’ll wind up with a hundred AA-batteries and five MagLites that take D-batteries. You can’t be your own quartermaster without knowing what the heck you do and do not have.

Between Evernote and Excel, the savvy survivalist can manage his resources wisely and make the most of their purchasing power. If you’re just going along with a clipboard and legal pad you are definitely doing yourself a disservice.

 

How’s that sale going?

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Linky
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Not bad. One case left. Everyone seems happy, so that’s good. There’s something very satisfying about cutting open a big cardboard box and finding a huge pile of magazines.

20170316_144140I pull ’em out of the packaging and send them in ‘bulk’, because there’s no way you can fit ten of those into a Medium Priority Flat Rate Box with all that clamshell packaging.

And, in case you’re curious, a 40mm can, packed properly, will hold seven layers of twelve mags, with room for another six mags arranged on top, giving you 90 magazines to set aside for a rainy day. Put another way, it would take 2,250 rounds of ammo to load ’em all.

20170316_170810

Get ’em while the gettin’s good.

 

The Walking Dead, getting back into it

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I’ve been trying to get back into The Walking Dead. I stepped away from it last season when it devolved into hostage-of-the-week storylines. But, I’ve read the comics so I have a general idea how things go. I’ve been catching up and things are moving back towards layered stories that suggest the writers have decided to make some effort.

If you recall, when the show first started there wasn’t an M4 to be had. It was all pump shotguns and bolt rifles. Then the AR’s and Ak’s started making gradual appearances. Now we have awesome high-end suppressed rifles and pistols. I like that. I think that’s fairly representative of how things would go. Like a first person shooter video game….you upgrade your weapons as you come across them. The Internet Movie Firearms Database (IMFDB) covers the guns of the show season by season, so if you’re really curious about what exactly that was someone used to remove the head of that other guy….there you go.

While much of the acting on the show is pretty one-dimensional, I think Melissa McBride is way overdue for some professional awards. For the first few seasons her character was background filler and not very compelling. In the last several seasons she has easily become the most nuanced and deep character on the show. A lot of the time I watch the episodes just to see how her character will react to a situation, but it’s also entertaining to see how McBride conveys that characters turmoil and pathos.

Of course, the backdrop of the end of the world has a tremendous appeal to me as well. I can think of no television drama that has portrayed an apocalypse as stark as this. ‘Jericho’ had to work within the constraints of network television, but still managed to eke out a winning episode or two (and, hey, Lennie James is still killing people after the apocalypse!) There’s no mincing words – the end of the world is going to be all sorts of ugly rolled up into a big ball of suckage….all-Somalia, all-the-time. But, it is, for me, loads of fun to war game. “What would I do in that situation?” or “what if I had this piece of gear?”…I like the intellectual challenge of imagining alternative courses of action.

I won’t tell you to go watch TWD because at this point you either are, or you have no interest in it. But, as a survivalist, I do find it a fascinating thought experiment. Interestingly, the companion show, Fear The Walking Dead, seems a tad more ‘realistic’ since it takes place in the early days of the zombie apocalypse when normalcy bias is still strong.

So..yup, I’m back to watching.
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10/22 mags are still available. Don’t go into the zombie apocalypse without.

Video – Field Lab video

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I’ve linked to The Field Lab in the past, and it’s always entertaining to see how someone fares when they take ingenuity and a tight wallet to an environment that most people would rather just take a pass on. I was bopping around YouTube looking at preparedness videos and this came up in the roster:

I would love to do something like this except for the fact that chicks dig flush toilets and running water. But, I think a fella could still put together something that might be chick-acceptable.

It’s a good video to watch because it covers a lot of the technical details that we would find important..how you cool your living environment in the middle of the desert using off-grid power, that sort of thing. I rather like the covered courtyard with the cargo containers…

It’s a good video to watch. The website for the guy’s continuing experiment is The Field Lab.

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Butler Creek Steel Lip 10/22 mags – $110, inc. shipping. Such a deal!

Those 10/22 mags…redux

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The bad news: no more of the Butler Creek Hot Lips magazines. :( All gone. Those of you who got some from me know you got a smoking deal, right?

The good news: same vendor just dropped a slew of the Steel Lip mags on me. Obviously they are a bit spendier than the Hot Lips, but very much worth it.

$110 gets you ten (10) of them, including Priority Mail shipping. Email me for a payable invoice. If you want, say, 25 or more, we can do a tiny bit better.

By the case? Buy the case….Pt III

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So….my daily pass through the meat department looking for bargain meats. And, to my surprise, the spaghetti sauce I usually  prefer is on sale. Hmmm. Ok, I bought about 120# pasta a week ago…I guess I need enough spaghetti sauce to go with it. And it is on sale, after all. Ten cases please.

20170308_125222Annnnnd…another 120 Monopoly game pieces.

On the bright side, a trip to CostCo for a case of Italian sausage and I’ll be ready to have my favorite reasonably-quick comfort meal on hand for the next….mmmm…..two years. On the negative side, even for me, this is a quantity not usually kept…I need to do some re-arrangements of things in the food storage area. But…there is comfort (and economy!) in these sorts of maneuvers.

Link – Mountain House pouches rated to 30 years

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According to Mountain House’s website, their pouch products, which previously were rated for around seven years, should be good significantly longer than that.

Mountain House makes a pretty good product, and some of their stuff is pretty good. I’m still a little annoyed with them over their snubbing small-time dealers several years back. But…personal feelings have no place intruding into logistics planning.

I have cases and cases of the Mountain House pouches in storage. Their ‘Pro-Pack’ stuff is just the ticket for stuffing into a 72-hour bag or caching in a bucket somewhere.

I usually figured the product would keep well past the seven year shelf life anyway, it’s nice to see a little confirmation of that.

 

H/T to The Metals Pimp for bring this to my attention.

One is none…

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20170303_111136Somewhere in a police station someone is saying “Wait..I thought you had the keys to the weapons locker.”

 

Local LMI ( you know who you are) hit me up for a smokin’ deal on some night-sighted G22’s in wonderful condition.

Leftovers

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Cleaning up around the shop and found half a case of the .22 magazines.
Guess I’ll open up the link again in case anyone needs more. I thought I’d got rid of all of them but apparently my housecleaning is so bad that a slew of .22 mags can wind up hiding from me for a month.

Dreams

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For me, going to bed early is a guarantee that I’m going to have dreams. So is eating anything with tomato sauce (such as..oh…baked ziti) before bed. Last night…both. No surprise I woke up at 3am after a few weird dreams. The first was short and simple enough – I was living at my childhood house in Brooklyn when a blackout takes place. I wind up standing guard in front of my favorite Korean grocery store with a plate carrier and a pistol grip Mossberg 500. It’s fairly uneventful except for the shotgun being rather stiff in its action and me thinking I need to remember to take some oil to the stupid thing.

At that point I woke up, saw it was 3am, and resigned myself to another long night of unwanted dreams.

Next dream was a zombie spectacular. It may have been the zombie apocalypse but the threat was other people wanting what I had. In my dream I was being led around the house by some bad guy who felt he had a right to everything I owned…very Negan-esque. I was wondering if I might be able to find a gun or two hidden around the house that I could use. I wound up sneaking a NAA minigun when he wasn’t looking, and five shots to the face later, problem solved. After that it was a series of people wandering up to the door and demanding entry to my shattered yet habitable home. Of course, in this dream things don’t go as planned….magazines are missing or unloaded, the wrong ammo is present, and there was a maddening sequence where I was trying to load a SIG MPX magazine in a hurry from a box of mixed loose 9mm and .40 cartridges.

About the only part of the dream worth dwelling on, for me, was the NAA revolver. I already have a tiny last ditch .22….a Beretta 21A…but the NAA is a good deal smaller. (Although, ergonomically, it is a nightmare to handle with it’s virtually non-existent grip and having to watch your fingers with the cylinder gap.)

Ah, dreams…..sometimes we can learn things from them, sometimes not. In this case I’m learning that I really need to not eat right before bed.

By the case? Buy the case….Pt II

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I may not have a lot going for me, but Crom as my witness…..I will never be hungry.

I like pasta. I’ve cut back on it a bit, but I make a very nice bolognese sauce as well as a very nice tomato sauce. Anyway, the magic number for me for pasta is $1/#. When I can get it for less than that, I’ll stock up. The lower the price, the more I stock up. Pasta keeps quite well, and I use it fairly often…probably 2# a week. So, my  local Albertson’s had the stuff on sale for $.050/#. This was the same sale as they had last June. This time, I was merciless. Last summer was rigatoni, this time – ziti. (Who doesn’t love them some baked ziti????)

20170227_130414You know you’ve maxed out your shopping skill level when they start bringing out your purchases on a hand truck in addition to a shopping cart. The promotion was part of some ‘Monopoly’ themed contest they were having. That’s when it got amusing…

“Ok, 160 boxes of pasta, at fifty cents each…”

“And there’s a 10% discount for buying by the case.”, I gently reminded her.

“Right. So that’s going to be $80 less 10%….so….$72.”

I hand her the cash.

“And here’s your receipt and you get….177 Monopoly pieces.”

“I’m sorry…what?”
“You get 177 Monopoly pieces. Are you playing the game?”

“Uhm..no…but with 177 pieces I think I might have to.”

20170227_132554

So….that happened. Joke’s on me, it’s going to take me *hours* to go through all those and check for winners.

Final analysis? For you numbernerds, the scoreboard looks like this:

Normal price: $298.40
Price with sale: $80.00
Case discount: – $8.00
Final total: $72 or $0.45/#.

20170227_132647

The money shot

Now, yes, I could tuck away all that food but my habit as of late has been that when I find a *really* good deal on something, I set aside $20 and donate the food to the food bank. So, they’ll get about three cases. It’s ‘Karma Helper’.

Yes, there’s some math discrepancies going on. I think thats because they’re factoring a slightly different pricing schedule. Fact remains though: awesome deal.

Cannery trip

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So I stopped in at the Mormon cannery the other day. Actually, if you want to be technical, its the Bishop’s Storehouse or Missoula Home Storage Center. What it actually is is a solid example of a group of Like Minded Individuals working together for a common benefit. Say what you will about the Mormons, they take care of their own and are not screwing around about it. Their logistics are amazing.

I hadn’t been up there in several years since they stopped the DIY dry-canning opportunities. Nowadays you can go up there, but instead of canning the stuff on your own you buy it already canned. It’s certainly more convenient, but I really liked the hanging out and interacting with other (somewhat) like-minded folks.

Anyway, I went up there not because I needed anything but because a friend of mine wanted to go and he’d never been there before. He wound up with a few hundred dollars of assorted goodies and all parties concerned were glad to help. The official line, as I understand it, is that the church offers the services and products of their food storage facility because they want to help their fellow man. Good on them. I’ve been told by people with a more pragmatic bent that the more accurate reason is because if they make the food storage available to their neighbors it lowers the odds of the neighbors forming an angry mob and coming to take their food storage.. I suspect there is an equal element of truth to both statements.

If you’ve never been to one of these places, it is an outstanding source to get some staple goods at unbeatable prices to round out your home storage. The place is almost exactly like Costco but smaller and with about 200% more Jesus. In all my trips there I never once had anyone put a religious spin into things except for starting the visit off with a quick prayer. No one tries to convert you, engage you in religious conversation, or anything like that. We all know why we’re there and we get it done.

20170225_090700 20170225_091102What they offer are very basic foodstuffs. Wheat, onions, carrots, sugar, pasta, dried apples, oats, etc. These are things that you could survive on by themselves if you absolutely had no choice, but they’re much better used in conjunction with other storage foodstuffs.

Anyway, it was a nice visit. I always feel a sense of belonging around the poeple there when I go…not because of some religious compatriotism but rather because I’m around other people who don’t think stuffing your basement full of food, ammo, and toiilet paper is a weird idea.

Generator Day

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Hmmm…it’s Generator Day here at Zeropolis. Drag the EU2000 out of its protective Hardigg case, set it up, run some high-draw appliance off it for a while to make sure eveything gets a workout, clean it up, and then back to storage for another month or two until the next Generator Day. The more I think about it, the more I think that this is going to be the year I finally get the stupid battery power supply done. It’s a remarkably simple plan brought to ruin by my unparalleled laziness. See, when the power goes out I have, really, only four power needs:

  • Freezer/refrigerator
  • Communications – running scanners, radios, internet, computer, etc.
  • Security – surveillance and associated systems
  • Lighting – It’d be nice to be able to not walk into the furniture

Now, except for the fridge/freezer issue, which is where the generator comes in, all the rest of that stuff can quite happily run on a DC battery supply.

The laptop runs on DC, as does the radios, scanners, and router. Same for the surveillance system. And the emergency LED lighting runs on DC as well. And since there is no need to have an inverter to turn the DC into AC, there isn’t the usual loss of energy accompanies such things. In short, if everything runs on DC I get more bang for my electrical buck than if I tried to run it on AC.

Ideally, what I’d like to set up is something where the batteries charge as needed off the house current, and when that fails they charge (albeit at a slower rate) off a couple of strategically placed solar panels. I then run the wires into a room where I plan on keeping all the critical systems. It doesn’t have to be a huge system…it just has to be big enough to run some fairly low-draw DC stuff for three or four days without a recharge.

Last time we had an outage here it lasted quite a while. I rather liked having cable TV and internet while the rest of the neighborhood was dark.

 

Link – Customs seizes $2 million worth of ‘counterfeit’ Glock mags

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From Guns.com:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities in Savannah have held up a shipment of magazines from Asia they contend violate Glock’s trademark.

In a release from CBP, the agency advised they had impounded a shipment container headed to Tennessee at the Savannah Port of Entry containing 591 cartons of pistol magazines. Authorities determined the Glock trademark on the packaging was unauthorized and in violation of the registered trademark, which led to the shipment– valued at $2.1 million according to the MSRP– to be seized.

Guns, used cars and drugs, man: Know. Your. Dealer.

If you buy a knock off Glock mag you’re out, what?, $20? I am far more concerned about the Trijicon ACOG knockoffs the Chinese are pushing these days. You scrimp and save to buy a nice piece of gear and then you have to worry about weasels out there scamming you. That’s just bad karma right there.

Anyway, as far as the counterfeit Glock mags go, always use a little common sense…yo’re not going to buy brand new factory Glock mags for $8.99 ea. And you aren’t going to buy a genuine ACOG for $179.99.

Got an expensive piece of gear on your shopping list? Before you plunk down your money, go Google “how to detect counterfeit [name of item]”….ACOGs, Aimpoint, SureFire, etc, etc. Even stuff like Magpul gets cloned and sold ‘for the airsoft market’. Caveat emptor, kids.

More Mountain House

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A few local folks were asing me about ordering up some Moutnain House stuff for them. Might as well try and get as many people on board as possible to knock the shipping costs down. It’ll be very similar to the last one…there’ll be a selection of #10 cans, you order what you want but your order has to be divisible by six cans since thats how many fit in a shipping box. Mix/match just so long as it totals 6,12,18,24, or whatever. Timeframe? Last one didn’t give people as much lead time as they wanted and as a result some folks missed out, so lets say…March 31. I’ll work up a list of whats available, for how much, etc, and get it posted sometime in the next few days.

Mag stuff

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400 Butler Creek magazines later, I’m pretty much done with that little deal. My vendor shipped me one last case of 100 and then let me know that they are now officially “Out Of Stock”..at least, at the price they were at previously. I hope everyone who wanted some was able to get a bunch. If you missed out, hope is not lost…I’ve a few bundles of 12 left.

Speaking of mags, Friend Of The Blog(tm) Harry over at Self Sufficient Mountain Living has a post up about magzines for his M1A. His experiences with USA-brand magazines is pretty much the same as mine and everyone else – they’re a useful way to carry spare ammo in the butt of your pistol, but not very good at actually feeding the ammo into the gun. I usually go for the OEM mag, or a respected military contract version, but if you are careful…and vet thoroughly…you can often find an aftermarket version that is just as good (or in rare cases, better) than the factory mag. The easiest and most common example are aluminum GI contract mags for the AR platform. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with one of the big contractors who cranked out hundreds of thousands  of the things. Not always, though….sometimes a contractor will screw the pooch and put out a craptacular run of mags…but it’s usually a sure bet to buy contract mags.

Mec-Gar has a great reputation and actually is the ‘factory’ in ‘factory magazine’ for many handgun makers. They are pretty much the only source I’ll use for my HiPower mags other than Browning and military contract. I’ve posted about this at length elsewhere, but the point is still valid – save money elsewhere.

Article – F*** You Money

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Years ago I was watching an interview with Joe Rogan and he mentioned that he was taking some jobs he normally wouldn’t because he was trying to build up a stash of “F*** You Money”. (And, for brevity’s sake, I’m just going to call it Screw You Money since I try to keep the harsh profanity to a minimum in the blog.)

He went on to explain that Screw You Money is the stash of money you have that gives you the freedom to not have to do something you don’t want to do. Imagine your boss is being a real jerk…you put up with it because you have a mortgage, a car payment, etc, etc. But, if you had, say, a million in cash in the bank and the boss starts riding you, you could just say “Screw you”, walk out, and have virtually zero negative impact on your life.

Here’s an article that sums it up very nicely.

F*** you money, as you may have guessed, is uncommitted cash sitting in your bank account which you can use to live on when you need to say “f*** you!” to an asshole boss, customer, or employer of any variety.

It’s really that simple. It’s the stash of cash you will have which will allow you to operate and live as a free human being rather than a slave. I’m not saying you will have to quit work and spend your days stroking your beard on the porch and reading philosophy (although you can do that if you wish), but it will give you the option to quite simply pack up your things and tell anybody you don’t like to get out of your face.

This is good for several obvious reasons.

If you carry this idea further, you could probably have a stash of “Screw You Guns”, or “Screw You Food”, etc, etc. A stash that lets you be completely indifferent to the situation involving the stashed items.

In the broader picture, who wouldn’t love to have the freedom to just drop what they are doing and walk away from a situation they don’t like? In some ways you don’t really need a stash as much as you need to minimize your obligations that force you stay in a situation you don’t like. For example, if you don’t have a house payment, don’t have a car payment, don’t have a student loan, and have a few months worth of money in the bank…well…then your Screw You Money stash doesn’t have to be that big. The less debt and obligations you have, the less you would need for your stash.

I’m a big fan of freedom so anything that enhances my freedom is going to get a thumbs up from me. Moral of the story: minimal debt, maximum cash and you have options that you may not have had otherwise.

Article – Major Blow to Obamacare Mandate: IRS Won’t Reject Tax Returns That Don’t Answer Health Insurance Question

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This is extremely interesting:

The health law’s individual mandate requires everyone to either maintain qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty, known as a “shared responsibility payment.” The IRS was set to require filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or paid the penalty by filling out line 61 on their form 1040s. Alternatively, they could claim exemption from the mandate by filing a form 8965.

For most filers, filling out line 61 would be mandatory. The IRS would not accept 1040s unless the coverage box was checked, or the shared responsibility payment noted, or the exemption form included. Otherwise they would be labeled “silent returns” and rejected.

Instead, however, filling out that line will be optional.

If this is true, and if I’m reading it right, (two big ‘if’s) you can choose not to have health insurance and you won”t be penalized because you won’t have to tell the .gov that you are without it. I gotta tell ya, if that is actually the case then that’s pretty much all the reason I needed to vote for him right there.

As always, you have to take these things with a grain of salt, but if it’s true then it is a very nice way to get around that onerous and, to me, authority-overstepping ‘mandate’ that you must have health insurance.

10/22 mag pouches

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I had posted about this a while back, but the post got lost in The Great Server Migration, so I figured I’d bring the subject back up. As you know, I came into a *ahem* ‘large’ quantity of Ruger 10/22 magazines last month. As I was putting ’em away for the Deep Sleep, I came across a couple things:

20170212_12215620170212_122222 20170212_122336-120170212_122343-1

Back around 2014 I came across this post over at Jerking The Trigger, mentioning Triple Stitch Tactical. Up to that point I hadn’t seen any sort of magazine pouches for 10/22 mags. Some back-n-forth emails with the folks at TST wound up with me getting the pouches shown above. Nowadays, it’s a slightly different story…there are other sources for this sort of thing. However, I really liked the TST pouch, admired their willingness to work on custom stuff (for example, the single pouch in the picture is the second one the sent. They sent me one, I gave some suggested feedback, and the second one totally nailed what I was looking for.)

The chest rig has MOLLE backing and some other attachment points, so I’m not wearing it as a chest rig (unless we are somehow threatened as a species from a sudden overabundance of ground squirrels and rabbits). But it’s an exceptionally handy way to mount several mags on your belt or pack for when you’re out knocking down ‘gophers’ in someones alfalfa field.

Speaking of…still a few 10/22 mag sets left. Get ’em while they’re get-able.

Career weasels

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I made the mistake of watching the news tonight with another pearl-clutching “expose” about those…gasp!…’ghost guns’. Never mind that you’ve been able to build your own gun with no serial numbers for quite some time….you just can’t sell it. But what really bumps my blood pressure into the stratosphere is seeing career-weasel Chucky Schumer wringing his hands and talking about that evil NRA.

I dunno about you, but in my AO it’s not a difficult task to find someone selling an AR for cash in the newspaper, at a gun show, or through a friend. Happens all the time. So if I can buy a paperless AR, completely built on a real receiver not made by some hack at his kitchen table, why wouldn’t I? But…I suppose some folks don’t have those options.

I wonder if Schumer and his fellow travelers will try to get things like upper receivers, barrels, etc. regulated in some manner. That’d be quite the trick. Did you know that in some countries it’s the barrel that is the controlled part? Yup. Go look at your Glock sometime…notice the serial number is on the framer, slide and barrel? That’s because somewhere on this planet there is a place where thats the controlled part….so Glock stamps em all.

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I had a couple people tell me “Oh, I’ll take some magazines!” and then I never heard from them again. SO….still about seven sets of 12 left.

 

 

That ATFE white paper

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So, unless you’re under a rock, there’s the buzz about an ATFE “white paper” that hinted that the goons at ATFE might be coming around on the subject of suppressors and that armbrace-on-your-shoulder nonsense. Here’s a link.

Sounds good, right? Sounds too good, if ya ask me. I’m sorry for being a tinfloil-hat-clad conspiracy theorist but this just sounds too perfect. It just sounds too much like a wish list for me to believe that someone in a .gov agency is so willing to play our kinda ball.

But..I would like to be wrong about this.

Taking suppressors into a simple ‘firearms’-type category so you can by them over the counter would be very nice. I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’d be nice nonetheless.
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Ruger mags…a few left. Don’t be left out. All the cool kids are doin’ it.

Winter…after a fashion

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Two weeks ago, -10 degrees ( -23C for those of you in countries that never landed a man on the moon) and snow. Today? Sunny and 47 degrees (8c for those of you….)

It’s gonna be wet out there today. Last night it was four wheel drive and icy roads, today it’s short sleeves and sunglasses. If this stuff freezes tonight it’s going to be tricky.

Clearly, Putin’s been dinkin’ with the weather control machine again.

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Eight bundles left. People who have gotten theirs seem rather pleased.

Cool stuff

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First, I’ve about a dozen of the twelve-for-$104-10/22-magazine bundles left. When they gone, they be gone.

Second, how utterly cool is this? I’ve seen a few prepackaged survival kits from the Cold War but I’ve never seen one packaged in a tin like this. I can’t help but think that tin was the plastic 5-gallon-bucket of its day. Fascinating.

il_570xN.431805371_dihkAnd speaking of other cool things, I found this on a Tumblr link:

tumblr_oks82iWj9y1u8wbhro1_1280Is that gorgeous or what? I have a Ruger Scout Rifle with a stock that is eerily identical to that. I’m not sure about the practicality of the Scout Rifle, but I admire the logic that goes into making the gear selections necessary to meet the ‘Scout’ guidelines. The SMLE is an interesting choice, but offers pretty much everything you need…magazine fed, stripper clip guide, rugged action, etc. The cartridge is a tad funky, but if that’s a deal breaker there are always Ishapore .308’s to use as a platform. Really, though, I have a Scout Rifle and I just can’t really put my finger on what I would use it for.

 

Article – Walmart just undercut Amazon’s most valuable perk

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Still a few dozen left. Ya snooze, ya lose.
===========================

This may be one of the cooler things to happen to preparedness in a while…

(Reuters)
Walmart just made a move that should terrify Amazon.

Starting Tuesday at 8 a.m., Walmart will offer free two-day shipping on 2 million items in orders that are more than $35.

All Walmart customers will qualify for the free two-day shipping. There are no fees, and no enrollment in membership programs is required.

“We upped the ante here and decided not to charge people for it,” Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart US e-commerce, said on a call with reporters Monday.

In comparison, Amazon offers free two-day shipping only to members of its Prime program, who pay $99 annually for membership.

Other Amazon users can qualify for free shipping — but without the two-day delivery — on orders of $49 or more.

….

Two million of the 30 million products carried on Walmart’s website will be available for two-day shipping. Those items will include Walmart’s most popular products, including baby necessities, pet products, foods like cereal and peanut butter, cleaning supplies, electronics, and toys, the company said.

Free shipping at Walmart prices on certain goods means that I might have a new source for case-lots of various foodstuffs and supplies. Honestly, Im not sure WalMart can afford to do this for very long, but while it’s going on I’ll definitely be seeing if its something I can take advantage of. Cases of canned goods, pasta, sauces, etc, etc delivered to my AO would be rather handy…especially if it gives me access to items not normally in my local WallyWorld.

Article – Judge: Federal firearms regulations trump Kansas gun law

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday rejected arguments that a Kansas law can shield from federal prosecution anyone owning firearms made, sold and kept in the state — a ruling that casts doubt on the legality of similar laws passed in nine states across the nation.

The decision handed down by U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten allows federal firearms charges against Shane Cox and Jeremy Kettler to stand. The ruling clears the way for their sentencing on Monday.

Jurors in November returned eight guilty verdicts against Cox, the owner of Tough Guys gun store in Chanute, under the National Firearms Act for illegally making and marketing unregistered firearms, including a short-barreled rifle and gun silencers. Kettler was found guilty on one count of possession of an unregistered silencer.

The Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act, which passed in 2013, says firearms, accessories and ammunition manufactured and kept within the borders of Kansas are exempt from federal gun control laws. Kansas modeled its law on a Montana law that an appeals court has found to be invalid, according to court filings.

You know, if the feds feel that enforcing federal law is strictly their domain, and come down on states when they try to enforce immigration law, then it seems it should cut both ways and that states can simply choose to ignore enforcing federal NFA laws.

Upcoming cannery trip

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Reminder: A dozen 10/22 mags for $104 delivered.
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Winter continues apace. A good time for indoor things like reloading, inventorying, re-arranging things, etc, etc.

Got together with one of the LMI the other day. He was asking me about the LDS cannery in town. I hadn’t been there in several years and since then they have changed their policy about food canning. See, it used to be you’d get a half dozen people or so, head up there, everyone put on gloves and a hair net, and you took your place in the assembly line process of canning food. Your task might be to scoop rice from the 100# bag into the cans, or your job might be to put the oxygen absorber in the can, or perhaps your job was to seal the can…you get the idea. Anyway, there was a certain amount of ‘sweat equity’ involved and having to work together with strangers. Normally, I do not like working with strangers but since these were strangers who shared my beliefs and goals it was rather nice.

And then, as usual, .gov stepped in screwed it up.

Health and safety, food handling regs, whatever….short version is that because of bureaucratic BS you couldn’t continue doing it the way it had been done. Instead, you go up there now and buy the food already canned. Heck,  you can even head over to the church website and order the stuff online at the same price.

So, I need to get together with my buddy and make an appointment to go up there and pick up a few things. I was going over my spreadsheet and I’ve a comfortable amount of stuff in storage but, for a few bucks, why wouldn’t you pad that stockpile a bit?

Between bulk stuff like rice, corn, and pasta, the long-term stuff like the freeze-drieds and dehydrated, the mid-term stuff like the canned meats and jarred foods, and the shorter term stuff, I think I could pretty much go quite a while without feeling hungry.

I remember reading “One Second After” and somewhere around three months into the story people were eating heir pets and killing each other for food. I recall thinking “Geez, that’s only three months…I wouldn’t be even making a dent in my stockpile at that point.”

As me and my buddy were talking about the tentative upcoming cannery trip, I mentioned that at this point I’m pretty much just ‘maintaining’ rather than ‘increasing’. I mean, the main needs are met, pretty much. All thats really left are the super big ticket items like the happy little fortified Middle O’ Nowhere house, the uber bugout vehicle, and a few expensive high tech odds and ends. But….that sort of thinking leads to complacency and that’ll cause you no shortage of grief in the long run. So….ABC.

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Oh, the irony

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Democrats are upset because a Republican President is banning non-citizens from entering the country and carrying on like it’s some tremendous human rights violation, meanwhile they seem to conveniently forget the Democrat President who actually rounded up American citizens of a particular ethnicity and stuffed them into concentration* camps.

 

Grattitude

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The Metals Pimp dropped off a shiny Silver Eagle the other day saying it was from a customer who told him to send one my way.

This happens from time to time. And I am always tickled when it does.

So, unknown benefactor, when the apocalypse comes and all the paper money is worthless, I shall drink a toast to your generosity as I purchase home-brewed brain eraser to ease my mind after a long day of hanging looters and shooting cannibal mutants. And lap dances. There’ll definitely be a lap dance or two. Thank you and salut!

Post-election surplus

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Vendors expecting a Hillary buying panic cranked up production and….now have a lot of inventory they need to convert to cash. Thats why we see those sub-$400 AR’s and $30 stripped lowers. One of my vendors just dumped a bunch of Butler Creek 10/22 Hot Lips Clear-color 25-rd mags in my lap. If anyone wants some, theyre $104/12 ($8.66 Ea.), inc. shipping. Any interest or questions, hit me up in email, not comments…

Article – Montana AG strikes Missoula’s expanded background check ordinance

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I pretty much predicted this would happen.

“Plainly interpreted, the Montana Legislature has prohibited all forms of local government from exercising any regulatory power over the purchase, sale or transfer of firearms,” wrote Fox, who more than a year before the ordinance was passed warned it “likely violates our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

The mandated expansion of background checks — to include virtually all gun transfers including private sales — was proposed in Montana’s second-largest city in 2015. It drew almost immediate fire from critics including gun rights groups and two out of three of Montana’s congressional delegates, but, with the support of gun control advocates, passed last September in an 8-4 vote.

Our morbidly obese, and terminally leftist, alcoholic mayor somehow decided that this was a ting that needed to be done. The biggest and oldest gun show in the state happens here every summer and it would have been a tremendous problem if this stupid thing to stand.

Experience is a harsh instructor, but some will learn at the hands of no other.

Meat tray

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Ah, the Meat Tray. How I love thee….it’s like a little menagerie of different animals. Well, different dead, cleaned, and butchered animals. Todays flavors: chicken, bacon, beef, and pork. Something for everyone, a carne tonight!

20170116_121441But, as much as we’d like it to be otherwise, meat has to be packaged properly if it’s gonna go take the cryo-nap. Freezer burn (which, really, is more a form of desiccation and dehydration [mummification, actually]) is reduced when you vacuum seal these morsels, so…let’s do that:

20170116_122636And then half goes into the deep freezer as a hedge against the uncertain future, and the other half goes in the upstairs freezer for eventual ‘normal’ use. Does this sort of thing pay off? Well, years back I wound up with around 70# of ground beef at $1.49/#… that went into the deep freeze and by the time it was finally all consumed, that same ground beef was selling for 2.99/#. I go into my locl grocery store and I am aghast to see it selling for around four bucks these days. So, yes, if you can buy it cheap and stack it deep you’re going to come out ahead in the long run.

Cracking open a ten-year-old bucket of food

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School starts up again this week, so I need to start doing breakfast. Since I’m incredibly lazy, I want something easy and fast. Cold pizza is my #1 choice, but who can afford that? I figured I’d just have instant oatmeal. Turns out, my pantry was devoid of the stuff. Musta used it all up last semester. Hmm. Well, let’s rotate some out of storage.

Sometime around 2006 I ran into a really nice sale on instant oatmeal.* As I recall it was a package of ten for a buck. Hey, for brand-name instant oatmeal, why not? So I picked up a bunch. As I’m sure you are familiar with, instant oatmeal is usually packaged in paper pouches – not the best sort of thing for long-term storage. As always, I turned to my trusty vacuum sealer. Sealed up ten pouches to a bag, sealed ’em up in a bucket, and tucked ’em away. Until today. Let’s see what we got.

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Inspection tag says this was last inspected in 2011. I need to be a tad more diligent about this sort of thing. Every other year should be good. Surface of the bucket is a bit dusty, but that’s to be expected.

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Spin off the Gamma Seal lid and the contents are clean and dry…as expected.

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A dozen sealed ‘bricks’ of packages of instant oatmeal. Awaiting the day a hot breakfast is needed before a full day of hanging looters, manning barricades, killing zombies, and rescuing desperate-but-grateful coeds from cannibals.

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The individual pouches kept their vacuum and everything appears good. No food smells, no insects, no nothin’.

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Everything seems good to go. Contents of pouches aren’t caked together from moisture or anything else. Chalk up another win to the vacuum sealer.

Add some boiling water and…tastes just fine. Without a laboratory I can’t tell what nutritional value (if any) might be, but I can tell you that calorically it’s all there. Some canned/dehydrated fruit, powdered orange drink, instant hash browns, powdered scrambled eggs, maybe a freeze-dried pork chop and you’ve got a pretty decent breakfast after the apocalypse.

This vaccum-seal and bucket combo is also how I store 4# bags of sugar and salt. Sugar, especially, works well in this. The vacuum sealing keeps all the moisture out so your bag of salt or sugar doesn’t become a somewhat useless hard brick…and it keeps the bugs out as well.

I’m always gratified when I get to put food-storage theory to the test…empirical data for the win.

* = Not to toot my own horn, but it occurs to me this is the first time I’ve ever seen a blog post anywhere where a person had a post about something they did ten years ago, and then they have the original post from that thing they did ten years ago. Not a lot of blogs out there have the longevity to pull that stunt.

Article- California Gun Owners Are Already Subverting the State’s Expanded Assault Weapons Ban

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Part of a sweeping package of reforms pushed by Democrats in 2016, the regulations clamped down on a gun industry innovation, known as the bullet button, that flouted an earlier statute meant to regulate rifles with detachable, quickly reloadable ammunition magazines. Under the revised rules, Californians in possession of assault weapons that incorporate a bullet button and certain other features have until the end of this year to register them with the state, a step that some gun owners are loathe to take. Stores like SoCal can’t sell new bullet button-equipped guns, and don’t yet have an alternative that they can be sure will comply with the enhanced restrictions.

But all that could soon change. Just as they did the last time California updated its longstanding assault weapons law, enterprising gunsmiths are ready with new products that could render the tighter restrictions largely moot.

I have a buddy who, finally, left California for the freedom of the mountains of Montana. He said that the first thing he did after he crossed the border out of the state was to pull over, get his FAL outta the case, and replace the ‘bullet button’ with the normal magazine release.

We always ask California gun owners why they don’t just get out of that place and join the rest of us here in the land of 30-rd magazines and flash suppressors. Usually, the answer is either “My wife won’t move, she has family here” (or a similar family-related theme) or they just can’t change careers right now. I have to respect that, after all, a man has obligations and duties that sometimes keep him from doing what he wants.

I feel bad for those California gunnies, though, and I admire the folks who brainstorm rule-beater advancements in technology to try to make the most of a bad situation.

But…nothing makes me appreciate where I live more than reading those outrageous California regs and snuggling my HK91.

Battery fails

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Finally got around to swapping the old incandescent light bulbs out for new LED ones. What’s interesting is that the LED bulbs had a ‘soft indoor’ version and a ‘outdoor light’ version. These had nothing to do with venue, but rather color or ‘warmth’. For example, if you look at most of the regular light bulbs in your house, they throw a yellowish light. As a result everything you see in your house has a bit of that color tinge in it..nothing in your house is the ‘real’ color. I swapped out some of the bulbs for the ‘outdoor light’ bulbs and discovered that what they mean by ‘outdoor light’ is that, like natural light outside, it isn’t as tinged with other color. In other words, you put these bulbs in your household fixtures and you get to see what color your furniture, paint and carpet really is. Eye opening.

I replaced the bulbs because I was out of regular bulbs and had to go to Costco. LED bulbs provide the same light at about 1/10th the power usage so that’s kind of nice. The major appeal is the stupid things are supposed to last orders of magnitude longer than incandescent bulbs…and don’t bulbs always crap out at the worst times? So…LED upgrades.

As I was swapping bulbs, I passed a few of the battery operated ‘puck lights’ that are in the basement for use in power failures. They’re little LED lights that run on AAA-batts. I keep them mounted to the ceiling studs next to the regular lights. As I was swapping bulbs I figured I’d test out the lights. And…this:

20170110_145958As is typical when this sort of thing happens, you’ve got a 50/50 chance of the device being destroyed. In this case, a little cleaning with a wire brush and some fresh batts set things in the right direction. This is why, broadly, I try not to store things with batteries in them. I haven’t heard of this sort of thing happening with lithium batts, like CR123 or lithium AA’s, but I suppose it may happen..I just haven’t experienced it yet.

Moral of the story: those battery devices (like flashlights and radios) should probably get a six-month check to avoid this sorta thing. Put it on the same schedule as smoke detector battery changing – Daylight Savings Time changeover day.

How to be one of those prepper/survivalist bloggers

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I’ve been doing this for about 15 years now, which makes me one of the longest-lived and most under-read blogs on the interwebs when it comes to the topic of preparedness. The secret to that longevity? Well…not really having any other hobbies.

But…no doubt you have some ideas you want to spray around the internet and get all the accolades, babes, endorsement deals, and big bucks that come with blogging, right? Any yahoo can string a couple sentences together and develop a readership, right? I mean, if that goofball in Montana can do it, how hard can it be???

Ok, if you want to get into blogging, this one is for you.

It’s really simple. You need:

  • A domain name
  • A host for that domain
  • A blogging platform
  • An email account
  • PayPal account (optional)
  • Backup software (optional, but a really smart idea)

Domain name – Something short and catchy. You’ll be surprised at how many names that you think no one would have thought of are actually already taken. Pretty much anything with ‘survival’ in it probably already has someone using it. Whatever you pick, make sure you like it…you may (or may not) be using it for a long time. And the shorter names are easier to remember and easier for people to type. “Holycrapwereallgonnadieinanuclearapocalypse.com” is, probably, still available. And it’s probably still available for a reason – who the heck wants to type all that? Look at some of your favorite blogs and see how they dealt with the name issue.

Hosting – there’s a handful of ways to go. Personally, I went with Yahoo for a number of years and it worked out well. Then they did some changes and things went screwy for a while. I had heard good things about Bluehost and I went with them. So far, been pretty pleased with them. I recommend them, although I’m sure there are other hosts that are just as good. I can only tell you about what I’ve done. Wherever you go, though, try to have the same outfit do the domain registration, hosting, and email.

Blogging platform – the two biggies out there seem to be Blogger and WordPress. I really like WP for all the ways you can modify it, the third-party support is tremendous, and many hosts are already set up on the back-end to support it. When I was shopping for hosts one of the things that appealed to me about Bluehost was that they had WP already installed. It was about as close to -click-n-play as it could be. You literally can be up and blogging in minutes.

Email account – Again, I wanted all my eggs in one basket..hosting, email, domain registration, etc, all done through the same company…this makes a lot of stuff seamless. If you already have a cool domain name registered elsewhere you can usually ‘port it over.

Payapl account – if you’re going to pass the hat around, or sell an item or two on your blog, you’ll want a PayPal account. Get it AFTER you get your domain and mail set up…that way all that annoying registration nonsense goes to the blog email address.

Backups – Dude, we’ve heard it all of our lives – backup your software. There is nothing more frustrating than watching years of posts vanish in a server migration or somesuch. I use Updraft, and I paid for the upgraded version. It backs everything up a couple times a week and dumps it to Dropbox (or wherever you want it..email, Google, wherever). It is absolutely worth the money. Bluehost offers backups as well and if you’re the suspenders-and-a-belt type, you’ll want to take advantage of that as well.

That’s the basics. After that, the rest is up to you. Maybe you want to monetize things with an Amazon Affiliate account. Or you want to be subscription only. Or you just want a place to rant and rave. Whatever. But once you’ve got everything set up, it’s time to get people through the front door. Do not promote your blog by spamming message boards or other blogs. I had some loser do that a few weeks ago…he posted worthless comments to dozens of posts and used his comments as a platform to link to his page. That is extremely bad form in the blogosphere. Go to some blogs that have a list of other blogs and ask to be added to that list. And then make some actually good, quality, readable posts. Blogging is a great example of the free market – put out a good product and you’ll get rewarded, or a bad product and you’ll be quickly forgotten. You want to make the kind of posts that someone will read and send an email to a buddy saying “Hey, check out this blog.” Or, better yet, you want something that a better-read blog will link to. I link to other poeople’s blogs from time to time and they link to mine. (And, theres no two ways around it, if you can get ,Rawles to link to you..well…thats your fifteen minutes of fame and your chance to shine.)

All of this, by the by, also applies to any other type of blogging….gunblogging, in particular. But whatever you decide to do try to stick it out….it’s easy to start off strong and post every day and then slack off and the next thing you know your’re posting every other month. I’ve watched several blogs I liked suddenly stop posting and remain static. Or, worse, come back as 404 or ‘this domain for sale’.

Oh..and don’t be a dick.

Happy blogging.

 

 

Article – Liberal Preppers Stock Up On Guns, Food As Trumpocalypse Looms

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Oh merciful Crom, the irony is so hard….

Colin Waugh bought a shotgun four weeks before November’s election.

An unapologetic liberal, he was no fan of firearms. He had never owned one before. But Waugh, a 31-year-old from Independence, Missouri, couldn’t shake his fears of a Donald Trump presidency — and all of the chaos it could bring. He imagined hate crimes and violence waged by extremists emboldened by the Republican nominee’s brash, divisive rhetoric. He pictured state-sanctioned roundups of Muslims, gays, and outspoken critics.

“I kept asking myself, ‘Do I want to live under tyranny?’” said Waugh, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and later backed Hillary Clinton. “The answer was absolutely not.”

With Trump now days away from assuming the White House, Waugh’s preparing for the worst. He’s made “bug-out bags” stuffed with ammo, energy bars, and assorted survival gear for his wife and their three cats. He’s begun stowing water and browsing real estate listings in Gunnison County, Colorado, which he’s determined to be a “liberal safe-haven.” Last month, Waugh added a 9mm handgun to his arsenal.

Ok, help me out here….a guy gets elected president, and a percentage of the population reacts by buying guns, food, and cabins in the woods. If they’re conservatives they are deplorable bitter clingers, but if they’re lefties they’re just sensible? Is that how that works?

New stubby non-NFA shotgun from Mossberg

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These things really are wildly impractical, unless you’re expecting trouble in a long narrow hallway, but the fact that .gov restricts them is all i need to want one.

Anyway, apparently as long as the shotgun receiver never had stock on it, and the overall length is 26″, it doesn’t fit the federal description of ‘shotgun’. Without a handy category to pigeonhole it into, it is simply a ‘firearm’. Whats this mean? It means you can have a 14″ barrel on a little shotgun that doesn’t require the $200 song-and-dance.

Yes, I’ll get one. Because.

Some video of it from TFB:

I must say, between ‘arm brace’ workarounds on SBR’s, and this little quirk to get sub-18″ shotguns, it’s an interesting time to be alive. Perhaps this sort of thing will convince the powers that be to scrap the whole nonsense….but I doubt it.

Vacuum packaging clothes

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A few posts back, I mentioned that I carry some spare clothes in the vehicle winter gear box. I vacuum pack them for two reasons – first, it keeps them clean and dry; second, it helps to compact items to conserve space. But, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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For this example, we’ll use this Carrhart Face Mask..a bulky, thick, warm head/face covering that is well suited for spending the night in a cold vehicle. For the purpose of size comparison, note the beer-can sized object next to it.

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We fold it into thirds so it’ll fit in the bag, slide it in and set it down for comparison. Note the amount of loft/bulk…it’s about half as tall as the Coke can. The coke can is about 4.75″. The folded face mask is about 3″ thick. Let’s draw the air out of it and see what it compresses down to.

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Finished product. Not only is it now going to stay dry and clean, two very important features for a piece of gear that might be called upon in an emergency, but the thickness is a fraction of what it was before. When space is at a premium, this is an exceptionally good way of making the most of what you have.

Sure, buying yourself a vacuum sealer is a very(!) good way to maximize your savings on bulk purchases of meats and whatnot, but it also comes in very handy for protecting and storing items that absolutely must be stay in good condition. A buddy of mine just bought one the other day and when I talked to him a few days later he’d already had a good time experimenting with it and sealing up all sortsa stuff.

By the by, I actually do use the stupid thing for kitchen purposes. The absolute most useful thing I’ve done with it, in regards to food, is using it to store extra spaghetti sauce. See, I’ll make a huge batch of meat sauce with beef and sausage. Then I’ll put a couple ladles of sauce into a bag, let it freeze solid in the freezer, and once it’s solid I’ll vacuum seal the bag. (Because vacuum sealing a bag of liquids is messy. So..freeze solid.) Then, months (or years) down the road when I want a quick and easy meal, I’ll throw on a big pot of water for pasta. As the water comes to a boil I drop the bag of frozen spaghetti sauce in there. It thaws as the water comes to a boil. Remove bag, add pasta to water and cook. Put the thawed bag in the microwave for a couple minutes and when the pasta is done I just cut the edge of the bag and add sauce to the pasta. One pot cooking. I’m tellin’ ya, if you’re an imaginative dude you can come up with a lot of great ideas on how to exploit a vacuum sealer.

Winter Vehicle Stuff – Pt VI – Everything else

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So I’ve pretty much hit the highlights, but there’s still a dozen or so small items that aren’t really worth their own post but they are worth mentioning since they may nudge your thinking in a direction it hadn’t previously gone.

So what else? Well…entrenching tool, esbit stove/cup with tabs, spare batteries in a case, Maglite w/ spare batts, pocket AM/FM radio (with battery commonality with the flashlight), a few ration bars, water pouches, first aid kit, TP, a good book, space blanket (for use as a ground sheet in case you have to kneel out there on the wet snow to change a tire or something), sheath knife, notepad and pen, and a few other items. It’s not hard to imagine…just think, if you were sitting in the dark and cold overnight what would you want to have with you while youre tucked away in your sleeping bag? Go from there.

Depending on your preferences and tastes, this can be as much or as little stuff as you think you need. And it can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you’re comfortable with. Me, I’ve got no problem paying extra $$$ for the name-brand quality stuff. When it’s -10 and I’m huddled in a sleeping bag trying to make it through the night I doubt I will be patting myself on the back for saving a few bucks by buying the Walmart-brand batteries and flashlight. You can buy the Made In China bargain parachute, not me.

But, as we all know, the first rule of disaster survival is: don’t be there. If it’s calling for 10″ of snow and high winds….stay home. Open a can of chicken soup, sit on the couch under a blanket, and watch Big Bang Theory reruns.

The sub $400 AR

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Part of me thought I’d never see it, and part of me thought that it would eventually happen: the sub-$400 AR. Let me put this i perspective..a new AR for the price of a used Glock.

AND76874-1-11-17I probably wouldn’t have it as my primary gun for the zombie apocalypse, but I’d have no problem sticking a couple in a closet and reselling them to people who were too shortsighted to think that the ‘assault weapons’ hooplah wasn’t gone for good.

From MGE Wholesale.

Winter Vehicle Stuff – Pt V – Clothes

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I know, you’re thinking “Dude, unless you’re driving naked why would you need to pack clothes. You’re already wearing clothes!” True, but think of the circumstances…maybe youre on your way to/from the office Christmas party..you’re in your nice slacks, dorky sweater, loafers, and a too-light coat…after all, you only were going to be outside for the time it took to go from the parking lot to the restaurant. Annnnnnd..Murphy happens: you get stuck and you’re out there trying to shovel your stuck vehicle out while youre wearing loafers, thin socks, slacks, a light jacket, and probably no hat and gloves. Owie. Or you tried to shovel your way out of your situation..now your shoes and socks are soaked, pants are wet, and youre missing a glove. Wouldn’t dry clean clothes feel good right about now?

So: pack extra clothes. You’re smart, you know what you need. But, if not, imagine this: you’re dropped naked into an abandoned car in the middle of winter. What do you need? Footwear, warm socks, long underwear, winter undershirt, long pants, heavyweight shirt, coat, gloves, scarf, hat..at least. You might add extra socks and extra mitts to swap out as they get wet.

20161227_120212I pack a complete change of clothes, plus winter coat, plus ‘accoutrements’ (scarf, hat, mitts). Everything that can, gets vacuum sealed. This serves two purposes: it keeps everything dry and clean, and it helps to keep things compact to fit in the Box O’ Gear. If you have them, and I highly recommend these, pack a set of insulated Carhart bibs. Wear these under your heavy coat you will not know cold. Theyre bulky, so they don’t fit in my Box O’ Gear, but I just roll ’em up and throw ’em in the back. I have worn them while working in -15 weather and they kept my legs, thighs, and abdomen just toasty as can be.

Don’t just go to your closet and pull out some old clothes and throw them in your vehicle. Use some common sense and think about the circumstances you’ll be using those clothes under. Don’t pull out those old hunting boots with the torn eyelets, the wool pants that ‘shrank’ in the waistline, and the mittens grandma knitted for you. You’re in a car trying not to freeze to death…wear clothes that fit, are well made, and made for cold weather. Good boots, wool socks, polypro undergarments, heavy shirt, heavy coat, thick hat, several pairs of warm liners for your mitts, etc.  Vacuum seal as much of it as you can to save space.

Wool, polypro, whatever…just make sure you’ve got a couple layers. And while I always recommend staying with the vehicle, it’s a good idea to pack clothing as if you weren’t going to stay with the vehicle.

I’ve no desire to freeze to death or lose some fingers/toes to frostbite. I pack the warmest clothes I can find and then I add one or two extra pieces ‘just in case’. It’s a bit of work fitting all that in the Box O’ Gear but on some late night on the side of the road when it’s blowing -10 (much like it is outside right now) that little bit of extra might mean the difference between an uncomfortable nights sleep and physical therapy for the nubs where my fingers used to be.