Sunday, December 23, 2012

What The Run On Defensive Firearms, Ammunition, & Gear Tells US....

Not a whole lot of Holiday or Christmas cheer out there this year, unless you're oblivious to the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting.  Americans have seemingly bought-up every AR-15 and other "assault weapon" for sale at retail and those that were in-stock by wholesalers and other inventorying middle-men.  Ammunition and magazines for same also now no longer available...

Politically this Run On Guns speaks volumes.  Even as prices began to spike, demand never diminished.  Much on the Internet about hundreds or thousands waiting to be admitted to local gunshows, not to mention the 10-deep or more waiting at gun store counters.

Too bad so many waited so long.

The theme here is N/A.   NOT AVAILABLE....
Almost as good as a gun ban, isn't it?  No "evil black rifle" merchandise remaining available for sale on a general basis.

Here is The Great Fact:  The tools and supplies which generally work together to enable reasonably comfortable lifestyle of self-sufficiency are in limited supply.  Always have been.  Now more so than ever, thanks to Just In Time inventory & delivery practices.

Really need to have a comprehensive idea of what your needs are and the tools, gear, & supplies along with references and skills that you will need to make fulfilling those needs a reality.   The Want Of A Horshoe Nail....  Recall the kid's story?    Self-sufficiency largely entails an ability to create, fabricate, design, and utilize tools, technology, skills that make life easier, more comfortable and dependable.

Money is a reliable tool only as long as it is accepted and in some demand for use by others.
Not much need to diatribe the fiat-money-fraud again.  You either understand by now that modern "money" has no intrinsic value and loses purchasing power over time, or you're gonna be a monetary loser...  

Not a great deal of inventory depth or production demand for many of the things you likely need for a Survivalist Lifestyle..  Not a lot of Ham Radio production out there anymore.  Not a lot of companies making fabrication tools, pitcher pumps for wellhead operation, hacksaw blades, duct tape, camping gear, quality cookware and cutlery...

Tools are a BIG MUST.  Mechanical repair gear, electrical diagnosis and parts to repair, carpentry and woodworking tools.  Plumbing repair gear is a big essential.  Water and waste system operation is a HUGE hygiene and health matter.  Ability to fix/repair breaks is a must.  Tap & die to chase or thread metal pipe might be critical.  Valve rebuild kit to fix a faucet similarly important.

Hacksaw and variety of blades, metal shears, files, chisels, sharpening stones, grinder, tap & die sets, and I did forget to mention hammers in various weights and configurations, are the basics you need for Metal Fabrication.  Being able to salvage steel and parts to use on other projects may be critical to you for some project.  Just making do with what you have on-hand is so much easier when you have tools to modify or fashion raw materials.

Food Processing Gear is really critical.  Figure to harvest your own?  Rendering your harvest, Processing it for storage, Tools for cooking and storing it as you decide are all part of the equation.  I'm writing this off top of my head so it ain't detailed as to each step; that is for you to understand and work out for your situation.  The key is, do you have the gear to enable you to do this Very Necessary Work with efficiency, safety, and ability?  Can't really can without a canner or supply of jars, lids, rims.  Spare gasket seal kit in your stores?  Can't keep the pressure cooker pressurizing reliably w/o gaskets....

How're you set for Medical Emergencies like wounds, severe cuts, limb breakage?  Then there is day-to-day stuff and keeping your family tip-top...  

Sewing for fabrication of clothing, household items and repairs?  Got the machines, gear and fabric & other supplies that makes these capabilities work routinely?

Got the rudimentary auto maintenance supplies like correct oils to change crankcase and driveline  components when needed w/o going to a service station?  Drive your vehicle through a lot of standing water, you'll want to change all fluids in reservoirs the water might have infiltrated.  Got filters, both fuel and oil?  Sparkplugs?  Glowplugs? All the normal maintenance items?  Got a Haynes or factory manual for reference and the basic tools?

How're you fixed for basic clothing, outerwear, camping gear and special clothes for working?  Probably not going to wear the clothes you use for active gardening, animal tending, butchering, cutting firewood, or working on mechanical eqpt out in public or around the house.  Got a good supply of warm socks, all types of underwear, pants, shirts, belts?  SHOES are Big Item since most can't fabricate boots or shoes.

Resale shops and Pawnshops are your friend...  Resale for kitchen gear, clothing, linens, spare shoes, and any other good serviceable gear you see.  Pawnshops have the Tools and outdoor gear.  May as well save money where you can.  For sure you will spend it elsewhere.

How're you set for a Pantry and properly provisioned Kitchen?  Got a stove that will work when the power is down?  Got other ways to cook?

Whatever you need to more self-sufficient;  NOW Is The Time to be adding to your skills and gear.

Can't cook from scratch?  Take time to cook several simple meals and learn.
Don't know anything about construction?  Maybe you build your kids a playhouse?  Learn to cut wood and nail, sheath walls and make a roof that keeps our the rain...
If you own a Newish auto, my condolences.  Likely there's not much you can do for maintenance.  Be sure your maintenance is up to date and you have some fuel cans you can fill.

Lots of items you can find used and buy very cheap. Many of these items are better than those made now.  Others like metal fabrication gear and edged tools are rarely in serviceable condition when found used.  Files, hacksaw blades, chisels and other cutting tools except scissors and kitchen cutlery, typically are too long-gone to be worth much, unless you want them to make something.  Tool steel is great stuff, no matter the condition; just don't pay more than scrap prices for anything needs a restoration or for a project.

The Gun-Run points out ONE BIG THING:   The tools you need are in short supply.  There are not enough in the system to meet demand should demand increase overnite.

Hope you have some time in these often quiet weeks to reflect on your family's needs and prioritize them so you have what you need when you need it.  Unless you Take Action Now, your options will likely be curtailed on many items, in many categories in the weeks ahead.

God Bless!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Warm, Dry, Hydrated, Fed, & Capable of Self-Defense.  The Basics.

Hope you have sought your Defensive Weapons on a priority basis.  Survival Guns by Mel Tappan is such a seminal work; none other like it before or after.  Tappan's ability to differentiate between Working and Defense weapons and give straightforward advice that acquisition of such pistols and rifles was a Definite Priority for a "survivalist" was and remains The Prime Firearms Adviso of the past 100 years.

These firearms have "special" abilities and only those of their type will fill the bill should you ever need their extended functioning and longterm accuracy retention.  All feature mil-spec parts, fast magazine change facility, chrome-lined barrels (rifles, mainly), and ease of gunsmithing and wide-availability of spare parts.  The ability of these Defense weapons to fire w/o degradation of performance as long as you have loaded magazines at the ready IS The Issue!  Most sporting arms are not designed to such capabilities.  YOU NEED THESE CAPABILITIES IF EVER YOU MIGHT HAVE OCCASION TO DEFEND LIFE OR PROPERTY.

The limited supply of proper defensive weapons is by now, extremely apparent.  Hope you got yours while the getting was good & easy....   Ammunition for these and firearms are presently undergoing a "strong upswing in demand" as previously discussed here.  The Just-In-Time production and distribution models have already failed.  Perhaps smalltown gunshops or private sellers have something to offer, but reports are widespread that most suitable Defensive Guns and ammunition have been sold-out over the events of the past week or so.

Kind of like waiting till hurricane warnings are issued to buy a generator, or until the power grid is down to go the fuel depot to fill your storage cans...   IF you intended to acquire a Defense-worthy weapon, but haven't yet; you may still find your way, but the effort required will likely be much more lengthly and costly.  That supply & demand thing, again.  You are now competing with all the others who were blind to the situation, but now can see.  That they are taking action where you haven't....   Well, as they say:  Fortune Favors The Bold.

Tappan advised purchase of a proper Fighting Pistol as primary or first aquisition.  There had been no "assault rifle" crimes when Survival Guns was written in the late-70s.  Gun-grabbers then were mostly concerned about handguns, so seemed most likely that a handgun ban would happen first...   Times changed, though; didn't they?  We saw the Clinton-era AWB (asault weapon ban) and  The Gun-Buying Public is voting with their wallets that they expect similar or worse legislation to be forthcoming.  Likely, many are "investing" in weapons and accoutrement with eye to resale at profit even though such activities are likely at odds with Firearms Law & Code.

Point is, IF You Need one or more specific weapons; guns you have identified and intended to acquire.  NOW Is The Time to find them and buy.

NOW is also the time to own spare magazines.  Something like 2-4 for each defensive pistol, and 4-6 for each defense rifle.  You need magazine pouches or carriers, cleaning gear, spare parts (see archives list) and plenty ammunition.  Best to buy one firearm with ammunition, that 2 guns and no ammo.  Need that ammunition.  250rds as minimum per pistol and 500rds minimum per defensive rifle; IF you are an experienced shooter and are capable shooter.  If you are inexperienced, probably will need 2x or 3x the ammunition recommended with the extra to be shot at gun range, on targets to learn trigger control and sight adjustment and become confident with your piece.

Ammunition may be the greater difficulty.  If can't buy it ready-made, the HANDLOADING Option remains....   It is very cost effective to make your own ammunition, especially if you desire match quality rifle ammo or self-defense rounds for pistol.

Here's the deal about ammunition:  Pistols of smaller caliber than 10mm or .45 caliber (not talking revolvers here, talking semi-auto pistols) touted for defense purposes are wholly reliable upon "special" ammunition loaded mainly with Hollowpoint bullets.  Rifles deliver much greater power so need no "special" bullets unless high degree of longrange accuracy or precision is the goal.  The 10mm Auto and .45acp are the primary defensive pistol chamberings.  Only these cartridges offer large enough bullet diameter, heavy enough bullet weight, and sufficient velocity to serve as Primary Self-Defense handguns WITHOUT Necessitating "special" hollowpoint or slugs.

Can't get ammunition, but can buy handloading gear & components?  If you can follow simple instructions and formulas enough to cook a meal from scratch, you can likely handload your own ammunition.  See the archives here on handloading.

With a Dillon 550b or Lee progressive loading machine, you can assemble several hundred rounds of ammunition per hour; once you get the hang of the process.  I would buy loading gear and components if ammunition was not available.  Many online vendors of loading gear and components.  Nosler is a bulletmaker that has an online store.  Their match rifle bullets and their handgun bullets are priced right and typically available.  Midway-USA, Graf & Son, Sinclair, Mid-South Shooter Supply, Wideners, Natchez Shooter Supply, and many other online vendors may have the equipment you need, bullets, and brass ctg cases.  For primers and smokeless powder you want to buy locally to save on hazmat and other delivery costs.  Primers are often a short supply item.

One pound of powder loads about 1000 pistol cartridges.  The assembled round is a Cartridge, not a bullet.  Bullets are a component.  You can make cast bullets from raw lead or melted wheelweights or buy Jacketed bullets from a bullet maker.  Round or pointed nose cast bullets or swaged bullets will generally function well in the .45acp.  I don't own a 10mm Auto, but likely hardcast etc will be fine.  Berry's Bullets, Meister Cast, and other brands are often in-stock at retailers or can be bought online.

Powdercharges of ammunition are measured in Grains.  There are 7000 grains per pound.  Like Grams, Grains are a weight measurement that is a fraction of an ounce..  In loading .223 ammunition, you get about 300 loads per pound of powder.  With .308win you get about 175 loads.

Lee Reloading offers the lowest priced tools for handloading.  Their dies and machines are excellent.  Dillon offers the finest affordable progressive and automatic loading machines.  RCBS and Redding offer about the finest in tools and dies.  Not talking match-quality gear here, but Redding is about the finest in the 7/8x14 threaded die loading gear market.

Before you buy loading gear, you want to STUDY a loading manual.  Sierra, Hornady, Lee, and the powder mfrs and other bulletmakers all publish Handloading Data.  Hodgdon Powder company has extensive Online resources.

You want pistol bullet weights of 180gr or heavier, with a flatpoint bullet being most effective for energy transmission to your target.  Hollowpoints are an option also, but I would avoid any such bullets with exposed lead anywhere on the bullet nose.  For .223 rifle the 69gr and 75/77 gr match bullets are most effective for accuracy and knockdown power.  For 308 rifle, 147/150gr are the military standard, but 168/175gr match bthp designs are better for longrange precision unless you choose a match design in a 150/155...

Lots to consider.

If you waited, you are behind the curve and the curve is rising every day.
The weapons and ammunition you want to own are being bought-up and may soon no longer be available for sale due to legal constraint.

If you have assets to buy ammunition in quantity, I recommend you also buy loading gear and components.  Brass, bullets, primers, and powder will only increase in value.  Study a loading manual or two and then buy what you find that you can use.

Hope you are well out of the line of fire, but also ready and able to mount an effective defense should the need ever arise.

All the best from us this Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just Because You're Paranoid Don't Mean They Ain't Out To Getcha...

Best TEOTWAWKI/SHTF novel I ever read was Niven & Pournelle's LUCIFER'S HAMMER.

The 12/21/12 stuff is more and more in the news.  Supposedly the Australian PM has warned in public and quoted commentary, "the world is ending"; dear me...

HAMMER protagonist, Harve Randall, has been covering the comet-event in that story for many months before HAMMER-fever struck the population.  A week before the forecasted HAMMER-fall, Randall has his epiphany:  What If It Actually Happens!  He realizes there is only so much elasticity in "the system", that the LA Basin only has so many resources and he needs to take some level of precaution, so for several pages of the book, the authors describe Randall's efforts to play "catch-up" and make-ready....

Nine days to go on this Mayan-fever.  Much is going on at many levels.  December 21 means nothing to me, but....

Consider the absence of Elasticity in The American Retail and Supply mechanism.  If you have yet to acquire tools or other goods which are not in commodity availability, which is to say stocked deeply and sold widely at many outlets, then you may find those goods, once sold-out, will remain sold-out...

Not really going to cover the background as to how & why America dug a deeply troubling Just-In-Time Inventory scheme and dependency, but it is prevalent at every level of supply and distribution.   Only so much is produced.  When actual demand exceeds the projected need for production, goods are simply Not Available.

Firearms and ammunition are case in point.  You've either acquired what you selected to own, or are having to scramble for available merchandise.  The most desirable models in very limited supply for months or years to come.  Always fun to blog about guns, but you'd best be in fine shape for your daily needs and resources as well.

Reason for this post is to advise that between the Mayan-thing, and the "Fiscal Cliff" being touted as a Jan 1, 13 situation; there are likely to be Much More Demand For Goods that are in limited supply.  

Perhaps you saw that Blitz, Inc., the maker of steel jerry cans and plastic fuel containers, sold more widely than any other brand, has gone out of business.  Apparently too many people disregarded the warnings imprinted on the gasoline carriers and poured fuel directly onto open flame sources and were burned.  Their attorneys got judgments against Blitz and now Blitz is gone...  Fuel containers have gone from $10 to about $18 from what I can tell.   Not as many out there to choose from.

Won't take much for the limited inventory of common goods & supplies which you might be likely to desire to be bought-out.  The stuff will be there on the shelves, like it has been for months or years, but gone next time you're looking to buy said merchandise.  Like Johnny Carson joking about a toiletpaper shortage.  His remarks actually caused one as viewers responded and bought-up more than their usual quantity.

The American Distribution System is tuned to a very fine efficiency.  Should greater demand than forecast materialize, it will take weeks or months to respond and build units to satisfy demand; possibly years.  

Expect that you have many more months to fulfill your acquisition plans?   Just be aware that the situation is fluid and subject to change.  If the "greater-public" begins to take action, your plans and goals will be irrelevant.

If you aren't paranoid-level aware enough to consider the precarious nature of merchandise and commodity deliveries  in America and how they can/might impact your planning; might want to be aware that water levels in The Mississippi River are so low that it is likely that barge traffic will be halted from running the full-length of the river by this week.   A number of electric utilities along the river rely on barges to deliver coal and oil & gas they use to generate electricity.  Not likely that these guys have acres of extra coal reserves that they had a decade or two ago.
Just-In-Time theory will prove more disastrous than the benefits it availed, I think...

If you are giving gifts this season, might be a great time to give those gifts the whole family can use; like a quality generator, solar panels, quality inverter and 6v storage batteries.  Maybe a good condition woodburning stove and stovepipe setup from craigslist?  Personal water filters and camelback bladder systems...  Wool socks and quality boots...  Hope you get the idea.  If you're paranoid enough to take action, think you'll see big dividends from your decisions in the near future...

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

More On Survival Guns....

Have posted on this before.  See the archive.  Mel Tappan was a genius who saw the situation clearly.  You NEED Defensive weapons most essentially and you need to differentiate between guns for day-to-day working/hunting situations  and those for Defense.

Really IS Time To Have Your Defensive Weapons, Spare Parts, Ammunition, and Handloading Components & Tools Ready and Situated.  NOW...

A defensive weapon can serve you in the field, but a working gun can't really do the job if that job entails a long defensive situation where much ammunition is expended in a short time or over extended hours or days.   Many reasons...  See The Archived Article.  But in brief, only defensive pistols and rifles are made to hold up to sustained fire situations.  Most hunting rifles don't have 10rd magazines with quick release levers and magazine wells designed for fast reloading.  Revolvers are less capable of serving your defensive needs.

To recap:

 I endorse only those semi-auto pistols chambered for 10mm Auto or .45acp ammunition.  Glock and Springfield XD and other variants like S&W may be excellent, but what  I KNOW and Trust is the Colt 1911 pistol in .45acp.  Have owned a 1911 since the mid-70s and found the pistol and ammunition capable of exceptional accuracy (series 70 Colt) and the ammunition available in bullet weights from 185 to 230 grains or heavier.

If purchasing a 1911, I recommend only Colt, Kimber, Springfield Armory, and S&W manufactured pistols in full-size Government Model or Match configuration.  Each handgun should have at least 3 spare magazines for a total of 4.  Six would be better.  For ammunition, any USA made generic 230gr Ball, roundnose ammunition like Winchester, Remington, Federal, or CCI will be fine.  For concealed carry, maybe you want some 230gr Federal Hydra-shok or Winchester premium hollowpoints...

I endorse the 10mm Auto only if using 180gr or heavier ammunition.  200gr is better.  Diameter, Weight, and Velocity are the major factors in STOPPING POWER. Heavy Bullets of Large Diameter at moderate velocity 850fps up to 1000fps is the ticket for control and stopping power.

You'll need cleaning gear, especially bronze brushes and quality handgun cleaning rod like the Dewey fixed  12" rod and correctly sized patch jag, and cleaners.  Walmart carburetor cleaner in aersol can is good for brushing out lead and copper.  Barnes C110 is best for copper removal.  You want some decent oil like hoppes #9 bore solvent to clean bluing.  Lots of homemade cleaner & oil recipes on the net...Why pay $3-$5 for a 2oz bottle of 10wt oil worth a dime???

Holsters.  You need a couple.  The newer military flap holster convertible L-R made of ballistic nylon is excellent for belt wear and protecting your weapon from abuse.  It ain't a defense or concealment holster, for those, take your gun to the shop and try several.

Rifles.  Your rifle is your life.  If you handload for .223 the AR-15 loaded with 75/77gr match bullets is a superb Defense Weapon.  The bullets are tougher than nails and never break apart.  They penetrate or bend, but don't break apart. These match bullets also deliver more energy at 500yds than a 158gr .357mag bullet started at 1400fps will at 25yds.  They are also capable of match accuracy at that distance and have been used in competition by the Army Marksmanship Unit for all Service Rifle distances.  200, 300 & 600yds.  The AMU routinely wins their matches.  The 77gr loaded to magazine length gives you 30rds of longrange or close-in power well in excess of the 55 or 62gr that most use in their .223 rifles.

Don't handload?  Live in Alaska where Brown Bear grow extra large?  Then you likely want a .308win chambered rifle.  Figure to be elk hunting or killing cattle?  While the 77gr .224 bullet will serve, it likely won't serve as well as the .308win loaded with 180gr or maybe a 200gr premium hunting bullet.    The 5.56 has practical range of 600-700yds when loaded correctly.  The 7.62x51 has an 800-1000 yd practical range with match ammunition.

I am a match ammunition devotee.  Better bullets and precision loaded ammunition produce more hits at distance.  Most .308win semi-auto battlerifles are 1:11 twist barreled.  They will shoot 150 to 180gr bullets most optimally.  To get best accuracy with 77gr match bullets in the AR-15, you need a 1:8 Or 1:7 twist barrel.

I do not advise any handloader use an H-K 91 or 93 rifle because the chambers are dimensioned such that they ruin brass upon firing.  Maybe this special neck chambering technique is better?  No other mfr does it.  If you want to reuse your brass, buy other than Heckler-Koch rifles...

Best 5.56/.223 rifles:  Mini-14 ranch rifle is good for its small size and Garand mechanism.
For AR-15 the names to consider are Colt, ArmaLite, Rock River Arms, Older Bushmaster, and Lewis Machine & Tool

Best 7.62/.308 rifles:  Springfield M1a full-size basic, Armalite AR-10, DPMS AR-10

Need 5 or more spare magazines per rifle.  Quality scope mount gear like TPS, Leupold mk4, Warne Maxima, Badger Ord, Burris Tactical.  30mm tube scope will need a high height ring set with a 40mm objective.  Larger objective will need extra-high.  I use TPS and Leupold mk4.

I am NOT a fan of quick release risers or one piece mount gear.  I have seen these units be made off-axis of the bore.  A scope sighted-in using one particular brand was 8moa shifted to the right at muzzle.  Too great an inaccuracy for me to tolerate.  Might not worry you, but my ARs are longrange and setup to swap scopes.  Scopes that are so far-off from bore are useless to me.

For spare parts for any weapon you want:  firing pin, extractor, ejector, springs for each along with maybe a spare buffer spring and other parts to build or renew your lower and upper receiver.  AR-10 and AR-15 share many common parts, only takedown pins and firing pin groups being different.

For every rifle you want to own a good sling for carrying the weapon and to use as a aid to aiming.  1.25" match slings, type 1917 are very good.

The A-2 rifles with carryhandle sights are excellent, even if not as popular as flat-tops.  If you've shot an aperture sight equipped rifle before, an AR A-2 will be very fast and can be tuned front and rear sight for elevation to serve out to 500/600yds.

Scopes for AR rifles ought be fast reacting, light, and relatively compact.  Leupold VX-II 1.25 to 4x is excellent for use in an A-2 carry handle mount or on a flat-top AR.  These scopes are now offered with mil-dot reticle and tactical elevation/windage knobs.  Very light & compact.

Scopes with long rear objectives, very wide turret housings and long tube lengths are not generally  satisfactory on AR rifles.  The leupold 3-9, 3.5-10, 4.5-14 are among the lightest and most compact scopes available.  Burris compact scopes, Zeiss Conquest, and others are worth evaluating.  Those that are too heavy, bulky, long, tall or have minimal rear tube mount area for ring location will severely limit your ability to employ them on an AR flat top and many other rifles.

I do not consider shotguns to be defensive weapons.

NOW is the time to be sure you have met all your goals and are well established in your defensive abilities.  Got a digital rangefinder?  Might want to plot the distances of objects  and places an enemy might hide from your house.  Write down those distances and memorize them.  Make a range-card, a drawing and plot the distances on the drawing.  That way you know it is 175yds to your neighbors gate or that sign down the street...

As one final note, be sure that you do not have flamable or combustible materials around your home or outbuildings.  Your enemy may employ fire against you.  A gravel perimeter won't burn, an enemy can't hide in ambush if you take away the hiding place(s). and make them carry whatever they might use to attempt to burn you and yours out of your home.  Presumably, whoever carries tinder and flammables will be an easier target...

Practice dry firing your weapons and taking a variety of shooting stances.  Always clear all weapons and magazines.  Check them several times before commencing.  Make sure that all members of your household expect and Know that every gun is always loaded.  You may need a firearm in a heartbeat...  When you reach for it, it better be loaded and ready to go.