Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More Observations...

Cyprus looks to be a Watershed Event.  Depositor funds seized to render bank solvency.  Casinos wish they could get house odds like that.  Got money at risk?  Been thinking about relocation or funding some equipment that would enable a greater mode of self-sufficiency? Not really a lot to think about, if you ask me.  Figure your job is solid and your 401(k) and profit-sharing will be there for you?  Best think again...

Lots of people have missed the ammunition train.  That same train has made Handloading Components very scarce and desirable.  Looking for a place to park some money?  Looking for ammunition?  If you can obtain PRIMERS and POWDER (smokeless propellant, not black powder) there are cartridge cases and bullets to be found; albeit on internet gun-board forums, in the classified sections.  Some high quality gear often sells there for way under current values.  Ebay is also a venue for Handloading Tools and other gear.  Using paypal means you get your stuff in 3-4 days. 

Would be hard to get hurt if you found some brass and bullets in sizes that are common or are specific to your own weapons.  Jeff Cooper in the late 70s wrote a column for Mel Tappan's Personal Survival Letter.  In Ballistic Wampum Col. Cooper advised buying ammo to store and have for trade/investment.  Most popular centerfire (reload capable) cartridges are these basics:  .308win, .223rem, .30-30win, .30-06, .270win, .243win, .38sp, .357mag, 9mm Para, .44mag, & .45acp.  The .300win mag and 7mm rem mag are also very popular.  Basic .30-06, .308win, and .22-250 are used in many different bore sizes and can be necked up or down.  A basic loading manual will give cartridge case dimensions.  With the above 3 rifle casings about 20 different common cartridges can be handloaded, not to mention wildcatted.  Got other handguns and rifles that use other specific cases?  Buy empty brass and whatever you can find.  Components can also be scrounged or salvaged if you have a bullet puller.

The .177 lever-cocking pellet rifle is a decent substitute for a .22lr.  For anywhere from $70 to $200 you can buy a new (always want new) spring piston .177 rifle that will deliver pellets at 1000fps.  Quality pellets cost about $10 per 500, cheaper ones much less.  These rifles really work effectively within 25yds and with a scope can be super-precise if your rifle is capable of fine accuracy.  RWS/Diana offers the model 34 as a basic fine-accuracy entry rifle.  Cheaper if buy w/synthetic stock.   For what .22lr is selling for, you can buy several thousand pellets and a rifle.  Pellet rifles have different report than a rimfire so offer opportunities for city-dwellers.  NEVER fire a piston pellet gun w/o either a pellet or cleaning felt pellet in the barrel; to do so will ruin the leather gasket which requires resistant pressure to retain function.

Money being removed from bank accounts in Cyprus.  English minister Daniel Hannan calls this event "precedent setting",  So, now government honchos have a precedent for looting deposits from private banks... 

How're you  set for food?  Got food that will keep?  A place that is cool and out of the sun to store foodstuffs?  Got a means for cooking should the grid go down or the natural gas be unavailable?  Got water in storage or access to a source?  Something like your own well or a freshwater lake?  Got a Berkey or Katadyn DRIP Filter?

The archives here have posts on how to put-up whole grains using 5gal buckets and Dry Ice.  Got any food reserves that you put-up?  No other way to KNOW What You Have for sure, unless you do it yourself.  Cooking is likely to be a once-a-day thing.  If you cook big batches of soup, stew, beans, sauces and make jerky and dehydrate fruits and vegetables, you are getting best value from your food, energy used to cook & prepare it, and your time involved doing so.

A couple decent quality solar panels can keep a couple of 12v deep cycle batteries going.  Interstate deep cycles are very high quality.  Trojan 6v golfcart batteries are the best entry-level battery for a solar array, inverter system.  Still a decent 2500w inverter, 300w of solar charging or a wind generator, and several Interstate Deep Cycles would enable you to keep a chest freezer running, especially if the freezer were out of the sun and in coolest location in house, often on concrete slab in garage.

If you have a freezer, you can make ice and store food at its most nutritious.    If you have a generator, can charge your battery while you run washing machine or run your well pump.  A 2100 gal cistern would be great to have if you've got a well.  Run that pump for an hour or two and fill the cistern.  Run high efficiency battery charger once pump is fully actuated, if you have the excess capacity.  We chose a 2.25hp deep well pump because it could be actuated by our 5kw genset and once running only needed about 2.5kw to work at full capacity.  This left 2kw or more to do other work.

Canned food stores really well for longterm IF can keep it from freezing and in moderate temp environment.  Food storage can be packed in Rubbermaid Totes and stacked in an empty closet or basement area.  Canned vegetables are packed in water and don't need valuable water to cook them.  Can heat and eat direct from the can if need be.  Empty cans are a side bonus and have many uses.

Resale and Thrift shops are a great resource.  If you need extra clothes, shoes, linens, cook-gear; really ought visit your local thrift resources and buy there.  Shoes are the real biggie.  Good ones cost real money these days.  If you routinely shop your resources, you will find really good deals.  Just like pawnshops for tools, camping & fishing gear, and electronics.  Always offer 30% less at a pawnshop.  Great places to find & make deals.  Used bookstores and Thrifts will also have resource books on many subjects, including cookbooks, first-aid and medical resources, technical and professional guides and books on gardening, carpentry and auto repair, plus outdoor themes.  Might also make room for an older set of encyclopedias.  Shouldn't have to pay much over a buck for a hardcover book, or quarter for softcover.  Lots of novels and other recreational reading matter at the thrifts.  Often 10 for a buck.  People will rediscover reading when the grid goes.  Having some paperbacks to trade might be just what you need to make a friend or clinch a deal.

How're you set for medical supplies?  Band-aids, tape, gauze, pads, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, dental floss, toothpaste?  Suture kit and some hemostats might be a great thing to have...

Just some last minute ideas from Lester...

Monday, February 4, 2013

More Ruminations....

Ammunition, again...

Not like we go to town frequently in Winter.  Haven't really paid much attention to the local availability, but  aside from Anchorage having a really Large Stocking Wholesaler that most dealers use for Components, Firearms and other outdoor gear, there isn't much common-use ammunition available.  Did see some .30-06 round nose at Fred Meyer which is an upscale Wally superstore, only much better.  But the .22LR and other generic centerfire rounds are N/A or in limited supply.

Some gun dealer types were remarking about conversations they'd had at the SHOT Show with those in the ammunition mfg and jobbing lines.  Reportedly brass is in very short supply and Not Available for a variety of cartridges.  Many of the ctgs of lesser popularities are Seasonal Run items, which means the mfr only makes so many cases one time a year...   Lots of fine cartridges have only seasonal brass runs.  Another concern the mfrs expressed was availability of smokeless powders...   A lot of component powders favored by handloaders are imported.  Perhaps the highest regarded imported powderline is VitaVourhi of Finland.  That firm is up for sale by its conglomerate owner.  If not sold, it will be reportedly shut-down...

Just In Time inventory practices were unable to predict or anticipate the run on ammunition and weapons.  Some semi-auto riflemakers are reportedly waiting to see what happens on the legislative front before investing Big Money on parts for rifles they may be prohibited from assembling once parts are received.


Survivalist should NOT be too exposed to these situations.   You did choose your weapons so that their ammunition was either Common Military Usage or derived from same ctg case; didn't you?   The .223, .308, and .30-06 along with basic belted magnum and common handgun ctgs are going to be much easier to keep supplied than other ammunition types.

Lots of handloading gear still available on Ebay at decent prices.  Lots of bullets & brass on the equipment exchange at ar15.com...

Be sure you own a bullet puller of some type if you get into handloading.  The ability to salvage bullets and possibly powder could be a real godsend for you.  Not like you want to shoot unknown origin ammunition you find or buy second-hand.  Buying that stuff to harvest the brass and bullets could really work to your favor.  If you have the tools, you have the ability...

Lots and lots of new firearms sold in the past couple months.  Look for accessories, scope mounts, slings, even buttpads and cleaning gear to be in limited supply.  Scopes and other sighting equipment as well.  Even gun cases.  Think you will see the online forum classifieds turning more to WTB listings.  The days of guys dumping stuff they've grown tired of for cheap will be long gone...

Just some ruminations on the current situation on a Winter's eve...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Regarding Ammunition....

In the context of Survivalism, your firearms constitute either Defensive or Working capabilities.

Presumably, any Survivalist has long been in a state of readiness as regards their firearms, ammunition, and gunsmithing needs.  Handloading is the most reliable mode of control most of us have had to assure quality and accurate ammunition for our weapons.  The Survivalist has most likely approached their firearms selection with most critical determination being the cartridge selection.  Defensive Rifles being most critical, likely their choices have centered on the .223/5.56x45, .308/7.62x51, and .30-06 Springfield or variants based on those ctg cases.

Makes the most sense.

If you want an AR-15 that fires a hundred grain bullet, it makes sense to look at the benefits of the 6x45; a necked up .223 case firing 6mm/.243 diameter bullets.  The variants based on the .308win and .30-06spg are about the most popular cartridges going.  Surplus brass and case efficiencies are the main benefits.  Sure, there are more effective cartridges to select, but most of these will require specific brass that can be hard to acquire.  Not so with the 6mm-08 (.243win), 6.5-08 (.260rem), 7mm-08, .338-08, and .358win.  Even longer established are the .25-06, .270win, .280rem, .8mm-06, .338-06, and .35Whelen.

Not like we are intending to shoot prairie dogs or rock squirrels with our defensive rifles.  While they will work to take a ground hog or gopher that is raiding your vegetable plot, with exception of the .223, a .308 or .30-06 with 150 to 180gr bullet is way too much...  A .243win or .260rem though is a fine tool for varminting.  Neck down your .308 brass and you are in business.

Don't Handload?  While times are tough in the acquisition of ammunition dept, and getting tough for handloading tools and components; you may still have time to setup an effective loading bench...

The Lee Loader is a basic tool that is self-contained and capable of slowly producing very fine precision ammunition.  Cost is about .$30 for a Lee Loader in many popular chamberings.  Get a Lee Loader for your most basic rifles and hanguns; some bullets of correct caliber (diameter), primers, and smokeless powder and you have an ability to recycle your empty ctg cases.  Bullet casting can make you even further self-reliant by producing your own general purpose rifle bullets and exceptional handgun slugs.

Ebay, Gunbroker.com, numerous gun forums on the net are all great sources for locating handloading gear; often at large discount.

If you're going to load your own ammo, may as well make it the best you can.  A handloader's scale will give you many more options than the dipper that Lee includes with the Lee Loader.  A single-stage press or progressive loading machine costs anywhere from about $50 for a Lee press to over $1000 for an automated Dillon machine.  The Lee Anniversary kit costs about $100 and provides the basic single-stage press, scale, powder measure, shellholders, their loading manual and a priming tool.  This is about the best value for loading gear on the market.

With a scale, press and loading dies for each cartridge you need to make ammo for you can setup a real facility to make better ammunition than you can/could purchase from any of the commercial makers.

Sierra bullets, Hornady and Nosler are the primary bulletmakers for daily use with Sierra being most spendy.  Boat Tail Soft Point hunting bullets will serve for longrange precision purposes.  Berger and Lapua may be more highly esteemed, but try finding any these days...

Winchester brass or Lake City once-fired will perform superbly in any defensive rifle.  Primer choice is critical for a semi-auto rifle.  The Remington 7-1/2 benchrest primer works superbly in .223 loads, and Winchester Lg Rifle is the choice for .308win or .30-06 class cases.

As far as powder selection, semi-auto rifles aren't too tolerant of high pressures; so you don't load to get the most velocity; you load a mid-range load and go for accuracy.  Varget and Reloader 15, along with IMR 4064 and many other powders are most suitable for defensive handloads in the AR-15, M1a, and M1 Garand.

Might begin asking guys for their empty brass when you're at the range.  Probably won't be as many throw-aways as before, but scrounging for brass is a tradition for handloaders.  Free brass is highly esteemed.  Of course, if you're loading for match quality and not working on the cheap, a bulk pack or two of Winchester cases gives you a Known Quality Factor that aids your efforts.

Jeff Cooper wrote a column for Mel Tappan's Personal Survival Letter in the late 70s entitled, Ballistic Wampum.  Cooper was prescient about the times we're now living and he foresaw a time when ammunition would have currency status; at least out West where men are still men (etc...).

My position is that if you need ammunition NOW, the best solution is to buy the components and tools to be able to make what you will need.

Components make a very good investment.  Hollowpoint pistol bullets, match and BTSP rifle bullets will always be in demand and retain their value.  Worth even more to you if you can use them to assemble your own rounds.  Primers might be the golden-ticket.  Pretty tiny, hard to remake or recycle. cheap enough to buy 1000 for under $40...  Can't make a round go Bang wihout a primer...  large pistol and large rifle primers are likely the most versatile.  Small rifle necessary for .223 rounds.

As far as powders go...  Unique is a standby for shotgun, handgun mild loads, and lead bullet low velocity loads for most rifles.  Win 296, 2400 are great choices for heavy revolver loads.  For rifles, Varget or Reloader 15 are very versatile.  Heavy loads in .30-06 and some magnum ctgs will do great with IMR 4350 or IMR 4831,  Remember that 4350 and slower powders are NOT for use in any defensive semi-auto.

Study a loading manual or go to hodgdon.com and study their data online.  Powders that are versatile are what you want to consider unless you are committed to your .338 Lapua or .50BMG.

Gunbroker.com has a search-by-state feature that might help you meet local sellers.  if you can't buy what you need today, but find versatile components at good price, you might think of acquiring goods for trade or outright sale.

Check the archived articles for more info on handloading.,,,

Til next time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Many STILL Don't GET IT....

Read a quick New Year's Eve blurb written by a gunwriter located somewhere in WA. State.  He was remarking about his morning walk home through his sleepy rural village and stop-in that he made to his local gunshop.  His remark, which I consider notable, since so few gunwriters do anything but tout the crap they are sent to review, was (in summary); "The absence in their entirety of any military rifle and ammunition for these and most other common handgun and rifle chamberings is The Sign that Americans are preparing for war!"

Pretty profound statement coming from a magazine writer.  Haven't really seen any others that would admit the truth of the situation we are now in.

Many STILL Don't GET IT...  Most Americans are DGI's...  

Most "shooters".  At least those of the competitive sanctioned events, the High Power, Service Rifle, Tactical, F-Class, Palma, 3-Gun, and all Bullseye and other Pistol Events; in my estimation.  They may have been prepared with handloading components for their Dasher's, XC's, .338 Edge and other super-special gear, but they have missed the boat in acquisition of Weaponry.

The Acquisition of Weaponry was the First Manifestation.

Foodstuffs will be the Most Critical; after you have water filtration needs met.

More and More Apparent that there ain't a lot of time remaining to make your acquisitions and verifiations.   Buy what you need to enable the skills and abilities you have demonstrated capability of.  Verification is really most critical.

Really Time To Understand that Frank Zappa was right when he wrote the lyric "Your cash ain't nothing but trash"...  By the early 70s, it was nothing but paper, pure-fiat....  Now we are seeing that our money's absence of wealth preservation characteristic means its depreciation is even further accelerating.

The Acquisition of Goods will supersede the need to save money.  Have written extensively for the past 9 years on the fraud perpetrated on The American People.  If you can't acclaim that you likewise understand the manner in which we've been gamed, then you will likely remain a die-hard DGI.

Not really much point to holding "money" (especially fiat) when demand for goods is accelerating at same time trust in Government is rapidly declining.  Middle America is preparing for war.  Government has ordered nearly 2 Billion rounds of various ammunition for DHS and other non-military agencies.  What are they preparing for?   The DGI's won't know until it is too late...

You Need way more food and gear than has been touted in the media.  Several year food supply would not be an extravagance.
You Need to be in a location that is "Out Of The Line Of Fire".
You Need ALL The Gear to enable a self-sufficient lifestyle, with enough supplies and consumables to see you through until you are producing to meet all your needs.

You Need weapons for self-defense and the means to hide and not be found when a matter comes to your door which you are unable to defend against....

All it will take is a few more of the DGI types to wake-up and realize they need stuff you had earmarked for purchase....   NOW is the time to be firming-up your plans into ACTION.

Don't have water filtering gear?  There are few stores that sell quality product.  You need cleanable filter units and effective filtration.  Probably fewer than 10,000 suitable units for sale anywhere in the USA.  if you plan to make your own, TIME Is Here to make a prototype and stock up on the materials you need to make and restore your units.  Time to stockpile the daily-usage stuff you can't make yourself.

Lots of quality stuff to be had for minimal cash outlay.  Yet as inflation and demand cause prices to rise, NOW is the time to be in acquisition mode for stuff you always use and that makes daily living easier.

Easy to make your own Food Storage with whole grains bought in bulk and 5gal paint/food buckets that have gasket seal lids. This has been covered here  before.  CO-2 blocks, sold as Dry-Ice by grocers, can preserve your grains 10 years or more.  Get your grains, Get your containers and then plan your packaging day.  Come home with the CO-2 and pack your foods.  Store in a dry and cool place for longest life.

Canned foods, especially meats and beans are great values.  You need spices and cooking gear, oils and fats, sweeteners.  Dry cereals and powdered milk, peanut butter, jellies, bread machines to knead your dough and all the baking and food prep gear you can find.  Lots of stuff on sale this time of year.  Don't forget resaling and pawnshopping.

Soon, all will know their cash ain't nothing but trash...

Best have your paper converted to stuff you can use and rely on.

Hope you make the most out of the New Year and take all steps you can to secure all life has to offer.  If you don't know what to do, turn to God for your answers.  HE IS our Deliverance and Preservation...