October 2006 Archives

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The high bid is still at $75 in the current SurvivalBlog benefit auction, It is for a scarce autographed first edition copy of the book Survival Guns by Mel Tappan. The auction ends on November 15th. Please submit your bid via e-mail.

Regarding walking sticks, I'd suggest folks look at two sites. One would be Cold Steel, where they can assemble a pretty stout, flexible and lethal combo from their waxwood poles, their Bushman knives, and steel sections applied to the staff near the ends. The Bushman's sheath can be leather or parachute cord "strapped" onto the staff, and when needed be affixed to the end and voila! ... staff becomes spear. Alas, they no longer have the staffs on their site, but the Bushmans are there, and the rest is a simple exercise in measurement and a half-hour of handiwork. The steel appliques made the ends of the staff even more ... "functional" .... than already. As I think about it, wire wrap applied at one end would yield the same enhanced rigidity plus the ability to pull some off for snares, construction .... I think that lo-tech approach beats bought "hiking sticks" which may be lightweight and portable, but don't fill other survival roles like a stout stick

Crawford Knives.com and the Crawford clan have made a unique survival staff for years that converts from walking stick to staff to blowgun to spear. Machined to their usual quality and tolerances, it's pricey but the real-deal.

We have both collapsible staffs and the Cold Steel Trailhawks in our vehicles; the Trailhawk does double-duty as a hammer.
Best regards for your Good Work done, - M.P.

Your MURS supplier [MURS Radios] has an excellent product. Regarding inconspicuous microphones and earpieces: We've been using this gentleman's products for the last 5 or 6 years and been very well pleased. About halfway down the page is the Stealth 3-Wire Surveillance Kit, which is what I use. About the only thing I've found that I like better is the combination earpiece mike where you talk thru your ear but it definitely has problems in high noise environment and we had trouble with them in helicopters. Every time you open your mouth, the rotor/engine/wind noise overrides your voice. Darned hard to be intelligible talking with your lips clinched. Ha! That's why we standardized on the Custom Earpiece Stealth unit. I've found that the standard earpiece which is supplied is comfortable under both earmuffs and helmets.Just a nice working unit at the range, airborne, or in a crowd and they usually have adapters for most any radio.

On another note: Botach Tactical has a special on for the MB -Microtec H3 Military Traser Watches for $99.95 with free shipping. A good, non-magnetic watch with tritium and at that price it's a throwaway Regards, - The Army Aviator

JWR Replies:
SurvivalBlog readers are forewarned that Botach Tactical has a mixed reputation for order fulfillment reliability and customer service. I have heard from three different individuals that Botach has been known to advertise items that they don't actually have in stock, taking funds from customers, and then declaring them "back orders"--sometimes for months--while they await shipments from suppliers. If you place an order with Botach, I would recommend that you call first to confirm that the particular product(s) that you wish to order are actually physically in stock. I also recommend that you pay via credit card so that you will have some recourse in the event that your order is not completed.

Reader Hawaiian K notes: "One of the most practical skills an outdoorsman/survivalist can practice is knot tying. There is a terrific site that shows you exactly how they're done (they show examples of around 75 specific knots) via clearly photographed animations.

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From WorldNetDaily: Investors warned of post-election disaster. The Gold Anti-Trust Action organization's Bill Murphy claims that the Plunge Protection Team may have plans for a weaker dollar, after the U.S. mid-term election in early November.

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Bob at Ready Made Resources mentioned that he is available for free consulting (with no purchase obligation) on photovoltaic power system sizing and design. He is a stocking dealer for both Outback and Xantrex inverters. Bob has the specialized tools needed to calculate current loads, requisite battery bank sizing, charge controller capacity, available solar hours, solar panel array solar exposure and orientation, and so forth. I can attest that Bob really knows his stuff, and unlike some solar system specialists, he has considerable experience building systems that are custom tailored for survival retreats. I recommend that any SurvivalBlog readers that are considering installing an independent home power system take advantage of the free consulting offer from Ready Made Resources.

"Note that Finland's five million people own four million personal firearms. Just wait till Congressman Schumer finds out about that!" - The Late Jeff Cooper, Jeff Cooper's Commentaries Vol. 3, No. 2, 31 January 1995

Monday, October 30, 2006

Today we present another article for Round 7 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up to $1,600.) Second prize is a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If you want a chance to win Round 7, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 7 will end on November 30th. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

In a post-TEOTWAWKI world just about everyone realizes that paper money will become useless (unless you can get enough to use as insulation for your house) and there has been much discussion of gold, silver and other items for barter in these pages. I have devoted a great deal of thought to this subject and I would like to share a few of my ideas on the subject with you. I’m going to try to be fairly short on details here in order to keep the length of the article manageable. Keep in mind that what I am discussing here are trade goods and not items for personal use. You should always get the best supplies and equipment you can afford for your own use, but trade items are an investment, and like all investments you need to minimize your outlay and maximize your profit. For barter, why buy a Craftsman socket-set when you can get three Chinese made socket-sets from Harbor Freight for the same money? Places to obtain trade goods are yard and garage sales, pawnshops, resale shops, flea markets, discount stores and dollar stores. Of course, don’t buy complete junk but a mediocre tool is much better than no tool at all.


First, I would tend to keep the trading in weapons and ammo to friends and neighbors, no sense arming the opposition. That said, a good bolt-action rifle would be a serious item for trade. A friend of mine is a Mosin-Nagant nut and he bought a half-dozen “Gunsmith Specials” with cracked stocks and messed up finishes for about $20 a piece. A few weeks and around a hundred bucks in parts later (he managed to repair all but two of the stocks) he had six fully functional rifles which he has socked away with a 700+ round sealed tin of ammo (each with a can-opener). Another guy that I know has four Romanian .22 Long Rifle bolt-actions stored away. At my suggestion they both coated these in DuraCoat which is a high-tech spray-on finish that can be applied with an airbrush, requires no heat curing and can even be applied to wood and plastics. Used .22 rifles would also be a good trade item, but I prefer to avoid the ones with tube magazines, if they break [e.g. the magazine tube is dented] they are pretty well impossible to repair, and good luck finding a replacement.

The best most of us can do is probably to collect parts and tools to repair our own firearms and perhaps some of the more common weapons (Model 1911s, AR-15s, AKs, etc.) as well as cleaning kits, bore solvent, broken case extractors, and repair items for wooden stocks (Acraglas is a good one). Magazines, speed loaders and stripper clips for the more common weapons might be a good choice as well.

I do not believe in stocking ammunition which I don’t use, I have enough trouble buying and storing the ammunition I do use. Instead I recommend getting into reloading on a very serious basis and get the equipment to both cast and swage bullets. Casting is the most common method for making bullets and will work well. Swaging involves producing bullets using pressure as opposed to heat and allows you to make jacketed bullets which allows normal velocities to be obtained, while simple unjacketed cast bullets must use low-velocities to reduce leading of the barrel. Search for “Bullet Swaging” and you can find a host of sites on the subject. It is an expensive method of production, but with the equipment and large amounts of powder and primers you can supply the neighbors and yourself with far more ammunition than you could ever stockpile. A few caveats on this though;

Select your powders to provide the widest possible selection of calibers and loadings using the least amount of powder for each, you have to stretch your supplies as far as possible.

Steel casings can be reloaded but they will eat-up your dies.

Berdan primers can be removed and replaced by boxer primers, however you must ream out the primer pocket as there will be a small post in the primer pocket which must be removed or the boxer primers will fail to seat and may fire if you try. Here is a good site on decapping Berdan primers.[JWR Adds: Rather than drilling out Berdan case primer anvils--which can be tricky--I recommend stocking up on Berdan primers from a supplier such as The Old Western Scrounger.]
Books are portable knowledge and can either be lent out or simply read, your private library can be a profit making enterprise.

I would start with the general knowledge books, Late 19th and early 20th century encyclopedias, “Connections” by James Burke and the Foxfire book series are a good place to start. Then go for the more specific information like veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, beekeeping, gardening, small engine repair, carpentry, medicine (The Physician's desk Reference (PDR), Gray’s Anatomy, “Where there is no doctor/dentist, etc.), psychology, chemistry, glass blowing, metallurgy, and blacksmithing. Frankly just about anything you can think of can be valuable to someone, and don’t skip history, philosophy, mathematics, and spelling textbooks. As a survivalist, you should be planning to give your children and grandchildren the tools they need to rebuild, not merely consigning them to the short hard life of pre-industrial farming and drudgery. Don’t forget the fiction either (fun reading is often the gateway to a lifetime habit), from the classics by Defoe and Stevenson to the more contemporary works of Heinlein, Norton, Piper, Pournelle, and Ing (yes I mean the science fiction writers, it is the writing of hope for the future and Robert Heinlein, Jerry Pournelle, and Dean Ing have wonderful books about survival which any survivalist can appreciate, even when they are set in futures and planets that never existed).

If you have access to a high-volume printer you should visit Project Gutenberg it is one of the largest collections of public domain writings in the world with over 19,000 works on just about every subject imaginable available for free downloading (P.S. I understand that Xerox copies will last much longer than most computer printer copies).

Don’t forget pencils (better than pens over the years and cheaper in bulk), paper, erasers, protractors, rulers, notebooks and other supplies for education, record keeping, drafting and planning.

Always get the best tools you can afford for yourself, but always remember that a mediocre tool is better than no tool at all.

Socket sets, pocket multi-tools, wrench sets, drill bits, chisels (wood and metal working), bit-and-brace, hand drills (manual), files, Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, driver bits (with manual drivers), cutters (side-cutters, end-cutters, snips), bunches of clamps, hammers (of all sizes), pry-bars, shovels, rakes (the heavy gardening type), hoes, sickles, scythes, handsaws (hacksaws, crosscuts, etc.), axes, and just about anything else you can think of. Don’t forget specialty tools either, eye-glass repair kits are cheap, watch making and gunsmithing tools can often be obtained on eBay and others places and even if you can’t use them others might and you can trade them for training or just future work.

Don’t forget things like oil and grease for maintaining and storing your tools. A few gallons of WD-40, light machine oil or big tubs of quality grease (I prefer graphite grease) will be incredibly valuable in a post-petroleum society.

I used to disregard knives as barter items, as I come from a family where no man was dressed without his pocketknife and just about any other knife you could wish for was in a drawer somewhere, but alas, most people today have little more than some plastic-handled Chinese kitchen knives.

Anza Knives has some of the least expensive and best custom knives you will find anywhere, I’ve owned and used them for years and I highly recommend them, both for you and for trade. From 1” skinners to big kitchen knives these fixed blades will outlast your grandkids. The one issue I have is the high-carbon blades then to rust at the slightest excuse, coat them with DuraCoat (see, guns and ammo).

For folding knives (as well as fixed blades for those with good skills) go see KnifeKits.com, I’ve gotten several of their folder kits to give out as Christmas presents and everyone has liked them. All you really need is some Torx bit drivers to put them together but if you wish [with a buffing wheel] you can pimp these puppies into some real nice keepsakes. Knife kits also sells tools and supplies for working on projects like these.

Don’t forget about making your own blades from scratch either, big lawn mower blades make great machetes and would no doubt work for plow blades, and steel blanks of D2, 1095, A2 and other excellent blade steels can be gotten at reasonable cost today but will be unobtainable in the post-collapse era. Don’t forget sharpening supplies, I get Laskey-type sharpeners as well as diamond hones (rod and flat style) from an industrial supply company near my home for less than normal retail. I would also mention that I recommend using peanut oil (not vegetable oil which will go rancid) on knives as many mineral oils will contaminate the blade and make it unsuitable for cutting anything you plan to eat.

Don’t forget razor knives, utility knives, and razor blades.

This has been one of my personal bug-a-boos since I first read Pat Frank’s classic survivalist book “Alas Babylon”. I have noticed that most survivalists tend to buy huge amounts of waterproof and strike-anywhere matches as well as fire-starters like ‘Blast-Match’, which is fine, keep them for yourself (especially as new strike-anywhere types go dead after six months). For trading I buy cheap disposable lighters and book matches as well as wicks and flints for Zippo lighters. In fact I have several cheap plastic matchboxes (pseudo-military style) filled with 150 flints, 3 wicks and 3 huge cosmetic cotton-balls (for repacking the lighters) as Zippo support kits. I have a half-dozen or so Zippos I’ve picked up at yards sales over the years, which I plan to trade as I have three new-in-box for my use, along with the one in my pocket. P.S. If you switch from fluid to gasoline (or vice-versa) in a Zippo, you must repack the cotton filling.

Don’t buy candles, most candles are made for pretty, not for light and “Survival” candles are more expensive though generally not much better. Instead, get some pure cotton string a little thicker than a tea-bag string (which I actually use for my survival kit candles), bulk paraffin wax and get some plastic cigar tubes (I’ve also used narrow plastic bottles, but be sure that all the previous contents are cleaned out). Drill a hole in the tip a little bigger than your wick and run the wick through and tie it to a pencil or stick and then tie the other end in a knot (which will mostly seal off your hole). You should spritz the inside with non-stick cooking spray (or vegetable oil and a spray bottle) to keep the wax from sticking and then pour in your melted wax. I use a coffee-can 1/3 full of water and about 1⁄2 full of wax to keep from messing up a cooking pot and to keep the wax from burning. I use a plastic measuring cup to dip out my wax. This will work with beeswax as well.

I also have bought a bunch of cheap LED flashlights (the batteries last longer than standard bulb flashlights), lamp wicks and flashlight bulbs. I looking for the price to come down on the new magnet powered flashlights too, these would be useful when the batteries go bye-bye.

Inexpensive UV protective sunglasses (especially for those blue-eyed, blonde types who tend to get cataracts), dime-store reading glasses (make sure to write the Rx number on the case), safety glasses and welding glasses will all be good items for trade. I myself have gotten several pairs of Gargoyles and Oakleys at yard sales which I paid to have factory refinished for far less than the retail price.

I buy used work uniforms from an industrial surplus house in my area, these are excellent work clothes and the material is much like military BDUs. I’ve bought pants and shirt sets for under $5, and they sell painter’s smocks (I dyed one brown and made my ghillie suit with it and a pair of the pants), jump suits, hats, gloves and winter coats and boots.

I also buy socks and underwear (irregulars can be gotten very cheap), handkerchiefs, patch material, sewing needles (get a variety of sizes, so-called ‘Doll’ needles work for leather work), boot and shoe laces, snaps and snap tools, buttons, thread, straight pins, tailors chalk, and sewing machine needles (older model electric machines with the manual knobs could be converted to foot treadles). While you are at it you might find irregular pantyhose and knee-highs, they make excellent strainers, the reduce chafing when riding on horseback (an equestrian I know told me that one) and if you are prone to leg swelling they help with that too.


Stick to the non-perishables for trade. Bandages, hot water bottles (with attachments) sterile pads, slings, splints, support bandages, tweezers, hemostats, sutures and suture needles, clamps, stethoscopes, blood-pressure cuffs, thermometers, scalpels and blades, and non-disposable syringes and needles. Iodine, aloe, mercurochrome, betadine, “Bag Balm” (an antiseptic lotion), dental floss (use baking soda instead of toothpaste) and such could be stored in quantity as well. And don’t forget the feminine hygiene products, nothing says I love you to the womenfolk like a couple cases of these puppies, plus tampons can be used to pack wounds and pads make good dressings (and nifty padding for pack straps). Once again, just because you can’t use an item doesn’t mean others won’t be able too.

Batteries (buy brand names in the big ‘Industrial’ packs and/or rechargeable ones, keep the charger yourself and trade live for dead), belt buckles, pots and pans, buckets, mops and mop heads, Pyrex measuring cups, measuring spoons, metal mixing bowls, baking sheets, roasting pans, pressure cookers (good for sterilizing as well as cooking), bread and cake pans, candy thermometers, cleaning brushes (various, with both natural and artificial bristles not to mention metal brushes), canning jars with seals and lids (lots and lots of seals and lids) as well as canning baskets and pots, mechanical watches (I wear an Invicta Model 8926 myself), baby food jars (excellent for storage), thermos bottles, can openers (a bucket load of military key ring "P-38" can openers will only cost a few bucks), potato peelers, tooth brushes, spray bottles, et cetera.

I could go on, but I think you have a good start here. The main thing is to think about what people use everyday that they won’t have in a post-collapse world and either get some of them now, or figure out a replacement. Check the Internet, check the phonebook and the newspapers, find the outlet and surplus stores in your area, get on mailing lists, and most of all shop! Don’t just dash in and out, go in and look around and think about what can be useful. Remember your first and best resource is that thing behind your ears, use it often and well.

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." - John Quincy Adams, eldest son of President John Adams and sixth President of the United States, 1767-1848

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Today we present another article for Round 7 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up to $1,600.) Second prize is a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If you want a chance to win Round 7, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 7 will end on November 30th. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

Here in the U.S. we have grown up in an age where hospitals and family clinics are an accepted, common place necessity. Our medical professionals with their full range of antibiotics have the best triage training in the world. If you're in a car accident in the U.S. you are most likely to survive if you make it to a hospital. They'll fix you right up! But they aren't well equipped in preventing disease. As in Jim's novel "Patriots" when the character 'Mary' used herbs such as Comfrey to treat their wounded, we may not have access to modern medicines in a TEOTWAWKI situation. I have been studying herbal treatments for my family in my spare time for 15 or so years and have discovered I've only scratched the surface of an abundant resource given by Our Creator.

Modern American Pharmaceuticals only utilize a little over 500 herbs as a base to synthesize medicines, but cultures older than ours have found a vast array of restorative remedies from plants. Chinese medicine utilizes over 5,700 herbs. Traditional Ayervedic (religious) medicine of India uses about 2,000 plant species. Arabic medicine uses over 2,000 herbs. Current U.S. medical treatments are based on the idea that "the absence of symptoms is health". Conversely, Chinese medicine has a 3,000 year history and is based on the idea that "the absence of disease is health." Arab herbalists developed effective remedies using the practice of combining three or more complementary herbs to treat many diseases and illnesses while Europe was in the Dark Ages. Even Native American Tribal cultures developed many remedies using the indigenous plants of our continent.

How sad it would be if we were to loose the work of thousands of years of herbal medical knowledge in a SHTF moment. Granted, there have been those charlatans, weird hocus-pocus and "snake-oil" traders of the past. But have hope! Modern science has confirmed volumes of effective herbal remedies that have been used for thousands of years in many cultures around the world.

Did you know that your kitchen spice cabinet holds many powerful remedies for common ailments and very few herbal remedies have dangerous side effects when used properly? For example; Black Pepper, garlic, cloves, parsley and ginger are powerful partners for digestive tract disorders. Fresh blue spruce tips steeped in hot water for 15-20 minutes suppresses chronic coughing. Chickweed provides a dose of salt in a difficult wilderness situation. Raw pumpkin seeds crushed and followed by 12 ounces of water 30 minutes before each meal for 7 days will expel worms. Black Cumin, Garlic and All-heal Herb have natural antibiotic/ antiviral properties. And this is just the start!

There is no reason to fear remedies that look like something from the spice cabinet rather than a Colorfully labelled, hermetically sealed package. Get some books and start reading. Cross-reference between a few books for any remedy before using it and with the more dangerous stuff. PLEASE CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL/TRAINED HERBAL PRACTITIONER. There is no substitute for genuinely knowledgeable people to teach us and help us to be and do our best in this life. Don't guess - either know it or find someone who does.

Books that I can recommend are: Natural Health Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH; Growing 101 Herbs That Heal by Tammi Hartung; Wilderness Medicine, by Paul Aurbach; Peterson Field Guides-Edible Wild Plants, by Lee Allen Peterson; What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, M.D.; The Ultimate Survival Guide by John Wiseman.

For further training you could do Home Study with "East West School of Herbology." I'm sure Mr. Rawles and the Memsahib have excellent recommendations as well. - KLS in Ohio

I recently drove down most of the length of Idaho on Highway 95. Many of the Idaho stretches of this highway would be classified as a "secondary road" in most other states. But it is Idaho's only north-south corridor--the equivalent of California's Highway 5. It connects two economically distinct regions. Southern Idaho is economically tied to the humble potato, and adjoining Utah. It is on Mountain Time. Northern Idaho is economically tied to logging and to the easternmost portions of adjoining Oregon and Washington. It is on Pacific Time. Highway 95 is so pitifully under-engineered that it earned the nickname "The Goat Trail" by former governor Cecil Andrus. But I digress... I saw dozens of great looking deer and elk on my drive, including a nice 5x4 bull elk. He just stood there looking at me, a short 70 yards away. Too bad that I didn't have an Idaho elk tag, and that our digital camera was in the vault at home. You gotta love Idaho: Where the roads are marginal, but the wildlife is spectacular.

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A reminder that the October sale just for SurvivalBlog readers at Mountain Brook Foods ends Tuesday! The following discounts are available for in-stock items only:
20% off Orders of $100 to $249
30% off Orders of $250 to $499.99
40% off Orders over $500, not to exceed $2,500.
To place your order go to www.mountainbrookfoods.com. There you will see there full line of storage foods and books. Note, however, that their web site lists only their standard pricing. To get the SurvivalBlog October special pricing, enter "SurvivalBlog" as the coupon discount code. If you have any questions about this special offer or any their products you can contact Mountain Brook at: support@mountainbrookfoods.com or call toll free: (877) 668-6826.

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Over at Gold-Eagle.com, Eric Janszen warns: Don't let the 12,000 DJIA fool you. He describes it as a"dead cat bounce" rally in the midst of a secular bear market that began in 2000.



“Success - it's what you do with what you've got.” - Football coach Woody Hayes

Saturday, October 28, 2006

If you read SurvivalBlog at least once a week and you find it useful, then please sign up for a 10 Cent Challenge subscription. SurvivalBlog subscriptions are entirely voluntary, and gratefully accepted.

Mr. Rawles:
In looking at the situation that has unfolded over the past month in North Korea, I see two possible paths that North Korea could be headed towards. Path one is the atypical playground bully turned armed robber who has become accustomed to people putting up their hands when confronted, only he has had the misfortune to run into someone who has attended a Front Sight course and carries a full frame 1911... 'nuff said. The game is up, and the robber just soiled his boxers. If this is the case, we won't be having any more trouble from this nation. They tried to play nuclear poker and realized that their opponents are stronger, better equipped, and when confronted with a nuclear strike will have no hesitation on the retaliatory strike.
Path two is more insidious. In this situation, Kim Jong Il has tested the waters of nuclear politics with his live test of a device, and has found the waters to be hostile. Because his nuclear arsenal is in the early stages of development and cannot be effectively deployed, he's doing a political tactical withdrawal, with the intent of pushing the program under deep cover. Once he's apologized, the sanctions lifted and several years have gone by, he will resurface with a strong and deployable arsenal, capable of reaching the US.
My money is on path two. The threat with North Korea and Iran is real, and they have developed societies that hate America and all that America represents. If they could get international acceptance by detonating a test device, they have moved up a rung on the prestige chain. If they get sacked diplomatically (as is the case), they have a clearly defined path which takes them to the same destination, which is to have the capability of executing a first strike against the continental United States.
I don't think we've seen the last of North Korea's nuclear ambitions, and my suspicion is that Iran is not-so-quietly developing similar capabilities. - Mark from Florida

Had any experience with .40 S&W and .357 SIG? I'm trying out a .40sw conversion and a .357 SIG conversion for my KelTec P-11. Oughta be wild with a 14 ounce frame handgun.
Just wondered if you'd shot either and what your thoughts were. I know, they are both uncommon calibers. But this is just for funsies. I am still mainly .22,.45, .223, .308 & 12 gauge. I'm just doing this on a lark. Gotta do a lark once in awhile to keep the perspective. Neat thing about the KelTec. (A cheap but well built gun) is to change from 9mm to 40 S&W, just swap slide and barrel assembly, and put in a 40 S&W magazine. Easy and effective. Then, once it is in 40 S&W configuration, just swap the barrel to .357 SIG and you're done. (Gosh, what a high pressure round.)
Hopefully it will be fun and I can always move it on since the dual package is highly sought on eBay. One just went for $430 and so far, I've only got $206 in this one (not counting the $85 for tritium sights).
Probably just me but I try to have tritium on everything. (I've just been too timid to have my Detonics changed over since if they mess up the slide, there's no replacement available.) (Sure wish there was a good way to put tritium on the Detonics.) Say, do you know of anybody making snake shot for calibers under 9mm/45? I haven't found any yet. Thanks and Best Regards, - The Army Aviator

JWR Replies: I've never shot much of either caliber. (Just a few shots with guns belonging to friends at the range.) I agree that .357 SIG is a bit of an oddball, so I wouldn't recommend it unless A.) You were able to switch the pistol back to 9mm (retaining all of your original parts and magazine) and B.) You stock up on .357 SIG ammo in depth. The .40 S&W is less of problem since it is becoming a popular cartridge both for law enforcement and civilians. If your local police department or sheriff's department issues .40 S&W pistols, then it may actually be a good choice. I now list it as a "common" caliber--but that might be subject to regional vagaries. Needless say, if you select any unusual caliber then stock up on ammo.

In answer to you question on .45 ACP snake loads:. I have heard that the 45 ACP snake loads produced by CCI do not function well in semi-auto pistols. The ones that were formerly made by Remington seem to feed the best. (At least they do for me.) I have found that if you have a M1911 with a well-polished feed ramp, you will only get a jam roughly every 10th round. Unfortunately the Remington brand .45 ACP snake loads are out of production. I stocked up on these back in the mid-1990s. I think that I have about 200 rounds left. Perhaps you can find some on the "secondary market" if you post a free WTB ("Want To Buy") ad on one of the larger gun boards, such as Buddy Hinton's Sturmgewehr Boards. As for practicality, I've found that .45 ACP snake loads are useful for pest shooting at very short range, such as inside a barn or a chicken coop. Our readers in Hawaii and in the Indian subcontinent might find them useful for shooting mongooses. Because they use very small shot they are impractical past about 15 feet. They might prove useful in a survival situation for shooting very small game such as squirrels or quail at very short range. And BTW, do not consider using them for self defense against two-legged predators. They are not "stoppers." They are more likely to make bad guys very angry. (See the recent Box O' Truth range test article for details.) Ironically, I've actually used very few "snake loads" on snakes, since I've rarely had any loaded in my pistol when I've come across a rattlesnake near the house at the Rawles Ranch. (I tend to blaze away with the .45 ACP ball or HydraShok hollow points that I typically have loaded, and frankly I miss snakes more than I hit them. (Sometimes six or seven shots to get a couple of solid head or spine hits.) It is not so much the fact that a snake is a relatively small target. That is no excuse, since when I shoot at paper targets I can shoot fairly tight groups at short range in rapid fire. My lack of accuracy during rapid draw-and-fire snake deactivation has more to do with adrenaline.

"If a thing is old, it is a sign that it was fit to live. Old families, old customs, old styles survive because they are fit to survive. The guarantee of continuity is quality. Submerge the good in a flood of the new, and good will come back to join the good which the new brings with it. Old-fashioned hospitality, old-fashioned politeness, old-fashioned honor in business had qualities of survival. These will come back." - Eddie Rickenbacker

Friday, October 27, 2006

A gent e-mailed to ask me why I put so many acronyms and terms in my blog glossary--including "ones like AC, DC, AM, FM, and GPS. Those are obvious to anyone." The reason is that there are SurvivalBlog readers all over the planet, some of whom have learned English as a second language. They don't all share the American penchant for acronyms. Sorry if this overkill makes glossary seem too voluminous or if it appears that I link acronyms excessively to the glossary.

Hello Mr. Rawles,
I was wondering if you could give me and your readers more info on whole kernel corn storage/nutritive value after storage and storage life given packing and conditions (weather)? I was also going to inquire about the different wheat's and their differences but you have answered that already thanks, I would however like to know which mylar bags to use for better protection against the humid and high temp weather in my area (4 mil versus 8 mil thickness) if it matters at all? I don't think the plastic bag route mentioned in your excellent "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course will be as effective for me as I plan to stock up on wheat, beans, rice, corn and oats and just have them stored for the long haul while using them also to cook with and learn the best cooking methods. I will follow the course but my basic grain/legume/rice storage will be put away and expanded upon according to my usage and needs. A reliable source for the 20" x 30" mylar bags at a reasonable price would also be great as in my web research I've found many suppliers at different prices and pack contents, what and who would you suggest? Thank you for your time. - CL

JWR Replies: Whole kernel corn can be stored for up to 10 years and still have decent nutritive value. Once ground into corn meal, however, the practical shelf life declines to two years or less. High temperature is real shelf life killer with all stored foods, including corn. High temperatures can shorten potential shelf lives by one half, or even more. Do your best to store your food in the coolest part of your house. High humidity is another problem. It is best to do your packaging in the most dry months of the year for your particular climate. When storing bulk foods in five gallon food grade buckets, be sure to use oxygen absorbing packets as well as a small packet of silica gel. (The only exception would be popping corn which won't pop if it gets too dry.) Keep buckets sealed until you need to use the food. When you do break the seal, unless you have the need to use the entire contents within a few weeks time, then it is best to open the bucket and pour out just 1/3 to 1/2 of the contents for immediate use and then go through the full re-sealing process with the remainder. In answer to your question on bucket liners: I use 8 mil thickness bags, but 4 mil will suffice. (You need to handle them gently to avoid punctures, regardless of their thickness.) Since you will be sealing the bucket liner bag, the oxygen absorbing packets and silica gel. packets should be inside of that bag, on top of the grain. Mylar bags are available from a number of large Internet food storage vendors including Ready Made Resources and Nitro-Pak. You might also check Promised Land Products, Best Prices Storable Foods, and Lehman's. OBTW, I have found that a standard size liner will work with buckets of up to six gallon capacity.

Here is a useful link for a free, downloadable, ".pdf " format, frequency allocation chart. It is located on the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) web site. It delineates the U.S. amateur bands and their assigned usages from 1.8 MHz to 1.3 GHz. Regards, - Joe from Tennessee

JWR Replies: Thanks for sending that link. The radio band designations can be confusing to folks who are newcomers to the short wave listening and amateur radio worlds. I highly recommend that all SurvivalBlog readers at the very minimum buy themselves a short wave radio and a multi-band police scanner, and become familiar with their use. In a "When the Schumer Hits the Fan" (WTSHTF) situation, hard wire telephone, cellular phone, AM and FM commercial radio, the Internet, and television may be essentially unavailable. (Read: Off the air.) Most radio and TV stations only have enough fuel to run their backup generators for few days. Ditto for the telephone company Central Offices (COs.) After that, there will be an acute information vacuum. You may find yourself listening to overseas short wave broadcasters for your daily news, and to your police scanner for updates on the local situation--to keep track on the whereabouts of looter gangs. Be sure to buy a CB radio and few walkie talkies so that you can coordinate security with your neighbors. (The CB, FRS, and MURS bands do not require any license in the U.S.) My favorite band for walkie-talkies is the MURS band, since most MURS radios can be programmed to operate in the 2 Meter band, and because they have much better range than FRS radios. It is also important to note that the CB channels, FRS channels, and 2 Meter band frequencies will likely be very crowded WTSHTF, particularly in the suburbs, but the less well-known and less populated MURS frequencies will probably be largely available at any given time. (See the MURS Radios web page--one of our advertisers--for details on these radios.)

Once you've mastered short range communications and public service band monitoring, the next step is to join your local ARRL affiliate club and study to get your amateur license. Someday you may be very glad that you did!

Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Fall: "The median price of a single-family home fell to $219,800 last month, a drop of 2.5 percent from the price in September 2005. That was the biggest year-over-year price decline in records going back nearly four decades." I've been warning SurvivalBlog readers about this since I first started the blog, back in August of 2005. Buckle your seatbelts, folks! We are about to witness the part of the roller coaster ride when everyone screams. (So far all that we've heard have been a few nervous whimpers.)

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Vic at Safecastle mentioned to me that he was able to convince his contract storm shelter/fallout shelter builder to extend a special discount of 5% off the list price of any custom steel plate fallout shelter, storm shelter, or saferoom that is ordered before January 31, 2007. This sale price has never before been offered. Typically, this discount will be between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on the type and size of shelter needed. (The discount does not apply to shipping or installation fees.) The offer is good to anyone who contacts Vic and arranges for a shelter to be built and places the 50% deposit before February 1, 2007. For those that are not be familiar with their shelters, they are the best shelters available in the USA, dollar for dollar. They are engineered and built to exceed FEMA standards, and above or below ground, they will withstand winds in excess of 330 mph. Safecastle's contract builder has installed more than 400 shelters all over the US over the last 13 years for corporations, government groups, homeowners, and associations. A few have been real-world tested by storms such as Hurricane Katrina and have come through with flying colors, saving lives in the process. Do you want peace of mind? Believe me, there is no better way of getting it than to build a serious storm/fallout shelter for your family. If you are interested, start by looking at Safecastle's shelter web site. After looking through the site, go to the "Request a Quote" page and submit your no-obligation query. It is simply an initial correspondence that will allow then to start a dialog with you about what kind of shelter you really need.

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We are saddened to hear of the death of four firefighters in California. They died battling a large wildfire near Palm Springs. The fire was reportedly lit by an arsonist.

"Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value." - Bertrand Russell

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I still have room for a few more Retreat Owner Profiles. I'd particularly appreciate reading profiles from overseas readers. If you "live the life", just write your own profile (following the same format as the other profiles, and answering the same questions) and e-mail it to us. Just be sure to fictionalize things slightly (especially geographic details), to preserve your anonymity.

Dear Jim:
Bruce Beach, the driving force behind the Ark Two nuclear shelter in Canada, mentioned the Pandemic Reference Guides web site in his e-mail newsletter. (By the way, Bruce's article "You Will Survive Doomsday" is just one of the must-read highlights of his informative web site.) With some very wise forethought, the Pandemic Reference Guides are set up to be easily downloadable to your hard drive or CD. So you can copy it now, before the site gets buried with requests in the event of a real pandemic emergency.

Are there any qualified medical folks that read SurvivalBlog who could study it and give us a Reader's Digest version to commit to memory? Regards, OSOM - "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"

I am considering buying a set of the MURS radios from your advertiser [MURS Radio] but I have a question for you and the readers. I want to use a microphone setup like this but the plugs seem to be incompatible. The radio is a Kenwood K1 plug and the microphone is listed as Motorola Pro Series 2 pin. Are there adapters to connect the two or are there similar or better throat microphone setups that will work with the K1 plug? Thanks, - W. in Wyoming

[I forwarded W.'s e-mail to Rob at MURS Radio, and he sent the following speedy reply:]

Hi Jim,
I'm not aware of adapters that will convert microphone connections from one manufacturer to another. There is a site that I use often that carries accessories for the $49 Kenwood MURS radios that I sell. The surveillance style microphones and earbuds can be found here. I order from them and they have proved themselves a very good source for these accessories. I also have an accessories source page on my site. Thanks! - Rob at MURS Radio

Thank you for your hard work on maintaining the SurvivalBlog. I was first introduced to survival ideas in the late 1990s when I read your novel "TEOTWAWKI" (I read it again when it was [expanded and] re-published as "Patriots".) I truly appreciate the time and effort you spend promoting a self-reliant way of life. I am an Air Force NBC instructor (have been for about 8 years now) and I am concerned that recent posts on your web site will lead people to believe that military gas masks will protect them from industrial chemical releases. Military masks (M17, M40, M45, MCU-2 series, and others) are designed for battlefield concentrations of chemical agents. Battlefield concentrations of chemical agents are expected to be lower than those that result from industrial releases. These masks are not designed to protect the wearer from toxic industrial materials including chlorine. The Army Technical Manuals (TMs.) and Air Force Technical Orders (TOs) for masks using the C2A1 canister all contain warnings about the limitations of the C2A1 canisters.
Here is an excerpt from the MCU-2 technical order dated 24 June 2004 (about a decade after the introduction of the C2A1 canister):
"WARNING. The MCU-2 Series mask is not an authorized respiratory device for industrial chemical use. The canister will not protect against ammonia or carbon monoxide, and the mask is not effective in confined spaces where there is not enough oxygen in the air to support life." Here is an excerpt from Air Force Manual 10-100 ,dated 1 June 2004:
"The mask is ineffective in industrial chemical environments such as ammonia or chlorine spills, or within carbon monoxide atmospheres." I realize that some companies (Scott and 3M) manufacture filters that do protect against chlorine and are compatible with the threads on most military masks; however, the military canisters do not provide this level of filtration. It is important that people know the capabilities and limitations of any protective equipment prior to using it. Thanks again for your work on SurvivalBlog. I hope that this information is helpful. Thank you. - Scott

Reader "Alfie Omega" recommended the article at The Wikipedia on Currency Devaluation.

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The World Wildlife Federation contends: Humans living far beyond planet's means.

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Deaths Halt Flu Vaccinations in Israel


“It’s in our fallen, sinful nature for tyrants to rise up in every nation. And unfortunately, it’s also in our nature that the vast majority in every nation is either too stupid or too apathetic to do anything about it until the tyrants have put up their barbed wire and spilled a lot of blood.” - James Wesley, Rawles, Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

When you write your obligatory Christmas card insert "brag letter" this year, please mention that you've been reading SurvivalBlog. If you send an electronic version, it would be greatly appreciated if you'd include a SurvivalBlog link logo or link text. Every bit of publicity helps. (Our goal is to double the SurvivalBlog readership in 2007.) Thanks!

The black poly tanks ($600 for a 1,550 gallon tank) are better than the clean septic tanks that you mentioned because not only are they buriable, but the black poly is UV-proof and algae will not grow in the black tanks. I use one on top of the ground to supplement the hot water supplied by the water heater. If you can't bury the tank, then I recommend setting it on the surface and build a protective wall around the tank with native rock and mortar. This will [absorb or] turn away bullets in case your enemies decide to try to deny you water. The wall can also insulate the tank against a fire set by an enemy. You can get these tanks at any feed store, or at a farm and ranch supply store. Regards, L.R. (of SurvivingTheDayAfter@yahoogroups.com)


I hate to dispute your advice about using plastic septic tanks for water storage but I think you're in error here. These plastic tanks are not designed to hold water and many of them have pinhole leaks (that can cause you a world of trouble in the long run). Additionally,if the tanks are buried, you have to remember that they are meant to be kept filled lest they be collapsed by the inward pressure of the surrounding earth (a little known fact is that pumped [empty] septic tanks should never be left empty) and this is particularly true if buried in heavy clay soils or driven over by vehicles. Here in Hawaii we just had a 6.7 magnitude earthquake. Among the hardest hit were those of us who live "off grid" (ironically) as many water tanks collapsed and virtually everybody had problems with damage to piping connections (which are difficult to make earthquake-proof.. Water supply should be one of the most engineered aspect of house construction, and this goes double for survivalists who are counting on independent systems to keep their families alive. The best book, hands down, for calculating what you need is "Water Storage" by Art Ludwig (who, by the way, makes learning ferrocement tank making about as easy as it will ever get.) Your local library likely has a copy, read it and save yourself a ton of money and two tons of frustration caused by an ill-conceived water system! - Hawaii K.

JWR Replies: Thanks for your input. I recommend that any buried poly tank be kept full, regardless of its design or its originally intended use. As for earthquakes, I've read that folks in Hawaii mostly had failures of rainwater catchment tanks, both aboveground and underground, and of both concrete and a plastic construction. The only tanks that at seemed to fare better than most were aboveground galvanized steel water tanks. But even for those that kept their integrity, many suffered from cracked water pipes and/or water pipe connections. (So be sure to buy plenty of spare copper or PVC pipe, fittings, purple primer, pipe cement, et cetera.) As for potential pinholes or larger leaks, when you buy any water tank, you should make sure that it is guaranteed against leaks before making the purchase, and definitely do an above-ground water fill test before burying it.

Just something I would really like to beat to death, and that's Chlorine, Fires and Gas masks. I just keep getting this really creepy feeling that there are a lot of folks out there that aren't clued in on the limitations of gas masks and may kill themselves.
First:, grass fires, forest fires and house fires.
A gas mask will keep you from choking on the fumes and stop your eyes from watering but it will kill you!
The mask will stop the particulate matter that irritates your eyes, throat and lungs but it will not make oxygen where there is none, like in the fires described above, and you will suffocate! You'll pass out
Second, chlorine is a particularly nasty product. Most of the normal ABC, NBC, and biowarfare filters will trap a lot of nasty stuff in the activated charcoal granules in the filter. BUT MOST WILL NOT STOP CHLORINE! Chlorine requires a special filter. If you have masks and you anticipate Chlorine then get the right filter!
Okay, I feel better. It was this part from today's post that triggered me: "Unfortunately, the chlorine gas saturation level in the area was too high and most vehicles would not start. Many families perished in their cars. Gas masks are great idea if you have to walk out." If they had tried to walk out without a chlorine filter on their mask, they would have died anyway. I've seen Chlorine deaths and it's not pretty. Thanks for letting me vent. Best Regards, - The Army Aviator

JWR Replies: Thanks for mentioning the importance of gas mask filter selection! You are right that most "typical" masks sold to civilians do not protect against chlorine. For example, the ubiquitous "green ring" cheek filters for U.S. M17 series masks do not protect against chlorine. However, the current NATO issue C2A1 filter canisters (which are standard issue for M40 series masks) do protect against chlorine. SurvivalBlog readers that live near train tracks or a chemical plant should do their homework before they buy.
And, as you pointed out, both the gas concentration level and the available oxygen level are both crucial issues, regardless of the filter used. How much oxygen? OSHA defines a "safe" oxygen level for mine workers as 19.5%, or higher. With a web search, I found the following on a forestry web site: "A fire consumes the oxygen essential to human survival. During a fire, the normal level of oxygen in the air (about 21%) drops rapidly. If the level drops below 17%, clear thinking and muscle control become difficult. When the oxygen level in the air drops between 6% and 10%, breathing stops, and after four to six minutes without oxygen, brain death occurs."]


I have worked US Air Force NBC for several years and civilian law enforcement. I have read with interest the information regarding hazardous materials spills by the SurvivalBlog reader in North Carolina. I was concerned about the advice about using gas masks to protect yourself and family. Toxic Industrial Materials are referred to as TIMs. The common gas masks the many individuals have (Israeli, US surplus M-17s, MCU 2A/P) are only filters. They will stop many chemicals, but they will not provide oxygen. I know that this is understood by most readers but if this prevents one person from going into a cloud of methyl-ethyl-kill-you then it was worth posting. If there is enough chlorine concentration in the air to prevent a car from starting then a mask will not protect you. I do not remember the chemical but I saw a video of two US Army Chemical Corps troops checking what appeared to be a large propane tank in Iraq or Afghanistan.
This was a real incident but not covered by the media. It was being videoed by another troop. They had their sampling equipment at the ready. They opened the tank and within seconds the were on the ground and died. Was it some kind of super warfare agent? No, it was an industrial chemical. (The name escapes me.)
If you are dealing with an unknown TIM, you need a self contained breathing apparatus like firefighters wear. Otherwise, take the safe room approach and seal your self in. Hopefully they will get the leak sealed off and it will dissipate before you run out of air. A HEPA filter will not safely ventilate a safe room when TIMs are involved. A mask and a HEPA filter will protect you from bio agents and the charcoal elements will protect from warfare chemicals but TIMS, depending on what they are can be a different story. The Department of transportation puts out
the hazmat guide, usually yellow that describes most of the truck placards and different chemicals. (Even war agents.) The guide has a cross reference including what is needed to protect you. It has other info as well. My buddy who also works military NBC plays a game on the road with his kids. They each have a copy and race to see who can figure out what the placarded trucks are carrying first. I haven't done that with my kids yet. Regards, - Nightshift in Mississippi

Frequent content contributor (and top notch novelist) Michael Z. Williamson mentioned two interesting articles posted over at the Box O' Truth web site: New tests on pistol shotshells, and will school books stop bullets? (To explain: A candidate for the office of Texas state superintendent of schools recently said that he wants to distribute thick used textbooks to students so they can shield themselves from school shooters.)

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London Underground contact surfaces to get anti-flu disinfectant silver spray.

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There is currently an interesting thread about walking sticks/staves over at The Claire Files. Yes, they are multipurpose, but as we've discussed before on SurvivalBlog, their most important use is self defense.

"Freedom isn’t purchased or held indefinitely, it’s more like a loan that’s never paid off. The “payment” is constant vigilance against government encroachment; by our grandfathers, our fathers, and us. If the payments are ignored, the penalty will be collected in blood from our sons and daughters." - Jim Howard, 2003

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You may have noticed that the blog page was unavailable for several hours last night. It was at temporary problem at the ISP's server. (Which is usually rock solid.) It is back up and running this morning. Sorry about the inconvenience.
If you know of any potential advertisers for SurvivalBlog, please contact them and encourage them to sign up for a banner ad. Our advertising rates are dirt cheap. Be advised that we sell ad space only to advertisers that offer top quality products and services.

A quick comment regarding the Apex fire story suggestions. In Northwest Florida many years ago several chlorine rail cars derailed and leaked in the middle of the night. Residents close to the derailment tried to escape the harmful fumes
by getting in their cars and driving off. Unfortunately, the chlorine gas saturation level in the area was too high and most vehicles would not start. Many families perished in their cars. Gas masks are great idea if you have to walk out. Probably the next best thing is to have a ready response kit that will seal openings, doors and windows if you live near a processing plant or railroad and you can't effectively escape in a moments notice. Sometimes the window of opportunity to escape opens and closes quickly, even before you are ready to bug out. Awareness of the prevailing winds in relationship to your
home helps also.
Thanks for letting me send you my two cents. There are great ideas out there from all sources coming into SurvivalBlog...and the best thing is how everyone responds to other peoples' ideas if they see a potential weakness or flaw. The comments are never mean-spirited and everyone benefits from from the multiple angles of viewpoints - drawing on what is best for their own family. Thanks, - "M" in the New Orleans area.

I trust all is well with you and yours. I recently found a source for a battery adapter. There are a lot of products that will take one AA cell and make a D cell battery.
I found somebody makes an adapter that uses two size AA cells to make a D cell battery. (Twice as much battery life.) I've even seen a reference to some adapters that use three AA batteries. (That would be neat.) I recently received and tested C cell and D cell upsizers. The C cell is the common type, one AA battery makes one C cell. The D cells were the special part. Two AA cells make one D cell.
Nicely done product. They aren't a cast iron product built for the centuries but they are well made and they were priced right. With two NiMH AA batteries of high capacity, you have a useful D cell equivalent. E-mail "Kevin Ko" <kevin@kevinko.ca> to get these adapters. BTW, he takes PayPal.

You know, I've got a ton of the real high cap NiMH AAs and this sure makes sense. And it's your fault! Your recent SurvivalBlog benefit auction got me to pull out my Victoreen [fallout] meters and check them and I got to wondering about D cells. Thanks and Best Regards, - The Army Aviator

JWR Replies: Thanks for sharing the tip on the source for those adapters. I really like the new generation 2600 mil amp hour capacity AA NiMH batteries. The only problem is that The Memsahib and our #1 Son have monopolized them for use in their digital cameras. Once the price drops a bit more I think that I'll buy myself a bulk pack.

"So you think that money is the root of all evil? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil? . ...Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor... Or did you say it's the love of money that's the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love it's nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men." Ayn Rand, in a Francisco d'Anconia monologue, in Atlas Shrugged, 1957

Monday, October 23, 2006

Wow! Our unique visits counter just passed the 3⁄4 million mark. Thanks for making SurvivalBlog such a great success!

Because I will be traveling on behalf of a consulting client, I will not be taking any new mail orders from October 24th to November 8th. Thanks for your patience. But of course during this time I will still be making my daily blog posts. (I have never missed a day!)

I read your post of 10/15 about barter items and the problems with fake gold coins. You wrote: "The other major problem with using gold coins for survival barter, regardless of their weight, is that they will be immediately suspect as counterfeit by the individual on the other side of the table."

You are quite correct, but an easy and affordable solution is available. Please note that I am not a salesman for this product nor affiliated with the company in any way. I am simply someone who has been working on preparedness for 40 years and have found this product valuable.

There is a fake gold coin detection product made by Fisch Instruments. The detector, detectors really, consist of plastic fulcrums that measure the diameter, thickness, and weight of a coin. Because of gold's unique properties, no coin can pass these three tests and be a counterfeit. (Okay, okay, they could be made out of platinum alloy or palladium, but that doesn't seem too probable). I have had a set of these detectors for about 25 years. I am not a coin collector, I just have them in case I find myself being presented gold coins for payment for food or ammo.

I would not normally make much noise about this except the owner is closing down the business. At some point in the future, these will not be available any longer. For less money than a cheap shotgun, your readers could add to their arsenal of tools for not getting cheated is some future the normal economy has become discombobulated.


Mr. R.:
In response to Monsieur Anon's comments I appreciate that gold would not be the exchange medium of choice in most WTSHTF scenarios, however, let's not overlook the tremendous versatility of gold as a preservation of wealth for most survival situations that one would plan for. This is not mere speculation either. There is an enormous wealth (sorry!) of history supporting this position.

Gold had value before, during and after the Roman Empire. Gold had value before, during and after WWII, regardless of the country you were in. No matter what the situation (a major war, a local disaster, a government collapse, you name it) those that could dig up 20 oz of gold after the event would be better off than those that could not. Gold has maintained its worth over time. In 1900 1oz of gold was worth around $20 which was enough to buy a good suit. Today 1 oz of gold is worth around $600 and it would still buy a good suit. Okay, I didn't exactly appreciate much but the intrinsic value was preserved. As we all know, the $20 cash did not fair as well. I don't think the suit bought 106 years ago would have faired much better.

I can't think of any disaster scenario where 20 ounces of gold wouldn't be an asset. After all, you can carry 20 Krugerrands in your bug out bag (BOB) and that may be the only thing that you have between you and your family controlling your own destiny and becoming refugees. $12,000 worth of .22 ammo wouldn't be quite so portable. It's also easier to hide $12,000 of gold than it is to hide your other hard assets. Some of those assets may not be quite so hard after all, when looters and the government have finished.

Assuming you have first made appropriate preparations for protection, shelter, water and food, I believe there are many more survival scenarios where owning some gold coins would be more advantageous than not. IMHO, evaluating gold coins for barter in a survival scenario is like evaluating the worth of your Model 1911 pistol for deer hunting - great tool/wrong job! - Dave

JWR Replies: You are absolutely right that gold does have a place in preparedness planning. While it is suboptimal for post-TEOTWAWKI survival barter (for the reasons previously stated), it is an ideal store of wealth with "grab it and go" portability, such as in cross-border refugee situations. Silver is roughly 50 times heavier and bulkier per dollar's worth, and hence too heavy for most investors to carry in their luggage. To illustrate my point: I recently accompanied a consulting client to both a coin show and a coin shop, to liquidate gold and silver holdings to generate cash for an upcoming retreat property purchase. In just four hours at the show the client sold $147,000 worth of gold--a mixture of slabbed (PCGS and NGC encapsulated ) mint state numismatic coins and bullion coins. (The latter were nearly all 1 ounce Krugerrands and American Eagles.) These all fit easily in a battered old black plastic Samsonite briefcase. It was heavy, but still quite portable and discreet. What a contrast the next day when we went to a coin shop to sell the silver, consisting of 54 Englehard 100 ounce bullion bars (about 385 pounds!), and nearly three full $1,000 face value bags of pre-1965 U.S. coinage. A $1,000 silver bag weighs 55 pounds. Toting the silver into the shop took three very heavy dolly (hand truck) loads, during which time we were in full public gaze. When we were unloading and stacking the bullion bars, ("clank!, clank!"), discretion was difficult. Despite its much greater weight and bulk, the sale of the silver generated less than $100,000.

As you correctly pointed out, gold is also useful as "time machine" for preserving one's wealth from one side of a war or a currency crisis to the other. (When one's savings would otherwise be wiped out.) To be ready for all eventualities, I recommend investing in both silver and gold. Each has it strengths for different situations. In my estimation, the priority of investing should be 1.) Retreat land and and core logistics ("Beans, bullets and band-aids "), then 2.) Silver dimes and/or quarters for barter, and then, finally, 3.) Gold bullion, in nothing larger than one ounce coins. You are right that "many more survival scenarios where owning some gold coins would be more advantageous than not." But of course setting priorities is important.

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Please keep spreading the word about SurvivalBlog. If you are a loyal reader, please get yourself a SurvivalBlog bumper sticker or T-shirt. The bumper stickers are great conversation starter on your Unimog, or even just when pinned up on your cubicle wall at work. The T-shirts are likewise a great conversation starter at the range, at gun shows, at your local canned food discount store, or just strolling around town. Thanks!


Jim -
Do any SurvivalBlog suppliers have water tanks that can be plumbed into the home water system before passing the water on through to the house as recommended by Joel Skousen? Our Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) home construction is in progress with the basement walls poured and the retaining walls and dividing/shelter wall formed for pour this next week.- D.A.B.

JWR Replies: The best tanks to use are standard, off-the-shelf, plastic septic tanks, bought brand new. A good friend of mine bought three 1,700 gallon tanks and had them plumbed "in parallel" and buried in the yard outside of his new house. (He used Joel Skousen's specifications for plumbing them in to his house/shelter water system. They provide low pressure gravity feed to his basement shelter.) It is noteworthy that is that these tanks are essentially a generic commodity made by dozens of plastics manufacturers and they can be ordered through virtually any building supply store. They are inexpensive (in terms of cost per gallon) and quite durable. They also flex a bit, which is an important consideration if you are in an area subject to frost heaving or earthquakes. OBTW, I recommend that if your installation leaves any part of the tanks exposed (such as their "clean out" lids) that you paint those portions heavily with opaque paint or asphalt emulsion, to minimize UV degradation of the plastic.

Hi Jim,
I've restored older cars as a hobby for about 24 years (Ford is my preference. I was delighted to see [late 1960s vintage] Broncos, F250s and Mustangs in your novel "Patriots".) I have a suggestion for cleaning older gas cans that works very well for me. Most recently I dealt with a 50,000 mile 1969 Buick Riviera. [JWR Adds: Ah, the roar of a 454! I once owned a 1970 Buick Electra 225. What a ride.] The deceased prior owner had stored the car indoors since 1983. The gas tank was full of vile liquid that at one time had been leaded gasoline.

After draining and removing the tank (I disposed of the fluid properly) I was able to remove the gas gauge sending unit and peer inside. Initially, it looked like the tank had rusted, but it was simply a heavy coating of dark orange varnish. I tried a few different chemicals and even steam cleaning to attempt to remove the varnish but to no avail.

I use Berryman Chem-Dip in a 5 gallon pail to soak/clean disassembled automotive carburetors prior to rebuilding them.

This fluid is some nasty stuff (wear chem resistant gloves!), but it works. (However, I can't speak for their [special] Kalifornia kompliant formula). It came to me that what was in the gas tank was the same residue in a dirty carburetor, just in greater quantity. My Chem-Dip pail was a little low and needed replenishing anyway. I bought two gallons of Chem-Dip replenisher (Berryman part no. 0901, about $15 a gallon in my area) and poured it in the Buick's gas tank. I sloshed the Chem-Dip around, then let the tank sit on one side, sloshed it again, let it sit on another side, until I had soaked the entire inside surface of the tank. After two days of soaking/sloshing I drained the tank back into the original cans, filtering the fluid through a fine metal screen. I let the tank dry, then used a pressure washer for a final cleaning, drained the water, then used a heat gun on the outside of the tank to expedite drying time. [JWR Adds: Use extreme caution when applying heat to a gas can or to any part of an automobile fuel system!] The end result was a beautiful (to a mechanic, anyway) shiny factory galvanized internal tank surface with only a hint of surface rust. Later, I used the cans to replenish my 5 gallon pail. My point is I believe this technique would work just as well with a military gas can. If the Chem-Dip is filtered it can be used again - it doesn't seem to lose its cleaning strength for some time. In a survival scenario, I believe Chem-Dip will even have some significant value in bringing some older pre-1980 non-computer [presumably EMP impervious] vehicles back to operational service.
I heartily agree with SC's assessment of the durability of the German gas cans. I secured a quantity of the German cans from SOG International about seven years ago, just prior to Y2K. The cans had already been cleaned, given a rust preventative/chemical resistant internal coating (to resist rusting from condensation of water in the air trapped in the can) and then painted. They've held my storage fuel on many trips, the internal chemical coating is still adhering, no leaks. (The weak point would be the rubber cap seal - replacements available from Major Surplus and Survival and they have endured outside storage in the hot southeastern Texas climate very well. I keep them as full as possible to minimize condensation. (It is very humid where I live.)
I've seen some similar, if not identical, Euro military gas cans at currently reasonable prices. The lowest price is at Major Surplus and Survival (2 can limit? - can't be sold in Kalifornia.) The Sportsman's Guide has Swiss cans that are a little higher and no apparent limit on quantity. Though I don't think the cans currently being offered have an internal protective coating, one could be added after they were cleaned out, like this product:
Kind Regards, - M. Artixerxes


Regarding gas cans, I purchased a number of [used] US mil-spec cans and had them cleaned and "red lined" at a radiator shop. The red lining would keep the inside of the cans from rusting. They also replaced the rubber seals on the caps with ones made out of inner tubes and they worked fine. The process was expensive ($20 per can), but they are still in very good shape some 15 years later. - Ron A.

I was astounded to hear a get rich quick infomercial on the radio on Saturday morning. The marketeer was selling his "DVD course" on how to make millions with "nothing down", investing in residential real estate. Real estate? They've got to be kidding. How do you make money "investing" in a declining market? This was the same pitch I heard a year ago, when the market was booming. And he wasn't taking about about buying foreclosed properties. He was talking about buying houses "in hot markets" to either flip or to keep as rentals while they "appreciated." I laughed out loud at that suggestion. There are some very naive people that see the current decline in residential real estate as a short term "dip." I have news for them: This "dip" in prices is just the beginning, and the bear market may last a decade. OBTW, I've just coined a new term for people that foolishly "invest" in declining markets: contrapreneurs.

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International political analyst Arnaud de Borchgrave comments on North Korea's paranoid president for life. Are we supposed to trust Comrade Kim Jong-Il, and feel all warm and fuzzy now that he says that he's "Sorry" about his country's recent nuke test?

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Amidst veritable economic collapse in Zimbabwe, Comrade Mugabe will soon move into a newly built $26 Million USD luxury mansion that he can keep for himself after retirement. Oh, but now we hear that he may decide to extend his term in office past 2008, to perhaps 2010. (Depending, I presume, upon his mood and medications.) Gee, I wonder what the price tag for the mansion would be if it was expressed in those hyperinflated Zimbabwean dollars?

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” - James Madison, written in The Federalist, No. 47, 1788.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hi Jim,
Love your web site! I live just on the outskirts of Apex, NC which is basically a suburb of Raleigh.One week ago, as you know, a hazmat processing facility there had a huge chlorine gas leak that led to a massive industrial fire with multiple explosions and leaks of all kinds of nasty-kill-you-dead-chemicals leaking into the air. 17,000 people were evacuated from Apex that evening. You can read the complete story here.
What I want to share with my fellow SurvivalBlog readers is how that thing that "will never happen here" happens and the very real need for a ready bag and a plan for when to use it. Here's how it went down in Apex from my view. I was in a parking lot at a football game 5 miles away from Apex 11:30pm or so Friday night when I remarked to my friends about the lightning and thunder off in the distance. A few minutes later when all of my friend's cell phones began to ring, we knew something was up- and it wasn't a thunderstorm. All the wives talked about an evacuation of the town and chemical vapor plumes. At first, we thought someone was joking... but then, some had gotten a reverse-911 call telling them to evacuate the town, other's heard public address (PA) loudspeakers from fire trucks. Some were just outside the evac zone and wondered what to do. Some panicked, packed the kids in the car and drove 60 miles away. All of my friends live in Apex, I'm just outside of town. We were in the post-game gridlock with 60,000 other fans and going nowhere fast. What I quickly became aware of was the various reactions of my friends. One was clearly in denial and kept making jokes; another just rationalized the impending rainy weather and assured us all it would wash away the plume and that everyone was safe. Another one just spoke quietly to his wife on the cell phone. It was a startling thing to observe. I casually asked them if any of them had a gas mask in the house their wives could use if they need ed to drive out in a hurry. They just looked at me with raised eyebrows...I'm sure they ever considered that thought. One said, "I'll die with my family before I wear one of those!" I thought to myself, you know, you could likely drive them out of harms way with a mask on or, heaven forbid, have one for each of them! After we got out of the gridlock we drove to my place which was well outside the evac zone and better-yet, upwind. As we entered the garage I went over to the workbench and produced 2 chlorine gas rated respirators and said, here, take these, my full face mask is upstairs. You should have seen the stunned looks! They could not believe that I just walked into the garage and produced personal protective gear for them in under 10 seconds. I chose not to share with them the extent of my ability to deal with a variety of other situations. As it turned out, my friends stayed over and the wives sheltered in place as they were just 2/10 mile outside the evac zone. Not the heroic thing we wanted to do but the police had stopped all of the traffic and closed many roads into Apex. We were not going anywhere. As we drove back in today, each and every road into town had orange cones and a patrol car blocking any access. If you think there is no way the authorities could ever blockade your entire town, you are sadly mistaken. There were police from all over called in to help, fire crews from 50 miles away called in, and hazmat crews from other states on standby. It was the real deal yet it stemmed from a relatively small facility with only a few dozen employees. I'd hate to be unprepared and live downwind of a refinery or major chemical plant! It made me wonder about how we would fair if the nearby Nuke Plant had an evac order for all of Raleigh-Durham which approaches 1 million people in 4 counties. Or what would happen if a pandemic erupted in our town.
The most important take-aways I can share are these thoughts: We've had lot's of brutal hurricanes here over that last 20 years, most of us here know the drill. But that is not the hazard to prepare for- it's for the ones you don't think of all the time that you need to consider, the ones that happen to "other people", the ones that will "never happen here", that's what you should consider. Because, everything else, you can probably deal with already- you know, something goes bump in the night, duh, Annie get your gun! Really consider the "big ones" (for us, the Nuke Plant), pandemics, serious bio-terrorism, those are what you should give rational, considered thought to. Because, if you don't, you will be subject to the whims of authorities and the masses. And no one will be happy with that. - Sig

I noticed that one of your advertisers is currently selling surplus AN/TA-1042 Digital Non-secure Voice Terminal (DNVT) field telephones. Earlier this year I bought two pair of them and even though I don't have the hard-to-find circuit switch, (AN/TTC-39D) for terminal to terminal dialing, when a pair is interconnected these phones offer super communications. The full duplex audio is clear and crisp over several hundred feet of wire (easily), has a ringer and audio volume control and a ring indicator LED ( flashing for ringing, steady on signifies in-use) for silent mode operation.
I run mine in a local battery configuration: one 12 volt, 17 or 26 amp hour battery per phone with a solar panel and charger controller on the one in my barn. The phones will operate reliably with the battery voltage level around 5.5 VDC although they are designed to function with a voltage range of 5.5 to 28 VDC with a current draw of 50 milliamp. These phones are severely damp proof and quite rugged. They even have a strap for fastening the phone to a pole or tree.
My original plan was to have a net of phones set up at various secured locations around the farm. Without the tactical circuit switch the keypad will not function phone to phone. If one can find a TCS these phones will be transformed from great to incredible. (.They have direct dialing capability addressing up to 240 terminals with four levels of priority over-ride and can even key a radio transmitter for
phone to radio communications). - Joe from Tennessee
JWR Replies: I also think that the TA-1024 is a great design. As someone that was first trained with the older generation TA-1 and TA-312 simplex-only mode field phones, the DNVT generation phones seem very Buck Rogers. As I pointed out in my novel "Patriots", having reliable field telephones is essential to coordinate retreat security in a post-TEOTWAWKI world. For semi-permanent installation, it is best to buy cable that is rated for underground burial ("UB") , to conceal and protect all of your lines. For TA-1042s you will need four conductor cable. (Or two parallel runs of two conductor cable.) Burying your lines will prevent both intentional and unintentional line cuts or breaks. Don't overlook getting a few extra field phones, so that you can run commo wire to your neighbors and coordinate with them as well. The circuit switch that you mentioned (AN/TTC-39D) is sometimes available from Fair Radio Sales. Otherwise, just watch eBay.com for one to come up at auction. The TA-1042 DNVT field telephones themselves are currently available from Ready Made Resources. They sell these field phones in pairs, with a free civilian photovoltaic panel included.

"Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity." - William Menninger

Friday, October 20, 2006

Get your entries in soon for Round 7 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up to $1,600.) Second prize is a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If you want a chance to win Round 7, start writing and e-mail us your article. This round will end on November 30th. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

Letter Re: The Varroa Honeybee Mite Threatens U.S. Crop Production

The Varroa mite, Varroa jacobsonii, is an external parasite of honey bees. It feeds on the hemolymph of both brood and adult bees. The entire life cycle of these mites is spent with the bees. The Varroa mite originated in Southeast Asia where it is a parasite of the Eastern honey bee, Apis cerana. It was first discovered on the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, in 1960. The crossover resulted from beekeepers intermingling the two species, and further spread has been encouraged by beekeepers transporting colonies.

No one is sure how it came into the United States but it is most likely that they arrived with queen bees which were brought in illegally.

By 1992 Varroa mites have been found in at least 40 of the United States and continue to spread. They were first found in Wisconsin in late 1987 and shortly thereafter were reported in Florida. They are assumed to have been in Florida first and moved to Wisconsin with migratory bees. A further assumption is that they were in the U.S. for at least two years before discovery.

Why am I mentioning the lowly Honeybee in a survivalist forum?

The varroa mite has killed or severely weakened an estimated 40 percent to 60 percent of honeybees in the United States during the past six months.
• Millions of acres of U.S. fruit, nut, vegetable, seed and legume crops depend on insect pollination. An estimated 80 percent of insect crop pollination is accomplished by honeybees.
• Crops that require bees for pollination include apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, oranges, grapefruit, sunflowers, tangerines and watermelon. In addition, the production of most beef and dairy products depends on alfalfa, clover and other plants that require pollination.
• Honeybees are ideal for pollination because they can be managed easily and moved to where they are needed. They also will pollinate a wide variety of crops without harming the plants.

Isn't it great? The things we get from Asia? Formosan Termites, Varroa mites, Asian Avian Flu, etc. - Hawgtax

Mr. Rawles
The man who bought the military gas cans with the latches and no vent hole, sounds like he [might have] bought five gallon military water cans. That also could explain why he found unknown liquid instead of gasoline in the cans. Love your site. OBTW, I'm a Unimog survival vehicle owner. J.P. in Montana


Joe is probably referring to the German style fuel cans! They are a very well designed can that vents with a passage from the cans opening up though the handle to the humpbacked air chamber on the back of the can behind the handles. This air chamber also serves as a float chamber if you want to throw your full cans overboard and allow them to float ashore.
With good seals these can will travel tied down even upside down (if you want) and can take a beating. There is plenty of good info on the web about these cans and their history if he wishes to learn more about them. The Allies were losing a very large percentage of their fuel to spillage until they stole the Germans idea of a Jerry can but even with the Brits and US making cans they where poor seconds to the original until the Brits just straight out copied the German can design. Thanks for the good informative Blog! - SC in WV


The screw down lid that comes with the GI cans has a wide flange that covers, and seals the vent hole. The spout that you screw in has a narrow flange, allowing the can to vent during the pouring. If you will look at the rubber gaskets on the cap and spout you will see the difference in the outer diameter. The spout gasket has a smaller outside diameter. - TCH, in Oregon

Regarding he recent thread on coal storage, old factories and military installations that used coal (some barracks were coal heated and still have bins outside) often have large amounts (suitable for the survivalist or amateur blacksmith) of coal that's not cost-effective for the operation to do anything with. If one offers to clean it up, it might be available free. I know there's lots of anthracite coal outside old barracks at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Perhaps someone in the area would be able to salvage it. I'd appreciate a load for my forge for the referral if anyone does this. - Michael Z. Williamson, (in sword maker rather than sci-fi writer mode)

John the Bowhunter sent this one. The housing slump continues. From Sacramento, California: Now house prices are noticeably declining.

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Jason pointed me to this story: Brazilian granny who shot thief to get Rio medal, but may go to jail for "gun crime"

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Business booms for fallout shelter industry in Japan following North Korea's nuclear test. My question: Since Honolulu, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are all now reportedly inside the radius of North Korean nuclear missiles, why aren't shelter builders in the Western U.S. just as busy? A tip of the hat to "Hawaiian K" for sending this link.

"Those who have been intoxicated with power... can never willingly abandon it." - Edmund Burke

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It is gratifying to see the global readership of SurvivalBlog expanding so quickly. I'm particularly surprised to see how our readership has grown in India and throughout South America. Welcome, folks! (Swaagatam, Bem-vindo, and Bienvenidos!)

Hi Jim.
I recently bought several used five gallon military gas cans over the Internet. Since they are used, they arrived with some remaining liquid residue in them. I don't know what it is, other than it is not gasoline. Also, the lids are the kind that close down securely with a latch and don't appear to be vented like the gas cans bought in a hardware store. I have several questions. (1) Do you have any suggestions for cleaning them out so that I can store gasoline in them? (2) What is the purpose of the cans being unvented? (3) What are the pros and cons of the cans being unvented? (4) Are there any dangers peculiar to unvented gas cans that I need to be aware of? Thanks for a great blog, I have been a regular reader from the beginning. - Joe.

JWR Replies: In answer to your questions:

1) Ironically, the best solvent for cleaning a used gasoline can is... gasoline. When cleaning a 4 or 5 gallon can, in a well-ventilated place, well away from any open flames and taking proper static electricity grounding precautions, simply put one quart of fresh gasoline (the octane number is unimportant) in the can, seal it, and then shake it vigorously for two minutes. Wait five minutes and then give it another two minute shake. Immediately pour out that gas and treat it as you would any other toxic waste. (Do NOT attempt to run it through any sort of engine. At this point it is only suitable for making napalm.) Then repeat the entire process, using another quart of fresh gasoline. Again, discard that gas. At this point the can should be clean enough to use for storing gas for use in engines.

2, 3, and 4) I've never heard of an unvented military gas can, but I don't have much experience with some of the foreign military designs. U.S. mil-spec gas and diesel cans alway have vents. Look closely at the filler neck. It will probably have one or two small vent holes, possibly under the cap's rubber seal. Unvented cans are a safety hazard in my estimation, because they would be at risk of leaking or rupture with changes in temperature or elevation.

Mr. R.:
Years back a good friend - a "tech incubator" and investment banker - asked me "What would make a good, easily portable medium of exchange ?" He was referencing some WTSHTF, post apocalyptic scenario. Good question. We thought about it and came up with answers, none of which were a pretty, malleable, ductile, shiny metal.
Same with diamonds. Pretty. How do they taste when brewed up in the coffee-pot ? ... oh yeah, they don't!
Wanna barter ? You'd better be bringing something to the table that has functional value. Food. Water. Shelter. Fire. Things that go bang. Things that when fed-in make those things go bang [i.e. magazines]. Medicine. Seed. Tools. Knowledge - the ultimate tool
I understand that we're talking about a more rounded management and market-system where a universally-accepted medium of exchange would be operative, and that many here are interested in money and gold. But discussions of precious metals seem to be the economic analogue of the "Tommy Tactical" threads. The foundation of any pyramid that would support either an individual or some aggregate of individuals will have to focus on essentials. With apologies to Mr. Maslow, gold ain't in that bottom layer, or any of the higher ones.
I've got a brick of .22 and you have a gold coin. If I have enough bricks, I'll sell. If not, that one gold coin ain't gonna be doing it. It'll take two, maybe three. Your stock of gold just went down in valuation by 67%. And that would be on a good day, when the marketplace is beneficent, and there's no gangs roaming the countryside, and you're healthy and can walk, and your boots are in good shape, and so on. Ditto with a tin of butter, coil of rope, lighter, cold-weather parka
Actually envisioning the landscape and scenarios that'll eventuate, should inform decisions we make. I'm hoping that I never need to use my resources in a world gone kaflooey, but since it might happen, I plan for that scenario. My stewardship of family wellness and preparedness entails investments and savings, and for us gold isn't one, nor are gold stocks, gold funds, gold futures, gold coins, promises of gold or the lure of gold. Markets move up over time, and we'll invest, just not in gold. Not till we're squared away with our other funds, the kids and their UTMAs, our HSA, and other more tangible and productive ventures
Yes, I like the payoffs from expendable income, and the things that money can buy. But I'm skeptical that gold holdings will serve me in the world-we-hope-never-to-see. If the SHTF (Excuse me again, Mr. Farnham - when ) gold will be of little value, and I suspect that any surviving governmental apparatus will be rounding it up along with real assets. Flash yer gold and get what you want (or) loose it (or) get incarcerated .... hmmm ? Three outcomes, two bad ... hmmm ? Woody Hayes is speaking to me from the grave. In the interim, I'll be brewing real coffee, versus virtual coffee from my envisioned precious metal asset-base. - Monsieur Anon

North Korea defiant, amidst fears of second nuclear weapon test. In other headlines, North Korea say that the recent UN sanctions resolution is a "declaration of war."

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The U.S. is beefing up security on the Canadian border, deploying air assets--including drones.

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The U.S. Special Forces SCAR rifle acquisition program moves forward: The SCAR has unique specifications that allow the same receiver to be used for both .223 ("SCAR L") and .308 ("SCAR H") variants. Hmmm...The army finally gets back on track, nearly 50 years after the T44 versus T48 rifle trials, and acquires an FN-designed gas piston-operated 7.62mm NATO rifle with a pistol grip stock, charging handle on the left side, and a relatively straight line stock. (Sound familiar? Sounds like a FAL-inspired design to me.) My only question is: Will the .308 version of the SCAR use standard metric FAL magazines? I hope so.

"It is only when we stop believing right, that we stop doing right." - SurvivalBlog reader Mark R.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I woke up last Sunday to the sound of my house shaking. Yup, an earthquake and wow, a really big one. Calmly and firmly I ordered the kids out of the house and waited until the shaking stopped. When we went inside my 6 and 8 year olds had already gotten their little mini-survival packs out (emergency mylar bags, flints, tinder and Swiss army knives) and were working on getting their heavier survival backpacks out from the closet (food, clothes and sleeping bags) while I swept up the broken glass on the kitchen floor. They did me proud. No worries, they could put them away, I said. "What about if the volcano goes off?" one asked. "Okay, leave them out and put your shoes on." I responded. I got out the short wave and some AA batteries and scanned to find an operating radio station running on a generator (Statewide power outage). When I found one, I got the location of the epicenter off the northwest coast of the Big Island, grabbed my topographic maps and saw that the tsunami (which never came) would be a non issue for my location. I was surprised by the lack of decent information on the radio. No one mentioned turning off gas lines to avoid explosions. All they said was stay off the roads and limit cell and land line phone usage. I got through to my wife on the other side of the island (working a crafts fair) and while rocks had tumbled from cliffs no one had been hurt. Dang, I thought. Is there any food in the car? How about water? Did she bring good walking shoes? Mental note, put all in the trunk How much gas was in the tank? I have a bad habit of letting the gas tank go to nearly empty before refilling. Okay, so from now on, gas fill ups at 1/2 a tank. 1/4 at worst.
Later in the day my neighbors came back from their survival trips into town. One said that 1000 generators had been sold in one day at the local Home Depot and he had bought one himself. [JWR Adds: I'm dubious about what your neighbor said. Is there a Home Depot store has that kind of deep inventory? Or were they mostly taking back orders?] I asked what kind of generator he got and he said gasoline. "How much gasoline do you have?" "Well, 5 gallons plus what's in my [car's] gas tank." "I see, and with no power on the island, how will you get more gas from the gas station? The pumps won't work." I queried. "You've got a huge propane tank over there. Why not get a propane generator?" I left him scratching his head. Why not get food and water? If the quakes and or tsunami took out the docks, then we'd have no food on the island real fast. Well, at least he could watch his big screen TV for a few hours until his gas ran out. Several of my neighbors didn't even have portable radios. - SF in Hawaii

On 10 Oct 06 you wrote: "Ironically, the risk of getting murdered here in the US is higher than it is there. But England clearly has higher rates for nearly all other crimes--both violent and non-violent". In fact England has more murders than the US. It is all to do with how they work out the numbers. You would think to be classed as a murder someone would have to be murdered but it does not work this way.
In the US the way to class a death as murder is if the police case starts of as a murder case i.e. A body is found in the with blood on its head the first officer on the scene will report it as a homicide so it will be added to the U.S.A. murder rate list. If it is found that they had a heart attack and then hit there head on the floor its still adds to the murder rate.
So as you can see the US is a lot safer than they make out.
In the UK to make the list someone has to be found guilt of murder and then it is added to the murder rate of the year they are found guilty. So if a person kills 20 in 2006 and found guilty in 2010 all 20 are added to the murder rate for 2010.
Dr. H. Shipman killed himself in 2001 but in 2003 he was found to have killed 172 (it could had been as high as 300+ he was in jail for murder at the time) of his patient. So 172 deaths were added to the murder rate calculations for 2003. As you can see the worse job the Police [and courts] do, the better the UK looks for murder rate. - Simon in England

From Asia Times Online: An interesting, albeit biased, three part analysis of the recent conflict in Israel, by Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry

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The U.S. Census Bureau's population "POPclock" tops the 300,000,000 mark. That is interesting, but it doesn't have a lot of immediate impact on my family. The nearest neighboring house is 1/2 mile away from the Rawles Ranch. The population density is still just three people per square mile in our county. This is typical for most of the rest of The Un-named Western State (TUWS). OBTW, our friend Fred the Valmet-meister mentioned that there are some interesting statistics on population density of the 50 states at the Wikipedia.

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Reader JH pointed us to yesterday's Wall Street Journal (Oct. 16, 2006). They carried an article on page A2 about the divergence between electrical demand and the capacity of the power grid. Some real FFTAGFFR!

"In peace, as a wise man, he should make suitable preparation for war." - Horace (65-8 BC) This quote inspired a modern corollary: "In plenty, as a wise man, he should make suitable preparation for hardship." - SurvivalBlog reader CW (2006 AD)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Today we welcome our newest advertiser, MURS Radio. They sell bargain-priced surplus VHF portable two-way radios that operate in the Multi Use Radio Service (MURS) allocated frequencies. These radios come complete and ready to use with antenna, battery, belt clip and drop-in charger for only $49 each. Yes, they have a few scratches and they'll have a sticker that covers the original emergency service department engravings, but for just $49 for a 2 Watt transceiver, they are a great deal. MURS frequencies and do not require a license in the U.S. These are pre-programmed with five MURS frequencies and three U.S. weather band ("WX" receive only) frequencies. They can also be programmed to 2 Meter Band frequencies or other frequencies within their band capability, upon request. The model that they are presently selling is a Kenwood TK2100 VHF MURS portable. These 2 Watt radios can have much better range than most FRS radios which typically broadcast just 1/2 Watt. I recommend these 2 Watt MURS radios for retreat security communications. Get a pair of them (or several pair) while they're still available at the $49 price.

Many commercially packaged storage food "package deals" load up on Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) for protein. I would eat TVP if I had to, but if you are considering buying food for storage, stick to eggs and meat. TVP comes from soybeans, and soybeans are not a good human food. To explain:
Plants can be placed on a continuum from harmless fruits, vegetables and common grains, to poisonous plants like deathcap mushrooms. With the exception of fruits (seeds pass through our digestion and we 'deposit' them in remote locations thus propagating the plant species) , plants don't want to be eaten. "Who cares what they want?" you say. "It's not like they can get up and run away." Exactly. Plants can't move or bite so they defend themselves with chemicals and thorns. Some chemicals they use will kill us (the wrong mushroom), some will kill us but in small doses can be medicines (foxglove). Some aren't strong enough to kill us but can make us sick, either acutely or chronically. Soybeans fall into this latter category.
Chemicals in soybeans cause thyroid disorders, blood clots, inhibit trypsin (one of our digestive enzymes), contain very high levels of phytates (mineral inhibitors) and contain high levels of estrogens. Have you noticed girls entering puberty earlier than in previous generations? Men given soy products can become feminized. Babies receiving soy infant formula as their sole source of food take the equivalent of 5 birth control pills a day in estrogens. These chemicals in soy are anti-nutrients. The Asians knew this which is why they only eat fermented soy like miso. Tofu is not fermented. The fermentation process inactivates many (but not all) of the anti-nutritive elements in soy. The only use for soy for humans IMHO is as Miso taken after radiation exposure. After the nuclear explosions in Japan, those who were fed miso survived better than those who were not. Miso will last a long time in a refrigerator and you should have some with your potassium iodate as part of your nuclear first aid kit. - SF in Hawaii

This is in reply to a couple of earlier letters, and I would like to point out some corrections.

1) Lee powder dippers are safe to use as directed. If you actually read the directions and especially the discussion about the dippers in the Lee Modern Reloading Manual you will see that Lee specifies only dippers that cannot go over the maximum weight charge if used with appropriate powders. The dipper provided with a set of dies will only be appropriate with certain powders, and those will always be a little or a lot under the max charge weight, even if the weight to volume ratio varies from that given by Lee. He builds in a margin of error to ensure you can;t go over the max amount unless you really try, or really don't read instructions, in which case you have no business reloading ammunition.

2) There is more tribal rumor about Glock Kabooms and unsupported chambers than there is fact floating around the Internet. First, Glocks are not the only pistol with partially unsupported chambers. The Model 1911 traditionally is only partially supported. Some SIGs are as well. In fact, there are probably fewer models with fully supported chambers than there are partially. So, unsupported chambers by themselves do not cause Kabooms, otherwise most pistols would be blowing up. I suspect a good number of kabooms are from reloaders that would rather try to blame Glock than their own attempt to go over the maximum load, or their own inattentiveness. Several Kabooms I have read about turn out to be done by shooting a squib load and getting a bullet stuck in the barrel and then shooting another bullet right behind that. That is very likely to bulge or burst the barrel but has nothing to do with the chamber. Many other kabooms are reported with conjecture about the cause but no supporting evidence. I challenge any Glock Kaboom expert to provide first person evidence not hearsay from Internet forums.

There are many of us that reload the .40 S&W in our Glocks without a problem for years upon years. It is like any other cartridge in that you must check the condition of your brass upon each reload and look for signs of case head separation. Most of us that reload the .40 for the Glock find that the case necks crack (as all cartridges will eventually) long before the head separates from the case. Of course if you are always loading your ammo to the maximum loadings or beyond then you should not expect very many reloads per case before they start to fail. Common sense should tell us that if you want your cases to last longer, and you want to reduce the chance of catastrophic failure, then don't load to the maximum or beyond. And check your cases before and after each reload session. Throw out any that are looking suspicious.

If you are really concerned about this then you can buy an aftermarket barrel for any of the Glocks with cut or button rifling and more fully supported chambers. And every reloader should read at least two reloading manuals before starting to reload. I would recommend The Lee Modern Reloading 2nd Edition, one of the Lyman manuals, or Speer #13 as good beginning manuals. Nosler is not a very good intro, especially for handguns, but is excellent for advanced rifle reloading. I have heard the Hornady and Sierra manuals are also good starters. I would actually recommend acquiring at least three manuals: one by the equipment manufacturer (Lee, Speer/RCBS, Hornady) and/or The ABCs of Reloading; a second from the powder manufacturer of your choice (Hodgdon, VV, Winchester, Alliant, Accurate) and a third from the bullet maker of your choice (Oregon Trail Laser-Cast, Lyman for cast bullets, Speer, Sierra, Hornady).

Reloading is serious business and requires much reading and paying attention to detail. But let's not scare ourselves with rumors and hearsay.
Thanks for a fantastic blog site! - JB, Oregon


Mr. Rawles:
LK from West Virginia obviously doesn't have much experience putting reloads through Glocks, and is relying on Internet hearsay. A quick perusing of such forums as Brian Enos' and Glocktalk will shed light on the myth and render it what it is, completely untrue. USPSA and IDPA competitors feed their guns a steady stream of reloads, and many of those guys are shooting Glocks in various forms, including the dreaded ".40 caliber kaboom monster!" I have two Glocks that have yet to see a single round of factory ammo, and one of them has eaten over 30,000 reloads without a glitch. The standard caveats apply when it comes to reloading, in that you must be cautious and follow all guidelines, but if your loads are within listed tolerances from a reputable reloading manual, you should have absolutely no problems. Additionally Glock states that you should not use cast lead bullets, and only use jacketed rounds. I abide by that guideline, but others have ignored it. Your mileage may vary, of course, but nobody should fear quality reloads shot through a Glock. Respectfully, - JCL

SurvivalBlog reader "John Smith" recommends the post-apocalyptic novel "The Road", by Cormac McCarthy.

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In case you missed it, here is a link to a PDF of the 2005 U.S. congressional hearing on the Peak Oil Theory

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Buffalo , New York continues to dig out, after an early snowstorm

"Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith." - Alexis de Tocqueville

Monday, October 16, 2006

The winner of the most recent SurvivalBlog benefit auction was L.P., with a $280 bid for a fully tested and recently professionally calibrated U.S. government surplus Civil Defense CD V-717 fallout survey meter with remote sensing capability. The meter was donated by Ready Made Resources (one of our first and most loyal advertisers).

A new benefit auction begins today, and ends November 15th. This one is for a used but very scarce autographed copy of the non-fiction book Survival Guns by Mel Tappan. Because Mel led a very private life, he made few public appearances and never sold copies of his books directly from his home address. Consequently, autographed copies of his books are very scarce! This particular copy is dated January 1976 by Mel (a first edition) and inscribed to Dane Andrews, an engineer at CCI/Speer in Lewiston, Idaho, who had provided Mel some technical input for the book. Also enclosed is a handwritten thank you note from Mel Tappan. I was very fortunate to have found this copy by chance in a bin of used gun books several years ago when I was at a gun show in Moscow, Idaho. The opening bid for the auction is just $20. Please submit your bid via e-mail.

Well, mother nature really gave it to them this week. There were 24 inches of snow dumped on us in about 24 hours. That, and the trees still had most of their leaves still intact. That just made more surface for the snow to stick, and it was the wettest imaginable snow you have ever seen. I'm writing this on Sunday. The power has been out since about 5 P.M. on Friday, and they are saying it won't all be back on till next weekend.
I didn't lose my power, since I live north of the worst of it. I have lent my generator out to a friend who is trying to keep his basement from flooding.
The Buffalo Water Department is recommending that residents boil their water. Nobody has any 'put up', and very few have a Berky water filter. I really like mine!
The television showed people scrambling to buy generators. They are trying to go as far as Albany to get them. Gas to run them is also a sideshow, there is a two hour wait at the gas stations that do have power. I am sure they will be out soon.
Now the snow is melting, so the flooding is a problem. Some people have 'grinder pumps' for their sewers, which is a really bad position to be in, with no power!
I am thinking of going to the places where the trees are down the worst, with my chainsaw, and stocking up on wood for next winter, as it is green, and won't burn this year. I am sure the places with trees down just want them gone. I saw on TV that 50% of the trees are at least damaged or down. Buffalo, Amherst, the suburbs have a lot of big silver maple trees. OK for firewood, when dry.
I didn't hear of any looting yet, and I am surprised. Maybe it hasn't been reported.
Buffalo people really are pretty good at helping each other out.
The phones haven't worked right for a couple days, you have to try your call several times before you can get a two-way conversation going, and then it might quit at any moment. That is pretty frustrating.
I went to the nearest town today, that is where I saw the gas lines. The worst of the storm hit south of there, and I live north of it. All the restaurants were packed. The storm people can't cook anything, so they went out of the affected area to get fed.
Good thing it was so localized! I guess that most of the roads are passable now, except for the water. Underpasses are flooded.
Thanks to this blog, I wasn't in their shoes, and I was able to help my friend. I would be able to last a couple weeks, anyhow, no matter what. Now I just have to keep adding to the stores.
Thanks, Jim! - Sid, near Niagara Falls

As you know, I live near Niagara Falls. I grew up on a farm, mostly growing 'row crops'. Wheat, oats, corn, buckwheat, and soybeans have become a big crop in the area of late. The wheat we grow around here is [soft] 'white' wheat, not the hard red [winter] wheat that is grown in the mid-west. I have wondered what the difference really is, and have never really found out. Can someone out there straighten me out on this? It seems most bread is made from the red, from what I hear. Can't bread be made from the white wheat? I can get white wheat by the truckload locally. I have never even seen any red.
We used to grow several hundred acres of the stuff. Anymore, there are very few small farmers left, there are thousands of acres growing up to bushes and trees all over western New York. It is a sad sight to see, but it really is giving the land a chance to 'rest' after being intensely farmed for over a hundred years. Trouble is, it will eventually have to be cleared again, if it is ever to be farmed again. I wonder if it will be farmed with horses again. - Sid, near Niagara Falls

JWR Replies: Soft white wheat has less nutritive value (protein) than hard red winter wheat. Although they are both categorized as "hard grains", the hard wheat varieties store better than the soft wheats. (30+ years versus 15 to 20 years for soft white wheat.) For both of these reasons, hard red winter wheat is preferred for home food storage programs. The following is a quote from the excellent wheat article at the Walton Feed web site: "The hard wheats generally contain smaller kernels and are harder than soft wheat kernels. They contain high protein and gluten levels primarily designed for making bread flours. Depending on variety and growing conditions, hard wheats can have vastly different protein levels. For bread making, your wheat should have a minimum of 12% protein. The hard varieties of wheat can have protein levels up to 15 or 16%. Generally speaking for bread making, the higher the protein content the better. The two main types of hard wheat are the hard red and the hard white varieties. Hard white wheat is a relative new-comer that tends to produce a lighter colored, more spongy loaf of bread and because of this, it is gaining quick popularity among home bread makers. However, we have talked with bread makers who prefer the hard red wheat for it’s more robust flavor and more traditional textured loaf of bread it makes.
The soft wheats are just that - not quite so hard. If you want to roll your own wheat, you should buy soft wheat. The hard wheats tend to crack and break in the flaking machine. Containing less protein and gluten, soft wheat flour is ideally suited for making biscuits, pastries and quick breads. Typical protein levels for the soft wheats are 9-11%. Flour made from the soft wheats can also be used for cake flours. If you want a really low gluten cake flour, mix your soft wheat flour with other low gluten flours such as oat flour, barley flour of buckwheat flour.
Durum wheat is a botanically separate species from the hard and soft wheat varieties. It’s kernels are a little larger and are shaped a bit differently than the other wheats. Durum wheat has very hard, high protein kernels but it’s the wrong kind of protein to form a strong gluten. Durum has been used for centuries to make pasta; whether it’s macaroni, egg noodles or spaghetti noodles."

The 2007 Farm Bill will be coming up in Congress soon. Please write your representatives in the Senate and the House and ask them to oppose the USDA's unconstitutional, tax-wasting, draconian National Animal Identification System (NAIS). See this post at NoNAIS.org, and Dr. Mary Zanoni's comments on it. We have not lost yet. Keep up the fight!

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Reader P.C.K. mentioned this USA Today article: U.S. Cities' Disaster Plans are Lacking

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Movie deal will make millionaires of the three Mexican fishermen who spent nine months adrift.


"When money is going down in value, you want to have it in something besides a bank." - Will Rogers

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The high bid is currently at $250. in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction that ends at midnight tonight. This auction is for a fully tested and recently professionally calibrated U.S. government surplus Civil Defense CD V-717 fallout survey meter with remote sensing capability. The meter was donated by Ready Made Resources (one of our first and most loyal advertisers).Please submit your bid via e-mail.

Today we welcome our newest advertiser, Mountain Brook Foods of Tracy, California. As previously mentioned, they are currently offering the following discounts to SurvivalBlog readers only, for in-stock items:
20% off Orders of $100 to $249
30% off Orders of $250 to $499.99
40% off Orders over $500, not to exceed $2,500.
To place your order go to www.mountainbrookfoods.com. There you will see there full line of storage foods and books. Note, however, that their web site lists only their standard pricing. To get the SurvivalBlog October special pricing, enter "SurvivalBlog" as the coupon discount code. If you have any questions about this special offer or any their products you can contact Mountain Brook at: support@mountainbrookfoods.com or call toll free: (877) 668-6826.

Some thoughts with regards to the following [from JWR]: “If and when you want to buy (via barter) a gallon of kerosene, a box of ammunition, or a can of beans, then gold is inappropriate. How would someone make "change" for a transaction that is priced at 1/100th of the value of a one ounce American Eagle or one ounce Krugerrand gold coin? With a cold chisel?”
While I feel that the advice given, namely to use pre-1965 silver dimes, is sound, I want to comment on the above, since it is grossly misleading. For starters, everyone seems fixated upon the “one-ounce”
coin, and completely lost is the fact that smaller weights are quite possible. Folks, it’s a metal! You can make it any darn size or weight you want! The US Eagle, for example, also comes in 1/2, 1/4, and 1/10
ounce sizes. Other gold coin issues often have similar denominations. Historically, even denominations as small as *25 cents* have existed, though they are not very practical, being tiny things about the size of a fish’s scale both in terms of diameter and thickness (the example I saw was in the Numismatics museum in Colorado Springs). Why people continually focus solely on the 1 ounce coins and ignore utterly the well established fact of the existence of smaller denominations is something I have never really comprehended.
Another way of looking at it is that each “class” of coin has its intended purpose. In the old days before fiat money one used copper pennies for very small transactions, silver coins for small to medium
transactions, and reserved gold for large purchases. I would no more buy a single box of ammo with a gold coin then I would buy a house with a dump truck full of pennies or a few wheel barrels full of silver dimes and quarters. It is therefore more than a little disingenuous to proclaim the inappropriateness of gold by stating that you can’t buy a gallon of kerosene with it... While literally correct, it is hardly the
whole story.
It is also worth mentioning that not every transaction is going to be for a single can of beans. Does no one here buy in bulk? Do you all literally go to the store and buy one (1) can of beans only? I
sincerely doubt it. Most typical grocery runs are in the 50-100+ FRN range, which is within the realm of the 1/10 and 1/4 oz. gold coins (though I imagine smaller silver and even copper coins would be needed to get the exact amount). While the point made is a valid one, it is often (as in this instance) stretched to unreasonableness and becomes nothing more than a straw man argument, and a fairly absurd one at that.
Finally, with regards to the comment about making change with a cold chisel, I ask “Why not?” Historically, that is precisely what has been done to make change. Consider the famous Spanish “piece of eight” which was actually intended to be divided into halves or even 1/8 “bits” to make change. One of the things forgotten in our modern era of “miracle” fiat currency was that back in the day money was valued for the weight of precious (or sorta precious in the case of copper) metal contained within it, not the arbitrary stamp of value (i.e. $1, $5, etc.) placed upon it. Thus, one could take a $1 silver coin, and conceivably cut it in half to make 50 cents (of course, given that we had smaller denominations, this
was unnecessary. But the point is since it was the silver that was valued, one could realistically do that and retain the full value of the weight of the silver). Try doing that with a fiat $1 bill - you
can’t, can you? Of course, that is because you are playing with a paper token that possesses only shared hallucinatory value, rather than real worth. Anyone serious about participating in a post-TEOTWAWKI/post-fiat currency economy had better muy pronto get used to thinking in terms of metal weight, rather than arbitrary fiat currency value stamp. - G.F.L.

JWR Replies: First, I am well aware of 1/10th ounce gold coins. Up until quite recently, I owned several of them, including 1/10th ounce Krugerrand,1/10th ounce Maple Leaf, and 1/10th ounce American Eagle issues. I have heard that the Maple Leaf and the Chinese Panda are even made in a 1/20th ounce size. I wasn't trying to keep SurvivalBlog readers ignorant of their availability. I might recommend these coins for barter, but these coins carry a hefty purchase premium but typically no corresponding resale premium. I recently saw 1/10th ounce American Eagles selling for $74 each! (The equivalent of $740 per ounce! This was when gold was around $610 per ounce.) Most dealers charge more to sell fractional gold, but they only pay the same price per ounce (or just over) that they do for full ounce coins when they buy it back. In essence, it costs a national mint the same amount to mint, package, and distribute a 1/10th ounce coin as it does for them to do so for a one ounce coin. These minting costs are passed along to the retail buyer.

The other major problem with using gold coins for survival barter, regardless of their weight, is that they will be immediately suspect as counterfeit by the individual on the other side of the table. Most Americans have never even seen a Canadian Maple Leaf or a Krugerrand, much less have any mean to determine its weight, water displacement weight, or otherwise test its authenticity. (Touchstone or acid test.) In contrast, small denomination circulated 90% U.S. silver dimes, quarters, and half dollars are almost immediately recognizable by most Americans, and will not be suspect beyond perhaps a passing glance.

Second, we were discussing a survival barter situation, when at some point in the future ordinary storefront commerce has been disrupted. In these circumstances, you probably won't have the opportunity to walk into a retail grocery store an buy large quantities of anything. I predict that the commerce that will transpire will be very small scale--perhaps something similar to the Barter Faire that I portrayed in the "For and Ounce of Gold" chapter of my novel "Patriots." Under these circumstances you won't be buying case lots. It will be "onesees and twosees" transactions. Here, silver coins will be a practical medium of exchange.

Again, as I mentioned in my original post, I prefer common caliber ammunition for this sort of barter. A 50 cartridge box of .22 Long Rifle cartridges is just about ideal: recognizable, expendable, practical, almost universally used, and easily divisible. I strongly recommend that SurvivalBlog readers stock far more ammunition than precious metals, if their goal is survival bartering.

"If the public judges the movie people by some of the interviews that appear in print, they must wonder how they ever kept out of the asylum." - Will Rogers

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The bidding in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction ends at midnight tomorrow night. This auction is for a fully tested and recently professionally calibrated U.S. government surplus Civil Defense CD V-717 fallout survey meter with remote sensing capability. The meter was donated by Ready Made Resources (one of our first and most loyal advertisers). The high bid is currently at $225. Please submit your bid via e-mail.

The NGO Security blog has a few manuals that may be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The ICRC Staying Alive Manual has a good explanation for your readers who do not have military training on the effects of military weapons and how to protect yourself from them. Plus it is interesting to read the incidents happening in the rest of the world. That is how society will be should TEOTWAWKI happen in the developed world. Incidentally, I was the dot on your global SurvivalBlog hit map that you saw in Khartoum a few months back. I work for an International Humanitarian Agency as a Security Officer. Hope it is useful to you and your readers. - PJH

As a retired firefighter I want to mention that stored coal must be kept dry. I you do not, is will start an internal combustion fire deep in the center. To put it out, you must dig down to where it is hot. Regards, - G.C.P.

You brought out some very important points about the differences between eastern (anthracite) and western coal.

Most coal stove manufacturers recommend using only anthracite coal. A few go so far as to void the warranty on their stoves if you burn anything but anthracite.

My pantry is located in an outbuilding and even though it is double-insulated and heated with 220 volt baseboard heaters with a propane-fired furnace as a backup, I believe in redundancy and installed a wood/coal burning stove "just in case". I bought the unit from a friend who was demolishing an older home in the area. The stove is heavy welded steel plate and carries a manufacturers tag stating it is rated for wood and coal.

Even though I have easy access to an almost unlimited amount of seasoned wood, I purchased a ton of (western) coal from a local mom and pop mine for $20. ("You-Load"). While the stove burns effortlessly with wood, it is a nightmare with coal: dirty, smelly, hard to regulate. The only real use I can see for coal is to damper the stove down at night, toss in a few lumps of coal and let it smolder overnight. The fact is, my stove was just not designed to burn coal, the firebox and flue are simply not up to par with that of a stove designed from the ground up to use coal.

The second problem I have with coal is deterioration. I put my coal outdoors on a plastic tarp. Within a year, the lumps and chunks of coal had been reduced by weathering to a coarse, almost sand-like consistency. I've found that even if I fill a couple lunch bags with this material and toss it in, it burns much faster than solid chunks and is not suitable for overnight use.

If I were seriously interested in burning coal, I'd do two things: 1.) purchase a genuine "coal-stove" and 2.) construct a weatherproof coal-bin. - Hawgtax

Much great information being shared in these posts, but reading the reload posts made me feel the need to point out one thing.
While reloading ammunition for revolvers and most conventional handguns is easy and fun, it is a different story for Glocks.The Glock is designed with an "Unsupported chamber" barrel which makes firing untested reloaded ammunition a dangerous affair. If the specs on the reloads are off even just a little, the result could be a nasty problem.

The ammo could cause the gun to self destruct, especially if it is a 40 caliber model. If you don't believe me, do a Google search for the term "Glock Kaboom."

Read it carefully, and pay close attention, it has happened many times with reloads.

I should note that I own two 9mm Glocks and fire some really well done reloads from a commercial reloading company. The ammo I shoot is specially made to be tolerated by Glocks and I've never had a problem with any of it. The rub is, I have nearly 2K rounds of it left from an initial lot of 4K rounds and the company where I purchased the ammo seems to have dropped off the face of the earth.

Well done reloads work fine in most 1911s, CZ-75s, SIGs, and other modern semi auto handguns. If you carry the Glock, like me, then you are obligated to do a little more research. - LK from WV


In defense of what I said in my first letter about the simplicity of this system, I cannot understand how one could possibly have a near-disastrous KaBoom, if the directions were followed. There are always ways to succeed in screwing up, and I have done so myself in the past, but not with a disaster like that. Possibly if you had several different lee loader sets, and got the scoop from two sets mixed, I could see this happening.
AVL is correct in that semi-autos will feed more reliably with cases that are full length sized, you should go one step further, and get what are called 'small base' dies, so they will feed. At the same time, with a semi-auto, it can be very difficult to find your cases to re-load in the first place, and, the hand loader is really slow, a semi-auto will burn through ammo faster than you can get your kids to reload it!
For bolt-action rifles, especially if you are shooting the cartridges in the same rifle they were originally fired, there should be no problem closing the bolt, till the cases have stretched to the point where they need trimming. To not do this could also result in a catastrophic event. RCBS has dies that they claim prevent case stretching, and I have some, but have not used them enough to know if it is so.
The bullet supplier that I mentioned is a fledgling outfit that puts out good product, and might expand operations to rifle calibers, too, if things get rolling. Thanks, - Sid Near Niagara Falls

Some scientists claim: Climate change inaction will cost trillions

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SurvivalBlog readers D.W., T.P., R.S, and "Hawgtax" all mentioned this story: Wheat stockpiles at a25 year low. My advice: Stock up, while wheat that is already in the supply chain is still inexpensive!

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From Newsmax: President Bush signs ports security bill. This law is aimed at stopping terrorists from secretly importing nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons into the United States inside one of the 11 million shipping containers that enter the nation each year. Most of these are currently not inspected.



"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last." - Winston Churchill

Friday, October 13, 2006

The bidding is now at $200 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a fully tested and recently professionally calibrated U.S. government surplus Civil Defense CD V-717 fallout survey meter with remote sensing capability. The meter was donated by Ready Made Resources (one of our first and most loyal advertisers). This auction ends on October 15th. Please submit your bid via e-mail.

Mr. Rawles:
I really liked Hawaiian K's ultralight article but was disappointed that no links were provided as to where we can find some of the gear recommended. Any chance Hawaiian K or you could provide that info. I am just starting out with this preparedness stuff and really don't know where to look. Regards, Wayne

[After I forwarded Wayne's e-mail, Hawaiian K. sent the following speedy reply:]

Sure! For people who like to save money and learn how to make the gear themselves, try these sites:
Gossamer Gear
My philosophical approach to "retreating" is that one should try to live at the retreat site but if that isn't possible, the site should be no further than two days hike (For an example of how vehicle-based retreating plans could be turned upside-down, imagine how EMP could block all roads with dead cars). We all have our individual ideas of what to carry but to view the contents of ultralight hikers packs, try these links:
Hikelight gear list
Some ideas about lightweight foods to carry
The CRKT M16 Special Forces "Big Dog" knife
The Glock 30 (only 680 grams empty.)
"Buff" headgear
Merino "Smartwool" products
A great source for lightweight and technical fabrics

Well made, inexpensive shells
Expensive but well built gear
Hudson Trail
Lightweight shoes (the best online shoe store, hands down!):
Tilley hats
Regarding lightweight body armor, shop carefully

I think that the links above pretty much cover everything I mentioned in my article but you'll find more information than you could ever get through by Googling "ultralight hiking". Save your back and travel fast and light! Best Regards, - Jim K.

Sid mentioned the Lee Loader package in a recent letter. While I think the Lee Loader is an ideal addition to any survival reloading kit, it does have some caveats that were not mentioned in Sid's letter.
While the Lee Loader is a great system due to it's simplicity, one of it's great problems is its simplicity. Most die sets are two dies for bottle-neck and three for straight wall. The Lee Loader combines
steps into one. What I believe the biggest shortcoming of the Lee Loader is, there is no good way to measure gunpowder reliably. While it comes with a little scoop [ladle]to fill your bullets with powder, this method for powder dispensing should never be trusted. Always verify your charges with a scale. I learned this the hard way, it cost me a rifle, but spared my face,

The other problem with the lee loader is that for bottle neck rifle it will only provide for case neck sizing, leaving the bulk of the case unsized. While for bolt action shooters this is less of an issue, for anyone with an autoloader full-length sizing is required for accurate feeding.
The solution I would recommend for anyone who shoots light calibers (all pistols, .223, .30 Carbine) is the Lee Hand Press. It offers portability similar to the Lee Loader, but with significantly more
Again, the most important thing is to always use a powder scale. Always use the scale to verify the amount of powder, especially from the Lee powder ladles, automatic powder throwers are very good about their consistency, the powder ladles leave much to chance! Safe reloading out there guys! - AVL

JWR Replies: Thanks for those tips. One thing that I can add as an important safety measure: Always select powders that fill more than half of the cartridge case volume. This way it will be obvious if you accidentally double charge a case.

In a recent issue of the Sovereign Society A-Letter, Eric Roseman noted with alarm that the credit derivatives market is now has a massive $26 trillion (with a "T") dollars in play. This market has more than doubled in size over the last 12 months. Roseman says that he fears that the derivatives market has become a virtual time bomb. I concur. Someday, possibly in the near future, the market will start making big swings and the hedge traders are going to get blind-sided. Losses could be in the hundreds of billions or even the trillions, making the recent $6 billion "trading error" at Amaranth Advisers look like chump change. See my recent article on derivatives for some background about the implications of hedge trading.

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The schedule of upcoming Appleseed Shoots was just updated at the RWVA Blog. Be sure to take advantage of this inexpensive rifle training when the touring trainers come to your region!

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North Korea might now have The Bomb, but it doesn't have much electricity. OBTW, I generally recommend areas without many city lights for survival retreat locales. But needless to say, that doesn't apply to North Korea!

"True friends visit us in prosperity only when invited, but in adversity they come without invitation." - Theophrastus

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Today we welcome our newest advertiser: CivilDefenseSupplies.com. Be sure to visit their site an check out their wide range of products, including 72-Hour Survival Kits, Communications Equipment, Emergency Foods, Lighting, Emergency Water, First Aid, and Night Vision Gear. Welcome aboard!

Because I will be traveling on behalf of a consulting client, I will not be taking any new mail orders from October 24th to November 8th. Thanks for your patience. During this time I will of course still be making my daily blog posts. (I've never missed day, and I don't intend to!)

One thing I haven't seen discussed at SurvivalBlog is coal. It is an excellent survival fuel. I would recommend purchasing ten tons of coal for your survival retreat. When the SHTF, you would basically have over a three year supply of energy, with no trees to chop. Best of all, there are no storage problems. You can leave it in a pile, or bury it in a hole. It will keep and will not degrade.
Coal is very cheap. If possible, get a low sulfur anthracite coal. However, if your budget is tight, you can get a higher sulfur coal. The concern would be corrosion in your stove pipe. But even if you use high sulfur, a 3 year run shouldn't be a problem. If you want something real cheap, try to get hold of petroleum coke. It used to sell for $5/ton. Great for heating, but it will be high in sulfur. A lower sulfur form is called needle coke or anode grade coke. You might attract some suspicion ordering a large load, so you might want to stress the farmer approach. Also, coal is used as a filtering media, so you can claim you are using it for bio-diesel production. Claim it absorbs the glycerin. Or just purchase smaller lots. Filter grade anthracite is readily available in 1-ton super sacks. This will cost a little more though.
Regards, - J.D.P.

JWR Replies: We have indeed mentioned coal in the blog, but not in quite a while. For any of our readers that have never burned coal, keep in mind that coal burns very hot and hence a typical woodstove grate may burn out when you switch to coal, which could put your stove's firebox at risk. Make sure that your stove has a cast iron grate that is compatible with coal. (Talk to your local stove dealer if you aren't sure.) OBTW, if you own a home without a coal bin, you can sometimes order coal for delivery in pallet boxes. (Often this is a bit less expensive than bagged coal, and the boxes are easier to store in bulk quantities if you don't have a basement that is already set up for coal delivery and storage, or if your planned coal storage exceeds your existing bin's capacity. A few of these big pallet boxes stacked two-high in your barn is an investment in peace of mind, since coal stores indefinitely. Ironically, even though there is more coal mined in the western U.S. than in the east, home heating coal seems to be more expensive west of Ohio, and coal for the consumer (home heating) market is downright hard to find in some western states. (And what we have here is nearly all low sulfur lignite or sub-bituminous coal, since that is what is principally mined in the west.) I know one gent in Nebraska that insists on burning only Anthracite, and he mail orders it from Lehman's in Ohio. But that is a "spendy:" way to buy coal. For some background and practical "how to" on heating your home with coal, see the Anthracite Coal Forum.

Lastly, I should mention that if you plan to have a home blacksmithing forge, you should lay in a supply of coal and coke, even if you don't plan on heating your home with coal. Here is one handy resource on home blacksmiths.

I just got an order I sent for a couple days ago. 240gr. .44 cast bullets. It is my first time dealing there, but they look great, everything they are supposed to be. I got them from http://www.prettygoodbullets.com/ They also have .38, .40, and .45. I have been reloading for years, mostly pistol calibers. A good way for a newbie to start would be with a [hand held] Lee Loader. It is low-tech, and slow, but quality ammo can be made this way. All that is required besides the components, (primers, powder, and projectiles) is a soft mallet, and a sturdy workbench, and maybe some case-lube. The directions that comes with the loader set includes information on powder selection for specific bullet type/weight. No scale required, they include a small dipper that is calibrated to the caliber and powder required for the bullet selected. it really is an ingenious little set-up. All that for just under $22.00! Like the ad says, this pays for itself in a couple hours.
If one wants to get into other loads, then it is wise to invest in a good scale. I is not a bad idea to do so anyway, if you want precision ammo. For general plinking, the lee loader is adequate. Probably good for man-sized targets out to 200 yards for rifles, YMMV, depending on ability. As with anything, consistency is the key. The more uniform you can repeat the process, the more accurate your final product will be.
So, a pound of powder, about $20.00 or less, (I haven't bought any for a while), a brick of primers, also around $20.00, I think, and your selected bullets, of which the cast bullet is the most economical, and will make just as big a hole as the more expensive copper jacket type, especially at pistol velocities. I got a beautiful 185 lb 11 point whitetail that scored 172 6/8 with my .44 mag, using a Keith style wadcutter, at about 75 yards. I can hit clay pigeons off a fence pretty consistently at that distance, with that bullet.
A word about primer selection; I know of a few who say they use magnum primers for all loads. Not a good thing. If you are loading a magnum round, then OK, but it is best to stick with what is called for. A good reloading manual can be very valuable if you want to start experimenting.
It is NOT wise to think you can do things like add a 'bit' more powder to a load, as a 'bit' more can increase pressures by several times the original load.
It is also wise to avoid drinking or smoking while reloading, for obvious reasons. A double charge in a case will make your favorite weapon into a hand grenade!
I have a block with 50 holes in it, and I charge the cases in it, and then visually look into each before I start seating bullets, just to be sure they all look the same. Safety first is very important. Another rule to keep in mind, is never have more than one type powder open at a time, and always use the original container, so it doesn't get confusing.
Reloading is a very rewarding past-time, and it could extend your ammo supply as long as your components hold out. Cases can last pretty good if you follow reasonable levels of pressure.
One little trick I have learned, it is wise to clean the primer pockets of residue, after 'decapping' the cases. I use my cordless drill with a short piece of multi-strand electrical wire that just fits the pocket. It cleans it out, and doesn't hurt the brass case. If you skip that step, you could end up with a 'high primer', which could possibly cause a 'slam fire' in a semi-automatic, or maybe drag on the face of the frame on a revolver.
I have reloaded thousands of rounds so far, and have yet to have a 'dud'.
There are many out there who have developed a favorite load for each firearm they own that will out-shoot (in terms of accuracy) factory ammo. Each firearm is an individual, and what is a perfect load for one will not work quite as well in another. Now we are talking 1/2" groups @ 100 yards and like that. That takes a good bit of experimenting, but can be fun, and will keep you in practice.
While talking about each firearm being an individual, as an example, I have a .22 pistol that will shoot any ammo I put in it, except Federal. It will jam several times with each magazine. A friend has one just like it, and those are his favorite ammo. It is always wise to try each of whatever is available to see what works best in your particular firearm. They can be particular.
There is much more to reloading, like cases stretching over several uses, but that comes from 'hot' loads', but can become a factor over time even from reasonable loads. Come to think of it, I have never needed to trim any of my .44 brass, and I do not load them light. I do find a split one, once in a while. It is good to have a quality firearm, my Ruger Super Blackhawk takes that okay, and I don't even know when one splits, till I am reloading and notice it while inspecting cases before I start. You can't be too careful. - Sid, near Niagara Falls

"Its called a cricothyrotomy not a tracheotomy..." I've noticed the new Jericho television series has sparked some interesting threads of conversation at The FAL Files, AR-15.com, and many other Internet forums. SurvivalBlog's frequent content contributor Rourke has even started a Jericho-dedicated Yahoo discussion group. Check it out. OBTW, we don't own a television here at the Rawles Ranch, so don't ask me my opinion about the series, or anything else on television for that matter. (We only watch "Elk-evision", from our porch.)

   o o o

The Seattle Post Intelligencer newspaper published a recent "scare tactics" article by Tom Paulson
that begins: "Hundreds of undocumented chickens live in Seattle, a clucking time bomb planted right in the urban core that poses just as great a risk for deadly bird flu as any rural chicken should the severe Asian strain of avian influenza..." I fail to see how "hundreds" of domestic chickens constitute any significant threat compared to the hundreds of thousands of migratory and resident wild birds in the city. By both weight and volume there is far more duck, goose, and pigeon poop than there is chicken poop in Seattle.

   o o o

A reminder that Mountain Brook Foods of Tracy, California is running a special one month sale just for SurvivalBlog readers. Until the end of October, the following discounts will be available for in-stock items only:
20% off Orders of $100 to $249
30% off Orders of $250 to $499.99
40% off Orders over $500, not to exceed $2,500.
To place your order go to www.mountainbrookfoods.com. There you will see there full line of storage foods and books. Note, however, that their web site lists only their standard pricing. To get the SurvivalBlog October special pricing, enter "SurvivalBlog" as the coupon discount code. If you have any questions about this special offer or any their products you can contact Mountain Brook at: support@mountainbrookfoods.com or call toll free: (877) 668-6826.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Today's first article is a forwarded piece, penned by John Farnham, a well-respected firearms instructor in the U.S. His school is just one of a handful that I consider qualified to teach truly. practical firearms shooting. (Based upon personal experience my favorite is Front Sight. I haven't yet attended any of Farnham's training, but I've heard that it is great.)

What if? Here is the "What if?" question that is silently circulating among federal agencies: Israel is currently fighting, as far as it is concerned, for its very national existence. Few in Israel don't believe that every, last Israeli ( man, woman, child) in the entire county will be casually massacred, in place, when Iran/Hezbollah successfully invades.
When that happens, all of Western Europe will do little more than scratch itself! Israel has not a friend in the world, save the USA, and the UK. Curious that the same people who don't think the United States should be fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, wildly cheer Israel for doing the identical thing in Lebanon! I guess it is okay for them, but not for us, eh?
It is widely believed Israel has an arsenal of deliverable, nuclear weapons . In fact, there is little doubt that is true. Iran will have something along that line soon, and we all know Hezbollah to be simply the "provisional branch" of the Iranian armed forces. Of course, Russia and China have operational, nuclear arsenals too, as do, to a lesser extent, India, and Pakistan. In addition, there is a considerable amount of fissionable material, left over from the Cold War, that is completely unaccounted for. Heaven knows where it is!
So, there is a high probability, getting higher with each passing day, that an above-ground nuke will go off, on purpose, somewhere in the world before the current crisis subsides (if it ever does). There well may be more than just one!
When that happens, this is what we can look forward to here in the USA:
Life, for us, will change forever.
Airports will shut down immediately. In fact, all travel, save walking, will be extremely restricted. Plan on being treated like a criminal no matter where you go. Plan on not getting anywhere fast. Those caught away from home will be stranded for weeks or months. For Americans vacationing in foreign countries, even Mexico and Canada, reentry will be all but impossible.
"Martial Law," or some version of it, will be imposed in every place. That means curfews, endless checkpoints, and mass detention centers, everywhere.
Television and radio will be offline. Hard, reliable news will be difficult to come by. Wild rumors will circulate, unchecked.
Communication via telephone, cell phone, and computer will be cut off immediately. The whole system will melt down. Restoration will be slow an d tedious. It may be weeks before you know the status of separated friends and family.
All sales of guns and ammunition will be stopped immediately, along with sales of liquor, fuel, and some drugs.
Military mobilization, on a national level, will commence in earnest. Most roads, mass transit, heavy vehicles, busses, aircraft, and ships will be immediately commandeered for military use.
Politicians, at all levels, will take extreme measures to protect themselves. The rest of us will be the recipients of little more than lip service. We'll see paranoid mayors, like [Mayor] Nagin in New Orleans, send their police house to house confiscating legally-owned firearms, ammunition, even food (you'll be accused of "hoarding") from good and decent people who are unlikely to resist violently. The indecency of such public criminality will never even occur to them.
As we saw in New Orleans, violent criminals, individually and in gangs, will commit burglaries, robberies, arson, rape, and murder, largely unhindered by police (who will be completely overwhelmed). Those caught unprepared will, as always, make useful victims.
There will be chronic shortages of everything you can imagine. Cash will become worthless. Until some universal faith in government is earned and eventually restored, the new currency will be food, ammunition, and batteries.
Decent people, entire neighborhoods, will have to band together for protection. Large sections of urban areas will be considered too dangerous to enter, even by police. In France, this is the case now!
Delivery of basic, infrastructure services, like water, gas, and electricity, will become intermittent and unreliable.
I promise you, liberal, anti-gun snobs will be the first ones at your doorstep sheepishly begging to borrow one of yours!
Many among the naive and unprepared will not live through it. Individual preparedness, including reserves of food, water, guns, ammunition, personal competence and resolve, et al, will see you through it. My advice is to ge t prepared now, while you still can. "What if?" is, in fact, the wrong question. "What when?" is the right one! - John Farnham Defense Training International, Inc.

Mr. Rawles:
I just got back from a Two Day Defensive Handgun course from Front Sight. I contacted them after reading about their school at your blog, and they said that their best advertising was by 'word of mouth' , and if I was interested, they would give me a free two day course, so naturally there was no way I could refuse. I attended from 6 to 8 Oct. and was awed by their professionalism. A truly unique experience. I have nothing but great comments for the school. Thank you for the info. Please feel free to quote me anytime. Sincerely, - P.R.M.

Dear Jim,
Our family camps quite a bit for re-enactments, so the kids are used to fairly rough conditions. They have appropriate gear for most eras from Viking to US Civil War.
However, my daughter went on her first Brownie campout this weekend. She has sleeping bag, backpack (which was a full load for her at 20 lbs), spare clothes, first aid kit, Surefire and pocket light, walkie talkies and teddy bear. She also always insists on taking a couple of bottles of water. (She selected all this stuff. I'm very proud of my 8 year old.)
It would be nice, and I'm going to research, something children can use akin to web gear for carrying canteens, first aid kits and accessories.
Small 1.5" Web belts and US issue compass pouches come to mind, with flashlight sheaths and other small accessories. Any advice is welcomed. - Michael Z. Williamson

One of my recent web searches turned up this interesting site: Owl's Nest Plantation--a supplier of herbs and spices, in bulk quantities.

  o o o

Administration Iraq Study Group considers a partitioned Iraq
. Don't they remember what happened when Pakistan was partitioned from India?

  o o o

Reader D.W. sent us a link regarding the collapse of the Amaranth Advisors derivatives trading firm: A $6 billion gamble gone bad. Here is a quote from the article: "The hedge fund Amaranth Advisors, which is preparing to shut down after losing more than $6 billion because of bad energy trades, expects to cut about 60 percent of its work force within a week. As many as 250 of Amaranth's 420 workers will be dismissed, said Charlie Winkler, the company's chief operating officer... ...The firm said it is seeking an orderly process to sell about $3 billion of remaining assets and return proceeds to investors."

See my recent article on derivatives for some background about the wider implications of hedge trading.

"A billion here, and billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money." - Senator Everett Dirksen

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Today we welcome our newest advertiser: Inirgee, a low voltage lighting mail order firm in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. You may wonder what 12 VDC Christmas lights have to do with survival. But think this through: Using part or all of a string of LED lights is ideal for survival lighting with a minimal power source. Just one small photovoltaic panel and a pair of 6 VDC golf cart (deep cycle) batteries can provide you with lighting, communications gear, a police scanner, and a small battery charging tray. This sort of setup is ideal for either someone that is on a tight budget, or someone that needs a mobile system that they can quickly disassemble and carry in the trunk of a car. A small photovoltaic (PV) power and lighting system is better than no system. Lets face it: For many of us, a small system is all that we can afford. Even without a PV panel, you can just a use a car battery to provide shelter lighting for short term grid-down situations. Regardless of the scale of system that you choose, concentrate first on components that have minimal current loads. Also consider this: If you buy a LED disaster lighting system that can be switched between strings of red and white LEDs, by switching to the red LEDs you can preserve your night vision before emerging from your shelter for tactical situations. Think of the possibilities. OBTW, be sure to use the coupon code survival to get the special SurvivalBlog readers' 10% discount on all regularly priced merchandise in the Inirgee online store. (They have more than 400 different items.)

Mr. Rawles,
I recently read your post about your attending a coin show in California. What are your recommendations for getting started in collecting a few gold coins in case the monetary system collapses (I don't have the foggiest idea how to begin)? How much should I purchase, what types, and in what quantities? I assume that having a couple extra cases of shotgun shells and a few boxes of .22 [rimfire] rounds will also go a long way in a barter environment (not to mention a water filter or two.) Any advice or direction that you can share would be greatly appreciated! - Sean

JWR Replies: As mentioned in my novel "Patriots", I think that common caliber ammunition is preferable to precious metals for barter. In the U.S., I recommend stocking up on extra .308, .223, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 12 gauge (2-3/4" only), and .22 Long Rifle rimfire. You might also lay in a smaller supply of the two or three most popular big game hunting calibers in your region. (They do vary quite a bit. Ask at your local sporting goods store which are the most popular. Where I live, it is.30-06. But in other parts of the country it might be .30-30 or .243 Winchester. I've read that in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, the venerable .303 British cartridge is still quite popular )

If you decide that you want to supplement your supply of "ballistic wampum" barterables, then I recommend buying silver rather than gold coins.Gold is just too compact a store of wealth for most barter transactions. If and when you want to buy (via barter) a gallon of kerosene, a box of ammunition, or a can of beans, then gold is inappropriate. How would someone make "change" for a transaction that is priced at 1/100th of the value of a one ounce American Eagle or one ounce Krugerrand gold coin? With a cold chisel? But pre-1965 (90% silver) dimes should work just fine. These are nice small, readily recognizable silver coins for barter. Parenthetically, as I have mentioned in the SurvivalBlog Investing sub-page, I recommend that you get your key logistics ("beans, bullets, and band-aids") squared away before you consider investing anything extra in precious metals--either for barter or as a long term inflation hedge.

Editor's Note: The following article presents a distinctly different approach to packs than that recently recommended by FDG in his two part article. While FDG recommended a lightweight approach, "Hawaiian K." recommends and "ultralight" approach. Both approaches have their merits. What you select may depend on the severity /duration of your anticipated scenario(s) as well as the distance to your intended retreat or back-up retreat. Another variable is your fitness/health in general, and the condition of your back in particular. As they say in the car commercials: "Your mileage my vary." (YMMV.)

One of the most common topics of conversation when survivalists get together is each individual's take on the BOB (bug-out bag). We all have our own approach but some of us haven't thought it completely through. I have a friend, for instance, who'd had the contents of his BOB gathering in his front closet for years. When I dared him to actually put it all together and weigh it, it topped out at a back-breaking 92 pounds! Needless to say, he was stunned and determined to trim it down to the bare bones. When he weighed it again, it was 64 pounds, which he felt was "doable". I challenged him and a couple of pals to a weekend hike, each of us carrying the full contents of our BOBs.
I've had a serious back problem for many years and was overjoyed when I started reading about "ultralight" hiking. Everything you carry is weighed and the goal is keep your entire pack under 20 pounds. There are numerous advantages to doing so, for example, at the end of the day you're not exhausted from carrying 60+ pounds! Heavy packs also throw off your center of balance, particularly when you're trying to make it up a steep incline. A couple of the guys in our party ended up taking falls because of this, one of them resulting in a nasty wrist compression (it might've been a good deal worse). You also can't travel as quickly when you're dragging that anchor around. When we made camp that night I ended up eating alone as the dead-tired "freight-haulers" were out cold and snoring before they could get a fire going.
The average pair of "waffle stomper" style boots weigh in at about four pounds, while the ankle-high running shoes that I wear are less than 2 pounds. For every mile you walk in heavy boots, you're lifting about a ton of weight (literally, 2000 pounds) more than you'd be hoisting in lighter shoes, and it all adds up! A heavy-duty combat style backpack can weigh 7 pounds empty, while the pack I carry is less than a pound. By the way, if you want to travel light, you'll need to become familiar with a fabric called "silnylon" which is nylon treated with silicon (waterproof and featherweight). It's a miracle to camp with but be *very* careful with flame (don't get it near the stuff). Rather than travel with a 10 pound tent in your pack, try a silnylon tarp/poncho overhead and a bivy sack (which is a waterproof cover for your sleeping bag) which, combined, weigh well less than a pound. Some budget ultralight hikers use a 6'x8' sheet of Tyvek as a ground cloth or tarp (weighs next to nothing). You get the idea?
Rather than invest in a Camelback-type rig for carrying water, I carry 2 liter soda bottles (which are free, weigh nothing and don't develop that "funky" taste that the bladders get after a while). We weighed the canteen that one of the guys was carrying and it was a couple of pounds, empty! In lieu of a stove, the same guy carried a 4 pound ax (to gather "firewood"), while I carried a "Coke can" stove ( http://www.backpacking.net/makegear.html ) that, along with it's fuel (denatured alcohol) weighs less than 3 ounces! The poor guy was hungry (no dinner the night before) and it took him almost an hour to gather his wood, split it and get a good fire going before he could start breakfast. I think it goes without saying that if we'd been "bugging out", the time taken and the tell-tale smoke from the fire would've been unacceptable. That's another aspect of ultralight hiking that works for survivalists, "leave no trace of your visit" to give away your position or make it easy to be tracked.
We felt it prudent to leave our rifles at home and stick with concealed carry (people get spooked seeing armed men marching in the woods out of hunting season). Keeping with the light BOB idea, I had my Glock 30 along with 2-10 round magazines (the idea is to make every shot count, if need be, and to travel so quietly as to be unseen and untargeted) and my favorite knife for this kind of hike, a CRKT M16- which is a skeletonized folder that thinks it's a fixed blade knife (even has a true hilt) and weighs in at 5.6 ounces. True to the intent of this trip, I also wore my IIA [body armor] vest, being sure to wear a synthetic material tee-shirt under it. When you hike for any distance, the last material you'll want against your skin is cotton, which will absorb sweat and make you miserable no matter if the weather is hot or cold. Though the hike was in the Summer in Vermont, we were all carrying everything we'd need, even in the dead of Winter. Clothing-wise, I carry synthetic underwear- long and short, Merino wool shirt and pants (which are convertible to shorts), a synthetic fleece jacket, a light insulated parka, and breathable rain gear. I also carry waterproof gaiters, vapor barrier socks, several pairs of technical, Merino wool socks, one pair saved for use only when sleeping (and therefore, always dry, a real treat after a day of hiking) and two pairs of gloves (one fits over the other) It pays to have either a synthetic balaclava or a "Buff" (a multipurpose head/neck wrap) along and I always carry my Tilley's hat for shade, the only cotton piece in my kit. For light, I stick to tiny LEDs as a normal flashlight with 2 D cells weighs in at half a pound. I also try to utilize dried and freeze dried foods as much as possible to lighten the load.
The trick is to constantly look for places where you can cut weight. For example, most people don't really need a full length pad to sleep on, so you trim the pad to 3/4 and you save a few ounces. You wear light layers rather than carry an entire wardrobe for each season. There are people who even go so far as to cut off any labels or trim that they deem unnecessary, trying to pare down another ounce. You also want to try to carry things that are "multi-purposed" so that you carry fewer items. Some things, like a one ounce mosquito head net, are worth their weight in gold and you'd be foolish to travel the back country without them. By the end of the second day of this trip, these ideas were starting to make sense to my fellow hikers. The ax carrier was starting to understand that twigs made more sense than logs for the fires he was making and all of them were cursing the weight (and unneeded items) they were carrying. They were converts by the time we got home again and each of them has completely reworked their BOB, thanks to the on the ground lessons we all learned. Even if the idea of an ultralight BOB doesn't appeal to you, you owe it to yourself (and those who depend on you) to give your own BOB a "real world" trial, to see if it lives up to your needs and is actually as "haul-able" as you think it is.- Hawaiian K.

"PJ"s letter concerning rising crime in the UK seems to pin it directly on the poor, the Traveller Community and immigrants. The "Traveller Community" for example, isn't just made up of "gypsies", many white, middle class kids are joining it because they regard life in the UK as becoming increasingly twisted due to misplaced priorities (which is hard to argue with). By the way, I just read today that ethnic "gypsies" have asked for recognition of their own holocaust during WWII, something that is conveniently forgotten by people like PJ who need to have a foreign scapegoat to blame the ills of society on.
I also find it interesting that he speaks of "under resourced Police forces" when the U.K. has become the literal manifestation of "Big Brother", with surveillance cameras everywhere continually peering at it's disarmed people. I don't know about you but I don't want our government to use questionable statistics of rising crime to eliminate our rights to privacy. [Rant snipped.] Be very careful about these scapegoating letters as they're invariably racist, between the lines or not. Roman immigrants to Israel were responsible for the death of Jesus, yet nowhere in his message is "blame it on the foreigners".....unless I've badly misread the New Testament. Best Regards, - A Reader

JWR Replies: I don't want this to degenerate into ranting and flame wars, but this issue needs to be addressed, and I intend to do so, with just this one reply. I suppose that if either of us lived in England, we might have a different opinion about crime. Here is a snippet on comparative crime statistics that I just found on the web: "According to Interpol, the number of crimes per 100,000 residents for the UK in 1997 was 8,576.46, for the USA that year it was 4,922.74. For 1998 in the UK it was 9,823.28. Interpol does not have USA data for that year, nor does it have 2000 data for the UK. In 2000, however, the USA saw 4,123 crimes per 100,000 residents. In other words: UK crime rate is twice as high as USA's and rising. USA crime rate is half the UK's and falling." So I can see why the average Englishman might be more fearful of crime than we are. (Although, ironically, the risk of getting murdered here in the US is higher than it is there. But England clearly has higher rates for nearly all other crimes--both violent and non-violent.)

Upon re-reading PJ's letter, I can see that there are elements of it that could be construed as racist. I'll withhold any judgment on PJ, but there are indeed some racist tendencies in England, just as there are here in the US. Back in the 1950s England had a low crime rate. But these days it has an unacceptably and uncomfortably high crime rate. But it is criminal individuals, not racial, ethnic, or religious groups that are to blame. We don't paint with that sort of broad brush on SurvivalBlog.

A nightmare for the intel analysts in Z Division: A defiant North Korea conducts a nuclear bomb test

  o o o

North Korea's bomb 'would kill 200,000'

  o o o

The folks at The Pre-1899 Specialist told us that their recently acquired batch of 8 x 57 pre-1899 Turkish contract Oberndorf Mauser rifles is going fast. This is by far the nicest batch of Turks that they've ever had. Since they were all made between 1894 and 1896, they are Federally exempt "antiques" --which means no paperwork required for delivery to most of the 50 States. (They come right to your doorstep, with no pesky 4473 form required!)

"The worst lesson that can be taught to a man is to rely upon others and to whine over his sufferings." - Theodore Rooseve

Monday, October 9, 2006

The Times Online article that you cited regarding the Woman victimised by yobs highlights a very real danger that will present itself when the normal order of things breaks down. The UK has a massive underclass of welfare dependant, socially excluded individuals who live in inner city areas. It is by no means a problem exclusive to the inner Cities. There are council sink estates in most parts of the UK. Many of these individuals are the result of multi generation benefit dependency. They are often poorly educated and lacking any real prospect of meaningful employment. In addition there is a growing Gang culture that is not restricted to ethnic minority groups. The use of firearms and violence by these gangs is becoming commonplace.

Another group that is likely to become a problem in the event of social breakdown is the Traveller Community. [Also called gypsies, in the U.S.] These groups of itinerants travel in Caravan convoys throughout the UK. They generally camp on waste ground close to commercial estates where they can steal with impunity. Protected by human rights laws, there is little that the Police can do about them. They also have a reputation for extreme violence.

The UK’s growing problem with illegal immigration is another area of concern. Police forces throughout the UK are reporting a steady rise in crime, particularly sexual assaults on women.

Our under resourced Police forces are already struggling to deal with this state of lawlessness. In the event of a major socioeconomic collapse they will be completely overwhelmed in a matter of days.

The vast majority of people in the UK are unarmed and will have no means of defending themselves or their families. In addition many people are terrified of using violence in self defence because of the legal ramifications. We can only hope that the current state of relative stability remains in place for as long as possible. - PJ

What do you consider “long-term? If it’s anything over a year and you expect to store the guns in a damp climate, you will have to protect them from more than just ordinary conditions. Way back in 1999, when everybody was worrying about Y2K I conducted an experiment in gun storage.

First, I bought a four-foot long piece of 6” dia. ABS pipe. I know, most people think PVC is best, but I’ve seen too many pieces of PVC that have cracked when hit or bent over a piece of rock. ABS is much more flexible and resistant to such problems. I also bought two caps for the pipe. I didn’t buy a screw-on type cap since I was experimenting with truly long-term storage. A screw-on cap would be fine if you were planning to take the gun out and use it occasionally but counterproductive if otherwise.
Next, I bought some oxygen absorbing packets. These are pretty common in some areas of food preservation like bags of beef jerky and can be bought from a variety of sources in a variety of sizes. I cleaned and oiled the gun just as if I were putting it in the safe until next week. I then determined just how much oxygen I was going to have to absorb. The inside diameter of the pipe divided by two and squared, then multiplied by pi and the length gave me the volume of air. Since normal air is comprised of only about 16% oxygen: (6”/2)2 x 3.14 X 48” x 0.16 = 12.2 cubic inches O2

This is no time to be nit-picky, toss in a little extra O2 absorbent, just don’t let the packets come in contact with the steel of your gun. Some plastic film cans with holes cut in them work well here. Glue the caps on both ends of the pipe and bury it or whatever tilts your windmill. Within a couple of days nearly all the available oxygen is trapped in those packets and no longer available to form rust on your precious gun. I left mine, a Chinese SKS and some ammo, in the tube for a full year in a wet climate before I checked it. I had marked the outside of the tube so I’d know where to cut without harming the gun. When I started sawing I was a bit apprehensive. The SKS was a cheap gun but I still wasn’t interested in trashing it or finding it covered in rust. But when I broke through the inner wall of the pipe I was rewarded with a “hiss” as air was sucked into the pipe and when I finally took the gun out it had no rust anywhere and was perfectly serviceable, which fact was proven by firing off a clip of the ammo I had stored with it.
Now, I realize my experiment only lasted a year and I’m extrapolating that it will work for longer periods of time. But since rust is oxidized iron and the oxygen is removed from the enclosed atmosphere and since I found no rust anywhere on the gun, I believe it is a safe assumption to make. - D.Y.

"It is one of the great ironies of our modern "civilized" era that in most of the places where you don't feel the need to carry a firearm for self defense you can legally do so if you choose. But in most of places where you do indeed justifiably feel the immediate need to carry a gun, they are banned." - James Wesley, Rawles

Sunday, October 8, 2006

My wife and I woke up at 5 a.m. (Eastern time) to NPR (you have to know what the enemy is up to) with the lead story a hazmat fire at a haz waste recycling company in Apex, NC, several miles to the east near Raleigh, NC. Something over 16,000 residents of Apex have been urged to evacuate so far as a large plume of a chlorine-like smelling substance moves through the area.
All local, state and federal agencies have been called in to assess and 300 firefighters so are are waiting until daylight (7am-ish) to go in assess and then fight the fire or at least the contain the contamination. Authorities have decided to let the fire burn itself out for now until morning since it was first reported 10pm (Eastern time) last night. Several police and one firefighter are being treated for inhalation problems Currently there is an adjacent petroleum co. next door where four tanks have also caught fire and exploded, exacerbating the situation...all schools in the apex area have been closed for the day.
If you follow local links (wral.com) and (newsobserver.com) you may get some updates on how this thing develops and is resolved...the large plume of whatever it is may shift soon due to a cold front coming through and more evacuations may result...the anticipated rains and storms with the front may be a mixed blessing....the morning commute from the SW of Raleigh should be a nightmare as the downtown Apex area is locked down....some will stay in their homes, i am advised but many left late last night....the haz waste handling facility handles discarded pesticides, paints, etc....and the heavy growth in the metropolitan area around raleigh, nc has led to many homes/some subdivisions being built near the complex (EQ recycling)......
My purpose is to notify you of a real-time scene here in NC that might be monitored for lessons learned about choosing wisely where to live, knowing your roads and how folks got by either staying shut in or leaving in a hurry....we are told that apex residents were called by phone late thursday evening by using a 'reverse 911' calling system that phones each home with the alert to evacuate. Was this a terrorist action? Probably not, but a wake up, nonetheless. Regards, - Redclay

You should plan to be dependent on stored food until your second crop comes in. Wheat is the least expensive and longest-lasting and most nutritious of the basic foods and should be the backbone of your stored foods. Figure on a pound per person per day, thus about 700 pounds per adult-size person over the two-year storage plan. This is about a loaf of bread per day, which will nicely supplement the other stored foods in your larder.
You want “thrice-cleaned, Turkey-red Hard Winter Wheat”, with moisture content at less than 10%. Store it in food-grade plastic buckets; treat it with dry ice as explained elsewhere in SurvivalBlog.
The simplest and most familiar way to eat wheat is by making bread. What follows is not a “survival” version of how to make bread, but unless you get your family used to eating whole wheat bread—and with this recipe, they will!—the wheat which ought to be the backbone of your food storage will not be much appreciated.
In a survival situation, you can prepare the bread dough described below, then eliminate the baking process in steps 5-7 by going right to the “Navajo bread” explanation at the end. And you won’t need bread pans either. Also, check abebooks.com for copies of Dian Thomas “Roughing It Easy” for ideas on survival cooking.
Homemade whole-wheat bread is often hard and chewy—sometimes better as a doorstop than as something to eat! Store-bought whole-wheat bread has a much better texture because commercial bakers use a secret ingredient. You can use the same ingredient and make bread that that will be far superior to store-bought and that your family will rave about. And you can make it from scratch to cooling rack in about 60 minutes! Trust me on this. Take note of the time for each step below and you will see what I mean.
Over the last several years, I have baked numberless loaves (100+) using this recipe. I often give one loaf of every 4-loaf batch away because I like the reactions I get. Early in my bread-baking career, one recipient told me she ate half a loaf at one sitting! I was pleased, but not surprised. My kids have done the same. Also try the variations you’ll read later in this paper; you’ll find people standing at your side waiting impatiently for the next bite.

Basic Whole-Wheat Bread (makes 4 loaves)
Of course it’s best to use freshly ground whole wheat, but you can start out your adventure in bread-making with whole wheat flour bought at the store. Yeast from Costco comes in good-size “bricks”—see the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course for details.
4 1⁄2 cups very warm water
1 cup honey
1⁄4 cup yeast
1⁄2 cup oil (Canola is best)
6 cups whole wheat flour (more flour will be added later; see below)
Slightly mounded 3/4 cup of gluten flour (the “secret ingredient”: available in the baking/nutrition/organic section of larger groceries or from a nutrition store). Warning: you want gluten flour, not “high protein” flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
4 to 5 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour (store-bought whole wheat flour may take less because it will be more “packed”—fresh made flour is more “fluffy”
4 greased or oiled bread pans. I use my fingers to spread the grease, or a paper towel to spread the oil, into every corner. Do this well to unsure the loaves will release from the pans. I’ve also used “Pam” with good results.
1. Combine the water, honey and yeast; let this mixture “work” at least 5 minutes. I have a kneading machine, so I use its bowl for this. No kneading machine? Use a large mixing bowl.
2. Then add the oil, the 6 cups of whole wheat flour, the gluten flour and the salt. Beat in your kneading machine (or electric mixer, or by sturdy wooden spoon) for 7 minutes. This will result in a pancake-like batter.
3. Continue to beat, adding 4 1⁄2 cups of the 5 1⁄2 cups of flour; checking for stickiness and adding only enough to cause the dough to clear the bowl—meaning the dough will pick up dough off the sides of the bowl (the batch will feel slightly sticky when touched).
4. Either knead with your machine or turn out onto an oiled board or counter (a tablespoon of oil spread around with your hand. Machine-knead or hand-knead for at least 10 minutes. I rub my hands with oil to keep the dough from sticking too much. For hand kneading, you can also add a little flour (just a little—you don’t want tough bread!--if needed to prevent too much stickiness. At the end of ten minutes, the batch should be elastic—you’ll know what that means after your first bread-making experience. It will feel “alive”.
At this point, you can continue with steps 5-7 or go right to the “Navajo bread” section below.
5. Mold* into four loaves and put in the four pans. Let rise in the oven with the oven temperature at 100o (just warm), for 15 to 20 minutes (but no longer or else you'll get air pockets in the bread).
6. Turn the oven up to 350o and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. There’s no need to remove the pans and wait for the oven to reach 350—just turn the knob to 350. To test for doneness, turn out one loaf and tap on the bottom: a hollow sound tells you it’s done. To turn out a loaf, use oven mittens to hold the pan inverted and to catch the loaf. If the loaf bottom is still a bit “squishy”, return it to the pan and continue baking. Keep the oven door closed during this test or you’ll lose too much heat. Don’t over bake; the loaves will be browner than they look in the dark oven.
7. Turn out on wire racks to cool; rub a stick of margarine or butter over the tops to keep the crust from getting too hard.
* to mold: shape the batch into a round ball and cut into quarters with a long knife. Shape each of these into a ball. Then with the heel of your hands press on the sides of a ball to shape it into length to fit your bread pans. Press into the pan and then press it down so it fills the pan end-to-end and side-to-side. There’s no need to do this perfectly.
Stand back and feel proud; try to wait a little before you cut yourself the first slice. You deserve it! And you are going to love the toast this bread makes!
Navajo bread
Flatten a fist-size ball of dough pancake thin to 1/2 skillet size; fry on both sides in hot oil. Use this as a base for a tostada.
Or, flatten loaf-size ball of dough pancake thin and cut into small pieces the size of the palm of your hand and fry both sides in hot oil; serve with butter and honey. Yum!
P.S. Gluten flour can be stored for as long as ground flour if you use the same techniques for storage.

Mr. Rawles;
Saw a post concerning propane tanks dumped along roadways.
People need to be careful if they go and salvage these propane tanks as the folks who make meth amphetamine ("meth") use the propane tanks to hold anhydrous ammonia to make the meth with. If the tank has been painted some color other than white and the valve on the tank looks bluish green then it has [or has had] anhydrous ammonia in it. The tanks have a tendency to explode as they are not designed for the pressures anhydrous ammonia put on the tank as it expands when transferred from the tanks designed to hold it. I will send a CD on meth waste found along the road that our company made. (They made it because we have had employees injured after coming across meth lab waste along the roadway. The worst case I heard about was a mower running over a container and the person spent 10+ days in the hospital and it cost the company some $10,000 to [repair and] decontaminate the mower. - Ron from Ohio

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16

Saturday, October 7, 2006

(Continued from the October 6th posting)

Let’s talk about each of these priorities individually.
Security: Safety and protection from predators, either two legged or four. Safety also from natural disasters such as wildfire, storms, earthquakes, etc. Consider the tools needed for the job.

Shelter: Since we are speaking of this in the context of the Survival Rucksack, in my opinion, your shelter needs to be the kind carried on your back. Remember the tortoise? So what to carry?
My first choice is the Bivvy Sack. It should be made out of Gore Tex or some other high quality breathable material. The Bivvy sack (or bag) is nothing but a large envelope of breathable, waterproof material that zips up with you, your sleeping bag and hopefully some room left for your gear. I have slept in very rainy weather inside a good Bivvy, all the while staying warm and dry. The U.S. Military has been using them for some time now and they are available on the surplus market in new and used excellent condition.
Second choice, I would consider a good one man tent; a rugged one that is light weight. The problem here is that these can get quite pricey and are still heavier than a Bivvy or lightweight nylon tarp shelter.
My third choice shelter is an oversized poncho like tarp at least 7’ X 9’ in a drab color. I prefer a rip stop nylon material with several grommets around the edges and loops for suspending it from a tree. There is one available from some of the outdoor catalog companies called the SAS Shelter. Be sure to require that it is the authentic item. This is a reasonably priced item and it gives you a better field of view of your surrounding area than a tent.
Water: Real simple. To carry only 1 quart of water is folly. You need to carry an absolute minimum of two quarts; but a more realistic quantity is up to 4 quarts. I repeat, 2 quarts of water is the absolute minimum that should be carried by an adult. Two additional 1 quart canteens or a lightweight 2 quart jungle canteen can be carried empty when you are in an area that has ample water and filled as needed in drier areas. Water rehydration bladders are all the rage these days and they do work well, but they are a bit fragile. I would not rely on them solely as they are easy to puncture. Also keep in mind it is very easy for an adult to go through 4 quarts of water a day when carrying a rucksack in warm weather.
Food: Food is your final priority, but it is as important as any of the others; you can’t live without it, and it is the one hardest to replace. I know all the Rambo’s out there are laughing now, but trust me, food is harder to acquire than you might think. “ I’ll just kill me a deer or a bar”, Okay, but see how far Bambi goes when everyone out there has the same idea. I have hunted the High Sierras on several occasions and sometimes the only thing I saw were Chipmunks. Maybe I’m just a poor hunter.
I have taught survival in the Army and I have rarely seen anyone put on weight on one of these outings unless they had smuggled in a gas mask carrier full of Hershey bars. The best answer I know of is to carry as much high calorie, high protein, light weight food as you can manage. Of course, if you had a stash under a rock someplace that would be great, but then you would not need your rucksack would you. Always remember Murphy,s Law. “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. On your back is where you want your food.
Now about the food. Question: How much food do I need in my rucksack?.
Answer: How long do you want to live? Pretty simple when you look at it that way.
I realize you can’t carry a one year supply of food around on your back, but if you carried the right kind you could carry: 3, 5, 10 or even 15 days worth without too much trouble.
Question: How many calories per day do I need?
Answer: You should plan on around 2000-3000 calories per day, depending on your activity. 2000 calories is probably plenty if you are hunkered down and not doing much. If you are beating the bush, carrying your rucksack, you can easily consume 3000 calories or more a day.
This of course is in mild weather. If you are in a very cold environment, you can easily add a third to a half more calories for the same period.
Remember, we are not talking weight watchers here. You want calories, that means fats, carbs and protein.
Weight, how much does this stuff weigh?
What type of food should I have in my Survival Rucksack?
Answer: The kind that keeps you going! This is usually Military type food. There are basically three types that will do a good job. They are: Freeze Dried, Dehydrated and flexible pouch (MRE type). There are also canned rations, which due to their bulk, weight and short shelf life are hardly worth considering.
The lightest to carry are Freeze Dried, (containing approximately 2-3 % moisture) and are easily the best tasting.
Dehydrated (containing approximately 5-10 % moisture).
Commercial “dried” (containing approximately 20% moisture) is another choice, but has a short shelf life.
MRE type foods are much heavier that the Freeze Dried or Dehydrated (usually about three times heavier).
Canned foods are even heavier than MREs.
Each type of food has its own unique qualities.
Freeze Dried normally tastes better and has the best storage life. Average preparation time for a Freeze Dried meal including heating water is around 20 minutes.
Dehydrated: Taste is not usually as good, but vegetables and pastas can be quite decent. Keeps well if in an oxygen free package. Average time to prepare a full meal including heating water is about 60 minutes.
MREs: Much heavier than Freeze Dried or Dehydrated but is the quickest of all to prepare. Just tear the envelope open and gobble it down. Taste generally considered fair (C - ). Short shelf life if stored in a hot environment.
Canned Food: Normally the least desirable from the stand point of weight and nutrition, even heavier than MREs. Very quick to open and serve (be sure you have a good can opener). Shelf life (about 1-2 years tops) is normally the shortest of any of the above listed foods. Very sensitive to heat.

Some myths exposed: A common myth is that MREs contain 3500 to 4500 calories each. Not so, an MRE contains approximately 1300 – 1500 calories, depending upon the menu. The misconception comes from the term “ration”, which is construed to mean one meal. The historical term “ration” as used by the military normally means “one day food supply”, hence the misunderstanding concerning calorie count. The truth is, two complete MREs in temperate weather will usually keep a man going pretty well for a full day.
Field strip your MREs: Get rid of the cardboard boxes they put everything in. Take out the things you don’t need. Example, the Tabasco sauce they put in almost every meal. The gum, tea, and the other things you usually won’t use. By doing this you will reduce the size to the point that you can put two meals into one MRE bag and save considerable weight in doing so.
Shelf life of MREs: The U.S. Army conducted extensive testing on the shelf life of MREs. They deemed them “acceptable”, for 130 months (over 10 years) when stored at a constant 60 degrees, which means they will sustain a soldier in a field environment, but they found that the MRE failed after just 6 months (that’s right 6 months) when stored at a constant 120 degrees. Now you say you will not store your MREs at 120 degrees. That’s right, but at a constant 80 degrees, they were only good for about 5 years. The point is, MREs are very sensitive to heat, so be careful where you store them. Automobile trunks, attics and garages are not good places for them. A few years ago I received a memo through official military channels that convalescing medical patients were not to be fed MREs under any circumstances, go figure.
Shelf life on Freeze Dried Foods: These are the best by far of any of the foods. They are far less affected by heat than the other foods and can last for several decades when stored properly.
In 1976 I packed a 55 gallon barrel full of Freeze Dried Foods for an expedition up Mt. Ararat in search of a large boat. The food was never shipped, as the intended user was not able to get clearance for his fourth ascent (the local communists did not care much for Christians.) I have dragged that barrel around for over a quarter of a century now, opening it every couple of years to supply pack trips and the food is still excellent. If you ever want to hear the rest of the story email me at: freezedryguy@lanset.com
Weights of: Food:
Fresh: About three pounds per day
MRE: About 2 pounds plus per day
Freeze Dried: About 1 pound per day
Dehydrated: About 1 pound per day
Dried: About 1 to 1 -1/2 pounds per day

Question: What is a good mix of the different types of food to carry in my pack, i.e. freeze dried to MRE, etc.
I like a mix of about 80% Freeze Dried with some dehydrated foods to 20% field stripped MRE items. Using this formula I can carry 15 days of food weighing in around 17-19 pounds.
The stuff that goes into your Survival Pack:

1 roll consisting of 1 undershirt, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of heavy boot socks
1 extra pair of socks (total of 2 pairs of socks)
Hat or cap
Gloves or glove liners for cold weather
6 empty plastic MRE bags or other strong plastic bags of like size
Vitamins, minimum 30 days worth
Prescriptions, minimum 30 days worth
Toiletries: tooth brush (cut down), small tube of toothpaste (1/2oz), dental floss, soap
Toilet paper (very important), 1 roll divided up into three separate bundles in MRE bags
Sleeping bag
Bivvy bag, tent or tarp
Sleeping mat (preferably self inflating)
Poncho (military)
Jacket with cold weather liner or sweater
Water Purification Filter (capable of filtering to less than 1/2 micron)
Pouch containing: 1oz plastic bottle of liquid dishwashing soap, small scrubbing pad
Tube of military bug repellent, pain medication,
550 cord (parachute cord), minimum of 30’
2 quart jungle canteen or equivalent
Nail clippers (small)
Web gear:
Harness or vest
Ammo belt
1 – 3 days of food
2 Military canteens, canteen cups and carriers
Butt pack if compatible with rucksack, if not, attached to rucksack
Survival kit carried on harness or in butt pack
Survival kit with: Fire starting materials, snare kit, water purification tablets, signal mirror.Now divide your equipment into three piles:
Pile # 1 Must have (mission essential, totally necessary)
Pile # 2 Nice to have but not totally necessary
Pile # 3 Not needed (non mission essential)

After throwing out pile #3 (that goes back in your closet) load pile #1 into your rucksack along with pile #2, put rucksack on and see if you can stand up. If not, continue taking items out of pile # 2 until you arrive at a manageable weight. Now go out and walk around the neighborhood. Come home and continue taking stuff out of pile # 2 until you think you have it right (you’re getting the picture now). When you can walk at a brisk pace for 4 – 5 miles wearing your rucksack and it is not killing you, you are well on your way to becoming a bona fide“rucker”.
Loading your rucksack: In general.
Keep the load close to your back – heaviest items forward and high.
Weight of the rucksack and personal gear.
This is an individual matter, but generally the entire weight of your equipment should not exceed one fourth to one third of your total body weight. With practice you will probably find yourself
exceeding these weights, but be careful. With much training, specialized soldiers often carry from one half to more than their own body weight, but this is not recommended for the average mortal.
Once you have become fully infected by the “ruckers disease” you must be careful as you may become exposed to and infected by “The Crazy B**tard’s Disease“, also known as the “Ultra light
or minimalist backpackers infection” I used to have the disease and felt I had recovered from it by getting old. Worked really good for a while!
You have all seen these lunatics, usually running up mountain trails half naked, cursing the old folks (anyone over 35) for not getting out of their way fast enough, bota bag slung over their
shoulder now only about 1/2 full and carrying what you would think was only a day pack. Actually they have everything needed (except enough wine) for at least a few days while usually keeping
the weight to about 20 pounds or so.
I ran across one of these nut jobs recently; turns out he’s on my county SAR team. I thought I had fully recovered from the disease but it seams it lays dormant in the host until the death of
said host. After only one evening with this guy, I found I had been hopelessly reinfected by the “Crazy Bastard’s Disease” and have not been right since. I realized the severity of the reinfection
a couple weeks ago when I was cutting and trimming all the extra weight off my ALICE Pack and web gear. That was not the scary part, the scary part was when I found myself running into the
kitchen and weighing all the stuff I had just cut off; all 5 1/2 ounces.

WWWF: No, this is not World Wide Wrestling Federation, it is my own little acronym for Weapon,Web gear, Water, and Food. These are also the first things you pick up in case of emergency.
If this helps you to remember these things, then use it. This acronym describes those items
normally carried on a harness called web gear, LBE (load bearing equipment) or LBV (load bearing vest). I believe the combined weight of this gear should not exceed 25-30 lbs.
Conditioning Hikes: Warning, be sure to check with your doctor before doing this.
It’s a very good idea to get yourself in condition by using your pack, should you ever need it for it’s intended purpose. It is great exercise that can pay you big dividends while you train. Some of my most pleasant times are spent hiking at a brisk pace (and some times just strolling) with my pack down some of the local trails beside the old irrigation ditch.
A good standard to use for conditioning hikes is the one used by the U.S. Army: The Army Forced March
This is a very brisk walk that maintains a pace of 4 miles per hour. When you get up to that pace and can keep it up for 5 – 7 miles with a 35 lb pack on your back you can consider yourself to be in very good condition; probably better than 95% of the civilian population out there.
The Army considers 3 – 4 times a week to be ideal, with at least one workout to be on the light side.
Be sure to consult your doctor before you undertake such an exercise program.

As a side note, 35 years ago the forced march was 5 miles per hour with full gear. You had to run part of the way to keep up the pace.
They used to tell us “no pain – no gain”. Well, I’m here to tell you it does not need to be that way. Regularity and consistency in your workouts is the key and by the way, if you keep to it you should find that the term workout will change to “play out”, I can almost guarantee it. In addition to this, the confidence you will gain in knowing you can survive will in itself more than compensate for the energy
Remember what farmers say about machinery. A good machine will rust out long before it wears out. Keep the rust off! Now go do it! - FDG
e-mail: Freezedryguy@lanset.com, Copyright 2003.

Yesterday, I visited a coin show in Sacramento, California. With the recent dip in silver and gold bullion prices, there were some eager buyers in attendance. Three different dealers all told me essentially the same thing: They think that we are witnessing perhaps the last big dip before the bull market resumes, to propel gold past $800 per ounce. Buy on the dips!

   o o o

Michael Z. Williamson mentioned this web page on a flu prevention breakthrough: a modified flu designed to fight the flu.

   o o o

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke says: Baby Boomers will strain the U.S. Social Security and Medicare systems.

"Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race." - William Howard Taft

Friday, October 6, 2006

Today we a present part one of a two part article, courtesy of one of our advertisers, Freeze Dry Guy ("FDG"). As a former Special Forces trooper, he really knows his stuff.

The information contained in these writings represents the opinions of the author. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of the information contained herein
What if tonight you had to get up and walk out of your home for an undetermined period of time with only those items you carried in your hands and on your back?.
Before 9/11 it was unlikely, today it is quite probable.

This article is dedicated to: Jesus Christ who gave his life for me, My Father who taught me honor, My Mother who gave me life, All of my Children, My old S.F. Buddies, Americans All, and Survivors.

Why the Survival Rucksack? Ah, that is the question!
For one thing, it’s a really great place to keep all your gear so you can find it the next time you need it!
Your mission is to survive with your loved ones for whatever period of time necessary, with what you carry on your back and in your hands. Think of yourself as the tortoise, at home, totally self sufficient but all the while knowing you must be prepared to act as the Hare, able to scamper away quickly, with the tools needed for survival.
Below, you will find my ideas on what the best packs are for the money, how to rig them, and what to put in them for the purpose of survival.
My opinions are formed from 44 years of backpacking, both as a kid, and in the U.S. military with 26 years combined service as a Marine, an Army Special Forces soldier and a Combat Engineer Trainer in the Army National Guard. I hope there is something within these writings that you find useful. Mine is by far not the last word on this subject. I invite your comments, good, bad and ugly (hopefully not too ugly).
You know what they say about opinions. Some of you will agree with me, others will not. I do not claim to be an expert at anything, only a student. Experts worry me. I was once asked by an old S.F. Sergeant if there were any experts present. Naturally I eagerly raised both of my hands along with several other young troopers.
Wrong! The old Sergeant then proceeded to explain that there is no such thing as an expert, and we were incredibly foolish to assume we bore that title. We were students and hopefully would someday become good ones; a point he made very clear. The definition of an expert he said is: Ex: a has-been, Spurt: a drip under pressure! I never described myself as an expert again. “Experts” can get you killed.
Survival is the same way. With a positive attitude, a fair amount of knowledge, and a little luck; mixed in with a dash of humility and some good common sense, you have an excellent chance of coming out on top.Once upon a time an “expert” told me “Don’t waste your money on expensive survival equipment, you probably won’t need it anyway"--only moments before he broke the hollow pot metal handle off his Chinese made “Rambo Survival Knife. This was an unwise man. My experience has proven that you should always buy the best quality equipment you can afford. The low price paid for cheap equipment will quickly be forgotten when it fails at the time you need it most. Remember that cheap discount store rain poncho that ripped the first time you used it?
Note: The 3 Levels of survival as they pertain to the Survival Rucksack.
Think Modular.
Each level below allows you to survive, although with a diminishing level of certainty and comfort.
1. Rucksack with attached patrol pack and web gear.
2. Patrol pack and web gear
3. Web gear
For the sake of redundancy to make a point I may repeat my self occasionally, plus I am an old guy and sometimes I tend to forget what I have already said.
Commercial or Military surplus packs, a dilemma.
U.S. Military (surplus, but in new or excellent condition).
Foreign Military
Civilian or Military equipment: Pros and Cons of each
Civilian, Pros: Usually more advanced
Usually very comfortable
Lighter than military

Cons: Usually not as rugged as military
Usually much more expensive
Fewer places to hang gear on outside of pack
Often times available only in bright colors (do you want to be seen)
Military, Pros: Much less expensive than civilian
Widely available
Very rugged
Subdued colors
More places to hang equipment on outside of pack
Generally more pockets for storing gear, easier to access more items of equipment
Some packs can be made quite comfortable with certain after market modifications

Cons: Often times not as comfortable as civilian packs
Usually heavier than civilian packs
Often not as well designed as civilian packs

For the money, I generally prefer the military pack over the civilian pack if it meets my criteria, but do not misunderstand, money is not the most important issue. If a military pack has the comfort and versatility or can be modified to that end to perform adequately, I will almost always go with the military over the civilian pack.
Some basic terms:
Rucksack: Same meaning as backpack.
Haversack: A small frameless pack like the ones used by the U.S.M.C and U. S. Army during WWII, Korea and the early days of Vietnam. Not recommended as a Survival Rucksack, but can be used in a “Daypack” role, attached to the Survival Rucksack.
Packboard: As used by our military from WWII, through Vietnam. As the name states, it is a contoured board, usually of plywood, painted OD to camouflage it and protect it from the elements.
Butt Pack: Just like the name says. You have seen the commercial ones, usually with a couple of water bottles attached whenever you have gone for a day hike.
Frameless pack: Essentially the same as a haversack, usually just bigger. I do not recommend these as your main Survival Rucksack or for carrying weights of over about 25 lbs.
External Frame Pack: Just as the name implies, it has the frame on the outside of the pack. I prefer the external frame pack as my Survival Rucksack of choice. They are usually more comfortable and the frame makes it easy to attach extra needed equipment. Additionally, the external frame holds the Rucksack away from your back, providing cooling to your body.
Internal Frame Pack: This pack has it’s frame on the inside of the pack, next to your back, usually in the form of aluminum stays that can be bent to fit the contour of your back. If you get this pack and the stays properly fitted to your back it can be a very comfortable pack to carry. One advantage of this kind of pack is that if fit properly it moves well with your body. A big down side to this pack not often considered is that it makes you sweat very badly where it contacts your entire back. This often accelerates overheating in hot weather and it can lead to serious chilling in cold weather when you take the pack off. Even during winter weather, your back will get wet with this pack
Patrol Pack: Usually a small frameless daypack that clips onto your main rucksack and detaches for patrolling or getaway purposes. It usually carries enough food and gear for 1 – 3 days.

U.S. Packs I have used during my military career:
WWII Marine Corps Haversack:
An abomination then and now. Told we could carry up to 45 lbs it felt like 75. Very uncomfortable, the only advantage to this pack was that you could run well with it. It really tore up your shoulders and under your arms. Not recommended except as a patrol pack.
WWII Army Haversack:
A couple notches up from the Marine Corps pack. It had better padding but that is about all. Not recommended, except as a patrol pack to be used in conjunction with your main Ruck Sack.
WWII Army Packboard:
I carried up to 110 pounds on this packboard daily. I attached two Jungle Rucksack bags, one
above the other. This was a pretty good system for the day, but it lacked properly padded shoulder
straps and a good padded waist belt. This system carried a lot of gear if you were up to the task
but was a terrifying contraption to jump out of an airplane with -------but that’s another story.

WWII Army Bergens Pack:
This was a knockoff of the Swiss alpine Rucksack and was used by U.S. Special Forces during the 50s and into the 60s. It had three outside pockets and one large main compartment. This also was a pretty good pack for the day, but it too lacked well padded shoulder straps, a good waist belt and it did not have ample attachment points to hang extra gear.
Jungle Ruck Sack, circa 1960s:
This was for it’s day, the most poorly designed, uncomfortable piece of junk the U.S. Military ever palmed off on the American G.I. A rather small nylon main bag with two outside pockets, it fit poorly, bounced up and down like a jack hammer when you ran, and carried all it’s weight on your shoulders. After about 35 lbs, it became extremely uncomfortable. A code of honor in Special Forces stated that you never donned a rucksack that weighed less than 70 lbs. That amount of weight compared to today’s standards with modern equipment was equal to at least 120 lbs. There are still some of them floating around out there. Stay away from this one unless you have a Chiropractor in the family.
One of my all time favorites. The ALICE often gets a bad rap, but I have some ideas on how to
make it into a first rate Survival Pack. There are two sizes of ALICE Pack. There is the Large
ALICE, and there is the Medium ALICE. Where is the Small ALICE you ask? I don’t know. In
fact I have never met anyone who has ever seen one. There are civilian knockoff’s (mostly
imports) that are called Small ALICEs, but I have never seen a U.S. issue Small ALICE pack. Very interesting.
CFP 90 Internal Frame Rucksack:
Not a bad pack, I guess, but if you don’t get the fit just right, it can be pretty tough on your back.
This pack was designed as the Special Ops pack for the Army about 15 years ago. It was
designed by a good civilian pack manufacturer, but by the time the Army got done messing
around with it, they had pretty well ruined it. A big pack with internal aluminum stays, it comes
with a detachable patrol pack. It’s not great, but it’s okay if fitted properly.
This is the new “Hoo-Yah” do everything for everybody modular rucksack that the
U.S. Military invested over $20,000,000 into developing at last count; and still don’t have it right.
Soldiers often complain of it not fitting right and hurting their backs. Most of the old timers who
know what they are doing still won’t give up their beloved ALICE Packs for this one. This
system is highly overrated and very pricey. If you can find a complete system for less than $500,
you should consider yourself as having found a bargain. An overpriced bargain that really looks
cool and often hurts your back , but a bargain just the same.
Italian Army Mountain Rucksack:
Current issue in woodland Camouflage with detachable patrol pack. I have found a few foreign
military packs I like, but not many. For one thing, most I have tried are not very comfortable.
This is an excellent pack that is comfortable and will carry a huge load. The only thing it is
seriously missing is a sternum strap, which is easy to fabricate or buy at a backpacking store. This
pack sports a very interesting external – polycarbonate half frame that works very nicely. These
packs usually run from $129 - $159 in new condition. It’s probably the best foreign rucksack I
have ever used; a real winner. I have several brand new in the wrapper that I will sell for $135
each (sorry for the commercialism). In case you are wondering why I have so many of these
things it is because I wanted a sample to test and I refuse to pay retail so I bought several of them
and saved a bunch of money (?). Things to consider when buying a Survival Rucksack:Comfort
Load bearing capability (how much weight does it (you) have to carry)
Before we go further, let’s discuss the Rule of 3 (or 4 depending on who’s talking)
You can live:
About three minutes without air
About three hours without shelter (in an extreme cold climate)
About three days without water
About three weeks without food
Allow me to digress a moment. I would also like to add security. Without security, you may live only about 3 seconds.
So, what are the priorities?
1. Security - first and foremost, always, immediately secure you area!
2. Air - probably not an issue here unless someone is choking you.
3. Shelter, probably not as critical an issue, unless it is snowing or worse yet, you are in a freezing rain
4. Water next to security will likely be your most urgent concern.
5. Food, although listed last, be sure you have plenty in your pack.
Remember, #1or #3 are no more important than #4 or #5. All are equally important; you can not live without each one of them. I have only prioritized them in the order death normally occurs without them.

(To be continued, tomorrow.) - FDG
e-mail: Freezedryguy@lanset.com, Copyright 2003.

MSNBC reports on "unschooling", a variation on home schooling.

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Study finds that the climate in the Northeastern U.S. could be considerably warmer by 2100.

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Norman in England sent the link to this: Gangs of "yobs" make life miserable in disarmed English cities. A brave few stand up to them. Meanwhile, law enforcement is becoming a joke, with two out of every three ASBOs being breached. I wonder: What life will be like in English cities, post-TEOTWAWKI, when only the gangsters have guns? My advice to UK urbanites has not changed: Take the gap, ladies and gents! In my (admittedly biased) opinion, places like Yorkshire and the other rural counties aren't far enough afield to avoid trouble. Not given the nation's high population density. There are just too many people to spread into too small an area, after TSHTF. You might perhaps consider low population density parts of Scotland or Wales, if you have family there. But otherwise you will be consider an outsider, and you do not want to be seen as the expendable new neighbor. There is already considerable antipathy directed at English land buyers in Scotland and Wales, and this will likely only get worse in the event of TEOTWAWKI. (Turbulent times tend to amplify the "we/they paradigm.")


"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." - John Adams

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Just curious - would the Mossberg Mariner [one variant of which is now sold in the special waterproof canister packaging] make a decent tube that I can bury on land? Thanks, - Redclay

JWR Replies: Yes, they will work for underground caching since the canisters have an o-ring seal. They should seal well, but it is advisable to add another layer of protection. If nothing else, add a couple of layers of trash bags alternating with cardboard boxes then another trash bag. That way when you dig up the canister, it will have a little protection--and advance warning--when you shovel tip is getting close. Also, you will pull out a canister that isn't slimy with mud from stem to stern. ("Been there, done that.") If you live in an area that doesn't have rocky soil, you can use a post hole digger to plant your canisters vertically. This makes them harder to spot with a metal detector. But if you do, dig an oversize hole and surround the wrapped canister with sand to make extraction easier. Parenthetically, make sure that you take GPS coordinates for your caching site, and record measured distances from several large landmarks. Trees can be removed, fence lines moved, and so forth. You do not want to spend a lot of time digging, especially post-TEOTWAWKI.

OBTW, I'm not a big fan of pistol grip type shotguns. They are painful to shoot, and not very accurate without a lot of practice. If you desire compactness, I recommend folding stock shotguns, most of which can be fired from the "stock folded" position in an emergency.

Hello Mr Rawles,
I wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I recently did some business with the Gun Parts Guy, whom I discovered on your site. The experience was a pleasure. I'm very new to the survival mentality, and even newer to the wonderful world of battle rifles. I read your book, loaned to me by a friend that I've had since high school (in the eighties, I'm 36), and it got me, well, motivated.

The friend in question, I'm happy to say, has undergone a far more important conversion experience to Christ, and recently his wife told mine that it all started from a conversation I had with him a couple of years ago. When I started looking for a handgun a few months back, he let me know he was "in the know," and once I made my selection we went to the range together. After a few trips he loaned me your book, which he attributes to his own move toward survival preparedness.

Now the two of us are talking about securing some land in east Texas for a retreat. The bond of faith, friendship, and love of shooting make our families a good match (although I haven't been able to talk him into homeschooling his kids yet- but I'm not giving up).

I too attend a Reformed Baptist church, and share the same theological perspective as yourself, so it's been a refreshing trip to your site every morning.

Since I've strayed from the subject line of this email I'll finish back on track. I went to a gun show a month ago and bought the only .308 I found- a Century Arms L1A1 with the thumbhole stock ($600). I wanted to replace the stock and went to a place here in Houston where I was told that it couldn't be done. A comparison was made with an AK that apparently won't work if the stock is removed/replaced.

I was bummed- I can't even flip the safety with my right hand if I'm in shooting position. Then I called the GPG, and he told me it could be done, that I could do it myself (I'm a little nervous about this part, but I've got a friend at church that can help), and that he could get me everything I needed to get it done. He even explained the laws to me about making the conversion legal. The guys in the Houston store told me the ban was lifted and I could do whatever I want now (although they couldn't help me). The laws are still ambiguous to me, but I want to stay legal for obvious reasons (like driving to the range).

Anyway, I know you get a lot of email, but I wanted to make contact and let you know that there is a pocket of Texas boys that really appreciate your efforts.

God Bless, - G.G.

Hi Jim -
You probably get an e-mail like this 10 times a day, but since reading that the Radetect and Nuk-Alert are worthless, I'm shopping for something to supplement the CD V-700 [Geiger counter] that I have. From what I've read the CD V-700 is good for checking if people or objects have become low-level contaminated, a different meter is needed for alerting and monitoring high-level exposure risks. Sportsman's Guide currently lists three different meters, including a Swedish one that looks interesting. Do you have any intel on these? Thanks For Your Time - Steve M.

JWR Replies: To start, I wouldn't categorize a Nuk-Alert as "worthless." They do effectively fill a role in your NBC preparedness planning and that is for point source (radioactive contamination) warning. They work fine for that. But they certainly aren't a substitute for an accurate dosimeter and ratemeter.

Now on to surplus NBC gear: If a meter hasn't been properly calibrated with a known-emanation test source in the past 10 or so years, then it won't give an accurate reading. Don't bother buying junk. Buy a freshly re-calibrated CD survey meter from Ready Made Resources, or from ki4u.com. You are correct about the CD V-700 being inappropriate for survey use. (When you need to measure the rate of exposure.) The following is a quote from the Civil Defense Museum web site: "[The] CD-V700 radiation survey meter is a sensitive low-range instrument that can be used to measure gamma radiation and detect beta radiation. It is recommended for (1) monitoring of personnel, food and water when used in a shielded facility or an area of low radiation background, and (2) follow-up monitoring or areas for human habitation and food production." What you need to gauge a safe time for shelter emergence is something like the CD V-717 model survey (rate) meter that is currently being auctioned to benefit SurvivalBlog. Regardless of what model you buy and where you buy it, make sure that it has been recently calibrated by someone that knows what they are doing and that has access to a proper test source!

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Wow! More than 700,000 unique visits in just over a year, from all over the planet. Thanks for making SurvivalBlog such a huge success. Please keep spreading the word.

Please remember that SurvivalBlog is supported primarily by our advertisers. (See our right hand scrolling "ad bar.") Take the time to visit each of the advertiser web sites and check out their products. If and when you do make a purchase, please patronize our paid advertisers first. (We also have a lot of affiliate advertisers, but those ads result in just a few sporadic and small "piece of the action" commissions.) And needless, to say, please mention SurvivalBlog when you contact any of our advertisers. Thanks.

Mr. Rawles:
I'm a college student living in Western Washington. My budget is very tight. I am looking to purchase my first--perhaps only--long gun before the proverbial Schumer Hits The Fan. This one gun must be able to provide "sure stopping" self defense and be able to provide food. (Deer, rabbits, and maybe birds.) I presently only have about $300 to spend. What is your advice? - C.&W.

JWR Replies: For a tight budget "one gun" solution, given the short ranges that you'll encounter in western Washington, nothing beats the versatility of a shotgun. If your budget is $300 and just one gun must provide both self defense and the ability to hunt, I would look for a used Remington Model 870 12 gauge shotgun with a 3" chamber and screw-in choke tubes. Given the wet climate in your region, get one of the gray parkerized models (such as the inexpensive "Express" variant) for better weather protection. (Standard bluing tends to rust with daily use in wet weather. Even if you get the chance to clean and oil a gun daily, all it takes is one missed spot, and rust will start to form.)

You can always pick up a used short "riotgun" barrel at a later date for around $90. (BTW, there is also a Remington 870 Express Combo variant that comes from the factory with both bird gun and riotgun barrels.) Any extra barrels that you buy should also be both parkerized and threaded for screw-in choke tubes. Another reliable shotgun is the Mossberg 500 series. OBTW, if you were writing me from one of the Plains States, I'd recommend a .308 Winchester bolt action Scout rifle, which would be more apropos for open country.

I have seen discarded 20 pound propane tanks discarded by the road for a couple years now. The trash guys don't pick them up, either. (At least not in my area)
They are tossed out because they have the "old style" valve in them.
At Wallyworld [Wal-Mart], they were swapping the old tank for an up-dated one for a pretty reasonable price.
I discussed this with my local propane guy, and he said they are losing about $1.00 each doing what they are doing. Now I found out why. The local Indian reservation has gas stations, and one of them fills propane tanks, without the state taxes. They cannot fill those tanks that are coming from the big box store! Actually, it is Blue Rhino who is pulling this. I guess Wal-Mart lets them deal through them. They are putting a special valve on them now, that can only be filled by Blue Rhino. I am not sure, but I think they have a magnet deal they put on the filler neck to open the trick valve they put on, and then they can fill them. So, that is why I contacted my local propane guy. He can put a Overfill Protection Device (OPD) valve, which is the new type, for just under $15. Then I can get it filled at the reservation for $8. I think Blue Rhino gets $12 to swap tanks. So, then I have a 20 lb tank that is refillable anywhere they fill them, but if you forget and swap it to the Rhino place, you lose your 'good' tank, and then you are forced to deal with the Rhino, or switch the valve again. Then you just put it someplace where it is protected from the elements, and it will keep indefinitely.
I bought a kit to run my generator off the propane tanks from a place in West Virginia: http://www.propane-generators.com/ (Gee, made in the U.S.)
I haven't installed it yet, but it looks simple enough. They have several types to choose from, and have kits for about any size/make engine. They also have a digital tachometer that is also an hour meter that is the cheapest I have seen, compared to other places. The propane is a lot safer to deal with, and stores so much better, I thought I would go this route. I have been waiting for a paycheck for a while, and it just came, so I am taking my garbage-picked tanks to the propane guy to switch the valves. He has some kind of a power wrench to change them. I guess they are REALLY tight! I think to buy a new tank outright, is almost $45, or thereabouts. - Sid, near Niagara Falls

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." - Sun Tzu, (the 6th century B.C. Chinese general) in "The Art of War"

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Today we present the first article for Round 7 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up to $1,600.) Second prize is a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If you want a chance to win Round 7, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 7 will end on November 30th. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA) Appleseed Shoot. What in the world can that possibly be? Well if you don't know, you need to read on. What you can learn from those "Revolutionary War Vets" could save your life! The Appleseed Program is one that is dedicated to preserving our American heritage as a Nation of Rifleman.
So what is a Rifleman? The RWVA web site tells us that "The obvious answer is that a Rifleman is an individual with a rifle and the skill and experience to use it, presumably well." But let me tell you from experience it is oh so much more than that. I found the Appleseed program when I was researching what Main Battle Rifle (MBR) to purchase. There are plenty of opinions on which is the best one and why. I began to see that the folks that seemed to make the most reasoned arguments for any particular rifle always added that the buyer has a responsibility to learn whatever weapon they are carrying. Learn it well to be able to put it to its best use....that means training! I finally figured out that the great Boston T. Party, author of the work "Boston on Guns and Courage" seemed to endorse this fellow named Fred.....no last name just Fred, and that Fred was traveling all over the country putting on Appleseed Rifle clinics. As soon as I realized how easy, and inexpensive it was to train with Appleseed I was determined to go. Never mind that the closest one to me would be in Alabama, a nine hour one way trip, my future as a Rifleman was at stake, so I convinced my wife she needed to learn too. We loaded up the car and took off for steamy Birmingham in July.
Every Appleseed starts off with a bit of a history lesson, a reminder of why your there. Lets you know that you are about to take part in something that may be unique even among supposedly free peoples. The right to gather as free citizens, train with, and shoot small arms. Fred himself told the story of men like Isaac Davis. I don't recall ever hearing his name before that day, but its one we should all know. Isaac Davis left his home and his sick children early on April 19,1775. He was answering the call of the muster drum as colonist gathered to meet the British forces marching on Lexington and Concord. The British marched to seize citizens, guns, powder, and shot. Isaac Davis left the relative safety and certain comfort of his home to stand with his fellow countrymen against tyranny, and the oppressions of an unjust government. Before that day was over Isaac Davis would become one of the first Americans to die for the cause of independence. I'm ashamed that I did not know his name. We also heard the story of how much better the colonist used there rifles for positive effect against the mighty British Army. We were reminded of an old and dying heritage and the importance of spreading the word and the skills to others so that this nation can always be a nation of Riflemen. Then we got to the shooting.
The measure used in building a "Rifleman" is the Army Qualification Target (AQT). On the target are printed head and torso size targets that get progressively smaller as you move down the page. At a relatively short range you can simulate firing at man size targets 100 to 400 yards away. You get forty timed shots, ten for each stage. You shoot stage one standing or offhand at the largest target. Stage two is shot sitting or kneeling, simulated 200 yards away. The targets for stage three and simulating 300 yards are fired prone, as are the last stage teeny tiny targets at the very bottom representing a 400 yard distance. Its all timed and a rifleman's score is 210 points out of a possible 250. I was shocked to see my incredibly low score as I approached the target. According to Fred you are either a Rifleman or you are a cook! With my first AQT score I bet the cook wouldn't even have me. I shot a dismal 87 points!
Once you find out where your at, the learning process really begins. There are six steps to firing every shot and your reminded constantly by the instructors to follow the six steps.
Number 1 Sight Alignment, you simply line up the front and rear sights.
Number 2 Sight Picture, while keeping the sights aligned you bring your sights onto the target.
Number 3 Respiratory Pause, this one took me a bit to get through my head. Once you have accomplished #1 and #2 you use the natural act of breathing to set your proper elevation. With the sights aligned and on target take in a breath, watch your sights fall. As you exhale, watch those sights rise. When the target sits atop your front sight post like a pumpkin on a fence, hold your breath, that's the Respiratory Pause!
Number 4 (a) You focus your eye on the front sight. Let the target and your rear sight go a little fuzzy and let your eye focus only on the front sight.
4 (b) You focus your mind on keeping that sharp front sight on your target. This is the big one!
Number 5 squeeze the trigger. But do it while concentrating on #4. Your doing two things here. Keeping that front sight on your target and squeezing the trigger.
Number 6 When the shot fires you call it. Take a mental note of exactly where the front sight was the instance the hammer fell. With practice it becomes pretty easy. This gives you feedback so you can adjust the follow up shots.
Something that really surprised me was the use of the sling. I remember hearing Grandpa talk about using his to steady his shot, but he died when I was far to young to understand what he meant. The Appleseed instructors got me squared away quick. I used a hasty or expedient hold with my basic sling. Simply place your support arm through the space between the Rifle and the sling, reach way in. Get the sling up past you elbow, and above or just below your bicep. Now, bring your hand back under the sling, and then though the space between the Rifle and your sling again. Rest the rifle on your support hand. You will need to adjust things so that when you do this the sling tightens into a nice supportive triangle of sorts. In the different positions you may need to give yourself more or less slack, practice to get it right. Once I got the sling thing figured out I was a good deal more steady and I really began to see my shot groups shrink. A tighter sling is better and in any of the positions you may well have to place the gun into your shoulder with your shooting hand. Its downright uncomfortable at first but once you get the sling positioning right you should be able to hold the rifle up without any help from your shooting hand.
The first position to fire from is the standing or offhand position. Its the one I was most familiar with from hunting and my previous experiences. Offhand is the most unstable and inherently inaccurate position to fire from. Basically you fire from standing only when a quick responsive shot is required such as to a sudden attack or target of opportunity. Most are familiar with it, I found that the addition of the proper sling use made me a better shot from standing.
The next position is sitting. It was demonstrated with both elbows to the front of the knees, rifle slung up snug. Remarks where made that some military sniper types can even get their elbows all the way out and on the ground in a super solid sitting position. Well that may be true, but I'm a 35 year old fat guy and I can't breath when I try that fancy schmancy sitting stuff. The Instructors showed me some modifications. The main point of both sitting and prone is to support the weight of the Rifle with as little muscle use as possible. You want bone to bone support so that your muscles don't fatigue and throw off your shot. I sorta sit back on my bent right leg and put my left leg out, foot on the floor in front of me. My left support elbow goes just in front of my knee and the rifle, slung up, rests, but is not gripped by my left support hand. Its the best compromise for me. My 12 year old daughter can curl up like a pony tailed Carlos Hathcock (if you don't know he was a highly decorated Marine Sniper in Vietnam). But I have to shoot "sitting" like one of those stiff green plastic Army men. Nonetheless I tend to shoot quite well from my modified kneeling position. My situation is what Appleseed Shoots are all about. Experienced Riflemen taught me a great way to overcome my physical limitations and still be a good shot. I have heard of guys that shoot the sitting position from their wheelchairs, the Appleseed staff will help make it work for you.
Prone is where you make your best points on the AQT. The 300 and 400 yard portions are fired in this position. The 400 yard targets are in a word small! And they give double the points of the other portions. In Prone the shooter lies on his or her belly, sling tight around the support arm as described above. Both elbows on the ground. Try and get your support arm as much under the Rifle as possible, I shoot a PTR 91 [a HK91 clone] and the magazine gets in the way. Prone is where a rifle without and external magazine like the M1 Garand really shines. We purchased 20 round mags for my daughter's AR just so she could shoot from a better Prone position. With the 30 rounders she had been using the mag acted like a see-saw and it was destroying her accuracy. In Prone your shooting leg gets pulled up to help absorb recoil. The support leg stays straight and your support foot should lay as flat to the ground as possible so as not to profile too much to an adversary.
An Appleseed Shoot is doing all off the above over and again to build you into a better shooter. The courses of fire are just plain fun. In addition to the AQTs there are some team drills, some shoot out the star like you used to be able to do at the county fair, zeroing drills and a lot more. My wife and I shot about 300 rounds each in two days in Birmingham. When I took my daughter to a different shoot we each fired about 200 rounds in 1 and a half days. When I told a hunting buddy how much you shoot he swore that much shooting was gonna just about wear out the barrel.....some guys have more to learn than others. The things I learned about shooting where perhaps not the most important things I took away from the experience.
The fellowship with like minded folks was worth every dime it cost me to attend the shoots. The chance to meet people from all over the country who are concerned about our rights, our heritage, and our country just like I am was invaluable. As a young boy I remember our Preacher always chastising us to come to Church anytime the door was open, not just to hear the word but to see each other. To draw support and courage from each other. Appleseeds, at least both that I have attended, where like that for me. I had a chance to meet men women and children that think like I do about my country. It was a chance to be a part of a collective will bigger than myself, it was, encouraging! If you can't make it to an Appleseed get trained somewhere! If you have any chance at all to make an Appleseed be sure you do, its worth every moment of your time. Either way be a part of re-building a nation of riflemen!
In a TEOTWAWKI situation, knowing your equipment and how best to put it to use is fundamental. Perhaps no part of preparations are more widely heralded and more misapplied than Firearms. Get trained somewhere! An Appleseed can go a long way in making you and your family much better prepared. Coming together in places like an Appleseed Shoot goes a long way towards preventing a TEOTWAWKI scenario as we build a community bathed in experience and steeped in tradition. With proper training each of your bullets can be precise and effective. Should the time ever come, an endless supply of ammo may not be available. Learn now to make every shot count. Any article that calls upon the memory of the Revolutionary War must include at least one quote from the founding fathers so here it is: "The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us." - Patrick Henry. Good Shooting, - MKH

P.H. flagged this web page of scary stuff for us: Planning Scenarios. These are executive summaries created by the The Homeland Security Council planning group for the Department of Homeland Security, in 2004. The scenarios were developed "for use in National, Federal, State, and Local Homeland Security Preparedness Activities."

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The bidding is still at $180 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a fully tested and recently professionally calibrated U.S. government surplus Civil Defense CD V-717 fallout survey meter with remote sensing capability. The meter was donated by Ready Made Resources (one of our first and most loyal advertisers). This auction ends on October 15th. Please submit your bid via e-mail.

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Readers J.H. and S.H.both mentioned that Monday's Wall Street Journal had a front page article about Continental Airlines. They are moving into a bunker that formerly belonged to a millionaire Texas oil man, for relocation during an emergency. The story was soon picked up by the Yahoo mail-list Coldwarcomms and Cryptome.org.

"Bring your desires down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit." - Aristotle

Monday, October 2, 2006

Hello James,
I have much to say about plow trucks, and so do many of your readers I see. I must preface the following with my history. I am born into the Ford bloodline, therefore I cannot successfully discuss alternative pickup truck durability except by that of close acquaintances.
I have been plowing for 22 years. All but the past seven years have been strictly gasoline powered F-150s, F-250s, and Ford Broncos. The only difference between the F-150 and F-250 is the weight rating for cargo.
There has not been a time, or snow condition that I have plowed in where the gasoline power plant was not adequate (in comparison to the diesel). In fact, I still favor the gasoline power plant in a snowplow vehicle. Of the F-150 series, I much prefer the longevity and quality of the 1975- 1979 F-150s/ 250s. The Pre- 1980 Broncos are excellent and offer a huge leg up on maneuverability. The extremely short wheelbase can put you in places you only dream of with a long bed, or crew cab pickup. (Just another consideration.)
Given the great financial strain on many companies during the late 70s and 80s, great expense was spared in redesigning the new Fords and Chevys resulting in a much less quality vehicle. I personally don’t think they have met the “up through 1979” durability until 1999 model year, (new series) Ford Pickup trucks came out.
Interchangeability was a great advantage with the 1972?-1979 series of Ford trucks. LTDs, Torinos, Econoline vans, Country Squire station wagons, Mustangs, Broncos (2 and 4 door sedans, and same vintage Lincoln Continentals, largely used the same power plant and transmission, (or at least the three deviations that I was aware of: The 351M, 351W, and the 400. (Ford had the 6 cylinder and 390 gas engines as well. I just do not know the interchangeability of these.) To my knowledge, the trannys were the same as well. I helped my father swap engines and transmission from an old 1970 LTD to his 1978 plow truck after his pickup truck had 18 years of major commercial property snow plowing time served. We did this in a long day with no hoist or special mechanics tools. Obviously there were items that needed “modification”, I am just not completely aware of what they all were. I think the hardest was the vacuum canister mount and possibly setting the advance.
Gas engines largely produce adequate horsepower at a greatly reduced total vehicle weight especially on the front axle in comparison to diesel variants. Think about the extra 800 to 1,200 lbs you are going to hang out a good 4 feet in front of your axle when you mount your new snowplow, and bam, you have just altered the physics of your vehicle which in turn affects how it will handle in any given circumstance. Add to that equation a good additional 1,500 to 2,500 lbs of a diesel power plant “dead” weight and you are pretty much asking for a tow truck to come pull you out if you don’t know where you are driving.
Another huge advantage to the gasoline power plant is that you don’t have the typical “gelling” troubles that diesel fuel is laden with in cold weather climates, nor do you have the additional noise of a diesel. (Presuming good quality fuel stores and in tolerance moisture levels, etc….) We are talking about snow plowing aren’t we? Gas engines are also snappy, and will rev up to much higher RPMs in forward and reverse when needed which directly adds MPs. Things to look for in a prospective plow truck, (i.e.- with a plow already mounted).
1. As a rule, most consumers do not maintain the 4WD components to their vehicles. This is a minus when considering an already set up unit.
2. Likely worn out front end suspension components
3. Most snow plow operators are under some sort of time constraint which furthers the likelihood of “abuse” to the vehicle when considering a set up unit.
4. If the plow was mounted by a non-professional, then there are likely to be bad connections to the frame, cracked/stressed members, faulty wiring and likely the wrong angle on your mold board, (the plow itself).Disadvantages to buying a vehicle, then a plow separately, (or at least having to line up installing yourself)
5. Need metal working tools, or someone to do the fitting
6. Need electrical skills and quality wiring ability
7. Finding the proper [mounting] brackets can be problematic when buying used
8. Can you find parts for the plow?
9.Was the 4WD [front differential] ever used? If not, this is not necessarily a good thing. Occasional use is good for lathering a fresh coat of oil on turning components.
It is a great advantage to find a vehicle that has not had a plow on it, (Most modern day trucks void the warranty when a plow is installed on them). You are likely to have a solid drive train, (i.e.- rear end, transfer case, differentials, hubs, etc…) when buying used if it has not been used to plow with.
Many people make the mistake of plowing or towing in high range when placing large demands on the truck. This is a no-no with a gasoline powered plow truck. As I said earlier, we plowed for 18 years with not one transfer case or transmission failure ever. You plow in low range, and you are not placing such a load on the gearing. You end up reducing the amount of shifting that the tranny has to do under load. This greatly reduces heat build up and increases life.
Things you will be wise to include in your plow truck, (either set up, or putting together).
1. Good glass, (so you don’t hit something)
2. Very good mirrors
3. Good defroster, (front and rear)
4. 12 VDC fan to blow air across your windows
5. Install a larger 100amp capacity alternator
6. Install an additional battery in parallel
7. Have extra sets of winter wiper blades behind the seat blowing snow freezes them up right now
8. Extra hydraulic hoses
9. Extra fluid
10. Extra lift and turn solenoids
11. Small roll of wire and connectors
12. Extra plow pins, (5/8” pin with cotter)
13. Can of fuel
14. Tools
15. Blankets
16. Standard cold weather Bug Out Bag (B.O.B.)
17. external oil and tranny coolers
18. Jumper cables/Battery pack
19. Reduce your electrical consumption while plowing at low RPMs. You may hit the plow controller and the truck dies from excessive drain on the batteries. (i.e.- shut off your headlights if you can see without them). Don’t shut off your vehicle while re-fueling either.
20. Floor jack or Hi-Lift jack
21. Flashing light, (during times you want to be visible)
22. Prior knowledge of the area you are to plow before it is masked in snow
23. Extra cutting edges
24. Extra marker flags
25. Bottle of air brake antifreeze. I add the antifreeze, Dextron/Mercron tranny fluid, and recommended hydraulic fluid into my pump to aid in extreme cold weather conditions. While others may be frozen up, you will still be in business. About a 1% antifreeze and 1% tranny fluid mix.
26. Insurance.
Be aware of your conditions. I have been stranded in the harshest weather at times in which I never expected to have a problem. Being prepared is simply knowing what you are doing, or figuring it out through viable sources. SurvivalBlog has been excellent for my preparedness. - The Wanderer

Dear Jim,
Tor ("The Onion Router") has been up and running for some time. It's a free and highly secure system for anonymous browsing. It requires installation of free, open source software on the host machine.
Also of potential interest is the current release of Freenet, which supports a "scalable darknet:"
A freeware, open source distribution of PGP (named, appropriately, GPG).
A GPG for Windows front end.
TrueCrypt (a freeware/open source hard drive encryption/steganography program)
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) tools page
Hushmail: secure, free web mail
Secure, free hard drive/file erasure
Disclaimer and warning: Strong cryptography isn't legal everywhere. The United States, for example, still regards some types of cryptographic algorithms as munitions, and export is forbidden. Know your country's laws before you proceed. Cryptography isn't a panacea for our loss of privacy in the digital age. It is, however, a very powerful tool to put an envelope back on your mail, a lock on your computer's "filing cabinet," to destroy sensitive files or to send a letter without a return address - all things our parents took for granted. Learn its limits and use it wisely for your own sake and everyone else's. Do not attempt to send threats, traffic in drugs or child pornography, plan acts of terrorism or engage in other crimes using crypto. Sooner or later, you'll draw attention to yourself and the full weight of the law will come down, hard. You will be caught, you will be prosecuted, you will be imprisoned. Period. Regards, - Moriarty

Just a note in regards to www.PrepareTV.com, one of your newest advertisers, and their superior customer service. I had an issue with my order. Markus took care of it so fast. that it made my head swim! I'm very satisfied with my experience. Good folks. They should be an asset to your site. Best Regards, - Bob C.

"Florida Guy" pointed us to a neat new shotgun variant from Mossberg for the nautical types among us.

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A SurvivalBlog reader mentioned that he sells surplus VHF portable two-way radio that operate in the Multi Use Radio Service (MURS) allocated frequencies. These radios come complete and ready to use with antenna, battery, belt clip and drop in charger for only $49 each. Yes, they have a few scratches and they'll have a sticker that covers the original emergency service department engravings, buy hey, just $49 for a 2 Watt transceiver is a great deal. MURS frequencies and do not require a license. The model that he is presently selling is a Kenwood TK2100 VHF MURS portable. These 2 Watt radios can have much better range than most FRS which typically broadcast just 1/2 Watt.

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Cooling Down the Climate Scare.


"Discrimination is simply the act of choice. When we choose Bordeaux wine, we discriminate against Burgundy wine. When I married Mrs. Williams, I discriminated against other women. Even though I occasionally think about equal opportunity, Mrs. Williams demands continued discrimination." - Dr. Walter E. Williams, George Mason University

Sunday, October 1, 2006

The winner of Round 6 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest is R.E.M., for his article "Maximizing Food Storage Life." The second prize goes to R.J.C. of Pennsylvania, for his article "Water, Water Everywhere." Congratulations to both of them. You gents will be contacted by e-mail to arrange for delivery of your contest prizes.

Round 7 of the contest begins to day, and end on the last day of November. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up to $1,600.) Second prize is another copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If you want a chance to win Round 7, get buy writing and e-mail us your article. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

Jim, I recently watched the 1985 movie 'Pale Rider' with Clint Eastwood and noticed in the movie that he used what appeared to be a 1858 Remington pistol, I didn't notice if it was a cap and ball or if it was converted to use conventional ammo. Where can you get those cylinders you mentioned? Seems like a very cool pistol advertised at Cabela's. But wouldn't BATFE be all over a loophole that allows a non-FFL firearm to be converted? Just curious..- Jason North Idaho

JWR Replies: Here in the U.S., if it is the end user/owner (a non-FFL holder) that is converting a blackpowder replica to take modern metallic cartridges (via a replacement cylinder) , then it is perfectly legal. Nice loophole. (Note, however, that is the Federal law. Your State and local laws may vary.) IMHO, the highest quality conversions are the Kirst conversions for Rugers. (They also do Colts and Remingtons.) FWIW, I like their Ruger Old Army job the best. If I was going to buy a blackpowder revolver with a cartridge conversion in mind, then that is the model that I'd start with.

Mr. Rawles
I read your blog often, thanks for the entertaining and informative site. I would like to comment on David from Israel's post regarding Chevron's oil strike in the gulf. I work for a very large E & P company and have many years experience in drilling and production. There is nothing holding back the exploitation of this field except time to build the facilities and and acquiring the drill ships (cost $500,000+ per day for the ship) to punch the holes. We routinely produce gas and oil from 24,000'; the depth of the water does not really matter any longer. The bottom hole temperatures and pressures are the main factors; and we have equipment to handle those at the depths Chevron is drilling. We should see production from this field in approximately five years; time for pipelines and sea bed production facilities to be put in place.
I am currently drilling 28,500' on land, hence higher temps and pressures that Chevron is seeing on their well in the Gulf. However the general public simply does not realize the amount of money and the logistics it takes to perform these duties. We currently have falling oil and gas prices and the doubling and tripling of service company charges to the oil companies; you will start to see drilling rig idle at $50 per barrel oil and $5.00 [per gallon] natural gas. The comparison that David made " cruising altitude for an airliner, compare that depth to the 69 foot depth of the first commercial oil well in the USA." holds some insight the 69' well could be drilled with a wooden derrick and steam power, today we have high tensile alloy, exotic fibers and 5,000 hp diesel electric motors; also computer power than all but the largest Universities and probably more people with doctorate degrees than those same institutions. We routinely spend $5,000,000 for a 15,000' gas well! Higher fuel prices are here to stay. The SUV and the McMansion will ensure that. Thanks, - RJ

The letter you posted from David in Israel regarding the recent Chevron discovery in the Gulf is simply and flatly false. I have worked in the oil patch here in Texas for decades, although costly it is routine to not only drill to that depth but also easily produce and refine oil from that depth. He simply has zero knowledge of routine oil production processes. That well will be in production within 24 months if not sooner. In addition, the Gulf and other areas hold equally large deposits of both crude and natural gas. Cost is the only factor in determining whether or not a well is viable. - Doc in Texas

Mountain Brook Foods of Tracy, California has announced a special one month sale just for SurvivalBlog readers. From now until the end of October, the following discounts will be available for in-stock items only:
20% off Orders of $100 to $249
30% off Orders of $250 to $499.99
40% off Orders over $500, not to exceed $2,500.
To place your order go to www.mountainbrookfoods.com. There you will see there full line of storage foods and books. Note, however, that their web site lists only their standard pricing. To get the SurvivalBlog October special pricing, enter "SurvivalBlog" as the coupon discount code. If you have any questions about this special offer or any their products you can contact Mountain Brook at: support@mountainbrookfoods.com or call toll free: (877) 668-6826.

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The Werewolf (SurvivalBlog's correspondent in Brazil) mentioned that he stumbled across some interesting reading at The Memory Hole: De-classified back issues of The Cryptographic Quarterly. This will probably only be of interest to readers that have a background in SIGINT, cryptology, or cryptography. It certainly brings back some memories for me. (I guess that wasn't sufficiently degaussed when I was read off of my SCI compartments, 15 years ago!)

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A nasty new highly drug resistant strain of tuberculosis is popping up worldwide, including the United States.

"It does not do to leave a leave dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him." - J.R.R. Tolkien

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