Notes from JWR:

Hooray! The Best of the Blog, Volume 1 is now orderable! Thanks for your patience, folks. This volume covers the first six months of SurvivalBlog posts, from August, 2005 to January, 2006. This period included some of the most important SurvivalBlog posts that spell out all of the crucial steps for family preparedness. Also included in this volume is The SurvivalBlog Glossary. In all, a whopping 295 pages of useful, no-nonsense “how-to” information. Fully indexed! Wire-o bound. (Lays flat for easy reference.) To make it easy to find what you need, the book is organized by subject area, rather than chronologically. Available as a print-on-demand book from Cafe Press. (The same folks that publish Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.) Someday the power grid may be down, but you can still have all the crucial SurvivalBlog material at your fingertips! Order your copy today!

Here is the Table of … Continue reading

Five Letters Re: An Opinion on .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO

I’d like to make a few points regarding the .223 cartridge. I am not as enthusiastic about it as Stephen D. seems to be, but I think it’s good for more than defense against, “a human wave of palsied, midget, and/or wheelchair-bound looters.” The .223/5.56 produces its nasty wounds through fragmentation, rather than tumbling. Any spitzer projectile, including the .308, is going to tumble when it hits a dense medium like water or human flesh. A bullet will generally flip around 180 degrees and continue it’s travel through the body backwards (for a body that’s pointed on one end and
blunt on the other, blunt end first is the most stable configuration).
Simply getting a .223 bullet to do a 180 doesn’t increase it’s wounding potential much, since it flips over rather quickly and then makes the same size hole going backwards as it did going … Continue reading

Letter Re: Save Your Wine-in-a-Box Mylar Inserts

In reference to MQB’s letter about box-wine inserts. While I have only had the misfortune of drinking box wine on several occasions (It is best described as a “wake up in jail” drunk) I do really like the uses mentioned. I would also like to add that using baking soda in place of Clorox [plain liquid hypochlorite bleach] for washing out the bags may work better, and impart less of a taste to any future contents. I have been using straight baking soda for cleaning out my hydration bladders (platypus brand) for several years and have found this to be superior to using bleach, soap, or just about anything else. For a little bit of extra cleansing action, hydrogen peroxide can be added and with a little bit of scrubbing will make things good as new.
I have also used the pony kegs (they are a 5L … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

Matt in Texas sent the link for this Acres USA article in PDF format on the Prehn method for spring development: Milking Water from the Hills

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Frequent content contributor M.P. sent us this one: The Case Of The Vanishing Bees–Beekeepers In 22 States Report Insects Disappearing In Huge Numbers

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“Going, going…” Rob at $49 MURS Radios tells us that his supplies of the used MURS radios that he has been selling at $49 each is dwindling fast. He reports: “I expect only another few weeks of availability at the current rate of sales. Once they are gone, that’s it. I do have a small supply of Kenwood TK-260G, 5 watts, 8 channel VHF portables (currently programmed on business itinerant frequencies) for $79 that includes the radio, antenna, good used battery, belt clip, and drop … Continue reading

Notes from JWR:

The high bid is now at $300 in the current SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a brand new Schecter “Warthog” Electric Guitar. This is an awesome guitar from Schecter’s Tempest series is decorated in a military aviation motif. It was kindly donated by Schecter Guitar Research. (Where there are some SurvivalBlog fans.) This guitar has a $729 retail value. Please tell any of your friends that are guitarists about this auction, which ends March 15th. Just e-mail me your bid. Thanks!

We are seeking additional overseas correspondents and/or Profiles for SurvivalBlog, particularly in countries with high crime rates, countries with religious persecution, and/or countries with recent insurgencies or economic troubles such as: Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, China, Columbia, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Haiti, India (preferably someone living in or near the Kashmir), Indonesia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, New Caledonia, Nigeria, Pakistan, The Philippines, … Continue reading

Letter Re: The Pending Federal “Assault Weapons” Ban (H.R. 1022)

Have you read through this bill? The way things seem to be going/looking, is that 4-shot/capacity turnbolts will be all that’ll be “allowed”. Yes; I am scared. Any thoughts/comments/advice/assurances?- Ben L.

JWR Replies: The H.R. 1022 bill scares me, too. Paragraph (L) is the nasty catch-all. That paragraph leaves the determination of what constitutes an “Assault Weapons” up to the arbitrary whim of the Attorney General (AG)–a political appointee. (Remember Janet Reno?) The real weasel phrase in paragraph (L) is “…and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event.” That phrase is the “back door” that they leave open for banning M1As and virtually any other model that the AG deems sufficiently ugly or “evil” looking. The NRA warns us that this … Continue reading

Letter Re: Stocking up on Horse Tack

If there were an EMP event, what would be the primary mode of transportation: shank’s mare; the bicycle; horses? Likely all three would rate pretty high on the list of most likely. Accordingly, are most prepared? I would anticipate most have the necessary footwear. A bicycle would be viable for personal and logistics transport…if one has an appropriate unit and the maintenance supplies…in fact, this would be a practical way to move young children from one location to another as they already have their bikes.

But what about the eventual and likely need for horse transportation? While it may be and is very impracticable for urbanites to keep horses for post-EMP days, it is very practical for urbanites (and others) to keep and maintain a complete component of necessary equestrian tack: a saddle that fits; quality bridle and reins; halters; saddle blankets; feed sacks; leads; gun … Continue reading

Letter Re: Leatherworking as a Post-TEOTWAWKI Occupation

Dear Jim,
Basic leatherworking [suggested in the recent poll on potential TEOTWAWKI home businesses] is fairly easy, if time consuming. Shears, a punch and strong thread are all that’s needed. Fine work or more elaborate items than pouches, belts, hats and such take practice, but the leather can frequently be salvaged from mistakes and reused.
I think the most important aspect of the skill for a TEOTWAWKI environment would be skinning, curing and tanning. Brain, urine, vegetable and oak tanning are time consuming (Everything about leather is), but books exist and functional (as opposed to pretty) leather isn’t too hard to produce. It’s worth practicing once or twice now.
Also don’t forget that dried rawhide, or leather boiled for a few seconds. (Oil isn’t necessary. Water is preferred) is hard enough to armor against cutting edges and some blunt impacts. –
Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

Simon M. mentioned that following Mossberg’s lead, the newly-minted “we’re conservatives, honest!” management at Smith & Wesson has jumped on the “survival kit” band wagon. They now offer “Disaster Ready” kit packaging for four variants of their Glock-like Sigma Series 9mm and .40 S& W pistols. Simon says: “I see that the kit is missing a good knife and a holster. I hope there is a good flint in the Pocket Survival Pack. Now if they did one of these [kits] based on there M&P15 (AR-15) that would be a bit better.” As previously mentioned in SurvivalBlog, S&W already offers a survival kit tailored for the Montana/Alaska/Canada “bear country” market including one of their whompin’ huge .500 revolvers.

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I’m often asked for gunsmith recommendations. One that I can recommend highly is Rich Saunders, who operates CGW in Gardnerville, … Continue reading

Note from JWR:

The high bid is now at $250 in the current SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a brand new Schecter “Warthog” Electric Guitar. This is an awesome guitar from Schecter’s Tempest series is decorated in a military aviation motif. It was kindly donated by Schecter Guitar Research. (Where there are some SurvivalBlog fans.) This guitar has a $729 retail value. Please tell any of your friends that are guitarists about this auction, which ends March 15th. Just e-mail me your bid. Thanks!

Poll Results: Best Occupations for Both Before and After TEOTWAWKI

In no particular order, the following are the first batch of responses to my poll question on the best occupations or home businesses for both before and after TEOTWAWKI:

Locksmith/Home security systems installer/repairman

Small scale vegetable gardening.
Growing herbs (medicinal)

1) Electricity:
a. Recharge batteries for folks, rebuild the bad batteries, and lots of folks don’t know squat about electricity for lighting, etc. Got several methods: Solar, miscellaneous generators powered by hand, animal, wind and even the old one lung gas engine with that darn heavy flywheel.
b. Also use the above for communications when there aren’t cell phones or twisted pair communications. HF, VHF, UHF and Wi-Fi.
c. Also for Wi-Fi between homes and towns if computers survive.
2) Maintain RVs and trailers with their associated … Continue reading

Four Letters Re: One Common Caliber for Retreat Rifles and Handguns?

I would like to add a comment on the viability of the “same caliber pistol and rifle” concept. The .357 Magnum offers an interesting choice for a survival rifle.
In a revolver, the .357 is certainly powerful enough to be considered a defense caliber by most folks. The 16″ barreled Winchester or Marlin lever action rifles can push out a 180 grain slug at close to 2000 fps with handloads, making it usable on deer out to 150 yards or so.
Loading up light .38 special loads makes this rifle capable of taking small game without destroying all the meat.
The .357 is easy to load with tools like the Lee hand loader, and runs just fine on cast bullets. Depending on the load, you can get over 1,000 rounds of 38 Special out of a pound of powder, and store everything you need to … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

Ralph H. pointed us to this article: Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half

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Mike in Seattle recommended this “must read” piece at The Market Oracle: US Housing Market Crash to result in the Second Great Depression

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SurvivalBlog reader Doc Holladay notes: “A possible relocation area is the vicinity of the Big South Fork National Recreation Area in Kentucky/Tennessee. This is about as isolated as it gets east of the Big Muddy.”