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 Contents for The Best of the Blog, Volume 1: Introduction 7 Part 1: The “Worst Case” and the Survival Mindset 9 Part 2: Retreat Logistics: Beans, Bullets, and Band-Aids 25 Part 3: Gardening and Livestock 49 Part 4: Retreat Security and Self Defense 71 Part 5: Retreat Locales 105 Part 6: Communications … Continue reading

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

James, 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 forward. Fragmentation, on the other hand, is what causes truly devastating wounds. While fragmentation is rather inconsistent, it is not random. There are a lot of variables that determine whether or not a .223 round is going to fragment (including bullet construction, what part of the body it hits, etc.), but by far … Continue reading

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

JWR, 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 mini-keg) for storing water for trips and the like. They are made of aluminum and are quite durable. It takes some effort to get the top bung plug out, but you can find new bungs as well as kegs at many brew shops. Usually I add just a little nugget of dry … Continue reading

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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   o o o 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    o o o “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 in charger.”

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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, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. Our readers would benefit from your “lessons learned” and even just hearing about your day-to-day experiences. (How you survived hyperinflation, how you’ve avoided kidnapping, your countermeasures for street crime, et cetera.) I’d also appreciate hearing from anyone that has … Continue reading

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

Jim, 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 law would also “begin backdoor registration of guns, by requiring private sales of banned guns, frames, receivers and parts to be conducted through licensed dealers.” In case this law ever morphs into a more draconian mandatory registration or confiscation law, I recommend that all American “black gun” gun owners look seriously at buying a few “sporting” semi-auto such as a … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Stocking up on Horse Tack

Jim, 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 scabbards; saddlebags; etc. See, being lucky enough to ‘acquire’ a horse would be quite possible; however, ‘acquiring’ the tack/gear to outfit a mount is another story altogether. Better prepared than wondering one day why you weren’t. Anyway, just a notion. Keep up the great work from your undisclosed venue. – Matt, Somewhere South … Continue reading

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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. – Michael Z. Williamson JWR Adds: Most SurvivalBlog readers will recognize the name Michael Z. Williamson (since he frequently sends us e-mails), and many of you have probably read some of his books. (He is a well-known science fiction and military fiction writer.) But you may not have heard that he is also a part-time sword and knife maker. He … Continue reading

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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.   o o o I’m often asked for gunsmith recommendations. One that I can recommend highly is Rich Saunders, who operates CGW in Gardnerville, Nevada. He is an awesome FAL/L1A1 gunsmith that has branched out into other gunsmithing work, including AKs. Rich has done five FAL-type rifle builds for me in the past four years. (Three L1A1s, an L2 heavy barrel, and a custom inch magazine compatible “Para“.) He does amazing work. All five of these rifles were absolutely gorgeous guns that … Continue reading

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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!

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