Note from JWR:

Get your entries in for Round 12 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 $2,000!) Second prize is a copy of my “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. I will again be sending out a few complimentary copies of my novel “Patriots” as “honorable mention” awards. Round 12 ends on September 30th. Remember that articles that relate practical “how to” skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging. Just send us your article in .txt, .rtf. or .doc format, via e-mail.

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Three Letters Re: Garage and Yard Sales as a Retreat Logistics Source

Hi Mr. Rawles, I’ve also been able to pick up a lot of gear and most importantly, books, at yard sales and junk stores that sell books for $1 or 25 cents each. I was able to pick up a home medical advisor from the 1920s for 25 cents in maine, I have also bought numerous books on small scale farming, canning, food storage, and living off the grid from the 1920s for a dollar each. Much of the information would be relevant to a post-TEOTWAWKI, as it was written for farmers or rural residents that didn’t have access to electricity and largely lived off the land. Regards, – Sam   Jim: I saw the letter about garage and yard sales and had a related comment. I used to live in the suburbia of North Denver and they had what we called Junk Days. More formally known as bulk item pick-up. A time – twice a year – when the city trash service would pick up virtually anything you put out. Many cities do this. You would not believe the items that people throw away. Garden tools (shovels, rakes, hoes, etc), power tools (lawn mowers, weed whackers, drills, routers, table … Continue reading

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Weekly Survival Real Estate Market Summary

Today we are pleased to present: a market analysis for Northwest Montana and Part 1 of our initial analysis of New Zealand. Northwest Montana Market Analysis This analysis is presented by the newest Approved Retreat Realtor, Viola K. Moss in Libby, Montana. Congratulations Viola! Overview The market for properties in beautiful northwestern Montana continues to compete for retreat-minded buyers. As the real estate market goes, the good news is that this is the second most desired location in the nation (after the southwestern Arizona area); the bad news is that many have to sell their current property to relocate here. Here in Lincoln County, I have personally seen prices quadruple since 1999 and double in the last three years. Last year, appraisals could hardly keep up with the increased market demand sales. As a domino effect this year resulting from the real estate downward spiral in the rest of the nation and because people from other areas have to normally sell to make their purchase here, prices have seemed to have leveled out this summer. Additionally, there is more inventory on the market. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a lot of inventory compared to other markets, but for this … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

Chuck G. pointed out this article: USAGOLD’s Top 25 Quotes on the Credit Crisis of ‘O7   o o o Our friend Peter in Switzerland sent us the link to some field trials of the Beta CMAG (100 round double snail drum for M16, M4, and M249 SAW) in Iraq. This confirms my earlier observations when testing Betas here at the Rawles Ranch. My biggest complaint about the Beta mag is not jamming problems (which typically are minimal if it is kept clean and properly lubricated.) The biggest drawbacks are its weight and noise. When loaded, the drums have an annoying rattle (as the cartridges shift forward and backward), when walking. And when moving at a jog or a run, they sound like maracas in a Mexican band. Rattling noises like this are a tactical no-no verging on suicidal. Another drawback is price. For $240 (the cost of one Beta with pouch, loader, and dry lubricant), you could buy 24 of the standard 30 round M16 magazines. That would be enough to hold 720 rounds! And when you take into account eventual breakage (which seems inevitable, given the plastic “tower” portion of the Beta magazine), I’d rather have 24 sequential … Continue reading

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Note from JWR:

The high bid is still at $210 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a for a new-in-the-box Hydro Photon UV Light SteriPen Water Sterilization System with solar charger and pre-filter, kindly donated by Safecastle, one of our most loyal advertisers. This very popular water sterilizer product package normally sells for $225, plus postage. See the details on the SteriPen and solar charger here. As a bonus for this auction, I’m also including autographed copies of three of my books: Rawles on Retreats and Relocation, SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog – Volume 1 and my novel: “Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse”. (Together, these books have a retail value of $82.) The auction ends on September 15th. Just e-mail us your bid.

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Two Letters Re: Temporary and Permanent Obstacles for Retreat Security

James, Here in Iraq the Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) threat is very serious. Obviously at home we won’t be able to set up the complex entry points seen on a US Forward Operating Base (FOB). However a lesson can be taken from the Iraq Outposts. At the Combat Outpost (COP) where I am stationed (Joint US/Iraqi Army); the entry is well defended. Using HESCO barriers to create the lane, the ‘gate’ is simply a 2 1/2 truck with armor plate welded on one side. This truck is parked across the entry way. This can be quickly moved and is decent blast protection. The traffic lane has jersey barriers set up to create a series of switch backs, to force the vehicle to slow down. At the end is a small bunker and tower that allows one to place fire on anything that may try to run past the truck when it opens up to let vehicles in. At night concertina wire is stretched across, slowing done vehicles even more. At home one could store HESCO barriers, concertina wire and sandbags to create something very similar to force any vehicles into a kill zone. HESCO barriers are easy to … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Waterproof Storage of Blackpowder

Jim: All black powder attracts water. Before a hunt or shoot, I empty the powder in my horn into a shallow earthenware bowl, then set it in the oven warmed to about 200F for a few hours. My stock of powder is in the airtight cans I bought it in. black powder is one of the few products that has not been noticeably improved in the last 250 or so years. It also does not ever deteriorate in storage as long as it’s kept dry. The Lewis and Clark expedition carried their powder in lead boxes which were soldered shut. They capsized one or two of their canoes in the Salmon River in 1803 or ’04 losing several rifles and some of the lead boxes containing US government issue powder. In the 1960s (IIRC) that portion of the river went dry during the fill-up of an upstream dam at which time remains of one of the rifles and several of the powder boxes were recovered. One was opened and the powder in it was found to be as good as new. What a wonderful design for a container! Over 150 years in a wild, roiling river and still good as … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Useful LifeHacker Articles

Sir: A recent entry on your blog from ‘Tanker’ gave the link to a video on the Lifehacker web site. The last video he mentioned was made by a poster named KipKay. I have been a fan of KipKay’s for several months. He posts regularly on Metacafe.com. Incidentally, for each video he is paid and he has made approximately $55,000 from his creations. He has several videos that may be of interest to your audience. Below are the links and a brief description of each. Please decide if any of these merit inclusion on your blog. His official web site is www.KipKay.com. In this video he shows how to turn an ordinary AA Maglite into a laser capable of popping a balloon or lighting a match. In this video he shows how to make an underwater camera housing for a fraction of what a commercial model would cost. He uses an ammo can, a piece of plexiglas, velcro and marine sealant. He shows how to make a USB powered cell phone charger. He shows how to take a cheap flashlight and make a super bright Surefire-type flashlight for ten dollars. He doesn’t give any information about battery life but the … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

From Money and Markets, (by way of SHTF Daily), Marty Weiss provides this sage analysis of the real estate market and the liquidity crisis: Final Warning!   o o o Stephen C. in Iraq mentioned this piece from The Economist: The agonies of agflation: “As oil prices stay high, wheat prices hit an all-time peak of over $7.50 a bushel for December delivery at the end of trading in Chicago on Thursday August 23rd.”   o o o I just heard about a blog dedicated to “Survival, Preparedness, News, and Resources” vis-a-vis the Asian Avian Flu: Bird Flu (H5N1) Daily

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Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” – Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U. S. Supreme Court Justice, West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, 1943

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Letter Re: Purchasing Modern Firearms Without a Paper Trail

My Rawles, I am recently new to your SurvivalBlog web site. I have thoroughly enjoyed trying to catch up and read the thousands of posts. While I have always felt the need to be prepared for any eventuality, I have recently began more intensive preparations up on food, ammo, water and learning every thing (like making soap) that I can. I have grown up around guns and hunting my entire life. Of the four guns that I have, 12 gauge, 16 gauge, .22 [rimfire] rifle and 9 mm pistol, I have only purchased one myself: the 9mm pistol. The other three were given to me as gifts by grand parents (generally ones they had and no longer use). The reason I am emailing you is that, while I do not want to go to jail for doing anything illegal, I am interested if there are ways to purchase firearms, especially kinds like AR-15 etc, without having a paper trail that the government could use to confiscate them in times of crisis? Obviously it would be nice to have ones that were not used in previously committed crimes that I could be blamed for. For example, if the government were to … Continue reading

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