Letter Re: Miniature Survival Kits Inside Gun Stocks

Hello James,
I’ve read your blog daily for several months now, and although I haven’t seen it mentioned, I’m sure this topic has been covered somewhere before. If not, then I hope what I discovered this week could be of use to some of your readers. I recently acquired a large lot of old shotguns and rifles, stored for many years, which needed a full breakdown and rigorous cleaning. When I removed the buttplates of these firearms, I noticed that almost all of them had a 5/8″ to 3/4″ hole running from the middle of the stock toward the receiver, which ranged in length from 6″ to 9″. My immediate thought was to use that space for a small survival kit.

I obtained a number of re-sealable capped cylinders and small ziploc bags from Hobby Lobby (all located in the bead department) which fit perfectly in the holes. Since space was limited, I focused on survival basics– fire, water, and food. I was able to fit two cylinders into the stock, one loaded with waterproof matches, tinder, and a match striker (cut from the box and then folded [and stowed away from the match heads]). The other I loaded with hooks, sinkers, two synthetic lures, and 20′ of fishing line. In the remaining space, I filled a small sealable bag with water purification tablets. I keep a multi-tool on the sling of my shotgun, so [removing the buttplate] to access the kit would be no problem. And, since they are stored in clear tubes, they slide right out, and the contents are visible. I even wrapped their tops with a length of electrical tape for further waterproofing, with the tape being of use as well, if needed. In the small space around the storage tubes, I was able to slip in a hacksaw blade and G.I. can opener. That is not too bad for a previously unused (and undiscovered) hollow in my buttstock. I also have a good stiff skeleton knife in a stiff sheath screwed directly into my buttstock [as recommended in the book Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John D. McCann], underneath an elastic sleeve that holds five extra shells. My sling has two small vertical pouches, one with a multi-tool/ knife, and the one underneath containing a very basic first aid kit and small LED light.

Of course anything could be put in the buttstock hollows, from extra ammunition to barter silver. In an extreme SHTF scenario where you might have limited seconds to grab only your firearm and run, you could have the basics for survival tucked away in the stock and stored on the sling. I hope this advice can be of use to some of your readers. Thanks again for all you do, and all the best. – Eisen, Prepping Hard in Louisiana