What’s The “Big Deal” About Pre-1899 Guns?

I often have people ask me why I place an emphasis on pre-1899 firearms. Some go so far as to ask “What’s the big deal about the privacy of pre-1899 antiques when I can still buy modern guns from newspaper ads with no paper trail?” My reply is that it is a big deal. Think this through, folks. No FFL is required to buy or sell antique guns across state lines. They are in the same legal category as a muzzle-loading replica. This is the last bastion of gun ownership and transfer privacy. Although your state and local laws may vary, …




Letter Re: James K.’s Survival on a Budget Letter

James: While shotguns are great (my preference is a Mossberg 590 with bayonet lug), a rifle chambered for a centerfire cartridge is essential. Whether its something like a Ruger Mini-14 or 30 or a bolt action hunting rifle in .30-06 or .308. There’s good reason why a used M1A is over $1,000, but you could get a ‘Poor Man’s M1A’, a used Remington 7400 in 30-06 or 308 and a bunch of the aftermarket 10 rd mags. Remington even has a shorter model 7400 or 740 that’s marked Carbine on the receiver. – Dave F. , People’s Republic of N.Y. …




Two Letter Re: “Trade Dollars” a.k.a. One Ounce Silver Rounds

Jim: I just purchased ten Canadian silver dollars. The ones I bought were from 1990. They contain 1 ounce of 99.99 silver.They cost me $11 each including shipping. I bought them for making colloidal silver in bad times. They are the purest silver coins I have seen yet. – C.R.Z. Mr. Rawles: What do you think of silver “rounds.” That is, those ounces of silver sized like a silver dollar, but not minted as a negotiable coin of the realm. They may commemorate Christmas of a certain year or have some other decorative design. Many times these can be found …




Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“..the simple truth — born of experience — is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one …




From The Memsahib: Countryside and Small Stock Journal

Another issue of my very favorite magazine just arrived and I wanted to tell you all about it. It is “The magazine of modern homesteading”: Countryside and Small Stock Journal. Unlike most magazines out there, C&SSJ has a very low ad to content ratio. It doesn’t waste page space with lots of pretty photos or other fluff like the other “country” magazines. And it is written by the subscribers. C&SSJ is 130 pages full of practical information! The Nov/Dec.2005 issue contains full length articles about purchasing and using a masonry stove, how to build a “cut back” thermostat to reduce …




Letter Re: Buying Rural Timberland

Jim, Here is a letter that I was going to write to a guy in response to an inquiry on what timberland was running for here in northern Idaho. It might be of interest to the blog readers. In the northwest, when looking for a retreat most of us are looking for timbered property. We imagine tall big trees with a house settled down in the hallow or located in some vantage point and defensible. I have given a lot of thought to the idea that if I had the assets what would I be looking for in timberland, best …




Letter Re: Source for Sambucol

Hello Jim, While I am relatively new to the path of self-reliance, I have enjoyed related hobbies all my life, and I must commend you on a stunning website. I have never found a place to have such diverse information so organized and diligently explained. A day does not go by that I do not visit to read your daily posts and often look back and re-read the archives which I glean even more data from. I am writing because I found that Amazon.com has Sambucol for sale from third-party vendors cheaper than those very same vendors have posted on …




Letter Re: Silver and Barter

Mr. Rawles: Okay, say TEOTWAWKI happens. You have some silver coins and want to buy something. How does the person you buy whatever from know what it is actually worth since it is constantly changing. If you buy something for $2.00 do you hand the person 20 silver dimes? Or does the shop owner have to find out what silver is worth that day and weigh what you hand him. Also I’ve read the government is going to confiscate all gold including collectors old gold. I live in Minnesota west of the Mississippi about 50 miles on a lowly 10 …




Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become …







Letter Re: “German Silver” and Silver Purity

Jim: German-silver is a Brass – or in the family of brass thereof anyway just like bronze – don’t catch me out with too much details as an expert will tell me how far off I am on that statement! Regardless, “German silver” has NO silver at all, it is to varying degrees of composition depending on its intent etc, basically: copper, from 50% to 61.6%; zinc, from 19% to 17.2%; nickel, from 30% to 21.1%. Developed by the way by the German scientist Geitner. There is a related alloy called Tuetenag (see the German connection???…which is very “gold” looking …




Letter Re: Spare Tires and Mostly Full Fuel Tanks

Jim, one thing that you might have people keep in mind is the primary vehicle’s spare tire as well as their TEOTWAWKI vehicle. It has not happened to me but look at all the people on the road who have flat tires thinking that they have a spare and then that spare is useless because it has no air. (Or it is missing.)Your spares should be checked for air at consistent intervals as well as checked physically checked at least twice a year. Another good idea that I have seen mentioned is keeping at least the gas tank half full. …










On Gold, Silver, and Barter

I am often asked in e-mails about gold and silver coins and their value, both in the present day and their eventual worth (post-TEOTWAWKI) for barter purposes. The basic unit of measure for most of us that are in preparedness circles is the $1,000 face value bag of circulated U.S. silver coinage, minted in or before 1964. (Some folks mistakenly call these coins “Pre-’64”, but properly they should be termed “Pre-’65.”) 1964 was the last year that 90% silver coins were minted for circulation in the U.S. All of the dimes and quarters minted from 1965 onward are “clad” copper …