Letter Re: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina and Indiscriminate Weapons Confiscation

Dear Mr. Rawles, First off, I would like to thank you for writing the novel “Patriots” and starting SurvivalBlog. My dad sent me your book in the mail and told me to read it. Being a fan of Tom Brown-ish survival literature, I decided to give it a try. I read it in one night, starting at about 8 pm and finishing at 3 in the morning. Truly, my world view has changed. I have immediately started making preparations—getting my Bug Out Bag together, my Bug Out Routes planned and starting to practice some of the skills sets I’ve let …




Letter Re: Northern Idaho Versus Northwestern Montana as Retreat Locales

James: As a family we all live in Montana. Now our whole family is considering relocating to a larger parcel in different part of NW Montana, or to Priest River area or Bonners Ferry area of Idaho. We have found several suitable parcels. Politically why is Idaho better than Montana? Are the people in Idaho more stable than those in Montana? Strategically why is North Idaho better than northwestern Montana? It seems to me the people in both states are very freedom minded. It also seems to me that the area around the capital of Idaho is becoming very liberal. …




Letter Re: Hand Tools–Their Importance, and Sources

Mr. Rawles: In yesterday’s blog, you mentioned that bolt cutters are important to have available. This reminds me of something that my father always taught me: There is no such thing as “wasting” money on tools. With maybe a few exceptions, you can never have too many [tools], because you can use the extra ones as barterables or to pass on to your kids. A lot of things can be improvised, but proper tools can’t [be improvised]. As a prepper, I have a big assortment of tools, mostly hand type. I do have some power [tools], but I consider those …




Reader Poll Results: Your TEOTWAWKI Resume — 100 Words and 100 Pounds

Some of these stretched the 100 word limit. (I skipped posting one that rambled on far beyond the limit.) The poll’s premise in a nutshell: “If someday you went to the gates of a survival community post-TEOTWAWKI and pleaded the case for why you should be let past the barricades and armed guards to become a valuable working member of the group, would you get voted in? Taken objectively, would you vote yourself in?”   I am a shoe maker (not just a repairman) can repair saddles tan leather have done ranch work mechanics weld gardening skills set a broken …




Letter Re: Employment as a Gunsmith, Both Before and After TSHTF

Mr. Rawles, I am a new reader of your blog. One of my co-workers recently told me about it and I am hooked. I never knew there was such a large gathering of like minded people. The reason for this e-mail is to ask about gunsmithing courses. Being new to your site I may not be looking in the right direction. If this is a subject that has not been covered can you or any of your readers recommend an online or correspondence course? Thank you. – Randy G. JWR Replies: I have not yet covered this topic, so here …




Letter Re: Storing Ammo in Cans–Should I Leave it in the Cardboard Boxes?

Hi Mr. Rawles, I’m currently reading and enjoying your fine book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation as well as a few other publications (such a Boston’s Gun Bible, by Boston T. Party), and actually have a rather simple question for you. At present, I am in the process of trying to prepare an urban retreat at our home in Orange County (in the PRK). Until we can early-retire and move to our newly acquired land in either Montana or Wyoming, we are stuck here because of our jobs. In any event, with regard to the subject of long-term ammo storage, …




Letter Re: The Importance of Proper Hearing Protection

JWR, I was having a discussion tonight with a friend of mine who has his own plans. One of the things that came up is those other things we may be missing from our “duty equipment”. It’s great to have rifles, pistols, magazines, bullet proof vests, gas masks and all the other kit. But the one thing we were both missing was hearing protection. While some people may argue that the damage done to the ears during a gunfight is “minimal”. If you are firing your MBR in indoor conditions, you will be in some very serious pain in a …




Letter Re: Safety of Storing Ammunition in a Gun Vault

Jim, Sorry if you’ve covered this topic before. First off, I’d like to thank you for the information on your blog. I bought a gun safe yesterday, and thanks to Bruce H.’s question a few weeks ago about the effects of an EMP on a safe’s electronic lock, I didn’t make the mistake of buying one with such a lock. (I’m close to Nellis AFB and somewhat close to the Nevada [nuclear] test site) After I got done putting in my guns, family heirlooms, coin collection, etc., I put 500 rounds of .223 in the safe, too. I figured that …




Letter Re: Lead From Car Batteries–Can it Be Recycled Into Cast Bullets?

JWR, In relation to the question about casting bullets from battery lead: There are a few things you need to keep in mind when dealing with things like old batteries and such. The first is, when lead-acid cells are drained, the metallic lead is converted into lead sulfate. So the ideal battery to use for this is one which is fully charged. I suppose it is technically possible for you to take an uncharged battery, and cook the plates down with a dry base such as sodium hydroxide (mineral wood ash–pour water through wood ashes, remove solids will give you …




Storing Oil and Lubricants for TEOTWAWKI

The recent discussion of firearms lubrication reminded me about a subject that I’ve meant to address again in SurvivalBlog: oil and lubricant storage for your retreat.  It is important to think through all of your oil and lubricant needs–everything from motor oil and transmission fluid to firearms lubes. Calculate what you use in a three to five year period, and stock up.  Then anticipate what you might need for barter and charity, and stock up even more. Because most families do not store any substantial quantity of oils and lubricants, they will make an ideal barter item in a long …




Letter Re: Keeping Firearms Functioning in Extreme Cold Temperatures

Hi Jim, Greetings from Ohio. As a former NCO in Her Majesty’s Canadian Forces, and a Winter Warfare instructor to boot, I’d like to suggest some additions to your excellent post regarding extreme cold weather firearms. While having the proper lube is of high importance do allow me to suggest that some basic handling techniques are of equal importance. Most importantly never bring your weapon near a heat source while operating in the deep cold. This is the most common mistake we would repeatedly see on operations. If you seeking shelter in any heated building/tent or so forth – leave …




Letter Re: How to Prepare Firearms and Ammunition for Long Term Storage

Mr. Rawles: I want to pack a rifle and ammo in a grease/lubricant that would last for years. In hopes, that the gun and ammo would work say 10 to 20 years down the road. Can you tell me what grease is used for this type of packing? Thank You, – Steve A. JWR Replies: Ammunition should NOT be coated with any sort of oil or grease. This is because oil and grease have been long-proven to deaden primers, not to mention the fact that all grease or oil would have to be entirely removed before firing, to avoid chambering …




Letter Re: Lead From Car Batteries–Can it Be Recycled Into Cast Bullets?

Dear Mr. Editor: Can lead from car batteries be recycled for bullet making? I’m just wondering, since there will be lots of dead batteries to be found in a post-SHTF world! Just a thought. Sincerely, – K&S JWR Replies: Yes, lead from car batteries could be used, but only with stringent safety precautions! “Cracking” old sulfated car batteries will expose you to highly corrosive acid and acid fumes. I’ve also read that battery lead has high toxicity from contaminants like strontium. A much safer and more convenient source of bullet casting lead is clipped-on wheel balancing weights. In a worst-case …




Poll Results: An Exercise in Humility–a Poll on Embarrassing Mistakes

Mr. Rawles: When I think of our early mistakes, so many things come to mind! 1. Buying ten #10 cans of T.V.P. for Y2K. Ick! We could not give the stuff away. We learned never to buy large quantities of anything we don’t normally eat until we try it first 2. Buying cheap BOB backpacks. We thought that since we would most likely never need them, we could buy the cheap backpacks from Walmart. A few years later, when we decided to take a test run, we found that the packs were incredibly uncomfortable and the bottom fell out of …




Letter Re: The 1898 Threshold for “Antique” Gun Exemption in the U.S.

Mr. Rawles: I have read your FAQ about Pre-1899 firearms being classified as antiques and exempt from some of the Federal regulations. The 1894 Winchester 30-30 serial number exempt at that time [that you wrote the FAQ] was below 147685. Mine carries serial # 165559. Would it now be exempt since it is [now] 2007? Thank you, – Eleanor JWR Replies: Sorry, but the “antique” threshold has been frozen at Dec. 31, 1898, ever since passage of the U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968. That defies common sense, but that is the law in the United States. The frozen legal …