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 …




Letter Re: Holster Recommendations

Hi Jim: I plan to open carry in my new county here in Colorado, and I’m looking for a vendor that sells attractive leather shooter’s belts and nice leather holsters for M1911s and Glocks. Do you have any preferred vendors/manufacturers you can recommend? I’ve only ever carried [pistols] on [military] Load Bearing Equipment (LBE) so this semi-casual leather belt open carry thing is very new to me, as is the civilian gun culture 🙂 – Eric JWR Replies: We mainly carry Kydex Blade-Tech brand holsters and mag pouches here at the Rawles Ranch. And for the most part we use …




Letter Re: Advice on Where to Learn Practical, Tactical Skills

Sir: USRSOG conducts a civilian S.E.R.E. (Search Evasion Rescue & Escape) class once a year. They teach primitive fire-building, Evasion techniques, field camouflage techniques, some plant identification, hand-to-hand [fighting] techniques, natural cordage making, [flint] knapping and a bunch of other things like primitive shelter making. These guys are hardcore and I’m blessed to have known them and took their class last year. This year’s class is April 27-28-29 and I think there is still time for any last minute sign-ups but your readers will need to contact them right away. Students also need proof that they are right with the …




Letter Re: Keeping Firearms Functioning in Extreme Cold Temperatures

Hi Jim, I’m in the middle of reading Roy E. Appleman’s book “East of Chosin“. It is an account of the tragic fate of the 31st Regimental Combat team during the Korean conflict. Several references talk about the soldiers weapons (especially M1 Carbines) locking up due to the extreme (-20 Fahrenheit or greater) cold. It mentioned how the Chinese weapons worked because they had little or no oil in them. I imagined those weapons had a short operational life without lubrication, but they worked when needed. What would you recommend to keep firearms functional in extreme cold? A dry/powdered lubricant? …




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

The following are the responses that we’ve received thusfar in our current poll on Lessons Learned: Jim: I didn’t the follow instructions on the bottle and I only took antibiotics until fever broke, then stopped. Fever came back and had to switch antibiotics. I didn’t floss my teeth for years thinking brushing my teeth was enough. Ignored continual bleeding from gums and didn’t visit a dentist for 15 years. When I went I found out that I had advanced gum disease and jaw bone loss far beyond my years. Surgery was required. I’ve been flossing every day now. If I …




Letter Re: Advice on EMP Protection for Electronic Gun Vault Locks

Jim: I haven’t noticed this discussed on your blog, or any other for that matter. Is there anyway to protect a gun safe that uses the electronic key pad instead of the standard dial combination lock from electromagnetic pulse (EMP)? I wasn’t thinking along those lines when I purchased it several years ago. I enjoyed “Patriots” immensely and will be re-reading it soon. Thanks for the terrific blog. – Bruce H. JWR Replies: I mentioned this about a year ago in SurvivalBlog, but it is worth repeating: A steel gun vault body itself makes a decent Faraday cage. (Although a …




Letter Re Buying the Right Cookware and Knives for Long Term Preparedness

James, I am a recent (6 months) reader and learner from the SurvivalBlog and I really do appreciate all the work and information that you have shared with the world. Thank You! My survival preps are going slowly but steadily, and thank God I purchased a few cases of 308 for my M1A before the prices went ballistic. Now for the meat of the subject. I notice that you have a ton of information on retreats but something that I notice is a lack of kitchen information, which is a must. If you don’t have good cooking utensils, then all …




Letter Re: Advice on Military Surplus Bolt Action Rifles

Jim, You have spoken convincingly of purchasing pre-1899 firearms. I have noticed a flood of older rifles on the market for the last few years, all at seductively low prices, even if some [that are post-1898] must be “registered.” I looked through the topics on the Blog site but could not find the answer to what I am about to ask. Would you care to offer comparative opinions on the older rifles readily available (Mosin-Nagant, Yugoslavian Mauser, Turkish Mauser, etc.) on the market today. Thanks, – B.A.C. JWR Replies: I generally prefer pre-1899 Mauser rifles. The Yugoslavian M48 Mausers currently …




Letter Re: Build-It-Yourself Pocketknife Kits

James: I just wanted to pass along my experience with KnifeKits.com. I purchased their FLX-25 frame lock folder kit. As a beginner, I found this kit to be an excellent little project. It took me only about 20 minutes to put it together and I had a nice rugged (and repairable) pocket knife. (I wish it took longer to build as I was having so much fun!) The blade sharpened up very nicely and it has been a great pocket tool ever since. I ended up buying another five-pack of this kit which came out to be $16.25 per knife …




Two Letters Re: Lee Handloading Tools and Surplus Ammo Quality

Jim, I took note in Jason’s recent message regarding Lee reloading tools, and I must say I agree wholeheartedly. I have a Lee challenger press, and strongly recommend it. In fact, I recommend the Lee Anniversary Reloading Kit with “Modern Reloading” Manual (available from MidwayUSA: for $89.99 plus shipping). It comes with everything except dies, primers, powder, brass, and bullets. Oh, a set of calipers is a handy thing to have too. The case is the most expensive part of the cartridge to make, requiring multiple steps in shaping the brass into the final cartridge case. Reloading can significantly cut …




Letter Re: Lee Handloading Tools

Jim, I’ve been following the links to all the surplus ammo dealers..most of that ammo is corrosive, old junk. Totally unreliable. This is a great time for people to start reloading, on the cheap! Here is a great link to Lee brand cartridge reloading tools. I bought the Challenger press kit and now reload .308 and 8mm Mauser. Lee Precision has the best prices I’ve seen and the product is top notch..The hand press is also cool. Its easy and after the initial investment things really go down in price: bullets, powder and primers are still cheap and brass, at …




Letter Re: The Firearms Battery and Ballistic Wampum–Shallow and Wide, or Narrow and Deep?

Hi Jim, You may have answered this question before, but I haven’t seen it addressed specifically. Over a significant period of time reading about (including the Profiles of people on your blog) and talking with people about preparing for the future, I’ve noticed two schools of thought regarding establishing a firearms battery for use in the event of societal breakdown. (Although the concept could be applied to most areas of preparation.) The two are: 1. Maintaining a broad range of firearm types and calibers, but in a shallow depth of supply. The idea here seems to be that of maintaining …




Letter Re: Advice on a High Capacity .45 ACP Pistol

Jim, Tell me, what is your view on the Glock 21 platform? I made an election to go with this as opposed to a 1911 platform…mag capacity, accuracy, etc. The only down-side to the Glock 21 or any of those platforms, is the absence of a manual safety. It must always be holstered. For $450, they tend to outshoot their contemporaries; at 13 rds per magazine they pack a payload of punch.Your feedback? – Matt JWR Replies: I think the Glock 21 is a fine pistol. As I have mentioned in SurvivalBlog before, if I hadn’t 30+ years of “muscle …




Letter Re: Counter-Sniper Rifle Advice

Shalom, Jim: I am interested in purchasing a rifle for sniper and other long-range purposes. I was looking at a Savage Model 12 chambered in .308, with the varmint, long-range barrel. I have several questions for you if you don’t mind: 1.) Can a rifle chambered in .308 also shoot 7.62 NATO rounds? 2.) What make and model of rifle do you recommend for this type of shooting? 3.) Do you currently have a weapon that you would use for sniper purposes, if necessary? Or is a long-range, sniper rifle even a necessity for a retreat scenario? Thanx for your …




The Price of Home Security: You Can Pay a Little Now, or Pay Much More, Later

I’m often amazed to hear some of my relatively wealthy consulting clients tell me that they don’t own a home gun vault or safe room. I ask why not, and they make excuses like: “I’ve been too busy at my job to shop for one” or, “A gun vault is too heavy to move, and I seem to move every three years”, or “vaults are too expensive.” Yes, they are expensive but not nearly as expensive as having some of your key survival tools stolen. In essence, you can pay a little now, or pay much more, later. A burglary …