Bear Country Basics, by “SNO” in Alaska

Many times when we think of survival skills, our minds turn to the most exotic and specialized of skills. When reading on Survivalblog about this writing assignment I fell victim to this same tendency. My initial idea was to write an article on the construction and operation of a fish wheel, commonly used here in my home state of Alaska, and a tool of great value in a survival/retreat situation. But the detail and complexity of such writing is more involved that practical for this forum. So rather than try and explain some intricate and complex device or skill, that …




Five Letters Re: An Opinion on .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO

James, I’d like to make a few points regarding the .223 cartridge. I am not as enthusiastic about it as Stephen D. seems to be, but I think it’s good for more than defense against, “a human wave of palsied, midget, and/or wheelchair-bound looters.” The .223/5.56 produces its nasty wounds through fragmentation, rather than tumbling. Any spitzer projectile, including the .308, is going to tumble when it hits a dense medium like water or human flesh. A bullet will generally flip around 180 degrees and continue it’s travel through the body backwards (for a body that’s pointed on one end …




Letter Re: The Pending Federal “Assault Weapons” Ban (H.R. 1022)

Jim, Have you read through this bill? The way things seem to be going/looking, is that 4-shot/capacity turnbolts will be all that’ll be “allowed”. Yes; I am scared. Any thoughts/comments/advice/assurances?- Ben L. JWR Replies: The H.R. 1022 bill scares me, too. Paragraph (L) is the nasty catch-all. That paragraph leaves the determination of what constitutes an “Assault Weapons” up to the arbitrary whim of the Attorney General (AG)–a political appointee. (Remember Janet Reno?) The real weasel phrase in paragraph (L) is “…and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is …




Four Letters Re: One Common Caliber for Retreat Rifles and Handguns?

James: I would like to add a comment on the viability of the “same caliber pistol and rifle” concept. The .357 Magnum offers an interesting choice for a survival rifle. In a revolver, the .357 is certainly powerful enough to be considered a defense caliber by most folks. The 16″ barreled Winchester or Marlin lever action rifles can push out a 180 grain slug at close to 2000 fps with handloads, making it usable on deer out to 150 yards or so. Loading up light .38 special loads makes this rifle capable of taking small game without destroying all the …




Letter Re: One Common Caliber for Retreat Rifles and Handguns?

Jim, In trying to standardize equipment for a retreat, what do you think of .40 S&W in handguns (already own) and the various [semi-auto] carbines that can be purchased that shoot that [same] round .(Like Ruger [Kel-Tec, and Marlin.] )? I know they (.40 S&W) are slower than the .223 or .308, but still effective. I know the smaller magazine capacities (like 10 rounds) might be an issue. The major “plus” would be a complete compatibility of ammunition for all the guns so that you only have to worry about stocking and carrying one type (except for the .22 [rimfire]s …




Letter Re: Smoke Damaged Firearms

Greetings, In January, our home burned down. The family made it out safely thanks to our dog waking us up. The fire started outside and once it entered the house it was engulfed in minutes. My question is how to restore books, firearms, et cetera that have been damaged by smoke and fire. Since getting burned out is a possibility in survival times this information could be quite handy. BTW Smoke eats the finish on guns. My Mini-14 got eaten up pretty badly, but the CETME in the rack next to it came out just fine. I guess they used …




Letter Re: Firearm Chamber Adapters

Hi Jim, I found an article in the latest issue of “The Backwoodsman” magazine that talked about using chamber adapters to employ different caliber ammunition in single shot, and over-and-under [rifle/shotgun combination gun]s like the Savage 24V. Here’s the [MCA Sports] web site mentioned in the article that sells the adapters: http://www.mcace.com/adapters.htm It seems like a neat idea to have the capability to convert a firearm to shoot different types of ammo that might be scrounge during a long term TEOTWAWKI . Do you think there is any merit in investing in chamber adapters? Or would it be wiser to …




Letter Re: Advice on Security for Unattended Retreats

Mr. Rawles: I feel guilty about asking you this in an e-mail, since I should probably pay for consulting time to have you answer the following: I have a vacation/retreat house that is in another state, almost 600 miles from my home on the coast. I agree with your advice (that you’ve repeated gosh how many times) that someone should live at retreat year round. I tried renting it to an acquaintance that needed some “space” for a time following a divorce, but he eventually moved on. Now my retreat is vacant. All of my friends and me–including the two …




Letter Re: Advice on Storing Ammunition in Stripper Clips

Shalom Jim: I have a quick question for you that is probably not the most profound one you’ve ever heard. Recently I purchased some 7.62mm NATO Ball from Southern Ohio Gun, and it came in a metal box loaded on stripper clips with five cartridges per clip. Do you recommend keeping the cartridges on the clips or would you remove them and pack them loosely in the metal box? Also, what is the reasoning behind your answer? Thanks, – Dr. Sidney Zweibel, Columbia P&S JWR Replies: Unless the stripper clips are rusty (which could induce sympathetic corrosion on the cartridge …




Letter Re: Yet Another Article Touting “Mobility” for Survival

Jim: Thank you for response on the mobile survival fantasy. I think it is dangerous for the average Joe to believe that he can be a mountain man. Sure, some can, in some climates and locations with lots of training. Even then it’s dangerous and unpredictable. A twisted ankle can be the end of you. Remember too, those mountain survival stories were from the days when the wildlife in this country was at much higher levels. For most of us it means being cold, wet, tired, hungry and thirsty in the woods and being targets on the streets. (“Nice pack …




Letter Re: SHOT Show Report From Mr. B.

The following are my brief impressions of things that I got to see at the recent SHOT Show. There was lot of interest in the prototype .308 Bullpup from Kel-Tec, which takes standard metric FAL magazines. It is planned to be produced in various barrel lengths, and should be reasonably priced.It was interesting, with its forward axial cartridge ejection, just above the barrel. I don’t recall pricing but $2K would be my best recall/guess. Mr. Kellegren [the “Kel” in Kel-Tec] personally showed me the patent pending ejector. It ejects the casing on the same forward stroke of the bolt that …




Two Letters Re: Night Sights for Pistols

Jim, I can definitely say that the XS Sights work as advertised. I’ve tried them on the Mini-14 and AR-15 carbines, and in both cases they enabled accurate 100 yard plinking at night and fast acquisition with full sights. With a peep-sight equipped rifle, the Tritium front is the most worthwhile upgrade. If you can see the sight through the opening, you’re going to hit what you’re pointing at. For around $100, this is a very worthwhile upgrade for any gun that gets used at night. – Arclight   Jim, While reading earlier today OSOM’s posting re “Night Sights for …




Letter Re: Tritium Night Sights for Rifles

Mr Rawles: Given that it is illegal anywhere that I know to hunt at night, and extremely inadvisable to hunt in low-light conditions – what in the heck are they making night sights for that fit hunting guns? It does seem okay to make them to fit on a rail – as backup, but for a typical battle-outfitted rifle with an ACOG or EOTech you can’t use those sights, they would be obstructed by the base. And if you’re going to put backup iron/night sights on a hunting rifle – would the money be better spent on a scope with …




Letter Re: Pre-1899 Mauser Rifles

Dear Jim, I noticed that The Pre-1899 Specialist has some Chilean Mausers in stock. I have one of these that I acquired some time back, in the original 7 x 57 Mauser chambering. These are a very smooth, reliable, strong bolt action rifle, accurate and easy to handle. They’re a reasonably modern style. In either 7mm or 7.62mm they are definitely a good addition to a preparedness arsenal. They will take most North American or European large game, and in extremis will accurately defeat human threats at several hundred yards. You can also get a more modern drop-in stock for …




Letter Re: Resources on the SurplusRifle.com CD-ROMs

Jim: It’s not often I recommend a web site, but this web site will disappear soon and your readers will want to check this out: SurplusRifle.com Jamie Mangrum has cancer and is shutting down the web site in three months. I bought the 2 CD set called “The BIG CD-ROM” 1 & 2. I think that the content is excellent. The web site includes instructions on how to disassemble and re-assemble many types of military surplus rifles and handguns. In addition, it also included videos on how to blue firearms and cast bullets. Anyone who does maintenance on their firearms …