Letter Re: Some Good Things Prompted By SurvivalBlog

Jim, The following are some things SurvivalBlog.com has prompted me to do since I began reading it: I’ve had no debt for 20 years, but my meager holdings are now about 1/3 precious metals. Is lead considered a precious metal? 🙂 My freezer is full of elk, whitetail deer, and caribou. I added to my long-term foods during your Safecastle special, but I’m now reviewing the viability of my existing stocks. Like the realtor’s mantra of “location, location, location”, a survivalist’s creed should be “Rotate, rotate, rotate. “ A 10 KW Generac generator is ready to be wired to my …




Letter Re: Safe to Shoot 7.62mm NATO Ball in a .308 Winchester Civilian Sporting Rifle?

Hey Jim, My father recently gave me a Winchester Model 88 [civilian lever action sporting rifle] chambered in .308 [Winchester]. I’ve acquired a few rounds of 7.62×51 ball from a separate source. Can I use that ammo in the rifle? I’ve Googled to no avail. Can you help? Thanks, – d’Heat JWR Replies: The short answer to your question is: Yes. From a precise technical standpoint, they are not identical cartridges. Military 7.62mm NATO is almost dimensionally identical, but actually a hair longer than the SAAMI dimensional specs for .308 Winchester. Military 150 grain full metal jacket (“ball”) loads have …




Letter Re: Muzzleloaders for Long Term TEOTWAWKI

Dear Mr Rawles, It is possible that I am simply not an attentive reader of the Survival Blog, so I may have missed this. However, it seems to me that rather than getting into technically very difficult and potentially very dangerous pursuits involving home-made brass & home-made primers, why not become proficient with a flintlock rifle? Flintlocks never went completely out of style, and there are many, many excellent makers today. In the hands of a practiced marksman, a flintlock is certainly the equal of any modern rifle out to 100 or 200 yards, and at the Battle of New …




Letter Re: Cannibal Reloading, by Mr. Yankee

Dear Jim, I saw the article posted on SurvivalBlog about cannibalizing ammo [by Mr. Yankee). Unfortunately, that’s a really bad idea where powder and primers are concerned. Projectiles are fine, if they don’t get warped out of round or weakened by oxidation. First of all, you don’t know what powder is in the case. You can guess, but overpressure runs the risk of exploding the casing and possibly damaging the rifle (and yourself!). Second, “light” loads are more likely to explode a casing, not less. If the powder burns too fast it can spike the pressure without moving the bullet …




Cannibal Reloading, by Mr. Yankee

We all recognize that there will be a scarcity of resources in a post-TEOTWAWKI world. One of the things that almost everyone preparing for such a contingency stockpiles is ammunition. Stored ammunition is a viable, but short term solution. Sooner or later factory ammunition will become scarce. Whether that is in days, months, years, or decades, reloading becomes the next most viable option. Powder, primers, and projectiles can bring new life to previously fired cases. I recommend that everyone store powder, primer, and projectiles, but sooner or later these too will get scarce. There are things that we can do …




Four Letters Re: Prowlers and Lighting

James: The subject of handheld lights is as long as it is wide. Ask 20 people what is best, get 40 answers and recommendations! As with many things, today we live in a great time for flashlight technology. My recommendation is to immerse yourself in www.candlepowerforums.com. Some guys there are truly on the cutting edge of lights. Some of the modified lights are incredible. Have fun and enjoy a winter’s worth of reading. – Straightblast   Jim: Just enjoying a last respite prior to retiring in my mountaintop isolated home and read the letter on Prowlers and Lighting at SurvivalBlog. …




Letter Re: Bullet Casting: A (Relatively) Simple Introduction, by AVL

James, Another safety item for melting lead: When done pouring bullets, it is important that any remaining lead should be poured out of the pot, rather leaving it to solidify in the pot. Lead like all other materials will expand when heated. Lead will also melt from the bottom up and if trapped by a solid layer at the top, may erupt when it breaks through that top layer. – R.H.




Letter Re: Barter as an Investment and a Hedge

While barter for necessities is one possibility, barter for wealth is another. A poor man with a small investment in an essential TEOTWAWKI item can magnify his wealth. If you are not in a position to outfit yourself with the food/weapons/tools you would like now, consider a barter investment. Something you can get cheaply now, and then trade for the items that are currently out of your budget. When choosing barter goods for storage, consider seven things. Original cost, size, availability, need, divisibility, verification, and indestructibility. Items stored for barter should: (1) Have a very low initial cost. In this …




Three Letters Re: Bullet Casting: A (Relatively) Simple Introduction, by AVL

Hi Jim, I have two notes regarding casting your own bullets (or any other metal for that matter): First: One piece of safety equipment that you really should have on hand when casting any metal is dry sand. Make sure you have at least 25 pounds of dry sand at the ready. If there is a metal spill, dump the sand on it and it will contain the flow and cool it quickly, plus it will cut of the supply of oxygen, preventing fire. Second: A fire extinguisher is good to have to put out fires, but with molten metal …




Bullet Casting: A (Relatively) Simple Introduction, by AVL

Bullet casting is likely one of the oldest activities regarding firearms. From the time humans graduated from using shaped rocks, casting was the method of choice for just about every projectile. While there are other methods that allow for more complex designs (swaging, see corbins.com) casting is still the best simple method for turning a lump of otherwise useless lead into a projectile that will put food on your table and protect your family. Safety It is important to note that casting is a dangerous process. Casting will expose you to toxic metals at high temperature. Safety is paramount. I …




Letter Re: Yugoslavian Surplus M48 Mauser Rifles

Jim, I recently purchased a M48 Yugoslavian Mauser (manufactured on German tooling during and after WWII) from AIM Surplus for $109.99. [JWR Adds: These can sometimes be found for as little as $100 from discount sporting goods stores such as Big 5, and at guns shows.] In my opinion this is a great deal. I purchased one of these a few years ago and it was in nearly new condition, bore bright and shiny and the action smooth, stock in excellent condition. As many who have purchased these know, these are very good shooters and an excellent low cost rifle. …




Two Letters Re: Ammunition Handloading Basics

Jim Much great information being shared in these posts, but reading the reload posts made me feel the need to point out one thing. While reloading ammunition for revolvers and most conventional handguns is easy and fun, it is a different story for Glocks.The Glock is designed with an “Unsupported chamber” barrel which makes firing untested reloaded ammunition a dangerous affair. If the specs on the reloads are off even just a little, the result could be a nasty problem. The ammo could cause the gun to self destruct, especially if it is a 40 caliber model. If you don’t …




Letter Re: Ammunition Handloading Basics

JWR, Sid mentioned the Lee Loader package in a recent letter. While I think the Lee Loader is an ideal addition to any survival reloading kit, it does have some caveats that were not mentioned in Sid’s letter. While the Lee Loader is a great system due to it’s simplicity, one of it’s great problems is its simplicity. Most die sets are two dies for bottle-neck and three for straight wall. The Lee Loader combines steps into one. What I believe the biggest shortcoming of the Lee Loader is, there is no good way to measure gunpowder reliably. While it …




Letter Re: Ammunition Handloading Basics

Jim, I just got an order I sent for a couple days ago. 240gr. .44 cast bullets. It is my first time dealing there, but they look great, everything they are supposed to be. I got them from http://www.prettygoodbullets.com/ They also have .38, .40, and .45. I have been reloading for years, mostly pistol calibers. A good way for a newbie to start would be with a [hand held] Lee Loader. It is low-tech, and slow, but quality ammo can be made this way. All that is required besides the components, (primers, powder, and projectiles) is a soft mallet, and …




Letter Re: Swords and Bows for that Dreaded Multigenerational Scenario

Dear Jim, I concur on a gladius (which is the same size as a Celtic leaf blade, Greek hoplite, Swiss baselard or 18th century artillery short sword) as a good choice in swords. It’s about the length of one joint of the arm, so it becomes an almost perfect extension and usable fairly instinctively. It works better with a shield–1/2 to 3/4 plywood. A basic one can be cut from thin leaf spring stock (1/4″ or 3/16″) or riding mower blades. It works best in formation, but that’s unlikely to be a scenario in the future. Swordsmithing more than bladesmithing …