Letter Re: Swords and Bows for that Dreaded Multigenerational Scenario

James: Michael Z. Williamson’s letter brings up some great details. I would add that those interested in bow making should consult “The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible” volumes I-III. However, there is one grievous error: “By the way, the English longbow had better range and penetration than any crossbow.”This is utterly false. The military crossbows had enormously more power *and* range. With draw weights in the 1200+ lbs range, even with a draw length 1/4 to 1/5 that of a long bow (and less efficiency) the crossbow can not only have significantly more power, but easily a 50 to 100 yard range …




Letter Re: Swords and Bows for that Dreaded Multigenerational Scenario

Dear Jim, Bows are a great asset to survival, but I’m going to differ from some of the other posters. First of all, compound bows require substantial technology to maintain. While fine, accurate hunting weapons, they are not your first choice for survival. Laminated recurves are very efficient and very durable, but are fairly tough to make. They’re reasonably priced, however, and a good investment for the kit. Bowstrings for this can be made from dacron dental floss or heavy nylon thread, the kind used for sewing leather, which should be in your kit anyway. Instructions are available in numerous …




Letter Re: Swords and Bows for that Dreaded Multigenerational Scenario

Hello James, In Sid Near Niagara’s posting he makes many helpful tips about archery. He also touches on the potential to have an arrow embed itself in your supporting arm, but states he has not seen this. A very avid hunter friend of mine had a carbon fiber arrow that disintegrated into his arm. He spent 6 hrs in the operating room removing all the fiber shards and lost some mobility in his wrist. Fortunately this was not permanent and he has regained most all movement. He strongly regrets not having on an arm guard, and mentioned that he now …




Letter Re: Swords and Bows for that Dreaded Multigenerational Scenario

Jim: Some corrections and additional points regarding swords, crossbows, leaf springs, etc. 1) The Japanese do not have a monopoly on “cutting” swords; most European swords before c. 1500 (and even after this point) were quite capable of serous shearing blows. See Ewert Oakeshott’s “Sword in the Age of Chivalry” and “Records of the Medieval Sword” for more details. 2) An “epee” or “foil” is utterly useless as a weapon, being for sporting use only. The rapier (which is what the epee/foil is based loosely on) is somewhat useful, but is a somewhat degenerate sword style, introduced after swords were …




Letter Re: Swords and Bows for that Dreaded Multigenerational Scenario

Jim, Arrows are basically fragile. The aluminum XX75s are pretty durable, for what they are, but they still bend. The ‘game-getters are even softer, and bend easier. There are ways of straightening them, but is is pretty hard to get perfect. I like to say, “something can be bent 1000 ways, but there is only one straight” Graphite arrows are more durable, and skinnier, thereby giving better penetration. The big arrow companies are working hard at making better arrows, but of course, the latest is always the most expensive. Wood is out, for shooting from a compound bow. If they …




Letter Re: Swords and Bows for that Dreaded Multigenerational Scenario

James: In a multigenerational TEOTWAWKI, consider having a good set of swords (and crossbows). Unlike ammo which may only last 50 years, a good sword will last hundreds. You can choose a Japanese style cutting sword, an epee or foil style piercing sword or a hacking style great sword. All other swords are some variation and combination of these types. A great sword for hacking will take the most abuse but be the heaviest. You should have great arm strength for this. A European style fencing stabbing sword requires speed over strength. If you are a wiry and fast but …




Letter Re: How Much Ammo to Store For Self Defense and Hunting?

Mr. Rawles: I found reading your Retreat Owner Profiles fascinating. One item I noticed was that even those with incomes significantly less than mine, sometimes by a factor of 30 to 1, had much more ballistic wampum. How many rounds do you recommend for survival but not trade?[ [JWR Adds: I slightly fictionalized the following, for purposes of illustration]: My circumstances are as follows: I live on the Big Island of Hawaii, in the Mountain View farming district of North Puna, plenty of rainfall (with catchment), lots of fruit trees, fairly high elevation (only minor need of house heating). I …




Letter Re: Advice on Military Surplus .308 Ammo

Dear Jim: Recently several of us were having a discussion about the best .308 ammo available these days. I had recently bought some South African mil-spec stuff, but somebody thought that it might be of questionable quality. 1.) What do you think of South African 7.62 ( or any of the mil-spec) as far as quality ammo vs. other brands? 2.) The South African stuff is 147 grain. What grain .308 / 7.62 bullet do you like for your MBR? Thanks for you response. B’Shem Moshiach Yahshua (In the Name of Messiah Yahshua) – Dr. Sidney Zweibel P.S.: I loaned …




Letter Re: The Importance of Storing Salt for Preparedness

Jim, Here is an absolutely fascinating article about gorillas and salt that I came upon whilst browsing the Foxnews.com site. I seem to remember an article on your blog, not too long ago, discussing pretty-much the same thing. This is something which might prod your readers all-the-more to stock-up on [blocks, bags, and boxes of] salt. – Ben L. JWR Replies: Unless you literally live next to a salt marsh, I cannot overemphasize the importance of storing salt. The Memsahib and I formerly lived in the Upper Clearwater River Valley of Idaho. In that region, deer and elk would walk …




Letter Re: Brass Recycling

Jim, Just a note regarding Bill K.’s fired cartridge brass recycling idea to raise extra cash – it is a good money making idea with the continuing rise in the price of copper and other metals – our gun club here in North Carolina paid all its property taxes last year on the recycling of fired brass left after shooting events. The club insists that if the shooters don’t wish to take their fired brass home, they spend a few minutes between relays when the line is clear to police up brass and put them into specially marked/painted ‘brass buckets’. …




Letter Re: Pre-1899 Finnish M39 Mosin Nagant 7.62x54R Rifles and Ammo

Jim, I read your novel, “Patriots” in 2003. It reinforced my survivor beliefs and encouraged me to take additional steps to become more prepared. I also enjoy reading SurvivalBlog.com and visit your site many times each day. Over the last six months I have followed your advice in purchasing three pre-1899 rifles. All three are Finnish M-39 Mosin Nagants chambered for 7.62x54R ammo. I picked up one from AIM Surplus when [it was] first listed in December 2005. It appears to be in very good condition with a 1895 Tula receiver and 1944 SAKO barrel. The other two I purchased …




Two Letters Re: The Current Ammo Shortage and Galloping Prices

Jim: Perhaps it’s a regional thing, but there seems to be an ammunition shortage in the United States. Here in NY, 7.62×39 has doubled in price in the past year. It is to $200 per 1,000 when you can find it. At last weekend’s gun show only two of the 40 tables were selling 7.62×39 and one of those vendors only had 500 rds. The bad news is thus that it is too late to stock up on cheap 7.62×39. The good news is that your investment in ammo [already] on hand has doubled in value. 308[Winchester] is still available …




Letter Re: .50 BMG Rifles on AR-15 Receivers

Dear Jim: I was reading Boston’s Gun Bible last night and he recommended purchasing a 50 BMG rifle because he believes that it is most definitely at the top of the “too be banned list.” 1.) Do you think that the .50 cal. is an intelligent purchase for a survival scenario? 2.) Boston mentioned a 50 BMG AR-15 conversion package where the .50 caliber upper is used on an AR-15 lower receiver to convert it to a [single shot] .50 BMG. (And, no FFL is required.) What is your opinion of this system? (The approximate cost is $2,000 for a …




Letter From Buckshot Re: Buckshot’s Survival Attitude Versus the “Commando” Survival Attitude

Since Everyone is talking about it here goes… David in Israel hit it perfect with his last letter. Thank you! The whole purpose of the article was to open people eyes to the fact that is a whole lot more to survival then fancy firearms. I thought people would enjoy reading about the little things it takes to survive for one year. Even in the outstanding book “Patriots” how many firefights were there? Not a whole lot. My point was if it was just me in the wilderness I would be carrying .22 Buckmark and a 30-30. Because I have …




Confessions of a Knifeaholic

A gentleman from Colorado named Leonard recently mailed me a couple of new-in-box of AXIS lock Benchmade pocketknives (Model 940s with green panels), to help raise cash for SurvivalBlog. That was very kind and generous of him. I was tempted to keep one of them for my collection, but The Memsahib insisted that I list both of them in my mail order catalog. She told me that I have too many knives. She didn’t go so far as calling me a knifeaholic, but I must admit that its true. I do have a lot of knives–folders, skinners, fighters, and kitchen …