Letter Re: Okay, You Have Moved to Your New Survival Retreat Home. What’s Next?

Many people are strategically relocating, getting settled into their new homes, preparing for the economic crash, and war that is surely coming. As the gent from Argentina said with hindsight: "more food" and trade goods. In addition to obtaining the obvious water, food, seeds, preparing the ground for a large garden, and protection there are some additional things all of us need to consider. Remember you are simply investing in your future. Here is my list:

* Get to know the old timers, people who are active but advanced in years. Go visit them. Have them to your home. Ask a question or two to open conversation, then shut up, and let them talk. They know who can be trusted and who cannot be trusted.
* If you want to know about a builders, plumbers, electricians, road graders or handy men, families by name, wife beaters and child molesters, ask an old timer. You will soon learn who is trustworthy and who is not. Remember, you are information gathering. Your views are not important. Ask the question and then shut up. Listen to the old timers.
* Search the local and county newspaper stacks for the names of people who were arrested and charged with a crime. You will have to be alert for these individuals as we enter into hard times.
* Identify local politicians and enforcement people with the I am God attitude. Identify their shooters. Remember most of these people have not prepared. Some you will be able to bribe, others, oh well.
* Buy more open pollinated seeds than you think you will need.
* Buy more ammunition. If this thing lasts 3-to-5 years, followed by a war you will be glad that you did.
* Buy reloading capabilities and dies. Buy lead bullet casting capabilities. Buy more powder, primers and bullets.
* Buy more clothes than you think you need.
* Buy more canned food than you think you need to last at least three years.
* Buy more gardening and mechanics tools than you think you need.
* Buy socks, shoes and boots.
* Buy local and regional maps.
* Collect telephone books for use as toilet paper.

I have another e-mail in progress that will discuss issues of war.- M.L.T.

Two Letters Re: Which Rifle and Caliber is the Best for TEOTWAWKI?

G’day from Down Under.
In you post on the TEOTWAWKI rifles, you mentioned .303s. While the rifles are plentiful, robust and inexpensive, the ammo is becoming very hard to find and expensive. Example, Winchester 303 SP is $ 48 AUD per box of 20 here. Good ex-military ball is about $80 to $100 per 100 (if you can find it) and will be at least 30 years old.
The Ishapore Mk.2s are a much better bet, cost about the same, and take 7.62 [mm NATO]. Or perhaps, one of the ex-Israeli [K98] Mausers [chambered] in .308?
However, I personally feel that the best rifle would be one of those Savage Model 24s, preferably the 24C. The choice of a shotgun or rifle barrel with the flick of a switch. Or any reliable .22 LR or .22 Winchester Magnum rimfire. This is not intended to fight with, more a foraging tool, to put food in the pot. Think about it: If you had to walk (worst case scenario) to your retreat, what would you take? Grab a brick of 22 LR. Weigh it. Now grab 500 rds of .223 or 7.62mm NATO. weigh that. I used to be able to walk miles with a MAG-58 [belt-fed 7.62mm NATO MMG] and 800 rds, plus the other 50 or so KGs, but I was a lot younger and fitter then. Now the lack of a good self loader in .223, and the rest of the platoon for back-up, has lead me to think that maybe a good 22 Mag or LR, and trying to avoid trouble, might be the way to go. JMHO, YMMV. Merry Christmas. Cheers, – Dave.


Can you please address your preference of the L1A1 over the more common metric FALs? I settled on the metric version mainly because it is generally more common, has better parts availability, cheaper and easier to find magazines, overall less expensive and just as reliable. I do add a FSE oversize mag release and a Israeli forward assist (FA) charging handle along with necessary bolt carrier modification to all my metric FALs. What am I missing by not going with the L1A1? Thanks, – C.W.

JWR Replies:  I believe that there are several distinct advantages to having an “inch pattern” (L1A1) instead of one of the metric measurement FN-FALs. These advantages include:

1.) The ability to use inch OR metric magazines.  If you have a metric FAL, you are limited to using only metric magazines.  But if you have an inch receiver rifle you can use both inch and metric mags.  (The latter wobble a bit when used in an L1A1, but they still feed reliably.)

2.) Inch magazines are sturdier than metric magazines, because they are heavier gauge steel. And if they ever do get dented, L1A1 magazines can be repaired with a mandrel block, but metric mags cannot.  (If you lay an inch mag and a metric mag side by side, you will notice that the floorplate retaining tabs on a metric magazine are turned inward, whereas they are turned outward on an inch mag. Hence there is no way for a metric magazine to accept a dent-removing mandrel.)

3.)  A larger safety selector switch that you can’t miss with your thumb.

4.) A larger, ambidextrous magazine release.  (Unlike the tiny mag release on the metric FAL, which is designed for the convenience of right handers.)

5.)  A sturdy folding charging handle is standard.  If you’ve ever tripped and fallen while carrying a metric FAL, you’ll appreciate this feature.  There is nothing quite like taking a blow  from metric charging handle to the solar plexus!

6.) Sturdier and less reflective stock furniture. The British Maranyl pebble grain black plastic furniture is practically bomb proof.

7.) Buttplates that come in a wide range of thicknesses, to accommodate shooters of various heights. Proper stock length usually means more accurate shooting.

8.) Better rear sights. OBTW, the inch pattern “Hythe” dual-aperture variant is a great sight with the versatility needed for long range shooting, close quarters combat, and night shooting. I have Hythe sights on four of the five L1A1s at the Rawles Ranch.  (The fifth rifle is a metric Para Model (folding stock) FAL “L1A1 wannabe” on which I had the receiver re-cut by Rich Saunders at Century Gun Works to accept inch magazines.)

9.) An integral winter trigger arrangement that is always stowed and available in the pistol grip.  (One downside is that L1A1s don’t have the “in the grip” miniature cleaning kit found on metric FALs.)

10.)  A slightly more efficient flash hider. (I’ve viewed a video of a nighttime test that was filmed by a SurvivalBlog reader, using identical ammo, and the difference was apparent.)

11.) Specially-designed “Sand Cut” bolts and bolt carriers, designed to operate more reliably in grungy environments.

In summary: Yes, the parts and magazines for inch pattern L1As are slightly more expensive, but the advantages that I just related more than compensate for the greater expense.

For those of you that presently own metric FALs, I suggest that you keep them and just improve them a bit:  For example, I recommend retrofitting them with inch pattern magazine releases and selector switches.  And unless you have one of the excellent Israeli-style forward assist charging handles, you should also consider retrofitting with an inch-style folding charging handle. 

All of the aforementioned parts are available from The FALFiles Marketplace. (See: http://www.falfiles.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=11 )

Letter Re: The Ubiquity of the M1911 in the U.S.

Dear Mr. Rawles,
With respect to the great sidearm debate, I suspect that a much underrated feature of the M1911 family lies in the ubiquity of the family. As a disclaimer, I should note that I am an unabashed, though not uncritical, fan of the 1911 design.
I am much inclined to believe that the Schumer and the fan will become commingled in my lifetime. Assuming that they do, the ballistic superiority of a round may become less relevant than the availability of spare parts, ammunition, and expertise for keeping the gun functioning. When you start to think of these factors, the superiority of the M1911 proclaims itself.
With respect to the availability of ammunition, I believe that the .45 ACP and the [9mm] parabellum are equivalent. This factor, however, militates against the use of flavor-of-the-month (though possibly ballistically superior) rounds such as 10MM, .357 Sig, and .40 [S&W]. My father has frequently said that you can’t depend on a weapon for which you can’t find ammo in the boonies of East Texas. When you get to that point, you are left with only two real choices in pistol calibers.
The availability of spare parts distinguishes the M1911 from all comers. The CONUS “installed base” for 1911s is in the millions. I am given to understand that a total of 20 manufacturers currently produce M1911s. Because of this breadth of install base, the local gunsmith keeps enough parts in stock to perform any repairs that I need. Even if his stock runs dry, there are M1911s salted away in places that you never expect, all of which may be cannibalized to provide my 1911 with some part or another in a pinch. There is a great deal to be said for the fact that my next-door-neighbor has one, one of my coworkers has one, another coworker has 3, my financial advisor has one, all of the guys that sell guns to me carry them for self defense, my best friend from college carries one, my best friend from grad school carries one, and his roommate keeps one. Ubiquity means that somebody probably has a spare recoil spring. If the Schumer and the fan become commingled, I may need that spring. I bought a 1911 for cash once because I knew that, even if it didn’t fire, the parts were worth more than I was paying.
Let us now talk about expertise. Again, there are more people in the world who have had to disassemble and diagnose a 1911 than have had to perform these operations on a Glock. If my 1911 becomes unhappy, that base of knowledge may be incredibly valuable to me. I have addressed a pragmatic set of concerns for logistically grim world. I don’t carry 1911s because of these grim concerns, but I do think that they should legitimately inform the discussion among your readers.  My best regards and a Merry Christmas, – K.A.D.

Odds ‘n Sods

The latest statistics on annual state population increases were just released. I see that Nevada has been named the top gainer this year, yet again. Doubtless, a lot of that is attributable to folks fleeing California’s taxes, smog, crime, traffic and idiotic civilian disarmament laws. Sadly, the influx of liberal Californians is gradually turning Nevada into another California. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/22/AR2005122200268_pf.html

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Our British cousins will be feeling the screws turned yet a bit tighter, starting in Aught Six. The latest outrage to freedom is total surveillance of private automobile movements, with a huge database that will be maintained for at least two years:  See: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/transport/article334686.ece   Perhaps they ought to be honest and simply rename the place Airstrip One. (George Orwell was right!)

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We’ve made a few additions to the SurvivalBlog Glossary.

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The enrollment deadline to buy a Front Sight $1,200 Lifetime Challenge First Family Membership has been to extended to December 31st. Naish Piazza says this will be the last extension. In my opinion, it is a great deal that you should seriously consider. A First Family Membership makes a great Christmas gift, for those of you that were late doing your shopping.

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Kudos to #1 Son, who created new navigation buttons for our web page top bar that are faster to load.  That will be good news to the SurvivalBlog readers that, like us, live out in the dial-up connection hinterboonies.  

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Such a deal: Tapco is selling batches of 50 HK91 alloy 20 round mags for $50. See: http://www.tapco.com/product_information.asp?number=MAG3004&back=yes Even if a few turn out to be dented, that is still a fantastic price. At that price, I might buy 50 just for barter,

Survivalist Skills–Secondary Skills from Your Day Job, by Rourke

In our modern world, jobs are incredibly and increasingly specialized. Many of us have jobs that may be of little use if TSHTF and society collapses. As many of us may have to look for another way to make a buck, or perhaps more accurately to trade or barter with, consider bettering yourself by attaining a high level of proficiency in at least one secondary survival skill (the more the better).
I have listed below a few useful to survival skills, or secondary occupations that you can learn quite a bit about if you just treat it like a hobby, or a self improvement course. Along with having some informational materials, some experience, the expectation is you would also have at least the basic tools (power and hand tools and library of reference information) of the trade(s) you choose.
This also makes the point for a group working together as a team. Even the biggest Jack or Jill of all trades (which many survivalists are), would be hard pressed to really know the entire list below and have enough basic tools or supplies to do each and every on this things well. Just like with most teams, people have to play different positions well for the team to be a winner.

Alternate Energy – biogas, bio diesel, alcohol, steam power, solar cells, windmills, etc.
Ammunition Reloading Equipment & Supplies (gun repair & maintenance)
Childcare – baby sitting, preschool
Computers – may be impossible to get parts, chips in particular, but can keep them running by cannibalizing…
Construction – rough construction of homes, poles barns, etc.
Butchering – cutting and curing of meats, sausage making
Candle making – including soy based, bees wax
Dental – hygiene, dentistry, oral surgery
Electric supply & repair – home electric system design/repair, off grid
Electronics – repair of as many electronic gadgets as possible
Engine repair & maintenance. Auto, truck, tractor, small motor
Fire fighting – rescue operations in all conditions
Fishing – netting, multiple lines, trolling, ice fishing
Ham radio – this is its own category since it requires a specific license. (Now issued at three different levels)
Herbs – alternate medicine, nutrition
Home schooling – teaching supplies, text books, etc.
Hunting – trapping, snares, training hunting dogs
Farming – crops – small scale farming many crops, large scale gardening or greenhousing
Farming – livestock – chickens, rabbits, goats, bees, fish farming, turkey, hogs
Food canning & dehydration – pressure canning, dehydration of fruits and meats
HVAC – heating, venting, air conditioning and ventilation systems
Leatherwork – tanning to punching and sewing
Lumberjack – from falling trees through saw milling
Masonry – concrete flatwork, brick making, brick laying, poured walls
Medical – from EMT to MD, from bandages to surgery
Metal Working and welding
Mid wife – child birth is its own part of medicine
Plumbing – well, septic, indoor plumbing, outdoor plumbing, water filters, pumps
Security – systems, knowledge of tactics military and/or police
Seed Bank – storage of seeds for growing, hybrids, and open pollinated (heirloom)
Sewing – clothing making and repair, spinning, knitting, making cloth
Soap making – and all the things you will have to make from animals and plants
Survival Skills – wilderness skills in particular, living off the rough land
Veterinary Sciences – animal care, breeding
Wood working – everything beyond roughing; trim, cabinets, furniture

This of course is not a complete list. Looking down the curriculum of a trade school or technical college would be another good thing to do. Consider taking up at least one as a hobby or for self improvement. -Rourke  (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/survivalretreat)

JWR Adds:
I’d recommend adding the following to Rourke’s list:

Blacksmithing – Invaluable for repairs and fabrication of metal tools and parts
Machining – Important for fabricating metal parts
Welding and Torch Cutting– Absolutely invaluable for repairs and fabrication of metal parts

Rourke’s article indirectly raises the issue of retreat group dynamics and the vagaries of human nature. I’ve seen some mistakes made when assembling retreat groups, most notably:

1.) Groups that end up with preponderance of doctors, lawyers, or firemen.  This typically happens because a group founder recruits members from his close circle of friends–who all happen to be in the same profession or trade. This results in a group that lacks a good balance of skills.

2.) Groups that lack cohesive leadership. These generally turn into either philosophical debating societies or groups that spend most of their time arguing the finer points of Roberts Rules of Order. In either case, nothing gets done.

3.) Groups with either no discretionary money, or too much discretionary money.  These both lead to absurdities. In the case of the former: Groups that don’t have time to train together because the members are all working six days a week at minimum wage jobs. In the case of the latter: A group of mostly rich lawyers with an elaborate five year food supply and a bunch of expensive guns that they’ve never zeroed. Because they feel logistically “prepared” they don’t bother with tactical training or to practice traditional skills. God forbid they should get their hands dirty.

4.) Groups that are have no religious common ground, or groups with so many shared common beliefs that they become dogmatic and intolerant of anyone who doesn’t share their precise views on eschatology.

Letter Re: Fire Hose Outdoor Clothing, and FMJ vs. Hollow Points?

Dear James,
Recently I received an interesting catalog in the mail. It’s from the Duluth Trading Company, and they manufacture rugged outdoor clothing made of fire hose material. http://www.DuluthTrading.com I have not tried any of their products yet, however, I plan to in the future and just wanted to share it with you and your readers for your and their consideration.

I have a question for you too, if you don’t mind. Why is a FMJ round more desirable in combat than a Soft Point? My reasoning is that Soft Point ammo expands more, and creates a larger wound channel than a FMJ. That has been my observation on deer taken with a .30-06 150 grain Winchester Silver Tip, for example. Thank you.
Merry Christmas to you and Yours – D.O.T.

JWR Replies: In essence, I’m a believer for full metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition for rifles, and premium jacketed hollow point (JHP) ammunition for most handguns.  Hollow points are important for handguns because with their relatively low power (compared to rifles), you need all of the expansion that you can get.  FMJs are important for rifles because you never know when you will be up against an opponent that is wearing body armor (it is increasingly popular with gang members) or that is shooting at you from behind light cover.

Letter Re: .45 ACP Stopping Power and the M1911

Mr. Rawles,
First, I must say that greatly appreciate your website and the expertise that you share. I am 21, and am trying to lead getting my family and close friends prepared logistically for whatever may be coming down in the future. Your information and suggestions are a time/money saver (and likely eventually a life saver.) “Patriots” is an invaluable resource, and more can always be gleaned every time it is read. Thank you!
I wanted to comment on the 45 ACP post from Dec. 20. I generally shy away from handgun discussions because handguns are a mediocre weapon, and the discussions are predictable. In my opinion, the Army Aviators story about the stopping power of a .45 is really inconsequential. If he really did hit the enemy with all 29 rounds, then he didn’t hit him COM. The 3 rounds of 45 ACP and the previous damage from the 9mm is what dropped him. He wasn’t dropped because the .45 is a “super death ray gun”, but is likely because of 3 aimed shots to a vital area. To say the 3 aimed .45 slugs is better than 29 aimed 9mm slugs is not accurate. To say that 3 aimed .45 slugs is better that 29 not-aimed shots would be more accurate. It’s just a thought, because I don’t want to criticize, and I admire his brave service in the army.
I appreciate and understand the fondness of the ‘Warhorse’ (I won’t say ‘old’ Warhorse. I have completed several KT Ordnance “80% Complete” Model 1911s with great success. (See: http://www.ktordnance.com/kto/index.php ) Although the process is very rewarding, I learned that my taste for expensive parts (Smith&Alexander; Ed Brown beavertails, sears, hammers, triggers; Kart barrels; Caspian slides…oh it goes on) can really add up. There can be a lot said for understanding a weapons mechanism and operation, and the 80% project is a good way to understand the basics. I was continually humbled by the vastness of experience needed to successfully do this as a profession.
For someone considering a 80% [KT Ordnance] ‘build’, I would say to set a budget and not exceed it. A good 3 inch group gun can be put together for $500-$600, and that is all that is really needed. A 1911 that shoots 1 inch or less is wonderful, but reliability is second to none! I now prefer the ‘abomination’ called the Glock. With a capacity of 13+1 .45 ACPs, it puts the odds back in the wielders favor. The price is usually half that of a comparable ‘value’ 1911.
‘A 9mm might expand but a 45 won’t shrink’. True, however there are good reasons for having a 9mm in a one’s cache. First, it is so common. Ammunition is cheap. There are loads available that have more foot-pounds energy than .45 ACP hardball (but comparing premium self defense loads to UMC ball isn’t exactly a fair comparison). The 9mm trumps the .38 Special snubby, especially if you look at the Glock 26. The G26 is 10+1(compared to 5 shots in a snub nose), accepts high caps., and the 9mm is more powerful than the 38. The 9mm may be more lady friendly, although the .45 is mild enough to shoot that really anyone should be able to feel comfortable with it(the .45 is much more mild than the 40 S&W which many female police officers must shoot, once a year typically). Capacity is some what important, although familiarity with tactical and emergency reloads is equally as important. I did some 1911 work for a ex-SWAT and nationally known 3-gun guy, and he now prefers a Glock 17 (9mm) because of it’s capacity and his accomplished skill with the sidearm he shoots 20,000 rounds a year with. It really shouldn’t be the first choice if there is a .45 or 10mm available, but it was also provide valuable ‘wampum’ to a post collapse situation (like in your novel with the trade of the Browning Hi-Power for the horse!) Once again, a hearty thanks for your website and book. Sincerely, – The Legend

Letter Re: Zenith “Trans-Oceanic” EMP-Proof Shortwave Radios

I just realized something that some of the SurvivalBlog readers might find interesting: All the older Zenith Trans-Oceanic radios have replaceable (“socketed’) transistors.
The Zenith Trans-Oceanic radios model 1000 and 3000 all have Sockets. I recently replaced a PNP transistor in a 1962 Sony with a new 2N3906 and the radio worked!
So, if someone buys one of these older multi-band shortwave radios with the transistor sockets, then they should buy a bunch of cross-referenced transistors and place them
in a small metal can to protect them from EMP.  See: http://www.transoceanic.nostalgiaair.org/3000.htm
Open the PDF file and you’ll see the transistor sockets. They even tell you how to fix/align/tune this radio. I’m sure the designers wanted this radio to last forever.
President Johnson had a 3000 in the White House that he used to listen to regularly.

It’s to bad the GE Superadio does not have sockets. But the older Zenith Trans-Oceanics with transistor sockets are almost as sensitive as the Superadios and the Zenith’s are made to last! – Fred The Valmet-meister

Three Letters Re: Which Rifle and Caliber is the Best for TEOTWAWKI?

What about the M1A/M14? It would get my vote, even over the FAL. My M1A (“Irene”) has over 8,000 rounds through it, and has never so much as stove piped. And she is a real tack driver. – Gung-Ho

JWR Replies:  I was a big believer in M1As from 1981 until 2003. (I owned five of them at one time.) But in Aught Three I faced facts, took a deep breath, and I sold my M1As and replaced them with L1A1s.  Functionally L1A1s are comparable (but, granted, not quite capable of  match grade M1A accuracy), and their accessories and spare parts are much, much less expensive.  A spare all-G.I. M1A parts set would cost around $900 these days. I was able to replace my M1As with larger number of L1A1s, with a full set of parts for each (everything but the receiver, and 40 spare magazines per rifle, and I still had a lot of money left over. (I spent that on scoping most of the L1A1s.)


Mr Rawles,
In reference to rifle choices for those of us who live in the People’s “Republic” of Kalifornia… our esteemed rulers have (so far) neglected to ban the M1A and its variants (at least as sold by Springfield Armory). I do believe that the M1A is a suitable battle rifle. Thank You. -Eric L.

JWR Replies: As I recall, to get around the ban, M1As have to be retrofitted with a California-sanctioned muzzle brake instead of a flash hider.  Also, “E2” style stocks and folding stocks would also be a no-no in California.  And, of course you also had to have your lifetime supply of high capacity magazines in hand by the end of 1999. (All sales of anything over 10 round became legal on Jan. 1, 2000.) California makes me want to retch.


Mr. Rawles,
I am Active Duty USAF stationed in the UK and was strongly discouraged from bringing any firearms with me when I moved here last year. I made contact with some British gun owners through www.gunboards.com to learn about the regulations and restrictions. After joining the local Rifle and Pistol club my full membership was expedited due to my military background. The club officials were very helpful and friendly. I am using the clubs rifles until I get the paperwork and permits completed; currently my firearms are being kept by her majesty in a customs house. Most bolt action rifles, semi-auto .22s and shotguns are legal here. You can even own a revolver with slight modifications if the barrel is 12 inches.  Thanks for the hard work you put into the website. – Deros

Jim’s Quote of the Day

“Iran, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua — continents away, tens of thousands of miles apart, but the same goals and objectives. I submit to you that the growth in terrorism in recent years results from the increasing involvement of these states in terrorism in every region of the world. This is terrorism that is part of a pattern, the work of a confederation of terrorist states. Most of the terrorists who are kidnapping and murdering American citizens and attacking American installations are being trained, financed, and directly or indirectly controlled by a core group of radical and totalitarian governments — a new, international version of Murder, Incorporated. And all of these states are united by one simple criminal phenomenon — their fanatical hatred of the United States, our people, our way of life, our international stature.” – President Ronald Reagan

The Importance of Firewood or Coal Storage

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of having a large supply of fuel for home heating on hand. Ask anyone that has ever been through an ice storm in the northeast. Big ones happen  on average once per decade. These can be really nasty, knocking down hundreds of power lines, inducing power outages that can last for weeks. Those that heat their homes with natural gas, propane, or home heating oil furnaces find themselves out of luck when the power grid goes down. Even if they can keep their heater’s main burner on, there is no electricity to run the circulating fan. That makes for a very chilly house!  Ditto for pellet stoves, which require electricity to run both their pellet-feeding mechanisms and their fans. 

There is nothing quite so “tried and true” as a large, free standing, cast iron stove to burn firewood or coal.  I recommend that you calculate how much wood or coal you burn per winter, and triple that to give you an honest three year supply. Even if you don’t anticipate economic disruption that will last more than a year, you should still get a three year supply. The extra fuel that you have on hand can be used for barter or charity.  Your less prudent neighbors will greatly appreciate it if you can help them heat their homes with some judiciously-dispensed charity. Its our duty to help out widows and orphans–and yes, even your neighbor down the street that was more interested in drinking beer and watching football games than in splitting firewood. Like it or not, it is our Christian duty.

In most cases. laying in a three year supply of fuel will necessitate adding a lot of firewood or coal storage space. Don’t skimp and put your firewood under those cheapo blue plastic tarps. That is like throwing money away.  Build a proper storage shed, and size your shed to fit an honest three year supply.  Then, never allow it to get less than 2/3rds full. OBTW, one advantage to having a big “three year shed” is that you can burn the oldest (driest) wood first, allowing your green wood two years to season.

Lastly, don’t overlook cleaning your chimney every year Learn how to do this yourself, and buy yourself a good quality brush and a set of extensions–perhaps with one extra extension so that you can loan it to your neighbors that might have taller chimneys than yours. Yes, chimney cleaning can be a mess, but it is a valuable skill, and it is essential for preventing a potentially catastrophic chimney fire. BTW, I often see charred/destroyed guns for sale at gun shows. With their melted grips and burned-off stocks, they are sometimes hard to recognize. These guns look beyond pitiful and don’t fetch much money when they are sold as a source for spare parts. They are mute testimony to the chimney-cleaning laziness of their owners. The story that I hear is almost always the same: “It was a chimney fire.”



Letter Re:  .45 ACP Stopping Power and the M1911 (SAs: Pistol Stopping Power, Survival Guns, .45 ACP, 9mm, M1911s)

Sir – just to support your advocacy of the .45 ACP: it has saved this old sarge’s butt more than once…it STOPS the enemy! Versus the 9mm [Parabellum], there is no contest — .45 [ACP] wins every time.  Semper Fi – Sarge

Letter Re: Remington M742 as a Battle Rifle?


I have some ideas regarding using a Remington 742 as a main battle rifle (MBR) that you may find of interest. The Rem. 742 is a semi-auto rifle that can be chambered in .308 or 30.06 among other calibers. The standard detachable box mag holds 4 cartridges. But I found that you can get 10-round steel mags from Cabela’s for around $21.00 each. A used Rem. 742 can be purchased for about $350.00 depending upon the quality. This would get you a semi-auto rifle chambered in .308 or 30.06 with the capacity for multiple detachable mags. If you think this idea has merit feel free to share with the Blog members. Of course I’m not too sure what an Army Captain would say about using a hunting rifle for a MBR!

OBTW I just finished reading William Bonner’s book “Empire of Debt” and thought that it was very informative and eye-opening. His main premise is that America is no longer a Constitutional Republic but has become an empire. And this sad fact has led to the financial mess that we are in. An interesting read! I am looking forward to reading his other book “Financial Reckoning Day”.  B’shem Moshiach Yahshua, – Dr. Sidney Zweibel

JWR Replies: Outwardly, using a semi-auto hunting rifle such as the Remington M742 as an MBR might seem like a great idea for someone who is budget conscious or for someone that lives in a restrictive state, but I do not recommend it. In a SurvivalBlog post on October 22nd, I replied to a gent who had essentially the same idea. (He had suggested a Remington Model 7400.) I stated:  

I agree that a.30 caliber centerfire a rifle is essential, both for hunting and self defense. Keep in mind, however, that civilian hunting semi-autos and pumps are not designed to withstand the sustained high rate of fire that might occur in a full scale post-TEOTWAWKI firefight. Their internal tolerances are so precisely machined that they are likely to bind up when the action gets hot. Also be aware that they are more tightly chambered than military arms.(Which have intentionally loose dimensions.) You cannot depend on something like a Remington 760 or 7600 to keep shooting reliably after 200 rounds of rapid fire. Nor can you expect them to keep shooting reliably with muddy or gritty cartridges. (As a test, with a Remington 740 or 760 series, try chambering some cartridges that have had their necks smeared with toothpaste. (DO NOT attempt to fire the rifle in this condition–this is only to demonstrate chambering limitations!) Now try the same with a FAL, HK, CETME, or M1A. Odds are that the bolt on the Remington will not go fully forward, whereas the bolt on a military arm usually will. A civilian pump action or semi-auto hunting rifle might suffice in a pinch, but not in an extended firefight! 

The fact that “small base” (reduced brass dimension) reloading dies are recommended for Remington semi-autos in order to make them chamber reliably should be a strong indication that they are not built to military specifications.  Don’t expect a civilian semi-auto hunting rifle to do the same job as a military rifle. It won’t be up to the task.

For those of you that are stuck in states like California, New York, and New Jersey that have so-called “assault weapons” bans, I recommend that you buy an early-generation military  issue semi-auto rifle such as the M1 Garand (.30-06, fed from an eight round en bloc clip), the FN-49 in .30-06 (10 round semi-detachable magazine, stripper clip fed), or perhaps if your state law will allow it, the Argentine contract FN-49 in .308 (10 or 20 round detachable magazine.) A poor second choice might be a Russian or Chinese SKS (7.62 x 39mm, stripper clip fed, with a fixed 10 round magazine.) OBTW, I do not recommend the French MAS series semi-autos of the same era, because they have demonstrated reliability issues. Nor do I recommend the U.S. M1 Carbine, because it shoots an under-powered pistol class cartridge. (.30 M1 Carbine.)

Letter from Mr. Yankee Re: The “Expired” 1994 Gun Ban Still Plagues New Yorkers, and New Years Resolutions

Two quick points of interest:
#1 – Here in New York state, the [Federal] 1994 ban did not sunset. The Federal laws that the rest of the nation enjoys freedom from after September 2004 [when the 1994 AWB‘s 10 year “sunset” clause went into effect], are duplicated by state law with no sunset provision inside New York State.

#2 – As already noted on Survivalblog, New Year’s resolutions are a wonderful opportunity to reset our priorities. My resolutions will include spending the $6 per week formerly spent on a six pack of beer on an expanded reserve of family medicines instead. Recent aches and pains after hunting in snow country has convinced me both to drop some pounds and stock up on pain relievers and other over the counter remedies! We too received a foot of snow this weekend, we had a power outage for several hours to boot. Made me glad that I had that wood pile to draw on 🙂 – Mr. Yankee.