Do It Yourself Bulk Food Storage: Buckets, Oxygen Absorbers, Desiccants, and CO2

From what I’ve heard letters and e-mails, most SurvivalBlog readers already have a food storage program, but most of them would like to move on to the next step: buying and storing foods in bulk. To save money you will probably want to buy rice, wheat, and beans in 50 pound sacks. Sacks are problematic, since what you really want is a vermin-proof, moisture proof container that is air tight and preferably evacuated of oxygen. Those are the keys to true long term shelf life, and none of them are provided by a cloth, paper, or woven plastic sack. The solution is to re-pack bulk foods in food grade plastic buckets. Here is how to do it:

Food grade five or six gallon bucket with rubber “o-ring” seals are available through a variety of Internet vendors. Be sure to specify “food grade” when you buy. Other buckets intended for products like paint are not safe for use in food storage, even if bought brand new. Although these usually have the same white plastic formulation, they are typically manufactured using a different mold release agent, which is toxic. So don’t buy paint buckets!
Used food grade buckets are often available for free or perhaps a dollar apiece if you ask around at local delicatessens and bakeries. Flour buckets are usually best, since buckets that were used for pickles or peppers might leave you with food that has undesired flavors!

The method that I use is as follows: Line a bucket with a large plastic bag and pour in the wheat, rice, or beans, shaking the bucket and tapping it on the floor several times to get the bag completely full. You don’t want any air gaps. Fill the bag so that the bucket is filled to within one inch of the top. Then toss two Oxygen absorbing packets (available from NitroPak) into the bag. Next, place a small chunk of dry ice on top of the grain, inside the liner bag. I usually use a piece that is about as big as my thumb. As the dry ice “melts” (sublimates) it will fill the bucket with CO2, displacing the oxygen. (Insects can’t breathe CO2!) Keep a watchful eye on the dry ice. Once it has sublimated to the diameter of a nickel and not any thicker than 1/8th inch, seal the bag with a wire twist tie. On top of the sealed bag, place a 2 ounce bag of silica gel desiccant. (Also available from from NitroPak.) Then immediately seal the bucket, securing the lid with firm strikes from a rubber mallet. This will seat the lid and compress the o-ring. WARNING: If you don’t wait until the dry ice has nearly completely sublimated before you seal the bucket, then dangerous pressure could develop. (A “dry ice bomb.”) Again, you must wait until the dry ice chunk has sublimated to the diameter of a nickel, and not any thicker than 1/8th inch. The end result: Very dry food in a sealed, oxygen-free environment, safe from mice. This method will triple or quadruple the shelf like of rice and beans, and make whole grain wheat last literally for decades.
Another method that can be used in place of dry ice is a CO2 probe or “wand”, attached with a hose to a compressed cylinder of CO2 . A complete description of dry ice and CO2 probe methods can be found in Alan T. Hagan’s excellent Food Storage FAQ at Captain Dave’s site.
Once you open each bucket of storage food, you will probably want to replace the standard “pound on” lid with a screw closure “Gamma Seal” lid. These lids have an inset screw top, so that they are more convenient to access for daily use. Gamma Seal lids are available through a number of Internet vendors such as Walton Feed and NitroPak, for around six dollars each. If you want to buy 20 or more lids, you can get them directly from the manufacturer, at www.gammaseals.com.



Letter Re: Advice on Setting Up a Precious Metals IRA

Dear Jim:
I am in the process of converting my U.S. Dollar-based Individual Retirement Account (IRA) into a precious metals IRA.

1.) Do you recommend it to be based in silver? Silver bars or Eagles?

2.) Or do you recommend (based on current prices,etc.) it to be in gold? Gold bullion or Eagles?

3.) Or do suggest a combination of both metals? If so what percentages and what types?
Thanks again for you considered opinions. B’Shem Yahshua HaMoshiach Sar Shalom (In the Name of Yahshua the Messiah Prince of Peace) – Dr. Sidney Zweibel

JWR Replies: If the storage fee is not significantly higher, then I strongly recommend getting all silver (or nearly all silver) for your IRA, rather than gold. Silver’s long term investment potential is so much greater. (If nothing else because silver gets used up industrially, whereas gold is 99% recycled. See the recent article: “Is silver becoming more rare than gold?”) In my estimation, the price of gold may double in the next couple of years, buy silver has the potential to quadruple or more.

The dealer premium on one ounce U.S. Mint Silver Eagles is very steep, so I generally recommend getting silver in 100 ounce increments, such as serialized Engelhard bars. The folks at Swiss America can help you get your precious metals IRA established. OBTW, since they are one of our advertisers, please mention SurvivalBlog when you contact them.



Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog reader “Keiser” mentioned that SustainableLiving.org has some interesting commentary on the economic implications of a long term oil shortage.

   o o o

David in Israel Recommends: In the event of a power grid outage a hand crank cellular phone charger (available on eBay) can keep you talking. At least as long as the fuel lasts for the generators at the cell towers. (And not all of them have backup power.)

   o o o

It is good to see that the spot price of silver has bounced back to the vicinity of $11.35 per ounce. I expect that the annual precious metals market “summer doldrums” will continue through August, with only modest gains, and perhaps even some more profit taking. But come September, watch out! It is then likely that the silver bull will resume his charge, propelling the price of silver past $15 per ounce. OBTW, I hope that you took my advice when silver had its correction in May and June. You briefly had the chance to buy silver at under $10 per ounce. That probably won’t happen again for quite some time. As always, buy low, sell high.

   o o o

Newsmax reports that the UN Small Arms and Light Weapons Conference ended in a stalemate, with no agreement upon an “outcome document.”



Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Weapons compound man’s power to achieve; they amplify the capabilities of both the good man and the bad, and to exactly the same degree, having no will of their own. Thus we must regard them as servants, not masters – and good servants to good men. Without them, man is diminished, and his opportunities to fulfill his destiny are lessened. An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.” – Col. Jeff Cooper



Note from JWR:

As promised, the following is a report from SurvivalBlog reader who "Imbedded" for the duration of the United Nations Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). This gentlemen, who prefers to remain nameless, is working inside the UN headquarters building for an NGO with full access to the conference–not just a protestor out of the front steps. We appreciate his perspective.



SurvivalBlog Insider Report from the UN Small Arms and Light Weapons Conference

My experience at the UN’s Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) was very informative. To begin, it is important to note that the idea behind this conference is a follow-up on the 2001 conference’s Program of Action (POA). This being the case, the 2001 conference, like this one, is about Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons – not about Legal Small Arms (not about civilian possession or ownership). Basically put, the 2006 Conference was to Implement the 2001 POA – not add to it or subtract from it – as agreed in 2001 by all signatories (the U.S. position on this is to implement 2001 not change it)
Regarding the conference’s emphasis on “illicit” Small Arms, Kofi Annan himself made this emphatically clear in his introductory speech on Monday morning, stating for all countries present, and repeating this at least twice, that the conference has nothing to do with legal civilian possession and ownership of firearms.
Despite Annan’s comments several countries chose to state in their position statements (made mostly Monday and Tuesday) that the civilian ownership of firearms (and Toy Guns too!) should be included in the UN’s 2006 SALW agenda (POA) equating civilian ownership essentially to the world-wide problem of SALW in the hands of despots, thugs and criminals!
However, most other countries gave rather non-descript position statements, being basically politically centrist boilerplate – but importantly not mentioning civilian ownership.
Canada’s statement was essentially quite intelligent and reasonable mentioning specifically as it did see civilian ownership/use of firearms as a reasonable activity. Australia’s position was wholly meek, pandering to the non-civilian possession component – lauding their strides in civilian buy-back programs (the same “programs” which Canada slammed as expensive and useless).
The highlight of the meetings came on Tuesday when the U.S. [delegate] spoke. Simply put it was the best speech – a classic plain-speaking American no nonsense speech, pro-civilian ownership, no one will tell the U.S. what to do with its Constitution etc etc. The tone left little to misunderstand the U.S. position or that the U.S. is in charge – you’d have loved it.
Pro-gun groups spoke on Friday and were well represented: SAAMI [Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, Inc.] and MLRA [Muzzle Loading Rifle Assn.] to name two of many others from U.S., New Zealand, South Africa, and Switzerland, etc. – The NGO Insider



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

Jim,
Concerning the Polish 7.62x54r ammo question: I have shot several thousand rounds of it through my PKM machine gun without a single misfire. The accuracy has pleasantly surprised me as well. As yet, I have shot little of it through my MN [Mosin Nagant] bolt rifles but have not had any problems there so far. Czech, Russian, Polish, Chinese have all been fine. The only 54r ammo that has been a consistent problem is the Albanian. Crimp is not done properly making it nearly impossible to load into Russian belts and feed into my PKM and SG-43 Goryunov. It will work in the bolt guns but not as well as the others do. Anybody wants some, I certainly have plenty to get rid of!!

I treat ALL surplus 54r as corrosive. For some reason, it does NOT all seem to be corrosive in the same way – I have no idea why. Like you, I consider ammo that is mildly corrosive like being a little pregnant. Corrosive primer chemistry allegedly is less sensitive to very low temperatures which is one reason the Russians continue to use it. Same for long term stability. I have some 54r that has primer problems and also some newer (mid fifties) 8mm FN with the same issue – however both appear to have been very poorly stored and corroded, many rounds having bullets so rusted that I will not shoot them in a good barrel. Upon disassembling them, many even have rust mixed in with the powder. I make display dummies out of a number of the bad rounds and find that some of the primers are okay, some completely dead and some that are very weak or merely make a little smoke and don’t even “pop”. I have NEVER had an issue of duds from a well-sealed can, some dating to the early 1930s! I shoot a lot of old, corrosive, cheap ammo and have amazingly little trouble. Your experience may vary.

Storage of ammo is important. Dry, moderate temperatures are best. I leave mine in the spam cans until the shooting season begins then open and immediately put in military ammo cans with good gaskets. If it is to be belted, I load the belts then put them in ammo cans. Store in my garage out of direct sunlight. Have had zero problems to date.

Cleaning after corrosive ammo. It depends on how much moisture the gun is exposed to how quickly it needs cleaned. In my safes with “Golden Rod” heaters I have no trouble for one to two weeks. Sitting in the garage in Ohio’s notorious humidity, a few days seems the maximum. Of course, chrome lined barrels are far less of a problem. If it may be a while before I can get my guns cleaned, I douse them in WD-40 (I buy it by the gallon can – cheaper). To clean, I use one of several different methods. Hot soapy water is probably best. Immerse the muzzle in a bucket of it and brush in such a way as to really wash it out. If the water is hot enough, the gun will flash dry on it’s own. Apply oil to all parts exposed to the water as it removes all of the oil residue and rust is a certainty! I prefer LSA (available from Sarco, $6.95 per quart) or CLP (which I pick up at Knob Creek for about $10 per quart). If the hot soapy water is a problem I use Hoppe’s Copper Solvent which contains ammonia, followed by Hoppe’s #9 [bore cleaning solution], then oil. The ammonia helps rinse away the corrosive salts, not to mention removes some copper fouling. Most important, IMHO, is to inspect the gun every couple of days after cleaning and again a week or two later to make sure that you did not miss some odd spot and rust is developing. While I admit cleaning a PKM, Goryunov or AK gas system after corrosive ammo is a bit of a pain, the [low] price of the ammo certainly justifies it. Remember, when these guns were new and being used by the military, corrosive was the only kind of ammo available! A note on Hoppe’s #9 – the older formula contained Benzene which worked very well at removing corrosive residue. Trouble is, the stuff is hazardous so it is not in the current formula. Hoppes still will clean a gun of corrosive residue but more effort is required! Same for some WWII / Korea era GI bore cleaner.

Cheap but reliable ammo in sealed military cans is great to have for a SHTF stash. A couple cans of it opened and stored in .30 or .50 caliber gasketed ammo cans allows you to shoot some for practice and to prove that it works. Remember that occasionally a spam can leaks and the ammo inside will be junk. By opening one or two, you know that at least some is good. It is also possible to leak check a can by submerging in water and squeezing it hard enough to force out some air – making bubbles. I have found so few bad ones I don’t bother.

A bit off subject – Guatemalan .5.56mm in battle packs sometimes has a problem. They have some nasty bug down there that bores through the plastic [allowing moisture to enter and] and causes corrosion. Good ammo but I suggest you put it in GI ammo cans to be safe. No, I haven’t found any live bugs yet! – Mike





Note From JWR:

We just received two cases of the book The Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery. This is the Memsahib’s #1 recommended book! This book is our best selling non-fiction title. It is a “must” for every well-prepared family! (I recommend that you buy at least two copies, because odds are that you will lend yours out, never to return!) We have sold so many of these that we now buy them by the case, directly from the publisher. Brand new condition. Latest (9th) edition, from 2003–still current.) Soft cover. 881 pages. We currently have 18 copies available. $26 each, or $24 each for two or more, or $22 each for three or more. (Full retail in stores is $29.95!) As usual, I pay the Book Rate postage on any order over $50, if mailed to U.S. addresses. See my mail order catalog for ordering and payment details.



David in Israel Re: Recommendations on Hardening a Garage Door?

Jim:
While I worked in the fire service we had entry techniques which make even cinder block easy to penetrate using just hardware store tools. I suggest that the gentleman with a remote shop not even try to secure the front door but rather build within he garage a poured cement or at least cement filled and re-bar reinforced closet/room with a steel or barred door with a high security store lock for all of his tools. A garage door is so easily defeated that only a roll-up security steel door presents any challenge at all. Reinforcing and armoring the paneling does not do anything to reinforce the tracks. BTW, beware an overly secured door which becomes a tomb for your tools if the lock is jammed by vandals and you don’t have power tools/torch to defeat the security.

JWR Adds: Thwarted burglars have been known to vindictively squirt lock cylinders with cyanoacrylate glue (a.k.a. “Krazy Glue.”) Once this has been done, the only way for the owner to get past the jammed lock is to use bolt cutters or a cutting torch.



Letter Re: James Kunstler at Midwest Renewable Energy Fair

Dear Jim:
I was also at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s (MREA) Energy Fair, just about in the exact center of Wisconsin near Steven’s Point, a week ago. For me, the home tour was the most interesting part. For about $20 they load you on a school bus and take you to 4 local homes that had alternative energy incorporated into them. This included things like solar panels for electricity with a battery bank, heat pumps with in floor hydronic heating systems, soap stone fireplaces (like the Russian design) that burn 2 hours and radiate heat all day (some with a built in usable oven too, pretty cool http://www.vermontwoodstove.com, they said 3 cords a year heated their 1,700 sq. foot home), passive solar design, rain water collection drums, and very high insulation values, as high as R30 walls and R72 ceilings. I also noticed that every home we went to had a metal roof. The real benefit of doing this tour was to speak with the owners as to what worked for them, what did not, and what they would do differently to do it over. The main thing said was to work with an experienced contractor. There were also useful product tips, for instance the owner of a solar system had had bad luck with his initial batteries which only lasted a few years. He now recommends the Deka brand. In another home, the owner discussed how heat pump could be used with a forced air or hydronic for heating (in floor system circulating water/gel) – BUT for cooling, it could only be forced air since it would lead to condensation all over the place otherwise. They had chosen hydronic, thus foregoing air conditioning. The initial cost layout and excavation for a heat pump, which had several 500 foot runs, was substantial. In fact one of the homes built a few years ago came in at $180 per square foot construction cost, pretty high. Another thing I noticed was that each of these folks had very impressive backyard fenced-in gardens, and all but one was a on a 10 acre plus lot backup up to forest.
The energy fair is well done, informative, and friendly. The volunteers are fantastic, and they and the vendors are there to promote alternate energy, and are a wealth of information. You can get a lot of questions answered. One thing that I wasn’t aware of for instance was the methane generating power plants running off cow manure. There are 3 in Wisconsin in the megawatt plus range. The joke is you need about 5 cows per person for power. It takes about 800-1000 cows per megawatt if I heard the stats correctly. Note these are million dollar plus operations, but if TSHTF, it would be valuable to know where such mini-power plants operating on self-sustaining energy are near you. This goes for windmills and solar arrays too. Your local power utility, for Public Relations reasons, will probably be all but too happy to tell you and take credit for their efforts. Note there are programs designed to help you go off grid, but they literally very by each utility company. Most are up to 25% payback on your initial costs, and many set limits on that also, usually around $2,000. Still, if you are going to go off-grid, or at least putting in enough power generating capacity to “run your meter backwards”, it is worth your while to check into these programs. As many utilities charge power line fees beyond 150 feet, if you are on a very rural lot, you may have to pay several thousand to go on grid. A friend of mine was quoted $19,000 for his rather remote lot. This is where the economics of going off grid instantly make sense, as $19,000 would buy a nice system. For those who think they can “profit” from running their meter backwards, you will probably be disappointed to learn that while you save yourself money at retail cost, if you go beyond that, they will only pay you wholesale, which is far less, and not profitable, thus your on-grid strategy should be to zero your bill.

Some of the speeches about energy use got a little political and preachy for me and weren’t worth sitting in a crowded hot tent. Big oil and GW Bush were certainly topics and targets of chastisement. However, there was some equal opportunity political bashing going on as some ardent liberals had to acknowledge their disdain for Ted Kennedy who has right now put a Federal stop on the building of windmills for, as many surmise, the purpose of merely stopping windmills going into ruining (for those rich folks there) the lovely Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. I would assure them that the Ocean probably makes far more noise, since there are 200+ foot wind miles 30 miles from me now, and they aren’t loud when I pass them. However to some, windmills are apparently an eye sore and ruin the lovely view of other people’s undeveloped land that they the viewer are apparently entitled to. I’m also not into the self loathing types who decry American’s unfair use of World resources (that the U.S. pays for in money and blood), and lament on how this isn’t fair or right. If Mr. Kunstler were a purist he would go to China, India, and parts of Central and South America and stop them from falling into the trap of becoming an “easy motoring utopia” like the USA, rather than flying around burning up fossil fuels on book tours like this, or promoting his PG-13 web site. Problem is, every other country pretty much aspires to do as the U.S. does. The automobile, or actually more so the SUV, is the ultimate instrument of freedom and luxury. The alternatives may be quaint to someone who thinks they want to live “on Walden’s pond” but don’t every actually take the bus themselves. The dangerous thing is the persuasive affect a guy like this can have, and not the part where some people are coaxed into alternative energy use, that’s good, it’s the part America self-imposes restrictions leading to loss of competitive advantage and thus eventual economic downfall. God willing we make it that far anyway. The best answer is to strive for economical self-sufficiency to the point possible, for each of us, and for each nation. As a survivalist, depending upon where you are, solar, wind, and wood are probably your first and best choices as they are easily scalable, but many other possibilities exist and should be considered, such as small scale hydro-electric, geothermal, wood burning, coal burning, mature, or whatever natural resources you have around you. Thus find out and know what is near you as for as to alternate energy power generation and resources, there is probably more than you think, as I just learned.- Rourke



Letter Re: Another Six Meter Band Propagation “Opening”

Jim:
I worked a few stations this evening; one into Montana with my 10 watt transceiver. The 6 meter band has been red hot the last few days. I’ve even heard brief openings allowing hams on the West Coast of the U.S. to chat with folks in Europe. Sometimes the openings start very early in the morning. These are very unusual propagation conditions.

OBTW, You have to read this: http://k7xc.tripod.com/ This guy is very funny. His writing style is great. He should start his own blog! Talk about working on a shoe string. Best Regards, – Fred the Valmet-meister



Odds ‘n Sods:

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction (for the RWVA Super Shooter’s package is now at $150. Our special thanks to the RWVA and Fred’s M14 Stocks for sponsoring this fund raiser! (The prize is worth $250+.). Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on the last day of July. OBTW, speaking of the RWVA, they have a Rifle Instructor’s Camp coming up at the end of August in Ramseur, North Carolina. It is a great opportunity for you to learn how to teach others how to shoot like a pro–including your own family members.

   o o o

A gent from Australia recently launched a new site, www.beatbirdflu.info, aimed at providing the ‘unenlightened’ with basic information about surviving an Asian Avian Flu pandemic. In an e-mail to me he mentioned that his thinking is that “many people are scared off by the term ‘survivalist’ so if we can encourage as many people as possible, via a nice ‘passive’ web site, to prepare for such an event then we may open a few eyes, save a few lives, and it may lessen the chances of us catching Avian flu!” OBTW, one of my other favorite sites with info on the Asian Avian Flu is The Ark Institute. And I also have my own piece on the subject that is available for unlimited free reprinting or re-posting.

   o o o

Ready Made Resources, (our biggest advertiser) is brokering the sale of a very hard to find upgraded P-10 self-contained NBC shelter.They are selling it on behalf of an acquaintance. When sold new, these shelters sell for $100,000 with all of the options included in this one, such as the 1,000 gallon water tank and Level 4 protective entry door. (Cutting torch and .308 bullet proof!) These very rarely come up for sale in used condition, so don’t miss this chance to buy one for only one-fourth of what it would cost to buy one new. It is being sold “on site”, so you would have to pay for hauling. (About $4,000 to the Midwest, or $6,000 to the West Coast.) Please mention that you saw it on SurvivalBlog for a nifty bonus.





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

Jim,
Concerning the Polish 7.62x54r ammo question: I have shot several thousand rounds of it through my PKM machine gun without a single misfire. The accuracy has pleasantly surprised me as well. As yet, I have shot little of it through my MN [Mosin Nagant] bolt rifles but have not had any problems there so far. Czech, Russian, Polish, Chinese have all been fine. The only 54r ammo that has been a consistent problem is the Albanian. Crimp is not done properly making it nearly impossible to load into Russian belts and feed into my PKM and SG-43 Goryunov. It will work in the bolt guns but not as well as the others do. Anybody wants some, I certainly have plenty to get rid of!!

I treat ALL surplus 54r as corrosive. For some reason, it does NOT all seem to be corrosive in the same way – I have no idea why. Like you, I consider ammo that is mildly corrosive like being a little pregnant. Corrosive primer chemistry allegedly is less sensitive to very low temperatures which is one reason the Russians continue to use it. Same for long term stability. I have some 54r that has primer problems and also some newer (mid fifties) 8mm FN with the same issue – however both appear to have been very poorly stored and corroded, many rounds having bullets so rusted that I will not shoot them in a good barrel. Upon disassembling them, many even have rust mixed in with the powder. I make display dummies out of a number of the bad rounds and find that some of the primers are okay, some completely dead and some that are very weak or merely make a little smoke and don’t even “pop”. I have NEVER had an issue of duds from a well-sealed can, some dating to the early 1930s! I shoot a lot of old, corrosive, cheap ammo and have amazingly little trouble. Your experience may vary.

Storage of ammo is important. Dry, moderate temperatures are best. I leave mine in the spam cans until the shooting season begins then open and immediately put in military ammo cans with good gaskets. If it is to be belted, I load the belts then put them in ammo cans. Store in my garage out of direct sunlight. Have had zero problems to date.

Cleaning after corrosive ammo. It depends on how much moisture the gun is exposed to how quickly it needs cleaned. In my safes with “Golden Rod” heaters I have no trouble for one to two weeks. Sitting in the garage in Ohio’s notorious humidity, a few days seems the maximum. Of course, chrome lined barrels are far less of a problem. If it may be a while before I can get my guns cleaned, I douse them in WD-40 (I buy it by the gallon can – cheaper). To clean, I use one of several different methods. Hot soapy water is probably best. Immerse the muzzle in a bucket of it and brush in such a way as to really wash it out. If the water is hot enough, the gun will flash dry on it’s own. Apply oil to all parts exposed to the water as it removes all of the oil residue and rust is a certainty! I prefer LSA (available from Sarco, $6.95 per quart) or CLP (which I pick up at Knob Creek for about $10 per quart). If the hot soapy water is a problem I use Hoppe’s Copper Solvent which contains ammonia, followed by Hoppe’s #9 [bore cleaning solution], then oil. The ammonia helps rinse away the corrosive salts, not to mention removes some copper fouling. Most important, IMHO, is to inspect the gun every couple of days after cleaning and again a week or two later to make sure that you did not miss some odd spot and rust is developing. While I admit cleaning a PKM, Goryunov or AK gas system after corrosive ammo is a bit of a pain, the [low] price of the ammo certainly justifies it. Remember, when these guns were new and being used by the military, corrosive was the only kind of ammo available! A note on Hoppe’s #9 – the older formula contained Benzene which worked very well at removing corrosive residue. Trouble is, the stuff is hazardous so it is not in the current formula. Hoppes still will clean a gun of corrosive residue but more effort is required! Same for some WWII / Korea era GI bore cleaner.

Cheap but reliable ammo in sealed military cans is great to have for a SHTF stash. A couple cans of it opened and stored in .30 or .50 caliber gasketed ammo cans allows you to shoot some for practice and to prove that it works. Remember that occasionally a spam can leaks and the ammo inside will be junk. By opening one or two, you know that at least some is good. It is also possible to leak check a can by submerging in water and squeezing it hard enough to force out some air – making bubbles. I have found so few bad ones I don’t bother.

A bit off subject – Guatemalan .5.56mm in battle packs sometimes has a problem. They have some nasty bug down there that bores through the plastic [allowing moisture to enter and] and causes corrosion. Good ammo but I suggest you put it in GI ammo cans to be safe. No, I haven’t found any live bugs yet! – Mike