Blue barrels

Someone local texted me the other day to mention that CostCo was selling ‘blue barrel’ water storage kits. From time to time CostCo does get in some things that could be considered as relevant to preparedness…this time there’s no doubt about the relevancy.

IMG_1825Your classic blue food-grade water barrel with two openings at the top, a bung wrench, some fittings, a small hand pump, tubing, and, most interestingly, an inline water filter. A slightly less descriptive listing of contents can be found on the box:

IMG_1826What does this sort of peace of mind cost? Glad you asked:

IMG_1827  Yup. A hundred bucks. Alright, lets sharpen our pencils and see whats what: Amazon shows at least one similar kit for more money and thats without the water filter. (Augason Farms Emergency Water Storage Kit) I’m a little fuzzy about the need for the water filter. I would assume that when folks fill a drum like this they are either using treated municipal water (which is usually as chlorinated as you need to be for storage purposes) or they use water that may be from a well or other source that they would normally drink from but then treat the water for storage. So, in either case, you ware storing water that is starting out as potable…so why the filter? I suppose its a suspenders-and-a-belt thing…maybe after sitting a while you’re worried about stuff forming in the water. I mean, it cant hurt to go ahead and filter it as you use it…but it seems unnecessary.

Regardless, once you factor in shipping, this actually turns out to be a fairly reasonable deal. Can you do it cheaper? Absolutely. Sportsmans Warehouse and Cabelas, as well as other local sources, will sell you a brand new blue barrel and you can get a simple pump and tubing from Home Depot for ten bucks. But, there is a convenience factor…..

Anyway, for those of you near a CostCo, you might wanna go check and see if they have this product in your local store.

Silver < $18

Wow, thats interesting. Reason? Who knows? Economic uncertainty in the EU over Scotlands independence vote? People dumping metal to build capital for the Alibaba IPO? Beats me. What I do know is that silver hasn’t been below $18 since…hmmm…2010, it looks like. Interestingly, nine months after that it peaked around $47.

Is $15 silver ahead? Beats me. But I’ll happily buy an ounce or two here and there until we do hit the bottom. But while I cant be certain that the price won’t go lower, I am utterly certain that the price will go up.

You know him, you love him, he’s the Metals Pimp.

Link – Food stamp system to go down across New York this weekend

Shop now if you depend on food stamps or cash assistance from New York.

Neither will work starting early Sunday morning. The system will go down at midnight and isn’t expected to come back online until noon Sunday.

It’s being shut down so the state can switch to a new company to run the program. It will take at least 12 hours to do the switch. Medicaid benefits are on the same card, but they will not be affected by the change.

Lemme see if I have this right…the plan is for the system to stop working at midnight, when i would think most people would be asleep or at least pretty much done eating for the day. Figure that they get up at 7am. That means that if the system is up by noon, as planned, they’ll have had a five-hour window of their EBT cards not working.

Five hours.

Dear merciful Crom, how could anyone expect someone to have five hours worth of food in their house? The horror. Get FEMA on the horn!

We always say that once the welfare benefits entitlement system goes kerflooey there will be rioting and burning. Is it really that fragile a balance that a proposed twelve hour outage, where half of that outage will be when most folks are asleep, necessitates these cautionary warnings?

Truly, we are doomed. Doomed I say.

Link – No Desiccants Needed: Federal Fresh-Fire Packs for 5.56

Id posted earlier about Federal offering ‘tuna cans’ of .22 LR ammo and now it appears that they have decided to offer it in .223 5.56 as well. I would have thought something like a 50 or 100-round quantity would make more sense but…..

XM855FF30

This is in addition to Fiocchi offering similar cans, and PMC offering their vinyl ‘battle packs’ of ammo. The market is responding to what it must see as a need in the marketplace…if thats true, then there must be quite a few people stockpiling ammo.

Regardless, if you want to tuck a few rounds away in your cace, vehicle, bug-out location, or other bolt hole…this might be the stuff to use. Its gonna be bulky in those cans, but for keeping a couple hundred rounds handy it would be nice. For larger quantities, nothing beats dumping it all into a quality ammo can with a little desiccant and sealing it up.

 

Fuel rotation

The needle was riding on ‘E’ so I figured this would be a good time to rotate out some stored fuel. Todays vintage is 10/12.

IMG_1811

Yup….two year old gasoline. It is treated with this fine product right here:

IMG_1812PRI Fuel Stabilizer- For Gasoline…this is some great stuff. The difference between it and Sta-Bil? Honestly, I don’t recall. It’s been a long time since I researched this but part of my brain is wanting to say that there was something about this actually restoring/refreshing old gasoline when added, something Sta-Bil did not do. (I may be remembering that incorrectly, but I do remember there was some property that made the PRI-G a better choice.) I’ve been using this product for years and routinely use gasoline a couple years old with no problems in the 2002-era truck we drive.

IMG_1810
Usually what we do is add a drum of old stabilized gas and then fill up the rest of the tank with fresh. Haven’t noticed any problems whatsoever.

Those ‘euro’-style/NATO cans are awesome. I use a funnel rather than the spouts for a couple reasons…the biggest is that I have NEVER found a spout that, when attached, works like it is supposed to…either the venting doesn’t work right and it takes forever for the can to empty, or the seals never seal properly and gas leaks everywhere, etc, etc. So I just picked up a stack of Blitz funnels. At WalMart they’re something like $2 ea. I para-cord one to every other gas can so I always have some, and I keep two in the gear box in the back of the truck. In a pinch, you can make some creative improvisations if you’re without a funnel.

8241Normally, I dose the empty can with the PRI-G and then fill with gas. That way the PRI-G gets thoroughly mixed in with the fuel. I then take a pop can and cut out a small square of aluminum and scrive the month/year on it. That tag is then ziptied or paracorded to the gas can, and the can is then set in its storage area. No muss, no fuss. The tag, being aluminum (or aluminium, if you’re from the COmmonwealth countries) doesn’t degrade in the sun and wet. Carve it into metal and the message is basically weatherproof.

Every so often I have to wire-wheel the cans and repaint them in areas that take some abuse. I have one can that I’ve experimented on by treating the bottom quarter of the can with spray-on bedliner compound. I wanted to, basically, give the bottom parts of the can a coating that would protect the metal from the cans being continuously being put on the ground, scuffed, etc, etc. So far it seems to work well and I’ll have a post about that later at some point.

Silver

Silver continues to be below $19. I’m not a fortune teller (although I suppose I’m kind of a misfortune teller) but I suspect that this is pretty close to the bottom of things for a while. Sure, maybe it’ll go below $18.50 or around there, but I doubt it will go much past that. To me, its buying time.

Which is why it was kinda cool when the Metals Pimp texted me and said he had something for me:

IMG_1809How cool is that? Remember these? Apparently someone who reads my brain droppings ordered some PM’s from the Pimp and said to hurl one in my direction. The Metals Pimp, being a man of discretion, gave me little to go on except some initials. So, thank you DS….much appreciated! When we’re living in the Mad Max world of the future and it’s time to trade silver for an evenings entertainment by some desperate former supermodel, I will pay them with this, hoist a mug of home-brewed brain eraser, and praise your generosity!

(Man, what an awesome apocalypse that would be, too….)

By the by, someone gave me a hard time in comments a few weeks back saying that I was basically just a mouthpiece for my buddy who sells precious metals and when I wasnt trying to drive business his way I was sucking up to people to get them to send me free stuff. Yeah, the Metals Pimp is a buddy of mine…it’s because he’s a buddy of mine that I know the Olympic-level of integrity and customer satisfaction that he puts out. And I know that he’s “one of us”..guns, storage food, BOV, Rand Paul, pro-gun bumper stickers….the whole nine yards. So if you can find a guy who will give you an awesome deal on metals and doesn’t think it’s weird  when you want silver because you think the world is coming to an end and is the Chick Norris of customer service and can keep his mouth shut about who bought what when….you tell me and I’ll shill for them too!

Silver @ $19, stranding

Well, silver is hovering around $19 at the moment, which means its a good time to buy as far as I’m concerned. Now that Obama has made his speech about ISIS, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s a market reaction.

=========================

The local news is covering the story of a college kid who got stranded in the ‘wilderness’ south and west of town. I suppose you could consider it wilderness, but when it’s crisscrossed with logging roads and thirty minutes from the nearest McDonalds, I’m not sure that counts as ‘wilderness’.

“Pavalone said outdoor recreationists in Montana should always tell someone exactly where they are going and bring plenty of extra food, water, shelter and clothing.”

Indeed.

Cooler weather is forecast for the region this week and its as good a time as any to start getting the winter gear ready to be tucked away in the vehicle. Even if I never have to unroll a sleeping bag and sleep in the truck overnight, there will still be those times of traffic where a bottle of water and a good book will come in handy.

 

Scout Rifle Stuff

Went to the range yesterday to play with the Scout rifle a little.Last time I used some ‘blasting ammo’ and was, unsurprisingly, less than thrilled with the results. This time I loaded up some 165 Hornady SST over some Varget. Better, but still room for improvement. Definitely need to mount either a stubby Harris BiPodor bring a better rest. I did find something interesting, though. Although the scope Im using does not have any type of rangefinding reticle, per se, theres some info out there on what type of coverage the reticle does give at 100 yards…allowing you to use the crosshairs and their spacing as an improvised ranging system – link. Kinda useful.

I think that if I go hunting this season, I’ll take this rifle along and see how it goes.

The magazines use in this thing are a little odd in terms of dimensions. Most web gear is built around a .308 mag being double stack…the Scout mags are single stack, so while they are about the size of a 20-rd M1A mag, they are narrower and thus a loose fit in pouches designed for the M1A. I need to explore magazine pouch options some more. This is not a gun built for a long day of throwing lead downrange, but I’d like to have the ability to put three or four magazines with my gear.

While I was at the range, I took the time to test fire a Ruger p89 I picked up last month. Big, bulky, and reliable. That works. I’ll clean it up, throw a couple mags in the Pelican case with it, add a battle pack of PMC 9mm ball, and stick it away for that rainy decade. It is way down the redundancy chain…past the tertiary level of redundancy…but if I ever wanna just dump a gun in the truck, or hand one out as a loaner to someone, its an excellent choice.

And, finally, wound up with a Del-Ton AR carbine a couple months back. Came in a case and fitted out with a buncha Magpul furniture and a railed forend for $500 so I figured why not’? Shot fine, good groups, hit where I pointed it. Same story as the Ruger – clean it up, case it, add some ammo, mags and support gear, and tuck it away for the long sleep.

So, a slightly gun-centric weekend. I really need to make a list of all this gun stuff and accessorizing so I can just get it done in an orderly and economic (ha!) fashion.

ETA: And today Ruger just announced a version in .223…for some reason.

Light

One of the local cops here told me something that seems to be supported by cops everywhere – nothing good happens after 11pm.

If we were to slog through the crime statistics of just about anywhere on the planet, we’d see that most crimes are committed under cover of darkness. Certainly when it comes to those dreaded dynamic ‘home invasion’-type scenarios they almost always happen when it’s dark. Under a disaster or end-of-the-world scenario its reasonable to imagine that these sorts of nocturnal threats are only going to increase and be even more dangerous since, in most cases, electric lighting will be absent.

the_omega_man_large_04If you watch ‘The Omega Man’, you’ll see that our hero, Robert Neville (Charlton Heston), has a big ‘ol flashlight pipe-strapped to his Swedish K. Not a new idea, but probably the one of the first times it was brought to a wider audience. At the time, pretty much the only factory firearm with a dedicated weaponlight was the HiStandard 10A/B series of shotguns…never very common and quite quaint by todays standards of tacticool. (And, yes, if you go back far enough on the internet you can discover revolver-mounted flashlights that go back darn near 100 years….but they were more novelties and evolutionary dead-ends limited by bulb- and battery technology. [And at least one such fitted Luger.]

As time went on, folks seemed to realize that Bad Stuff happens at night and it might be a good idea to incorporate lights into the tactics of those who respond to those Bad Things. The most practiced technique is probably the Harries Technique (which is often miscalled ‘Harris Technique’). This is still a good way to use a powerful light when you don’t have it mounted on your handgun…but its not as great as being able to use both hands on your pistol.

At some point we finally transitioned to purpose-built weapon-mounted lights. These things are great and I love ‘em. The only real drawback, in my opinion, is that it makes it too easy for people to do something that is inherently unsafe – using their weaponlight like a flashlight. (This is much like people using their riflescope as they would binoculars.) Unless you think there’s something over there you need to shoot, don’t point your gun at it because it’s more convenient than using your flashlight.

When these things first came out, the ‘Krytpon’-type bulbs were the standard. Intense incandescent bulbs that generated a lot of heat and sucked juice like Ted Kennedy at an open bar. Eventually the LED technology caught up and nowadays almost all the usual weaponlights are LED.

I’ve played with a few lights over the years. At the moment, I’ve got a Streamlight TLR-2 sitting on the Uzi and it’s an awesome light. (Yes, it has a laser. Not my idea, the light was a gift. Normally, Im kinda on the fence about lasers.) My nightstand Glock has an older Streamlight M3 on it and as soon as I can free up the coin, I’ll be dropping a Streamlight TLR on that one as well. Speaking of dropping, the Glock pistol light is just embarassing. The local PD here had them and quickly moved on to the Streamlight when it was found the Glock lights had a tendency to eject themselves off the gun during recoil. Most of the Glock lights wound up sitting on the rails of the AR’s that are in the cop cars. The Streamlight has a screw to tension the mount so it does not come off the gun…something to think about. (It appears that Glock may have addressed the issue since the copy says that the lights also come with a ‘mounting tool’ now.) A couple years back I found a SureFire Scoutlight in a pawn shop and I love this little light. WIth the push-button tailcap you can use it dismounted from the gun like would an ordinary flashlight. Having run out of guns to mount it to, it sits on my 10/22 in case we are ever subject to a nighttime raid by…uhm…hamsters, I guess. I’ve also found a few of the older incandescent SureFire weaponlights at pretty good deals. Folks usually dump them at bargain prices when they upgrade to the LED versions. Theyre still quite serviceable and are better than no light at all. Additionally, many of them are modular so you can replace the front end with an LED head if you’re so inclined. And finally, a couple years ago I saved my pennies and got this bad boy. It wasn’t cheap (SureFire 618LMG) but it is a very, very nice addition to the go-to 870.

Overkill? Too tacticool? I dunno…I’m sure there’s someone out there who thinks that all you need is to duct tape a $2 WalMart flashlight to the barrel of your Mosin-Nagant and youre good to go..(“Don’t need any of those yuppie survivalist gun toys!”) but when something goes wrong at 3am I think having the option of lighting up the area in front of your muzzle has a lot going for it.

I mention the SureFire stuff because its what I have and they have, hands down, the broadest selection of gear. I’ve used their stuff for years (I mean waaaay back) and have been pretty pleased with it. There are other brands and a few up-and-comers are making some very interesting products these days. I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but if the opportunity presents itself I wouldn’t mind giving them a try. In the meantime, being something of a hidebound traditionalist, I’ll stick to the brands I know and have experience with.

Does every gun need to have a light on it? I don’t think so. But it would be a good idea if every gun had the option of having one attached to it. Since accessory rails are standard on just about every gun these days theres very few firearms that won’t accept a light. Pick up a decent StreamLight or SureFire and keep it with your gear if you don’t want to have one on every gun…just switch it to whatever gun youre running out the door with.

Last thing – batteries. CR123 batts are the way to go. There are a few lights out there that take other size batteries but you’d be crazy to go with anything other than the CR123. Virtually everyone has adopted the lithium CR123 batts for optics and lights, so stick with that…makes logistics easier. Spend the extra money and get real, good, known-quantity, CR123 batts. Don’t cheap out by getting some “Sonysonic” or “Duraready” or other cheap Chinese crap. Buy the real deal. $300 worth of weaponlight is just dead weight on the end of your gun if the batteries self-discharge from sitting unused for a while…or worse, the leak all over the innards of your expensive light. Don’t do it!