Cache = cash

I was having a lovely conversation with a fellow blogger the other week, and we were discussing the classic problem of having bunches of stuff and having to suddenly beat feet and run. What happens to your gear, what do you take, where do you put it, etc, etc.

Everyone talks about stashing gear at a secondary (or tertiary [or greater]) location and how the idea is that if they get chased out of their main base they can have what they need stashed elsewhere. I agree with the principle, but one of the biggest problems is expense. You can wind up sinking a lot of money into a stash of gear that, by design, is meant to either be never used or abandoned.

Example: you want to keep a stash of gear at Dad’s Old Hunting Cabin. You drive out there one weekend and stash a couple big 40mm ammo cans of gear in the corner of the root cellar, pull the rug over the trapdoor, and pat yourself on the back and figure you’re good to go. But…what do most people put in these stashes? Honestly, most people put ‘second rate’ gear. At home you’ve got a nice AR, solid outdoor clothing, Jetboil, Eberlestock pack, etc, etc….all the top-notch gear for the possibility of having to run out the door. So, thats whats in those ammo cans, right? Well, no… it seems like when folks put these stashes together its like some sort of armed Goodwill donation box. A Mosin Nagant, some old work clothes, last hunting seasons boots, cans of Beefaroni, $2 flashlights, surplus East German backpacks, alcohol stoves, surplus wool blankets and a couple changes of clothes that you haven’t worn in three years.

So..here’s the scenario. You left work and headed straight to the cabin, a’la Red Dawn, and its dark, cold, snowing, you havent eaten since last night, and you’re wearing your work shoes and work clothes. No problem, you think, because you planned ahead. You fumble your way through the dark, since the power is out, and find your stash of goodies and thats right about the point you start to wonder why if this gear was good enough for this eventuality why isn’t it the stuff that you normally had at home?

Well, it isn’t. If it was, it would be your first-choice, right? I mean, if you think that when you are desperate, cold, hungry and scared, a surplus wool blanket and a pair of paint spattered overalls from last years garage remodel are just the solution then why aren’t those your primary choices when things aren’t desperate?

I’ll tell you why: expense. The odds are pretty high that when you stuff a a footlocker of cached gear in a hole or attic somewhere you probably (you hope) will never need it…or you may wind up using cache #1 and #’s 2 and 3 wind up being ‘lost’ or rendered inaccessible. And if the odds are good that its just going to sit there for 20 years undisturbed and unneeded, why put a $1300 rifle, $200 pair of boots, $200 in freeze drieds, and hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars worth of top-line expensive gear into what is statistically going to be, basically, a time capsule?

Actually, theres a very good reason – the time when you need to dip into your Secret Stash O’ Goodies is the time when you will need the best, top of the line gear you can get and not a bunch of second-rate, just-as-good, will-work-in-a-pinch, leftovers. Is that elitist? I dunno…I just know that if I were dropped naked and freezing into a cold, rainy, parking lot in the middle of the apocalypse and all I had to gear up with was what was in one of the Hardigg cases, I think I’d feel much better about my situation if the gear available was first-choice stuff. Sure, given the situation a pair of worn deck shoes is better than no shoes, but between the deck shoes or a pair of insulated broken-in boots…no contest.

The trouble, is, of course, the expense involved. This is one of those times when ‘good enough’ becomes a false economy. When its a choice between ‘safe, warm, comfortable, free’ vs. ‘cold, hungry, dark, scared’ I would like to have every piece of gear that will give me as much advantage as possible.

But, oy!, the expense! Fortunately, on a long enough timeline anything is affordable. I’ve been at this game for a couple decades now so I’ve had the opportunity over the years to acquire a certain level of redundancy. If I were trying to do it all at once, as if I had just gotten into preparedness last week, yeah it would be pretty darn expensive. But, I’ve been doing this for years. I have enough spares that I could stick an AR, an 870, a G17, and a 10/22 into a Pelican case and stick it somewhere and if I never see them again it wouldnt put a hole in my logistics. Id be awesomely pissed at the expensive loss, but it wouldn’t otherwise hinder my readiness. And, were the zombie apocalypse to occur and all I had available to me was what was stashed away, I would not feel the least bit undergeared.

Yeah, I could go through the LA Riots or Hurricane Katrina with a Mosin Nagant, a Makarov pistol and a handful of PowerBars but, good grief, that wouldn’t be my Plan A if I could avoid it.

Patriots’ Day

‘Tis Patriots Day! Along with Election Day, this is the most politically charged holiday on my calendar. Everyone makes a big deal about how when .gov gets too big for its britches theyre going to ‘do something’ and ‘take back our country’ and blah blah blah….but no one ever really does it. Except these guys a couple hundred years ago.

Think about it. You wake up one morning, have breakfast, take a dump in the outhouse, water the livestock and think “Hmmm…I think I’ll go shoot some government enforcers today and try to overthrow the current system”. And somehow you convince a few thousand of your neighbors to do the same. And every one of you knows that if you don’t succeed you can pretty much be assured of losing all your property, casting your family into homelessness, and you get to be guest of honor at a neck-stretching party.

Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

And then you read about how it actually all went down….Did you know Washington only won two battles in the Revolutionary War? He either lost all the rest or fought to a draw. Congress wanted him to do a stand-up fight against the British and Washington knew that to do so would cost him the loss of his army and the loss of the war – so he only fought when he had to, where he had the best chances to win, and instead used the strategy of prolonging the war so the other side lost its stomach to fight.

We give the French crap about their military inadequacies but the fact is that without the French we probably wouldn’t have won the war. Same for the militia…they couldnt have won the war on their own, but the war couldnt have been won without them. And the amount of secret-squirrel bedhopping, spying, backstabbing and cloak-n-dagger is highly underreported as well.

But…someone had to pick up a rifle, walk out the door of their house, and know in their heart that they may never come back. Goodbye to the wife, goodbye to the kids, here’s the deed to the house, I’ll try to make it back but…….

That’s some balls right there. And they did that over a lot less crap than we put up with today. They went to war over taxes on stamps and tea, and we let .gov squeeze our balls at the airport and track our emails. Go figure.

Article – The vast underground bunkers with months of supplies built by Romanian swindlers

Cool looking bunker. Looks like a combination of culvert and cargo container. I like using the mechanics creeper to access the crawlspace supplies. Clever. I guess this property will be up for sale soon.

Millions were also spent on gold and silver coins, construction equipment and at least on yacht.

Mr Nemes and his wife Diana, who is 38 and pregnant with her third child, poured thousands of dollars into building the elaborate bunker. The couple have two other sons, aged eight and nine.

The shelter could be sealed from the inside and had food, water, a working kitchen and practical supplies to live for months.

A stash of four pistols and two rifles including an AR-15-style assault rifle were found at the home.

According to court papers seen by Seattle PI, investigators searching the property with radar equipment discovered a ‘fully equipped and furnished underground bunker’.

‘That bunker could comfortably have housed the entire family for months if not years, given the supply of food found in storage in that structure,’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said in court papers.

Link – Augason Farms 40% on 72-hr kit

Seems like every week I get an email from these guys about 24- or 48-hour sales. I usually only post about the sales on the one-month kit since I think thats the most useful. But, they sent me a discount code for their 72-hour kit so I figured I’d pass that on.

24-hr sale – 40% off the 72-hour kit. Discount code is: shakeout


Personally, and this is strictly a personal pref, I’m of the mind that if youre going to have a 72-hour kit you should probably put it together yourself. I’e yet to see one marketed that has a) everything I think I’d want for 72-hours and b) something other than loads of Made-In-China junk in it.
Honestly, sometimes I wonder about food in a 72-hour kit at all. A couple days of being hungry isnt gonna kill you, although morale certainly improves when your not tinking “Dammit, I’m hungry”.

Sling Project

Is there any military anywhere in the world that currently issues its rifles with bottom-mounted sling swivels? I mean, look at every US service rifle and the only one that ever had the sling mounted on the side , for and aft, appears to be the M1 carbine. Why are we still sending out rifles without side mounted slings?

A couple years back, as I was building up a Ruger 10/22, I decided to hunt around for a side-mount sling option for it. The forward barrel band gies me the ability to sidemont the sling at the forward end of the stock, but the rear end of the stock still has the sling in that annoying bottom-of-the-stock position. I ordered up a bunch of G3 rear sling attachment points a while ago and have been meaning to get it mounted in the stock. Well, time to make it happen. Here is what the current setup looks like:

IMG_1485-1Honestly, the light is simply there because I needed a place to park it so I don’t lose it. On the other hand, if I had a chicken coop or was otherwise hassled by nocturnal varmints it would be a lovely choice for popping the racoons crawling through the garbage. Anyway…

Note that while the front end of the sling is side mounted, the rear end of it is not. This is what I wish to remedy and this is how I mean to do it:

IMG_1486-1Final placement will likely be lower,  but you get the idea. If not, here’s a better visual interpretation of what I’m going for:

IMG_1487-1So whats involved? Mostly some hammertime with a set of wood chisels. (Although a drill press or plunge router might make things neater.) Enough material needs to be removed from the stock to allow the G3 sling mount to fit flush. 1-1/8″ x 1-1/4″ and a half inch deep should do it. I’ll let you know how it turns out

 

Nostalgia

Man, I remember the old days of the Cold War when ‘survivalism’ was all about crawling out of bomb shelters into a radioactive wasteland crawling with Soviet thugs. Remember those days? It was Brigade Quartermaster, LL Baston, Paladin Press catalogs and copies of Shotgun News if you wanted the latest and greatest gear. The amazingly cool stuff we have now was probably classified high tech back then. GPS, night vision, encrypted personal communications, packet radio, hardcore cryptography, clotting agents, lightweight kevlar, 100-rd drums, infra-red laser designators, etc, etc…..all things that if you said we would someday have stuff like that available ‘off the shelf’ to anyone with the money…well…we’d pat them on the head and say ‘Keep dreamin’, kid”.

Of course, newest doesn’t always equal best. While I love GPS its a little foolish to rely to heavily on something that can be rendered completely useless by .gov button-pushing or even a simple bout of dead batteries. That old school compass-n-map still have a place in the skillsets. Same for awesome red dot optics, laser target designators, and the ilk. While I very much appreciate the truly awesome technology that has trickled down to end-users like myself, its always a good idea to stay in tough with those 1980′s-era versions of same technology.

It’s funny, I sometimes meet people who are new to preparedness and they have really cool gear and they have no idea, none!, how it was in ‘the old days’ when finding 7.62×39 ammo was virtually impossible because only Lapua or Norma sold it and there were no AKs or SKS out there unless you brought it back from paddies of Ngo Hue with its capture papers. On the other hand, it is always fascinating to find old school survivalists (or really old school ones) and see the gear they’ve kept clean, polished, and in perfect shape for forty years or so for Der Tag.

I was reminded about all this as I was going through some old catalogs and discovered some of the old print catalogs from the 80′s. My personal favorite is the LL Baston catalog that had the under-barrel mount ofr the AR-15 so you could put a Mossberg or 870 shotgun under the barrel of your rifle like in ‘Predator’. I think that by itself sums up 1980′s survivalism. (And, yes, you can still get the ‘Masterkey’ system but that uses an SBS.)

Man, the ’80s were cool.

 

When it actually helps to have a blog

Rarely (very rarely) does this blog ever produce anything nice for me….but, sometimes the universe provides. After posting about the acquisition of my new toy I got not one  but two emails from folks saying that if I needed it ,they could spare a little subsonic .22 ammo to send me.

How thoughtful is that? You guys!

I politely declined. Im not planning on a huge amount of shooting this thing at the moment, and accepting other peoples .22 ammo when there is such a dearth of the stuff right now seems kinda wrong.

But! When the tap gets turned back on, I foresee a case of about 5000 rounds of subsonic getting tucked away in the long-term ammo storage cans.

Form 4 = Ten Months

Remember this post?

Well:

IMG_1471[1]Paperwork went in May 30, 2013 and the approval date on the form is March 30, 2014. So…ten months. And I hear that I may be one of the lucky ones.

Next step – I acquired a couple takeoff 10/22 barrels at the gun show for $25 ea. I’ll be sending them off to these guys to have the barrels threaded. In the meantime though, a cute little baby tactical bolt gun might be fun. Lets try this:

IMG_1472Thats the Savage MkII FV-SR. Dealer price is around $200 on these and, holy Drokk, you get some value for the money. Synthetic stock, adjustable Accu-Trigger, big bulbuous bolt handle, heavy barrel, fluted(!), threaded, and railed base already installed. I’m pretty much married to the Ruger 10/22, and I love the CZ bolt .22′s, but this thing may just nail the ‘tactical .22 boltgun’ title.

Ammo? Well, thats a different story. If you thought .22LR was hard to find, go hunt down some subsonic. Even .22 CB and Shorts are tough to get. I have a small amount of them so I’ll be able to test this thing out later. Considering the subsonic velocity, this is not a distance gun by any stretch. A high-magnification scope would be wasted. Really, a red dot would be the way to go, or maybe a little fixed 4x scope. Regardless, I am very much looking forward to trying this thing out. What I am not looking forward to is waiting a year for the next suppressor I wanna purchase….but I think that these tings may go the way of machine guns and I’ll be kicking myself for not getting a bunch when they were still available. Stroke of a pen is all it would take to make the process so onerous that the supply may as well be shut off.

 

ETA: Sweet! Found this in one of the ‘junk ammo’ boxes:

IMG_1475