Spare Parts

,Rawles SurvivalBlog has a mention today about spare parts. This is something I’ve thought about a good bit. After all, if the situation is dire enough that you need to carry around your firearms every day and depend on them then the situation is also probably going to be dire enough that heading down to the local gunshop for a spare recoil spring or roll pin is going to be out of the question.

I try to keep all my stuff for my various guns in one place (excepting of course, redundant backups). That is to say, in this example, I try to keep all of my 1911 ‘support gear’ in one convenient bomb-proof container…in this case a ‘tall’ .50 cal. can. Contents? Have a look:

LJ cut for your pleasure

Shortage musings

Shortages, unavailability and outright “we haven’t had those for a while now” are usually the hallmarks of Something Going On. Usually it takes place immediately before or during a Big Event. Much like trying to buy snow shovels right before a blizzard or bottled water during a hurricane.

The two biggest examples of shortages that I am aware of taking place right now are a) ammo and b) FDF (freeze dried foods).

Anyone who is looking for cheap .223 and (esp.) 7.62×39 can tell you that it’s fairly hard to find at the moment. I have heard many rumours and only a few of them seem plausible.

• AK/AR ammo, like Wolf, is being diverted to fill overseas demand and contracts due to the war (given the huge amounts of 7.62×39 being found in Iraqi bunkers this seems unlikely, although logistically it may make sense to simply order in containers full of ammo rather than try and coordinate bringing it in piecemeal from across the war zone.)
• AK ammo, like Wolf, is being used to fill huge contracts with the US military to be used for foreign-weapons (meaning “AK47”) familiarization training with troops here in the US before they ship out (This seems very plausible to me.)
• The largest importer is tangling with BATFE/other agencies and that’s slowing it down. (Heard one person ‘in the biz’ mention this but that doesn’t explain the lack of ‘no name’ ammo out there.)
• Increased fuel costs have led to prohibitively high shipping costs and that is affecting imports.

Please don’t add your own theory or facts about this…my point isn’t about why theres a shortage. My point is that there exists a shortage for some reason.

FDF is also in the ‘backordered’ category these days…at least as packaged in #10 cans. The guys at Mountain House tell me that after Katrina, product demand spiked and then calmed down a bit but is now high enough again to result in backorders. Cause? Beats me. Im guessing bird flu hype and continued Katrina aftermath.

Will these shortages end? Of course…nature abhors a vacuum and so does business. As long as theres folks wanting cases of FDF and 7.62×39 theres going to be someone willing to fill that need. In the meantime this is an excellent example of why you stockpile this stuff when the sun is shining, the paychecks are steady and all is right in the universe. “Don’t wait until you are thirsty to dig a well”, etc, etc, etc.

I’m doing ok..I’ve got a good stash of .308 and 7.62×39 in the bunker…not as much as I’d like (it never is, y’know?) but its enough to handle anything short of a Somalia-type of infrastructure collapse. Plenty of #10 cans of Mountian House but these shortages definitely make me want to stock up on more when they become available again.

On the other side of the equation, now is an outstanding time to stock up on 8×57 ammo and 7.62x54R guns & ammo. The Mosin Nagant rifles are dealering out for less than $75 each and a case of ammo is cheap enough to get a gun and ammo for less than $125. Order it through Century Arms and pay flat rate shipping for it…a huge savings when youre shipping 70# of ammo across country. These guns won’t be around much longer….the Yugo SKS’ are starting to dry up and the cheap Nagants won’t be far behind. For a little over a hundred bucks you can have a rifle and a case of ammo to stash away.

There are a few goodies that we all need to stock that are impossible to manufacture ourselves or to find multiple sources for… FDF is usually limited to just 2 or 3 manufacturers. Same thing for lithium batteries, quality radio gear, etc, etc. Some items, like knives, for example, are available from so many different quality makers that a shortage of one manufacturer doesn’t mean much to you. If Buck is out, get Gerber, or Becker, or Glock, or Remington, or Cold Steel, or CK&T, or Spyderco, or…. Get the idea? But some products just don’t have that many alternates. FDF is a very good example of that. Batteries are a good example…I like lithium AA batts for my smaller gear but AFAIK theres only one or two brands offering them. I can get alkaline AA from anywhere but lithiums…that’s another story. Im sure if you sat down and thought it out carefully you could think of other necessary gear/products that have a similar bottleneck.

Obviously one of the biggest possibilities when it comes to a shortage is firearms. They can be made unavailable, literally, with a stroke of the pen. Don’t think so? Think about the 1986 prohibition on new machineguns for civilians and where prices and availability went afterwards. Also OEM (‘factory’) parts can be hamstrung almost as easily. So if you don’t have a spare copy of your favorite gun, at least get some spare barrels, springs and other parts…and for Crom’s sake get another couple of magazines, will ya?. Ammo is also an easy target, so to speak…during the LA Riots the local government there suspended the sale of ammo and guns. If you were out of #4 buck for your 870 you better hope the looters will be sympathetic to your plight.

If you really think youre going to be able to buy what you need when you need it you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. When the power goes out don’t expect to be able to wander down to the local stop-n-rob and pick up a pack of Duracells.

So, todays project, mi amigos y amigas, is to think about what kind of shortage would cause you some grief right now and then go out and negate that problem by stocking up as best you can… take the hundred bucks you were gonna use for steaks, beer and a movie this weekend and buy something a little more lasting and a lot more useful….

Bird flu redux

Schools Told to Prepare for Bird Flu

The nation’s schools, recognized incubators of respiratory diseases among children, are being told to plan for the possibility of an outbreak of bird flu. Federal health leaders say it is not alarmist or premature for schools to make preparations, such as finding ways to teach kids even if they’ve all been sent home.

Best way to prepare the public for something and avoid a panic? Get them used to the idea of something. Lets say that scientists discover little green men on Mars. Knowing that just coming out and announcing that will cause all sorts of wild episodes from the public, they build up to it…they’ll start with ‘mars may have supported life’, then move to ‘possible evidence of life found’, massage that for a while and then go with ‘life still may exist’, get people used to the idea that Mars might have something on it, go through a few more generations of ‘might,could,possibly’ and then cuminate with ‘Ambassador Molari will be at the UN Thursday for a treaty signing’.

Maybe its the same thing here…they know its going to happen and they know its going to cause ‘panic’ amongst the population…so they warm us up to get us used to the idea that its ‘remotely possible’, then ‘unlikely’, moving onto ‘possible’ and , as Gale norton just announced, ‘likely’. Thus, when it does happen we can all say ‘oh, I saw this on the news last year its not a big deal’.

Bird flu as a non-event? I dont think it’ll be anything like the 1918 Flu pandemic but it doesnt have to be to make everyones lives a bit more interesting (thats ‘interesting’ in the Chinese sense.) As Bin Laden showed, a strike against a countries economy is as good, if not better, than a strike against its population.

Moral: be prepared.

Gov’t statement on bird flu,

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton said onMonday said that it was “increasingly likely” that bird flu would bedetected in the United States as early as this year.

Speaking toreporters, Norton and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns unveiled aplan to increase monitoring of migratory birds that are likely to bringthe bird flu virus to U.S. shores.

Norton said bird flu wouldlikely first be detected in the Pacific islands in Alaska, wheretesting for the disease will be a priority.

Norton stressed that detecting the disease in birds in the United States would not signal the start of a human pandemic.

I usually don’t post much about bird flu because I dont really need can see articles about it everywhere. Someone pointed out to me that even if it doesnt ‘jump’ to humans theres still going to have to be a massive cull of fowl. The practical upshot of thismeans that if you like chicken and have a deep freeze, now is the time to stock up. Between mad cow, bird flu and who knows what else its start to not leave alot of options for us carnivores. And before someone suggests cannibalism, thats the most likely candidate for tainted meat.

Even in countries that have/are experiencing bird flu there doesnt appear to have been much of a panic. On the other hand, few of those countries had a population that travels internally as much as this country. NY-to-LA, Chicago-to-Denver, Florida-to-Phoenix, all those traveller just doing regular travel, let alone holiday travel, are all happy little vectors.

(shrug) Have food, have water, have ammo, have fuel…bolt the doors, pull the blinds and hermit for a month or two.

Discount meat, politics, Bactine wipes, Battle Bag

Not a bad shopping day yesterday. Hit the bargain meat bin and found 1# bricks, vacuum sealed, of 85/15 (85% lean) Angus ground beef marked down to $1.99. Sealed up nice and tight and in a very convenient brick shape that makes stacking the frozen flesh quite easy. It gets the date written on the package and then its off to the deep freeze. Mmmmm…beefy goodness.


I do believe I’m ready to give up on the prospect that government will become nicer and less intrusive. The Patriot Act reauthorization is bad enough, but theres a host of other legislation going on that just makes a bad situation worse. Technically, politics isn’t that important to my preparedness except when it conflicts with my ability to get gear… but the more federal police powers that are thrown about the more likely it is that guys like me are going to get under the microscope for ‘suspicious’ behavior. Low profile seems the only recourse.


Im a bit annoyed with the Bactine antiseptic wipes that I purchased last year. These things are packaged like a little hand-wiping towlette you get with an order of ribs. Little foil pouch (like a condom) and inside is a wet towelette saturated with Bactine. Figured it would be perfect for my first aid kits. Apparently, after time, the packaging degrades to the point that the Bactine starts seeping through the foil paper. Grrrr… so I either have to replace it every year or find something else to use as an antiseptic wipe. Very annoying. Plus, Ive always liked that Bactine smell.


Blackhawk has a new product out that might solve my quest for a bag for my .308 gear. Its their “Battle Bag”. Lets get this out of the way and call it what it is: it’s a man purse. It’s a shoulderbag with pockets for magazines , radios, etc, etc. Might be just what I need to keep all my .308 gear in one place. No mention of it having webbing but otherwise it seems like an interesting product. Sugg. Ret. Is $100 but who pays retail in this world? Usual colors, but I think I’ll go with the goes-with-everything OD.

Shooting, truck gear, elections

Had a disappointing experience at the range the other day. I decided to take the CZ out for a spin. I wanted to shoot off some new Lapua cases so I could then necksize them. When I got to the range it was bitterly cold and windy. My first five shot group at 100 yards was great – 1 1/16″… just a hair over one inch. I was pleased. Next group 1.5″, then 1.75″…the next several groups were all between 1.5 and 2.5″. I had no idea what was going on. I checked my stock screws, scope mounts, scope rings, and anything else that might rattle loose and affect accuracy. No luck. Only thing I can come up with is that it was just so bloody cold that I was having trouble feeling the trigger and I was probably shivering and not noticing its effect on things. Additionally, the cold might have made me tense/relax various muscle groups that affected accuracy.


This week is looking better, weatherwise, so Im going to head to the range and try again later this week. On the bright side, my LMI buddy brought his Rem. 700 .308 with its bazillion power scope and I edged out his group by 1/16″…and he’s a very, very good rifle shot. So, I felt a little better.
Someone elsewhere was wondering what the girlfriend and I keep in her truck for emergencies. Well, usually we have a truckbox mounted in the back although I took it off to free up some space and haven’t put it back. Usually, the contents of the vehicle include:
Flectar parka and liner rolled up into a football-sized bundle
Bottled water
Standard commercial 72-hour bag
First Aid kit
Sleeping bag
Flashlight and batteries
SKS and 240 rounds of ammo on stripper clips
Misc. spare ammo
FRS radios
And a few other things that escape me at the moment..

On long (+100 miles) roadtrips I’ll also put a 5-gallon can or two of gas in the back…just in case. And I also bring my Tactical Tailor bag which has my usual everyday gear in it which gives us a bit more redundancy and a few other things. Contrary to what you may think, if youre on a paved road in Montana your not going to be out there for five days if you get stuck. Theres always some traffic. On the other hand, taking a county road or logging road could leave you up to your own devices for a day or two before another vehicle comes along. Really, more than anything else, you need to be prepared to walk to the nearest house or paved road. Odds are that the most likely problem youre going to have will be one where your vehicle is in a ditch or by the side of the road and you need to hoof it down the road until you get to help or help gets to you. And if you think a cellphone alleviates that problem you really need to check a map of this state some time.
2006 is almost 1/6th done with already. Tempus fugit. Not much time until elections…well, yeah, theres about two years but that’s not a lot of time when you need to buy many expensive things. I still need gobs more Glock, AR and AK mags. Should play it smart and get a handful of stripped lowers too. And if youre smart, mi amigos, you’ll do the same.