Article – Natural selection in action

Theres always the question of what do you do about the unprepared during a crisis. Do you take upon yourself the expense of ‘extra’ preparations for those ‘poor unfortunates’? Read this article and see if you come to the same conclusion I did: they had their chance, theyre idiots, they deserve what they get.

As Hurricane Season Looms, States Aim to Scare

“The big shortfall is complacency with the community,” said RandallWebster, director of Horry County Emergency Management. “Our main theme is, take interest as an individual and make preparations.”

In Nags Head, N.C., Jimmy Austin, a former commercial fisherman whonow operates his own seafood market, said he was unfazed by this year’spredictions, some of which suggest that the Carolinas will beespecially hard hit. He keeps his insurance current, Mr. Austin said,but sees no need for special precautions.

“I don’t pay these things a whole lot of mind,” said Mr. Austin, 69,a native of the Outer Banks. “Because they say so doesn’t mean it’sgoing to happen that way.”

In Galveston, Tex., Keith Patterson, a resident there for 30 years,dismissed the urgency of a hurricane survival kit on Thursday. No useworrying about a hurricane until it is near, he said.

“When one is coming, I’ll make preparations,” said Mr. Patterson,68, a retired purchasing clerk. “I’ll get what I have to get then.”


“We got food, but I got none saved,” said Ms. Williams, 17, the single parent of a 2-year-old, who lives in public housing.

Ms. Williams said she would have to sacrifice buying diapers and baby clothes to afford a hurricane survival kit.

Amazing, isn’t it? I mean, seriously, how utterly clueless can a person be about these things especially after already getting their asses handed to them not once, but twice last year?

See you at the Guantanadome, idiots.

Ammo counting

‘Tis an eye-opening experience to actually go through the ammo in the bunker and see whats what. Theres an old saying in this …hobby…that the first looter you have to watch out for is yourself. That is to say, your supplies are most likely to be pilfered and stolen by yourself. You need batteries for the TV remote and dont feel like going to the hardware store so you figure its no big deal to pull some out of your emergency stash, figuring you’ll replace them later…and, naturally, you never do replace them. Apparently Ive been looting my ammo stash. I have two different hordes of ammo…the Stockpiled Ammo which is what sits in the bunker awaiting Der Tag, and the Everyday Ammo which is the lets-grab-a-box-and-head-to-the-range stuff. In a crisis, I can always transfer the Everyday Ammo into the Stockpile to supplement things. As it turns out I have absolutely no 9mm Stockpiled. None. Nada. Zip. In the immortal words of Burt Gummer…..”I am completely out of ammo! [perplexed pause] Thats never happened to me before.” So, I’m pulling 1m out of the Everyday pile and shuttling it into the bunker until I get a dedicated amount of 9mm loaded up. Other inventory was okay…some good, some not so good. Not exactly ideal. My spreadsheets call for at least 5,000 of each of those except for .22 which calls for at least 10,000.

So, I’m bumping some of the Everyday stuff into the bunker to fill some gaps and build the numbers up a bit.

As ive mentioned before, reloading 9mm doesnt realize any spectacular cost savings…however, reloading for .45 ACP, .38/.357 and .308 will net me at least a 40-60% savings…and that means more bang for your buck.

Is 5,000 rounds of AK ammo alot? Not really. Divide it amongst 4 guns and thats 1,250 rounds per gun. If you’re using 30 round mags thats 40 loaded mags per gun….period. Now imagine yourself in Katrinaville with 40 loaded magazines….a couple in your pack, a few on your belt, one in the gun, the rest stashed away safely….it doesnt add up to much. Esp. if you lose your vehicle or house where you had at least half of them stored. So, no, 5k is not alot of ammo….esp. if thats all the ammo your going to have for the next six months or longer.

Dillon RL1050, ‘Front Sight’ snake oil pitchmen

Well, years ago I had a Dillon RL1050 and when I got rid of it I made it a point to save the expensive .223 conversion (with carbide sizer die) because I figured someday I’d have another one. Well, I have another one. And, after rooting around in the basement for ten minutes, I found the conversion kit. According to this reload calculator I’m looking at around twelve cents per cartridge assuming i’m saving my brass…so thats aroudn $125/1000 which isnt too bad considering what commercial stuff is going for…a quick look over at ammoman shows most .223 going for around $220~ a case or better.

By the way, with a .223 carbide sizer die you still have to lube your cases. So whats the advantage? Its a carbide die, son…no scratches, nicks or gouges even if your brass isnt 100% clean.

So, Tuesday I’ll call up to the place the girlfriend got her 9mm stuff and see if I can snag a good deal on an 8# keg of BLC2 or similar powder. One of my vendors is closing out Hirtenberger 55 gr. FMJ bullets for $40/1000 (postpaid) so I’ll need a buncha them too. I havent shot the AR very much in the last year or so because it was always cheaper to shoot the AK’s but thats just not the case anymore.
Hey, speaking of shooting, I got a phone message on my answering machine from Dr. Obnoxio Piazza of Front Sight fame. His cold-calling telemarket machine wanted to tell me about the exciting envelope full of new stuff that he sent to me. Actually, he sent it to the girlfriend. It was a pitch for not a gun class but some sort of Tony-Robinesque self-improvement/empowerment class that was ‘only’ $17,000 (but if you pay up front its reduced to $12,000). I was wondering what was next from this guy..timeshares? And then I recalled that he’s already got ahis foot in that door with his development community that he’s currently being sued over.

Jeff Cooper may be fairly irrelevant and overhyped in terms of the value of his observations, but at least he isn’t using the Gunsite mailing list to hustle EST seminars or condos.

Front Sight should show some concern about what happens to their reputation when their higher-ups start coming onto people like used car salesmen at a Powerball winners convention.

EDIT: according to Wiki, the doctor part of his title is from his chiropractic past. And he’s also apparently a Scientologist. I’ll bet you he was born in a California beach house and his real name is ‘Moonbeam Starchilde’ or something similar. The guys credibility as anything other than a flimflam man is seriously dwindling, in my opinion.

Reloading, Nalgene bottle, vacuum sealing, Carharts

Been busy loading 9mm for the girlfriend. She’s burning up about 300~ rounds a week in practice and doing it on a single stage press is out of the question, and even on the Dillon 550 it still takes a bit of time. The solution, as mentioned earlier, was to acquire a Dillon Super 1050…in addition to pistol calibers it’ll do anything .30-06 length or shorter, which means I can set it up to not only crank out .223 but also .308.

Anyway, she managed to purchase:
8# of Universal Clays for $86 ($10.75 per pound)
5m Win SP primers for $75.55 ($15.51 per 1000)
5m 115 gr. FMJ bullets for $191.50 ($38.30 per 1000)
Brass is essentially free since I have gobs of it sitting here.

Before you ask, she got this stuff at the local ammo remanufacturing facility. Strictly a local thing.

Since we’re using 5.0 grains of powder, that’s about 1400 rounds per pound. In short, we’re looking at around $63.03 per 1000 rounds. Of course, 9mm is pretty cheap these days so the savings realized are less than, say, .45 ACP or .44 mag. Nonetheless, the Dillon 1050 is still an excellent purchase because it will be used on some of those higher dollar cartridges. Should be able to put together .45 ACP FMJ for around $5.95 per box of 50. And .357 Mag JHP for around $4.38 per 50. Naturally, that gets stretched if we switch from jacketed to cast bullets. The .38 Special, for example, with a 150 gr. LRN would run around $3.31 per box of 50. (All of these prices, by the way, assume reloading fired brass that you’ve already been saving.)

So, while the 1050 was a hideous up-front expense ($1500~), it should be a smart long-term investment just from the amount of money it saves on ammo. Also, its nice to be able to crank out lotsa ammo in a short amount of time and sock it away in the bunker. My supply of 9mm was getting low but now Im going to be upping the quantities of everything.

One of the LMI has 16,000 pieces of .40 S&W brass he was formerly trying to load on a single-stage press (sort of a lifetime project, I guess). I told him if he’ll pop for the .40 S&W conversion kit and dies he can come by and use this thing.
Finally got around to picking up a 32 oz. Nalgene bottle to beat up. For trekking around I like the Camelbaks but for short jaunts the bottle is pretty good. Also, for small things that need to be protected from damage and moisture, they make decent little drysafes for all the little incidentals (esp. electronic incidentals) that you want to keep dry and protected.
Went to CostCo last week and picked up some chicken. The boneless, skinless breasts are individually vacuum sealed and have the date stamped on them, making them soooooo perfect for the deep freeze. That’s how meat should be packaged, my friend. As an aside, if you haven’t gotten a vacuum sealer to use to take advantage of bulk purchases and sales of meat, you really should. Like many things, there is an upfront cost that can be a little intimidating but it literally does ‘pay for itself’. Example – ground beef is usually $2.99 a pound. I’ve mentioned this before, right? When its remaindered, the price drops to $1.69 a pound. This means each pound is saving me $1.30. Without the vacuum sealer, I’d not be able to store the meat for long term and would have to buy it on, generally, an ‘as needed’ basis. With the vacuum sealer I buy ten pounds and I’ve saved $13.00. After around 100# of meat, the thing has paid for itself…assuming I don’t get any even better deals. Point is, you have to be able to look past those initial startup costs and do the math. Yeah, youre gonna have to cough up $100+ upfront, but it really does turn out to be worth it in the not-so-long run.
I’ve been wearing Carhart work dungarees lately and have been very pleased with them. They are stoutly built, reinforced, comfy, look like they’ll last forever, and come in a nice subdued olive-green color. I recommend them highly if youre looking for a pair of pants that can shrug off the abuse that would normally kill a pair of jeans. Not cheap at around $40~ a pair, but I would bet they’ll outlast a pair of jeans under the same circumstances. Only drawback – theyre a bit heavy, but like most forms of armour that’s the tradeoff.

Bird Flu

Drudge, which is always best taken with a grain of salt, is blaring this headline:

Seven Indonesian Bird Flu Cases Linked to Patients (Update1)

May 23 (Bloomberg) — All seven people infected with birdflu in a cluster of Indonesian cases can be linked to otherpatients, according to disease trackers investigating possiblehuman-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus.
A team of international experts has been unable to findanimals that might have infected the people, the World HealthOrganization said in a statement today. In one case, a 10-year-old boy who caught the virus from his aunt may have passed it tohis father, the first time officials have seen evidence of athree-person chain of infection, an agency spokeswoman said. Sixof the seven people have died.

Read into what you will. Im sure the official line will shortly be about how they found some chickens in the closet or something and theres ‘no need for panic’.

RL1050, NK missles, need another G17

The Dillon Super 1050 arrived yesterday. I’ll be mounting it to the bench later but I do have it all assembled and ready to go. Good thing too, since the girlfriend used up the last of the 9mm yesterday. I’m going to have to start purchasing primers by the sleeve of 5000, bullets by the case of 2000, and powder by the 8# keg. On the bright side, by this time next month my stockpile of 9mm ammo will probably be at an all new high.
N.Korea may be preparing missile launch: reports

About two years ago I read an article in some translated Asian news website about how parts of a North Korean missle were found in Alaska, indicating that NK had been testing their toys trying to get something together that would reach the US. The article disappeared later that day and I cant find any mentions of it anywhere. Point being, NK, and already unstable country and something of a nuclear wildcard, may very well already have the ability to hit the US. I’ll bet the .gov knows all about it and thats why theyve been so hot to get the missle defense system up and running.

Hey! I found it!

Take it with a grain of salt, but you never know………
And a nice related image:

Since the girlfriend has commandeered my Glock 17 to use as her competition gun, I now need to cough up $350 and order a cop trade-in G17 from SOG or some other outfit. Shouldnt complain, though…could be worse – she could be one of those chicks that only likes shooting because her boyfriend is into it.

Bird Flue movie, MH FDF, RL1050

Finally got around to watching the Bird Flu movie last night. It was…eh. A little over-the-top in some areas and a little underplayed in others. However, there were a few interesting moments and more than a few details that I think were underappreciated…

At the beginning of the flick, the American at the Chinese factory is chiding them for being ahead of schedule, saying that no one wants to pay for warehouse space so things should be shipped as needed on a ‘just in time’ basis. What this means, of course, is that when borders are tightened and no imports are coming into the country, once the shelves go bare at Walmart theyre staying bare.

In the background of the outdoor scenes you could see large piles of garbage bags from the cessation of trash pickup. Its not mentioned in the movie but its there nonetheless.

Interesting watching the shoppers racing through the empty supermarket grabbing what they can and hurrying to the next aisle. Same with the mom looking through her cupboards and finding nothing but ‘rice and flour’. (Hey, if you’ve got rice youre not gonna starve…)

The timeline in the movie appeared to be about three, maybe four, months. I figure between the freeze drieds, the MRE’s and the stuff in the cabinets the girlfriend and I could do three months and probably four before things got interesting. This, of course, discounts the last-minute panic buying that I’d do once it became readily apparent that the situation was spiraling out of control.

Anyway, it was an interesting movie but I think it lacked a certain amount of authenticity… the Katrinaesque brutality was missing.
From everything I read, Mountain House is still a couple months behind on their #10 can orders. Its worth mentioning that there are other FDF outfits as well and they might not be having the availability issues MH is having.
Since these are disquieting times, and because my girlfriend is burning up around 350-500 rounds of 9mm a week, we’ve gone in on getting a Dillon RL1050 to start producing mass quantities of ammo for ourselves. First up is 9mm and once I’ve got a healthy amount of that sitting around I’ll move onto .45 ACP, .38/.357 and then some .223. Hopefully 7.62×39 will come down in price here within the next few months…I really don’t want to have to reload for it. I’ve about 4k rounds on hand at the moment but you cant have too much ammo, you know?

Meat & freezers, gun show, 1978, Baygen radios, movies

Another day, another trip to the grocery hunting for bargain meat. Todays find – 85% lean ground beef, $1.69 a pound. Normally its around $2.99 a pound so, according to the little calculator in my toolbar, that’s a savings of around 44%. To put it another way, my ten dollars gets me 5.91 pounds of meat whereas it would normally only get me 3.34 pounds…a difference of over two and a half pounds. Its like free meat! The little bundles of beefy goodness wil be vaccuum sealed and then it’s the big cryo-nap for them. A trip to the deep freeze where they’ll sit with their fellow animal flesh.

Usable life? I’ve thawed ground beef that was two years old and it was just fine. Of course, theres a couple of things that make the difference.. one is the vacuum sealing. The other is that you cant just use the freezer in your refrigerator (well, maybe you can, but usually you can’t…won’t get cold enough.) you need to use an honest-to-Crom freezer – chest or upright. I have an upright but if I had to do it all over again I’d get a chest freezer. Why? Think of frigid, cold air as a liquid. Open the door to the upright freezer and all that nice cold air comes cascading out like a sitcom where someone leaves the water running in the bathroom. But with a chest freezer its like lifting the lid off a pot – the contents (the icy air) are undisturbed. I think this means that your cold stuff stays colder with less work from the freezer. Plus, if your stuffing the freezer in your basement like I am (well, in my basement not yours) that issue of headroom becomes paramount. Chest freezers pretty much can go anywhere theres an electrical outlet. Upright freezers take a bit more finagling.

Regardless, its nice to know that if theres a ‘rough patch’ in the ol’ cash flow I don’t have to worry about money for meat. Plus even for the day-to-day meals it’s handy to be able to buy the cheap meat in quantity. A penny saved is a penny earned they tell me.
Gun show tomorrow to attend. There isn’t much I’m looking for except for some cheap 7.62×39 and some AK mags. Oh sure, if theres a decent used scope that fits the criteria of what im looking for I’ll take it, but in terms of actively looking for something…nah. Just the ammo and mags. Of course, these venues are also good places for other things like poncho liners, web gear, knives, etc, etc, etc. And, of course, its also nice to hang out and socialize with other people who have similar likes and dislikes.
Hmmmm…high gas prices, gold is at record levels, people are unhappy at the current administration, theres a feeling of pessimism and doom in the air….could it be? Yes! We are officially back in the Carter years!
Interesting little nugget from ,Rawles’ Survivalblog… apparently the Baygen windup radios are being discontinued. Im not surprised…they were a unique item when they first appeared but now Coleman has licensed the technology for their lanterns and radioes, theres a host of Chinese knockoffs, and the market is probably going to see even more similar devices from other manufacturers. However, I think the Weza power generator is still around and that looks like a hell of an item to have when the lights go out.
Still haven’t gotten around to watching that Bird Flu movie yet. Its sitting on the tivo so maybe tonight when the girlfriend gets back from shooting practice we’ll watch it over some dinner. The reviews im seeing on the various forums says that it was ‘good’ in the sense that it gives a strong motivation for Joe Average to perhaps do something to improve his position, on the other hand there are others who say the whole movie was ‘trash’. Really, I don’t care…I’m in it for the entertainment, not the message.

Speaking of, what are some good disaster/teotwawki flicks? Hmmm….

Deep Impact – was thoroughly forgettable except for the scene of the family stuck in traffic and the kid on the enduro motorcycle managing to make it out of there alive.

Volcano – Yeah, it was farfetched but for my money you cant watch LA or NY get destroyed enough times. What bothered me was the huge ‘self sacrifice’ theme that permeated the whole movie. Every five seconds someone was putting on a grim expression and sacrificing their life to save someone else. Nice thought but I’ve got priorities and getting killed to save a stranger aint one of them – and Im okay with that!

Damnation Alley – Oh come on! It’s the LandMaster for crying out loud! And killer cockroaches! And Paul Winfield! George “The A-Team” Peppard! Jan-Michael “Airwolf” Vincent! Its so campy its cool!

The Road Warrior – Yeah, we’re leaving the planet of ‘at least grounded in reality’ and heading for the stratosphere. Still a fun movie.

Havent seen Trigger Effect or Panic In The Year Zero yet so I cant say about those….but I hear good things.

The Omega Man – Say it with me: “If it’s the future, and its bad, Charlton Heston is there!” Yet another TEOTWAWKI movie with Chuck. (Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green are the others…) Fortified brownstones, car dealership shopping and loads of Christ-imagery. A classic.

The Last Man On Earth – Vincent Price in a slightly different version of the book that became ‘The Omega Man’. Price was a great actor and it shows in this b&w flick.

Dawn/Day/Night/Dusk/Midafternoon/Late early morning Of The Dead – Again, not a lot of basis in reality but still damn good apocalypse.

28 Days Later – A more realistic zombie movie with ‘hey, theyre not really zombies’ zombies. One of the few movies that touches on one of the real-world possibilities in a major crisis – rogue military.

Tremors (I,II,III) – Not really a disaster flick but Burt Gummer is pretty much the only positive example of a survivalist Ive ever seen in a movie even if he’s sometimes played as an extremist.

The Postman – Trying to live up to Charlton Hestons rep for disaster movies, Costner did this and Waterworld. Between the two, I like this one better. Follows the book fairly closely for the first half and then goes on its own way. The book, by the way, had the least flattering opinion of survivalists Ive ever read in a piece of fiction. And any movie with Tom Petty is worth a peek just for the novelty value.

The Ultimate Warrior – Yul Brynner, of all people, plays a Mad Max type of character in post apocalyptic NYC. Great early end-of-the-world-movie.

Red Dawn – Needs no explanation

The Day After Tomorrow – Eh. Amusing for the great special effects and a few good scenes but otherwise it was just so-so.

War Of The Worlds – How NOT to handle an alien invasion and evacuation.

Radioactive Dreams – Yes, it’s a postnuclear-holocaust musical. Yes, it has film-noir hard-boiled detectives. Yes, it has disco mutants. Yes, it has cannibal hippies. Yes, it has George Kennedy. Yes, I am serious.

Winter heating, money, Bird Flu movie

It’s a strictly subjective thing, but to me one of the signs that you’ve progressed into genuine preparedness is when you start showing the same level of enthusiasm for the non-gun stuff as you showed for the gun stuff. As I’ve said before, its very easy to get wrapped up in the gun angle and neglect the less sexy aspects of things.

Anyway, this post shall, in that spirit, be (mostly) 100% gun free.
Spring is just starting here in the mountains but Im already thinking towards next winter. If last years fuel prices and this years increasing gas prices are any indicator (which maybe they aren’t) its gonna be an expensive thing to heat the house this winter. How expensive? Darn near $300 a month on some months. Of course, in the summer its only about $75 or less. I have a programmable thermostat which makes a huuuuge difference and if you don’t already have one, I heartily recommend one. Mine is set to keep things down around 60 degrees when everyone is in bed under the blankets, cranks up to 70 for an hour before we get up so we get up to a warm house, drop to 63 for most of the day while we’re at work and the house is empty, and then up to around 65 for the evening. Sure you could remember to do all that on your own but consistently remembering to adjust the thermostat is a lot easier said than done. The thermostats are usually less than $30 and are easy to install (Hey, most thermostats are only 3 wires anyway, right?) I do believe that it has saved me money in the past by keeping the heat down when no one is around.

Of course, living in an old house means that theres old windows, thermally inefficient doors, and a decided lack of insulation… this summer I must, must, must get out and caulk the frames for the storm windows, replace a couple storm doors, and do a few other things to help keep the old homestead warm. Tell you what though, I ever build my own place its going to be so thermally efficient and airtight that if I belch the windows will bulge outwards. (Well, okay, maybe not that airtight…but damn close.)
I was mulling over the .30 hours of overtime Im going to have this paycheck and figured that comes out to about $5. I thought about whether $5 was worth the hassle of staying an extra twenty minutes and I thought “Well, its five bucks you didn’t have before so how bad could that be?” but I also thought a lot of people wouldn’t make the effort for five bucks. So, whats five bucks worth to the good Commander?

Most of a box of 9mm ammo, an emergency space blanket, a plastic gasoline can, 2.5# of discounted beef for the freezer, a case of bottled water, about 20# of rice, spare batteries, five cans of canned food, one freeze dried food pouch, one MRE, 250 rounds of .22 ammo, several bars of soap, several tolls of TP, spare lantern mantles, at least one or two 1# bottles of propane, Ziploc bags for storage, a .30 cal. ammo can, disposable razors, notepads and pens, a cheap pocketknife, ~2 gallons of gas, and a host of other things that, when the time comes, will seem worth an awful lot more than five bucks. Moral of the story: no amount of money is too little if you shop carefully and think about your purchases and your needs.
The big Bird Flu movie is on TV tonight. I’ve got the Tivo cocked-n-locked and ready to record. Think there’ll be folks like you and me portrayed? Possibly. Portrayed as smart and resourceful individuals worthy of commendation? I doubt it. Portrayed as gun-toting selfish whackjobs? Probably. If nothing else it should be interesting entertainment. I haven’t seen a decent made-for-tv disaster movie since that horrible earthquake movie a year or so ago. Matter of fact, speaking of disaster movies, I need to check around and see if I can find a copy of ‘Threads’ locally. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a movie about a nuclear war and its aftermath in England..depressing, scary and fatalistic its probably one of the grittier movies about such things….right? I mean, could there be a more distressing movie? Actually, yes…and it was also done by the Brits and was determined to be so disturbing they wouldn’t show it on tv and shelved it for around twenty years. Mmmmmm…that’s good apocalypse!