Food prices, group buy #4 closing, headsup on GB#5

Yeah, it wasn’t my imagination…food prices have gone up and not by the usual small amounts. My local Albertsons is selling 85/15 ground beef at $3.69/#. $3.69! Madness!

So, whats a person to do? Well, as any devotee of Alton Brown knows, ground beef that’s sold in the supermarket is usually pieces of other cuts that have been ground up. In short, it’s the scraps from cutting up roasts and steaks. A quick trip over to the bargain meat bin shows a few remaindered steaks at about $2.33/#. So…its actually cheaper to buy the steaks and have them ground.

The stories Im reading are saying that the recent increase in food prices is mostly (but not entirely) due to the sudden renaissance of ethanol and other fuel substitutes/additives that can be developed from corn. Corn, of course, is whats used to feed a lot of the livestock in this country. Demand for corn goes up, price of corn goes up, price of animal feed goes up, cost of meat goes up…its really that simple and classic an example of supply and demand.

I can’t believe that people didn’t see the resultant food price increases coming. I saw it a mile away. Of course, if I had any money I’d’ve sunk it into corn futures.

So, I’ll head over to SuperWallyWorld and Costco and check out their prices on bulk ground beef. See, this is where having a freezer and a vacuum sealer really come in handy. I can buy the big Brick O’ Beef™, break it down into easier-to-manage 1# packages, vacuum seal them so they’ll last pretty much indefinitely and send ‘em to the basement for the cryo-nap. Hopefully this will result in some significant savings.

Now, even if the savings amount to only, say, $0.25 per #, you might say whats the big deal? Well, if I buy, say, 15# that’s a savings of $3.75. That’s $3.75 to sink into more food. When money is tight (and, really, when isn’t it?) every bit helps. Plus, every $1 I save off of ‘normal’ purchases can be $1 devoted to more ‘specialized’ purposes like freezedrieds, batteries, ammo, guns, radios, etc, etc.

I suppose the argument could be made that if I became a vegetarian I could save even more. But, alas, it is a quality of life issue. Spaghetti and tomato sauce just doesn’t have the same overwhelming satisfaction of spaghetti with tomatoe sauce, meatballs, and melted cheese.

EDIT: Costco had 88/12 ground beef at $2.50/# so theres some sanity there. Cheaper than WallyWorld too.
The Chip McCormick 1911 mag deal ends tomorrow. There are 41 magazines left. Whatever is unsold after Monday goes into the bunker for me and the girlfriends use, so if you want some now is the time, my friends. These mags were a closeout from one of my vendors so this is a deal that will not be repeated.
The next group buy will start next month and run into June. It’s the one some of you have been waiting for – the Mountain House #10 can buy. This time cans will be available as singles or by the case. Buy will run until June 1st at which time the order is ‘frozen’ and sent in to Mountain House. Takes about a week-to-ten days for them to get a truck here.

Calculating shipping costs on the #10 cans is a monstrous headache. Rather than try and do a one-size-fits-all deal (which isn’t really fair to most folks) I’ll provide an Excel spreadsheet with pricing and weights so you can calculate shipping charges on your own. Orders will be paid upfront but shipping charges will be paid at the time your stuff is boxed up and ready to go. In other words, you’ll check off a shopping cart with what you want, pay for it and when the stuff arrives around June 10th you’ll get an email saying what your actual shipping costs will be. To avoid surprises you can calculate your final shipping weights on the spreadsheet and then check out UPS’ website to guesstimate shipping.

There’ll be no minimums, but for best results you’ll want to order in quantities of six if possible. This is because each box holds six cans. That makes for the smallest, neatest package with no surplus packaging weight. Obviously if you only want one or two cans of something then you’ll just order that, but if you have the flexibility, ordering in quantites divisible by six will make everyones day easier and cheaper.

Prices have gone up a bit for 2007. That’s just the way the world works, Im afraid. Single cans vs. cases are the same price. That is to say one case is the same price as six single cans. I’ve got these things as cheap as I can get so theres not really room for a ‘case discount’.

Any items not in stock at time of ordering will not be backordered, you’ll simply get a refund. This is because the whole order has to be done at once and has to weigh a certain amount to get free shipping…and that free shipping is a very large part of what makes this affordable.

Its going to take a few days to get the ordering page up but when its up, you’ll know.

Like all group buys, this is open to anyone reading this. Don’t email me and ask if you can get in on it…you can. You should!

No ‘broken orders’ this time! Since we were doing whole cases last time some folks agreed to split cases and I would send half of one and half of another to two people. This time there shouldn’t be any need for that since you can order singles. As much as I like you folks, the whole splitting of cases is a bit of a pain so this time it ain’t happenin’.

Will ship to all 50 states but if youre in HI or AK, well, you know what to expect. Might ship to Canada if theres no restrictions on foodstuffs…be prepared to pay a bit more for shipping. Watch this space.
I’m TiVo’ing a program on the History Channel about Berlin’s underground bunkers. You can have all the Nazi rocket scientists, just gimme their building engineers.

10/22 vs. P90, gun show acquisitions

Went to the local gun show today. Lots of interesting stuff. Saw the new SIG556 and wasnt that impressed. I did see something, however, that holds a wierd interest for me: ‘high capacity’ magazines for the Ruger 10/22 Magnum. The Mag gives about 2.5x the energy of the LR which means that, and this is where the flamewar begins, you might be able to make a case for the 10/22 Magnum with 20-rd mags being a not-absurd choice for a defensive gun in some situations.

Heres the fun part:
the PMC .22 Mag ammo can give a muzzle energy of 324 foot/lbs.
the V-Max 5.7×28 ammo can give a muzzle energy of 340 foot/lbs.

So, you might, might, might make an arguement that a 10/22 Magnum might be just as effective as a P90…at about 1/4 the cost.
So, just for giggles, imagine a 10/22 Mag registered short-barreled rifle, with side folding stock. Poor mans PDW? You decide.
Did pick up a few things at the show. Bought a few boxes of S&B Rubber Ball shotgun shells to go with my rubber buckshot. Also a nice West German rain poncho. Much better quality than the US stuff. Dound a pair of white Mickey Mouse boots in 10W. Gonna go back tomorrow wearing my heavy socks and see how the boots fit. If they fit, then I’ll give ’em the $75.

PTR stock breakage, new books, wind turbines

Went to the range today, as I do every Patriots Day, to do some shooting. Brought a buddy with me. I had switched out the stock on my PTR-91 with an OEM surplus G3 stock that I got from CTD (Cheaper Than Dirt). Put five rounds in the mag, gave it to my buddy and told him to shoot. After he finished firing the five roudns he hands me back the rifle and I notice the wrist of the stock has completely sparated from the back of the stock – succintly the stock broke in half. Bizarre. Now came the big question: why? My worst fear was that there was some non-spec property of the PTR that made it incompatible with OEM HK stuff…perhaps PTR re-engineered their buffer system or something in a manner that was not compatible with the HK stock and as a result the HK stock broke? Or, perhaps a forty year old surplus G# stock made of plastic might have been a little tired and nothing more? Only one way to find out! Back to the bunker, grab another G3 stock (of course I have more than one!), throw it on and head back to the range to shoot. Twenty rounds outta the gun as fast as I can pull the trigger and no problem with the stock. Hmmm…must just been a stock that was on its last legs. be safe, I’ve two more on the way from CTD as well as the A3 telestock.

For those keep track

205 rounds with no malfs.
Surplus stock (non-PTR) broke at 185 rounds.
CMC 1911 mags are still on hand. Quantity left: 76. Group buy runs for another 10 days or until all gone.
New arrivals on the Commanders bookshelf:
Poor Mans James Bond I
Poor Mans James Bond II
Merck Manual
Ditch Medicine
Survivalists Medicine Chest
Self-Sufficiency Gardening: Finacnial, Physical and Emotional security from your own backyard
The US Armed Forces First Aid Manual
Medicine For The Outdoors
Be Expert With Map and Compass
Backwoods Home Companion Anthology

Lotsa new readin’!
Gleaned from arfcom today…DIY wind turbines:

Back patting, rust – wheat shortages, Mad Max DIY

Well, better brace yourselves for more gun control hysteria. This is me patting myself on the back for getting the two PTR’s, 180 magazines, and ther ecent bundle o’ Glock mags.
Speaking of mags. 80 left on the group buy.
From todays email, as if the diversion of corn from food supply to fuel supply wasnt something to consider=
Billions at risk from wheat super-blight

Briefly, a type of rust is spreading from Africa to other regions where it has the potential to cause huge crop failures. A resistant form of wheat is on the way but is not expected for several years, time enough to cause problems.

Just gets better and better, don’t it?
I simply do not have the words for this:

But apparently you can buy it on eBay.
Try not to think what a vehicle made out of 3/16″ sheet steel weighs and what it’ll do to your engine and suspension. Expecially your suspension of disbelief since this thing wouldnt stop a .223. Points for style though.

Ethanols Unintended Consequences

I seriously cannot believe that no one saw this coming.

1) prices for fuels from oil rise sharply
2) a possible substitute can be made utilizing corn
3) corn is already used for human and animal consumption
4) possible profits from use in fuel manufacture may be greater than profits from food manufacture

Now, based on that, answer these questions:
a) Whats going to happen to the price of corn
b) Whats going to happen to the availabilty of corn

The ethanol craze is putting the squeeze on corn supplies and causing food prices to rise.

Now Im sure someone somewhere in about a year is going to come up with some fast growing, seldomly-consumed grain that can be used instead of corn. But until then…as the article states, corn is used in almost all foods and thus prices may go up.

How does this fit into this blog? Well, unexpected increases in food prices mean buying your food preps becomes more expensive, the poor get less food for their $, more food-growing resources will be directed towards corn manufacture at the expense of other crops which will possibly increase as their availability drops, etc, etc.
1911 mags are moving out. Deal ends either at the end of the month or when supplies are exhausted. Remaining inventory: 90 mags.