Political positions on gun control

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I dont normally get too far into politics here because thats not what this blog is about, but I do like this candidates unambivalent statement on the gun control issue.

“Other candidates say gun control doesn’t affect hunting. Now I’m a very avid hunter, but the Second Amendment isn’t really about hunting. It’s about tyranny and self-defense. The Founding Fathers weren’t worried about our being able to bag a duck or a deer, they were worried about our keeping our fundamental freedoms.”

Nice words if he really believe them. Alot of folks go to gun shows and get their pictures taken for a campaign, its what they do in office to follow up on that that matters.

Still, refreshing to see such an opinion.

Snowfall, Glock spares

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Had the first major snowfall of the year here the other day. This particular region of Montana is usually very mild in terms of snowfall. Three inches here, two inches there, that sort of thing. Once in a blue moon it may dump eight or ten inches at once but that’s been pretty rare…I haven’t seen it happen for at least the last five years or so. We wound up getting about six inches of heavy wet snow the other day. Every so often the lights would flicker and there were three or four moments when we were without power for five minutes but that was about it. No real outage. Others in the region weren’t so lucky and there are probably still some people out there without power. Biggest culprit was overloaded tree branches dropping onto power lines.

When the lights flickered I went ahead and made sure everything that was rechargeable was plugged in, made sure the cell phones were charging, and set up the police scanner to keep tabs on things. All in all, very uneventful. In addition to a small segment of the local population without power there were a few traffic intersections without traffic lights. Very Mickey Mouse. Nonetheless, its nice to know that if the power had gone out for any real length of time we’d have been just fine, thank you very much.

Historically, when the power goes out around here its in the winter and usually due to these exact circumstances. Sometimes in the summer, however, if the fires are exceptionally bad, there’ll be outages as transmission towers get caught up in the conflagration but that usually happense elsewhere in the region. Since the precursor for the power going out around here is usually very cold weather, I don’t worry about the freezer being offline for too long. Worse comes to worse I can just sit everything on the porch in a box and they’ll stay frozen.

I did wind up mounting several of those lovely puck-shaped LED lights in the critical pathways. They put out a good amount of light and should run a pretty long time considering the low power requirements of LEDs.


Other thing Im working on, in preparation for the elections, is to update and increase my spare parts supply for my Glocks. The primary sidearm around here is the 9mm Glock pistol. Although we have 1911 and P35 pistols as well, the Glock is the first choice for its reliability, durability, and affordability. However, nothing lasts forever and if a critical part breaks on your handgun you’re left with a very awkward club or a rather expensive single-shot. Parts need replacing for two reasons – either you broke the part or you lost the part. Im guessing the latter occurs more than the former.

Determining what spare parts to keep around for the Glock is pretty simple. Its based on parts that I’ve seen break in the past (or have reports of being prone to breakage), parts that are likely to get lost, and parts that are affordable to have in quantity. Nice thing about the Glocks is that other than major things like barrels, extractors and slides everything is usually five bucks or less.

Theres several variants of the 9mm Glock (longlside, competition, fullsize, mid size, compact) but they all use, mostly, the same parts. Obviously some things like recoil spring assemblys and the like will be different but the other stuff is all the same. Parts Im ordering:

Recoil spring assemblies – I’ve seen one of ours break and I’ve heard from others that they do can let go after a while. The gun continues to operate just fine, the spring goes from being ‘captive’ to ‘noncaptive’ and that makes disassembly a bit more involved. But, fortunately, it seems to have zero affect on the gun. They list for $4.95 ea. So I’ll probably get four in the G17 size, four in the G19 size, two for the G26.

Trigger spring – another part I have personally seen fail. Trigger will need to be reset manually. That means after firing you’ll have to push the trigger forward again for the next shot. Still, the gun will continue firing. $2.50 ea. And fits all Glocks. Half dozen please.

The rest of the stuff is mostly small parts that can get lost/broken if a detailed disassembly goes south. Spring cups ($2.50, fits all), spacer sleeve ($2.50, fits all), firing pin spring ($2.50, fits all), trigger bar ($14.95, fits all 9mm), and a few other sundries. Spare OEM sights are $6.95 for the set.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, I purchased a bunch of spare parts a few years ago and still have them so this is just ‘topping off the tank’, so to speak. Since the last time I ordered parts we’ve added another few Glocks to the safe so what was ‘plenty’ of spare parts became an ‘adequate’ amount. Need to fix that.

37 year-old MH food

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Link snagged from arfcom:

Mountain House: Food that has lasted half a long lifetime

Good stuff. I still have several cases of cans left over from the last group buy, as well as several cases of the vaccuum sealed ‘ProPack’ pouches. Email me if anyone wants some.

Edited to add:

This guy did it right. He felt threatened by something and took a very positive (and expensive) step to prepare himself against it. And the admirable thing is that when the original threat disappeared (the Cold War ending) he didn’t throw the stuff away and figure ‘well, thats the end of that’. Instead, he made the effort to hold onto the stuff just in case…. unlike many of his contemporaries who turned their bomb shelters into family rooms, threw out the dosimeters, and voted to have the city council pull the civil defense funding.

Fuel musings

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Locally, gas jumped ten cents a gallon overnight. That means that in this neck of the woods, its around $3.10 per gallon. A few years ago people were asking what sort of price would it take for Americans to switch to economic vehicles and start being more ‘green’ in terms of fuel consumption. The answer is: a lot more than three bucks a gallon.

Fuel is one of those things that, broadly speaking, you cant really manufacture a good substitute in your garage. (Theres a dissent for biodiesel which does require some components in its manufacture that are pretty hard to do on your own…) You can create power, but not fuel. However, since what we want the fuel for is, usually, to create power. Whats the difference? Semantics, really…. Take a solar panel for example…you can build a setup to generate power, but you cant create the fuel (the big burning mass of hydrogen about eight light-minutes from here.) Wind turbine? You create the power using the fuel (wind). But, as you can see, you don’t create the fuel.

Some developments in the area of bio-fuels looks promising. Vehicles that run on SVO (straight vegetable oil) have been around for a while and I suppose if you’ve got a big enough chunk of land and the means to extract it, you can produce pretty much as much vegetable oil as you want. On the other hand, its that attitude that’s driven up corn prices lately as people see corn as a fuel rather than a food.

Development in the field of electric vehicles interests me greatly because its far easier to come up with your own way to generate electricity than it is to come up with some kind of liquid fuel. Trouble is, the history of electric vehicles has thus far been pretty disappointing although its gotten a shot in the arm lately in terms of development and research…mostly due to people seeing that theres obviously money to be made in the field. There are a few promising developments out there but the big bottleneck is, unsurprisingly, battery technology.

I can’t manufacture my own gasoline, and at this point the vehicle I use runs on the stuff. Best I can do is keep a bunch of it on hand and treated for long-term storage. I usually treat the stuff with a gas preservative (PRI-G is the stuff I use), seal it up in a DOT approved container, and tuck it away in a safe place. I try to rotate it out every year. Havent had any problems yet. Its nice to have an extra bit of gas on hand, esp. if you think how much distance that gas allows you to cover. For example, I usually have enough on hand to give about 500 miles of range under optimum circumstances. Five hundred miles is a nice amount of distance to have between myself and Bad Things.

I started out keeping fuel in the classic metal red ‘Blitz’-brand jerry can. They’re okay, but they have features I don’t like. The venting for pouring fuel sucks (too much ‘glug glug glug’..takes a while to empty a can using a nozzle), the screw-on lid is not captive (and thus can get lost meaning it WILL get lost), and a few other things. However, none of the problems are insurmountable – I’ve taken to using a longneck funnel when fueling rather than slow nozzles. One funnel gets paracorded to each gas can and we’re good to go. The caps can be made captive with a little ingenuity but it’d be nice to have something better.

The plastic Blitz cans are, in my opinion, best saved for lawnmowers and short term storage. First and foremeost problem is that under temperature changes they contract and expand putting pressure on the contents of the can and sometimes forcing it out through the threads in the cap. Extremely ungood. Additionally, fumes just seem to seep through the plastic and you get that gas smell everywhere. Their main advantage is they are cheap. I use them for short trips where I want a few extra gallons in the truck ‘just in case’ but for long term I really don’t like them.

Everyone seems very taken with the military fuel cans (MFC) made by Scepter of Canada. These are a very heavy, robust plastic can. Im sure they have a lot to recommend to them, but I just can’t get past the notion that a plastic fuel container is going to not leak at the threads, not expand/contract excessively, and not stink up the place.

The fuel cans I have become smitten with are the ‘Euro/NATO style’ jerry cans. (Outstanding link to their use and history here)They do require a particular nozzle assembly but if that’s unavailable a funnel will do just fine. They have a captive cap that stays out of the way when pouring, have their own generous venting for pouring, and are usually fairly affordable compared to the other choices. I found a source for them surplus, ordered a few dozen for myself and am in the midst of swapping out my Blitz cans for this type.

How do you keep a gas can in your truck without it walking off? Well, I use a small cable bike lock. It goes through the handles of the can and then through the tie-down bolt at the corner of the truck bed. For things like this I use combination padlocks rather than keyed ones. Never know when you’ll not have a key handy. The nozzle needs to be kept clean so I stick it in a cylindrical plastic carrier usually used for mortar rounds. Protects it, keeps it dry, and keeps it clean so dirt and dust don’t get into the tank with the gas. To be safe, a longneck funnel goes in also ($2 from WalMart for the funnel. Makes it easy to have spares.)

Purchasing deadlines

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The elections are now less than one year away. Think about that for a minute. You have less than twelve months to hedge your bets and do the things you need to do and buy the things you need to buy. Why the deadline? Well its pretty simple – the odds are good that some of the things you and I want (or need) are the same things that some politicians think we shouldn’t have. But, even if someone were elected who supports the same things we support and believes the same things we believe theres still going to be a ‘panic buying’ episode in the months coming up to the election.

Starting soon you’re going to see the prices of magazines, guns, ammo and the like start going up…because people are going to start stocking up ‘just in case’. The more hardcore of us will also be stocking up on fuel, food and similar needs. More shortages, more price increases.

Gold just is currently over $800 per ounce. A few years ago it was less than half that. Now, most people would think to themselves ‘man, I wish I had bought gold five years ago’. That’s exactly how you’re going to feel in five years if you don’t buy the ‘controversial’ items you can currently buy at reasonable prices.

Whats controversial? Well, the usual ‘black rifles’ and their magazines. ‘High capacity’ pistol magazines. You know, the usual. Anyting else? Ammo, perhaps. No one has made much noise about it but its possible things could go back to the old days when only FFL’s could mailorder ammo. And there very well could be some sort of prohibition on milsurp ammo importation much like BATFE has pulled regarding ‘assault weapons’ parts from overseas.

‘Course, theres more to life (and preserving it) than guns and ammo…that’s just the fun and interesting side. However, its also the side that’s easy to target by those who ‘never met a ban they didn’t like’. Interestingly, as of late there have been some small collateral forays into other aspects of preparedness by the nannystaters. ,Rawles posted on his website that the .gov had recently deemed the sale/distribution of iodine crystals (‘Polar Pur’ and other water treatments) in need of regulation. There was also a mention, although I haven’t been able to confirm it, of .gov leaning on manufacturers to stop selling infrared cyalume lightsticks. Two incidents, if true, that show that it may become increasingly difficult to buy the things we feel we need to keep ourselves safe.

Doomsaying? Probably. But take the upcoming elections out of the equation and look at circumstances around you. We’ve got war(s) going on with possibly another waiting in the wings (Iran), the economy seems to be getting worse, the housing market situation is having a ripple effect in other areas of the economy, food prices are going up as fuel prices continue their climb…. So even if you don’t think that the upcoming elections are any impetus to ratchet up your purchasing theres still plenty of reasons to skip the $3.95 lattes this week and sink the money into other things.

Suitcase nukes

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Here’s an article that covers so many bases I dont know where to start. Essentially, it downplays the ’suitcase nuke’ scenario. In fact, it sort of gives the impression that such a small sized weapon is highly impractical and unlikely to be an issue. Of course, if you keep reading, you see that the US had something similar..a ‘backpack nuke’. My favorite part though is about Stanislav Lunev and his assertions that there were caches of Soviet gear and weapons in the US for a fifth column-type scenario of invasion. Interestingly, one of those caches was claimed to be here in Montana. More reasons to go geocaching.

Don’t think this sort of thing is limited to the Soviets though. Every time they put in a new tunnel on the Berlin subway they uncover a bunker full of Mausers and stick grenades. Theres always a bunker or cave somewhere with the leftovers from a major conflict. Theres stories of Japanese gold caches, Nazi ‘Werwolf’ operation caches, etc, etc. still out there waiting to be uncovered. On the more mundane side, theres no shortage of semi-modern missing nukes out there to be discovered and rehabbed into service by a dedicated and determined organization.

Anyway, while the prospect of a citybusting device that can fit in a suitcase may be unrealistic (or, at least, they tell us its unrealistic) theres no shortage of larger size devices that while not exactly ‘man-portable’ would probably fit quite nicely in the average cargo container. Keep in mind the US produced small nukes that fit on the end of what was basically a recoilless rifle. Not citybusters but a genuine nuclear bomb nonetheless. And the bombs that nuked the Japs were pretty small, all things considered, and made with technology that nowadys pretty much anyone could acquire. I could be wrong, but my personal belief is that the era of ICBM nuclear strikes is, for now, behind us.

The more likely, in my opinion, nuclear scenario is the ‘dirty bomb’ scenario (which is getting some flak over its actual effectiveness) or the stolen warhead scenario (much like what you see in ‘True Lies’). I suppose that in the strictest sense, ’suitcase nukes’ do not exist, however I all but guarantee that nuclear devices only slightly do exist. Who currently has them, of course, is the itneresting part.

Seasonal warnings

Every year the goons at DHS and various federal agencies trot out the “As the holiday shopping season approacehes, concersn of terror attacks at shopping malls….” warnings. Here’s the first i’ve seen this year:

Exclusive: FBI: Al Qaeda May Strike U.S. Shopping Malls in LA, Chicago

Here’s the actual alert:

The unclassified shopping mall threat information was circulated by the FBI on November 7th, based on intelligence received by the FBI in late September. The full text of one version of that report is as follows:
December 2007 Al-Qa’ida Plan to Target US Shopping Malls in Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California.
As of August 2007, al-Qa’ida planned to strike US shopping malls in Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California during the 2007 Christmas season. Al-Qa’ida hoped to disrupt the US economy and had been planning the attack for the past two years.
FBI Comment: This information was obtained through a lengthy chain of acquisition, and was provided to the source by a sub-source who spoke in confidence. The veracity of the information is uncertain but the threat is being reported due to the nature of the information.

That’s it. The whole thing. Or, to shorten it for clarity: We heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that AQ was gonna try something. ‘Course, that was two months ago, and we can’t say if its true but….

This is like a weather report that says “Might rain tomorrow. Might Not. Back to you, Ted!”

Anyone with even the vaguest sense of self-preservation could figure that, gosh, a mall full of folks shopping for a traditionally religious holiday might make a tempting target. And leaking the possibility of attack might cause buyers to stay home and thus give the ol’ US economy a shot in the chops. Thats the beauty of this kind if terrorism…you dont need to fire a shot – just threaten and get the result you want.

I don’t spend alot of time in malls, when I do spend time in malls I usually have a pistol, and any gift giving I do usually comes from gun shops where the staff and most of the customers would be thrilled if someone walked in, shouted some Islamic slogan and pulled a gun out from under their coat.

But…you never know. Even broken clocks are right twice a day.

Glock factory 33-rd. 9mm mags

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been waiting for one of my vendors to come up with a good deal on the happy little Glock 18 mags. These are the 33-rd round mags for the G18 machinepistol, however they will work just fine in any Glock 9mm…such as your Glock 17, Glock, 19, Glock 26, etc, etc. Also, if you have a gun that takes 9mm Glock mags such as the Kel-Tec carbine, Olympic 9mm AR, etc, etc, they’ll fit them too. These mags will fit in most MP5 mag pouches. They are factory Glock mags, not the crappy Scherer brand mags that you see floating around. No minimum but I have a limited amount of these things. In fact, I’ll be right up front and tell you I have exactly 30 of them. When theyre gone, theyre gone and I can promise you that in addition to death and taxes being lifes certainties (althoguh death doesnt get worse like taxes do) another certainty is that as the election approaches prices are going to go up and availability is gonna go down. If you can see the writing on the wall then you can see these are gonna be great investments as well as being handy for situations where you need alot of firepower or dont have a free hand to reload.
Flat rate of $9 to ship anywhere in the US. Details on the website.

More bullets

Man, the things I find….remember the .223 bullets and powder? Well, I’ve got about 1200 .30 caliber AP bullets. These are not pulls. These are the M2 bullet for the .30M1. Steel (I think, naybe carbide, but I think steel) penetrator. Sure you can load them in your .30-06 or .308 but if youre a real hardcase you’ll drop them into your .300 Win Mag or similar cartridge. I loaded some of these into a .300 H&H and they handily penetrated one of those steel sheets they lay down at construction sites for cars to drive over. Price? Best part: Fourteen cents each. ($14/100, $140/1000). Shipping is a flat $9 regardless of quantity. For comparison, a regular .30 caliber softpoint bullet is about fourteen cents these days…at least.

Food and the ‘diet squads’

Interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal the other day about ‘diet squads’. Apparently, the diet squads were “A publicity stunt by Chicago’s health department to prove that nutritious and satisfying meals could also be cheap. Since the beginning of World War I, food prices had shot up; between 1914 and 1920, the cost of food for an average American family more than doubled. Malnourishment was becoming a public health problem, especially in cities. And people were starting to complain about the ‘food pirates who had America by the throat’…”

The article goes on to say how squads of volunteers would submit to a diet that was not to exceed a particular budget. Each group tried to outdo the other by thriving on a smaller budget than the other squads. A group of NYPD rookies subsisted on 25 cents per day (adjusted, that would be $3.93 per day in todays currency.) Eleven of the 12 NYPD rookies, by the way, put on weight in this experiment. Go figure.

The article continues that at the time it was believed the average family of two adults and three kids could be fed for $7.31 a week ( $138.51 in todays world.)

I have a sort of odd curiousity about how little money it can take to contentedly feed someone. Note Im saying how little money it takes, not how little food. Big difference.

When I was in college I recall that during summer session, when students had to fend for themselves without food service, I fed myself on less than five dollars a day. Didn’t get hungry either. The notion that you cannot feed yourself on X dollars is absurd. Minimum wage, at this moment, is a bit above $6 an hour. Anyone who says they cannot feed themselves for one day on $6 is either completely incapable of working a calculator, a stove, a cookbook or all three.

The trick is, of course, shopping wisely. While a dozen eggs may cost $1.50, or 25% of a daily $6 budget, those eggs last six days at two-per-day. Same thing with rice…at twentyfive cents per pound you can spend two days worth of your six dollar budget but wind up with months worth of rice.

What did I make for five bucks a day? I bought ground beef ($1.50 worth as I recall), rice, onion, peppers, tomato sauce, spices and that sort of thing and made a huge bowl of rice and beef. Some for lunch, the rest for dinner and a pair of Cokes from a vending machine. (I had no refrigerator so to get cold pop with dinner I had to go to the more expensive vending machine).

My point is that when a person doesn’t have a lot of money you can still, without much difficulty, manage to feed yourself if you can find one hour of employment per day at the lowest legal wage possible. No one wants to live like a Third World-er but despite their staggering amount of poverty they manage to swell humanities ranks with more warm bodies every year. A tough feat when you’re starving to death. But they’re proof that you can subsist on ‘pennies a day’ (if Sally Struthers is to be believed.)

Wanna eat cheap?
Buy in bulk. Know how to cook and prepare food. Be willing to do some math.

You’re poor and live in a ‘food desert’? Grab a back pack, get on the bus and go where the food is. Too poor for the bus? Walk or ride a bicycle. I can and do regularly stuff several days worth of groceries into a backpack and bring them home on my bicycle. ‘Food desert’ is a convenient way of saying ‘I don’t want to have to walk further than my neighborhood corner store for groceries’.

Food is powerful stuff. Like oxygen, you don’t really think about it until its gone. Hunger makes people do amazing things. Chilean soccer teams in the Andes eat their dead, tribes kill other tribes for cattle, people attack each other in food lines after disasters….when people are truly, genuinely hungry the gloves come off and they revert to the very dangerous primitive human stage. And while on hungry, desperate person is pretty damn dangerous imagine the danger of them in groups.

Moral of the story: it is proven that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to feed yourself. So, take the twenty bucks you were going to spend on porn, beer or Blockbuster this evening and buy some food so that when you do lose your job, or you do lose your house, or your local government collapses you have something to eat.

Seriously dude, if you cant live off whats in your cupboards for at least one solid week you’re doing something wrong.