Magazine inventorying…again.

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

I am currently doing an inventory of magazines to determine what exactly we have, and what exactly we need. I am discovering that in addition to the expected amounts of magazines stashed away in their happy little airtight,watertight containers there is a huge amount of magazines just ‘floating’ around the house. Theyre in backpacks, range bags, junk boxes, coat pockets, desk drawers, etc, etc, etc. So, the first step to doing an inventory is getting all the suspects rounded up and in one place. Thats the real work…the counting is the easy part.

However, as I expected, we’re doing okay on most everything, a wee bit light on one or two places, and way well-squared-away on others. However, since theres no such thing as overkill when it comes to gearing up for the zombie invasion I’ll try to pick up a few more of these things and bring a few numbers up.

I posted earlier this year about why a few dozen mags (or more) isnt overkill. Re-read the post if you want, but here it is in a nutshell: if you were watching the news tonight and they said that a law had been passed prohibiting the manufacture, sale and transfer of all ‘high capacity’ magazines from that moment on, would you feel comforatble with what you have right this second? And do you think that you could live the next 30, 35 or 40 years with that stash of magazines? Mags get lost, dented, damaged, broken, worn out, dropped, stepped on, lost, stolen, confiscated, misplaced, and otherwise rendered inoperable from time to time. Can you think of any consumer product that must always work flawlessly that you have owned for thirty years that hasnt needed repair or replacement? Any? So why do you think that the nine mags you have for your three AR’s are all you need to last you for the next thirty years?

Someone asked me if buying before the election is necessary since a new president wont be sworn in until January 20 and therefore theres ‘plenty of time’. Yes, buy now. Why? Because after the election everyone who is sitting on the fence will think “Geez, this could really happen” and the prices will go up while the supply goes down. If you shop around you can find AR, AK and FAL mags for $10 or less. You can find HK91 mags for $2(!!!). Glock mags are still under $20 if you hunt carefully. If Obama wins I would say it is almost a certainty those prices will go up as the inauguration approaches.

Guns, ammo, mags, primers, powder, bullets….get shopping.

Gas prices, new ATF 4473, hunting season

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

Gas prices continue to drop. Hmmmm. Must be that ‘Peak Oil’.

Since prices have dropped I took the opportunity to fill up another couple gas cans. At one point, about a year ago, I thought that perhaps I’d gone a little overboard and bought too many of them. Now, as I think about fuel and what it represents, I wonder if I bought enough. I think I have one empty can left and I’ll probably fill that up next week. That’ll give us around 50-55 gallons of stabilized gasoline to have for emergencies. Or, to put it another way, its about three tankfulls of gas and we can get some pretty decent range with three tanks of gas. I like to think it won’t be necessary, but sometimes distance equals safety. Additionally, if we get a gas generator any time soon we’ll need the fuel.


I received the new, updated ATF Form 4473 (“yellow sheet”) today. They are, indeed, yellow again. In addition to the usual changes theres something new and, in my opinion, sinister. It used to be that the form asked for the type of gun being transferred. The category was “pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, etc”. Reasonable enough. Now they give options for “receiver, frame”. What does this mean to you? It means that ATF can determine that, on a particular date, your ‘pre ban’ gun was, in fact, an unfinished gun and thus couldn’t be legally built up into a ‘post ban’ gun. Of course, there would always be the possibility that although you bought the gun as a stripped receiver you later assembled it before any ban took effect. But, of course, little legal niceties like ‘burden of proof’ don’t matter to folks like the goons at BATFE.

I suppose theres an additional question – does your T/C Contender frame count as a ‘frame’, ‘pistol frame’ or ‘rifle frame’? Ah the joy of unintended consequences. Sure, there was that court decision in favor of TC a few years ago but as I read it it, it only affirmed that having the pistol barrel and rifle stock sitting in your gun cabinet didn’t constitute a ‘short barreled rifle’ as long as you didn’t actually assemble it as a SBR.

Regardless, under an Obama administration, despite recent Supreme Court rulings, I have concerns about my gun rights getting…… infringed.


Its very hard to keep the possible negative consequences of the upcoming election out of these posts. Certainly the current state of the economy is an on-topic subject…after all, an economic disaster is certainly on pretty much everyones list of ‘possible SHTF events’. However, theres a couple things I’ve wanted to remain steadfast about in terms of what I post.. first, that this not be a ‘gun blog’. Guns are an adjunct to being prepared but I didn’t want every other post to be about them. Secondly, it wasn’t going to be about politics. Smarter and more eloquent folks than I have plenty of blogs out there for that sort of thing. And, finally, I wanted it to be about what I was doing and why I was doing it. Not really a preach-to-the-choir blog about ‘you should do this’ or ‘Heres why if you’re not doing this my way you’re an idiot’. Again, plenty of those out there.

Unfortunately, while I think I do a pretty good job at #1 and #2, I’ve been a bit lacking in #3. Need to work on that.


Hunting season approaches. Actually, it starts this weekend. Now, I’d like to go out for the first day or two but, to be realistic, its gonna be damn busy out there. It’ll be be like a busy Friday night in Beirut. Instead, I think I’ll go Monday and perhaps Wednesday when most folks are at work.

This year I’ll be trying something a little different and taking my Contender pistol, a 14” iron-sighted .44 Mag. Should be entertaining. A friend of mine who has yet to hunt here in the great state of Montana will be coming along and I look forward to him getting his first deer. Havent decided yet if he’ll have to do the ritual face-smearing.


Grain grinding, gone to far

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

Oh, the feeling of impending doom. Every election I start running around like a headless chicken trying to acquire as many potential soon-to-be-banned items as possible. This election is no different in that regard. I am only slightly comforted by the recent Supreme Court decision and hope that the decision will mitigate any anti-gun legislation that the new administration comes up with.

But, at the same time, we’re nobody’s fool….

I really don’t want to annoy anyone by sounding like a broken record (assuming anyone here is old enough to remember vinyl LPs) but if you don’t take care of your firearm, magazine and ammo needs within the next few weeks you may be very sorry later on. Also, if you can get your hands on the physical metal itself, might be time to take advantage of the recent price dips on metals.

Enough about that.


Its all fine and dandy to stuff a couple hundred pounds of wheat, corn and rice away for that rainy day but just sitting on it isn’t enough. You gotta know what do do with it. To that end, I ground up a bunch of the hard red wheat the other day.

One of the wedding gifts we got was the SuperBlender. This bad boy has enough oomph to grind wheat, corn, rice, ice cubes, and possibly granite. Dude, its got a hemi. Threw in a cup of whole wheat, put on my earmuffs (‘cause it gets a bit loud) and let ‘er rip for about a minute. The result was very fine flour. Ok…great…now what? I fancy myself a bit of a cook so I mixed up some egg, salt, flour and ran the whole mess through the trusy hand-crank pasta maker. The result was a whole bunch of fettucini-type pasta. Threw it in a pot of boiling salted water and in about ten minutes had some pasta. Added a bit of crumbled turkey sausage with some roasted peppers and onions. It was good. There was a different texture and taste than when I use regular white flour for this sort of thing. These noodles would really lend themselves to soup..they were thick, hearty and chewy. An excellent choice for turkey soup.

The girlfriend made a pizza crust and that requires a little more experimentation. I think the whole wheat crust requires a bit more heat, a bit more cooking time, or both as opposed to its white flour cousin. We’re going to side-by-side them next time for a comparison. Didn’t really notice a difference in taste, although there were obvious appearances in appearance and texture.

Next up was dried corn. A minute in the SuperBlender and there was a fine corn flour. I should have stopped it earlier to get a coarser mix for cornmeal and polenta but I wasn’t paying attention.

I got a new deep fryer the other day (what can I say, after guns kitchen gadgets are my big vice) and decided to try some corn breading. It actually wound up being corn batter. Mixed up some corn flour, an egg, some salt and ran some thin pieces of chicken through the whole mess and then took them for a swim in some 375-degree oil. I think Im onto something with this … the batter formed a crunchy hard crust around the chicken and came out a lovely golden color. Only drawback, unfortunately, was that it was a little…bland. Certainly there was a corn flavor to it, but there needs to be a little more than that in my opinion. Next time I’ll add more salt and some other seasonings. A healthy couple of shakes of Cajun seasoning really brightened it up so I may go further in that direction.

Naturally, the more astute of you will say “Hey, that’s all well and good but how are you going to run the SuperBlender without electricity?” Way ahead of you there, buddy. For Christmas the girlfriend and I are thinking that as a gift to ourselves we’ll get ourselves one of the Country Living grain mills. A few threads on the subject put this one at the top of the list for hand-powered grinding.

We’ll do a little more experimenting with the whole wheat flour in terms of baking bread and that sort of thing. (I’m keen to try fried ‘pocket pie’ type food in the deep fryer.) Once we get a bit more experimenting under our belts we’ll probably go pick up a couple hundred pounds of wheat to add to the storage. Already have at least a hundred pounds of the dried corn tucked away so I think we’re okay there.

We also took the opportunity to experiment with some of the #10 cans of dried apples we picked up at the Mormon cannery. Reconstituted and baked in a pie they were quite good..the pie was a tad dry but perhaps soaking the apples even longer would help. The girlfriend liked the dried apples very much and was eating them out of the can like potato chips, which is actually probably healthier than potato chips. The guy at the cannery warned us about filling up on them and then drinking liquids. Apparently, ‘feeling full’ would be an understatement in that situation. Word to the wise.

So, by and large, I think we may be pretty much done with our food storage. Other than picking up a hundred or so pounds of wheat I think all that’s left is simply maintenance and rotation. I’d say that theres about a years worth of edibles socked away. That’s including MRE’s, freeze drieds, canned goods and bulk dry stuff. If the freezer took a hit we’d lose a goodly amount of meat but at the same time I have enough canning supplies on hand to can the stuff if it looked like a prolonged crisis. As it stands now I think that our next major purchase will be a small generator for the freezer. (Lighting and heating needs are met with our kerosene lamps and heaters. However, next year I very much want to set up a small PV system to keep a small system of 12v LED emergency lighting available through the house.)


Had a discussion last night with the girlfriend. I asked her if she ever thought that we took things ‘too far’ in terms of preparedness. This, naturally, requires one to set a baseline of ‘what constitutes having gone too far’? One of the ideas of defining ‘too far’ was where the activities and preparations wind up negatively impacting our lives. However, this is subjective as well. For example, if we pass up going to Disneyland because we want to use the money to stockpile freezedrieds some might say that that is a negative impact – our vacation/leisure option has been cancelled due to our preparedness desires/needs. However, to me the satisfaction and security I achieve by doing that more than offsets the opportunity cost of the lost trip to Disneyland.

Another definition that I explored and abandoned was that you’ve gone too far when someone can just look at you and know that you’re living a life of military surplus, MRE’s and talk radio. I’ve actually met people who literally wore nothing but military surplus. Usually several different countries at a time..US BDU pants, German jacket, Swiss shirt, Russian gloves, etc, etc. A veritable UN wardrobe. They tended to look like the stereotypical survivalist. They were nice people, in the few dealings I had with them, but they did present a picture of someone who may have been a bit ‘out there’.

So, heres a question for the readership – how do you know when you’ve gone too far? Don’t confuse this question with the comedic “You may be a survivalist if….” Posts that abound. How would you know that perhaps you (or whomever) has taken it a little too far and perhaps needs to mellow out a bit? Maybe when you quit the $250k job to move to the middle of nowhere and eke out $20k a year because ‘its far from the primary target area’? When you refuse to tell your family your physical address ‘for security reasons’ and instead only provide them with a PO box?

Products – hits & misses

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

This product caught my eye. Its a hand-held power generator. Unfortunately, it is apparently a ‘concept’ idea for some company that wants to send it to Third World countries and is no doubt waiting for some charity to pony up the bucks to put it into production. Nevermind that theres a market already here….

Years ago I recall reading about this device with great hopes. Uunfortunately, this one too seems to have fallen off the radar and either gone out of production or was never really in production.

Handheld generators are kinda hard to find. If you dont mind something a little bigger, the military GN-58-type field generators seem like an ideal choice but the outputs are kinda specialized.

Of course, if you dont mind something a little bigger, theres no shortage of bicycle generator plans out there on the interweb.

And, naturally, for every “Id buy that” product there is also a “WTF?” product. This one seems like a smart idea but upon further consideration I think its just….not.

The Merrell Gatherer jacket has no insulation. You zip open its compartments and fill them with newspaper, leaves, or whatever insulative material is handy. Its a clever idea, I just cant imagine why you would need it. If the situation is dire enough that dead leaves seem like a good insulation option wouldnt you just stuff them between your shirt and your jacket? Why would you need a special garment for that? And couldnt you save yourself a hundred bucks and just take two old button down shirts, sew them together along the edges and add a few openings for stuffing things? Just not sure I see the point of this one. It reminds me of David Letterman’s popcorn vest…he took a mesh vest, filled it with unpopped popcorn and then when he wanted it insulated for warmth he would microwave it and the corn would op to fill the pockets.


MH group update

ernunnos : Your stuff is going as two separate packages, one by UPS and one by USPS. The UPS one will prbably arrive first and is on the way.

gwendally : your stuff may take three packages but I think I can get it as two. I’ll have numbers for you Monday.

cjsmith : Same. Yours will go as two packages since it is over the 70# weight limit if it goes as one. Numbers on Monday. Also, your PayPal stuff doesnt list an address for you, so please send me that.

Cannery trip

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

A more interesting than usual trip to the cannery. (Although the last trip was pretty interesting in its own right when we turned out to be the only people who showed up.) As Im sure you guys have figured out, Im not a Mormon. Although the Mormons are the Shaolin masters  of prep-fu, I cannot join them in their fight against dark forces and jello-less meals. Quite simply, Im just not a religious person. Theres also that little matter of belief…

Anyway…last year when I was wanting to start visiting the cannery I did some research and was told that many canneries do allow non-members (read: non-Mormons) to use their facility. I checked with my local cannery and they said that although they used to let non-members use the facility, the policy had changed to exclude non-members. The way around this was, naturally, to go as the guest of a member. Ok, I can swing that except that I could count the Mormons I know on ..well…no fingers.

The universe provided, however, and it turned out that I made the acquaintance of a local fella that had similar beliefs as me and the LMI and he invited me to accompany him on his trips to the cannery. This is what i’ve been doing the last several times Ive been out there. Each time I visit I try to make sure the guy in charge knows who I am and that he knows Im a fairly cool person…this is so that at some point I could ask if maybe I could come up there some time without the accompaniment. (Because I really hate inconveniencing the fella who has been quite generously letting me accompany him.) Matter of fact, today was the day I was going to suggest that perhaps I could come up by myself some time.

So as we’re wrapping things up, the gal who is the wife of the guy in charge (theyre a retired couple that manage the facility) said “Oh you can come up anytime, you dont have to come up just on the scheduled third Friday of the month.” I said thats great but I needed to come up with the guy I had been previously coming up with. She said, no, I could come up on my own. I said that I was under the impression that the facility was not open to non-members. Her husband piped in and said that the policy had changed and that while there was a time of ‘heightened security’ (his words) they had changed that for a couple reasons. One reason was that the leadership of the church now believed that the folks in charge of the regional population unit (a ‘ward’) were not only responsible for each other but for everyone, member and non, within the ward. Additionally, he said that by allowing nonmembers to have access to the facility it allowed them to prepare and thus not be a threat to the the prepared membership if things got tough. Basically, if the Mormon’s neighbors have their own food stoarge, then the Mormons own food is safer than if his neighbors were starving.

Quite the mindset these Mormons have. I like them.

So, the girlfriend and I can head up there pretty much any time we want to make an appointment. This is good. However, having already gotten 90% of the stuff I needed under the old bring-a-buddy policy Im a little annoyed at finding all this out now. But, really, I have not a bloody thing to complain about. The Mormons very graciously and generously let me use their facility and I have nothing but nice words about them and their hot women.

I should raise a toast of Jell-o shooters in salute.

Todays haul, by the way, was six #10 cans of sugar, 3 #10 cans of dried onion, and 3 #10 cans of sliced apples. This gets added to the #10 cans of wheat, pasta, legumes, milk, carrots, potatoes and other fine foodstuffs Ive already acquired from them.

Oh…and I brought the girlfriend this time to help make me seem more human. I think it worked.

Large quantities

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

‘Large quantities’ has been the theme of the last couple days. First off was a palletload of this stuff:


Surprisingly, nothing was outta stock and shippping was faster than I expected.  Take a good look, thats security and safety stacked deep and sold not-cheap. But whats it worth to you to have meat and eggs when everyone else is eating the bark off of trees? I’m not going to say all of this is for me, but I will say I do have about this much tucked away in the bunker just for me and the girlfriend’s use. Shelf life? At least 25+ years.
After that, UPS dropped off the case of plastic ammo boxes I ordered. After my last reloading episode I ran out of plastic boxes and just dumped the ammo loose in .50 cans. not my ideal storage. I did, however, undersestimate the amount of boxes I needed.


Thats 50 x 50 rounds. 2,500 rounds of 9mm 115 FMJ and I still have a couple more .50 cans full of loose ammo. I may have gone a little too long on 9mm. Then again, you can never be too rich, too thin or too well armed. Having the Dillon RL1050 makes kicking out a few thousand rounds in an evening very possible.

When youre gearing up for the end of western civilization there just really isnt a such thing as overkill.

MH Group buy – next step

Okay guys, the stuff is here so now comes the tricky part.

If you wanna swap with anyone you need to set it up amongst yourselves and you need to settle the financial stuff between yourselves. Im just the delivery boy.

Let me know in comments when youre ready to have your stuff shipped to you.
If youre swapping/trading/selling amongst someone else I need both parties to tell me what theyre supposed to get.

When all that is sussed out I’ll get things boxed up and weighed and you’ll ge tyour total due for shipping.

Keeping cash on hand

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

Those of us with our rarified…interest…probably encounter more rumors than in any other ‘hobby’. Just to run down the incomplete list – black helicopters, FEMA camps, UN armored vehicles, coded highway signs, numbers stations, Illuminati, the Vatican, suitcase nukes, Skull & Bones, etc, etc, etc. Indeed, a tinfoil haberdashery would make a fine bit of coin from our demographic.

Latest rumor(s)? Bank runs, banking holidays, currency revaluation and everyones favorite – Weimaresque hyperinflation.

What is a banking holiday? Well, if you think “Christmas, Labor day and Thanksgiving” you’d be correct…those are holidays that the banks are usually closed on. However, when our fine friends at .gov decide to close all the banks (for whatever reason) this is called (though not by them) a banking holiday. The most well known banking holiday episode was by FDR back in the 1930’s. Don’t think that didn’t make an impression with a lot of folks. Theres plenty of old folks walking around today who still don’t ‘trust’ banks after that episode. The old joke about stuffing money into your mattress? That’s where that came from.

Whats a banking holiday mean to you? It means that unless you have cash you’re not going to be buying much. Your debit cards and checks probably wont work since who knows if the bank they’re drawn on is still in business? Credit cards might work but who knows if the electroninc point-of-sale readers (“credit card machines”) will be able to communicate with the issuing financial institutions. Run to the ATM and get cash? You and five thousand other people. Assuming the ATM isn’t stripped bare of cash, I can’t imagine the results will be good. After all, a banking holiday is to prevent a run on the bank which means not letting people get their cash…so the ATM may not be your salvation. Safety deposit box at the bank? Sketchy. I would think no bank would be opening its doors to the public under those circumstances. That wad of $50 bills in your box may as well be on the moon.

Imagine the following:

Its Friday and you’re driving home. You’re planning on picking up some groceries, maybe get a movie. You spent most of your cash filling up the car that morning and you’ve got about $8 in your pocket. Your bank is on the way to your home so you figure you’ll hit the ATM. You get to the bank and theres a line of cars stretching out the parking lot from the ATM. You wonder what that’s all about but aren’t too concerned… You’ll just hit the drive through…which is curiously empty. You drive up to the window and you see the lights are off in the bank and theres no one behind the glass. You cruise through the parking lot and see people walk up to the bank, pull at the door, and then peer through the glass as they wonder why they cant get in. A note in the window says that the bank is closed for business under orders of the .gov and ‘we apologize for the inconvenience’. You quickly head over to the supermarket and see that their ATM is flashing ‘OUT OF SERVICE’. Your attention is drawn to the commotion of a customer arguing that his bank card/debit card/credit card is perfectly good and that the store’s machine must be reading it wrong…the machine keeps beeping and giving an error code that means ‘unable to verify’. No cash? No sale. $8 to last you until Monday…assuming the bank opens on Monday.

That scenario isn’t far fetched because it has happened before. The cause of the problem was a failed communications satellite that made POS transactions at things like gas pumps and ATMs impossible. With banks closed for the weekend and many vendors unable to accept plastic, there was a bit of commotion. But it only affected a very small group of customers and banks. However, the implication is telling … that very small, localized failure caused some big headaches. Imagine it on a nationwide scale as a result of a declared ‘bank holiday’.

The obvious solution is the simplest – keep an amount of cash on hand. How much? However much you think you would need to continue living as you do for as long as you think you’ll be cut off from your banked funds. At least a week, and a month would probably be about right. How much money should that be? Depends on your lifestyle. If you’re like me and have stored gas, stored food, stored ammo, and stored fuel you probably aren’t going to need as much to cover your monthly expenses as someone who has nothing in their cabinets and closets.

Whatever you decide to keep on hand, keep it in a mix of bills. A stack of hundreds isn’t going to cut it when no one is going to have change. If you try to buy a half gallon of milk at the Stop-n-Rob with a $100 bill the clerk is probably going to refuse to sell to you rather than lose all his small bills, which would preclude him from being able to make other sales. A mix of $20,$10,$5 and $1 bills would probably be best. Maybe a roll of quarters or two as well. Worried that you’ll be sacrificing something by taking money out of the bank? Inflation is at around 4% officially and if you factor in fuel and food, its at least twice that. On a great day you’re getting 2-3% at the bank. Leaving the money in the bank isn’t doing a thing for you.

Safety? You think its not safe keeping that kind of money around the house? First of all, unless you told the neighbors, you’re going to be the only one who knows you have it. Secondly, stick it in the bottom of your gun safe or hide it in your basement. Yes, theft is going to be a huge risk…but not from some thug out on the street. The biggest threat will be from you. You’ll wind up using that cash for something because its just laying there looking at you and you have an urge to go out for dinner, pick up a movie, or buy a new toy. Out of sight, out of mind.

Even if you discount bank runs and bank holidays entirely, which is understandable since they’ve been so rare in the past, its still a good idea to have a lump of cash at the ready for emergencies. During a disaster when you need to buy something cash will be accepted at a lot more places that American Express. Especially if the power is out. Have cash.

If you’re the hopelessly lazy, like myself, I’ll spell it out for you so you can do this as quickly and painlessly as possible and be done with it:

1) Go to your bank, withdraw several hundred bucks.
2) Tell the chick behind the counter you want twenties, tens, fives and ones.
3) Go home. Break the money down into bundles of $100, with each bundle having a mix of bills. Secure each bundle of $100 with a rubber band or paper clip.
4) Stick all the bundles in an envelope, box or pickle jar.
5) Stuff it in your safe or shove it in a corner of your closet under the old boots.
6) Forget about it. Its not there. It doesn’t exist. Go about your business. Nothing to see here, folks.

There. You’re done.