Getting started, economy, buckets, Ballistics By The Inch

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

Someone asked in comments if I had a list or other worksheet that they could use to start their own program of being prepared. Unfortunately, I never really kept any kind of list until many years later and even then it was mostly a list of things to pick up as time and money permitted.

My ‘method’, if you want to call it that, for deciding whats needed is to use my imagination and some fairly simple logic. I usually start off with “Its dark, Im cold, naked, unarmed, broke, slightly injured, hungry and thirsty” and then start extrapolating from there. Logic plays a big part. A chain of reasoning might go like this: We want to be able to eat so we need food. We have food, now we need a way to store it. We have stored food, now we need a way to cook it. We have a way to cook it, now we need fuel for that cookstove. We have cooked food from storage, we need something to eat off of. You get the idea. Following that sort of logic through several generations can fill up one side of a legal pad pretty quick.

Two books I’ve found on the subject (and I’ve read a lot of them, believe me) are:

Making The Best of Basics by Stevens

Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Spigarelli

Both books are good places to start, provide suggestions on what to stock and why, and give plenty of food for thought. No one resource is going to have a list of everything you’ll need…everyone’s needs, and everyone’s idea of what the enod of the world will look like, are different. What you might think is necessary may not be what someone else thinks is necessary.

I’m of the ‘economic disaster’ school of the apocalypse. Some folks feel strongly that the biggest threat will be a nuclear war. Some think that ‘Peak Oil’ will be the downfall of civilization. Whatever you think it is, think about how it would affect you and then do whatever you think is necessary to reduce or eliminate those risks.

I think the economy is going to get worse before it gets better. I think unemployment will go up, banks will go down, people will find themselves in the uncomfortable position of actually having to worry about what their food costs, and some goods and services may become unavailable….thus, my preparations tend to be centered around those sorts of things.

No matter what youre preparing against, some things remain the same – you need shelter, food, water, heat, light, sanitation, protection and fuel. Get those avenues covered and youre pretty much good-to-go against 90% of anything that comes your way.


Speaking of the economy, I am at a loss to believe that theres anything the .gov is doing right now that makes sense. I readily admit that my grasp of economics and finance aren’t anything beyond ‘average’ but I cant see how the amount of money being thrown around at the moment can’t become something that’s going to haunt this country in a major way further down the road.

It looks like .gov is pulling out all the last gasp desperation tricks it can…the ‘extreme measures’. The consequences of using those tricks will be severe, but at least we’ll be around for the consequences. That’s the plan, anyway. What remains afterwards, though, will, I think, be a far different economic landscape than what we’ve grown used to in our lives.

Naturally, this is all bigger than you and I. Theres nothing we can do to stop it, and certainly nothing we can do to undo it. All we can do is try to forsee the resultant effects and prepare ourselves accordingly.


I am having an annoying experience finding suitable five-gallon buckets lately. I’d decided it was time to stock up on more 5-gallon buckets for my various stored items. Trouble is, the buckets I normally picked up at the paint department at Lowe’s and Home Depot seem a little flimsy as of late. Turns out that theyre marked on the bottom as .060 mil thick. The ones I want are at least 075 mil thick but I cant find any plain white ones. I can find some 090 mil ones at the local beerbrewing place for an outrageous $15@. Home Depot’s buckets are .075mil and priced affordably but theyre the annoying Home Depot orange color. What I want is a simple, plain, white bucket that’s at least 075 mil and less than $10. Now, before you get your Google-fu on, yes I can order them online. Problem is once you do that your cost, with shipping, gets a bit prohibitive. So I need to travel around town a bit more and hit the paint stores and see what shakes loose.


Sweet Link O’ The Day:

Ballistics By The Inch – Three guys, two chronographs and 7000 rounds of ammo

A fascinating experiment on barrel length and its effect on velocity. Succinctly, chrono ammo through a barrel, cut off 1″, repeat. Highly recommended.

MH Stuff

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

I’ve a few cases of MH #10 cans leftover from a group purchase if anyone is interested. Only requirement is you have to buy in increments of 6 cans, but you can mix/match to your hearts content.  Shipping is actual UPS. Email me for a list.

H-S Precision and Lon Horiuchi

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

Lon Horiuchi is:

  • a) A respected law-enforcement tactical marksman
  • b) An expert on rifles and rifle usage, whose opinion should be respected
  • c) A guy who shot an unarmed woman while she was holding her baby and claimed he was ‘just following orders’

If you answered anything other than ‘C’ then youre probably working for the ad company that H-S Precision hired.

H-S Precision, whose stock I have on my lovely CZ550, is, apparently, using an endorsement from the Ruby Ridge mom-killer to pimp their guns. As best I can tell, Im not making this up. Before we tear them a new one we should make sure that this is a genuine event.


Call Me Ahab

The War On Guns

The ad copy in question

Next thing you know Charter Arms will hire David Berkowitz as a spokesman for the company.

If this is real then H-S Precision may single-handedly be responsible for stealing the award from Jim Zumbo for the ‘Bite the hand that feeds you’ championship title.

Hat tip to  Books, Bikes and Boomsticks

Charity and responsibility

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

Made another trip to the Mormon cannery the other day. There were more people there  than at any point I recall in my brief time going there. However, despite the crowd and the apparent increased usage at the cannery, they were well stocked with the usual foods. I’m actually sitting pretty well on most of the types of foods they carry. It really has come to the point that one of the main reasons I go is to be around people who share a similar mindset as myself. They older gentleman running the place, for example, is great to talk to…he’s into amateur radio, takes preparedness very seriously, and will try to convince anyone he can that they need to stock up not only for themselves but to also encourage their neighbors to stock up because ‘really good people can do bad things when theyre desperate’. I agree with a good deal of that attitude except the ‘my brothers keeper’ part. Unprepared neighbors may be dangerous neighbors when theyre hungry, I agree. And I’ll mention once or twice “You know, you may wanna think about stockpiling some [food/fuel/water/etc]..ask me if you need help doing so.” And that’s about as far as my feelings of responsibility towards my fellow man go. If I tell you the train is coming and you continue to stand on the tracks…well, I warned you.

Are hungry neighbors dangerous neighbors? Of course they are. So I generally try to keep most of our preparedness stuff secret from pretty much everyone outside our immediate circle of friends. And, heaven forefend, the day comes when those hungry masses are hammering down the door clamoring for our food, our water, our medicines, our fuel….man, I hate to think what that would be like and I hate to think of the ugly, brutal choices that would have to be made. Another reason to have a “Plan B” place to go if things get that bad.

What about family and friends? Do we have a responsibility to them? Tough question. I don’t believe in forcing responsibilities on people. I think we’re only responsible to those people whom we have willingly, consciously, and actively agreed to accept responsibility for. That is to say, I agree to accept responsibility for helping out certain friends and family because I say “Yes, I will do this for you.” Anyone else is, generally, outta luck. In my case this isn’t a terribly big deal because 95% of my friends are also interested in preparedness. Odds are quite high they’ll be just fine. The rest of my family live a thousand or more miles away. Its seems unlikely they’ll make the journey to show up on my doorstep to say “You have to take care of me! Im your cousin!”.

When this subject comes up someone will invariably ask “What if a stranger with her starving children showed up on your doorstep and needed food or else her children would die?” Tough call. I like to think I would have enough to spare a small handout here and there but if theres the slightest chance that giving away our own supplies would put us in a more dangerous position, supplywise, then there’s no contest. We take care of ourselves and our interests before putting a strangers well-being ahead of our own. If you ‘give until it hurts’ then I think you’ve given too much.

This begets the next progression of thought – shouldn’t we stock extra food and materials for helping out the unprepared? To my way of thinking, there is no such thing as ‘extra’ to the point that you can give it away. Certainly I am not squandering what little financial resources I have for the purposes of giving it away to strangers…that’s the governments act, not mine. If I have enough money for 100# of rice I see it as 100# of rice for me and the missus, not as 75# of rice for us and 25# for the unprepared masses. A 25% ‘tax’ on what I buy and store is, again, the .gov’s answer to things…not mine. If we have 12 months of food and are trying to make it through a disaster of indefinite length what could possibly compel me to shorten our potential 12-month lifeline when , for all we know, the crisis may go 14-, 16- or 18-months? Imagine being on a plane that is spiraling to the ground…maybe the pilot will regain control before it crashes..maybe not. You have a parachute for every member of your family. Do you give away a couple of your kid’s parachutes to someone else and figure ‘well, maybe we won’t crash and we wont need them’? Of course not.

To expect a person, in a time of crisis, to act in a manner that is counter to their own survival seems pretty irrational. On the other hand, history and monuments testify to untold amounts of people who acted in a manner contrary to their own survival for the sake of others. We call these people ‘heroes’. It is worth noting, however, that all these people did their heroic acts of their own volition. They willingly accepted the responsibility to act, against their own interests and in the interest of another, and the consequences.

My long-winded and evasive point is that although the world is a better place for the actions of those who do feel they have a responsibility to others, I don’t share that responsibility and I don’t think theres anything wrong with that. Im sure somone will say “You’re a sociopath” but thats not really the case. Some might say that I’m being amoral (not immoral). Again, no. I simply think that asking me to cut my own throat to save a stranger isn’t terribly reasonable.

Some might say “What if it were you who needed help? Wouldn’t you want people to help you?”. Sure. But, first of all, the reason I go through the expense and effort of being prepared is so that Im not that person. Secondly, should something take place where Im in that position of vulnerability, while I would hope someone would be charitable I wouldnt expect (or demand) that someone put their own safety in jeopardy by giving me a handout….much akin to the same way Im not adverse to giving a handout if I can safely afford it.

I’m not against charity. I think the world is a better place for the charity of other people. I simply don’t feel that being so charitable to the point that you risk your own safety is a good idea. I don’t feel that I should have a responsibility forced on me by others. And, finally, I don’t think that not feeling a personal responsibility to feed every person who asks for it is wrong.  I’ll be charitable, sure..but when I want to, as much as I want to, to whomever I want. And I really think there’s nothing wrong with that.


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

Every so often I feel compelled to mention that, hey, Im not an expert. Im not an authority. Im not even an ‘informed source’. I’m just a guy who has an interest in preparedness, some space on the internet, and a desire to explore and discuss related topics. What works for me may not work for you…actually, it may not even be working for me. But, I’ll tell you about it and you can work it around in your own mind and maybe we’ll both be better for the experience.

For the last few weeks I’ve been re-reading “Alas Babylon”. By ‘re-read’ I mean that when I go to bed I’ll pick up the book, open it up to an arbitrary page, and start reading for a little while until I feel its time to doze. For some reason I never get tired of that book. Not sure why. I’ve read a lot of survivalist fiction…huge amounts… and some was better, many were just as good, and a large amount were worse. But I find “Alas Babylon” to be one of the best.

When I was a kid I devoured Ahern’s ‘Survivalist’ series. Talk about fiction…the ultimate ubermensch (a renaissance man in the Buckaroo Banzai style – CIA agent, medical doctor, survival expert, martial arts expert, etc, etc.) living in the ultimate survival bunker with the staunchly loyal sidekick and hopelessly infatuated exotic hottie love interest. Throw in some sci-fi (which they did later), lotsa meticulously detailed gunplay, tongue-in-cheek nods at social and political commentary and you have a recipe for formulaic pulp that established the benchmark for the genre. A friend of mine bought the entire series off eBay and I sometimes re-read them. I am amazed Ahern got as many years out of that series as he did. A sidenote is that his relentless worship of the Detonics pistol eventually culminated in him running the company in Victor Kiam fashion (“I liked it so much, I bought the company!”). Unfortunately even Ahern’s fervor and zeal didn’t save Detonics from becoming the Charter Arms of the 1911 world.

About the same time we had another end-of-the-world pulp series. “The Guardians” was a series about a small secret government military squad whose sole job was to piece together the missing government plan to rebuild the US after the nuclear war. Naturally the heroes each had distinctive traits and qualities, traveled randomly around the US in their pursuit and left trails of bodies wherever they went. The series eventually wound up being ghostwritten towards the end and it ended on a whimper.

Speaking of tremendous failures, when the mind-numbingly repetitive ‘Ashes’ series finally put out the last book it was probably the lamest, worst , most uninspired way to kill off a protagonist in the history of the genre. He simply…caught an alien space virus and died. Just. Like. That. Johnstone’s series was unique in the genre for actually having started a political/social movement. For a few years there were very vocal ‘Tri-States’ supporters on various forums. I personally found them comedic, although sincere in their desire for the political system espoused in the series.

Slightly less inspiring but equally formulaic was Axlers “Deathlands” series. The premise was interesting (secret .gov teleportation facilities left over after a nuclear holocaust allow those who know how to work the system to roam the wastes of the country seeking old stockpiles of arms and supplies) with the occasional lurid sex scene thrown in. Again, very formulaic but still entertaining. Less relation to ‘real life’ than any of the previously mentioned series.

For non-series books theres always Lucifers Hammer (comet scenario), Footfall (invasion from space scenario), Invasion (Chinese invade US scenario…I liked this one), Patriots (economic collapse/UN takeover scenario), The Postman (general collapse scenario..some odd messages in the book), Pulling Through (novel w/ nuclear war survival skills), Warday (aftermath of limited nuclear exchange) , Wolf & Iron (unspecified collapse, heavyhanded pro-wolf theme), and one of my recent favorites, Island in The Sea of Time (temporal displacement scenario).

Out of all these, I still like “Alas Babylon” most. Probably because the author’s goal was different than that of any of the other authors mentioned. His intent wasn’t to sell books, disparage gun control, warn of global conspiracies, or promote a self-developed political system. From what I’ve read of ‘Pat Frank’ (his real name escapes me at the moment) his goal was to show that nuclear war was not unsurvivable and that people should agitate for a strong civil defense program.

So, if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend picking up a copy. It is quite obviously dated with its ‘atomic war’ and ‘hydrogen bomb’ references as well as some racial stereotypes of the era, but still a very good read in my opinion. I was about to say that its ripe for being made into a movie but it occurs to me that the television series “Jericho” paralleled it quite a bit. In fact, I recall referring to ‘Jericho’ as ‘Alas Babylon: The Series’.

For sheer, unparalleled over-the-top fun reading I recommend Aherns ‘The Survivalist’ series. It has a cheesey 1980’s feel to it and it’s just out and out fun to read even though you’ll roll your eyes everytime the hero escapes overwhelming odds thanks to some deus ex machina or other contrivance. An excellent drinking game could be constructed from the series using terms like “Metalifed”, “twin Detonics” and “musette bag”.

Here’s a very incomplete list of survivalist fiction titles that I picked up off a board somewhere. I can’t vouch if any of them are any good, but theyre a good place to start:

Abbey, Edward – Black Sun

Ahern, Jerry & Sharon Ahern – The Freeman

Aikman, David – When the Almond Tree Blossoms

Anvil, Christopher – The Steel, The Mist, and the Blazing Sun

Barjavel, Rene – Ashes, Ashes

Baron, Robert – Storm Rider (series)

Bell, Art & Whitley Streiber – The Coming Global Superstorm

Benford, Gregory & Martin Greenberg – Nuclear War (short stories)

Berman, Mitch – Time Capsule

Block, Thomas H. – Airship Nine

Blumenfeld, Yorick – Jenny, My Diary

Bosse, Malcolm – Mister Touch

Brunner, John – The Day of the Star Cities

Brunner, John – The Sheep Look Up

Budrys, Algis – Some Will Not Die

Burton, Levar – Aftermath

Cameron, J.D. – Omega Sub (series)

Camus, Albert – The Plague

Christopher, John – The Long Winter

Christopher, John – No Blade of Grass

Cook, Robin – Outbreak

Coppel, Alfred – Dark December

Dale, Floyd R. – A Hunter’s Fire

Defoe, Daniel – Robinson Cruesoe

Dickson, Gordon R. – In Iron Years

Drake, David & Billie Sue Mosiman – Armageddon (short stories)

DuBois, Brendan – Resurrection day

Fleishman, Paul – Path of the Pale Horse

Gilbert, Elizabeth – The Last American Man

Gleason, Robert – Wrath of God

Graham, David – Down to a Sunless Sea

Graham, David – Survival Margin

Greenberg, Martin & Gregory Benford – Nuclear War (short stories)

Guha, Anton-Andreas – Ende

Hagberg, David – Heartland

Harry, Eric L. – Arc Light

Hegland, Jean – Into the Forest

Heine, William C. – Death Wind

Heinlein, Robert A. – Sixth Column

Herbert, James – Domain

Herbert, James – 48

Hernon, Peter – 8.4

Hill, Russell -Cold Creek Cash Store

Hodge, Brian – Dark Advent

Johnson, K.S. – The Omega Plan

Johnstone, William J. – Breakdown

Kornbluth, C.M. – Not This August

Kunetka, James & Whiley Streiber – Nature’s End

L’Amour, Louis – Last of the Breed

Lange, Oliver – Defiance (also published as Vandenberg)

Malcolm, Donald – The Iron Rain

Mann, Ed – First Angel

Masterson, Graham – Famine

McCammon, Robert R. – Swan Song

McPhee, James – Survival 2000 (series)

Merle, Robert – Maleveil

Miklowitz, Gloria D. – After the Bomb (series)

Mills, James – One Just Man

Morrow, James – This is the Way the World Ends

Mosiman, Sue Billie & David Drake – Armageddon (short stories)

Murphy, Pat – The City, Not Long After

Nahmlos, John – Survivors

O’brien, Robert C. – Z for Zachariah

Osier, John – Rankin: Enemy of the State

Palmer, David R. – Emergence

Phipson, Joan – When the City Stopped

Pouns, Brauna, E. – Amerika

Rand, Ayn – Atlas Shrugged

Randall, Marta – Those Who Favor Fire

Reisig, Michael – The New Madrid Run

Rhinehart, Luke – Long Voyage Back

Robinson, Kim Stanley – The Wild Shore

Roshwald, Mordecai – Level 7

Sheffield, Charles – Aftermath

Siegel, Barbara & Scott – Firebrats (series)

Simmons, Geoffrey – Pandemic

Stirling, S.M. Island in the Sea of Time

Streiber, Whitley & Art Bell – The Coming Global Superstorm

Streiber, Whitley & James Kunetka – Nature’s End

Sutton, Henry – Vector

Terman, Douglas – Free Flight

Tucker, Wilson – Long Loud Silence

Turtledove, Harry – American Empire

Warner, Douglas – Death on a Warm Wind

Wilhelm, Kate – Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang

Williams, Walter J. – The Rift

Winslow, Pauline Glen – I, Martha Adams

Wollheim, Donald A. The End of the World (short stories)

Wren, M.K. – A Gift Upon the Shore

Wylie, Philip – Tomorrow!

Wyndam, John – The Day of the Triffids

Wyndham, John – The Kraken Awakes

Most of these books can be found on eBay or possibly in your local used book store. Have fun.

Winter stuff

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

Too much gun talk here lately. Sure its fun, sure its sexy, but theres so much more to life and being prepared than that…..

Winter approaches and things are starting to get chilly. Montana has four distinct seasons, but that distinction is, well, distinct. Summer doesn’t gradually become Fall, and Fall does not gently slide into Winter. Every three months or so, someone in Helena heads to the basement of the State Capital building, flips a switch, and temperatures across Montana change by 25 degrees. It happens that abruptly.

My particular region of Montana is called the Banana Belt because its actually very temperate in this area. When its -6 in Billings, 0 in Great Falls or -1 in Butte it’ll be a balmy +15 here. Snowfall is very mild. However, that’s no reason to be complacent about things.

In the event of power disruption we’ve got to have options for staying warm when it’s a howling 0 degrees outside. My first choice for localized heating is the trusty kerosene heater. The fuel is safe to store, readily available, and can be used in my lamps and stoves. Very handy. A few years ago I upgraded to a newer kerosene heater and relegated the second to backup usage or use as a loaner. Both heaters, by the way have spare wicks…a good thing to have. Additional gear includes a small siphon, fuel funnel, instruction manuals and most importantly a couple of quality fire extinguishers and a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide poisoning is nothing to take chances with.

I normally keep the thermostat pretty low in the winter since Im cheap and I operate best at cool temperatures. However I do understand that extreme cold and water pipes do not mix. The backup heater is an excellent way to keep a vulnerable basement above freezing. I’ve had pipes freeze in the past and although I was lucky enough to dodge any of them bursting, it was a near thing and I don’t recommend the experience.

Propane heaters are another option and since Im all about options I also have one of those small ‘buddy’ heaters that runs on 1# bottles of propane. Theyre good for heating a small room and they seem to work quite well. Some people prefer to store propane for the convenience and I do agree its a lot easier to handle than juggling a 5-gallon drum of kerosene and a funnel. Even with propane its still a must that precautions be taken – fire extinguishers and CO detectors for everyone.

For personal gear, I like down but it has a couple drawbacks. First is that it aint cheap. Second is that many of the garments are a bit delicate with thin nylon shells that will tear like tissue paper under any real stress. While it insulates quite nicely, it loses that value if it gets wet. I do love that it compacts easily for stuffing into a backpack and that it does a great job of keeping a person warm…but sometimes that’s not enough. Wool is great stuff and theres tons of cheap military surplus available in wool so that you could get some very nice gear for very little money. The surplus catalogs almost always have German, Swiss, Swedish and Austrian surplus clothing that is made of wool. It can be heavy, it can itch but it really is an excellent material for staying warm. I have a Filson vest that is great and I hope to someday get their impressive Double Mackinaw Cruiser coat. Big bucks, though…but it’ll last a lifetime. Some of the synthetics like polypro get a big thumbs up from me. A pair of polypro long underwear and a pair of wool pants over it will make you impervious to pretty much anything except Antarctic temperatures. Lately I’ve been playing with polarfleece-type jackets worn under a windproof outer layer. This seems to be an excellent compromise for warmth versus mobility and versatility.

For hands, I prefer mittens instead of gloves although many times I’ll wear both. The military system of a three-fingered wool mitten inside a heavy outer mitten shell works quite well and is very affordable. I have a pair of Outdoor Research mitten shells that are one of the best products Ive found. The overmitts are a waterproof nylon shell, with reinforced palms and other stress/work points, with long gauntlets, cinches to keep out snow, and loops for a keeper cord. They are my first choice for when Im out stomping around in the snow. They make almost any pair of mittens or gloves warmer and drier. An excellent product. Although they make you look like a five-year-old at recess, those absurd keeper cords are vital. If your tromping through the boonies and take off your gloves to fish a compass out of your bag, punch buttons on your GPS or anything else you really don’t want to either lose your gloves or have them drop to the ground and get filled with snow. Putting on gloves that have snow in them is a major drag. Use the dummy cords. And its not a bad idea to carry a spare pair of gloves.

Another product I can recommend with absolutely no reservation is the polypro neck gaiter sold by Brigade Quartermaster. I bought my first one over twenty years ago. Since then other companies have started making them but I find the original one from BQ to be the best. Its thick, long enough to have extra material for other uses, affordable, and available in the usual subdued colors. It can be worn as a neck warmer, hood, hat, mask, etc… I have such high regard for these that I keep several in storage and guard them jealously. You really should spend ten bucks and get one, I think you’ll be very glad you did.

For hats, I like the nylon ‘watchcap’ type of hat. A few years ago I was wandering through WalMart and found one that was about three times the thickness of the average military cap, came in subdued colors, was around $4 ea, and was, amazingly, made in America. I think I bought six of them. They’ve been excellent in their assigned role. If you don’t mind looking like Elmer Fudd those quaint wool/fleece caps with the goofy earflaps are actually pretty good too. If, like me, you just want to sometimes mess with peoples minds, theres always the thermally inefficient but aesthetically outrageous Jayne hat. Pretty cunning, dontcha think?

If you’re feet are dry and warm, the world seems a whole lot nicer. A terrific product is Goretex socks. Wear these over a pair of good wool socks and you could wear sneakers in a stream and still feel warm and dry. I usually go with a cotton sock, then a wool sock. If things are really ugly I’ll go with the cotton/wool/goretex layering but the boots have to be laced loosely for it to work. A good pair of high-quality insulated boots will easily cost a couple hundred bucks. Its worth it for the comfort and warmth/dryness. I used to wear Danner’s but now the majority of them are made overseas and the ones that are still made in the US aren’t the style I want.

Of course, all this is academic becuase we’re all gonna be living in the desert ’cause of global warming, y’know. Al Gore said so….

Acquisitions today

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

Well, I hadnt planned on spending money or adding to my stockpiles today but….

My local gun shop has an Uzi B model for sale. Way too much but I stopped by figuring Id ask if they’d move on it. Nope. Staying firm at the exorbitant price (it only comes with one magazine, fer crying out loud!). However, while I was there I noticed a stack of familiar shaped magazines in the display case.

Me: How much are the 40-rd AK mags?

Them: Hmm..Make you a deal if you take all of them?

Me: Oh geez..okay, let’s hear it.

Them: $100 for all ten.

Me: :::sighs in defeat::: Bag ‘em up.

Well, c’mon..for ten bucks a mag wouldnt you have cleaned ‘em out too???

Then it was an impromptu trip to the Mormon cannery. Exercised a modicum of self control and only came back with a dozen #10 cans of food product. Other people, however, showed no such restraint and several people left with a dozen cases of food..which naturally puts me into the “Hmmm…what do they know that I dont” mindset.

Then finally it was a call to Stag Arms to order an AR-15 for a customer. Fifteen to twenty weeks. Some of their wholesalers may get some sooner and I was told I may wanna order from them. One more note of interest with Stag – they no longer sell AR receivers with a letter saying the receiver was never used on a rifle and can therefore be built as a pistol. “Too much paperwork” I was told. Hmmmm.

Article – Time to bury your money?

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

An article about how in this time of economic uncertainty some people are burying their money. If they’re smart, that isn’t the only thing they’ll bury.

The day the Dow fell 777 points, David Latham, a 45-year-old Alabama cattle farmer and electrician, was busy doing errands. Driving his Chevy pickup into Montgomery, he dropped by the hardware store, then stopped into the bank, where he withdrew $8,000 from his CD account, all in 20s. Back home, he slipped the four inch-thick bundles into a Ziploc bag, popped them into a waterproof PVC tube and set out for a remote location on his 300-acre property, where he dug a deep hole with a post digger. And then he buried his money.

Papered vs. unpapered

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

Under the principle of “Know your enemy as you know yourself….” I try to listen to leftist talk radio from time to time. For the last couple days the topic of gun control has been coming up. I fully suspect this is for a couple reasons…first, the lefties are realizing that ‘the gun issue’ may hurt them and they want to defuse the issue as quickly as possible before it gains momentum. Additionally, the Carter II Obama administration hasn’t been secret about its stance on gun control (although it did try to ‘memory hole’ it with their convenient ‘retooling’ of their website) and may want people to think that theres nothing wrong with ‘sensible’, ‘common sense’ prohibitions….soften up the masses and get ‘em receptive for the next putsch push.

I was only able to get about sixty seconds of listening to the idiot on Air America before I had to turn it off…my vision was going red around the edges and I was driving. But the question the host whined plaintively was ‘whats wrong with licensing guns?’. Sigh.

Lets ignore that there’s no right, as far as I know, in the Constitution that requires .gov pre-approval to exercise. Lets get to the heart of the matter – confiscation is the natural consequence of registration and licensing schemes.

Many years ago I lived in Brooklyn NY. When I turned 18 I got my shotgun/rifle license. I bought a buncha stuff…AK’s, AR’s, even an HK93 for $600 (Ah, those were the days), and that sort of thing. A year later I moved to Montana and never looked back. However, I never updated the ‘Firearms Control Bureau’ with my new address. A couple years go by and Im forwarded a piece of mail from the wastes of life at the FCB. The letter said, succinctly, ‘…you own a bunch of assault weapons and they are now illegal in the city limits. Turn them in to us or get them out of the city. Your choice.’ (It was actually worded in the usual bureaucratic legalese but you get the idea.) Now, I was living in Montana…as far as I was concerned the FCB could come out to Montana and get the damn things if they had the balls. So..I got a marker and wrote across the top of their letter “You want ‘em, come and get ‘em”. (Yes, that’s right…I was ‘Molon Labe’ before Molon Labe was cool) Threw it in an envelope and sent it off. Time marches on. A few months later a family member still living in NY calls me. “Hey, remember the house we used to live in? Well, the cops showed up there the other day looking for you and your guns.”

Imagine that. Now how did those guys know what I had and where I lived? Oh, wait, that’s right….those guns were duly licensed and registered.

So lets talk about ‘papered’ and ‘unpapered’ guns. A papered gun is a gun where you went into a gun store and filled out a ‘yellow sheet’ (ATFE form 4473) and gave all your personal info and submitted to the background check. An unpapered gun is one that you bought from a guy at work for $150 with no paper trail whatsoever that leads to you.

Is the ATFE 4473 a de-facto registration? Yes and no. Those 4473’s aren’t submitted to ATFE unless the dealer goes out of business. After twenty years the dealer may dispose of them. (That last rule may have changed but I don’t think so.) What that means is that ATFE and .gov only have that info on you if the dealer goes out of business or if the ATFE has a reason to come looking for you. Lets examine those two circumstances.

ATFE is prohibited from making a database of gun owners and what they own. This, of course, doesn’t stop them from doing it under other guises. The method they use now is to take a dealers records (because dealers must send all that to ATFE when they close up shop) and create a database of that info. So, if your dealer stays in business for 20 years and then destroys the paperwork theres effectively no paper trail.

Until the dealer goes out of business the dealer sits on those records. He doesn’t send them off to ATFE once a year or anything. If ATFE wanted to find out what guns you own they’d have to canvas every dealer near you and ask to look through their books and try to find your name. A time consuming process. Could they call NICS, ask if your name came through on an instant check lately and from what dealer to help narrow down their search? ATFE would probably say no but lets live in the real world…yes they could.

There is also the chance that a future administration (like the Carter II administration) could simply say that dealers have to turn in the 4473’s every year or fax them in once a month for ‘random compliance checks’ or some other such nonsense.

So, if youre the kind of person who thinks that what guns you own (to say nothing of why you own them) is no one’s damn business but your own then you probably want to own guns that were purchased through ‘private transactions’. Some states make this illegal, some do not. If you live in a state where its illegal then you definitely don’t want to make these quiet private transactions among trusted friends and relatives…although the odds of getting in trouble for it are quite low, and that its simple to just give your uncle $400 and buy the old .357 he bought in 1975, and that as long as you don’t commit a holdup with that gun you’ll probably never come to the attention of the authorities, it would still be wrong. So don’t do it. And although its tempting and the risk is very low, definitely don’t drive over to a state where its legal, purchase guns through a private sale and then return to your home state with them….that’d be very illegal.

If, however, you live in a state where theres no prohibition on these types of transactions, then its certainly an attractive way to fill the gun cabinet without bringing yourself to the attention of Big .Gov.

Is this sort of thinking paranoid? Not at all because I’ve been there. I followed the rules, registered my guns, never committed a violent act with them and they still sent armed men to what they thought was my house to take them away. So this notion that fears of confiscation are somehow the machinations of a right-wing paranoid delusion can be readily disproved with documented incidents.

Its happened in California only a few years ago…the government there pulled a fast one and said that certain ‘assault weapons’ would be grandfathered if you registered them..folks registered them and then once that was done the .gov changed their minds and now, conveniently, had a list of who had what and where it was. Pretty slick, that.

Here in the great state of Montana, despite having a Democrat governor with some leftist leanings, we enjoy the unregulated private sales of firearms, no state bans on any type of firearms, a decent concealed weapons law, no licensing requirements (except on the Fed level for Class III and that sort of thing), and yet we have very little gun violence. No drive-by shootings, very few stickups, home invasions are rare and newsworthy occurrences, and the public display of firearms seldom raises a red flag. Life is good here for us gunnies.

Is it worth a few extra bucks to purchase a firearm without a paper trail? In my opinion, yes. In that case Im not paying extra for the gun, Im paying extra for the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the only person who knows what is sitting in my gun safe is me.

The red pill of preparedness

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

Theres a saying that “When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”. As of late, my hammer is the desire to not be an unfortunate victim of the times and every problem looks like a disaster in the making.

In short, I think all the doom and gloom swirling about has gotten me into a little funk. Obviously Im still disheartened about how the elections turned out. I read the various news wires about economic failures, unemployment, bank failures, food prices, stock market woes, etc, etc. Couple that with a few real-life incidents of friends and family suddenly finding themselves in economically dangerous waters because of ever-changing circumstances and you’ve got a recipe for feeling pretty darn bleak.

The solution? Well, information and reason go a long way towards relieving fear and uncertainty. I can sit here and know that I have enough fuel, food, guns, ammo and equipment that if the world ended tomorrow, I’d be your king.

But still, on an intellectual level I know we’re okay and that we’d come through prety much anything with flying colors. But at the same time I still get a visceral reaction to the news that makes me wanna run to WalMart and fill grocery carts and gas cans. Maybe thats the problem with being into preparedness – you become so acutely aware of the threats and dangers around you that you can never go back to having a nice, complacent everyday life where ‘planning for the future’ means nothing more than dropping money into your 401(k). But once you take the red pill theres no going back, I suppose.

I think preparedness is like that red/blue pill scene from the movie. You take the blue pill and you keep doing what everyone else does, you never worry about violence or hunger or the myriad of curve balls life can throw at your head. You take the red pill and you look at camping equipment with an eye towards subdued colors, a car’s top speed and styling take a backseat to its ability to traverse crumbled trails and clogged roads, a trip to the supermarket becomes an adventure in shelf life and serving size, being careful about what you say about what you own becomes second nature, etc, etc.

I can see where, when your interest is staying on top of the news of potential Very bad Things, a person could wind up feeling a bit overwhelmed at times but I think I’d rather have those infrequent bouts of sober reflection than to be hungry, cold, helpless and homeless.

I trek to the bunker, turn on the lights, and view the Great Stash O’ Food, the floor-to-ceiling cases of ammo, the stacks of fuel drums, the blue barrels of wheat, corn and rice, the stacks of batteries, the sleeping bags, the blankets, the flashlights, the radios, the water purification, the barrels of clean water and then I feel that maybe I dont have a thing to be worried about.

Given the choice of the blue pill or the red pill, and knowing that sometimes being aware of the fragility of the status quo can be a little disconcerting, I think I’m glad I went with the red pill. Sometimes it may seem a little intimidating, and sometimes I may feel a little out of sorts because of current events, but at the end of the day I can feel safe and secure which makes up for all the other stuff, I think.