Kalispell gun show

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

Kalispell gun show was today. A little different than the normal local shows I usually go to. Battle packs of .308 were around $95 a pack of 140.  AR’s were present but in reduced number. Mostly off-brands. I saw more FAL’s than I have seen in a long time. Lotsa guns built from parts kits..all hovering in the $1600 range. Very few Glocks. Couple of Uzi’s. AR mags were around $20-25. Saw a few 9mm Calico’s which I havent seen in a long time. Here’s something that you dont see every day:

Go ahead, click. Its a Ruger .44 auto made into a bullpup. How bizarre!

Also saw a paperless Barrett M82A1 w/ Swarovski scope, 5 mags and a hundred rounds of ammo for $10k…but no paperwork. Thats got some attraction, eh?

The vendors told me that the show was packed and that sales were brisk…I believe it. I picked up a few things for myself, crossed ‘em off my list and started thinking about how I was going to pay for whatever I bought.

All in all, a better show than many of the ones Ive been to lately.

Furnace failure, Glock part arrival, dentistry

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

Interesting last couple of days…

Was woken up a little before 6am the other day to the sound of my furnace blower motor eating itself. Apparently one of the pulleys that drives the squirelcage blower fractured and threw the whole mess off balance. Keep in mind it was -2 outside and this meant no heat until about 9am when stores opened. House dipped to about 49 before I finally said screw it and broke out the auxillary heat. One kerosene heater later and we were back up to about 57 which is on 6 degrees off from where I usually keep the thermostat anyway. So, got the furnace blower taken care of and all was back to normal. However, it was nice to have the kerosene heater and an ample supply of kerosene on hand to keep the pipes from freezing.


Then my Glock parts showed up today. Im pushing very had for as complete and plentiful a spare parts kit as I can make it. I.m going for a half dozen of the parts that arent prone to breakage and a dozen of the parts that have something of a history of breakage. Today the recoil assemblies (G17 and G19) arrived along with firing pin springs, magazine catches, trigger springs, connectors, etc. About $120 of parts. I need to place one more order and then I’ll be done with the spare parts aspect of the Glocks.


And in other bright spots, I had my freakin’ wisdom teeth out today. Not as bad as it could have been, Im sure. But its still a major drag. In his book, Tappan recommends getting your wisdom teeth out preemptively so that sometday youre not sitting around a campfire with an xacto knife, a pair of vise grips and a bottle of Jim Beam practicing DIY dentistry. I am not that hardcore…I had them out because I was having some other dental work done and as long as theyre rooting around in there with a hammer and chisel I may as well get it all done at once.

All in all, just a few days of annoyances. Im hoping to get out this week and take the new G17 for a spin, play with the PTR-91 with the .22 kit, update a few inventory spreadsheets, order more Glock parts, play with some new products I plan on evaluating and generally doing stuff that I enjoy. We’ll see how that goes.

JMBDay, Glock parts II

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

First off, happy birthday to John M. Browning. Easily this countries most prolific firearms genius.


Couple people have asked me about what spares Im getting for the Glock (or GLOCK if you prefer, which I don’t.)

First off, I try to err on the side of caution. I have had 100 year old guns that never skipped a beat and still had their all original parts. I’ve also had some stuff that was made in the last twenty years that came apart like a Whitewater alibi. Some parts or more prone to breakage than others. Some parts are more prone to getting lost than others. I try to keep all this in mind.

I haven’t broken anything on my Glock yet but, interestingly, the missus has. The trigger springs seem to be the most common thing to break when a part decides to go south. The gun will still function, you’ll just have to push the trigger forward with your finger to reset it for the next shot. I hear that if you swap out the standard coil spring for one of the heavy “NY trigger” units you’ll never have a problem since the NY units are nigh indestructible. She has also managed to break a recoil spring assembly. Again, gun continues to function, just makes disassembly a bit trickier since the spring is no longer captive. Gun Breaking Juju is one reason I try not to let her shoot my stuff and insist she have her own. She even managed to break the magazine release on her Kimber 1911. Right in half. But I digress….

I order all my Glock stuff from the folks at Lone Wolf Distributing. If its gotta do with a Glock, these guys have it. OEM and aftermarket parts, as well as some very cool accessories. Theyre in Idaho so you know they take the whole gun thing seriously. I also recommend The Complete Glock Reference Guide as the best resource Ive found so far. Tells you everything you need to know about your Glock and has very valuable info like parts interchangeability between models and lists of what parts are or are not common to all pistols. Its a tremendous aid in deciding what parts to keep on hand. I cannot overemphasize how valuable this book is if you plan on riding out Ragnarok with your Glock. Detailed disassembly directions, parts diagrams, part interchangeability charts, a very interesting torture test section (they shot it out of a cannon…try that with your 1911), serial data, technical data, tool recommendations, troubleshooting guide, inspection guidelines, etc, etc. Seriously…get the book, I promise you won’t regret it.

At the moment, Im trying to keep at least a half dozen of each part that I feel we need. We have enough Glocks that if we were not able to get any more tomorrow we’d need at least a half dozen copies of a part to last indefinitely across our stable of Glocks.

Parts currently inventoried include: Firing Pin Springs, Trigger Springs, Magazine Catch Springs, Depressor Plunger Spring…hell, every spring thats in the gun really. Channel Liners, safety plungers, slide lock springs, recoil spring assy., connectors, trigger housing with ejector, etc, etc. Most of these parts are less than $5 ea. All parts are stored in small ziptop plastic bags with their name, part # and quantity clearly written on them. The whole pile is then stored in a Pelican case with a couple xerox sheets of parts diagrams, part lists, and that sort of thing.

Basically, other than a frame, slide, barrel and extractor, all the other parts cheap and easy to stockpile affordably. I wont pick up a half dozen extra slides or barrels but I may get two extra barrels (threaded and with cut rifling).

While I love my P35 and my Smith & Wessons, no gun is easier to maintain and keep running than the Glock. If theres anything on it that can’t be replaced by simply ‘dropping in’ the correct part with no fitting whatsoever..well, I dont know what it would be. Sure, it has absolutely no personality, charm or soul. Compare a Bic lighter to a Zippo, or a Bic pen to a Waterman….one has character, history, charm and personality…a soul. The other has nothing except raw utility value and uncommon reliability and convenience. I have some beautiful HiPowers that I love to shoot…but I would never dream of letting one sit wet in a holster for a few days, drop it on a concrete floor to test its resistance to damage, or let it bang around in a backpack full of assorted gear. The Glock, however, like the Bic pen or lighter, gets the rough treatment without a second thought from me about ‘collector value’, ‘old world bluing’, ‘case colors’ or ’smooth walnut’. Its a tool in the most literal sense.

Anyway, they are the AK47 of the handgun world. Hate ‘em if you want, but have one anyway.

Parts, alt power

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

The addition of another Glock to the stable means that the aggregate number of magazines takes a hit as well as the guns-to-parts ratio. Both need to be addressed as soon as possible.

For me, magazines work on a magazines:gun ratio. If I have three guns and 24 magazines, I see that as an 8:1 ratio. I really, really prefer a higher ratio than that. Something along the lines of 20:1. Someone will, naturally, say that they have five 1911’s and have thirty magazines and that’s plenty. Hey man, whatever works for you. When I buy magazines with an eye towards the future I think of it in terms of how many I may need to last me the rest of my life. Thirty years with no chance of resupply? Quite possible. So, theres no such thing as too much. If the old Assault Weapon ban becomes permanent then that collection of 33-rd G18 mags I have is gonna have to last me the next thirty years…and in a circumstance like that how many is too many?

When it comes to spare parts there is a school of thought that says the best spare parts collection is to have an entire extra gun. This has some merit but it’s a bad (I want to say ‘foolish’) assumption. Here’s why: you have a CZ-52 that you keep in the truck. You have an extra one you keep as a spare parts kit. At the moment you have two handguns. Firing bin breaks, as they do, on your CZ-52 so you take the one out of your other gun and now you have one gun and one pile of parts. That firing pin breaks (CZ52’s are notorious for this sort of thing…replace pin with an aftermarket one at your first opportunity) and now you have two parts kits and no guns. It would have made more sense to buy extras of the part that is known to be prone to breakage, then you have two usable pistols. For the want of a five dollar part you’ve turned a perfectly good handgun into a pile of parts. Buy the spare parts and but the extra handgun…even if you never use it as a parts gun its worth it on so many levels just to have as a ‘spare’.

Right now, our handgun focus is to lean towards the Glocks. (Or, as Glock insists on it, the GLOCKs…yes, all caps.) Specifically, 9mm Glocks. One of the things I love about the Glock is that the spare parts are cheap, cheap, cheap and, broadly, compatible across the entire platform in that caliber. That means that the firing pin for the 9mm full size will work in the 9mm compact and will work in the 9mm minigun. Same for many other important parts. Spare parts logistics is a freaking breeze. Its also highly affordable since the majority of small parts cost less than a few bucks. There are some high dollar parts like barrels and slides but I would bet you that you’ll go through a lot more springs, pins and small parts before you somehow break your barrel.

So…I need to come up with a new order for Lone Wolf and make a list of parts.


For the last couple of years I have been promising myself to set up a small emergency power supply for running emergency lighting and communications. And, true to form, every year I wind up getting distracted and the whole thing gets shoved even further on the back burner. Bad habit to get into. Especially since my needs are so damn simple – emergency lighting and operation of radio gear – since what I want to use runs on DC current anyway I wont have to deal with an inverter and the subsequent power loss. LED lighting is low-draw stuff so there shouldn’t be a problem with battery capacity there. Radio gear is 80% listening and that uses less power than transmitting. To my way of thinking, one large solar panel, a couple batteries and maybe a charge controller should do the trick. I just need to research it and find exactly the right size for what I want to do. What really clinches this deal is that from where I sit I can look out my window and across the street is a Baterries Plus that sells all the batteries I would need and around the corner from where I am right now is an alternative energy store that would sell panels, controllers and everything else. So, yeah, really, no excuse.

G17, garden, legislation speculation

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

Day Two of the Carter II administration. I observed the day in the only way that seemed like a reasonable response – I picked up another Glock 17 with night sights, box and a couple spare magazines. Not ‘high capacity’ magazines, mind you….no, these are ‘normal capacity’ 17-rd mags.


Things continue apace for us here. A little ammo here and there, a case of food, some more freeze drieds, some silver in the safe, some cash stuffed into a safe place, a close eye on the debt and spending…. We won’t prosper in the upcoming economic adventure but I think we’ll fare better than many others will. The trick will be to stay focused, not get complacent and to be careful not to endanger our own well-being if we choose to help others.


Since spring is, in theory, ‘right around the corner’ its getting to be time to start some seeds indoors. I need to do a little online shopping and pick out some things. I’d like to make my own roasted red peppers this year so Im gonna need seeds for that. Tomatoes are a must, prefereably some Romas, I also need the usual assortment of herbs, a buncha different chiles, a salad mix blend, cucumbers and that sort of thing. Montana isn’t the best place to grow things that require long hot summers (since our nighttime temps can drop 30-40 degrees) but I’ve had good luck with the tomatoes and peppers. I’d love to grow okra but that aint gonna happen in this clime. Someday when we have a place out in the sticks Im going to have a nice greenhouse made out of glass block, but until then I’ll have to settle for what will grow in the yard. I have this fantasy about being able to grow everything I need to make and can my own salsa and spaghetti sauce…onions are a bit tricky but I think I can swing it. Garlic….not so sure about, gotta research it some.


Everyone is focusing on the guns aspect of upcoming legislation. This is understandable since it’s no secret that the Democrats would be happy to have my AR’s declared as ‘destructive devices’ and require them to be turned in or be legislated into oblivion. It is worth noting, however, that legislation of other things that matter to us in the realm of preparedness also need to be addressed. For example, a month or so ago the powers that be came down on the simple gasoline jerry can and as a result we’re going to be stuck with the crappy CARB-compliant models. Dealer shelves are already starting to run out of the ‘old style’ cans. My personal favorites are the ‘European’ style cans and those too are getting scarce. Other areas to keep an eye on would, in my opinion, be amateur radio as .gov looks at either increasing regulation or tightening up licensing requirements in the name of ‘Fatherland security’. Ditto for things like ‘disposable’ cell phones, anonymous emailers, some encryption, and anything else that lets you keep your privacy. I have no doubt that some banking rules will change, making it tougher to deal with ‘large’ quantities of cash. A national ID card is probably in the works. Licensing or hellacious taxing of gunpowder and bullets may be on the agenda. Cars manufactured with built-in ‘tamper proof’ ‘black boxes’? Sure. Easing of restrictions on things like wiretaps and vehicle tracking? Why not? Theres no shortage of ‘wish list’ items that politicians have been dreaming of for years.

:::sigh::: Not a great time to be someone who simply wants to be left alone to live as they see fit.

Food storage observations

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

When I was at the Mormon cannery yesterday the fella in charge asked me how my food storage was coming along. (I think this is the standard Mormon conversational ice-breaker…”Steve! Meet my friend Bill!” “Hi Bill. Nice to meet you. Hows the food storage?”) I thought about it a minute and said that between the freeze drieds, the MRE’s, the drums of wheat, rice and corn, and all the ‘normal’ food that’s in storage as well as in the cupboards we’d probably have about ten months to a years worth. More if we don’t mind some repetitive and boring meals.

So, really, the food storage part of the equation is pretty much squared. While its always nice to have more, I think we’re at the stage where we can add to it when its convenient for us, or when something is on sale, or when we discover something that fits our food storage needs very nicely. Focus can be shifted now.

What next? Interesting question. We’re good for food, pretty good on ammo, decent level of stored fuels,…I suppose the next step is to continue preparing for the economic rough times that are ahead. For us, that means getting a cash emergency fund, eliminating as much debt as possible, and making bloody sure the expenses are a good deal less than income. Might also be nice to stockpile some of the normal everyday items so that if things do get majorly ugly we can spend what meager financial resources we have on critical things (like mortgage and power) and not have to worry about buying laundry soap, paper towels and socks. Plus, given the significant price savings when buying in bulk, its just a good idea to have the frequent-use stuff stockpiled anyway.

How do you prepare for a recession or depression? I have no idea, really. But I can try to think it through. The consequences of a recession or depression are higher unemployment and lower personal spending. So, I want to be covered in case of job loss and if I make a living off other people being consumers I may want to develop a different income stream, or at least be prepared (minimal debt, etc) for that income stream to become a trickle. After all, if someone is worried about whether theyre going to have a job or not in a few weeks, theyre probably quite likely to curb their spending as much as they can.

Unemployment is my big concern. Not so much the unemployment of others, although that does have a place in my List O’ Things To Worry About, as much as I worry about us being unemployed. Fortunately, we have a pretty low mortgage (although any mortgage is too much when your income is slashed by 100%), close to no debt, and no car payments, student loan payments, credit card payments, or anything like that. If we can keep current on the mortgage we could ‘get by’ indefinitely. It wouldn’t be in grand style, but it would sure as heck beat living in a cardboard box.


Skipping the economy, which is pretty tough to ignore these days, North Korea announced that they’ve ‘weaponized’ a pile o’ uranium, Bird Flu is popping up in the usual places and, oddly, the .gov is warning of a collapse of the Mexican economy. (Sooo…they self-demote to a Fourth World country?) And, come to think of it, the transition of administrations would be a good time to try getting away with something. So it just ain’t the economy that we gotta worry about these days…the usual suspects are still out there.

Cannery trip, Stag AR @ six months, still have some Mountain House

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

Another trip to the Mormon cannery today. I think they prefer to be called ‘LDS’ rather than Mormon but Im not sure I see it as being a big deal and I really dont feel like having to answer the inevitable comments about “What does LDS stand for?”. Mormon cannery it is.

I went, basically, to just round off some odd numbers of items I had. Since a box holds six cans it made sense to round up to a number divisible by six so i could have complete cases in storage. Other than me and the fell I went with, only one other person showed up. On the other hand, the place was filled to the rafters with food. Apparently they are getting more shipments these days because their welfare program has been seeing unprecedented use.

Im not a terribly social critter, and I really dont have much use for human social groupings, but you have to admit: those Mormons take care of their own in some fine admirable style.

Anyway, it was a good trip, nice to hang around people who think similar thoughts about the state of affairs the world is in, and picked up a dozen more cans of wheat, sugar, and other goodies. All at very reasonable prices. If you have a cannery near you (or even if you have to drive a little bit) you should give ‘em a visit. Ask pretty much any Mormon for the info or visit their website: http://www.providentliving.org/location/map/0,12566,2026-1-4,00.html

If youre the type that can’t handle any religion other than your own, you’ll be pleased to know that, in my experience, they dont try to convert you or otherwise bring you into the fold. You can keep your Jesus and they’ll keep theirs. Talk about baseball instead.


I am told that Stag Arms is now six months out on AR orders. You didnt wait until after the election to get yours did you? I ordered a couple rifles for some customers back in November with the idea theyd be delivered around February. At the last minute I told the sales guy to add two more M4 carbines to the order. Figured I had till February to figure out a way to pay for them. Glad I did that…


Speaking of purchases, I still have several dozen cases of Mountain House cans and pouches for those who want to take some of the sting out of the upcoming economic donkey punch. While the rest of the world is eating soup made out of Fritos and salt packets you can be having pork chops, rice pilaf and beef stew. Thirty year shelf life…gets you through this depression and the next one.

Ruger LC….R?

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

A polymer revolver??????

I believe I speak on behalf of Elmer Keith, Skeeter Skelton, Bill Jordan and Ed McGivern when I say “WTF?!”

Apparently the engineering department at Ruger has been let off the leash since the old man died.

As the dogmatic and hidebound proclaimed guru once espoused about another type of handgun, its “an answer in search of a problem.”

I really do have to get my hands on one of these things and examine it. in typical Ruger fashion Im sure I’ll get one after the first or second factory recall.