Hunting

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

I went hunting on a heavily-armed nature hike this morning.
As is always the case, I crept around for several hours and saw squat…and then as I’m casually ambling back to the truck, with no effort at being quiet or stealthy, naturally, thats when I see a deer. Actually, I saw the ass end of it bouncing away. Ah well, its only the first week.

Couple things….

First, a three-point sling is utterly fabulous for wandering around in the cold. I had the rifle slung across my chest at the ready but I had my hands in the pockets of my wool pants. No cold hands. Very nice. Recommend highly. (Yes, gloves would keep my hands warm too but its rather restful to not have to carry the rifle in hand all day.)

Secondly, once I found a comfortable spot to sit and lurk for a while it gets pretty darn cold quickly. (It was about 30-35 degrees.) Reached into my bag and decided this was a good time to try out the Woobie I got for my birthday. Worked as advertised. An expensive product from the guys at Kifaru but it did exactly what I wanted – kept me warm in the cold outdoors while taking up minimal space in my bag.

The Woobie got me thinking about a throw/comforter the missus has. Its a fleece-type quilted blanket that has snaps and a zipper so you can, essentially, turn it into a sleeved coat/robe. However, if you dont use the snap/zippers it is simply a normal flat rectangular blanket-type textile. What would be nice is if I could take a poncho liner like the Woobie, add the zipper and the snaps, and make the same thing but more suited for outdoor use. It would be ideal for this sort of hunting. You could roll it up like a regular poncho liner and use it the same way, but if you were going to be sitting still and wanted optimal coverage while still having your hands free and not have the thing slide off your shoulders you would zip/snap it together and make a very nice warm cocoon for yourself. Its a simple design, any suitable material that can have a zipper and some snaps attached should work. I really need to investigate this.

All in all, although I didnt get a deer this trip it was fun, as always, to be outdoors with a gun and the wonderful Montana scenery.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

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

As I’m sure most of you remember, the heyday of preparedness was back in the late 70’s/early 80’s when it was referred to as ‘Survivalism’. It was about this time that guys like Ragnar Bensen, Duncan Long, Mel Tappan, Kurt Saxon and a few others made names for themselves with their books. I like re-reading some of these things because it’s always interesting to see how the mindset has changed since those Cold War days.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s the most obvious EOTWAWKI scenario was a nuclear exchange of some type. People stocked up against an imagined scenario of hiding from fallout, mass casualties and possibly invading Soviets. We look back now and snicker a little but that was the threat back in those days. Nuclear Armageddon wasn’t always the theme of the day. Some writers postulated we’d have a civil war or revolution following on the heels of the ‘counterculture’ activities of the late 60’s and early 70’s. This was such a strong sentiment in some quarters that groups formed specifically to combat this anticipated threat. (The Minutemen, for example.) People predicted race wars, Communist revolution, etc, etc, but the idea of a nuclear war was the meat-n-potatoes of the survivalist movement back in those days.

The changes since then have been noticeable. The distrust of the Communist governments has shifted to our own government, the notion of city-busting nuclear missles has given way the the notion of city-contaminating ‘dirty’ suitcase-nukes, waves of ‘Red Dawn’-style invading paratroops have been replaced by small cells of fanatical terrorists, etc, etc. The window dressing and players have changed but the stakes are still the same.

However, some things don’t change.

I was rereading one of Duncan Long’s lesser known texts the other day and came across this:

Dinosaurs, so the paleontologists tell us (at least they told us when I was in school), died out because they couldn’t change when their environment changed. Well maybe so, maybe not. It does make a good point. Even though the dinosaurs did some marvelous things while thundering about the earth, they died off because they couldn’t adapt to new problems. They stuck to the good old tried and proved ways. People can be like that. Once they find a brilliant way of doing something they often refuse to change plans when things stop working right. Better to admit its no longer working and try something else. Be flexible and you and your shelter group will survive. Dinosaur and you’ll only be known for sticking to a job – foolishly.

Interesting, I made a post that pretty much said the same thing the other day. Apparently, there really isn’t anything new under the sun. The more things change the more they stay the same and all that.

I wonder what it’ll be like thirty years from now when people look back on the current ‘next generation’ of survivalism. There was the ‘Golden Era’ in the 70’s, the ‘Militia Movement’ in the 90’s, the Y2K reincarnation as ‘preparedness’, and the current post-9/11 interest that moved it further into the mainstream. Many of the things that survivalists in the 70’s dreamed about are realities now. (Affordable and efficient battery and solar technology, affordable night vision, incrased long-term food options, etc.) I like to think that thirty years from now the things we dream about now will be available and better than imagined.

I wonder what the big threat will be in the future. For decades we were sure that a nuclear exchange between superpowers would be the thing that brought about TEOTWAWKI and while it is still possible, its been bumped far, far down the list. Nowadays we worry about pandemics and terrorist nukes (and, if youre into that sort of thing, ‘Peak Oil’). What will the big fear be in thirty years? I can’t even begin to guess, but I suppose I’ll know when it happens.

Space. The final frontier.

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

Storage seems to be a recurring theme around the blogosphere this week. Nine times out of ten its something like “I live in a tiny apartment and I have no place to store food or anything else. Am I doomed?”

Yes. You are doomed.

You’re doomed because you’ve locked yourself into thinking that the amount of space available to you is insufficient to store what you need and therefore you are less likely to pursue being prepared. How much space do you need? Beats me, everyone has their own crazy ideas about just how much stuff they need to be prepared. However, I can guarantee you that you’ve got the space for it. People will chime in and say that you can utilize the space under the bed, the high shelves in closets, the crawlspace behind the wall, etc, etc. and those are all good ideas. But it seems like when people say they don’t have the space what they are really saying is “I don’t have any empty space that Im willing to use for this stuff” and that’s a big difference than “I have no space”.

Very few people have a hundred square feet of space that isn’t doing anything. So you make space. You decide whats more important – having a 3’x1.5’x6’ shelving rack holding enough food to get you by for three months or sitting a rocking chair that you never use but looks quaint and ‘ties the room together’ in that space.

Preparedness requires rethinking priorities. I have a bunch of different things I’d like to do with the space I have devoted to storing preps, but are any of them more important to me than having those preps? No. I’ll trade the footprint of a bookshelf full of books that we barely read for the footprint of a steel shelf full of freeze drieds. Books are important and I’ll find somewhere else to put them, but if it’s a real estate deal between dedicating square footage to insurance against the future or an end table that just sits there and never gets used….well, the end table loses.

“Easy for you to say, you don’t have to deal with my wife”. Hey, I’m married too. We have a deal that (usually) works pretty well. She gets this room, that room, this hallway, and the other room to do whatever she wants with. Furnish it, don’t furnish it, move furniture around in it…do whatever you want. I get this room, that room, and this part of the house to do whatever I want with and if it looks like an Iraqi arms bazaar or supermarket warehouse then that’s entirely my right. I call it ‘Man Country’. She can visit Man Country, conduct business in Man Country, import/export things from Man Country and even be a legal resident in Man Country but she gets no voice in the (literal) one-man-one-vote system that governs Man Country. But, when I leave Man Country I’m in No Man’s Land. And in No Man’s Land I’m the one who doesn’t get to rearrange the scenery. (There are some jointly held territories that sometimes see some border skirmishes, but all in all it’s a peaceful détente.)

So here’s the upshot – you do have the room you need, you’re just deciding that it’s more important to have an entertainment center, a bookshelf, a china cabinet, a dog bed or a loveseat in that space. The space is there, you’re just using it for something else. It isn’t that you don’t have the space, its that you don’t want a stack of buckets in the corner of your living room, or a collection of ammo cans in the hallway closet, or steel rack of #10 cans in the corner of the bedroom. And that’s perfectly cool, after all it is your home and your space.

If you genuinely believe in what youre doing, what it will afford you in security and peace of mind, and that it will make a difference in your safety and well being in times of crisis, then you need to decide if that’s more important than the closet in the guest bedroom, your ‘home office’ room, or the storage area in the basement where the old furniture goes to die.

If its important to you and you believe in what youre doing, you’ll find that you have all the room you need.

As an aside, the floor in the room I am typing this in has linoleum tiles on the floor that are 1’x1’. Using them as a guide, I’d say that, other than fuel, all of our preps including food, ammo, guns, etc, if packed carefully and as snugly as possible, would fit a footprint of 8′x8′. Be stacked to the ceiling though.

Link – Staring down the barrel of Swiss gun traditions

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

Man, I love the Swiss. Strong tradition of civil preparedness that includes giving everyone with military training a rifle to keep at home ‘just in case’. Thats the kind of thing, along with something of a neutral stance, thats kept them out of some of the twentieth century’s more debilitating wars. Who could have a problem with that? Apparently these drones. Here’s a lovely article, with video, about the Swiss tradition and the scrutiny it now faces:
Staring down the barrel of Swiss gun traditions

HEIM: The key to freedom is the ability to be able to defend yourself, and if you don’t have the tools to do that then you are at the mercy of anyone who wants to put you away. And the tools for that are guns.

However, not everyone sees guns the same way.
While gun crime is relatively low in Switzerland, more than 300 people a year are killed military rifles, the majority of them suicides. Recently efforts for more regulation have been picking up. And a certain faction of people want military rifles stored in army barracks, rather than peoples cellars.

Good stuff. Recommended viewing.

Dinosaur – being vs. becoming

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

Dinosaurs died because they didn’t adapt to a changing environment. At least, that’s what I recall reading somewhere. ‘Dinosaur’ is also used as a term to describe someone who, correctly or incorrectly, tenaciously clings to something that is old or, at least, not very modern. And while ‘new’ isn’t always ‘better’, a lot of the time it is.

I was thinking about Jerry Ahern’s ‘Survivalist’ book series the other day. It was written in the 80’s and he managed to stretch it out through the mid-90’s. No mean feat for a formulaic pulp novel. Ahern’s protagonist was a devotee of 1911 pistols, AR rifles, and Colt wheelguns. High tech for the early Reagan years. What I was wondering was what effect would the current crop of available firearms have if he had been writing that book today. Would the 7-round 1911s be replaced with Glocks holding almost twice that much .45? The Victorian-era lockwork of the Python replaced with the brute strength of a GP-100? The sometimes-finicky AR swapped out for a gas-piston AR or perhaps a Sig 556?

I’ve met a surprising amount of people who seem to make their choices not on objective performance and criteria, but rather on romantic image or historical legacy. More than one person says they want a [insert name of old gun design here] because it’s “blued steel and walnut, not a bunch of plastic and sheet metal”. Never mind that the “plastic and sheet metal” gun may have a much better performance record than the blued/walnut gun.

I’m not immune to this sort of thing either. For a while I figured my Browning P35 was the go-to gun for 9mm. Nowadays I carry and recommend the Glock. Why? Once you get past the “Saint John Browning” sentiment and the “old world craftsmanship” dogma you realize that it’s a 75 year old design that was great when Dillinger was robbing banks but it seems rather unlikely pistol design hasn’t improved since then. (And, yes, Dillinger died in 1934…a year before the ostensible rollout of the P35.) Strip the history and romance from the 1911 guns and pretend they were dropped on the market today. Brand new design. Never seen before. How would the public respond? “Why is there a swinging link on the barrel”? “The lockup is on grooves milled into the slide? Seriously?” “It’s a single-stack magazine?” “It has a manual safety, why is there a grip safety as well?” “That’s a lot of machining involved. Must be expensive.”

But, some people won’tbe swayed. “The Marines carried them at Iwo Jima!” they’ll loudly cry, as if this somehow means that it’s a superior weapon. The Rough Riders went up San Juan Hill with Colt Single Action Army revolvers, so by the same logic the SAA should be the choice of the thoughtful individual. (And yes, I know someone is going to chime in about how they carry a single action revolver as their daily carry gun. Great. Good for you. But don’t think that means it’s a superior choice to some of the other stuff that’s out there.)

As technology changes what used to be perfectly reasonable choices suddenly become also-rans. Take LED technology for instance. I’ve got a half dozen MagLites that use the Krypton bulb. These were pretty much the top of the line in flashlights right up until a few years ago when LED technology caught up and in some cases surpassed the old incandescent flashlights. I can either retain the lights I have now, which will be good but not as good as whats on the market now or I can swap them out for the newer LED lights with all the advantages they bring. This wasn’t a case of being a dinosaur, this was a case of becoming a dinosaur.

Same for load bearing gear. For the last twenty years the ALICE system was what you used. Every Army/Navy and gun show had mounds of green nylon with the clips and wide webbing on it. Then we got PALS and MOLLE webbing and modularity became the new standard in load bearing gear. Is the ALICE stuff no good anymore? Nah, its great..its just not as good as some of the new stuff. I still have plenty of ALICE gear laying around but I prefer the newer stuff for its modularity.

I had a friend of mine who made truly odd choices for bizarre reasons while completely ignoring the obvious solutions. He would reinvent the wheel for five times the original cost. An example: he wanted a .30 caliber semi-auto rifle that could be quickly reloaded. So he spent large chunk of money on a Johnson 1941 rifle. It held 10 rounds of .30-06 and could be reloaded with stripper clips. For the same money he could have had an FAL, an M1A or an HK clone….and have had a better supply of spare parts and accessories. But he was adamant that the .30-06 was superior to the .308 enough that it justified what he was doing. No amount of reasoning would convince him that his choice of the Johnson was just an expensive half-measure. (His other choice for a semi-auto battle rifle was the AG42(b) in 6.5×55….another oddball that would prove to be an expensive logistics nightmare.)

Back to the opening paragraph, Im not sure what to make of people who doggedly stick to the seemingly-unsensible choices. Its their right to own whatever they want, I know that. I think what irritates me is the attitude that they give as they mention their choices. Their gun was carried by guys at Inchon..youre gun is a plastic toy. “Real men carry a pistol that starts with a “4”, etc, etc.”

So I guess my point here is that its probably a good idea to remain objective when it comes to new gear. Sometimes new isn’t necessarily better, but old isn’t always better either…sometimes old is just as good, but sometimes it isn’t. New gear needs to be judged on its merits and not on romantic history or ideological connections. And while I may be guilty of ‘dinosauring’ on a few things, I don’t delude myself andthose around me by saying my [whatever] is better than the newer ones, I just shrug and admit that sometimes personal preference trumps rational decisionmaking.

Dreams

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

Im not hugely superstitious, I am a bit minorly superstitious though. Not really sure why. Anyway, ever have a dream that the next day makes you feel extra-cautious? You know, maybe you have a dream that tomorrow is the day L.A. slides into the ocean so the next day you pack a few extra items in your truck, or cancel some plans, or keep an ear glued to the radio “just in case”?

I had a dream last night that was like that but with a nice twist. If you can follow the convoluted description, it was a dream about having a dream. I dreamed that I had a dream where a nuclear device had gone off in some major city, complete with imagined footage of the events and everything. Then, a day after the nuking, there was a tremendous earthquake. In the dream, I woke up and discovered that, sure enough, there had been a terrorist nuking and the footage I was seeing on tv matched exactly the images I had had in my dream. Naturally, since I had dreamed about an event that had come true, the earthquake part that was soon to happen must be true as well, right? So I was furiously trying to grab some gear and get the heck out of dodge before the big quake hit. Of course, no one believed me that a cataclysmic earthquake would occur after we had just been nuked. I recall in the dream cleaning out a lunch counter of all their bottled water, stuffing it in my bag, and urging my companions to do the same. Weird.

These are the kinds of dreams you have when youre into this sort of lifestyle, I suppose. This particular dream doesnt affect me today. I have had ones in the past though that did make me put an extra magazine or two in my pocket before I left the house. More often than end-of-the-world dreams I have shootout dreams. These almost always follow one of several different themes:

    Bulletproof people – I see the bullets hit but they dont go down
    Missing/malfunctioning gun – frantically scrambling around looking for a working gun
    Inadequate firepower – its WW3 and all I have is a 10/22

I’d say that covers most 90% of the ‘gun nightmares’ I have and from what I hear many people have them too. Those are the dreams that are more likely to make me drop one of the 33-rd Glock mags in my bag the next morning.

interestingly, every EOTWAWKI as I know it takes place during the event, never after. There are never dreams about six months, a year, two years after the event in some sort of post-apocalyptic setting. No, its always a frantic, hurried, desperate time of hurling supplies into the truck and yelling “We have to leave NOW!” It’s dreams like that that make me keep all our gear in man-portable containers and weights.

Anyway, just once I’d like to have dreams this vivid about something more pleasant for change….porn actresses, Megan Fox, that sort of thing.

Article – No mail order ammo to CA

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

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed into law a bill that requires buyers of handgun ammunition to leave thumbprints and detailed personal information with registered ammo sellers, as well as put restrictions on online bullet sales.

Not surprised about this. Notice that the moron writing the article uses the term ‘ammunition’ and ‘bullets’ interchangeably. I haven’t read the bill, but I would bet that it says nothing about bringing in bullets, only ammo.

Regardless, if youre in California you’re about to have a very interesting situation. Most folks will, Im sure, simply drive to NV and buy all the ammo they want and bring it back, possibly for a healthy resale. Others may do the smart thing and learn to reload. Of course, the truly smart thing is to move the hell out of California.

But if, for whatever reason, you continue to live in that socialist pit (notice that the big socialist places begin with C and end in A? California, Cuba, China, Canada, etc) spend the $400 and buy yourself an RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, pick up every scrap of brass you find at the range, stock up on powder and primers, buy some bullet casting or swaging gear, and position yourself to be ahead of this nonsense.

ETA: I emailed the guy who wrote the article telling him his use of bullets/ammunition was making the article murky. His reply:

Thank you for taking the time to write.
As a life-long hunter and gun owner, I’m very familiar with reloading
and the terms associated with each.
However, the overwhelming majority of people who read this aren’t going
to notice (or even care) about the distinction.

Or, put another way, since no one will notice he’s going to be inaccurate and use shoddy style. There’s the hallmark of a good journalist, eh? Reach him here.

Cold

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

Apparently the fates have seen fit to completely skip the autumnal season and head straight into fall here in western Montana. Its been downright chilly here the last few evenings. This particular region of Montana is, for whatever reason, one of the warmest. We refer to ourselves as the Banana Belt, so if its cold here its damn cold everywhere else. So the cold winter gear comes out of storage, the hats and coats and gloves are moved to the closet for use, and the cold weather gear goes into the truck.
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When I was younger and a bit newer to this whole preparedness things I would spend a lot of time wandering gun shops dreamily fantasizing about all the awesome firepower I would someday accumulate in the name of ‘survivalism’. (Back then the term was ‘survivalism’ before the term got clouded with other less-than-flattering connotations. Nowadays we use the less dramatic ‘preparedness’) But, as time goes by and your ideas about what you really need and want to prepare for develop, you find that the Ahern-esque arsenals might be a bit less important than some of the other staples. Case in point: I now show the same level of enchantment and daydreaming when I prowl the aisles at the local super WallyWorld. Cases and cases of food, pouches of meat, mountains of canned goods, food and drink mixes, toilet paper and paper towels by the gorss, batteries by the pound, and every other item necessary to keep from starving to death.

It’s just my personal opinion, and its worth whatever you pay for it, but I think when your focus and fascination shifts from firearms to foodstuffs you’ve crossed a maturity threshold in your attitude towards preparedness.

While I derive a great deal of satisfaction from a gun safe full of firearms and cases of ammo, I get an even larger amount of satisfaction from the stockpile of food and other essentials. Not saying the boomsticks aren’t important…they help to keep that mountain of food MY mountain of food…just that it seems the cases of soup and canned vegetables may come in to play long before the cases of 7.62×39.

In many of the after action reports out of Katrina there are plenty of cases of people using guns but nothing that required copious applications of ammo. There were, however, plenty of tales of people needing plenty of food. While Joe Average may have loosed ten or twenty rounds over the course of a couple weeks, he used far more food than he did ammo.

And this is why, though we have plenty of firepower on hand for pretty much any eventuality, I probably derive more peace of mind from the stored food than the stored armaments. (Of course, when you couple the two together it really pegs the needle on the ol’ Satisfaction-O-Meter.)
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As it stands now, I’m fairly satisfied with the level of preparedness that the missus and I enjoy. (And we do enjoy it. We both feel a good bit more secure and relaxed knowing that we have the things we need to ride out the bad times.) This isn’t to say that there aren’t things that I still think we should have, but I think that in a Katrina-style disaster, with its several weeks of chaos following, with just what we have at the moment we would come through it just fine. There’d be security, communications, food, fuel, light, water, sanitation and everything else we’d need to thumb our noses at the .gov.

This isn’t to say that we have everything I want. I’m always willing to add more ammo, more arms, more freeze drieds, more money and more food to the current inventory, and at some point a generator and a nice place out in the boonies will need to be acquired…but we’ve certainly achieved what you could call a ‘minimum acceptable’ level. Enough to easily handle any hurricane, blizzard, ice storm, infrastructure failure, outbreak or civil disturbance.

But, as I said, there’s always room for improvement.
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A local source came to me the other day with a bunch of these for sale:
IMG00043-20091008-1542x

Formerly used to hold fruit juice, im tempted to pick up one or two and see how difficult they are to clean out. If worst comes to worst, I can always cut them in half and use them as planters in the spring. Be nice to have an extra 50 gallons or so of potable water around.

Cold weather, recession, hunting, gun show

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

Put the Cold Weather Module back into my bag today. Its been rainy and cold the last day or so, and it’s the beginning of October, so it’s probably about time to go ahead and start getting the cold weather gear out.

I’ve posted it before, but since Im too lazy to go link it, here’s whats in the CWM: OD wool scarf, OD polypro neck gaiter, triple-thick forest green knit cap, pair of gloves, pair of military overmitts, pair of military wool mittens, hand warmers. Then, just for giggles, I usually throw in an extra pair of mittens or an extra cap…for the sake of redundancy and in case whomever Im with needs them. The whole thing goes into a zippered cordura pouch that sits in the bottom of my bag. Have I ever needed it? Sure. Times when Ive gone to the range and it got a lot colder than expected, when I was bike riding and the weather changed, that sort of thing. What I really need to do is vacuum seal the individual components to reduce space and protect them. Maybe I’ll do that later today.

I also take one of the fabulous flectar parka/liner combos and roll it into a ball, stuff it into its own hood, and tuck it behind the seat of the truck. Cheap insurance against getting caught in something. Come to think of it, theres also an old down comforter stuffed into a pillowcase back there as well. Its not paranoia, and it isn’t overkill…its just simple fact: you get stuck in your car in the winter, you die.
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So we’ve been in this recession now for, what?, a year..two? How have we been faring? Well, all things considered, not bad. I believe the missus’ retirement investments may have taken a hit but otherwise we’re doing okay. We wouldn’t be doing okay if she lost her job, but hers is a pretty secure career. More importantly, though, we aren’t carrying a huge mortgage (we do have a mortgage but its pretty small), no car loan (truck is paid for), no credit card debt (we don’t use ‘em), no student loan debt, and although we do have a few luxuries (WarCraft accounts, cell phones) that’s pretty much the extent of our decadence. We don’t buy a new vehicle every four years, we don’t but ATV’s or jet skis, we don’t spend huge amounts on entertainment, we just generally live within our means. Is there anything wrong with buying a new car every four years, buying a jet ski, or eating out three nights a week? Absolutely not…if you can afford it.

So, from our point of view, we’re doing okay. We’re pretty secure in being able to keep a roof over our heads, we’ve plenty of food, we have breathing room with very few bills to worry about, we have some money in the bank and, most importantly, we have the attitude that the way we live right now is the right way for us…with careful spending, thoughtful planning, and never feeling that we’re living a life of denial and deprivation. We may not emerge from the recession (or depression) better than when we went in, but we will almost certainly not come out very much worse.

The moral here, I suppose, is that preparedness isnt just about zombie apocalypses and hurricanes…its also about being prepared for the unsexy and undramatic stuff…like recessions and high unemployment. If we didn’t have the preparedness mindset we might be in the same situation as many other folks…overstretched, overextended and over a barrel. But we think about the future and the ‘what ifs’ and as a result, we’re doing okay.
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Big game gun season opens here in a few weeks. I’m thinking I’ll use the Win 70 6.5×55 this year. Its relatively light, the cartridge is good for deer, and its got a decent piece of glass on it. I’m hoping that the last six months of CrossFit will have a positive effect on my ability to carry a pack and rifle up and down the hills. I came into the Model 70 Featherweight in 6.5×55 from a buddy who passed away. It was one of very few guns out of his collection that I actually found useful. I’ve thought about swapping it out for something in .308 (which would make my logistics easier) but I’ve plenty of ammo and components for the 6.5 and I really only plan on using it during hunting season so I suppose it won’t hurt to keep it around. Plus, the missus shot her first deer with it and I think that’s given her a sense of ownership of it. Fair enough, I’m always in support of her owning more guns.
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There was a gun show at the fairgrounds this weekend. Most mag prices are down and availability seems good. Ammo and component pricing and availability, however, are still out in uncharted country. While some components were available, many more were not and what was available was pretty pricey. Cheapest primers I saw were $25/k which is down from $40/k a few months back.

Didn’t really see anything I wanted (except for a lovely old 8mmMauser with set-triggers, claw mount scope and rings, German post scope, and express sights for $400…a damn tempting rifle except I’d prefer it in 7×57, not 8.)

I did finally pick up some military extreme cold weather boots…referred to as ‘bunny boots’ or ‘Mickey Mouse’ boots, these boots are about as insulative as you can get when it comes to footwear. Wouldn’t wanna have to walk far in them, but if I had to stand around in the wet and ice these babies will help me keep all my toes attached. The guy had to go home to get them, but he did indeed have a pair in 10W and 10R. I tried the R and while it was comfy, I got the W becayse, dammit, I have wide feet and you add a couple layers of socks and youre gonna need that W.

A new day in Montana

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

Today is October 1st, and, as I read it, a day when a Montanan can make a suppressor without having to notify the dorks at BATFE.

Be nice if this meant there were a little window between now and when the courts shut it down where a fella could walk down to the gun shop and buy a suppressor with the same ease as buying a rifle case.