Great Falls gun show

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

A buddy and I went to the Great Falls gun show yesterday. Saw a few nice things but nothing I couldn’t really live without. I did find a fella who had an ARMS G3 claw mount for $125. I offered him $100 but he was adamant. He lives here in town so I’ll have him come by the shop with it, try it on my PTR, and if it fits and theres no problems Ill go ahead and pay him for it.

I did see something drool-worthy, though, at the show. A gen-u-ine Belgian FN-made FAL, imported by Steyr. It was in wonderful condition…practically new. The punchline? $2500. Im not sure its worth that but Im pretty sure it is worth $2000-2250. Honestly, you can buy a DSA for less money and probably get a gun of equal quality but that “FN Herstal” stamp on the side of the receiver sure would be something to brag about and instill confidence. Yes, I push the PTR/HK platform but that’s mostly because of price/value (or, if you prefer, resource-to-preparedness ratio)…if FAL mags were $1 each and accessories were cheap, cheap, cheap I’d be all over the FAL. It’s a great gun and I’d put it up there as the number one .308 semi-auto rifle.

No Uzis, although there was one Vector clone for $900. Meh. If Im gonna fork out the greenbacks its gonna be for the genuine article. No HK94/SP89s to be found either, although there was a guy selling MP5 magazines….it would be grossly expensive but a pseudo-MP5-PDW on an SBR HK94 or SP89 would be pretty cool. Of course, once all the work is done I would probably have been able to afford three Uzis with what I would spend on putting the one gun together.

Although Johnny Trochmann wasn’t at the show, his tables of various conspiracy-theory newsletters and survival gear was. Every once in a while he comes across some interesting stuff. Nothing exciting this trip, but you never know with that guy. He’s always interesting to talk to even if you sometimes have to keep from rolling your eyes when the conversation takes a turn into black-helicopter country.

Magazines were abundant. Magpul P-Mags were $15, contract AR mags were $10-15, Glock mags were $20 and whats kind of weird is that with the ridiculously low prices of HK91 mags these days I saw virtually none at the show. AK mags were a little thin as well, although AK drums seemed to be pretty common.

I did see an IOR M2 4x scope with CQB reticle. I already have one with the Dragunov style reticle. Excellent scope but the guy who had it on the table musta been smoking crack if he thought someone was going to pay him $575 it. Last one I got was, I think, less than half that, used. I still like those IOR optics, by the way.

Ammo, primers and powders were available although the prices are still nuts. The mood seemed to be people moving away from panic-buying and stockpiling out of fear of administrative dictates and more towards panic-buying and stockpiling out of fear of impending socio-economic collapse. So, really, the story is the same its just that the names have been changed.

AR-pattern rifles were aplenty. Cheap Century AKs were present in quantity as well. Saw no HKlones, one FAL clone, and a few M1As..other than that, not a lot of .308 semiautos in attendance.

Of course I also ran into some of the usual faces at the show and its always nice to say hello to these folks. Unfortunately, many of them are up in years and it seems like every other year one of them heads off to that big shooting range in the sky. It’s too bad, because they all have fascinating stories about guns and shooting to tell. Theres a fella I see at every show who used to be on the Border Patrol with Bill Jordan and he has all sorts of great stories to tell about ‘way back when’ when the BP guys had a pistol, a blet slide of ammo, a pair of handcuffs and not much else. No radio, no ATV, no GPS…just two guys roaming the desert on horseback or in some surplus Jeep  out on their own with no back up.

I think this may have been the first gun show I have been to in a few years where I spent absolutely no money. Not that there weren’t things I wanted, its just that Im getting more and more fussy about how I spend my limited resources.

Tech Sights and .22 ramblings

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

The Tech-Sights I ordered for my 10/22 (well, one of them anyway) arrived today. They seem pretty nice, not exactly the pinnacle of precision casting and machining, but very nice nonetheless. My only qualm thus far, and it’s a niggling one, is that the darn things are made in Taiwan. On one hand I suppose that made in Taiwan is better than made in Red China but, seriously, there was no one in the US who could make these things? Well, I suppose there are plenty of outfits that could but then theyd wind up being twice the money. These sights are highly recommended by the Project Appleseed guys and I would have thought that an outfit as ….sensitive…to American values would have recommended something made in the US. On the other hand, perhaps they are of the mind that the ends justifies the means and if it takes Chinese-made sights to get people fired up about learning rifle skills, so be it.

Installing the sights was pretty easy although anytime you have to drift out/in something it seems there is always a complication. Usually something along the lines of the sight not wanting to fit into the dovetail, but a couple of taps from a plastic mallet and we were on the right track. They do indeed give a sight picture similar to what you find on an AR or Garand. Did it make shooting more accurate than the original sights? Mmmmm…tough call. Certainly all the indicators would point to an improvement in accuracy…longer sight radius, peep vs. notch, etc, etc. The rifle doesn’t seem any less accurate so that means things are same or better than they were. Worth sixty bucks? Tough call. If youre after accurate sights for shooting (as opposed to sights that replicate the military sight picture) than youd probably be better served with a quality aperature sight from someone like Redfield or Lyman. On the other hand, if yorue looking for something to help you with target acquisition and sight picture using a military-style rifle, then these are just the ticket.

Speaking of .22 rifles, I took delivery today of a CZ 452 American for an LMI. Sometimes I forget just how freaking awesome CZ products are and then, like today, I am reminded. What a gorgeous rifle. There was a time in this country when manufacturers would offer a .22 rifle that was built to the same specs (and dimensions, even) as a centerfire hunting rifle. Sadly it seems .22 rifles have been relegated to ‘non serious’ guns and we get slightly scaled down guns that bear no resemblance to anything youd go shoot a deer with.

Although I have a few 10/22’s around as a sort of ‘standard issue’ survivalist’s .22, I actually prefer the Marlin products. I have long been a fan of the ‘81’ series of tube-fed bolt rifles. I had them when they were called the 781, when they were upgraded to the 881, and I think they are now called the 981. On the other hand, I’ve been reading some very good things about the Savage .22 bolt guns with their AccuTrigger these days…and believe me when I say that a decent trigger on a .22 rifle is a hard thing to find.

I’m actually in the market for a nice, high quality .22 bolt rifle and I’ve been leaning towards the CZ since they are now offering it with their single-set trigger. For years the CZ guns have been kind of a ‘sleeper’ in the gun world…and their prices reflected that. In the last few years they’ve kind of been ‘discovered’ and prices have edged up, but I still think they are outstanding values considering the quality of the product. One of my local dealers here in MT is , apparently, one of the largest sellers of CZ rifles in the US. Wouldn’t surprise me…fella handles one of these boomsticks and takes an objective examination of the gun they usually wind up favorably impressed.

However, as much as I’d like to, I have other priorities for those scarce dollars.

Kifaru arrival, inline filter

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

Man, they make you wait several weeks for that Kifaru gear but, boy, is it nice.  I’d been wanting a pack for hunting that would hold the usual assortment of gear but would also be fairly compact and unobtrusive. I especially like having the top of my back and shoulders unencumbered so I can use a rifle sling with a bit more ease. The pack sits fairly low on the back and has enough room for the usual gear but with the MOLLE webbing I can add pouches as necessary. Im rather a a fan of the flectar camo pattern and the Multicam reminds me of it. You can read the specs and see pictures of it here.


And speaking of gear, a buddy sent me a link to this. In-line filtration systems arent that new, theyve been around for a number of years…mostnotably from CamelBak. The link goes to a post about a new in-line filter that, it seems, is compatible with just about everyone’s hydration system, will purify about 100 gallons, and doesnt require the usual heavy suckage to pull water through it. Interesting product, although Im not sure I would get one. Ive thought about getting inline filters for the CamelBaks before…its a pleasant notion – simply dunk the reservoir into a pool of water and dont worry about purification. For high-speed, low-frag this thing makes sense. My problem is that if I scoop the reservoir through some pond in the sticks somewhere I have contaminated the inside of that reservoir and I cant use it again unless I use the in-line filter or I sanitize and bleach the hell out of the reservoir. I dont find it too onerous to carry a small water purifier so Im not sure if Im onboard with getting one of these. But, as I said, it might make sense to have a dedicated CamelBak for something like this where weight and space are major issues. We’ll see. I need to do more research.


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

I am very reluctant to buy thing exclusively for myself. What can I say, Im a cheap bastard. Virtually all the preparedness stuff I spend money on is a ‘we’ purchase rather than a ‘me’ purchase. But….once in a while something comes along. Books I’ve read say that if there’s something you really want, sit on it for a while and if, after time goes by, you still really want it then go ahead and purchase it. I’ve been wanting a set of these ever since I heard about them…Ive had the website bookmarked for over a year.  The AR and PTR rifles around here use the aperature/peep system of sights so a 10/22 with a set of these sights would be nice for practicing sight picture and target acquisition. Additionally, the longer sight radius and more precise usage should help with consistent hits.

These are the sights that the Appleseed guys recommend for their practice rifles. If you think about it, most of the US military arms use this sort of sight system…M14, Garand, carbine, M16…so, if you want to familiarize yourself with proper sight usage on these military weapons but dont wanna shell out the bucks for the ammo, these seem like a good idea.

I ordered up a set today and I’ll be sure to report on them when they arrive. I’m very much looking forward to using them and seeing how they perform.

Article – What to do when body parts fall off

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

The guys at CNN really hit it out of the park when it came to headlining this article. Certainly got my attention.

When I was a kid I got a little careless around a band saw and cut almost halfway through a finger.  Scared the crap out of the shop teacher, lemme tell ya. In retrospect I find it amazing that any public school would put fifteen kids in a room full of ancient powertools and give them only one adult to supervise them.

Anyway, its an interesting article about what your supposed to do when you lop off a body part. We all know we’re s’posed to put the severed part on ice, right? Well…yes and no. The article says why.

I’ve a few friends missing small parts of themselves. In Montana you see a lot of guys who have had farm accidents that put them in the realm of counting in base nine. Or eight. Or seven.  Crom forbid I ever accidentally lose a piece of me butif I do at least now I know not to put it in direct contact with ice.

Return of the flectar field jacket, spare battery carrier

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

It looks like summer is coming to an end, although previous experience has shown that September is often the hottest month of the year around here. But, the evenings are cool and crisp which is pretty nice. Since the seasons are changing its coming up on time to make whatever seasonal changes are necessary to things around here. Most notably, the cold weather gear needs to be broken out of storage and put where it needs to be. The Cold Weather Module goes back into my everyday bag, cold gear goes in the truck, and the kerosene heaters need to be cleaned up and filled.

Speaking of cold weather gear, Sportsmans Guide HQ catalog has the $20 flectar field jackets with liners again. I highly recommend these things…they’re extremely comfortable, quite warm, and I think they’re superior to the US field jacket. Lemme look up the product number..uhm..ah! Here we go – JXM-182898X. These are excellent quality jackets and easily worth the money.


The economy appears to be..well…unchanged. About the only predictable thing is the throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks method of dealing with it (or not dealing with it, as the results may be) that the government is taking. As a friend of mine observed, if you want a real barometer of what the economy is doing observe the pricing of gold and silver. Both have been hitting record highs lately…indications, right or wrong, that a lot of folks aren’t exactly brimming over with confidence about the economy.

As this thing drags on, folks who were well positioned to weather it out will start fading as the economic malaise outlasts their resources. Is it a coincidence that there seem to be an unusually large number of people going off the rails and shooting up their places of former employment? I doubt it…folks are getting stressed and scared and some are going to handle it well and some are going to snap like rubber band.

I suppose that, depending on how the elections turn out, a corner may be turned as confidence about the economy returns on the hope that a new political direction will stop the bleeding. Nice thought but, as we seem to be learning the hard way, ‘hope’ is not a strategy.


For small electronic devices (GPS, radio, flashlights, etc, etc.) that I carry daily,  I try to standardize on one battery size. Normally that is the AA-size batt (because most of these everyday-carry devices are pretty small). They’re easily available, can be had in lithium (highly recommended), and just about every device you could imagine needing will come in that size. Sometimes theres an item that just isn’t available in AA…and that’s usually the CR123 battery. So, basically, all my small handheld stuff runs on one of those two sizes. In my everyday bag I carry spare batts for my gear. For the last year or so I’ve been using this (Volta Battery Case with Batuca battery holder) to carry around spare batts. There are a couple other carriers available but they leave the contact ends of the batteries exposed. I carry a lot of junk in my bag and the last thing I need is a pack of batteries lodging against some spare ammo or paperclips and shorting themselves out. The case completely encloses the batteries, fits AA or CR123 interchangeably, fits a handy MOLLE pouch, and has compartments for 8 batts. I usually pack six of the AA’s and 2 of the CR123. That’s enough to keep flashlights, gunlights, GPS and radios going. Some items like the classic Altoids tin (properly insulated) will work very nicely but I figured for a few bucks I may as well go the professional route. If you need to carry spare batts, AA or CR123, check it out. (Although if I was going to carry just CR123, I kinda like Surefire’s case.)

No deal, Kifaru shipped

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

You know, im not the brightest bulb in the fixture but shifting a conversation to “I know this Korean war vet who has a BAR and Thompson he brought back that he wants to sell…” isnt going to do either of us any favors. It happens less often than it used to, but every so often someone will come in and tell me they know someone who knows someone who has some sort of illegal machinegun they wanna sell. Tempting? Sure. Worth acting on? Not a chance.

Theres a scene in “We Were Soldiers”, a Vietnam flick, where Sam Elliots character, a crusty old seen-it-all sergeant, is advised to carry one of the recently issued M16’s.

Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: I think you oughta get yourself an M-16.
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: Sir, if the time comes I need one, there’ll be plenty lying on the ground.

Same story. If a situation is coming where I need a genuine M4 or MP5 there’ll probably be plenty of them laying around.

Stay away from those ‘friend of a friend has a gun…’ deals, kids. When you bite that hook and someone reels you in your gonna start thinking that youd give anything to have the chance all over again to say “no thanks”.


The bioweapon is progressing nicely. I think he really is bigger than he was four days ago. Maybe he is. He’s starting to calm down and get into a routine, so perhaps theres some uninterrupted nighttime sleeping in my future. Regardless, its hard to overlook the fact that he’s darn cute. Im going to try not to go on and on about him.


Got an email from Kifaru; my new bag will be here Monday. Im very much looking forward to it. The Kifaru stuff is spendy, no two ways about it, but it sure instills a good bit of confidence what with its rugged reliability.

Bioweapon activity

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

Bioweapon exploring the grounds:

This thing had better pan out in terms of force-multiplication because I am not enjoying the lack of sleep and time-suck that puppy patrol is taking on me. Ideally, in a week or so he’ll be fine with being left by himself while the humans try to get some sleep, but for now its a good thing he’s cute. I imagine its a zillion times worse with kids, which is one reason Ive never been a fan of having any.

Takedown Jeep, bioweapon arrival

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

A requirement for most End-Of-The-World gear is that it be easily maintainable and pretty simple to break down. After all, in a crisis you may not be able to send an item back to the manufacturer (or dealer) for repairs. And while I appreciate the relative simplicity of older vehicles, I doubt that any were really designed to be stripped and reassembled in under four minutes. Yet, thats what we have here:

Im sure its a ‘rigged’ vehicle with quick-connect hoses and pre-loosened bolts. (Although some folks tell me that all Jeeps come with pre-loosened bolts and that if they dont, they will eventually loosen on their own.) Still, it’s pretty impressive that a vehicle could be taken apart that fast. I’d guess the only outfits with that kinda skill are NASCAR pit crews, teenage car-stripping gangs and organizations like the Canadian military who have nothing else to do.


The bioweapon arrived today.

  • Dog, General Purpose, Mk. 0
  • Rank: Sub- Commander
  • Codename: Nuke

You guys have any idea how expensive LvlIII dog armour is? Not cheap.

I am amazed at the sheer size of the dog-ownership industry. Books, videos, ‘organic food’ (they eat roadkill fer crying out loud), leashes, collars, shamppos, etc, etc. I would wager its almost as big, if not bigger, than the baby-stuff market.

Anyway, we picked up Nuke at the airport and he was quite happy to be out of the crate. It is hoped that will be the worst thing that ever happens to him.

From a preparedness standpoint theres a lot to do. Find a good dog food, source it, buy it in bulk…train him for useful functions…learn doggy first-aid…theres no shortage of things to do. But for now, he gets to be a puppy and do puppy things. There’ll be plenty of time to teach him to carry stuff, alert to threats, tear peoples throats out, sniff out things we want, etc, etc.  The missus wanted him for the sake of having someone to go hiking with and as a companion for just general wandering around. I like to think he’d be excellent, when he’s older, at keeping the homeless and transients from harassing or approaching her when she’s walking around town taking photos.