Gas rotation

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

Gas rotation day, today. Took three of the jerry cans and dumped ‘em in the truck, refilled them, added some PRI-G and put them back in storage. The trick to this whole process is that you dont fill the truck from the cans until you are at the gas station. Why? Because if you fill it up at home you’ll be tempted to take the empty cans and throw them in the corner and say “Ah, I’ll fill them up next time” and then the world comes to an end and you’re starting your apocalypse three five-gallon drums short. So…fill it at the truck at the pump using the cans and then refill the cans at the pump. At least, for someone with my lack of self-discipline I find that to be the method that works best.

Although ammo and freezedrieds get all the spotlight time, anyone who has ever been through a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or similar disaster will tell you that the real commodity that traded like cigarettes in a prison was gasoline. When the pumps are dry or inoperative the man with the can has the world by the ‘nads.

Although its most obvious use is in a vehicle, there are plenty of thirsty generators and other devices out there after (or during) a disaster that need a steady supply of go-juice. I remember watching the coverage of Katrina and one of the things that caught my eye is that everyone had those red plastic fuel cans tied to the handlebars of their four wheelers, piled in the back of their johnboats, or hanging from the rails of their front porches as they searched for fuel. There were also stories, unsubstantiated (which I guess makes them rumours, really) of course, about ‘the authorities’ confiscating drums of fuel for their own use from citizenry that passed through the checkpoints.

One of my favorite stories out of Katrina was about the small regional power company that had to think ‘outside the box’ in the aftermath of the disaster. They had fleets of bucket trucks that needed to get out there and start restoring service but where to get fuel for those trucks? Gotta admire this sort of thinking – one of the managers called up the fuel refinery/tank farm guys and said “We’ll get your electricity up and running right away if you give us fuel for our trucks.” The fuel guys got electricity to restart their operations and the power guys had fuel for their fleet. In a crisis, if you have fuel you have pretty good bargaining power.

And, of course, its nice have the extended range available to your vehicle that a few 5-gallon cans in the back afford. Some day when you want to leave in a major hurry youre going to want distance and a lot of it…when everyone else sputters to a halt after one tank of gas you can refill and keep going.

Pouch for AA drums

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

I got an email from the evil genius at Allied Armament. They now have magazine pouches for their awesome drum mags. Dont feel left out if you dont have an HK-91 clone, theyre making ‘em for the AR-10 clones and the FAL these days too. I got one of the HK drums last year and found it to be an excellent product, definitely a force multiplier.

Link to the pouches
Link to Allied Armament

Observations on the mainstreaming of preparedness

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

Im a terribly nosy person. It is not enough for me to know that something happened..I need to know why it happened. How it happened. I suspect if I had stayed in journalism school I would have made an excellent investigative reporter…right up to the point when the Russian mob would shoot me in the back of the head.

I went back to Rosauers to pick up a few more cans of eggs the other day and decided to people watch. Who was buying this stuff? How were they buying it? It was an interesting thing to watch.

First off, the overwhelming majority of people buying it, at least while I was there, were middle-aged and older women shopping by themselves. I didnt get close enough to see what it was they bought…they could have simply been buying the bread mix for everyday use…but the majority of people were women. They would see this pile of food, walk up to it, look at the cans, pick one up, read the label, and put one or two in their cart. Guys, though, were a different story. They would walk aroudn the whole display, looking at everything, and, much like buying porn, they seemed wary of not standing too close to anyone else and not examining anything if there were more people standing around doing the same thing. It was a very…surreptitious…form of behavior.

I asked one of my customers if he had gone and purchased anything. He said yes, he had spent two hours in there. How, I asked, does it take you two hours to buy some canned food? He was standing there examining one of the cans and another guy came up and was doing the same. They got to chatting and next thing you know theyre standing there talking about the upcoming apocalypse. For those of you who wonder how to meet like-minded individuals there is a perfect example.

As I’ve pointed out before, preparedness is going mainstream. It may go under different names…’disaster planning’, ’security moms’, ‘’, ‘zombie apocalypse’…but it isnt looked upon with as much disdain and mockery as it used to be. (Yes, theres still plenty of folks out there that carry it a bit far and get pointed at and laughed at. That will always be there.)

The biggest example of this is simply that the term ‘preparedness’ has moved into common usage. I still find the term ‘preppers’ to sound stupid and contrived but the poisoned term ’survivalist’ wasnt exactly helping the cause. As an aside, I’m thinking that in the eyes of the media ’survivalist’ is a ‘prepper’ with guns.

Ever run into one of those aging hipsters who, when you tell them about a band you like, will immediately tell about how they liked that band before they were cool and before everyone else was listening to them? Yeah, I kinda get that way sometimes about preparedness. Of course, back when I was doing it I got looked at as a sterotypical right-wing militia-type from Montana. But now when you do it it’s ‘taking sensible precautions’. I tell you, sometimes its all I can do to yell “I told you so” at those people. On the other hand, I take a great deal of satisfaction from knowing that I paid a huge amount less than they are for the same preps because I’ve been doing it so long. ($85 cases of 7.62×39 springs to mind.)

Ranking the LMI, Fire fight, Medical Guide For Ships

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

Its Patriots’ Day! Get out there and make some noise!
I have a hot date with the Dillon 1050 and 1m .452″ 230 gr. TC bullets later this week.
Plenty of food, plenty of ammo….the upcoming years are going to be messy but we’re going to go through them with every advantage we can get.
After I went to Rosauers the other day and confirmed that they were, in fact, selling large quantities of storage food in #10 cans I started calling all my LMI friends and acquaintances to inform them to get in on the action. As I thought about it later I realized that the order in which I called them, and those whom I thought ‘call immediately’ and ‘meh, I’ll call them later’ was a subconscious prioritizing and ranking of where they stood on the Friends Of Zero scale. The ones I felt closest to I called first, the ones I’m kind of ambivalent about I called much later (or haven’t called at all yet). In this way, I’ve had a rather eye-opening experience into the nature of my relationships with the people I hang out with. Kinda interesting.

Speaking of, I went back there today and there was significantly less food. One of the LMI told me that when he went to checkout the clerk said “Oh, another one!” and mentioned that the record for the day had been one person buying $800 worth of food. The fella at the supermarket I spoke with said that the stuff has been selling very well and he thinks it might become a regular item. I dont know if they appreciate the market for that kinda product. Once you spend your $800 on it, youre pretty much done for twenty years or twenty kilotons, whichever comes first. I picked up a couple more cans of scrambled egg mix. Me and a budding LMI (more about him in the next paragraph) joked that there was no way we were going through the apocalypse eating just rice and beans. Indeed, while rice and beans has been a staple of Third World countries I cannot for the life of me think why anyone would want to live like a Third World country when they dont have to.
In the last few weeks a fella has been dropping by the shop once in a while to talk preparedness. He’s been into it on and off since Y2k but he has gotten back into it in a much bigger way as of late. I bounce ideas at him, give him my opinions (for whatever theyre worth), loan him books and sometimes make him a nice deal on preparedness stuff. We chitchat in that familiar and welcome way of people who have finally found people who ‘understand’ each other. Lets face it, many times when youre talking long term food, ammo, bunkers, ham radios and bugout bags to people youre going to get some seriously weird looks unless the person youre talking to is a like-minded individual. Anyway, he’s in a business that, like my own, has a certain utility amongst the LMI. One of the things he does is sell, recharge, test, etc. fire extinguishers.

Now, most of us have the small extinguishers you buy in a two-pack up at CostCo for $40. Nothing wrong with them, Im sure many a kitchen grease fire has met its powdery end at the hands of someone wielding one. But, sometimes you want something with a little more firepower. After all, when the wheels fly off civilization it won’t take a Ph. D in BTU’s to whip up fiery trouble with some gasoline and an empty bottle of Night Train. So, without getting into the realm of ‘not man-portable’, I got the fire extinguisher equivalent of “ten pounds a’ swingin’ cod” as a wise man once said.

Considering the plethora of electrical equipment thats running around here, this could be handy.

What I really want is a modern version of the old stirrup pumps used during the Blitz. There is a modern version out there, but Im having a hell of a time finding a US supplier.
An interesting .pdf came across my monitor the other day. International Medical Guide For Ships. The ’ships medicine chest’ at the end is pretty illuminating and would probably go quite well with the appendices in ‘Where There Is No Doctor’.

PSA: Patriots’ Day

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

(A little murky about where that apostrophe should go, but thats not the main issue…..)

Friendly reminder: Tuesday (April 19) is Patriots’ Day. There is but one ideal way to celebrate it and that is by going to the range and shooting a revolution-worthy firearm. What is a revolution-worthy firearm? If they were re-enacting ‘Red Dawn’ in your neighborhood, its the firearm you would take with you.

As an aside, April 19, in many law-enforcement circles, is a ‘heightened awareness day’. April 19 is Patriots Day, Burn The Davidians Day, and OkBomb Day. Lotta stuff happens around the third week of April.


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

Oh great googly moogly….the stars must have lined up for me today. I was at a competition shoot, supporting the missus in her re-immersion into the world of ranked shooting, when one of the competitors, whome we know, said “Did you see Rosauers is selling #10 cans of freeze drieds?” Huh wha…? I could not get back from the range fast enough. Headed over to my local Rosauers supermarket and beheld this:


Yeah, it was kinda like that. Thats a couple thousand or so #10 cans of various long-term storage food. Now, I know that there are other vendors than Mountain House…the guys as Thrive are cutting into their market somewhat. However, freeze drying is a huge capital investment since youre basically shoveling pallets of food into a pressure vessel and sublimating your way through a couple forms of being. Dehydrating is cheaper, although the results arent as good. This stuff is from these guys. Some interesting stuff…some freezedried, some dehydrated. Prices were very good though. More importantly, they had a few things that Mountain House does not normally carry such as butter powder, honey powder, and a few other things. Here’s what I wound up with and what they cost:

Banana Chips- 2.25# – $6.99
Butter Powder – 2.75# – $18.99
Scrambled Egg mix – 2.25# – $14.99
Honey powder – 3# – $8.99
Whole Egg Mix – 2.25# – $12.99

I’ll do the math later and see how it stacks up per ounce against the Mountain House stuff. The selection at the store was fairly small. The guy working there told me that when they try a new product line, and this was a big departure for them, they restrain themselves a bit from getting everything. In addition to what I listed there were several soup mixes, baking mixes, three different kinds of milk/milk substitute, and some other goodies. The company that makes this stuff has several other items Id be very interested in and Im going to check with the supermarket’s special order guy to see if he can maybe order in some things for me.

For you local LMI, this is a huge honkin’ deal. The prices are below the website prices and although I would probably stick to getting things like the lowfat milk from the Mormon cannery at a lower price, theres some very good stuff here (esp. the egg and butter mixes). I have no idea if this will be a regular item that is carried..I doubt it…but for now, while they have it in stock, if youre local to the area it’s the Rosauers on South and Reserve.

While I was content with what we had in long-term storage, there were a few gaps…most notably egg, cheese, butter, and similar products….this might be the big opportunity for me to fix that.

Primers and The Great Primer Scare

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

As it turns out, Cabela’s has the SR primers I need on sale and, as fate would have it, an LMI buddy of mine will be passing by the Idaho store today on his way here. So…I’ll have him pick up a case and call it good.

It may be before the time of some of you, but back in the Clinton years there was what came to be called The Great Primer Scare. This is an excellent example of a self-fulfilling prophecy (of sorts) and a standout example of panic buying and supply/demand.

Gather ’round, youngsters…’Ol Uncle Zero is telling stories from the olden days.

A rumor went around that the Clinton cabal were going to pass an edict making it so that newly manufactured primers would ‘go bad’ or become inert within six months of their manufacture. The idea was to prevent evil militia-types from stockpiling ammo. As it sturns out, according to the ammo companies, such formulations and technology did exist but you couldnt accurately use it. What that means is that while they could make a primer that would go inert after a set amount of time, they couldnt really narrow it down to six months. It might go dead in six days, six weeks or six months…the precision timing wasnt there. Part of this rumor had a small basis in fact…a couple manufacturers had been experimenting with lead-free primers and the results had been spotty, and this may have led credence to the rumors about primer reformulation being in the works.


This rumor started gaining traction on the interweb and pretty soon you couldnt find primers for sale anywhere. People ran out an stockpiled tens of thousands of primers. Naturally, when Joe Blow went to the store and found they were sold out of primers he figured there must be something to that rumor and he went to another store and cleaned them out of primers. And in this way these rumors gain traction and become self-fulfilling…this despite the fact that, primer-wise, nothing had changed.

Think youre having a hard time finding Federal bulk .22 now? This was a zillion times worse. Guys who normally bought a brick of primers were buying entire inventories. The ammo companies were quick to point out that there was no mandate coming to make self-inactivating primers but no one really listened. It was some serious panic buying. Eventually it all slowed own, the rumor was forgotten and people calmed down. However, like many panics, it left an impression on some people. There are a lot of folks out there, and I mean a lot, who took a lesson from the experience and keep stockpiles of primers on hand to ward against any future shortages. Personally, I try to keep 10k of each kind on hand – SP,SR,SRM, SPM, etc, etc. If you store them properly, in an ammo can for example, they’ll keep for decades. See, while you can fab up bullets from wheelweights, mix up black powder from a few sources, and reload your fired brass cases, there is no practical way to reload your own primers. (Yes, I know you can reload your primers with compounds taken from match heads…but thats a spotty method and not very practical in large quantities.) Without primers, your back in the world of the rocklock.

So, anyway, I’ll get 5k of the SR primers today and I’ll be back at a happy threshold that keeps me confident in my ability to make ammo as I need it.

(Tangentially, theres a whole ‘nother issue present which is – why stock components to make ‘x’ amount of ammo instead of just keeping ‘x’ amount on ammo? But, as Alton Brown would say, thats another show…….)

Japanese holdouts, competition

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

What is it with the Japanese and their seeming talent at being the last guy to leave the party? The record for sheer unbridled stubbornness goes to Hiroo Onada who kept fighting World War Two right up into the 1970’s. I’ve no doubt that right now theres a duplex drifting off the coat of Japan with some guy sitting on the roof fishing for his meals and patiently waiting for rescue. These guys just don’t give up.
Went to a shooting match with the missus the other day. It was a steel match, which I have always thought were much more fun than paper, and it made me think about getting back into it. I dabbled in it with some college dorm-mates back in the late ’80s. My only question is what gun to use. I have a very nice 1911 that has all the necessary enhancements, but I also have a G17 thats been tweaked out for that sort of game too. Personally, Id like to shoot the High Power and it would be a great excuse to try and find a GB Competition model. The obvious solution, though, is to take all three guns to the range, run a few drills, and see which one I do best with. The P35 or 1911 would be cheapest to shoot since the Glock would require me to get a new barrel to shoot cast bullets through. Jacketed bullets aint cheap these days but I can get 9mm and .45 lead bullets for $60/1000 so it would make good fiscal sense to shoot them.

I like shooting the courses of fire that they use at these competitions but I dont like the actual competition itself. The competitive part of the game takes some of the fun out of it from me. I’ve always been a very informal shooter in terms of competition. I like the simple “Hey, I’ll bet you lunch I can shoot a tighter group than you can” sort of competitions rather than some huge, official function where thirty people are watching your every move.