Blogs, cannery trip, ACR, seasonal

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

Sadly, one of my favorite preparedness blogs has disappeared. No point listing which one it was, but it was quite easily one of my favorites as evidenced by the fact that the majority of the commenters were other bloggers as well. It was rather nice to see that same circle of people at the same location. I hope that even though his blog is apparently gone, the blogger himself might chime in from time to time to say howdy and comment.
I’m jazzed! LDS cannery trip tomorrow. This will be my opportunity to fill in the gaps in a few ‘broken’ cases of stuff. Since each case holds six #10 cans, a case that has less than six in it is incomplete or ‘broken’. If you havent been to the LDS cannery, here’s an order form of what you can get and the pricing. Keep in mind that, usually, you cant just walk in and say “I’d like five cases of….”. No, no, no…you have to put in a bit of ’sweat equity’. You get put into a group of other customers and you take part in the process…you might be the guy who fills the cans, or seals them, or fills them from the bags, or slaps the labels on them, or helps box up the finished one, but you have to take part in the canning process. If nothing else, it gives you an appreciation of how the stuff is packaged and gives you the skills to DIY if you wind up borrowing their portable canner unit. Sometimes when I see a pair of missionaries walking around I’ll offer to buy them lunch (or give them a ride) as a way of ‘paying back’ for letting me use their facilities. And, before anyone asks, no they don’t preach at you at these things. They start the whole process with a pretty non-denominational prayer and thats about all the preaching they do. After that, it’s all business and bunker-stocking. Good folks.
Got to handle a Bushmaster ACR yesterday. Didnt get to shoot it but sure got to put my fingerprints all over one. Ambi bolt release, ambi charging handle, ambi selector, ambi mag release, quick change barrel, side folding stock, gas piston system…pretty cool gun. Also one of the most expensive guns I’ve ever ordered in for a customer at a shade under two grand. For that kind of money I could get two ARs and about 40 mags, 4 Glocks and a handful of mags, or a PTR-91 and 750 mags. The fella who got the gun said he’d let me know when he was going to go shoot it and that I could come along. Should be interesting.
As I was walking to the shop this morning, I saw that the puddles on the ground had frozen over during the night. ‘Tis the begining of the cold season. Coincidentally, hunting season is now in swing. I need to check the zero on the PTR and get out there and show Bambi who sits at the top of the food chain around here.

Storage food price increase

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

Out of curiosity, I visited my local Rosauers grocery store that was carrying a small selection of the Augason Farms storage food. To my surprise, it had been moved from the endcap and given about three feet of shelf space over in the baking area. So, the good news was that this was a product that they appeared to intend to carry for at least a while longer. The bad news was that, in the space of 30 days (which is when I last made a note of the prices they were charging), prices had gone up as much as $9 per can. (Eggs and FD blueberries took the biggest jump.) Could be a couple reasons for that……..the ‘introductory’ period for a new product has passed and theyre going to their standard pricing schedule, the distributor or manufacturer has increased the price, your dollar has devalued even further, etc. Whatever the reason, the lesson is fairly plain – prices are going up, buy when you can. For those of you in Missoula, its the Rosauers on South & Reserve, aisle 6.

A larger selection of this product is supposedly available that Sam’s Club but the nearest one to me is Great Falls and then Billings. Both of which are a long drive at $4/gallon. Fortunately the folks at Augason Farms have a pretty decent freight policy so it just makes more sense to order direct.

Pelican cases

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

I’m cleaning up some stuff around the bunker and have some extras of the #1010 Pelican Micro cases laying around. They are solid black, with lanyard, and brand new. They were made for use with some Nikon product so they have a removable Nikon sticker on ‘em. The foam inside them is uncut and removable if you want maximum space. If you want one, they’re $12.49 shipped. ($9.99 and $2.50 to ship) And by shipped, I mean I’m gonna slap a label and postage on the side of it and drop it in a mailbox…finding a box to put it in just adds weight and cost. Have about 20 18 16 14 13 9 left. Details, including dimensions, can be found at the link above. Perfect size for spare parts kits for guns, small electronic devices, or geocaching.

If you want one (or more), here’s the button. US shipping only.

All gone!

Mega-magazine madness

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

,Rawles mentioned that the folks at Beta now have a 100-round BetaMag for the Glock 9mm. He says that it seems rather absurd and I can kinda see that when you use it with a pistol. (Even if you had a G18, how is the pistol and drum any more or less concealable than, say, an MP5?)

However, there are several carbines out there that use Glock magazines (including the KelTec and ATI’s new import) including at least one 9mm AR (Olympic). So, yeah, probably silly for handgun use but for carbine use….perhaps not as silly.

Hey, speaking of the G18 and magazines, it came as a surprise to me that Glock is actually producing a ‘happy stick’ (22 rd.) for the .40 caliber Glocks these days. Previously, only the 9mm was available and if you wanted a happy stick in a caliber other than 9mm you had to go to one of the aftermarket outfits like Scherer which, in my experience, have less-than-sterling qualities.

Even SureFire, the flashlight folks, have jumped on the bandwagon with 60- and 100-rd non-drum magazines.

Since the expiration of the Assault Weapons ban it seems that capacity is back with a vengeance. (7-, 8- and 10-shot revolvers! 50- and 100-rd drum mags for rifles!) Are these mega-magazines useful? I suppose it depends on what you anticipate needing them for. Certainly there is no legitimate reason NOT to manufacture them except from a sales/profit standpoint. In my humble opinion, I think I can see some occasions where the ability to keep shooting without having to reload can be pretty important. The one that springs to mind most readily is any situation where you only have one hand available to shoot with. If you’re running outside to drag someone (or something) back to safety and you need one hand free to do the dragging, if youre in a tight space and don’t really have the room/flexibility to reload, if one hand/arm is out of commission and subsequent reloads will be virtually impossible, etc, etc. And, of course, those John Woo moments when dual wielding a pair of 33-rd Glocks seems like a good idea. (As an aside, every so often I take a pair of Glocks to the range and try firing 33-rd mags out of both at the same time. 1) You can’t hit a bloody thing 2) your trigger fingers get tired in a hurry )

While I love the trend towards these higher-than-usual capacity magazines, realistically the’yre probably one of those things where 99 times out of 100 they’re just not needed. On the other hand, on that 1 time out of 100 where you might need them, theyre just the ticket. I suspect that where they really shine is as trading stock for the future. If theres another magazine ban on the horizon these things will go through the roof and keep going. And if there isnt a ban but the world does indeed comec rashing down there’ll be no shortage of folks who figure 60 rounds is better than 30 rounds.

The dream is always the same

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

When I was a kid, I could eat whatever I wanted and not have to worry about the effects it may have on my sleep. Now that I’m older I have noticed that if I eat anything with tomatoes (lasagna, pizza, etc.) before bed, I wind up having bizarre dreams. Sometimes I roll the dice and eat before bed and hope the dreams arent anything too weird. Last night was an interesting one.

I dreamed that I was in a pickup truck with my wife and my brother, driving along the main street in town. Suddenly, there’s a flash and all the lights in the buildings around us go dark and half the truck’s systems go down…dashboard lights gone, headlights gone, truck starts making weird chugging noise. I think a moment and say “EMP!”. Way off in the distance, miles and miles away, I see black (and I mean black) clouds boiling up into the sky and heading towards us. My first thought is unrelated weather phenomena but then in the distance I hear bells, like church bells, ringing in the far distance..dozens and dozens of them. And then it occurs to me that this is the sound of warnings of a great disaster. “This is it!”, I say as I turn the dying truck into the parking lot of the local supermarket. We get out and run into the store, each grabbing a cart. “What do we do?”, the wife asks. “Canned goods!”, I yell over my shoulder as I make a beeline towards that aisle.

Then, thankfully, I woke up.

I have these kinds of dreams from time to time. Sometimes its zombies, sometimes its a gunfight, sometimes its some disaster like this. But it’s always a bit stressful and something of a relief to wake up from. Usually it also spurs me into action on some neglected preparedness project I’ve shuttled onto the back burner. This dream will be no different, Im sure. I need to call the LDS cannery here in town and see if I can find a group to go up there with…there are a few ‘broken’ cases of #10 cans that I’d like to round out.

And no more meatballs before bed.

The zombification of preparedness

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

As you may know, Hornady has come out with anti-zombie ammo featuring their new ‘Z-Max’ bullet. Ruger has alos shambled onto the bandwagon and brought out a LCP-Z model. ‘Zombie apocalypse preperation’ stores are springing up.

Yet…no zombies.

It’s fairly obvious, to me anyway, that the elephant in the room that many people dont want to acknowledge is instead talked about in code. Zombie apocalypse is simply code for ‘whatever freaky stuff is coming down the pike towards us as this economic tragedy unfolds’. Bought three AK’s because youre worried about food riots and home invasions? Youre a paranoid freak. Bought them because of the upcoming zombie apocalypse? Hey, I like zombie movies too!

See the difference? This isnt the first time I’ve mentioned this. The Zombie Squad guys have been couching general preparedness in terms of zombie apocalypse for quite a while now. More and more people are preparing against the zombie apocalypse which, coincidentally, just happens to line up with being prepared for a host of other, more likely, scenarios.

What I find interesting is how it is starting to mainstream to the point that major manufacturers are actually offering product directly marketed to the zombie preparedness market.

Personally, I’ve never needed to justify why I do the things I do so I really don’t need to use zombies as a beard. On those very infrequent occasions when someone asks about what I’m doing I either just dance around the subject or I tell ‘em point-blank that I’m preparing against an uncertain economic future and that those preparations will dovetail nicely into any other disaster that comes along as well.

I will admit to a certain amount of zombie daydreaming. I’ll watch some zombie flick and think “man, I wonder ho we’d fare in that situation” and that will inevitably lead me down the road thinking about ammo, food stores, fuel, communications, transportation, etc, and in that way perhaps highlight something I need to do in my ‘real world’ preparations or give me a new idea altogether. This is one reason that I like ’survival fiction’ so much…it sets one to thinking about things that they may not have thought about before and in that way point towards weaknesses and solutions that were previously unknown.

I’ll probably buy a couple boxes of Hornady’s new ammo just for giggles, but it is an interesting sign of the times.

inventory streamlining

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

Too many gun posts. Let’s move on to something else……

Here’s the scenario: we keep a stockpile of goods, let’s say food, that we keep a spreadsheet for. This spreadsheet simply lists description and quantity. A printout of that spreadsheet sits on a clipboard, along with a pen, on the shelf with the stockpile. When something is removed/added to the stockpile a notation is made on the clipboard. Every few weeks I take the clipboard to my computer, open the spreadsheet file, update it, print out a new sheet, and replace it in the clipboard. A copy of that file sits in my iPhone so that when we are shopping I can, if we come across a sale on something, see if we should stock up to replace our inventory. Here’s the rub: the file on my phone is only as accurate as the last time the spreadsheet was updated and uploaded to my phone …. something that is only done every few weeks.

The alternative would be that every time I grab a can of tomatoes from the stockpile I go to my computer, update the spreadsheet, and upload a copy to my phone, the wife’s phone, tablet, her computer, my computer, and my work computer. Every time.

Gotta be a better way.

The first idea was to simply use iCloud or Dropbox to do file syncing as the master file was updated. This seemed okay except for one niggling detail. While it allows us to have the file updated on the devices where we need it, we still need a way to edit the file. There were apps for the iPad/iPhone but they were either a few bucks each (and we’d need several copies) or they’re crippled freeware.

Here is the solution we came up with. We uploaded our spreadsheet (a simple one page Excel document) to a new Google Docs account. This way any device that has internet connectivity and a browser can go to Google, log in, and edit the spreadsheet. The saved document is then referenced by any device that logs in and uses that stored copy. And we can edit the document online, so no need for additional software.

All of this sounds a little convoluted and complicated, right? Okay, here’s a real-world scenario for how this plays out:

I’m at CostCo and the wife is at the house. She whips up some curry or whatever and uses a couple cans of tomatoes and coconut milk. As she pulls them off the shelf she takes her iPhone out of her pocket, updates the spreadsheet, and heads to the kitchen. I’m at CostCo and see that cans of crushed tomatoes are on sale. No point buying them, though, if we already have plenty. Pull out the iPhone, log in, check the spreadsheet…it says the formerly abundant amount has now been reduced to a level that suggests buying more. Cans go in the cart.

More importantly, the ‘gap’ between spreadsheet updates is eliminated…meaning that inventory information is real-time (assuming updates are done as products are withdrawn/added to the stockpile).

Geeky, right? But its a tremendous leap forward in logistics and inventory tracking for us. I know some folks do a similar thing, keeping track of their inventories on spreadsheet, and thought I’d share this method of keeping the info handy and up-to-date.

ETA: Can’t believe I have to mention this, but apparently I do. The particular spreadsheet we have uploaded is a spreadsheet of our short- and medium-term groceries and housewares. Things like aluminum foil, spaghetti sauce, and paper towels. It’s not a spreadsheet of guns, ammo, gold, silver, freezedrieds, fuel, etc, etc. So, no, I’m not really concerned about Google handing it over to the feds.

Article – Cache of high-powered weapons stolen from LA SWAT team training site

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

It doesn’t just happen to us civilians, it seems.

A stash of high-powered submachine guns and handguns was stolen in a brazen overnight heist from a Los Angeles Police Department SWAT unit training facility, police said.

An officer discovered the weapons missing from a locked box on the first floor of the downtown L.A. facility on Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The thieves cut through locks on three doors and smashed through a metal roll gate to get to the weapons, which were modified to fire only blanks and set to be used in SWAT team training exercises, the newspaper said.

If there’s a common thread here between this and the last post, it’s that obscurity is no substitute for security, and vice versa.

ETA: Rhetorical question: if theyre firing blanks, how are they ‘high powered’?

Article – Gun, weapons parts found buried in Arlington

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

Gun, weapons parts found buried in Arlington

A gun and weapons parts were found buried Wednesday morning in North Arlington and police and FBI agents are investigating the discovery, officials said.

Utility workers digging near an overpass of I-66 on Patrick Henry Drive found the gun and parts inside PVC pipe about 11 a.m., said Det. Crystal Nosal, an Arlington police spokeswoman. Police and FBI agents were called to the scene and investigated for hours.

You know, if you’re gonna hide your stuff like that you gotta take into account this sort of thing.

Wonder if perhaps there were a few ‘extra’ parts in there to make a lovely little off-paper Class III and thats why the feebies are involved.

I would love to see pictures of the cache and see a followup if anyone comes to claim it.