Grocery bargains; shooting; winter observations; Have Deuce And A Half – Will Travel, long knives

Got some good deals at the local Albertson’s last night. I mention this not to brag (not that I dont brag, its just that this isnt one of those times) but to illustrate a point I made yesterday – you can add to your levels of preparedness without spending huge amounts of cash. Matter of fact, I would wager that on $10 a week you could put together a hellacious amount of food within a year. But, back to the bargains…

The local Albertsons had its usual weekly “10 for $10” sale. Alot of times these sales are for the ‘store brand’ versions of things which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, this time they had one of the staples of my pantry on sale…jars of spaghetti sauce. And not the store brand either…26 oz. Ragu in various flavors – $1 ea. Normally, theyre about $1.50. Over in the frozen foods, the frozen dinners that the bunkerbabe takes to lunch for her work were knocked down to $2 from $4@. So, we picked up a case (dozen) jars of spaghetti sauce and we got 5 of the frozen dinners. Thats an outlay of $22 to purchase what would normally be $38. Total savings? $16. Which means it was like getting 8 frozen dinners for free or another 1.3 cases of spaghetti sauce for free. The spaghetti sauce goes in the cupboard, the dinners go in the freezer, and we pat ourselves on the back for saving $16.

The point here is that you can buy food that you normally eat and like and get it cheap enough to stock up if you watch for the sales and strike while the iron is hot.

Also, you dont necessarily need a sale…you just need space. A 1# bag of rice vs. a 50# bag of rice – I havent had to buy rice in a while but in a 50# bag (which gets repackaged to a 5-gallon bucket with lid) it comes out to around $0.25~ per pound. So if you paid more than 25 cents for that plastic bag of rice at the supermarket you could have done better. Ditto for things like pasta, beans, etc, etc.

Enough about this, Im trusting you see my point.
Went shooting the other day. 200 gr. RN out of a k-frame .357 are a bit much. Out of the N-frame, however, theyre juuuuuust fine.

Shot the .308 a bit. Shot 1 7/8″ at 200 yards which is just under MOA for five shots. Finally. One of the LMI let me try some of his handloads. Lapua brass, match primers, Lapua bullets….definitely could see a difference. I’ve been shooting the less-than-precision-manufactured Remington brass because, honestly, I just happen to have a bunch of it. Looks like Im going to have to order some Lapua or Norma match brass.

Also shot the Yugo SKS. Folks, if you havent bought one of these cheap ($150~) guns yet you are going to be kicking yourself later on …. believe it. Good, solid gun shooting a cheap cartridge capable of keeping looters at bay yet the gun is cheap enough that youre not too concerned if it gets lost or stolen. And, like the AK, its quite reliable. Get ’em while you can.

Ten years after the end of the world I think the most prevalent guns will be Rugers and AK/SKS rifles…..they just. dont. quit.
Winter approaches. The cold weather module is back in my TT bag. Kerosene was running around $22~ for a 5-gallon drum up at Lowes. And I smiled a big smile at myself because when they had it marked down to $5 a drum I bought a dozen and still have them. (Thats bragging.) I really need some new boots and need to get that taken care of…esp. since hunting season will be here soon.
Fascinating story here about a guy who took it upon himself to drive his personally owned military truck to deliver aid to Katrina victims. He put on his old uniform and sailed through all the roadblocks, got shot at, returned fire, got robbed, and had a very interesting final encounter with three thugs when he stopped to change a tire. I can freely admit I wouldnt have done 1/10th the things this guy did, out of his own pocket, because Im just too selfish in that way. But its a good story and theres some interesting info in there.
Now that, for the most part, the heroic moments are done with the blame game starts. Police chief, Mayor, Governor, Director….all forming the traditional circular firing squad and taking shots at each other. Is there seriously anyone who didnt see this coming? Certainly theres some folks that seriously need to be run out of town but theres also going to be a few loyal troops falling on their own swords to spare theirl eaders. Regardless, reputations and expections for various organizations like FEMA are going to take damage. Even the Red Cross’ sterling image has been mightily tarnished. Matter of fact, after reading here and there about some of the ‘our way or the highway’ policies of the RC and other organizations, and their utter disdain for local responders and inability to work with other .orgs, I really don’t think theres any national-level relief agency that deserves my support. However, from what Ive read there are scads of local/regional .orgs that deserve support and praise. Church groups, VFD’s, private companies, and the like. I think organizations tend to do a better job when the affected area is in their home area…it gives them motivation and, this is important, it gives them a certain accountability since they have to live among that population later.

Fuel can blues, Texas evacuations, mag/ammo inventory, ingenuity, flectar,

The way I figure it, I want the steel jerrycans for long-term storage for their durability, impermeability, and convenience. For short-term storage and banging around in the back of the truck, I like the plastic gas cans. I am, however, not thrilled with the spout/cap device on the Blitz plastic cans. The nozzle is an L-shaped piece of plastic that, when not in use, is flipped over and inserted into the can. Convenient, yes. But if it isnt seated properly against the mouth of the opening its possible for a slow leak of gasoline to occur. This is, naturally, not good. Fortunately WalMart automotive sells, also by Blitz, replacement cap/nozzle assemblies that are alot simpler and, in appearance, more reliable. $1.78 ea. I’ll be trying them out later.
Texas had the New Orleans model to work off of and their evacuations weren’t very much smoother. Its readily apparent that you simply cannot evacuate a large urban/metropolitan area with anything approaching timeliness or efficiancy. The bottleneck, it seems, isnt only the drivers (who somehow thought that they had enough gas in their vehicles even though any sane individual could have told them theyre going to spend hours idling in traffic.) but the government officials who didnt change the traffic flows to accomodate the exodus until late in the game. They do get points, however, for trying to bring fuel to stranded motorists.
An ammo & magazine inventory is sorely needed. Summer shooting and various classes have taken a bite out of the stockpile and that needs to be refreshed. While I am perfectly content with the amount of 10/22 and FAL mags that are on hand, I am only mildly at ease with the amount of AR mags..they average around 13 mags per gun which is less than I’d like. Glock mags are fair…the G17 mags will fit in all flavors of Glock that we have. Doing okay on 1911 mags. P35 mags could be a little better. Big question is AK mags. Off the top of my head I think we’ve maybe a dozen or so and I’d really like to get that up into the 20-odd amount at least. Fortunately the AK mags are fairly cheap…$10 ea. in bulk. Additionally, I’ve started marking some magazines as strictly for ‘training’ or range use to avoid having a battered and heavily-used mag wind up in storage. For the Glocks, this was easy – blaze orange baseplates. For the AK and AR’s, equally easy – a band of blaze orange duct tape around the bottom of the mag.

Ammo is another story. I’d like to store factory ammo as a reserve and do practice/recreational shooting with reloads. Fortunately the standardization of calibers leaves us with only a handfull of calibers to keep on hand – .223, .308, 7.62×39, 9mm, .45, .38/.357, 12 ga. and .22 LR. We’re pretty good on .22 LR since its only $20 for a thousand rounds at any WalMart. 12 ga. is also pretty cheap and easy to keep. The other calibers…not so much. 7.62×39 has gone up almost 50% in the last year…thats interesting. Still, its the cheapest centerfire around. In other calibers Remingtons new ‘yellow box’ 250-round packages are a fair deal these days. If you buy the bulk Rem. yellowbox, repackage it into plastic 50-rd boxes or something. And dont forget to cahce a small sampling of various calibers in a box for your vehicle.

Anyway, some inventory tomorrow.
Mad Zero props to for managing to keep updating on hurricane Rita through a blackout by running an inverter out of his vehicle to power his computer and cable modem. Most folks wouldn’t have thought of that. And the good Doctor Hamm also had the forethought to have a camp stove for cooking on during the outage. I like to think its my influence. But Sam, didja have any extra gasoline for all the idling you were doing?
According to my math, I am responsible for no less than 11 flectar parkas being sold in the last week to various LJ people. Theyre good parkas and if youve been on the fence about getting one, you really should snap to it…theyre cheaper than ever and I bet every person on LJ who ordered one would have absolutely no qualms about the quality of them. Backtrack a post or two for a link to them. There may be a ‘Show Us Your Flectar’ thread later.
“And god sent a rainbow as a sign…won’t be water, but fire next time.”

Flectar parkas, ZipLoc body bags?, recipe, topo mapware, chokepoint musing,Mayoral musings

Sportsmans Guide is again selling the fabulous Flectar parka combo – liner and parka for $20. Their #JX5M-86391X ( I’ve got four of these (one for everyday use, one for the truck, two for storage) and am thoroughly pleased with them. When the girlfriend BunkerBabe took her shooting class and the weather turned nasty she was immensely pleased to find one of these parka/liner combos stowed in a drybag in the bag of the truck…that was worth $20 right there.Theyre superior to the US issue field jackets in a bunch of ways. It looks like these are seasonal offerings so get ’em while you can. Good stuff.  Zero approved.
I was in Albertsons the other day and found, check this out, extra-humongoid ZipLoc bags. Seriously. ZipLoc is making body bags! (“Keeps freshness out!”) Actually, theyre not quite that big…but they are 2’x2.7′ (“XXL”) and 2’x1.7′ (“XL”). Not sure I’d trust them on long-term waterproofness but they would be just the ticket for storing your sleeping bags or backpacks in such a way as to keep dust, dirt and moisture off them. These would be perfect if you had to toss your pack in the back of a truck and didnt want the rain/snow to get to it. Multitudes of uses limited by your imagination. I’ve picked up a couple boxes and will give a review of them later. In KatrinaWorld these would be great for keeping sleeping bags, clothes, portable devices, etc, etc protected from mold, damp and moisture. Im quite excited.

Homemade noodles in chicken broth
1½ cup flour (either freshly ground whole wheat
or white
¼ tsp. salt
2 eggs, reconstituted or fresh

Place flour in mound on board, making a nest or well in the center of the mound. Pour eggs into nest. Beat the
eggs with a fork, gradually bringing the flour into the mix. Work the dough into a ball with your hands, picking up only as much flour as it takes to make a stiff, but workable ball. Knead the dough for about five minutes. It should not stick to the board. If it seems too moist, add a little more flour; if too dry, dampen your hands and knead longer. Divide the ball into quarters. Cover three and reserve one to work with immediately. Lightly sprinkle board with flour and roll out dough, pulling it into a uniform thickness oval. Make it as thin as workable and let rest in a warm, dry place. Repeat with other three quarters. When all dough is dry, but not stiff and brittle, roll like a jelly roll, cutting into desired thickness with a sharp knife. You can then either fluff out to separate and then carefully hang to dry or lay it flat to air dry for an hour. Pour a quart of chicken broth (or use dry chicken granules to make a broth) into a large pot. Add diced, canned, or freeze dried chicken meat, if desired, as well as onion, carrots, and spices as wanted. Bring to a medium boil, then carefully add noodles, simmering just long enough to make them tender. The flour on the noodles provides natural thickening. You’ll get raves for this simple, yet satisfying meal.

One of the things Ive been wanting to buy is map software for printing out your own topo maps. I see alot of uses for this stuff…not the least of which are:

  • Evaluating routes and alternate routes out of your area
  • Getting a broader picture of a property’s layout
  • Using in conjunction with a GPS for geocaching
  • Scoping out hunting and camping areas

Where it would really shine is if you found a pice of property you wanted to purchase for a retreat or other use, you could generate the top, check it against GPS coords, and then get the satellite image. How utterly cool would that be? Know where every ravine, gully, draw, creek, and neighbor is without getting away from your computer. (Although, obviously, theres no substitute for boots-on-the-ground.)
I was thinking about how if you had survived Katrina, had five gallons of gas in your car, and decided it was time to leave you’d be severely screwed by not knowing what bridges, overpasses and other chokepoints were still usable and which weren’t. And you could really use up gasoline in a hurry driving through town looking for a bridge that wasnt washed away. The solution is to first of all know where all these chokepoints are, then find out somehow which ones are still usable. Maybe recon on bicycle? Ask a passing NG, if they look harmless. Tough situation to be in. Just enough gas for one chance and you can’t blow it. So, either have lotsa gas or lotsa info or both. And think ‘outside the box’ in terms of avenues of exits. Roads work, but so do railroad tracks/rightofways, bicycle trails and other usually-not-used-with-a-car avenues. This is where maps come in handy. I like to think that local broadcasting would be making announcements about which avenues were accessible and which werent but we’ve all seen how relying on gov’t pays off, right?
Speaking of the Big Sleazy, it appears the mayor is now going to allow people to start repopulating parts of New Orleans. Never mind that a week ago he had his flunkies enthusiastically shoving grandmothers into cattle cars trucks to be taken for ‘processing’ for their own ‘safety’. FIrst off, as far as Im concerned the mayor of New Orleans is a puppet-figurehead for who’s really calling the shots – the feds. And thats fine, I can see him wanting to look like he actually has something to do. But I guarantee you this man’s career in politics , anywhere else in the country, would be toast…but Louisiana has a political history that beggars logic. Were it up to me, he’d never have a job in government again..which, unfortunately, means thats exactly what he’s going to have.

Speaking of beggars, I want to point out that the biggest recovery efforts in terms of rehabbing buildings, removing debris and the like are being done privately. Businesses are taking the steps to get up and running on their own and thats why they will succeed and rebuild cheaper, faster and better than the government will do it.