Link – No Desiccants Needed: Federal Fresh-Fire Packs for 5.56

Id posted earlier about Federal offering ‘tuna cans’ of .22 LR ammo and now it appears that they have decided to offer it in .223 5.56 as well. I would have thought something like a 50 or 100-round quantity would make more sense but…..


This is in addition to Fiocchi offering similar cans, and PMC offering their vinyl ‘battle packs’ of ammo. The market is responding to what it must see as a need in the marketplace…if thats true, then there must be quite a few people stockpiling ammo.

Regardless, if you want to tuck a few rounds away in your cace, vehicle, bug-out location, or other bolt hole…this might be the stuff to use. Its gonna be bulky in those cans, but for keeping a couple hundred rounds handy it would be nice. For larger quantities, nothing beats dumping it all into a quality ammo can with a little desiccant and sealing it up.


Fuel rotation

The needle was riding on ‘E’ so I figured this would be a good time to rotate out some stored fuel. Todays vintage is 10/12.


Yup….two year old gasoline. It is treated with this fine product right here:

IMG_1812PRI Fuel Stabilizer- For Gasoline…this is some great stuff. The difference between it and Sta-Bil? Honestly, I don’t recall. It’s been a long time since I researched this but part of my brain is wanting to say that there was something about this actually restoring/refreshing old gasoline when added, something Sta-Bil did not do. (I may be remembering that incorrectly, but I do remember there was some property that made the PRI-G a better choice.) I’ve been using this product for years and routinely use gasoline a couple years old with no problems in the 2002-era truck we drive.

Usually what we do is add a drum of old stabilized gas and then fill up the rest of the tank with fresh. Haven’t noticed any problems whatsoever.

Those ‘euro’-style/NATO cans are awesome. I use a funnel rather than the spouts for a couple reasons…the biggest is that I have NEVER found a spout that, when attached, works like it is supposed to…either the venting doesn’t work right and it takes forever for the can to empty, or the seals never seal properly and gas leaks everywhere, etc, etc. So I just picked up a stack of Blitz funnels. At WalMart they’re something like $2 ea. I para-cord one to every other gas can so I always have some, and I keep two in the gear box in the back of the truck. In a pinch, you can make some creative improvisations if you’re without a funnel.

8241Normally, I dose the empty can with the PRI-G and then fill with gas. That way the PRI-G gets thoroughly mixed in with the fuel. I then take a pop can and cut out a small square of aluminum and scrive the month/year on it. That tag is then ziptied or paracorded to the gas can, and the can is then set in its storage area. No muss, no fuss. The tag, being aluminum (or aluminium, if you’re from the COmmonwealth countries) doesn’t degrade in the sun and wet. Carve it into metal and the message is basically weatherproof.

Every so often I have to wire-wheel the cans and repaint them in areas that take some abuse. I have one can that I’ve experimented on by treating the bottom quarter of the can with spray-on bedliner compound. I wanted to, basically, give the bottom parts of the can a coating that would protect the metal from the cans being continuously being put on the ground, scuffed, etc, etc. So far it seems to work well and I’ll have a post about that later at some point.


Silver continues to be below $19. I’m not a fortune teller (although I suppose I’m kind of a misfortune teller) but I suspect that this is pretty close to the bottom of things for a while. Sure, maybe it’ll go below $18.50 or around there, but I doubt it will go much past that. To me, its buying time.

Which is why it was kinda cool when the Metals Pimp texted me and said he had something for me:

IMG_1809How cool is that? Remember these? Apparently someone who reads my brain droppings ordered some PM’s from the Pimp and said to hurl one in my direction. The Metals Pimp, being a man of discretion, gave me little to go on except some initials. So, thank you DS….much appreciated! When we’re living in the Mad Max world of the future and it’s time to trade silver for an evenings entertainment by some desperate former supermodel, I will pay them with this, hoist a mug of home-brewed brain eraser, and praise your generosity!

(Man, what an awesome apocalypse that would be, too….)

By the by, someone gave me a hard time in comments a few weeks back saying that I was basically just a mouthpiece for my buddy who sells precious metals and when I wasnt trying to drive business his way I was sucking up to people to get them to send me free stuff. Yeah, the Metals Pimp is a buddy of mine…it’s because he’s a buddy of mine that I know the Olympic-level of integrity and customer satisfaction that he puts out. And I know that he’s “one of us”..guns, storage food, BOV, Rand Paul, pro-gun bumper stickers….the whole nine yards. So if you can find a guy who will give you an awesome deal on metals and doesn’t think it’s weird  when you want silver because you think the world is coming to an end and is the Chick Norris of customer service and can keep his mouth shut about who bought what when….you tell me and I’ll shill for them too!

Silver @ $19, stranding

Well, silver is hovering around $19 at the moment, which means its a good time to buy as far as I’m concerned. Now that Obama has made his speech about ISIS, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s a market reaction.


The local news is covering the story of a college kid who got stranded in the ‘wilderness’ south and west of town. I suppose you could consider it wilderness, but when it’s crisscrossed with logging roads and thirty minutes from the nearest McDonalds, I’m not sure that counts as ‘wilderness’.

“Pavalone said outdoor recreationists in Montana should always tell someone exactly where they are going and bring plenty of extra food, water, shelter and clothing.”


Cooler weather is forecast for the region this week and its as good a time as any to start getting the winter gear ready to be tucked away in the vehicle. Even if I never have to unroll a sleeping bag and sleep in the truck overnight, there will still be those times of traffic where a bottle of water and a good book will come in handy.


Scout Rifle Stuff

Went to the range yesterday to play with the Scout rifle a little.Last time I used some ‘blasting ammo’ and was, unsurprisingly, less than thrilled with the results. This time I loaded up some 165 Hornady SST over some Varget. Better, but still room for improvement. Definitely need to mount either a stubby Harris BiPodor bring a better rest. I did find something interesting, though. Although the scope Im using does not have any type of rangefinding reticle, per se, theres some info out there on what type of coverage the reticle does give at 100 yards…allowing you to use the crosshairs and their spacing as an improvised ranging system – link. Kinda useful.

I think that if I go hunting this season, I’ll take this rifle along and see how it goes.

The magazines use in this thing are a little odd in terms of dimensions. Most web gear is built around a .308 mag being double stack…the Scout mags are single stack, so while they are about the size of a 20-rd M1A mag, they are narrower and thus a loose fit in pouches designed for the M1A. I need to explore magazine pouch options some more. This is not a gun built for a long day of throwing lead downrange, but I’d like to have the ability to put three or four magazines with my gear.

While I was at the range, I took the time to test fire a Ruger p89 I picked up last month. Big, bulky, and reliable. That works. I’ll clean it up, throw a couple mags in the Pelican case with it, add a battle pack of PMC 9mm ball, and stick it away for that rainy decade. It is way down the redundancy chain…past the tertiary level of redundancy…but if I ever wanna just dump a gun in the truck, or hand one out as a loaner to someone, its an excellent choice.

And, finally, wound up with a Del-Ton AR carbine a couple months back. Came in a case and fitted out with a buncha Magpul furniture and a railed forend for $500 so I figured why not’? Shot fine, good groups, hit where I pointed it. Same story as the Ruger – clean it up, case it, add some ammo, mags and support gear, and tuck it away for the long sleep.

So, a slightly gun-centric weekend. I really need to make a list of all this gun stuff and accessorizing so I can just get it done in an orderly and economic (ha!) fashion.

ETA: And today Ruger just announced a version in .223…for some reason.


One of the local cops here told me something that seems to be supported by cops everywhere – nothing good happens after 11pm.

If we were to slog through the crime statistics of just about anywhere on the planet, we’d see that most crimes are committed under cover of darkness. Certainly when it comes to those dreaded dynamic ‘home invasion’-type scenarios they almost always happen when it’s dark. Under a disaster or end-of-the-world scenario its reasonable to imagine that these sorts of nocturnal threats are only going to increase and be even more dangerous since, in most cases, electric lighting will be absent.

the_omega_man_large_04If you watch ‘The Omega Man’, you’ll see that our hero, Robert Neville (Charlton Heston), has a big ‘ol flashlight pipe-strapped to his Swedish K. Not a new idea, but probably the one of the first times it was brought to a wider audience. At the time, pretty much the only factory firearm with a dedicated weaponlight was the HiStandard 10A/B series of shotguns…never very common and quite quaint by todays standards of tacticool. (And, yes, if you go back far enough on the internet you can discover revolver-mounted flashlights that go back darn near 100 years….but they were more novelties and evolutionary dead-ends limited by bulb- and battery technology. [And at least one such fitted Luger.]

As time went on, folks seemed to realize that Bad Stuff happens at night and it might be a good idea to incorporate lights into the tactics of those who respond to those Bad Things. The most practiced technique is probably the Harries Technique (which is often miscalled ‘Harris Technique’). This is still a good way to use a powerful light when you don’t have it mounted on your handgun…but its not as great as being able to use both hands on your pistol.

At some point we finally transitioned to purpose-built weapon-mounted lights. These things are great and I love ‘em. The only real drawback, in my opinion, is that it makes it too easy for people to do something that is inherently unsafe – using their weaponlight like a flashlight. (This is much like people using their riflescope as they would binoculars.) Unless you think there’s something over there you need to shoot, don’t point your gun at it because it’s more convenient than using your flashlight.

When these things first came out, the ‘Krytpon’-type bulbs were the standard. Intense incandescent bulbs that generated a lot of heat and sucked juice like Ted Kennedy at an open bar. Eventually the LED technology caught up and nowadays almost all the usual weaponlights are LED.

I’ve played with a few lights over the years. At the moment, I’ve got a Streamlight TLR-2 sitting on the Uzi and it’s an awesome light. (Yes, it has a laser. Not my idea, the light was a gift. Normally, Im kinda on the fence about lasers.) My nightstand Glock has an older Streamlight M3 on it and as soon as I can free up the coin, I’ll be dropping a Streamlight TLR on that one as well. Speaking of dropping, the Glock pistol light is just embarassing. The local PD here had them and quickly moved on to the Streamlight when it was found the Glock lights had a tendency to eject themselves off the gun during recoil. Most of the Glock lights wound up sitting on the rails of the AR’s that are in the cop cars. The Streamlight has a screw to tension the mount so it does not come off the gun…something to think about. (It appears that Glock may have addressed the issue since the copy says that the lights also come with a ‘mounting tool’ now.) A couple years back I found a SureFire Scoutlight in a pawn shop and I love this little light. WIth the push-button tailcap you can use it dismounted from the gun like would an ordinary flashlight. Having run out of guns to mount it to, it sits on my 10/22 in case we are ever subject to a nighttime raid by…uhm…hamsters, I guess. I’ve also found a few of the older incandescent SureFire weaponlights at pretty good deals. Folks usually dump them at bargain prices when they upgrade to the LED versions. Theyre still quite serviceable and are better than no light at all. Additionally, many of them are modular so you can replace the front end with an LED head if you’re so inclined. And finally, a couple years ago I saved my pennies and got this bad boy. It wasn’t cheap (SureFire 618LMG) but it is a very, very nice addition to the go-to 870.

Overkill? Too tacticool? I dunno…I’m sure there’s someone out there who thinks that all you need is to duct tape a $2 WalMart flashlight to the barrel of your Mosin-Nagant and youre good to go..(“Don’t need any of those yuppie survivalist gun toys!”) but when something goes wrong at 3am I think having the option of lighting up the area in front of your muzzle has a lot going for it.

I mention the SureFire stuff because its what I have and they have, hands down, the broadest selection of gear. I’ve used their stuff for years (I mean waaaay back) and have been pretty pleased with it. There are other brands and a few up-and-comers are making some very interesting products these days. I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but if the opportunity presents itself I wouldn’t mind giving them a try. In the meantime, being something of a hidebound traditionalist, I’ll stick to the brands I know and have experience with.

Does every gun need to have a light on it? I don’t think so. But it would be a good idea if every gun had the option of having one attached to it. Since accessory rails are standard on just about every gun these days theres very few firearms that won’t accept a light. Pick up a decent StreamLight or SureFire and keep it with your gear if you don’t want to have one on every gun…just switch it to whatever gun youre running out the door with.

Last thing – batteries. CR123 batts are the way to go. There are a few lights out there that take other size batteries but you’d be crazy to go with anything other than the CR123. Virtually everyone has adopted the lithium CR123 batts for optics and lights, so stick with that…makes logistics easier. Spend the extra money and get real, good, known-quantity, CR123 batts. Don’t cheap out by getting some “Sonysonic” or “Duraready” or other cheap Chinese crap. Buy the real deal. $300 worth of weaponlight is just dead weight on the end of your gun if the batteries self-discharge from sitting unused for a while…or worse, the leak all over the innards of your expensive light. Don’t do it!


Article – Tokyo’s disaster parks: hi-tech survival bunkers hidden under green spaces

Another fascinating link from our friend over at Self Sufficient Mountain Living.

Tokyo’s refuge parks are cleverly disguised survival bunkers for the masses during times of urban chaos and dysfunction. They are outfitted with solar-powered charging stations for electric bicycles and smart phones in case of electrical failure, public benches that transform into cooking stoves, and manholes that double as emergency toilets. Under the rolling grass hills and cherry blossom trees are water reservoirs and storehouses containing enough food to allow entire districts to survive the critically important first 72 hours following a disaster.

I love this idea. This isn’t the first time I’ve come across something about Japans civil defense bunkers. I would guess that many countries have some low-profile, heavy-duty preps in place. What I love is the ‘hide in plain sight’ and dual-use nature of this park. I’ve long thought that there should be something similar in the US. (Although, for all I know, perhaps there is.) Back when the military was decommissioning all sorts of unneeded military bases and facilites they should have had each state take ownership of a few and use them as disaster staging areas. Fuel dumps, warehouses of supplies, airfield for transport, etc, etc, etc.

Japanese society, though, is a great deal different than US society. From what I’ve read, disasters tend to be fairly orderly affairs with minimal violence and lawlessness. When we try turning a sports stadium into a shelter it becomes Thunderdome. Another excellent reason to do your own disaster prep instead of letting the government do it for you.

Still, I like the notion of a municipality embracing the notion of civil defense to the point that it incorporates it into something as ‘green’ as open-space and parks.

Link: Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park

.22 LR reloading kit

Like most people today, you probably didn’t even realize it was possible to reload 22 long rifle ammo. As you can see, it is not only possible but also convenient with one powerful tool and a few accessories.

Our manual contains close up photography, cutaway views, and all details necessary to reload without any other means.

If you are concerned with the 22 LR ammo shortage and tired of looking for bullets to go plinking, our kit will help you become self-sufficient and enjoy shooting on your own terms.

This kit is a must have if you are serious about your bug out bag list and survival gear. With the included instruction pamphlet, you will be re-loading 22 LR ammo using available resources while others are left empty handed.

Whether you are preparing an adequate bug out bag with your survival gear or simply want to reload your own 22 long rifle ammo, the Sharpshooter 22LR Reloader Kit is your answer.

I’ve heard that it was possible to reload .22 LR if you were meticulous enough to hammer out the firing pin dent, scrape the material off some matches, etc, etc…but it seemed a lot easier to simply go to WalMart, plunk down $100, and come home with 5000 rounds of perfect factory ammo. How is stockpiling cap gun rolls any less tiresome than stockpiling .22 ammo? You may say “But Zero, what will you do when that 50,000 rounds of .22 you have is used up?” and my reply is “The same thing I’ll do when my 50,000 cap gun loads are used up.” Additionally, assuming some great apocalyptic event that makes .22 ammo rare and valuable, it seems reasonable to think that no one is going to be concerned with keeping the pipeline of cap gun ammo flowing, whereas any .22 ammo found will be guarded and preserved and protected.

I admire this guys ingenuity, and if I lived in a place where it was truly impossible for me to get .22 ammo I would seriously think about this thing. But I live in a country where I can walk out the door and look behind the seat of pretty much any pickup truck and find a handful of .22. Plus, if youre shooting .22 for small game I would think that 50,000 rounds of ammo is going to last quite a while.

I think this guy is missing the boat. He’d make tons more money if he made a kit to reload the rimfires that are still out there that no one is making ammo for like the .25, .32, .41, .44, and Spencer Rimfires. Lots of old Stevens Crackshots, Remington Derringers, .32 Marlins, etc, out there that folks would love to be able to shoot again.

(Someone may ask, “But you stockpiile reloading equipment, dont you? How is that better than stockpiling loaded ammo, using this example?” A couple ways…first, the level of versatility is greater…if I have a box with some IMR3031, primers, and a buncha .30 bullets I’m pretty much ready to load virtually any .30 caliber that comes across the table….30-30, .308, .30-06, .300 Win, etc. Additionally, far more folks will be reloading for other calibers than .22 so the reloading supplies that I don’t use will have a good trade value. There is virtually no advantage to stockpiling 1000 rounds of .308 reloading supplies over stockpiling 1000 rounds of .308 ammo…except that 1000 rounds of .308 is exactly that – 1000 of .308.The reloading supplies are 1000 rounds of whatever you come across in .30 caliber…so it may be 200 rounds of .30-30 and 500 rounds of .30-06. It opens up a few more options. However, to be pragmatic, I stockpile both ammo and components.)

Article – A Glow in the Desert

A cool article I found in a list of links over at our buddy Self Sufficient Mountain Living. NY Times article about a fella living off in the desert building his own stuff and living his own life.

YOU won’t find directions to the Field Lab, a homestead two and a half miles off Highway 118, deep in the West Texas desert and 30 miles or so from the Mexican border, on MapQuest. But John Wells, who built the place and lives there all by himself, will meet you under a highway billboard in his white Toyota pickup and lead you in, accompanied by a cloud of tenacious Fizzle Flat dust. (He might even offer you dinner: a plate of red beans, rice and broccoli, and a tangy slice of homemade cheese, olive and beer bread, cooked all afternoon in his solar oven.)

Great pictures. Theres always something kinda appealing about getting a chunk of barren land and making remaking it into what you want using noting but your ideas, ingenuity, and muscle. I know a couple folks up here that live closely to that lifestyle, although Montana does require you to come up with some creative and expensive options when winter rolls around. This guy living in BFE Texas has the same headaches, except in reverse – keeping cool. Living in the desert and relying on rainwater can be pretty dicey. I have some friends who bought half a section of land in the Arizona desert. Nothing but dirt, scrub, rock…..and a year-round well/spring. That last part is what makes the rest worthwhile, I suppose.

Trouble is, when  you go and live a life like that you wind up, usually, alone. Not a lot of hot chicks are willing to live in a handmade hut, use a composting toilet, and spend the day welding, digging, and getting sweaty. But it sure does have some appeal for a guy.

Nowadays, living by yourself in the Texas desert seems like a recipe for disaster. One day you see some headlights off in the distance and the next thing you know the Mexican army and its drug-dealing partners are using your place as a drop-off point.

The guy in the article has a blog and it looks pretty interesting. I love the DIY stuff. Although his take on life seems to wander a little to the green, eco-friendly, sustainable, organic side of the fence there is still a lot of interesting things there that would work for the less ‘social’ minded.