Bandoleer stuff

Unsurprisingly, I had a bunch of loose .223 ammo sitting aound that really needed to be organized better. A cardboard box full of 1000 loose rounds of ammo is no way to show up for the apocalypse.

When I go to the range, and I’m shooting .223 (or 5.56 [and, yeah, I know they’re different]) I usually pack them in a plastic 50-round ammo box. Other than keeping things neat and tidy, it also keeps me from turning too much money into noise.

But…for packing ammo away for that rainy day, I rather prefer to store .223 in bandoleers.

clips

Classic four-pocket bandoleer set

If you’re not familiar with them, a proper bandoleer contains a cloth bandoleer, ammo on stripper clips, cardboard inserts for the bandoleer pockets, a stripper clip guide (‘spoon’), and a safety pin to hold the spoon to the bandoleer. This is pretty much how they’ve been packing the stuff since Vietnam.

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New-style four-pocket set

The idea is not, as some geniuses would have you think, to carry this stuff around and then load magazines from stripper clips in the heat of battle. The idea is that it’s a convenient way to stage and transport a basic loadout of ammo. Original bandoleers were seven pockets holding 20 rounds each, for a total of 140 rounds. Of course, that was back when 20-round magazines were the norm. Nowadays there are bandoleers out there that are four pockets holding 30 rounds each. I’m a bit of a worst-case-scenario kinda guy, so I go with the seven-pocket bandoleer but put three clips in each pocket.

The bandoleers, spoons, and stripper clips are quite reusuable and its the rare survivalist that doesnt have some of them floating around in the garage or in his junk bin. But those damn cardboard inserts….they tend to get lost, destroyed, and they’re kind of a pain in the ass to source out. Now, I’ve got a shopping bag full of stripper clips, a cardboard box full of bandollers, and no 3-clip cardboard inserts. What to do, what to do…….

Naturally enough, a quick trip to Amazon showed that, yes, you could get the 3-clip cardboards there. Gotta love that instant gratification enabling that is Amazon. Ordered ’em up and a few days later -voila-:

20150607_201414So what do you do with them once they’re loaded up? Well, I dunno what you do with ’em, but I pack ’em away in some .30 cal. ammo cans until the day when I need them. Then I can grab a rifle, a couple mag pouches of magazines, throw one or two of these bandoleers over my shoulder, and head for the hills.

Is this superior to storing your ammo loose in an ammo can? I think so. For one thing, it makes an easy and quantifiable amount…one bandoleer is 210 rounds. (As opposed to a couple fistfuls of .223 which may or may not be enough to fill all your mags.) The stripper clips keep things nice and tidy, and load mags a heck of a lot faster than by onesies.

For range trips, I still use the plastic ammo boxes..but they don’t fit into BDU pockets very well, are noisy, and still require you to load your mags one cartridge at a time…all things that arent really a big deal at the range. I suppose some might question the utility and practicality of the bandoleers but I find them to be a convenient way of grabbing a ‘pre-measured’ amount of ammo, and also a convenient way to carry it.

Local flashlight sale

Years and years ago, the flashlight to have was a MagLite with the ‘Krypton’ bulb. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s these things were practically lightsabers. But…they still used incandescent bulbs (which are somewhat fragile) and sucked down batteries pretty quickly (the tradeoff for lighting intensity). But despite those two issues, MagLites were pretty much the standard flashlight for most folks. Streamlight always controlled a good chunk of the cop market for flashlights, but MagLite wound up becoming quite the major player in that field. One of the great attractions of the MagLite was that they were pretty robust…you could drop them, bang ’em around, and, of course, use them for ‘persuasive concussive techniques’ if the situation called for it. And, even after pulping someones face with them, they still (usually) worked.

When the LED revolution in flashlights finally came, MagLite introduced an LED version of the classic D-batt flashlight. This completely solved the bulb fragility issue (as well as having a longer life) and made a big positive change in battery life as well. As a result, I’ve been slowly phasing out my non-LED MagLites to the LED version. Problem is, the LED versions cost a little more than the non-LED. It is my opinion, though, that the added initial cost is very, very much worth the expense for the tradeoff of battery life and bulb resilience.

So, I was in my local sporting goods store today and they had the LED MagLites marked down by 33% from their normal price. That dropped ’em to about $18. A quick check on my phone shows that Amazon sells them for about $25 and that was the price to beat. So, I managed to get a flashlight upgrade today at a bargain price. Now if only the rest of my day were so bright and promising….

Panic buying

It occurred to me, as I was talking to someone about the still-present situation regarding .22 ammo, that any lulls that we’ve experienced in the panic buying over the last year or so are going to be pretty much wiped out by the fact that next year is an election year.

The Clintons, Slick Willy or/and Hillary, are hardly friends of gun rights. They aren’t even friends of friends of gun rights. And as you hear Clintons name bandied about more and more as the nomination process approaches you’re going to see more and more panic buying going on.

Then, once the nomination process is on, it’ll continue as the election comes closer closer. Finally, depending on who is elected, it might start to calm down around March or April of 2017.

This stuff is actually highly predictable. The four stages of gun panics, as far as elections go, are:

  • Right before the election
  • Right after the election
  • Right before the inauguration
  • Right after the inauguration

Don’t take my word for it, your own life experiences should confirm what I’m telling you.

thNow, I’m not nearly as stupid as I look (I couldn’t possibly be), but even I learned a long time ago to buy what I needed as soon as possible, as much as possible, so I could ignore this sort of thing.

“But, Zero”, I hear you cry, “I am a survivalist of limited resources. I can’t possibly get all my guns, ammo, and magazines before the election. I need both those kidneys!”

Well, that’s true. It’s a pretty intimidating list. That’s why you need to prioritize that mofo like no one’s business. Let’s look at it from a historical and hysterical standpoint – in the last, oh, say thirty years, what’s been regulated out of the realm of ownership by us simple peons? Chinese guns, Chinese ammo, steel core 5.54×39, steel core 7.62×39, imported rifle barrels for ‘assault weapons’, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds*, pistol grip stocks on semi-auto rifles*, bayonet lugs*, etc.

What else could come down the pike from the twisted gnomes in Washington? Well, almost certainly a magazine ban, assault weapons ban, and some restrictions on ammo. That whole wrist brace issue is living on borrowed time, IMHO. I expect there’ll be some fundamental changes to the DIY/80% receiver market and possibly some restrictions on mail ordering the other parts you need to complete your AR. (And before you say that ATF can’t regulate gun parts that aren’t serialized receivers, go try to import some AK barrels and let me know what happens.) And I fully expect there to be some restrictions on body armour coming along as well.

So, man of limited resources, where do you put your money to get the most bang for your buck in a world where political expediency directly challenges your ability to own thundertoys? Guns, mags, ammo, in that order. Since it is reasonable to expect that as we slide further and further down the timeline prices will go up and availability will go down, it would seem to make the most sense to purchase the most expensive and least available items first. Actual guns are outnumbered by magazines and ammo, so get the guns first. After that, get the magazines. After that, ammo. For every AR, there are probably hundred of AR mags, and thousands of rounds of .223….so get the guns first.

Stripped lowers? Sure, if you can’t afford the actual complete gun I’d grab as many stripped lowers as I can. I suspect that at some point the upper receivers and what not will be regulated as well but until that time you’ll at least have the serial numbered part sitting away waiting for you to complete it…or use it as trade for other stuff.

Magazines are simply a buy-as-many-as-you-can item. For those of us who remember the ’94-’04 ban, we can tell you youngsters stories about $750 BetaMags, $100 Glock mags, and $30 AR mags. It was a time of great chaos, and great(!) profit making. Even if you don’t have the gun, get the mags.

Unless you’re on fire or swimming, you can’t have too much ammo. Any surplus ammo still coming into the country, as well as the Russian stuff, is probably first in the crosshairs of those who would do evil to us. While we all have a magic number in our head about how much ammo is the recommended amount per gun, the truth is that you really can’t go wrong with buying as much as you can afford. If you don’t think so, look at the the folks who are sitting on thousands and thousands of rounds of .22LR right now. Or cases of old Chinese 7.62×39 when it was nine cents per round.

At this point I’m sure there is some genius hitting the comment button about to say something deeply profound like “It’s because of idiots like you encouraging all this hoarding that I can’t find .22LR ammo, and when I can find it it’s at ten cents a round!” Actually, it’s not because of me..it’s because of basic economics, laws of scarcity and demand, and federal asshattery. (How many ‘t’s in asshattery, anyway?)

Having been to this dance before, I’m pretty much immune to a bunch of it. I already have a goodly amount of guns and mags stashed away, and ammo is always on the shopping list anyway. But it is my opinion that if you’ve been waiting for prices to ‘return to normal’ or for ‘availability to return to normal’ you’re going to be left with a full wallet and empty shopping cart. As the political season heats up prices are going to go up, availability will go down, and today is going to be looked back upon as the day you’ll wish you had started shopping.

* = yes, that law sunset and we can now enjoy normal-capacity magazines and ‘evil features’. But do you really think they’re gonna make that mistake again?

Link – The Little Can That Could

Wonderful post about the history of the jerrycan.

During World War II the United States exported more tons of petroleum products than of all other war matériel combined. The mainstay of the enormous oil-and-gasoline transportation network that fed the war was the oceangoing tanker, supplemented on land by pipelines, railroad tank cars, and trucks. But for combat vehicles on the move, another link was crucial—smaller containers that could be carried and poured by hand and moved around a battle zone by trucks.

I’ve given up on anything other than the ‘NATO/Euro’ style cans for gasoline storage. They are more expensive, and sometimes hard to find, but I believe they are worth it.

Quiet weekend stuff

It’s always interesting to watch the pricing on bargains suddenly go wonky. Last week I posted about the LifeStraws being $15.99 and quite a few people (myself included) jumped in there and picked up a few. Or, in some cases, more than a few.

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Why would I mention a bargain on a cool piece of gear and NOT get a bunch for myself?

Sadly, I just checked the link and they’re back up to twenty bucks each. Bummer. Gotta strike while the iron is hot.

Same story on the OD hooded space blankets. They were $10.01 for a brief time and now they’re back up to $20. Hopefully, everyone who wanted one managed to get in there and snag a couple at the $10 price.

And speaking of things to put away for that rainy day, I decided that $2.15 was as good as its gonna get, and with us being slightly ahead on the gas budget this month, so I went ahead and have the extra fuel cans filled. Those are the lovely ‘Euro/NATO-style’ cans that I got from Lexington Container a couple years back. Don’t be tempted to buy the ones you see in Sportsmans Guide and a few other places…those are the cheapo Chinese cans and they are worthless. Yes, these cans are going to be expensive at around $50 ea (plus shipping) but when it’s 2am, pouring rain, and you’re on the side of the road hoping to outrun whatever it is that’s got you running, you’ll think that fifty bucks is a bargain to have five-gallons of fuel perfectly preserved and ready to go.

20150328_184015And, of course, each one of those cans represents x amount of hours of electricity courtesy of the generator. And electricity means hot water, hot food, lighting, communications, furnace blowers, etc….in short, those cans hold civilization. (Which  sorta explains those Mad Max movies)

So, a somewhat productive last couple of days…picked up some extra water filters, filled some gas cans, did some grocery shopping. The weather has gotten nicer here so I expect I’ll be doing some spring cleaning and organizing shortly.

Lifestraws on Amazon for $16

Hmmm…I was trolling around Amazon looking at my Wish List and noticed that the Lifestraws, which are usually a good deal when on sale at $20 ea, are down to $15.99 each.A quick search shows that even when you buy them in packages of 10 you’re still looking at around $17-18 each. This is pretty much the cheapest I’ve ever seen ’em at.20150322_180734I’ve been liking these for keeping in emergency bags, in the truck bag, etc, etc. Individually sealed and cheap enough to buy a half dozen at a time. They’re rated for around 264 gallons of water, which, at three gallons per day, means that you could, theoretically, use it for almost 90 days. I’ll settle for a long weekend. At that price I’ll just throw it away after one crisis and have a new, sealed one for the next. And when you’re in the grips of water-borne digestive distress you’re gonna think “Man, it’d be worth sixteen bucks to not  have to spend all day sprinting to the bathroom.”

While supplies last……

Those OD space blankets are back at $10.01

You guys remember this post?

Quite a few people managed to snag some of the OD space blankets at the $10.01 price before weird pricing algorithms started jerking the price up. Well, it appears theyre back at the older $10.01 price…for now. So if you missed out last time, here’s another chance. The price in the link below says, at the moment, $18 but click on the link and follow it to Amazon and the OD version is $10.01…for now. From the original post:

The hooded, pocketed, olive-drab, “blanket” has been rather heavily discounted at Amazon. Knocked down from $18 to $10. Get ’em while they’re cheap. Excellent for use as intended, but also good for expedient waterproof overhead cover, dry spot to sit your ass, etc, etc. Far superior than those stupid, flimsy mylar foil sheets. Heres the link:

Hooded OD Space Blankets reduced to $10.01

Two posts I want to remind you about: Heavily Armed nature Hike and more importantly, this followup.

The hooded, pocketed, olive-drab, “blanket” has been rather heavily discounted at Amazon. Knocked down from $18 to $10. Get ’em while they’re cheap. Excellent for use as intended, but also good for expedient waterproof overhead cover, dry spot to sit your ass, etc, etc. Far superior than those stupid, flimsy mylar foil sheets. Heres the link:

The fact that all the other colors are still around $19 and the Olive is reduced to $10 makes me think they’re closing ’em out and discontinuing ’em. Feel free to send me a couple off my wish list. (Although, really, even if you don’t wanna throw one my way you should still get a few for yourself…useful, cheap, and well-made….a trifecta you don’t hit very often.)

ETA: Hmmm. Someone musta cleaned ’em out because they arent showing up anymore at that price or in single-serving quantity. Further examination shows the blue ones are available at an equally good price. (Grabber Outdoors Original Space Brand All Weather Blanket: Blue)