Free Shipping on Bulk Ammo -- TargetSportsUSA.Com!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Shooting the .380 Hi-Point Carbine

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Today I had the pleasure to test-fire the 3895TS, kindly loaned to me by Oleg Volk. This is not a full-scale Test & Evaluation, as that would require me to disassemble and clean it and I do not possess the tool required to take it apart (Oleg left it in Tennessee); this is more of a range report.

Initial Impressions
Like all Hi-Point guns, the 3895TS is chunky and functional in appearance, but at 6.25 pounds it was very easy for me to shoulder and operate. I don't know how rugged it is, but it certainly feels rugged.

A few noteworthy observations:
  • The charging handle is nice and big, making it very easy to cock the action. 
  • It is impossible to charge the handle with the safety engaged. 
  • There are three sets of rails on the 3895TS: an upper rail for optics; a barrel shrould rail for for accessories like forward grips and bipods; and an under-barrel rail for lasers and flashlights. 
  • The magazine is a 10-round single stack; given the thickness of the grip, loading the magazine the traditional way (slapping it into place with the heel of the hand) is awkward. I found it easier to load if I put my first three fingers against the magazine baseplate and just pushed it into position. 
The recoil of the 3895TS is so light as to be practically nonexistent. This is partly due to the fact that a cartridge designed for pistols is being shot through a much larger and heavier carbine, and partly due to the spring-loaded buttpad (see photo above) that acts as a shock absorber. These two factors combine to create a firearm that has only slight muzzle rise and recoil less than that of my .22LR bolt-action rifle.

One flaw with this carbine is that the magwell is internally ribbed, meaning that if a magazine isn't aligned just right, it will hit a rib and prevent loading. This can be preventing by making sure that the magazine is canted at the same angle as the pistol grip, which is fine for fun at the range but could prove to be a detriment in a self-defense scenario. This might be less of an issue if magazines with more than a 10 round capacity existed (such as the 20-round Redball magazine for the 9mm carbine), but for the moment it's 10 rounds or nothing.

Loading the magazine is also awkward due to the shape of the feed lips; a manual loader needs to insert a cartridge partway, apply enough pressure to depress the follower (that would be the internal floor of the magazine which lifts the ammunition into position), then slide the cartridge back underneath the lips. I highly recommend a magazine loader to make this easier, but curiously the magazine's front-to-back dimension makes it too long to fit inside a .380 Baby Uplula. However, a regular 9mm Uplula will accommodate it, so if you go this route, it's worth getting a single-stack aligner insert for your Maglula.

Performance
I chose to test the carbine at home-defense ranges (20-25 feet), and so I mounted a LaserMax Micro II G laser just underneath the barrel. Since I am 5'4" and had acquired this carbine from a 6'1" man, the first thing I needed to do was zero it.

Once I had the laser dialed in, the 3895TS showed an impressive degree of accuracy at 25 feet. As an illustration, the picture below is the result of a full 10-round magazine, even though it only looks like 5 bullet holes. (The holes in the 5 and 6 ring are from my initial shots dialing it in.)
I do not consider myself a particularly good shooter,
but this is an excellent grouping as far as I'm concerned.

I was very impressed by this, so I ran it out to 50 feet to see how it would do. Again, this was not with an optic; this is just the result of a green laser cowitnessed with iron sights. 






Sure, it's a bit low, but that's still a nice grouping
and it's definitely a kill shot. 

What I Liked:
  • The surprising accuracy of a budget gun. 
  • Its price: the stock version of the carbine has an MSRP of $315, but Bud's Gun Shop (for example) lists it for $271. 
  • Its ridiculously soft recoil. 
  • A separate rail for a laser.
  • That it's rated for +P cartridges, unlike my Sub-2000.

What I Didn't Like:
  • The 10-round only magazine.
  • The way that the magazine jammed if you didn't have it aligned just so
  • The fact that (see video below) you have to engage in a ridiculously detailed disassembly process, including removing the front blade sight, in order to strip the gun for cleaning. 
    • (This is mitigated somewhat by Oleg's insistence that the 3895TS rarely needs disassembly for cleaning and maintenance; I'm told that a boresnake and CLP ought to be sufficient for most situations.)



Verdict
I didn't think I would like this carbine, but despite its flaws I like it quite a bit. While my mother has not had the opportunity to shoot it, I think it would be an ideal longarm for her: she can easily shoulder it, the minimal recoil will be ideal for her arthritic shoulder, and its tight accuracy when paired with a green laser means she can likely put the bullets where they need to go.

All told, it's an ideal defensive arm for people who cannot afford an expensive firearm. Since it's a long arm, it is not as heavily restricted as a pistol, and the 10-round magazine passes muster in all but the most stringently anti-gun states. The soft recoil reduces flinching and allows for greater control and faster follow-up shots, and the .380 cartridge is available in a variety of self-defense configurations (my ammunition of choice is 90 gr Hornady Critical Defense FTX). The multiple rails allow mounting of whatever accessory you like, such a a red dot optic or a foregrip.

The only true black mark against the 3895TS is its magazine. I dislike how touchy it is when feeding, and increased capacity would reduce the number of times a magazine would have to be loaded in a self-defense scenario. Hopefully Redball will make a 20-round mag for it and fix this issue.
My Rating: A-

Ammunition
Today's Range Report is sponsored by Lucky Gunner, who gave me three boxes of Winchester-brand 95 grain FMJ Target ammo for review. I'm pleased to announce that all cartridges loaded, fired, and ejected flawlessly. I have also shot these rounds through my Colt Mustang Pocketlite as well, and they performed just as well then as they did today. I absolutely recommend this ammunition!
http://www.luckygunner.com/winchester-380-acp-ammo-for-sale-380auto95fmjwinusa-50

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #115 - Pocket-Carrying Botnets Count America's Guns

Trying to fit a pocket pistol into girl jeans is like trying to cram 10 pounds of Maura Healey's stupid into a 5 pound bag.
  • So why is it that women can't just carry guns in their pockets? Beth gives tells us the story of a "helpful" male trainer who didn't stop to think that maybe he wasn't as helpful as he thought he was.
  • What kind of person tries to kill a cop with a stolen car? Sean takes a look.
  • THE INTERNET IS DOWN! THE INTERNET IS DOWN! ...well, maybe not. Barron explains how a botnet made it impossible for many to access the websites they needed most.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin take a look at that very interesting question: How many guns are really in America?
  • Sometimes a story is so big that Tiffany can't cover it in only one show. She jumps back to the 'Good Samaritan' story to talk about how a reliably anti-gun journalist had a decidedly non-typical response.
  • When your survival is on the line, the people you surround yourself with can make the difference between life and death. How well do you know them? Erin tells us that now is the time to get to know them well.
  • Either Maura Healey just can't seem to see reason, or she just loves to see herself getting the Patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™ treatment. This time she's on Boston Public Radio.
  • Our plug of the week is for Armed Lutheran Radio,
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

And a special thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Remington Ammunition and Lucky Gunner.com.
BCP Segment Transcript:
Keep an Eye on Your Tribe
I’ve mentioned in previous segments that we call ourselves Preppers because the previous term, Survivalists, was co-opted by fanatical racist and separatist movements.

And while the term Prepper isn’t yet a bad word (despite the best efforts of National Geographic and their execrable Doomsday Preppers show), given the recent political climate and continuing belief that anyone who keeps guns and supplies is looking for an excuse to start a civil war, we may have that in our future.

(As an aside, if we ever do need to stop calling ourselves preppers, I suggest we start telling people that we’re fans of the Walking Dead. Given that it’s the #1 show on TV right now, they probably won’t ask more questions.)

But on to the point of my segment: while our lifestyle hasn’t yet been tagged with a radical political affiliation, it’s something to look out for among members of your prepping circle or bug-out group, to whom I shall refer from now on as “your tribe”.

Just recently, I discovered that someone who I had been Facebook friends with had recently jumped on the pro-fascism bandwagon. His wall was full of slogans like “Nationalist Pride” and quotes praising Mussolini, and pictures of people in black shirts with red armbands, and lighting bolts everywhere. SO many lightning bolts. The kind that look suspiciously like an S.

And then I looked a bit harder, and found a picture of him wearing a t-shirt with the Waffen SS death’s head on it.

Now it’s very easy to miss these kinds of things on Facebook, because if you have more than a dozen friends it’s impossible to keep track of everything they put on their walls. If you’re like me, you mainly get by with what’s on your news feed.

But while it’s okay for this kind of oversight to happen on Facebook, it’s another thing when that person is part of your tribe for whatever reason, because they’re going to be associating with you and therefore YOU are going to be associated with THEM in the eyes of onlookers… and all it takes is one neo-nazi in a prepping group to tarnish all of your reputations and make every prepper look like a paranoid, hateful racist.

I hope this segment doesn’t come across as me sounding like I’m saying “You must carefully watch your tribe for signs of wrongthink,” because that’s not what I want.

What I am saying is that you need to make sure you know what other tribe members are saying, doing, and believing. Back in 2011 there was a warning put out by the FBI for store owners to be careful of people purchasing things like weatherproofed ammunition, MREs, night vision devices, and the like, as well as people who insisted on paying for such purchases with cash, because these were indications that this person might be a potential terrorist.

Naturally, these are also things that hunters and preppers buy, and many folks still pay for things with cash because it’s, y’know, legal tender. And we preppers resented being lumped in with terrorists just because we bought gear which MIGHT be used to aid a plot.

Well, the same holds true here, only moreso: we don’t want the prepping movement to be lumped in with racists and fascists and nazis, either.

So keep an eye out for this kind of behavior in your tribe. If you notice it, talk to that person about it. Let them know that you care about them, and that you think they’re headed down a dangerous path, and that they ought to reconsider their life choices.

Hopefully, with love and support, you can rescue that person. But if you can’t -- you probably ought to let them go. You don’t want to be considered a racist or a fascist by proxy, and you CERTAINLY don’t want any additional scrutiny by law enforcement because you’re a known associate of a nazi.

So keep an eye on your tribe, and make sure everyone is on an even keel. Like my mom says, “Who your friends are reflects on you,” and not only is this true, but it’s also true that whoever you prep with reflects on the Prepper movement.

Please don’t let our culture be overrun with nazis. I really don’t want to change my segment’s name to “Blue Collar Walking.”

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Exhaustion

In times of crisis or emergency, we'll likely be more active as we seek shelter, food, water, and security. Being active and alert for long hours over several days is nothing new for anyone who has served in the military, but may be a challenge for anyone who has lived a moderately sheltered life or works a low-stress job. One of the major problems with being “switched on” for extended periods is the resulting exhaustion and burn-out.

Exhaustion is the result of too much stress, not enough sleep, and/or too much physical activity. There are differing types of exhaustion that I'll break down in my normal manner.

Body
Your body will hit a point of exhaustion if you push it too hard for too long. Strenuous exercise and increased physical activity are likely after an emergency (shoveling snow, clearing downed trees, hiking to your BOL, etc.) and can lead to physical exhaustion. Getting into shape will lessen the impact, but won't eliminate the possibility.

I've stayed awake and on duty for 72 hours at a stretch (when I was much younger), and it took a couple of days for my body to recover. Currently I'm averaging 85 hours a week at my job (harvest season), and after 5 weeks I'm starting to see the signs that my body is reaching its limits: body aches that aren't attributed to physical labor, swollen lymph nodes, a slight depression of my immune systems, decreased appetite, and headaches are all starting to become more common. I need to survive another couple of weeks, and then I'll be able to take a few days off to rest and recuperate. That's the key; being able to sleep and give your body a chance to repair itself is how you recover from physical exhaustion. Downtime is important and needs to be built into any plans for long-term prepping.

Mind
Mental exhaustion comes from having to process too much information in too little time. Sleep is needed to process information properly, so lack of sleep will rapidly lead to mental exhaustion. Information overload doesn't only mean too much data coming in; constant noise (or silence for some folks) can have the same mental effects as being bombarded by meaningful data -- it wears on your mind and leads to mental fatigue. Getting away from what stresses you may not be an option in a crisis, but you should try to at least find a way to get a change of scenery on occasion to give your mind a break.

Forgetfulness, distraction, short-term memory loss and self-doubt are all signs of mental exhaustion and should be watched for in yourself and others.

Spirit
An exhausted spirit is one that has seen or done too much and has shut down. Some spirits are stronger than others, usually due to being exercised by stresses over time, but they can all be burnt out if things get to be too much. Different people have different methods of “recharging” their spirit: music, meditation, writing, talking, and other soothing activities are common methods and may be worth considering when making plans.

Despair, detachment, and an increasingly negative or cynical outlook on things are signs of a person's spirit reaching exhaustion. A broken or exhausted spirit is hard to repair, especially alone, and will take a lot of time to recover if it can. There are a lot of people walking around with exhausted spirits that will never recover, and you likely know a few of them. They're the ones who just don't care any more about anything. They've given up and may never be able to get back to “normal”.

Soul
This one is a bit tricky. If you believe in reincarnation or recycling of souls, then the concept of a tired or exhausted soul shouldn't be discarded. A soul that has been around the block too many times without a break will get exhausted and do what it can to get a rest, even if that means starting a new cycle earlier than usual. The realm of the soul is beyond our ability to influence, so you can't really do much to help a worn-out soul. I trust that there is a plan or path for each and every soul and they will make the journey in their own fashion.



Plan to take time for yourself, make sure you have a place to get good sleep (cool, dark, and quiet are the three main ingredients), and do what you can to reduced the physical exertion (get good tools) that you expect to experience. Good nutrition and good company will help with the mental and spiritual stresses, though both may be hard to find. Like most bad things, exhaustion is easier to avoid than recover from.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Prudent Prepping: Monthly Roundup



The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

This is a quick recap of several things that happened to me, items I purchased or events that caught my eye coming to the end of October.

Earthquake Preparedness 
Several friends outside California, including my co-bloggers, were puzzled with recent news reports on the swarm of earthquakes near the Salton Sea and the 'Earthquake Warning' posted by the government. Their very logical questions could be boiled down to "What are you supposed to do about an 'Earthquake Warning' when one is issued?" 

Tornadoes and hurricanes give you enough time to either leave the area or shelter in place; the vagueness of a quake prediction means both the chances of one occurring (1:10,000 to 1:500) and the time period of the potential temblor make doing anything impractical. Besides, even a large quake is over quickly; for example, the 1989 Loma Prieta that hit the S.F. Bay Area only lasted about 15 seconds -- far too short a time to do much but recognize there is an earthquake!

The reasoning seems to be that if the State of California is aware of a danger and does nothing to alert the population, the state will be open to demands for investigations and accusations of negligence. However, while there is very little that can be done during the shaking, quite a bit can be done to prepare for the actual shaking and the aftermath.

California government agencies have been sponsoring The Great California ShakeOut for a while. This year's drills were performed on October 20, three days after the 27th anniversary of what has been nicknamed The World Series Earthquake. Included on the Home Page is an interactive game showing what to do and how to prepare (in as fun a way possible) for a disaster along with several PDF checklists, including one for taking care of those with disabilities.

Check out the whole page. Much of the info is easily used for general disaster prepping.

Personal Care

In my EDC supplies is a toothbush/toothpaste combo called The TOOB (and reviewed in this BCP blog post). In the reviews on the REI website , several people mentioned the toothpaste cap blowing off or the the tube itself breaking. Well, mine did too, but only after what I consider a reasonable amount of time for an inexpensive, lightweight and compact toothbrush.

Also like some of the other reviewers, I found the bristles a bit stiff and some did fall out. Despite all this, I like it and it will be replaced because it makes no claims to be anything other than what it says it is.

I am tempted to go back to a full sized toothbrush and pack a partial tube of my favorite toothpaste, but that starts me down the path of carrying larger items, and not wanting to do that was the reason I stepped down to a smaller EDC bag in the first place

The Takeaway
  • As with all your other preps, practicing your pre-emergency plan is as important as post-disaster clean-up. While earthquakes happen quickly, getting things set to minimize the damage is easy. 
  • Brushing my teeth will not be a top priority in a disaster, but during the work week it helps me make a better impression on all the people I meet. 
The Recap
Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running! 

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Candle in the Dark

I'm not a Luddite by any means. In fact, I'm the opposite; I love technology and the better living it gives us. For a prepper, though, there are lots of times when it is worthwhile to trade shiny new technology for proven stability and dependability, and the humble candle is a fine example of both.

Candles have been around in some form or another for most of recorded history, and without any massive changes in that time. Their simple nature makes them an ideal emergency staple for preppers -- Chaplain Tim wrote an excellent article on the basics of candles through the years. They're also multi-purpose, which is one of the first things I look for in my prepping supplies.

Light
The primary purpose of a candle since their invention is to banish the darkness. They do that job as well today as they ever did. While not as bright as electric lights, oil lamps, or other sources, the candle is always ready and doesn't require fueling. It can also provide ready light while other light sources are prepared.

Flame
A long, thin candle like a taper works wonders for lighting other things like fires and hurricane lamps. Once lit, a candle provides more flame than a match while keeping your fingers from being burned.

Heat
While candles are not an ideal heat source, a few of them together can provide enough heat to keep a small space bearable against the cold. They also provide enough heat to warm foods. During Hurricane Matthew, a friend of mine in Florida (not Erin) lost power. She was able to make tea, soup, and a couple other things in a coffee cup held over a candle, and therefore had hot food even in very nasty weather.

Morale
The little bit of light and heat a candle provides also come with a psychological boost. When everything is going rotten, that little dancing flame warms the soul along with everything else.

Price
Candles are also wonderfully cost-effective, with an indefinite shelf life. This means that there is no real risk in buying a bulk pack of votives or tapers and just having the on the shelf. Keep a lighter or box of matches beside them, and you're ready and able when darkness falls.

Lokidude

Monday, October 24, 2016

Guest Post: Proteins (and a little math) in the Apocalypse

by George Groot
George is a member of our Facebook Group and has written for us before.

Several decades ago, there was a book titled Recipes for a Small Planet which got all the science wrong regarding how we wouldn’t have enough meat to feed people and the meat industry would totally destroy the ecosystem if people didn’t willingly en masse adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

Another thing it got wrong was the ability of the human body to uptake incomplete proteins and then take up other complementary proteins later to keep the body healthy. 

Proteins
But I do believe that the author was correct in the assertion that it is optimal to eat complete proteins or complementary proteins to make a complete protein. Another thing she got right is that you can meet your minimal protein requirements from vegetable sources (although you can’t get your B12 quota that way, so enjoy a rare steak every once in a while).

In a long-term disaster situation, I assume that all the domestic animals will be eaten first; then all of the feral pest animals like squirrels, pigeons, raccoons, rabbit, deer; and finally people will turn to rats and mice in desperation. So in a world where fresh meat is both scarce and a luxury, how do you get enough protein to stay healthy? As a prepper you’ve got stored foods, but if things go bad and stay bad long enough, you’ll want to stretch that protein supply for as long as you can. What I’m discussing here, then, is really only going to be a consideration for an “end of the world as we know it” situation.

In your preps, there is really only one vegetable crop that is a complete protein and also cheap enough to consider: the soybean. It is grown all over the U.S. heartland, and soy products are pretty much everywhere from textured vegetable protein (a mainstay of MREs) to cooking oil. If you don’t have a huge amount of storage, I recommend getting soy flour.

Math
Let me first say that the following math has an inherent flaw: these numbers aren’t exact for the final product (baked or cooked) because I have not accounted for dry to wet weight in the conversion from flour to a baked good. As such, it isn’t precise enough for you to bake a loaf of bread, cut off a 100 gram slice, and expect the full calculated protein content. Since I don’t know what recipes you’ll use, and I’m not in charge of the baking in my family (seriously, I suck at it) I won’t even begin to try to estimate that conversion.

If you do want to measure out precise portions for protein control:
  1. Weigh your total dry products and compare that number to the weight of your final baked good.
  2. Figure out how many 100 gram portions were in the original dry weight.
  3. Then cut the same number of portions from the final product. 
The most likely soy flour you’ll find is the ever-hip Bob’s Red Mill soy flour , which generally sells for about $2.50 a pound. But if you can buy in bulk, a 50 lb bag of baker’s soy flour from Honeyville is $56.99 with a flat $4.99 shipping fee. If you buy two bags, that's the equivalent of 35 lbs of pure protein that you can transfer to airtight long-term storage.

But since this is Blue Collar Prepping, don’t use just pure soy flour for your prepping needs if you can help it. My family has one person with a wheat allergy, so mixing soy with wheat flour is a no-go, but if you can you should. 

If you assume 60 grams of protein per average man and 40 grams per average woman, this means that 172 grams (6 oz) of soy flour per man, or 115 grams (4 oz) per woman, will meet this requirement. By quick math, that means a 50 lb bag will keep two adult men and one adult woman fully stocked with their daily protein needs for 50 days (or 4 women for 50 days, or one woman for 200 days).

The 60 and 40 gram numbers are essentially meaningless to you as an individual; they are what an average American man and woman with an average American lifestyle (largely sedentary) would need to avoid a protein deficiency as per USDA dietary guidelines. You may need more, or less, depending on your body size and activity level.
Now, I’m not recommending solely living off of soy flour for any length of time. Variety is the spice of life, and a cornerstone of good nutrition. What I do recommend is using soy flour to increase the protein content of your baked goods.
  • All-purpose flour is 10% protein and it is incomplete, but it is dirt cheap and readily available. 
  • A 25 lb bag of Walmart “Great Value” brand all-purpose bleached enriched flour is $8.09. 
  • Mixing soy and all-purpose flour 50:50 makes a blend with 22.5% protein by weight, or one fifth of the product is useable protein.
  • If you stretch your soy flour this way every 5 ounces of baked good (pancake, waffle, muffin, biscuit, whatever) is protein.
  • Peanut butter is 25% protein (and also has some valuable fat content needed for vitamin absorption).
  • If you have two slices of bread (on average 50 grams a slice) with a single 37 gram serving of peanut butter as filling, you have 22 grams of wheat/soy protein and 8 grams of peanut protein.
  • This gives a whopping total of 30 grams from one sandwich, which is over half of the total protein intake needed for maintaining health. 
  • I don’t know about you, but I can generally demolish two peanut butter sandwiches in a day to get my daily protein intake of 60 grams.
  • A 4 lb tub of Jif peanut butter is currently $9.69 at Walmart. 4 lbs is 1,814 grams, so that’s 36 sandwiches. 
  • At 2 sandwiches a day, that’s one adult male for two weeks (four days if you plan on getting all protein from soy/wheat peanut butter sandwiches). 
  • But for every day this hypothetical adult eats two sandwiches, that frees up your other shelf stable protein (jerky, powdered eggs or milk, etc) or fresh protein (eggs, fish, meat). 
Once again, I don’t recommend getting all your protein from these hypothetical sandwiches; it's just an example of how adding soy flour to your preps stretches out your nutritional health for a longer period of time.

As another example of how soy flour stretches your protein intake:
  • Two 100 gram pancakes with 50:50 soy/wheat flour is 45 grams of protein at breakfast (enough for the average woman). Three pancakes is 67 grams protein, enough for a man’s daily intake.
  • As previously discussed, two peanut butter sandwiches as snack/lunch is 60 grams of protein, enough for man or woman for the day.
  • As a comparison, two servings of red beans and rice for dinner is 40 grams of protein, enough for the adult woman, and three servings would cover the man.
Some 50:50 soy/wheat biscuits would go a LONG way to helping stretch a jumbo can of Dinty Moore beef stew or Wolf Brand Chili across multiple people, while still getting each person adequate protein intake. Anything you can do on the cheap to stretch out your other resources is something you should consider. Perhaps you should add sandwiches to your long-term diet plan to add variety to your stash of beans and rice?

If You're Allergic
If you have a soy allergy, I'm sorry; I can’t think of a more affordable long-term storage protein solution. If you also have a wheat allergy, I'm really sorry because buckwheat flour is almost twice as expensive as soy flour when bought in a 50 lb bag and has only 3% more protein than normal cheap all-purpose wheat flour.


I hope this information is helpful and good food for thought. Once you have protein intake covered, you’ve still got the whole gamut of vitamins, minerals, fiber, fats, and carbohydrates to cover, which is best addressed with the wisdom of “Have a variety!” although that can be difficult to do on the cheap.

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #114 - Erin Puts the Title Here Or She Gets The Hose Again

Would you listen to us? I'd listen to us. I'd listen to us so hard.
  • Beth talks about teaching firearms classes for women, what she gets out of it, and why women come to her classes.
  • Sean takes a closer look at the killer in a murder-suicide at Forsyth County Medical Center.
  • Barron is back from his epic family vacation across the West. What tech tools did he use to make his trip easier?
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin discuss the intersection of depression and gun ownership, and why the "No guns for the mentally ill" argument can be used against non-crazy gun owners who just need to see a doctor now and then.
  • Hurricane Tiffany is back home after a whirlwind tour of New York City and San Antonio, Texas. Strap in as she tells you of her amazing adventures being our best ambassador EVAR!
  • Are you feeling SAD? Does less light in the winter months cause you Seasonal Affective Disorder? Erin talks about what you can do to fix it.
  • It appears that Dan Savage likes getting smacked around by Weer'd. He's back for another Patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™.
  • Our plug of the week the NSSF's website WhereToHunt.org
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

BCP Segment Transcript:
Seasonal Affective Disorder
This past week has been pretty rough for me, Sean, and apparently for a lot of other people as well.

I don’t know if it’s the change in weather, or the poop-slinging crapfest that is this election, or something else entirely, but many of my friends have felt moody, irritable, and downright misanthropic lately.

Last weekend, I started getting one of my periodic cravings to withdraw from the world. It doesn’t happen often for me -- maybe every three to six months -- and for about 5 days I just want to be left alone and not deal with people at all. During these periods, which I see as a time of renewal like a field going fallow, I just keep to myself and catch up on my sleep and my reading. It’s basically a staycation, only inside my bedroom.

Everyone needs some alone time, and I wrote a great article about it on Blue Collar Prepping, which I encourage people to read. But just when I thought I had come out of it and was ready to face the world and deal with people again… it felt like depression crept up behind me and hit me with a knockout blow. I’m not sure what caused it, but since many of my friends are having similar issues and are blaming it on the change of seasons, I figured now would be a good time to talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

Very simply, SAD is a kind of depression that happens when the seasons change. It is most common during the fall winter, although spring and summer SAD also happen. About 5% of the US population suffer from some version of it. SAD usually manifests during puberty, like so many things, and it’s more common in women than in men.

The spring and summer version, which I’m not familiar with, has these symptoms: insomnia, anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, weight gain or loss, social withdrawal, and decreased sex drive.

The fall and winter version is something I’m acquainted with, because my mother has it. The symptoms are: difficulty waking up in the morning, nausea, tendency to oversleep; a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to overeating and weight gain; a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks, withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities, and decreased sex drive.

Now some of you may be wondering what this has to two with preparedness, and the answer is twofold: One, SAD is something that can be treated and possibly even prevented with a bit of foresight, so it’s something that can be prepared against. And two, during a long-term disaster depression IS going to be an issue, whether it is seasonal or otherwise, and it’s good to know these things because it might not be possible to see a doctor during a crisis.

So here’s what you can do to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder, and possibly other forms of depression as well.
  1. Exercise. You don’t even have to get sweaty or “feel the burn”, although if you want to do that, more power to you. But just a 30 minute walk outdoors will help; both the exercise of walking and the exposure to sunlight, even winter sunlight, will help boost your serotonin levels. I talked about Serotonin back in episode 87, but the short version is that it’s the chemical in your brain that creates feelings of happiness and well-being. 
  2. Get plenty of vitamin D3. This is the vitamin which your skin creates via exposure to sunlight -- which is why I suggested a 30 minute walk during the day -- but if you’re trying to prevent SAD you might as well use a belt and suspenders approach. Also, if you’re suffering from summer SAD and you really dont’ want to be out in the sun, this is a good way to get a much-needed vitamin. I currently take gel capsules of D3 that I get from the Vitamin Shoppe, and they provide me with 5,000 IU daily. 
  3. Find things that make you happy and do them. This might seem like a “Well, duh” solution, but I know from experience that when I’m feeling tired and grouchy I don’t go out of my way to make myself happy. Find something that brings you joy or laughter and indulge in it. Hanging out with friends, watching a comedy, getting a massage -- all of these are recommended ways to cheer you up. 
  4. Finally -- and this is more for the winter SAD than summer -- you may need find you need a Light Therapy Lamp, aka a “Happy Light”. People with winter SAD need 24 times more light during the winter months than people without the condition, and therapy lamps provide a lot of light. Daily exposure to this light should help fight seasonal depression. 
Now, I don’t think I have seasonal affective disorder. It’s supposed to manifest during puberty, and I’ve always loved the fall and cooler weather and night time I also live in Florida where it’s sunny a lot, so I’m certainly not lacking for Vitamin D3 and sunlight exposure. But I’ve gone ahead and bought a happy lamp from Amazon -- it’s got 4.5 star rating and it’s only $50, and I’m going to see if it helps get me through this election funk. If it works, great. If not, I can always give it to my mother.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bluing or Aging Plated Nuts, Bolts and Screws

Why would you do that, you ask?  Well, a while back I was making something and I needed a screw to fit, and to look right it needed to be blued, but the commonly available screws are all zinc plated so they resist rust, and zinc won't blue.  Or, let's say you have a something (piece of furniture, tool, whatever) that needs a new screw or bolt, but you want it to match the look, or just need it with a dark finish instead of shiny.

There's an easy way to get the plating off, but you have to be careful: acid.  Very careful, in fact, because this stuff is dangerous, you don't want to get it on you, or inhale the fumes.  So, number one:
  • Do it someplace with good ventilation.
  • Use eye protection.
  • Wouldn't hurt to wear gloves.
  • Have some baking soda dissolved in water around; if there's a spill you can neutralize it, and when the process is done you use it to kill the acid on the part.
  • When the acid is eating the plating, it produces hydrogen gas.  It being highly flammable, make sure there's no open flame or other ignition source around.  I've never had this ignite, and I hope to keep it that way.
So, what acid?  I use muriatic acid.  It's easy to find (hardware stores, pool supply stores), and inexpensive.  I think a gallon -- the smallest bottle I've seen in said stores -- goes for about eight dollars, and if you keep it capped tightly it lasts forever.

The process is simple, demonstrated here with a machine screw.

You need something to put some acid in, deep enough to cover the piece (I use a hard plastic cup), and some steel wire.  Make sure the wire doesn't have any oil or grease on it.

Wrap the wire around the threaded portion, make sure it can't slip out.

Dip the screw into the acid.

You'll start seeing bubbles almost immediately.  If it's hot, and the acid warm, happens faster, if things are cold it'll take a bit longer.  When the bubbles stop, the plating is gone.  In warm weather, on a small piece, it'll only take a few seconds; here it took about fifteen before the bubbles stopped.

Take it out of the acid, and put it in the baking soda & water mix.  That only needs a few seconds.

Now I'd suggest washing it with a little soap, both to kill any traces of acid that might be hiding in the threads and to flush off any baking soda so it doesn't interfere with the bluing.

Fresh out of the rinse, still bright but it looks a touch frosted; that's from the acid lightly etching the surface.  Ready to blue.

Here we're using a cold blue, such as this.  'Cold blue' because you just brush it on and it requires no heat*.   I'm using Van's Instant Gun Blue, because that's what I have handy.  Good stuff, hard to find at times.

You can leave the screw in the wire as a handle, or use a glove to hold it, both to keep the stuff off your hands and to keep your skin oils off the steel.  Use a cotton swab to wipe the blue liquid on.  The instructions are generally something like 'wipe on, let sit x minutes, wipe off'; check your bottle for specifics.  I've found for best results with most of these it's
  1. Brush it on.
  2. Let sit a couple of minutes, wiping a little more on if it starts to dry.
  3. Wipe it off.  If not dark enough, burnish it lightly with 0000 steel wool, then brush some more on and give it a couple of minutes.
In this case only took about a minute to get a nice blue color

When dark enough, dry it off and then give it a heavy coat of oil, any oil will do, and let it sit on a safe surface for at least an hour.  That'll both help set the color, and prevent rust.
Wipe the excess oil off, and it's done.

This is fresh after oiling:

The other way to finish this after the plating is off is to rust it.  Done right it will give a dark, old-looking finish that lasts well.  I should note that rust bluing is a process done on fine firearms for many years, but we're not going to that level.  For this, after you take it out of the acid, just rinse it with water to flush off the acid, and hang it up where nobody will bump into it.  If the humidity is high it'll start rusting very quickly.  When it's covered with light rust, hold it with a glove and use a wire brush to remove the rust; use a light touch, you don't want to take the surface down to shiny, just knock off the loose surface flakes.  If the surface is evenly darkened by the rust, you can stop.  If it's uneven, or the surface is still bright, wet it and let it rust some more.

When you've got the surface you want, oil it to stop the process and darken the surface.  If it's a bolt or screw you'd  use on furniture, I'd suggest wiping it heavily with boiled linseed oil.

Let it set for about an hour, then wipe the excess off and let it dry (anywhere from a few hours to a day or two, depends on temperature and humidity).  That'll keep the steel from rusting, and if you're putting it into wood it won't soak in like a regular oil will.

The other thing you can do to finish a screw is to, after the color is set, make sure the surface is wiped dry and then wax it.  Something like Johnson Paste Wax works very well.  And if you've got, say, some Turtle Wax, that ought to work, too.  Put a light coat on, let it dry, then buff the excess off.  And two coats wouldn't hurt.



*Standard bluing is called 'hot blue' for a reason.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Guest Post: Choosing a Knife

by Levi Ethan Groenendael



Many go immediately to simplistic, tried-and-true answers (“Getcherself a 440 stainless steel 8” blade Bowie Knife!”) but bluntly, the right choice will vary from person to person, circumstance to circumstance.



For me, a burly 6’2, 300lb+ guy with meathooks for hands, I can heft a Gerber LMFII without a second thought. A recent acquisition, a Gerber Strongarm (which has other perks for being in my stable of bladed tools) is, frankly, a bit small for me, and pretty much ANY Swiss Army Knife (I have this one) feels like a toy in my hands.

Fit-to-Hand, however, is only one consideration – and frankly, it isn’t necessarily the most important. When choosing a knife, you should ideally be considering several factors:

Size of Haft
Does the knife fit your hand comfortably? Can you use it without having to engage in manipulation acrobatics?

Size of Blade
What do you expect to use the blade for? Think up the main three or four reasons, and consider what the  blade length, width, height need to be for those reasons. Consider, too, that sometimes one knife won’t do it – you’ll need more than one. That’s okay; just apply the same reasoning to each purchase.

Blade Geometry
This might seem kind of silly, but the shape and style of blade can often make a big difference in how you use it.

Quality of Manufacture
This one’s a little harder to quantify for measurement purposes, but a good rule of thumb is "Don’t buy Asian". I’ve nothing against our brethren to the east, and sometimes you WILL see good products coming from there, but generally, knockoffs from Asia are not to be trusted. Don’t believe me? Go watch 127 Hours.

Construction Material
This one gets ugly, and fast! Some people swear by one kind of steel, some by another… Some insist on Damascus because of its extreme resiliency, some claim it’s too shoddy and won’t withstand heavy use – both are correct, but from different perspectives. Look for a steel that will withstand the kind of use you expect to employ it for – cutting cordage, paper, and cardboard is a far cry from cutting open cans of food or cutting firewood.

Anecdotal Evidence
Whenever I look to buy another knife, I try to look over reviews from various sources:  knife forums, YouTube, Amazon, the manufacturer (if they offer a review system).  While the “good” reviews are nice, I tend to look at the negative ones, more, so that I can get a feel for any sort of common problems that might be the case for a given blade.

Price
This one might seem obvious, but I’m not just talking about how much money you’re going to fork over for the knife. I’m talking about the contrast of cost against material/manufacturing (don’t spend extra for a name, and conversely don’t trust the brand if it’s severely under-priced – reference my earlier comment about knockoffs!), but also consider that a lower price might mean you can replace it without too much heartache or frustration. I have a $600 custom blade that holds a surgical edge after being used to cut through a stack of pennies, which is great... but I’m not about to use it like I use some of my other edged tools!

Closing Thoughts
As with any of your gear selection, don’t just take some arbitrary comment from another person as gospel; what’s right for one person with one set of circumstances at one point in time will not necessarily be right for you, in your circumstances, at your present moment in time.

I’m happy to flesh this out further; if there's sufficient interest, ask Erin Palette and she’ll bug me for a follow-up article.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Value of Grey

Several years ago, I was introduced to the term "grey man." In essence, a grey man is someone who fades into the background. While he is in front of you, you notice him just fine, but once he's left your presence, he is entirely forgettable. The best example for readers is Tom Clancy's John Clark, contrasted against James Bond. This has some very obvious benefits for anyone in rough situations.

The grey man is an intersection of skills and oblivion. No matter what he knows or carries, he strives to be completely uninteresting, just like his namesake. He can neither give nor take offense at others while remaining grey. He cannot be flashy or overly ebullient. The goal is to simply be "some guy."

There are many places where you may be standing out right now that can be made more grey.

Wardrobe
This is one of the biggest areas of distinction. Clothing is visible to everyone who sees you. As you attempt to become more grey, consider how your clothing fits into your surroundings. The neon shirts I wear every day to work blend in perfectly on a jobsite, but stick out like a sore thumb in the grocery store. In the blue-collar area where I live, my t-shirt and jeans are almost the neighborhood uniform. Visiting my wife's office, they make me very noticeable.

As a general rule, avoid flashy jewelry and doodads. I also try to avoid shirts with printed messages or designs, unless they help me fit into an environment. At my local nerd store, I can be grey wearing any manner of geeky shirt, because everybody else wears them. At a sporting event, a shirt from the home team is ready-made mental camouflage. The running joke among my friends and family is that my "Dude uniform" is a one-color t-shirt and a pair of jeans. It's simple and effective, and goes completely unnoticed.

Vehicles
Another major identifying item is what you drive. That big bad bug-out wagon that can ford rivers and carry 3 months worth of supplies is effective, but everybody sees it coming. I love a flashy car as much as the next gearhead, but flashy stands out. At my place, our daily drivers happen to be white, domestic, very popular models. My wife's truck has no bumper stickers or other showy bits. My truck has one sticker on it from before I bought it, that I just haven't gone to the work to remove yet. Both of them are well-maintained, but outwardly appear entirely bland. If I want to make an impression, I have a flashy little sports car, but outside of that, the sports car stays in the garage in favor of the boringly effective truck.

Mannerisms
The way you move, act, and speak can very quickly make you noticeable or invisible. Acting nervous, excitable, or overly agitated will immediately mark you in the minds of people around you. Don't be overly specific about skills or other preps unless the situation specifically calls for it. Being pleasantly aloof and noncommittal will make people forget you as soon as you walk away. Be polite and pleasant and you'll fade into the fog of the hundreds of interactions humans have daily.

Body Art
Tattoos, piercings, and other body mods also stick out. If you're trying to disappear, identifiers like those are going to have to hide. They're colorful, unique, and permanent. All of this is fine, but it makes you stand out in peoples' minds. If you have body art, consider how to camouflage it if the need arises.


The moral of the grey man is "Don't advertise." Businesses advertise to get attention. Grey folks do the exact opposite to achieve the opposite result.

Lokidude

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Prudent Prepping: Cache and Carry

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

Our Esteemed Editrix Erin Palette foolishly posted several pun-inspired potential titles for future Blue Collar Prepping articles. Several of us have said,  "Challenge accepted!" and here is my contribution to The Cause.

Cache And Carry
It has been several years since I have actively hiked or backpacked long distances. Marriage to a woman with a minor disability, home ownership, and having a child slowed down my participation in activities that were easily done as a single man. When I was able to hike the Sierra Nevadas, the group of guys I hiked with started at Lake Tahoe and went all the way to Yosemite National Park. We never made it all the way to Yosemite in one trip; weather knocked us back twice, and illness the third time we tried it.

We did make the trip in pieces over the years, though. To do a hike that long (almost 190 miles), lightweight food was required. Unfortunately for us, our wallets were lacking the money to buy freeze-dried meals, so we made do the best we could with a mixture of canned goods and what few lightweight meals we could afford. To make it easy on ourselves, we decided to carry in supplies by putting our food into pails, lashing them to the frames of our backpacks, and caching them at the halfway point. This was relatively easy, since the Forest Service and the State of California maintain fire roads into and around the areas the Pacific Crest Trail runs. We still had to do some serious hiking, mostly uphill and through some very rough terrain, to get to the PCT.

This is similar to the pack frames we used, only our frames didn't have a shelf to make keeping a cylindrical object stable.

http://tinyurl.com/ze9gvjg
The idea was to hike in to the "Go, No Go" point, bury the pails in a place that would be easily found, mark it and hike out. Since metal pails were too expensive, 5 gallon plastic pails were what we used.

To keep varmints out of our food, we adapted an old frontier trick used by early settlers to keep graves from being dug up by animals. They would spread gunpowder around the area, whereas we mixed motor oil into the dirt used to backfill the holes. This is totally unacceptable to me now, in our environmentally conscious times, but back then no one thought about the potential damage. I will state that 10w-40 protected our food very well, since it once took us a year to get back to the cache.

Finding an area with enough soil to allow us to dig a hole over two feet deep was our second hardest problem. These holes were NOT dug below the frost line, but the pails were never intended to be stored long term anyway.

This method of food storage, and the idea of being able to grab supplies quickly and easily, was in the back of my mind when the idea of The Bucket of Holding hit me. Adapting an internal frame pack to take a 5 gallon pail might be a problem if the pack is completely full; if only partially filled with gear, lashing a pail to the outside should be relatively easy, using existing D-rings and anchor points

http://tinyurl.com/hlxtn3u
I see similar pictures from every disaster in the First or Second World: people no different than those I might see at the grocery store, carrying bags, suitcases or even cardboard boxes filled with their belongings and walking down the road. I don't intend to be like these people if I have to Bug Out, or even if I am going across town in a disaster. I will be carrying my gear safely and securely, on my back.


Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon this Holiday season, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!


If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Necessity of Solitude

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
(This post brought to you by me rarely leaving my room for the past three days)

There is value to being left alone. All humans need it, just as they need human interaction, but the amount varies by individual: a truly extroverted person likely needs only a little solitude, while the introvert needs more, but we all need personal space and alone time to a certain extent -- even the peppiest of party-lovers wants privacy when using the toilet.

But aside from the expected alone-time needed to sleep, dress and perform sanitary functions, many of us need more than that. It varies for me, but every three to six months I just get "peopled out" and need to withdraw for a while. There is something soothing to my soul about being in complete control of my environment (even it is just my bedroom) and not have to be answerable to anyone except myself when it come to volume, temperature, lighting, clothing, and activity.

I think of it as a field going fallow, or trees hibernating for the winter; a period of quiet that restores both body and soul so that I might be productive again. It's as necessary for my sanity and well-being as sleep and food.

The problem with solitude is that it's difficult to achieve that state of serenity when you're living with other people, as those with families will attest: many times the other people in your life just can't leave alone. Sometimes they need you (as parents with small children will attest); sometimes they don't realize they are being loud or intruding; and sometimes they need to use the same space you do (like married couples, or siblings sharing a bedroom).

In normal times this dilemma can be solved by leaving: taking a walk, going for a head-clearing drive, or just visiting the local library. In times of crisis though, when the feces has truly struck the oscillator, the logistics of alone time become problematic: is it smart to take a walk when the neighborhood is devastated and looters about? is it safe to drive when the roads are full of debris and you don't know when you'll get more gasoline? is the library even there anymore?

This is not a post full of solutions. As Evelyn is fond of pointing out, "People are not widgets", meaning that what works for one person will not work for everyone. For example, earplugs and books can go a long way towards blocking out many environmental distractions, but some people are bothered by the mere presence of others around them. There have been days when I haven't even wanted to look at another human being, let alone share a room with them.

Rather, this post is about understanding. Many people think that folks who need quiet time or solitude are depressed or are psychologically broken in some way or are "just weird", and that's not true. We all need personal space and alone time; people like myself just frequently need more of it than is typical. But the good news is that those of us who crave solitude can still be of use to the tribe or community in times of crisis: for example, there are many tasks which must be performed alone (such as late-night fire watch), or quietly (such as hunting), or which no one else wants to do, and these are ideal jobs for people who are feeling non-social.

In short, don't look upon people who frequently wish to be alone as inconveniences to be worked around or emotional cripples to be pitied. Instead, work with them, and find a way to turn their needs into a strength that will benefit the entire group.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #113 – Hurricane Matthew After-Action Report

In this Very Special Episode, Erin and Sean share their memories of evacuating from Florida and hunkering down in North Carolina, and talk about the lessons they learned from the experience

Stay tuned after the regular show for a quick update on Sean's opening day hunting adventures!

Beth, Barron, Tiffany, and Weer'd will return next week with our regular podcast format.

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

And a special thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Remington Ammunition and LuckyGunner.com.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Gun Cleaning, Part the Fifth: Corrosive-Primed ammo

Lots of military surplus ammo out there, especially in 7.62x39 and 7.62x54r. It costs less- sometimes MUCH less- than commercial, often can be had in 'spam' cans in which it can be stored for decades, and it works. Just the kind of thing for practice, and maybe stashing some away just in case.However, there is a slight problem: rust.

Just to cover the matter, the ammo is not actually corrosive; it's called that because of the effect of some of the residue left behind by the primers. One of the chemicals used in primers for a long time(and in Europe still used for some military ammo), when it burns leaves traces of salt behind. Salt itself isn't corrosive, but it attracts moisture, which WILL cause rust.

So you have to make sure your cleaning flushes the traces of salt out of the bore and- especially in semi-auto rifles- action. What complicates this is that most commercial CLP and bore cleaners don't do this well, which has caused many people to clean their rifle, look at it a few days later and find rust in the bore.

And some ammo is worse than others. For instance, there was some 1960's-production German 8mm Mauser ammo available for a while that was fairly awful in this respect. I'd used some of this, and knowing it was corrosive primed, cleaned appropriately. Which turned out to be insufficient for this stuff. Two days later(no later, thank God) I pulled it out to check, and found rust in the bore. Which occasioned an amount of screaming and cursing and immediate recourse to EVERYTHING I HAD to scrub it out. I found it before it'd had enough time to do real damage, but a lot of people have not been so lucky.

So how do you clean the stuff out? Same tools(patches, brushes, rods) as any other, but a different cleaner is needed. The basic is water; it will dissolve the salts, flush them off the surface, and let a patch carry them away. If you use straight water, hot is best, as it'll both help flush the stuff out, and warming the barrel will help it dry faster.

A lot of people add ammonia. Doesn't take much, maybe one part ammonia to ten of water, though I've heard of people using as strong as 1-to-5 just to be sure.

I've been told water with a little vinegar added works well.

A favorite with a lot of people is Windex. Yes, the glass cleaner. I have known people who swear by it. Supposedly the version with vinegar is best.

About the best cleaner I know of for this is Ballistol. Works straight for general cleaning and lubrication, but for this purpose it was designed to be mixed with water(proportions on the can) for cleaning this kind of fouling. It works, it doesn't stink or(that I've noticed) mess with your skin like ammonia. Good stuff.

Thompson Center No. 13 Bore Cleaner. This stuff was made for cleaning muzzleloaders and other arms firing black powder. I've tried it, and it worked quite well.

As noted, plain hot water works. George McDonald Fraser, in one of his books*, wrote of the British Army 'boiling out the rifles' after a day involving shooting. The Brits actually issued a special funnel(one per squad, I believe) for the purpose: had a short hose with a nozzle to fit into the chamber; set the rifles upright, take some hot water and flush out the barrels, then dry and oil them.

With most corrosive-primed ammo, it's not really a big deal to clean. The ideal is at the range, after you're done shooting(description is for bolt-action rifles), remove the bolt. Get a patch damp with your chosen cleaner, and push it through the barrel(or pull it through if using one of those cleaning 'rods'). Do that again. Push a dry patch through, then a lightly-oiled one. That's it.

Dampen a patch with cleaner, wipe off the bolt face and the front section of the bolt. Dry, then oil.

After you get home, do your normal post-range cleaning, and it should be fine. If you can't do the initial cleaning at the range, do it after you get home, followed by the usual. With most of the ammo you might run across, this should take care of it. Though it doesn't hurt to check things the next day or two, just to be sure(again, really glad I did it after that 8mm ammo).

With any of these, remember that after you flush out the barrel, you need to make sure it's thoroughly dry, then use some type of oil or CLP to prevent the bare steel from rusting.

On actions, and things like the gas tube on a SKS, I prefer the Ballistol mix; it does a fine job of cleaning the residue out, and even though there's water involved I've not seen it promote rust(do dry and oil after, just to be on the safe side. And you can use straight Ballistol for that).


*Quartered Safe Out Here, excellent reading. A bit on the Enfield rifle:

And she did, thirty years old as she was; treating her right consisted of keeping her “clean, bright, and slightly oiled” with the pullthrough and oil bottle in her butt trap, and boiling her out after heavy firing.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cache Register

Since our illustrious editrix decided to play word games with my last post about caches, a few of the writers here have decided “challenge accepted”. You want prepper puns? We'll deliver them.

If you're going to hide some things far away from your normal Area of Operations (AO), you'll need to have a way to find them when you need them. A map with a large red X on it will work, but it will also mark the spot for anyone else that may see or find your map. I mentioned encrypting the location information in my last post, so here are a few methods that will work toward that end.

Methods of Identifying a Location
First, you need to figure out what kind of information you're trying to hide. The location of a cache (buried, submerged, or otherwise hidden from view) can be expressed as a series of numbers and/or letters using one of many methods. Those letters/numbers can then be encrypted to make it more difficult to find your cache.

Latitude and Longitude
The most common method of designating a specific place on the planet, lat/long has been in use for centuries. Starting from the arbitrary “zero” of the Prime Meridian that passes through Greenwich, England and moving around the earth east and west, we divide the world into 360 one-degree slices. The north-south division begins at the Equator and is also a total of 360°. Each degree is divided into 60 “minutes” (symbol ' ) and each minute is divided into 60 “seconds” (symbol “). A complete lat/long would look like 21 18' 32 ' -157 51' 3” or 21.308787 -157.850811 in decimal form. The negative sign designates areas south of the Equator and/or west of the Prime Meridian. Geo-caching and modern GPS units have made lat long a common system.

Military Grid System
Instead of working with pure numbers, the US military decided to separate the Earth into 60 east-west zones (numbered 1 through 60) and 20 north-south zones (letters C through X, excluding I and O which are easily confused with 1 and 0). Each block designated by a number and a letter is roughly 6° by 8° and covers about 800 km by 1100 km. An example zone would be called “4Q”.

Each block is further split up using 24 east-west and 24 north-south lines, to create squares. These squares are identified using the same letters of the alphabet as the grids. An example would be “FJ”.

Locations within the squares are pinpointed by measuring, in meters, from the south-west corner. You measure the distance east, then the distance north to get a string of numbers. The more precise the location, the more numbers. An example would be “19056562”, which means 1905 meters east and 6562 meters north of the starting point.

Using this system (which takes some practice) and military maps, a chunk of land 10 meters on a side would have a designation something like “4QFJ19056562”, which happens to be somewhere in Honolulu, HI.

Polar Coordinates
Instead of measuring in squares, another method uses vector and distance from a known point. If you have a standard starting point, say a large boulder or a bridge, you take out your compass and note the direction to your cache (the vector). You then measure the distance in paces, meters, feet, etc. and combine the two. An example would be 143275, for a point 275 meters (or feet, whatever you want to use) from your starting point at a bearing of 143°.

Encryption
Now that you have your data, you need to pick a way to hide or encrypt it. I don't have the time or space to get into all of the possible ways you can encrypt numbers, but I can give you a few basics.

Substitution Codes
These are the most common form of encryption. Replacing a letter or a number with another digit, chosen through a system that only you know, is the root of a substitution code. They are as basic as replacing the numbers 0 through 9 with letters of the alphabet starting with the first letter of your middle name (FGHJKLMNPQ for me) and get as complicated as the 128-bit security algorithms used for banking. Pick one that you're likely to remember or that you can pass on to someone else if you're unlikely to be able to use your cache. Replacing letters with numbers is similar. I suggest you look into one-time pads if you're serious about encrypting data.

Steganography 
Another method of hiding or encrypting your data, the quick definition is "placing your numbers and/or letters in an existing document in such a way that they are not noticed" (follow the link for a thorough explanation). Writing your debit card PIN number down as the last four digits of a phone number is a (not very smart) example - anybody that sees it will think it is just a phone number. Writing a lat/long designation in decimal form down in the back of a math book, maybe as part of an equation, would be another example.

Split Control 
This option breaks your data into two parts and gives each part to a different person. John has the longitude or vector, but Mary has the latitude or distance.


Being able to find what you have intentionally “lost” is important. I hope I have given you some things to think about, and maybe a new idea or two. As always, comments here or on our Facebook page are always welcome.

The Fine Print


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License


Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.