CNN has an interactive U.S. population map based on 2010 census results. You can view populations in several ways including by county, which I find useful. I consider this sort of information when looking for jobs and planning bug out routes. As a general rule, less people in bad times is way better.
Archive for the 'Tips' Category
A lot of prepping involves food storage and learning how to hunt, but especially gardening and small-scale farming. I grew up in a rural area and am familiar with both hunting and farming, but am interested in other food sources often overlooked. Acorns seem to fall in that category and if you have a lot of oak tress they could be a game changer in hard times.
Some survivalists or prepper are aware of this, for those of you that weren’t; now you are. I haven’t harvested or processed acorns but plan to this year and will document some of it. I suggest you do some research to see what kind of oaks are in your area and how much they will need to be processed before eating (a good resource for California). If/when TEOTWAWKI arrives, acorns could be like manna from Heaven for some and make the difference between life and starvation.
It’s a good idea to keep fit all the time and not just for survival situations. We all know that but don’t always keep in shape, including myself at times. The last few years I’ve gotten back in gear on fitness, but with a few setbacks, more below.
What sort of fitness do survivalists need? Depends on a few things, including what scenario you think is most likely and are preparing for, and age.
In my opinion, the U.S. is currently in a slow collapse that will someday trigger a fast one. I think that if we continue on our current most likely path, a fast collapse will eventually be triggered through financial collapse. I suppose and EMP (manmade or solar induced) or something else could speed that up, but unless something big changes the calculus, I think our civilization is doomed.
From that starting point I think we’ll need to be physically capable of doing a few things; 1) a lot of walking, 2) moving, lifting, and carrying heavy things, 3) doing work that requires repetitive motions over long periods of time, and 4) less often than 1-3, moving very quickly at times.
In the early stages of collapse, fire fights might be more likely and the need to move fast will be there (I’m focusing on accuracy and long-range shooting rather than close quarters situations). But I also may need to bug out on foot and push a cart (jogging stroller in my case) for weeks/months.
So some form of weight training and cardio exercise is probably what most need. I jog, rather slowly at about 6 MPH for 4-8 miles several times a week, and lift weights heavily relative to most. I’m not looking to win any speed races, run a marathon, or be a body builder, though exercising will usually cause weight loss and build muscle mass, generally improving appearance.
Ryan noted I need to add FAST to my routine. Me, not so much. Him, yes. Ryan is an officer deployed to a war zone (also younger – it matters). I don’t know details but assume he’s in a combat arms branch and therefore has a much higher probability of getting into combat where he may indeed need to run like hell, and perhaps carry a 250+lb pound buddy out of danger, etc. If I get deployed to a war zone again, then that’s a different story.
I gave up on fast – knees can no longer take the punishment of running at 9 MPH for 10+ minutes. I work with a lot of retired military and know two guys whose knees aren’t screwed. I literally see guys late 40s/50+ gimping around at work all the time (I work for a big organization with a lot of retired military, along with AD, reserves, CIV, and contractors). Running fast is why those knees are shot, and I don’t want to make mine worse.
I did fast for awhile and am not real old (pushing 40), but decided I’d take a lesser score on my physical fitness test (max two events, do middling on the run) rather than kill my knees like I had been doing in an effort to get a better score. It was the right decision.
When they lose mobility, they start to balloon up, I’ve seen it over and over. A lot of the fat retired guys aren’t lazy, they just can move anywhere near like the used to, combined with a slower metabolism as they age.
Same with lifting as we get older, I see a lot of guys (formerly in outstanding condition) blow an elbow or shoulder, and it all goes to flab.
Keep as fit as possible for your age without sabotaging yourself a couple of decades down the road, it will matter IMO.
If my joints are shot when I’m 50 (or older), having been fast now won’t have been much benefit. Balance is the key, it’s a long race.
Some thieves didn’t bother cars with locking gas caps, while others didn’t even look at the caps and just put a hole in the bottom of the tank to drain it.
Gas prices will fluctuate but over the long-term they can only go higher, meaning such thefts are almost guaranteed to continue and increase. We drive 4WD vehicles that sit high off the ground, relatively easier to access the gas tank when compared to the average car. My insurance deductible is $500 and I’m not sure I’d want my rates to go up by making a claim, so my plan is target hardening; locking gas cap and some sort of protection or the tank. Parking in a secure garage or with the gas tank side up against a wall are not options right now.
Standard skid plates are available for some trucks but probably not for many cars. Also, many skid plates are made for protecting the tank from damage from rough terrain rather than preventing someone with a screwdriver or icepick from making a small hole. Sensors to detect gas tank molestation are also being marketed, but they are expensive and unproven.
I’m no veteran metal worker but have jerry-rigged a few minor projects, mostly with success. My plan is to fashion some sort of sheet metal, maybe diamond plate, to protect the tanks. This won’t stop a determined gas thief, but will deter the lazy ones or those with less time. Hopefully.
Why go to all the trouble? My guess is that in a situation where we need to bug out, fuel will be extremely tight and theft will be rampant. Ensuring we keep the fuel and prevent damage that could ground us is vital. So I think these precautions will be called for. I’ve only been thinking about this for a couple days and need to take a few photos before I decide what to do. Related ideas and suggestions would be appreciated.
Over the past year my brothers and I have purchased a variety of firearms. Now that we’ve had them for a bit and know they’re keepers, we’re finally getting around to some minor accessorizing; optics, slings, bipods, and mounts for them. Also stocking up on magazines and ammunition. Nothing exotic, but it still adds up fairly fast.
Aside from the ammunition and magazines, these items aren’t required for survival weapons. However they do make the weapons more usable and can make them much more effective. Reviews to follow over the next several months.
There are tons of options and I suggest you spent some time online figuring out what seems to work with your specific firearms. For some scope mounts drilling and tapping (I recommend having a gunsmith do this) the rifle receiver is required – it costs more but in many cases will be the best choice. Beside regular searches, two forums have been particularly useful; The High Road (THR) and Perfect Union.
I’ve also been revamping my Bug Out Bag (BoB). Haven’t had time to update the BoB inventory yet, but have tried to free up some space and reduce the weight, since if/when it really needs to be used, more stuff will be added last minute that will fill it up and weight it down.
Besides thinning things out in general, I replaced the small fleece sleeping bags with Thermo-Lite 2.0 Bivy Sacks. While not a long-term solution, these take up about a quarter of the space/weight, which I believe will be more important initially.
Some of the things I’ve added are for the long-term bug out situation, including snares from Bruce “Buckshot” Hemming’s site, and some smaller traps from Presleys Outdoors. The idea would be to catch a meal while sleeping, silently, and without expending ammo or much energy.
I’ve never used either snare or traps and won’t try them out where I live as I’d probably only get cats and a few squirrels. But there is a lot of info available on both snares and traps to create some simplified instructions to put in the BoB, and of course I’ll experiment with the snares/traps before packing them away.
A few blogs talk about how cheap it can be to prep, living in a trailer off-grid, relying on old bolt-action rifles (nice, but unlikely to fit the bill for longer-term survival), etc. If you don’t have any dependents and already have a retreat stocked with most things you’d need, sure, it’s relatively cheap to prep.
For everyone else, I think you’d be doing yourself a disservice by skimping on some firearms accessories and not having a well outfitted BoB (Contrary to what some may say, IMO even if you have a squared away retreat, you need a good BoB, just in case. Just wait until the Golden Horde is at your gate – or a fast-moving fire is blowing towards it.)
Sometimes doing a lot of research and spending extra can make a big difference in the outcome.
Update 12 Dec 2011: Nutnfancy has a review of the BrassStacker mount for the Mosin Nagant. The BrassStacker is for long-eye relief scopes but allows for use of irons sights out to 100 yards. It’s much cheaper than going the bent bolt route, but I still prefer that method.
Update 30 Nov 2011: My brothers and I have purchased four JMeck see-through scope mounts. We plan to install at least a couple of these over the Christmas holiday season. Expect a post in January reviewing these mounts!
Original Post: So you’ve picked up a Mosin Nagant for an excellent price and the next step is to put a scope on this hi-powered rifle. The 7.62.54R falls in between the .308 (7.62×51) and the .30-06 (7.62×63), and is also similar to .303 British (7.7x56mmR). This rifle is perfect for hunting and long-range shooting – it’s practically begging to be scoped.
Unfortunately, the Mosin Nagant wasn’t really designed to be scoped and the options available will in most cases cost more than the rifle, even before purchasing the actual optic. Some of the solutions involve drilling and tapping the rifle, which can be difficult if you don’t have the right tools or are uncomfortable with potentially marring your firearm.
Overall there are two basic options; the “scout” mount, which is forward on the rifle and uses a long eye relief (LER) scope similar to those used on pistols, or the traditional location over the bolt using standard scopes. Both have their pros and cons.
This is the easiest and least expensive of the two options, but means you must 1) remove the rear sight assembly and 2) use a LER scope (though this might be an acceptable option if you wear eyeglasses). These are both cons for me since I like having see-thru mounts that allow the use of iron sights as a backup, and I don’t really care for LER scopes. If you don’t care about either of those things, you’ve found your solution and are set.
There are a few options here. There are several systems where part of the rear sight is removed and a mounting system, usually with a weaver/picatinny rail, are installed (photos). This allows for standard mounts to be used and a wide variety of appropriate LER scopes.
Some have noted that if the entire rear sight assembly is removed on a 91/30 Mosin Nagant, 3/8” male dovetail grooves are revealed, the same as on modern .22 rifles and airguns. This means you can purchase some cheap but still quality 1” rings for about $10 and mount a scope. However, you’ll have to work to get the sight assembly removed:
[There are] two pins holding the sight base on, and they usually have a dab of solder on the base to dovetail. Gentle heating with a small torch to melt the solder, then tap the base forward and it comes right off.
Besides not needing to drill/tap any holes in your rifle, another pro is that you can retain the straight bolt.
Scopes mounted in the normal fashion are, to me and many others, simple easier to use. In most cases removing the scope allows the use of iron sights, another pro. However, to use a scope in this position the straight bolt on the Mosin Nagant must be bent. Right out of the gates that’s an expense.
There are some kits that include the bent bolt or part for modifying it. Personally I don’t have the tools required and don’t want to take a chance at mutilating my rifle. The most popular kit is from ATI; it includes a rail that must be drilled/tapped and part of a bolt that also requires machining. It doesn’t have very good reviews.
This brings up the bolt. The Mosin Nagant has a straight bolt that comes up right into the space a traditionally mounted scope would be. The only solution for a scope mounted there is to have the bolt bent or in someway modified for the same effect. From all I’ve read, one of the best sources for getting this done is a vendor who goes by “The Boltman.”
There are a few companies that make custom mounts for the Mosin Nagant (again, need a bent bolt to use them).
- Jmeck – I like this one because it’s a see-thru mount and doesn’t require any drilling/tapping. Seems to have a good reputation on the various forums, and there is a You Tube video of the mount installation by a customer.
- Rock Solid Industries – This looks like a well made product that will fit the bill. They note it’s low profile, and offer bolts (higher cost than Boltman, however). Cannot use iron sights.
- Advanced Rifle Parts – This mount attaches to the rear sight assembly to provide the traditional scope placement, and also seems well made. Cannot use iron sights.
- Tick Bite Supply – Offers several options, including the scout type mounts described above, and a hideous tactical tri-rail mount that is just wrong for a Mosin Nagant.
The scout mount is much less expensive and is probably easier to implement, while the Jmeck mount seems to be what I’d prefer (though the mount would cost more than a new rifle and the bolt would need to be bent on top of that, all before purchasing the scope!).
Though I don’t care for the scout setup, I may consider it for my Mosin Nagant due to cost concerns. Perhaps I can get used to it and even prefer it for a high powered rifle, but it’ll be a few months before I need to decide anything.
Tonight I finally wrote down the emergency get home plans I’ve discussed with my wife for some time, printed them out, and put together a Get Home Bag (GHB) for her (in this case, a simple backpack with plenty of room to spare). I don’t have a prepared GHB in my vehicle, since most of those items are already there, just spread out a bit. I’ll throw them in a bag and go.
Because we live in the DC Metro area, the chance of a terrorist attack is higher than most other places. The chance of a natural disaster is probably about the same as other places. And the traffic is hell regardless. We both work a bit over 10 miles from our home, though my wife has a very flexible schedule and works part-time. When she does work, a lady from our church watches our children – about three miles from our home.
As I work full-time, my plan is fairly simple; get to our designated meeting place. If my vehicle functions (i.e., it’s not an EMP attack or solar flares to same effect), and the roads are open, I’ll drive. Else, I hoof it and take any needed items from my office stash and vehicle. Mostly this includes a multi-tool, flashlight, water, granola bars, a hat, some rope, perhaps a few other odd-n-ends, and season appropriate clothing.
If I am without a vehicle, I can walk/jog the distance in a few hours and do not feel the need to create a mini BoB to do so, though that depends on the season somewhat, with more precautions taken in winter. Similar items for the wife’s GHB, with a few extras in the vehicle. Carrying firearms in vehicles is a no-go due to DC gun laws – you don’t want to forget to take a pistol out before going into DC, and have Murphy’s Law take effect.
Because the distance to home is about the same for both of us, but in most cases I can move faster, we have a set of plans on where to meet so we can retrieve our children and get home.
My wife may or may not be at home when the need to evacuate arises, so a set of if/then/else plans come into play for her (abbreviated):
If away from home… (assuming I know the start point)
- Plan A – If vehicle starts and traffic is manageable:
- Pick up children & go home
- You might need to use different roads; listen to [local traffic/news radio station]
- Call me if possible (cell networks might be overwhelmed with calls)
- If you can safely fill up your gas tank after getting children, do so
- If you get completely stuck in traffic, go to Plan B
- Plan B – If stuck in traffic:
- Drive as far as possible, lock up when leaving
- Leave a note to me in your vehicle saying where you plan to go
- Take the GHB, place other needed item from vehicle in the bag (flashlight, medical kit, etc.)
- Go to Plan C
- Plan C – If vehicle cannot be used, for any reason:
- Walk to the sitter’s, I will meet you there
- If you cannot go to the sitter’s, go to [friends house on the way] (I’ll stop there first)
- If it is not safe for you to leave work, stay; I will come for you
- If you must leave work and go someplace else; leave a note for me [place we know]
If away from home… (assuming I DO NOT know the start point)
- Plan D – All other situations:
- First priority is to get home any way possible
- Use elements from other plans as needed
- Call me if possible (cell networks might be overwhelmed with calls)
When at home…
- Lock the house, close the blinds, do not open for strangers
- Get out a pistol, load and holster it
- Fill up our large and small water containers
- Call me if possible (cell networks might be overwhelmed with calls)
- Plug your cell phone in to charge
- Turn the radio on to [local traffic/news radio]
This is pretty basic. It may seem silly to some to write it down, but I find that having a simple set of instructions reduces stress in an otherwise overwhelming situation.
These plans cover the scenarios we’re most likely to encounter in broad terms, yet have enough detail, I think. As I mentioned, we’ve discussed the plans in the past, but both of us having a printed copy of the plans will reduce confusion and mistakes.
A few months ago I went to REI to purchase some lightweight cooking gear for the Bug out Bag (BoB), and came across the water filters. Then I committed the classic error of buying without researching. Fortunately, unlike my experience with power inverters, the filter I purchased – Katadyn Hiker, ~$65 – is fine, it’s just that another type probably would serve my needs better in the long run.
As always, one of the highest priorities for the BoB is lightweight, and the Katadyn Hiker delivers at only 11 oz. It’s also easy to use, 0.3 micron, and filters up to 200 gallons, depending on water quality, before needing a filter replacement. For a bug out situation, 200 gallons should be fine, and the filter gets good reviews.
So what could I have done better? Two main things; 1) a ceramic filter, which can normally run several hundred to a few thousand gallons, and 2) a filter that also removes chemicals such as pesticides.
For less than $90 I could have purchased a MSR MiniWorks EX water filter with a ceramic filter (up to about 400 gallons), 0.2 micron, and has a carbon core to take care of pesticides, etc. Cons; 14.6 oz.
Or if I wanted to go a little crazy, there is the Katadyn Pocket Microfilter for $220. It doesn’t take care of pesticides, and it weighs 20 oz., but that’s because of the very solid construction. It’s also a ceramic filter with 0.2 microns, but can go up to 13,000 gallons (yes, 13 thousand) and has a 20 year warranty. It’s hardcore. I’d go for this heavier, more expensive option, but would like to get something that also hadles pesticides and other chemicals, but I’ll have to do more research before deciding.
On the post, Bug out Vehicle (BoV) Outfitting, commenter slow crash noted that newer vehicles have screens to prevent gas from being siphoned. For some context, the comment was in response to my plan to potentially take the fuel from one vehicle to add to the other in a bug out situation.
With some never vehicles there is a block rather than a screen, and a smaller diamerter tube can pass through. I’d pass on the electirc drill, but this might work (note: due to language, not safe for work or kids):
- Bug out Bags (BoB): Survival Blog has a great post with tips on effectively carrying a heavy pack, with follow-up input from readers here and here. In a related post on what you really need in a BoB, the American Minuteman has a post, with some excellent advice in comments. Most recently, Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest posted on the utility of MOLLEE rucksacks.
- Insulin Post-TEOTWAWKI: Commenter Jack at The Survivalist Blog provided two links on producing insulin for when supplied run out. The first link is the story of a type-1 diabetic Jewish woman who made her own insulin during WWII, while the second link details the process for doing so (also see this). I haven’t had time to study these instructions, but it seems incredibly difficult – looks like it would help to have a background in lab work or chemistry, or recruit someone who does. Still, it has and can be done and is well worth for keeping in mind.
- Airguns: Finally, another post from Survival Blog on Airguns for Survival. I hadn’t seriously considered air guns, but Jock Elliot (author of the post) does a fair good job of convincing me that there could be very beneficial for both target practice and taking small game – and do both more quietly that a .22. Air guns aren’t cheap, but you can (probably) use them now for target practice in residential areas where discharging firearms is prohibited.