Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guns and the Apocalypse

Since the 'quake in Japan several people have asked me to take to take them out shooting and many more have asked to go hunting with me this fall and to go on plant foraging walks. Inevitably there are some questions arise about what is the best firearm to have in case of a SHTF/Black Swan event. A few points immediately come to mind.

  1. Any firearm is better than no firearm.

  2. Pistols are over rated

  3. Be legal

  4. Simple firearms with common calibres are cheaper

  5. Guns don't equal food.

  1. Any gun will be useful in discouraging an attack. The damage for a .22 calibre bullet is roughly the same as being stabbed with a big hunting knife. Having any gun puts a person far far down the list of potential targets.

    Quite frankly there are a lot of guns in Canada. Upwards of 11,000,000 by some estimates but these guns are not evenly distributed. (I will exclude the Yukon and the north because you all already own a gun 880 per 1000 people in Dawson City itself even higher in the rural sections) On average in Canada is 1 in 5 households has one or more firearms. It is much lower in the downtown cores: 1 in a 100 households in downtown Toronto, and an average of 1 in 20 in most Canadian downtowns. That said there is a much greater chance that they will be pistols or military style rifles. Basically that is a lot of other people to choose ahead of you.

  1. Over the years I have taken various people out pistol shooting. With a .22 pistol it was difficult for people to place their shots a piece of paper only 25' away. Almost everyone can consistently hit a popcan 150' away with a rifle with open iron sights. The experts conclude that under stress your grouping sizes are 3x to 4x the size of your practise groupings. Then add a backpack, no sleep or proper food for days, a bruised shoulder. What is the real chance you'll be successful using your pistol to do anything other than making noise.

  1. Travelling routinely with any sort of unregistered firearm or even registered restricted weapon will result more trouble then it is worth. It is difficult to prepare from a jail cell, and the fines cut into your budget for food storage. Did I mention pistols are kind of useless anyway.

  1. .22 calibre bullets are the most common round followed closely by 12ga shotgun shells. Any common hunting calibre is fine 30-30, 30-06, 270 for the smaller framed still recommended but less so .308, .303 British, 7.62 Russian. .410 shotgun. Avoid anything weird 7mm Magnum, .338 Lapua 8mm Mauser they maybe great guns but if you can`t find anything to shoot with they are just an awkward club. All but the cheapest rifles will shoot better than most casual shooters so the real money should be spent on a good scope and practise at the range.

  1. Lastly Guns do not equal Food. Hunting is a very unstable way to provide for your food source and anything that walks, flies or swims is going to have tremendous hunting pressure on it, Game will quickly become scarce near any centre of population. Putting aside any moral questions concerning robbery theft and what would have to be considered murder by starvation the simply fact of the matter is: The people you can rob are not going have what you need and those that do are going to be armed and organized.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Invest in Gold and Silver - Yes and No

Gold and silver maintain there value during times of localized crisis; by which I mean up to nation wide disaster. Yes it is also a solid hedge against inflation and it is also easy to carry away if you want to flee and start a new life in a safer better place.

In the case of epic failure of society in a larger scale (insert TEOTWAWKI here) in the sort term it will likely have almost no value. You can not eat your money. Your money will not protect you against the golden hoard. G&S has had value through out history and the value will have value again as soon as there is any surplus of anything to be traded or stored.

So what would it be worth? I suggest that it will be worth a lot less then it is now. The practical technology of 1850s-1870s could rapidly be reestablished. You can see that an ounce of gold would buy 190lbs of rice in 1872 where as today it would purchase more than a ton of rice even at retail prices.

What Did Things Cost in 1872?

In 1872, the U.S. population had grown to over 38 million people, and Ulysses S. Grant had just been re-elected for a second term as President. Luther Burbank developed the Idaho potato from a single seed ball, much of Boston burned during a three-day fire, and an American cargo ship called the Mary Celeste was found drifting in the Atlantic Ocean with no crew aboard. On average, horses cost $60, pigs $5, milking cows just over $20, and goats only $2. A farm worker earned $23 per month, a place to sleep, and meals.

More 1872 prices:

Wheat flour — $12.75/barrel
Corn meal — 1 cent/pound
Rice — 11 cents/pound
Beans — 9 cents/quart
Roasted coffee — 42 cents/pound
Brown sugar — 10 cents/pound
Granulated sugar — 10 cents/pound
Molasses — 70 cents/gallon
Soap — 8 cents/pound
Starch — 12 cents/pound
Roasting beef — 19 cents/pound
Soup beef — 7 cents/pound
Beef rump steak — 29 cents/pound
Corned beef — 10 cents/pound
Mutton chops — 15 cents/pound
Pork (fresh) — 12 cents/pound
Pork (salted) — 11 cents/pound
Smoked hams — 13 cents/pound
Sausage — 12 cents/pound
Lard — 13 cents/pound
Butter — 39 cents/pound
Cheese — 17 cents/pound
Potatoes — $1.02/bushel
Milk — 8 cents/quart
Eggs — 30 cents/dozen
Hard wood — $10.19/cord
Pine wood — $7.00/cord
Room and board for men — $5.69/month
Room and board for women — $3.75/month


As quick math the USD was roughly $20.67 to the ounce.

The pound was slightly less then 1/4 ounce of gold. (sovereign) worth roughly $4.70 USD

There were 12 shillings to a sovereign or roughly 0.391 USD
66 in a troy pound of silver bullion. So 4.125 per ounce or 1.61 an ounce.

Ha ha so your face value silver coins you have bought will likely be worth face value ha ha ha.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

20% the supplies do 80% of the work

Every survival blog seems to have a what did you buy stickied to the top. “What did you put away today.” There is a blog post from survivalblog.com http://www.survivalblog.com/2011/04/paretos_law_and_how_i_survived.html

The short form is a guy goes to Quebec to winter camp with his friends January 1998. His only job is to bring many cases of beer in addition to these he has a warm sleeping bag and a small bag of trail mix. His friends never arrive because of the Ice Storm. He is left stuck 160 miles from the nearest gas station, and 90 miles to a nearest civilization. He spends 4 days in his car waiting before he decides to walk out.

After a few hours of walking his cell phone rings and he has a short phone call from a nearby but absentee land owner. Then his phone then dies. His friends have tried to get him help by calling everyone in the area the police never search for him. The owner has a cache of goods buried it consists of:

“The thick plastic garbage can top came off with surprising difficulty, revealing a strange spicy smelling sand that covered a thick black melt-sealed garbage bag with the following contents, the names of which I would later learn; 5 lbs of pemmican, 2.5 lbs of parmesan cheese, 1.8 quart Kelly Kettle, quiviut socks, ziploc freezer bag of birdseed, single shot crank pellet gun with about 300 pellets, 5 large rat traps, a large blue tarp, a green wool blanket, a compass, a whistle, a fixed blade knife and a medium sized ferrocium rod. I brought it all back to the car like a child wanting to be alone with a new toy. “

He then spends 16 days walking 146miles. Killing many squirrels with the traps and a few birds with the air rifle.

Basically a couple hundred dollars allowed him to travel far and in good enough health in very rough conditions. I am never been in much of a fan of Bugging Out the other term of bugging out without a place to go is being a refugee.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The following is a list of ebook resources:

http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page Project Gutenberg contains tens of thousands of books which have passed there copywrite dates.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/default.aspx The Plants for the Future. This an amazing site for all kinds of edible and medicinal plants.

http://www.journeytoforever.org/ This has a lot of practical manuals attached to it from people trying to do stuff on limited resources in distant lands.

http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/cd3wd/index.htm This is the endless list of 3rd world development resources, relevant to anyone trying to do stuff for themselves. The BF Better Farming files are quite good.

http://stevespages.com/page7.htm This guy has many, many, many Army Field Manuals, Firearms owners manuals and individual firearm breakdown guides.

http://hesperian.org/publications_download.php This has a large number of useful medical herbs.