Monday, June 30, 2008

Book Review: Build The Perfect Survival Kit

Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John D. McCann is a book entirely around the components and building of survival kits. There are big kits, mini-kits, vehicle kits and everything in between. This is a fairly easy read at less than 200 pages, something you should be able to finish in a few hours. Survival kits are a very important aspect of survival. At a very minimum you should have some sort of kit in each of your vehicles. Many people carry mini kits around with them as part of their EDC (Every Day Carry), I do not. I always have a knife on me and I have a photon type light on my key chain, that is about it for me. Once I get my CCW my S&W M&P 9c will become a part of my EDC. I do have basic kits in each vehicle consisting of work gloves, a wool blanket, fleece, a fixed blade knife, socket set, assorted screwdrivers, jumper cables, fire steel, canteen, metal canteen cup, water purification tablets, bungees, rope, a couple of tarps and and a small hatchet. I am in process of getting some Mainstay rations and liter sized Aquablox as well as some sort of first aid kit in there too.

Mr. McCann has a lot of experience in this area honing his survival kit building skills over many years of running his own survival business and being the head instructor as several survival schools. His kits are very comprehensive and well planned out. They contain many things that one might forget to include in a kit and curse themselves at a later time. He is a big proponent of multipurpose items and give the readers many alternative to the choices he makes for his own kits.

The book is broken down into four sections:
1.) The Basics
2.) Components
3.) The Kits
4.) Appendices and Resources

The Basics - is just what you might think it would be including why build a kit in the first place. Mr. McCann's whole premise of building survival kits relies on what he calls the four P's...

Plan it: determine what type of kit it will be.
Pick it: determine the type of components needed
Pay for it: determine a budget for the kit and try to purchase components of equal quality not spending to much on any one single item so the quality on the other components suffers.
Pack it: package the kit so it is portable.

The Components - this section of the which makes up more than 60% of the book goes into selection of the components for a kit that include:
Fire and light
Water and food
Shelter and protection
Knives and tools
Multi-purpose components
Miscellaneous components

Mr. McCann really does and admirable job covering A LOT of material in easy to read and brief discussion. He covers many areas such as fixed vs. folding blades, compass vs. GPS, striker vs. matches or get the idea. I believe he makes some very good suggestions and compromises to make the kits comprehensive but not overly complex. The key is components that are proven and will work flawlessly when the chips are down.

The Kits - is the section of the book where Mr. McCann gives real life examples as well as advice on how to create many types of survival kits. They go from the smallest to the largest with everything in between including good vehicle kits. One example I enjoyed immensely was the author converting an M6 Survival Rifle in to a comprehensive survival kit, everything needed is on or in the rifle itself. This was very nicely thought out and executed, it is a fine example of the ingenuity of the author.

Appendices and Resources - is the part of the book which contains resources for survival kit components. There is also a very nice touch added as well...lists of example survival kits of all types with detailed component lists. This would be great for someone who is interested in making a kit, has read the book but is too lazy or doesn't have the time to research components themselves. The "recipes" are laid out in black and white in and easy to read format. This is also very good reference material as far as I am concerned. These lists will enable you to verify you have all the basic areas covered. No matter when I put a kit together I ALWAYS forget something it seems...these lists can help serve as a checklist for your own kits.

In conclusion this book was an enjoyable read. It was interesting, well thought out and taught me a thing or two as I went through it. This would be a great book for a plane ride or for a lazy day in the chair in your yard. I have no problem recommeding this book to my readers as a quality piece of writing. Read the book and let me know what you think!

...that is all.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Clean SKS And Range Report

I finally got my SKS cleaned up and took her to the range. Cleanup went smoothly and was painless. I disassembled the entire rifle down to parts. Below is a photo of the rifle about 85% disassembled. I further broke down the recoil spring into components and also remove the butt pad and the sling hardware as well.

I leached the cosmoline out of the stock by baking it in the oven in a disposable roasting pan. I set the temperature in the oven to 170 degrees and baked the stock for about two hours. Every half of an hour I removed the stock from the oven (with gloves on - HOT) and wiped away an cosmo that had leached from the wood. Once I removed the stock from the oven after the two hours was up, I let it cool. I then used a 50/50 mixture of water and Murphy's Wood Soap with rag to clean the stock further. Once the stock dried completely I wiped it down thoroughly with lemon oil (2 coats) Stock done! I cleaned all the metal part by soaking them in a large tub with a 50/50 mixture of water and Simple Green in it. After about four hours I removed each part and cleaned them thoroughly with a rag and a toothbrush. I then place the parts back in the tub and let them soak overnight. The next day I wiped each part down until dry, oiled what need to be oiled and reassembled the rifle. Below is the end result...looks pretty good if I must say so myself.

Some background on SKS's, they are not all created equally. Avoid Chinese SKS's if you have a choice, they are stamped parts and a pinned barrel as opposed to milled parts and a threaded barrel. They are not a bad rifle but if you can get a Russian, Romanian or Yugo get those first. I have a Yugo which is virtually identical to a Russian SKS. The difference being the Russian barrel is chrome-lined. Chrome lined barrels are nice to have but if you clean your rifle on a regular basis and use non-corrosive ammo you don't really "need" it. To make up for the lack of a chrome- lined barrel the Yugo is built heavier and will definitely feel like a tank when you hold it. I have a M59/66A1 which had improvements put on it from the factory such as a beefier butt pad, night sights, and a grenade launcher. The Yugo is heavier (2 lbs heavier) than the other variants and because of this the recoil on 7.62x39 is almost non-existent. I did research before selecting my SKS and the aforementioned reasons are why I selected the Yugo. I took the rifle to the range on Saturday. I have to admit I was a bit nervous shooting a 50 year old gun that had never been fired before. I was worried about slam fire (it's rare but it happens) which is the firing pin sticking and setting off successive rounds as the bolt cycles. This effectively turn the gun into a machine gun, one that is not under your control. The SKS could slam fired if the bolt is not cleaned thoroughly. The firing pin is free floating and should rattle when you shake the bolt. If you don't get all the cosmo out and debris causes the firing pin to stick...look out! I decided I would manually load rounds into the weapon by hand, not using stripper clips. I place one round in the magazine and with the weapon pointed down range closed the bolt. No discharge...good start...I raised the rifle and pulled the trigger...Boom...also good. I loaded 4 more rounds into the magazine and below are the results at 25 yards.

Five rounds in a nice group! The recoil is very light! I was happy as a clam at this point and confidently loaded 10 rounds into the magazine and fired them off one after another. I shot about 60 rounds total, no misfires or failures to eject, in fact no issues at all. Speaks volumes to the design of a gun for it sit in storage for 50 years or so and have it perform flawlessly once you clean it up and feed it some ammo. Overall I could not be happier with my purchase. I recommend the SKS as a rifle to add to your arsenal, especially the Yugo M59/66A1. I may refinish the stock in a darker color as I do like the darker wood on these guns...we'll see. I am definitely leaving it as is, I will not be modifying this baby, I think it's perfect just the way it is.

Link to instructions to disassemble the SKS.

...that is all.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Make Your Own Soft Scrub

Continuing my quest to save you money so you can spend it on important things like guns and ammunition ;)...I bring you a recipe I have tried personally for everyone's favorite cleaner: Soft Scrub

This has been floating around the Internet so I am not sure if I need to give anyone credit for this...

Equipment Needed:
Mixing bowl
Baking Soda
Dish Liquid
Lemon Juice
Glycerin (optional)

Note: This stuff will not stay fresh so you make what you need or you will need to add glycerin to help it keep. I usually mix what I need when I need it because it takes like 10 seconds to make.

Typical amount -
Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to mixing bowl.
Add enough dish detergent to create a batter like consistency.
Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and mix well

If you are making it to store I would add about 2 tablespoons of glycerin to the paste and mix well.

This stuff works great on smooth top ranges, sinks, or anything else you would normally use Soft Scrub for.

I specifically make this to clean our smooth top range.

...that is all.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

It Has Begun: Quest For CCW

Well this Saturday is a big day for me...I am not only going to shoot my SKS for the first time (post will follow for sure), I am also plopping my money down at the local range to sign op for the CCW training class. I have my CCW weapon which is a S&W M&P 9mm Compact ready to rock as soon as I get that magical envelope with my ID from SLED.

Note: Check your local laws before doing anything that could get you shot by a police officer.

Concealed Carry:
The following states are shall issue: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming Vermont does not require a permit and neither does Alaska (they do issue them for the purpose of reciprocity)

Illinois and Wisconsin are NO ISSUE

Anyone left has laws too complicated to even bother in my opinion. You'll have to research it yourself. Believe it or not there are states that allow Open carry - meaning strap a gun to your hip and you can walk around and not break the law - always look for signs posted regarding bringing firearms onto certain properties like schools, airports, police stations and private property where prohibited by the owner.

The states where open carry is legal without a permit are:
Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, New Mexico, West Virgina, Wyoming, Vermont and Virginia.

There are permit open carry states but the laws vary and are confusing. You can visit the NRA's website and find tons of information on your particular state. I would suggest you do that before assuming anything I say is Gospel.

South Carolina The requirements for a CCW in South Carolina are as follows:
South Carolina is a shall-issue state; Applicants that meet all of the state requirements must be granted a permit.

To obtain a permit, you must:
Be at least 21 years of age Be a South Carolina resident with a drivers license or military ID, or be a qualified non-resident (a resident of another state who owns real property in South Carolina) Be eligible to possess a firearm pursuant with all state and federal laws Pass a background check Show proof of approved CWP training taken within 3 years See SCCL 23-31-210 for complete eligibility requirements. Permits are issued by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) per SCCL 23-31-215. The CWP application is available from any sheriff's office or online. Applications may be hand delivered or mailed to SLED. The submitted application must be accompanied by two (2) completed fingerprint cards, a color photograph of the applicant not smaller than 1”x1” nor larger than 3”x5”, and a notarized copy of the applicants driver’s license. Permits are valid for 4 years and may be renewed per SCCL 23-31-215 (P).

 The permit fee is $50 for a new application or for renewal (waived for disabled veterans and retired law enforcement officers). The course must be 8 hours of firearms training which includes classroom/test time and range time. The instructor must be SLED approved. My range offers the training, pictures, finger printing, filling out and filing of the paperwork for $150...and that includes the $50 application fee (So really it is only $100 bucks) which is not bad. I will plop my money down and get into the next scheduled class I hope. Once the training is over and the paperwork has been filed I believe it takes three months to finally get your permit in the mail. I will keep you up to date and let you know how my class goes once it's is scheduled and I have taken it.

...that is all.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dryer Lint...Tinder Of The Gods

I have mentioned before in passing what fantastic tinder dryer lint makes. When my wife does laundry she cleans the dryer vent and places whatever comes out in a large zip lock bag. It does not take much to light it and the burn time on it is surprisingly good. I take some with me whenever I go into the woods, makes starting fires a no brainer even without matches or a lighter. Below is a video of me in the backyard with a small wad of lint. It ignites after the second strike of the fire steel sparking and you can see how well it burns.

Make sure you have all the materials you need to get your fire going including additional tinder and a large pile of kindling. After you have your kindling ignited move up to progressively larger sticks until the fire is really roaring, at that point you should be able to throw any smaller logs you have on the fire without worrying about it going out. The same properties that make dryer lint such good tinder also make it very dangerous in your house. Please make sure to empty your dryers lint trap. Make sure you inspect and clean your dryer vent hose AT LEAST once a year. You would be surprised at how many house fires are caused by a clogged hose and vent.

...that is all.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Looking For A Pop-up Camper

Mayberry calls his an "escape pod" wife an I have been looking for quite awhile at the smaller travel trailers but we have decided on a pop-up camper for our "escape pod". Her requirements are a shower and toilet...which seem to be reasonable enough. The campers we have been looking at have an outdoor shower (good enough, just wash with a bathing suit if other folks are around) and most have a cassette type toilet available (porta-potti). I have always told the little woman that a 5 gallon bucket with a seat on it will do just fine as well (needless to say I don't think she believes me).

We looked at a few of the travel trailers...mostly Jayco and they are a lot more expensive and they don't offer that much more than a pop-up. The fact that I only have a 6 cylinder Dodge Dakota (it does have a higher axle ratio - came with towing package) limits me to under 5,000 lbs fully loaded. This won't be an issue with a pop-up but does quickly become an issue with the travel trailer.

We have been looking for many reasons...we are avid campers and it will be nice to bring a little home with us when we go. Me, my wife and two dogs in a tent can get a little old fairly quickly. This doesn't even take into account the back issues I fight with, they always seem worse after an enjoyable week camping (even with a sleeping pad - I use a Big Agnes).

The other reason goes back to Mayberry and the "escape pod". It will be nice to have a mobile residence that we could live in quite nicely should some disaster hit that makes our home uninhabitable. There is a place right down the road that charges a nominal fee to store items like campers and boats. I may store it there so that if a disaster did strike my main dwelling the camper would still be available. Having the option to not be completely homeless is compelling me to make this purchase even if the wife and I finance a small portion of the purchase. On the other hand if I could find a decent deal on a used one I may go that route to save some money. Right now we are still leaning towards a new one so we know what is going on with it. You always take a small chance when you buy used that you are inheriting someone else's problems but I am not ruling used out completely.

If anyone has any suggestions on brands or models I would be happy to hear them. If you have any experiences with a pop-ups, I am all ears as I am a relative newbie in this area. We have a Camping World very close to us and will be heading there next weekend to have a look at what they have available. All my research has been on the Internet thus far.

...that is all.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Dutch Are Ready For The Apocalypse...Are You?

I found this highly amusing. The one guy they interviewed believes immigration is making his country heavier causing it to sink and be more prone to flooding...

 ---Reprint from Fox News:

Thousands of Dutch Prepare for 2012 Apocalypse, According to Report Tuesday, June 24, 2008 The world will end in 2012 — or so say thousands in the Netherlands preparing for the apocalypse in four years, the Dutch-language newspaper de Volkskrant reported Tuesday. The paper spoke to those who believe the 2012 date signals the impending end of civilization and are stocking up on emergency supplies, equipment and life rafts in case of flooding, United Press International reported. While theories vary as to why 2012, in particular, is believed by some to represent the world's end, most say it is the end of the Mayan calendar. Some are optimistic about the apocalypse, saying they no longer want to live in the modern world. "You know, maybe it's really not that bad that the Netherlands will be destroyed," Petra Faile told de Volkskrant. "I don't like it here anymore. Take immigration, for example. They keep letting people in. And then we have to build more houses, which makes the Netherlands even heavier. The country will sink even lower, which will make the flooding worse."

---End of reprint

...that is all.

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Equipment Review: Benchmade Griptilian

The Benchmade BM551 Griptilian Zytel Satin Drop Point Plain Blade Knifeis my EDC (Every Day Carry). I was looking for a quality folder and had heard very good things about Benchmade so I picked it up a few months ago. The knife has a drop point blade and comes with a pocket clip, no sheath. This is absolutely fine with me as I clip the knife to the inside of my front pocket for ease of reach (the knife in in the pocket, the only thing visible outside would be the clip). You will notice the blade is a regular blade, no serrations. I prefer this setup on a smaller knife over a blade with serrations. I do have a fixed blade with more blade length that has serrations if I need them. The blades uses an ambidextrous thumb stud to control the locking mechanism (the clip is ambidextrous as well and can be moved to the other side of the knife if you prefer). The thumb stud makes it extremely easy to "flick" the knife open with one hand...this is extremely important if your other hand is injured and you only have the one hand available to manipulate objects. It closes just as easily as it opens; below is a video of myself "flicking" it open and closed with one hand...the other hand is operating the camera.


The knife is extremely well built...the blade is 154CM Stainless Steel and the handle is made from Zytel which is extremely light and durable.

Below are Benchmades specs on the knife:
Blade Length: 3.45" Blade Thickness: 0.115"
Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
Blade Hardness: 58-60HRC
Blade Style: 551 Modified Drop-Point; Ambidextrous Thumb-Studs; 551T Trainer
Weight: 3.25oz.
Clip: Black, Reversible, Tip-Up
Lock Mechanism: AXIS
Overall Length: 8.07"
Closed Length: 4.62"
Sheath Material: Sold Separately
Class: Blue

Benchmade designates this knife in their "Blue" class which is one below their "Gold" class. The following from their website describes class Blue products: "Staying true to blue, the Blue Class represents the heart of everything that is Benchmade. For years it’s been where people have come to expect greatness. Whether it’s folders or fixed blades, the Blue Class knife is designed and built for the individual who appreciates the difference a high-quality cutting tool can make."

I can tell you this. I have dropped this knife on concrete, used the blade to pry stuff open (bad practice, I know), gotten it wet (salt water) and generally abused the crap out of it. I clean it up, put a drop of oil on the mechanism and sharpen it on my stone and she's as good as new. The blade holds an edge well, I use this everyday so I have had to sharpen a few times, no issues - takes a sharpening well. I remember I was in the market for a blade and I came across Doug Ritter's site...Equipped To Survive. I liked the fixed blade he was offering (which is a repackaged Benchmade) but it was too expensive...I searched around not really knowing much about Benchmade and found that this knife could be had for well under $100 bucks.

I have had, and still do have, Buck knives and Gerber's (love my Gerber fixed blade) but as far as a folder goes this one was the perfect fit for me...good-looking, high quality, functional (I prefer the drop point), light and backed by a company with a good reputation. I give this knife high marks and have no problem recommending it to folks.

...that is all.

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Monday, June 23, 2008


UPS knocked on my door and left me something magical... The metal finish is 100% and the wood has some minor storage marks, all the serial numbers's covered in cosmoline so it's hard to see the beauty. I will probably spend this week cleaning it up (I will document and post how I do it), hopefully I have a range trip in my future this coming Saturday. I will also be posting a review once I shoot her....right now I am thinking of a name for her...any suggestions?

...that is all.

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BATF Bound Book Requirement And Getting C&R Process

As you all know I applied for and was granted a FFL C&R. Having one is a great thing...I have seen Mosin Nagant Rifles for as low at $69 plus shipping right to your door. Once you are granted this license by the BATF (it is easy to get as long as your not a criminal or have mental issues.) you are REQUIRED to keep a bound book of all your C&R purchases.

The BATF can request to see your bound book at any time (most likely they will contact you via letter or phone call to setup a date - and you will need to comply). It is imperative you keep this record and accurately record all of your transactions in it. There are some arguments as to the rules around the bound book but here is what I have been able to gather (my rules are the most conservative to be safe). 1.) Must follow a specific format. 2.) Must be a physical log, electronic logs are not acceptable (although I think they are for regular FFL's and you can send in a form to BATF asking for a special disposition to use electronic records). 3.) Must be retained even if you give up your license. 4.) You must record any C&R purchase in the book from the time you have the license forward.

One good example is the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). You can buy an Garand from them with no FFL or FFL C&R. If you have a C&R, because the Garand is a C&R weapon YOU MUST record this in your bound book even though you did not need your C&R to make the purchase (People have given me grief on this - do what you want, but Surplus Rifle followed up with ATF and this is FACT, the only weapons you don't need to to record are weapons not desginated C&R eligible period). You must also record any sale or "give away" of one of your C&R weapons in the disposition portion of your bound book. Purchases or sales of modern firearms (not designated as a C&R) do not need to be recorded in your log. Below is an example of an accepted format for your bound book:

Below are pictures of my "bound book" - I already have a space for my SKS - arrives Monday...Hurray!

The ATF rules and regulations will make you want to poke your eyes out because of the wording. I would always recommend to err of the side of caution unless you want masked agents breaking down your door and enjoy prison food.

Disclaimer: The process below worked for me. Your mileage may vary. Be A Survivor is not responsible for your success or failure. Don't screw with the ATF as they will make you their bitch in short order. In other words don't lie, cheat or break any of their rules. You have been warned. - Flea


WHAT IS A C&R LICENSE? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF or ATF) was originally under the control of the Dept. of Treasury, but in 2003, the law enforcement portions of ATF were transferred to the Dept. of Justice. ATF is essentially a tax collecting, law enforcement and regulatory arm of Justice/Treasury dealing in alcohol, tobacco and firearms (duh). In terms of firearms, the ATF is the federal government agency that issues so called Federal Firearms Licenses (FFL). There are several types of FFLs that one can get. The “full license” that allows the licensee to purchase pretty much any firearm is what is called an “FFL 01” type or dealers license. This is a business type license, not used for collecting, but rather for buying and selling to others. There are other categories that deal with manufacturing and importing firearms. The type of license we will focus on is the “FFL 03 C&R” or simply “C&R”. The FFL 03 C&R, or Curios and Relics is, simply put, using the words of my wife, a neutered FFL 01 license. The C&R allows you to purchase eligible firearms across state lines, transfer eligible weapons between licensed people, and order eligible weapons through the mail (UPS or FedEx). It is NOT a business license; it is purely for your own collecting activities. You have to be careful about that. Yes, you can sell a C&R acquired eligible firearm, but you cannot do it for your “livelihood”. You may sell or “dispose” of a C&R weapon to anyone not prohibited in your state, or to a licensee in another state. A C&R license allows you to purchase rifles, pistols, shotguns and machineguns (yep, there are some of them too) that are on the ATF C&R list. Basically, these are weapons that are at least 50 years or older. HOWEVER, just because a weapon is 50 or more years old, does not make it an automatic C&R eligible weapon. ATF has a web page that lists all of the C&R eligible weapons at: Some listings of interest are: All Original military bolt action and semiautomatic rifles mfd. between 1899 and 1946. All properly marked and identified semiautomatic pistols and revolvers used by, or mfd. for, any military organization prior to 1946. All shotguns, properly marked and identified as mfd. for any military organization prior to 1946 and in their original military configuration only U.S. Rifle, caliber .30, M1, original issue only, produced prior to 1958. The key word in these lists are “original”. That is, if the rifle was altered as a sporter, it no longer is eligible as a C&R rifle. One has to be careful about that. The question is, at what point is it considered “altered”? There is also some debate about rifles that were altered by the military into another military rifle, such as a 7mm 1916 Spanish Mauser into a 7.62 NATO “Guardia Civil”. There are some that argue that it was altered and is therefore not eligible. I had sent in that specific question to ATF. Here is the reply: “You also asked if the “Modelo 1916 Spanish Short rifle Mauser” rifle is classified as a curio or relic. Any Spanish Model 1916 military rifles in original military configuration quality as curios or relics as that term is defined in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, part 178, section 178.11 {NOTE: See insert above}. This classification includes the FR7 and FR8 variations chambered for the 7.62 Cetme cartridge. These curios or relics may be transferred to federally licensed collections as provided in 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 and 27 CFR part 478. They are still firearms as defined in 18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(3).” Okay…as *I* read the ATF reply, the “Guardia Civil” and the FR7/8 rifles ARE C&R eligible rifles being that they are “original” rifles, HOWEVER, they must have be at least 50 years old (first requirement listed). I suppose you may argue that these rifles, regardless of when they were converted, would be covered under the “…novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.” part of section 178.11. If you have a specific example that you are wondering if it is a C&R eligible firearm, you need to contact ATF Technical Division directly (in writing only) and send them specific information on the weapon and photos if you can. They will make a ruling on the weapon and contact you back. DO NOT BOTHER to call a local ATF region office with a firearms ruling. They will only steer you back to the ATF Technical people. The local ATF is good for general questions about the C&R and help in filling out the forms. The address to submit a letter of ruling and eligibility of a firearm is: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Firearms Technology Branch 244 Needy Road Martinsburg, WV 25401 On that note, you must also realize that there are federal firearms laws and also state and local laws. You are required to follow both. To help you out in your local state, ATF sends a copy of current state laws (all the states) in your welcome license kit. A C&R is NOT a license to carry a concealed weapon nor overwrites your local firearms regulations and laws! In some cases, some sellers will require a C&R for ammo purchase. This is more for proof of age.

HOW DO I GET A C&R? You have to meet some minimum qualifications first: 21 years or more of age; You cannot be prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition; (i.e., you are not a convicted felon, also, you have to be a US citizen or permanent resident or have special dispensation) You have not willfully violated the Gun Control Act (GCA) or its regulations; You have not willfully failed to disclose material information or willfully made false statements concerning material facts in connection with his application (in other words, you did not lie on your application!) If you think you are eligible for the license, then there are a couple of ways to get the required forms. You USED to be able to download the forms or get them sent from your local ATF office. That is no longer the case. Now you need to either contact their central distribution center via online or phone. There is no charge to get the forms. Online: go to and request (on the right side of the screen) “F7CR 5310.16 Application for License (Collector of Curios and Relics) Under 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, Firearms” They will ship the forms to you in a week or two. Phone: Call (703) 455-7801 and put in your request for a “Form 7CR, Curio or Relic application kit” Again, it will take a week or two to get the forms. In about a week or two, you will receive a packet in the mail that has a couple of forms in it. I would highly recommend that you photocopy the forms and use the copies to “practice and edit” with before you fill out the ones to be sent in. The new form is four pages long, instead of the two from before. As in previous versions, there are two copies to each form, Copy 1 goes to ATF and Copy 2 gets submitted to your CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer) for you area. An easy way to figure out who your CLEO, answer the questions, “who would come to your door when you dial 911?”. New to this form: · The ability to pay via credit card, information filled out on the form · Additional space to list names of people for multi person (corporate, partnership) licenses · Country of citizenship block · Race and Ethnicity information (check boxes) · Residence phone number · Addition of the 18 USC 922 (g)(5)(B) Certification of Compliance information on the form · Previous FFL license information requests · Signature block has additional statements on release of information. Let’s go through it step by step:

F7CR Form items: (use a ball point ink pen and print or type to fill out the form) Items 1-6: Self explanatory. Use full names and do not use abbreviations in addresses. Item 7: The majority of us will check “individual”. When I asked ATF about other category examples they gave museums as a corporation and a partnership as being held by several friends. It still lacks distinct clarity. Item 8: If you want to pay via credit card, fill this section out. Make sure that you use the billing address of the credit card if it is different from where you want the license address to go to. Make sure that you sign the authorization to allow ATF to charge the card. Item 9: For each person 1. Make sure you use your FULL name, no initials. 2. Social Security number and position. In the case of an individual, you can use “owner”. I would think that “collector” would work also. 3. Give your FULL mailing address. If you can, do not use abbreviations at all. If you lived at other addresses in the past 5 years, you will need to note them as well. 4. Give country of citizenship. Note: if you are a nonimmigrant alien, you will need to complete items in #10. For a definition of nonimmigrant alien, see the back of the form. If you are a US citizen, you will not need to complete ALL of Item #10 5. Give place of birth 6. Date of birth 7. Check your race/ethnicity. It appears this is MANDATORY, not simply requested. 8. Sex (yes please!) 9. Residence phone number, with area code. Item 10: Fill in “A.” with your name (if you are a US citizen) then skip to Item 11. If you have nonimmigrant status you will need to fill out parts B and C as well. Item 11. This is a new section that asks about previous FFL issuances. If you mark any YES, you will need to supply a separate sheet answering the question in detail. Item 12&13. Make sure you check EACH of the line items either Yes or No. You may need to attach a separate explanatory page if required. Item 14. Make sure that you check (Initial) EACH of the boxes. This is where you agree that you will check on your local laws, you will follow your local laws and also contact your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) (sheriff, chief etc.), which you will have to provide the NAME of and ADDRESS of. Item 15. This certification is different and much more in depth compared to the old form. Whereas before you were simply stating you certify that the application was true to the best of your knowledge, the new form goes on to give ATF authorization to perform a background check as well as access employment, military, medical and police records. MAKE SURE YOU SIGN AND DATE THE FORM. NOW GO BACK AND TRIPLE CHECK YOUR FORM! The license costs $30 for 3 years. If you did not authorize the use of a credit card, MAKE SURE YOU ENCLOSE A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER payable to ATF. Write your SSN on your check or money order as well. Fill out the second copy of the F7CR exactly as you did the first and photocopy the entire form (front and back) of both the ATF and CLEO copies for your records.

AND FINALLY: Send the ATF form and payment to the address listed on the back of the form. You can mail out the CLEO copy the same time you send your form to ATF, you do not need to wait on any response from the CLEO. It is their duty to contact ATF if they have an issue with your application. The CLEO copy does not need payment information attached. AGAIN, before you send off the forms to the ATF and your CLEO, make copies for yourself. MAKE SURE YOU COPY THE BACK SIDE OF THE FORMS AS WELL for your records. There are contact numbers and addresses on the back. In addition to the two forms, I also got a copy of “Firearms Curios and Relics List” (revised April 2004) in the packet. This booklet lists all the firearms that are regarded as C&R eligible PLUS it lists the laws that govern C&R licenses. The publication number is ATF P 5300.11 Revised April 2004. I would highly recommend that when you order the forms from the distribution center, you request one of these books as well. In the past, this book has been part of the “welcome package” that typically shows up before they ship your license copy, but it never hurts to make sure that you have one on hand.

WHAT TO DO ONCE YOU GET THE LICENSE? If all goes well, your license should be mailed to you in 6 to 8 weeks. These times vary by quite a bit. If it seems like it is taking too much time, you may contact ATF about it. The number is on the back of the F7CR form. For sure, your check will be cashed sooner than later! ATF will send you ONE copy of the license. DO NOT SIGN THE ORIGINAL!!! The VERY first thing to do to is make clear photocopies of the license. Make like a dozen or more. Then put the original in a safe place where you can find it again. You will use the COPIES when you buy/sell C&R weapons. You will need to sign copies in INK prior to using them. ATF will also send you a “welcome” kit that will contain a current copy of State firearm laws and some other info. This will come separate from your license. When you get the kit, do not freak out. There is a LOT of extra stuff there that actually does not pertain to C&R licensees. It seems they send out generic kits to all new licensees. For some more general information on your license, see the ATF FAQ list at: Now, that you have that half sheet of paper what do you do? What else?!? You start to BUY!!! Many companies will only sell to licensed people, so you need to send them a copy of the license (signed) and request to be put on their list. They have to have a signed license on file before they will ship a firearm. What I did was make a form letter requesting I be put on their mailing list, that they file my license and also offer me any discounts that they offer and sent them to various companies with a license signed copy.


...that is all.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bear Vs. Les

I am a big fan of Survivorman (Les Stroud) although I have seen him do some less than intelligent drinking questionable water, forgetting to bait a trap before setting it and cutting himself more than a few times. Watching and listening to this guy Bear Grylls will get you killed. I will be the first to admit I am captivated by Man vs. Wild. I tune in to see what disgusting item is on the menu for the week, I can't help myself. Mr. Grylls has been busted for staying at a hotel when supposedly roughing it in the wild.

Here are some amusing examples on YouTube:
Bear Called Out By Tourists
Here Is His "CREW" (He has a bigger entourage than P. Diddy) - Notice the ropes?
More Hijinks From The Lava Fields Deserted Island Episode...Try Hawaii

You can find these and dozens more as well as some humorous parodies on YouTube. They now show a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode of Man vs. Wild. The reason they have the disclaimer about "certain situations" being presented (READ: staged), so Bear can "educate you" is because they got called out on their shenanigans. If you want to die go right ahead and do what Mr. Grylls does...he routinely climbs 50 foot sheer cliffs because it is "quicker" (He does this with the notion that he isn't using safety line - we know that is not true but your average viewer may think this is a fabulous know the people who enjoy WWE wrestling), eating the rotting corpse of a Zebra sitting out in the midday sun or even better; climbing down a slippery waterfall using only jungle vine. Les Stroud receives support NO DOUBT but at least the guy tries to give sound advice. I have to give Mr. Grylls this; he puts on a hell of a show..but he is a entertainer (not a survival expert) and should be taken as PURE entertainment.

Here are some links:
Bear Grylls Page
Les Strouds Page

Survivorman Series:
Survivorman - Season 1
Survivorman Season 2 (4 DVD Set)

And for entertainment:
Man vs. Wild - Season 1 (6 DVD set)

Let me know what you think of both Bear Grylls and Les Stroud!

...that is all.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Equipment Review: Walther P22

I purchased a Walther P22 about 6 months ago. My original plan was to use it for concealed carry. I can see the emails coming already..."Are you kidding, a .22lr for personal defense". I don't live in Iraq and 10 rounds of CCI Mini-mags in the chest will ruin most people's day. I did change my mind and I purchased a S&W M&P 9c for CCW. (So please, please don't bother sending me the emails I mentioned above...thanks!)

The P22 is a nice an compact gun. It is also well built and feels good, despite being small, in my fairly large hands. The gun comes with a case, second back strap, 2 magazines and a tool needed for reassembly of the pistol when it is stripped.

I really like this gun but there are several negative points I need to point out which may or may not be deal breakers for you.

1.) This gun is finicky about what kind of ammo you put in it. It choked on Remington Thunderbolts and Remington SubSonics. It has been feeding the Federal ammo I have pretty reliable. It is hands down a tack driver and 100% reliable when using CCI Mini-Mags (which are more money of course). I also noticed that when using the Remington ammo there was lead buildup in the barrel which is a pain in the ass to clean out. I do not have that problem with jacketed ammo only lead.

2.) The magazines are expensive for a .22 - I have seen them for as much as $35 each, the cheapest I have seen was $24 each.

3.) The gun is a bit of a pain to reassemble when broken down (until you get used to it...I can do it quickly now). They include a small plastic dowel to help manage the spring when reassembling the slide...this in my opinion is stupid...I should not need a tool to do this.

The gun is fun to shoot and it's one of the few guns I have my wife will shoot (the 10/22 is the other). She hates the recoil on the bigger guns. The gun is accurate as well...good groups at 7 and 15 yards rapid fire. I did have some accuracy issues when using the Remington ammo, the lead was building up in the barrel and some of the shots appeared to hit the target while tumbling...leaving an elongated hole. No issues when using the jacketed ammo with this pistol.

Here are some specs from Walther's site:
Model-: P22
Caliber-: .22LR
Barrel Length: 3.4"
Dimensions, L/H/W: 6.3"/4.5"/1.1"
Weight (without Mag): 15.1 oz.
Sights: 3-Dot adj.
Magazine Capacity: 10 Rounds
Trigger: DA/SA Trigger
Weight: 11 lbs./4 lbs.

The safety is ambidextrous and the magazine release is built into the trigger guard. The pistol is double action first shot...single action after that. The trigger pull is pretty crisp and feels good in my opinion. The gun definitely fulfils the "cool factor"...mine is Black and OD green, they also make an all black model. It looks basically like a shrunken P99 in .22lr caliber.

Overall it is a fun gun to shoot. If I had to do it over again I may have given the Sig Mosquito a look or maybe just went with a Ruger...the pistol is not a bad one and has proven pretty popular with folks. If you in the market for a .22 pistol I would suggest going to your local range and renting one to try out for yourself before you make a decision.

...that is all.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Yet Another SKS Update

I just got off the phone with Samco and great news. I have in my, not an SKS but a shiney new UPS tracking number. My SKS will be here on 6/23/08 which is Monday. I will document the entire unpacking process and share with you my "Christmas like" moment...with a pictorial step-by-step included.

...that is all.

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How to Survive The Coming Apocalypse (Part IV)

I know I said every Wednesday...but better late than never I always say. This part of the Survive the Apocalypse series is centered around energy. When I say energy I am speaking of fire, electricity and heat.


For the short term prepper one of the most important things you can invest in is a generator. I recently purchased a Coleman Powermate 5000. A generator like this is not meant to be a long term solution by any means. If I were looking for something heavy duty and practical for the long term it would definitely be diesel or propane powered. What a generator like this will do is get you through a period of up to a few weeks if your power is out...such as in the case of a major hurricane. A generator doesn't need to be run 24hrs. a day and that should help you spread the fuel out over a longer time. They also run longer if you keep the load on the generator under its maximum capacity. My generator will run for around 12 hours on a 6 gallon tank if I keep the load at around 50 percent of it's capacity.

A picture of my generator is below:

I keep the fuel tank full along with 2 and 1/2 ounces of Stabil to keep the fuel fresh. I also take the generator out at least once a month and run it for 5 minutes to keep everything lubed and prevent hard starts. This leads me to talk about how your are going to keep your generator running. Make sure you have an ample supply of whatever fuel you generator uses on hand, whether it is gasoline, diesel or propane have a supply to get you through at least a week or two.

My experience is with gasoline so my main point to make on that is gas breaks down. If you store any kind of gas make sure you add fuel stabilizer to it to slow that breakdown process. Make sure you store it in approved containers and be wary of fumes. Gasoline fumes are EXTREMELY flammable so it best to store your gas away from your main dwelling. I keep about 25 gallons on hand and rotate it frequently.

Please make sure YOU NEVER RUN A GENERATOR INSIDE YOUR HOUSE...the reason being you will die from carbon monoxide poisoning. I am paranoid in that sense because CO is colorless and doesn't smell. When I run the generator (even outside) I have a CO detector (battery powered) I will keep in the area we sleep in.
If you have a lot of devices that are battery powered make sure you have an ample supply of those. I keep several dozen AA, AAA and 9 volt batteries on hand ALWAYS remembering to rotate the old one to the front as batteries do weaken over time. There are a few exceptions like CR123's which have a 10 year shelf life. I have seen some folks put some VERY nice solar setups together. They are still relatively expensive if you want decent amperage. I plan on doing something like this in the near future with some panels and deep cycle batteries. The biggest costs are the panels and the controllers/inverters. It does not pay to go cheap on those and for heavens sake don't use car batteries in your bank...always use deep cycle or marine batteries.


I live in the south but if I lived in a colder climate I would definitely have either a fireplace (wood burning...NOT GAS) or a wood burning stove to heat my house in the event that the juice stopped flowing. I would also have several cords of wood (seasoned) available for fuel. If your not lucky enough to have either of those they make some nice propane heaters that could be used to heat areas of your shelter. Space type heaters always demand caution because if you are careless your entire house will be a wood burning stove. In the event you have nothing...make sure you have wool blankets and high quality cold weather clothing because it will be as cold inside your house as it is outside in fairly short order.

Speaking of fire make sure you have several ways of creating fire available. I have a dozen butane lighters as well as several hundred matches available. I also have a Swedish Fire Steel as a backup. I have ignited my camp stove with this no problem and when I go camping I force myself to use it to start fires so I have become quite proficient with it. BTW dryer lint makes excellent fire starter, so ask whomever does your laundry to save that stuff...this is also the reason you need to get your dryer vent cleaned at least once a year...think giant wood burning stove again.

Cooking can be challenging in a disaster situation. I suggest you invest in a good quality grill like a Weber (propane or charcoal) and if you go propane have 2 or 3 extra tanks. If you go Charcoal store several LARGE bags as well as lighter fluid. I also have a small propane powered camp grill and a isobutane powered single burner to fall back on as well, I keep about a dozen of each type of fuel stored and my wife and I could cook for a few weeks just with those...not including my Weber which I have 2 spare tanks for. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace or wood burning stove you can certainly use those to cook as well.

This stuff demands some planning because once the power or gas go out it will be too late to run to Wal-Mart because everyone is going to have the same idea as you. If you think about what I have written and do some simple planning you could last several weeks on your own and be able to function quite nicely.

The next segment of the series will focus on defense...everyone's favorite topic.

...that is all.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Book Review: Crisis Preparedness Handbook

Crisis Preparedness Handbook: A Complete Guide to Home Storage and Physical Survival by Jack A. Spigarelli is the latest victim in my ongoing series of "Survival" type books reviewed. I must say that this is one of my favorites preparedness books for many reasons: first and foremost Mr. Spigarelli spend the majority of the book on the two most important aspects of survival - FOOD and WATER. If if you don't have access to either of these it won't matter how far out in the woods you live, how much gas you have for your generator, how many bullets and guns you have stockpiled because quite simply; you will be dead.

I have to confess this was one of the first preparedness books I ever read. I enjoyed it so much I have reread it for the purpose of this review. Mr. Spigarelli has a very comprehensive approach to preparations of food and water and goes from sprouting to canning and back again in a clear and concise fashion aiding the readers comprehension of the material. This book is strictly business unlike the last review I did on Cody Lundin's "98.6 Degrees The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive", there are no cute illustrations...just LOTS of information and good quality information to boot.

The book is broken down in seven parts as follows:
1.) Introduction - Chapters 1-4
2.) Food and Water Stockpiling - Chapters 5-11
3.) Food Production - Chapters 12-15
4.) Food Preservation - Chapters 16-19
5.) Crisis Survival - Chapters 20-21
6.) Other Preparations - Chapters 22-30
7.) Resources - Chapters 31-32

The Introduction - focuses primarily on living in an uncertain world. It is dangerous times more now than ever and we are dependent...sound pertinent? Well guess what the book was written in 1984 - ironically. This book and its description of why survival preparations are prudent withstand the test of time and could easily refer to today and now. He also focuses on making the decision and becoming committed to starting and continuing survival preparations. He also spends some time answer common questions that pop up like (paraphrased) "Aren't you being a little paranoid by doing all this and spreading doom and gloom?" know the same questions some people in your family could be asking you right now.

Food and Water Stockpiling - goes into the various methods and modes of building up a decent stockpile of food. This includes descriptions of the best foods to stockpile, several plans that you can follow and emergency storage of water. He goes into how to store it, where to store it and how long it can be stored. He also covers equipment and supplies needed to start your preparations as well.

Food Production - Mr. Spigarelli goes into various modes of producing sustainable sources of food. Sprouting, growing, hunting, scavenging and raising livestock are all covered in good detail. He covers raising rabbits, chickens, cows, pigs, goats and bees among other things; going so far as to say you might want to brush up on some basic veterinary skills while your at it.

Food Preservation - covers the basics, such as cold storage, canning, dehydrating, jerking among several others. The art of building a root cellar is discussed as well as natural ways to make foods last longer. His descriptions of the processes are good, although if you want to get into any of them in detail I would look for a book specifically on that subject.

Crisis Survival - this area is where Mr. Spigarelli discusses evacuation and defense. Folks of the I need 5 AR-15's and 50,000 rounds of .223 along with a Barret .50 sniper rifle and an Apache helicopter on stand by before I feel safe nature, will most likely be disappointed by his recommendations. The recommendations are simple and conservative - a working (hunting and varmint control) rifle, a defensive sidearm in 9mm or .45 cal and maybe a shotgun thrown in. He also recommends at least 200 rounds stored per weapon. Realistically, this is sound advice but also the MINIMUM I would go with...I personally would have more.

Other Preparations - in this section Mr. Spigarelli covers everything else...from clothing to communication and everything in between. Medicine, dentistry and surviving specific types of attacks (nuclear/chemical) are all also covered in at least some detail. Some sections are more comprehensive then other sections...but most everything is covered.

Resources - covers a collection of survival based books, magazines and websites. This edition is a reprint done in 2002 so most of the information is still valid although some vendors and publications may now be defunct. That sums up what I have to say about this book. As I stated, this was one of the first books I ever read on preparedness. I really did enjoy it...enough to read it a second time for this post. I recommend it and if you pick it up I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Let me know what you think!

...that is all.

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