Archive for the ‘Firearms’ Category

Justified Shooting

April 7, 2010

This is Paul Langone an off duty private security guard.  Back in October of last year a psychiatric patient came to see his doctor at a medical building at Massachusetts General Hospital.   This man was obviously sick and suffering from a severe psychiatric illness which really makes this a tragic story all the way around.

For no apparent reason the patient began to stab his doctor with a knife that had a four inch blade.  The victim doctor started to scream and two other doctors came to her aid.

The perpetrator slashed one of the doctors so both doctors ran to seek cover.    Meanwhile our hero, Mr. Langone, who incidentally also was a Golden Gloves champ a decade ago, was summoned by the doctor’s screams.

As he arrived at the scene of the assault he saw the patient standing over the doctor actively stabbing her.  Mr. Langone unholstered his Glock 27, identified himself as a SPO and ordered the patient to stop the attack.  The patient being in the throes of some “event” charged Mr. Langone who shot one time hitting the patient.  The 40 at this close range didn’t drop the patient so Mr. Langone had to fire two more times hitting the patient in the stomach and head.  This ended the attack.  The patient died from his wounds.

It took six months, but finally the DA decided that the shooting was justified. So see, sometimes we in Massachusetts do get it right.  I feel bad for the patient who was killed too, and his wife and kids.  Mental illness is a real disease, but it’s a good thing that Mr. Langone came to intervene.

Another person saved by a licensed gun owner.  Had Mr. Langone been a resident of the City of Boston he very likely would not have been granted a LTC in which case the doctor would have most assuredly been killed.  Mr. Langone’s father relates speaking to the doctor’s husband who allegedly said “if my son got there any later, he feels his wife would not be alive.”  Not only was the presence of our hero necessary, but let us not forget that the ability of a willing hero to be confidently armed was also a necessary component.

You know not a day goes by that I don’t see a news report where I say to myself if only those victims were armed or trained.


Pretty huh?

Bore snakes

May 24, 2009

Away camping this weekend so short post.  Is it camping if you have a refrigerator, cable and a bathroom, but also have campfires, smores, cook over the fire and still kind of rough it?  Hope to go surfing later today.

I like bore snakes.  They make cleaning my firearms easier.  The problem is that you need a different size bore snake for each caliber you have.   I slide a wet patch through a couple of times, then a clean patch and then the bore snake. You can see from this nicely labeled picture that I found on the Internet…

Presentation1that is has a two floss areas, a brass bore brush built right in, a weight to help it slide through the barrel.  They fit good and snug too.  If you haven’t tried a bore snake, give it a go.  You should be able to pick one up for about 15 bucks.

Get Outside Everyday!!

P1010006This is Jack in the Pulpit.  Pretty distinctive, aye?

My life

May 7, 2009

Okay, kinda limited stuff going on so just a day in the life of Abraham.  It was a crappy day the other day so I went to the gun club.  I like crappy days because there aren’t a whole lot of people there so I’m able to do my own thing.  When there are lots of people at the club you have to wait for everyone to get synced before you can do your thing.  You know everyone sets their targets at the same time, walks back to the table at the same time, shoot, make safe, gun on table, back to targets.  It’s way too robotic for me and I don’t do well with rules or structure.

So there I was at the 25 yard pistol range.p1010003I wanted to use up some old 38+P that has been banging around in my pockets for a while and in my Model 60.  I also wanted to try out some Corbon 38+P before carrying it everyday.  I’ve heard that the Corbon is a good self-defense load.  It should be, I think I paid like 20 or 25 bucks for 25 rounds!!     DO NOT EVER LOAD YOUR EVERYDAY CARRY WEAPON WITH AMMO THAT YOU HAVE NOT TRIED OUT!! What’s nice about being there when no one else is, is that I can get up close to the target and shoot from three yards, five yards, seven yards and the table too.  I can shoot at different angles also.   I also wanted to try out a couple kinds of .22 subsonic ammo that I had to see if it made little enough noise to shoot in my neighborhood or along the powerlines.  It’s still noisy, but more of a pop than a crack.

g039Next I went over to the 50 yard range and used the Saiga with the reddot and with the iron sights.  It’s tough to shoot at 50 yards without optics.  I can see the target, but I’m basically aiming at the top, bottom, middle or corners of the target.  My eyes are only so good.  Always fun to use the Saiga.  Living in Massachusetts I’m limited to ten round mags, but that’s ok by me.  If I’m ever in the situation where I need a 30 round mag, my first instinct will be to go the other way.  I can’t say enough good things about the Saiga.  It’s not a tackdriver, but it is rugged, rugged, rugged and battle proven.  You can bury it in mud and it will shoot the mud right out of the barrel and out of the ejection port.  It also has very little recoil and shoots a very popular cartridge.  No problem hitting the paper every time at 50 yards. Stop your laughing!

Like most people, one of my first jay-oh-bees was as a dishwasher/busboy.  Everyone should spend some time working in a restaurant or as a housekeeper (I did that too.).  It gives you an appreciation of things and how to treat everyone as equals no matter their station in life.  Anyways, I’m a 13 year old kid, riding my bike to work, working until 11 or 12 at night and riding my bike home.  Hahahaha, imagine kids today doing that!?!?!?!  So on my first day of work, my boss says to me, ‘I don’t care if you come in late.  I don’t care if you leave early.  I don’t care if you are mean to customers. But always, always, always make sure that there is a frosted mug for me.’  This restaurant has been open for more than 30 years.  That’s a long time for a restaurant.  I drove by the other day.

p10100021Yeah, that’s the greenshoots of maybe a new business opening, NOT!  And to quote that genius Freddie Mercury, “And another, and another, and another one bites the dust.”

Get outside everyday!! This is a great time of year because there is so much coming to life.

Here is a mushroom called Hen of the Woods.  I don’t eat mushrooms except in hot n’ sour soup.

p1010050They like to grow on old stumps and trees.  It’s edible, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

Here is some more wild edible called fiddleheads.  You ever eat these?  I’m not a big fan of these either, but I guess that just means that I wasn’t hungry enough, aya.

p1010002You can see there are probably 100 of them in this single picture.  They’re baby ferns.  You scrape the fuzz off of them and prepare them like asparagus, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

Here is some burdock.  Burdock is one of the most medicinal plants going.  It’s a biennial.  Eat the root or the young leaves.

p10100012You can even see one of the old seedpods laying there.  When you or your dog comes home with these things stuck to you or it, you know there is something edible nearby.  Get a fieldguide and read up on burdock.

Then we have some real yummies coming up too.  I hope you know what these are.

p10100051These are some wild strawberries.    I will remember where these are and try to beat the wildlife to them, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

I also saw some wild morels.  This is a pic from Google Images, but this is what they looked like.  I didn’t have my camera with me at the time.  This is a beautiful picture though.   Morels are so distinctive that when you seem them you know it.

morels300pxI went back two days later with my camera to take a picture and some other SOB got to them before me so they were gone.  Morels are some of the most prized wild food going, but don’t take my word for it.  Get your own field guides and do the research for yourself.

So the big lesson today –

  • Practice what you preach. Don’t count on anything that you haven’t used or practiced with.  Once again, it’s great to plan what you may carry, but have you actually tired it?  Crap is heavy.
  • Get a bunch of field guides, at least three or four.  Read them, peruse them and study them. You will be amazed at what you begin to recognize when You Get Outside Everyday. Seriously, you’ll look at a book and be like, ‘wow, I know I’ve seen that’ and next time out you’ll be saying to yourself, ‘hey there it is acorns, pine needles, blackberry or burdock.’

S&W model 317

April 14, 2009

This will be my review of the S&W model 317.  I like the 317 it’s a basic eight shot revolver.  It’s made out of some new alloy so it weighs less than a pound.  Some of you may know it as a J frame model meaning that it is a small revolver.  It is very concealable – small and light.  I’ve seen some people call it a “kit gun.”

p1010051What I like about it is that it is small, holds eight shots and is .22 caliber.  I have nothing against semi-autos, but semis are kind of fussy.  You need your magazine otherwise your semi is can only be used as a club or a stone.  Semis are also a bit choosy about what kind of ammo they like.   On the downside, and it’s a biggie, it’s just a little .22 so you won’t be doing any big game hunting with the 317, but that’s not why you carry it with you.  And forget about finding any speedloaders for it.  Another downside is that it is tough to find holsters for a 3″ barrel J frame. This is a Bianchi.  I like IWB for everyday concealed carry, but this Bianchi is comfortable for being out and about.

p1010056If big brother ever comes a knocking they’ll be trying to outlaw the big, bad, scary semis and most likely lever actions, pump and revolvers will be left still legal.  If you own another J frame revolver you can use the little 317 for target practice and still become more proficient with your center fire.

Being a .22 I can carry a lot more ammo.   Ammo is still cheap for it too.  You can get 50 rounds for $2.50 and get 500 round bricks for 25 or 30 bucks.  An old pill bottle filled holds a pretty fair amount and assortment of ammo.

p1010057If you go backpacking this little pistol packs away unnoticed and you can carry a ton of ammo that’ll  meet most of your needs.  This is what the empty bottle holds.

p1010058You can see there are some mini-mags, short subsonics, short hypersonics, lr subsonics, hollowpoints and even some shotshells.

The 317 shoots fine.  It has an adjustable rear sight and a fiber optic type of front sight.   It’s not the most accurate, but within 25 yards it’s plenty accurate for my eyes.  I can’t imagine trying to hit anything beyond 25 yards with the 317.  I can shoot hundreds of rounds through it before my hand even starts to think about being tired.  It’s great for shooting at jugs and such.    If need be you could harvest plenty of game with it.

If I could only take one firearm with me and I had to get out of dodge you know this may be it.  Hide it anywhere.  It weighs nothing.  Extra 22 ammo can be bought ANYWHERE.  You can carry thousands of rounds.  The round is fine for squirrels and birds and even some larger game.

There’s a great review of the S&W model 317 by Jeff Quinn here.

Get outside everyday!! This is the flower of skunk cabbage.  If you live in the northern US near water I bet there is some growing near you.

p1010048I like the way the flower looks.  To me it looks like a bird eating something.  A pretty plant, especially in the spring when there aren’t even any leaves open on the trees yet.

Skunk cabbage is a weird plant.  The young leaves are edible, but first you need to thoroughly dry them as in dehydrate very well in the sun or a dehydrator.    If you fail to dry or dehydrate thoroughly, as Wild Man Bill says, ‘it will feel like 1,000,000 tiny pins prickling your tongue.  OUCH!!  Boiling doesn’t destroy the stinging substance, only thorough drying of the young leaves.

p1010047The upside is that because skunk cabbage contains so many active substances in it that it has many medicinal properties.  The ground root was used for toothaches and the ground leaves for itching and rheumatism.  A root tincture was used as an expectorant too.  At high doses though it is poisonous so you gotta get your own books and do your own research.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

March 1, 2009

This news just in 12+ inches of snow.  I couldn’t be happier.  This means at least another two or three weeks of skiing.  I love the snow.  I hate the snowplow, more below.  It can’t snow too much in my mind.  If I woke up tomorrow morning and there was four feet of snow on the ground I would be overjoyed.  I’m not afraid of being snowed in for what a day, a week or a month.  We’d be fine.

special_560x389Are you prepared for the electricity to go out?  Ready to live without lights, heat or a stove for a while?  Got flashlights, batteries and lanterns?  Warm clothing?  Have some fresh water stored or a way to melt snow? A way to stay warm when the heat goes out?  Sand, shovel and jumper cables in the car?  Have candles?  How about way way to open and heat your canned food without electricity?  Got activities to keep you busy – books, games, hobbies or battery radio? Wood, propane & C0leman fuel?   Maybe some booze or beers tucked away?

And look at this list not a single firearm, bullet or high capacity firearm needed.  Spend your money where you want.  Please don’t take this as a dig against firearms.  I love my guns and I think everyone should own a few and daily carry too, but a gun should be just one of the many tools in your toolbox.

Anyways, if you aren’t familiar with snowplows this is what happens, when the snowplows plow the street they leave a big, big pile of snow at the end of the driveway.  And if you aren’t familair with shoveling snow, snow is frozen water, water weighs a lot, shoveling water is heavy, heavy work.  So what happens is you shovel your driveway and just when you finish the plow comes buy again leaves an enormous berm of snow at the end of your drivway.  Everytime the plow comes by it basically plows you in.  So the system is shovel out and get plowed in.  Shovel out and get plowed in.


February 5, 2009

Mace is cheap, small, easily concealed and anyone can learn to use it quickly and efficiently.    Many states don’t require licensing of mace either.   Mace can disable someone long enough for you to make an escape.

m80153_maceEase of use: Mace is easy to use.  It’s easy to deploy, aim and spray.  You  can give it to someone take them out back show them how to point and squeeze and they will be proficient enough to use it on their own.  Please don’t forget to explain to them about being aware of wind direction, wind speed and possible drift.  Like anything else you gotta try it before you try to use it under stress.   If you carry mace and have never used it, you should try it out today or stop carrying it.

Escalation of force: A good reason everyone should carry mace is that you can use it as another step in your escalation of force continuum. If you ever need to defend yourself with deadly force you will be second guessed. Unless someone is threatening you with a firearm you may be better off using mace and making an escape.  If mace doesn’t stop them then you might be able to escalate to deadly force.    If you are able to say that you used escalating force it will help to buttress your case later when you end up in court.  And regardless of zombie talk and video game fantasies, if you shoot someone you will end up in court.   If you are not familiar with the concept of escalation of force or use of force continuum please click on the links.

A use of force continuum generally goes something like this:

  1. Escape, remove yourself from the risk.
  2. Verbal command to stop.
  3. Physical command to stop.  Maybe something like holding up your hand in the halt position and saying “back off” or “give me space.”
  4. Use of empty hand techniques.
  5. Use of chemical weapons.
  6. Use of batons, clubs, keys, pens and the like.
  7. Use of deadly force.

This one on the use of force continuum from Wikipedia and this from some government authority in Australia.  Granted it’s Australia, but the info on p. 6 and the chart on p. 7 are worth looking at if you carry concealed.  I like the first model the most.  Unlike cops I always expect to be in the defensive position.  Point being you can’t use any more force than is necessary and chemical weapons should fit somewhere into your defensive model.

Barter and gifts: BTW I think buying extra mace for trade or barter is a great thing.  Mace is also great for gift giving.  I would be a lot more willing to trade mace han I would ammo.  You barter ammo and you don’t know if it’s gonna come back and haunt you.   Trading mace you don’t have to worry so much. Mace can also be stored a long time.

Get extra mace. BTW I should mention that mace is just a brand name like Kleenex or Bandaids.  There are all sorts of brands out there.  Get what works for you and fits in with your economic


My Choice: I personally like the Spitfire brand for a few reasons.  It has a key chain clip so it is always with me.  When I’m driving in my car it’s hanging right there.  It has kind of a cool clip so that if you need to deploy it you can yank it right off the key ring.  To spray it is a two step motion so you don’t have to worry about it firing by accident in your pocket.  The spray comes out in a cone so it’s easy to aim from any direction in any direction.  They also sell compressed air refills so you can practice with it.  Lastly, you can get refills for it so you don’t have to buy the whole unit again.

First Aid: If you spray yourself flush the area with lots and lots of water.  Flush your eyes with plenty of water.  If it got on your clothes remove them.  Get someplace with fresh air and hopefully a breeze.  Don’t rub your eyes or scratch your skin.  That will only rub it in and make it worse.  I’ve also heard that baby shampoo works well.

Get outside into the woods.  Stop.  Listen.

i1Big bird in a big tree.  Red tail hawk?

i3Little bird in little tree.

My 9/11 call

December 30, 2008

By now everyone has heard the story of that murdering, dirty, mad animal that dressed as Santa and then went to his in-laws house to shoot a little girl in the face and  murdered nine people in cold blood.

In case your house is the underside of a rock, “The embittered divorcee who dressed up as Santa Claus and murdered nine in a Christmas Eve massacre killed his ex-wife, former in-laws and three of her siblings, depriving 15 children of at least one parent.”

So the news ghouls are now broadcasting the 9/11 calls that came in from the house as Santa used his homemade flame thrower. ‘my daughter was just shot in the face.’

I’d like to write how my 9/11 call would have gone-

“I just shot Santa in the head can you please send some elves to clean it up. HaHaHa!”

If you don’t carry a firearm and have the stomach, time and patience to do so you are not doing everything that your fellow citizens, city and country require of you.  Our civil rights are like our bodies, if you don’t exercise them they atrophy.

Concealed carry is a huge responsibility.  One needs to practice enough to become proficient.  You need to learn the law so you know when deadly force is or is not defensible. You need to prepare yourself psychologically and understand that drawing a weapon instantly makes you an enormous target.

I wish someone at that Christmas party was armed and ready.  Maybe it wouldn’t have turned out differently or maybe it would have, but at least someone may have given them a fighting chance or enough time to make an escape.

There are sheep, shepherds and wolves.  What do you choose to be?

I was out skiing and saw some deer tracks so I followed them. Why not, right?  Wouldn’t you?

deer hole

deer hole

There may be an official name for this.  If there is please let me know.  This is a hole that a deer slept in the night before.  If you look closely (click on the pic) you can see that the deer was aligned vertically in the hole.  Its butt was at 12 and head at 6.  If you look real closely you can make out where its ear may have laid in the snow.

And one more-

p1010093You can see where its legs were under it too, the little hoof prints.

Remington 870 barrels

December 23, 2008

I know that everyone loves to look at pictures of firearms so here’s a blog entry on changing a barrel for the venerable Remington 870.  Anyone can do it.  The 870 has been in production for a very long time.  It is a pump operated five shot 12 gauge shotgun.  The thing is as nearly trouble-free as a firearm can be.  There are all sorts of aftermarket accessories available for the 870 too from different barrels, chokes, magazine extensions, lights, lasers and different stocks.  It can be adapted for just about any use.  There is also a huge array of ammo available for it.

The 870 with a 26″ barrel.  I’d call this a sporting barrel.  You can screw different choke tubes onto it –

sg1Notice the relatively long length of the barrel.

First you need to make sure that the gun is safe.

sgSafety on.  Then work the slide and you can see that nothing is in the chute.  Although it looks like nothing is in the chamber I always stick my finger in there just to be sure that my eyes aren’t fooling me.  Check twice, save a life.  You have to do this every time you pick up a firearm, put a firearm down,  pass it to someone else or get handed one from someone else.  I don’t give a crap if you just watched the guy at the range that is handing you a weapon  make it safe himself.  You have to make it safe yourselfEvery time.  Every time you pick a weapon up or put it down make it safe.  Make it habit.

sg2Next, you work the fore-end slide back halfway, or more, towards the receiver.

sg3Then you unscrew the magazine cap.  You can see the cap attached to the shoulder strap.

p1010064Here I’m getting ready to slide the new barrel in.

p1010065Here the new barrel is being slid into the receiver and over the magazine tube.  You have to make sure that the ring on the barrel goes over the magazine.  It really slides right in.  If it doesn’t you’re doing something wrong and just start over again.

Screw the magazine cap back on and you are almost done.

p1010067Notice the shorter 18″ defense barrel.  This is a cylinder bore barrel with a bead sight.  It’s much better for defensive purposes than the longer sporting barrel.  It’s easier to swing around and get on target, particularly in the small confines of a house.  Being short (me) the shotgun feels better balanced with a shorter barrel.

Before you store the firearm, check again to make sure it is still unloaded and the safety is still on.  Trigger lock it and place it in your safe.

Getting out pics-

xc1Beautiful snow covered field on a beautiful day.

xc5Heaven.  This is the ceiling of my cathedral.  Beautiful old white pines.  They’re probably 100’+.

xcSki buddy.  SMACK that branch with yo’ pole.

The range

December 10, 2008

Got bullets?  Do you shoot?

Went to the range today.  Perfect day for me.  It was nice and rainy so there wasn’t anyone else there interfering with what I want to do.  When there are a bunch of people it’s a drag, so rainy cold days are great because it keeps the weaklings inside.

25 yard range

25 yard range

This is the berm for the 25 yard range.  I sighted in my red dot on the Saiga and then went through of box of 38s and also went kapow kapow with the 12 gauge.    I like using the 38.  It just feels right.  I’ll shoot at different angles and ranges.  Do you practice?  I’m no expert.  I don’t even pretend to know what I’m doing.  If I had the dough I’d love to take a class or two.  I’ve also been meaning to sign up for the IDPA stuff.

After getting warmed up and sighted in a bit I moved over to the 50 yard range.

50 yard range

50 yard range

This is the 5o yard range.  You see the little black thing?  That’s the target.  50 yards isn’t really far, but it’s still tough for me to shoot accurately.  I mean if my eyes can’t make out the target other than the red bullseye it’s tough to be more accurate than my eyes allow.  I hit the paper every time which is smaller than a torso so I figure I’m doing ok.    When I use the iron sights the target becomes the same size as the iron sights so forget about making out the different scoring circles on the target.

I ended up hitting the target stand.

target stand

target stand

This is the stand that I hit.  I wasn’t that far off.  There was a target in the upper corner where I was aiming.  I was an inch or two off.  The reason I show this is because, being new to centerfire rifles, I thought it interesting to see the damage that one can do.  The bullet went right through the 1/4″ (?) steel rod holding the target.  It just sheared it right off.  I also took one shot at a small (8″ diameter) pine tree.  It went right through, small entry hole and a rather large exit hole.  Shoulda taken a pic of that too.  Now I know that the bullet would go right through the sheetmetal of a vehicle without a problem.  It might even exit the other side, in one door and out the other.

With my stand now damaged I shot at a one gallon plastic milk jug.  That’s always fun, to see the jug dance around.  Movement is good.

If you haven’t tried shooting, it’s harder than it looks.  Forget about shooting the gun out of someone’s hand or shooting somone in the leg.  That’s TV and movie stuff.  And that’s before you even add in stress and adrenaline.



This is the evahl black rifle.  Boo!!  Are you scared?  It’s a Saiga 7.62 x 39.  It’s build on the AK platform and comes from the Izhmash facotry in Russia. I’m guessing I’ve fired over 500 rounds through it, but less than 1,000.  It has never failed me.  I have never had a miss feed.    That’s a cheap red dot on top of it, not that cheap really.  It has kind of a crazy side mount for the scope.  I wish I got a red dot with the various reticles.  Oh well, live and learn.

Anyways, as we’ve all heard practice makes perfect.  Do you practice?  Do you have more than 1/2 a box of shells at h0me?

Edit: Since my schpiel on retail some more news has popped:

“Seven metro Detroit La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries start liquidation sales on Friday, another casualty of Michigan’s rugged economy.”

“Office Depot will close 112 stores”

Never leave home without

November 6, 2008

I thought it would be cool to show folks what I usually have when I leave home.

In the car I have my Get Home Bag (“GHB”), a rainjacket, a pair of hiking boots in a zip loc bag, a few flashlights and a couple of lighters.



This is just a standard, quartz Citizens watch.  The main thing for me with a watch is that it needs to be waterproof.  I also like a watch that shows the date.  You can also use an analog watch as a compass, by pointing the hour hand at the sun, halfway between the sun and the 12 on the watch is your south coordinate.  For better directions,

Wallet cellphone

Wallet cellphone

Self-explanatory, wallet & cellphone.  Boring, huh?  I have a pay as you go cellphone.  I don’t like locking into some “plan” where you have to pay $50 or $100 a month.  Sounds like a plan to go bankrupt to me.  I don’t give my number out to a lot of people.  I usually use it for ordering pizza or calling when I’m running late.



All this stuff clips on the biner that is my key chain.  The Spitfire is a brand of mace.  I like this kind because it’s a natural aim and it sprays out a cone.  You can also replace the mace canister with a compressed air canister for training or if you spray a lot of bad guys you can buy replacement canisters of the mace.  As you can see it’s not much bigger than a disposable lighter.  Buy some for you wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, brother, boss, neighbors and friends.

If you  carry a handgun it’s important to also have mace.  I know people are going to rag on me for this, but….you just can’t whip out your firearm and shoot someone.   I guarantee that you will be second guessed after the fact.  God forbid you ever find yourself in the situation where you feel you feel you are threatened with deadly force.  First, you need to try and remove yourself from the situation.  Next, you need to use escalating force.  Mace is one step in the escalating force rubric.

The other black item on the keychain is a Photon light.  These thigns are great.  They throw a lot of light, last a long time and are about the size of three quarters stacked up.  I use it to help find the key hole in my car or at home at night.  Once again give one to everyone you care about. They ain’t cheap though.



This is a Cree double-A flashlight.  One AA lithium battery in this thing and it throws a ton of light and lasts a very long time.  You can see how small it is compared to a Bic pen.

I always try to have a pen with me too.



I don’t always carry this, but I like it.  It’s a brass marble’s compass.  When I’m wandering in the woods off trails I like to keep a general idea of my direction of travel.  This compass also has a pin on it so I can pin it onto my jacket so all I have to do is look down at it.  It’s usually kept in my car.



This knife is clipped to the biner with my keys, mace and Photon light.  This is a genuine Swiss Army Knife.  I’m not one for brand names, but the impersonators aren’t as good as the genuine Swiss Army Victorinox.  The Victorinox is made better and holds a great edge.  It’s worth the extra $5-$10 to get a better knife that you can depend on.  I like the Camper.  The picture shows what I think are the most important tools for me.  I need a knife with a wood saw.  I use it a lot.  Whether I’m pruning rose bushes out front or practicing my bushcraft the knife is indispensable.  I also need a corkscrew.  We like wine.  I don’t like pushing the cork down into the wine bottle.  There aren’t too many substitutes for a corkscrew when you need one.  I also find the tweezers and toothpick indispensable.  I personally think the Victorinox tweezers are some of the best tweezers going.  I lost track of how many thorns, prickers and slivers of glass I’ve pulled with these tweezers.



This is my S&W Model 60 with the .38 shells unloaded, two speedloaders and the holster.  The holster is a Bianchi inside the waistband holster.  When clipped on the gun and holster present an extremely small profile.  It literally disappears.  The speedloaders are HKS brand.  I generally carry Federal .38 + P hollowpoints.  The Model 60 also takes .357 ammo.  It only holds five shots.  I know I’ll catch grief for it, but I really like the Model 60.  It fits my hand like Goldilocks (just right), it tactilely pleasing, aims fine and makes it easy to collect the brass at the range.   I like the .38 ammo, because living in a populated area the .357 ammo is just too likely to penetrate and create collateral damage.  At the range I usually use plain old .38 ammo to practice.  Don’t worry, I also use self-defense loads to make sure I can depend on them.  All of you semi-loving folks, when using the Model 60 I’ve never had a round stove pipe, not feed correctly or drop a mag.  I like wheelguns.  The other thing is that I shoot slower and am more deliberative then I am with a semi.

Daily pics from my walks-

Big old fir

Big old hemlock

This is a big old AMERICAN hemlock.  I took this picture because of the strip running all the way down it.  This tree was struck by lightening and the lightening ran all the way down the tree tearing off the bark.  Indians made teas from the leaves of the AMERICAN hemlock, the outer bark and inner bark depending on the ailment.  Tea leave will cure scurvy.  If you live in Europe you need to be careful about not confusing the AMERICAN HEMLOCK with the European hemlock.    The EUROPEAN hemlock is poisonous as the Baird can attest to.  THANKS TO JIM RAWLES FOR POINTING THIS OUT TO ME.



This is Milkweed.  The tassels remind me of down.  You could make a fine pillow or mattress from this stuff.  In the background you can see dozens of other milkweeds in this particular field.  The root tea can be used as a diuretic, expectorant and for arthritis and asthma.  You can eat the young shoots, top leaves, young seed pods and young stems.  You need to boil them a few times thought to get rid of the sticky white latex.   Add them to boiling water boil for minute or so and drain.  Boil more water and add them to the boiling water.  Boil for minute or so and drain.  Boil more water and add them to the boiling water.  Do 3-5 times.  Don’t add them to cold water and then bring to boil.  Only add the plant to already boiling water.


October 31, 2008

Today’s post is about skills.  I have two posts in the works.  One will be on knives and the other on getting out.

Just got back from the range.  I tried out some subsonic Remington .22 rounds.  Quiet, but they still make too much noise to shoot stuff in my suburban neighborhood.  I was hoping for a pfft rather than a crack.    Also shot the 7.62 * 39 Saiga.  That is fun.  What an easy gun to shoot.  Also, fired off a few .357 rounds from my S&W model 60.  Getting better.  Practice makes you better.  My goal for a rifle is to be able to shoot a paper plate from 100 yards with iron sights.  For my handguns it’s to shoot a small plate from five yards.  Of course I try to shoot from all different ranges, positions and angles.  I don’t want to try using a scope until I have the iron sights nailed down.

Onto today’s post on skills-

Napoleon Dynamite: No, but who would? I don’t even have any good skills.
Pedro: What do you mean?
Napoleon Dynamite: You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills… Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.
Pedro: Aren’t you pretty good at drawing, like animals and warriors and stuff?

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

What skills do you have? This is my list of skills that I think are important to have. Of course it’s not all inclusive. There are many things that I can’t do that I wish I could.  Let me know what I’m missing.

Start a fire. If you don’t know how to start a fire, the main thing to keep in mind is that it is like painting, you need to get all your prep work done first. Before you touch the flame to the kindling you need to have everything ready. Start with tinder, then kindling then larger logs. You want to have all your gathering done before you start the fire.  You fire kit should contain matches, a steel and lighters.

Sharpen a knife. I like diamond stones. I’m going to have a separate post just for knives once I get the camera back from the wife. There’s a Halloween party where she works so she wanted to take pictures of all of her clients in the costumes.

Understand a variety of firearms. How to make safe, load, unload, field strip and clean. Learn how to use a pistol, a revolver, a lever action rifle, a center fire rifle and a shotgun. If you understand the basics for each one of these you will be in pretty good shape. You won’t be an expert, but if you come upon one you will at least (hopefully) be able to make it safe.

Cook a meal just using what you have in your pantry. I love to cook. You need to be able to mix a can or two of this or that and a bag of noodles and make a good dinner. Understand about cross contamination and how to avoid it. Know how to store food safely. Know what various herbs and spices taste like and how to use them.

Set up a camp and cook over a campfire.  Know to look overhead for widowmakers.  Don’t set up too close to some river or stream that may rise up.

Use a Coleman stove and lantern. Know how to fill them, pump them, light them and change a mantle.

Gardening skills. Know how to compost, understand NPK and micronutrients. I used to work with a very well paid lawyer (like $450 an hour, yup, that’s right). She went to all private schools that were very expensive for her education. She was interested in gardening. One day I was explaining to her about bees. She had no idea that bees pollinate and that without bees we wouldn’t have any fruit. Imagine that, not knowing that bees pollinate? Learn what USDA zone you are in. If you don’t garden buy a book and some seeds and start.

Be able to fix simple things around your home like a toilet that runs, fix a clogged toilet or clogged sink, a bad light switch or prime and finish the walls of your home. Know how to use simple hand tools.  Be able to replace a cord from an appliance or a switch from a lamp.

Understand the basics of how your car works. I don’t mean just turning the key and having it start. You should understand the basics about fuel, air and spark. Know where the battery is and how to jump start a car safely. If you have a standard transmission you should know how to pop the clutch to start it. You should know how to change a tire safely, how to check the fluid levels – brake, transmission, coolant, oil, washer, how to put air in your tires.

First aid skills. Understand how to spot an infection, redness, hot to the touch, maybe drippy fluids and how to treat an infection. Know how to perform CPR, how to take someone’s temperature, how to stop bleeding (direct pressure and raise the wound), how to prevent shock in someone. Know the difference between a virus and bacteria. Know what kind of bandages, dressings and ointments to use. Know the difference between different degrees of burns and how to treat them. How to get something out of someone’s eye, remove a tick or sew someone up. Know the basics of anatomy and physiology. Where your arteries and veins are and the basic bones of the human body.

That is all for now.  Knives and getting out coming up.

What’s missing….

October 29, 2008

It’s easy to think about what we should prepare for. As I wrote in a previous post we need to prepare for those things most likely to occur and those things that are easy to prepare for. To that end I’d like to recommend a list of stuff of some people don’t think of. Mind you I don’t expect to be running through the streets slinging an AK over my shoulder like Mosul or Lebanon. I just don’t see that happening in the US, at least not in the near future. Holed up in my house shooting at the Zombie Golden Horde through gunslits in my walls, not likely.

Do you have:

Water purification or filter. You need this. This has to be number one on your list. You also need redundancy here. Have a minimum of 2-3 filters of the same type and five replacement filters. I would not want to trust just one filter no matter what.  Without water you are a worm on the hot summer pavement.

Toilet paper. How much do you use every week? Do you have enough for six months. You need this stuff.

Batteries. One of the first things to disappear and easy to trade. Get alkaline, rechargeables and lithium. Brand names don’t matter. They’re all made in the same factories and labeled later. Avoid heavy duty. Get alkaline.

Ammunition. Personally I think it’s better to have fewer guns and a better understanding of the ones do you have with ample, more than enough in your wildest dreams, ammunition. Or reloading supplies.

Firearms. No need to mention, but don’t go all gun nutty on me at the expense of not having a way to get or clean potable water and enough food. You can’t eat a gun. Also, make sure you have enough Hoppe’s No. 9, oil and patches. Maybe some replacement parts.

HBA. Health and beauty aids. You need this stuff. I mean toothpaste, tooth brushes, lots of soap, hand sanitizer, shampoo, razor blades, feminine products, and so on. Baby wipes are great. Go look at your medicine cabinet and under your bathroom sink. You need more of this stuff. If it really goes to Hell in a hand basket staying clean and tidy means that you have a better chance to stay healthy. Nothing will make you sicker quicker than having dirty hands. Sheets, pillowcases, towels and blankets, blankets, blankets.

Kitchen knives. I know we all like knives, but make sure you have a bunch of good ones that hold a good edge and are easy to sharpen. You should be able to get good kitchen knives for $5-$20 each. I think $20 is a lot for one knife. Avoid wooden handles and look for a full tang. NEVER leave you kitchen knives to sit in a wet sink over night. Clean your knives as soon as possible and dry them off.

Sharpening stones, irons, diamond stones. A dull knife is a danger to the user. You gotta keep your knives sharp. I sharpen mine just about every time I use them.

Paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic cutlery. It may be tough to run a dishwasher or heat water to wash dishes. Disposable is good. Tin foil, plastic wrap, wax paper, bags, bags, bags, zip lock, foldable, kitchen bags, big trash bags. Dishwashing detergent, SOS pads, sponges. Look around your house. This is what you’ll need.

Solar battery chargers. I like these. You can get good ones for $20-$30. Get a few extra for trading just in case.

Lots of food. I liked canned. Some people like storing grain. I like to store what I eat every day. I don’t grind grain so I hope I don’t have to start now. Oils. Store vegetable and olive oils. You need fats. Another great think to store is seeds for sprouting. Here in the cold north I can’t grow greens in the winter, but I can sprout seeds in a cold dark closet and make a mini salad. Sprouts are great, offer a lot of protein, roughage and micronutrients. Vinegar is great stuff to store – white, red wine and cider.

First aid supplies. You need to have a super kit. You need antibiotics and pain relievers in it, sutures, scalpels, razors, all kinds of gauze and bandaids and so on. Aspirin, Ibuprofen. You can go through this stuff quickly so make sure you have much more then you ever anticipate needing.

Spices. I like black pepper so I store a lot of it. Also, store other herbs and spices. Lots of salt. Get a few one pound containers just for trading. Ketchup, mustard, mayo, bbq sauce, teriyaki, etc. All of this stuff makes food more palatable.

Bleach. This stuff is great for cleaning and purifying. You can mix it with water and sterilize surfaces.

Books. Have all kinds of books for entertainment but also how to books: how to can, how to set a broken limb, how to fix a toothache, nature guides for edible plants, trees and wildlife in your neck of the woods.

Maps. You can’t have too many maps for you area and where you could possibly have to travel to. Get as detailed as possible including USGS topo maps. Learn how to read em too.

Passport. Just get it. Get it now. You never know. Millions of people never thought they would have to flee where they live. Go ask the Georgians, the Rwandans, the Cambodians and so on. If it happens there it can happen here. Wildflower is right on here. Prepare.

Get copies of all your “stuff” on a memory stick/jump drive. Scan all of your credit cards, driver’s license, debit card, birth certificate, vaccination certificates, marriage license, divorce decree, health insurance cards, insurance policies, the deed to your house, titles to your cars, anything in your wallet or file cabinet that may be important. Scan them onto a memory stick and keep that stick handy.

Ammunition. I know I mentioned ammunition above, but it’s a big one. Great investment. Better then the stock market.

Lanterns, candles, flashlights. You need light. Nothing will make you. Depressed faster than sitting around in the dark. Get a variety of them. Get the grind up kind, the shake kind, LEDs last a long time, get regular bulbed lights. Coleman lanterns, oil lamps and candles. You can’t have enough ways to shed light on your life.

A way to stay warm. What are you gonna do if the oil truck don’t come around, electricity goes out or the natural gas lines stop? You need a way to stay warm. The temperature of a house starts to drop right away. Being cold hour upon hour and day upon day will beat you down. Have you ever had cold feet for 12 hours? It grinds you down. Woodstove, inserts, propane heaters, etc.

Miscellaneous hardware supplies. Kits to fix your toilet, nails, screws, wire of assorted sizes, rope of assorted sizes, glues, epoxies, extra roof shingles, roofing cement. Is there anything in your house that you fix every month or every six months? Get more of it. I like to have some plywood and other assorted lumber just in case. Do you have a tarp large enough to cover your roof if it springs a leak?

Ask yourself what you get that’s imported from overseas. Sneakers, shoes, rubber boots, hunting boots and other footwear. Most of our clothing is now imported. Get long underwear, a few more pairs of jeans, bras and panties, rain gear, winter jackets, hats n’ gloves. Any special foods you like that are imported? Get em now. If it can happen in Iceland it can happen here.

Vitamins. If your nutrition goes to Hell at least you can supplement it with vitamins. I also like to have fish oil capsules.

A way to cook. If you have an electric stove get a small propane stove or white gas or both. If you have a gas stove get an electric hot plate, propane or white gas or all of the above. A hot meal does wonders for morale. If things really go south, cooking a hot meal for your neighbors will make you king of the neighborhood.

Stuff to bug out with if you need to. Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and other camping gear.

Cutting boards.

Light bulbs.

Extension cords.

Vegetable and herb seeds. Soil amendments. Lime is great it sweetens your soil and is good for a latrine should you have to dig one.

Canning supplies. Do you like pickles? Food dehydrator.

Fire extinguishers and CO detectors, smoke alarms (battery powered). When I travel I bring a smoke alarm with me. You have a much greater chance of dying in a house fire then shooting it out with someone. Prepare appropriately. No more guns for you until you get detectors all over your house.

Fuel. A variety of fuels. If you store gas use a stabilizer. Store some propane tanks large and small (for trading). Store cans of white gas, which has gotten really expensive. Kerosene?

Heavy duty cooking gear. I love cast iron. Are you prepared to cook over a fire? Get a Dutch Oven and some cast iron skillets.

Cash. You gotta keep some cash in your place in case there is a bank holiday or the power goes out.

Ways to carry stuff. Buckets, barrels, wheel barrels, wagons, bags, packs, suitcases. I love the heavy canvas bags with handles on them. When I was growing tomatoes commercially I used to say that a farmer’s best friend was a five gallon bucket.

Hand tools. Saws, axes, screwdrivers, mauls, hand drills, shovels, rakes, spades.

Masks.  Get some masks to wear in the event of a flu pandemic, bird flu or some other crisis.  Remember the pictures of the people running down from the towers on 9/11 with soot all over their faces?  I like the N100’s.  Be careful if you buy surplus gas masks.  They need to fit correctly and the canisters need to still be good.

Forgot: wine, beer, liquor or whatever else soothes your mind and eases your body.

Look around your house. What you see is what you need. What you use every day is what you need to store. I know that guns and dehydrated foods are sexy, but store the stuff that you use. So you may have ten years worth of dried beef stroganoff stored, but can you shave your face, wash your dishes or wipe your butt?

Take it easy.

The range

October 28, 2008

Just got back from the range. Kind of a bummer. I like going first thing in the morning on rainy, cold, dark days. I generally don’t like people. Not that I’m a loner. I just don’t like to interact with a bunch of people I don’t know. That’s why rainy mornings are good at the range. If I go on a nice Saturday there are a ton of people. Everyone is nosing about everyone else’s business, which I don’t like . I like to mind my own business fire off a few rounds and be done with it. When I go if other people are there everyone is interested in what everyone else is shooting and how everyone else is doing. Sometimes they want to trade firearms so they can try mine and I can try theirs. Then if you need to reset your targets you need to wait until everyone on the line is done, make your guns safe, leave them on the table and then all go down to the targets like a herd of cows and reset them all at once then everyone comes back to the line like a herd of cows. God forbid your target blows over or something because then you gotta wait for everyone else to finish and be ready to go back down. In other words it’s more fun by yourself. I get to do what I want, how I want, when I want.

The other thing I don’t get is bench shooters. These guys can shoot a paintball hanging by string at 100 yards. They’ll take five minutes to fire off one .22 round. They always shoot sitting down and straight at the target. I don’t get it.

I like to shoot from different positions. I say to myself how often will I be shooting from a sitting position with a bench in front of me? Not very often. Because of that I shoot standing and kneeling positions. I like to move around too. Depending on whether I’m using a rifle or a handgun I’ll get up close to the target, maybe 5-7 feet for a handgun and 25 feet for a rifle. Bam, bam, bam. Then I’ll move back a bit. Bam, bam, bam. Then maybe I’ll move to different angles. Bam, bam, bam. Then I’ll move diagonally backwards. Bam, bam, bam. Then I’ll fire a round and step diagonally back to the left, fire a round and step diagonally back to the left. I’ll try to shoot while moving forwards.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s important to move around when you shoot. You need to be able to acquire a target, shoot and move out of the way, acquire a target, shoot and move, acquire a target, shoot and move. Move closer. Move farther back. Move straight. Move diagonally. IMHO, shooting practice should not be from a static position.

That’s another reason I don’t like going when others are there. It cuts down on my fun and it proves to them that I am nuts.

If you only shoot from one position you are making a mistake.

OBTW, the bummer is that there were like 20 cops at the range this morning. Cops are nosey by nature so it wasn’t a good trip to the range for me.