Along Came a Sandy

Posted: December 11, 2012 by Sarge in Bugging In, Preparation
Tags: , ,

My wife thinks I’m nuts. Her opinion is based on a large number of things, and I will concede that she has some valid points. She is convinced that I am one purchase away from hoarder status (I blame tv) because I tend to buy more of stuff than I need, and refuse to throw stuff away (who wouldn’t keep 3′ long sections of pressure treated lumber?). The addition of my prepping habit has not helped my cause (“you bought more ammo cans?”).

The whole issue changed faces recently. In the days leading up to the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, we were told that our area could get some flooding, and possibly significant wind damage, which might result in days without power (which did happen in our region, but thankfully not at our house). My wife scoffed at most of this stuff, until about noon on the day the storm was supposed to hit us. The weather folks said we would be seeing high winds in the overnight hours.

I suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea if my wife, while doing her weekly grocery shopping, picked up a couple gallons of water. I also recommended that she ought to consider filling up the car with gasoline, just in case. On both of these points I caught some ridicule on her way out the door. While she was gone, I checked all of my flashlights (I have many, all part of my hoarding) to be sure that the batteries were good. I got out the candles I keep in the basement, made sure I had my Zippo filled with fluid, and generally prepped the house for possible high winds and power outages.

When my wife returned, she seemed a bit out of sorts. When I asked if she was okay, she said “the grocery store was a madhouse, and they were all out of gallons of water, so I had to buy bottles instead.” I asked why the change of heart, and she said that with everyone else seeming concerned, she got nervous. I think the whole prepping concept hit home for her for real when she heard about the gas rationing in the NYC area. She still thinks I’m crazy, but she has gotten a little bit more accepting of the whole idea.

Building an AR-15

Posted: December 3, 2012 by Sarge in Weapons and Tools
Tags: , ,

So, months ago, I talked of building an AR myself, rather than buying one, in order to save money, while getting exactly what I wanted.  While this didn’t work out exactly how I expected, it did work out.  First off, I saved roughly zero dollars.  All told, I’m $850 into my rifle.  I could have purchased a fully assembled rifle for the same price off the shelf.  What I couldn’t have purchased, however, is the exact rifle, to the exact specs, that I wanted, off the shelf.

I built my rifle in large part to match the one I carried as a Marine.  I opted for the 20″ heavy barrel, with a forged upper receiver and an M-16 bolt carrier group.  It is a flat top model, with a removable front sight.  I didn’t go for a hand guard with rails on it… yet.  Instead, I opted for the A2 style hand guards, which I find to be more comfortable in my smaller than average hands.  I chose the standard M-16 style pistol grip and buttstock as well, because I know them both by feel, and knew that this would give me a rifle that would be familiar to me.  I put standard iron sights front and rear, with a carry handle style rear iron sight setup, because I trust irons not to lose their zero regardless of rough treatment.  The beauty of the AR-15 is that all of the things I opted for can be changed as I spend more time with the rifle and decide what I do and do not like.  There are already things I’d like to add or change.

As for putting the rifle together myself, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  As a caveat, I didn’t assemble the upper receiver-barrel.  I ended up purchasing from www.jsesurplus.com as I found good reviews of their products and services.  My upper assembly was built by Wilson Combat and test fired prior to shipping, which gave me some reassurance, as there are some areas that you can screw up that can be potentially harmful to your person (read: things blow up in your face).  That said, my upper assembly came complete, with bolt carrier group and all.  To that, I added the lower receiver, which I had to fill with trigger assembly parts, and a buttstock and pistol grip.

None of the steps in the process were difficult, and it required only basic hand tools.  I did have to do a little sanding in order to get the upper and lower receiver to mate properly, as they came from different manufacturers.  I made one mistake that involved a little bit of drilling, but this could have been avoided had I read through the steps in the process before starting.

If you are going to do this yourself, here are my pointers, based on experience:

1) Do research before buying parts, to be sure that you get quality products.

2) Buy what you want, within your budget, but remember that you can always change it later.

3) Build a rifle chambered in 5.56 mm, not .223, because the former can handle the latter, but the latter will not handle the former.

4) Read through the steps you are going to follow to put it together, BEFORE you put it together.  There are youtube videos as well, but again, watch the video all the way through before you start.

5) Buy ammo.  Then buy more.

We’re Not Dead

Posted: December 3, 2012 by Barbie in Uncategorized
Tags:

Just a quick post to say we aren’t dead. We aren’t hidden out in an underground bunker because we know something you don’t know. We haven’t been detained by the feds either.
We’re just busy. And exhausted. In this economy, you gotta work longer hours for less pay. I think I mentioned one or a hundred times that I’m finishing a graduate degree. The Sarge is working and going to school. And the Boy Scout is either on a very long business trip, or just avoiding us.
I don’t think either Sarge or the Boy Scout realized how much damn work blogging can be. I have another blog elsewhere, so I had a pretty good idea what I was getting myself into and did it anyway.
We’re still prepping, we’re just not posting so much. I’m hoping that will change. My MBA journey is nearing a close. I’m only working 50 hours a week now, at least until early spring. I should be able to manage a post or two.
At the very least, I’ll try to throw up a link when I see a stellar deal on something you should be stockpiling.
Bear with us, we’re trying.

Too many mint tins

Posted: April 9, 2012 by Sarge in Bug-out Bag, Preparation
Tags: ,

I obsessively eat Altoids mints at work.  I don’t mean I pop one in my mouth and enjoy the flavor as it dissolves, either.  I throw 3 or 4 in at a time, and then chew them like a five-year old with a Tootsie pop.  My excuse is that its cheaper than the smoking habit I kicked a few years back.

I save all the tins (I think that’s 3/4 of why I eat them in the first place).  I have 20 odd tins in the basement with my bug out bag, and another 5 or 6 on the workbench in the garage.  The ones in the garage get used to store small parts, nuts and bolts, and the like.  Of the 20 in the basement, only three have anything in them.  One is my “fishing kit”, with a handful of fish hooks, a couple sinkers, and some fishing line.  I’m hoping I can fashion a fishing pole and dig up some bait if the need arises.  Its better than no fishing gear at all, either way.  The next tin has a Bic lighter, a box of “waterproof” matches, and a pack of new flints and a wick for a Zippo lighter.  I also have a can of Zippo fluid, but it won’t fit in the tin.  The third tin has, well hell, I’m not even sure if I have stuff in a third tin.  I plan on setting one up with a hundred bucks or so and a credit card, with the idea that bugging out may be for a localized reason, and having something on hand would be really helpful in that case.

I use more of them for other small stuff that would otherwise be easily lost in a bug out bag.  My plan is to paint them all so that their contents is easily identified by their color, etc.  If and when I actually get to this point, I will post some pictures.  If you have other ideas for tins, write me a quick note.  I know there are other ways they could be useful.

 

 

Sarge

Shit I Never Thought I’d Eat

Posted: April 5, 2012 by Barbie in Uncategorized

So I arrived at work today to find a little bag of the nastiest looking stuff I’ve seen in a long time. A quick email confirmed the obvious, it was a “gift” from my Japanese friend Makky – a snack bag of iriko, or dried anchovies.
She writes “the ones I gave you are for SNACK, you eat them just how they are. If the smell is too much for you, you can put anything on them to cut the smell. My kids like them with soy sauce.”
Really? A snack? Where I come from, Doritos are a snack. An apple is a snack. M&M’s are a snack. Tiny sperm-like crunchy dried minnows are not a snack.
I plan to eat them at lunch. Or use them as bait. I haven’t decided yet.
What I do know is that 6 freaking AM is far too damn early to even look at something this grotesque.
Of course, when shit hits the fan, iriko is going to be looking mighty tasty…

Building my rifle

Posted: March 31, 2012 by Sarge in Weapons and Tools
Tags: ,

I spent the morning at the largest gun show to hit this area all year.  I haven’t been yet without coming home with something.

Today it was a stripped lower reciever for an AR-15.  The one I bought is from Rock River Arms.

I’ll be buing a kit from www.akpartskits.com so that I can afford to own one that is exactly how I want it to be.  For $650 bucks I’ll be able to get a complete AR with sights.  In addition to this, I will be buying a second complete upper at some point in the future.

The second one will be chambered in .300 AAC, also known as .300 Blackout.  The reason I’ll be buying this is because it will attach directly to the lower receiver for the AR-15.  It uses all of the same lower receiver parts, plus the same magazines.  This in effect will allow me to have two rifles for the cost of one and a half.  The 5.56mm setup will have iron sights for reliability, and with the small round, will be affordable to shoot.  the .300 setup will have a decent scope, and with the heavier round, will be used for distance shooting of big game, etc.

I’m going to write up my experiences on building my own rifle from parts, so that you can decide for yourselves if its something you might want to do.

 

Sarge

My thoughts on Treyvon Martin

Posted: March 28, 2012 by Sarge in Weapons and Tools
Tags: ,

I will not touch on who I think is right or wrong.  I wear hoodies all the time.  I also carry concealed all the time.  We have a justice system, and I trust it to sort out what happened and who should be held accountable.

I won’t touch on the racism portion of this either.  Either Zimmerman was in the right, and defended himself, or he was in the wrong, and murdered an innocent young man.  Does it matter if he did or did not hate the individual due to his race?  Does it make Martin any less dead?  Was it wrong to kill him, if it was self defense, because Martin was black?  I fail to see how a “hate crime” is any different than any other crime.  I fail to see race as an issue here.  Two people interacted, with serious consequences.  What if Martin hated Zimmerman because of HIS race?  Then it would be a hate crime the other way, right?

Yeah, I know, I went into race.  The point I was after from the beginning is this.  I am baffled by how few people realize that we have a right, and some would say obligation, to carry concealed firearms.  facebook friends of mine, some of whom are actual friends of mine, have responded to this situation with comments on how they are shocked Zimmerman was even allowed to carry a handgun.  Do they not realize that a decent portion of the population walks past them, shops next to them, works with them, all while carrying guns around “like a bunch of wild west cowboys”?  I’m not letting them know, because I would just assume none of them know I have iron on my hip whenever I leave me property, and most of the time I am on my property.  Can you imagine how they would react if they found out I was a gun toting “right wing nut job”?

 

Sarge

Recoil Magazine

Posted: March 14, 2012 by Sarge in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So I bought a magazine off the grocery story news stand.  I make a ritual of picking up 3 or 4 of my favorite titles every couple of months, and this month I branched out and bought a new one.  Recoil is advertised as a “Gun Lifestyle” magazine.  I figured I’d give it a shot.                                                                                        (pun intended)

Currently, I recieve American Rifleman magazine, which I enjoy, but which is my only firearms related magazine.  Recoil has already become the second.  They cover guns, but not hunting stuff.  They cover kill someone who tries to bother you guns.  Most of the firearms in the first issue were outside my price range, but they had nice writeups anyhow.  They also had two helpful Do-It-Yourself articles that were easy to follow and well written.  I don’t think I’ve ready a DIY firearm article anywhere else.  The one other article that stood out was a 25 questions answered about the AR-15.  It would be perfect for someone looking into buying their first AR, and would probably help a lot of people that already have them to better understand what their options are.

In addition to the guns and ammo coverage, they also reviewed some knives.  I believe a knife is the most valuable thing you can carry on your person, so I appreciated this.  The knives covered ranged from 50 or so dollars up past 200, which meant I could actually justify considering some of them.

Other articles included one on the ultimate Bug In house, that basically turns itself into a fortress, but opens up when you want to have a normal living space.  There was also an article on the “ultimate bug out ride”, which, while interesting, was WAY out of my price range.

If you like looking at cool pictures, and don’t mind shelling out 8 bucks for a magazine, check out Recoil.

http://www.recoilweb.com/

 

 

Sarge

Thank God I Bought All This Dog Food

Posted: March 13, 2012 by Barbie in Uncategorized

So, today at work, they told us everyone is to report to a brief all-company meeting on Thursday in the cafeteria.

I’m pretty sure I’m getting a pony!

When my grandmother passed away, I was fortunate enough to have inherited her small collection of cookbooks.  I love flipping through them, not just for the fun retro recipes for elegant desserts (Baked Alaska, anyone?) but also for the comments Grandma wrote in the margins:

“Do not use cherry Jell-o.  Makes an atrocious color!”

“Ken (my granddad) hated this.”

Just as good are the recipes and tips she clipped from magazines and product packages and carefully tucked between pages.  I guess I love them because I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into her life as an Air Force wife.  Grandma was a pretty private person, as well she might have been.  She’d been through a lot, between having grown up during the great depression and marrying an airman.  There’s a reason they say “Military Wife:  Toughest Job in the Military.”

When they were stationed on the coast of Louisiana and a hurricane came roaring up the gulf, my granddad had to pilot his aircraft inland to Kansas, leaving Grandma behind to fend for herself and two kids under the age of five.  She was a very stoic lady.

So you can understand how much I love finding these little tidbits of her life.  The other day, I was looking for Grandma’s famous Jell-o salad recipe to take to a retro cooking party, and I re-discovered these two gems.  These would date back to when they were stationed at Wurtsmith AFB with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), probably in the mid 1960’s.

The first is a newspaper article urging housewives to keep a two week supply of food on hand.  It even offers a suggested list of items appropriate for a family of four.

I love it – and I love the little notes that tell me this article had Grandma’s strict attention!

Next I have a “Dependents’ Disaster Control Checklist” distributed by SAC at Wurtsmith.  It provided clear instructions on what the women and children were to do in the event of an emergency.

It even includes what to do in a Broken Arrow situation.  Pretty badass.

So there you go.  My grandma (and probably yours) was prepping before prepping was trendy!