Archive for December, 2012

Along Came a Sandy

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