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So, will the Rossi out shoot my Winchester?

OK, let’s do some prepping for the ‘throwdown’ between my Winchester 94AE Trapper, 16″ barrel lever gun and that Rossi 24″ barrel lever gun (both are in .357 magnum) I recently acquired and see if the data says which is going to shoot better.

I took what data I could find from the Lee Precision website for their fine pistol bullet casting molds and used that data on a useful ballistics page, JBM Ballistics. This information implies that the Rossi M92 may out shoot the Winchester, based on these ‘stability figures’ below. For those not into reloading or ‘hand loading’ their own ammunition, this may be new information. If you cast and load your own, as I do, then this is some hopefully useful data (or braggin’ rights) on lever gun brand and performance.


 DC 358-105-SWC

Mold # DC 358-105-SWC

.358 diameter 105 grain Semi Wad Cutter.

Ballistic Coefficient = .106

Bullet Overall Length = .510 inches.

Distance from the crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .295 inches.

Stability figure:

Winchester 94 16″ barrel, 18.5″ twist, 1100 FPS: 4.265

Rossi 92, 24″ barrel, 30″ twist, 1100 FPS: 1.666

I used the same rifle information above on all these stability figures, with an assumed speed of 1100 feet per second out the barrels, so only the weight and length of the bullets is a variation in the calculations.

 DC 358-125-rf

DC 358-125-RF

.358 diameter 125 grain round flat nose bullet.

Ballistic Coefficient = .116

Bullet Overall Length = .540 inches.

Distance from the crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .275 inches.

Stability figure:

Winchester:  4.556

Rossi:  1.733

 DC 358-148 WC

DC 358-148 WC

.358 diameter 148 grain Wad Cutter (the ‘soup can’ bullet)

Ballistic Coefficient .072

Bullet Overall Length = .577 inches

Distance from crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .105 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  4.595

Rossi:  1.747

 DC 358-150-1R

DC 358-150-1R

.358 diameter 150 grain round nose

Ballistic Coefficient .131

Bullet Overall Length = .643 inches

Distance from crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .288 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  3.557

Rossi: 1.353

DC TL358-158SWC

 DC TL 358-158 SWC

.358 diameter 158 grain Semi Wad Cutter, tumble lube bullet.

Bullet Coefficient .117

Bullet Overall Length = .665 inches

Distance from bullet nose to the top edge of the first driving ring = .275 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  3.440

Rossi: 1.308


DC C358-158 SWC

.358 diameter 158 grain Semi Wad Cutter

Bullet overall length = .710 inches

This is a gas checked (the copper cap on the bottom of the bullet) cast bullet that can be pushed faster than plain based bullets.

Stability figure:

Winchester:  2.906

Rossi: 1.105


DC TL358-158-2R

.358 diameter 158 grain round nose, tumble lube bullet.

Ballistic Coefficient .207

Bullet Overall Length = .710 inches

Distance from the bullet nose to the top edge of the first driving ring = .245 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  2.906

Rossi:  1.105

 DC 358-158-RF

DC 358-158-RF

.358 diameter 158 grain round nose.

Ballistic Coefficient .160

Bullet Overall Length = .630 inches

Distance from the crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .360 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  3.945

Rossi: 1.500

The stability figure is the Miller stability factor, from JBM Ballistics. This formula was derived by Don Miller and published in Precision Shooting. This formula is much better than the antiquated Greenhill’s formula. Stability value should be in the range of 1.3 to 2.0 to ensure bullet stability, they say. So, based on this information, the Rossi “should be” fairly accurate, shooting these Lee cast bullets, loaded per your favorite gunpowder manufacturer data to near the top end of the pistol lead bullet data for that weight bullet.

Hodgdon Powder   Alliant Powder   IMR Powder  Accurate Powder

The gas check type can be just a tad faster out of the barrel because of the cap on the base protecting it. I run all my bullets through a lube sizer machine and apply ‘carnauba red’ lube from White Label Lube unless it’s a Lee TL tumble lube bullet. On those I use a 50/50 mix of Johnson’s Paste Floor Wax and Lee liquid Alox, heating up the bullets just until uncomfortable to hold in my hand, dumping them and the mix into a large, plastic coffee container, the red round type with the side flats to make it easy to hold. The warm bullets help spread the material around as they tumble. The flats ensure the bullets get a good tumble as I roll the container along on my loading bench top, while HOLDING ON THE LID. I don’t trust that cheesy plastic snap on lid to hold in 10 pounds of bullets rolling around in sticky wax / lube. After they’re well covered, I place them on wax paper, on their bases, to allow the mix to dry out.

After running through the lubri-sizer, a typical gas checked bullet will look similar to these, where the ‘grease groove’ has been filled with a waxy material that helps reduce leading of the barrel when we’re shooting.

lubed gas checked bullets

The Lee tumble lube bullet gets a coating of the lube all over it, including it’s tiny grooves, so they’re not shiny on the nose of the cartridge, and are a bit sticky (and a little funky looking). I wipe off the base of the bullet before I load them, when tumble lubed, as I don’t want gunpowder all stuck to the base. I’m sometimes concerned that these sticky jokers may collect some sand on them, should they ever be dropped on the ground during a loading of a weapon.

Tumble lube bullet

So, anyway, off we go to the range and we’ll see about that Rossi and bullet stability.

Slicked up…..but won’t shoot!


This blog post may be a bit like a ‘romance novel’, in that it revolves around a long search, a found jewel (turns out not so much), bitter disappointment, work to redeem fallen favor, and life afterwards, with adventures in D.I.Y. gunsmithing (PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK WITH ANY GUNSMITHING. IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING, DON’T MESS WITH IT!).

What are you babbling about, Silas? Well, it’s like this. For months, I’ve been saving my pennies and had sufficient funds to go find myself a new shootin’ iron. Researched online up against another popular cheaper brand, preferred for quality and reputation. Had as my target of choice the Uberti ™ 1873, 24 inch octagonal barrel, .38 – .357 magnum, 12 +1 shot lever gun. List price at around $1,200 US. Sweeeet.

Uberti 1873Now, for the rest of the story. A few days back from this posting, there was a large, regional gun and knife show event. So, I figure I’ll go there and peruse the wares, see what I can find because there’s always a few lever guns in a mix of these hundreds of dealers and thousands of firearms in this one building. So, walking around and around (LOADS of Henry lever rifles of all kinds) seeing the occasional lever gun….eh, not what I’m looking for. But wait! What’s that? A 24″ octagonal barrel lever gun on that table? Gotta see that! Oh, um… It’s a Rossi™ M92, same features I’m looking for, the 24″ barrel, 12 + 1 capacity, .38 – .357 caliber, nice looking wood, decent blue finish. Hmm. And less than half the price of the Uberti? Hmmm.

R92-51001Now, I’ve seen the vids online about this brand, how some think their particular rifle is the cat’s pajamas, and others think they’re utter junk. (Guess which one I wound up with). The guy’s babbling on about it, I’m looking it over, not a scratch, no evidence it’s ever been shot, he’s saying it’s had an ‘action job’. Hard to tell, because show regulations require the actions of every firearm on display to be kept shut. And less than half the price of the Uberti™. Hmm. I’ll get back to you on that. So, an hour later and no other lever guns of that particular description are in the building, as far as I could find. I go back to this guy’s table and tell him ‘let me check that action and I’ll decide if I’ll buy it’. So, he cuts off the tie strap….well, the action is indeed as smooth as warm butter, mighty fine. So, impulse overcomes wisdom and I buy it.

OK, there’s disadvantages to buying at a gun show, advantages as well. On the ‘dis’ side, you can’t work actions, inspect bores, look the thing over or ask if you can run some snap-caps thru the action while standing there until you get right down to the price dickering stage. So, I get home with the new toy and go to run some rounds thru it to see what flavor ammunition it likes best. Well, Ms. Rossi doesn’t like ANY kind…the loading gate is a bear to get rounds thru. And after a few have been fought with long enough to get 4 or 5 into it, working the lever finds that any kind of .357 just WON’T go into chamber without kinking up. Same for most .38’s. And as I cycle the lever, the cartridge extracted just sort of dribbles out of the breech and the last one extracted just lays there? And now I’m rather peeved.

So, ‘action job’ or not, bargain or not, what I have here is 98% useless. The show has packed up and moved on. Let me show you here what to look for if you should ever find a Rossi™ on a table at a gun show or any place else. Make the clown selling it let you work the lever, so that when you have the breech open and can see the bolt face….if you see this below….lay it back on the table and go find another lever gun. SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThat arrow is pointing at the ejector mechanism….which in this case is jammed into the bolt, immovable. Which adds to the ‘slick feeling’ of the action because there’s no resistance pushing the ejector into the bolt face, it’s already jammed in there….but adds to the SICK feeling when you finally notice it after your last cartridge lays in the breech without being ejected as bellow. SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAYou can clearly see the extractor hook has the cartridge by the rim, but it’s just sitting there. The only reason all the previous cartridges were ejected was that the cartridge lift mechanism was knocking out the extracted round as the next one was being lifted into place.

So, here we go into the tear-down. This is already going to be a long post, so here’s a link to Rossi disassemble.

You can find a Rossi parts diagram on line like this one with all the generic parts called out by name on Rossi’s website.

rossi m92 diagram

Once I had the thing scattered across my workbench, I started inspecting it’s guts. If this ‘action job’ was indeed done (doubtful by a pro, considering the rest of the functionality) there was precious little evidence of any ‘smoothing’ on most surfaces one would typically deal with for ‘smoothness’. Since it does work so smooth, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt it was done and then cold blued to re-cover the places that were smoothed, but then the dude threw it back together without checking ALL the functions. Taking apart the most obvious culprit first, the bolt and ejector, I find that the ejector (F, G, & H on the diagram) was apparently hammered out of a miniature railroad spike. What a friggin’ joke for quality control, major burrs on EVERY SURFACE and there is a spring and collar that’s supposed to ride on this shaft?! My driveway is smoother than that shaft.


In the right hand pic of the ejector you can see a worn smooth spot where the spring collar was doing it’s own ‘smoothing job’ on that shaft opposite side of that tail hook in the center above the flat section. And yet another burr on the back side of the ejector head. The ejector rod, spring and collar are all supposed to slide freely assembled like we see here, from Trey Wall’s video. installed ejector shaft spring collar

See how the little collar around the shaft is captured by the hook ( capital letter I in that diagram ) attached to the bolt body? That collar has to freely slide on that shaft, and it stays in place when the bolt / lever link pin is installed thru the hole in the left side of the bolt as you see above. This spring is another that these marketed D.I.Y. slick-up kits commonly have in them, a softer one that makes the final 1/4″ of bolt travel ‘smoother’ because it takes less effort.

All this crapola had to be dealt with, the burrs on every surface of the ejector that has to work within the bolt (and deal with the bolt’s own burrs inside and out, as well) SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAand the insane roughness of the shaft had to be polished out, nice and smooth, which required it seemed like a dozen test fit assembly trials into the bolt and action with the lever linked up to see if the ejector would finally work. Whew. So now it’s looking and working like it’s supposed to when you inspect the bolt face. The two fingers towards the elevator lever are supposed to help grab / feed the cartridge into the chamber, and that’s the next feature of this overhaul.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAs you can see here at the left, the lower lip of the chamber is as rough as any other lack of finish place in this particular rifle. This makes any other bullet type beyond a heavy crimp, round nose, .38 type round difficult to insert into the chamber because of the rough and edgy surface it has to travel over to enter the chamber. That round you see in there is a hand loaded dummy, I made several up for this project so that good, live ammo wasn’t going to be hacked up by this experimental process, requiring running thru this mess untold numbers of times until it all actually works.

Now that all the works, other than the immobile guide fingers are out of the guts of this rifle, I can reach the chamber lips with a half-round rifle file, SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAworking the bottom of the rim until I have polished and smoothed the ORIGINAL FACE of the chamber lip, going NO further into it than that original factory cut. Coming in from underneath from the trigger area, just working that little area, nice and smooth. If you go beyond that factory profile ‘rough cut’ in this case, you will be getting into the chamber space and causing potentially BAD problems with head space, gas blow-back and all kind of other stuff you don’t want happening to your potentially (after all this work) nice lever gun.


With that done, the chamber lip now has a nice smooth, burr free ramp to take whatever bullet configuration or cartridge type, .38 or .357, that comes at it.

Now, on to the loading gate and all it’s problems.   SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAYou see here the extent you could shove a cartridge into this thing before I redid this segment. Right there, the rim of the cartridge is STOPPED COLD by an absolutely square, rough and poorly done surface that the cartridge is forced up against by the loading gate, and adding to the finger pain is the sharp edged hole of the loading gate. Before modification, you had to use extreme finger pressure in two directions at once, forcing the gate cover down to the max and trying to get the rim past this barrier. Even using the old poke the cartridge in with the next one in line won’t work with this kind of opposition.


So, this is what you have to deal with, this square faced barrier that is NOT letting any cartridge rim past without extreme hassle as you attempt to force any type into it, .38 or .357.


Happens that I had a Dremel™ stone that was just the size of a cartridge. Masked the area heavily with tape in case of a ‘boo-boo’ with a live power tool / stone for protection of the finish on the receiver body. With this and some more working with the half-round rifle file, we now have a far more cooperative face for the cartridges to get past.


Now, ain’t that purty compared to that original edge? All nice and round, cooperative and easy to work with. I also slightly rounded off all the sharp edges of the hole that will argue with my fingers as I stuff ammo into this thing. You can even see the magazine follower underneath. That was the ONLY evidence I found of anyone being into this rifle before me, as the ‘real’ Rossi followers are a cheap yellow plastic plug that tends to bind from all the chips and crud sometimes left in the mag tube at the Rossi factory.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI have seen some accounts of the Rossi loading gate falling apart on some owners. Inspection shows a cheaply done ‘rivet’ idea to hold the gate to the spring. The arrow points to where I used a center punch to peen out the head, on both sides, so that it may fit a bit tighter in place. If you do this, be SURE you have the opposite side surface flat on your anvil before you whack it with a SANYO DIGITAL CAMERApunch and hammer, as you see it laying here, lower left picture. Otherwise you may break it when you whack it. It must NOT bend during the process. I speculate that these folks who have broken a gate may have had to use such force to load the thing that it bent at the ‘rivet’ and forced it thru the hole, separating the two pieces. While I had the gate off, I smoothed the flat end of it and amplified just a tiny bit of the radius of the spoon shape of it’s face. Also did a bit of spring modification to ease the insertion effort. If you do this to your gate spring, the edges of the area you have ground on must be returned to perfectly smooth, otherwise any rough surface could eventually foster a crack, and break.

So, after several hours  of filing, sanding, smoothing, assembling and disassembling, thus becoming very familiar with it’s innards, the Rossi M92 will take ‘most’ .357 ammo I offered it. The group on the right, below, all fed and cycled with no hesitation or maybe just a little jiggling of the lever. The two on the left…nope. The extreme left is a CorBon™ specialty round, which is way too long. The next to it, a hand load that doesn’t have a firm enough crimp to suit the Rossi, so the edge of the case mouth snags on that brilliantly done chamber mouth ramp, that I may have to do yet more beveling on. I don’t think it will ever take a CorBon however. SANYO DIGITAL CAMERABy the way, that second from the right hand end cartridge, that nickel one….that’s the joker that typically fails in your lever gun where the case splits around that cannelure in the middle of the body, leaving half the case stuck in your chamber, rendering the rifle useless until you can get that piece out. So, I’m using this type ONLY in my revolvers until I cull out all that type from my ammo & brass supplies by shooting it.

Well, there you have it, what it takes to get a wrong end of the scale Rossi (compared to those that do work well, by reports) up to par. Now, off to the range to see how well it actually shoots, now that it will finally take ammo. Then we decide if it will be graced with a scout scope mounted on one of these rails from Pearson’s no drill scope rails.


                                                PEARSON’S NO DRILL RAIL MOUNT for Winchester and Rossi

This Rossi may climb back up my ‘firearms social ladder’ and be near equal to my American made Winchester 94 Trapper, shown here in ‘Cowboy Assault Weapon’ attire.

Winchester 94 'combat' carbine

Winchester 94 ‘combat’ carbine

But it’s got some reputation to overcome at this point before it gets anywhere near that. Don’t let this article turn you off altogether on a Rossi…..just look for these kind of faults and run some snap caps thru it before you buy it. You may have a great one without having to do a thing to it.

Lamb’s quarters is a nutritious wild veggie

Silas Longshot:

Found this useful page about ‘weeds’ as useful food source / medicinal uses, by Holli Richey, her article.

Originally posted on whole idea healing:

Depending on one’s perspective, when lamb’s quarters volunteers itself in your yard, garden or field, it’s either a welcome wild vegetable or an unwelcome weed. Scientific research takes one side or the other: either it is a promising plant for world food security and an excellent way to clean up toxically contaminated sites, or it’s a weed for which people develop new herbicides to eradicate.

Lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album), also called white goosefoot and fat hen, is an introduced Eurasian species found in most of North America, and is related to the Andean quinoa grain (C. quinoa). Its upper diamond-shaped leaves look as though they’ve been dusted with white powder, and the stem of the more mature plant is vertically striped yellow, green and fuchsia. This annual prefers sunny, moist, cultivated soils; however, it can also grow through gravel, demonstrating its tolerance for difficult, abusive situations.

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The Kelly Kettle

Featured Image -- 1215

Silas Longshot:

Updated my Kelly Kettle review, new links, added videos.

Originally posted on Surviving Urban Crisis:

In my opinion, survival gear should be as robust as possible for durability, because you don’t want an item breaking in a survival situation. You want it as simple to operate as possible. The more versatility the thing has, the more value it has. And in the category of survival stoves and cooking gear, I find the Kelly Kettle places well in all these criteria.

The Kelly Kettle has a long history in Ireland, way back to the 1890’s, the design basically unchanged although the material of construction has changed to lightweight aluminum. Seems the concept came from the Kelly family’s venture as fishing guides, brewing up hot tea for their customers around Lough Conn, which is famous for its free rising brown trout and fresh run Salmon from the River Moy system. They would gather up sticks, twigs, dry grass and have a quart of water boiling very…

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Making the gas checks for your cast lead bullets.

Lee precision standard lube groove

Last month, I made a posting about applying ‘gas checks‘ to cast lead bullets. Now we’ll go over how to actually make the gas check discs that I use in the manufacturing of that type bullet. I mentioned in the previous posting that you could buy ‘factory made’ gas check discs from a few places online. But, just as in casting and loading your own lead bullets frees you from dependence on the sometimes ‘iffy’ market supplying factory made bullets, making your own gas checks for your ammo loads is just one more thing you can be self reliant on.

As far as I know, there are only a couple of sources for do it yourself gas check disc making tools. One seems to be occupied by a guy who probably does make a good item….but has NO people skills, blowing his top over customers merely inquiring a couple weeks after the order was placed, as to the status of the unit ordered and the possible shipping date, only one time annnd….BOOM! Here’s your @#%#&&*@ money back! BLAH BLAH BLAH! Oookaaay then, well so much for doing business there, I reckon. The other manufacturer that I mentioned last month, the ‘FreeChex’ tool, sold through ‘‘ or direct from the maker, seems a little less under pressure or something.

So, you order your tool to fit your particular bullet caliber. As of today there were 224,30, 357,41,44,45 caliber models available on the gunbroker site. If you need a custom size, check with the freechex website. When your tool arrives you get these 3 pieces:

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThis shows the hollow punch, the die the sheet of aluminum goes into and the return spring. When it’s assembled, it looks like this:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

You can see the tiny slot pretty well above. When in action you use an arbor press, preferably, to punch out and form the disc, which goes down into the hollow portion of the cutting tube, which has the spring around it shown above. I have used my Lee Precision single stage loading press for this operation, but it’s kind of harsh on the tool, because there’s little control over how far the thing travels as you work it, which could damage the tool in the long run. I have access to a machinists lathe, so I made the following adapter from a bit of aluminum bar stock, so that I can continuously punch out discs which fall out through the center of my ‘adapter’.


The adapter I made isn’t crucial to operating the punch, but it’s way more convenient than having to stop and empty the tube frequently during a production run. I’m sure, if you’re independent enough to be loading your own ammunition, you can probably come up with something to accomplish the same process. I bought a cheap Chinese made arbor press from Harbor Freight Tools near my home, but you can no doubt order one online or locate one somewhere. My adapter fits nicely into one of the 4 press slots on the unit. SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I made this batch of gas checks from some left over aluminum roofing flashing that just happened to be the correct thickness of .010″. I cut the sheet into 1″ x 10″ strips as you can see on the left side of the press above. You can see a punched out strip on the right. I’ve found that a one inch wide strip works best for handling and quality of product. I strongly suggest using gloves while working with this process, because as the discs are punched out, the remaining material becomes like razor wire and will trap and stab your fingers mercilessly. SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

You will find it necessary to hold the strip against the back side of the punch slot to keep your discs consistent and usable, as shown above. As you develop an ‘eye’ for the positioning of the material, you’ll be able to get the maximum number of discs per strip. I can get up to about 40 discs per 10″ long strip most of the time.


As you see above, the punched out discs leave wicked sharp, pointed edges that will absolutely eat your hands, stabbing you and trapping your skin between the points at the slightest touch. The gloves are practically mandatory, unless your just enjoy personal pain and blood. At the bottom of the press you can see a top from some spray paint or lubricant can that is handily catching the discs as the fall down the tube. As you punch the discs, you must press the punch down completely, but ‘gently’ after the initial resistance so that the discs will be properly pushed out.


I usually empty my little cap as I use up a strip, into a container.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I went through about 16 strips of 1″ x 10″ material in just a bit over an hour, making about 600 or so discs. At the retail price of about 4 cents each, that’s about $24 worth of product.

You may calculate this punching setup was about $150 all together, and it does seem pricey until you consider it an investment, just like the Lee Precision turret loading machine. It frees me from dependance on the unstable market supply of crucial components, and as we’ve seen over the past months, supplies of items like ammo can be really scarce even without some kind of large crisis. Even during this long term ammo shortage, I’ve been lucky enough to find gunpowder, primers and either cast my own or buy bullets. The most hard to find item is the brass cartridge cases. When I go to the range for a little practice, I carefully pick up all my fired casings, and usually ask the range people if they have any used brass for sale, which occasionally happens.

Roll your own, save a ton of cash and become independent of the system a little more. Your are responsible for compliance with local laws and ordinances concerning firearms and ammunition. Failure to follow reloading instructions carefully can lead to personal injury and / or death. Pay attention, get away from the kids, no TV in your loading room, check, check and recheck your procedures, inspect, inspect and inspect your loading components, check your cartridge brass for cracks and damages that your press doesn’t remove, make sure the primers are seated correctly, double check your powder charge in each load with your scale.

Keep prepping, my friends….might save your life.

The utter lack of interest in the security of the United States by the current administration.

Well, compared to the rest of my postings, the ‘political’ department is less occupied with postings, because although I do closely follow the political ineptitude of Washington, DC, I feel it’s kind of redundant to rehash what anyone interested in the base subject of this blog page should already know. But sometimes, you know, you just have to say something.

The news, as always, is full of terrorists, economic shakiness, energy concerns, ‘global warming’, fanning the racial divide, all that usual stuff. But, the thing that keeps poking me is the undeniably obvious fact that this bunch of morons in DC has willingly, deliberately and directly caused the southern border, and the northern as well, I suspect, to become a joke, a parody of ‘security’, and a serious endangerment to the lives of millions of Americans through the unrestrained, for any practical purpose, free passage of millions of illegals to cross the border at will. This administration continues to trash the Constitution and rule of law, or any respect for it, is derelict of duty and responsibility and oath of office for the potential political gain of said illegals becoming democrat voters through his acts of unilaterally granting amnesty to them. That aside, along with this massive flow of potential future democrat party voters, are hundreds of thousands of people from every country on the planet. And among those have been thousands from nations and areas of the world that are openly hostile and at war against America. These are the illegals that concern me most. For the information of any liberal who happened to stumble onto this blog and this particular posting, I am NOT anti-immigrant. Anyone wishing to become an American citizen, done the LEGAL way is as welcome as any natural born citizen in my book.

This lack of concern, no actually more than likely a deliberate act of sabotage, for this border situation, lays the belly of this nation and millions of citizens bare for the gutting of our infrastructure, particularly the power grid. Our rail transportation network, like everything else is old and outdated in many ways. Out petroleum pipelines, expressway systems, air traffic control… much stuff that could cause major disruption of life and mobility of goods and people. But the grid, that is the most delicate of all systems that could endanger the most citizens. All intertwined, but supposedly ‘independent’, sections that have no security at power plants or major substations whatsoever.  While you drive around America, you’ve seen those large, fenced in sub stations, without a soul around. Perhaps you may remember some time back when there was a ‘vandalism attack’ on a California large sub-station? They put down this massive sub-station with a mere hunting rifle, shooting holes into the transformers, letting the toxic cooling oils leak out to overheat and shut down the units. They rerouted the power around this damaged station, so power was available to the citizens….but it took almost a month to repair. Now, the terrorists, domestic, izlamic <(that’s deliberate) or otherwise are out there formulating a plan based on this successful venture. Power plants themselves are larger, have people around (unarmed, I’ll wager) but a squad of terrorists could deal with it pretty easily, and get away clean before any cops arrive. Or maybe they’ll do a suicide kind of thing that muzlims <(again, deliberate) are so fond of, and just hang out for the resulting battle with the authorities for the ‘glory of alla’ and more damage to the power plant while that goes on. That kind of damage could take years to repair, meanwhile the thing is totally out of commission or crippled so badly that it’s hardly of any use to the citizens energy needs.  Now, imagine that a coordinated attack on say, a dozen sub stations and / or one or two major power stations. Do you not think this would seriously jeopardize millions of American lives? A ‘dirty bomb’ in downtown NYC would be pretty nasty, killing who knows how many thousands and be an uninhabitable spot for the next century. But the grid, I think, is a much easier target and would do far greater harm to a vastly larger area. Avoiding NYC is bad enough damage, but if the entire state of NY was blacked out for months, in the middle of winter, what would that do to the people directly effected, and the national economy? And what part of society doesn’t require the grid to work?

When (or IF) the ‘authorities’ are grilled about this lack of security, they bluster and huff, and spout their usual lies or half truths at best, assuring (lying to) America that it’s ‘all under control’ or ‘we are addressing the issue’.

My readers, you folks are far more aware of the world around you than the average smart phone addict, by far. That kind of awareness is why we’re preppers. Nonetheless, I say that we all need to double down on preps, form our groups or expand them, and get ready for some frisky business that may likely happen before the next presidential election….if we have one.

I’m hand loading ammunition every weekend, and adding goods to the store room regularly, as soon as I can split off the money from the bills to pay.

An item I have put in my prepping inventory, $15 off with ‘free shipping’, is the Auagason Farms Emergency food pail, 30 days, 1 person. I intend to add more of these as quickly as possible. From BJ’s Cub online, I don’t have any idea how long that price will be there. I don’t get a dime for recommending this product and I put it here as something I personally have in my own stuff. Food, Fire and Water all in the same bucket, so it fits my personal preference of maximum versatility survival gear or supplies.  You can of course build your own survival buckets, but this BJ item gets you there much quicker than a DIY project.

To paraphrase a certain beer commercial….keep prepping, my friends. It may save your life.

Gas checking cast lead bullets.

If you’re now getting into reloading your ammunition and casting your own lead bullets, here’s some useful information on taking your home made bullets up to the next level of velocity, approaching the speeds of full metal jacketed ‘factory bullets’.

The problem one faces when trying to push lead bullets faster and faster out your weapon barrel is that the greater velocity is achieved by larger powder loads (and different powders as well) placed into your cartridge as the reloading process is accomplished. The greater the pressure of the burning gases generated as the firing of the round happens pushes the bullet faster, but the typical lead bullet will begin to melt around the edges as this massive gas burst shoves the bullet out the barrel, with the flame of gas pushing by the bullet in the grooves of the barrel. This melted lead is left in the barrel, accumulating with every bullet fired in that same situation. Soon, the accuracy is compromised and the leading problem accelerates.

Some clever shooter in the past came up with an idea of swaging a thin cap of harder metal than lead onto the bottom of the bullet to ‘take the heat’ so that the bullet could be successfully pushed faster without the melting problem leaving lead streaks inside the barrel. These ‘caps’ are called gas checks. The metal, around .010″ thick, is shaped into a disc as it’s punched out of the thin sheet of copper or aluminum.

Aluminum gas checks

Aluminum gas checks

The closeup picture above shows some of my .357 magnum bullet gas checks. These can be purchased for about 3 or 4 cents each from online reloading suppliers, or if you wish maximum independence you can use a ‘Freechex‘ punch and die and make your own from aluminum or copper flashing material from Home Depot. 

Lee precision standard lube groove

The bullet above, from Lee precision, is a .357 lead, semi-wadcutter, specifically designed as you see, to have a gas check disc added to it’s base, with a nice little recessed base that the gas check cup fits into nicely as the bullet is sized, passing through the sizing die, giving us consistent diameter bullets.


However as you see in the next picture above, the base of this hollow point lead bullet, also that started out as a Lee precision lead bullet mold, has a beveled base that is NOT intended to have a gas check added to it in the normal processing of the cartridge assembly. So, what to do? We need sufficient velocity for a hollow point bullet to do it’s thing, expanding as intended for maximum effect. We do ‘bullet modification’!

The gas check is the correct diameter to work with any .357 cast bullet, but the trick is in the base design of the bullet. That means we’ll need to adapt the gas check to a bullet that was never really intended to have one.


So, we place the hollow point bullet base into a gas check cup, and gently tap it into place, the idea being to seat it nice and squarely on the base of the bullet. I’m not too worried about damaging my bullet, because I quench my cast bullets in water as they come out of my molds. This makes them hard as possible….and I’m not pounding on them, just gentle little taps.


Then I lubricate the bullet very well using my case lubing pad and generous amounts of that lubricant. I wear a latex  glove on my left hand while handling bullets and lube to avoid the lead and the case lube is rather sticky and nasty after a while.


Then I place the bullet, base up, on the ram of my Lee sizing die, and push it up through the die.


This changes the gas check from this:  SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWhere you can plainly see the gas check just sitting on the base of the bullet, to as we see in the next picture, an almost invisible, very well swaged on aluminum base on this bullet, successfully going onto the next step of lubrication later on. 


This now allows this bullet, after the next steps of lubrication (by the ‘pan’ method) and loading, to be fired much faster, going from around 800 feet per second with no leading to around 1,200 feet per second, or better, still without leading up the barrel.






Survival gear from WalMart

Everyone I communicate with is concerned with the costs of survival gear. Me too, for that topic. So, looking for good stuff among the Chinese made junk at WalMart for those of us on tight budgets is a skill we should all develop.

While on a scouting mission to WalMart for ammo (sold out of the good stuff I always look for, as usual) with a birthday gift card that needed to be used up, I fell back to plan B since there was no useful ammo for me to grab. A side note on that comment: Being able to manufacture your own ammo is priceless. Plan B of course is to look for useful survival gear in the following top four categories: Fire, Water, Shelter, Food.  I scored on the Fire and Water items and will present them here. WalMart did have a thin selection of ‘backpacking gear’ (better than noting gear quality) and some Mountain House dehydrated backpacking food items.

My WalMart store was pretty thin in the better lines of fire making equipment, with just a couple cheesy fire steel products, and a small selection of ‘weather proof’ matches. However they did have Ultimate Technologies ‘Wet Fire’ fire starting product.  The price was typical retail for this stuff, at about one dollar per piece of individually wrapped fire starters.

Wetfire starting tinder

Wetfire starting tinder

If you have the budget to buy these in quantity, good for you. Personally, I save the exotic materials like this for the most dire conditions where it’s down to I MUST get a fire going in abysmal weather, where my standard fire making skills and normal tools and materials aren’t up to the job. This product will then save the day, as it really will light while floating in a puddle. As part of my every day carry items, I have a pack of weatherproof matches wrapped in Saran wrap and a single Wetfire in it’s wrapper in a pocket of every jacket, coat, ‘hoodie’ and sweater I own. You never know when you’ll need such things, and safe beats sorry every time. My warmest winter coat also contains a couple of energy bars and a very good brand of firesteel.

wetfire in puddle

wetfire in puddle (image @ Pintrest)

You don’t need to use up an entire cube, most of the time. Unless you need a fire built in a swamp after it’s rained for 4 days.

Sawyer Mini Filter

Sawyer Mini Filter

Next item of great use  found on this trip to WalMart is a Sawyer Mini-filter, for just under $2o US. First, let’s get a bit of a stretch, in my opinion, out of the way. On the package, Sawyer claims this little filter can do 100,000 gallons of water. I suspect the ‘fine print’ of that claim must be from filtering tap water. But to be generous, let’s say that it could filter 10,000 gallons of typical ‘found water’ in the wild. To me that’s pretty impressive for this price.

4 piece Sawyer filter kit

4 piece Sawyer filter kit

This comes in a 4 piece kit, consisting of the filter, a straw, a squeeze bag and a reverse flushing syringe. This reverse flushing syringe is key to the life of this kind of filter. This is used, with CLEAN WATER, to flush out the accumulation of sludge that is trapped by the filtering system allowing more water to be filtered. You just put the syringe against the mouthpiece end and press firmly. Away goes a bunch of sludge the filter has trapped in the filter, allowing more filtering as you need it

reverse flush with CLEAN WATER

reverse flush with CLEAN WATER

This is quite versatile for your survival situations, or for mere backpacking in the boonies. Your options: Drink straight from the creek or clear puddle with the straw attached to the filter. If you have a spare soft drink bottle, fill it in the creek or puddle, just screw it right to the top, drink your creek water out of the bottle for a portable water supply.

creek water to go

creek water to go

The squeeze bag supplied with the kit can be used instead of the soft drink bottle and is handy for force filtering of creek water to fill up CLEAN containers you may have, to stockpile some water as you travel. Just don’t squeeze it excessively, you may burst the bag.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWhen using this method to fill your clean containers, leave the straw off the filter and turn the whole thing upside down over your clean bottle, squeezing gently and patiently.

If you happen to have a hydration bladder / pack you can install your Sawyer filter in the line from the bladder to your mouthpiece.

From some French website

From some French website

The back flushing idea would work here as well. It’s nice to have that filter added to your hydration bag, saving you a bunch of time in filling your bag by the rather slow squeeze bag method described above. You could rig up a gravity fed setup if you have a base camp where you had time to let gravity do the work for you. Get creative and re-purpose 2 liter beverage bottles by cutting away the bumpy bottoms of the bottle, suspend with some paracord or wire, screw your Sawyer to the cap end and fill with found water. The filtered water is then collected in CLEAN bottles or your hydration bag. If your found water is full of trash and debris, muddy or whatever, pre-filtering the muck out will help the life of your critical little filter. Use a spare sock, bandanna, tee shirt or other similar material to at least get the really big stuff out of the water.  Or for a long term base camp, a made from scratch pre-filtering station.

So, there you are. You don’t have to visit the high priced sporting goods store for ALL your gear. There are lots of online places to shop that have pretty decent prices, as well.



Ideas on caching survival supplies

Hi, welcome to another Surviving Urban Crisis posting.

Today I’ll share my ideas on caching items for your survival gear, those secret stashes of goodies to keep you and yours alive during whatever SHTF situations you may be planning for.

Like any other long term survival idea, planning is the basis of the entire idea. You set up your scenario, map out how to get to where your Bug Out Location is, plan at least 3 ways to get there and along each possible route you stash these goodie safes to resupply food, gear and ammo as you get along towards your BOL (bug out location). Or (or additionally) at your BOL, you stash goodies in various places on the site, because since you can’t be there if you don’t actually live at your BOL, the security of your goods and gear must constantly be questioned. If you have built a place, put a travel trailer there, or plan to take a travel trailer to the location, the amount of gear and supplies you can stash there is crucial to how long you’ll be able to hang on at your BOL. No matter how well you build a place, given enough time, which will be aplenty since you don’t live there, a criminal looter or just plain thief will have all the time in the world to break in and steal whatever you may have placed there. Unless (or maybe even if) it’s an underground bunker with a theft proof, impenetrable outside door, someone can get into your BOL building and take your stuff, or even set up a squatters camp right in your BOL. Which is why you MUST approach your BOL as if there are hostiles there ahead of you when you’re bugging out during a SHTF situation. It would really suck to finally make it through all the dangers of the road getting to your BOL just to wind up shot by squatters in your own place. If there is a building that can be occupied on your BOL, you should assume it’s full of moochers who are eating your food, and will be using whatever weapons you may have stashed there against you along with whatever arms they had with them when they broke in. Which is why having the vacant location set up for a travel trailer to hook up to makes sense to me. That would be a well water source with a hand operated pump and a septic tank that you can hook up to for your sewer. Electricity may be nice, if you use your BOL for vacation or weekend trips in your travel trailer. That makes a nice cover story for your BOL activities.  Of course power will more than likely not be available in most SHTF bug out scenarios. You can have a dozen buried caches all around your property, but nowhere for squatters to occupy a building. And if they should bring their own trailer and squat there, well that’s pretty obvious when you cautiously drive up to your place, right?

OK, on to some details. To construct a cache tube or pipe, see this video page.  The side bar on the right also shows a bunch of other ideas and methods. I mentioned in a couple other posts how useful a FoodSaver machine is when you’re preparing items to go into your cache. As the videos point out, there’s several methods to constructing a cache pipe, but the key is to make it absolutely your best shot at waterproof. Then, you must consider how you plan to open the pipe at the point you need to access the contents. There are at least 3 different caps or ends that are common on DIY cache tubes, so consider that during your construction time. There’s the square nub on the end cap, which can be accessed with large channel-locks or a wrench.

end piece and cap

Shown here with the required end piece.

Then there’s a flush type, that would need sort of a giant screwdriver to open.


Which screws in where the square plug cap would fit.

Then there’s a rubber cap end, which would only need a good survival knife to cut it open.

rubber pipe cap

To avoid having to dig up the entire tube, I suggest you attach either wires or pull strings to packages or items in your cache, especially if the tube is smaller in diameter than your hand or longer than you can reach to the bottom of when the thing is buried and on end. Most people tend to bury their cache pipes vertically as it’s a smaller diameter, but much deeper, hole to dig rather than laying the pipe down in a long trench type idea. That also makes it a little harder to find with a metal detector if someone was searching for hidden goodies with that device.

Of course if you can’t remember exactly where you buried your cache, you’ll be rather frustrated if you need to dig it up, I’ll bet. So, if you don’t have family members with you to help bury the things and recall those details, you need some ‘memory joggers’ to help you recall the details of the location. A method that came to mind, and has other value as well, is to find a one ounce silver bullion bar with a smooth, non detailed backside to use as a “map”.

Cache map

On the back side of this silver bar, you could engrave, or have engraved, a cryptic little map of where a cache is located. In this fictitious example, I’m pretending this stash is buried at a Georgia state park, site #36, with the stash at 30 degrees north northeast of the corner of the concrete parking pad, 48 heel to toe ‘paces’ from the indicated corner along that compass heading. Unless a state park is virtually deserted, you’ll probably never be able to bury a cache pipe without someone noticing what you’re up to, so in reality this most likely wouldn’t be such a great place to try a cache. “X” marks the spot, matey, thar be the treasure. You don’t need anything but the very basics for clues to jog your own memory of this location, and drilling a small hole in the silver bar will allow you to hang it from a sturdy necklace chain and keep it around your neck like a military dogtag. And, bonus, after you’ve dug up the cache, you now have an ounce of silver you can barter or trade for goods. Another idea to help with fewer details to remember about your cache locations is to try to use the same compass headings and distance from the landmark (like the concrete pad) in each stash location. You can use any kind of memory jogging numbers for the compass heading and number of paces, like the year you were married and the month of your birthday times 2 or something.

When you’re digging your hole, save the plug of grass that comes up with the first shovel full to place back over the stash. Also the displaced earth should either be hauled away in a bag or widely scattered to hide the fact that someone’s been digging here.

So to sum up, I suggest vacuum bagging everything going into the cache tube, with silica gel desiccant packets and /or oxygen absorbers placed in the bags with the items before they’re vacuumed. Attach thin, stiff wires with ring handles formed at the end to the bags to aid in extracting the items when retrieving the cache. Make the tube as waterproof as possible with good glue joints, Teflon taped screw threads snugly (but not excessively) tightened because you may not have the proper tool to remove the cap when you truly need this cache, and add more silica gel packets in the pipe among the items placed. Make sure you’re unobserved when burying your cache. Make a map for retrieval with only just enough info to jog your memory as to the location. When you’re retrieving your goods, keep a guard up because if things have gone bad, you must take no chances. And when you get to your BOL, assume squatters are there until you prove otherwise.

The ‘FoodSaver’ machine

foodsaverHi, and welcome to today’s post, under two headings at once: Food storage and tested gear.

Today I’m showing you the FoodSaver machine, a system actually, that is one of the most valuable items in our kitchen or general prepping gear. They have advertisements on TV now and then, and it’s really not ‘hype’…..the gizmo really does save us boatloads of money on fresh, frozen and dry food that we process for our survival stash. We have used our machine for well over 15 years, still working fine as long as we use ‘authentic’ FoodSaver bag materials in the process. We’ve tried some of the competitors bags…..they just don’t cut it, too cheap and the design just really doesn’t make it. Those of you who’ve heard of sealing your stuff in Mylar bags will find this machine will seal Mylar bags well, but won’t really pull a vacuum very well on that material. I’ll go over dealing with bulk dry goods shortly.

I mentioned the Foodsaver machine in another post, about  food storage.

We find that using this on freshly bought meats (or fresh game you have bagged) and fresh vegetables will indeed last for years in the freezer, vastly better than anything you can hand wrap meat with. With anything you can fit into the different sized bags available, you can fully control the ‘hardness’ of the vacuum level from a gentle removal of the air in the bag to a rock hard brick, just like you may have seen commercial coffee products in their little vacuumed bags in the grocery.

The process works equally well when dealing with leftovers from a large crock pot load of food, just turn the vacuum level down to avoid sucking a load of juice out of the bag as the cycle runs. Toss into the freezer and have a quick meal of that delicious stew in a few months without going through the cooking process again.

As preppers, we generally spend a lot of time in the summer growing season canning veggies we grow in the garden. We also make up dry ingredient ‘meals in a jar’ recipes, and meals in jars from the fresh goods,  processing those along with the garden produce. A FoodSaver isn’t designed to replace the home canning method, but will supplement it nicely, using the canning jars and lids to vacuum pack dry goods, if you have spare jars that were left from the canning season, or have recently been opened to consume the delicious stuff you canned two or three years ago. Using the canister set available from FoodSaver, you place the canning jar with dry goods in it, into the canister which will fit it best, have the lid and sealing ring lightly on. Pull a medium vacuum on the canister and you’ll also be vacuuming the air out of the canning jar. When the machine indicates ‘done’, open the canister and check the ‘pop’ of the sealing lid. No pop indicates a successful seal, so tighten up the sealing ring and you’re all done. This also works just fine on recycling glass jars of commercial products with the lid that ‘pops’ when you open the product, like salsa, jelly, dressing products, just about any glass jar with a vacuum sealed lid from the manufacturer of the product. Wash the jar thoroughly, put your dry goods into it with the lid just lightly tight, only enough to just make contact actually, pop into the canister, pull the vacuum. Check the little pop spot on the lid, no pop is a good vacuum. Tighten down the lid and you’re done. You can also ‘reseal’ your jar of salsa or whatever as you use it up, with this method, which would no doubt extend the freshness of it as you consume it.

Now, on to dealing with saving money on bulk purchased dry goods like rice, pasta, beans, grains and so forth. We have some dear Mormon friends, their faith kind of making them the ‘original preppers’, wisely guiding those of this faith to set aside a year’s worth of goods for their families as a normal part of daily life. To aid their members, and everyone else in need, they have established regional storehouses for their members and their friends to purchase bulk quantities of dry goods of all kinds. Occasionally, the members can invite friends outside the faith to shop at the regional center, so I jumped right into that when my friend offered the chance. Got kind of carried away on my visit and wound up with well over 100 pounds of potato flakes, rice, sugar, pancake mix, all purpose flour, pasta, spaghetti and other stuff. These products, as is, could be stored with proper conditions for a couple years, perhaps. But with a FoodSaver available, it can be stored for decades. We took each product and put about two family sized servings of the item in a FoodSaver bag, along with a printed sheet of preparation instructions copied from the original bulk package, and hard vacuumed the stuff. The bags have a two sided construction, a smooth clear side and a textured side (to aid in the vacuuming process), so it’s very easy to see what you have in any bag you pick up. Any way, after about two days of processing and vacuuming, we had all that treasure reduced to manageable portions and hard vacuumed to last for a very long time.

As I mentioned in my other post, linked above, I use our machine for a lot of purposes other than food preservation. You can put survival gear into these tough bags to waterproof  and weatherproof the items. All kinds of gear, like walkie talkies, emergency radios, GPS units, clothing, and of course emergency dried foods for your Bug Out Bag. Do NOT pull a rock hard vacuum on any kind of radio gear or similar item (it’s not necessary, you’re only sealing out moisture and weather) and NEVER have the batteries in the item when you seal it up. Since it may be years before you take it out, the batteries will have turned to crap and possibly have ruined the item. Never leave batteries in any kind of your emergency or survival gear, keep them handy in their own little lightly vacuumed bags, so that if they go sour your gear isn’t damaged. Virtually anything a prepper may need to set up for long term storage that would fit into a FoodSaver bag can be done.


Ammunition, still in it’s factory box (video link), and small firearms such as pistols or survival knives that could be placed into hidden cashes (video link), along with dry food items, spare clothing or whatever else you could think of, can be sealed from weather, rot and rust with this system, placed in the cache and buried, walled up, or hidden away in many other fashions. Since FoodSaver bags also come in wide and long rolls, it’s conceivable one could even bag up rifles, probably in a disassembled state of some degree, and have those protected as well.  Couple points on caching….take maximum precautions when packing up your items to bury. Meaning, make every effort to intercept any kind of water damage making it to your goods, where the FoodSaver system shines. Even add oxygen absorbers and silica gel packets to the items as you vacuum bag them. Then construct your cache tube to the best of your ability to waterproof it. And when you bury the cache, make sure you can FIND IT when you need it! Always go with an extra family or trusted group member to stash these items so that more than one memory has the location. Use close by landmarks such as strong fence posts, unique rock formations or whatever is likely to be unchanged in case of fires, storms, or time passing. Devise a measurement system, such as heel to toe stepping off the distance, that is infallible and un-loseable (not really a ‘word’, but you get the idea) so that you can find the cache even if all you have is the clothes on your back and a folding shovel. Obviously, secrecy when placing the cache is a given, so a stash in your back yard can be done in the spring when you’re planting rose bushes or something. Rose bushes are our favorite stash hider. Who wants to mess with those thorny things unless you have to, right?



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