Guns


After over a week of near continuous snowfall I woke up this morning to Max confidently claiming it was going to be clear and sunny until late this afternoon.  Sunshine and deep powder is always exciting, but we were both skeptical of how the snow pack was going to hold together, and decided to go for a mellower tour and shoot some guns.  With the Olympics getting started a little Alaskan biathlon (alpine ski touring with hand guns, rather then nordic skiing with rifles) sounded like a fantastic option.  The snow was the creamy greatness we expected, and despite the clear signs of instability, our test slopes and ski cuts didn’t produce any activity.  None the less we skied cautiously, figuring there were plenty of pockets waiting to pop with the snow settling and slabbing up since yesterday.  Still an excellent day, after yesterday’s too deep to turn experience it felt fantastic to get some speed again.

Also, I’m compelled to mention that today was rather tragic elsewhere in the mountains, stay safe and take your time everyone.

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Max went Dear hunting in Kodiak, I don’t have any stories and haven’t tasted any of the meat, but I figured since I don’t have any skiing content to pass along (I’ve been writing a grant and attending tribal elections) that might as well post some pictures.

an easy catch

If anyone is wondering what we’ve been up lately the answer is pretty simple, nothing.  Max has been flying his plane, while I’ve lounged in the sunshine writing e-mails in search of employment.  Anyway, hopefully a little video of Seany B’s car getting shot up will keep all of you from harassing me about my lack of posts, especially of the gun shooting variety.

In other news that may or may not be of interest to anyone, the excellent Piste Hors has recently been writing articles memorializing the Alouette III helicopters, which I’ve always had a soft spot for too.  After spending my first year in Alaska sipping whiskey and discussing helicopters with the Pete, I knew all about the Alouette with it’s incredible performance and low price tag (you can get one here for only 300,000), and while spending that winter in France, the constant site of that helicopter buzzing around the valley, looking giant mosquito,  always brought a smile to my face.  So, with those memories in mind, I was sad to here that they were decommissioned for use by the PGHM this spring, after more then 40 years of service.  At least it got a better send off then Seany B’s car though, and who knows, maybe this will lead to the price falling even further and we’ll have one of our own soon.  Until next time…. 

Update:  I forgot to mention you can track Matt the Cook’s progress up Denali at his website as well.

We spent the weekend in Hope, which is my excuse if anyone is wondering why there hasn’t been anything new around here.  We skied Friday (Kyle set off a small slide) but less then ideal weather encouraged us to spend our time relaxing around the cabin and firing over 200 rounds at Seany B’s Subaru.  It looks as if the weather will be improving, so there should be some new stuff soon, and I still have last weeks events to discuss as well.

Important Info!:
Despite finding politics hysterical, I try not to mention them too much around here, for obvious reasons.   However, recent events have been distractingly funny, and I’ve been asked to pass comment.  I wrote the article below while living on Pierre’s couch south of Paris in early april 2007. It was posted on the old site, and got lost in the shuffle, so here it is.   I haven’t edited except to add links, but I find my words on that hungover morning in Corbeil-Essones still work for me.  Hopefully you enjoy.

4/3/07

Hunting, Fishing, Nature

The man seen above is Frédéric Nihous, quite possibly the most freedom loving politician with the misfortune of campaigning in France. He’s running on the Hunting, Fishing and Nature ticket, a party of his own creation. His television appearances consist of shooting geese, chasing down foxes on horse back and occasional interviews conducted in his various deer blinds. His website boasts qualifications such as being armed since ‘81 and his previous experience as president of a skeet shooting league. This man’s charisma flows from the screen and hits with the force of 45. Unfortunately he’s running for the French Presidency and has little to no chance of winning; the latest polls show him struggling to garner a single percent of the vote. Yet one can only imagine the success he could have running this campaign in Alaska. I personally picture him hanging out the window of a car, 9mm clutched firmly in hand, and popping road signs with frightening proficiency on the way to campaign stops in Wasiphilis. His message and campaign style would mop the floor with the limp Alaskan politicians (Matt Moon and the ‘almost hot’ governor I’m looking your way) whose campaigns on can hardly deem worthy of a municipal school board position. Below I’ve given his email address, please, write him a letter begging him to come to AK and run, it’d be worth it for comedy alone.

 

thanks for bearing with me!

please take this pleasant scene and don't bite!

There has been a criminal lack of gun shooting on this site for quite awhile.  I apologize.  Last year in sunny Valdez we shot a propane tank, and have been wondering how to safely ignite the gas cloud ever since.  Last April, while waiting in rainy Valdez we discovered the answer.  Road Flares

P.S.   Our roommate Aaron showed us a far superior video on his digital camera of a propane tank they found washed up on a beach in Prince William Sound.  They chucked it into a bon fire and shot it with a shot gauge slug.  The tank above was shot with puny 7.62 SKS round.  The results of their ocean side antics were far more spectacular then that posted above.  Aaron, if you read this we would love a copy.

By Kyle

 

Part 1 of a 4

Living in an age of increasing dependency on technology and modern conveniences, it is important to ask ourselves if we are prepared to care for ourselves and the ones we love in the event of the removal of these dependencies. In times of great emergency utilities can be knocked out, roads can be closed, and food supplies can dwindle. The events that followed Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were tragic to those who used to live in the areas that were devastated. To those of us who watched the destruction of the city on TV, it was an example of just how fast the world around us can come crashing down

In times of social instability crime is at its peak. The chances of being involved in an attempted violent crime are very real and present. At these times it is important to have the right weapon for the task at hand. The right weapon in this case is probably still lying on a desk amid other prototypes right now. So until that comes into production an ideal arsenal for this situation will inevitably include several firearms. The first and most important of these is intended for the most important missions you have for a defensive weapon, the protection of home and family.

In an event of civil unrest versatility will be extremely important of your primary weapon. Ammunition should be easily available, and it should be affordable enough to allow a stockpile of ammunition to be obtained quickly and with whatever cash you have on hand at the time. The weapon should also be extremely rugged, as gunsmithing will be almost impossible to find. Every member of the family should also be able to be reasonably proficient in its operation in the case of the primary shooter being incapacitated. For these reasons I believe the most important primary weapon to have in the case of collapse of society is the 12 gauge shotgun. 

In versatility nothing can come close to the 12 gauge. End of discussion. No other cartridge can be used to hunt every animal in North America, be military issue since WWI, and come in such a variety of loadings. Not to mention that no matter what the monster is, Hollywood sends in the 12 gauge. Dinosaurs in Jurassic Park? 12 Gauge. Dragons in the skies of England? 12 Gauge. Zombies underground? 12 Gauge. Enough said. 

A shotgun has several advantages over a handgun in the arena of home defense. The first is that it is significantly more accurate within the ranges that are dealt with in defense of the home, which can be estimated to be no more than 100 yards. A 1 ounce slug can be fired through modern shotguns by a trained shooter and hit body mass every time. At this maximum distance we can assumer shots at an individual or individuals who are CLEARLY threatening life or necessary property, such as a vehicle at the curb or a loved one running from the mailbox to the front door. I emphasize a clear threat to life and necessary property to reaffirm that we are talking about taking a human life. No defensive weapon should ever be used to settle an argument or defend a lawn ornament. 

The pattern abilities of a shotgun also lend themselves well to putting a lot of force into a small area. A doorway can be filled with buckshot and any number of persons standing in it will have second thoughts at the very least. A quickly pointed, surprise shot has the best chance of devastating the target, if it is fired from a shotgun. Remember, in the circumstances we are considering, the attack can come while eating dinner, sleeping, and even when the primary shooter is in the bathroom. For this reason it is important that every member of the house be trained in basic operation and shooting. If they can physically fire the gun and distinguish between friend and target, they NEED training. 

My personal preference for type of shotgun is a pump action. Follow up shots are very quick, and fresh rounds can be fed into the action while still holding the gun in a firing position. While ideally, a variety of ammunition would be available our vice president has proven that even bird shot fired from a 28 gauge can be almost lethal, and that was on accident. That being said, if the trained shooters are ALL of small build, a 20 gauge is worth considering. Any weapon with a recoil that makes a shooter afraid to fire it is not worth consideration. In the defensive capacity, the gun should feel comfortable and dependable with no thought. The amount of shooting that is done as practice will effect how comfortable a shooter is with that weapon. 

Think about it! You already spend two or three nights a week at the gym. How many days did you spend at the shooting range this year? 40 rounds per shooter per month is the minimum required for effective training. 40 rounds is only two boxes of ammunition, that is two rounds of trap or skeet once a month. Turn it into a family outing. 

Remember, this is the worst case of all scenarios, society is collapsing. While usually due to natural disaster or political instability, it is historically accurate to say that it can happen quickly and seemingly at random. In this event your main enemy is hysteria. People can, do, and have gone crazy when forced to cope with these extreme conditions. In this hysterical state people do not understand laws, rights, or threats. But they will understand two things: BIG BANG, BIG HOLE. The 12 gauge gives you both.


When the Shit Hits the Fan

Part 2

Well its time again to take the time to consider all possibilities. Though we try not to imagine such disheartening things as riots outside of elementary schools, or shootouts at the supermarket; one need only turn on FOX News to see that these things are already happening all over the world. Even in France.

I am of course speaking of the collapse of our modern society, either due to natural disaster or political upheaval. In my first article you read about the most important gun to have to protect your family and your home. The 12 gauge. But there is more to consider in this situation than simply defending the house. Works, groceries, medical care, all are valid reasons to leave the security of your home in this scenario. On these excursions you, will probably be leaving the family at home and going out alone. Why risk any more members of your family than necessary under conditions that make every other person a potential threat? And why again, would you leave them defenseless?

Of course you wouldn’t, so the 12 gauge is going to stay at home. So we now have a need for a secondary firearm to protect you with in the case of traveling short distances from the home. It should be a small and portable firearm, one that is easily concealed. I am thinking again of when the cops disarmed civilians during the chaos in New Orleans. 

Rule 1: If you have a gun, don’t let anyone take it away from you. Then they have a gun and you don’t!

Also, a concealed firearms is much less threatening when trying to determine if your co-worker you meet on the street is still a friend or has succumb to hysteria. At the same time however, any gun that you conceal must look like a gun and instill the necessary hysteria-correcting response when drawn. We can also assume from news footage that you might have to defend yourself from a gang of scoundrels and not just a lone thug. For this reason the firearm should have multiple shots at the ready and be quick to reload. For these reasons I believe the ideal secondary weapon is the .45

Notice I said .45, not automatic pistol. That is so anybody out there who thinks their 9mm in any way can compare to the ass kicking power of the .45 will keep reading. The .45 ACP is a proven round. First chambered in a modified Colt 1903 Automatic Pistol, the round was the civilian answer to a competing pistol round to the popular .45 Long Colt revolver cartridge. We all probably know the .45ACP (.45 from here on out) best chambered in the Colt 1911A1. Enough history. The .45 was a military standard until 1978 when they began to phase it out and replace it with the 9mm Beretta. Special Forces hated the 9mm and many refuse to switch over. In fact, the military spent a lot of money investing in Heckler and Koch to design a modern pistol that fired the .45. Why did they do this? Because it is a superior round. A .45 caliber bullet has a lot of surface area to it. That means it transfers its energy quickly to its target. A .45 will stop all but the heaviest assailant dead in their tracks, and even then you just have to fire twice. 

A semi-automatic pistol chambered in .45 would prove most ideal for concealment and travel. It is small enough to fit in most jacket pockets, sit quietly in a briefcase, or just reside in the glove compartment of your vehicle. In any case it is small enough that you will have it with you. Think back to that nice camera you had once. Sure it had the big zoom lens and took amazing pictures, but it stayed at home most of the time. The little point and shoot went with you instead. Why, because it was small enough not to be a burden. This is the same for the mobile firearm. It MUST be with you at all times when you leave the security of your house and 12 gauge. 

I do not believe that a revolver is the ideal in this situation. Most hold only six shots, and all are slow to reload to anyone but an extremely trained and practiced shooter. We all have better things to do than go to the range and practice speed loading five times a week, so we return to a pistol. Buy and carry at least one extra magazine. Have them in different locations. You will not leave the gun in the car, but you can leave a spare magazine. If you are trying to get smallpox vaccine for your seven year old, you might be engaged in a firefight far away from the vehicle. With well placed shots and a heavy hitting round, you will be able to get back to your car and reach the reload. 

Fast accurate fire is essential for the pistol. Because it will be concealed it will take additional time to draw your weapon when the need arises, so have it locked and loaded. The .45 has very manageable recoil. If the military can train every recruit to shoot one, chances are you too can fire it. Many sportsmen here in Alaska have large caliber revolvers for bear protection. A bear is not a person. The high recoil of these revolvers make follow up shots very slow. 

In my opinion, the best .45 pistol is a tie between three designs. The first is the Hi-Point for its reliability and its affordability. 

Rule 2: Any gun is better than no gun.

The Hi-Point is plenty accurate enough at the ranges you can expect a threat to come from. We are not punching paper at fifty yards. Pay attention the next time you walk out to your car from work. When is there any time that a threat could pose a serious problem to you outside of twenty yards? In the urban setting there is a variety of cover to hide behind and retreat from; or force the assailant to come closer, use the advantage, and instruct them in the error of their ways. Another model is the 1911A1. A standard model of the military for about 70 years, it has proven itself time and time again. Japs, Krauts, Skinnys, Ragheads, V.C, Hippies; the 1911A1 has stood firm and shown them all the path to righteousness. Also, every gunsmith in this country can fix a 1911A1. (1911A1 is commonly mislabeled the 1911, but the original 1911 snapped thumbs and was quickly reconfigured) I will also point out the H&K Model 23, the most technologically advanced production .45 on the market. Enough said.

So here is the scenario as we have it now. The shit has hit the fan. You might still have to go to work, or even the store. For this reason you leave the family at home with the 12 gauge, they all have been shown how to shoot it remember. You will be cautious and observant….and armed. You will have a high caliber, fast shooting, easily concealed pistol with you. If someone tries to open your car door at an intersection and stick a knife to your throat, you will be ready to show them why that is a bad decision.

Rule 3: Always bring a gun to a knife fight. 

You will need multiple magazines, since the whole purpose of the weapon states that you are away from home and the ammunition supply. Being a .45 it is a military round and can be found almost anywhere so stockpiling ammunition should not be a problem. I would think three or four boxes should be more than needed for this situation. Even New Orleans started to calm down after three months. Seven to ten rounds to a magazine, twenty rounds to a box, one box a month. If you are going through more than that you need to let your wife do the navigating. The intent is not to go looking for trouble of course, but to be ready and able to effectively protect yourself in necessary excursions from a secure area. 

Rule 4: Statistically, if you have a gun, they have a gun. 

So be better with your gun then they are with theirs. Practice, practice, and practice some more. This gun will be drawn quickly and fired rapidly in succession. None of this one shot one kill bullshit. You life is in danger, how long does it take to figure out if you got ‘em or not? Longer than it takes to pull the trigger again, so pull the trigger again. Fire until they hit the ground, which will probably be once with a .45. Your life is in danger and your life is important, both to you and your family. So protect your life without hesitation. This should help inspire you to practice with this pistol. I would recommend some tactical training as well. This will help you to use surrounding cover to your advantage as well as hone shooting skills. This can be as easy as a few websites to read, or a Christmas present to Gunsite for one on one instruction. 

In any case, look to the .45. It is portable, it is light, and it is lethal. And it still retains those two important things: Big Hole, Big Bang. Enough said.

 

When the Shit Hits the Fan

Part 3

As you have now read we have been looking at the scenario that unfolds after a natural disaster or political upheaval when society collapses, and mass hysteria spreads. I have described the two most important firearms needs to be filled in this scenario. A 12 gauge shotgun to protect family and home; and a .45 pistol to concealed carry for defense in necessary travel. These two weapons will fulfill all that you will have need for a gun in a short term scenario. After a large earthquake you can expect to be without power for at most a week in the city, and major utilities will be up and running soon enough that the worst of it will be over within a max of two weeks. In the case when the catastrophe lasts longer than two weeks, there is another need that arises for a firearm. Hunting for food. 

Most people have a week’s worth of food in their pantry. The prepared one has a month of staples in the “Oh Shit! Box”, but more on those contents in another article. Now you already have the 12 gauge shotgun, the most effective small game hunting arms to date, and having shot my first whitetail at about 80 yards with a shotgun slug, it will work for much bigger game too. Most Americans today live in urban or suburban areas. These areas are not conducive to hunting quail and pheasants. There is a different type of hunting that you will be faced with, the kind that doesn’t require a hunting license. I am of course talking about poaching animals within city limits. Wanting to stay close to home as possible we must look to the wilderness around us for possible food sources. 

There are of course many food sources in the city. Squirrels, pigeons, raccoons, ravens, eagles, and rats are all delicious when properly cleaned and cooked. I myself have dined on all except for eagle (the raven was hit by a car). I assure you, there is no such thing as an endangered species when your child is crying from starvation. So we are faced with the need to discretely take food for subsistence within city limits. Any firearm for this job shout be accurate, no need to fill the park with flying lead. It should also be quiet to not arouse suspicion or competition with other hunters. The ammunition should also be cheap so there is always some at home, the probability of you needing this firearms are small enough, there probably will not be a large stockpile of ammunition. For these reasons I say that for Suburban Animal Collection the ideal firearm is the .22LR.

The .22LR, or simply .22, was many of ours first shot with a gun. The ammunition if so small and inexpensive, that a box of 50 rounds can spend years in a sock drawer without being a nuisance. It has also proven itself as a small game cartridge. I would also recommend a semi-automatic with a full size scope. The scope for its accuracy and light gathering abilities, and the semi auto for emergencies. A .22 can be lethal when shot at a person’s head. A large caliber bullet wound will enter and exit the cranial cavity and produce little damage. A .22 is reported to only enter the head, then bounce around the skull and turn the brain to pudding. IF that is only urban legend, I will point out a proven case. In the 1920’s famed American Sportsman and Gunsmith Col. Townsend Whelen fired one shot from a .22 and killed an Alaskan Brown bear stone dead. Now he admitted that it was a gut reaction shot by a surprised hunter and surprised bear, he did not intend to hunt the bear with his .22, but he killed it nonetheless. If you have run out of food, you can assume others have too. Hunger adds to hysteria, and when they see your bag full of rabbits, you might be placed in a defensive situation. In that case take a lesson from the military. A three shot burst from a .22 will remind them to leave you alone; three shots to the head will most likely kill them. But the primary use of this gun is not defense, but hunting, and that is what it excels at. For Suburban Animal Collection, (S.A.C.), the .22 will be delightfully quiet, especially the sub sonic loads offered by Remington and Aquila. We used to call these loads cat shot, because you could shoot that damn cat in the alley without the neighbors noticing.

Which brings us to the conclusion of this piece. When you have to go out and S.A.C. you are looking for food, and food comes in a lot of forms. The largest animal you are likely to see after a month of chaos will probably be the neighbors pet. What a delicious meal that will be. A fat, overfed, under-exercised animal that walks right up to you. Think veal cow with fur. Remember, the shit has hit the fan, and food is food. The Chinese breed of dog known as Chow or Chow Chow actually translates to food, because it was bread for exactly that. There are hoards of stray cats and dogs scouring the alleys of our cities, you will probably end up doing animal control a favor. But there are certain rules that one must abide by when one is forced to eat pets.

Rule 1: Never SAC your own pet except as a last resort. 

Your own pet helps you protect that house and has a psychological benefit for the family. It is also your closest SAC possibility, so save it for a last resort. 

Rule 2: If you SAC your neighbor’s dog, invite them over for dinner.

It is only polite. They raised the animal for you, you can share in the bounty. It will also be a chance to possibly barter for goods that you need. Perhaps your wife needs more feminine supplies, or the propane tank is low. A good home cooked meal will also get the trade blanket opened. Try to keep your neighbor from finding out that it is their pet you are eating.

Rule 3: Don’t let people see what you SAC.

Choose recipes that change the meat the most from its original form. Chili, stew, sausages, hot “dogs”, anything that dices the meat up into unrecognizable pieces. I personally prefer stews. They are the most efficient to cook, save all nutritional value of food, and you can add bits and pieces of vegetables and hot sauce to make even rat edible. 

I will end this with some recipes I have been saving for just such an opportunity. Two of them I have tried personally under less than ideal conditions. Even if you are not the cook in the family, you might be the one to cook this time, your significant other might forgive forgetting the anniversary if they don’t have to cook Fido. “You kill it you grill it!” as Ted Nudget says. 

Rule 4: Just because it’s SAC, doesn’t mean it has to suck. 

Rat Soup:

1 rat

1 potato

3 cattail tubers

5 mint leaves

2 crab apples

1 cup salt

Clean the rat thoroughly and remove the intestines. One third a rat’s body mass is intestine, get rid of it all. Soak the bones with meat attached in salt to tenderize and sanitize. Separately, boil apples, potato and tubers together. Remove rat from salt bath and press with mint. Smash potato into mush and add to boiling water with minted rat and diced apples. Boil the hell out of it, or more specifically boil the Hantavirus out of it. Save the diced tuber until the last five minutes, they taste bad when overcooked. The soup will be surprisingly sweet and very nutritious. 

Cat Pastie:

1 cat

3 cups flour

1 cup lard or Crisco or cat fat

1 carrot

3 radishes

1 potato

Clean the cat and dice the meat. Set aside in bowl. Mix the flour and lard to form pastry type dough. Dice the veggies and add to cat. Roll out dough into nine inch circles about ? an inch thick. Spoon about two or three tablespoons cat mix into center of circle and fold over. Pinch the edges down and put some holes in the top with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees in the oven for fifteen minutes. They are done when the Dough is firm to the touch and brown. They can be eaten hot or cold. Best with Dijon mustard.

Dog BBQ:

1 dog

1 bottle BBQ sauce

1 clove garlic

2 onions

3 cans of beer

4 cups white rice

2 cups vinegar

Clean and quarter the dog. Boil meat in mixture of beer, garlic and vinegar. When meat is almost done remove from liquid (save liquid) and place under broiler. Baste with BBQ sauce until meat reaches 160 degrees internal temperature. Take the remaining liquid from the boil and add rice. The dog/beer broth will season the rice. The rice and meat should be done at the came time. Serve BBQ dog over rice with a garnish of raw minced onions. 

A gun for the job that needs to be done. Quiet, accurate, cheap. .22, Enough Said.