Bug In or Bug Out (Evacuate or Stay put/ Survival in place)

I get asked this question all the time, so I figured I will talk about it a little more. Should I bug in or Bug out? Lets look at both:

Bug In – (AKA Survival in place, Staying put, etc)

This is where your primary residence, whether it be a house, apartment, trailer, mobile home or farm, is the place you go to when the SHTF or the balloon goes up. It is more cost effective (cheaper) to bug in , if you have all your preps at this location and have created a survival retreat out of your house. This includes but is not limited to food reserves, water storage, water collection devices, survival gardens, livestock, defensive plans, reinforced structure, etc.

Bug Out – (AKA Head for the hills)

Bugging out is when you leave your primary residence and go to a PRE-DETERMINED survival location. This is usually the situation when you live in a fairly large . Possibly dangerous after civil unrest city, that you feel is way to dangerous to Bug In or you have other concerns about your primary residence where you are not comfortable bugging in. Bug out locations are usually at least 15 miles away from your primary residence and could be as far away as 150 miles, but should be under 60 miles away if possible. These are usually farm type locations with at least one acre of land.

So what is the differences and which one is better? This is up to you, your location and your financial abilities. If your primary residence is in a suburban area, where it can be defended, and you have enough preps and supplies on site and the ability to raise or grow and store more, it is best to bug in and stay. If you do not own your primary residence, or you have the financial ability to have a dedicated bug out location, or if your primary residence is located in an unsafe zone, It is best to bug out.

Fire Extinguishers at the Bug Out Location

The title says it all, the one thing I never read about or see in any survivalist or prepper writings. The need for fire extinguishers in your bug out location. Remember there is no 911 after the SHTF. The fire department will not come to your rescue. You most be able to stop any fires before they get out of control, or better yet stop any potential fires from happening in the first place.

Fire Extinguisher Basics:
Class A extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics.
Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil.
Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish class C fires – the risk of electrical shock is far too great!
fire extinguishers are commonly found in a chemical laboratory. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium.
Class K fire extinguishers are for fires that involve cooking oils, trans-fats, or fats in cooking appliances found in the kitchen.
Water extinguishers or APW extinguishers (air-pressurized water) are suitable for class A fires only. Never use a water extinguisher on grease fires, electrical fires or class D fires – the flames will spread and make the fire even bigger! Water extinguishers are filled with water and are typically pressurized with air. Only fight the fire if you’re certain it contains ordinary combustible materials only.
Dry chemical extinguishers come in a variety of types and are suitable for a combination of class A, B and C fires. These are filled with foam or powder and pressurized with nitrogen.
1. BC – This is the regular type of dry chemical extinguisher. It is filled with sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate. The BC variety leaves a mildly corrosive residue which must be cleaned immediately to prevent any damage to materials.
2. ABC – This is the multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher. The ABC type is filled with mono-ammonium phosphate, a yellow powder that leaves a sticky residue that may be damaging to electrical appliances.
Dry chemical extinguishers have an advantage over CO2 extinguishers since they leave a non-flammable substance on the extinguished material, reducing the likelihood of re-ignition.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are used for class B and C fires. CO2 extinguishers contain carbon dioxide, a non-flammable gas, and are highly pressurized. The pressure is so great that it is not uncommon for bits of dry ice to shoot out the nozzle. They don’t work very well on class A fires because they may not be able to displace enough oxygen to put the fire out, causing it to re-ignite.
Water Extinguishers are the only ones that can be reused and have a indefinite shelf life as they can be refilled. All the other ones listed above loose charge over time and may not be there when you need it. Keeping flammable materials away from fire sources is a start to a safe survival retreat.

Hide your Preps

Just a quick note and reminder to all of our readers. Hide your preps, Nosy neighbors are no good. This should not be too hard if everything is inside, but watch out for your exterior preps. There are very crafty ways to hide such outside preps. This include storing them in a shed, making them look like a shed, Disguising them as pool equipment if you have a pool, Making them look like compost bins, etc.

Long Knives

Long Knives

By long Knives I mean swords, kukri’s and machete’s. Anything over 10 inches that can be used for chopping in a self defense senario. I am not a sword expert and have only just brought my very first sword blade. I have had a large collection of kukri’s, down to 5 at the current moment and had a little experience with machete’s. Below is the research Ive collated from the following links, that I thought may make it easier for another purchaser to use when buying their first long knife.

Ive found that anything over 18 inches is not practical in terms of concealment POST SHTF. Anything under 10 is more a camp chopping blade. 12 inch kukri’s can be carried in a dundee rig, inverted across the shoulder blades as can a medium length golok, 14.5 inches in blade length. Ive modified my golok by reshaping the tip so its more rounded and had it reground from a convex to a V grind for better decapitation qualities. At the moment it is also having a kydex sheath made for an inverted carry option. I suggest watching Cold Steels fighting Machete dvds from Cutting Edge Knives to see the capabilities of a machete in action. As these seem the wave of the future in defensive choppers.

I was about to purchase a Cheness Ko-katana but just got in with the pre-orders of Swamprat Rodent Waki’s made from SR-101 with a 17.5 inch blade. If I ended up purchasing a ko-katana. I probably would have cut it down to an 18 inch blade from the handle end and replaced the grip with micarta. (Personal observation). I believe theyve now come out with a Practical Katana called a Tak Wak at 18 inches in length made from 5160 steel.

One blade Ive taken a chance on buying to see how it would perform is a Rambo 4 chopper. Ive got to tell everyone before mentioning this not to laugh, but it ended up being a great chopper at 12 inches. The temper is a little soft, so doesnt keep an edge when chopping hardwood. However it wasnt brought for that reason. Going up against a steel bar or similar a softer temper has less chance of snapping when compared to a harder steel, being brittle with a harder temper. Ive ended up doing the same as with the golok with an inverted kydex sheath and reshaping the initial grind to a slightly thinner edge for slicing. I havent touched the secondary grind to keep the weight behind the length. The grip has also been replaced with black paracord. These would make a very good design for a combat machete made from a better quality steel.

Cold steel DVD’s

http://www.coldsteel.com/fima.html

Swamprat Rodent Waki

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRnVY9qLCEE

Valiant Goloks

http://www.valiantco.com/

http://www.oldjimbo.com/survival/valiant1.html

http://survivalpreps.blogspot.com/2007/10/after-reading-several-online-reviews-e.html

Cheness Ko-Katanas

http://www.chenessinc.com/ko-katana.htm

Sword Buyers guide

http://www.sword-buyers-guide.com/buy-swords-online.html

Cold Steel Gurkha Kukri

Review of the Cold Steel SK-5 Gurkha Kukri

by Mc Joe Donald

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=39286

So far, the CS SK-5 Gurkha Kukri has been a fantastic companion. It chops, it splits, it carves, it stabs and pierces deeply. It comes with a great edge, and it keeps a great edge. I’ve used mine regularly with little more than the occasional touch up to the edge, I haven’t had to actually re-sharpen the knife in the year that I’ve owned it.�

Aesthetics: The knife is 17″ from tip to tail, 5/16″ at the spine (which tapers after the curve down to the point), with a wedge-shaped blade, and a v-shaped edge grind. �
It has a kraton handle, which can be described as a hard rubber or soft plastic, durable, grips well when wet, and has proven to be comfortable so far. The black coating has held up well. I’ll be posting pics and hopefully videos of the knife in action at a later date.�

Steel: SK-5 (I’m no expert) is a high carbon tool steel. It’s similar to that used in hardened cutting tools, such as chisels and wood carving knives. It is a tad on the brittle side as compared to say 1055, but with the shape of the blade it seems it would take a really stupid mistake to ever make this a factor. I’ve split countless logs (batoning) chipped tinder, carved spears, notched traps, drilled fire boards, hammered tent stakes, cleared trails and lanes and so far the only noticeable wear on the edge is where it caught a couple grains of sand while splitting a 4″ ash log (you can feel it with a finger nail, still cant really see it). For as much hardwood as this knife has been through, I am amazed. I’ve never seen an edge on any knife last this long after so much hard use, except for my high quality bee-keeping hive knife.�

Style/Shape:
The kukri shape of the blade definitely adds to its utility. I do not exaggerate when I say this knife chops like a good hatchet. There’s one less tool you need to carry. The downward angled, weight-forward design makes it bite deep, and the V-shaped grind on the blade makes it spit chunks like an axe. Have yet to get it stuck.�
The narrow part of the blade (nearer to the handle) makes carving tools a breeze. You have good leverage when choking your hand up nearer to the edge, and the weight of the blade makes taking small consistent shavings an easy task. This is one area where a heavier knife shines, as you are able to make more controlled (and resoundingly safer) strokes with less effort. Let the weight of the blade do the work. I’ve found a lighter knife for carving tools to be dangerous and much more fatiguing.�

Advantages: When in the wilderness, every calorie counts. Every drop of sweat counts. Every drop of blood really counts. Having a little weight in your blade will save you effort in the long run, even though it’s more to carry. That’s why I like a bigger knife… fewer blisters, you don’t have to swing as hard. You don’t have to push the knife to carve, you gently swing it. And more weight = more steel, and usually that means stronger. It’s worth the extra carry weight to me to have it easier when its work time.�

Quality:The knife comes with a 5 year Warranty. Judging from what I’ve seen I don’t think I’ll need it. The handle would probably be the only thing I’d expect to wear out. It is made of Japanese steel (great stuff) in China (eh, didn’t know it when I bought it, glad I didn’t though) but so far it has far exceeded my expectations.�
The sheath is decent, 2 pieces of molded kydex style plastic, suspended vertically on a nylon web loop. The halves are riveted together, kind of a negative in my mind, as I like to be able to take the sheath apart. It secures on the bulge near the business end of the grip by snapping around it. There is a hole in the sheath tip to allow for water drainage. There are many places to attach a leg-lashing to keep it in place. I like to lash the sheath to a pack with the 2″ wide holes running along its sides. It also hangs low enough to wear it on a belt on your hip while also wearing a backpack padded belt (mine is a Kelty external frame) and still have easy access to it.�

Drawbacks: The only other negatives I can see to the knife are the fact that you need to keep the edge oiled (animal tallow would work for this), and the fact that it is a tag big for gutting and skinning smaller animals, but does well at this task, with care, on whitetail (and I assume larger) deer or animals. This would be a reason to carry a smaller, more suited knife for fine tasks, besides the the fact that you should always have a backup anyway. I like the Tom Brown Tracker T2 by Topps for this purpose. I’ll be reviewing it at a later date.�

Overall: I’d give this knife a 9 out of 10, loosing a point for the potential long term durability issues of the handle, and limited utility on small game. I plan on ordering a couple extra handles from cold steel, I understand they are hammered on, so it should be a simple task to replace the handle once the worn one is removed.�

This is my favorite knife to date. The price is reasonable (i’ve found them for less than $80) the steel is quality with a good ring to it. It is hard and sharp, and in my opinion, just the right size.

What is the best type of steel for a sword?

This is a common question asked by beginners, but it is somewhat akin to asking ‘how long is a piece of string’ – mostly because ‘best’ depends on what type of sword we are talking about and what its intended usage is…

Not to mention that there are other factors that are actually more important than just the type of steel it is made from (for example, heat treatment and the quality of the forging is more important than the steel itself – a properly heat treated piece of the cheapest plain carbon steel is much better than than the best quality L6 tool steel if the attempt is not NOT tempered properly!).

BUT LET’S TRY TO KEEP IT AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE!

So let’s ask instead ‘what are the different types of steel commonly used to make a sword – and what are their strengths and weaknesses’ (when tempered properly of course!)?

In this article, we will attempt to answer THIS question – and let you make up your own mind on what types of steel best suit YOUR preference (and budget) in a sword.

STAINLESS STEEL

It used to be that just about every sword on the market was made from Stainless Steel. Now, it is almost only relegated to cheap decorative swords – and for good reason!

Stainless steel swords (or any blade over 12″ long) is considered to be TOO brittle for serious usage and can shatter relatively easily.

To get just a little technical with it – Stainless steel is ‘stainless’ because it has a high Chromium content (over 11%) – and when a blade gets over 12″ long (such as a sword..) the grain boundaries between the chromium and the rest of the steel start to weaken, creating stress points. So the purpose of a sword made from stainless steel is to put it on the wall – and just keep it there to admire from a distance!

NOTE: There are a few exceptions to this rule. Stainless steel swords can be used for NON CONTACT forms practice. And there have been a few smiths who have been able to use more sophisticated techniques to make it suitable for cutting – but these techniques come at a price, and are never found on the ‘surgical quality stainless steel’ blades being sold on the Internet and marketed as battle ready because they are sharp… (Yikes!).

PLAIN CARBON STEEL SWORDS

At the very least, for a functional sword it has to be a (properly tempered) ‘High Carbon steel sword’. But what exactly does this mean?

Generally, The American society of automotive engineers (SAE) scale is the one most commonly used by sword manufacturers. And the most commonly used steel for functional swords is plain carbon steel, which is designated by the first two digits 10 – and a number from 01 to 99 afterwards, with each point signifies that .01% of that steel is carbon.

For example, steel classified as AISI 1045 has 0.45% carbon content, 1060 is 0.60 carbon, etc.

Steels with a carbon content between 0.05 to 0.15 are considered to be LOW CARBON STEEL, and 0.16 to 0.29 MILD STEEL – neither of which are suitable for a functional sword (as any sword with a carbon content of less than 0.40% can’t really be hardened and given a decent heat treatment).

The most popular three types of carbon steel used in swords are 1045, 1060 and 1095, starting with the most inexpensive (1045) with most sword experts agree that the ideal range for a durable and sharp sword is somewhere between 0.5 and 0.7 carbon content.

1045 CARBON STEEL

1045 Carbon Steel swords are quite cheap to make because, being relatively soft, they are easy to make (either by hand forging, pressing or machine milling) but can be hardened, so are effectively the MINIMUM acceptable steel for a functional blade.

If well tempered, they can be surprisingly strong, and when you look at a sword under US$100, if it just says ‘high carbon steel’ – it is probably 1045… (and at this price, it is almost certainly machine milled).

1060 CARBON STEEL

1060 Carbon Steel is a great compromise between hardness (edge holding ability) and pliability (strength) – and many swords famous for their DURABILITY, such as those by COLD STEEL and DARKSWORD ARMORY , are made from 1060 carbon steel.

Consequentially, 1060 Carbon Steel swords are very popular, though because the steel is harder than 1045 – are more difficult to forge, shape and polish and thus almost always has a higher price tag.

Definitely a great all round steel that is hard enough to take and keep a good edge but focused primarily on it’s durability.

1095 CARBON STEEL

1095 Carbon steel is very HARD – and unless it is properly heat treated, this hardness can sometimes be problematic when used on harder targets (either intentionally, or unintentionally – such as accidently hitting a wooden stand).

The main advantage to swords made from 1095 carbon steel is that they can take and keep a much keener edge than swords with a lower carbon content. The disadvantage is that they can sometimes be a little on the brittle side – so durability is traded off for edge retention.

It doesn’t mean that a sword made from 1095 carbon steel is exceptionally fragile, but it is simply no where near as TOUGH as the lower carbon content swords. The video below of the Akio Hattori Katana distributed by DARKSWORD ARMORY show that while they may not be as tough as the lower carbon content swords, they are still quite durable…

So it just depends on what you are looking for in a blade…

SPRING STEEL

For our purposes, there are basically two types of spring steel swords – 5160 and 9260. As with the plain carbon steel swords, the last two digits represent the carbon content – so both have .60% carbon and therefore, are like the 1060 carbon steel swords (a great compromise between hardness and durability) – and when properly heat treated, allows objects made of spring steel to return to their original shape despite significant bending or twisting, thus giving 1060 spring steel a special kind of ‘twist’.

So let’s take a look at these two different steel types:

5160 SPRING STEEL

5160 Spring Steel is a low Chromium alloy steel, with around 0.7 Chromium – which is not enough to make it stainless (which requires a minimum of 13% Chromium) – but combined with a small amount of silicon (0.2%) results in an extremely tough and durable sword and is favored by sword makers such as ANGUS TRIM, GENERATION 2 and the blades designed by Michael Tinker Pearce and made by the HANWEI FORGE.

5160 Spring Steel was also the steel of choice for the famous Nepalese Khurki – blades so tough and so sharp they are reportedly able to cut off a buffalos head with a single strike!

Again, what is critically important is the heat treatment – if it is applied wrong, even the best 5160 Spring Steel sword will take a set (Generation 2 had some issues with this way back in 2007), but when applied properly – the end result is spectacular.
9260 SPRING STEEL

Made famous by CHENESS CUTLERY – 9260 Spring Steel (also called Silicon Manganese Steel) consists of 2% silicon content, giving it an even more dramatic resilience against lateral bends and allowing it to spring back to true even after being bent almost to 90 degrees.

Swords made from 9260 Spring Steel have a reputation for durability – with 9260 Spring Steel having a tensile strength almost double that of 5160 (source – efunda.com).

While these swords are almost legendary for their toughness, like any blade they are not indestructible – and while rare, they can be broken or damaged. I’ve tested quite a few myself very hard and never had this happen, but I have heard of it occurring – and there is this video on youtube showing a Konron forge 9260 blade breaking against a thick bone (thicker than any human bone would be) – which would happen to almost any blade striking it – so they don’t have magical powers that defy metallurgy or physics..! 😉

The moral of the story is that no blade is indestructible – and because of the nature of what swords were originally designed to do, it is never a good idea to put yourself in a situation where you expose yourself to the potential of a blade snapping off and flying through the air anywhere near you…

TOOL STEELS

Tool steel swords have been quite popular in recent years, mostly because swords made from these steels are hard yet quite tough and tend to hold and keep a good edge. While there are several types on the market, there are two that everyone tends to be talking about – and those two are T-10 tool steel and the legendary L6 Bainite.

T-10 TOOL STEEL

T10 Tool Steel is a Tungsten alloy steel with a very high carbon content (around 0.9 to 1.0%) with a little bit of silicon (around .35% maximum) and is often referred to as ‘High Speed Steel’.

This stuff tends to be very hard (above HRC60 when properly tempered) and the Tungsten means that it is also more resistant to scratches and abrasions than most other types of steels, plus considerably tougher than other swords with a similar level of carbon content.

While these swords are generally only seen on higher end production swords, the $330 SBG Custom Katana series swords are made from T10 steel, hold their own quite well.

L6 BAINITE

L6 Bainite is also a tool steel (band saw steel actually), with the L designating it is a low alloy steel and – when properly heat treated, has a reputation as the TOUGHEST type of sword steel currently on the market – mostly due to the innovative custom sword work of Howard Clark, a smith for the Bugei Trading company who started producing this steel in the late 1990s.

While when properly heat treated (it can be a hard steel to work with) there is little argument that it is one of the toughest steels commercially available for swords, it can sometimes be prone to rust so needs plenty of maintenance, and of course, is quite expensive to make (no decently made L6 sword has a price tag of under US$1,000).

REAL Swords have a FULL TANG

The weakest point of most modern swords is the handle, in particular the metal insert into the handle attached to the blade known as the tang. Unless a sword has what is known as a “full tang” it is liable to break when struck against any surface. Or worse still, come loose from the handle like a helicopter blade when swung with even moderate force (and for obvious reasons cannot be called a functional sword).

REAL Swords have been properly HEAT TREATED

Real swords (at least these days) are for safety reasons always properly heat treated and tempered to create a blade that is not too brittle and not too soft. If a sword is described as “carbon steel” but there is no mention of how it is heat treated and you don’t know about the manufacturer – there is a good chance that it hasn’t been heat treated at all. And if it hasn’t been heat treated, it doesn’t qualify as a real sword.

REAL Swords are made from CARBON STEEL

Real swords are always made from carbon steel. The vast majority of cheap swords being sold online are made from stainless steel. While stainless steel is a great choice for knives, it starts becoming very brittle on anything longer than 12″ and is NOT a suitable material for a functional sword, no matter what some marketers might claim�

What are you going to cut with your sword?

  • There are light, medium, and heavy use cutters. Most manufacturers will tell you right up front what a particular sword is designed for:�
    • Light cutting: beach mats, pool noodles, water bottles, etc�
    • Medium cutting: regular cutting of light targets and occasional cutting of tatami omote�
    • Heavy cutting: regular cutting of Tatami Omote and occasional cutting of heavy targets such as 3″+ bamboo, multiple rolls of tatami omote, or mats wrapped around an oak dowel

A Beginner’s Glossary of Terms�

Arms of the Hilt | Basket | Blade | Blade Length | Blunt | Button | Center of Gravity (CoG) | Center of Percussion (CoP) | Counterguard | Cross (Cross-guard) | Cruciform | Edge | False Edge | Ferrule | Finger Ring | Forte’ | Foible | Fuller | Furniture | Grip | Guard | Hilt | Knuckle-guard | Langet | Overall Length | Pas D`ane | Point of Balance | Pommel | Port | Quillion | Quillion Block | Ricasso | Scabbard | Shell Guard | Side Ring | Tang | Terzo | Turk’s Head | Wire-wrap

Arms of the Hilt�
Part of the sword hilt extending on each side from the cross guard (or quillions) toward the blade and having the form of a small arc. The arms of the hilt are known to have been in use from the 15th century but they had probably made their appearance in the 14th, protecting the forefinger when it gripped the ricasso. They represented an important step in the development of the guard. In the swords of the 16th and 17th centuries the arms of the hilt served as a support for loops and rings of the guard, as well as for bars of the counterguard. �

Basket�
An arrangement of bars, plates, and rings that form a “cage” around the sword hilt, creating a protected guard (or “basket”) around the wielder’s hand. �

Blade�
The cutting and/or thrusting part of edged weapons, excluding the hilt. �

Blade Length (BL)�
A unit of measurement representing the length of a weapon’s actual blade; generally measured from the tip to the end of the guards. �

Blunt�
A term applied to an unsharpened sword or dagger that has had its edges rounded for safe sparring activities. �

Button�
A raised piece on the pommel of swords, daggers and knives, to which the tip of the tang of the blade was peened. It usually formed part of the pommel, but could also be a separate piece; it was sometimes made of a different material. Since the 19th century the button on military weapons has had a threaded hole inside to be screwed onto the threaded end of the tang. �

Center of Gravity (CoG)�
See Point of Balance.�

Center of Percussion (CoP)�
The Center of Percussion of a blade is the measured value along its length that produces the least amount of vibration upon hitting a target. It’s the area able to deliver the most efficient, powerful blow and is often called the blade’s “sweet spot”. �

Counterguard�
Also called inner guard, a system of rings, loops, and bars in a sword guard that was developed in c.1500 to protect the inner side of the hand and body. Bars or branches of the counterguard usually joined the knuckle-guard and arms of the hilt. �

Cross (Cross-guard)�
A part of the furniture of edged weapons, positioned crosswise to the blade and the grip. As the simplest form of guard, it has been known since antiquity. In some swords of the 16th to 18th centuries, cross guards were extended forward and backward to form the fore and rear quillions. Cross guards can also be seen on some staff weapons, on which they served the same purpose of protecting the hand. �

Cruciform�
A term describing a sword with a simple cross-guard, that when inverted point up, forms the profile of a crucifix. �

Edge�
The sharpened cutting portion of a weapon’s blade. �

False Edge�
In single-edged weapons, a sharpened portion of the back near the point; it is also called the back edge. It served both for better thrusting penetration and for cutting strikes carried out from the same position of the sword (without turning the hand). �

Ferrule�
A ring or cap reinforcing the grip of an edged weapon or the shaft of a pole arm. The term is also often applied to scabbard bands. �

Finger Ring (Finger Guard)�
The portion of a sword’s guard that is a semi-circular bar laying in the plane of the blade, attached to the root of the quillions and curved round to touch, or nearly touch, the edges of the blade. Finger rings are also called the Arms of the Hilt. �

Foible�
The upper third of the blade, ending in the point. The division of the blade into forte, terzo, and foible is attributed to the Italian school of fencing, which enjoyed a fine reputation in the 16th and 17th centuries �

Forte’�
The lower third of the blade of a sword, nearest the hilt, which is the strongest section of a blade and does most of the parrying. �

Fuller�
The grooves running lengthwise on some blades of edged weaponry, designed to both lighten and make flexible the weapon. Compared with the various other structural modifications made to blades, the fuller appeared relatively late and only after considerable technological advances had been made in metalworking. In the Bronze Age there were opposite forms, with various angling and ribbing methods designed to reinforce the blade. During the “barbarian” migrations, we find swords with blades having a wide, shallow groove running down both faces. At a later stage the first signatures or marks of the craftsman appeared in these grooves. Through the centuries the fuller became an even more integral part of the blade until, in the 16th and 17th centuries, it also became a demonstration of the craftsman’s skill. �

Furniture�
A generic word used to describe the accessories and fittings on various types of weapons. It refers, in particular, to everything built onto the tang of any edged weapon to facilitate its use and any decorative mounts on the handle, blade, or scabbard. It is also used in a general sense, when referring to attachments, fittings, and accessories of armor. �

Grip�
The part of edged weapons that is gripped by the hand. In the Stone Age it was made by rounding off and smoothing the part held, then binding it with leather or fabric. In the Bronze Age, because of the greater possibilities offered by this metal, the grip became markedly different from the rest of the weapons and added some sort of protection for the hand. From the late Middle Ages, the wooden shaft was predominately used, covered with colored fabrics, sheets of decorated precious metal, polished leather, or twisted and braided wire. In order to provide a firm hold, the grip almost invariably had a spindle-like form, was fairly rounded, and trimmed and grooved. �

Guard�
In edged weapons, a device or a part designed to protect the user’s hand. �

Hilt�
The whole of the grip and the guard in a bladed weapon, generally consisting of the pommel, grip, and cross guard. �

Knuckle-guard (or Knuckle-bow)�
An important part of the hilt of swords and sabers in the form of a bow extending from the cross guard toward the pommel. As can be adduced from several English swords, it appeared no later than the mid-15th century, first as an extension of the cross guard strongly bent upward to protect the hand from cutting blows. Later the knuckle-guard became a central piece of the sophisticated system of side bars forming the guard of swords and rapiers. Although it gradually lost its importance with the introduction of light thrusting smallswords in the second half of the 17th century, some examples of this weapon preserved the knuckle-guard as a traditional pattern up to the 20th century. In most types of military swords and sabers, the knuckle-guard has always retained its role of protecting the hand from cuts, and it is still a feature of fencing sabers and of swords of historic form worn with full dress uniforms. �

Langet�
In staff weapons, the langet consisted of an iron strap, usually straight but sometimes zigzag shape, extending from the socket down the wooden part of the shaft and attached to it by nails or screws. There were usually two langets, in line either with the cutting edges or with the flat faces of the head. They carried out the dual task of increasing the strength of the attachment of the head to the staff and of protecting the most exposed part from blows; in hafted combat weapons, therefore, the other two sides of the wood were sometimes protected by “false langets,” with one end fitted into the socket or into a square ring under the socket, thus protecting the other two sides of the wooden staff.�

In sabers, and less often, in other swords, the langets are extensions of the cross guard going symmetrically from its center into the grip and over the shoulder of the blade, on both faces of the blade. In most cases, there is a small space between the blade and langets, which tightly fit the locket of the mouth of the scabbard, thus preventing an accidental unsheathing. There is a possibility that strong langets were also used by experienced swordsmen to stop and catch an opponent’s blade at a sliding lateral strike. �

Overall Length (OL)�
A unit of measurement representing the complete length of a weapon from tip to end. �

Pas D`ane�
A term of French origin, used fairly widely but incorrectly since the 19th century to describe the arms of the hilt. In the 17th century, it was used to describe one of the oval shells forming the sword guard. �

Point�
A term referring to the sharp tip or end of a sword blade at the opposite end of the hilt. �

Point of Balance (PoB)�
The Point of Balance on a sword is simply the point on which the center of gravity is located. In other words, it’s the spot along the blade’s length that has equal mass on either side of it. The PoB will vary widely between sword types and their intended functions. �

Pommel�
The end of the grip in swords and daggers, which served either to give a better hold on the weapon or to balance it. �

Port�
See Side Ring.�

Quillion (or Quillon)�
An extended cross guard of swords and daggers designed in the 16th century to parry or entangle the opponent’s blade. The quillions extended from a base, the quillion block, below the grip, and were either straight, recurved in S-Form, or bent toward the blade (especially in parrying daggers). In some types of hilts the forward quillion was curved toward the pommel, serving as a knuckle-guard. �

Quillion Block (or Quillon Block)�
Part of the guard of edged weapons consisting of a small block of metal with the tang passing through it, acting as a support for the shoulder of the blade and the base of the cross guard. This feature was absent throughout most of the Bronze Age, appearing in antiquity as an intermediate element between the grip and the blade, being slightly broader than the latter. With the appearance of quillions and other elements of the guard, its form and function became more defined; in fact, the quillions extended from it, as did the knuckleguard and the arms of the hilt. The quillion block was also called the ecusson. �

Ricasso�
The unsharpend section of the blade near the hilt and usually within the guards in front of the quillions. One purpose of the ricasso was to allow a user to curl a finger over a quillion, allowing for better point control. Often times, longer swords would have an extended ricasso, allowing the gripping of an entire hand onto the blade past the cross guard for more leverage. �

Scabbard�
A rigid sheath made of wood, metal, or leather-often cuir-bouilli (hardened leather)–used to enclose and carry the blade of an edged weapon, both to protect the wearer and to keep the blade clean and sound. In the protohistoric period, it was often made with plaques of cast bronze; later it was made with small wooden plaques that were covered with leather or fabric and then fitted with bindings and metal mounts. The edged weapon has always been something of a status symbol, and the scabbard was therefore of great importance to keep the weapon in good order.�

The ways in which scabbards have been made down the ages vary a great deal, but they have been generally simple for weapons of war, and richly decorated and ornate for weapons carried by leaders and royalty, and for presentation and ceremonial weapons. �

Shell Guard�
A type of the sword guard, often round or oval in shape. It appeared in the early 17th century and was used in various swords, such as the Pappenheimer or the Walloon sword. By 1630 it had assumed the hemispherical shape and was widely used in Spanish and Italian swords. Shell guards were also fitted to smallswords and to various hunting and naval weapons. �

Side Ring�
Also called ring guard or port, a part of the guard of swords and daggers for protecting the hand during parrying actions, first seen in the 15th century and particularly widely used in the 16th and 17th centuries. The side ring was positioned at the center of the cross guard, at right angles to the blade. It was made of a solid piece of steel welded or brazed to the cross guard and was sometimes fitted, for additional protection of the fingers, with an openwork metal plate. Occasionally a smaller side ring was placed inside another, both meeting at the cross guard. In other types, one side ring projected from the cross guard and the other from below it, both being linked by the arms of the hilt. The latter construction is frequently found on rapiers and two-handed swords. �

Tang�
The stem of the blade, which extends into the handle and serves to attach the hilt. Its form varies depending on the system that joins the handle to the blade. If pointed, the tang is driven in like a nail, a very simple system still used for tool handles (e.g., files, chisels, etc.). In order to achieve a stronger join, the tang is usually shaped like a tapering cylinder that slightly exceeds the length of the handle and is peened onto the pommel or button. In the 19th century the end of the tang was often threaded, and the button was screwed onto it. �

Terzo�
The middle section of a blade, between the forte and the foible. �

Turk’s Head�
A modern nickname for rings made of twisted-wire braid sometimes used to finish off both ends of the grip of swords and daggers. It is so called because of its resemblance to a turban, a type of headdress typical of some Moslem peoples. �

Wire-wrap�
A form of covering and finishing the grip of a weapon, consisting of twisted or braided wire spun round the handle. Often the wire was of alternating types (iron, bronze, copper, etc.) or alternating patterns (twisted clockwise, counter-clockwise, straight, etc.), forming complex visual patterns. Wire wrapping was employed both to increase the security of a weapon’s grip as well as of a means of decoration.

Survival knife Choices Introduction PT 1

Everyone seems to have the impression that a survival knife has to be a large Bowie style blade. Not the easiest knife to try and skin a rabbit with, but a large knife can do things a small knife can�t, but not the other way around, particularly for the use of shelter building. Blade steels, essentially there�s Spring Steel vs. Tool Steel vs. High End Super Steels. The Spring steels are tougher and more ductile, where as tool steels have more wear resistance and hardness being mainly used more for custom made blades. 1095/1080 spring steels are the most commonly used for survival style production blades. The high end super steels, well you�d be hard pressed to ever break one in your life time. The advantages of spring steels are that they are a production blade being cheaper but you may be able to sharpen them on a river rock if caught without a sharpening device. Steels made from D2, 3V, INFI etc. you will need a diamond sharpener to put a good edge on the blade. I have cheap $50 blades right up to high end $1000 dollar knives. Some production and others custom made that I�ve waited months for and been made to my exact specifications. Some have been great and others have been crap, it all comes down to a decent heat treatment, no matter what the steel used. There are several ways of looking at survival knives. One; the best knife is the one you have on you at the time. Two; carrying one blade that does it all is a myth. It�s taken me over 10 years to find such a blade that comes very close to that knife. Three; if carrying one large blade, then attach a smaller parasite blade to the sheath to have more control over smaller jobs. Four; carry multiple blades, Small, medium and large knives to cover varying situations. One philosophy is to buy many cheap and nasty knives and just replace them as they break. You can buy knives worth $20 dollars each by the dozen and still not cost the price of one good custom blade that will last a life time. I prefer a knife I can trust not to break, whether that�s a cheap knife or an expensive model. When looking for survival knives and not interested in custom made or steels and high prices etc. Then you can�t go wrong with either the Kabar/Beckers or the Esee brands. They have a model to suit every use. Over the next few posts I�ll be showing blades differing in steels and sizes and explaining their uses from, fighting, general purpose, all-rounder�s, Nessmuk trio�s, chopping and bush craft Doubles, etc.

Survival Knives PT 2 – Nessmuk Trio

DSCF0821 The Nessmuk trio is based on the writings in the book �Woodcraft and Camping� written by George Washington Sears under the pen name Nessmuk. Where the author carries three tools, a short double bitted axe, a mid sized skinning blade commonly called a Nessmuk after the author and a small clasp knife. There are many versions of this trio through a net search. � http://www.zianet.com/jgray/nessmuk/woodcraft/title_page.html http://www.oldjimbo.com/Outdoors-Magazine/Nessmuk-and-his-Tools.pdf

Jeff Crowner Knife Collection

I hadn�t started with the intent of buying more than one knife from Jeff but it didn�t turn out that way. However I became very impressed with his work, heat treatment of material, designs and ended up with several of his blades, four actually. The first was a NW Bush blade. This was initiated from watching Man vs. Woman with Mykel Hawke. I wanted that one blade, where if I was stuck in the middle of nowhere could do it all. The Bush Blade usually made as a 9 inch, I had custom designed as an 8.5 inch version to suit my height which exceeded all my expectations. The only problem I had with it was that after so many injuries to my shoulder rotator cups, wrists etc. I really needed palm swells. Jeff agreed to remake the grips for me but when it arrived he had spent so much time shaping the original grips, couldn�t bear to grind them off so we did a trade. Jeff kept my original for his personal bug out bag and made me a second. (That�s how good it had turned out). This was to be my third blade from him. This time I went for an 8 inch version for several reasons. Originally the 8.5 was if I was intending to carry only one knife and be used for more chopping applications. I hadn�t really planned on buying multiple blades when I had first ordered it. I have always said an 8 inch blade would be the perfect survival knife, so I thought it about time I put my money where my mouth is, now that I�ve found the design and material (3V) that I liked. Secondly, realistically I don�t just carry one knife but at a minimum three, so the slightly shorter 8 inch blade fitted in much better when incorporating a three blade system. The second blade ordered was a 9.5 inch NW Golok and since buying it have sold many of my other chopping blades minus my D2 chisel ground kukri�s which are custom made and one of a kind. That Golok still hasn�t been beaten as a chopper. I feel confident that if I was dropped in the middle of nowhere with it I could quite easily build a full scale winter shelter without a problem. For the fourth blade I wanted a fighter. Something I could use in Kali training and along the lines of a �Book of Eli� style fighting blade. I have a Swapmrat 17�Waki and 15� Ruki. The 15 inch blade is still a little too long for concealment. The same can really be said for the 14� Valiant Golok . I�ve tried regrinding this several times and still can�t remove the harmonic; I also wouldn�t class it as a heavy cutter being able to strike against another blade in combat. I believe a 14 inch blade would be minimal when going against another long blade or multiple trained opponents but in all likely hood that is unlikely to happen to me. I required a blade that not only could be concealed for ADC (All Day Carry) but also used as a short machete for realistic purposes. At 12.5 inches I thought the Bush knife would fit both these requirements. Very easy to draw from an inverted Dundee rig and very fast in the hand, the shorter blade having no over swing like in a 14 inch. This is similar in length to the Cold Steel kuks and enabling me to even the odds in terms of reach and leverage I may one day need if defending against more than one assailant.

How to Survive When Disaster Strikes

When I first started designing my own 72 hour Bug Out Bag, this article probably influenced me the most of all the ones posted on the internet at the time. It just had the basics and wasnt filled with a whole bunch of crap that would be deposited along the road side being too heavy to carry any distance. It wasnt written by someone that had never trekked with a full load and didnt have the rambo, carry a dozen guns attitude. Id like to see anyone carry more than a long rifle and a pistol any distance with a decent amount of ammo included. Thats why I always like passing this one on to others, hopefully it will make a good starting point for them, as it did for me. Although Ive now opted for more permanent 7 day and 14 day kits to be carried by vehicle, I still have 3 day kits set up. These can be carried with you at all times. I have one in my jeep at all times and another stored under the decking in my backyard within a plastic water tight container for a backup.

Bug Out!

How to Survive When Disaster Strikes

By Dan Johnson

http://www.handgunsmag.com/tactics_training/bug_0722/

In an amusing B-grade Sci-Fi flick titled “Tremors,” giant underground worms terrorized a small desert town. What is even more unbelievable than the giant worms is that Hollywood would produce a movie where one of the heroes is not only a gun aficionado but also a hard-core survivalist. Burt, played by Michael Gross, is a decent but decidedly paranoid and eccentric character who is often the butt of local jokes. But when he and his wife supply the townsfolk with much needed weaponry and kill one of the monsters that crashes into their well-stocked compound, one of the locals admits, “We’re not gonna be able to make fun of Burt anymore.”

Since the tragic events of September 11, we are all in more of a survival mode and considering “what if” scenarios doesn’t seem so far-fetched now. Even the most liberal among us are not as prone to make fun of survivalists anymore. While it may not be time to head for a remote compound, a few common sense preparations are certainly in order. Terrorist concerns aside, there are many types of disasters that can disrupt our life and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) recommends we all have a supply of food, water and an Emergency Preparedness Kit on hand in case of disaster.

The kit is what survivalist types often refer to as a bug-out bag and it is as good a term as any for discussion here. Besides, I’m too lazy to keep typing Emergency Preparedness Kit. If you were suddenly forced to evacuate your home, the bug-out bag contains items to keep you safe and comfortable until emergency services are in place. Even with natural catastrophes like floods and earthquakes, it usually takes up to 72 hours for emergency services to be implemented. So 72 hours is the minimal time frame in which you should prepare to be on your own. In most cases you are better off if you can stay put in your home. If you do, the bug-out bag is still a convenient way to keep all your emergency supplies organized and in one place.

America is a vast and varied landscape with climate ranging from sub-tropical to alpine. Some of us live in huge urban areas where an escape to the country can take hours under the best conditions, others in rural areas or maybe even on the edge of wilderness. So, if you must evacuate, where you live and where you expect to escape to dictates what items you might need in an emergency, as does climate, population density, and other considerations. A bug-out bag for an escape to the wilderness will be very different than one for a move to an indoor emergency shelter.

I live in a city in the southwest where there is plenty of open land beyond the city limits in every direction, mountains to the north and east and desert to the south and west. Since I live alone, have no children at home to worry about and enjoy camping even in harsh weather, I’ve decided I’d rather head for the hills than be crowded into an emergency shelter. Your needs may be different from mine. Still, I thought it might be useful to discuss the choices I made in putting together a bug-out bag for me and discuss why it works for me and why it might not work for you.

WEAPONS
Most survivalists prepare for the long haul and stockpile an assortment of combat weapons and large quantities of ammo. Nothing wrong with that, but we are concerned here with short-term survival and in most cases heavy firepower will not be needed. It is unlikely we will have to engage terrorists in our neighborhoods but riots and looting may be a concern where you live, and you can certainly prepare for it. Just bear in mind local regulations regarding carrying firearms and realize those laws will likely remain in effect. In fact, you are more likely to be searched in a disaster situation and probably less tolerance shown by law enforcement.

I opted not to pack weapons in my main bug-out bag for several reasons, not the least of which is I use my guns often and did not want to have to continuously go into my bug-out bag to retrieve them. You may decide to pack weapons in your main bag or not at all, depending on your circumstances. I keep a small second bag packed. This one is the mini-range bag from Bagmaster and is strictly for weapons and ammo. It holds a 1911 and a Marvel .22 conversion unit, along with a half-dozen loaded .45 auto magazines and two magazines for the .22 conversion. In the outer pocket is a 100-round pack of .22 ammo, a holster, and tools for installing the conversion unit.

THE BAG
In choosing a bag you should consider how much gear you need to carry and how far you may have to physically carry it. If a lot of walking is likely to be involved, backpacks are favored. Multiple bags are called for with families as all the adults and older children can share the load and the more people to provide for, the more supplies needed. You may even want to put together a special little bag for the smaller children consisting of new toys, games, and activity books they have not played with beforehand to help keep their minds off the situation. You can also pack some of their favorite packaged snacks.

Bags should be water-resistant and possibly even waterproof if you live in a very wet climate. I mentioned bags first but they should likely be the last item chosen. First decide what you need to carry, stack all the items together and then decide what size and number of bags you need. How to distribute the supplies among family members warrants careful thought. For instance, you may decide to have one bag for food and cooking apparatus, another for clothing and shelter, and one just for first aid and miscellaneous gear. But then if family members are somehow separated or a bag is lost or damaged, none of you will have all that you need. It may be unlikely that this will happen, but you have to consider every possible scenario and make the best choices you can. Each choice will often mean a compromise.

I chose a Bagmaster Pro Gear Bag over a backpack because I like the easy accessibility of the duffel-type bag and didn’t consider it likely I would have to carry the bag very far. I live close to the edge of town, and I’m confident my 4X4 can get me out of the city even if I have to resort to some creative cross country driving. If I am wrong and do end up traveling on foot, the shoulder strap works pretty well and I feel I can manage.

WATER
Other than in frigid conditions where freezing to death is a major concern, water is the most important element of your immediate survival. Yet we tend to take water for granted. Americans just assume when they turn on the faucet, the water will flow. Even if you decide you don’t need emergency survival gear, one thing everyone should do is lay in a supply of emergency water. It doesn’t cost anything. You can simply fill some empty milk jugs with water and add a drop of bleach to purify it. This works fine for storing water in the home but milk jugs are not made as sturdy as they once were and are prone to leak if moved around a lot such as in a vehicle. If you store water in your vehicle, use a heavyweight plastic container. They are inexpensive and will assure the water is there if you need it.

Ideally, each person should drink at least a gallon of water a day but FEMA recommends you plan on a minimum of two-quarts per day per person. You can survive short-term on less but you will still need a fair amount of water to go three days without dehydrating and without some water you will not survive 72 hours.

If you have to evacuate, water is bulky and heavy and you could easily fill up your bug-out bag with even a minimal three-day supply, so it is best to include only a very short-term supply in your bag. I’ve packed three of the prepackaged four-ounce emergency water packs in my bag and made other arrangements for my sustained needs. Since I hope to evacuate via vehicle, I keep a five-gallon water can in my 4X4 and as an extra precaution included an MSR Mini-Works water filter in my bag, plus a small bottle of iodine tablets.

Water can be readily found in most parts of the country, even in the desert thanks to windmills and livestock tanks, but little of it is safe to drink without purification. Small water filters like the Mini-Works were designed for backpackers and will remove harmful bacteria and protozoa and any sediment. They will not remove viruses however. This is not usually a problem in the US but for extra caution you can treat the water first with iodine tablets and then filter out the sediment and iodine. Water treated this way is as pure and sweet as any you’ll find in a bottle at the supermarket.

FOOD
You can easily survive 72 hours and longer without food but it is uncomfortable to do so and both your physical strength and mental processes will suffer. Packaged fatty foods like sausages and beef jerky take up little room and offer quick energy, but if you feel confident of a good water supply, freeze dried foods are your best bet for more substantial meals. Some of the meals designed for backpacking are quite good and well balanced or you can find suitable packaged foods at the supermarket. The packaged pasta dinners are good. Some call for milk but I have cooked a lot of them with just water and can tell little difference. If you take the time to look around your local store, you’ll find a multitude of suitable packaged foods to stock your bag.

You will of course need a pot for cooking and preferably a portable stove. You can cook over a campfire but some of the compact stoves on the market are very small, much more convenient, and can also be used for emergency short-term heat. I have the MSR Superfly model that weighs only 4.5 ounces, yet will boil water in less than three minutes. One feature I especially like about this stove is the Multi-Mount technology. It is the only butane stove that fits almost all makes and types of self-sealing butane canisters.

When choosing cookware, the first impulse might be to pick as small a pot as possible to save on space. But I use a two-liter pot with lid designed for camping. It is large enough to come in handy for filtering water or as a wash pan for personal hygiene since I can store the stove and other items inside it, there is really very little if any space sacrificed. Don’t forget to include cooking utensils. If you smoke or have a caffeine addiction, an emergency is no time to quit. Withdrawal symptoms include nervousness and impaired reasoning, not what you need in a high-stress situation. So be sure to include some of your favorite vices in your bug-out bag.

SHELTER AND CLOTHING
What clothes you need depends on the region and time of year. Winter clothes are bulkier and require more space, so if extreme cold is expected, you may want to consider a separate bag just for the needed clothing. I managed to pack what I needed for the relatively mild winters in my area into my main bag by using layers of relatively thin high-quality clothing. This is one area you don’t want to cut corners. Cheap cotton long johns do not provide the degree of protection needed.

My winter bag contains a set of polypropylene long underwear that offers excellent heat retention in a very thin layer when worn next to the skin. If needed, I have a set of Ullfrotte wool/polyester blend underwear to put on over the polypropylenes for added warmth; some knee-high wool-blend socks and a wool pullover also from Ullfrotte; gloves; a stocking cap; and an extra shirt round out my winter wear. I see no reason to pack a coat in the bag since it takes up a lot of room and, if it is winter, I am certain to have one handy anyway. Some type of rain gear is advisable. Here in the dry southwest, I feel I can get by with a lightweight emergency poncho. Better gear may be needed where you live.

Shelter depends on your predicted survival scenario. If you expect to stay in the city, you can usually find shelter of some sort, but since I have opted to head for open country I included a Eureka one-man backpacking tent in my bag. It folds up very compactly and provides good shelter from wind and rain.

I keep a sleeping bag in my truck at all times but wanted something in my bug-out bag in case my vehicle is not accessible. Space blankets are an option but I sacrificed a little more space in the bag for a Thermo-Lite Emergency Bivvy Sack. It is of the same material used in space blankets but designed as a sleeping bag to keep out the cold. It folds up compactly into the stuff sack provided and requires little storage space.

FIRST AID
There are a number of good first aid kits on the market. Some are just basic ointment and bandages while others offer supplies for more serious injuries. Adventure Medical Kits, designed for serious wilderness expeditions, are among the most technically advanced. I chose their Fundamentals kit for my bag. It is a rather large kit, but my reasoning is I will be on my own out there and want to be able to properly treat any injuries. Plus, if I should pass some injured people on my exodus I will certainly stop to offer help. This kit has a good assortment of bandages plus splints and even a biohazard kit. It also contains a comprehensive first aid manual. If you are on any prescription medication, be sure to add a supply to the first aid kit. You might also want to add some over the counter products such as Excedrin PM to ease aching muscles and help you sleep once you are in a secure location.

TOOLS
Every kit should have a good knife and a multi-tool of some make. Beyond that, it depends on what you expect your needs to be. Since I likely will be camping, I included a Glock E-tool and a Gränsfors Bruks Hunter’s Axe. The E-Tool is a lightweight folding shovel that requires little room in the bag yet could certainly come in handy in an emergency. It even has a saw that stows in the handle. The Hunter’s Axe is of course for cutting firewood and, though I didn’t deem it an absolute necessity, it fits neatly on top of my bag thanks to some Velcro straps and thus doesn’t take up any room inside.

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
There are a lot of other items worthy of consideration. For example, a good map and compass if you are evacuating by road. Main routes may be blocked or congested requiring some detours. My bag includes a detailed geographic map of the area that shows not only minor dirt roads across the desert but stock tanks and springs where water may be found.

A good light source is essential. I packed a powerful four-cell AA flashlight plus a Lightwave 4000 LED light for sustained use. Candles or a small backpacker’s lantern are also worthy of consideration. Be sure to include extra batteries, bulbs, and fuel if needed.

Here is a checklist of other items you may need:

  • Money
  • Copy of insurance documents
  • Portable radio
  • Survival manual
  • Liquid anti-bacterial soap
  • Toilet tissue
  • Matches /lighter
  • Sunblock/insect repellent
  • Pen/pencil/paper
  • Rope/twine/cord
  • Towel/washcloth
  • Duct tape
  • Signaling device
  • Portable heater
  • Pre-paid phone card

You should repack your bag every six-months and rotate food items to keep them fresh. Spring and fall are the best times as you can pack clothes and other items suitable for the upcoming season. All members of the family who are old enough should be involved and know what supplies are packed, where they are and how to use them. It can actually be a fun family project. The most important element of survival is common sense and a cool head. Consider carefully every possible scenario and plan for it. Don’t go overboard and pack more than you can reasonably carry, but try to include everything you need.

Prepper’s Library

What�s on your shelves? A Prepper�s Library

If you hang around the various prepper/survivalist boards, you will quickly learn about the three �B�s. Beans, Band-Aids, and Bullets. What you don�t hear so often is the fourth �B�; Books.

Like other supplies and equipment, books can greatly add to your survivability and comfort in a difficult situation. From reloading to food preserving, books not only supplements the knowledge you already have, but gives you a teaching tool when passing on your knowledge to your children, spouse, or friends. If something should happen to you, the books are banked knowledge that can used for generations to come.

The only downside to physical books is their bulk and weight. Full sized manuals rarely have space devoted to them in the Bug out Bag or camping backpack. But then, manuals for home repair or gardening aren�t really needed when the situation has deteriorated to the point of evacuation.

An argument could be made for having book backups in the form of PDFs or E-books. It is a good choice, but given the delicate nature of present day readers, pods, and pads; plus the necessity of having a renewable form of recharging (solar charger), I consider them as backup to physical books.

Physical books don�t need energy to work. They rarely break when dropped; have better results drying out after getting wet; and can be read in multiple forms of light.

Physical books also have the often overlooked advantage of acting as an insulation device. A wall of standard manual sized books adds eight inches of wood pulp that helps hold in either heat or cold.

The types of books in your personal library will, obviously, be based on your personality and point of view; but for basics and beginners, I�d recommend the following:

A First Aid manual: Having a good First Aid book will help keep any training you get fresh in your head as well as back you up during a stressful time.

A general Home Repair manual: You might live in a condo or apartment where maintenance repairs things, but when things go wrong and they aren�t around, these books can save you a lot of headaches. From basic wiring to plumbing, a book like this will help you fix that dripping faucet or change out wall sockets (fixtures).

A general vehicle repair manual: Like home repair, these books can give you instructions on how to diagnose and repair your vehicle, saving you money in good times, and possibly your bacon in bad. While there are repairs I�d rather have a true mechanic do, there are many other repairs and general maintenance items I found I could do on my own. It built confidence and gave me insight to my vehicle in ways I could not get as just a driver. Be warned: Most general vehicle repair manuals deal with the engine, electrics, and minor body work. They do not have any instruction when it comes to transmissions. You will need a general transmission manual for that.

A book on edible wild plants: If things go really bad, or if you just live in a bad neighborhood, you can expect unsavory people to raid vegetable gardens like wild rabbits. It might take them a while to find it, but one they do it will be picked clean. A book on wild edibles will not only show you what plants have dibble parts when hiking, but they will also show you what plants you can install in your landscape that will provided rarely detected nutrients for you and your family. (How many people have you seen chewing on cat tail?)

A book on general survival: You may never plan on having to build a lean-to shelter, or build a snare trap, but a book on general survival is a great tool no matter where you live. Even urban dwellers can appreciate the information on gathering and processing water so that it�s safe to drink. Primitive fire starting might seem like woods man survival only but when you need to turn that 3 gallon pot into a makeshift hibachi, those skills can come in handy.

Those are just the basics. You can build your library from there to suit your personal needs. Reloading, tracking, fishing, cabin building, RV repair, Medical manuals, canning, dehydrating, square foot gardening, hunting, tanning, crafts both modern and primitive, knot tying, anything you can think of to expand your knowledge and up the percentage of your survival should be on your shelves.

And let�s not forget about magazines too. They have wonderful articles on various homesteading/prepping/survival skills boiled down in easy to learn lessons.

They say knowledge is power. How powerful do you want to be?

 

Pet Bug Out Bags

Share/Save/Bookmark

Pet BOB (Bug Out Bag)

&

First Aid

Information

The following has been gleamed from several different sources and put together into one article. It started as a favour to a friend, when she inquired as to what to carry in a BOB for animals and I just kept finding more and more information that I thought may be of use. I must have gone through atleast 20 to 30 web pages, trying to find any detailed information. The links to the sites werent kept as I never intended it for public use, but a few friends that recieved a copy thought it may be worth posting. I have no vetinary experience, so with any information obtained from the net, its advisable to double check it by printing off a copy and taking to your local vet (one that you trust). As with human doctors, youll get 10 different opinions from 10 different doctors. The one you trust is the one you deal with.

I just finished reading “Where there is no Pet Doctor” and sent a copy of the article to the author to see if he could double check the information before posting, as I never recieved a reply from the local vet clinics. I heard back within a day and he was kind enough to go over it and at the bottom of the page in the amendments section is his reply and recomendations. I highly recomend his book, youll see from his reply why I do. There is just no way you can begin to grasp what is needed for taking care of pets in an emergency from a short forum based article. It was meant more for an introduction, to get people interested enough to put together the relevant books and supplies to suit their own needs and not have to search all over the net to find what is needed.

BOB Contents

Polar Fleece Blankets(1 per animal)

Water

Tinned Food

Dry Food

Leashes

Collars with ID

Harnesses

Travel Bowls(Food and Water)

Can Opener

Spoon

Kitty Litter

Litter Tray

Cat Carriers

Meds-Flea/Tick and Worming Paste. Make sure to include Heart Worm

Rope or chain with swivel attachment

Signs of canine illness

How to tell if your dog is sick

Owners who observe and handle their healthy dogs have a head start on recognizing early signs of illness in their pets. Those who know what a healthy pet acts, feels, and smells like can spot differences in behavior and bodies and determine whether a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.

Healthy dogs have a temperature of 101-102� F, a respiratory rate of 15-20 breaths per minute, and a heart rate of 80-120 beats per minute. They have pink mucous membranes (gums, inside of lips, tongue, inside of eyelids) and rapid capillary refill action in these areas. They have clean-smelling ears and skin and a full haircoat. Their skin is pliant, an indication of proper hydration, and their eyes are clear and bright.

If your puppy or dog shows any of the following signs, be prepared to call your veterinarian.

  • Eyes: swelling, discharge, redness, etc.
  • Nose: running, crusting, discharge, etc.
  • Ears: discharge, debris, odor, twitching, scratching, shaking, etc.
  • Coughing, gagging, sneezing, retching, or vomiting.
  • Irregular breathing, shortness of breath, prolonged or heavy panting, etc.
  • Intestinal activity
    • Color and consistency of bowel movement
    • Frequency of defecation
    • Bloody stool
    • Evidence of parasites, etc

.

  • Change in amout of food intake
  • Change in body weight
  • Change in water intake
  • Urine
    • Color
    • Frequency
    • Amount
    • Straining
    • Dribbling, etc.
  • Odor
    • Mouth?
    • Skin?
    • Ears?
    • Other?
  • Coat & skin
    • Wounds
    • Tumors
    • Hair loss
    • Dander
    • Color change
    • Biting
    • Scratching
    • Bite marks
    • Evidence of parasites
    • Licking, etc.
  • Behavior
    • Depression
    • Anxiety,
    • Fatigue
    • Lethargy
    • Sleepiness
    • Trembling
    • Stumbling
    • Falling, etc.

Noticing signs is half the battle; keeping a record helps the veterinarian make a diagnosis. Be sure to note when the symptom first appeared, and whether it has been intermittent, continuous, increasing in frequency, getting better, or getting worse bfore calling the veterinarian.

Dog Tip: First Aid Kits and Emergency Treatments

Dog Tip: First Aid Kits and Emergency Treatments

Those who have faced emergencies can tell you it is essential to get your first aid kit together and get familiar with first aid measures BEFORE you are confronted with an accident, emergency or sudden illness. Many situations require fast and correct action to prevent further injury, infection or death. So assemble a first aid kit now, so that you’ll be ready when your pet (or a human) needs immediate help.

Be sure to read through the First Aid Kit list that follows. It will give you an idea of the situations that can and do come up. Being prepared can keep a manageable incident from becoming health-threatening. It will reduce the chance of infection and further complications…reduce stress for everyone…cut recovery time…and empower you to effectively help. Being prepared can even make the difference between life and death.

FIRST AID KIT

Keep a first aid safety kit on hand at home and in your car. Take the one from your car with you when you travel with your pet.

Each kit should include the items listed. It might sound like a lot of stuff, but when an accident occurs, these items can help you save the health or life of an animal…or a human.

Waterproof Kit Container:�
Write on the container, in indelible ink, the phone numbers for your vet, the closest emergency animal hospital, and poison control hotlines. Also list your own name, address and phone numbers.

Recomended First Aid Kit Contents

http://www.redcross-cmd.org/Chapter/petguiderev.html

First Aid Guides:
Animal first aid book, such as “The First Aid Companion For Dogs and Cats”, Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (http://www.doctordog.com/dogbook/dogch01.html),

Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook (http://www.doctordog.com/catbook/catch01.html)

Where there is No pet Doctor a manual for Cruisers,Rvers and Backcountry Travellers by David W LaVigne

Home Prepared Dog and Cat Diets by Donald R Strombeck

CPR instructions – download the online brochures listed later in this tipsheet.

Essential Vet and Contact Info:�
Prepare and make copies of a list including:�
Phone number for your vet, the closest emergency animal hospital, and poison control hotlines (such as the 2 listed in this tipsheet). �
Your own name, address and phone numbers. �
Your emergency contact person’s numbers, in case you are incapacitated.�
The name, age, breed, sex, identification (such as microchipping information), and any health problems (especially useful information if your petsitter or emergency contact needs to call an emergency medical service about your pet).

A copy of your pet vaccination records.�
Photo of each pet in case it is needed for ID or other purposes.

Kit Supplies:

Scissors�
Tweezers (flat slant tip instead of the rounded variety)�
Sterile needle (to remove splinters and tick heads)�
Turkey baster or bulb syringe (for flushing wounds, force feeding)�
10cc syringe with no needle (for administering medications)�
Eyedropper�
Tongue depressor to examine mouth

Rubber gloves�
Nail clippers�
Comb�
Rectal thermometer (normal body temperature of dogs and cats is 100.5 to 102.5 F; take your pet’s temperature under normal conditions to get a baseline for comparison in case he gets sick or injured)�
Disposable safety razor (for shaving fur from around a wound)

Towel (at least 2)�
Paper towels�
Blanket (the compact thermal blanket works well; uses include keeping an injured animal from going into shock)�
Bandanna and/or nylon stocking (many uses, including muzzling or securing a torn earflap)�
Strips of cloth�
Dog booties or little socks (to cover wounded paws or to protect so you won’t need to treat)�
Flashlight�
Matches

3×3 sterile gauze pads�
Rolled gauze (for bandaging, stabilizing joints, making a muzzle)�
Adhesive first aid tape (in narrow and wide widths)�
Cotton rolled�
Cotton balls �
Bandages (including self-clinging or vet wrap and waterproof types)�
Vet wrap, which sticks to itself but not fur.

Anti-bacterial wipes or pads�
Q-tips�
Hot/cold pack�
Ice pack

Hydrogen peroxide 3% USP (to induce vomiting and to use on infected wounds; check the expiration date from time to time and keep only fresh solution in your kit)�
Activated charcoal tablets (effective in absorbing many toxics)

Betadine solution (a type of antiseptic iodine medicine for wounds to deter infection)�
Antibiotic ointment (such a Neosporin)�
Rubbing alcohol (apply on skin as body cooling agent to aid heat stroke or fever; helps break down oils; acts as a drying agent between toes and skin folds; but do not use on wounds as it can damage skin and is not an appropriate antiseptic)

Bag Balm (especially useful for treating paw pads)�
Petroleum jelly (helpful aid for taking temperature)�
Sterile saline eye solution (to flush out eye contaminants and wounds)�
Artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing�
Eye ointment with no cortisone�
Epsom salt (mix 1 teaspoon in 2 cups of warm water for drawing out infection and bathing itchy paws and skin)�
Baking soda (good for soothing skin conditions)�
Styptic powder (to stop bleeding of torn toenails, etc.)

Milk of magnesia (for stomach upset and certain types of poison ingestion)�
Pepto Bismol (for stomach upset and some types of poison ingestion; do not give to cats)�
Benadryl (for bug bites and stings and other allergic reactions. Use plain Benadryl, not the other formulas.�
Gentle pet sedative such as Rescue Remedy (available at health food and some pet supply stores). Rescue Remedy is a Bach flower essence available in most health food stores. This gentle, natural stress reducing liquid can often help both people and animals recover from injury, fright, illness, travel fatigue and irritation. Put a drop in your water bottle and in their water. To help prevent travel sickness, a common dosage is four drops in the mouth about ten hours before the trip, repeating every four hours as needed. For stressed or injured animals, rub a drop on their ear or put a drop on the towel in their crate or carrier. Flower essences can be used along with conventional medicine.

Aspirin (for dogs only, 1 tablet per 60 pounds; do not use acetaminophen or ibuprofen; do not give aspirin to cats; since aspirin and other pain relievers can be toxic to any pet, consult your vet and first aid books)

Can of soft pet food (can help reduce the effect of a poisoning)�
Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid such as Dawn (to clean contaminated skin or sticky substances)�
Plastic baggies

Muzzle (an injured or scared animal may try to bite) �
Nylon leash�
Pet crate or carrier (a safe, calming place for your pet and a safe way to transport)

Also have in your car:�
Bottled water�
Bowl or other container to use for water�
Spare leash

Other suggested items:�
Slicker brush�
Tick scoop (handy little device for removing ticks)�
Treats containing sugar (in case the animal experiences hypoglycemic or low glucose episode)�
Betadine Swab Sticks�
Panalog (a healing cream)�
Nexaban (a type of skin glue to glue a wound closed if necessary)�
Penlight (to see how the pupils respond to light; in normal animals, pupils decrease in size when exposed to light)�
5 inch hemostat, a clamp for blood vessels to stop bleeding

Liquid Ice offers a good way to treat pet injuries such as sprains, strains, swelling and bruising using cold and compression. The non-dyed, non-adhesive stretch cotton bandage is pre-soaked in a special menthol and alcohol solution. It is lightweight, does not restrict movement, and can be applied easily even to knees. No refrigeration necessary, and cold effects last longer than other cold treatments. www.fernovetsystems.com

* If you prefer to purchase a ready-made kit, good choices include:

Medi+ Pet Deluxe First Aid Kit
http://www.naturespet.com/firstaidkit.html

The Hiker First Aid Kit for Canines�
http://www.ruffwear.com/products/firstaid

* If someone is taking care of your pet while you’re away: show them where you keep the first aid kit and vet records, your vet and emergency animal hospital info, how to contact you, and the name and phone number of a friend or relative in case you are unavailable. In addition, let your vet know in advance who you have authorized to take your pet to the vet in your absence, and that you will pay for any emergency visit.

FIRST AID TREATMENT

* Hit by a car, hard falls or other high-impact injuries: Rush the animal to the closest animal hospital. First, place the dog on a firm surface, such as a plywood board. If a board is not available, place the animal in a blanket. Keep the animal as steady as possible to prevent further injury.

* Poisoning:
If there is any possibility that your pet came into contact with a poison, go to the vet immediately, since the onset of symptoms could be delayed a day or even two…and by then, it may be too late.

Call immediately, and have this info ready:�
** Your name, address and telephone number.�
** The type of the poisonous substance the pet was exposed to. Be as specific as possible about the substance, the amount ingested or contacted, the time since exposure, etc. Have the container/packaging available, because the label will identify the product’s active ingredients.�
** The species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved.�
** The symptoms the animal is experiencing.

* Antifreeze poisoning:
If you suspect your pet may have ingested antifreeze, take him to the vet or emergency animal hospital immediately! Immediate treatment is essential to prevent a painful death. Initial signs include excessive thirst and urination, lack of coordination, weakness, nausea, tremors, vomiting, rapid breathing and heart rate, convulsions, diarrhea and paralysis. Not all signs may be evident. The final stages of poisoning are characterized by oral and gastric ulcers and renal failure, followed by death.

Ethylene glycol is the toxic component in antifreeze. Vets have a test kit to confirm the presence of the poison in the body. If positive, ethanol (vodka or wood grain alcohol) or a newer antidote will be administered intravenously. The goal is to prevent the ethylene glycol from metabolizing to its toxic components. Dialysis can be used to remove the ethylene glycol from the blood stream.

If you are delayed in getting to the animal hospital, it is often recommended to induce vomiting immediately. And some people have had success giving their dogs vodka or other alcohol orally, followed by water. The alcohol reportedly interferes with the body’s processing of the ethylene glycol before it fully metabolizes. However, it is imperative to first call a vet for guidance, and if your vet is not available, call your nearest emergency animal hospital and/or one of the phone hotlines listed in this tipsheet.

* When to induce vomiting:
For many types of poisoning, it is advised to induce vomiting, soon after ingestion before the chemical can do damage. These include ingestion of arsenic (in rat and mouse poisons), chocolate, insecticides, lead, matches, medications (except tranquilizers), plants, shampoo, shoe polish, slug and snail bait, strychnine and weed killers. However, unless you are stranded somewhere, induce vomiting only under the direction of a vet, physician or poison emergency hotline staff member. It is critical to properly identify the ingested substance.

To induce vomiting in pets, give the animal household hydrogen peroxide 3% USP by mouth, using a syringe (bulb or 10cc with no needle). Do not try to pour it down his throat. Instead, pull his lips away from the side of the mouth to make a pocket, in which you will deposit the liquid. It is suggested to use 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the animal’s weight, to a maximum of 3 to 4 tablespoons. Before dosing, first give the animal a little bread or other soft food so there is something to bring up along with the stomach contents. If he has not vomited after 15 minutes, repeat the dose of hydrogen peroxide one more time. After vomiting, some folks recommend giving the animal a teaspoon of Epson salts mixed in some water to help empty the intestine.

Activated charcoal is also used to induce vomiting in pets. It has the ability to absorb and deactivate many toxins, preventing the poisons from reaching the blood stream. Activated charcoal tablets also help when you don’t have access to a clean water supply. Mix a tablet of activated charcoal in 2 teaspoons of water. Give 1 teaspoon per 2 pounds body weight and follow with a pint of water.

While syrup of Ipecac been used to induce vomiting, a growing number of veterinarians, physicians and FDA/public health officials discourage its use for people and animals.

Do not feed salt water or mustard, or stick a finger down the throat; these methods are ineffective and potentially dangerous.

* When NOT to induce vomiting. Do not induce vomiting if the animal is lethargic, unconscious, convulsing, having a seizure or is in shock. Do not induce vomiting if the animal ingested an acidic or alkaline product such as drain cleaner, household cleansers and paint thinner. Caustic and corrosive substances can burn the throat and stomach on the way back up, compounding the injury. Also, do not induce vomiting for ingestion of tranquilizers, bones, sharp objects or petroleum products such as gasoline or lighter fluid.

* If the ingested substance was gasoline, kerosene, an acid or alkali, or a corrosive: Try to give the animal milk to dilute the toxin in the stomach.

* If you know the substance was an acid: First, rinse the mouth. Then feed the dog Milk of magnesia or Pepto Bismol using bulb syringe or eyedropper aimed the back of the mouth. Dose 2 teaspoons per 5 pounds of body weight. (For cats, 1 teaspoon Milk of magnesia per 5 pounds; do not give Pepto Bismol to cats.) This helps neutralize the chemicals and reduce the burn.

* If you know the substance was an akali: First, rinse the mouth. Then mix a tablespoon vinegar with a tablespoon of water and feed the mixture to your pet using a bulb syringe or eyedropper aimed at the back of the mouth. An alternate solution is 1 tablespoon lemon juice mixed with 1 teaspoon of sugar. This helps neutralize the chemicals and reduce the burn.

Note: Since cats groom themselves, they can ingest poisons such as sprays that get on their fur. So be sure to wash the pet’s fur.

Remember, for any poisoning, get to the vet as soon as possible. Temporary first aid measures alone are not enough.

* Wounds: �
Be careful, since any animal in pain may try to bite. Muzzle your pet by using a strip of soft cloth, gauze, rope, necktie or nylon stocking. Gently wrap around the nose, under the chin and tie behind the ears. Do not obstruct breathing. A towel placed around the head will help control small pets.

Wash your hands if possible to avoid further contamination. Wear gloves if you have them. Carefully check the wound. Clip the fur back as needed to clear the area around the wound. Clean out debris using ample amounts of saline, balanced electrolyte solution or Betadine antibacterial scrub (or Betadine solution diluted with water to the color of tea). If these are not available, use regular water.

After irrigating the wound, apply antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin to the wound.

Note: Do not pour hydrogen peroxide into an open wound; it is better for wounds that have become infected. Do not use alcohol on wounds, as it damages tissue and retards healing.

Wrap open wounds to keep them clean. Make sure bandages are not cutting off circulation; in most cases, it’s best to wrap lightly. Change bandages frequently to aid in healing, gently re-applying antibiotic ointment as needed.

As soon as you finish treating the wound, loosen or remove the muzzle. Bite wounds often become infected, so call your veterinarian, who may dispense prescription antibiotics.

Another home remedy for treating wounds: mix 1 teaspoon Epsom salt in 2 cups of warm water and soak to draw out infection.

If the Wound is Bleeding:�
Place clean gauze or fabric over the wound and apply firm, direct pressure over the bleeding area until the bleeding stops. For serious bleeding, hold the pressure for at least 10 straight minutes, since continually releasing the pressure to check the wound will hamper clotting. When bleeding stops, continue with the steps in the previous section.

Avoid tourniquets unless absolutely necessary. If you must apply one, consider this information from http://www.dog.com/vet/firstaid/01.html:�
Apply a tourniquet between the heart and the wound if the bleeding is coming from an artery and on the side away from the heart if it is coming from a vein. Arterial blood is bright red, tends to spurt out with significant force, and pulses with each heart beat as it bleeds. Venous blood (blood from a vein) is dark red and may flow rapidly but does not actually spurt or pulse. Because venous blood is on its way back to the heart from the rest of the body, the tourniquet is applied below or “distal to” the wound, i.e., if the wound is on a leg, the tourniquet is applied on the side closer to the foot. Make the tourniquet just tight enough to stop most of the bleeding. Loosen it every 10 to 15 minutes for 5 to 10 seconds to allow the blood to circulate again into the extremity. You can use almost any cloth, rope, sock, or stocking as a tourniquet, as long as it is long enough to go around the extremity and be tied securely.

* Puncture Wounds:�
Clean the wound and the surrounding skin with an antibacterial solution such as Betadine, applying by dabbing with a gauze pad. Use warm damp compresses for puncture wounds, since you want to delay formation of a scab that could seal the infection in under the skin. This will also increase blood flow to the wound area, which aids healing. It is recommended not to bandage over puncture wounds.

* Paw Treatment:�
A home remedy for treating paw pad and other wounds: mix iodine and water to the point at which it looks like tea. Add some Epsom salt to clean out the wound and bandage it with gauze. You can also apply Bag Balm to help chaffed and injured paws heal. Put on a dog bootie or small sock to protect injured paw pads.

* Burns (chemical, electrical, or heat): �
Symptoms include singed fur, blistering, swelling, redness of skin. Flush burns immediately with lots of cool, running water. Apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes. Do not place an ice pack directly on the skin. Instead, wrap the pack in a light towel or cloth.

Neutralize acid on skin by rinsing with a solution of baking soda and water. Neutralize alkali substances with a weak vinegar-water solution. Blot dry, apply antibiotic ointment and tape gauze dressing loosely around the affected area. Olive oil can also be applied.

Brush off any dry chemicals that are on the skin. Beware, water may activate some dry chemicals. Call your veterinarian immediately.

Treating burns: trim fur and dab antibiotic ointment. For wounds larger than quarter, wrap in wet towels and go to vet to avert risk of infection.

* Choking: �
Signs include pawing at the mouth, gagging, gasping, breathing difficulty, odd neck posture, abnormal gum color (blue, gray, white), unconsciousness. Open the mouth and try to pull out the tongue to check for an obstruction. Sweep inside with a finger if you cannot see anything. If you see or feel the object, remove it if you can do this without causing throat trauma.

If you can’t clear the airway or the animal is struggling, hold the pet upside down by his back legs if you can. Or use a Heimlich-type maneuver and push up with your fist held under the animal’s belly, just behind the ribcage. Do not apply too much force or you can injure the animal. Go to the vet ASAP.

* Drowning:�
To resuscitate, place your pet on a flat surface, open his mouth, pull the tongue forward, and clear away any debris in his mouth. If he is still in distress, hold him by his hind legs and gently swing him back and forth in an attempt to clear the water from his lungs and stomach. If the pet is too large to lift, place him on his side and press upward on his midsection or abdomen. If necessary, perform the Heimlich-like maneuver described in the “Choking” section, and take him to the nearest vet.

* Electrocution: �
Signs include panting, breathing difficulty, a burn across the lips and tongue, and/or unconscious. It can happen if the pet chews on a power cord. Before touching the animal, turn off power to the outlet and then unplug the cord. Next, if the animal is conscious, rinse his mouth with cold water. Then perform rescue breathing using mouth-to-snout resuscitation if the pet is not breathing but does have a pulse…or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if he is not breathing and has no pulse. See instructions for these life-saving techniques in the online brochures listed in the next section.

Wrap the pet in a blanket to help prevent shock, and take him to the vet immediately (you could perform resuscitation in the car if someone else drives). Go to the vet even if your pet seems OK, since electrocution can lead to serious internal problems that may not be evident for awhile. Also, check the mouth for lesions for 3 weeks.

* The ABC’s — Airway, Breathing, Circulation: �
If your pet is not breathing but does have a pulse, you need to perform rescue breathing using mouth-to-snout resuscitation immediately. If your pet is not breathing and has no pulse, you must perform CPR immediately. Here are web links to essential life-saving brochures about rescue breathing and pet CPR. Print out 2 copies for your home and car travel kit so you will be ready in an emergency situation:�
http://members.aol.com/henryhbk/acpr.html http://www.rescuecritters.com/cpr.html

* Insect Bites and Stings: �
Remove stinger with tweezers or by gently scraping away with a plastic card. Bathe the area with a solution of baking soda and water, then apply ice packs (lined with a towel or cloth) for 5 minutes at a time. Some people treat stings with Benadryl. Typical dosages: for cats and dogs under 30 pounds, give 10 mg…dogs 30 to 50 pounds, give 25 mg…dogs over 50 pounds, give 50 mg. For more Insect/Skin Remedies, see the link listed at the end.

Stings and bites can cause severe reactions. If there is major swelling, or the animal seems disoriented, sick or has trouble moving or breathing, go to the vet immediately.

Benadryl is good for bee stings, insect bites and other allergic reactions. Use plain Benadryl, not the other formulas.

* Itching, Poison Ivy, Rashes:�
A good tip for soothing human as well as pet skin is to apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the affected areas. Also, mix 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt in 2 cups of warm water to bathe itchy paws and skin.

* Foxtails:�
These barbed seeds from dried grasses and weeds can be easily inhaled by dogs. They can lodge between toes and in ears, eyes, nostrils, mouth and throat, and can even travel through orifices deeper into body, causing infections and abscesses. Check your dog thoroughly after hiking for foxtails, ticks, etc. If your dog is frantically pawing his nose, ears or eyes, shaking or rubbing his head, sneezing for long periods, biting at his anus or has blood coming from his nose, take him to a vet.

* Shock: �
Symptoms include irregular breathing and dilated pupils. Shock can occur due to a serious injury or fright. Keep the animal gently restrained, quiet and warm, with the lower body elevated. Call your veterinarian immediately.

* Heat Stroke Prevention and Treatment:�
To protect your pet from heat stroke, review the Summer Health and Safety tipsheet on the PAW website. Heat stroke can be brought on by activity as well as confinement outside in the heat, and the effects can be devastating. Be aware of the signs of heat stroke:

** Excessive panting �
** Labored breathing that may signal upper airway obstruction �
** Bright red mucous membranes in the gums or eyes and/or bright red tongue�
** Lethargy and weakness �
** High body temperature �
** Collapsing and seizures, even coma

If you notice any of these signs, get your pet inside and place a cool, wet towel over him or submerge him in cool or lukewarm water. Do not use ice, which can damage skin.

Take your pet’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. If the animal’s temperature exceeds 105 F, get medical attention at once.

Provide drinking water, but do not force an animal to drink. You can apply rubbing alcohol on the skin as a cooling agent.

FYI, dogs cool themselves by panting; this draws air over the moist membranes of the nose and tongue and cools by evaporation. But panting works only for short periods. Prolonged panting endangers the metabolic system. In addition, high humidity interferes with the ability of panting to cool the body.

* This information is not a substitute for veterinary care. Contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately for any potentially serious injury, condition or illness.

* A great gift idea for any pet owner: A first aid book and kit would make a thoughtful, creative and invaluable gift. Pick up the kit contents the same time you buy them for your own kits for your home and car.

Ammendments:

Hi�� #%&*

Glad you read my book. Hope you found it

useful. Looked over your recommended info. Don’t agree with

everything but do disagree strongly with a few things. You omitted heartwrom preventative (for both dogs and

cats); should top the list for anybody in avoiding that problem. Don’t advise razor trimming of wounds by amateurs –

difficult enough for professionals to do and not further contaminate the wound;

will make a mess of the wound. No Bag Balm – people smear it on everything and it’s

useless; use Neosporin or Panolog. Hydrogen peroxide is no longer recommended for

inducing vomiting although many vets still do recommned it. You should at least

warn of the significant possibility of causing gastric ulcers and stomach injury

by giving oral H2O2. That is the reason it is no longer recommended in human or

veterinary emergency medicine. That and the fact that if often does not work.

Time wasted that could be spent getting to the vet.Epsom salts never belong in or on an open wound –

thus the phrase ‘rubbing salt into a wound’?; good for soft tissue swelling ONLY

if no exposure of tissue.Your tourniquet info is wrong! Tourniquet (though not

recommended) should go between the wound and the heart; thus it is PROXIMAL to

the wound, not distal; wound on leg, the tourniquet goes ABOVE (proximal to) the

wound. Take out all the crap about the ciruculation – just confuses your

issue.One item I didn’t see in your list was ‘Quik-Clot’ –

a little package containing a topical sponge-type product very useful in

stopping major bleeding in emergency situation. Check it out. They can use the

human product.Don’t mean to be too critical. Hope you find this

info useful.

Dr Dave

First Aid Guidance:
http://www.doctordog.com/dogbook/dogch01.html
http://www.doctordog.com/catbook/catch01.html
http://www.healthypet.com/Library/petcare-36.html
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=SRC&S=1&SourceID=20
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=293&S=1&SourceID=20
http://www.kolias.com/homegarden/dogfirstaid.htm
http://www.dog.com/vet/firstaid/04.html
http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/firstaid.html (Feline First Aid)

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation, and Checking Airway, Breathing and Circulation (ABC)�
Print these life-saving brochures to have on hand!�
http://members.aol.com/henryhbk/acpr.html
http://www.rescuecritters.com/cpr.html

Another tipsheet on CPR for Pets:
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_CPR.html

Drowning
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Hiking.php#s1

Life-Threatening Traumatic Injuries:
http://www.dog.com/vet/firstaid/04.html

Bloat:
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Bloat.html

Lacerations, Bandaging and Splinting:
http://www.dog.com/vet/firstaid/01.html

Insect Bites and Stings, Skin Conditions and Treatment:
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_InsectBites.php

Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitoes – Prevention and Treatment:
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_InsectPrevention.php

Plants Poisonous to Pets:
http://www.aspca.org/site/FrameSet?style=User&url=http://www.aspca.org/toxicplants/M01947.htm
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/index.html
http://www.uexplore.com/health/poisonplants.htm

Tips for Pet Safety and Pet-Safe Homes:
http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=apcc_poisonsafe
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/dogs/ten_tips.html
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_FoodAndKitchenSafety.php
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HouseholdSafety.php
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Decks.php
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HolidaySafety.php
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HalloweenSafetyTipsforPetOwners.php
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HolidayFireworks.html

Safer, Less Toxic Alternatives to Everyday Household Products:
http://www.rainyday.net/cbc/products.shtml
http://www.care2.com/channels/lifestyle/outdoors

Summer Health and Safety Guide:
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_SummerHealth.php

Pets in Hot Cars:
Flyers available from the Humane Society of the United States at 202-452-1100.�
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HotCars.html

http://www.outdoorsafety.net/sportingdogkits.htm

http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookdescription.cws_home/704933/description#description

http://www.petstylist.com/ForPetOwners/PetFirstAid.htm

http://www.petalert.com.au/faid/fa1.php

My Bug Out Bag Update PT-1 Intro

Over the years I have ended up with so much gear that I decided to cut back and sell off much of it to fund other projects and to finish off my existing preps. For instance my knife collection has been cut by ��s, along with many of my other interests, such as archery. Anything that wasn�t being used on a regular basis or couldn�t fit into existing equipment requirements was to go. Continue reading “My Bug Out Bag Update PT-1 Intro”

Bug Out Bag Update PT – 2 (The Bags)

My Bug out bags mainly consisted of using multiple cheap roller style bags from the local Army Disposal shop and separating clothing, tactical, food and equipment into various separate sized packs, making them easier for storage, locating gear and loading into a 4WD vehicle. I�ve now rehashed those bags to carrying clothing etc and upgraded to a 511 Cams Outbound bag to carry all my gear in the one large pack and keeping it permanently stored inside my vehicle, now that my bus is close to being finished. The main reason for this is that the bottom compartment of the Cams bag can be used for discreetly packing my tactical equipment in the case of being searched while on the move when evacuating an area. My larger Sierra One Sniper 50 liter pack I�m in the process of trading or selling. Not that it isn�t a well-designed or constructed bag, it�s just that fully loaded I can no longer carry it any distance. It�s now part of the upgrade on dispersing equipment I can no longer use. If deciding to carry a pack any distance on foot, this is the largest size I�d recommend for a BOB. The Snug Pack Sleeka Force at 35 liters makes a great day bag for hiking but not quite large enough for a 72 hour BOB. This will either be used in my second vehicle or on my third means of transportation but most likely be stored within a 44 gallon drum that has been made into a cache container with a second 60 liter plastic barrel and a screw top lid inserted within, insulated material placed between the 2 inches of remaining wall space for added protection. I haven�t been able to make up my mind as yet, too many projects on hand at one time. But it�s too nice, not to use in some sort of manner. Lots of ideas on this front but they may require some form of modification to carrier systems to properly incorporate its use. The Spur Tropical 45 liter pack would be my first choice in a grab and go bag if I had to part with my primary equipment and leave in minimal time with minimal gear. Light enough to be incorporated with a 511 molle vest and with decent back support that is comfortable for long distance trekking. This small pack contains the minimal contents that everything 72 hour bag should have. I�ll go into exact contents in later posts. But this bag does contain food in the way of MRE�s and additional food bars etc. Since my primary plan is vehicle based my main food stores are contained within insulated containers to prolong shelf life. Therefore the larger Cams bag only holds equipment. The smaller 45 liter pack is part of my plan B. I always have a plan A and plan B and try for a plan C. Tactically I usually have a plan D,E and F as well. Always try for primary, secondary and tertiary plans to cover every function, location and dispersal of assets and plan for as many contingencies as possible that budget, time, health and ability can provide. � � 511 Cams Outbound Roller Bag http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYyckDK2ydE Snug Pack Sleeka Force 35 liter http://www.snugpak.com/index.php?MenuID=93-103&ItemID=128 Platatac Spur Tropical 45 liters http://www.platatac.com/short-range/plat-a-tac-spur-tropical-pack-multicam/w1/i1205386_1023950/ Sierra One Sniper Pack 50 liters http://www.platatac.com/short-range/plat-a-tac-sierra-one-sniper-pack-dpm-only/w1/i1155563_1023950/

The Urban Survival Homestead

The Urban Survival Homestead � Whether you live in the city, the suburbs or the country anyone with a house, an apartment or even a mobile home can have an urban survival homestead. My lot is in the middle of the city on just under a � acre lot.

So why do I want to make my house (or Apartment, Condo, Mobile Home, Etc) into a Survival homestead and not have a dedicated survival retreat in the woods on 5 acres with a freshwater well, 15 year food supply, cows, sheep, goats, chickens, defensive bunkers, solar power system, backup generators and more? Because I, like many people, don’t have the financial resources for all that great stuff. So I will be surviving in place where I currently live and can afford.

So what goes into building a survival homestead? It’s pretty easy to figure out. Take everything that you do and use everyday and figure out how you can do the same within reason if you broke all ties to the outside world.

So lets look at what we need to comfortable survive some rough circumstances or a SHTF event.

#1 Food � Food storage is a great idea, canned foods, vacuum packed foods and more are available. But I also want to look into more long term sustainability such as Survival Gardening, Raising my own Meat Rabbits, Raising Chickens for eggs, and raising Quail for meat and eggs.

#2 Water � Everyone needs to drink, So we will look into different, low-cost methods of water storage, collection and purification. Also we need a system of pumping water from one point to another.

#3 Shelter � My house is my shelter and always will be, But we need to look into ways of making it into a survival homestead. This may include reinforcing the structure and/or modifying it to suit my families needs in a long term situation.

#4 Ability to cook � Right now I have a natural gas stove, a propane grill and a good old electric microwave, but how will my family prepare our food if a long term SHTF event occurs? I can store about 3-4 months worth of propane for the grill but what can I do for the long term?

#5 Ability to wash � So the water department is no longer? How can we shower and bath, brush our teeth and clean our cloths? We will look into water storage and pumping systems, as well as purification.

#6 Waste Disposal � The toilets work great now and the Garbage man comes twice a week. But what if that stops? We are going to look into ways of waste disposal on a � acre urban lot.

#7 Environmental Comfort � My house, in South Florida has a great Air Conditioner. The AC takes a ton of electricity to run. So we have to figure alternative ways of cooling the house, because a solar power system that will run the AC is way too expensive to consider, Generators are great but the gas runs out eventually.

#8 Entertainment � Video games, Movies, toys, etc. How can we keep ourselves and children entertained if we have months or even years of staying in the house?

#9 Some type of electricity- While it is absolutely possible to go without electricity, who really wants to? We are going to look at Alternative Energy solutions that are low cost including small solar power systems, small battery banks, and wind turbine generators.

In the series of articles to follow, I will show you how I am creating my Urban Survival Homestead. This will include the survival garden, raising quail for meat and eggs, raising chickens for eggs, earth worm composting, raising rabbits for meat, as well as water storage and collection, alternative energy solutions on a budget and more.

Questions or Comments Email me: urbanevasion.com@gmail.com

Thanks, Brent

Combat Handgun Practice

Combat Handgun Practice

“By practising for both speed and accuracy, you can develop important hand gunning skills while enjoying your shooting.”

By Michael KAY

When you go to the range to practice, do you see how fast you can fire using the target as a backdrop, or do you carefully place each shot, striving for a tight group? To acquire the skills needed in a defensive situation you have to do a little of both. The key in defensive shooting is not to see how accurately you can fire a handgun, but how quickly you can fire it accurately. To develop effective defensive skills, you should practice gun movement and quick firing while maintaining sight alignment. Sound difficult? It is at first, but by rehearsing a few basic drills, your skills will greatly improve.

GENERAL SHOOTING TIPS: The act of firing a rifle, pistol, shotgun or other firearm accurately is made up of a combination of the following skills. Mastering these skills, and repeating them as consistently as possible, each and every time you fire your gun, forms the foundation of accurate shooting.

ATTITUDE: The attitude you take to the shooting range will largely be reflected in your shooting. If you have convinced yourself, “I’ll never be able to shoot any better than I do right now”, chances are you’ll never get any better. However, if each day you go to the shooting range, you say to yourself, “Today I’m going to shoot more accurately and more consistently than I ever have before”, pretty soon you’ll notice you’re shooting more accurately and more consistently! Simply put, the more positive your attitude is about shooting, the better your shooting will become. Imagine yourself shooting nothing but bull’s-eyes, and before you know it, you will be doing just that.

EQUIPMENT: Your equipment should be in good repair, functional and above all else, clean. Even as you shoot, you should maintain a certain level of cleanliness. Don’t be afraid to clean the bore and chamber of your rifle or pistol after every couple of shoots to maintain consistent functioning and accuracy. Firearm items, such as screws, sights, scopes or rings should be tightly secured. Rifle and pistol barrels should be free from obstructions and kept away from contact with other objects. Simply resting the barrel of your rifle on a support (such as a universal bipod) can influence the direction of your shot. Ammunition should be clean and undamaged. Whenever possible, use high quality (match grade) ammunition. During any particular practice session, you should try to use ammunition that is from the same manufacturer and of the same type (i.e. bullet weight and design). Ammunition from the same box or closely produced boxes is ideal. Always remember that consistency is the key to accurate shooting.

BODY POSITION: Whether you are firing a rifle or pistol, you’ll want to maintain a body position that affords you two things. First, and most importantly is comfort. Few can consistently fire accurate shots while in a position that is uncomfortable. Second, is support. Your position should allow your bones and muscles (i.e. your body) to provide proper support for your weapon. If you are firing a pistol, this may be no more than holding your arms out in front of you. While firing a rifle may involve the use of a bench or other stationary supports. Don’t be afraid to try different positions until you hit on one (or more) that work well for you.

GRIP: How you hold your rifle, pistol or shotgun can directly effect how accurately you shoot. A grip that is too loose, will not afford the stability needed while firing a high powered weapon, while a grip that is too tight, may tend to influence your shoots or restrict an otherwise smooth trigger pull. An even, unhindered grip works best. When firing a pistol, your free hand should support, not grip your firing hand. For rifles, your free hand should steady or support the forearm or buttstock of the weapon. Once you find a grip that works well, be consistent about it.

BREATHING: Controlling your breathing goes along way towards increasing your accuracy. The act of breathing (inhaling and exhaling) actually moves your body enough to keep you from getting a really steady sight picture. By momentarily holding your breath, just before you take your final aim and squeeze the trigger, you’ll remove that extra shaking associated with breathing. However, don’t make the mistake of holding your breath too long, as oxygen deprivation can set in and introduce blurry vision or additional body shaking. The best breathing method involves taking one or two full breaths, then releasing the air and holding your breath momentarily as you squeeze off a shot. You may find other methods also work well, don’t be affair to use the method that works best for you. But again, be consistent about it.

SIGHT PICTURE: Sight picture is very important to accurate shooting, after all, if you can’t see it clearly, aiming will be very difficult, if not impossible. Additionally, if you aren’t seeing your target in the same way each time, you’ll have greater difficulty hitting the same spot with each successive shot. Therefore, the two most important aspects of sight picture are clarity and consistency. The picture you see, whether through a scope or with iron sights, should be clear and sharp. Concentrate on a specific point, don’t just aim “at the target” select a very small location on the target and aim at that spot. When using a scope, your sight picture should be round and without dark “half moon” areas. For iron sights, your target and sighting post should be aligned and in focus. Sometimes looking away briefly and then looking back before taking final aim will help to refocus things. Being consistent about your sight picture is equally important. Whether you decide to shoot with one eye closed, or both eyes open, be consistent about it, don’t change midstream. Did I mention consistency is the key?

TRIGGER PULL: Pulling the trigger should be the only motion involved in firing your weapon, and as such, it must be smooth and precise. Pulling the trigger should not effect (i.e. move in any way) any part of the gun other than the trigger. Sloppy or inconsistent trigger pull will cause more inaccuracy than any other aspect of shooting. When pulling the trigger, you should use the tip of your finger (not the body of it) because this is the most sensitive part available to you and pull the trigger straight back. Pulling at an angle, even slightly, can change your point of aim prior to firing. Dry firing (i.e. pulling the trigger without a live round in the chamber) is beyond a doubt the best exercise for increasing your accuracy. Practice this over and over, until you can squeeze the trigger without moving your gun at all. Balancing a dim (or other small object) on the barrel as you dry fire will enhance your ability to keep the weapon still while pulling the trigger. Note: the firing pins on many weapons can be damaged by dry firing, contact your local gunsmith or gun store for plastic dummy rounds that will protect the firing pin while dry firing your gun.

FOLLOW THROUGH: The instant the trigger is completely pulled, the hammer is released. The time between the hammer being released and striking the firing pin (firing the chambered round) is called lock time. Any movement, such as letting up on the trigger, relaxing your grip or anticipating recoil, during this lock time, can greatly effect accuracy. Some guns have quicker lock times than others, but regardless, you should concentrate on following though with each and every shot you fire. No movement should occur until well after the bullet penetrates its target. Only then should you let up on the trigger, adjust your grip or change your sight picture.

CONSISTENCY: The more consistent you are in your shooting, the more accurate you’ll become. Without a doubt, consistency is the key to accuracy. The closer you can come to providing the exact same conditions for each shot, right down to the cleanliness and temperature of your barrel, the more accurate your shooting will be. Become consistent and you’ll become accurate.

DEFENSIVE HANDGUN PRACTICE: After you have become confident with your ability to fire a handgun safely, concentrate on sight alignment. When you raise your gun to fire, the front sight should be centred in the notch of the rear sight, and they should be even across the top. If your sights use a three-dot system, the dots should be lined up evenly. You should see the top half of the target through the sights. When firing at the target, the sights should remain in focus and the target should be a blur. Aim for the “centre of mass” and fire two shots, focusing on the front sight the entire time you are shooting. The most common error a shooter makes is to lower the gun after each shot to check the hits. This bad habit results in erratic or low shots. Keep your eyes focused on the front sight as you recover from recoil. Do not be concerned where your shots are landing at first, as long as you are hitting the target. After you have finished the shot string, look at the target to evaluate your hits. It your shots are falling within an eight-inch group at 15 yards, you are doing fine.

To develop effective defensive skills, incorporate gun movement and quick firing while maintaining sight alignment during target practice. If your shots are grouping off centre by about an inch, do not be concerned. The sights on pistols are not always precise to every shooter’s eye sight and aim. If they are adjustable, you can move them so that your hits are centred. If they are fixed sights, you can work with a gunsmith to correct them or simply leave them be if the problem isn’t too severe. As you practice this shooting drill, you will find your hits falling in smaller, closer groups. At this point you should speed up the time between shots, being careful to keep the front sight in focus. Begin the drill with arms relaxed and the gun in your hands. Bring the gun up to eye level, quickly align the sights on the target and fire two shots

.

Lower the gun after you have finished firing and assess the target. Make sure you are following through with each shot. This means making sure your sights remain on target and your arms locked in place until you are through firing.

In a defensive situation you do not want to lower your gun until the target has retreated or dropped out of the sight picture. You may find at first that your hits are not even close together, and maybe off the target altogether. There are two causes for this. When you shoot quickly, you often do not settle into a good sight picture or stop gun movement before firing the next shot. Continued practice will remedy this. The more serious problem is the flinch. It is usually caused by snatching the trigger or pulling the gun down in anticipation of recoil. If you think you are flinching, practice pulling the trigger with your gun unloaded (known as dry firing). Alternate practising with a dry gun and with live ammunition. Take breaks in between drills and allow yourself to relax.

To vary your drills, add a second target. Fire one shot at the left target, then quickly move to the right target and fire one shot. Repeat this several times and then reverse the order. Change the number of shots fired on each. For instance, fire one shot on the first and two on the second, then two on each. Gradually work these drills into your practice sessions and, when you have become skilled at them, begin your practice with them. Start cold, with your gun on the table, muzzle facing down range.

Grasping the gun firmly, raise it to eye level, focus on the sights and fire like your life depended on it. After a few trial runs, use the remaining time at the range to work on the areas where you are weakest. Keep in mind what you are practising for, but make it enjoyable too. Be confident you are developing skills that will be invaluable in a true defensive situation.

� Copyright Michael KAY 1997.

The Face of the Enemy

The Face of the Enemy.

There are two sides to the gun ownership argument hunting and self-defense. I have and will further argue that the amount “gun crime” is relatively small and remains unchanged over the decades despite changes in the “gun control laws” and within society itself. In these few paragraphs let us look more at the public perception of crime; what makes a criminal tick and how citizen ownership of firearms can reduce the criminal misuse of firearms.

Are you afraid of criminals? YES. Then your fears are justified. If you haven’t been confronted by a criminal yet, you don’t know just how justified you are. To understand the criminal mind, try this purely hypothetical experiment. Take a human embryo; breed it in a ghetto environment where the only people who are successful and enjoy creature comforts seem to be the pimps and the drug dealers and the armed robbers. Give that child only a half a chance of getting even the most menial job in a world where the only cheap entertainment is TV and videos, where the upper middle-class life-style this child can only hope to partake of through criminal enterprise is glorified. What do you expect to end up with? Somebody that lives by their animal instincts!

You’re born with intelligence, but not with ethics if crime has become the recognized avenue for success because most of the others are effectively choked off, then it will become ethically acceptable to that organism. When that human organism commits a crime, throw it into a prison system where a whole different dimension of life exists, a world of predatory animals who dwell within a hierarchy based on who is the strongest, the most vicious, the most ruthless a world inhabited by those whose stock-in-trade is crime. These people can teach that young and malleable young organism how to make a hundred thousand a year dealing dope, or a thousand dollars an hour stealing cars or burglarizing homes. Our young organism, if he has a quick mind, can learn enough to pursue his new trade in a couple of weeks, but there’s no one out there who would fund him through trade school for a couple of years to learn a middle-class skill acceptable to middle-class society.

In the seething world behind the prison walls, there is one criterion only: “Look out for Number One, and everybody else can go to hell”. If you don’t, they’ll bash you to steal a few packs of cigarettes or worse rape you and move themselves another step up in the food chain hierarchy of prison life. This is the culture and the habitat where criminals breed. They regard human beings who conform to society as a resource, to be harvested like corn or complacent livestock for their bounty. See them in their prison environment, and you can’t help but feel sorry for them. There isn’t one of them who won’t seem like a victim to you when you talk to him in the visiting room, because there isn’t one of them who aren�t a victim.

Call it genetic defect, call it society, but something victimized them and robbed them of the rich sensitivities law-abiding citizens enjoy. But sympathizing with a criminal in the prison visiting room is like sympathizing with the timber wolf caged inside its bars at the Zoo. It’s safe enough there, but you don’t want to meet either of them in their natural habitat. Veteran prison officers and cops will tell you, “Look, save your sympathy. They’re animals”. You respond with outrage and think the guards and cops must be animals themselves for feeling that way about other people. You’d be stupid. Crims themselves will shrug and tell you, “You act like an animal if you’re treated like one”. But I don’t think of them as animals. Spend time with animals and you can learn to relate with them. To most of you, criminals are as alien as supernatural beings. The best analogy is with werewolves. We all know that werewolves are mythical creatures that exist only in the minds of the scriptwriters, they make you tingle with excitement in the movie theatre, but you don’t have to fear that one is going to bite you on the way home.

Most people still feel that way about violent criminals; until they meet one, they simply don’t exist. You might say I believe in werewolves. If so, it’s because I’ve met them. One of them just sits there across the desk in the prison office and says, “I’ve always maintained my innocence”. His eyes are slate-gray, and he has learned to stare people down like Kipling’s Mowgli staring down the wolf pack, and he can’t keep a mocking hint of a sneer off his face when he speaks of the crime he was convicted for. One senior officer at the prison where he is serving his life term says of him, “He’s a model prisoner. We’ve never had any trouble with him, and we probably never will. He’s bright and articulate. And he is possibly the single most dangerous human being in this institution”. He says, he was setup and railroaded on circumstantial evidence.

The police think he’s a psychopathic killer who is so good at covering up his hideous murders that they’ll never convict him for more than the one. He’s bright and engaging and informative to talk to, and when I’m alone in an interview room with him, I keep my hands free and my chair back from the desk so I can move fast, just as if a strange Doberman had walked into the room. The kinds of werewolves I’ve met carry their fangs in their belts or their pockets (almost never in holsters, so they can ditch their weapons immediately with no evidence attached to their persons). They react less to full moons than to bellies full of alcohol or a couple of days doing speed or three weeks without sex or three days without money.

Psychiatrists call them sociopath. Sociopaths don�t really care about other people one-way or the other. They see people as a resource, as food as it were. They will steal your belongings the way you devour an apple, feeling good afterward having sated their appetite, and with absolutely no regard for the feelings of the apple tree that grew the bounty and left it where it could be harvested. Being a sociopath isn’t necessarily bad. There are times when society deliberately trains sociopath since they can serve extremely useful functions. If a conglomerate has just taken over a marginally profitable firm and has to clear out a lot of deadwood, they’ll send in a personnel executive who can be ruthless about firing people who don’t produce. He hasn’t spent fifteen years at work and at play with the people he’s firing, and if it occurs to him that this loss of their jobs will be the most shattering act in their lives short of the death of a child or parent or spouse, he sloughs it off. He is doing it impersonally, for the greater good of the corporation.

In wartime, every soldier on the battlefield has been taught that the enemy is subhuman or nonhuman, a target to be destroyed in return for recognition (medals, favored assignments, and promotions for those producing the highest body count). The tragedy of the foreigner’s death, of the widowhood of his wife, and the orphaning of his children, is ignored. The soldier kills wholesale for the greater good of his unit, and is rewarded by his own survival and that of his nation. That soldier’s own generals will send him to die, because they know that there is a certain “acceptable casualty rate” when the death of one’s own compatriots is accompanied by strategic victory. The general sends his men to die for the greater good of the service, and the head of state that commands the general endorses this act for the greater good and survival of his government and his society. The dead soldiers on their own side are ciphers. The dead soldiers on the other side are body count and victory, with tangible rewards in terms of national riches and security and of forestalling the advances of Communism/Capitalist Imperialism (pick one).

In corporate head-rollings, the suffering jobless disappear from sight, and all that remains is the relief and good feelings of those who still have their jobs and are still occupationally alive. The sociopath outlaw who commits crime against another person feels those same justifications. He does it for the greater good of himself; the suffering of his victims doesn’t concern him. He is isolated from it. He feels he has his own problems that drove him to this life-style; the agony he causes for others is simply their problem. The average person could not identify with murdering for profit. The sociopath criminal will do so with no more compunction than the manager of your local MacDonald’s makes his order for the week’s hamburger. Each is doing what he perceives his job to be, and if some living thing dies for it, that is a problem for the thing that dies, not for him.

Consider another one of the “model prisoners” a young man who we will call “Ronnie”. Ronnie is around twenty-nine, a congenial person with a raffish air about him. Everybody who chats with him likes him. Ronnie is in a maximum-security prison where he’s going to be for quite some time, because Ronnie has done a lot of sociopath things in his life. Ronnie tells me about how he makes his living as a professional burglar, home invader and car thief when he’s “outside the walls”. I asked Ronnie what he would do if he faced an ARMED homeowner. “If neither of us had drawn yet, I’d draw and shoot him. If I had my gun out and he went for his, I’d kill him. If he had the drop on me, I’d wait till he turned away, and then I’d pull my gun and shoot him”. “What if, I asked, the homeowner didn’t give him an opening”? “I’d let the coppers come and take me back to prison”, he said. “I’m not stupid enough to get myself killed”.

If Ronnie comes into my house when I’m there, he’ll either threaten me with death or actually kill me, since I�m sure won’t be inviting him over for a drink. And if I ever come home and find Ronnie there, I will violate every one of societies rules and, if I could, shoot him down on sight. He is the wolf, and I am the shepherd. It is one thing to grieve for the loss of natural ecology for arctic and timber wolves, and quite another to be responsible for the sheep that they kill. Timber wolves are wild and free and they love their families, and if you could get to know them you’d like them. All that is true of Ronnie, too. I feel sorry for the wolves in the zoo and for Ronnie in prison. But I know that their instinct is to kill my sheep, and if they try to, I’ll destroy them, just as they would me if they got the drop on me first. Pogo said, “We have seen the enemy, and they is us”. That’s something that crosses every citizen’s mind when he gets bitten by someone like Ronnie and decides that it isn’t going to happen anymore. But we don’t wont to be like them.

Those who want to ban guns make the point that burglars and home invaders kill more homeowners than vice versa. That’s only because the criminals come in ready to kill anyone who messes with them, like Ronnie, and some of them have a bit of rogue leopard in them and kill just for fun Homeowners, by contrast, don’t kill unless they have absolutely no choice. When a Ronnie runs, they don’t shoot him in the back, the way Ronnie might do to them. Ronnie isn’t afraid of silver bullets or garlic or anything else except either two Dobermans at once, or a gun held on him that doesn’t waver and that he knows is going to go off if he turns mean.

These predatory people don’t think like you. They aren’t people like you. They are a different breed. Talk to doctors and psychiatrists and lawyers and parole officers. These are all people who understand the criminal mind. They’ll be reluctant to talk about the full depths of what they know until they know you a lot better, because they think you’ll say, “Come on, there really aren’t beings like you’re describing except on TV and in the movies”.

But if you could look into the list of registered holders of pistol-carrying permits for a city like New York you’ll find that their doctors and psychiatrists, probation officers, judges and lawyers, are among the highest occupational categories of people who carry guns for self-defense where it is permitted by law. This is because they work every day with the sort of people we are talking about. They have seen the face of the enemy and they are indeed frightened. They arm themselves with guns/guards/dogs/alarms because they also know what fends off the sociopath werewolves from their city’s streets.

Call a guard dog breeder, in any city, any state and any country and ask him how many of his clients are doctors and lawyers and judges. It’s not just because they can afford the money.

Those of us who have dealt with hardened criminals know them better than anyone else. We also, even more than the bleeding heart pseudo penologists, understand just what a rotten hand they were dealt even before they got to prison, let alone after they got out again, too. I’ve spent a lot of time researching them. I can empathize with the wolves and the werewolves, however. They follow their nature, the dark animal side that resides in us all, the way they were bred, then into an environment and a shape they didn’t choose for themselves. They are predatory and carnivorous and protective of their own. They are in effect a slave to their genes. But if one of them gets out of his cage and comes after me or mine, I know that the only effective way to stop him is to shoot him. I know that, and the wolf knows that, and if the wolf senses that it’s going to go down that way, it’s probably not going to come after me or mine at all.

� Copyright Michael KAY 1997.

The Will to Survive

THE WILL TO SURVIVE

Shots are fired! One offender is down, and three police officers are wounded. Another armed offender appears in the doorway, and two of the officers, stunned at the sight of their wounds, are unable to defend themselves. But, the third officer fights on, firing until the second subject is incapacitated.

This scenario could be an excerpt from a movie, but unfortunately, it is all too real. Each day, law enforcement officers across the Nation face life-and-death situations.

Can law enforcement officers encounter a life-threatening, violent confrontation and go home at the end of the day? Do they have the will to survive and fight on when faced with death? The answers to these questions go beyond combat tactics and accuracy with a weapon. One element is still missing: Survivability–the mental preparation and personal will to survive.

In 1991 the Operations Resource and Assessment Unit (ORAU) at the FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia, USA, conducted a pilot study and sought expert opinions in order to identify the human attributes associated with survivability. This article will discuss the available background research and will review the FBI’s findings.

BACKGROUND RESEARCH

In the media, astronauts and pilots have often been referred to as having “the right stuff”–personality characteristics that would aid their survival in critical situations. In fact, as part of their ongoing research, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Texas attempted to identify “right stuff” personality traits in pilot selection. As a result, the following two prominent personality orientations were linked with successful pilot behavior under dangerous flying conditions:

  • (1)�� Goal-oriented behavior, and (2) the capacity to empathize with others.

Combat psychiatry also offers insight into human performance under battle conditions. Research in this area has examined the causes and prevention of combat stress reaction (CSR) in relation to surviving life-threatening circumstances. CSR, sometimes referred to as “battle fatigue” prevents soldiers from fighting and may be theoretically viewed as behavior that opposes survival.

Further research identified leadership, devotion to duty, decisiveness, and perseverance under stress as significant attributes. And, in his studies into the area of survivability, S.E. Hobfol states, “…counting your losses when preserving resources is fatal….”. In essence, preoccupation with thoughts about loss may negatively affect one’s capacity to survive a possibly lethal confrontation. Thus, merely avoiding thoughts associated with loss may enhance survivability.

This concept of preserving resources can be exemplified best through the comments of Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired). Hathcock is credited with 93 confirmed kills as a sniper during two combat tours in South Vietnam.

A soft-spoken, unassuming man of honor, Hathcock compared his behavior just prior to and during an operation as isolating himself into an “invisible bubble”. This state of mind would “block thoughts of physiological needs, home, family, etc., except the target”. The amount of time in the “bubble,” lasting from a few hours to several consecutive days, depended not only on the circumstances surrounding his objective but also on adjusting to conditions where a trivial mistake could cost him his life. As he reflected on his distinguished military career, Hathcock also mentioned a number of other attributes he considered necessary for survival. Among these were patience, discipline, and the ability to concentrate completely on a specific task.

THEORY

Cognitive/behavioral psychological theory offers insight into the benefits of mentally rehearsing possible reactions to life-threatening situations. According to one theory, developing a plan of action could enhance one’s perception of effectiveness, and therefore, affect an officer’s ability to survive. In fact, as A. Bandura states:

“People who believe they can exercise control over potential threats do not conjure up apprehensive cognitions and, therefore, are not perturbed by them….those who believe they cannot manage potential threats experience high levels of stress and anxiety arousal. They tend to dwell on their coping deficiencies and view many aspects of their environment as fraught with danger. Through some inefficacious thought they distress themselves and constrain and impair their level of functioning”.

C.R. Skillen provides a classic example of cognitive rehearsal in law enforcement. According to Skillen, successful patrol officers imagine the best approach to emergencies that could occur during a tour of duty. They then decide upon the best and fastest route from one location to another, should the need arise. These Officers also imagine “what if” situations and develop effective responses in case a similar confrontation occurs.

This type of cognitive rehearsal activity has proven to be effective in relieving fears and in enhancing performance in stressful encounters. However, mental preparation can work against officers who believe that if shot, they will certainly die. When reinforced by appropriate training and one’s value system, these attributes and behaviors may provide a law enforcement officer with the ability to survive a life-threatening situation.

FBI’S RESEARCH AND PRELIMINARY FINDINGS

Behavior identified in the background research and theoretically linked to survivability was later summarized to develop a pilot study questionnaire. The FBI then distributed this questionnaire in late 1989 and early 1990 to a broad group of Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers attending the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, USA. The questionnaire was also administered at work or training sites in Illinois and California. In all, a total of 207 questionnaires were administered and completed.

QUESTIONNAIRE

The questionnaire asked respondents to rank various behaviors and traits, developed from background research. Not all the behaviors and traits are associated with law enforcement, but everyone has been linked to survival. Ranking ranged from little or no importance to extremely important. Law enforcement officers rated each factor in terms of its overall importance for effective performance in a short-term, violent law enforcement confrontation. Effective performance was defined as a violent confrontation that requires a lawful, combative response where the officer continued to function even though the final outcome could be death for the officer or adversary.

FINDINGS

Analyses of the pilot study data revealed the items listed below as those perceived to be most critical to officer survival. The items appear in order of importance, except for items (3) through (5), which are of equal value.

  • (1)�� Self-confidence in performance–The officer’s belief that a critical task can be performed effectively with a high probability of success.

  • (2)�� Training–The officer’s belief that prior training has been effective, and if applied, will increase the possibility of survival in deadly confrontations.

  • (3)�� Effectiveness in combat–The officer’s mental frame of reference in which the officer can visualize victory in a deadly confrontation.

  • (4)�� Decisiveness–The Officer’s ability to make rapid and accurate decisions when confronted with a critical situation.

  • (5)�� Perseverance under stress–The officer’s ability to continue to perform critical tasks mentally and physically when confronted with stressful situations.

PSYCHOLOGY OF CONFRONTATION

There was a popular country song that talked about being a lover, not a fighter. And I think that’s true for most people, including Police Officers. No one wants to hurt anybody. Police become hardened to street values over time, but it’s not human nature.

Yet, the Police are told they have the authority and responsibility to do whatever is necessary to protect and to serve our citizenry.

During wartime, a soldier’s mind is conditioned to hate the enemy. He’s the one who gassed our men in the trenches, sank the hospital ships, torpedoed the ferry in Sydney harbor, blitzed Poland, bombed Pearl Harbor, crossed the 49th Parallel, and invaded those nice people in South Viet Nam.He set up concentration camps and death camps to slaughter the Jews, raped the women, killed the children, tortured prisoners, and committed all kinds of atrocities for which he deserves to DIE. But the soldier is either at home in a rear echelon or he’s in the battlefield. He can�t be in both at the same time. But for the policeman, the rear echelon is the battlefield.

You might pull over the little old lady who ran a red light and a few minutes later face a terrorist group robbing a bank with automatic weapons. The policeman is one minute a father figure and the next an “exterminator”. What does that do to a cop’s head? Andrew Casavant of the Midwest Tactical Training Institute in the USA has pondered this question, queried qualified psychiatrists and psychologists, let me share with you his consensus.

Mental perspectives are critical to your surviving any confrontation. And these mental attitudes must be habitual, instinctive. All the physical skills in the world will be fruitless if your head is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Physical skills alone do not insure success.

There are a host of elements that insure your success in a confrontation, beyond the simple attributes of ability, power, speed, strength, balance, and reaction time. These elements are to be found in your mind. Merely knowing remembering, or attempting defensive control techniques will neither defuse an assault nor guarantee your personal protection. Mental conditioning is as necessary as the physical involvement.

According to Casavant. Violent confrontations require the participants to be involved both physically and mentally. You must react with both mind and body if you are to be effective. Without the mental involvement, the physical technique is less effective, or totally useless. If you aren’t mentally prepared, you are as useless as the little old lady who knows nothing will ever happen to her.

Mental preparedness, mental conditioning, the mental trigger, it has been called many things. But what does it mean? The mentality that one needs to survive must begin at an early time and continue throughout training until the thoughts and subsequent actions become habitual even in combat.

How do you develop this mentality and maintain it? Of what importance is it in confrontational situation? Casavant’s theory is that before you can become physically skilful in defensive control techniques, there must be a transition from “what was” to “what is”.

“What was” is how one views his past experience and perspectives on use of force in dealing with physical assaults. Before you became a cop, your life experiences were hardly aggressive. Now, those experiences interfere with your new role as a law enforcer.

“What is” reflects the environment in which you now operate. The Marquis of Queensberry rules don’t matter any more. There’s no referee to count to ten. No umpire to confirm that was a strike. There isn’t even a union arbitrator to negotiate your grievances. Once you accept the fact that no one is there to call the shots, to help out, you are well on the way to understanding what mental awareness is, and how it can enhance your physical skills. Even if help is by your side, they likely won’t or can�t do what needs to be done. You’ve got to take care of Number One: yourself.

What mentality is needed to insure your survival? Casavant has organized these attitudes in terms of what you face on the street.

ALERTNESS

Alertness is the overriding theme. If you’re not ready when it’s time to act, your skills won’t help. Presume that you can and probably will be assaulted. You immediately assess the threat. That’s part of awareness, an awareness of where you are in relation to all things in your environment.

It’s a fact that most people are unaware of their surroundings. Why should you be any different? Yes, training and experience prepares you. That can give you an edge. But only if you recognize what you are up against. Jeff Cooper, a well-known combat shooting instructor in the United States came up with a color code scheme that police trainers have adopted with fervour.

Color Codes

  1. WHITE: When you are home watching television, sleepwalking, totally unaware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, this is where most of the population spends its time. This is having the “victim” mentality, Casavant says; the “I cant believe it’s happening to me” syndrome.

  1. YELLOW: Now you are aware of your surroundings. You are relaxed but alert. You anticipate, rather than expect, something to happen. You are simply prepared.

  1. ORANGE: Now you are aware of something specific in your surroundings that have caught your attention. Perhaps it will be a threat. You analyze the threat potential and potential risks to you and others.

  1. RED: You are ready to do what needs to be done. You may decide to move in or back off, depending on the circumstance. But do you have a plan? If you don’t, you’ll probably lose, unless Lady Luck is sitting in your corner. If you do, your reaction will be quick and sure.

  1. BLACK: You’ve got no choice. An assault is in progress. If you aren’t mentally prepared, you PANIC. You must go from White (totally unaware) to Black (he shoots) in a fraction of a second. If you haven’t followed the crucial self-training of always anticipating an attack, you add to the sad statistics. With anticipation comes preparedness. It is critical to your survival that your own attitude is to be prepared when your wildest anticipation comes true.

DECISIVENESS

Once you commit to a reaction to a threat, be decisive about it, Casavant says. Hesitation, when the situation calls for action, can be fatal. A mind cluttered with liability issues, department policies, and other such diversions, will cause hesitation when you need to ACT. Make up your mind about those “what if” things beforehand, so that your decision is already made when the situation arises. When you are called upon to act, you can. When the compliant “yes” person turns into a “maybe”, then resists, he’s a “no” person. You have to do something. Whatever you decide to do, DO IT.

AGGRESSIVENESS

You’ve decided to do it. so do it like you mean it. Be aggressive. You decide on a course of action-to apply a pain compliance technique, to use enough force to make it work. If you draw your baton, USE IT, hard-and properly. Don’t pussyfoot around. End the confrontation with whatever force is necessary, as quickly as you can. This minimizes the risks to all involved. But “aggressiveness” must be taught. It’s not our human nature. And certainly not the nature of smaller statued male or petite female officers. You must learn to be assertive. That’s part of defensive tactics training.

SPEED

To execute any defensive tactics technique, to gain the advantage of surprise, you must act quickly. Speed is essential. First, speed of thought. Don’t stop to ask yourself if he really meant to swing that lead pipe at you. Quick thinking is as important as quick hands or feet. Without speed of thought actions are simply movements with no direction.

CALMNESS

Remaining cool and calm in any confrontation, both mentally and physically, is paramount to success. Through realistic training, you must learn to control your emotions through such sound physiological principles as adrenalin flow and respiration. When you are involved in defending yourself or others, the seriousness of the situation is under your control. If you can decide a confrontation quickly and without injury, you minimize the seriousness of the attack. Controlling yourself lets you control the situation before it gets out of hand or controls you.

RUTHLESSNESS

While it seems harsh, ruthlessness has a place in describing the mentality of a conflict. Ruthless means that we will win, and we will do whatever it takes to win, and survive. We will continue to fight, even if hurt, and we will never give up. When the situation calls for it, we will get “junkyard dog mean”.

Ruthlessness is a state of mind that must be short lived. If you can�t let go after the need for force is past, you’re being brutal. Being ruthless. when you must be ruthless, gives you the spirit for combat.

SURPRISE

If you strike when least expected take your assailant down without warning, you gain the element of surprise. And that makes your technique even more effective.

PERSPECTIVE ON DEFENCE

The psychology of personal protection is neither sensational nor lackadaisical. It is as intense and as serious as your motivation for professionalism. it does not lie in peer attitudes or department requirements (if any). The responsibility is yours. Only you will determine your ability to respond to a threat. If you achieve the tactical transition of mind and body, of skill and psyche, you will succeed. You will survive. Your desire to learn will determine your capacity for learning. If the class you attend is a “requirement”, you might not get much out of it. If you recognize that the class may help you get home to your wife after work, you will benefit. Do you want to win and survive? Training is a small price to pay to develop the skills and habits that enable you to win and survive. The old adage that you will do under stress what you’ve trained to do is really not quite correct. You will probably perform much worse in a serious confrontation than you ever did in training. So, to survive a street confrontation, you need to continually exercise the skills you learned in class. And you can do it in your head.

MENTAL EXERCISES

Suppose that little old lady were to swing her umbrella at your head. What would you do? Imagine yourself doing what you need to do to parry her blow. Suppose someone leaped out from the dark corner with a gun in his hand. What would you do? Draw and shoot? Or dive for cover? and where is the cover?

If you can actually see yourself going through the motions of your newly learned techniques, it will improve your ability to respond quickly. While there’s no substitute for good, hard, comprehensive physical practice, you still need the mental conditioning to enhance your response and keep you alert in more mundane circumstances.

Mental conditioning requires you to practice in as realistic a situation as possible. Draw on your own experience, or that of others, as scenarios for mental exercises.

The one emotion you can t conceive is the one that makes the greatest difference in a real threat FEAR. Unlike fights on television, real confrontations aren’t logical, patterned, give-and-take brawls. They are a flurry of hitting and screaming, kicking and shoving. You must mentally train for the attack that is certain to be sudden, vicious, and perhaps overwhelming.

KINDS OF REACTIONS

Confrontational opponents can be categorized by their way of thinking. So can we. The bully is mechanical. He intimidates by brute strength. But the guy who thinks about what he’s doing is intellectual. He’s unpredictable. When someone grabs the gun on your right hip, handgun retention might teach you to secure the gun in the holster with your left hand, cock your right arm and CHOP to the rear as you turn to the right. That gets the offender’s hand off your gun fast.

However you could turn to the left instead, the grabber’s hand would have forced the trigger guard back under the shroud retaining the gun, as the Officer’s left forearm delivered a blow to the offender’s head. Now I’m not saying one procedure is better than the other. Both can be correct. The one that works is the right one. While you must repeat the mechanical routines time and again to make them habitual, you must never hesitate to change your strategy to accommodate the situation. Situations aren’t scripted, they develop minute to minute, in an infinite variety. If you practiced parrying the pipe swung by a right-hander, you’d better be flexible enough to switch if the offender is left handed.

PLAN

When a situation first presents itself, your mental conditioning is anticipating the subject’s first move and planning a countermove by positioning, blocking, or attacking. Your mind runs like a machine gun, thinking of all the possible moves he might make and how you would respond. But what do you do next?

Focusing on the most probable attack he might make, you counter; and then you should be thinking two or three steps ahead so you have an alternative, should your first attempt fail.

The prevailing mentality today is much as it is portrayed in cowboy movies. The marshal waits for the bad guy to draw first. We wait to be attacked before we can defend. If this person is challenging us and threatens a grievous assault, why wait? Surprise him. Gain the initiative and prevent his assault. It might convince him his challenge was a bad idea. If it doesn’t, you’ve got him at a disadvantage. You’ve taken the initiative away from him. You’ve let him know that you have the advantage. Make him realize the risk to HIM of pursuing his aggressive behavior. Human behaviorists call it “risk aversion”. When someone recognizes the high risk of doing something, he avoids doing it.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of all this is for you to realize that violent confrontations and personal defense can involve more than just the physical element. You need a mental awareness of every aspect. Training, applied successfully in real life, builds confidence and confidence enhances your ability to handle an adversary puts to you.

DISCUSSION

The concept of survivability represents a dynamic set of behaviors that should be considered in relation to certain law enforcement environments. Life-threatening events associated with uniformed patrol, undercover operations, SPG operations, hostage response and other specific hazardous law enforcement missions, require personnel who can survive the virulent stressors associated with these unique operations.

Self-confidence in performance, training, effectiveness in combat, decisiveness, and perseverance under stress were identified in this pilot study as tantamount to law enforcement officer survival. Officers should be offered the chance to undertake further training focusing on the five behaviors mentioned previously that are most often associated with survivability. It is hoped that law enforcement officers who have been exposed to such training opportunities will increase their potential for survival in life-or-death situations. Only through proper training in behaviors that ensure survival can law enforcement prepare to meet the anticipated occupational challenges of the future.

Part of the Departments responsibilities can also be addressed by ensuring all Officers have confidence in their equipment (firearms) and suitable training to go with along with it.

� Copyright Michael KAY 1997.

Lever Actions – Survival FAQ’s

Lever actions have always been my all time favorite firearm. I’ve come across several very good articles on modifications to (1887 shottie’s, Win 94, Marlins), maintenance, loading, calibres, history, work shop manuals/parts diagrams and spare parts to keep and thought I’d post them all in one place so they would be easier to locate.�

1887 Lever Action Modifications�
http://www.coyotecap.com/index1.htm

(Updated, January 2nd. 2008) – – We have made changes to the text on a lot of the problems and those changes are TYPED in RED. There is a new change to the “Two Shot Feeding System” of the IAC M-87w-20 and our own M-87wcse-18, called a “Top Gun Action”. These changes were originally SASS approved, but because the factory changed the SASS approved specifications for the “Two Shot Feeding” system, in an attempt to prevent a possible warranty situation (from buyers that did not understand why the carrier would stop at the 3/4 down position), we have been forced to return to the original specifications and we call this change, (which is actually a major internal improvement from factory) a “Top Gun Action”, which is a return to what was originally approved by SASS, so that each M-87 would operate to it’s maximum capabilities.�

There are some new problems found on ejection of the last shell on the “Standard” 1887w-20. Please scroll down to problem #7 and the cure for the problem. �

New 87 buyers planning on using the “Holy Black”, please contact us about opening up your chamber from 12 ga. to 11-7/8 ga. prior to shipping the shotgun out to you. In testing, we have experienced some extraction/ejection problems using Black Powder in plastic hulls and 65gr. ffg.�

The problems listed below have mostly appeared in the early ’05 guns and now some “06’s” as well. We’ve yet to find very many major issues with the CC-06 special editions, Sorry for the delays, but we have to go through every gun for quality control from Chinese assembly. This takes about 5-1/2 time per gun. �

1887 Standard Model, Lever Action Problems: To date, (02 Jan 08.) I have found (35) separate problems in these new guns that need to be corrected. Some more difficult to cure than others, so please be patient and work slowly when applying a cure. �

1. Inspection of frame construction: look for blue blotches in a reddish colored frame. If the blotches are close to the lever pivot pin area, and you have already purchased the gun, my suggestion is to take the gun to metal working shop that can perform die penetrate or x-ray inspection to look for cracks in the casting.�

Cure: if the casting is cracked, you will need to replace the frame.�

2. Take off the butt stock and inspect for lever lock spring contact in the underside of the tang inletting. The stock shop supervisor inletted the stocks to “87” specs, forgetting I had the lock mechanism from the “01” modified to fit an “87” – – thus the lever locking spring contacts the bottom of the wood.�

Cure: re-inlet the tang grove so the spring cannot contact the wood anymore.�

3. The lever lock spring screw is loose, as long as you have the stock off, you may as well modify the spring to relieve some of the locking pressure and tighten the screw. This screw has been loose on over 800 M-87’s we have inspected to date.�

4. The triggers on EVERY new “87” where incorrectly manufactured for the new pivoting lever. They do not slide in the lever groove to prevent an out-of-battery hammer drop. (not a dangerous situation, as the “87” has a radius bolt design as compared to an in-line bolt design of a “97” pump, and as such, the firing pin of the “87” is never in alignment with the primer until the bolt is over 90% closed). Not a real problem, just annoying if someone could get the trigger to pull before the lock-up clicks shut.�

Cure: Bend the base of the trigger down and the tip to the trigger up. Problem goes away.(New note). When you bend the front tip of the trigger, it is not necessary to take the trigger out of the gun. Simply open the lever till the hammer and sear are no longer visible, but still supporting the base of the trigger. Place the barrel on a carpet, (muzzle down), and use a fairly heavy hammer to simply tap the underside of the trigger at the “hook” and the trigger will bend upwards very easily. The trigger will also now clear the straps of the leather lever wrap.�

While on the trigger subject, notice the small screw on the top of the tang, (in front of the serial numbers). This screw is the trigger spring screw, and I found that it can also adjust the trigger pull and not work loose. If you want a 5lb. (factory) trigger, tighten the screw down. To adjust the trigger to about 2-1/2 to 3 lbs., simply turn the screw counter-clockwise about 1/3 to 1/2 of a turn and try the trigger again – – (nice, isn’t it?)�

5. The pivoting lever is incorrectly manufactured on a great many of the new “87’s”, and because of the loose tolerances of the two parts, when the action is operated, the loose parts can pinch your finger very badly – – badly enough to take a huge chunk out of the inside of your middle finger or the underside of you trigger finger (depending if you operate the lever with your finger inside the lever or outside the lever), the result will draw some blood. �

Cure: Install leather covers (correctly) over the pivoting levers exposed parts and pivot pin, and do this as a safety addition. (See #6 note below)�

6. The leather lever wraps are incorrectly installed on EVERY new “87” (from the factory). The leather wraps when incorrectly installed, are nothing more than cosmetic and almost useless. The leather lever wraps where brought to China from Wisconsin, to show the Chinese exactly what I wanted, AND WHY! �

Cure: The leather wraps have to be installed around the pivot area, to protect your fingers (and help prevent the lever pin from coming out under use) and this requires the two long tails (straps) to go through the trigger guard and under the trigger, necessitating the trigger to be modified to clear the leather straps. (see problem #4 and cure). The leather straps now clear the trigger.�

7. Check over each gun to be assured the left and right extractors are not installed incorrectly and the firing pin is protruding through the bolt, holding the rim from flipping and thus not releasing from the left and right extractors. This will cause stove piping, and failure to eject. New problem found.�

The left side of the carrier, (knockdown plate contact area), has been ground away too far on several guns, and this problem will cause the last round to stovepipe.�

Cure: The left side of the carrier needs to either be replaced, or the portion that the bolt knockdown plate contacts, has to be (low-amp) wire feed welded, back to blueprint specifications. The reason is because the left side of the carrier helps in the ejection of the last round. This is what causes the last round to pitch to the right and over your shoulder, (for right handed shooters), and has to be modified for left handed shooters, (to pitch the spent hull to the left, instead of the right).�

If this is not done, a spent hull can hit you between the eyes (against your safety glasses).�

The following is a continuation of the “stove piping problem of the last round ejection.�

Cure: The Left extractor has one flat area that mates up with the spring and plunger. That flat area should be angled slightly inwards, so to put more pressure on the left extractor. The bottom 1/2 of that extractor “hook”, should be removed, so as to release the rim of the spent hull at about the 1/2 way of bolt arc travel (radius bolt).�

Cure: The Right extractor needs to move up and down VERY easily, almost 1/2 inch, in an arc movement to grab the spent hull at the 1/2 way mark and continue the extraction. Then at the end of travel, the right extractor has to release the spent hull (every time), and to do this, you need to remove 1/2 the bottom area of the rim hook and cut (about) 1-1/2 coils off the spring, then make sure the V channel that the extractor glides in, does not have a ridge left in it from the factory milling machine operator. The right extractor needs to have two flat areas where the plunger can flip the extractor up and down very easily and a small channel needs to be cut into the base area where the extractor plunger glides over the two flat surfaces. The plunger also needs to be rounded and smooth so it can glide from one flat spot to the other, without restriction.�

Lots and lots of high polishing is needed on all parts in this area and keep the extractors well oiled.�

8. A great many of these guns have too much metal taken off the bottom of the left side carrier ejector cam, causing poor ejection of the last round fired, resulting in a another stove piping condition.�

Cure: Open the action, remove both the left and right carrier screws, then reach inside and pull out the carriers. The left side cam is the problem. The cam is the part that sticks into an oval slot in the right side of the carrier. When you look closely at the cam itself, it also is supposed to be oval in shape. The problem was caused by an assembly worker, not understanding why the new two shot feeding system ejector, does not work well, and thought that the ejector cam was the problem, when in fact, the failure of the extractors to release the last round (spent hull) is most likely the real cause and not the ejector cam.�

This problem can only be cured by replacing the filed off metal of the cam, by low-amp wire feed welding. This process may require taking the carrier in and out several times in order to get the cam shape correct. I have found the majority of the problems to almost always be on the bottom 1/2 of the ejector cam.�

9. The right carrier pivot screw hole, countersunk too far. Tightening the right screw down, will lock-up the action, or at least cause the cycling of the action to become very stiff, if this condition is evident. The reason, because the screw threads go through the frame and contact the pivot hole of the carrier, and tightening the screw down, causes the threads to push the carrier inward and will make the action very stiff to cycle.�

Cure: take out the right side carrier and countersink the pivot hole to compensate for the factory countersinking the hole too far. I saw the cause at the factory, when the person doing the hole drilling into the frame, (using a jig), would first drill the left hole and countersink it, then not blow out the shavings. The frame was then turned over to drill and countersink the right side hole, and the metal shavings would fall under the frame, and raise it up on the jig, thus causing the countersink hole to become too deep and when putting the screw into the gun and tightening them down, the threads would contact the carrier and lock the gun up. Because so many of the frames were countersunk too far, the “06” models (should) have the carriers already countersunk, so those of you with “06” models should not experience this problem.�

One other problem in this area is the amount of “lock-Tite” used to secure the screws. We have found some screws so tight we could not get them out. The reason was soon found to be the threads were stripped and then the screw was epoxied into place, so the gun could not be taken apart. This problem turned out to be fairly serious and I actually got a little angry about it, because I had to drill and tap a new hole and machine a pivot screw to fit – – which would render the gun operable, but no longer of a factory standard issue and the gun would have to be sold at a discount or donated to a SASS club.�

10. The left carrier (second shell stop cam), incorrectly angled. This problem can be identified when the second round on the carrier, flies out of the gun along with the ejected first round.�

Cure: Take out the carriers and the bolt, then while on your work-bench, align the carrier halves on each side of the bolt and observe the tip of the left carrier. It is supposed to have a cam angle on it, to match a cam angle at the top (left side) of the bolt radius. Check the bolt first to see if there is a burr in the cam area, as we have found this to be the main problem. Mate the two areas, so that when the lever is cycled fully open, those two cam angles will cause the left side of the carrier to pitch to the right and stop the second shell from coming out with the spent hull of the first round.�

This is part of the timing system, and unless you are pretty sure of what you are doing, best leave this for one of the cowboy gunsmiths, or someone VERY familiar with the timing of an 87 lever action. The reason is that there are several timing areas on the lever and carriers, and all of these need to work together for the gun to operate successfully, without a problem.�

11. The bolt (left side, under the left extractor) to carrier knock-down plate usually has a loose screw causing a jammed action. This problem can be identified by looking closely at the left side of the bolt, with the action 1/2 way closed, there is a flat plate under the left extractor, that is loose and not contacting the left side of the carrier correctly, to knock it down. That small plate will go either inside or outside of the left side carrier, causing a jam and locking the action up.�

Cure: Remove the carrier and bolt, tighten the screw and then peen it down, so it cannot come loose or come out again. There is no reason to remove the knock-down plate for cleaning, etc.�

12. The magazine tube and follower are sometimes machining incorrectly, and not holding the carrier fully up. (This problem is very similar in nature to the AWA (Lightning) carrier dropping down as soon as the bolt is moved forward, the carrier drops). This problem can be seen by opening the action fully, and observing the carrier (with the lever held firmly, full forward). The carrier should be tight. Because it is held by the right side lever cam screw. As soon as you take the forward pressure off of the lever, the carrier drops down just enough to cause the next round, not to chamber, (because the carrier is too low). The carrier then goes loose and can move up and down at least a 1/4″. The mag tube follower is supposed to hold the carrier up to feed ammo, while the action is closing.�

Cure: Either get the follower to go into the frame deeper, by machining the follower stop ring (deeper) on the inside of the frame, which allows the follower to go in farther, or simply use a low amp wire feed welder to add two spot welds to the bottom front of the right side carrier.�

13. Coming soon – – “Two Shot Feeding System” incorrectly installed from the factory. Workers “flattened” the nose of the longer ejector, so each gun would work normally. The nose and underside of each ejector needs to be modified to become operable.�

Cure: Using a Dremel tool, with a round diamond cutting wheel, trim the left and right corners of the ejector to fit better in the mag tube follower ‘hole”. Be sure to bevel the underside, so that the ejector will release itself from the follower, when empty of ammo, or when closing the action with one round.�

TOP GUN ACTION to the 87 lever action�

I have a new modification to IMPROVE my patented and SASS APPROVED “Two Shot Feeding System” that I now call the “TOP GUN” ACTION, which is pretty difficult to explain in writing, suffice to say, the change is one that puts back into each gun, that what was approved by SASS. The “Top Gun Action” allows the shooter the opportunity to no longer have to be so gentle when reloading the gun with two shells, (one on top of the other). For more information, please call in (507) 685-4511 �

14. Follower is very rough, causing carrier to stick up or down, however, if the gun ejects the last round very well, leave the follower rough so the carrier can come up very suddenly. If not, then see cure below..�

Cure: Take the follower out of the mag tube, put the follower onto a wooden dowel to hold the follower and allow it to spin on a belt sander and polishing wheels.�

15. Ejector nose is too flat, holding the top shell too high.�

Cure: remove the carriers and using a Dremel diamond cutting tool; angle the nose of the ejector slightly, to allow the ejector to drop down just a bit more, so the round will not be too high.�

16. Bottom of the frame opening incorrectly cut to hold carrier to feed the mag tube.�

Cure: completely disassemble the shotgun, so you have access to the frame opening from the bottom. Using a flat faced (fine) file, file away the frame material, until the carrier drops all the way down in the frame, without contact. �

17. Carrier stop screw cut-out on carrier too deep, allowing carrier to go too high.�

Cure: you will need to low-amp wire feed weld the carrier cut-out notch for the stop screw, then grind and hone the cut-out notch to hold the carrier at the correct height.�

18. Right extractor cam screw and right extractor, not mating properly, causing a hic-cup when closing the action with or without shells in the gun.�

Cure: Take the small forward cam screw out of the frame and watch the right extractor as it comes into view in the hole, then using a small tipped magic marker, put the tip into the hole so to make a mark on the extractor where it is hitting the screw head. Then take the gun apart, take out the bolt and modify the underside (cam portion) of the left extractor to create a “ramp” when the extractor contacts the cam screw – – – hic-cup goes away!�

19. Left extractor catching inside of chamber, jamming gun when empty (bad bolt milling).�

Cure: take out the left extractor, and put a very small spot weld on the backside of the extractor. Then hone down that spot weld, until the left extractor stays outside the extractor slot in the chamber. Keep in mind, the amount of welding and honing determines the shell rim holding of the extractor, so you may have to take the gun apart and put it together again, several times before you get it right.�

20. Right cartridge guide screw (two shot system) too long, or drilled and tapped too deep.�

Cure: grind off the bottom of the screw end to clear the bolt better and then (while installed) taper the leading edge of the screw, so a cartridge crimp cannot get hung up on the screw, but will guide the shell into the chamber. This is the reason for the screw in the first place.�

21. #3 front sight bead incorrectly installed – – most of the time, leaning off to the right.�

Cure: two cures actually. �

(1). Cut and recrown the barrel just behind the front bead. Drill and tap for a #4 (large brass bead).�

(2). take the #3 bead out, weld the hole shut. Grind and polish the area smooth, then drill and tap for a #4 large brass bead, grind off the bead threads left in muzzle, then cold blue where needed. �

22. Left extractor not going over the rim properly, jamming the bolt as the extractor tries to go between the left side of the frame and the rim of the cartridge.�

Cure: Dremel out the left inside of the frame to get the extractor to clear the frame. Cold blue area. �

23. Carrier contacting the front of the frame, causing very stiff closure and release of the lock-up.�

Cure: Enlarge the right side carrier pivot hole on the forward portion of the hole, thus allowing the carrier enough clearance on the front of the frame. (This will not effect the cycling of the carrier; only relieve the binding problem caused by poor attention to tolerances and quality control).�

24. Incorrectly threaded magazine tube threads in the frame, causing pressure on forearm wood, resulting in small cracks developing in the forearm wood, after several rounds are fired. A good indication this problem exists on your shotgun, can be noticed when the forearm moves forward after firing, and tightening the forearm screws down more, does not help. (May even crack the wood, if tightened too much, so be careful)�

Cure: the only way I have been able to cure this condition is to replace the whole magazine tube with a new magazine tube. You, however, can cure this with simple plumbers tape around the threads and larger screws to close out the looseness in the notches cut into the bottom of the barrel and the notches cut into the magazine tube.�

25. Action will not lock-up properly, or lever becomes very tight on final closing, even without ammo in it..�

Cure: This one has proven to be so difficult, even the most experienced cowboy gunsmiths, think long and hard about this one, and then they send the gun to me to cure the problem.�

26. Cartridges not coming out of the mag tube fully (when two shot feeding only). Does not happen when single loading.�

Cure: once again, this is a problem that needs to be seen to by an M-87 competent gunsmith, as the problem has been found to be very difficult to diagnose, and cure, because of loose frame tolerances.�

27. Cartridges dragging on the inside of the lever, slowing down feeding.�

Cure: Take the bolt/lever out of the gun and notice the rounded inside of the bolt/lever. This is the area where the rim of the shell slides against as the action is closed. You need to clean up the burrs in this area and do some polishing to the radius.�

28. Headspace problems, causing action to close very hard when feeding ammo. The problem is in the radius of the lever, combined with the barrel being installed to deeply in the frame.�

Cure: this is a gunsmithing problem, do not attempt to cure this using simple tools.�

29. Ejector contacting the hammer, causing misfire.�

Cure: using a dremel tool, grind away just enough metal from the tail of the ejector to clear.�

30. Metal shavings behind the firing pin, eventually coming loose and blocking pin movement.�

Cure: obviously, you are going to want to take out the bolt/lever and take out the firing pin, by driving the holding pin out, then remove the firing pin and spring. Using a dremel tool, clean out any burrs that you might find up inside the firing pin hole – – – be careful not to make the hole larger, or the firing pin may possibly stick down and cause a hic-up when closing the action.�

31. When using high base or magnum loads in a “standard” M-87w, extraction from the chamber is difficult and the lever opening is very stiff.�

Cure: check the chamber for rough chambering from the factory, caused by failure to clean up tooling metal shavings from the chambering reamer and forcing cone cutter. The Chinese did not clean their cutting tools each time they were used, resulting in deep gouges in the chamber.�

These rough chambers grip the hulls of spent magnum loads.�

Using a VERY rough and coarse sand paper, wrapped around a slotted wooden dowel and an electric drill, hone out the chamber, using enough drill speed to do the job quickly.�

The reason is because the metallurgy of the Chinese barrels is so hard, you will wear out a break hone and frustrate yourself trying to get the job done. Using a very coarse sand paper, followed closely by progressively finer and finer sand paper, and that electric drill, will hone out the chamber nicely.�

32. When using spent hulls, or even dummy shells for practicing, the lever is very difficult to open the action once the hammer has been let down – – like for dry firing, using snap caps. The cause of the problem has proven to be in the tolerances of the hammer to bolt pivot pin slot and also, some very sloppy clean up of inside metal burrs.�

Cure: take the carrier, hammer and bolt/lever assembly out of the gun, and using a small rat tailed file, clean up the hammer and bolt/lever pivot pin slotted hole. Do not take off hardly any metal at all, just clean up the burrs. Then clean up the burrs on the inside walls of the bolt and lever assembly, right at the pivot pin area.�

Look for metal to metal contact marks on the top side of the bolt/lever (pivot pin area), and grind off those marks and polish the grindings smooth. Then look for contact marks on the top of the pivot pin area of the hammer, grind and polish those contact marks away also.�

Cold blue all the filing, grinding and polishing areas. your hard opening problem is now cure.�

33. Ejector installed too high in the carrier, causing timing problem.�

Cure: replace the right side of the carrier – – as the old one is yet another defective part sent out from China, instead of scrapping or throwing it away.�

34. Hammer not in correct alignment with the lever/bolt, caused by burrs in the pivot slot of the carrier.�

Cure: completely disassemble the whole gun and clean out the burrs from the inside of the slots.�

35. Carrier rubbing up against one side of the other of the frame, causing a stiff action and can be seen more clearly by the marks left by the primers against the face of the bolt. You will notice the firing pin is off center.�

Cure: pivot pin cross-frame hole was drilled at an angle, rendering the frame as useless. The gun needs to be replaced under warranty.�

Cleaning up the action of a Winchester Model 94 Trapper �

By: �

The Mohave Gambler �

Disclaimer: This is written as a guideline for those who are skilled enough to complete this work. These modifications are advisory in nature and I assume no liability for the outcome on your guns. Make sure that any gun you work on is unloaded and check it each time you work with it. Nobody ever planned an accident. You have the last word on any modifications, especially the removal of any safety devices that might be a part of your firearm. �

Background on the Winchester 1894 Trapper �

The 1894 Winchester lever action rifle was specifically designed by John Moses Browning as the first lever action rifle to be marketed for use with the new smokeless powders. The 94 has been in nearly continuous production since 1894, which makes it one of the most successful products in history. This gun makes a fine entry level Cowboy Action lever gun and new owners of these successful rifles will want to know how to slick them up so they shoot better. Unfortunately, the current design of this stout rifle does not lend itself to being turned into a finely tuned shooter without some major modifications that are beyond the scope of this article. �


Figure 1. Here is a picture of the Winchester New Model 94 Trapper that I use for competition. This was taken after the modifications were complete. �
The Winchester was originally designed for the longer casings of more traditional rifle ammunition and many argue that its linage prevents the action from being optimal for the shorter cartridges of the newer models. The design and manufacturing methods have have evolved to make it more attractive in a competitive market, a cross-bolt safety was added that can cause problems, and the trigger and hammer assembly were modified from the original design. The Winchester model 94 in this tutorial is a nine-shot Trapper in .44 Magnum caliber. It has been used in Cowboy Action Shooting with mixed results and improvements were warranted. The trigger was a little heavy and the action was somewhat stiff. �

I selected the Winchester 94 Trapper because the price was attractive, it had a long history, and there was no significant advantage to buying a longer gun in the state of California. I looked at other models, but California law defined any rifle with a magazine in front of the trigger and a capacity of more than nine rounds as an illegal assault weapon. With a felony of putting more than nine in the tube, I went with the Trapper. That law was changed in 2002 to allow tube feed magazines to exceed the nine round limit. The change in the law allows me to increase the capacity of the Trapper if it is possible. �

Although the Winchester 94 has been in production since 1896, they made significant changes to the gun at serial number 4,580,000, which appears to be the point when they changed from a leaf hammer spring to a coil hammer spring. I understand that additional changes were made at around serial number 6,000,000, which appears to be the change to a rebounding hammer and the the addition of the cross-bolt safety. �
Winchester 1894 Trapper Project Statement �

To clean up the action on a modern 94 Trapper so it shoots better for Cowboy Action Shooting. This will be done using simple tools and techniques. I will also see if it is possible to correct the overall problem of the basic design of the hammer and trigger assembly and will see if it is possible to modify the magazine to allow the storage of ten rounds. �


Figure 2. The Winchester 94 trigger and hammer assembly. Note the coiled mainspring and the fork with its two hammer contact points that create a cradling effect that forces the hammer back away from the firing pin when it is at rest. Click on the picture to enlarge it. �
Understanding this Gun �

There are many people who claim the 94 cannot be cleaned up and turned into a good rifle. I feel this is an inappropriate argument, because the most common use for this rifle is Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) and hunting. Let’s face some CAS facts. The 94 does have design limits that prevent it from being a premier action rifle, however, most CAS shooters are not top contenders. Most people are in the sport for fun and can benefit from having a reasonably priced and reliable gun that is also very strong. �

To better understand the trigger and hammer function of the modern 94, please click on the thumbnail in figure 2. Study the lower tang assembly. Note the hammer spring guide rod with a two prong fork on the forward end (left) retains the coil mainspring. Note the two indentations on the rear of the hammer. The two prongs of the hammer spring guide rod ride in those two indentations. When the hammer is cocked, the pivoting action of the hammer causes only the top prong of the hammer spring guide rod to engage the hammer. The distance (leverage) from the hinge pin to drive the hammer forward is sufficient to drive the hammer forward and strike the firing pin. When the hammer is cocked, the pressure on the upper part of the hammer is much like that of any hammer and spring combination. Cocking the hammer also engages the sear, which holds the hammer in the full cock position until the trigger is pulled. There is no half-cock notch on this rifle and there is no need for one as long as we do not modify the design of the trigger and hammer. �

It is important to understand that the hammer and trigger sears do not come in contact with each other on the New Model 94. There is a lever safety that protrudes through the lower tang and must be depressed by the lever in order to release the hammer. Essentially, the trigger engages the lever safety and the lever safety engages the hammer sear. This is the cause of one of the biggest problems with the New Model 94, which causes the trigger to have over a half inch of travel before engaging anything. Do not tamper with this safety feature because it prevents the gun from firing before the bolt is securely locked in place. �
I think of the New Model 94 as having three hammer positions: resting, striking, and cocked. In the resting position, both the upper and lower prongs of the hammer spring guide rod are in contact with the appropriate recesses in the hammer. A balance between the two cause the hammer to remain centered and away from the firing pin. This is needed to allow the cross-bolt safety to be engaged without being obstructed by the hammer. When the hammer has been pushed or pulled to the rear and is engaging the sear, it is in the cocked position. Pulling the trigger moves the hammer forward to momentarily strike the firing pin. I call this the striking position. �
When the hammer is cocked and the trigger pulled, the hammer is released and pushed forward by the energy of the coil spring exerting pressure on the upper part of the hammer through the upper prong of the hammer spring guide rod. The hammer accelerates forward until it reaches the rest position and the lower prong of the hammer spring guide rod engages the lower notch in the hammer. The lower notch is slightly below the hammer pivot bushing so it exerts a slight force to slow the hammer as the hammer moves forward. As the lower prong engages the lower slot, the upper prong of the hammer spring guide rod disengages and stops providing any more forward energy. Between the resting and striking positions, the hammer is moving forward only from its own forward inertia and there is a very slight slowing action from the lower prong in its notch. The hammer strikes the firing pin and the cartridge is fired. �
What does all of this mean? It means there are a lot of parts moving around in that trigger assembly and a lot of mass and inertia needed. It means that the Winchester New Model 94 will shoot safely and reliably in a variety of weather conditions for hunting. It also means it is not the most suitable design for CAS, but it is certainly good enough for most cowboy action shooters. �
Is this simply not the right gun for CAS competition? That depends on your point of view. The top shooters will use expensive toggle-bolt rifles that have been slicked by the best smiths in the country, so this is not a gun for them. I think this is a good gun for the rest of us who are content with having a fun day. For us, the difference between a Winchester 94 and a perfect rifle will be only a second or two in total stage time, which does not matter to most of us. The good news is that this gun can be improved a little in just a few hours. I have determined that it is possible to custom build a new trigger and hammer for the gun, but the effort would be so great that it’s probably better to simply buy a different gun and use the 94 as a backup if the perfect trigger is needed. I may create a project to illustrate how to make these changes, but they are probably not warranted. �
Making the modifications �

There are several places where the Winchester 94 can be improved. Improvements are simple and can be made in the sear, the hammer spring, the magazine spring, and the cross-bolt safety. Begin by removing the stock from the tang. This is done by removing the tang screw from the upper tang and pulling the stock to the rear to remove it. This will expose the upper and lower tangs and you will note the lower tang is loose and held only by the hammer pivot screw. Remove the hammer pivot screw from the left side of the receiver and the entire lower tang assembly can be removed out the bottom by carefully lowering the assembly to the rear. It may take a little experimentation with the hammer position to remove it, but it will come out. �
The hammer is held in position by the bushing that runs through the hammer pivot hole. Cock the hammer back to expose a hole in the hammer spring guide rod and place a small pin or nail into the hole. This will hold the spring in place until you need to remove it. Drift the hammer pivot bushing out with a drift punch, but it should only require a little pressure since it is not a press fit. Remove the hammer and you will find the sear and ramp on the bottom. Using a stone or some 600 grit wet or dry sandpaper on a flat surface, polish any machine marks down to reduce friction. It is not necessary to create a mirror finish, but removing rough spots will help. It may also help to lightly polish the sides of the hammer where they contact the receiver. Don’t forget to lightly polish any roughness on the receiver where the hammer is in contact. �

Figure 3. The hammer sear after it has been polished. This improves the feel of the hammer as it is pulled with the thumb or the bolt. �
Take some wet or dry sandpaper and gently polish the outside surface of the hammer pivot bushing and the inside of the hammer pivot hole. I wrap the 600 grit paper around a drift punch and use the drift punch to polish the inside of the hole. It only takes a few strokes to remove the rough spots, but you do not want to remove enough material to increase the play of the bushing. �
It’s now time to make a decision. You can stop and coat all of the friction surfaces with action grease, or you can take the parts further apart and do more polishing. I took mine completely apart and polished each part where they contact another part, but there is so little movement in the parts that I would probably just use grease and move on if I had it to do again. It is up to you. �
Now for an important step. Carefully compress the hammer spring, remove the retaining pin, and remove the hammer spring guide rod and the hammer spring. Note the orientation of the hammer spring guide rod because it’s easy to reassemble it upside down. I am not aware of any spring kits for the 94 so I removed four coils from the coil mainspring on the advice of some people who have done it. I also polished the hammer spring guide rod so the spring would not tend to bind on any rough spots. There were some rough points on the prongs that contact the hammer so I lightly polished those with 600 grit sandpaper. Reassemble the parts back into the lower tang assembly and lube with an appropriate low-drag grease. I used Brownell’s Action Magic Lube Plus. �
After installing the lower tang assembly and reinstalling the buttstock, I lubricated the gun as I normally would and cycled the action. Reducing the spring tension reduced the force needed to cock the hammer on the down stroke of the lever. The grease and slight polishing seemed to make the trigger feel better and smoother. Testing the gun with empty, but primed cases, told me that there was still enough mainspring force to reliably detonate the primers. We will now turn our attention to the magazine. �


Figure 4. The magazine spring, the follower, the magazine tube cap, and a cartridge in the proper orientation. �
I find the Winchester 94 to be a bit difficult to load, because there is simply too much tension on the magazine spring to get the last cartridges to feed easily. I removed some of the tension by removing the magazine plug from the end of the barrel by removing the small screw under the magazine tube about a quarter of an inch from the muzzle end of the tube. Be sure to apply some inward pressure to the magazine plug, because the magazine plug is under tension from the magazine spring and it may damage the threads or cause the magazine plug and spring to be launched across the room. I cut four coils off the magazine spring and reinstalled it. �

My last modification was to remove the cross-bolt safety. It was not difficult, but it is a personal decision that must be made by each owner. I resisted this change for the first year I owned the gun, but finally decided to remove it after loosing four shots in a match because the safety was on. Laying a 94 on its side at the loading table often activates the safety, which may not be noticed until it fails to shoot while on the clock. �
Figure 5. The view looking down into the area between the firing pin and the hammer while the hammer is in the cocked position. That flat platform with the little hole is the safety bar. �
I finally removed the safety from the gun to prevent any future problems. Click on the photo in figure 5 to see a close-up view of the cross-bolt safety and the release hole. The bright metal on the left of the image is the breech bolt with the firing pin. The flat piece of steel in the middle with a tiny hole is the safety. The large hole just above the small hole is the access hole for getting the special tool into the small hole in the safety so you can depress the spring loaded detent and remove the safety bar. �
If you are going to remove the safety, push the safety into the safe position. This should align the little access hole with the larger hole that gives you access to the access hole. You will need a special tool that will fit into the access hole. I found a standard paper clip to be a good fit. Using the paper clip, or any suitable tool, press down into the hole and depress the detent and the detent spring. While holding the detent down a little, push the safety on through from the left side of the frame (from shooting position) and out the right side. Once the safety bar moves about an eighth of an inch, it may hit a machining mark and need a slightly more aggressive drifting out. Proceed carefully! Remove the spring and detent, and save them for installation at a later date. �
Some people advocate modifying the safety so it does not work and then putting it back into the frame to plug the holes . I feel it is dangerous to use the rifle outside of CAS without the safety installed and it might be carried with a round in the chamber. Cowboy Action Shooting does not allow cartridges in the chamber except when the gun is ready to fire. I feel it is worse to have a safety in place that does not work. �
The Winchester New Model 94 has a reputation for parts failures and for actions that jam during shooting stages. I have had quite a few problems, but most of them have been of my own doing or something other than the gun. A common problem that has led to the reputation of this gun is the fact that many people do not cycle the lever forcefully enough. This action was designed to be worked with deliberation and a timid operation of the action can cause problems. Treat it with respect and don’t abuse it, but operate the action with some authority and it will be more reliable. �
These modifications to my Winchester 94 Trapper have smoothed the action on the gun and made it a lot easier to shoot in competition. There are a lot more things that can be done, but this represents the total amount of work I have done to mine. I am planning to make and install a brass buckhorn rear sight. I am also planning to make a filler for the hole left by the removal of the safety. I will add any additional modifications to this article as they are completed. �
Site Design By Time-Slice Check Us Out…..�
http://www.leverguns.com/articles/fryxe … n_1894.htm �

Marlin 1894 �

by Glen E. Fryxell �

At one point, the “2 guns chambered for the same cartridge” sales pitch had some real merit. After all, a cowboy riding herd in the late 1800s needed to be completely autonomous, he needed to be armed and he probably wouldn’t get into town for at least a couple of months. His saddle bags had very limited room for “kit”, so he needed to be able to cast and load for both his scabbard-gun and his sixgun with a single set of tools. Today’s shooter may be just as independence-minded as the cowboy of long ago, but most likely leads a more modern existence, with readily available ammunition and components, and if he does reload his own ammunition, it’s probably on bench-mounted presses and not with a tong tool over a campfire to a coyote serenade. We have easy access to sporting goods stores and mail order supply houses, with a far better availability of accessories, ammunition and components with which to feed our guns than shooters did a century ago. We have a multitude of cartridges available today, with something ideally suited for whatever task a shooter may have. As a result, shooters today generally own more than one gun, and these guns are chambered for more than one cartridge. So I guess we can pretty much throw out the “combo cartridge” sales pitch. Where does that leave the value of a lever action carbine chambered for revolver cartridges? Second to none, because ballistically speaking these are exceptional lever-gun rounds! �

Marlin 1894 carbines in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .45 Colt. �

I have a confession to make: I’ve always been partial to the Marlin lever action design. While some may favor it for the closed top, allowing easy scope mounting (I prefer iron sights on lever-guns), I appreciate the solidly designed receiver and the fact that the top and bottom of the action are closed and protected from “stuff”. When still-hunting on a snowy day, have you ever fired a shot from behind a tree, only to be cascaded with snow from the branches above? An action that “exposes itself” during cycling allows snow, pine needles, tree bark, cigar ashes, etc. into the guts of the action, and personally I’d rather just have oil and ammo down there. The Winchester lever-guns are clearly one of the most proven, time-honored designs in firearms history, it’s just that my favor tends to fall on the Marlin side of the fence as a result of their keeping their private parts, well, private. However, the Winchester 94 captures all the benefits of the revolver rounds just as well as the Marlin 1894. �

These attributes include: �

Short, light, easily handled carbines — valuable traits for a home defense gun or for a “workin’ gun”, i.e. one that will be there always as ranch work, farm work, or whatever work is being done and is always there when it’s needed, either defensively, or for targets of opportunity. �

Modest recoil — while many won’t admit it, a significant number of shooters have trouble handling the recoil of the .44 Magnum cartridge in a revolver, but in a carbine, it’s comfortable to shoot. �

Excellent ballistics — these aren’t long range lasers, but 125 yard thumpers with the ability to shoot through pretty much anything if properly loaded, and this range covers most targets of opportunity (and defensive situations). As a general rule of thumb, you can get about another 300 fps over what a given load will deliver from a revolver. �

Magazine capacity — before the time of high capacity magazines, the lightweight lever-action carbines created the capability “to load on Sunday and shoot all week”, these guns also provided the advantage of being able to top off the magazine without opening or deactivating the action (a valuable character trait for certain law enforcement or home defense situations). �

Cast bullets — these rifles and rounds are extremely well served by cast bullets, a trait long admired by the frugal and independent-minded. �

Lever-guns can be finicky about cartridge OAL and bullet profile, and so a wide variety of bullet weights, profiles and designs were run through these three Marlin carbines in order to see what works and what doesn’t. All testing was done with the factory buckhorn sights, with unmodified guns right out of the box (i.e. no modifications to carrier, chamber or throat). Unless otherwise noted, all groups are 5-shots at 50 yards. �

.357 Magnum. �

The Marlin .357 carbine was made with a 1 in 16″ twist, so heavyweights were expected to shoot just fine. This characteristic may have something to do with why the .357 Magnum fired from a lever gun has been likened to the .30-30 Winchester — heavier bullets at the higher velocities possible from a rifle have considerably more thump than can be achieved from a revolver. I’ve been on this handgun kick for about a decade or so now. This little Marlin re-introduced me to how much fun a plinking rifle can be. A .30 cal ammo can full of .38 ammo and this little Marlin makes for one very fun afternoon! �

The .357 seems to be a little more finicky about smooth feeding than the other two rifles. The .357 also seems to be somewhat more finicky about which loads it shoots well. It shoots (and feeds) very well indeed with the right loads, but not all loads are up to its discerning tastes. On top of this, this gun has the distinct tendency to print different loads to different points of impact. �

Obvious cast bullet choices for this lever-gun are the round-nosed flat-pointed bullet popular in cowboy action shooting. Both the Lyman and the Lee Cowboy bullets cycle and feed flawlessly when loaded into .38 Special cases, and the Lee bullet also feeds very nicely when loaded into Magnum cases. The Lyman Cowboy bullet is short enough to feed from the magazine when loaded into Magnum cases, but doesn’t make the transition from carrier to chamber very smoothly at this OAL. The LBT 200 LFN likewise is short enough to make the magazine-carrier transition, but also doesn’t make it cleanly into the chamber when loaded into .357 brass. The Lyman 358429/358439 Keith SWC and HP are simply too long to make it out of the magazine when loaded in .357 Magnum cases. The 200 grain Lyman 35875 RN-FP is also much too long for Magnum brass. The LBT 180 WFN is not only too long for the longer cartridge case, it also has too much bearing surface forward of the crimp groove to even chamber when loaded into .357 cases. However, all five of these bullets (the LBT 200 LFN, the Keith SWC and HP, the Lyman 35875 and the LBT 180 WFN) cycle, feed and chamber very smoothly when loaded into .38 Special brass. �

Some of the bullets that worked well in the .357 Marlin when loaded into .38 Special cases: the Lyman 358439, the Lee 358-158-RF, the Lyman 358665, the Lyman 358429, the LBT 200 LFN and the Lyman 35875 200 grain RNFP. �

The Lee cowboy bullet over 4.5 grains of Bullseye in .38 Special cases gave fine accuracy (1 1/2″ 5-shot groups at 50 yards) with an average (and very consistent) velocity of 1128 fps. When loaded over 14.0 grains of 2400 in .357 Magnum brass, this bullet fed quite smoothly, and delivered an impressive 1678 fps, but could only muster 4″ groups at 50 yards. In general, the PB bullets shot better at more modest velocities out of the .357 Marlin. �

In contrast, the Marlin .357 carbine did very nicely with the GC 358156 HP over 14.0 grains of 2400. 5-shot groups at 50 yards ran just under 2″ and average velocity was 1721 fps. Expansion of this HP at this velocity is dramatic, to say the least — this load is a rodent buzz-saw! This constitutes a very versatile and personal favorite, load for this gun. The 358156 GC-SWC over the same powder charge delivered 1764 fps and even better accuracy. Both of these bullets feed flawlessly in the Marlin when loaded in .357 cases. �

Another excellent performer was found in the LBT 160 grain WFN-GC. Again, 14.0 grain charges of 2400 provided excellent accuracy at 1674 fps. These loads fed and chambered without the slightest hiccup. Conveniently, this load printed to the same point as the 358156 HP discussed above (the 358156 SWC was another 1 1/2″ to the right at 50 yards, go figure). �

Bullets that worked well in the .357 Marlin when loaded in .357 Magnum cases: the 358156 SWC, the 358156 HP, and the LBT 160 GC-SWC. �

In contrast, the LBT 180 grain WFN-GC is too long to chamber when loaded into magnum brass, but it cycles, feeds and chambers just fine when loaded into .38 Special cases. When paired with 12.0 grains of 2400 in the shorter cases, this bullet provided so-so accuracy (with a tendency towards vertical stringing) at 1510 fps. A little fine-tuning of this load might correct this tendency however. �

When the Lyman Cowboy bullet (#358665) was tried out in .357 Magnum brass over 14.0 grains of 2400, it shot just fine, and while it was short enough to feed from the magazine, it didn’t generally cycle very smoothly. Groups ran 2″ at 50 yards and velocities hovered right at 1780 fps. This was the only PB bullet tested that grouped well at full-throttle magnum velocities, but rough cycling dulled the appeal of this combination (perhaps it would cycle more smoothly if cases were trimmed back another 0.010″ or so). When this bullet was loaded into .38 Special cases and powered with 6.5 grains of HS-6, it cycled beautifully and printed nice round 1 1/2″ groups (1100 fps). �

The Keith SWC and HP (358429 and 358439, respectively) are too long to make it out of the Marlin’s magazine when loaded in Magnum cases, but if a shooter wants to use these bullets they function perfectly when loaded into .38 Special brass. For example, the 358429 SWC loaded over 12.0 grains of 2400 in .38 Special brass cycles effortlessly, and delivers 1556 fps and decent accuracy at 50 yards (this load should only be used in .357 Magnum firearms). Likewise, the Lyman 358439 154 grain HP loaded over 8.5 grains of HS-7 in .38 Special brass cycled just fine and shot beautifully. Velocities (1258 fps) were particularly consistent with this favorite load. Expansion of this bullet at this velocity is positive and dramatic when it’s cast at a BHN of about 11 or so. �

For whatever reason, this gun didn’t seem to like the 358477, either in .38 Special or Magnum brass. In both cases it cycled just fine, it’s just that accuracy wasn’t quite up to snuff with this lighter plain-based bullet. In .357 cases over 14.0 grains 2400, accuracy ran about 3-4″ at about 35 yards, and the HP version of same over 15.0 grains of 2400 generated 1970 fps and 3+” groups at 50 yards. The Lyman 358477 when loaded into .38 Special cases with 4.5 grains of Bullseye also gave 3+” groups at 50 yards, and 1149 fps. This short little bullet just doesn’t seem to have enough bearing surface for this rifle’s tastes. �

Taking a look at heavier bullets, the 200 grain Lyman 35875 was called into action. This plain-based RN-FP was originally designed for the old black powder cartridges like the .38-45 Stevens (muzzle velocity of 1420 fps) and I thought that it might be right at home in the Marlin lever-gun. Because of the long nose found on this bullet, it could not be loaded into magnum brass, but it turns out that when loaded into .38 Special cases so it could be crimped in the top lube groove, the OAL is just about ideal to feed in the Marlin (1.580″). Loaded on top of 10.5 grains of 2400 and sparked with a CCI 550 primer, this bullet flew from the muzzle at 1319 fps and printed 3″ groups. There were no signs of excessive pressure, but I believe that reducing this load slightly might lead to better accuracy. The LBT 200 grain LFN gave excellent accuracy on a very windy day when launched with 10.0 grains of 2400 at 1301 fps. These magnum level loads were also assembled using .38 Special cases since this bullet doesn’t feed cleanly at the Magnum OAL. �

As an interesting side note, .38 wadcutters feed just fine in the little Marlin. When the classic .38 wadcutter Lyman 358495 over 3.0 grains of Bullseye was test fired, it printed a 1 1/8″ 5-shot group at 25 yards at 894 fps, and cycled just fine. Basically, every bullet tested in .38 Special cases fed just fine (it’s only with magnum brass that things get touchy). So much for needing round-nosed bullets to feed through a lever-gun… �

Loaded with suitable ammo (e.g. Cor-Bon, Federal 125s, or even the FBI .38 load) the Marlin carbine is arguably THE definitive home-defense gun. Loaded with .38 Special ammo, there is no argument about it, the Marlin 1894 .357 IS the definitive plinking gun! The best plinking bullet is the Lee cowboy bullet, and a 6-cavity mould allows the caster the ability to make a lot of plinking ammo in a hurry! The best accuracy with PB bullets was generally found at 1300 fps and under, at full throttle magnum velocities this gun shows a definite preference for GC bullets. The best all-round bullets are the Lyman 358156 SWC/HP, and the LBT 160 WFN-GC. In my gun, the 358156 HP and the LBT 160 WFN both print to the exact same spot, so that’s how the sights are set. Jack rabbits anyone? �

.44 Magnum �

The 1 in 38″ twist that the Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum was graced with often raises questions as to how well this gun might handle heavier bullets, so a wide spectrum was evaluated. Starting with the standard weight bullets, superb accuracy was obtained with the Lyman 429244, in both SWC and HP form, over 23.5 grains of W296 for about 1724 (265 grain SWC) and 1748 fps (253 grain HP). Both bullets cycle and feed just fine. The 300 grain GC-SWC’s from both RCBS and Lyman (#429650) also feed just fine in my gun. When powered with 21.5 grains of W296, these bullets leave the little Marlin at 1708 fps and deliver decent accuracy. Lots of questions get asked about how well the SWC’s feed from the magazine on a lever-gun, and while some folks have reported trouble with them in the past, this particular carbine doesn’t seem to mind these four bullets (the Lyman 429421 has a slightly longer nose and does not cycle quite as smoothly in this gun). �

A more traditional shape for the lever-gun is the round-nose flat-point. Such an ogive is found on the solid (i.e. non-HP version) of the Lyman 429640, which weighs about 290 grains when cast with WW alloy. Not surprisingly, this bullet cycles from the magazine well, and is quite accurate when launched with 22.0 grains of W296 for 1617 fps. The HP version of the 429640 also shoots quite accurately, but the fragile mouth of the Devastator HP tends to get dented and hang up if the action is cycled vigorously. A very similar profile is found on the LBT 300 grain LFN bullet, which feeds just as smoothly as the solid 429640. The 300 grain LBT LFN delivers 1711 fps and fine accuracy when powered by 21.5 grain of W296. �

A somewhat more curvaceous RNFP is made by Saeco. On this 300 grainer, the meplat is slightly smaller and the ogive somewhat more curved, so it’s no surprise that this bullet glides from the magazine like an enthusiastic Lab puppy on a freshly waxed floor. Once again, 21.5 grains of W296 provides good accuracy and 1679 fps. An even more voluptuous profile is found on the LBT 280 grain WFN. Loaded on top of 22.0 grains of W296 the LBT WFN is quite accurate and generates 1683 fps, but unfortunately this fine hunting bullet feeds poorly in my gun. �

The 320 grain SSK FP is too long to cycle through the Marlin’s action when seated to crimp in the crimp groove (although it shoots very nicely single-loaded). The expander ball on my Dillon die set runs .4275″ and I size these bullets .430″ With a bullet that has as much bearing surface as the SSK bullet, throat tension provides sufficient bullet pull to prevent recoil from shoving the bullet deeper into the case while the round is “waiting in line” in the magazine. I loaded this bullet up to an OAL of 1.638″ and placed a hearty roll crimp over the forward driving band. Seating a bullet deeper into the case requires that the load be reduced accordingly. Case volume measurements revealed that case capacity had been reduced a little over 16%, so these loads were assembled using 17.5 grains of W296. This ammo cycled and fed beautifully in the little Marlin. Accuracy was excellent and velocity was 1414 fps. There were no indications of excessive pressure. This bullet is available from Lynn Halsted at Dry Creek Bullet Works (http://www.creeker.net). �

Loads were tried with various 330, 340, 350 and 365 grain cast bullets and all were problematic. Either they would not feed smoothly, they would not chamber or they would not stabilize and were keyholing at 50 yards. The 330 grain GC version of the SSK bullet will not cycle when crimped in the crimp groove and I see no advantage to trying to seat it deeper as was done with the 320 grain PB version. The 320 will do anything the 330 GC version will do and do it better in this little gun. The Lyman 429649 340 grain RNFP feeds just fine from the magazine, but will not chamber due to the extended bearing surface on the nose of this blunt bullet. The 350s (LBT WLN and SSK) don’t stabilize with the 1 in 38″ twist. The take-home lesson here is that the 320 grain SSK is pretty much as heavy as you can go with the .44 Magnum Marlin. �

Bullets that work well in the .44 Magnum Marlin 1894: the Lyman 429244 SWC, the Lyman 429244 HP, the Lyman 429640, the LBT 300 LFN, the Saeco 300 RNFP, the RCBS 44-300 GC-SWC and the 320 grain SSK (loaded short). �

As an all-round working load for this gun, my first choice would probably be to go with the 285 grain Lyman 429640 GC-FP over 22.0 grains of W296 for (1617 fps), with a close runner-up being the 265 grain Lyman 429244 GC-SWC over 23.5 grains of W296 (1724 fps). My “hands down” first choice specifically for deer-sized game would be the 253 grain Lyman 429244 HP over 23.5 grains W296 (1748 fps). This combination is superbly accurate and hits like a sledgehammer. For larger stuff like elk, I would go with one of the heavier bullets, specifically the solid 429640, one of the 300 grainers (LBT, Lyman, RCBS, or Saeco), or the SSK 320 FP and not think twice about it. �

The .44 Magnum in the Marlin 1894 is a somewhat more limited gun than is the .45 Colt, in that it seems to be choosier about which bullets it cycles cleanly with and in terms of bullets that will adequately stabilize with the lethargic 1 in 38″ twist. It’s an excellent little gun, and functions well with bullets in the 250 to 320 grain range. �

.45 Colt �

The .45 Colt chambering of the Marlin 1894 is blessed with a 1 in 16″ twist. As a result it is capable of handling a wider range of bullet weights than is its .44 caliber little brother. Also, if my gun is representative, it seems that the fatter chamber opening is more forgiving in terms which bullet profiles cycle and feed properly through the action. Virtually everything tried fed slick as a whistle (the only feeding problem encountered was with a 265 grain NEI SWC, a variation on .451-275-PB, #317, a bullet with the forward portion very similar to the 452423; a very thick forward driving band, coupled with a very short nose, a tough combination for a lever-gun). �

Testing was started off with the Keith SWC (Lyman 454424) loaded over 8.0 grains of HP-38. Excellent accuracy was obtained (5 shots into 1 1/4″ at 50 yards) and an average velocity of 1186 fps was recorded. In today’s age of magnum pressures and magnum velocities, is load may not sound all that impressive, but it will handle most situations with ample authority. In its own quiet way, the .45 Colt continues to deliver superb performance in the field when loaded to moderate pressures, just as it has for over 130 years. �

When loaded to Ruger Blackhawk pressures (25,000-30,000 psi), the .45 Colt Marlin mirrors the performance of the .44 Magnum. A favorite deer load for my Blackhawks is the Keith HP (Lyman 454424 HP) loaded over 26.0 grains of W296, sparked with a CCI 350 primer. This brisk load generates 1345 fps from a 7 1/2″ Blackhawk and 1731 fps from the Marlin. Superb accuracy is delivered from both guns and expansion is positive. �

Dave Scovill of Handloader magazine designed a 280 grain SWC for the .45 Colt, inspired by Elmer Keith’s original design criteria. The result was the RCBS 45-270-SAA, one of the finest all-round .45 bullets ever conceived. This bullet drops from my mould blocks at 282 grains when cast with WW alloy. Loaded on top of 13.0 grains of HS-6, this bullet delivers good accuracy and 1293 fps from the Marlin carbine. It’s hard to argue with a 280+ grain .45 caliber bullet at 1300 fps. As a side note, I’ve found that HS-6 performs quite nicely with heavier bullets in .45 Colt (i.e. 280-320 grains), but with lighter bullets (e.g. 250 grains) and standard primers, I’ve commonly obtained erratic velocities. �

NEI makes a lovely 310 grain FP bullet (listed on their website as cherry #322C, the PB version of .452-325-BB) that looks as though it was made specifically to feed through a lever-gun, and feed smoothly it does. With 12.0 grains of HS-6 to provide motivation, this shapely slug works up 1215 fps and groups to about 1 1/2″ at 50 yards. With 21.5 grains of W296 the groups open up slightly, and velocity climbs to 1471 fps. A very similar profile is found on the gas-checked Lyman 452629 (the bullet that Lyman made for Freedom Arms and the 454 Casull). The Lyman 452629 over 21.5 grains of W296 generates 1482 fps and also gives satisfying accuracy. �

The 315 grain WFN cycles just fine from the magazine, but unfortunately this fine hunting bullet won’t chamber with the factory throat in the Marlin. �

NEI also makes a beautiful 330 grain Keith-style SWC (cherry # 320, .451-310-PB). In spite of its blocky appearance, this monolithic sledgehammer cycles, feeds and chambers fluidly in the Marlin. Paired with 20.5 grain doses of W296, this massive SWC delivers 1442 fps and 2″ groups at 50 yards. This combination makes a very comforting companion in bear country. For those that don’t cast their own, a very similar, and finely made, bullet is available from Dry Creek Bullet Works (http://www.creeker.net/). �

J. D. Jones of SSK Industries designed a series of bullets for the handgun hunter back in the 1980s (the moulds were made by NEI). These bullets are characterized by being large, heavy and blunt. They serve the lever-gun hunter just as well as they serve the sixgunner. The 335 grain SSK bullet for the .45 Colt is one of the most accurate bullets I’ve shot out of my 7 1/2″ Ruger Bisley (NEI lists this as cherry #320A, .451-325-PB). When loaded on top of 21.0 grains of W296, this bullet leaves the Marlin carbine at 1484 fps, and accuracy is reasonable. The truncated cone ogive allows this bullet to feed flawlessly in the Marlin carbine. �

Bullets that worked well in the .45 Colt Marlin 1894: the Lyman 452424, the 454424 HP, the RCBS 45-270-SAA, the Lyman 452629, the NEI 310 FP, the NEI 330 SWC, the SSK 335, and the SSK 368 (both made by NEI). �

One of my favorite hunting bullets for both the .45 Colt and the 454 Casull is the 350 grain SSK FP (NEI lists this bullet design as cherry #320B, .451-345-PB). When powered by 19.0 grains of W296, the Marlin carbine spits this bone-crusher out at just over 1330 fps, with fine accuracy (2″ at 50 yards). This load cycles and feeds like water through a funnel. This bullet is also available with an added bevel base to add a little more weight. With the bevel-base contour it weighs 368 grains when cast of WW alloy. This heavier version performs well loaded over 17.8 grains of W296, delivering 1276 fps and superb accuracy. The ogive and meplat are identical to the lighter 350 grain version, so it’s no surprise that it cycles and feeds just as smoothly. Any of these SSK sledgehammers also make bear country a little less onerous, whether carried in sixgun or saddlegun, they are accurate, reliable, heavy and blunt — precisely what the situation requires. �

Note that the original .45-70 loads that earned it such a reputation as a “stopper” consisted of a 405 grain .45 caliber lead bullet at 1300 fps from the single-shot Trapdoor Springfield. The .45 Colt Marlin carries 10 rounds of the SSK 350 or 368 grain loads at roughly 1300 fps in a light easily handled 5 � lb carbine. This is a powerful and versatile combination. �

The bottom-line for cast bullets that function well in the Marlin 1894 .45 Colt is that there are lots of excellent choices! They pretty much all seem to feed well and group well. For all-round usage, my first choices would likely include the NEI 310 grain RNFP, the Lyman 452629 GC-RNFP, or the RCBS 45-270-SAA. For hunting deer/antelope sized critters, I would opt for a cast hollow point, in particular the fine HP designed by Elmer Keith (454424 HP). For larger stuff like elk and moose, the choice is easy, the NEI 330 grain SWC or the SSK 350 grain FP, two of my all-time favorites. �

While there may not be any need for the two guns/one cartridge sales pitch these days, the value of that concept is just as valid today as it was almost 110 years ago when the Marlin 1894 was drawn up, and that value is directly attributable to the outstanding performance of these cartridges. The straight case pistol cartridges employed in these light, fast-handling carbines carry a surprising amount of thump, and are very well-served by cast bullets. The .357 Magnum digests a wide variety of bullet designs when ammo is assembled using .38 Special cases, and the Lyman 358156 HP/SWC or the LBT 160 GC-WFN loaded in .357 Magnum cases deliver 1700 fps and excellent accuracy. The .357 Magnum is a fine little working gun, serving well for coyotes and other vermin, and properly loaded might make a handy little carbine for woods hunting deer. The .44 Magnum is best served by bullets in the 265-300 grain range, and cannot handle anything heavier than the 320 grain SSK bullet. While limited in terms of bullet weights, this carbine delivers bullets in the 265-300 grain weight range at 1600-1700 fps, providing the hunter excellent overall utility in the field. However, the bottom line is that the .45 Colt Marlin 1894 is a more versatile gun than is the .44 Magnum carbine; the .45 seems to smoothly feed almost any bullet you can stuff into a .45 Colt case, and the 1 in 16″ twist stabilized every bullet weight tested, from 240 grains to 368 grains. Bullets lighter than about 310 grains all shot to pretty much the same point of impact at 50 yards, and the 330-350 grain bullets dropped down about 3″ below that, and the 368s were about halfway in between. The .45 Colt Marlin is a remarkably egalitarian little carbine. Yup, the Marlin 1894 is a keeper, which might explain why Marlin reintroduced this Model in 1969 and has made so many since then.�

Someone asked me which to choose between the three straight walled pistol calibre’s available, these were my thoughts out of the 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum, 45Long Colt and 30-30 Bottle neck case. Just my opinion – Budda.�

“The 44 Magnum if in the north of the country where there are crocs and lots of pigs. For the hitting power, if for no other reason or unless your not planning on getting a revolver to pair with it and not reloading, as there are good production loads available. �

The 45 Long Colt only if planning to reload ammunition, factory loads are too light for practical use, other than for competitions and expensive to purchase. The cases aren’t as strong as a 44, having thinner wall and rim dimensions and you don’t get as many reloads out of each case, or if contemplating casting prodgies and loading with black powder at a later stage, when smokeless powders become hard to obtain. I just like the idea of owning a firearm with a big enough hole in the end that will fit my finger. Look’s real cool. Loaded with 300 grainers travelling at 1200fps will drop anything it hits with out the recoil of a magnum unless loading to the hilt, but not the trajectory, rainbow like at least when compared to the other two calibres. �

The 357 is easier to find, cheaper to purchase factory ammo and has a flatter trajectory because of using lighter faster bullets. One packet contains 50 instead of 20 like the other two and be combined with a 357 revolver. If reloading, then more cases can be loaded compared to the 44 and 45 with the same amount of powder and lead. Far less recoil, with full power loads. �

My idea is a 357 for the primary lever to couple with a revolver then a 45 Long Colt to load with black powder and cast projectiles if it should ever come to that. But like I said, I just like the look of the big hole and into that nostalgia thing.�
The 30-30 if wanting more range than a pistol cartridge and the easiest out of the four calibres to find ammunition for in out of the way places, but not as much speed of cycling as the other three using the longer action.�
Making a choice between the three most popular brands; Winchester, Marlin or Rossi. All are of good quality in newer models, in terms of timber, finishes and internal parts. The Rossi’s are a top eject and of no use if wanting to mount a scope, but cycle well and very smooth using the older 92 action. Marlin are a better choice if primarily using for competitions as the actions can be worked and the lifters are less likely to break as in the other brands when being thrashed as in a comp, when rapid firing. Winchesters have always been my favourite for hunting, preferring the thicker barrel profiles and chunkier magazine tubes.”�
44 Magnum VS 45 Long Colt�
Rifling twist rates can be a consideration when choosing between a 44 or a 45. A 44 has a 1 in 38 twist and a 45 has a 1 in 16 twist. If using 200 to 280 grain projectiles then its better to use a 1 in 38 twist but if wanting to use 300 to 350 grain projectiles then its better to choose a 45 in order to stabilize the heavier weights. �
Both cases walls measure .0013” …approx 2mm in from the case mouth. 44Mag-V-45 Colt.45 is the shiny one on the right. A picture is worth a thousand something’s….- Easy Rollins�

Spare Part Kits and maintenance for Marlins�
http://www.curtrich.com/marlinspares.html


After 2 years and between 20,000 and 30,000 rounds, the ol’ Marlin Cowboy started breaking. I had spares for everything, so no long term down time existed. I would suggest you have the following spares at least, and if the gun’s getting up in rounds, replace the * parts (part numbers are for .45 Colt Marlin Cowboy Limited. #s may vary with caliber and model):�
Extractor with spring -514569 (the spring will break *314695)�
Firing pin, front -*414299 �
Firing pin spring-*401295 �
If you use the new one piece firing pins, all firing pin spares may be dispensed with.�
Ejector with spring-514268 (Spring had sprung, and was ejecting in front of gun. Now hits me on right shoulder (left-handed shooting). For a right hander would mean putting brass behind shooter to right instead of out of bounds.�
Ejector spring – *401294 �
As a spare you’ll want the ejector with spring. But you can just replace the spring. Takes more time, not something you’d want to do at the unloading table.�
Carrier Assembly-514961 — when it fails, send it to Marlin for a rebuild, gratis. But keep a spare. Replacing it and the * parts annually before a big match is probably not a bad idea. Coyote Cap has a modified carrier assembly with innards that can be rebuilt. When he does action jobs on Marlins (very reasonable by the way) he modifies the carrier assembly to eliminate a rare malfunction as well. If you’re a serious competitor, sending him your Marlin is probably a good idea.�
Note that this is after a lot of rounds. The Marlin is the class of the field regardless of price, I think. Just keep the gun clean, the screws tight and go over the above parts every 10,000 rounds or so.�
CLEANING SUGGESTIONS:�
After shooting, remove lever and bolt. REMOVE AND KEEP SAFE THE EJECTOR! You won’t believe how many shooters have gotten to the line and realized they didn’t have an ejector in the gun the hard way!�
Clean the bore from the chamber. I use a Bore Snake. Since I shoot Clean Shot, I spray Break Free CLP on the Bore Snake. Usually one pass is enough with Clean Shot. I’ll spray out the chamber with Windex/Vinegar (not ammonia.) Then I’ll air-dry with compressed air. If things look dirty, I’ll spray Gun Scrubber or Brake Cleaner. Dry with compressed air or hair dryer. If you’re using real BP use Ballistol./water (10/90%). Make sure you have it thoroughly dry. I stopped using Ballistol because of a lever rusted shut and considerable internal rust. This doesn’t happen with Break Free, and Clean Shot doesn’t REQUIRE Ballistol like real BP does. Reassemble. Test cycling with dummy ammunition! This prevents the “forgotten extractor” embarrassment.�
Then, using an appropriate gunsmith’s screwdriver for each screw, tighten every screw on the weapon. Wipe rag over exterior using Ballistol (smokey), or Break Free (smokeless). You can also spray with Sheath. The weapon should have a light coat of oil. �
As Needed:�
No longer than 1,000 round intervals: Disassemble weapon. (Leave Carrier Assembly assembled. Bolt sometimes needs to be disassembled to clean out extractor hole and to check and clean extractor.) Clean the parts of the action completely. They develop a “gunk” coating. The magazine spring has a tendency to rust. I coat it with a light coat of RIG grease. Clean out the mag spring tube using patches. Oil everything lightly with your magic oil of choice. Reassemble. Test cycling with dummy ammunition. Tighten the srews. Coat weapon with light coat of oil.�
For Winter Range�
The dirt is so bad there you want as dry a weapon as you can get away with. Keep it covered with a gun sock of some sort when not shooting.�
Tuning�
I found a set of instructions that sound as good as you’re going to get for home gunsmithing. If you’re not going to send it to Coyote Cap, this is as tuned as you’ll get. I haven’t done all of it, and mine’s smooth, but it has thousands of rounds through it.�

Spare Parts Kits for Common Survivalist Firearms….�
http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum … 506367/pg1�

Colt 1911 type pistols: �
Magazine, extractor, sear, firing pin, disconnector, sear spring, ejector, barrel link pin. grip screw(s), firing pin spring, recoil spring. Nice to have a spare hammer, bushing, maybe a complete pin and spring kit. Wolf’s spring kit is very nice value for the money. Maybe you look at replacing your magazine followers with arredondo or pachmayr followers, and put a recoil buffer in your slide system. Give some consideration to a Ciener .22LR conversion unit as they are affordable and make a great training aid and extend usefulness greatly. �


Ruger Mk II pistols: �
Firing pin, extractor, recoil spring assembly. Nice to improve on factory parts with Volquartson or other aftermarket makers like Clark etc. Good to have spare springs and pins. Good to have a diagram for disassembly etc if you don’t have your Ruger manual. �

Ruger 10/22 semi-auto rifle: �
Firing pin, FP return spring; extractor w/plunger & spring, magazine. �
This rifle is capable of being tuned to extraordinary accuracy. Volquartson and others make a wide variety of accessory parts. Nice to have the extended bolt lock and magazine release levers. A picatinny rail gives interchangability to your scope system with other rifles. An aftermarket barrel and stock kit add much to potential accuracy. Very handy with short, heavy barrel and plastic or laminated stock. �

Smith & Wesson revolvers: �
Hammer nose & rivet, hammer spring, cylinder stop & spring, grip screw, sideplate screw spares, hand & sping. Wolf and other tune-up kits from Cylinder & Slide are very nice and easy to install. Kuhnhausen’s manual is especially worthwhile for these handguns because so much of their interanals are/were hand fitted for functioning and there are many tricks to tune and assemble them correctly. S&W at one time sold parts direct. �

Marlin 39 lever action .22 rifles: �
Firing pin, extractor, ejector & spring, magazine tube complete. �

Remington 870 pump shotgun: �
Firing pin & return spring; extractor w/plunger & spring, R&L shell stop. �
Greatly accessorized, these shotguns have pin sets, spring sets and tuned parts available readily. Ejector assembly and other parts reportedly have very rare incidents of breakage yet maybe you want a spare and the rivets needed to install it? �

Winchester 94 lever action rifle: �
Firing pin, hammer spring, sear spring, extractor. �
Marlin 336 etc: �
Firing pin, FP striker & spring; ejector & spring, extractor. �

M1a semi-auto rifle: �
Firing pin; extractor, spring & plunger; ejector & spring, recoil spring, gas piston; gas valve spring, spindle & pin. Spare magazines. �

Ruger Mini-14: �
Firing pin; extractor, spring & plunger; ejector & spring, recoil spring, hammer spring, magazine latch spring, trigger guard, gas piston. Spare magazines. �

Remington 700 and other bolt rifles: �
Firing pin and spring assembly with barrel shroud (for ease of installation), spare set of action screws, magazine spring, extractor with rivet (or extractor w/spring & pin if mauser type bolt). Spare screws for scope base mounts, spare sling swivel studs and qd swivels. �

AR-10 & AR-15 rifles: �
Firing Pin, bolt takedown pin, spare assembled bolt or entire bolt carrier assy unit, carrier key screws; extractor, o-ring, spring and pin; ejector, spring & pin; gas tube & pin, gas ring set or McFarland ring for AR-10, Pin plunger and spring set for lower receiver, spare recoil spring, buffer and tube w/stock extension if use A2 or other full length stock. Spare gas block or A2 front sight assy (w/sight parts) also a good idea for long functioning potential. Roll pin can cup pin punches are worth investing in for dissembling gas assy parts.�

Lee Enfield Parts by Pugs�
Spare parts for the Lee-Enfield No4 Mk1 �
Extractor spring & claw . * 7.62& 303cal have a different claw but the 303type can be used in a pinch.�

Firing pin 303 & 7.62 are the same�
Bolt heads No,s 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 these are used to adjust the headspace to keep the rifle in a safe and shootable cond .�
example , the older & more use the gun gets the more likely the headspace will need a bigger bolt head hence the No.s 1 is the smallest and 4 is the biggest , But they are measured in the thou of an inch…7.62 & 303 are the same.�

Not much else goes wrong on these old war horses but it never hurts to obtain complete bolts as they’re usually cheaper than buying all the bits separately.�
Often rifles can be picked up at very cheap prices and are worth stripping for bits and handing in the bare receiver.�


NOTE*****�
The No4 Mk1 and Mk2 are different from the No1 MkIII* �
The most obvious is that the No4 has a flat reciever on the RHS of the action and the No1 is rounded.�

Also the No4 has its serial no stamped on this flat edge or the RHS of the butt socket where the No1 is stamped on the LHS of the Butt socket and is found by lifting the bolt handle.�

NOTE*****�
No4 and No1 parts are NOT interchangeable and doing so could be FATAL ( No BULLSHIT)�
one way is with a set of headspace guages , they come in a set of 2 called “Go & NoGo guages and look very similar to a snapcap or cartridge for that paticular firearm.�


Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges; a “go” gauge, and a “no-go” gauge. Modern headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “go” and a “no-go” gauge are required to headspace a firearm properly.�

Headspace gauges are typically used by inserting the gauge into the firearm chamber. The bolt should close and lock on a “go” gauge, and not close on a “no-go” gauge, indicating that the chamber headspace of a firearm is within safe minimum and maximum dimensions, respectively. The force that is applied to the bolt on a bolt-action firearm when making these assessments should only be at normal levels of force; otherwise, an incorrect assessment of headspace may result if the bolt is forced into a position with excessive pressure.�

For current or former military calibers, a “field” gauge can also be used. The “field” gauge is designed to take the place of the “no-go” gauge in military firearms, and functions in the same way. Military firearms are designed to withstand higher pressures. As such, a greater tolerance in the firearm’s headspace is acceptable, and the “field” gauge takes into account this greater tolerance. “Field” gauges should be used only on military firearms, and not on commercial firearms. Headspacing a commercial firearm with a “field” gauge can create an unsafe condition.�

As the “field” gauge takes the place of a “no-go” gauge, any military-surplus gun that locks on a “field” gauge is unsafe to fire, and should be checked by a trained gunsmith.�

Guns that fail to lock on the “go” gauge may simply need cleaning, especially at the bolt face, as build-up may occur on this surface and this buildup can cause problems in chambering a round without stressing the brass.�

Headspace gauges are designed to indicate simply whether a firearm’s chamber is in tolerance. �

**REMEMBER*** If in doubt DONT fire the gun and have it checked by a qualified gunsmith*****�

This is the easiest way to do this type of check and guages are fairly easy to obtain through various gun dealers or even better these days via the net from the states…�

WHY YOUR 1911 AUTO PISTOL�
WON’T WORK!! �
by Duane Thomas�
(Handguns Magazine / November 1994) �
Probably the most commonly heard complaints about the 1911 .45 auto are, “It doesn’t work out of the box.” “It jams all the time.” “You’ve got to put hundreds of dollars into customizing it…..and it still doesn’t work!” There’s a certain amount of truth to these criticisms. Every time I go to a high-level handgun training class, there’s at least one other class attendee shooting a customized 1911. I have yet to see such a shooter complete a full day’s training without his or her gun choking numerous times. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen more jams — and experienced them myself — with the 1911 than with all other types of handguns combined. Why is that? In this article, I’ll try to address what I consider the half dozen or so most common reasons why your 1911 auto won’t work. �

Before we start, let me make one thing very clear: I love the 1911. I’ve carried Colt Government Models and Combat Commanders for years, and I’m morally certain I’ll carry them again. Some folks have the attitude that the 1911 is perfect — no weak points, no improvements possible. What a nonsensical attitude! Only with a mature appreciation of the design’s strong and weak points and a knowledge of the most common mistakes and pitfalls waiting to trap a 1911 user will you be able to get the most from these guns. �

Now, why might your 1911 auto not work? I can think of six reasons. These are, in no particular order: (1) incompetent customization, (2) inappropriate ammunition, (3) lack of lubrication, (4) cheap magazines, (5) flaws in the basic design and (6) a propensity toward small-parts breakage. �

INCOMPETENT CUSTOMIZATION�
Gunwriters love penning articles about their heavily customized .45 autos (and God knows I’ve written my fair share of them over the years). This seems to have imbued the gunbuying public with the belief that a certain amount of customization is absolutely mandatory on a 1911. Well, that isn’t necessarily so. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on customizing 1911s. In the process of doing so, I’ve discovered that most of the things you can have done to the gun are simply a waste of money. The more I’ve learned about the 1911, the less I like to tinker with it. I do feel there are a few things (none of which is extremely complicated or expensive) that can be done to make the 1911 a better gun, but in general I think you’re better off leaving the piece alone. �

Let’s assume you’ve just gotta have your 1911 customized. How do you choose a pistolsmith? Here’s how I look at it: Let only the very best people touch your gun. Conventional wisdom has it you should choose a pistolsmith close to you geographically, so if anything goes wrong with his work, you can take the gun back for correction without having to send it out of state, wait weeks or months for its return and go through the hassle of shipping the gun through an FFL dealer coming and going. I profoundly disagree with this. There simply aren’t that many good pistolsmiths out there (although there are a lot of people who think they’re good pistolsmiths), and the chances of finding someone truly excellent close to you are very slim. Yeah, it’s more hassle to send your gun away to one of the top .45 shops and you’ll have to wait longer to get it back, but when you do get it back, it’ll probably work, which is not something you can say when you hand it over to the local hack-‘n’-slash artist. �

At one time, customizing a 1911 made a lot more sense than it does today. Until about a decade ago, the guns available from the factories were set up to feed hardball only. Sights were horribly tiny. Trigger pulls might or might not be extremely stiff and heavy. If you’re buying a straight GI gun today, perhaps that might still be the case. If you go for a top-of-the-line gun like an Enhanced Model Colt, however, today’s 1911 will come out of the box with a hollow point-compatible ramp and throat job; decent, high visibility sights; a beavertail grip safety; a beveled mag well; and a lowered and faired ejection port. The trigger pulls on recent-production Colts I’ve tried have been in the acceptable to excellent class. What more do you want? �

One of the areas where you want to be especially careful about modifying your 1911 is in the area of trigger pull. Ever seen the hammer follow on a 1911? You’re firing the gun, the slide cycles and recocks the hammer, but instead of staying cocked so you can fire the next shot, the hammer follows the slide down and falls to half cock. The same thing can happen when dropping the slide while loading the gun. I’ve seen both these things happen and have had them happen to me. �

You almost never see this happen on a stock gun. You’ll see it most commonly with guns on which some enterprising pistolsmith has lessened the hammer/sear engagement and fitted a heavy steel trigger and added a heavy recoil spring. When the slide slams forward on the gun, the gun moves forward, but the heavy steel trigger wants to stay in one place (it’s called inertia, folks), so it actually moves back slightly in its track. If the hammer/sear engagement has been compromised, either through taking off too much metal or changing the angle of the hammer hooks, the trigger can actually bounce far enough back to jostle the hammer hooks and sear out of engagement, causing the hammer to fall to half cock. �

You also see this happen with guns on which old mil-spec parts have been substituted for the stock Colt parts. Stock Colt parts and most of the quality aftermarket hammers and sears (like Brown, Wilson, Cylinder & Slide, etc.) are heat-treated and hardened all the way through. The old mil-spec parts, on the other hand, are only surface-hardened, and when a smith takes metal off these parts to do a trigger job, he exposes the soft steel beneath the hard “skin.” Under use, these soft surfaces begin to peen each other. Typically, with this problem you start out with a decent trigger pull weight: say 4 1/2 pounds. As you use the gun, however, the trigger pull starts dropping in weight – four pounds, 3 1/2 pounds, three pounds – as the hammer hooks and sear round off, and suddenly your hammer starts following. �

Can you get around this problem simply by lowering the slide gently to chamber a round? Well, no. The 1911 was designed to chamber a round with the slide moving at full speed. Easing the slide forward will quite often result in a failure to feed. Also, never loading the gun except by easing forward the slide kind of rules out ever doing (or practicing) a speed reload from slidelock, doesn’t it? And if you keep the gun for home defense in Condition Three (hammer down on an empty chamber, full magazine in place), I suggest a lot of practice swiftly racking the slide to chamber a round. �

Some shooters (and many pistolsmiths) recommend squeezing the 1911’s trigger and holding it to the rear while dropping the slide during loading, as well as when doing a speed reload from slidelock. This prevents trigger bounce and also activates the weapon’s disconnector, preventing the hammer hooks and sear from pounding each other. I consider this a very dangerous practice. �

For one thing, under the stress of a violent encounter (or even while shooting on the range, with or without match pressure) many shooters experience a phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance,” which basically means that stress negatively affects the mind’s perceptions and clearness of thought. One of the most common results of cognitive dissonance is that you lose your short-term memory. (This is why it’s almost impossible for shooters to count their rounds during a gunfight.) If you’re doing something that requires you to perform actions in a certain sequence, there’s a very real tendency to screw up the order in which you do them. Thus, under stress, “squeeze the trigger, hit the slide stop” becomes “hit the slide stop, squeeze the trigger, ” and you’ve just accidentally fired your gun, probably hitting something you weren’t supposed to, possibly even killing an innocent person. �

Besides, holding the trigger to the rear while loading the gun is a crutch for an incompetent trigger job. You have two ways around this problem: (1) Leave the gun stock or (2) let only the best people work on your gun. (Where have I heard that before?) Some pistolsmiths will tell you that even a good trigger job will allow the hammer to follow occasionally unless you press the trigger before dropping the slide. When I was discussing this matter with nationally famous pistolsmith Bill Laughridge of the Cylinder & Slide Shop (Dept. GAH, 245 E. 4th Street, P.0.Box 937, Fremont, NE 68025, phone: 402/721-4277), he told me that, in his opinion, a pistolsmith who gave a shooter a trigger job that allowed the hammer to follow for any reason hadn’t done his job very well. The Cylinder & Slide Shop is one of the few places of which I’m aware that can give you a trigger job resulting in an excellent trigger pull while leaving the gun as durable as an unmodified version. �

I hope it goes without saying that modifications that predictably adversely affect reliability-like tightening the slide to frame fit-are a bad idea. �

The bottom line on customization, as far as I’m concerned, is this: Leave the gun alone. If you must customize, do so with extreme moderation and let only the best people touch your gun. You’ll be amazed at how much better the piece works when you haven’t paid some incompetent person to ruin it. �

INAPPROPRIATE AMMUNITION�
Shooters want to stuff everything imaginable into their 1911s, and then they seem amazed when much of it doesn’t feed reliably. Let’s try to avoid as much of the wishful thinking here as possible, shall we? The 1911 is not as tolerant as some of the more modern designs in terms of the range of different bullet profiles it will reliably feed. The fact is that the 1911 was designed to feed hardball, and no matter what you do to it there’s really no way around that. Now, I’m not one of those people who says you should only carry hardball in your 1911, but I will say that the farther your.45 load departs from a hardball profile, the more you’re asking for trouble. �

At one time Colt, Springfield, etc., produced all their .45 autos with feed ramps and barrel throats set up exclusively for hardball; hollow points need not apply. In the past decade or so this has changed. Now you can have a 1911 .45 straight from the factory with a decent ramp and throat job, and the guns will reliably feed hollow points. However, I still believe you’re better off if you make feed reliability a main priority when choosing your.45 ammo. �

Hollow points that feature a rounded, hardball-type ogive are far more feed-reliable than bullets that have flat-nose, truncated-cone or semi-wadcutter shapes. The.45 ACP is a short, fat, wide cartridge, which is not the most feed-reliable cartridge profile in the world to start with. Aggravate that problem by getting too far from the reliable hardball shape in a gun that was designed from the ground up to feed hardball, and you’re just begging for jams. �

Some folks argue that your primary consideration in load selection should be stopping power. I disagree: The primary consideration should be feed reliability. Even if a particular .45 load does have deeper penetration (or lack thereof), more expansion (or lack thereof), a “one-shot stop” rating a few percentage points higher than other loads or any other traits you deem desirable, all that does you no good if you can’t fire the gun because your “wonder bullet” is hung up on the feed ramp. �

If stopping power is the name of the game, the good news for .45 lovers is that the .45 seems to be very forgiving in terms of load selection. If it’s a good hollow-point load that’ll fit into the chamber of a .45, it should give you a usable amount of stopping power. That being the case, you’re free to place the emphasis back where it belongs on feed reliability. �

There are a number of effective hollow-point loads out there that feed extremely well in modern 1911s. Hollow-points that exhibit excellent feed reliability are Winchester 185-grain Silvertip JHPs, Remington 185-grain JHPs and 230-grain Golden Saber JHPs, Federal’s 230-grain JHP load and Black Hills’185-grain and 230-grain JHPs. Winchester’s 230-grain Black Talon JHP load (now sadly unavailable to civilians) was also a very feed-reliable load. �

Hollow-point loads for the.45 ACP that, in my experience are testy feeders include the Federal 185-grain JHPs and 230-grain Hydra-Shoks, the Hornady 230-grain JFPs and the CCI-Speer 200-grain JHP “flying ashtrays.” �

LACK OF LUBRICATION�
All handguns require lubrication to work their best. My experience and the experiences of the top-flight pistolsmiths whose brains I’ve picked on this subject lead me to conclude that this is even more true for the 1911 than with most other firearms. Whenever you start feeling smug about mankind’s technological progress, remind yourself of this: We have not yet progressed to the point where our handguns will function unless we smear them with dinosaur grease. �

How long has it been since you last lubricated your 1911? If it has been more than about three days, the piece is probably bone-dry. Oil evaporates; if you carry the gun muzzle down in a holster, gravity pulls the oil down the slide rails, around the bushing and out of the gun. Some folks tout the various teflon-based lubricants as the cure for this. In my experience, they don’t last one bit longer than the natural products. �

Every few days, take a minute or so to lube your 1911. Unload the gun; lock the slide to rear. Put a small drop of oil on each slide rail and let it run into the gun. If you have a Colt with the firing pin lock, you might want to take this opportunity to put a small drop of oil on the firing pin lock plunger in the slide. Lightly rub a thin coat of oil on the exposed barrel where it rides the bushing when the gun is cycling. Let the slide go forward and put one small drop of oil on the front of the barrel hood where it meets the front of the ejection port. Cycle the gun’s action a few times, and you’re in business. Frankly, I like to do a more leisurely job of lubing my 1911s in which I actually field strip the piece, but the quick-‘n’-easy method I’ve just described will be sufficient. �

Also, while you’re lubricating your 1911, don’t overdo it. You don’t want to oil your gun like you would oil your salad. Excess lube, especially on the breechface, can attack primers and turn your chambered round into a dud. �

CHEAP MAGAZINES�
I haven’t quite figured this out yet, but it seems there are a lot of folks quite willing to pay five or six hundred dollars for a quality 1911 and invest a small fortune in customizing it, but when it comes time to buy magazines to feed the beast, they suddenly try to save a few bucks by buying EL Cheapo-brand mags. Suffice it to say, the magazine is one of the most important parts of the firearm, and buying trash instead of top-quality mags is kind of like wimping out and putting Brand-X retreads on a Porsche. �

I don’t much care for the eight-round mags with their folded metal followers that Colt provides with their guns (except the 1991A1s, which come with a seven-rounder featuring the traditional split metal follower). If you shoot a lot, sooner or later the folded metal follower in the eight-rounder is going to pop over the slide stop inside the gun, failing to lock the action open when the gun is empty and necessitating manually ripping the magazine out of the gun. The split metal follower in the seven-rounder will do the same thing. This is the sort of thing that can get you killed. �

I don’t like any eight-round .45 mags. In general, they cause more problems than they’re worth, such as difficulty to loading to full capacity, failure to feed the top round off the magazine, extreme difficulty snapping the mag into the gun and failure to lock the slide open on an empty magazine. Eight-round magazines were designed for competition use to feed extremely long bullets like the H&G #68 semi- wadcutters. Shorter rounds, like most hollow points, won’t feed reliably out of these magazines. �

There is a bewildering array of aftermarket 1911 magazines out there. I’ve tried most of them, so let me make this easy for you. If you want good mags that will work, I suggest the stainless steel Wilson-Rogers seven-rounders. These are available from Wilson Combat (Dept. GAH, Route 3, POBox 578, Berryville, AR 72616; phone 501/545-3618). The Wilson-Rogers follower design is excellent, and you won’t have to worry about it popping over the slide stop inside the gun. There are other decent seven-rounders out there, but remember, I’m making things simple for you, and when you buy the Wilson mags, you can pretty much bet the farm they’ll work. �

The Wilson-Rogers design comes standard with a thick-plastic slam pad. If that bulky floorplate protruding from the butt of your gun adds too much length to the grip for your taste (vis-a-vis, concealment), Wilson’s also sells thin, concealment-oriented replacement floorplates for their mags that are more subtle. An even more low-key approach is to pull the spring and follower out of a Wilson-Rogers and stick it in a stock Colt magazine. This gives you a magazine that doesn’t protrude from the gun at all, but still has the great Wilson-Rogers follower design. When I carry a 1911, I’ve got a hybrid Wilson/stock Colt seven-rounder in the gun and two more Wilson mags behind my left hip in a spare mag pouch. �

FLAWS IN THE BASIC DESIGN AND A PROPENSITY TOWARD SMALL PARTS BREAKAGE �
Now, here’s where I may get in trouble with a few folks. Some people seem to regard the basic 1911 design with an uncritical awe. To their minds, the 1911 represents handgun perfection; it is without flaws — without flaws, you hear me? Any criticism of the gun threatens their perceptions of the universe. Meanwhile, back in reality, the basic 1911 is an antiquated design and it is far from perfect (sacrilege, I know). Come on, folks, if John Browning was alive today, do you really think he’d be designing guns like the 1911? Hell no, (Actually, Browning had moved far beyond the 1911 by the time he died in 1926. In his prototype for the Browning Hi-Power, already completed at the time of his death, he did away with many of the flaws of the basic 1911 design.) �

Without trying too hard, I can think of four flaws in the basic 1911 design that range from moderate to serious. Several areas of the gun are prone to small-parts breakage; In some cases, when these small parts let go, the gun is totally disabled and it’ll take a pistolsmith to get it back up and running. �

PROBLEM #1: THE SLIDE STOP: �
A portion of the slide stop projects into the mag well for the purpose of engaging the magazine’s follower and locking open the action when the gun is empty. Unfortunately, this also puts the slide stop almost in the path of a cartridge coming out of the magazine. Since the slide stop is only lightly spring-loaded into the down position, if a round of ammo nudges this part during the feeding cycle, it can pop up into the slide stop notch, locking the slide back with rounds still in the gun. This can get you killed. This malfunction usually occurs, if it occurs at all, when firing the gun with hardball and less commonly with shorter hollow-point rounds. If this hasn’t happened to your gun, you probably have nothing to worry about; it’s only a problem on certain guns. If you do have this problem, a good pistolsmith can dimple the slide stop where it touches the spring-loaded plunger. If the work is done to perfection, the slide stop will never pop up on you, but will still operate perfectly to lock open the empty gun. �

PROBLEM #2: THE EXTRACTOR: �
The amount of pressure a 1911’s extractor places on a cartridge casing’s rim is regulated by the curvature of the part in its channel through the slide. This is a crude system. Too much curvature means too much pressure, and the extractor will not allow a cartridge casing to slip up into place, resulting in a failure to feed. Not enough curvature means insufficient extractor tension, resulting in failures to fully extract and/or eject. Most modern firearms use spring-loaded extractors, a far more durable and reliable system. This is a major improvement in firearms design that seems to have passed by the 1911. �

The tension of a 1911’s extractor can weaken with use. One sure way to screw up your extractor is to drop a round into the chamber with the slide open then drop the slide on the chambered cartridge. This will force the extractor to bend back and around the case rim, eventually abusing the extractor so much that it will lose its tension or even break off in extreme cases. �

PROBLEM #3: THE BARREL BUSHING/RECOIL SPRING PLUG:�
The barrel bushing/recoil spring plug is a high-stress area of the gun. Not only does the barrel whack around in the bushing every time you fire the piece, but the full force of the recoil spring also bears upon the bushing via the recoil spring plug. If the barrel bushing gives way, your recoil spring and recoil spring plug will depart the front of the gun at high speed. Effectively, the gun is disabled. Now, this doesn’t happen very often, but I have had it happen to me while firing a Combat Commander. The bushing shattered, losing the semicircular piece that holds the recoil spring plug in the gun. My recoil system was somewhere down range, my gun out of action. I believe this occured because the slide of my gun came from the factory slightly shorter in front than it should have been. There was a fingernail-size gap between the barrel bushing’s flange and the slide; you could move the bushing back and forth with your fingertips. This being the case, of course, the bushing took a hellacious pounding as it jacked itself back and forth every time the gun was fired, and finally it gave up the ghost. You should check your gun to ensure that the bushing fits snugly into the slide. �

The exact same problem can occur from a different cause: The recoil spring plug may give way. This is common with hard use of the compact Officer’s ACP guns. Most compact 1911s slavishly copy the Officer’s ACP’s recoil system, so this problem is not limited to Colts. On the Officer’s ACP, the only thing holding the recoil spring plug in the gun is a tiny tab that hooks into a slot in the slide. If that small tab gives way (and it often does), your gun is hors de combat by virtue of a missing recoil system. I’m a big fan of the aftermarket recoil spring plugs for Officer’s ACP-size guns that use a ring of metal at the rear of the plug to hold it inside the slide. There’s no way such a part can come out of the gun. �

PROBLEM #4: THE PLUNGER TUBE: �
The plunger tube that runs between the slide stop and thumb safety is a notorious weak spot in the basic 1911 design. This tube contains two little plungers and a spring, the power of which serves both to hold the slide stop in the down position until operated by the follower of the empty magazine as well as to hold the thumb safety lever in the safe or fire position. This is a high-stress area of the gun; every time you flip your thumb safety on or off, you apply force to the plunger tube. Unfortunately, the plunger tube is held to the side of the gun only by two small studs that pass through holes in the frame. It is not at all unusual for one of these studs (almost invariably the rear one) to snap off. I’ve had this happen myself while shooting, and I’ve seen it happen to other shooters. When this happens, your thumb-safety lever will wind up in a half-on/half-off position. In an emergency, it would be possible to physically hold the safety lever down in the fire position and still shoot the piece. However, for all practical purposes, the gun is disabled until the plunger tube is replaced. �

There’s really nothing you can do about this problem except to keep a close eye on your gun’s plunger tube for signs of looseness. Some folks say that if your plunger tube is loose, you should simply have it restaked. I don’t know about that. If the plunger tube has been loose for any amount of time, that rear stud has probably been abused enough that I’d probably feel better myself simply replacing the tube with a new part. �

So, there’s a lot to know about the ol’ 1911, huh? It’s not exactly the simplest or most maintenance-free design out there. The trick here is to enjoy the 1911 design for its strengths, but at the same time don’t deny its weaknesses. Let me summarize my advice to maximize your 1911 auto’s reliability: Load it with good hollow-point ammunition featuring a feed profile as close to hardball as possible. Use only top-quality magazines. Keep the gun clean and well lubricated. Check your bushing’s fit in the slide. Regularly check your extractor tension and the plunger tube staked to the side of the gun for any looseness. If either of these areas shows problems, move instantly to rectify them. �

Modifications? Leave the gun as stock as possible. If you must customize, do so with extreme moderation. Either leave your hammer/sear alone or, if you must have a trigger job, let only a shop that knows what it’s doing modify this critical area. If your slide stop is popping up, have the slide stop dimpled by a competent pistolsmith. On the small, Officer’s ACP-size guns, replace the stock bushing with an aftermarket bushing designed to stay in the piece. Let only the best pistolsmiths touch your gun. I like to put my preferred sights on a 1911, but that’s a matter of personal preference and not an absolute necessity. And that’s about it. �

You in the front row….yeah, you with your hand up. You have a question? �

“So, you’re saying that you’ve got to know the 1911 inside out to get the best out of it? You’ve got to know what ammo to feed it, buy good mags for it, know how the various parts work and know where the weak points are in the design so you can have advanced warning if anything’s about to let go. Is the gun really worth all this effort?” �

Emphatically, yes; the 1911 is worth it. The 1911’s overwhelming virtue is how easy it is to shoot. Quite simply, the 1911 design gives us the shortest, most controllable trigger pull of any handgun. In this area, all other one-hand guns must take a back seat to the grand old design. In my recent article on the easiest handguns to shoot, the Colt Government Model outshot several of the more modern designs, placing third out of five guns I tested. I believe it might have placed even higher, but I was determined that all the guns in my shootout be as stock as possible, so before testing the Government Model I replaced the excellent wooden Spegel grips the piece normally wore with the rubber wraparound grips that had come stock on the gun. The rubber wraparounds really bulked up the grip, changing a gun that had fit my hand wonderfully well into a gun that didn’t fit my hand at all. The fact that I was still able to fire the piece well is, I feel, a tribute to the Government Model’s inherent shootability. �

Another thing I like very much about the 1911 is that it’s the only serious, heavy-duty combat handgun out there that can be totally detail stripped without tools. Not to get too Zen here, but when I know I can totally disassemble my carry gun and put it back together again using nothing but my own hands, it gives me a wonderful sense of being one with the gun. �

No, the 1911 is not a gun for the casually interested. However, for the dedicated shooter who’s willing to take the time to get to know the design intimately, the 1911 is still a superior choice in a defensive handgun. Unlike most things in life, the 1911 has strengths that more than compensate for its flaws. If it’s not perfect, well, what is??



FLINTLOCK MUZZLE-LOADER: By Keith�
Spare mainspring, hammer (frizzen) spring, hammer, spare flints, mainspring vise.


Links�
http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/ … vergun.htm
http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/leverguns.htm
http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/molever.html
http://www.downrange.tv/forum/index.php?topic=1085.0
http://www.leverguns.com/articles/taylor/rossi.htm
http://www.notpurfect.com/main/lever.htm
http://www.notpurfect.com/main/combo.htm

On Line Firearms Manuals�
http://survival.stx.nl:7001/Survival-pr … s/Weapons/ �

http://www.winchesterguns.com/prodinfo/om/index.asp

http://stevespages.com/page7b.htm

http://civilianarmory.com/manuals.php
http://imhz.com/gun/pdf/
http://www.okiegunsmithshop.com/win_320.jpg

Suggested Spare Parts �
http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/firearmspartslist.htm

From the book “Survival Gunsmithing” �
Basic Parts Kit �
*Firing Pin �
*firing pin return spring �
*extractor �
*extractor plunger �
*extractor spring �
*right shell stop �
*left shell stop �
Complete Parts Kit �
*includes basic parts plus �
*ejector �
*ejector spring �
*ejector rivets (2) �
*carrier assembly �
*trigger housing pins �
*magazine spring �
*magazine spring retainer �
*trigger housing pin spring retainer clips �
*trigger assembly �
*bolt �
**complete trigger housing would easier to install than carrying all the individual parts �

Bolt Action Rifles

This is the most in depth article Ive ever been able to find on describing the differences in bolt action rifles. What I like about it the best is that after describing the inherit designs, still leaves it up to the individual to decide what is best for them. Its well worth checking out the link for pictures of the different systems and a comparison chart of manufaturing data. The only thing that isnt mentioned from a survivalist/preparedness angle are rifle twists.This only really applies to the 223 cartridge, being the current military round. Military rounds usually the primary choice, believing that they will be more common after SHTF. Im not a big believer in that philosophy myself. The below article is written on standard rifle features and not from a military sniper nor a competition perspective.

Rifling is the process of making spiral grooves in the Gun barrel which imparts a spin to a Projectile around its long axis. This spin serves to gyroscopically stabilize the projectile, improving its aerodynamic stability and accuracy. Rifling is described by its twist rate, which indicates the distance the bullet must travel to complete one full revolution, such as “1 turn in 10 inches” (1:10 inches), or “1 turn in 30 cm” (1:30 cm). A shorter distance indicates a “faster” twist, meaning that for a given velocity the projectile will be rotating at a higher spin rate.

The 223 round is generally made with a 1 in 12 twist for sporting shooters. This will stabilize a production 55 grain load. Military rounds are a 69 grain ball projectile or if wanting to use a 223 for larger game, need to be loaded with for example a 70 grain hollow point. To stabilize the heavier rounds a faster twist rate is required. The twist rate of military firearms I believe is 1 in 7 but dont quote me on that.

There are three main actions that are now made with faster twist rates as standard in bolt actions. If wanting to change an existing twist rate on another action or barrel then another barrel needs to be fitted. Tikka make a 1 in 8 twist and both Savage and Remington come out with 1 in 9 twists in their tactical models.�

By Rick Jamison

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is: “Which bolt-action rifle is best?” The inquiry nearly always comes from someone intending to buy a hunting rifle, not a competition target rifle. My usual response is that, for the price, all the popular and current American-made actions are good. A shooter can simply pick one he likes and go with it without going wrong. That might sound like a cop-out, but it’s true. At the same time, however, there is more to the story. While they all function well and reliably, they are far from all the same. They are designed differently, and it is these design features that may hold the key to finding the rifle that is right for you.

On the surface a bolt action appears to be basically simple. But when one examines all the different aspects of what it takes for a fully functioning system, the actions are not simple. Some of the designs and innovations that solve the same problems are what separate the makes. Most of these design features aren’t of interest to the average shooter. What is important is how the rifle feels, handles, and functions in your hands. Again, the key is to look at firearms from the standpoint of what suits you best. To help you decide what’s best for you, let’s look at the key features of what I consider to be the top six popular bolt actions.

Locking Lug Design
For example, all the popular bolt actions feature locking lugs situated near the front of the bolt. Most have two opposing lugs (Remington Model 700, Ruger Model 77 Mark II, Savage Model 110 Series, Winchester Model 70), but the Browning A-Bolt has three and the Weatherby Mark V has three banks of three for a total of nine locking lugs. What this means to the shooter is that two opposing lugs make for a 90-degree bolt lift. Three lugs, or banks of three, make for a shorter 60-degree bolt lift. If you want a shorter arc in bolt lifting, go with the Browning A-Bolt or the Weatherby Mark V.

Since the camming distance is shorter with the shorter lift, some have suggested that something is sacrificed–that the bolt is probably more difficult to lift, the spring is weaker, perhaps, or that the striker falls a shorter distance. In reality, the mainspring is quite long and is compressed a relatively small percentage during bolt lift. What you will find is that the Weatherby and Browning actions both open with normal to light resistance. When it comes to sporting rifles, the user has little concern about how a manufacturer achieves the final product. What is important to the shooter is how the rifle feels during operation. Again, all the modern actions function well and reliably enough for sporting purposes.

The real answer is to go to a gun shop and try the bolt function of the different designs to see which one feels right to you. A shop owner might not want you working the bolts on new guns just for testing, but there should be no problem in working the bolts of used guns. For some, the short 60-degree lift just doesn’t feel quite right. Others will appreciate the shorter and potentially quicker bolt throw.

There has been a lot of controversy about multiple lugs. It is said that not all of them can be made to bear evenly in a production gun. Today’s machinery is pretty good, and it is in the interest of the manufacturer to make the strongest rifle possible in accordance with the design. The average shooter doesn’t know whether all the lugs bear or not. If this is an issue for you, the answer is to purchase only an action, then have the lugs lapped by a good gunsmith before fitting and chambering a new barrel. (And if you desire that much precision, you would probably want to have a number of other aspects of the rifle altered as well.)

Production manufacturing of popular rifles is designed to keep costs down while offering a serviceable product, and again, for the price you pay, popular rifles offer a lot. As for my own hunting guns, I don’t worry about lug bearing and action machining unless I re-barrel. Off-the-shelf rifles shoot okay for hunting purposes, and the actions are plenty strong. This is really the crux of the issue.

When you are testing different actions you’ll notice that Browning, Remington, Ruger, Savage, and Winchester rifles have the same diameter bolt body (around .690 inch). The exception is the Weatherby with a bolt diameter of about .839 inch. In the Weatherby, each lug is small and is machined within the large bolt body whereas in the two-lug bolt rifles mentioned the lugs project outward from the bolt body. You will also notice that the Weatherby action is exceptionally smooth.

Safety Location & Operation
Insofar as the feel of the rifle, aside from bolt operation, the safety location and operation are perhaps the next most important features on any rifle.

Another aspect of the safety is what it blocks. You might want a safety that is functional even though the bolt handle is not blocked. Some shooters desire this feature so that rounds can be cycled through the action with the safety engaged. If you want this feature, be sure that the rifle offers it–for example, the Winchester Model 70, Ruger Model 77 Mark II, Savage 110 Series, or the right Remington Model 700. On the Remington 700, some rifles have it and some do not. On some Remington models, depressing the safety lever straight down unlocks or locks the bolt. It is an added feature on the safety.

Extractors & Ejectors
While much as been made of extractors and ejectors, they all work well. If you’re a controlled-round-feed aficionado, go with the Winchester Model 70 with controlled-round feed or the Ruger 77 Mark II. The rest of the six rifles mentioned have the push-feed feature. A controlled-round feed means the cartridge is grasped by the bolt (claw-type extractor) immediately when the bolt pushes it forward and the round exits the magazine box. In the push-feed design, the round is free to move about after it exits the magazine and before it enters the barrel.

As for ejectors, a plunger ejector places constant spring pressure on one side of the base of the cartridge. As the cartridge is withdrawn from the action, the mouth of the case drags on the barrel and receiver ring until it is flipped out the ejection port. It is ejected with the same force regardless how the bolt is withdrawn.

A standing ejector places no pressure on the cartridge. In fact, the ejector is not even in contact with the cartridge case until the bolt is pulled to the rear and the ejector extends past the boltface to flip the case out of the action. With a standing ejector, the speed and force of bolt operation control how the round is ejected. Pull the bolt back slowly and the empty case can easily be grabbed for handloading. Pull the bolt back quicker and the empty is flung a short distance. Pull the bolt back sharply with a lot of force and the empty is flung farther away. Some shooters desire this latter feature for the control it provides. If you want it, make certain the rifle you purchase has it. The Model 70 Winchester with controlled-round feed and the Ruger Model 77 Mark II have this (standing ejector) feature.

One other thing on ejectors: When it comes to very big cartridges with heavy bullets designed for African game, standing ejectors can be deformed by continually flinging the bolt open with a loaded round. The force of the round with the weight of the bullet constantly batters a standing ejector. Some shooters intending to go to Africa practice rapid bolt operation using dummy rounds that have bullets but no powder or primer. This practice can destroy a standing ejector. While the controlled-feed Model 70 Winchester is often a rifle of choice for African hunting, this same rifle is susceptible to extractor battering and deforming (bending in the middle). It is no problem during normal use because the cartridge is usually fired prior to ejection, and an empty round does not have the same battering effect.

Hopefully, this article will help you make a more informed choice. But remember: You aren’t limited to just one!

A plunger ejector is just as prone to problems. I have had plunger ejectors become jammed inside the boltface under adverse conditions, but again, this is not a normal occurrence and seldom happens.

Triggers
Many rifles have adjustable triggers, but not all do. Some factory triggers can be replaced by aftermarket triggers, but aftermarket triggers are not available for all models. If you want an adjustable trigger, be sure the rifle you purchase has it. I’ve included a chart to indicate the features of six of the most popular rifles discussed here.

The Weatherby Mark V has a bolt stop that operates in conjunction with the trigger lever. As with plunger ejectors, this bolt stop can become jammed inside the receiver under adverse conditions. The result is that the bolt is pulled clear out of the action when the action is opened. Or, open the Weatherby Mark V action and point the muzzle skyward. Press the trigger and the bolt falls out onto the floor if you don’t catch it. On the other hand, it is very easy to remove a bolt from the Weatherby because squeezing the trigger releases the bolt from the action.

Removing a bolt from a Savage is not quite so easy. You have to depress a lever at the right side of the receiver bridge while at the same time press the trigger and then withdraw the bolt from the action. You can do it with two hands pretty well once you learn how, but when you’re learning how you’ll wish you had three hands.

This discussion is not intended to dissuade you from any particular action type. While the Weatherby has the trigger/bolt stop combination, it has a short 60-degree bolt lift and is also perhaps the smoothest action going. While the Savage has the bolt stop manipulation situation mentioned, it is also known to be one of the most consistently accurate rifles. The point is that each rifle has a variety of features. Some you might like and some you might not like. If you find a rifle that has all the features you like and none you don’t like, you’re easier to please than most shooters.

Special But Basic Features
As for some basic features that are special, the Ruger Model 77 Mark II has integral scope mount bases. Ruger even makes the rings for its rifles. Other rifles require aftermarket scope rings and bases. The Ruger rifle also has a forward action screw that enters the recoil lug at a 60-degree angle from the rear. These features are not found on the other five popular bolt guns mentioned.

The Savage has an unusual barrel attachment feature. While the receiver is threaded in a normal manner, the barrel has threads extending forward of the receiver. There is no shoulder on the barrel that serves as a stop against the face of the receiver. Instead, the barrel is turned into the receiver until the chamber headspaces properly and then a nut is turned down on these exterior barrel threads against the washer-like recoil lug at the face of the receiver.

The main rear action screw of the Savage also enters the receiver under the bridge instead of back at the tang. And the Savage has what appears to be a secondary set of action locking lugs. In reality, they remain blocking the lug raceways when the primary lugs are locked and serve as gas baffles in the event of a ruptured cartridge case.

Another feature of the Savage is that the action lugs are a piece separate from the main part of the bolt body. The Browning A-Bolt has a similar setup in this regard. The A-Bolt also has a box magazine that can be detached from the floorplate when the latter is opened. Inside the magazine box is a unique scissors-type cartridge elevator that puts even pressure on both the front and rear of the cartridge as it rises out of the box. The A-Bolt also has an unusually shaped bolt knob. Some shooters love it and others hate it. Again, personal preference plays an important part in action selection.

These are just some of the different designs of the basic actions. All of the rifles mentioned are offered with a variety of different features. You can get a standard weight rifle, heavy barrel, ultra lightweight model, stainless steel or blued, synthetic stocks or wood in such different versions as Classic, Mountain, Coyote, Safari, etc. The purpose of this article is not to get into all the variations but to focus on the main features of the basic actions of six popular rifle models.

http://www.shootingtimes.com/longgun_reviews/st_0302_boltaction/index.html