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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 16

Issue No. 16

Editor’s Note: The MX missile system has become a knee-jerk response issue with many otherwise sound-thinking
conservatives. Recognizing the widening gap between the rapid Soviet military buildup and our own decline, they
have tended to equate the need for greater military spending with the MX.

Many who are well-informed in military matters feel, however, that our national interest would be better served by
deploying an ABM system and the neutron bomb, while increasing our conventional hardware and armed forces,
then instituting crash programs to develop a particle beam weapon and better delivery systems.

In fact, if we are lulled into believing that we are doing something effective by directing our energies toward the
MX, we may find that instead of creating a deterrent, we have merely invited an exponentially greater level of
destruction within our borders, while losing enough crucial time to shift the balance of power decisively to our

From the survivalist’s point of view, the vastly enhanced fallout potential and the immense death zone that would
be created if the MX is implemented must be taken into account when considering retreat locations. M.T.

The Fallout from the MX System

By Bruce Clayton

There has been much concern recently about the lingering effects of radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons tests
on the inhabitants of Nevada and Utah. Several court cases have tested the government’s legal responsibility for
cancers and other radiation-induced diseases appearing in citizens many years after the tests were terminated. As
alarming as these effects may have been, there is a far greater fallout danger developing- one which will threaten
the lives of nearly everyone in the Intermountain region. That is the massive quantity of fallout which would be
produced by a Soviet attack on the proposed MX missile system.

In most cases, the fallout from a nuclear war is a hazard which we dramatically overestimate. Nuclear war
simulations using realistic assumptions about weapons and targets show that only ten percent of the United States
would receive dangerous quantities of fallout, and in most of that area an average person could protect himself and
his family from the radiation without especially difficult efforts. As we have seen in Nevada and Utah, the
long-term effects of low-level residual radiation can be injurious to a small number of the people exposed, but for
the most part, wartime fallout would not be a difficult threat to overcome.

Unfortunately, the MX will change all that.

The official plan is to construct the MX missile system in a large portion of central Nevada and Utah. The system
will be composed of 200 seven-mile diameter circular “racetracks”, each of which connects 23 blast-proof shelters.
One MX missile on a mobile platform is supposed to scurry around each racetrack from shelter to shelter, making it
difficult for the Soviets to keep track of the missile’s exact location.

Military authorities predict that it will take the Soviets more than 6000 one-megaton warheads to attack this system
successfully. They will have a difficult time hitting all 4600 shelters ​and all the other retaliatory forces
simultaneously with their current supply of warheads and therefore, the reasoning goes, they will not dare to attack

But what if the Pentagon experts are wrong? The General Accounting Office (GAO) contends that if the Soviets
ignore the new SALT treaty they could easily build enough missiles to attack the MX system by the time it is
completed in 1989. What if the Soviets do try to neutralize the MX system as part of a surprise attack or as part of a
mistaken retaliation? What would the fallout effects be?

Fallout is formed when a nuclear device is exploded in contact with the ground, as in an attack on a missile silo or
MX shelter. (Air bursts, the kind best suited to damage cities and airfields, do not produce fallout.) Particles of dirt
from the resulting crater are drawn up into the mushroom cloud to an altitude of about 4500 feet.

As the cloud cools, these dirt particles become spattered with tiny droplets of molten radioactive metal from the
vaporized bomb itself. As the cloud blows away, the grains of contaminated dirt and dust begin to fall back to earth.
This is the “fallout”.

Most of the dirt particles fall back to the ground (an eight-mile fall) within the first day after the explosion. After
the remnants of the mushroom cloud are more than one day old they are producing very little fallout. The residual
radioactive material still in the air, the long-term fallout, gradually comes down in rainfall over a period of a year or
so. Since it loses nearly all of its radioactivity before returning to earth, the long-term fallout does not ordinarily
pose a significant threat to life.

The local fallout (in the first 24 hours) is another matter. Fallout from a single one-megaton ground-level burst
carried by typical high altitude winds (40 mph) produces a two-week radiation dose of 1,500 rads within 25 miles
downwind of the target; 500 rads within 105 miles; and 150 rads within 265 miles.

For unprotected people, 1,500 rads corresponds to rapid prostration and death; 500 rads means slow death for half
or more of the population; and 150 rads means sickness but few deaths. In all cases, a standard Civil Defense home
fallout shelter with a protection factor (PF) of 40 would cut the radiation exposure down to negligible levels.
Let’s assume that, one of these days, the Soviets will panic and try to obliterate the MX system. We’ll be optimistic
about it and assume that they won’t be able to mount a full-scale attack. They might not have enough missiles to
really saturate the racetracks, so we’ll assume a maximum of 4000 warheads detonating on the MX racetracks. (An
“ideal” attack would devote two warheads to each shelter, or 9200 warheads in all.)

An attack using 4000 warheads would allot only twenty to each MX racetrack. The warheads would be targeted at
ground level in an attempt to disrupt and dig up the shelters. When the mushroom clouds from the 4000 explosions
stabilize in the stratosphere, they will form a solid radioactive overcast which may be as much as four hundred
miles across and entirely saturated with fallout.

What will this mean in practical terms?

Let’s take the case of Ely, Nevada first. Ely is a town which has the misfortune of being in the center of the
proposed MX area. If the Soviet attack on the MX system occurs on a day with fairly typical wind conditions, the
residents of Ely will receive fallout from about eight MX race tracks at ranges from 30 to 150 miles southwest of
the town. (This is the fallout generated by 160 warheads.) The fallout will begin to arrive within the first hour after
the attack and will continue to fall for about five hours.

At the end of two weeks this fallout will have bathed Ely in over 230,000 rads of radiation. This is enough radiation
to kill every living thing in the vicinity, including sagebrush and cockroaches. It is even enough to kill, very
quickly, any people who take refuge in standard home fallout shelters with a protection factor of 40.

The only hope of survival in Ely would be a really superb fallout shelter, one with a protection factor of 3000 or
more, which means a concrete shelter buried under at least five feet of earth. In such a shelter a person could be safe
from the radiation, but he would have to remain underground for a very long time.

It would begin to be safe to go outside for up to three hours per day after seven months. Permanent emergence
would begin to be possible after eighteen months. Even then, it would be far safer to stay in the shelter. (Remember
that this is a ​mild​ Soviet attack on the MX system!)

The same typical winds which would bring ruin to Ely will also carry the radioactive overcast directly toward Salt
Lake City and Provo, Utah. Salt Lake residents can expect fallout from about fifteen MX racetracks lying from 100
to 350 miles southwest of the city. (This is fallout from about 300 warheads.) The fallout will begin to arrive two
and a half hours after the attack and will continue through the next six hours.

The two-week total radiation dose for Salt Lake City will be over 65,000 rads. Again, any organisms which
survives this exposure will be regarded as a biological marvel. People in home fallout shelters will receive a dose of
1600 rads. This is still enough to kill every last person, although some may not die quite as quickly as their
counterparts in Ely.
To survive in Salt Lake, a person would need a shelter with a protection factor of about 1000. A concrete shelter
buried under three feet of earth would do. It would begin to be safe to leave the shelter for up to three hours per day
after four months had passed. Permanent emergence could not be attempted during the first year. (The figure is
almost exactly 365 days.)

Residents of Provo may expect, if anything, harsher conditions than those in Salt Lake. They are closer to the MX
racetracks, and Provo lies almost exactly along the most common wind direction from the center of the missile area.

The next most likely metropolitan area to be affected will be Denver, Colorado. Fortunately, Denver is about 800
miles from the center of the MX region, and only the tail end of the fallout will land there. The fallout will begin to
arrive about 20 hours after the attack, and will continue to fall for the next eight hours. At the end of two weeks,
Denver will have received over 1100 rads of exposure, which is enough to kill birds and mammals (including
unprotected humans), but not enough to have any great impact on plants.

Home fallout shelters will be effective here, shielding their inhabitants from all but 30 rads of exposure. Thirty rads
is not likely to produce any pathological effect. Temporary emergence from the shelters for three hours a day would
be possible after eight days. Permanent emergence would be possible, if necessary, after six weeks.

If the radioactive overcast does not travel directly to the east, it may wander north into the states of Idaho,
Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, and Nebraska. A more southern course could take it over Arizona, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, and Texas. There is a very small possibility that it would travel west into California. We can regard all
parts of these states within 1000 miles of Ely, Nevada, as locations which may develop severe fallout problems
following an attack on the MX system.

Even so, the primary threat of the MX fallout will be to the people of Nevada and Utah. The amount and probable
distribution of the fallout is such that it could easily kill everyone in the state of Utah except a few who might take
refuge in deep caves or inside specially constructed shelters. It is hard to imagine how anyone could seriously
propose that we build this system in view of the possible consequences to the central Rocky Mountain states, and to
the nation in general.

If I were a Mormon living in Salt Lake City, words such as “genocide” would be coming to mind in relation to MX.
As someone whose main interest is post-war national recovery, the MX system conjures up a different word in my
mind... stupidity. What kind of fool would build a weapon system that hurts us more than it does the enemy?

If you think we may be heading for a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and you want to be prepared for it, get as
far away from the MX system as you can. If you can’t avoid the potential fallout from MX, then make an effort to
construct a really superb shelter and stock it for lengthy occupation... very lengthy occupation.
Most fallout horror stories are greatly exaggerated myths, but the fallout from MX will live up to the legend. The
people of the southern Rockies will have to make extreme efforts if they wish to be prepared for this eventuality.

Letters from Mel’s Notes

In August of this year Mel joined the staff of Soldier of Fortune magazine as survival editor. Before his death he
had completed his first two columns- in the December, 1980 and January, 1981 issues. In my opinion, and in that of
many experts who have read the material, the two columns, taken together, are an outstanding exposition of the
predicament facing this country today.

The logic and facts presented in the two articles are irrefutable, and I think that you will find them a valuable
addition to your survival library. I know of no better introduction for the novice to the concept of long-term
survival. SOF is available on most newsstands or you can write Soldier of Fortune, 5735 Arapaho Avenue, Boulder,
CO 80303, $24 for a 12-issue subscription or $2.50 per issue.

One of the most provocative periodicals to come across Mel’s desk in a long time has been Robert White’s ​The
Duck Book​, which is as Gary North says, “a kind of national clearinghouse for the true alternative press of America,
the ‘hard money’ newsletter industry”.

The issue that I read last night contained excerpts from ​The Reaper, Edward Orr’s Common Sense, The Trilateral
Observer, The International Harry Schultz Letter, Newsletter Digest, the Gold and Monetary Report, Daily News
Digest, The American Sentry Report​, and a special report from Gary North. Not only are the excerpts filled with
hard-to-find information not found in the “establishment” press, but they give you a unique opportunity to sample
virtually every hard money newsletter being published today.

Robert White comments on the excerpts and on the sorry state of the world in general in a down-to-earth style that
is a refreshing antidote to the ponderous prose that we in the newsletter industry are all too often guilty of writing.
His ​Duck Book subscription information reads as follows: “If you like what you see in the following pages you can
get a lifetime subscription (my life not yours) for ten dollars. You may get one issue or a hundred. They may
contain four pages or two hundred. That’s the chance you take.” As a bonus, new subscribers will also receive the
300+ page supplemental economic issue which will contain 30 complete newsletters.

For $10 you cannot afford to be without ​The Duck Book.​ Write Robert White, Inc., P.O. Box 1928, Cocoa, FL
32922. Phone: 305-632-8654 and mention that you read about it in PS Letter.
One of our PS Letter subscribers and friends, Joel Brodkey, is now the manager of the gun department of the Fort
Carson Trading Co. (P.O. Box 5280, 164 Highway 50, Stateline, NV 89449). The staff at Fort Carson is
sympathetic to survivalists and will go out of their way to accommodate you. Joel tells me that his department
specializes in “survival guns” and ammunition and that he will be happy not only to answer any of your questions,
but also to help you find any item that he does not have on hand.

In addition, the store sells gold and silver in any form and precious stones, kerosene heating units, and Honda
generators. When you call Fort Carson, ask for Joel and identify yourself as a PS Letter subscriber. If calling in
Nevada, the telephone number is 702-588-5191; elsewhere, toll-free 800-648-3376.

Survival Wheels
by Rick Fines

Battery Update

While it’s hard to imagine, we thought of another piece of information that you should consider when buying
batteries for survival storage. The subjects of wet and dry-charged batteries were covered in great detail in PS
Letter No.12, but the term “moist-dry” battery has recently been added to the list. The moist-dry battery is a recent
innovation of marketing people. The intention is to offer a battery with the reliability of the charged and wet
battery, but with more shelf life.

The result is the moist-dry, which may be recognized by a strip of tape which seals the vents on top of the battery.
The moist-dry battery is cheaper to manufacture than the true dry type, but does not offer the indefinite shelf life of
a charged, dry battery. For a retailer who rotates his stock with any sort of regularity, it has advantages. However, if
someone suggests you buy moist-dry batteries for long-term survival storage in place of dry types, DO NOT DO IT.
Shelf life will likely be less than a year before irreparable harm sets in.

Jeep Offers New Engine Choice

We have for some time suggested Jeep 4x4 machines as the vehicles of choice in the American market. Starting this
model year, Jeep has added a new engine to their offerings for the CJ-5 and CJ-7. It is a 4-cylinder, gasoline engine
built by General Motors, which is a slightly modified version of what GM installs in their new X-body line.

It’s very well suited for Jeep application when coupled with the 4-speed transmission. Regardless of what the EPA
sticker has to say, those who have bought it average around 20 mpg, and report that the engine is a very reliable
unit. The installation of this engine provides a good deal of space under the hood, and there are obviously fewer
parts to break than with more complex engines. The new 4-cylinder engine is not magic, however. If you plan long
highway trips, or plan on towing a trailer, I would suggest the 6-cylinder engine. Under no circumstance is the
AMC V8 the engine of choice in the CJ-5 or CJ-7.
International Harvester Dumps Scout Line

For the past several years, PS Letter has suggested that readers avoid vehicles produced by International Harvester
for survival applications. It’s necessary to repeat that caution again, as IH has announced the demise of their light
truck and Scout vehicle lines. Management at IH, motivated by the general downturn in automotive sales and the
dive in truck sales, decided that their corporate goals could best realized by concentrating on the heavy truck

Regardless of the quality of IH machinery, we have suggested that you avoid Internationals due to poor parts
availability. Now that the machines are orphans, parts supplies are hardly likely to get better.

Update: Alcohol Motor Fuels

“It’s no longer a question of whether or not gasohol blends deteriorate fuel system parts molded of conventional
oil-resistant rubbers... it is a matter of how much!”

The above paragraph appeared in a full-page ad from International Packings Corporation in the July, 1980 issue of
Automotive Industries magazine. International Packings Corporation manufactures molded plastic and rubber parts
for use in all manner of fuel systems. While they would understandably be delighted to proclaim that their products
are totally compatible with alcohol/gasohol concoctions, such is not the reality of the situation.

Their tests show that the various base polymers used to fabricate fuel system components all suffer damage of one
sort or another when exposed to any of the several types of alcohol used in fuel stocks. The conclusion of the IPC
ad announces that their engineers have just developed a new elastomeric compound which will not turn to silly
putty when exposed to alcohol.

Since alcohol fuels have become something of an “in” topic in survival circles, it’s appropriate to call this situation
to your attention. In general, the subject of alcohol as an alternative motor fuel has become a political topic- not a
subject of thoughtful engineering consideration.

No matter what the self-proclaimed experts have told you about becoming independent of the oil companies, or of
stored fuel supplies in a survival context, consider the following:

1. Based on the best numbers that I can find, nearly nine tons of grain would be necessary to produce enough fuel to
propel a Volkswagen 20,000 miles. Now, stop and consider how much time and energy is required to cultivate,
plant, harvest, and process grain in those quantities.

2. Most of the alcohol zealots suggest that the “simple” home stills will make one totally independent of the oil
companies. Note that they make no comments relating to production of crankcase lubricants, gear oils, or any of the
other petrochemicals necessary to keep a motor vehicle on the road.
Short of hunting whales and rendering them for oil, I would suggest that high-technology products are tied to the oil
companies, whether we like it or not. We are best served in a survival context by recognizing reality and dealing
with it- not engaging in a combination of Davy Crockett and Jules Verne fiction to alter fact because it’s fun, or
might get us on the Today Show.

As a summary- from an engineer’s point of view, note that blends of Methyl, Ethyl, Isopropyl, or Butyl alcohols are
NOT directly interchangeable with gasoline. Many of these fuels have storage characteristics far worse than
gasoline, and are subject to climatic changes which are not always predictable.

Unless your vehicle is brand new (or more than 40 years old), its fuel system likely contains parts which may turn
to stone or rubber soup when exposed to alcohol blends. If your vehicle is a few years old, you will likely suffer
from other problems brought on by the solvent effects of gasohol/alcohol blends before parts have a chance to

Alcohol is great stuff. Gin would not be the same without it. As an alternate fuel for survival applications, it’s less
than a complete answer. As a part of gasohol to power your ‘78 Chevy, you are better off without it.

I don’t want to leave the impression that we are sour grape cynics on the subject of alternate fuel sources for
internal combustion engines. We are not. We are, however, in the business of advising you on matters relating to
practical, personal survival in crisis situations.

Theory, whether the subject be political, mechanical, or metaphysical, gets very little ink in these pages. Survival
deals with established, real, and basic facts. Theory has the great advantages of drama mixed with fiction. If you
find theory to be of overwhelming importance, a subscription to ​Mother Earth News​ should give you all you need.

Some time back, this writer took a “​Mother”​ author to task for suggesting that Wesson oil was a viable alternative
fuel for Diesel engines (don't do it unless the engine belongs to someone you don’t like).

Mr. Richard Freudenberger, their Research Coordinator, replied on 31, January 1980. His reply included the
following quote: “... That, too, is a ‘report from them that’s doin’ (sic) piece that’s probably more of a novelty than
a workable answer... ”

Remember that workable answers are the only answers you can be concerned with in a survival situation.
New Lessons on the Social Shotgun
By Jeff Cooper

Here at Gunsite we have just completed our first “special weapons” course (the “special weapons” used were the
machine pistol and the fighting shotgun) and we have learned fully as much as the students who came.

That is not to say that we deprived the students of any instruction that they may have received by using them as a
research tool, but that no one was aware, prior to our session, of certain facets of the use of the two weapons that we
have discovered.

I will modify that by saying that I did not learn anything important about the machine pistol that I had not known
before. I did discover that the Ingram or MAC-10 machine pistol is a particularly poor example of the breed, but
that is not a significant factor.

Generally speaking, the machine pistol did what I expected it to do. On the other hand, I learned a great deal about
the fighting shotgun which I did not know before. I do not apologize for not having known it because there never
had been the opportunity to put it to a test.

I will therefore comment now upon the lessons of the combat shotgun which I think are worthy of your attention. I
am not entirely sure of everything that has been explored here, but I feel that we are on the right track. When I
make certain observations, I will qualify them by saying that they either are definitely established or simply
projected for future study.

The fighting shotgun -the social shotgun- “the rehabilitator” is a very commonplace instrument in the hands of the
United States police. It is not common in Europe, where police who resort to two-handed weapons practically
always use a machine pistol. Whether the shotgun is “better” than the machine pistol is a matter which depends
largely upon the use to which the weapon is to be put.

It is most interesting to explore the matter and look up situations in which the social shotgun is the best tool for the
task. We put the weapon through its paces at considerable length, firing under all sorts of conditions at various
distances and at varying size targets. We used birdshot, No. 4 buckshot, 00 buckshot, 000 buckshot, and single
slugs. We had a variety of repeating shotguns and a varying degree of skill. What we learned may be categorized as


We used nothing but 12 gauge shotguns in the course- probably because the 12 gauge is the standard heavy caliber.
This is not to say that a 16 or a 20 may not be used with good effect if that is what the householder has in his
possession, but the power edge of the 12 gauge slug over that of the 16 or 20 is decisive.

A 20 gauge 3-inch magnum can carry as much small shot as a 12 gauge standard load, but if one is to use single
ball there is no comparison in the power of the two weapons. We therefore suggest that anyone who is purchasing a
social shotgun give no thought to any other caliber than 12 gauge.


We had both semi-autos and slide-actions on the lines. The United States police in general favor the slide-action
weapon as being more reliable. It is my observation that when the weapons are properly maintained and lubricated,
the semi-auto is somewhat more reliable than the slide, if only because it works itself whereas the slide must be
operated by a man who knows how to use it.
Our visiting instructor, John Satterwhite, is an Olympic star who knows as much about shotguns as anyone, and he
prefers the slide-action because he can work the slide faster than a semi-automatic will operate.

This is only an important matter when one is doing trick shooting, as in the taking of seven clay birds in the air at
one time. In the social context, one full charge of shot will usually decide the engagement if one is faced with a
single adversary, and if he has to switch adversaries the semi-auto will function plenty fast enough, chambering a
new round in whatever time it takes him to pick up a new target. The semi-auto of course has the additional
advantage of being operable with one hand if circumstances preclude the use of two.

No one came to school with a double gun, and yet the features of the double are considerable. The main problem
with a shotgun is the furnishing of ammunition, and clearly, if one grabs a double gun and runs he has only two
rounds in the weapon. If, however, a small bandoleer is slung over the weapon and the shooter takes the trouble to
grab it when he grabs the gun, the rate of fire of the double gun (as opposed to that of the repeater) is not as slow as
one might think.

The double can be loaded with two rounds faster than the repeater and, if the technique of “shoot-one-load-one” is
observed, there is no real difference in continuity of fire between a double and a repeater. The double is shorter for
equivalent power and handling qualities, and it offers the distinct advantage of loading one barrel with shot and
another with ball.

Furthermore, a double gun with exposed hammers may be placed in the rack over the fireplace fully loaded with all
springs relaxed and left that way indefinitely, whereas all other types of shotguns must be either unready or
maintained with springs in compression. Modern springs are very good and I’m not going to make too much of a
point of this but I do like the idea of indefinite storage with springs relaxed.

Magazine capacity

There is a considerable fad at this time in favor of extension magazines for shotguns. It is true that a shotgun is slow
to load and that loose shotgun ammunition is awkward to carry into action. If an extension tube is mounted beneath
the weapon it is possible to carry up to eight rounds at the ready. This is a convenience under certain circumstances
but one can make too much of it.

Specifically, one round of shotgun ammunition should be sufficient to handle any one adversary. It is difficult to
hypothesize a scuffle in which a man using a shotgun loaded with five rounds will still be on his feet and in need of
further ammunition after he has fired those five rounds. With those five rounds he should be able to account for
four or five adversaries and, if he has, the hypothesis of his reloading and continuing the action against five more
adversaries is rather hard to conceive.

It is certainly a fact that it is easier to carry shotgun ammunition in the magazine than in the hand or the pocket, and
this is the principle advantage of the long mag. (In no case did we ask our students to hit seven clay birds in the air
at one time, so those who had long magazines did not have a chance to realize their full potential in this regard.)


It came as a considerable shock to me to realize that the barrel of a shotgun is the most inconsistent thing about the
whole weapon type. You cannot say that a 20-inch modified choke barrel in a Remington 1100 will do any one
thing, any more than you can say that a 30-inch full choke barrel in a Mossberg will do any one thing.
There seems to be no way of predicting what a shotgun barrel will do by simply buying it over the counter. Every
shotgun barrel is different, and every shotgun barrel must be explored by its owner before he knows what he may
expect from it.

By pure chance I happen to be the owner of an SKB 20-inch social shotgun which has the best barrel that has
appeared so far on the ranch. It is not a custom barrel or designed in any particular way, but it shoots both buckshot
and slugs better than many highly specialized and custom barrels.

Evidently the only thing you can do about this is to keep buying shotguns until you find one with a good barrel.
This is obviously a very painstaking and expensive course of action. I can say that John Satterwhite offered to buy
my SKB several times while he was here at the school, and John has enough shotguns to make a heavy load for an

The point is that the shotgunner must take considerable time and trouble to discover the potential of his particular
shotgun before he knows how it’s going to behave in each of the three combat zones that he will be called upon to
manage. This does not seem to be primarily a matter of length, though precautions must be taken where shotgun
barrels have been sawn off by their owners.

The choke in a shotgun barrel is applied into the last four inches of the muzzle, and obviously if one has a 30-inch
full-choke barrel and he saws it off to 25- he is going to wind up with a full-cylinder bore.

Likewise, if a man obtains a 20-inch full-choke barrel and cuts it off to 16- he will have a cylinder bore. His has
happened in certain police circles- to the dismay and confusion of the users who did not realize that the choke built
into the forward end of the barrel is an integral part of that barrel’s efficiency and is only tampered with at great risk
to the efficiency of the weapon.

The consensus is that one needs a full choke for the social shotgun if shot are to be used and that one needs an
improved cylinder if the single ball is selected. Occasionally one may find a barrel that shoots very well with both
buckshot and ball as it comes from the maker. When this happens he is well-advised to hang on to that barrel as if
it were made of gold, for he will not be able easily to replace it if it gets away from him.

Lethal Patterns

The purpose of any defensive firearm is to stop a deadly assailant with one shot. This can be done reliably with the
shotgun only if all, or nearly all, of the pellets in the load strike the target. It is certainly true that a large buckshot
(00 is .33” and 000 is .36”) may take a man out if it hits a vital point, but this is not to be counted upon. Even the
000 ball is slightly less powerful than that of the .36 Navy Colt, since it departs the muzzle at somewhat slower
velocity, and to depend upon a blow of that sort to put your adversary on his back is somewhat over optimistic.

There are eight 000 pellets in one 12 gauge round, and if one is able to place four of them in the center of the torso
he is almost certain to obtain a one-round stop. However, if that pattern is badly directed or overlarge, the chances
of getting four torso hits are low.
In order to be sure of proper performance with a social shotgun nearly all the pellets must be centered in the torso of
the adversary, and this means that the shot barrel is best made which can keep all of the pellets into a ten-inch circle
at the greatest range.

The SKB barrel which performed so well can do this at 20-meters. It will not do this at 30-meters, and neither will
any other shotgun barrel we tested at any length. Our conclusion is that a “half-pattern” will not suffice. Only
when one places a full pattern, or nearly a full pattern, can one count on the shotgun to deliver its potential.
Remember particularly, that barrel length in itself is not critical. The particular barrel and its particular choke are
far more significant.

Shot Size

Any size shot will suffice for a fighting encounter if the range is so short that the pattern ahs not had a chance to
open. No. 11 birdshot delivered in a pattern of one-inch is probably as effective as 00 or a single ball. This is not a
fanciful concept because it must be remembered that many social encounters take place at very short ranges. I was
once asked in court (in my capacity as an expert witness) if it were possible to miss a man at fifteen feet with a
shotgun. My answer was “Yes, certainly”, but the court was somewhat incredulous.

The idea widely held is that a shotgun pattern begins at the muzzle and continues downrange. Actually, at the
muzzle the shot pattern is no bigger than the diameter of the bore, and a certain amount of time is necessary for the
shot pattern to open. The question is, how far from the muzzle does the pattern enlarge to the point where it
matters? And that is not a question of shot size, or of particular makes and brands, but of the individual barrel
under discussion.

The problem with small shot is that as the distance from the muzzle increases, its penetrative qualities decrease.
The FBI has recently found that No. 4 buckshot will not penetrate a heavy leather jacket at middle distances (25-35

Now this No. 4 buckshot does very well at arm’s length and across the room, but if the distance opens out across
the parking lot No. 4 is a weak reed. We discovered in our shoot-off (which I will mention shortly) that centered
patterns of No. 4 at 30 meters would simply not provide enough impact effect to knock down a steel target set to be
dropped by one round of 9mm pistol ammunition.

The standard 00 buck widely used for social purposes over the past half-century is quite effective, although there is
still the risk of pattern diffusion. If one has a good barrel and yet misplaces his shot very slightly at 20 meters, he is
likely to place only three or four pellets of 00 on his target and fail to obtain a safe stop.

I have been informed by people who are deeply instructed in these matters that the single rifled slug from a shotgun
is the best stopper available, and certainly if one has a shotgun with a barrel which can be counted upon to shoot
single slugs accurately there is a very distinct advantage to this load.

A single slug strikes with thunderous authority, and moreover the shooter knows that he must place his shot
accurately –as with a rifle- in order to do the job. Perhaps the only proper load for the social shotgun is single ball.
I am at this time of that opinion. You will see a graphic presentation of my reasoning in the illustrations. There is
one conspicuous drawback to the single slug. It deflects violently on intervening objects.
All of us found this to be astonishing since the virtue of the single slug was deemed to be, both by manufacturers
and advertisers, its resistance to deflection in brush. We found that quite the contrary was true, and that a single
slug striking a twig is very unlikely to continue in the original direction of travel. Its deflection may be as much as
60 degrees.

There are various theories as to why this is so but, without thorough understanding of the physics involved, we can
say that slugs do deflect and that anyone who has to fire through brush or any intervening material at a target with a
single ball should not try it. Wait for a clear shot or risk the consequences.


Shotgun sights are a study in themselves. Clearly, great shotgunners of the world who shoot at clay targets and at
live birds do not use sights. They maintain their concentration upon the target and let the shotgun point where it
will. On the other hand, a social shotgun, if used either with shot or with single ball, must be so used as to place the
center of impact exactly on the center of the target or the advantage of the weapon may well be lost.

A very highly-experienced shotgunner can do this without sights. It is more difficult for other people. In the jungle
runs, shotguns with sights and those without performed very much the same, but we discovered in the shoot-off, in
which one man fired at a steel plate in opposition to another, that shotguns with sights seemed to deliver better.

None of the shotguns used in the class was equipped with a proper “ghost ring” rear sight, with the exception of my
own High Standard Flite King. A ghost ring has many advantages over a conventional open sight. It is somewhat
faster and it permits a total view of the target, as opposed to the open sight, which obscures the lower half of the
field of view.

It would seem that there is a distinct market for a retractable ghost ring installation which could be simply affixed to
the rear of conventional repeating shotgun actions to enable the shooter to use either regular sights with single ball
or a conventional rib with shot.

This is another example of a need which is not currently being met by manufacturers, while all sorts of gimmicks
are being marketed which have no real use. On paper targets at middle ranges, the shotgun rear sight did not seem
to afford a conspicuous advantage over the sightless system, but when shooting at 10-inch discs at ranges from 35
down to 15 the rifle type sight came into its own.


At the conclusion of the school we conducted an exercise which I believe is unique. We allowed each shooter to
choose his weapon and his load and, furthermore, to change that weapon or load between bouts. We conducted a
man-against-man "walk and draw" with long arms, matching the machine pistol against the shotgun with shot and
the shotgun with single ball.
Our targets were steel knockdown plates which we adjusted to react to the blow of a center hit with a 9mm pistol.
We started the contestants at 40 meters and their first engagement took place somewhere in about 35. It became at
once apparent that, as the students advanced on the targets, those who were using sighted fire with single ball were
cleaning house even as ranges decreased.

The need to center one’s blow carefully and quickly, rather than to spray the area, became more and more evident
as the exercise progressed. At the conclusion of the shoot-off, positions one, two, three, five, and six were occupied
by shooters using shotguns with rifle sights.

We all went away mumbling.

New Book by Jeff Cooper

FireWorks, A Gunsite Anthology.​ Jeff Cooper’s first book since his best-selling ​Cooper on Handguns​. will be
available January 15 from the Janus Press.

Everyone who has read the book has the same initial reaction: “What food for thought!” As Mel writes in the
foreword to ​FireWorks​, “The most important thing I can say about this book is: buy it and read it. If you have an
interest in hard, unblinking perceptions of the real world, you will not be disappointed. If you also have taste, you
will be delighted.”

FireWork​s is superbly illustrated by noted Western artist Fred Lucas, and is available in hardcover only. It has 192
pages and will sell for $19.95.

Survival Gunsmithing
by J.B. Wood

Editor’s note: Certainly one of the more persistent requests we have had from readers has been for spare parts lists
covering the various arms I have recommended for survival use, both in PS Letter and in Survival Guns. Compiling
such lists properly is a specialty in itself requiring long experience in repairing hundreds of samples of other
people’s guns, subjected to various levels of use and abuse. Our survival gunsmith columnist, J.B. Wood, has such
experience since he is not only a writer but a working gunsmith.
In the interest of space, I have asked J.B. not to repeat the assembly/disassembly instructions for each gun covered,
since that information is readily available in his excellent series of books on assembly/disassembly published by
DBI. Such information, however, is indispensable and I would urge that you take advantage of the special offer
which we have negotiated on your behalf with DBI to acquire these references. Details of the offer may be found
under the heading “Mel’s Bookshelf”, elsewhere in this issue of PS Letter. M.T.

Basic Tools

Mel has told me that the readers of this newsletter are above average in intelligence and perception, so I won’t
belabor the obvious. Still, as I write this, I’m doing it under conditions that graphically illustrate how things might
be after a serious social upheaval. I live in rural Kentucky, and this afternoon one hell of a storm passed through,
knocking out transformers and downing power lines.

The time is now 11:30 p.m., and an antique oil lamp is lighting my clipboard as I set down these words. The air
conditioner and my electric typewriter are silent. According to the battery-powered radio on my desk, crews are
working to repair the damage. But...what if they weren’t? Amazing, how much we depend on these things. We flick
the switch, and expect the light to come on.

In the same way, we expect our firearms to shoot when we pull the trigger. If they don't, we take them to a
gunsmith. Ah, but... what if there were no gunsmith? Even under present “civilized” conditions, good, competent
gunsmiths are not easy to find. This is especially true in the case of the general “old-time” gunsmith, a disappearing

So, in the survival context, you must learn to be your own gunsmith, at least so far as the simple replacement of
broken parts. And, of course, you must have those spare parts on hand. In the columns that follow, I’ll be covering
each of the guns that have been recommended by Mel as the best for survival purposes, and I’ll list all of the parts
that are likely to be needed during long, hard usage.

It may be that you have very little mechanical aptitude. Even if this is the case, don’t assume that you can’t do
simple parts replacement. For a lack of mechanical skill, you can substitute logic and a careful following of
instructions. All firearms mechanisms have a very logical basis of operation. A part moves a certain way, is pivoted
here, compressing this spring, and so on. When you know what it’s supposed to do, it’s not too difficult to figure
out how it does it.

Here’s an example: An ​extractor pulls the cartridge case from the chamber, and an ​ejector flips the case out of the
gun, just as their names indicate. The extractor has a beak-like projection which grips the rim of the case, and the
part is under spring tension. If the extractor is powered by a separate spring, it may have a central pivot pin and an
extension at the rear which bears on a lateral coil spring.

Or, it may have a pivot-hook at the rear, with a spring-powered plunger bearing on the outer rear shoulder of the
extractor. On the other hand, some extractors are tempered to be their own springs, and these are mounted solidly in
the bolt or slide of the gun. This type is represented in the US Model 1911 Service pistol and its subsequent
commercial models.
In semi-auto pistols and rifles, and slide-action rifles and shotguns, the ejector is often a fixed part, solidly mounted
on the frame, receiver, or barrel shroud. On many centerfire rifles, the ejector is a spring-powered pin mounted
inside the cartridge head recess in the bolt face. In either type, the function is the same: to flip the case out the
ejection port after the extractor has pulled it from the chamber.

This approach can be applied to the other parts of the gun. Again, if you know what a part does, you can determine
how it performs its function. Also, most modern firearms give you some advantage, as they are generally much
simpler than some of the older designs. It’s almost impossible to put them together wrong, and if you do manage to
install something upside down or backwards, it will be immediately apparent.

Repairs in the field can sometimes be done with no more than a small screwdriver, or even a strong pocket knife.
For your survival base, though, a certain minimum of the proper tools will be absolutely essential. Some of these
tools are not likely to be available at your local hardware store, and must be ordered from gunsmith supply sources.
For example, many modern firearms have roll pins rather than solid pins at certain points.

A roll pin, as its name implies, is a hollow cylinder, and the use of a regular drift punch on pins of this type will
usually deform the ends of the pins, making replacement difficult. So, for roll pins, you need a set of drift punches
made with a projection at the center of the tip, which mates with the hollow center of the roll pin.

There are other necessary tools, such as screwdrivers, small hammers, and so on, which you might be able to find
locally. However, the regular carpenter or mechanic types may not be on the same quality level as those obtainable
from gunsmith supply sources.

In a survival situation, there will surely be times when you will have to employ makeshift methods, but this sort of
thing should be avoided, especially in relation to such essential equipment as your firearms. So, it’s best to buy
tools specifically designed for gun work, even if they cost a little more and have to be ordered. A good basic set of
tools could be laid out as follows:

Punches: Brownell’s offers two sets that you should have. There is a general set at $10.60 which includes the
necessary range of sizes in both starting and through punches, and there is also a prick punch for re-staking. The
other set, the special roll pin type mentioned earlier, sells for $11.90. In use, always select the punch that is closest
to the size of the pin.

Hammers: B-Square has three that are perfect. There is a two-hammer set with solid brass heads, steel shanks, and
aluminum handles. 2 ½ and 5 ounces, $14.25 for both. Another, about the same weight as the larger one in the set,
has replaceable faces, or caps, in both steel and brass, and comes with a set of extra faces for $14.95. You will also
need the larger No-Mar hammer from Brownell’s and I would recommend the nylon faces. The handle and head
unit is $2.74, and the nylon caps are $1.64 each. A spare set of caps would be a good idea.

Screwdrivers: Brownell’s has a fine German set of small instrument screwdrivers at $16.45 in a nice wooden case.
The smallest of these is too small for most gun work, but has many other applications such as the hinge screws of
your eyeglasses. For the larger screws, get the Magna-Tip set from Brownell’s at $23.25, including 24 bits that
cover practically all sizes of regular, Phillips, and Allen screws.
Some of the regular bits will need to be ground to fit certain narrow screw slots, but this is something you should do
anyway. Always fit the blade of the screwdriver as closely as possible to the screw slot, in both width and
thickness. The unpleasant esthetics of a burred screw may be unimportant to the survivalist, but a ruined screw may
be very difficult to remove and replace, and in some circumstances this could be a critical matter.

Pliers: There are two that will be absolutely essential, both available from Brownell’s. The small curved
needle-nose, No. 154, is German-made, with a box-joint. Very high quality, strong, and priced at $9.75. For larger
gripping jobs, Brownell’s has a smooth-jawed parallel plier by Bernard at $8.70, the jaw pieces unhardened to
prevent marring of parts.

There are several other very useful tools that you may want to add to your set, such as the drift punch with
interchangeable nylon and brass tips, $1.75 from Brownell’s, with extra tips only $.65 each.

I would strongly suggest that you send for the Brownell’s and B-Square catalogues, as they feature many tools that
are designed for use on particular guns that may be in your personal battery.

The Brownell’s catalogue is $2.50, refundable on the first $25 order, and the address is: Brownell’s, Inc., Route 2,
Box 1, Montezuma, IA 50171. The smaller B-Square catalogue is available at no charge, and the address is:
B-square, Box 11281, Station C, Fort Worth, TX 76109. I use tools from these sources in my shop, and can
recommend them without reservation.

There is one other tool -or perhaps we should call it a workshop accessory- which can be obtained locally, that will
make several operations much easier: a good bench vise. To really be set up properly, you should have two of them-
a medium to large vise that is bolted to the bench for the heavy stuff, and a smaller clamp-on type for finer work.

The larger vise should have rotation capability, with a firm lock in any position. Don’t buy a cheap one. Look for a
vise with twin guides or a very heavy and well-fitted single guide bar, and get a well-known brand. I have on my
bench a small vise by Millers Falls that I’ve been using since 1948, and it is still tight and well aligned.

The Craftsman line by Sears is acceptable, but only if you get their best. The cheapie types, under any name, will
soon suffer from misalignment of the jaws, and on one occasion I even managed to break one.

Quite often, in modern firearms, replacement of parts involves no more than removal of the broken one and
installation of the spare. In some cases, though, fitting will be required. This is especially true of such things as
extractors and disconnectors.
New parts of this type are frequently made with an allowance for wear, and this is a variable factor. When fitting is
necessary, a different group of tools will be required. You will need files, stones, perhaps even a saw. Those who
have power-generating facilities may want to add a few basic power tools, such as an electric drill or a Dremel

In the next column, I’ll cover these fitting tools in detail, including some directions for their proper use.

Mel’s Bookshelf
Books on Gunsmithing

The trouble with most books on gunsmithing is that they are either written for the full-time hobbyist or part-time
professional gunsmith, and they cover too much material in too fine detail -often concentrating on purely cosmetic
techniques of enhancing a firearm’s eye appeal- or else they are written by people who simply do not know what
they are about.

I recall that one of the first books I ever bought on gunsmithing was devoted almost entirely to a step-by-step
remodeling of a US .30-caliber M1 Carbine: how to stock it full length in the Mannlicher style, reblue it to a high
luster and provide butt cap, forend tip, and accessory handles in carved ivory.

Being the sort of chap who had trouble building a prefabricated birdhouse as a kid (I always cracked the roofs when
nailing and never could get the glue to set), I never finished that book.

Conversely, I am appalled at some of the slipshod over-simplified techniques put forward in ostensibly serious
works such as the late George Nonte’s book ​Pistolsmithing.​ The method outlined here for squaring the trigger guard
on a 1911 pistol began by cutting through it with a hacksaw and ended with a welding job!

I suspect that many of you are like me- able to recognize good gunsmithing when you see it, but not necessarily
much of a hand at doing it yourself. For all of us I have chosen the following list as being the most practically
useful among the forty or so gunsmithing books on my shelf.

Whenever you are repairing any sort of mechanical device, it is obviously necessary to know how the item
functions and where all the pieces go. I would urge you therefore to acquire every book you can with exploded
firearms drawings and assembly/disassembly instructions.
Even though you may find all the guns you own covered in one book, bear in mind that in a survival context you
may acquire other, frequently unfamiliar arms, either through barter or other happenstance. The NRA publishes
three paperback assembly/disassembly volumes which are especially useful for older and discontinued arms as well
as some modern ones (Write to the NRA, 1600 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036 for their book

Brownell’s Encyclopedia of Modern Firearms is particularly useful because it not only offers instructions and
drawings but frequently suggests troubleshooting procedures when the cause of malfunction is not readily apparent.
The book is available loose-leaf bound as well as case bound, so that you may simply remove the pertinent pages
and take them with you to your work area (the price is $39 from Brownell’s at Route 2, Box 1, Montezuma, IA

Gunsmithing Kinks,​ also from Brownell’s, is a serendipity book. From it you can learn a broad range of
professional skills ranging from putting the best possible edge on cutting tools to the easiest and best techniques of
preparing a steel surface for rebluing, not to mention at least a hundred ways of using surgical tubing. If you’re just
getting started in gun repair it would be hard to overestimate the value of ​Gunsmithing Kinks​.

More than any other single book it can help you quickly to raise your skills in many areas to the level of advanced
amateur. Finally, there are a number of DBI books which I consider essential to the survivalist gunsmith: all five
volumes of J.B. Wood’s assembly/disassembly series, the book of exploded firearms drawings, and probably the
new volume on gunsmithing tools, for those who want to go beyond the bare basics.

As your interest develops, or if you simply feel that you need more background information, the following volumes
will also prove useful: ​Gunsmithing Simplified by Harold E. McFarland, A.S. Barnes, NY; ​Modern Gunsmithing by
Clyde Baker, Standard Publishing, Huntington, WV; ​The NRA Gunsmithing Guide;​ ​The Amateur Guncraftsman by
James V. Howell (out-of-print); ​Gunsmithing by Roy F. Dunlap, Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA. (All of the
above texts, including those now out of print, can probably be obtained from Ray Riling Arms Books Co., 6844
Gorsten St., Philadelphia, PA 19119.)

Surplus for the Survivalist

By Bill Henry

Editor’s Note: The following is the first article in a mini-series that Mel had commissioned from his good friend,
Bill Henry, the owner of Sierra Supply, a firm which specializes in US Government military surplus. Bill offers a
15% discount to his fellow PS Letter subscribers and will be happy to answer any of your questions. (Write or
phone him for a catalog. Sierra Supply, P.O. Box 1390, Durango, CO 81301. Phone 303-259-1822.)
Another very reputable source for surplus is Cadre Supply (formerly Danny Harris Surplus), 546 S. Main,
Memphis, TN 38103. N.T.

Surplus: An excess or overage of any given product.

Military surplus originates in various ways. The first is the “contract over-run”. For example, a government
contractor contracts to manufacture 100,000 units of a particular item. As a hedge against seconds and irregulars
which may occur, the contractor has 120,000 units produced.

He delivers the 100,000 units ordered and then must wait to be paid until the government processes his voucher. As
you can imagine, this is anything but a speedy process. On the other hand, he can sell the additional 20,000 units to
surplus dealers for immediate payment in cash. The foreign market is also an excellent market for any of the
contractor’s overage.

Government inspection of military hardware and equipment is another source of military surplus. When a
government inspector finds one ration can in a case of 96 unfit, then the whole case is declared unfit. Sometimes the
“unfit” goods are destroyed, but often these slightly damaged or irregular goods are offered for sale to surplus

Examples of excellent buys in seconds and irregulars are canvas gear, OD T-shirts, camouflage fatigues, and ammo
cans (slightly dented). When laying in rations, be very careful and, whenever possible, inspect the goods. Above all,
find out why the rations were classified as seconds.

Irregulars and seconds are an excellent way for the survivalist to purchase non-critical clothing items but, before
you buy, always try to inspect the goods visually to determine the condition of each item bought.

The third source is equipment changeover within the military system. Currently, the US Armed Forces are
undergoing a change from olive drab to camouflage fatigues and this is releasing a considerable quantity of fatigues
to the military supply system. Before these goods are released for sale to surplus dealers they must receive Federal

How Do You Locate Surplus?

As a survivalist surplus consumer, you are looking for select, specific products. One source is the Shotgun News,
Box 669, Hastings, NE 68901. For $7.50 per year you will receive 24 issues containing page after page of
advertisements offering surplus gear tailored to your needs. As in any business there are reputable and disreputable
surplus dealers, so beware.

A good rule of thumb is to check for repeat advertising, a telephone number (try to call if placing a large order so
that you can check stock and credibility), inspection period, and product guarantee.
In purchasing the actual gear, buy what you can when you can. Due to the current world situation the surplus
market is getting very spotty at this time. Many items are in very short supply. Also, as is the case everywhere,
inflation has hit the surplus market.

When buying your surplus gear, check for the following indications of genuine government surplus:

1. All military gear is stamped US with the exception of sterile insertion or insurgency gear. All government surplus
will be stamped US where it is plainly legible. It is a federal offense to duplicate this stamp.

2. The Defense Security Agency number is referred to as the DSA numerical system. This number states the year
the contract was set up, the year of manufacture and the lot number. This is a very reliable indication of authentic
G.I. surplus. Example: DSA-099-78CA9l5. This is the current issue M-16A1 30-round magazine. The 099 is the
contractor. The 78 is the year of contract and the 4915 is the lot number.

3. Another numerical designation is the Federal Stock number. Per our example of the M-16 magazine, the FSN for
this item would be 1005-00-92l. As a point of interest, the small arms designation starts with the numerical
sequence of 1005- this pertains to ALL small arms equipment.

4. Beware of any product with a marketing designation of “GI style” or “GI type” as this indicates foreign
manufacture, specifically from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, or the Philippines. The authentic gear will cost more,
but consider why you are buying it in the first place.

What Does the Survivalist Surplus Consumer Need?

Web Gear: This refers to magazine carriers, canteens with canteen carriers, combat suspenders, first aid kits with
carriers, and light packs. When purchasing web gear, keep in mind that all are components of one another- i.e. a
pistol belt carries ammo carriers, canteen, etc., and the suspenders balance the load.

A great feature of surplus is that any piece of American gear can interrelate to another piece of American gear. The
current trend in the late issue gear is nylon construction. The new nylon gear carries the designation of LC-l or
LC-2. LC refers to “load carrying”. The numerical designation refers to early or late manufacture or issue.

Nylon gear is lighter, dries easily, and does not break down in tropical environments. It is much noisier than canvas
gear and, when viewed through night vision devices, has something of a sheen.

In your web gear purchases, be sure to purchase the correct magazine carriers for the various calibers (.223, .45, or
.30). The Mini-14, AR-180, HK-93, and AR-15 magazines will fit in the M-16 20 and 30-round carriers.
The current issue M-16 30-round magazine carrier will carry three 30-round magazines. The M-16 20-round
magazine carriers which the 30-round carriers replaced will carry four 20-round magazines.

For those who like the .308 caliber assault rifles, the M-14 magazine carriers will accept the M-14/MlA magazines,
H&K 91 and FN-FAL, SIG AMT, AR-10, BM-59, and BM-62 magazines.

It has been my experience that the M-14 double magazine carriers or universal small arms pouches, as they are
often referred to, are superior to the USMC single magazine carriers. More magazines can be carried in less space
on a web belt, and the double carrier offers greater protection and ease of carrying.

In a future article on web gear setup and utilization, I will discuss the placement of various items as well as combat
modifications which improve the web gear.

Camouflage clothing

The current US military camouflage is designated “leaf pattern-Type II”. It was developed in Vietnam and this
pattern has wide applications in various environments, with the exception of the Arctic and the extreme deserts. The
garments are well-made of cotton poplin, and have nylon ripstop threads running horizontally and vertically. The
garments offer large and numerous bellows type pockets and adjustable sizing. The cotton material breathes, is easy
to wash and dries rapidly. The need for camouflage speaks for itself.

Ammunition Cans

These steel cans are waterproof, dust-proof, and have hermetic seals. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes,
and are excellent for storing items of value that you want to protect from the elements. All cans have handles,
which make them valuable for carrying gear.

GI Weapons Cleaning Equipment

Surplus weapons cleaning equipment for the survivalist surplus consumer is a must. The gear is well-designed, the
cleaning rods are made of Parkerized steel, not of aluminum like most commercial cleaning kits, and they break
down for ease of carrying. The rods come in the usual calibers. It has been my experience that the bore brushes
made by government contractors are superior to the commercial offerings.

The military rifle bore cleaner developed during the Vietnam War for .223 type weapons is excellent. This solvent
cuts through the carbon build-up commonly associated with assault weapons. An excellent feature of the current
bore cleaner is that it does not have the sharp distinctive odor of Hoppe’s No. 9, the foremost commercial solvent.
LSA, the current issue light weapons oil, has the reputation of keeping the M-16 operational in Vietnam. It is a
blend of hydraulic fluid and liquid teflon. This unique blend offers lubrication from -275 degrees to 180 degrees F.

Military Weapons Magazines

If you are fortunate enough to have a 1911 or 1911-Al .45 ACP, early Texas Model M1A, or any spin-off of the
M-16/AR-15 weapons systems, you are in luck. Magazines for these weapons made for the US Military are fairly
abundant. Military magazines are more reliable and better designed than commercial ones, and military stripper
clips fit them.

Speaking of the M-16, I think that the Israeli nylon 30-round magazines made for the Israeli Army are superior both
in design and quality to the US manufactured “GAPCO”, which is of inferior quality. Also beware of 40-round
magazines because they are inferior in design (with the exception of the Sterling and HK), awkward, throw the
balance of the weapon off, and, last but not least, suitable magazine carriers to carry these magazines on your web
gear are not readily available in this country.

Military Weapons Manuals

These are an excellent source of information for the survivalist. The complete arsenal of weapons in the US
Military inventory is covered. Of particular interest to the survivalist are manuals on the .45 ACP, M-1 Carbine,
1903 Springfield, M-14, M-l Garand, Grease Gun, Thompson submachine gun, etc.

There are two types of manuals- field and technical. Field manuals offer complete instruction on maintenance and
marksmanship, whereas technical manuals primarily devote themselves to the assembly and disassembly of specific
weapons. For the most part, the manuals are clear and concise. Since the early 1970’s the government has changed
its manual format to one of comic book cartoon-type instruction.

The comic book manuals on the M-16, aside from being collectors’ items, are excellent sources of information as
they are easy to read and follow. Military manuals also cover such military science subjects as fortifications,
camouflage, strategy, patrolling, etc. Manuals on such subjects are considered field manuals. Needless to say, they
contain superb information for the survivalist.

The items mentioned here are in fair to good supply and are superior to their counterparts currently being offered on
the commercial market. In future articles I will cover additional useful products that are available to the survivalist
on the surplus market.