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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 19

Issue No. 19

Survival Medicine
Editor’s Note: We are fortunate that two PS Letter subscribers who are eminently qualified to write on survival
medicine have agreed to do so for us. Dr. J.M. Browning (pen name), the author of the first article in this series, is
currently in general practice in a small Southwestern town. His training was largely surgical with concentration on
trauma medicine and he has worked at a number of large military medical centers, as well as in the Middle Eas,t
and spent considerable time in Rhodesia and South Africa.

In putting together this basic medical library, Dr. Browning tried to keep both cost and portability in mind; all of
the books listed are in paperback and all are around $10. Given two books of equivalent content, he chose the one
written in the style easiest for the intelligent layman to follow. For these reasons, some old standbys are not on this
list -Merck, for example- but that does not mean that they are poor.

I happen to like, as did Mel, Fundamental Skills in Surgery by Nealon, Cutting’s Handbook of Pharmacology, the
Manual of Medical Therapeutics, and Beeson and McDermott’s lucidly written Textbook of Medicine (all eight
pounds of it); however, as Dr. Browning tactfully pointed out to me, these are texts written for the professional
physician, not for the layman with a smattering of medical knowledge.

The area of self-diagnosis or diagnosis of a family member is fraught with danger, even if you have had some
medical training, primarily because emotions do cloud one’s judgment. Sometimes you have no choice, of course,
but I cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of seeking professional help, if at all possible, whenever you
think that you might need it. N.T.

The Core Medical Library

by J.M. Browning, M.D.

What can the survivalist do to begin to prepare for medical problems? The answer depends on the level of previous
medical training of the survivalist in question. There are three separate groups to be addressed, each according to its
needs- people with little or no medical training, those with some medical background, such as hospital personnel or
paramedics, and physician/survivalists.

While it is ultimately quite important to have an adequate amount of proper medication, bandages, etc., on hand,
these things are useless without the knowledge of how best to use them. For the vast majority of people, the first
step is acquiring a medical library geared to their present level of training, which can present a problem because
few of the many books on medicine are written with the required in-depth accuracy and simplicity of language.
Each group of books recommended here will be geared to the survivalist’s level of medical sophistication, be he
layman, physician, or in-between. The basic medical library must give enough information to help the medically
untrained survivalist handle everything he can- to a point. Please, no appendectomies with pocket knives and

Group I

The first six books listed cover a wide spectrum of problems, placing emphasis on basics, and are clearly written,
offering medically accurate information with appropriate cautions and suggestions. Together they form a core of
information useful in any survivalist’s library, especially a physician’s (a bit of added insurance should he or she
need treatment).

Where There is No Doctor​, by David Weber, The Hesperian Foundation, was originally written as the text for
village health workers in underdeveloped countries who are just literate and have little medical background. Its
basic premise is that a physician will not be available for some time, which is ideal for the survivalist.

While the style of writing might be described as nuts and bolts, the information contained is accurate and
sufficiently detailed to cover all that you can safely do as a layman. The book includes home remedies that work
and warns against those that do not, a subject of particular interest to the survivalist.

Medicine for Mountaineering,​ Ed. James Wilkerson, M.D., Mountaineers Books, is written in a more technical style
but is easily read. Its emphasis is on trauma and such problems as those that healthy young adults might encounter
while mountain climbing. Often giving a more technical explanation than other texts for the layman, it provides the
physician and medically trained with good follow-up references (some of which will be too technically written for
the layman).

Taking a medical history is covered in a very organized fashion. This section could be quite helpful in preparing a
pre-disaster background file on each person in a retreat group in order to find potential problems, as well as to set a
baseline for future comparison.

How to do a physical exam is also covered. This is part art, part scientific observation, and best learned one on one.
If one on one training has not been undertaken prior to a disaster, one excellent suggestion made in this text is to
examine another member of the group who is uninjured and compare him to the injured party.

The Medical Handbook for Unconventional Operations​, Ed. William Kothe, M.D., Paladin Press, is not a book on
unapproved surgical procedures. It is a handbook written for the Special Forces medic. Necessarily much of what is
covered is mission-related information, of which, the section on medical security measures may prove interesting.
The section on delivering babies is detailed but simply written.

Coverage of dental and veterinary problems is short, to the point, and invaluable. The formulary lists numerous
drugs, their uses, and suggested dosage. If any of these drugs become available post-disaster, this would help detail
their proper use. For the physician/survivalist some of the basic lab procedures and improvised sanitation devices
discussed should help sharpen his memory about subjects not dealt with on a daily basis.
Emergency Care and Transport of the Sick and Injured​, by the Committee on Injuries of the American Academy of
Orthopedic Surgeons, was written to serve as a text for training paramedics. It deals with basic physiology on an
elementary level and covers the how-to of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) life support (a technique every
survivalist should learn, because you will not have time to “get it out of the book” when you need it).

The suggested methods of bandaging and splinting provide effective means of treatment. The sections on extraction
and rescue technique provide safe methods of moving the critically injured and these should be practiced
pre-disaster, just as you would practice shooting.

Review of Gross Anatomy​, by Pansky and House, Macmillan, was written for medical students. It has drawings and
x-ray plates which are easily followed, and should help the novice develop an appreciation of the structural
organization of the body. For the more experienced, the summary charts and the picture/explanation format will stir
the memory.

Steadman’s Medical Dictionary​, 22nd Edition, Williams and Wilkins, rounds off the list for the basic medical
library. The reason for including it as a part of the core library is self-evident to those people who don’t know the
meaning of epistaxis (nosebleed).

Group II

Suggesting a medical library for survivalists with a medical background is difficult. Any reference may be too
sophisticated for some readers but careful reading, with cross-referencing in the six basic texts, should be fruitful.

Previous medical training will improve the latitude and success of medical treatment undertaken by a survivalist. It
carries with it the danger of developing the Marcus Welby Syndrome. The temptation to try to treat more than one
is qualified or equipped to must be resisted. Always get aid, even post-disaster, if possible. There will be places
with medical help available.

Each of the recommended books will add to the scope and depth of the basic medical library. You will gain
improved understanding of normal functions by studying the ​Review of Medical Physiology​, by Ganoung, Lang
Medical Publications. It is a concise yet thorough explanation of body dynamics.

A more advanced text written on a level for physicians, yet containing potentially invaluable information is ​The
Textbook of Injuries to Athletes​, by O’Donoghue, W. B. Saunders. It covers injuries to specific areas, and its
suggestions about treatments that will help you keep going even when injured are particularly good. These
treatments work, but many should be undertaken only by a physician.
Diagnosis is the key to proper treatment. It is a complex process in which the medical history, physical
examination, and selected lab procedures are combined to determine what disease process is being dealt with.
Learning this process can be helped by using these texts: ​Bedside Diagnostic Examination​, by De Gowin and De
Gowin, Macmillan, which is accurate and easy to read; a complimentary volume, ​Physical Diagnosis​, by Majors,
W. B. Saunders, that has many color plates; and ​Physical Examination of Spine and Extremities,​ by Hoppenfeld,
Appleton-Century-Crofts, which is particularly well-illustrated.

These texts work well together since they have overlapping areas of emphasis and complimentary illustrations.
They should prove immensely helpful to those with some previous medical experience, as well as to the physician
forced to practice in a post-disaster environment.

The skin is the first organ system to interact with the environment. It often provides a clue to systemic disease. In
general practice, skin problems are extremely common; post-disaster, these will increase. If diagnosing skin
problems is extend beyond the “what’s that rash game”, several comprehensive references will be needed. ​The
Pocket Color Atlas of Dermatology​, by Kiming and Janner, Yearbook Medical Publishers, Inc., will help to identify
and differentiate numerous skin conditions.

The Manual of Dermatologic Therapeutics​, by Arndt, Little, Brown, & Co., gives wide coverage of everything
from corns, calluses, and acne to scabies and psoriasis. It has a good discussion of medications and is easy to read.
A more comprehensive presentation can be found in the ​Manual of Skin Diseases​, by Sauer, Lippincott. It is written
in a more technical style, but it does cover more material in greater depth.

The Manual of Emergency and Out-Patient Techniques,​ by Klippel and Anderson, Little, Brown & Co., is a clearly
illustrated “how-to book”. It covers CPR, starting intravenous lines, and basic surgical techniques.

The surgical technique details what individual instruments are called and how they’re used. It won’t make a
surgeon out of you, but does give you the basics, such as how to tie correct surgical knots and give simplified
regional anesthesia.

Of particular importance is the section on how to set fractures. Considered as a whole, this informative book gives
the survivalist access to many well-tried techniques. It is a book that should be given high priority.

Since many medical problems in a post-disaster environment will be violent in nature, the management of surgical
problems is critical. ​Quick Reference to Surgical Emergencies​, by Shaftan and Gardner, Lippincott, covers
something not well-covered elsewhere, triage, which has to do with making the choices necessary when there are
multiple injury victims.
This is always difficult, even for trained physicians, and this volume will certainly help the survivalist. It has a
comprehensive section on anesthesia. Further, it suggests how to manage specific wounds, urologic emergencies,
burns, and bites. The discussion of dental emergencies is not something fully appreciated until one has had a late
night toothache.

Orthopedic injuries deserve specific attention because of their potentially disabling nature. ​The Manual of Acute
Orthopedic Therapeutics​, by Iverson and Clawson, Little, Brown, & Co., has more in-depth discussion of
orthopedics than the general references. In addition to covering the recommended treatment of common fractures,
emergency splinting, bandaging, and plaster casting are also well-examined.

It also discusses and illustrates the correct method of surgical draping for various areas of the body. A more general
reference book is ​The Manual of Surgical Therapeutics​, by Condon and Nyhus, Little, Brown, & Co., which does a
good job of dealing with the principles of management of basic problems, from which one derives the logic of

It is designed as a “quick” reference tool so it does not go into detail about many of the minutiae of the procedures
discussed. This is a two-edged sword, since the book is not as complete a text as one taking a more scholarly
approach, but it does present particularly difficult problems, such as abdominal pain, clearly with good differential
diagnosis (or what can this pain be besides my appendix). Because wound infections are a hazard of surgery, some
knowledge of microbiology and pharmacology is important to the survivalist, and this text deals with both
antibiotics and selected microorganisms.

The Manual of Obstetrics​, by Niswander, Little, Brown, & Co., is, at points, difficult to read, but provides a concise
source of information to the non-physician who has had some advanced medical training. Besides the expected
discussion of birth control, it deals with infections during pregnancy and offers specific recommendations about
which antibiotics to use or avoid. The management of problems of pregnancy is extended into the problems of the

The Manual of Emergency Pediatrics​, W.B. Saunders Co., is easier to understand than Niswander but is also
another good one-source reference for the non-physician survivalist with some medical background. Poisoning,
head trauma, and other “true” emergencies are covered in one section, another deals with presenting complaints
such as abdominal pain.

This latter is a key section because it reveals clearly what thought processes to follow in dealing with a problem.
The third section deals with specific problems that are not necessarily emergencies- from parasitic diseases to the
common cold.

The Physician’s Desk Reference​, Medical Economics Co., is something to consider and requires a great deal of
judgment to use properly. Its main benefit is that it will enable you to check the usage and dosage of drugs that you
might encounter in a post-disaster situation.
Group III

Physicians as a group tend to collect a great variety of books. Each is likely to have his own favorites, particularly
in his areas of interest. While full coverage of a medical library for physicians would be beyond the scope of this
article, several suggestions are in order.

Besides the basic group of books, general references on medicine and surgery as well as select subspecialties should
be included in one’s retreat medical library. A compact set of references such as ​Phantom Notes​, by Joe Glickman,
M.D., on medicine, surgery, and OB-GYN may prove useful to keep in the retreat medical kit.

Acquiring the medical library can be as difficult as deciding what should be in it. Often bookstores don’t have what
you need, and most mail order companies leave your name on a mailing list. Those who find both arrangements
disagreeable may find a solution by dealing with Hammerfall, 2515 E. Thomas St., Suite 16-583, Phoenix, AZ

Survival Gunsmithing- Ruger Security-Six

By J.B. Wood

While our subject gun this time is the Ruger Security-Six double action revolver, this information will also apply to
the Speed-Six, and the Police Service-Six, as these are mechanically identical. The new, large-frame .44
Magnum Redhawk has an entirely different internal mechanism, and is not on Mel’s original list, so it won’t be
covered here.

A basic replacement parts kit should include the following: Firing pin, firing pin rebound spring, firing pin housing
pin, hammer spring, trigger spring, transfer bar, cylinder stop, and cylinder hand.

The Ruger double-action revolver is the only modern gun of this type that can be almost completely disassembled
without tools, and this makes parts replacement very simple and easy. This advantage, though, may go
undemonstrated for a long time, as hardly anything on a Ruger ever breaks.

I have seen Ruger revolvers that have been really roughly treated, and they just kept on working. As demonstrated
by the US Service Auto, though, even the toughest guns are subject to wear and occasional breakage, when given
years of hard field usage.
Repeating the items from the basic list, here is a long-term comprehensive kit: Firing pin, firing pin rebound spring,
firing pin housing pin, hammer spring, ejector rod, cylinder lock pin, grips and grip screw, trigger spring, transfer
bar, cylinder stop, cylinder hand, ejector rod washer, double action lever, and rear sight blade.

It’s fortunate that Ruger firing pins so seldom break, as replacement presents several problems. The firing pin and
its return spring are enclosed in a cup-like retainer, called the “recoil plate”, and this assembly is retained in the
frame by a cross-pin. The ends of this pin are contoured and polished with the exterior of the frame, and it’s done so
skillfully that the ends are difficult to see. It’s practically impossible to remove one of these pins without some
deformation of the ends, and for this reason, a spare cross-pin is included in the list.

When replacing the recoil plate in the frame, great care must be taken to insure that the cross-pin groove in the top
of the retainer is aligned with the cross-hole in the frame. A sharpened drift punch should be inserted through the
hole before the pin is replaced, and the pin inserted from the same side.

There are only three principal springs on the list. Failure or weakening of the firing pin return spring, hammer
spring, or trigger spring will be extremely unlikely. They are included only because of their very essential place in
the action. All of the springs in the Ruger are round-wire type, and except for the trigger spring, all are helical coil.
A dedicated pessimist could include a complete spring kit, but I doubt that any of the others would ever be used.

In all of the years since the introduction of these guns, I have never seen or heard of a broken transfer bar.
However, this part does receive considerable impact each time the hammer falls, and on that basis a spare transfer
bar is a good idea. The same reasoning can be applied to the double-action lever (“hammer dog”), as it is under
great stress during double-action firing, and is also subject to friction wear.

The key parts in the cylinder rotation system are the cylinder hand (“pawl”), the cylinder stop (“cylinder latch”),
and the ratchet, which is integral with the ejector. The ejector/ratchet is not available as a separate part, as the fitting
of its arms to each chamber requires very precise work. Also, any slight wear of the ratchet lugs can be
compensated for during the fitting of a new cylinder hand.

When a new cylinder hand and cylinder stop are installed, the timing of the cylinder rotation may have to be
adjusted. If necessary, this is done by carefully stoning the top of the cylinder hand and the trigger engagement step
of the cylinder stop. The hand is more likely to need alteration than the stop. In well-worn guns, it’s possible that no
fitting will be needed, the fitting allowance of the new parts taking up the slack of wear.

The spare ejector rod is included as insurance against possible damage, rather than wear. When the cylinder is
locked in place, the rod is well-protected, recessed in its shroud below the barrel. If the gun is dropped while the
cylinder is open, though, the rod could be bent or broken, and this would put the gun entirely out of action.

There is one other possibility of damage- stripping of the threads which join the rod to the ejector shaft. Even if
there is damage to both sets of threads, a new rod with its sharp threads will usually stay in place if care is taken not
to over-tighten it.
The cylinder lock pin is on the list mainly in case of loss during disassembly of the cylinder system, after water
immersion or for other reasons. The other pins in the gun can be made fairly easily from rod stock if broken or lost.

The cylinder lock pin could also be made, but this part needs to be particularly tough, and proper heat-treatment
(hardening) of parts may be beyond the skills of the average survivalist. With total takedown of the cylinder system
in mind, another part that’s good to have on hand is a spare ejector rod washer.

Located inside the cylinder arbor and forward of the ejector return spring, this small washer may be held in place by
lubricant during the initial phase of takedown, then fall out and become lost. Since this washer must exactly fit the
inside of the arbor and the outside of the ejector rod tip, its dimensions must be very precise, and making a
replacement by hand would be difficult. The reasons for inclusion of a spare rear sight blade will be obvious.

This rather thin piece of steel protrudes above the rear sight base, and is susceptible to damage if the gun is dropped
or struck against an unyielding object. The total pessimist might elect to have a complete rear sight unit in reserve,
on the basis that this unit is made of alloy.

However, the unit is vertically spring-tensioned, and this tends to partially absorb any shock. Those who have
previously installed a white-outline rear blade will already have a spare blade, if they saved the original one. Of
course, if your gun is the Speed-Six or Police Service-Six, with fixed sight, you can drop this item from the list.

Again for obvious reasons, a pair of grips and a grip screw are on the list. In comparison with the steel and alloy
parts, grips are the most easily broken components of the gun unless you have replaced the originals with the
excellent Pachmayr rubber grips.

If you have installed special grips of any kind, you already have the originals as a spare set. It should be noted that
the retaining screws of various custom and special grips are not compatible with original Ruger grips, so keep an
original grip screw.

Many of the larger gun shops keep a good supply of parts on hand for all Ruger revolvers, but the main source is
the Ruger factory.

Parts orders should be marked to the attention of the Parts Department. If you have the original instruction booklet
furnished with each new gun, it will give parts numbers and prices. The factory will supply these booklets on
request at no charge.

An exploded view of the Security-Six is in the instruction booklet, and is also on page 122 of ​The Gun Digest Book
of Exploded Firearms Drawings, Second Edition.​ Complete takedown and reassembly instructions can be found on
pages 332 through 344 of ​Volume II: Revolvers,​ in my ​Firearms Assembly/Disassembly​ series of books.
Some Thoughts on Retreating
by Nancy Tappan

Making a Living in a Small Town

The concept most fundamental to Mel’s view of long-term survival was that of relocating to a small rural
community (see PS Letters 3 and 6). As those of you who have picked up and moved know, that experience is
traumatic indeed. Not only must you endure the severe emotional stress that such a move engenders, but you must
also face the problem of earning a living. And that is not an easy task in a small town.

Without exception everyone that I know who has moved to the country (ourselves included) has been plagued by
three troublesome misconceptions: an unrealistic idea of what living in the country or a small town is like, an even
more unrealistic idea of the financial cost involved, and a gross miscalculation of the amount of time that it takes to
get settled and established in the community.

Unfortunately, most of us who have never lived in the country have a romantic vision of the bucolic life, one
spawned by reading ​Mother Earth News and back-to-the-land books. We see ourselves living off of our five acres
and still having enough produce and livestock left over to barter or sell enough to buy a few necessary staples.

The hard truth is that farming, especially on small acreage, is difficult, even if you have experience and know-how,
and impossible if you have neither, so forget the idea that your little patch of Eden can furnish you with any
appreciable amount of food right away.

During our first year here, for example, my garden was demolished by grasshoppers, two of our pigs were run over
because our fences weren’t secure, and we got stuck with two of the poorest excuses for cattle that you have ever
seen. Moreover, unless you are very lucky, your expenses will be staggering- your place will need repairs, you will
need tools and equipment, you will find livestock expensive, and goods no cheaper than they are in the city.

Disillusioning as it may be to discover that your retreat is not paradise, it is even more disillusioning to examine the
job market in the town you are in or near. Most small communities have little, if any, industry and what does exist
is sensitive to the state of the country’s economy.

We are in a lumber area and because of the slump in the housing industry, many of the mills are shut down;
consequently, we have widespread unemployment among the unskilled. In addition, there are many retired in the
area who are willing to work part-time for low wages. In short, we have an employer’s market.

Many service businesses do not exist in rural areas because of the low population density- people must travel to the
nearest medium-sized town (20,000 or more) or do without. Professional services are at a minimum and even the
medium-sized towns do not have the highly-specialized professional, such as a copyright attorney or nephrologist.
What you do find are an abundance of people with basic skills (those most valuable in a post-holocaust world)
-plumbing, carpentry, welding, etc.- and a few businesses such as hardware stores, markets, and drug stores that
answer a need and do very well. Unlike the suburbs or an area with a 20,000 plus population, you do not find
specialty shops of any kind. So you can see that if you want to work in an existing business in your immediate area,
your choices are severely limited.

Further, you are an outsider and, as such, are regarded with suspicion. Contrary to popular myth, neither country
people nor small town residents are the salt-of-the-earth, friendly sort who will drop everything to help a neighbor.
Of course, there are exceptions, but many are benighted souls who distrust anyone and anything that they have not
known all their lives, and many take great delight in seeing city slickers fall flat on their faces.

You must also be wary of those who have recently moved to the area- with a convert’s zeal they want to keep
others from following them and overpopulating their sylvan haven. And if you not only come from the city but
from another part of the country, or are different in any way -because of color, physical handicap, religion or
whatever- you have another strike against you. Prejudice against the unfamiliar is far greater than in a metropolitan
area. And gossiping and rumor mongering are favorite pastimes.

Just how do you go about earning a living in such an environment? In short, by being adaptable- willing to
accommodate to the eccentricities of small town life and willing to change your ideas about work. First, look
around you and try to blend in- the locals are sensitive and will spot anyone who “puts on airs” immediately. The
fact that you belonged to the LA Country Club or have a Ph.D. or were president of your Kiwanis chapter in
Hoboken cuts no ice and your bruiting your past about simply serves to make you more of an outsider.

If you enjoy people -warts and all- and have a sense of humor, I can assure you that living in a small town can be an
enlightening -and enjoyable- experience since you meet and become friends with a cross-section that you would
never encounter in a large city. As Mel used to say, “It increases your existential amplitude.”

For many, especially men, changing their ideas about work is even more difficult than adjusting to small town life.
First you must jettison all your preconceived notions about the kind of work you will do, the way you will work,
and the pay you will accept. When you first relocate, you will probably have to take whatever jobs come your way
at the wages offered, and if you open your own business, charge much less than you could in a city.

The willingness to change attitudes toward work is but one aspect of a revolution occurring in this country today-
the move from what Alvin Toffler calls Second Wave production modes to Third Wave ones.* It is interesting that
the changes this shift is affecting in people’s work patterns parallel those that the survivalist must make when he
decides to relocate.

Working in a conventional office, keeping standard hours, and receiving company benefits may soon be the
exception rather than the rule, not just for the survivalist but for the majority in this country. More and more people
are opting for flex-time, they are taking part-time jobs so that they can produce rather than purchase more of what
they consume, and rigid family roles are softening as husbands, wives, and children work together and traditional
jobs are interchanged.
The self-help movement, do-it-yourselfing, and bartering are also a part of this revolution- and an integral part of
survivalism. But working in this way -either at home or in a small office near your house, performing two or more
jobs at once, taking lower wages, trying to get your retreat set up, working long and strange hours- is extremely
difficult at first because of the mental juggling that it requires. In a traditional office environment or sales job, you
gear yourself to cope with one related set of problems during a given time period, but this new approach to work
precludes such tidy compartmentalizing.

Unless you are flexible, you may well lose your mind. I know, because many a PS Letter paste-up has been
interrupted by the birth of a calf, a beef customer, or Robin’s mooing to inform me that she wishes to be milked.
And everyone around here must be willing to do every kind of job. One minute Mel would be writing a column and
the next giving a heifer a selenium shot. Candy, who is responsible for the new efficiency that you see in PS Letter,
has scrubbed the kitchen floor on more than one occasion, and I am by now a pro at scooping manure.

Although you may think that I’ve overemphasized the importance of making these attitude changes, they are the
key to your being successful in making a living after relocating. Specifically, your best opportunity by far is to start
your own business (preferably one that will be needed in a post-crunch society), but before you do, you must be
realistic about the amount of time that it will take to get it going and, if possible, set enough money aside to cushion
you through the lean startup period (about two years). If you can’t do this, be prepared to moonlight in order to
make ends meet and consider renting rather than buying a home until you get established.

If you do decide to start your own business, be aware that most of the people with brains and initiative leave to seek
their fortune in the city or are currently operating the few successful businesses in town; therefore, do not try and
compete with the local hardware store, for example, if it is providing good service and merchandise.

On the other hand, if you want to practice a trade such as plumbing, are good at what you do, and above all, will
show up when you say you will and work during odd hours, you will do better in time than the other four plumbers
listed in the phone book.

Why? Although their skill may be commensurate to yours, chances are they will have caught the infectious
“nobody’s going to tell me when, what, or how to do it” attitude that permeates the local chat and chew parlors and
ruins many a good man.

Poke around your immediate community, and also around the nearest city with a 15-20,000 population, where you
will find more opportunities, talk to the locals and determine what services are needed. Those who have been
successful in this area have done exactly that.

In fact, most of the new businesses in the Grants Pass area during the past few years have been started by
newcomers. A good friend of Mel’s moved here five years ago not knowing what he would do. He swept chimneys,
raised bees, and somehow kept his wife and two children fed while he studied for his real estate license.
Today he has his own office, which is the most successful in a town full of real estate firms, because he had the
foresight to specialize in retreat property. Another man left the trucking business and opened a gun shop, and I’ve
lost track of the number who have started mail-order businesses.

I know of a lawyer who is now running a restaurant and loving it and a couple who had just enough capital to buy a
roto-rooter but saw, as they went around cleaning drains, that there was a need for a business maintenance service.
They now operate the roto-rooter business by day and the maintenance service at night.

A former engineer is now designing solar greenhouses and fleshing out his income by building fences. Although
this area has many printers, the man who prints PS Letter has more business than he can handle because he does
careful work. A survivalist, he also has a manual printing press in his basement.

Last week I talked to a couple who with $1000 started producing high technology clocks in a remote area of
Southern Washington. Contrary to popular thinking, they say that manufacturing in a small town is feasible- if you
can use unskilled labor, and are willing to work until you drop at night.

These are the successes -unfortunately, the failures are many but they all stem from the same root- an unrealistic
estimate of both the time and the capital it takes to begin a business. Many who didn’t make it got carried away
buying their retreat property and didn’t have any capital left to fall back on; some lunged into businesses without
realizing how much hard work and responsibility being your own boss entails and how difficult it can be to
discipline yourself.

Without some capital, there is no easy answer. You will certainly not earn anything comparable to what you can in
a city nor do you have the variety of job markets open to you; however, living costs are lower and if you are
persevering, you can make out by taking whatever work comes along and by taking advantage of opportunities to

Three years ago friends of ours, a heavy-equipment salesman and his wife, moved here, knowing that he would
have to make a career change. By cutting out every frill and doing odd jobs, they managed to scrape by and, during
that time, acquire two very marketable skills: he has learned cabinet making from a superb craftsman and she will
soon be proficient on both an IBM composer and a phototypesetting machine.

If you are a professional, such as an engineer, doctor, lawyer, or architect, you should investigate with great care the
demographics of an area before moving there. In many cases, these findings will be the deciding factor in your
choice of location if you want to continue a career in the same field.
If, for example, you are a doctor and want to move to Oregon, you would be well-advised to pick another state, for
we have a surfeit of physicians, so much so that the State Board is discouraging doctors from taking the exams
qualifying them to practice in the state and, in addition, making those exams very difficult. The Rogue Valley also
has a glut of attorneys; on the other hand, this area is only now reaching the saturation point for architects and

As a professional practicing in a small to medium-sized community, neither your pay scale, the equipment available
to you, nor in many cases, the caliber of your peers will be equal to that in a city. You will find a dichotomy
existing between the old timers who have been practicing in the area for years and have more or less stopped
learning and the newcomers who are attuned to the latest research and developments in your field. Finally, your ego
will suffer severe damage for the idea prevails in rural areas that working with your hands is somehow nobler than
working with your brains and book learning is definitely suspect.

The professional can at least relocate and continue in his same field but if you are currently working at some level
in corporate management or if your job involves the use of expensive scientific equipment, your only answer is to
change careers. There are few companies large enough to afford management personnel in small towns and there
are certainly no Johnson Space Centers around. But then one of the tenets of the survivalist is to become as
independent of the system as possible, to be his own boss.

When thinking about where, and how you want to earn a living, do not overlook the whole new array of work
possibilities that the home computer makes feasible to those in white collar, technical, and professional fields. More
and more salesmen, designers, consultants, psychologists, investment counselors, insurance agents, certain kinds of
researchers, and office workers can now work at home, communicating and receiving information by plugging into
computer terminals. Toffler sees “a return to cottage industry on a new, higher electronic basis (which is very
energy efficient, by the way), and with it a new emphasis on the home as the center of society.”

You can relocate from the city to a small town and make a living. Those who have made the transition gracefully
have had vision, flexibility, patience, and a good sense of humor. Not that it isn’t a difficult and trying task. I know.
I’ve never worked so hard, cried so much- or laughed so often.

* Alvin Toffler. ​The Third Wave.​ New York: Bantam. 1980. A provocative and readable look at the social and
economic upheavals facing us. Although Toffler would probably sneer at the term “survivalist”, survivalists
embody Third Wave attitudes.
ALERT: Senators Kennedy and Weicker are planning to introduce a bill banning the importation of semi-automatic
military-type rifles, such as the HK-91 and FN-FAL, and pressure is being exerted on domestic manufacturers not
to offer such pieces as the Mini-14 and AR-15 to the general public. If you are considering buying any of these, we
feel that now might be the time to do so.

Reflections on Non-Sporting Rifles

by Jeff Cooper

A minor but nonetheless ubiquitous problem in our rifle instruction at Gunsite is the notion that we specialize in the
“assault rifle”, as opposed to the “sporting rifle”. The fact is that we teach rifle marksmanship -the art of hitting
what one shoots at- and this is the same with a .30-30 saddle-gun, a custom-made ZKK 600, or an AK-74.

Good equipment is -usually- easier to use well than junk, but it is quite common for the unschooled to identify ​good
equipment with ​expensive equipment, and while cost and quality are often closely related, they are not necessarily

The single most essential element of a good rifle -for individual use- is a good trigger action. Phase I battle rifles
often had splendid triggers, and Phase II usually had triggers which were quite manageable if not outstanding, but
the Phase III weapons and the modern battle carbines are without exception very poor in this department. On the
other hand, most sporting rifles of good quality have excellent triggers, and thus may be a better choice for the
survivalist than any of the military offerings.

The theoretical trap into which the novice may fall is the confusion of military with civilian desiderata. Soldiers
fight in groups. Their skill levels are usually low. Their motivation is problematical. And their first thought upon
encountering resistance is for fire support- mortars, artillery, tanks, gunships, and such. Infantry soldiers find the
enemy, pin him down with area fire, call in fire support, and close in to mop up. They need a fast-firing weapon and
a lot of ammunition, but they don’t need precision.

Conversely, the civilian fights alone. He strikes without warning from concealment, and if his position can be
located he will be quickly pinned and killed. He fires once, sometimes twice, very occasionally three times, and
then he is gone​. Every shot must count.​ So he does not need “firepower”, he needs precision. Semi Automatic
action and a large magazine may be convenient for him but they are not necessary. A clean, crisp trigger -a 40
ounce “glass rod”- is.
And so is the somewhat subjective element of ​handiness​. A long, heavy rifle is easier to shoot well than a short,
light one; especially when the shooter is excited, out of breath, or exhausted, as is normal in a fight. But rifle fights
involve an appalling amount of scrambling and a handy weapon significantly delays the moment of inoperable
exhaustion, inversely with the strength and athletic condition of the fighter.

One can fight longer at an acceptable skill level with a handier rifle, even though such a piece is appreciably more
difficult to use with maximum precision. This paradox is solved by the individual’s discovery of his own individual
attributes. He seeks -and finds- the handiest rifle he can shoot really well. This is rarely an “assault rifle”.

This may be the cause of the current (and, to my mind, fallacious) idea that if one is not a “sportsman” he has no
need for a “sporting rifle”, and the corollary that, in any circumstance in which he may use a rifle against a man, he
needs a military weapon.

Modern military rifles and carbines are self-loaders, always semiautomatic and in most cases fully automatic, at
option. Their second shot can certainly be delivered more quickly than with a manually-operated repeater. We may,
however, ask ourselves if that matters- to the individual citizen acting alone. If your first shot is not a pinwheel,
why may we expect that your second will be?

Hosing your target with a series of shots ​may get the results you want, ​but usually it will not.​ One properly placed
shot always will. Suppose there are several targets. If you must shift targets between shots the semi-auto has no
advantage over the bolt-action- except that it does not require its user to learn how to operate a bolt. The difference
is trivial.

The trend to the centerfire .22 in current military practice is another cause for confusion among the unenlightened,
who cannot be blamed for wondering why a weapon that armies adopt is not necessarily a good choice for a private
citizen. The fact is that today’s armies have pretty largely given up on marksmanship- except in their sniper corps.

In choosing a private rifle for non hunting purposes we might do better to inquire into what sort of weapon the
military snipers are using; always remembering that neither handiness nor versatility is particularly important to a
military sniper operating from a team and supported by an assortment of combined arms. Note, however, that these
people do not use .22’s.

The battle carbine, in caliber 5.56mm (.223) or something similar, is a poor choice for civilian defense. Its trigger is
usually atrocious, its sights are usually poor, its accuracy is moot, it lacks the reach that a really good shot can use,
and its power is marginal. It is quite suitable for “low dedication” cannon fodder, but it is not a rifleman’s weapon:
And the survivalist had better be a rifleman.
After much study and observation I am drawn to the conclusion that probably the best non sporting rifle is a good
sporting rifle. Fancy that!

The caliber does not matter much, but the 7mm’s and .30’s provide a fine balance of power and controllability.
More power than that of the .30-06 is appreciable only by a very fine marksman, and for him it is probably
unnecessary. For those who are disturbed by this much “M” (45 to 48), the 6mm family (.243 etc.) will do quite
well at 30 M- about a third less recoil. Obviously the 7.62 NATO cartridge (“.308”) is a good choice, but please
don’t rush out and buy a .308 to replace your .270, or 7x57, or 25-06- or your .30-06.

If you want to shoot well you should work with ample “lots” of ammunition, not scraps of twenty of this and forty
of that. Practice should involve 200 rounds per year, one lot of 1000 to last you five years. When your reserve drops
below 1000 your amber light goes on. I believe this popular emphasis on “standard calibers” can be overdone.

Another thing that can be overdone is the notion that no one can shoot without glass sights. A scope helps you see
but it does nothing to help you hold and squeeze. (Which is shockingly apparent the first time you try a laser sight.)
And scopes are growing bigger, more complicated, more fragile, and less useful as marketers seek to boost their
sales with gimmickry.

This is not to say that a telescope sight is not a good idea, because it is. One should not, however, feel that he must
have one; nor, worse, feel that he can buy an instrument that will compensate for his lack of skill. People quite
frequently shoot worse with a glass than with iron sights, as they slacken their concentration because the problem
seems simpler.

Be that as it may, a good telescope sight is usually a good idea on a rifle to be used in area defense. I think it should
be of the best quality available, not for show but for strength. It should be of 3x or 4x magnification, not variable. It
should have a simple, crosshair reticle, uncluttered, and of moderate thickness. It should be mounted as low over
the bore as possible and set forward so that the eyepiece is no farther aft than the rear of the action. It should be
zeroed carefully, for one lot of ammunition, and left alone except for annual checks and lot changes.

The “non sporting-sporter” should be relatively light, for obvious reasons. If it goes over eight pounds, including
the sight, it begins to assume the static role- and if things ever get really bad you won’t like that.

Above all, this rifle must have a fine trigger- the finer the better. A single-stage action is easier to use than a double
but either will do if the final break is crisp, light, and motionless. If your selection does not have this sort of trigger,
choose again.
If the rifle you have does not have this sort of trigger, change it. I cannot hypothesize a situation in which your life
might hang on the capacity of your magazine, but in any sort of definitive rifle fight, a bad trigger can easily get
you killed.

Editor’s Note: As those of you who are familiar with Mel’s work know, his views on the assault rifles differed
somewhat from those expressed here by Jeff largely because the circumstances he foresaw necessitating the use of
such weapons differed from Jeff’s. I am sorry that I cannot hear the two discuss the issue- it would have been
stimulating, to say the least. Incidentally, in the next issue of PS Letter, Jeff will review the BM-62, a new version of
one of his and Mel’s favorites, the BM-59.

Lithium Flashlight Cells

The operating characteristics of the conventional carbon zinc primary cell have changed little over the past 50 years
and the more recent alkaline cells offer only marginal improvement. Rechargeable types provide less than ideal
performance and require an external power source for recharging.

For survival application, the lithium cell should be considered. While the best carbon/zinc or alkaline batteries go
dead in room temperature storage in less than 24 months, the lithium cell is good for over ten years in inventory. At
temperatures much below zero, flashlights equipped with conventional cells simply do not operate.

The lithium cell puts out 85% of rated capacity at -40F. For uses in devices which are sensitive to load voltage, it
offers a much flatter discharge curve than conventional cells and its service life is considerably longer. Since the
only useful flashlight or radio to have is one that works in extreme conditions, the lithium cells make sense.

Lithium cells are available from a PS Letter subscriber: Homesteaders Warehouse, P.O. Box 2330, Roseburg, OR
97470. Price for the “D” size cell is $15.40 retail, but PS Letter subscribers may order them for $11.90 each or a set
of 4 for $46.30.

Note that lithium cells yield 2.8 volts per cell rather than the 1.5 volts of conventional ones, so fewer lithium cells
will be required in any given application. Dummy cells to fill the extra space in battery holders are $.50 each; add
$1.00 for shipping and handling for each order. “C” and “AA” cells are also available, please inquire. R. Fine
Survival Wheels - Military Vehicles
by Rick Fine

The subject of military vehicles in a survival context evokes all sorts of images, and most of them are not all that

A familiar scenario, which has seen some ink in the popular press, stars a boob with a cheap cigar, matching
firearm, cowboy boots and ill-fitting fatigues. The self-anointed savior of motherhood, God, and the U.S. of A. is
generally pictured in an Elmer Gantry pose, standing in the back of some outrageous military relic, issuing
sweeping socio-political pronouncements. The captions convey something like, “Right-wingers call themselves
‘survivalists’- have tanks and machine-guns.”

Sad to say, there are a few souls about who derive pleasure from getting into olive drab drag for the grand
amusement of the local press, and the general fright of their neighbors. These pseudo-macho Halloween types have
nothing whatever to do with survival planning. However, some military tactical vehicles may very well fit both
your budget and your serious survival plans. Step one is to dismiss the absurd spectacle of the closet commando
from your mind. Now, on to serious business.

The purpose of this column is to provide an overview of which vehicles may -and may not- be suitable for practical
use. A number of myths will be dispelled and other sources of information outlined.

The first machine to discuss is the Jeep. Just as the “Piper Cub” name has become a euphemism used by the
uninformed to describe most all aircraft smaller than a 707, the term “Jeep” has become a generic word to identify
most small all-wheel drive vehicles. It’s therefore appropriate to provide a brief chronology so we all know what a
Jeep really is.

MB and GPW: These two models were the World War Two original Jeeps. The MB was developed from the
earlier, limited production MA model, and was produced from 1941 on by Willys Motors, in Toledo, Ohio. The
GPW was the same machine, but produced by Ford.

The MB-GPW was a fine machine, but due to a lack of available parts -not age- they are best left to collectors. Due
to the great popularity of the surplus WW2 Jeeps over the past 35 years, those which are still around are either
meticulously restored and kept in a garage, or are totally shot. Our government has managed to give most of the
vast stocks of parts away to “friends” around the world. The balance of the spares have simply been used up.

M38: The M38 Jeep was an evolution of the MB, and was produced for only a few years following WW2. There
were a number of detail changes, including a 24-Volt electrical system. Due to limited production some 30 years
ago, these machines are in the same collector’s realm as the MB-GPW Jeeps.

M38A1: This vehicle was introduced in 1952 and was the first “new” Jeep since the original MB. The M38A1 is a
militarized version of the CJ-5, which was introduced to the civilian market in 1955. The biggest problem for our
use is that it uses the same peculiar F-head 4-cylinder engine as the CJ-5 of the same period.
The F-head was much overweight for its output, and parts are nearly extinct. Most M38Als in civilian use have
been the subject of engine conversions. There is nothing the M38Al can do that the CJ-5 cannot do just as well. (As
a matter of peripheral interest, the best CJ-5 for our purposes is the variant built from about 1963 to 1970, when
Jeep was a subsidiary of Kaiser Industries.

The engine used was a GM-designed V6, and was ideally suited for the application, and is one for which parts are
still plentiful. At the risk of confusing the issue, we might call the Kaiser-built CJ-Series Jeeps “honorary” military

The military M38A1 is also best left to the historians but the CJ-5 clone of the 1960s is ideal.

The M38A1 was the last machine standardized for government service, which may properly be called a Jeep. The
rest are designated, “Trucks, ¼-ton”.

One old and apparently immortal rumor must be dispensed with. Every few years, a story circulates that in some
out-of-the-way place with a strange name, a warehouse stacked to the ceiling with new Jeeps, disassembled, crated,
and forgotten since 1945, has been discovered.

These Jeeps, as the story goes, may be had for some ridiculous price -usual about $50- but it’s necessary to buy ten
or so to get in on the deal. When pushed for details, the teller of the story general insists that his wife’s cousin’s
barber’s friend actually saw them, but could only raise twelve cents; and would you like a piece of the action?

As a matter of record, no such Jeeps ever existed, and never will. The very first surplus GI Jeeps available to the
civilian market were sold by a dealer in Chicago just before the end of WW2. They were very tired little machines,
but brought very healthy prices. New Jeeps in crates for $50 (in quantities of ten or more) may be had from the
same companies who sell perpetual motion machines and stills to make thousands gallons of gasoline in your
closet. Forget it.

AMC Mighty Mite: The Mite was a very interesting design, which was equipped with an air-cooled engine and
weighed only 1700 pounds. The problem for us today is that only about 4,000 Mites were built (for the USMC)
some years ago. AMC not only has no parts, but tries to deny that they built the machines. Enough said.

Don’t give up- now we’re getting warm. The next machine in the series is the M151. The M151 has gone through
Al and A2 versions (1970 and newer) and is the neat little machine you will see lined up at your National Guard
armory. The M151 is powered with a simple Continental 4-cylinder gasoline engine, turns in gas mileage in the
20-plus mpg range, and performs very well. Off-road performance is excellent.

The M151 in all versions has an undeserved reputation as a killer. As the legend goes, the M151 will suddenly leap
in the air with no provocation whatever, and land on the heads the passengers. The fact is that any vehicle with a
short wheel base and a center of gravity higher than a Porsche may be dumped if driven at high speeds around sharp
corners. The old MBs and the current CJ-5s are not all that much better when driven badly.
There is a “Catch 22” with the M151. For a good many years, the Department of Defense insisted that M151s sold
surplus be “demilitarized”. In simple English, that term translates to the fact that before M151s were allowed to
leave government property, they were cut in two pieces by a man with a torch. The buyer, by the way, had to pay a
fee for that service. The logic of the DOD was that the M151 was simply too dangerous for untrained civilians to

It’s more likely that a tacit agreement with the producers to torch the M151 is behind their destruction. The M151 is
produced by AM General Corporation, a subsidiary of American Motors. American Motors also produces the
CJ-series civilian machines, which are a design generation older.

This writer has also seen virtually new M151s expended as targets at China Lake Naval Weapons Center, and the
29 Palms Marine Corps Desert Training Center. As soon as you get over the outrage at the destruction of our
property, note that there is a silver lining of sorts in this dark overcast. Because of the rarity of M151s in civilian
service, parts for them -and there are many available- are not terribly expensive. Since they fit not much of anything
else, the market is limited.

If you want to buy an M151, be careful. A number of them have been welded back together to make whole
machines. No matter how carefully or how neatly the job was done, pass. Without factory jigs, alignment of critical
parts will be subject to guesses.

There are a number of uncut M151s around. Remember that the good ones may be rare, but you only need one or
two. Good M151s sell for anywhere from perhaps $2,000 to as much as $5,000 or so for a real jewel in fully
restored condition.

As you “get into” military vehicles and start sniffing out parts sources, you will find that the military has all sorts of
kits and accessory items for the M151, as well as the full range of tactical vehicles. Everything from machine gun
mounts to arctic operation kits, cargo trailers, and other special gadgetry is available if you know what to look for.

If you are still interested, and would like a basic source from which you might at least get a feel for parts and
vehicle availability, try a subscription to ​Rock & Dirt.​

Done in a newspaper format like ​Shotgun News,​ this publication is the clearing point for dealers in all manner of
earth moving equipment, construction gear, generator sets and surplus military vehicles and parts. The address is
Rock & Dirt,​ Crossville, TN 38555.

Another source you should not overlook is that local National Guard armory. While it does not always work, it’s
amazing to consider how often the knowledge of a sergeant’s preference in liquor can lead to the liberation of tech
manuals, parts, and other goodies.
¾ -Ton and 1 ¼-Ton Trucks

The next range of machines are commonly called “weapons carriers”. The first practical machines in this range are
the WW2 Dodge ¾-ton machines. They were built like anvils and could be repaired by nearly anyone who could
master the operation of a pay phone.

Like the MB Jeeps, these machines, carrying various designations preceded by the “WC” series identification, are
mostly gone by now. They were so practical that they were simply consumed over the past 35 years.

Surprisingly enough, parts are still not all that hard to come by, and a number of dealers still offer examples of the
machines for sale. One reason for the fact that they are still around is that our allies all over the world, particularly
in Europe, used them as standard equipment well into the 1960s. In the past ten or so years, many of the vehicles
-and warehouses full of support spares- have come back to the US via surplus dealers.

While it’s not likely that you can walk down to your local Pep Boys store and ask for parts for your ‘44 Dodge,
things are not at all bad. The basic engine was used in Dodge military and civilian trucks from 1941 to 1967. In
industrial applications, i.e. fork lifts and generator sets, the engines were installed as new equipment until Chrysler
quit building them in 1967. As a result, parts are not at all extinct.

The successor to the WC-series trucks was the Dodge M37. The M37 remained in production virtually unchanged
from 1950 to 1967. An ambulance version (great camper) was designated the M43, and featured a longer wheelbase
chassis. Until the mid-1970s, many hundreds of the Dodge M-series trucks remained in National Guard and Army
Reserve service.

During the off-road boom of the late 1960s, many of the M37s which escaped use as targets, or the fate of the
shiploads given away around the world, fell into the hands of tinkerers, who quietly took them apart into a thousand
pieces, then forgot them.

The M37 cruises on the highway at a noisy 50, and will gear down to a crawl in low-range transfer for off-road
operation. While the machine is rated at ¾-ton, it will easily haul a good deal more with no problem. Several styles
and vintages of military cargo trailers are also available at reasonable prices.

This author has personally owned three examples of the older WC-series Dodges, and one each of the M37 and
M43. These trucks were first rebuilt, and then used for trips throughout the Mojave in the summer months, over a
period of years in the 1970s.

Their cooling systems made the commercial trucks look a bit silly, as did their general off-road capabilities. The
Dodges were not fast or flashy, but they always managed to get home; which could not be said for several examples
of shiny civilian equipment owned during the same period.
Any of the Dodge military trucks, along with spare parts, manuals, and knowledge, would make a superb choice for
a specialized, heavy-duty survival truck.

In the late 1960s, a new machine was due to replace the M37 Dodge. Chrysler and GM both produced pilot models,
and the most likely contender was the XM705 from General Motors. The GM prototype would have been a real
dream for our uses, as it was very much like a beefed up M37, equipped with a small-block Chevrolet V8 and GM
running gear. It would also have been a superb machine for the military, but those same brilliant minds responsible
for blowing up surplus trucks and cutting others in two decided to scrap the project due to high costs.

A vehicle being procured at the time as an interim standard replaced the M37. Called the M715, the newer truck is
pretty decent in its own right, as it is a militarized version of the Jeep Gladiator pickup.

In fact, if a civilian Gladiator were to be modified to optimum survival standards, the result would be a virtual copy
of the M715. Load rating is l¼-tons, and the machine will easily haul the rated capacity.

First procurement of the M715 was in 1966, and many thousands of them are in our current military inventory. As a
result, parts are no problem. Many pieces from the civilian Gladiator also fit.

One serious shortcoming of the machine is the engine. Like that of the M38A1, the engine in the M715 is
something of a freak. It’s a single overhead cam six, which was used only in older civilian Gladiators, Wagoneers,
and the military M715. Parts are not impossible, but they are not exactly plentiful. A very good idea, which most
owners eventually come around to, is to convert to Chevrolet power. The M715 is a good deal more civilized on the
highway than the Dodges it replaced, and is very nearly as good off the road.

Now, for the good part: It’s possible to buy an excellent M715, cargo trailer, manuals, and spare parts for about the
price of a new VW Rabbit sedan. Several dealers who advertise in ​Rock & Dirt​ regularly offer M715s.

Since the fervor for off-road sports died suddenly when the Arabs discovered we would pay them anything for oil,
the market for surplus M715s became very soft. As a result, this excellent survival machine may be had for about
the same price as a used commercial Jeep 4x4 pickup.

There is another machine in this class, called the M561 Gamma Goat, which needs some comment. The Gamma
Goat reminds one of the old jokes about the camel being a horse designed by a committee. The M561 is a
six-wheeled machine powered by a 3-cylinder Diesel engine and uses articulated steering.

It is about as complicated and expensive as can be imagined. The Gamma Goat is so noisy that ear protectors must
be issued to drivers. The truck is supposed to be amphibious. It is, unless cargo is carried. Unless weight is perfectly
distributed, the Goat quietly tips to one side and gurgles out of sight.

The M561 is an impressive machine in theory. That’s where it should have stayed. Leave them to the hobbyists.
The 2 ½-Ton 6x6 Cargo Trucks

The original truck in this load range is still not all that scarce. The GMC model CCKW of the 1940-45 period still
serves as the chassis for construction site water trucks and other uses. The GMC truck was dead slow and stone
reliable. The engine was a 270-cubic inch unit of excellent design. Sad to say, most of the old GMCs have been
driven into the ground in the course of 35 years of service, and better equipment in the same classification is readily

The truck which replaced the CCKW was the GM model M211, which was something of an unfortunate design.
The M211 was equipped with a Hydramatic transmission of reasonable reliability, but incredible complexity. While
the 211 has some interesting points, it’s best consigned to history.

At the same time as the GMC M211 series went into production, circa-1950, REO introduced their M35 military 2
½-ton truck. The same machine, with updates to the engine and transmission, is still in production today and is
presently designated M35A2. The early models used a very durable REO gasoline engine of good performance, but
very poor fuel mileage. By the mid-1960s, licenses to produce a very special engine were acquired from M.A.N. in
West Germany.

The M.A.N. engine is referred to as the multi-fuel, and will burn gasoline, Diesel fuel, turbine oil, heating oil, or
aviation kerosene. No adjustments are necessary, and the various fuels may be digested in any mixture or ratio. The
trick is accomplished with a special injection pump which meters the viscosity of the fuel it pumping, and adjusts as

For military, and certainly for survival use, the multi-fuel capability of these machines is a plus. Fuel mileage on
No. 2 Diesel oil averages about 8 mpg, depending on load and terrain. The M35A2 cruises at an easy -if a bit noisy-
55 on the highway, and pulls long grades like other big trucks- slowly. There are some versions available with
turbochargers but they contribute far more in complexity and engine stress than the extra power is worth in our

These vehicles are not equipped with power steering. Brakes are hydraulic, with air assist. As another plus, the
on-board 90 psi air system may be used to inflate tires, spray paint, and do all sorts of things other than just stop the
truck. Some examples are also fitted with trailer air brake hookups and controllers.

The standard top is canvas, but a factory metal top equips many surplus examples. The standard heater arrangement
is long underwear on the driver, but part of the arctic option is a 30,000 BTU heater which bolts neatly under the
hood, and will heat a small house. Windshield wipers are powered with the same compressed air system as the
brake booster.
The GI trailer for the 2 ½-ton trucks is a 1 ½-ton (3-ton highway rated) item which has no application whatever,
other than at the back of a GI truck. The good part is that the trailer may be obtained in fine shape for prices ranging
from $200 to $600.

Many of these machines are equipped with a 10,000 lb. capacity Garwood PTO winch, which is capable of pulling
cars around like toys, or yanking very large logs out of gullies.

One weakness in the mechanicals of the M35 concerns the transfer case. For some strange reason buried in the
1950s thinking of the designers, an attempt was made to make shifting in and out of 6-wheel drive an idiot-proof

Rather than a simple in-and-out lever, the transfer case incorporated an overrunning sprag clutch to do the deed. In
later years, military designers decided that this arrangement was not what it should have been, and installed an
air-shift mechanism of marvelous and absurd complexity.

An excellent lever-shift, simple conversion system, done the way the designers should have built it in the first
place, is available from Memphis Equipment Co., in Memphis, Tennessee. (Memphis Equipment also stocks a full
line of parts and accessories for the M35.)

A logical question might be why bother with something that measures 30 feet from winch to rear pintle hitch? The
fact of the matter is that the 2 ½-ton GI trucks are no bigger than the motor homes which, just a few years back,
were as indispensable to the suburban scene as pink plastic flamingos. Hauling capacity is tremendous, and fuel
consumption is on the same order as that for a van with a large V8 engine.

Because these trucks have a great deal of utility in the construction industry, they are serviced by a number of
companies across the country that specialize in trucks, parts, and conversions. In the South, Rex-Tex and Memphis
Equipment maintain large inventories and offer catalogs. In Los Angeles, Dick Equipment is very good to deal
with. The point is that a parts inventory is not all that difficult to build. Again, do not forget what the local motor
pool sergeant drinks.

5-Ton Trucks

The 5-ton trucks look almost identical to the 2 ½-ton machines- but bigger. They are not suggested for survival
applications, as all the late ones are equipped with power steering, turbochargers and other maintenance-intensive
equipment. They are also a bit slower on the highway because of lower gearing. For our purposes, they are a bit

From time to time, other vehicles of military ancestry are encountered and suggested for survival use. One of the
machines favored by the closet commando set is the White half-track of the WW2 period.

For survival use, the half-track is about as useful as a Subaru. The tracks currently cost several thousand dollars to
replace, and seldom last more than a thousand or so miles. There are also sixteen bogie wheels to worry after which
are not cheap.

To change the tracks -or to replace one which decided to peel off all on its own- requires a bushel of turnbuckles
and chains, plus several jacks and strong backs. (If you have an abiding interest in half-tracks, this author wrote a
book on the subject in 1976. The second printing is available from Baron Publishing Co., P.O. Box 820, La Puente,
CA 91747. Library of Congress catalog card number is 76-11487.)

The various antique armored vehicles are best left to the folk who like to get their pictures in the paper. Leave the
military curiosities to them, as they are of no more use to us than their owners.

We all know what the stereotype right-wing media clown looks like. Now, let’s consider why a military vehicle
might be a useful tool in the real world of survival planning.

The first reason is simplicity. There are no machines which offer the combination of utility and simplicity that
tactical military trucks do. Military machines must do severe and varied service under all conditions. They must
operate on fuel of questionable quality, and be maintained by people with only a moderate level of skill. Since most
of them remain in service for many years, they are made of good basic materials.

The next point is hard to define, but actually the most important of all. In the event of civil disorder which involves
evacuation of our cities, traffic will be regulated to the point of absurdity. Before order breaks down totally, there
will likely be a period in which our bureaucrats attempt to exert their control by impeding free movement. During
that time, few classes of vehicles will move with impunity, if at all.

Police cars, fire engines, utility company service machines, and military vehicles will be able to move with more
freedom and less scrutiny than others. To put the scene into more perspective, you may assume that bright red
pickups, blue station wagons, and Corvettes will either stay home, or go precisely where they are told. On the other
hand, if you look like you need to go where you want to go, chances are that you will be waved through with no
great problem.
In the course of some years of driving an M35A2 military truck the length of the Pacific Coast more than a few
times, this sort of logic has been brought home to the author. The M35A2 in question is painted in current tactical
camouflage. No “US Army” markings appear anywhere on the truck, but all the other stencils relating to tire
pressures, fueling information, and other cautions are exactly where they should be. The flat black stars are in place,
as they would be if the truck were on the line at the local armory. Oregon truck license plates are mounted. They are
not exactly easy to see, but they are legally mounted.

While the truck is in every sense of the word legal, both author and truck have been cheerfully waved through
weigh stations, agricultural inspection stations, and roadblocks set up to stop the general public on account of mud,
snow, and rain. Bear in mind that under circumstances in which the bureaucrats have all the time in the world to
assess what’s before their noses, they have assumed that this author and his truck represented something of their
own; and all was well. The same logic would very likely work even better in times of stress.

There are a few final cautions to note. Military vehicles are specialized machines. Even though they are “simple” to
maintain compared to any similar civilian equipment, the term “simple” is relative. Unless you are totally capable
of pulling maintenance -in the dark, in the rain, or both- on a basic VW or older civilian light truck, you will be
totally over your head with any military vehicle. You’ll have no idea which parts to stock as spares, let alone where
to look for them. The purpose here is not to demean readers, but to emphasize that this column is not written for
hobbyists or Walter Mitty types.

The fact that you can buy a 2 ½-ton multi-fuel truck and a parts inventory for the price of a loaded new Blazer is of
no importance, for example, if you can not fathom the idiosyncrasies of a 24-Volt electrical system, or know the
difference between a vehicle with a neat paint job, and a vehicle with lousy, faded paint but essentially new

Military vehicles are, in many respects, the epitome of the survival vehicle concept. They are not, however, basic. If
you run out and buy one without knowing what you are doing, you might check into some cowboy boots and cigars
while you’re at it...