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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 20

Issue No. 20

Editor’s note: I can hear your remarks as you read the following article. “Bet he never tried to live on wheat even
for a week!” “He’s looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.” “Who does he think he is setting himself up
as lord of the manor?” Your initial reaction will probably be to dismiss this piece as the fantasy of a man whose
view of human nature is far too charitable or to pick the basic idea to pieces because Dr. Clayton does not examine
all of the contingencies involved.

Such are usually the reactions when one tries out a new approach to a problem, but I hope that this article will
stimulate you to think about your own position in your area if a crisis occurs- be it the nuclear incident that Dr.
Clayton thinks most likely, an economic collapse, or whatever.

Obviously, the notion that you can have enough food on hand to feed your neighbors has merit, as does the idea
that members of your community can create their own civil defense program. When you consider that the United
States spends $.50 per capita on civil defense annually whereas the Soviet Union spends $20, it seems apparent that
our government is not about to institute a meaningful plan for the average citizen.

Dr. Clayton is deeply interested in PS Letter readers’ reactions to this article and asks you to send your comments
to him at Drawer CP-45, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 along with an SASE. The letters will be individually
answered as time permits. NT.

The Future of Survivalism


by Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.

For one issue of the PS Letter I would like to break from the tradition of presenting solidly researched survival
information and offer you a purely theoretical article instead. I contend that survivalism has been slowly evolving
from primitive beginnings to more and more advanced and effective forms. In the process we have outgrown and
discarded the original approaches to survival, and are now in a position where we can begin to appreciate new
forms of survivalism which have only just made their debut.

In brief, these stages of survivalist evolution are the marauder stage, the lone woodsman stage, the U-Haul trailer
stage, the retreat group stage, and, most recently, the small town retreat stage.

Although each of these approaches has developed in response to the shortcomings of the previous stage, even the
most recent approach is flawed and will undoubtedly spark a new approach in the near future. This article is my
speculation on what this new stage may be, based on my experiments in small town survivalism.
For personal reasons I selected a very small town in the foothills of the Sierras, near Yosemite National Park. I
viewed the move as an experiment in survivalism and as a pleasant opportunity to spend a year or two living in the
Sierras. The royalties from my books were just sufficient to pay the rent and buy the groceries, so I didn’t have to
worry about finding a job. I took the plunge and moved to the hills.

My chances for long-term survival improved immediately. The little town I had selected for my experiment had
year-round running water from a deep spring. There would be no water problems at all. The water might not always
be hot but it would always be there, unpolluted and uncontaminated, at the tap. The neighboring vegetation
consisted of wild oats, and big-seeded pines, which at one time had supported far more Indians than the total
current population of the district.

I began to see that although emergency foraging would not work as a survival option, year-round foraging and
stockpiling of wild foods would work very well indeed. Barrels full of acorns will store for a long time, as will bags
of wild oats. The trick is being ready to harvest the food when it is ripe.

Any survivors in this location would need to get through several rough months, perhaps a year, but after that they
would be able to begin to use the available wild staples as a renewable food source.

The only problem would be the interval of starvation between the moment of the collapse and the time when the
next wild crop would be ready... perhaps months. During that period my family would have enough to eat but the
neighbors would be struggling to stay alive. The problem of defense reared its head.

In an effort to define accurately my security risk as the only survivalist in this unprepared rural community, I took a
close look at the factors which might tempt my neighbors to attack me if times got difficult. I considered the fallout
problem first. Our location was relatively good with respect to fallout, but even so there was a 20% or greater
chance that a nuclear attack would precipitate a lethal fallout emergency in our area.

I had built an experimental fallout shelter against this possibility, and in the process had unavoidably alerted all the
neighbors to my interest in survivalism. (They saw 490 concrete blocks being carried into my house and wondered
what I was doing.)

If there were a fallout emergency I could reasonably expect to have at least a couple of dozen people banging on the
door of the shelter. There would be no conceivable way to accommodate even one additional family. I wondered if
there were any possible way to forestall the violence implied by this situation.
It turned out that there was one possible solution, which I took steps to implement. I had copies of Appendices C
through G from ​Life After Doomsday run off for my private use. If a nuclear attack seemed imminent, I could
distribute expedient survival information to all the families in the neighborhood, which would let them build their
own shelters and make their own fallout radiation meters, even with as little as a single day’s lead time. For the cost
of a few xerox copies, I could protect them from fallout, and protect myself from a mob besieging my shelter at the
same time.

Unfortunately, there remained the problem of the food. I knew I couldn’t afford to feed everybody, and no matter
how I envisioned the emergency, it always boiled down to one family with food in a community of starving people.
The only answer seemed to be an overwhelming defense. The light assault rifles I had relied on in my previous
planning would not be adequate for my present situation. Here in the mountains, thousand-yard vistas were the rule
rather than the exception, and I would need rifles capable of penetrating moderate-sized oak trees to reach
concealed attackers on the far side.

I started to size up a pair of HK-91 heavy assault rifles, their essential accessories, and the cost of a minimal supply
of ammunition. The prices (retail) were rather high for my budget, and no matter how I added up the list the total
always seemed to be right around $3000. The price was stiff, but the worst part was my lack of conviction that the
rifles would really make me any safer.

An isolated couple just can’t mount a 24-hour guard against fifty or sixty local residents. The $3000 spent on guns
might not purchase any security at all. And to tell the truth, I had come to like my neighbors. I was prepared to fight
them to protect my family, but I realized with regret that I would far rather feed them than fight them. What a
tragedy, I thought, that I couldn’t afford to buy food for the town.

Now wait a minute...

That was the moment when I made a simple mental breakthrough, which may, just possibly, lead the way to the
next stage in the evolution of survivalism. For just a fleeting instant I questioned the basic assumption that “you
can’t feed everybody”. I realized, with a definite sense of shock, that the cost of two heavy assault rifles could as
easily be used to purchase thirty thousand pounds of wheat!

By standard survivalist wisdom that would provide the basic nourishment for one hundred people for an entire year,
or a thousand for a month! In my present situation, I quickly calculated, I could sacrifice the two additional rifles
and use the money to purchase a year’s supply of food for everyone living within five miles of my house!

I think it would be accurate to say that I was stunned. I had known for years that it was impossible to buy enough
food to save my neighbors, and I had been so convinced of this “fact” that I had never questioned it before. Now I
started to consider the implications.
The first thought which occurred to me was the question of whether or not it would be physically possible for a
private party to store that much wheat? My off-the-cuff calculations indicated that 300 bags of wheat would just
about fill a large bedroom or small garage... which is a lot of room to devote to storage but not impossible for the
average person to achieve. (You wouldn’t have to build a barn.)

Although I didn’t know much about mass storage of grains, it seemed probable that a small water tank could be
used as a silo and flushed out with nitrogen or carbon dioxide to prevent insect damage. If bulk grain storage
technology wasn’t up to the task of permanently storing a room-sized bin of wheat, it was probably because no one
had ever needed to do it before.

The next thought was that the wheat supply would permanently lay to rest the specter of what to do about those
unprepared relatives and friends who might show up begging for help. I might have been able to deny food to
strangers, but I had always known that I’d have to share with unprepared family members no matter what the cost
to my survival potential. With 30,000 pounds of stored wheat, I would have the ability to support all my relatives
back seven generations without any strain. On that basis alone, the wheat supply began to look very attractive.

Feeding my neighbors, I realized, could offer dramatic security advantage, too, possibly far more than the two rifles
might have. Depending on exactly how I doled out the wheat, I could achieve various situations which would
decrease my personal risk in a starvation emergency. It could also raise the standard of living of the entire
community and stimulate the creation of a local barter economy.

One approach would be to distribute 300 pounds of wheat to each person in the valley as a direct gift with no
strings attached. The result would be to create a five-mile-deep buffer of well-fed people around my location. Since
these are the people most likely to know about my own food supply, this approach instantly quenches the most
likely source of trouble. Some of the local residents might possibly attack me if they thought it was the only way to
save their families, but would they do so with full stomachs? Not likely.

Another advantage of the five-mile buffer zone would be to give me warning of any incoming packs of marauders,
since they would be likely to hit one of the outlying houses first. The 100-person wheat supply would mean 30 to
50 targetable houses in the valley rather than just mine. Only the worst bad luck would let marauders penetrate five
miles of territory unannounced to attack my home as their first random strike.

Awarding the wheat in a single massive deposit would also put the other inhabitants of the valley into exactly the
same position I was once in alone... they would become instant survivalists, quite possibly against their will. Some
of them, at least, would realize the advantages of a mutual defense pact among the families.

They might not form a very effective fighting force by military standards, but at least I’d know that anyone who
started taking pot shots at my windows would soon have one of my neighbors getting into position behind him. It
wouldn't be just my wife and I against the world anymore.
Another approach would be to keep the wheat in a central stockpile and ration it out at the rate of five pounds per
person per week. Again, there would be no strings attached, but the whole community would suddenly develop a
clear interest in protecting the food supply at my house.

This approach offers one advantage and one disadvantage over distributing the whole supply at once. The
advantage lies in the fact that my neighbors’ lives would depend on protecting my house... in other words, for the
cost of two rifles I just hired a militia.

The disadvantage is that they might well be tempted to turn on me and seize the grain along with everything else I
own. Even though I’d guarantee everyone a fair and equal share each week, the temptation would be there. It would
be an unstable situation which would require supreme diplomacy to be successful.

The one aspect of this approach which makes it worth the risk is the built-in resistance which the plan offers to an
“official” attempt by county authorities to confiscate the wheat for general distribution. Thirty thousand pounds of
wheat in one bin is a massive amount of loose wheat, and it would require the equivalent of about twenty pickup
trucks to haul it away.

It would take some time to load the trucks (a shovelful at a time), and in the meantime, word would spread like
wildfire for five miles around that the community’s food was being stolen. A five mile drive isn’t a long way on a
good highway, but when every single rancher and resident along the road knows that his family’s lives depend on
stopping you, five miles can be a long, long way to go. I doubt that a single truck would get through.

A third approach, the one which I favor, would be to use the grain strictly for barter. Under some circumstances,
wheat would be worth far more than an equal weight of silver coins.

The more I considered this idea the better I liked it. A survivalist in a small town who has a large grain supply to
draw on can (1) feed the town; (2) stimulate an active barter economy; (3) provide gainful employment for residents
(no charity); and (4) provide a medium of economic exchange (the wheat serves not only as food but as money)!
The grain could virtually become the currency of the community.

Let’s take a hypothetical example to illustrate the effect of the wheat supply on my disaster-struck town. As the
owner of the wheat, my first move would be to make large-scale barter purchases from several local residents, using
the wheat as payment. From one neighbor I’d “buy” a pair of horses. From another I’d “rent” barn space. Another
neighbor could be “hired” to cut firewood for me. Still another would be “hired” as a full-time big game hunter.
Younger teenagers could be “hired” cheaply to serve as local lookouts, scouts, and small game trappers. The old
widow down the road who has no salable skills (and no social security check either) would be “hired” to knit heavy
woolen sweaters, with payment made in advance. Virtually every man, woman, and child in the community could
be hired to perform some productive and survival-oriented task.

Through stratagems such as these, I could contrive to inject a substantial amount of food into the community and at
the same time provide a practical example of the use of wheat as money.

The people hired under this arrangement could use most of their pay to feed their families, which would release
them from the overwhelming need to forage and allow them the luxury of devoting their waking hours to the
constructive tasks I had hired them to perform. (Nobody is going to agree to stand lookout when his family is
starving, but if standing lookout results in his family being fed, he’ll do it gladly.)

After a short period of panicky hoarding these people too would begin to pass the wheat on in payment for services
they need. The woodcutter needs meat too, as does the hunter need wood. The local spinners, weavers, and knitters
need wool. The sheep owners need small game (they can’t afford to butcher the sheep). Direct trades would be
made where possible but the wheat could easily come into use as a general medium of exchange.

I can envision, for instance, paying a bag of wheat to the woodcutter for a cord of wood; the woodcutter paying it to
the hunter for a deer carcass; and the hunter paying it back to me as rent for the daily use of my newly acquired
horses for his hunting forays. Like any good banker, I might well see my “money” coming back to me with various
degrees of interest.

Best of all, a number of these “hired”" hands could be put to work clearing fields and planting wheat, which would
refill the coffers and perpetuate the local economy. It would also, almost incidentally, prevent the community from
starving. And what prevents the community from starving also prevents them from attacking the local survivalist.

That’s the point.

But do they deserve to be saved?

Sometimes it almost seems like justice to imagine the people who laugh at us for our preparedness realizing too late
that they were fools. The revenge of vindication feels good as a fantasy, but it is not a wise survival strategy. I am
not proposing that we feed our neighbors out of any misguided do-gooder motives. The policy of saving our
neighbors clearly bears the stamp of rational self-interest.
For $3000 I can feed a lot of neighbors for a very long time... people whose survival will strengthen my own efforts
to keep my family alive and well. Could I successfully fight 100 neighbors for a year? For a day? I don’t like to bet
my life on 100-to-1 odds. The wheat could have these same 100 people standing with me instead of against me. The
barter advantages seem like an unexpected bonus compared to this main theme.

As a brief aside, let me point out that I would personally favor a policy of buying both the rifles and the wheat,
rather than replacing one with the other. The wheat will go a long way toward ensuring my security, but human
nature being what it is, there could easily still be a few greedy, ruthless people who would want more than their
share. A loaded HK-91 will serve both as a stabilizing influence and as a comfort on dark nights. I don’t want
survivalists to throw their guns away. I just want them to look at “philanthropy” as an additional means of
preserving their security.

Now let’s consider a totally different side of this subject. What about our community relations and public image
before the collapse (or enemy attack)? I am very sensitive to the public image of survivalism due to my own high
visibility and the frequent interviews I must grant to promote ​Life After Doomsday.​

These interviews, most recently one with Torn Brokaw on the ​Today show, usually begin with thinly veiled
insinuations that all survivalists are paranoid, politically extreme, racist, bloodthirsty, immoral, dangerous, and
otherwise a blight on humanity.

I have been trying the wheat-for-neighbors idea on various TV and radio shows lately and effect has been
astonishing. A hostile interviewer thinks he’s being clever when he poses the question about “shooting your
neighbors”, because he’s heard members of survivalism’s yahoo element braying about survival by marauding. (“If
you come to me with a month’s supply of freeze-dried food and offer to trade for the M1A rifle, I’ll wind up with
both the rifle and the food.”)

When I describe the fact that the cost of two rifles and accessories buys enough wheat to feed 100 people for a year
or 1000 for a month it completely disarms the interviewer. Before he knows it, he’s endorsing survivalism! We
could use a little more of that.

This is especially true because of the number of people who are borderline survivalists... meaning they would begin
to prepare actively if not for their distaste at the idea of shooting at their friends and neighbors. I have unconfirmed
data from a national polling company which indicates that there are 2 million active survivalists in this country, and
about ten times that many people who would join us if not for our lunatic fringe image. We must overcome this
image.

The ability to feed our neighbors instantly transforms the survival image from that of a selfish, paranoid gun nut to
that of a generous, community-minded philanthropist. If you have had trouble getting your family and friends to
join the movement because of their reluctance to consider the defense issue, now you have an attractive alternative
to offer them. You buy the guns and let them buy the wheat. Both actions will contribute to your security without
forcing anyone to violate their moral beliefs.
Survivalism has come a long way since the days when expedient wilderness survival was our only option. At first a
survivalist could only save himself. Wives, children, relatives, and friends would have to be abandoned. Then we
learned how to rescue our families, too, largely by the land-mobile retreat method. This proved to be an ungainly
and insecure approach in practice, and led briefly to the consideration of marauding as a survival option. Marauding
didn’t offer much realistic hope either, even for the few who were willing to consider it.

The next step was the development of the retreat group concept involving a permanent refuge in the hills, owned
cooperatively by ten to a hundred people. Problems in recruiting necessary specialists and generally compatible
group members defeated most such survival group efforts.

Lately, the trend has been toward small town survivalism, in which an individual survivalist family moves
permanently to a rural community where the necessary specialists are already in place. The problem with this
approach has been the survivalist’s isolation as the only prepared person in an unprepared community.

I think the next step in the development of survivalism is obvious and inevitable. Survivalists will be safest among
well-fed neighbors, and it is not only in our self-interest but also within our financial capabilities to provide basic
food stockpiles for these people. The advantages are clear enough even to the most self-centered of us... especially
to the most self-centered of us... that there should be no serious difficulty in generating support for this
development. If you can afford to fight them, you can afford to feed them! It’s cheaper and safer in the long run.

This development is already beginning to appear in practice around the country. One example is the approach of the
American Survival Association (ASA, Box 213, LaVerkin, UT 84745), sponsors of the Survive Tomorrow project.

Survive Tomorrow is a 240-unit underground condominium project in southern Utah in which each unit comes
complete with four man-years of emergency food. The project has its own emergency medical facilities as well as
sophisticated fallout decontamination equipment. I mention it in this article because the medical and decon facilities
are available for public use in an emergency, and the project involves a supply of inexpensive bulk foods to support
the residents of the two nearest small towns.

The ASA people are also sponsoring an effort to interest private industry in starting employee survival clubs in
which the company helps employees buy survival supplies as an employment benefit. The argument is that, when
things go radically wrong, those companies which can stay in production will survive, and the company cannot
survive without its employees. It’s an interesting variation on the save-your-neighbors theme.

Another example is Survive On Site (SOS, 478 W. Hamilton, Suite 101, Campbell, CA 95008). In this case, a
single Mormon survivalist went out into a non-Mormon, non-survivalist community of 120 homes and began a
program of education and assistance for any neighbors who might want to become survivalists.
About 25% of his neighbors were initially interested, and the percentage has risen to nearly 50% at last count. The
part which is almost too good to be true is that he has convinced over half of the community to buy two years worth
of food... in order to provide for the unprepared 50%. The trend is starting.

As a closing comment, I’d like to speculate briefly on the next step in survivalist evolution beyond saving our
neighbors. I believe that as the survival movement matures and becomes more responsible, it will begin to supplant
the pathetic national Civil Defense program on a large scale.

Civil Defense authorities are beginning to admit cautiously that survivalists can actually save people... which most
official programs cannot. We are beginning to receive some grudging respect from the authorities.

How far can we go with this? If we can save our neighbors, can we save larger towns? Can we save counties?
Cities? States? I’m not sure. I do know that the potential is there. The national Civil Defense people (FEMA)
looked into stockpiling emergency food in crisis relocation host areas, but concluded that the $3 billion bill was too
expensive.

If the two million active survivalists in this country were each to act on the wheat supply plan advocated above, we
could even now spend $6 billion, and provide the entire nation with a full year’s basic food supply! The potential,
as I said, is there. We could even feed the ravening hordes from the cities... our single biggest remaining survival
problem.

Two-Way Communications
by Mel Tappan *

Introduction

Under survival conditions, the need for two-way radio communications seems too obvious to require further
comment. The only question is, “what kind?” There are circumstances under which a simple heliograph or flashing
mirror would serve well or signal flags, flares, and other similar devices. On the other hand, conditions might
require the very best ham rig that you could assemble. Voice communications within a radius of 20 miles or less
will probably serve most needs, however, and citizens band (CB) equipment would be my choice for the purpose.

Two-meter FM amateur radio is another possibility, and it offers better quality and flexibility during the pre-crisis
period; however, its range and usefulness is almost entirely dependent upon access to repeater stations and once
power and maintenance to those facilities cease, so does the value of 2-meter FM. Also, since it is a part of the
amateur Radio Service, you must be a licensed ham to use the equipment and frequencies now.
A good pair of CB portables, operating on batteries and employing their self-contained antennas, can provide
reliable communications over a distance of from 3 to 5 miles, depending on the terrain. A single sideband (SSB)
base station, operating through a high quality antenna at maximum legal height, can easily communicate with an
(SSB) equipped vehicle up to 50 miles or so and with another base station to 75 or 80 miles, if conditions are
favorable. At a minimum you should have at least one pair of portables and one unit for each member of your group
would be optimal.

If you want a base station or a vehicle installation, you would be well-advised to select models offering the option
of SSB operation. Not only will you have the potential of two to four times greater range than standard AM, but
also your transmissions will appear garbled and completely unintelligible to receivers not similarly equipped.

FCC type acceptance requirements are currently so stringent that the transmitter segments are virtually identical
regardless of the brand you select. The receivers differ markedly, however, and for that reason I suggest that you go
into a large CB radio store and listen to a number of sets in operation.

Speech intelligibility is a highly individual matter and your own ears are your best guide. Ideally, you should listen
to each radio through the same, quality extension speaker because the internal speakers in most sets do not do
justice to their electronics. After you have made your selection, unplug the extension and do some more listening. If
you don’t like what you hear, buy the extension- really good ones only cost about $15.00.

I have been impressed with the President, Cobra, and Midland brands for vehicle and base installations, but any of
the better brand names will do these days.

You might talk to the service manager about ease of repair and ask if any of the models that interest you have
chronic service problems.

Many ham rigs can be set up to operate on 11 meters (the CB frequencies) and some may prefer to take this
approach. It is not legal to operate amateur equipment on these frequencies now in the US and certain other
countries, but if you are a ham and have no interest in CB except for emergency use after the collapse, it certainly
couldn’t hurt to have the proper crystals on hand.

Whatever you decide, you should at least have some means of listening to the CB frequencies because there are so
many millions of sets in use. In the early stages of the collapse, it is here that you will learn what the masses are
doing and where they are going.

Amateur radio will give you global communication potential. Whether that capability is worth the trouble and
expense, only you can determine. You almost certainly will need short range two-way communications, but you
may only need the ability to hear worldwide transmissions (see PS Letters No. 15, 17, and 18), and that certainly
simplifies matters.
To be able to get some experience with your two-way ham radio before the trouble starts, you will need an amateur
license and to be practical about it, you will need a general or extra class licenses or else you will be so restricted as
to power and frequencies that you might as well not bother.

There is a great deal of hard work and study involved in getting either, and you will have to learn Morse code at
some speed (a worthwhile discipline for any survivalist, I might add, since you will need it for heliograph, flags, or
just tapping out subtle messages on a tabletop to your companions, should the need arise).

If you have the time and inclination, by all means look into the possibilities of amateur radio, but I do not consider
it an essential survival skill. It will help you in maintaining all of your radio gear, however, and in some
circumstances it could be extremely valuable.

For example, one of my clients has his retreat in the Pacific Northwest and his two married sons have theirs in
Arizona and Nevada respectively. I advised them to obtain ham licenses and equipment two years ago and they now
keep in touch regularly by radio, a practice which they should be able to continue even during the crisis.

If you want to look into amateur radio and you live in a city, visit your local ham radio dealer and he can probably
provide pamphlets as well as information on licensing courses being offered in your area. Otherwise, write to the
American Radio Relay League (Newington, CT 06111) and they will inundate you with literature. You will also
want to purchase a copy of their annually updated standard reference book, ​The Amateur Radio Handbook.​

* Mel had this article partially completed at the time of his death.

Two-Way Equipment
by Grant Manning

By far the largest selection of equipment on the market for long haul radio communications is in the amateur radio
or “ham” market. The HF (high frequency) bands, 2-30 MHz are the best to use for long-distance and all-around
communications because of the quantity and quality of radios and antennas readily available.

Although the over 30 MHz bands are more useful in many ways than those from 2-30 MHz, they do have their
limitations, the primary one being that they are limited to “line of sight” transmission. They also require different
gear that is not as readily accessible as the equipment for the HF bands.

Because they offer greater portability and ease of operation, I am limiting this discussion to transceivers (the
receiver and transmitter are combined in one unit). The HF ham transceiver operates on the 120, 80, 40, 20, 17, 15,
12, and 10-meter bands but the 80, 17, and 12-meter bands are newly allocated frequencies that are not in use at this
time.
Because you will want to operate across a broad spectrum of frequencies, you will need an antenna designed for the
“major” bands -40, 20, 15, and 10 meters- or a “broad band” type that will work well at all frequencies. The “trap
vertical”, an example of the former, is the smallest and easiest way to go for a proper ham band antenna.

It has specially-designed “traps” that allow the antenna to match the transmitter output on the particular frequency
being used and it works best against a good ​ground​- either a series of wire radials attached to it or a series of
ground rods. Its performance depends on the care with which it is installed. Barker and Williamson (10 Canal St.,
Bristol, PA 19007) makes an excellent vertical antenna, the 370-30, which costs $85 and is available from most
ham stores or from the company.

They also manufacture an excellent broadband type antenna- a folded dipole which covers 315-30 MHz. (Model
370-15, $149.50). The only drawback to this is its size- it is 90 feet long. It can, however, be easily stored. If you
want one antenna to serve for both monitoring shortwave frequencies and transmitting on any frequency between
3.5 and 30 MHz, this would be an outstanding choice. I recently used it with a cheap CB set and was able to
communicate to Yuma, Arizona from Escondido with ease.

Before discussing HF transceivers, a few words of caution about antennas are in order. Do not “load” (operate) a
transmitter into a “random” type antenna, i.e. the kind that you would use for receiving, without “matching” the
transmitter to the antenna via a tuner. While you can ​receive signals on almost anything, a transmitter requires a
proper “match” and will not operate properly with just anything for an antenna.

Never operate a transmitter without an antenna​. This will cause immediate and severe internal damage to your set’s
output transistors. It is also a good idea to unplug your antenna when not in use, since it acts as a conductor of
electricity. In an electrical storm, for example, your set could be damaged.

There are many HF transistorized transceivers on the market today and most of the equipment currently being
manufactured has the reputation of being fairly trouble-free. Because they are light in weight, have low battery
consumption and are small in size, the lower power transceivers are best for the survivalist.

Many folks feel that without 1000 watts it is impossible to communicate further than a mile or so, but this is simply
not true. As long as a small transmitter is properly matched to a good antenna system, you’ll get out well, assuming
good band conditions.

The battery system for your transceiver should be robust, for in the “receive” mode, most draw 700mA and when
transmitting, pull up to 20 amps. I would suggest using two 12-volt 50AH car batteries in parallel. Wired positive to
positive and negative to negative, these batteries will last several months if you use your radio no more than a hour
or so per day. They can be charged via a solar array over a period of time.
Remember that transmitting anything on battery-power is expensive. Also realize that there are many
misconceptions about the power output needed to communicate long distances. For example, it takes a power
increase of ​four times​ at the transmitter to sound twice as loud at the receiving end.

There are two transceivers that are very nice indeed for the survivalist. The Kenwood TS-130S ($759) covers the
HF ham frequencies only and is capable of 200 watts PEP (peak envelope power) on the ham bands, which is more
than enough to let you talk across the state or country (the TS-130V is a low-powered version of this set).

A larger set, the ICOM 720, offers a full variety of controls at a much higher price ($1349) but it can be modified
for “general coverage” on transmit, enabling you to talk not only on the ham bands but on the entire HF spectrum.
Under survival conditions this could be desirable, but at this time this modification is highly illegal. Both the
Kenwood and ICOM have digital readout and both can operate into the Barker & Williamson dipole.

When you do get your transceiver, be sure to test it before storing it at your retreat. The only way to test an entire
station is to transmit as well as to receive, so if you haven’t obtained your ham license permitting you to transmit
legally, get someone who has to test your rig for you. That “special” connector that you need to get on the air may
have been left out at the factory. Be sure that all your equipment works together before you have to use it in a crisis.

The latest fad to hit amateur radio is 2-meter FM, the popular handi-talkies that operate on 144 MHz, which are
similar to those in use by your local police department. In a pre-crisis world these work through mountain top
“repeaters" that receive your signal on one frequency and rebroadcast it on another, thereby allowing much greater
range than the normal “line of sight” capabilities of 2-meter FM.

In a survival situation few repeaters would be up since 99% are run by domestic 117-ac house current; however, a
handi-talkie would still be extremely reliable for short-range communications.

Although there are several bands, such as 2 and 6-meters, where you could use “walkie-talkies”, the most readily
available gear is designed for the 2-meter band and of that the Kenwood TR-2400 ($399) is one of the more deluxe
units. Using its own stubby rubber ducky antenna, this transceiver has many good features- a memory, small size,
and exceptional battery life. On “receive” the battery drain is about 28 mA.

The only problem with these 2-meter sets is that if you want to communicate with someone at the other end, you
must, of course, do so on the 2-meter band, which means that in a survival situation, other members of your party
would also need to have a set. In my opinion, good portable CB’s would serve the purpose just as well and be less
costly, although you would sacrifice some reliability in communications and some versatility.
The market is literally flooded with CB equipment. There are many different names but not many different designs.
Because the equipment is low-powered, the bigger and higher your antenna is, the better off you are. CB’s can be
run anywhere. Just as Mel did in his introduction, I’d recommend the purchase of a couple of good ​mobile units
with AM/SSB capability.

You can use one as a base unit run from a power supply and have standby battery power available. Although it is
illegal, CB’s can be modified to transmit between channels, which means that one can go “between” the crowds.

The Cobra 146 GTL ($165) is a good small 40-channel unit that is capable of AM or SSB operation. The President
line offers the Grant ($185) and Adams ($235), and both are full feature 40-channel sets that are very reliable.

Because CB is transmitted on the 11-meter band, which is a fairly short wavelength, it is easy to design antennas for
it. One of the most reasonable is the Antenna Specialist M-117, 5/8 wave ($40). For best results with a mobile set,
use a simple whip antenna.

One of the best of the mobiles is the Midland 77-861 ($135). To quote from Mel’s notes: “It has a separate speaker
microphone that operates on “AA” penlight batteries, either 8 alkaline cells or 10 rechargeable nicads. The radio
fits into a supplied leather battery case with telescoping antenna which is worn over the shoulder, and the unit is
sold with automobile mounting brackets and cords so that it may be slipped from its case and used in a vehicle
equipped with a suitable mobile antenna.

A low-power switch saves batteries for short range transmissions and prevents your signal from carrying beyond a
couple of miles.” The only problem with this set is that it may not be available much longer, so if you want one,
you had better get one. It is an excellent choice because of its portability and the fact that all the necessary
accessories are in one package.

A newcomer on the CB scene is an auto alarm system using CB frequencies by activating a “tone pager” similar to
Bellboys, via coded 27 MHz transmissions. The pager is worn on the belt and could be very useful in the field in an
emergency situation because it would still allow you full use of your hands and body.

There are many ways that it can be used, the most obvious being to signal “Come immediately- trouble!” It has a
range of five miles with a small CB type whip, but using a larger antenna and using it in the country, you could
expect much greater range. Both tone beep and flashing LED alarm are available, so silent paging is possible. The
battery drain of the transmitter is 55 mA on standby and much less in the pager itself. The Auto Page No. 4000
($95) is a very efficient personal signaler indeed.

The advantages of having a police scanner are obvious. They are another way of finding out what people are doing,
especially in the cities, and in a crisis it could be your most immediate way to determine what is occurring in your
neighborhood. They are less important in the country where many of the local police use CB channels for
communication; however, if you do live in a rural area and decide to buy one, you would do well to invest in an
additional antenna in order to get better reception.
City dwellers may do so also, but often adding antennas in the city will cause problems because nearby TV and FM
signals can overload the front-end section of the scanner and may block weaker signals. Bearcat is one of the many
good scanners on the market.

Phones are cheap to buy, cheap to run, and ​very reliable and with a couple of thousand feet of wire (twin conductor)
you can provide good communications between locations at your retreat. Sound-powered sets are often available
from dealers in surplus merchandise ($25 each from Fair Radio, P.O. Box 1105, Lima, OH 45802);
battery-powered units are good also and will work over longer distances.

This has been a very brief discussion of two-way communication equipment. Please read your manuals and if you
need further information, write the American Radio Relay league or myself at Radio West (2015 S. Escondido
Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025). We can supply the following: the Cobra 140 GTL, President “Grant” and “Adams”,
the Midland 77-861, the Auto Page 4000, Barker and Williamson antennas, and Bearcat scanners. If there’s enough
demand, I’ll be happy to make up pre-tested packages of equipment for you.

In closing, I think one of the most important questions that you need to answer is WHERE (on what frequency) you
will meet your fellow survivalists, for if you don’t have pre arranged frequencies worked out with your family and
others, communicating with them when you need to will be all but impossible.

New Shortwave Receiver

The Panasonic portable shortwave receiver, model RF-085 is now available. It’s turned out to be a very small, light
radio. It uses 4 “AA” cells, (35 mA at nominal volume), covers MW, FM, and shortwave 2.3-18 MHz, and has a
built-in whip for shortwave reception. Its sensitivity is good -I’ve received Moscow on two different bands easily-
but the frequency dial is terrible. Considering the price ($80.00), I feel it’s a great value with respect to
performance. Size is a mere 7”W x 4 3/8”H x l 3/8”D.

Survival Medicine
Editor’s Note: Along with Dr. Browning, who wrote the article for our series on survival medicine in Issue No. 19,
G. Richards, Ph.D., has agreed to join our PS Letter staff.
He is a clinical toxicologist/pharmacologist, whose primary research emphasis has been in the realm of drug
metabolism and bioactive toxins. He has been a faculty member of two major universities and operated advisory
services for a state poison control center. At present, Dr. Richards is devoting his full interests to survival
applications in medicine/toxicology.

The “Minimum” Medical Kit


by G. Richards, Ph.D.

In the first section of our series on “survival medicine” we addressed the need for, and the component parts of, an
extensive core medical library which you will need if you wish to utilize the following information on the basic
survival medical kit or medical pharmacy. Subsequent articles will deal with ancillary, or specialized, medical
supplies and equipment.

Before you attempt to develop a survival “pharmacy”, bear in mind several facts:

1. Medicines are for the most part prepared, purified chemicals and therefore foreign substances (xenobiotics) to
your body. It is these drugs that must produce a desired pharmacologic response.

2. A particular medication will produce the desired effect if administered properly. It may however, induce a variety
of other drug effects (side effects).

3. All pharmacologic effects of a medication (desired and side effects) are generally dependent on a ​dose
relationship of the medication. ​More is not better.​ Too low a dose and a drug may not work; too much of a drug and
you can quite possibly cause death. The concepts of therapeutics to treat disease become even more complicated
when more than one medication is utilized for treatment and the medications interact with each other, which is why
the core library is a priceless source of information- a necessity that you must have.

4. Medications are governed by state and federal laws in regard to: a) possession of medications, b) unauthorized
use or transfer of medications, and c) practicing medicine without a physician’s license. Violations of these “drug”
laws represent penalties equal to, or worse than, violations of federal firearms laws. (I am assuming that the readers
of this communication are moral, mature, and intelligent. ​I cannot and will not be deemed responsible if you
foolishly attempt to play “doctor” and injure a person outside the “survival” situation. If at anytime the services of a
physician are needed and can be obtained, it is your responsibility ​morally and legally​ to obtain his/her services.)

5. Complete any unfinished medical work or surgery you may currently require. If you anticipate any corrective
dental surgery- get it done (wisdom teeth extraction, etc.). If you require corrective lenses for adequate vision,
obtain several pairs of eyeglasses or contact lenses. The same applies to orthopedic supplies (i.e. knee braces, etc.)
and vaccination/immunizations (esp. diphtheria/tetanus).
6. Compile a health profile of yourself and those that will be in the sphere of influence of your medical kit. Record
useful information (i.e. age, sex, existing medical problems, blood type, allergies, and current medications in use)
for each person. Keep it with the medical kit. This background history can be very important when needed.

Compiling a medical kit to handle or circumvent a personal health emergency is accepted as one of the most
important things one can do to complete survival preparations. As such, the major question I encounter with my
patients is simply “What medications do I need?” More aptly, it should be “What should I expect?”, then “What do
I need?” There is really no panacea, “all-encompassing” medical kit. To acquire and develop the ultimate medical
kit for your needs, a high degree of personalization must be incorporated. Consider the following questions:

1. Do you have any personal health problems? (hypertension, asthma, glaucoma, heart disease, epilepsy, diabetes,
etc.)

2. How many people must your medical kit serve? You, your family, or an entire group?

3. How long must your medical kit be expected to function? One month... forever?

4. How in-depth must your medical kit be? Just for cuts or abrasions... or major/minor surgery?

5. What are the size and weight requirements for your medical kit? Must it be extremely portable?

6. How much medical training do you have? Are you in the process of medical training? Will there be a physician
present? It is most expedient to determine the limits of your medications cache before you expend cash for it and
for equipment.

A basic axiom for selecting medications is: Try to anticipate the need, then choose the medication that you are most
familiar with and which is best for the job. Since several drug companies market several different drug products for
the same medical problems, (i.e. several different brands of aspirin for the “Excedrin” headache) this rule weeds out
over-duplication of functional medicines.

I in no manner wish to antagonize other physicians or medical personnel by the listed drug selections. Other
medications are available that are adequate therapeutically. The medications listed were chosen for their efficacious
action, ubiquitous availability, low cost, flexibility of use, and long shelf-life.
The manner in which the following data may be interpreted is:

1. Use the extreme left column to identify the need (disease symptom) for drug use.

2. The next column to the right indicates the medication chosen for use.

3. Columns to the right of the drug indicate the general dose required therapeutically (for an average man, 70 Kg. or
154 lbs.). (This will be different for children.)

4. The extreme right column indicates any general precautions or side effects that you should be aware of.

It should be stressed that a medicine will prove ineffective if you do not correctly identify the disease. The best way
to derive this diagnostic ability or guidance is from your present physician- and the worst is solely from your
medical library. Even so, I have structured this information so that it may be photocopied, laminated/sealed, and
attached to or enclosed with your kit. Though this information may be fast and helpful, it is not the only information
you should have on hand... if possible.

The purpose of this suggested pharmacy “list” is merely to provide a guideline for a minimum medical kit. You
could not do surgery with these medications- you’d better not... However, this kit should certainly be considered
adequate for most medical emergencies (at least until reaching “home”). This is not an infirmary- it is a kit.

About the medications themselves...

Local skin abrasions/cuts should be well-cleaned and may be treated with a topical antibiotic ointment, Neosporin
or Triple Antibiotic Ointment. Neosporin, Tylenol, tincture of iodine, ½% hydrocortisone, Afrin, PABA cream
(sunscreen containing at least 5% para-amino benzoic acid), boric acid, Senokot, 10% Benzocaine in Orabase
cream, and Tinactin are products which may be purchased “over the counter” without a prescription in any
pharmacy “worth its salt”.

If you can purchase generic medications for these components, do so. (Generic medications are medicines made by
competitive drug companies and are usually cheaper- ask the pharmacist to point these brands out.) Pay strict
attention to the expiration date listed on the package. Make sure any medicine you purchase, by prescription or
“over the counter”, has at least a 3 year shelf-life before becoming outdated.

The other remaining medications listed may be obtained only with a written prescription from a physician. Any
other means of obtaining these medicines will make you a felon- be legal and consult your family “doctor”/or
“specialist”. I have listed no injectable medications (with the exception of epinephrine) because of abuse potential
and the skill of administration needed to use injectables. Tylenol 3, Lomotil, and Demerol are narcotics and thus,
federally-controlled substances. They may also be addictive- medicine can be a godsend or nightmare...
Diphenhydramine,
Benadryl, is a potent antihistamine that has beneficial actions for the dual treatment of sinus congestion or allergic
reactions. It may make you sleepy, as will the other narcotic and sedative medications listed- so be advised and take
caution. I included an IV in this kit because of the possible “last ditch” need for fluid replacement during some
traumatic injuries. General fluid or electrolyte replacement may be accomplished by drinking products such as
Gatorade or ERG in water.

These may be stored as packaged powders in your medical kit. Similarly, epinephime was included because of my
desire to provide speculative protection against an anaphylactic-allergy syndrome. Other miscellaneous items in this
kit may be used to make a snakebite “kit” comparable to the Cutter. Liquids such as the alcohol and hydrogen
peroxide may be repackaged in spill-proof, labeled, polycarbonate bottles. Use the Ziploc bags to individually store
each bottle of medicine in your kit. In dusty or wet conditions, the extra protection of the Ziploc bags may save you
and your medicine.

In the final assessment of this topic, it is fundamental that a high degree of personalization be expressed in survival
medical kits in order to obtain the utmost benefits for the user. Although everyone may not have the honed skills of
a physician, basic medical care is certainly well within the reach of all who wish to survive medical injuries in
general.

For space reasons, I did not express my ideas on an “in-depth” medical kit and infirmary, or detail techniques for
those with special or chronic health problems. The administration of many injectable medications from
“specialized” medical kits or an infirmary requires some degree of trained skill. I have no means of ensuring an
acceptable level of safety for the “patients” unless I communicate with those readers interested, or teach the skills
personally.

The survio-medico related problem of chronic diseases (i.e. asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.) certainly interfaces
with the philosophy of medical preparation; however, these are situations in which the disease treatment must be
individually metered and monitored in order to be handled correctly. Chronic diseases and their management during
survival conditions are certainly topics in their own right, and will be addressed in future communications. I will be
happy to assist those with serious survival/medical related questions or provide consultation to those with need.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Richards encourages people to work closely with their personal physicians but if you wish
additional help in putting together your personal medical kit, you may contact him through:
Emergency Medicine Systems
Box 32702
Los Olivos Station
Phoenix, AZ 85064
602-954-6053

If possible, he would prefer to work with both you and your physician. I can vouch for his integrity and expertise in
this field. NT.

Suggested Medications for The “Minimum” Medical Kit

Disease/Symptom Medication Dose*** Prescription Amount Side Effects/Comments

Skin Infection Neosporin Ointment!! Apply 4 times daily No 1 tube Clean wound and bandage.
Eye Infection Sulamyd Drops 2 drops in eye- 3x daily Yes 1 bottle DO NOT touch dropper to eye.

Systemic Infection Penicillin VK 250mg. 1 tablet every 6 hours Yes 40 tablets Take on empty stomach. Take until gone.

Systemic Infection Tetracycline 250mg. 1 capsule every 6 hours Yes 40 capsules Do NOT take with dairy products.
Take until gone.
Fever/Mild Pain Aspirin 325mg. 2 tablets every 8 hours No 100 tablets May cause tinnitus if dose too
high.

Moderate Pain Tylenol 3 w/codeine 1 tablet every 4 hours Yes 30 tablets Drowsiness caution.* Habit forming.

Severe Pain Demerol 50mg. 1 tablet every 6 hours Yes 20 tablets Drowsiness caution.* Habit forming.

Nausea/Vomiting Compazine 25mg. 1 rectally every 4 hours Yes 6 suppositories Drowsiness caution.* Suppository
administration.

Water Purification Iodine Tincture 8 drops/liter water, No 1 bottle Thyroid Caution. Allergy
caution.
Skin Rash Hydrocortisone ½% Cream Apply 4 times daily No 1 tube Rub in well.
Allergy Benadryl 50mg. 1 capsule every 6 hours Yes 30 capsules Drowsiness caution.*
Anaphylaxis Epinephrine 1:1000**½ cc subcutaneously Yes 6 ampules Use only in anaphylactoid emergencies
Sinus Congestion Actifed 1 tablet every 6 hours Yes 30 tablets Drowsiness caution.*
Nasal Congestion Afrin Spray 2 sprays every 12 hours No 1 bottle Habit forming if used more than
5 days.
Sunscreen PABA 10% Cream Apply 6 times daily No 1 tube Must be applied several times for sun
protection.
Eye Wash Boric Acid Eye Wash Irrigate eye with dropper No1 bottle May be used for washing most
toxins

from the corneal surface of the eyes.

Vitamin Supplement Multi (Various) 1 tablet daily No 1 bottle Various brands-watch expiration
dates.

Diarrhea Lomotil 1 tablet every 6 hours Yes 30 tablets Maintain adequate fluid volume intake.
Laxative Senokot 2 tablets daily as needed No 10 tablets Use only as needed.
Dental Pain Benzocaine in Orabase Apply as needed No 1 tube Apply locally to gums.
IV** Normal Saline As directed only Yes Use only after some medical supervision.
Sedative Phenobarbital 30mg. 2 tablets at bedtime Yes 30 tablets Drowsiness caution. *
Topical Analgesic Dibucaine Cream Apply every 4 hours Yes 1 tube Rub in well.
Antifungal Tinactin Apply 4 times daily No 1 tube Rub in well.

* Medication with drowsiness caution will impair reflex speed of response and should not be used with alcoholic
beverages.

**Epinephrine and IV should be used only by those with previous medical training.

***These are general dose requirements for an adult approximately 70kg. (154 lbs.)- and require dose adjustment
for use in children.

!Sustained use of Dibucaine or Benzocaine may initiate an unwanted tachyphylaxis to xylocaine type compounds,
which are often used in surgical procedures and certain cardiovascular problems. Sustained use (more than 4-5
days) of Dibucaine ointment is not recommended. !!Certain individuals may have sensitivity to Neosporin-type
products. Consult your physician for alternate antibiotic choices.
Miscellaneous Items for the “Minimum” First-Aid Kit

Adhesive tape (or paper)


4x4 sterile gauze pads
Denatured alcohol
Hydrogen peroxide
Artificial airway
Suction bulb
Hinch elastic bandage
Triangular bandage
Safety pins
Eye dropper
Paper/pen/pencil
1 cc syringe/25 gauge needle
Flashlight
Magnifying glass
Hemostats
Scissors
Tweezers
Ziploc bags
Exam (latex) gloves
Inflatable splint
Butane lighter
Swiss Army knife
3 feet rubber tubing
Eye patches
Suture material 0 & 50 with needles
Moleskin
Band-Aids
Stethoscope
BP manometer (aneroid)
Scalpel & No. 11 blades
Insect repellent
Thermometer
Gatorade or ERG Powder packets)
Betadine antiseptic/cleanser
Paper towels
Dental floss or string
Small mirror
Razor blades
1 garbage bag- 10 mil plastic
On Choosing A Gunsmith- and Other Matters
By J.B. Wood

“A man’s gotta know his limitations...”- Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

In my “Survival Gunsmith” column, I try to prepare my readers for the possibility that they may have to be their
own gunsmiths at some future time. In the present, though, many survivalists frequently need the services of a
competent gunsmith. This brings up an important question: How can a customer determine whether a gunsmith is
competent?

Recently, in an article in one of the monthly firearms magazines, another writer offered the opinion that the
customer should beware of the gunsmith who says he can do your work immediately. The theory, of course, is that
every really good gunsmith will be covered up with work at all times, and can’t do anything “immediately”. This is
syllogistic reasoning, and things just don’t work that way.

I can cite as an example my own case. In recent years, the quantity of writing that I do has reduced the amount of
time I can spend at the workbench, so there are, indeed, times that gunsmithing customers have to wait. There are,
however, other times when the work is completely caught up. If someone brought a gun problem to me at one of
those times, and if I said I could do the work right away, anyone who had read the article mentioned above might
assume that I was incompetent. So, as you can see, that’s not a good gauge.

Bear in mind, there are some incompetents out there. The best of them know their limitations, and will at least stop
when they’re out of their depth. The worst of them will try it anyway, and ruin a good gun. The proliferation of
“gun butchers” has occurred gradually over the past sixty years, and if you look for a bottom-line reason, it has
been caused by the passing of the apprentice system. The economic and social changes that brought this about are
well-known, and there’s no need to go into them here.

At the present time, most of those who are called “gunsmiths” can be divided into two broad categories:
“Specialists", and “Parts Replacers”. The Specialist, as the name implies, will work only on a particular type of gun.
Some narrow it down even further, to a particular model.

There are, for example, several well-known gunsmiths who specialize in repair and custom work on the US Service
pistol only. Some of these gunsmiths are absolute artists, and their waiting lists are long. They definitely deserve
the “Gunsmith” title. However, if you have a problem with a gun of a different type, they will be of no help to you.

The name I’ve given the other group, the Parts Replacers, is also self-descriptive. These people usually have an
adequate knowledge of firearms disassembly and reassembly, and if a replacement for a broken part is available,
they can install it. If, however, the gun in question has been out of production a while, and no parts are available,
they are not capable of making a replacement from scratch.
Here, again, the best of the Parts Replacers will back off, knowing their limitations, and send the customer on to a
real gunsmith. Ah, but here’s the catch: In many areas, there’s no gunsmith to send them to. In recent years, writers
in another field, medicine, have lamented the growing scarcity of the old-fashioned “GP”, the General Practitioner.
In the same way, and for several similar reasons, the old-time general gunsmith has become a vanishing breed.
Why? There are two somewhat related reasons, and both are in the economic sector.

Although present conditions seem to be moving things in a new direction, recent past years have shown evidence of
what some have called the “throw-away” society. If it breaks or even malfunctions, just throw it away, or trade it in,
and buy a new one. This philosophy was, of course, helped along by some manufacturers, who actually made
various things to be “disposable”. There were even some firearms manufacturers who followed this pattern. There
still are- but it’s changing now. Buyers have begun to demand quality again, things that will last. During the “dark
ages”, though, the all-around gunsmith practically disappeared.

The other factor is the rate of pay. An unmarried man with simple tastes can make a comfortable living as a general
gunsmith. Add a wife and a few children, though, and it’s starvation time. Understand, now, I’m talking about
income purely from firearms repair. If a man is set up with a large shop, selling new and used guns, ammunition,
fishing and camping gear, and so on, it’s a different picture. This halcyon situation, though, is self-defeating. If he
has that empire to run, he’ll have little time for the workbench, and we’re back to Square One.

It’s really simple: A man should be paid for work in direct proportion to the amount of knowledge and skill
necessary to do the work properly. Surgeons are. Television repairmen and plumbers are. General gunsmiths aren’t,
so fewer people choose this as their life’s work. The few who have are now beginning to charge realistic prices, and
this brings us to one of the criteria for choosing a gunsmith to do your work: If his prices are suspiciously low,
watch out. Yes, yes, I know- all of us have at some time been taken by some high-priced ​poseur​, who also managed
to ruin the gun. Still, I think it’s usually an accurate measure.

For example, let’s take the price of a particular firearms job, such as “throating” the average automatic pistol to
insure that it will reliably feed all types of ammunition, including hollow-point and soft-point loads. This operation
includes reshaping and polishing the feed ramp at the chamber edge and on the frame, and also the inner projection
of the slide latch. It’s an exacting job, and one that can easily ruin several costly parts if it’s not done exactly right.
On most pistols, I charge $25.00 for a throating alone. Doing it properly usually takes a little more than an hour.

In the same amount of time, I can make somewhat more at the typewriter. Or, if I’m wearing my Forensic
Consultation hat, the return is a lot more. The important point here is that I like to do shop work, and this brings us
to another of the criteria for choosing a gunsmith: You don’t have to be a psychologist to know whether someone
you meet enjoys his work- it will be obvious.
If there’s no other indication, look for the negative signs. If he gives the decided impression that he’s interested
only in the money, beware. Even if he’s a fairly good gunsmith, I don’t want a bitter man fooling around with my
fine machinery.

Finally, the best means of choosing a gunsmith is really the easiest of all for the customer: Reputation. If a man has
consistently messed things up for several years, the gun people his area will know it. Of course, it works the other
way, too- an expert can’t hide. So, ask around, and don’t take the first suggestion.

Collect some data, then weigh it and decide. Hold back your major job, and try the gunsmith on something
relatively simple, just to gauge his work and his approach. While this caution might well benefit the average gun
person, it’s of particular value to the survivalist, when you consider the importance of firearms in his gear.

That’s all the advice I can offer on choosing a gunsmith, but I want to add a few words on a closely related matter.
A friend recently showed me a flyer from another survival-oriented publication, and the main message was the
suggestion that the reader buy a particular pistol from a recommended dealer, who was offering the gun at a slight
discount. So far, so good. The writer continued, though, with a strong recommendation that the buyer lay out an
additional $160 for several unspecified “modifications”, from which I can only assume that the pistol would be
completely customized for PPC competition.

I can see that a throating job would be a good idea for the survivalist, but most of the other stuff is of value only to
those who engage in shooting for sport, on timed “combat-style” courses, with pistols they would never carry for
serious social encounters. Our editor was recently quoted by the press, saying that certain aspects of the survival
movement were becoming a “rip-off”. Right, Nancy.

Editor’s Note: Although we wanted to be specific in this article and give you a list of a few competent general
gunsmiths in different parts of the country, it is the “specialists”, and not the “generalists” who are well-known
and have established reputations outside their communities, and J.B. simply had no practical way of determining
whom to recommend. N. T.

Letters from the Editor


Many of you call or write us requesting the names of survivalists in your area, which, of course, is information that
we will not give out. Bruce Clayton and Bill Pier have come up with an answer to this problem, a way to establish
two-way, double-blind anonymous communications with other survivalists via a directory, which they will publish
as soon as they have 300 or more contributors.
The ​Survivalist Directory will be a state-by-state listing of resumes, each of which will tell you about a particular
survivalist who wants to get in touch with other survivalists- everything except the person’s name, address, and
phone number, for the resumes will be identified by code numbers only.

If you are interested in participating in this venture, write Dr. Clayton for additional details at Drawer CP-45,
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 or Bill Pier, c/o Five Star Distributing, Inc., 17019 Kingsview, Carson, CA 90746,
(800-421-1536). Obviously, both the success of this project and the speed with which it is published depend upon
your willingness to contribute. Contributors who are listed in the ​Directory can purchase it for $5.00 off the
projected retail price of $19.95.

****

Media West has just published Bruce and Mary Ellen Clayton’s ​Survival Books, 1981,​ the most up-to-date and
comprehensive bibliography of books on survival topics in print. The authors offer detailed commentary on each
title, giving you enough information to make an intelligent decision as to whether or not you want to read it. And
they are not afraid to express their opinions about the merits of each book reviewed. Available from your bookstore
through Media West or from S.I., 16809 Central Ave., Carson, CA 90746, at $14.95 plus $.95 postage, 140 pages,
illustrated.

****

Jeff Cooper has encountered some problems with the BM-62 and since he and I both feel that it would be unfair to
publish a review that did not give you the full story on the rifle, that article will not appear in this issue. I can tell
you, however, to refrain from buying a BM-62 until you read the results of his tests, which, hopefully, will appear
in Issue No. 21.
****

To most of us, survival food is something that we only want to eat when it becomes a necessity. No one has ever
claimed that freeze-dried hamburger patties and dehydrated spinach flakes are equivalent in taste to the fresh item.
But there are some survival foods that need no processing other than good packaging, and of those, I can think of
none more delicious than pure maple syrup, a commodity that has all but vanished from supermarket shelves and,
when it can be found, is outrageously expensive.

Not only does maple syrup taste good, but it is also a superb source of sugar for the survivalist, for the high sugar
concentration creates an environment that is not conducive to the growth of bacteria. In unopened containers, it has
a shelf life of five to ten years.

Because it has a high fructose content, people with dietary sensitivity to table sugar may tolerate it more easily. It is
a quality sweetener without unnecessary preservatives, coloring agents, or other additives, unlike table sugar which,
among other things, is washed with a weak acid solution and then bleached.

Allan Ramsey, Rt. 2, Scio, NY 14880, can supply you with light and medium amber, grade “A” pure maple syrup at
prices substantially below those in any retail stores that I have checked. The syrup comes packaged in
easily-handled brown plastic jugs and costs $17 per gallon, $9 per half gallon, $5 per quart, and $3 per pint. Mr.
Ramsey ships all orders UPS C.O.D., so be sure to send him your street address.