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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 25

Issue No. 25- November, 1981

A Survivalist at Gunsite
by Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.

Editor’s Note: Since PS Letter began, we have received repeated requests from you for information about Gunsite
and the courses offered there. Your favorite questions have been, “What’s it like? What goes on in a class? Does
Jeff Cooper really teach the classes?” After reading this article, you will know the answers. Gunsite now offers
instruction in the rifle, the pistol, and the shotgun. If you want specific details on the courses given, write or call
John Brook, GUNSITE, Box 401, Paulden, AZ 86334, (602-636-4565).

I just spent an invigorating week at Jeff Cooper’s Gunsite Ranch (The American Pistol Institute, Box 401, Paulden,
AZ 86334) participating in the General Rifle course. I thought that PS Letter readers might be interested in a
description of the course and the reactions of a survivalist student. I also have some observations on how Cooper’s
theories on homestead defense stood up to the crucible of performance in the field.

The General Rifle course takes five-and-a-half days to complete, beginning Monday morning and ending at noon
the following Saturday. It is designed to take novice owners of centerfire rifles and rapidly turn them into
competent riflemen, capable of skillful hunting or defensive shooting under field conditions… a far cry from
benchrest shooting indeed. In my opinion the course was successful in turning out practical riflemen in what to me
seemed an astonishingly short amount of time.

The students were first taught how to adjust and use a military sling, which we quickly began to regard as an
indispensable shooting aid. Training included drills in getting your arm into the sling in the least possible time, and
was later coupled with speed drills on getting into the six basic firing positions- prone, sitting, kneeling, squatting
(paddy prone), standing (offhand), and Olympic standing.

The twenty students were drilled in assuming these positions under the watchful eye of Cooper himself and no
less than three (sometimes four) assistant instructors. This resulted in plenty of individual attention and very rapid
learning.

There were several students who arrived with rifles equipped with integral bipods, instead of slings. These students
were taught how to drop into prone position while simultaneously extending the bipod. They quickly discovered
some difficulties, however. Although the bipods were satisfactory for prone shooting from level ground, they didn’t
help at all in sitting, kneeling, or squatting positions where the sling shooters still had rock solid support.
Also, some of the bipod people found that their bipods would not adapt to uneven (hillside) ground and resulted in
them canting their rifles, which in turn shifted the point of impact. In some cases the bipod was removed from the
rifle on the first day of the course and never seen again.

The position drills were interspersed with a limited amount of live firing at silhouette targets (camo pattern) at
about 25 meters, primarily to determine which rifles needed coarse sight adjustments. (Many of the rifles, including
mine, were brand new and had never been sighted in at all.) Subsequently, a few students at a time were taken aside
to zero their sights from a sandbag rest at a range of 200 meters.

We were told that a 200 meter zero would put us in the kill zone at all ranges out to about 300 meters (depending on
the rifle) and that there was no practical way to make consistent hits under field conditions when the range opened
much beyond this distance. The bullet begins to drop so fast at longer ranges that it becomes necessary to know the
exact range to the target in order to hit it- a practice which is common in formal contests but not easily performed in
the field.

Incidentally, the instructors were not particularly concerned about adjusting that 200 meter zero to dead center.
Final centering was performed later when the shooters were firing from practical positions. An individual’s
anatomy would throw the zero several inches off (compared to the sandbag) so why waste time fine-tuning from the
bench?

Another revelation was that those of us with variable magnification scopes were warned to lock the scope to 4x and
leave it there. The Gunsite instructors commented dryly that usually the point of impact would change from one
magnification to another, and that fancy scopes were a trap for the gadgeteer.

Not only were their advanced features unreliable, but they were subject to breakage even under normal use. Cooper
predicted that there would be scopes in the class which would fail during the week, and he was right. The fancier
they were, the more likely they were to fail, even though we only fired about 350 rounds.

There were other revelations about rifle sights, too. Cooper contended that glass sights didn’t offer much practical
advantage over iron aperture sights, and the three-shot groups produced even by the people using stock military iron
sights were not remarkably different from the glass sight groups.

The only obvious difference was that the iron sight people did not have as much confidence in their shooting as the
glass sight people. I heard several remarks like “I had to cover the target completely with my front sight so I
couldn’t even see it when I fired. Then I made a four-inch group at 300 meters. Twice. I wonder how?”

The next phase was slow fire, usually in prone position, from 200, 300, and 400 meters. Students fired groups of
three shots and occasionally made minor adjustments to their sights from these ranges. We observed two interesting
effects during these exercises.
Cooper had warned us about the “morning glory” effect, in which the impact pattern seems to open up far more
than expected at long ranges. He had also lectured about the inadequacy of the .223 round, calling it a 150-meter
cartridge. I had understood this to mean that the bullet was not sufficiently damaging beyond that range, but was
astounded to notice that the students firing .223 rifles seemed to be having serious difficulty getting on the paper at
200 meters.

At 400 meters even the .308’s and .30-06’s seemed to be having trouble finding the paper. By that time the rifles
were centered fairly well, a fact proven by the tight three-shot groups most people made on the 300 meter targets. It
wasn’t just bullet drop, either. Those dust splashes were left and right of the targets as often as they were above or
below them. In all fairness, though, I should point out that some students were still making disgustingly tight
groups at 400 meters.

The general lesson was that from zero to 200 meters you hold the sights dead on; around 300 meters you hold a few
inches higher than normal; and at 400 meters you wait for a better shot unless you are really sure of yourself.

There were two practical field exercises which were most enlightening. An individual student was taken to a dry
wash and shown a path to follow. He was told that he would need about 20 rounds of ammo and that there were
“enemies” out there. A very watchful instructor walked along behind the student as he started off into enemy
territory.

As the student walked along the pathway, the twists and turns of the wash constantly altered his field of view.
Camouflaged silhouette targets appeared from behind rocks and juniper trees at ranges from about 300 meters down
to literally one meter away. The one-meter target was at knee level, nestled into a bush. About half of the class
walked past without seeing it, even though it was in full view of the trail.

The object of these two field walks was to train the student to find the targets, to estimate their range, to select and
assume rapidly the most appropriate shooting position, and to assess the student’s confidence in his own
marksmanship. One shot, one hole was considered optimal. Four or five holes was a waste of ammo. Four or five
shots and no holes was worst of all.

The walks were very sobering for the students because, although the majority of the targets were in full view, a
typical student overlooked 20% or more of them. The most painful lesson involved the one target which was
hunkered down behind cover the way a human opponent would have been. ​Nobody saw it.​ That was the point.

The semi-automatic rifle owners were given a brief lesson in assault shooting one morning, in which they were
shown how to fire from the hip repeatedly in order to riddle a nearby target. This led to an interesting observation in
the field exercises. The bolt-action owners, when confronted by a nearby target, took one fast shot and made it
count.
Those with military semi-autos, however, tended to spray bullets at the target instead. More than one of these
students walked confidently away, exposing his back to an unpunctured target. The instructors referred to this as the
“20-round magazine syndrome”.

Special training for the bolt-gunners consisted mainly of drills on how to work the bolt with extreme speed, and
additional instruction on how to reload the rifle’s internal five-round magazine while running cross-country. Both
skills were surprisingly easy to acquire, and the bolt people quickly lost their sense of inadequate firepower. After
three or four days practice, the bolt-gunners could cycle the actions of their rifles virtually as fast as they could
recover from the recoil and get back on target, and keeping the magazine full became a trivial problem.

There were two special activities for the bolt-gunners, both reflecting the fact that these weapons were appropriate
for hunting as well as for combat. One was an animal silhouette contest and the other was a pet challenge of
Cooper’s- the Charging Lion. This exercise was a lot of fun- if you like getting eaten. Cooper acted as the African
hunting guide and played the part to the hilt. He took us one at a time on a stalk through the “bush” as he scouted
the way and silently pointed out the line of advance.

Finally he whispered that the lion was only about 80 meters away in the open, and all the student had to do was step
out and shoot it. Just one hitch, though- in about five seconds the lion would charge, and the delay would be even
less if the first shot missed the mark. It was an offhand shot over the bushes, and difficult to make within a
five-second time limit. I missed.

“Look out, he’s charging!” shouted the guide, with more glee than terror in his voice, I thought. I cycled the bolt
and stood ready, scanning the brush for some sign of life. I was keyed up and ready for anything- except for that
brightly painted lion which suddenly reared up out of the bushes to my left. “Sorry son, you’re dead”, grinned
Cooper. Then, to make me feel better, he told me several gruesome tales about friends of his who had been mauled
by lions over the years. No safari for me.

The last day of the course (Saturday morning) was called “score day”, because it consisted entirely of scored tests.
Since API is affiliated with a college, Cooper has to award formal grades. For this is he needs formal tests. The
field walks counted as part of the grade, but Saturday morning was final exam time.

The first test was a sequence of five “head shots” at 25 meters. It was very simple. All you had to do was bring the
rifle to your shoulder, click off the safety, place the crosshairs the center of a four-inch circle in the head of the
silhouette target, and carefully squeeze the trigger (no mashing!) Time? A maximum of 1.5 seconds, start to finish,
or your score would be penalized. Cycle the bolt, click the safety on, and return to start position. Do it five times.
The second test was easier. It consisted of five 1.5 second snap shots at the ten-inch scoring ring in the body of the
target from a range of 50 meters. Nothing to it. Most of the time I even shot at the right target. (They all look alike
when you are in a hurry.)

The third test was called “Rifle 10”, and it was very creative. You start in marching order, with the rifle slung on
your shoulder. At the signal (the watch starts) you rip the piece off your shoulder and dive into prone position while
simultaneously working left-handed magic getting into the sling. And there it is, that familiar silhouette, a modest
300 meters down range. You must fire two carefully aimed shots, using all the time you need to insure two solid
hits (you can hear the stopwatch ticking the whole time).

At the second shot you must spring to your feet and dash 25 meters downhill to the second shooting position. The
range is only 275 meters from that point, but the incline makes a prone position ungainly so some students used the
sitting position instead. Two more shots. The man with the watch is standing right beside you.

Leap up and run another 25 meters to the third position and make another two prone shots. Only one problem. A lot
of us had five-shot rifles, so we had to reload on the run. I dropped one round and felt thankful that I had started the
run with eleven rounds, just in case. I made sure I didn’t drop another.

The fourth station (225 meters) was behind a bush where prone shooting was impossible. Sitting position was the
second-best choice but by this time you’re starting to get a little out of breath. (That damn stopwatch is still
there…) Shots seven and eight are a little erratic.

Leap up and run for the final shooting position at 200 meters. Since the rifle is zeroed at this range there is no
difficulty scoring two X-ring shots. The only possible complication is that the last two shots must be fired offhand
(standing), by a student who just ran 100 meters carrying a heavy rifle, with four up-and-down “rests” which
consisted mostly of holding his breath while trying to line up two good shots. You’re lucky if the last two shots hit
the paper at all.

Once the formal scoring is over there is one last activity which I originally thought was just for fun. This was the
rifle dueling contest, conducted as a double-elimination tournament. Two shooters at a time would step forward and
gaze with trepidation at a pair of one-foot-square steel gongs placed on a neighboring hill about 200 meters away.
At Cooper’s command to “Fire!” they would drop (literally) into sitting position and shoot until one of them hit a
gong. Then they would stand up and do it again. Two winning shots out of three were required for victory.
In “Rifle 10” your target score is divided by your overall time to get the final score. Your accuracy, speed,
endurance, and self-control all figure into the total. (There is a strong temptation to shoot the guy with the watch,
for instance. If you do, you lose points.)

This contest brought out some interesting points. Once again we saw the “20-round magazine syndrome” at work.
Some shooters expended ten or twelve rounds one after another, and missed, while their opponents scored with one
or two careful shots. Frequently, duels between semi-autos and bolt-actions showed them to be almost identical in
accuracy and rate of fire, but the slightly greater deliberation shown by the bolt-gunners usually resulted in victory.

As the contest progressed, better and better shooters were pitted against one another, with astounding results. When
you see two former novices drop into sitting position, lock onto their targets, fire simultaneously, and both hit their
gongs within three seconds of the order to fire, you begin to be impressed. When it happens again and again, you
get even more impressed. Five days before the same people couldn’t find their own shoulders reliably with the butts
of their rifles.

For those of you who are interested, the two undefeated students who shot it out for first place were both using
Ruger M-77V heavy-barreled bolt-action rifles in .308 with 4x scopes. Under the worst kind of time pressure, and
under circumstances where rapid second and third shots sometimes made the difference, the bolt guns left the HK’s
and Garands in the dust. I would not have believed it if I hadn’t been there.

In all, I would be inclined to say that this course represented the best $400 I ever spent, and I would recommend it
wholeheartedly to anyone. The course was practical, effective, and a lot of fun. And it really worked. If you don’t
believe me, my Ruger M-77V and I will be glad to stand behind the claim.

If you intend to take this class there are a few points you should bear in mind. Give each of these points some
serious thought.

-Gunsite boasts a campground, complete with bathrooms and showers. The facilities were at least as good as the
nearby KOA’s. You might consider it.

-In July, when I went, it is hot and sunny there. We needed sunscreen for face, arms, and lips within hours. The sun
is bright and the desert gravel reflects and intensifies the light.

-You will need elbow and knee pads, like basketball pads, and even so you will skin your elbows and knees through
the pads. Without the pads you’re talking about raw meat grinding through hot gravel. Blood is not uncommon.
Buy pads and wear them. The instructors will respect you, not tease you for wearing them.

-Standard headgear is a baseball cap. The instructors will want to tape your name to the back of the hat, so going
without headgear doesn’t cut it.
-A six-round ammo cuff on the stock of the rifle is most helpful for reloading on the run. Cooper also recommends
it for grab-and-go emergencies. In that case, it is convenient to have the ammo attached to the rifle.

-Baggy pants, like fatigues, are essential. Sitting position is very uncomfortable in tight blue jeans. Shorts are out.
That gravel is hot!

-A shirt, jacket, or shell vest with a pocket at belt level on the right side (like a fatigue jacket) is good for carrying
extra ammo. You have to be able to reach it in a hurry from prone position.

-Take some liniment. Some mornings you’ll wake up with aches where you didn’t know you had muscles.

-On the final day, be sure to take your toilet articles and a change of clothing out to the ranch with you. Janelle
Cooper invites the class to lunch after the final shoot-out, and there was a lot of scrambling as the students tried to
scrape off the sweat, dust, and mud before presenting themselves for lunch. Incidentally, although it is an honor to
meet Jeff, it is a delight to meet Janelle. She was a gracious and thoughtful hostess who made every effort to make
our stay at Gunsite pleasant.

Knives, Part II: The Makers


By Charles Avery

Last month I said that although a custom-made folding knife may be better than a good factory folder, I didn’t think
it was worth paying an additional $300 or so to get a custom one. Sheath knives are another matter and I can’t say
that I’ve been really happy with any of the factory offerings.

With a folding knife, the advantage of a protected edge, compact size, and convenience are gained at the expense of
strength and low manufacturing cost. With fixed-blade sheath knives, the unbroken line of steel from the blade
through the handle is an obvious strength advantage. You will also find the cost of most sheath knives to be less
than half the cost of a folder of equal quality.

It is true that a sheath model is not nearly as convenient to carry as a folding knife, but by the same token people
who subject their knives to very severe use are not likely to be very happy with any folder- they usually opt for a
larger, more robust form of sheath knife. That makes sense to me. As I mentioned earlier, to avoid any problems I
generally carry a large sheath knife and a small folder when I’m tromping around in the wilds.
As wonderful a utility tool as a folder may be, it certainly won’t stand up to use as an axe, piton, or full combat
weapon for long. Of course, a very light sheath knife probably won’t either, but that doesn’t change the basic
comparison: sheath knives are of simpler design and are, therefore, cheaper to produce and stronger than
comparable folders. While I feel that the top factories I mentioned turn out folding knives of exceptional value, I
cannot say I have been as happy with factory sheath knives.

I like my Gerber Mark II Presentation Model, but not the normal production model Mark II. For a long time the
Gerber Mark I boot knife was the only acceptable factory offering in that category. The original Kershaw Trooper
is the most superior factory boot knife I’ve handled, but it is now their premium grade at $90, which puts it in the
same cost range with some excellent custom products.

Factory offerings are getting better all the time, but I feel that at current costs you can get more for your money
from a good custom knife. The problem with the factory product isn’t lack of quality, but the fact that you must
accept the factory design, handles, and steel, which may force you into a compromise you don’t have to make.

A custom knifemaker starts out making something he or one of his friends wants, but can’t easily get elsewhere. If
people like his work, the next thing the maker knows, he has no time to do anything else. His line may grow in size
and popularity until it precludes a one-man shop, as happened with Randall. This category of makers is a bit strange
because the knives are handmade and offer many options that factories cannot or will not.

Many writers classify them as custom makers, but I do not. Because of the success of their basic line they try to
avoid doing true custom work and the basic models remain virtually unchanged from one customer to the next. I am
not saying that you don’t get your money’s worth- you often get options in the type of steel used, the handle
material, the hilt material, or slight design variations like handle shape, blade length, and finger grooves (a feature
best left off of a knife).

A slight variation in a very basic design can adapt a knife perfectly to your needs at a fraction of the cost of a full
custom job. One example is Randall’s Model No. 1 All-Purpose Fighting Knife. It is very nearly the perfect design
for a combat/utility knife; most people who own one are happy with it and you rarely see used ones for sale. Gil
Hibben is being pressured into this same predicament.

Based on customer demand alone, it is damned near impossible for a very popular maker to avoid this eventual
bastardization. This is not merely a negative comment by me, but the way most of my knifemaking friends feel,
who got into the business to be independent and creative. A few stalwarts like D.E. Henry and Harv Draper resist
temptation, but usually by going into seclusion or semi-retirement.

I don’t think the factory product can beat our better custom knifemakers, but the business has its pitfalls. I am very
enthusiastic about custom-made knives, but I am not nearly so excited about some of the makers. In the
knifemaking business the warning “Let the Buyer Beware” means more perhaps than in any other. The men are not
always as good as their blades.
Custom knifemakers are an independent lot. They are artists who work in steel and they display all of the
stereotypical traits commonly assigned to artists: they are offbeat, temperamental, moody, flighty, egotistical, and
casual. In some cases these people are genuinely colorful characters who are quite sincere in their desire to make
the very best product they can and to keep their customers satisfied, but in other cases they are hustlers looking for
easy money who could care less about their clients. I have seen both the best and the worst.

I don’t want to dwell on the worst and I don’t want to point a finger at anyone, but I feel duty-bound to discuss the
unethical practices which seem common in custom knifemaking and I will mention a few makers who may cause
you more grief than pleasure if you order their products directly from the source.

Many makers require that you put down a deposit before they will place your order on their production list, which
is a sound business practice that keeps customers committed and results in fewer last minute cancellations.
However I have seen a few makers who require 50% deposits and keep their customers on the line for as long as ten
years or more. There are some legitimate makers who have waiting lists that long, but some of the makers are con
artists who maintain lists that long to give their business an air of respectability and to maintain artificially high
prices among collectors. These men aren’t very busy, they simply don’t produce.

In extreme cases I have seen makers take orders on knives they have no intention of delivering and they will only
make those knives when legal pressure is applied through one of the agencies involved with consumer protection or
fraud. I have heard that one very famous and popular maker was able to produce his top quality products only
because he had a top-notch apprentice who did all of the excellent work which made the maker famous. That maker
lost all of his apprentices and has been paying another man to produce his blades for him.

In view of these practices, my advice to you is to be cautious and never make a deposit of more than 10%. I would
avoid even that whenever possible. It is always sound advice to pay on receipt of goods. Ethical men won’t be
offended by this; in fact, they usually insist on that kind of arrangement. The really good makers need not worry
about customers reneging on orders. This rarely occurs and if it does happen, the order is easily sold to somebody
else.

It has been my experience that all makers whose work or ethics have an unsavory reputation, don’t deserve the
business they get. Most knifemakers are real gentlemen, so much so that they refuse to pass on some of the bad
information about their fellow makers for fear of doing an injustice. Unfortunately, their strict code of personal
ethics allows their reputation to be tarnished along with that of the bad apples.
Some of my friends and I have been very unhappy with the practices of some makers like Rod Chappel, Bob
Loveless, and Jimmy Lile. Their knives are usually well done, but if you think you need one, I would purchase it
from somebody other than the maker. Be cautious of any maker and remember the things which can go wrong.

Despite these pitfalls there is nothing better than the knives made by our better knifemakers in their one-man shops.
They can and will make you anything you could possibly need or desire. There is something very special about a
knife made specifically for you and your exact purpose. It is not as easy as buying a Buck or Gerber off the dealer’s
shelf, but no factory product can match the magic feel of a Draper or the technical perfection of Don Campbell’s
products.

Naturally there is a great deal of differing opinion about what a great knife is and that’s why there are so many
custom makers with long waiting lists. There are some very fine makers who need your business and some are so
famous they don’t want any more. Bill Moran is the knifemaker’s knifemaker and is considered No. 1 in everyone’s
book. He is very expensive and his waiting list is about 10 years. If you can find a Moran for sale, buy it- you will
own a piece of history.

I have heard very good things about Kuzan Oda, Steve Johnson, Joe Cordova, Ted Dowell, Frank Centofante, Jim
Hardenbrook, and John Nelson Cooper. I have friends who own pieces from each and they seem very happy with
the response and products from each of these men. I cannot say anything except that I know their knives are very
well made. Since my reputation goes on the line with the makers I recommend, I am going to narrow the list of
personal recommendations down to the select few that I have dealt with extensively and trust.

“Gil may not be the best knifemaker around, but if he isn’t he’s taught the best”, was a comment made about Gil
Hibben a few years ago. He is a pioneer in knifemaking and was the first to use 440C, the most popular steel in
knife making today. Gil charges a very fair price for his work, which may not be the best, but is damned good. If
you are into martial arts, hunting, guns, or are interested in knives, Gil is a very interesting man to talk to. Gill
Hibben, 2703 Costigan Way, Louisville, KY 40220. 502-491-5818. Catalog available for $1.00.

Harv Draper is one of the most famous modern makers and rumors of his death and/or retirement, Harv reports,
have been greatly exaggerated: he still makes very fine knives. As I mentioned earlier, Harv’s knives have a magic
feel about them- I could pick the Drapers out of a collection if I were blindfolded. Harv is a bit of a recluse and
accepts orders by mail or, preferably, in person; he has no phone. He has no catalog and only has four basic models,
because he very much prefers to work with his customers because he wants them satisfied and lives for the
challenge of creation.

His skill and reputation would easily bring three or four times his normal prices which range from about $125 to
around $300 for his folder. The waiting period varies between one and two years or so, but he promised me he
would try to cut that down. His prices also will be going up very soon. I expect the increase will be about 50% in
most cases, but for work of his caliber, he is still the best bargain I know of at any price. I have absolutely no
reservations in recommending him to anyone. If Harv can’t make you happy with a knife, nobody can. Harvey
Draper, 195 North 4th East, Ephraim, UT 84627.
Don Campbell is a relative unknown in knifemaking. Right now he is a part-time knifemaker while working as a
heat-treatment supervisor for Boeing. He is retiring this month and moving to Arizona to become a full-time
knifemaker. Don’s work is second to none. He has a few models which people keep ordering because they are so
nifty, like that utility boot knife I mentioned last month, but he also prefers to work with the customer on unique
designs.

No catalog yet, but if you contact him I’m sure you can work something out. His prices are very fair, ranging from
$125 to $350 for his unique folder. He will try virtually anything. At the moment his waiting list is only a few
months, but popularity is going to change that, I’m sure. Don Campbell, Creative Knifesmithing, P.O. Box 82,
Jerome, AZ 86331. There will be a phone, but it isn’t yet installed. 602-567-5368.

Regardless of whose knife you buy, factory or custom, the guarantee is an excellent indication of quality. Any
knifemaker who has been around for several years and has a good reputation with other makers and his customers is
probably the best bet. Satisfied customers make the very best salesmen and are the best indicator for the prospective
buyer. A lifetime guarantee from a maker assures you that he is certain of his high quality and consistency: his is
the kind of knife to own.

Remember, however, that a guarantee by an unscrupulous maker with a bad reputation is meaningless. Rod
Chappel is an example of a maker who has a good guarantee and his better knives will probably last several
lifetimes, but I learned the hard way that one ought not to trust him to make good on his word. So we are back to
the very basic, but sound, advice on purchasing: buy high quality backed by a hard-earned reputation, whether from
a factory or custom maker.

The Place of Vitamins in Your Food Storage Program


by G. Richards

The physiological requirements for adequate vitamin intake should be an important consideration for those
preparing survival stores of food. Although a normal, varied diet will provide one with an adequate supply of
vitamins, subsistence on storable foods may present a different dietary situation.

Many commercial and home techniques for preserving food are sound means for deterring spoilage, but they often
reduce the endogenous dietary vitamin contents. Thus, a year of “stored food” may provide adequate calories and
protein, but still yield insufficient amounts of essential vitamins, a fact which may prove hazardous for those
planning to exist for long periods on this type of diet alone.

The discovery of vitamins is largely a 20th century phenomenon. Since vitamins occur in food and the human body
in such small amounts, it took rather sophisticated chemical and biological methods to isolate and distinguish one
from another. Vitamins are potent, indispensable, non-caloric, organic compounds that perform specific and
individual functions in the body. They do not provide the energy that your body needs; rather they help the body
release energy efficiently from foods and they promote the growth and maintenance of health by acting as an
enzyme or “catalyst” in physiochemical reactions.
Many vitamins are present in foods in a form designated as a “precursor” or provitamin. Once inside the body these
provitamins are chemically changed into an active form of vitamin. Additionally, there is often more than one
structural congener of each vitamin. The term “vitamin” then, is a general term referring to a family of related
compounds with the same biological activity. Although we do have some insight into the role vitamins play in our
body, we still have much to learn about their exact actions and mechanisms.

I should also mention that even though vitamin deficiencies may present varied and generalized symptom patterns,
the diseases are quite specific as to cause and cure. ​Vitamins are not a panacea or “cure-all”.​ Depression,
weakness, or lassitude may indeed be the result of a vitamin deficiency, but they may also be the result of a
complicated disease state. Misinterpretation of this type of information is precisely the reason why unnecessary
vitamin therapy is currently popular.

For our purpose, I will group vitamins into two classes: the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), and the water-soluble
ones (vitamin C and the vitamin B-complex). The recommended daily intakes of vitamins for man differ according
to many individual factors.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin A

Vitamin A was the first vitamin to be recognized in the fat-soluble group. It is known to play a role in keeping the
cornea of the eye and all epithelial tissue (internal and external “skin”) healthy. Epithelial cells secrete mucous,
which protects them from infection or bacterial insult, and require Vitamin A. If “A” is deficient, the cells secrete a
protein (Keratin) instead; they become dry, hard, and hosts to bacterial infection.

Vitamin A is involved in another eye function- dark vision adaptation. A colored compound in the retina of the eye,
visual purple (Rhodopsin), is bleached when light falls on it. The brain detects this bleaching and determines what it
has “Seen”. Vitamin A is a chemical part of the compound Rhodopsin. Thus the eye depends on an adequate supply
of this vitamin. If deficient in “A”, you will experience a lag time in your visual adaptation to dim light.

Foods containing high concentrations of “A” are fish oils, liver, butter, egg yolk, whole milk, and vegetables that
contain the precursor carotene (collards, turnip greens, carrots, peaches, and cantaloupe). Vitamin A is stored in the
liver so it does not need to be eaten every day.

Toxicity is a real danger for those who take indiscriminate quantities of Vitamin A. The symptoms may vary from
gastrointestinal misery to rashes and enlargement of the liver.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protects polyunsaturated fats in the body from destruction by oxidation.
Deficiency of Vitamin E has not been produced in human beings despite many experimental attempts to do so. It is
so widespread in food that it is almost impossible to create a dietary deficiency and the body stores so much of it
that one could not avoid eating it long enough to deplete these stores.
Many tremendous claims have been made for the curative actions of Vitamin E. It is “recommended” for many
human complaints- from “curing” body odor to male impotence to heart problems. Most of these claims are false
although the public spends thousands of dollars on this wishful thinking. There is no clinical evidence to date that
presents “E” as effective in treating heart problems or muscular dystrophy, improving athletic prowess, preventing
cancer, or enhancing sexual performance.

Most dietary Vitamin E comes from vegetable oils, the richest being wheat germ oil, from cereal grains, green
plants, and dairy products.

Vitamin D

Nearly a decade after “A” was discovered, what was considered one vitamin proved to be two different compounds.
Since both A and D vitamins are fat-soluble and distributed in the same food, this was understandable. Vitamin D is
known to correct the abnormal bone development called rickets. Vitamin D can be formed in the body by the action
of the sun’s ultraviolet rays striking a cholesterol-like substance (7-dehydrocholesterol) in our skin. “D” can be
formed without the help of food intake- about one-half of the amount we use is made in this fashion.

We know that Vitamin D helps regulate the calcium and phosphorus balance in the body by promoting both the
absorption of these minerals by the intestine and their movement in and out of the bone, teeth, and blood. The
highest natural sources of “D” are the same as those for “A”: fish oils, butter, dairy products, and milk.

In the United States, milk -whether fluid, dried, or evaporated- is fortified with Vitamin D by commission-order of
the American Medical Association. Vitamin D is stored in the body as are the other fat-soluble vitamins, so daily
intakes are not necessary. Toxicity may occur with intakes as little as four to five times the RDA. Toxicity
symptoms may include diarrhea, headache, and calcium deposits in the soft tissues of the body.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is the fat-soluble vitamin necessary in at least two of the fourteen steps involved in blood clotting, for it
helps in the synthesis of the protein prothrombin, which is involved in one of the first steps of the clotting process.
“K” also helps in the activation of fibrinogen into its active form, fibrin, which forms a protein “net” over a cut to
trail the oncoming red blood cells and initiate the blood clot.

Vitamin K is found naturally in dark green, leafy vegetables. The only rich animal source is liver. It is also
synthesized by bacteria in the lower part of our intestinal tracts. Research suggests that we derive half of our need
from plant foods and the other half courtesy of intestinal bacteria.

A synthetic compound resembling Vitamin K, menadione, is used medicinally in place of the natural vitamin. An
excess of either the synthetic or natural forms of this vitamin is toxic; therefore, “K” is available only by
prescription.
Water-Soluble Vitamins

In the body, the water-soluble vitamins (B-complex and C) generally act as parts of coenzymes, which are small
molecules that can combine with an inactive protein to make it an active enzyme or “catalyst”. Scientists think that
the vitamin is the part of the enzyme system where the chemical reaction takes place. As a rule, these vitamins, due
to their water-solubility, are not stored to any great extent by the body; thus, they are needed daily in food.

A number of vitamins like thiamin and niacin are closely related, and are grouped together as the B-complex
vitamins, for they are found in the same types of foods and their work in the cells is largely related to releasing
energy from food after digestion takes place. In real life, single B vitamin deficiencies don’t normally occur and
disease symptoms are not as “easily distinguishable” as textbook descriptions might lead you to believe.

Thiamin and Niacin

Thiamin was first named “water-soluble B” but was later found to consist of two fractions: Vitamin B1 (thiamin),
which was successful in treating the disease Beriberi and is easily destroyed by heating or cooking, and niacin,
which cures Pellagra and is more heat stable.

Thiamin’s primary function is as a coenzyme in the reaction that collects energy from carbohydrates (sugars) and
traps the energy in a compound (ATP), so that individual cells can use the energy as they require it. Deficiency of
this vitamin can produce nausea, loss of appetite, paralysis, and abnormal heart actions.

Lean pork, liver, yeast, legumes, and fresh green vegetables are the best sources of thiamin. Substantial amounts are
lost if the water used to cook vegetables or pork is discarded and not used. The practice of using a small quantity of
baking soda to make vegetables look “fresher” while cooking destroys it. Thiamin containing foods should be
included daily in the diet.

Niacin and nicotinic acid are synonymous. ​There is no relationship between nicotinic acid and nicotine, which is
derived from tobacco.​ Niacin is converted in the body to its active form nicotinamide (or niacinamide).

Niacin is part of a coenzyme unit vital to obtaining energy from glucose, or sugar. Without niacin, the ability of the
body to function is severely hampered. The result is Pellagra, which is characterized by disturbances of almost
every body tissue, and is more prevalent in poverty areas where low-protein diets are common. Historically the
disease was referred to as having three “D’s”: diarrhea, dementia, and dermatitis. Eventually there is a fourth “D”-
death.

An amino acid present in the protein of lean meats, Tryptophan, can be converted in the body to niacin. For this
reason, an adequate protein diet may satisfy the body’s niacin requirements; however, it takes about 60 mg of
tryptophan to make about 1 mg of niacin in the body and the average protein only contains about one tryptophan
per 100 amino acids. Thus, it is more efficient for the body to take niacin supplements than to allow cellular
conversion from tryptophan, and deplete its stores of this amino acid.
Riboflavin

Another B complex vitamin, riboflavin, was first isolated from milk. This vitamin participates in the first step in the
breakdown or metabolism of fatty acids for energy. It also has a role in the breakdown of proteins for energy use by
the cells of the body. Riboflavin deficiency can be recognized by cracks in the corners of the mouth (cheilosis). A
swollen tongue and frontal headaches seem to appear consistently in people with low riboflavin diets. Almost
always the symptoms of niacin deficiency are also present.

Riboflavin can be destroyed by ultraviolet rays- a reason why milk should not be stored in transparent glass bottles.
It is stable to heating and acid, but sensitive to alkali such as baking soda used in cooking. The best sources are
liver, heart, lean meats, and eggs.

Vitamin B6

The term Vitamin B6 refers to a group of vitamin substances: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine. This
vitamin group is involved in many cellular reactions involving metabolism but is best known for its action in
protein synthesis. B6 aids in the changing of one amino acid, which the cell has in abundance, to another amino
acid that the cell needs, it helps in the digestion and utilization of amino acids, and is needed in the synthesis of
hemoglobin and in the maintenance of blood glucose levels.

Thus, a deficiency of B6 expresses itself through such generalized symptoms as depression, nausea, and even skin
disorders and neuritis. Foods containing B6 must be included in the diet daily. The richest food sources seem to be
muscle meats, liver, vegetables, and whole grain cereals.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 was identified in 1926 as the factor necessary for the prevention and cure of pernicious anemia. Prior
to this time, pernicious anemia was a fatal disease. It is now known that B12 is needed for the formation of healthy
red blood cells and in maintaining the myelin sheath surrounding certain types of nerves. The vitamin is not present
in plants but is produced by bacteria in the digestive tracts of animals. The only sources are animal foods.

Folic Acid

Folic acid, also called folacin, or pteroylglutamic acid, appears to be essential for the formation and maturation of
both white and red blood cells. It is needed in the synthesis of the genetic building blocks DNA and RNA. Once
absorbed, methyl-folate seems to be the chief form in the body. About one-half of the folic acid is stored in bone
and the liver. Food sources are leafy green vegetables, wheat grains, meat, liver, and fish.

Pantothenic Acid and Biotin

These B vitamins are also needed for coenzyme synthesis. They are just as important as the other B’s, but little is
currently known about human requirements for them. They are extremely widespread in food and there seems to be
no danger of their deficiency in a “survival” diet of stored foods.
Vitamin C

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid was recognized as a cure for the symptoms of scurvy in 1932. For centuries this disease
was the scourge of seagoing men, who carried cereals and live animals on long voyages, but no fresh fruits or
vegetables.

Vitamin C is required by the body in the production and maintenance of collagen, a protein substance that forms the
base of all connective tissues in the body (bones, teeth, skin, and tendons). It is also the scar tissue that heals
wounds, mends fractures, and prevents bruises. It promotes the absorption of iron and is involved in the release of
stress hormones (adrenalin); thus, one requires more during periods of stress.

It is easily destroyed by heat and exposure to air, so fresh fruits and vegetables should be eaten as soon as possible
after harvesting. Cooking should be rapid, using as little water as possible. Dehydration will also reduce the
Vitamin C content of foods. Quick-freezing however, does not destroy Vitamin C. The best sources are citrus fruits,
fresh, canned, or frozen; others are broccoli, cabbage, leafy vegetables, and green peppers.

According to a theory widely publicized by Linus Pauling, Vitamin C prevents colds. In his book, ​Vitamin C and
the Common Cold he stated that the RDA for Vitamin C was far too low, and that much larger quantities were
necessary to enable the vitamin to protect cells from attack by cold-causing viruses. Many controlled, double-blind
experiments on Vitamin C and colds have been performed since that controversial book came out.

A pooling of the data from eight of these studies showed that there was a difference of a tenth of a cold per year,
and an average difference in duration of a tenth of a day per cold in those subjects taking Vitamin C over those
taking the placebo. Essentially this data supports the conclusion that the statistical effects of Vitamin C, if any, are
very small, but it does not exclude the possibility that the effects on a few individuals might be considerable.

I should also point out that the widespread use of gram doses of Vitamin C has enabled researchers to discover the
toxic effects of too much Vitamin C. Extreme amounts of Vitamin C can raise the uric acid level of urine and
precipitate gout in people with that predisposition. They can obscure the results of certain medical tests such as the
urine test for sugar used by diabetics and the test for blood in stools used to diagnose colon cancer.

In fact, large amounts of Vitamin C tend to impair the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria, rather than to help
clear up infections. Vitamin C can precipitate the formation of kidney stones and actually has proved hazardous to
pregnancy during the first trimester. Obviously these toxic effects may not occur in all individuals but there is no
way to determine in advance which individuals will be affected. Vitamins do not lend themselves to indiscriminate
dosing.

Two other compounds deserve mention because they are NOT vitamins: the bioflavonoids and laetrile.
Bioflavonoids are natural body constituents to which vitamin-like characteristics have been attributed. Sold in
stores in purified form as Vitamin “P”, they make a lot of money for store owners. Despite much work, no
bioflavonoid deficiency has been induced in animals or discovered in humans. They were qualified as vitamins by
the American Society of Biological chemists in 1950.
As for laetrile (also called amygdalin, it has been dubbed Vitamin B-17 by its enthusiasts. Laetrile has been labeled
as a hoax by the FDA while being heralded as a “cancer cure” by the general public. Much of the success of
products like Vitamin P and laetrile is due to their emotional appeal rather than to scientific evidence.

The body cannot differentiate between synthesized and “natural” vitamins.​ To the chemist or scientist, the term
synthesize means to put together- and the product is not fake; it is identical to the real thing. Vitamins sold as
natural often have synthetic added anyway. For example, Vitamin C tablets manufactured from rose hips would
have to be as big as golf balls to contain the listed significant amounts of the vitamin. Some manufacturers therefore
add synthetic vitamin to a small amount of “natural” vitamin and sell the product for many times the original price.

Effect of Food Processing on Vitamins

Now that some general information about vitamins has been discussed it is perhaps relevant to examine how
various factors of food preservation and preparation modify vitamin contents.

A. Solubility: Since many of the vitamins are water-soluble, they will be lost if the cooking water is discarded. In
order to maximize your vitamin intake from home- or commercially-canned foods packed in either water or oil,
utilize this liquid in your cooking.

B. Heat: Many vitamins are vulnerable to high temperatures. Specifically, the overcooking of food promotes the
rapid degradation of Vitamins C, A, thiamin, folacin, and pantothenic acid. Precooked or pre-prepared products
(even if dehydrated or freeze-dried) are often “overcooked” to decrease bacterial counts. They might not be as
wholesome or nutritious as assumed.

C. Drying: Dehydration decreases the level of Vitamins C and A. I certainly encourage you to use a vitamin
supplement if you plan your food stores solely around foods prepared in this way.

D. Acidity: Both acidic and alkaline solutions will destroy pantothenic acid and Vitamin K. This can occur with
foods that have been canned, but generally is not a problem since those who can food also have fresh food sources.
It is a good reason for not using baking soda when boiling or steaming fresh vegetables.

E. Air: Prolonged exposure of foods to air enhances the decay of Vitamins A, C, D, thiamin, and folacin. Try to use
what food you open, or keep it sealed in airtight containers.

As expected almost all techniques of food preservation affect vitamin contents to some degree. For this reason
many grocery items that you purchase now are fortified (have had a vitamin extract added during a final processing
step). Since few expect to eat as well as they should, especially during a long-term crisis, I would strongly
encourage the storage of vitamin supplements in conjunction with your food program. ​One reasonable multivitamin
every OTHER day represents a six-month supply per person, per bottle of 100 tablets or capsules.​
Choosing a Vitamin Supplement

There are an overwhelming number of manufacturers and vitamin products on the market at present. Rather than
recommend products containing an individual vitamin, I suggest that you take what is termed a “therapeutic
multivitamin”, which is a preparation containing all essential vitamins in greater than RDA levels. Not only will
this multivitamin be cheaper to buy, but we find that patients will exhibit higher dosage compliance if they have
only one tablet to take, rather than five tablets. One bottle of vitamins is also easier to store (or transport) than five
bottles of different vitamins.

Choose a product whose package is opaque and airtight. If there is not an airtight, foil seal under the bottle cap-
don’t buy it. Vitamins kept cool (i.e. in a refrigerator) and in light-resistant, sealed containers will easily maintain
therapeutic potency for 10 years.

Finally, you should try the vitamin brand before you purchase your full quantity for storage. There will at times be
side effects to particular brands. The most common side effects noted are abdominal distress, nausea, cramping, and
constipation.

Abdominal disturbance and nausea are often due to the high concentration of vitamins dissolving in the stomach
lumen. Taking the vitamin with meals or plenty of fluids should prevent this. Infrequently there is some gastric
cramping or constipation due to the iron supplement in these vitamin products. Brands with lower or no iron
content may be selected instead.

Listed are the brand names of vitamins I recommend highly. Although generic brands are generally as good,
generics may differ from region to region. The listed products are of excellent quality and their packages are
suitable for storage.

1. Optilets-M 500 5. Theragran-M


2. Z-Bec 6. Unicap-T
3. Micebrin-T 7. Modicum
4. Myadec 8. Stress Tabs w/Iron

(When purchasing your vitamins, examine the expiration date on the product label. You will want to do this to
insure vitamin potency.)

Remember, vitamins are not a substitute for wholesome food; they are good for augmenting or supplementing the
nutrition you may derive from stored foods. They are not panaceas nor do they lend themselves for fulfilling your
bodily requirements. Hopefully, when your health is needed the most, it will be there.
Observations on Heating, Cooking, and Light, Part I

Stoves, Ovens, & Cooker-Heaters


by Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.

Editor’s Note: The following is a companion to Janet Groene’s article on auxiliary stoves in PS Letter No. 23. N.T

I have been experimenting lately with various sources of non-electric light and heat, and although I do not pretend
to have completed an exhaustive survey of the field, I thought PS Letter readers might be interested in a few
practical observations. The items tested were largely kerosene lamps and stoves, with a few candles, Coleman
white-gas appliances, and propane items thrown in for good measure. There was even one very novel woodstove
tested.

This project had its roots in a three-day self-sufficiency test my family took about a year ago during which a Primus
white-gas backpack stove “over-generated” on our kitchen counter and required the immediate testing of a nearby
fire extinguisher. I had thought that the little stove would be a perfect utility cooker because of its economical use
of fuel, but after it overheated and turned into a roaring ball of flame I made some alterations to it with an axe and
went looking for other options.

I started with various stoves, ovens, and cooker-heaters to see how they worked. I compared a Coleman two-burner
camp stove (with a Coleman stove top oven), a Mountain Safety Research backpack stove, a Zip-Ztove for
backpackers, a Sears propane camp stove, and an SI kerosene “Better Quality Cooker-Heater”. I tried to get one of
Aladdin’s “Blue Flame Cooker-Heaters” but apparently Aladdin doesn’t make very many of them, because SI has a
hard time keeping them in stock.

Let’s start with the familiar Coleman white-gas stove, which folds up into a unit about the size of a briefcase. Mine
is a Model 425 two-burner stove which cost $19.95 last year. It’s hard to beat this device for family cooking when
the utilities are off, the only obvious problem being the need to store that deadly white gasoline. Even though it can
be kept in Explosafe cans, I don’t feel happy having it around the house. (Since joining the local volunteer fire
department I have suddenly acquired a great respect for fire.)

In my tests, the Coleman boiled a quart of water in only 5.5 minutes on its main burner, and used 7.5 ounces of gas
in an hour. On the secondary burner it took 10.5 minutes to boil the water, and with both burners going it consumed
a total of 11 ounces of fuel per hour. The only nuisance I encountered was the necessity of pumping the fuel tank
repeatedly to keep the pressure up. (It makes your thumb sore after a while.) Also, the Coleman is not easy to light
and intimidates a novice user with its warnings and instructions. Lastly, because of the white gas and the variations
in fuel pressure, one feels compelled to watch it closely the whole time the stove is in operation.
While I was experimenting with the Coleman stove I also tried some experiments with the folding Coleman
stove-top oven. This is a tin box about ten inches on a side which folds flat for storage. You set it up over a burner
to trap the hot combustion gases temporarily to create an oven environment.

I cooked a few batches of biscuits in it to see how it worked, and my main recommendation is to ignore the
thermometer on the front of the box. It doesn’t even vaguely reflect the conditions around the biscuits. This is a
very fast oven, indeed, and you can carbonate your meal while the thermometer still reads under 200 degrees.

Also, the box must be set exactly over the center of the stove’s main burner, not even slightly to the side.
Misalignment produces black biscuits on one side of the box and raw ones on the other side. It was troublesome to
use, but once I got the hang of it, edible biscuits began to appear in short order. The Coleman oven is hard to master
but worth experimenting with.

The next stove I tried was the Mountain Safety Research backpack stove, which I had purchased to replace the
Primus that had embarrassed itself in my kitchen. The MSR stove is a tiny burner fed from a Sigg (or MSR) fuel
bottle through a ten-inch fuel line. The stove comes with a compression pump and valve assembly which fits into
the aluminum fuel bottle, and when assembled the unit is the functional equivalent of a small Coleman stove. It has
two advantages over other backpack stoves.

The first is that the fuel pressure is supplied by the pump from a remote fuel tank, which prevents the overheating
that other backpack stoves are prone to.

The second advantage, which ought to be of interest to survivalists, is that this stove will burn kerosene, white gas,
aviation fuel, Stoddard cleaning solvent, denatured alcohol, stove oil, diesel, unleaded gasoline, and even leaded
gasoline (although it causes clogging problems which fortunately can be cleared in the field). According to the
manufacturer, one MSR user reported running the stove on fermented papaya juice! I tried it on white gas and
kerosene, papayas being scarce in the Sierras.

With white gas, the MSR stove boiled a quart of water in 5.5 minutes when used with a foil windscreen, and in 7.5
minutes without the windscreen. (Moral: use windscreen.) Its fuel consumption was 6.5 ounces in an hour. When
used with kerosene, the stove produced a bright blue, roaring flame identical to the white gas flame, boiled a quart
of water in 8.5 minutes (no screen), but only burned 4 ounces of fuel in an hour.

The drawback to this stove is that the burner is only three inches across and even under the best conditions the pot
had to be carefully balanced on the burner to prevent tipping. I would be very nervous about having an open pot of
stew fall off the stove and spill. This stove, too, was hard on the thumb. (Mountain Safety Research, 631 South 96th
Street, Seattle, WA 98108, 206-762-6750; order the CK model for $79.95 (1981) and the fuel bottle for $4.49.)
Just before completing this article, someone sent me a Zip Ztove (not a misprint). Believe it or not, this is a ​wood
stove for backpackers! When packed, it is about the size of a short 1-lb. coffee can and weighs less than a pound.
Assembled, the stove consists of an insulated burning chamber the size of a cold cream can on top of a pedestal
containing a small electric fan. The fan is powered by a single C-cell. You start a small fire in the combustion
chamber using twigs, splinters, pine cones, moose dung, or whatever is available, turn on the fan and cook your
meal over the resulting roaring fire.

I took a stick of pine about an inch in diameter and a foot in length, and splintered it with a hammer into small
pieces. These I put in the stove and lit with a single match. When the sticks were well lit, I turned on the fan and put
a quart of water on the stove. In 4.5 minutes, the fuel was almost entirely consumed and the water was boiling
merrily! That’s the fastest one-quart boiling time I’ve seen for any kind of stove, and by far the most economical in
terms of fuel.

I mention this stove to you partly to point out that many of our survival problems are just awaiting someone with a
bright idea. This little stove requires storing no flammable liquid fuel. Its economical use of wood is almost
miraculous. Its boiling time beats its competitors by 20% or more. Where else are you going to find a wood fire that
you can turn down to “simmer” at the flick of a switch? Although it blackens the pot badly, the only serious
objection to this stove is the dependence on the battery.

I ran the stove for four hours continuously on a Radio Shack “general purpose” C-cell before the fan started to slow
appreciably, and I’m inclined to believe the manufacturer’s claim that one alkaline battery used intermittently will
supply power for two weeks of normal use while backpacking. In response to the survivalist market, however, he is
currently developing a larger, heavy-duty version of the stove which ​uses no battery​. That should be interesting.
(The Zip Ztove sells for $21 .95, and there is an optional one-quart pot with lid which nests with the stove for
$9.95. Manufactured by Z.Z. Corporation, Los Alamitos, CA, and available through SI.

The fourth stove tested was SI’s “"Better Quality Cooker-Heater”, in place of the Aladdin Cooker-Heater which
was not available. This device is best envisioned as a huge kerosene lantern with a circular wick about four inches
across. There is a flat plate across the top of the device which apparently is intended for cooking, although the
quaint Japanese instructions weren’t too helpful in identifying the features of the device. My experiences with this
device were uniformly disappointing. Even at $79.95, I’m inclined to upholster it and use it only as a footstool…
unless I need it for room heat.

As a cooker, this device is abysmal. It used 8 ounces of kerosene in an hour, but took ​30 minutes to boil a quart of
water. It did radiate a lot of heat (a good feature in a “heater”) but I used it in July and did not welcome the added
warmth. In addition, the wick was not easy to adjust uniformly, which meant that it burned unevenly, and the
ingenious flotation fuel gauge did not work.
My conclusion was that it was not a quality heater and not a cooker at all. The only utility I could envision for it
would be if I needed it to heat a room during a blizzard and, simultaneously, wanted to heat some water without
lighting another device. In that case the “cooking” could hitch a ride on the “heating” for sake of economy.

The last stove I tested was a Sears model 672764 two-burner propane camp stove ($39.99). It runs off a propane
canister about the size of a one-pound coffee can. Otherwise it is similar in overall size and shape to the Coleman
stove. (NOT a backpack device.) The outstanding feature of a propane stove is ease of operation. All you do is turn
the valve and light the burner. After that it is identical in operation to a natural gas kitchen stove. This familiarity is
a big plus, because it frees you from the necessity of watching the stove every minute it’s in operation.

According to my measurements, each $2.19 disposable fuel canister holds about 18 ounces of propane. The Sears
stove boiled a quart of water in 6.5 minutes and, using a single burner, consumed 6 ounces of fuel in an hour. With
both burners running, fuel consumption was about 9 ounces per hour.

This points out an interesting characteristic of propane stoves. Due to the thermodynamics of gases, warmer
molecules of propane have a greater chance of leaving the bottle than colder molecules. As the bottle is used it
becomes colder and colder, until it becomes rimmed with frost and the fuel pressure drops. That’s why two
identical burners use only 50% more propane than one burner alone. The pressure decreases markedly unless you
keep the bottle warm by holding it in your hands or laying it in the sun.

Incidentally, when the stove is in heavy use, that fuel bottle gets cold enough to thoroughly chill a bowl of fruit
salad or some similar dish. So, heat your dinner and chill your dessert at the same time! This is the only expedient
form of refrigeration I’ve found so far. (Please tell me if you know of others!)

To be continued in the next issue-​ Part II: Lighting

Book Reviews
Several of you have recommended Hallock’s ​.45 Auto Handbook as an outstanding reference book on that pistol. It
covers everything from inspecting a .45 for defects, to identification, to trigger jobs. The chapters on modifications
are especially helpful to the home gunsmith for they are written in an easy-to-follow fashion. Illustrated with both
photos and line drawings, the book is softcover, 178 pages, sells for $11.95 plus $1.00 postage and handling, and is
available from Ray Riling Arms Books, P.O. Box 18925, Philadelphia, PA 19119.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Riling firm, it is the best source of books on hunting and firearms in
the country- be they new, used or out-of-print… Joe Riling is very accommodating and will search for titles if you
are having trouble locating some. One dollar will get you their catalog, which is published quarterly, for a year.

In Issue No. 24, Jeff Cooper advised buying Brad Angier’s excellent books on cooking game and I would like to
suggest one of our favorites, Sylvia Bashline’s ​The Bounty of the Earth Cookbook, How to Cook Fish, Game, and
Other Wild Things,​ published by Winchester Press, $10.95, hardcover (their toll-free number for ordering is
800-331-9151). I have tried many recipes in the book and they are superb- simple, hearty, and imaginative.

Mrs. Bashline, who is ​Field & Stream’s Food Editor, knows her subject, for she has spent years hunting, fishing,
shooting, and working with her husband, Ted, Associate Editor of ​Field & Stream​. Many cookbooks are boring, but
this is one that you can sit down and read for pleasure. Not only does Mrs. Bashline write very well indeed but she
has filled the book with lore on game, wild plants, and the outdoors.

Those of you who are interested in mini-farming and want to get a head start on our series about that subject may
want to order a copy of the Summer (No. 30) edition of ​Co-Evolution Quarterly ($4.00 per issue, $14.00 per year,
published quarterly by POINT, Box 428, Sausalito, CA 94966). The section on “Land Use” lists excellent source
books and features articles on pond-making and coppicing.

If I could only subscribe to half a dozen magazines, ​Co-Evolution Quarterly would be one of them. Some object to
what might be termed its “California radical” orientation, but it is filled with reliable information on tools, books,
etc., that I see nowhere else. It is published by the same firm that puts out ​The Whole Earth Catalog but the material
is more up-to-date.

Letters from the Editor

We have evaluated your questionnaires and hope that our future issues will reflect your wishes. The biggest surprise
to me was that virtually all of you want articles on alternate sources of energy- from generators, to wind, to solar
power. You also want more how-to articles and more on tactics and security, and you suggested that we run helpful
tips from readers, which we will be happy to do if you send us the material.
In response to your desire for information on current affairs that can help you in your day-to-day life, we are going
to print pertinent items, and we start with three in this issue which should give you a nightmare or two, especially
when you consider their implications. I think you will want to write your Congressmen about them.

HR 4603, the so-called deposit insurance flexibility act, is designed to bail out the approximately 350 S&Ls and
150 banks in financial trouble by giving the Federal Government the right to take the following actions to solve the
liquidity problems of any depository institution whose funds are federally insured: it empowers the government to
make large scale loans, grants, or donations, to force mergers or acquisitions, or ​to purchase the institution in
trouble.​ If passed, this bill would make the currently illegal interstate acquisition of S&Ls by banks legal.

A bill that was killed in the 96th Congress, S 2305, has been reintroduced as HR 4628. This goody requires intaglio
printing on only one side of the dollar bill, thereby allowing a 30% or more increase in the production of $5s, $10s,
$20s, and $100s.

People buying or selling homes may well have problems in the future with their mortgages. On September 24​th​, the
Treasury issued a bulletin to all financial institutions that issue mortgages stating that all mortgages must be pegged
to current market rates, regardless of individual contracts, assumability clauses, or state laws. This directive would
supercede the laws in many states that prohibit assumed mortgage rates from being more than one or two percent
above the original issue rates.

As a result of this action, some financial institutions that issued low rate mortgages 10-15 years ago with call
provisions are now calling in these loans for renegotiation. To avoid an unpleasant surprise, I recommend that you
examine your mortgages for any such provisions. Incidentally, home mortgage delinquencies amounted to more
than one percent of all mortgages outstanding as of October 1, 1981.

To the average home buyer this directive means that the owner contract will be the only way for him to get a fixed
mortgage rate, and to the seller it means that he will have to carry paper unless he is fortunate enough to find a
buyer with enough cash or can take his time selling until he finds a buyer who is willing to borrow from an
institution.

If you wish to protest this action by the Treasury, write The Comptroller of the Currency, 490 L’Enfant Plaza SW,
Washington, DC 20219, and refer to Docket 81-18.

In response to his own growing interest in survival and to requests from his customers at Radio West, Grant
Manning has started Survival Electronics, which will feature complete, ready-to-go, matched and tested
communications equipment systems, burglar and perimeter alarms, solar battery chargers, and survival-oriented
computer programs.
Grant’s partner in this venture is John Kolb, a survivalist and electronics whiz, and both men want your suggestions
about possible products for them to design and sell. They plan to publish a detailed, informative catalog. For further
information, write Grant at Radio West, 2015 S. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025.

The last week in November ​Tappan on Survival,​ a collection of Mel’s ​Guns & Ammo and ​Soldier of Fortune
columns with a Foreword by Jerry Pournelle, will be available. If you want to give copies as Christmas presents,
write The Janus Press, P.O. Box 578, Rogue River, OR 97537, 503-582-1520 before November 15 and your copies
will be shipped UPS the day the books arrive from the printer.

I’m prejudiced, of course, but I think you’ll find ​Tappan on Survival as engrossing today as the individual columns
were when they first appeared, and having the columns in one handy text should be far more convenient than
pouring over 36 old magazines to find what Mel had to say on a certain subject.

The book has 196 pages and the retail price is $7.95 plus $1.00 postage and handling. Through December, the price
to PS Letter subscribers will be $6.00 plus $1.00 postage and handling (MasterCard/VISA accepted). Be sure to
identify yourself as a PS Letter.

Jeff Cooper has been in Norway hunting elk, practicing what he preaches, and for that reason, he didn’t have time
to finish Part II of “Meat Hunting” in time for this issue. He is back now and the article will be ready for Issue 26.
For those of you who are going hunting before you read all of Jeff’s article, we are enclosing a simple diagram
showing you how to field dress a deer (or similar animal), which you can carry with your hunting license in case
you need a reminder or two.

Survival Gunsmithing- Ruger 10/22 Rifle


By J.B. Wood

Since 1964, the Ruger 10/22 rifle has been made in four models, and two of these are still in production. The
Mannlicher-stocked “International” version was made in limited quantity between 1965 and 1969, and there was an
early version of the Sporter with the fore-end portion of the stock deeply fluted on each side. At present, the Sporter
stock is checkered in the grip and forend areas. Otherwise, it differs from the standard Carbine version only in the
finish and method of stock attachment- the Carbine has a barrel band. Except for the stock fittings, all four of these
models are mechanically identical.
The Ruger 10/22 is the most reliable .22 semi-auto rifle currently made, and it owes a large portion of this
reliability to its rotary-type magazine, and the rest to a well-engineered firing system. A basic parts list for the
10/22 should include a firing pin, firing pin return spring, extractor, extractor plunger, extractor spring, and a spare
magazine.

The firing pin and extractor are insurance against breakage, and the extractor plunger is in case of loss during
disassembly or reassembly. The two small coil springs are not likely to break, but with age and long use they can
weaken or take a “set”. Spare magazines you will already have, of course. If a magazine spring loses some tension,
it’s possible to adjust the spring by loosening the magazine screw and rotating the hex nut clockwise, one-half to
one turn. Then, push the hex nut back into its fitted recess and tighten the screw

Repeating the basic items above, here is the comprehensive list: Firing pin, firing pin return spring, extractor,
extractor plunger, extractor spring, magazine, recoil spring assembly ejector, hammer spring, sear spring, magazine
latch plunger spring, sear, and rear sight.

The recoil spring assembly includes the cocking handle, recoil spring guide, recoil spring, and a retaining washer.
Breakage of any part of this assembly is rare, but the spring receives complete compression each time the bolt
cycles, and after long use there is a possibility that it might weaken. Since installation of the spring alone would be
difficult for the non-gunsmith, the factory sells only the complete assembly. For the purposes considered here, this
is actually best.

I have never seen a broken 10/22 ejector, but this part is included on the basis that it receives impact stress each
time the gun is fired. The hammer spring, sear spring, and magazine catch plunger spring are just in case of age
weakening- breakage is unlikely. Both the trigger spring and the safety detent spring have ample allowance for age
weakening, so they were not listed.

The sear is listed for two reasons. It is a very hard part, and is under repeated stress, so there is a slight possibility of
edge chipping at the hammer contact point. The same line of reasoning could be applied to the sear step area on the
hammer, so those who really worry might want to add a spare hammer to the list.

The rear sight of the 10/22 has a flip-down provision for casing or storing, and this tends to protect it from harm.
When flipped up for use though, it is as susceptible to damage as any other sight if struck by a tree branch or any
other solid object. So, a spare is suggested. This applies even if you have installed a scope sight, since a future
situation might arise in which the scope was damaged and the iron sights would be needed.

In the category of preventive maintenance, there is a way to lower the hammer on an empty chamber without
snapping it, a procedure that’s a good idea if the gun is to be stored unused for an extended time. Pull the bolt back
slightly, about one-half inch, until additional resistance is felt.
Pull the trigger, and ease the bolt forward to closed position. If done right, this will lower the hammer to fired
position, easing the tension of its spring. This should never be done with a loaded chamber, of course. In that case,
you’d have direct hammer, firing pin, and primer contact, and any jar could set it off.

Good, clear exploded views of each sub-assembly are in the original factory manual for the 10/22, available on
request from Sturm, Ruger & Company, Southport, CT 06490. All parts orders should be sent to the same address,
marked to the attention of the Service Department. Most large gun shops will have such things as firing pins and
extractors in stock.

In the ​Gun Digest Book of Exploded Firearms Drawings​, Second Edition, the Ruger 10/22 is shown on page 111.
Complete takedown and reassembly instructions are on pages 331 through 337 in ​Volume III: Rimfire Rifles​, in my
Firearms​ ​Assembly/Disassembly​ series.