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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 26

Issue No. 26- December, 1981

Meat Hunting II
by Jeff Cooper

The subject of hunting arms has been covered so often and in such detail that one might assume that it is far more
complicated than it really is. Naturally a piece designed specifically for filling the larder ought to be better suited to
that task than one intended for other purposes, but whether a little or a lot better is moot. More game has probably
been taken with military rifles than with sporters, not because the former were more efficient pot guns but because
they were available.

Bell killed his hundreds of elephants with the 6.5 and 7x57- both highly unsuitable for the purpose. Our Canadian
and Alaskan Indians traditionally take their moose meat with the .30-30- hardly an ideal moose cartridge. The
ubiquitous .223 is now being shot at all sorts of things from rabbits to kudu, with unexpected success in many
instances. And we all know of at least one case in which something pretty imposing was decked cleanly with a .22
rimfire, no matter how much we may disapprove of such goings on.

It is nonetheless true that a bit of common sense may still help in the selection of weapons to be used for pot
shooting, as well as their ammunition.

The centerfire rifle, the shotgun, the pistol, and the .22 may all be put to good use in meat hunting. If one were
stuck with just one weapon, he would usually choose the centerfire rifle first, but over the long haul he might find
that most of his meals were acquired with the .22.

The Twenty-Two

The .22 (and here we speak of the .22 rifle) is light, cheap, and easy. It is handy, readily available, and needs almost
no maintenance. It is as accurate as the shooter, and, if it is not powerful, it can inflict quickly fatal wounds on
pretty good sized animals if the range is short, the target is stationary, and the shooter understands anatomy.

It is best, of course, on small game-creatures weighing less than ten kilos or so. It should not be used on larger
beasts unless there is no choice, but it is noteworthy that our local country butcher uses nothing else on beef cattle,
and that the only big shark I have ever seen “iced” with one round was done in with the little rimfire.
In choosing a .22 rifle, look for a good trigger action first, and let everything else take care of itself. Action type and
magazine capacity are minor considerations, and almost any .22 is more accurate than anyone but a tournament shot
can appreciate. They will all stay on a bottle cap at fifty meters, and that is good enough to take a squirrel, in the
head, every time. But without a good trigger, accuracy will hardly matter.

A good trigger is ​crisp​. Weight is not nearly as important as a clean, motionless release. However we don’t want a
really heavy trigger. Two kilos is about maximum, and one is a good minimum.

The GI sights on most .22’s are pretty crude, usually a combination of a front bead and a step-adjustable rear notch
which must be banged back and forth with a mallet to change deflection. Such sights will work, after a fashion, but
they are both slow and imprecise.

A good aperture sight is a welcome accessory to a .22 pot gun, but good aperture sights are rare today. The
Williams people offer a fairly complete line, but if they do not have a model that fits your needs, you may have to
scrounge. (Gun show scrounging has become almost the prime method of weaponry acquisition “in these troubled
times”, when inventories must be kept low and models are discontinued about as fast as they appear.) If you
encounter a suitable aperture sight, remember that what we call a “ghost ring” -a large aperture enclosed by a thin
rim- is its best form, offering both speed and precision.

Whether you want a telescope sight on a .22 is pretty much up to you. The telescope sight on either rimfire or
centerfire rifle does make sighting and aiming easier. It does not, however, help you hold or help you control your
trigger. Sighting is only one part of good shooting and it is a mistake to assume that with a better optical system one
will automatically get better results from his rifle.

The “optical sight” has become so standard by now that it would be both foolish and futile to point out that it may
not be the answer to everything. But we should note that it is a decisive aid to marksmanship only in cases where
seeing what you are shooting at is a serious problem.

If you can see your target well and clearly, the glass offers almost nothing in the way of precision. If you can’t -as
when you are trying to hit a ground squirrel in a pile of brush- it may make all the difference. Telescope sights for
the .22 are generally made especially for this weapon. They are smaller and generally a good deal less strong than
those designed for big caliber weapons. Do not attempt to mount a sight designed for the .22 on your major caliber

It is customary to assume that the high-speed hollow-point version of the .22 rimfire cartridge is its most efficient
game-getter, and it is quite true that under certain circumstances the hollow point can be a great help. But do not
feel that if you do not have hollow-points you are ill-equipped for hunting.
In my experience these bullets only rarely open up on small game and can be forced to deform only by shooting
them into a hard substance. Either hollow or solid bullets will anchor small animals reliably if the shot is placed
well, and, conversely, a hollow point will not stop a gutshot rabbit any sooner than a solid.

The .22 pistol is an efficient game-getter when used within its limitations. It is both as powerful and as accurate (for
practical purposes) as a .22 rifle, but it is restricted in its practical accuracy by the limitations of most shooters, who
cannot shoot a pistol nearly as well as they can a rifle. A good pistol shot can keep the pot filled with his .22, but
unless he is good, he is due for considerable disappointment- not to say starvation.

The big advantage of the .22 pistol, just as it is the advantage of the centerfire pistol, is handiness. In a “retreat
situation” it is quite likely that there will be so much work to do that a man will normally not want to carry a long
gun. If he is mending a fence, or baling hay, or fishing, or repairing a roof, the .22 pistol can ride on his belt or in
his pocket, and he will be fully ready to bring down any small game that may appear close by- assuming that he is
good enough with his weapon to do that.

My personal favorite among “pot pistols” is the Walther PPK in .22 long rifle. This little piece fits neatly into the
pocket of a Mackinaw and is a good deal more accurate than I am. It has a very nice single-action trigger and it
takes up no space at all. I find that it will do anything that I need to do with a .22 pistol.

The Shotgun

The shotgun is a superlative game-getter- provided you can keep it fed. Its customary sporting use is wing shooting
on game birds, but a pot hunter is not likely to be affected by considerations of sportsmanship. The term “sitting
duck” has come down to us reflecting the ridiculous and ungenerous ease with which a bird may be killed with a
shotgun, and almost every farmhouse in pioneer America had something resembling a shotgun behind the kitchen
door most of the time. (“something resembling” implies that in the days of the musket, one weapon would normally
be used for both shot and single ball.)

The effectiveness of a shotgun on game is considerably affected by the choice of shot used, and anyone who
includes a shotgun in his retreat battery should properly stock shells in various types and sizes. Number 7½ shot has
long been considered fairly standard for general service, though people go as small as elevens for small birds such
as quail, and as large as number twos for geese and turkeys. People who contemplate shooting mainly waterfowl
will probably prefer number sixes.

Whether high velocity or “magnum” loads are desirable will depend upon the shooter, but in general the long-range
shooting for which magnum shot loads are designed is a pretty hard technique for the novice to attempt, and on
such things as rabbits, squirrels, and gallinaceous birds, standard velocity ammunition should prove perfectly
The gauge of the general purpose shotgun should probably be twelve. It is quite true that a magnum twenty will do
everything that a standard twelve will do as long as shot are employed, but if one choose the option of the single
ball in his shotgun, the power of the twelve gauge slug is much greater than that of the sixteen or the twenty.

The power of the twelve gauge single ball is impressive, and in good weapons with good sights, the reliable range
of this piece is greater than one might suspect. While I would prefer never to take a deer with any shotgun at greater
than fifty meters, it is evident from our work here at the ranch that slug performance at seventy-five or even one
hundred meters can be such as to render the chance worth taking if the situation is emergent. Much depends upon
the individual shotgun, since some print the single ball far more accurately than others.

A practical meat-getting shotgun should probably be of single barrel configuration today, if for no other reason than
cost. The double shotgun has many advantages, but the price of a good one has got so high as to make it something
of a luxury.

I have found the semi-automatic shotguns to be somewhat more reliable than the slide-actions but this notion fills
many people with dismay, and they have the right to their opinions. (I have been told that the semi-autos need to be
kept very clean in order to operate this way, but I have no comment upon this other than that I have seen the slide
actions stick more frequently than the self-loaders.)

I see no reason why a shotgun needs to be long enough to reach clear across the room. The very long barrels seen
on most shotguns may be useful in highly sophisticated clay bird competition but whether they will be useful to a
survivalist seems at least open to debate. The meat hunter is not primarily a sportsman and does not seek shots
which are so difficult as to require highly complicated equipment.

The twenty-inch barrels which are pretty standard on the rehabilitators now give excellent service on clay birds and
should do every bit is well on quail, grouse, and rabbit. This, again, is a matter of the individual weapon. Some
short shotguns throw shot very much better than others. In this regard, take particular care that a shotgun which was
originally choked has not been cut off behind the choke. Either get your twenty-inch shotgun already choked, or
rechoke it after cutting it off.


Combination guns (“Combis”) are weapons which include two or more barrels of different characteristics. These
weapons are usually found in gauges smaller than twelve in order to make the combination of barrels light enough
to be easily handled in the field.
The most prominent Combi now available in American manufacture is the Savage Model 24, which may be had
with a 3” twenty gauge bottom barrel and a .22 long rifle topside. This is an extremely crude instrument as now
sold over the counter, but we have rebuilt one to a much higher level of refinement and I am quite pleased with the

This piece as now set up offers all the efficiency one could ask from a utility .22, since the trigger has been
reworked to very acceptable characteristics. Its retractable aperture sight allows the weapon to shoot .22’s with
precision and still offer a clear deck for wing shooting. The twenty gauge three-inch gives all the oomph that is
necessary in most shotgun shooting and additionally it can use the single ball if a close shot at a deer is offered.

The twenty gauge single ball departs the muzzle with ballistics approximating those of the .44 Magnum, and while
the round ball drops off very quickly with range, it is still an acceptable deer-killer at thirty-five meters, but the fact
remains that a great many deer are taken at ranges below that.

In a pot gun we are not dealing with sport but with opportunity, and it seems to me that the twenty gauge/.22 Combi
-when properly polished up- is a very attractive meat gun for farm, ranch, or retreat. (When the experimental 24 is
fully ready to go in all respects, I will furnish this newsletter with a resume of the work done on it and the costs
thereof so that our readers may know just how much is involved. The weapon itself is quite inexpensive; the
problem is getting the custom work down to a reasonable level.)


Many books have been written about hunting rifles and many of these have been very good. It is clearly impossible
to do more than touch upon the primary aspects of the hunting rifle in a short article except to note that rifles
designed primarily for military or paramilitary purposes will usually take cartridges which are quite suitable for
game-getting. The rifles themselves may not fill the bill quite so well. Specifically, modern Phase III battle rifles
come with such dismal trigger pulls that fine work is often very hard to achieve with them.

Skill can make some difference. In our last rifle class at Gunsite, our top man in the shoot-off won with a Heckler &
Koch HK-91, and this is not the first time this has happened. A man who can shoot the 91 that well is obviously
quite capable of taking game for the pot with it, but this requires a very high order of personal skill. The cartridge of
the 91 -the .308 Winchester or 7.62 NATO- is a very good one for general use. It is only slightly less potent than
the great .30-06, which is probably the best balanced and most generally useful cartridge ever produced.
The .308 is an excellent killer of animals up to a thousand pounds in weight, when proper bullets are used, and it
will go beyond this in the right hands. It also is a very nice small game round if only head shots are taken. On body
shots, it may tear up a small animal so that it will not be useful as food.

All the major caliber military cartridges are good hunting rounds. The .30-06 and .308 are most common in
America but the corresponding items -the .303 British, the 7.62 Russian, the 7.5 Swiss, the 7.92 German, and the
universally popular 7x57- all have distinguished records as game-getters. The .30-06 is probably the best by a small
margin, but the margin is indeed small.

The foregoing does not mean that all military cartridges are good, because we now have the military sub-calibers.
This family includes the unfortunate .30 caliber US Carbine, the 7.92 Kurz, the 7.62x39, and the .223. These
reduced military loads can be used to take game but they should not be placed in the same category as the major
cartridges. The .30 Carbine in particular is a sorry performer on wildlife, and while it will kill as well as the .22
long rifle, it will not do much better. Often it will not do as well because the trigger on the .22 will probably be

I use the .223 as a meat gun but it certainly would not be my first choice. I happen to have a delicate little Sako
sporter which, using the military cartridge, makes an excellent harvester of jackrabbits. Jackrabbits shot in the ribs
with this combination are anchored every time without meat spoilage because limbs and loins are not torn by the
shot. (It is important to remember not to take a jack end-wise.) An improved version of the .223 cartridge, blown
out to .25 caliber to take the obsolete .25/20 line of bullets, might prove an excellent game-getter, but we will wait
until somebody puts that one together for sale.

Remarks made about telescope sights on .22’s apply approximately to major caliber rifles- with a couple of
exceptions. The Garand family of battle rifles does not take kindly to telescope mounting because its loading and
ejection systems work in a vertical plane. That is not to say that this problem cannot be solved- only that this
weapon was not designed for telescope sights and does not take them well.

Glass sight mountings for the HK-91 ordinarily carry the glass so high as to increase the unhandiness of an already
unhandy piece. (One can use the distance between the center of the line of sight and the bottom of the little finger of
the shooting hand as an index of comfort in using a rifle quickly. The greater the distance, the poorer the handling
qualities. Thus a high-mounted scope and a low-mounted pistol grip tend to make a weapon clumsy.)

Nonetheless a Phase II or Phase Ill battle rifle can do very well as a game-getter if that is the only choice one has.
Remember that on large animals the problem is not in seeing them, and the advantages of the telescope are often
not as apparent when hunting big game as when hunting squirrels. It is sometimes quite hard to see a squirrel or a
rabbit. It is ridiculously easy to see a moose. Thus the fact that many military-type rifles do not take readily to
telescope sights should not be seen as invalidating them as meat-getters, provided the meat comes in large portions.
If we have any choice, we will select proper hunting ammunition in the military calibers. Soft-point or other
expanding bullets are definitely superior to the hard-pointed military ammunition. Still, if military ammunition is all
that one has it should not be discarded as useless for pot shooting.

Theodore Roosevelt and Stewart White both took the military .30-06 cartridge to Africa before WWI and had
amazingly good results with it. The fact that it is illegal to use on game in most jurisdictions of the world today
does not refute those early experiences. If military hardball is all you have go ahead and use it. If you place your
bullets properly the results will be satisfactory.

To Be Continued Next Issue​- Part III: Shooting

An Apology to Jimmy Lile

by Charles Avery

Editor’s Note: Since my knowledge of custom knifemakers is limited, I did not realize how unfair it was to put
Jimmy Lile in the same category with the “problem makers” mentioned in Charles Avery’s article in the last issue.

To Jimmy Lile I owe a special apology, for he is one of the few makers whose business practices have never been
questioned. He delivers his knives on time, at the price originally quoted, and they are of fine quality. His integrity
has never been questioned.

Bob Loveless is one of the original founders of the Knifemakers Guild and one of the fathers of modern
knifemaking. N.T.

I am very embarrassed to admit I have made a rather large error. I don’t want to waste a lot of space trying to justify
it, but I do want to explain it. In my article on knifemaking, I spent a lot of time dwelling on some of the negative
aspects of knifemakers, but originally the paragraph was much longer. Space limitations required some rather
severe editing on my part; naturally I eliminated material which was unimportant or inappropriate.

Some of the inappropriate material dealt with the PERSONALITIES of makers. The editing was incomplete and I
neglected to withdraw the name of Jimmy Lile, along with the information. The resultant paragraph was changed
radically from the original and made it sound like there is something wrong with Mr. Lile’s business ethics or

Mr. Lile will admit to being outspoken and will even admit he has made some people very unhappy, but even
Jimmy’s worst enemies will grudgingly concede his BUSINESS PRACTICES ARE STRICTLY ABOVE-BOARD.

I have already apologized to Mr. Lile, but I want to set things right if I can. I not only retract what appeared to be an
attack on Jimmy Lile’s business habits, inadvertent though it was, but I offer a public apology as well. Mr. Lile’s
business practices and ethics are beyond reproach, they have to be: he has been the President of the Knifemaker’s
Guild several times.
Some people may not like his outspokenness, but that certainly doesn’t justify questioning his integrity or honesty. I
wish I had caught this earlier, but I didn’t, so I feel I owe everyone an apology, most of all Jimmy Lile. The error
was entirely mine.

Knives, Part III

by Charles Avery

Care & Accessories

The knifemakers of America would greatly appreciate it if you do some of the following to your knife when caring
for it: (1) Keep the knife as dirty as possible, preferably coated with blood, perspiration, and fruit juice. (2) Don’t
bother cleaning it to store it, just stick it in a leather sheath and forget it until you need it. (3) Use it for a
screwdriver. (4) Chop with it, but stick to hard wood, soft metal, or frozen meat and ice because anything harder
may wreck a knife! (5) Use it as a pry bar; the best results are obtained by using just the point for greater leverage.
(6) Use it as a hammer, the side of the blade is the recommended striking surface. (7) Throw it a lot. (8) Do not
waste time trying to sharpen it until it gets too dull to cut butter. (9) Since time is important, when you do sharpen
the knife don’t waste time: the fastest way is to use a dry grinding wheel; this heats the blade and makes for faster
sharpening. If you are in the field and don’t have modern conveniences, just get the most abrasive rock you can find
and go to work. (10) Order a new knife from your favorite American Knifemaker- you just ruined your last one.

The preceding was an obvious attempt at humor, but it isn’t funny! Year after year, hundreds of people ruin their
knives by doing just those things. Most modern knives are tough, but nobody’s knife will take constant abuse. In an
emergency, some very amazing things can be done with a good knife. I know two men who used their hunting
knives to arrest their fall off of a mountain by cramming the blade into a crack in the rocks. Not good for the knife,
but it is much better than falling off a mountain. The knives only received superficial damage to the finish.

A lot of men cut their way out of downed “choppers” in Vietnam without hurting their knives. I even heard of one
fellow who chopped an enemy blade in half during a fight in some forgotten piece of Vietnamese jungle. Both he
and the knife survived. I wouldn’t make a regular practice out of doing this kind of stuff, but I think it graphically
demonstrates what a well-made knife is capable of doing in even the most adverse conditions.

Caring for knives is really very easy. Knives are cutting instruments and the only thing you have to do is to keep
them sharp. When you buy a knife, it probably has the best edge it is every going to have. Don’t ever let it get dull!
This cannot be overemphasized. It is far easier to keep a knife sharp than it is to resharpen a dull one, particularly if
the blade is made out of the tough, modern super-steels like 440C or 154 CM. The long edge-holding ability of
modern steels also makes them harder to sharpen because the abrasion resistance that makes them hard to dull also
makes them resist the cutting actions of your sharpening stone.
The edge of the blade is the thinnest section of steel on your knife and any corrosive agent will naturally attack the
blade most severely at that edge. Acid (from blood, perspiration, fruit juice, and meat), salt, and water will all rust a
blade, INCLUDING ONE OF STAINLESS STEEL. The big advantage of “stainless steel” is that it resists
corrosive action much longer, but it will eventually succumb to rusting and pitting just like any other steel;
therefore, keep your knives as clean and dry as possible at ALL TIMES.

It is inviting trouble to store any knife in its sheath because leather usually contains tannic acid which causes rust
and leather does absorb moisture. Plastics will allow condensation. I have never had any knife I stored in its sheath
rust, but it is wise to do things properly. Good knife care is nothing more than common sense: keep the knife sharp,
keep it clean and dry, and don’t abuse it unnecessarily.

To keep a knife sharp, all that is necessary is one good sharpening stone of medium grit (an Arkansas soft stone).
The edge is a bit coarse from this stone, but it is serviceable for almost any purpose short of surgery or shaving. If
you want to get fancy, you can add a finer grit Washita or surgical black stone (or a razor hone can be used if you
already own one) and a leather razor strop (any smooth piece of leather will do, but the strop shows real class).

When out in the field, a bench stone is a wearisome, unnecessary burden: you may add to your list of supplies a
good pocket stone, “steel” or Crock Stick. The Crock Stick is the easiest to use and keeps a very fine edge on any
knife, but be careful with it. It is made out of a ceramic material and they do shatter when dropped or hit. The small
“sportsman’s steels” put out by Gerber and Schrade-Walden will keep the edge touched up and can double as a pry
bar and wedge, saving the knife for its intended purpose of cutting. I know the Gerber was specifically designed for
the purpose, I assume the Schrade is also.

I am not even going to attempt to explain how to sharpen a knife; it is not difficult, but it does take time to develop
the technique. Most manufacturers of sharpening equipment give excellent instructions with their products, many
knifemakers do the same, and almost every book on knives has very detailed and good advice on how to sharpen

The only advice I offer is to be very careful; more knives are ruined by improper sharpening than by any other
abuse. Practice on your kitchen cutlery to develop the skill and to keep your eye tuned: kitchen knives are cheaper
if you make a mistake and they need more sharpening because of the softer steel and constant use.

Sheaths serve the same purpose for knives that holsters serve for handguns. A sheath protects the knife (and you, if
the sheath is made right) and provides a convenient method of carrying it. On purely utilitarian knives it is pretty
hard to beat the snug-fitting pouch sheath which covers part of the handle. The knife is secure, easy to get out and
there aren’t any snaps or catches to get in the way.
For combat knives the sheath should share all of the features of a good combat holster: Full, free access to the
handle of the weapon, secure hold of the weapon, consistent and convenient location and, above all, it should allow
a fast, smooth draw. Most factories don’t give much thought to the sheaths they turn out for either type of knife and
just make something that is easy to produce which will carry the knife. In utility knives that will do, but in combat
knives it could cost you dearly.

The Gerber Company came out with their version of a quick draw sheath for their boot knife, but it rates mediocre
in my book (and quality is much lower now than originally). I designed a sheath which works much better, but it
isn’t available except as a custom-made item from Scott Hendryx of Milt Sparks’ shop and I’m not sure that he can
be convinced to make any more. He made mine as a prototype and it was designed around my Hibben slant dagger,
but it can easily be adapted to the Gerber Mark I, the Kershaw Trooper, or other similar models.

If you can’t find a maker who turns out both the knife and type of sheath you need, buy the knife you like and find a
leather worker to make you a good sheath. Of course, it never hurts to ask the maker to modify his design; he may
do it and if he doesn’t, you are no worse off for asking.

The Tactical Niche

As several of my earlier comments might have hinted, I consider knives inferior to other types of weapons in
overall combat effectiveness, particularly to handguns. The development of powerful, reliable handguns and their
widespread general availability has altered the role of the knife in combat.

As a result, the larger knives, which were an advantage in fights where both adversaries were armed with edged
weapons or single-shot pistols, are simply unnecessary today. Knives are shorter and lighter than they have been in
the past because of the overwhelming preference most people have for handguns in close-quarters combat. If you
KNEW you were going into a fight, which would you choose? The gun or the knife?

Knives are excellent weapons for the other people to choose because they make it much easier for those of us who
carry guns to win. If I decide I need a really good knife to fight with, I try to figure out how to carry a gun. This
kind of clear-headed thinking has brought about a change in the tactical niche of knives in combat.

A knife is strictly a hand-to-hand weapon, meaning that you must be approximately within arms’ length to use it;
you could throw it, but that is a foolish gambit. To warn your opponent you are armed with a weapon of such
limited range may encourage him to use any superior weapons he has, such as a big-bore pistol.

Conversely, by fostering and reinforcing the idea that you are unarmed, your antagonist may be lulled into a feeling
of security and take chances not normal when facing an armed man (or woman). A friend of mine used this very
tactic in the Battle of the Bulge (WWII) to capture a German soldier. The German never saw the axe my friend
carried in preference to the knife for hand-to-hand. The German later admitted trying to overpower and take my
friend captive because my friend was rather small and appeared unarmed.
My friend, by the way, carried a .45 caliber Thompson SMG, a .45 auto, a 9mm Browning Hi-Power (a
concealment gun), the modified roofer’s axe I just mentioned, and a knife. That was his order of preference after
three years in combat, during which he used all of the weapons for their intended purpose.

Everyone I know who has used knives as serious weapons seems to agree that a knife works much better if it is a
surprise, even if the opponent is unarmed: several have had some very close calls because they used to think
otherwise. Your chances of being disarmed are greatly reduced if your opponent doesn’t realize you are armed until
it is too late. The knife should be totally unobtrusive, yet instantly available.

Obviously the knife is far inferior to a big-bore handgun for most defensive purposes, but special circumstances
may require a much lighter, more concealable weapon than the smallest of handguns. Such circumstances are quite
rare and mere inconvenience should not be considered a valid reason for limiting your defensive capability.

Routinely I used to carry a four-inch boot knife on long runs where even the 29 ounces of my Detonics .45 was
causing my spine to misalign, resulting in enough pain to make me reconsider carrying my pet equalizers while

Summer heat may preclude wearing enough clothing to be armed during exercise and certain social events; but in
the fall and winter, a lightweight snubby in the pocket of a sweatshirt or jacket would serve much better than my
boot knife, especially now that the Colt, Detonics, and Star lightweight .45’s and the Charter Arms .44 Specials are

Some people ​WILL carry a knife, but ​WON’T carry a gun. For years, my wife absolutely refused to carry a gun, for
reasons unknown to me. She would carry my modified Gerber Mark I, so I let well enough alone and preserved
domestic tranquility by letting her keep it. Besides it gave me a much needed excuse to buy a custom boot knife I
had my eye on.

However, with the birth of our daughter and our subsequent move back to the urban coast, my wife, of her own
volition and with only a little prompting from me, has applied for a concealed weapons permit and will take my
favorite .45 to carry as soon as the red tape clears. Now I can buy a new one.

Also, in our jurisdiction you may legally carry a gun with the proper paperwork but any knife is illegal if it is over
three inches long. Many jurisdictions have similar laws.

As far as actual fighting is concerned, the knife is best relegated to hand-to-hand confrontations where the enemy is
unarmed and you have no other weapon available. In modern times, too much is being made of the knife as a
combat weapon, sadly overlooking its amazing versatility as a tool of survival. If it can function as a passing fair
weapon, so much the better.
Harv Draper makes his living by making knives, but his attitude is “I’ll make whatever you fellas want, but you
guys use them: I’ve got my guns.” He spends a great deal of time in the Utah wilderness and he also told me on my
last visit when we were discussing a chapter in my book: “If I could have only one weapon to survive with, it would
be a good knife.

A gun is a better weapon, but after you kill the deer how are you going to eat it? They haven’t got zippers you
know.” Then, just for kicks we designed a .45 sight that had a gut-hook built in. Harv’s point is an excellent one,

Fortunately, we not restricted to one implement and anyone who spends or plans to spend any amount of time in the
field would be foolish not to carry a good, dependable knife of his or her choice, as well as any other equipment the
foray might require.

Why Survival?
by Eugene A. Barron

Editor’s Note: “[Treasury Secretary] Regan said yesterday the president now believes that what the American
people really wanted was an end to inflation, and a reduction in interest rates, with the balancing of the budget as
the third priority.”
San Francisco Chronicle. 11/7/81

If you’re like I am, you read and hear so much news that you tend to lose sight of the big picture, so when I read the
bit of idiocy above (How in the world can you end inflation without balancing the budget? You cannot put one
ahead of the other.), I decided to run an article presenting an overview of this country’s problems. It now seems
apparent that however much President Reagan may want to correct the economic ills of this country, he is not
going to succeed nor are our other long-term problems going to vanish simply because he is in office.

Eugene A. Barron has an MBA from the Wharton Graduate Division of the University of Pennsylvania in
economics and finance, and is an astute student of economic trends and foreign affairs. He specializes in bailing
companies out of their financial troubles and turning them into viable operations. In this capacity, he has seen, first
hand, the crippling effects that government policies of the last 20 years have had on small business, the economic
backbone of this country.
He wrote the following carefully researched article hoping that it will help you better prepare for the difficult years
ahead. Some of you may find the material on economics technical and hard to follow and, if so, you will find good
background information in Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson (Laissez Faire, 206 Mercer Street, New York,
NY 10012. $4.95 plus $1.50 shipping and handling) N.T.

Our country is facing four major dilemmas: climate and food supply; increasing crime, urban terrorism, and racial
conflict; thermonuclear holocaust; and economic collapse.

The period of 1945-1979 was the most beneficent from a weather standpoint in recorded history. During this
35-year span, there were fewer droughts, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, typhoons, tidal waves,
blizzards, and like, than the historical average. In the early months of 1980, the world entered an extended period of
harsher weather, shifting in the short-term to a drier and colder environment, and in the long-term to a much higher
incidence of disruptive incidents in this country.

Many do not realize that providential rains in the summer of 1981 saved a faltering grain crop in the Great Plains,
or that the subsoil moisture levels on this prairie are at their lowest ever, including the famous “dust bowl” 1930’s.
Some 96.8% of the wheat farms are irrigated, while those that do pump from the huge Ogallala aquifer are now
pulling from more than 2500 feet, compared to 250 feet fifteen years ago. (The progressive depletion of this and
other major water sources, as well as the pollution of many aquifers is another long-term problem.) The possibility
of a major grain crop failure in this country in the wake of a dry winter and spring is very real.

There are only four nations that produce substantially more grain and meat than they consume: the United States,
Canada, Argentina, and Australia. This past twelve months, the latter two countries have undergone the worst
droughts in their histories and have been unable to export significant amounts of grain and meat (remember the
Australian horse-meat substitute for beef?).

Grain shipments have been resumed to the USSR, which has had a shortfall of more than 35 million metric tons this
year; meanwhile, China has suffered four very debilitating floods, preventing planting of a large part of her rice
crop, and washing away another portion of growing plants. China will have a food shortfall this year. A famine is
underway in the African Sahal area, with people dying of starvation daily, while another inadequate harvest is
forecast for Russia in 1982.

Given even an average grain crop, the options facing this country are not pleasant. Do we continue shipping grain
to Russia, which will have an even poorer crop than originally expected? Do we ship grain to China to prevent a
desperation invasion of another country for food? Do we do the humanitarian deed and ship free food to the Sahal?
And what of our client states, those who have built up huge surplus populations on free American grain: Egypt,
India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan? Do we continue to support these people at US taxpayers’ expense? If we do all of
this, what about the ensuing dramatic price increases for food in our own country? What about the possibility of
food rationing while we help out other nations, many of whom are our sworn enemies? What, then, is the potential
for food riots and the like?

It is no secret that violent crime is increasing substantially in this country, fostered by lack of severe punishment for
criminals committing felonious assault on their victims. Even when caught and sentenced, hardened criminals laugh
at the “soft” prisons where they are incarcerated. In addition to short sentences, prisoners are often removed well
before their earliest parole availability to make room for those convicted of even more heinous crimes.

With the present permissive attitude and crowded court calendars, plea bargaining and absurdly short prison
sentences, as well as the laws relating to juveniles, the outlook is for an increase in violent crime from a growing
professional class of criminals and you can expect inner city crime to migrate to the suburbs in the near future.
Most of these criminals are the products of our permissive non-teaching schools and have no capacity for gainful

These same schools have turned out a well-educated group of terrorists, uniformly from the upper levels of society,
as in Europe and Latin America. Dissatisfied with the pace of social progress, these young revolutionaries will
continue to wreak random havoc by bombings and the like to achieve “social justice”. As the economic situation
worsens, you can anticipate more episodes of the Symbionese Liberation Army type.

The riots that plagued England this past summer were a foretaste of what to expect in the US in the summer of
1982. One disturbing trend observed in England was the emergence of what can only be termed riot coordinators,
who managed activities via a radio network and provided weapons, including ready-made bombs, to the activists.
Police evidence links this to a well-organized international terrorist network, backed by the PLO and the Cuban
DGI, and funded directly by the KGB.

Never having experienced the terrorist activities common in many parts of the world, this country is remarkably
complacent about the vulnerability of potential targets to attack. Information from abroad indicates that a major
effort will be mounted against the Americas in the coming months, with special attention given to the US. Particular
targets appear to be power plants, especially nuclear generators. In addition, look for more attempted assassinations.

Racial war is looming just below the surface in this country, according to many observers in the Federal
Government. Last summer five major US cities were targeted for racial strife by the outlawed terrorist Black
Liberation Army: New York City, Atlanta, Miami (again), New Orleans, and Houston. The expected riots never

According to my source, the very open and obvious preparations of the police departments in these cities, which
had been warned by a major Federal agency to expect trouble, headed off the anticipated strife. Word was sent back
to agitators that violence would be met with violence.
Can this threat continue to forestall an outbreak of non-white demonstrations and riots? What of the increasing
numbers of whites, many of whom have been displaced in their jobs by non-whites, joining the KKK and the
American Nazi Party in response to affirmative action programs? As economic conditions worsen, the potential for
real trouble heightens.

The purpose of the planned terrorism is manyfold. First, it will bring home to the American people that no one is
safe from planned violence. Second, it is intended to make Americans “share the pain of the world’s victims and

Third, and most important, it will lead to laws and regulations restricting the freedom of the citizens of this country.
As crime and terrorism increase, look for more restrictive and ineffectual laws attempting to combat the problems:
limitations on gun ownership, search and seizure without court orders, restrictions on travel and the use of large
cash amounts, and the like. The end result will be a move toward the start of a police state.

Anyone who questions Soviet aims has only to compare the map of the world in May, 1945, with today’s version to
see the communist gains. You may also read the constitutions of the USSR and Communist China to reassure
yourself that this country is considered the major enemy of both. The Chinese make no pretense in their “alliance”
with us of doing anything but following Lenin’s teachings in joining with the weaker of two enemies to overthrow
the stronger, then turning on the former ally.

Viewed in the light of harsh reality, our recent exports of technology to China are suicidal, as have been our exports
of food and technology to Russia. Moreover, all of these “sales” have been on credit, financed by US taxpayers
with no reasonable expectation of repayment. In addition to providing our enemies the wherewithal with which to
attack us, we have provided the props for their failing economies at our expense.

The Soviet Union adopted a three-option plan for world domination some ten years ago. Plan A involves two parts:
the invasion of the Persian Gulf area by conquering or subverting Iran, and the takeover of South Africa by a black
Marxist government. The current Soviet presence in Afghanistan permits an easy move by tanks through open
country to the Straits of Hormuz in less than three days; from the Russian border an attack through the mountain
passes would be very difficult.

(A side benefit of the Afghanistan presence is the possible elimination of Pakistan, a Chinese ally, possibly with a
simultaneous attack by India, and the establishment of an “independent” state of Baluchistan, giving Russia the
warm-water port she has always wanted from the time of Peter the Great.) Once the Persian Gulf is occupied by the
USSR, the independent Emirates would cooperate with limiting shipments of crude oil as directed by the Politburo.
Shipments to the US would be suspended, but they only amount to about 11% of American consumption. However,
many NATO allies receive the major part of their crude oil from this region, and could easily be blackmailed out of
NATO. In this regard, the carefully orchestrated anti-neutron bomb hysteria and resultant anti-American feeling in
Europe could be easily exploited.

The other part of the plan is to complete the turnover of South Africa to the hands of a black nationalist government
inimical to the US, shutting off 23 strategic minerals absolutely necessary for the conduct of modern industry. The
absence of titanium, vanadium, tungsten, cobalt, the platinum group metals, and the like would mean that this
country could not produce automotive products, aircraft, electronics equipment- in short, all of the sophisticated
output of our highly technological society.

The American economy would wind down without a shot being fired, as the only alternative source of supply of
these strategic metals would be Russia herself. By destabilizing Iran through engineering the fall of the Shah, and
by our continuing attacks on South Africa’s racial policy, and our continuing refusal to support that country against
communist-sponsored guerrilla attacks, we are helping dig our own graves. With the loss of Anwar Sadat in Egypt,
the potential for increased and spreading violence in the Mideast is greatly enhanced.

Plan B is simple: the Russians and their allies start moving west from the Warsaw Pact nations. This possibility is
in abeyance for the time being until the Polish situation is solved to the satisfaction of the masters in the Kremlin.
However, the plan calls for the occupation of all major Western democracies on the European continent by an
overwhelming force of conventional arms. Special regiments of Russians are thoroughly trained in the operation of
every major European city. If the US or UK tried to intervene, they would be threatened with nuclear rocket attacks.

With the satellites and minorities within the USSR growing increasingly restive, the possibility of some sort of
Russian military move becomes more probable. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, East Germany, Hungary, the Ukraine,
and other minority states within the Communist monolith are starting to ape the Polish example. The only factor
that prevented an invasion of Poland over the Labor Day weekend was the last-minute discovery by the Russians
that the vast majority of the Polish Army would fight the invaders to the last man.

The Soviet Army has done a superb job of removing fuel supplies from Polish aircraft and tanks, and has limited
severely the ability of elements of the Polish Army to communicate with one another by taking over all
communications within Poland. How long the leading Communist state will wait before the “pacification” of
Poland is a mystery.

So long as the Solidarity trade union movement continues to preach fundamentally anti-communist doctrines, and
urge their export to other communist nations, the problem will fester. The germ of freedom is spreading, putting
great pressure on the Politburo to act. To wait for spring, some six months, could well lead to major revolts within
the Communist empire.
One possible Russian solution is to move into Poland simultaneously from east and west, and possibly “make an
example” that would terrify the rest of Europe into submission and acquiescence to Soviet wishes. The US would
be powerless to intervene, given our vast inferiority in personnel, the level of Soviet training, and the amount and
quality of conventional Soviet equipment.

The progressive disarmament of the United States vis-a-vis the Soviet Union’s military buildup over the past 20
years is now evident. (Under Robert McNamara, more US planes, ships, missiles, and personnel were
decommissioned than could have been lost in an anticipated Soviet first strike. This is a standard comment from US
and Allied military planners. Recently, Army Major General Robert Schweitzer was dismissed for stating the
degree of Soviet military superiority over the US, and his belief that the Soviet Union would strike militarily.

The continuing sale of high-technology to the Russian superstate is likewise coming home to roost. The world’s
most advanced American-made fiber-optic system of telephoning now links the Soviet anti-ballistic missile system
(built in breach of the SALT I agreement). One of the newest Russian missiles has a guidance system partially
manufactured by a leading US firm.

Thus the possibility exists that a deliberately brutal act in Poland would provoke concomitantly in Europe, a
revulsion against Russian use of terror and a willingness to be “Finlandized”. The prospects of this country
remaining basically alone in facing the Russian Bear are not totally a figment of imagination.

Plan C is nuclear warfare. Unlike the majority of people in this country, as well as most of its leaders, the Russians
do not view a thermonuclear exchange as unthinkable, especially if they initiate it. With a known 11-to-1
superiority in megatonnage, the advantage of a first strike (we have publicly announced that we will not fire first)
and its attendant evacuation preparations, the world’s best civil defense system, and above all, ​a plan for
thermonuclear warfare, the chances of a successful prosecution of such an attack by the masters of the Kremlin are
very high.

Dispassionate experts state that an atomic war would cost the Russians between 12 and 20 million casualties and a
loss of about 15% of industrial capacity. Because the US lacks a civil defense program, its losses would be about
100 million initially and another possible 100 million subsequently from disease, injury, radioactivity, and/or lack
of water, food, and medical assistance. Known Russian target procedures would insure that no less than 85% of
major US industrial capacity would be destroyed.

It is plain that the consequent nuclear blackmail capability of the USSR, with its fine civil defense program, is
substantial. Thus an open, ​or even concealed surrender to Russia is a real possibility; the seeds of “détente” have
borne fruit.

Those who place their faith in treaties with the Russians should remember this: since World War II the Russians
have signed 52 major treaties. They have broken one or more clauses in 50 of the 52, including SALT I. It should
be noted that the Soviet Union employs the world’s two largest spy networks, the KGB and the GRU.

The economic outlook in this country, the fourth main dilemma facing us, is as grim as the other three. The Federal
government is currently spending in excess of $900 billion per year, or about 35% of the GNP, including
“off-budget” expenditures and deferred pension obligations. Tax collections will offset some $543 billion; another
$154 billion will be deficit-financed by money creation.
This $154 billion is the true unified budget deficit for fiscal 1981, according to Larry A. Kudlow, assistant to David
Stockman, and is equal to more than 75% of all national savings for investment; ten years before, the comparable
deficit was less than 20% of national savings for investment and less than 4% 20 years ago. The public is kept from
knowing the true extent of the deficit by the government’s habit of pushing expenditures into the “off-budget”
category; for fiscal 1982, for example, Treasury Secretary Regan cavalierly removed $3 billion planned expenditure
to fund the anticipated petroleum reserve storage program from the national income budget (where it is reported)
and transferred it to off-budget in order to keep the expected announced “budget” deficit as low as possible.

In addition, when a government department overspends its allocation, Congress votes a supplemental appropriation
and uses some cute bookkeeping to hide the fact. The remaining $200 billion for future obligations will be paid out
of future money creation. It should be noted that these future obligations now total in excess of $10 trillion, as of
January 1, 1981, according to the National Taxpayers Union, and are growing far faster than the better-known
“National Debt”. The total unified budget debt for fiscal 1982 is expected to exceed $200 billion.

The budget is not the only place where games are played with numbers. The measure of money is bewildering, with
definitions of M1A, M1B, M2, M3 and L. For example, if one uses the narrow definition of M1A, which does not
include NOW accounts, the money supply has actually been declining since November, 1980, while M1B, which
includes NOW accounts, shows an increase of 4.2% compounded annually. For the same period, M2 shows an
11.9% increase, while L shows a 13.8% increase.

This is part of the obfuscation factor utilized to prevent all but the best-trained and best-informed, not to say the
most persistent, from finding out just how bad things really are. Other statistics, such as the Consumer Price Index,
are revised regularly to prevent any meaningful comparisons.

The impacts of continued inflation are many. When money no longer has a relatively fixed, dependable value, then
consumer and investment behavior must change. As inflationary expectations rise, consumers are less eager to hold
onto funds and to deposit them in low-yield savings accounts; this has been the continuing problem with Savings &
Loan Associations, which have seen a steady transfer of wealth from lenders to borrowers.

The wise consumer borrows, if he can, below the inflation rate, and pays with depreciated dollars. Barter becomes
more widespread, especially in one-on-one situations, to remove one from the reported income and its high level of
taxation, as well as to insure value received. Hard goods are hoarded against the day they will be too expensive or

This adds to consumer demand artificially and stimulates the economy even more. As the inflation rate worsens, a
frenzy of spending erupts as people get rid of rapidly depreciating currency for something of stable value. The
velocity of money spending thus increases, producing hyperinflation and guaranteed destruction of the currency.

When money starts losing its value, then normal investment patterns are changed. Behavior moves towards one of
two extremes, either outright gambling in speculation or the guaranteed safety of high-yield securities, since a loss
might preclude the possibility of recouping capital under conditions of high taxation.
Thus, one can observe major financial movements into Government bonds, tax-free municipals, and the
commodities market. The major losers are those industries that could normally anticipate investment capital. A hard
look at this country’s aging plants and equipment, on the one hand, and lack of research and development and
funding of new products, on the other, bears witness to this.

In addition, at high levels of taxation and inflation, the effort spent avoiding taxes is more productive than the effort
spent generating more income. Thus a great deal of nonproductive time and money are expended in this direction,
with the economy of the country the loser. A further insidious effect of inflation is the destruction of the long-term
corporate bond markets as the result of “crowding out” by government securities.

Given a choice between the best corporate bond and a US Government bond, the buyer will select the Government
security because “the Government won’t go broke, and the company, even AT&T, might”. This forces corporations
into the short-term securities markets, bank loans, and commercial paper to obtain any type of financing.

The resulting short-term, high-rate situation introduces a significant element of instability into corporate capital
structures. Commercial paper and bankers acceptances from financially weak companies back the majority of
money market certificates, totaling more than $163 billion. The possibility of a collapse of this high-yield financing
is very great in the near future.

A look at the present national economic situation is a demonstration of what happens when the natural market
forces are interfered with over an extended period of time with no chance for normal corrections: the eventual price
to be paid will be very high. At present the average person in this country works 35.5% of the time just to pay taxes
(Tax Foundation, Inc.). Has rapid debt creation slowed down? No.

From the first of the year to mid-year, outstanding indebtedness, both public and private (excluding forward
pension obligations), increased by $125 billion, and by $115 billion in the next three months. The economy is
balanced on a knife-edge, with acute illiquidity at all levels when interest rates are high​1​, and inflation fears and
international attacks on the dollar when rates are low. Interest expenses now take 45% of corporate pre-tax profits,
compared with 14% 20 years ago.

Not only must the Government roll over $100 billion per month at interest rates 2-3 times the original issue price
for the next five years, it must also find $130 billion additional for itself and other financial institutions in the next
90 days ($40 billion alone for the Government). Rates will no doubt be forced down by reserve injections until this
funding is accomplished, also providing some relief for Savings & Loans on rates.
Government financing requirements have flowed over into the short-term markets to such an extent that some high
rates for T-bills have been paid, upwards of 16 ¼%. The average maturity on Government debt is now only 3.8
years and the average yield in excess of 11%. Debt service cost for the government in the current fiscal year must
be substantially larger than for 1981.

In the private sector, housing and automobile sales, both heavily dependent upon low-rate financing, are at the
lowest levels in 35 and 23 years respectively. Consumers are redeeming low-yield “E” bonds at a rate of $300-$400
million per month. Foreign central banks, who once bought US securities to support their large holdings of
Government bonds, are now dumping them to purchase and support their own currencies, which are weak due to
the high interest rates in the US pulling the “hot money” (in search of maximum safe yield) over here.

At the same time, the $28 billion borrowed from US banks by Poland has been renewed with unpaid back interest
included; another $85 billion is owed by the USSR; and $58 billion by its other satellites. None of these loans can
be expected to be repaid, nor can any of the estimated $550 billion owed by Third World nations, and all are
guaranteed by the US Government (the US taxpayers). If this cascade of defaults hits the international monetary
markets, it will destroy the world money system.

Domestically, corporate debts overall have tripled, while the capacity to repay them has only doubled. On the
corporate front, debt service as a percent of total corporate funds has increased over the past 20 years from 8.6% to
14.4%, and cash as a percentage of current liabilities has declined from 35% to 15-16%.

The much-heralded tax cut gives the median taxpayer a total reduction of only 7 ½% over a three-year period, less
than the anticipated increase of FICA charges for the same time span. Further, the tax-indexing feature has been
delayed until 1985, and could well be more than offset by added consumption excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco,
telephone calls, automobiles, and tires, euphemistically called “user charges” by the Administration.

In addition, the possibility of a national sales tax is being explored as an offset to heavy planned added annual
military outlays into the indefinite future. Furthermore, substantial annual increases in social security payments will
be insufficient to keep that program from insolvency, as beneficiaries and benefits increase and the number of
contributors remain limited. If you are under the age of 60, do not plan on receiving any worthwhile social security

In evaluating where 20 years of runaway social programs (from 28% of the 1971 budget to 52% of the 1981 budget,
and 96% of the total Government cost increase for the same period), Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) has
prepared a table showing the results of ten years on a non-gold-backed currency: prices up 137%, money supply up
271%, bankruptcies up 77%, unemployment up 24%, savings down 37%, and real wages down 14%.
Real, uninflated wages peaked in 1972, and the percentage of working wives has more than tripled in the same
period; women interviewed overwhelmingly stated that their reason for working was to maintain the family
standard of living. In 1980 the average American family’s uninflated real income fell 5½%, the largest drop in the
33 years of government record keeping.

The politicians are well aware of the problem, have passed, and are trying to enact, a great deal of emergency
legislation to prevent a collapse of the nation’s economic system. Public Law 96-221, passed on March 30, 1980,
has many emergency provisions and is basically an engine of hyperinflation to vent a money panic.

HR 4603 is intended to bail out the sick 67% of the 7,500 Savings & Loans in the country, which have lost more
than $1.5 billion in operations in the first half of 1981, while HR 4628 is intended
​ to print currency on one side by
engraving, leaving the other side blank (so it is not considered currency) to be printed locally on short notice at
Federal Reserve locations, by ordinary printing methods, to fund expected bank runs.

This was the same procedure used in the German hyperinflation of 1923, and parallels the coating of copper with
silver for debased coinage in the third century AD in Rome just before its fall.

The Reagan-Regan-Volcker inflation fight ended as of November 1, 1981. The discount rate has been reduced and
the basic money supply has jumped. At the same time, however, expect to hear much talk about fighting inflation,
but that is all that it will be- just talk. The bill for nearly half a century of living on borrowed money is coming due
with a vengeance.

Anticipate lower economic expectations in real (non-inflated) dollars, liquidity problems at all levels, unrealistic
budgets at all private and public levels, a lowered standard of living for everyone, less Government services, and
lowered economic expectations. Look for wage and price controls, which will be totally ineffective except to create
shortages and black markets. Expect foreign exchange controls to lock capital in this country where it can be taxed
out of existence

What is the answer? A return to the gold and silver standard might be a start, but it will be fought bitterly by our
free-spending Congress. After all, the ingrained habits of 48 ½ years do not die easily, especially in an economy
where 71 million producers pay for largesse to 81 million voting drones, the direct or indirect beneficiaries of Big

There is no magic in gold or silver; their virtue lies in the fact that they are relatively rare in nature, have been
accepted automatically as intrinsically valuable in all societies where they have been available, and, most important
of all, their supply cannot be increased at a rate exceeding 2-3% per year. That is the discipline of a precious metals
monetary system: it is inflation-proof.
Wherever a 100%-backed currency has been extant, there has been no inflation and general prosperity for extended
periods. Fractional backing will not do, as the Congress will just continue to reduce the backing percentage until it
falls to zero again.

For yourself in the coming period, have a minimum supply of precious metal bullion coins and stand by your
inflation hedges. We are headed for an inflationary depression, with prices jumping while the economy declines. Be

What protective steps should you take? Fortunately, those precautions for the worst possible event, thermonuclear
war, will serve you well in the event of lesser problems. Try to locate at least three hundred miles from a major
center of population a retreat, part- if not full-time. At the initiation of any problem period, move away from a
major urban site as rapidly as possible. (This will be of limited utility in the event of a Soviet missile attack.

Russian tactics call for complete surprise before launch, even to a seeming back-down. Read ​Soviet Strategy for
Nuclear Warfare​, by Douglass and Hoeber, Hoover Institute Press, Stanford University, Stanford, CA $5.95 and
postage.) Probably 20-30 minutes is the maximum warning you can anticipate in an all-out nuclear attack. And
don’t put too much faith on areas supposed to be “safe” from fallout or a direct blast.

There have never been instances of ICBM’s fired seriously, so no one can predict how accurate they are under
combat conditions. Nor is anyone expert enough to surmise where missiles passing through a layer of
electromagnetic pulse (EMP) will land, but the best guess is that they can be as much as 10% off course, or 600
miles. No area is safe, not even upper California and lower Oregon.

Make a substantial supply of stored food the basis of your program (see Bill’s Food Box in Issue No. 1). Purchase
weapons for self-defense, and learn to use them. Build a fallout shelter, even if it is in your basement. Insure a
minimum 60-day supply of water. Have adequate lighting for emergencies: flashlights and power generators. Be
sure you have air filters capable of sub-micron effectiveness. And don’t neglect sanitation problems.

If you are in a sophisticated business, learn a trade that will feed you in a more primitive society. Learn how to
operate and repair mechanical devices. Put your assets in non-paper form, whether food, weapons, tools, seed, or
precious metal coins. Read voluminously on survival topics.
Above all, don’t trust the government at any level. Expect to be lied to and manipulated. Learn of alternative
sources of information that will tell you what is really going on in the world and this country. Read the Daily News
Digest, P.O. Box 39850, Phoenix, AZ 85069. Support Representative Ron Paul, R-Texas, the friend of the taxpayer,
in his legislation.

You probably have, at best, no more than a few years before at least one of these major unpleasant consequences of
our collective folly comes to pass. Prepare yourself and your family as best you can. What is coming is not pretty,
but you can handle it. Survivalists are the true optimists. They do not have their heads in the sand; they will survive,
and so can you.

All government entities, companies, financial institutions, and individuals show the lowest level of liquidity ever
recorded, including the period of the Great Depression.
Small parcels of food producing land should be good investments- if you know how to make the land produce.

Emergency Showers
by Janet Groene

Every morning you step into the shower, turn on a tap of limitless water, and dial up the temperature you want.
What if the water mains or well ran dry? There was no gas or electricity? Both? I’ve tried to imagine many different
situations and find a way to bathe during any of them.

Probably the first thing to go will be your electric water heater, but that can be replaced with solar heat or one of the
wood-fired water heaters from Mexico. A greater problem, however, is ​delivering the water in shower form after
your pressure water system no longer works or after you’ve had to evacuate to some shelter other than your home.

In any survival situation, personal hygiene is as important to your health as good nutrition, and the psychological
lift of a shower is important too. During the years we lived aboard a sailboat on which our 40-gallon water supply
sometimes had to last 40 days, we never went without a daily wash. All it takes is some ingenuity, some equipment,
and making sure that everyone in the family understands the importance of water conservation.
Too many survivalists, I feel, look to the well pump and the wood stove as infinite resources, but I am more wary.
No plumbed-in water heater will be usable on the day your pressure water stops either through city disruption or
pump failure. And how much wood will you be able to burn to make lush gallons of hot bath water after (a) there is
no longer fuel for the chain saw, or (b) wood supplies get scarce in your area, or (c) you do not want a telltale trail
of woodsmoke leading strangers to your home? What about shelter living, when you’ll have limited water and/or
limited drainage?

So let’s talk about ways to heat water and create a shower flow. Basically it is best to depend on showers rather
than baths because they use less water, and all water that touches your body is new. Traditional “navy” showers
happen in two stages. Rinse a little to wet yourself. Then turn off the water, soap thoroughly, and then turn on the
water again for a rinse. A good rinse is as important as a good wash, because soap residue can be irritating. Here are
some ways you can have a shower on as little as a quart of water per person.

A garden sprayer.​ Don’t use one which has ever been used for poisons because the residue clings. With such a
sprayer, you pump up a head of pressure, set the nozzle for the desired spray, and have a satisfying, telephone-style
shower. If the sprayer is painted black, it can be set in a sunny window to warm, or you can fill the reservoir with
water heated on any stove.

The advantage to this shower, and others listed below, is that they operate separate from other plumbing. If
necessary, you can fill them with salt, brackish, or polluted water without using drinking water supplies. The
advantage to any portable shower is that you can bathe close to the stove in heat-short times, or close to the water
source if you have to scavenge for water.

Commercial devices.​ Visit camping suppliers and marine stores, where you’ll find various shower gimmicks. One
which works over the short term is called the Sun Shower. It’s just a dark plastic bag with a shower head. Hang it in
the sun to heat, or fill it with stove-heated water. Eventually, though, the plastic begins to break down. One source
for the Sun Shower is E&B Marine Supply, 150 Jackson Ave., P.O. Box 747, Ediston, NJ 08817, (201) 442-3940.
The Shower is under $15.

While the Sun Shower depends on gravity feed, meaning that you have to find a place to hang it, the Water Caddy
makes its own pressure. It’s a big, rubbery bubble which heats quickly when set in the sun. When you turn on the
shower head, the flexible material “gives”, providing pressure water. This one must be filled from a faucet, or via
the optional pump. It’s made by Pressurized Products, 195 E. High St., Somerville, NJ 08876.

Inflatable swimming pools.​ Babies and toddlers don’t take well to showering, but in a water-short situation you may
not be able to fill the tub. Buy the smallest size inflatable wading pool (mine is only 36 inches in diameter). It costs
only a dollar or two, has soft sides so a child won’t be injured, and it folds away to kerchief size when it’s not
Homemade showers​. A one-time shower can be made from a dark plastic trash bag. Since the bag can still be used
for trash, it hasn’t been wasted. The other advantage to this disposable shower is that you can heat all the water at
once but use it only in stages. Buy heavy-duty bags. Fill one with as much water as it appears to hold without
danger of splitting, and hang it from a high limb or other perch in the sun.

Assemble all your showering gear, then stand under the water bag and punch it quickly four or five times, an inch
or two below the top water level, with an ice pick. You’ll have a shower spray until the water reaches that level,
then the water stops. Soap up, and then punch more holes for a rinse. When the water stops, it’s time for the next
person. The last of the water does not come through until the very bottom of the bag is punctured.

You can also make a cheap, homemade shower from a plastic bottle, preferably a gallon or half-gallon size. The
darker the color, the faster water will heat in the sun, so save dark red or blue detergent bottles. Punch several holes
in the cap, sit the bottle in the sun until the water is the right temperature, then hang it upside down to shower you.

Alternate Water Heaters

In these energy-conscious times, a number of at-source, demand, and alternate-fuel water heaters have come on the
market. One of them may be right for your situation, especially if you have a water tower and will be assured of
pressure flow even if your electric pump or city mains fail. The Blindado Tankless Water Heater (Orlando
Enterprise, 1874 SW 16​th​ Terrace, Miami, FL 33145) installs on the cold water faucet and works on 110v or 220v.

The company also makes a water-heating shower head. In-line water heaters install right on your water pipes, at
the faucet, and heat water only on demand. One source is Chronomite Laboratories, 21011 S. Figuera St., Carson,
CA 90745. Wall-mounted LP gas water heaters are used commonly in Europe. You light the tank only when hot
water is needed.

Sources include Main Gas Appliances Ltd., Angel Rd., Edmonton, London N18 3HL; the Kiley Company, 25
Valley Dr., Cos Cob, CT 06830; and some larger marine suppliers or motorhome outlets. Wood-fired Agua Heaters
are available in three sizes including one which is called portable (45 lbs.; firebox 10” diameter x 18” high). The
company also offers a fuel oil attachment. Address: Agua heater, P.O. Box 815, Clark, CO 80428.

Salt or Brackish Water

There may be times when all water has to be reserved for consumption and you have to shower in water from the
sea, from brackish streams, or from hard-water wells. Most bar soaps do not lather in such water, but you can get
lavish suds from dishwashing detergents and liquid soaps.
My favorite salt water wash is shampoo concentrate, because a little goes a long way and the tubes are easy to
handle. When you’re bathing or shampooing in the sea, spend plenty of time rinsing because it takes time to get all
the lather out. If you can spare any fresh water at all, rinse with it. If not, towel off at once because, if you air dry,
salt residue stays on your skin and makes you feel sticky.

Be equally careful of any sea water that must be carried into your home- to flush toilets during a water emergency,
for instance. Sea water is extremely corrosive, will rust everything it touches, and will leave salt deposits in
carpeting and clothing.

Survival Gunsmithing- Savage Model 24 Rifle/Shotgun

by J.B. Wood

There is no absolutely ideal survival gun, but the Savage Model 24 comes very close. It’s available in several
sub-models, including close relatives with 12 gauge and .222 or .308 barrel combinations. The one usually chosen
for survival use, though, is the .22 long rifle or magnum over a 20 gauge shotgun barrel.

The Model 24-series guns began in 1938 as the Stevens “22-.410”, and that form was made until 1950. On these
early guns, the change switch to fire the rifle or shotgun barrel is a vertically sliding selector on the right side of the
receiver, internally moving a transfer plate which alternately contacts the two firing pins. On very early guns, the
selector button is retained by a screw, while later buttons are held on the gun by the positioning plunger.

These selector systems are long obsolete, and replacements for any lost or broken parts are difficult to find. If you
have one of these early guns, it’s worth noting that the old selector assembly can be replaced by just substituting the
current-production hammer, which has a selector lever as an integral assembly.

I’m assuming that most readers will have guns of recent production, so the information that follows will apply to
those, the Model 24, 24C, 24D Series M, and so on. A basic list for the Model 24 guns would include the following:
upper firing pin, return spring, and retaining screw; lower firing pin, return spring, and retaining screw; lower
ejector, ejector lever, and spring; hammer, complete (with selector system).

Considering the low cost of the firing pins, and their importance, it would be a good idea to have more than one
spare of each. It should be noted that the two firing pins are not interchangeable. The return springs often take a set
after years of impact compression, and the retaining screws are slim headless types with blank inner tips, making
them difficult for reproduction if stripped or lost.
The lower ejector, for the shotgun barrel, is under more stress than the upper .22 unit, and wear or breakage after
long use is a possibility. The ejector cam lever and its return spring are also stressed each time the action is opened
after firing. The lever, especially, takes considerable torsion, and can break at its pivot point.

The selector lever is mounted in the top of the hammer on a riveted cross-pin, and its nose strikes the firing pins.
Thus, there is impact stress on both the selector and its pivot pin. The positioning plunger and spring may also be
subject to wear and age-weakening, respectively.

While these parts could be individually kept as spares, the removal of the original riveted pivot pin and the
installation of new parts can be difficult for the non-gunsmith. Since the complete hammer assembly is not
expensive, it would be simpler just to keep the complete unit in reserve. This would also give you the advantage of
a spare hammer, in case of sear notch breakage. Unlikely, but a possibility.

The comprehensive list, including the items from the basic group, would include: upper firing pin, return spring,
and retaining screw; lower firing pin, return spring, and retaining screw; lower ejector, ejector lever and spring;
hammer, complete; upper ejector, spring, and retaining screw; forend spring housing, complete; rear sight and sight
elevation step.

The upper ejector, for the .22 barrel, is not subject to the strain of the lower one, but its retaining screw is very
short, and occasionally loosens and becomes lost. If this occurs, the ejector and its spring can fall out when the
action is opened, and if the shotgun is being used, this may not be immediately noticed. The retaining screw should
be checked periodically for tightness. Just see that it’s snug, though, and avoid over tightening, as this can break
one side of the headless screw at its slot.

The forend spring housing is another case like the hammer and selector assembly. It’s not expensive, and having it
as a complete unit makes replacement easy in case of breakage of the forend retaining spring or the formed-steel
housing. The serpentine forend retaining spring is a blade type, and is subject to age-weakening and occasional
breakage. If you’d rather, the spring can be obtained separately.

The rear sight is dovetail-mounted on the slim rifle barrel, and protrudes slightly on each side. For this reason, it is
susceptible to damage when struck by tree limbs or other objects. Loss of the step-type elevator is not unusual, as
this can occur with any momentary flexing of the rear extension of the sight. You should keep several extra steps on
hand. Some guns will have a rear sight with a double-dovetail base, so be sure of the type you have when obtaining

The coil springs that power the hammer, barrel latch, and latch lever have ample allowance for age-weakening, and
this also applies to the torsion-type trigger spring. One set of items that the Confirmed Pessimist might want to add
to the list would be a spare trigger guard and its two screws. Early guards were made of alloy, with the front screws
entering from inside the receiver. The current production guns have guards of plastic, with both screws entering
from outside. The alloy guards seem to break more frequently than those of plastic.
The front sight is an integral part of the twin-loop alloy barrel band, and it is possible that a sharp blow, as from
being struck against rock, could bend the sight blade or break the band. Since this part is inexpensive, those who
want to cover every possibility may want to add a spare band/sight unit to their lists.

To avoid confusion, it should be noted that one version of the Model 24 was made for a short time using the trigger
group and side-lever barrel latch of the single-barrel 9400-series guns. These guns have entirely different parts
requirements, though there are some parallels. Additions and/or substitutions would include the torsion-type
hammer spring and trigger spring, the coil lower ejector spring and ejector trip lever, the front sight, and front sight
retaining screw. These guns are designated the Models 24S, 24SD, 24SE, 24MSD, and 24MSE.

Exploded views of the 24-series guns are on pages 166 and 167 in The ​Gun Digest Book of Exploded Firearms
Drawings,​ Second Edition. Complete takedown and reassembly instructions for a representative gun, the Model
24D, are on pages 260 through 267 in ​Part V: Shotguns​, in my ​Firearms Assembly/Disassembly series of books.
Both books are available at most gun shops, and from DBI Books, Inc., One Northfield Plaza, Northfield, IL 60093.