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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 29

Issue No. 29- March, 1982

The Sociable Aspects of Barter

by Karl Hess

Editor’s Note: When a writer articulates his search for answers with honesty and intelligence, his work can have
an “Aha!” effect upon your own thinking. “Yes,” you find yourself saying, “that’s the way it is…” or “No, that
approach won’t work for me, but this shows me what will...” For 30 years Karl Hess has been having such an
impact upon his readers.

As he has explored styles of government that will best insure the individual maximum personal freedom -as a Taft
Republican, speech writer for Barry Goldwater, New Left radical, and now libertarian- he has expressed his views
with cogency, clarity, and a refreshing lack of vitriol. When I read his “The Politics of Place” in the Summer, 1981
issue of Co-Evolution Quarterly, the penny dropped for me and I realized that grumbling about the shabby
workings of the local irrigation district and the backward attitudes of some of the local farmers was not going to
solve my problems, but that getting involved might make a difference.

Today Karl edits and writes for ​Survival Tomorrow (P.0. Box 951, Farmingdale, New York 11737, 12 issues, $60)
which, in addition to his provocative articles, contains information not covered in PS Letter (for example, articles
on wild edibles, co-operative food buying, and fresh food storage), and two excellent regular features: “Survival
Network”, a way for people with common interests to share information and “Survival Snapshots”, tips on
everything from shelter to security to gardening. The current issue (Volume II, Number 2, February 1982) contains
a fine essay by Karl, “The Mind Killer”, in which he discusses paranoia as it relates to survival.

Karl’s article below covers an important but often overlooked facet of barter. NT.

There is a sociable angle to barter that should interest anyone determined to survive hard and uncertain times.
Barter is not only an efficient, direct way to exchange goods and services, it is a great way to meet people, make
friends, and forge strong bonds of community.

When you, for instance, exchange one of your skills with someone, you are doing more than swapping services.
You are, literally, exchanging crucially important social information as well. First, you will let the person with
whom you are dealing know, in concrete terms, whether you are really skilled, truly conscientious, and honest. You
can tell people that you are all of those things and they could be excused for thinking it idle boasting. But DO
something, and they can judge for sure.
You never learn much of that sort when you’re just dealing in dollars and cents. A con man’s buck looks just like
the honest man’s.

One of my most barterable skills is welding. When Therese and I moved to rural West Virginia, the people around
us were certainly decent and open in their welcome. But they had little to go on insofar as our character and skills.

Soon, I found a trucker who wanted some metal tool boxes built onto his dump truck- a dump truck used to haul
gravel. And I needed gravel. Boxes for gravel? Sure. Since I had no doubt about his ability to deliver the gravel, I
thought it would be best to do my welding part of the bargain first- to gain my own credibility.

When I finished, there was a very serious inspection of the work by all the members of the trucker’s family. And,
one by one, they pronounced it okay. I gained more in terms of being a part of that community in that one day’s
work than I might have in months or years of just living there.

Welding is not my only skill. Editorial work is another, and in some communities that might have been a good
entry- but not in a rural community. However, once having made a passing grade as having an understandable and
ordinary skill, I felt a lot less inhibited about offering my editorial skills for anyone who might need them.

Regular neighbors don’t need such skill, ordinarily, but they might value some aspect of it, such as the ability to
research things. Now, neighbors who want help with “looking up” stuff from laws to home health remedies are apt
to drop by with the expectation of getting the same sort of help there that they could get with metalworking if that
was their need.

There’s a subtle barter point with such assistance. I call it a sort of shadow barter. It isn’t barter for anything in
particular as in most exchanges. It’s doing a favor with the confident realization that every such favor makes you a
better neighbor and, thus, easily able to ask favors for yourself when need arises.

There’s no strict bookkeeping about this, and there is certainly no sense that the only reason you do a favor is to get
something back. You do it just because you’re a neighbor. It’s what neighbors do. And it’s what your neighbors
will do, just as you do. In the bookkeeping of being a good neighbor there simply aren’t debits and credits. There is,
rather, a perpetual cycle of help.

The power of barter as an economic matter, compared to the ups and downs of the fiat-currency economy, is
certainly well-known to survivalists, or should be. Skills and useful material objects are actual and enduring
wealth. Money is not. And here there is another sociable point to be made about barter.

Suppose that, in the community where you had decided to make your plans for surviving hard and uncertain times,
all you had to offer the community were occasional donations of money to worthy causes or needy neighbors.
You’d probably get a good reputation as a generous person. But what else would you have accomplished in terms
of becoming a part of the very community upon which your life might someday depend? On the other hand, if you
pitch in with skills and labor, you gain great strengths in shoulder-to-shoulder, face-to-face neighborliness. In hard
times that could count more heavily than anything else.

And that’s a sort of barter too. You are trading time and effort for the strength and sustenance that a community
offers. There is a bias here, of course. It is my own purely personal and biased position that survival and community
go hand in hand. I know that there is an opposing view which holds that survival is a lonely business in which
distance from and not closeness to people is the prime ingredient.

For such hermit-planning there has always been the allure of barter based mainly on easily-portable precious metals
and jewels, with the underlying idea being that the lone survivor will simply offer them for food, materials, or
what-have-you during sporadic, roving contacts with other people. All I know about such planning is that in the
nightmare world that most such survivalists envision, offering me a Krugerrand for some of my potatoes or a
precious drill bit would strike me as absurd. Even if I needed gold for some old chemical purpose, I’d be better off
panning it out of a local stream, or rooting it out of the earth than I would be waiting for a “gold bug” to happen by.

Thus, I think of barter, always, in terms of my being a part of a community. Also, it happens to be where I practice
barter now- in my community. I’d be happy to barter with strangers, of course, and I have and do. But, day by day,
I have the opportunity to do it at home, and I feel very strongly that survival, like charity, begins at home.

There is more than individual bartering possible in a community, however. The idea of bartering can be extended to
become an actual focus for community activity.

We have a group that’s been meeting monthly for the past four years to share information on alternative and new
technologies, everything from energy and construction systems to high-yield gardening. One of our continuing
projects is material and skill bartering. Each meeting is an opportunity to announce barter offers.

Also, we’re now updating a regular roster of skills that members are willing to barter. They range from dentistry to
microbiology, from welding to surveying, from composting systems to berry growing, from sewing to baking.

Barter has helped make our group a community within our larger local community. And there’s much more we
hope to do.

One of the most interesting barter variations I’ve heard of was in a small Pennsylvania town, where the city
government had provided a space where people could bring all of the material left over from construction and house
improvements projects. The sort of stuff that clutters garages. Bringing something in entitles you to take something
out, should you need something that’s on hand or should you find something in the future.
In Vermont, some friends set up a formal barter exchange under the sponsorship of a local church. Dealing mainly
in skill exchanges, it drew a lot of people toward a sense of community that they hadn’t ever had in the normal
course of commercial dealings. This is not to knock commercial dealings in any way. It’s just to say that, in
survival planning, business as usual may not be the highest priority.

That’s one reason, incidentally, that I am not impressed by all of the arguments about the trouble you have to go to
in order to barter. Such troublesome things, in survival planning, are investments in the future. They cannot be
judged by ordinary accounting methods or just by dollars-and-cents values.

Finally, there is this aspect of barter that has distinct meaning for survival planning: You can shift some part of your
personal economy toward barter today. It doesn’t take a disaster to make it practical. It doesn’t take agreement by
all your neighbors that the world is beginning to wobble. And yet, should even the worst things happen, people who
have learned to barter together in good times should be able better to survive hard times- times when barter may be
the ONLY economic activity.

Alternative Weapons, Part II: Crossbows

by Bob Taylor

Recommended Models

The Dave Benedict SK 1 (Silent Kill 1)

P.O. Box 343, Chatsworth, CA 91311

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the SK 1 is the best crossbow tested. Like all of Dave’s bows, the SK
1 is not a production crossbow, but handmade, hand-fitted, and well-engineered.

One of its most important features is that there is almost no friction between the string and the barrel, which not
only saves wear on the string, but also utilizes the power more efficiently.

Most crossbows use either steel or fiberglass prods, but the Benedict uses a composite of both steel and fiberglass
for them. The prods are also longer, 36 inches, which is 5 to 9 inches longer than all of the production models. The
draw weights range from 100 pounds to 280 pounds (a 140-pound to 200-pound draw weight is preferred).
There are two features I particularly like on the Benedict limb: First, the prod has a double nock, which not only
makes stringing the bow easier, but also prevents overstressing one side or the other while stringing; second, the
prods can only be put on correctly, perfectly on center, which is accomplished by two set pins and by screwing the
cocking stirrup through the prods into the stock.

One modification I would like to see would be making the cocking stirrup a reverse-D instead of a T-configuration,
which would be far easier to cock, especially on uneven ground. Another would be to have the receiver drilled and
tapped for a Weaver base, just in case you want a scope on it.

The stock is laminated hardwood, beautifully finished. Using lamination not only makes the bow look good but it
prevents warping.

I am particularly impressed with the trigger and release. The entire mechanism is machined from stainless steel and
polished on bearing surfaces to achieve a crisp trigger pull.

More important, the weapon is accurate beyond belief. This can probably be attributed to the engineering and the
fact that the crossbow has 16½” inches of power, rather than 7 to 9 inches.

The Benedict line starts at $450.00. Because the entire line is handmade by Dave Benedict, you can expect a four to
six months wait for one. If you are particularly large or small, Dave will make a crossbow to fit you.

The Kelly Crossbow

Hank Roberts, Inc., 410 South Sunset, Longmont, CO 80501

The Kelly Crossbow (Model 303) is a tough second choice among the production crossbows. The model 303 is also
the most unusual of all of the production crossbows, and uses a number of new innovations that I’m still not
completely sold on. The first new design feature is the prod, which is constructed from spring steel and resembles a
leaf spring using two pieces of steel. This is supposed to increase the power.

Its 150-pound power is no faster than the other crossbows in that power range, although it is smoother. The prods
are also covered with a vinyl-type plastic for protection. One feature I don’t like is that the prod is held in place by
two steel bars and four hex screws, which makes assembly and disassembly slower and more difficult.

On all of the other crossbows the string serves or strikes the bolt directly on the nock or rear of the bolt. The Kelly
utilizes a plastic thrust bead which rides in a track. The theory is that the bead always strikes the bolt in exactly the
same place, which does make the Kelly accurate. Another plus of this system is that the string never makes contact
with the barrel, resulting in long string life.
The Kelly is built like the proverbial brick outhouse, having a steel frame with side panels of simulated wood
plastic and an aluminum barrel. The entire trigger mechanism is constructed with large machine pins and should
last a lifetime. Because of this sturdy construction, you get to carry more weight, about 7 ½ pounds, which places it
in a rifle’s weight classification. There is also a hefty cocking stirrup for easy cocking, and like the Horton it has an
automatic safety which engages when the bow is cocked.

Miserable would be a gross understatement when describing the factory sights. Why anyone would make a shoulder
weapon with a 6-inch sight radius is beyond my comprehension. The front sight is a plexiglass window with a
series of sight pictures painted on, while the rear sight is a poorly-secured peep sight. Fortunately the Kelly 303 has
provisions for mounting a good scope rather easily. I would recommend a good two-power scope with a wide field,
and not a cheap ¾” .22 one, which is what most people put on crossbows. Price is around $275.00.

The Horton Safari Magnum

Precision Sports, P.O. Box 30-06, Ithica, NY 14850

In terms of price, quality, performance, and warranty, the Horton Safari Magnum is the best buy in the production
models. The Horton prod is entirely of spring steel and fits easily into the stock, and is retained by a large screw and
plate which makes it easy to assemble and disassemble. Draw weight is 125 pounds with 9 inches of power.

Beauty is one feature you don’t get with the Horton. The stock is injection molded from an ABS-type material and
has survived a number of 25 foot drops without any ill-effects. The light weight -3 ¾ pounds- and pistol-grip stock
make it extremely easy to handle.

Like most of the production crossbows, the trigger and release assembly are primarily stamped but extremely
durable, as is the auto safety. The Horton has survived 900-plus shootings, going through only three strings, which
says a lot for it.

Accuracy is on a par with most production crossbows, 5 to 8 inches at 40 yards, using 14-inch bolts. Of all the
production crossbows, the Horton has the best open sights, which are a double aperture sight with an adjustable rear
sight for elevation and an easy to adjust front sight.

While it seems chintzy to use a polypropylene rope which is spliced for a cocking stirrup, it does work, which is
really important.

Horton also offers the best warranty in the production crossbows- it has a lifetime warranty (for the original owner),
which shows the confidence that the manufacturer has in it. Precision Sports distributes the Safari Magnum for

Next month: ​Models Not Recommended

Firefighting, Part III: Tactics
by W.B. Carson, II

If you cannot afford active firefighting equipment, you must put greater emphasis on planning and training. Scatter
your equipment and supplies among different buildings and different rooms. Keep your important papers, including
money, in fire- and heat-resistant environments. Determine the hazardous zones of your home where fire is most
likely to start: workshop, wood stove area, garage, laundry room, kitchen. Store valuable equipment away from
these areas. If you have no firefighting equipment, when a fire starts, you may lose your entire house and its
contents, but some of your belongings will be safe in other buildings.

Whatever decision you make about purchasing firefighting equipment, do not fail to clear the fire perimeter around
your house and install sprinklers. (See PS Letter No. 27.) A wildland fire will scorch a path clean. No unprotected
building will be left standing.

Fighting a Brush Fire

When a brush fire approaches, turn on all your perimeter sprinklers, rotating the water supply to different sprinkler
sets to maintain good operating pressure. If your sprinklers are dependent on outside power, start them immediately
as power for your water well pump will probably cut out soon. If you generate your own electricity or your pump is
gas-powered, you might as well start pumping early unless you have a fixed amount of water.

Don’t use all your reservoir water on perimeter sprinklers. You’ll need plenty of water for your attack. Take your
1½” line towards the approaching fire. As the fire comes within range, knock down the flames. Try to win the battle
here. If you can’t, pull back and try again. Always leave yourself a safe escape route and enough water to protect
yourself. If you are caught with no retreat and no water, cover your face, hold your breath, and run through the
flames to safe, burnt ground.

Your goal is to save your survival system. You don’t need to contain a wildland fire and extinguish it. You just
want it to go around your property rather than through it. Grass fires produce their own winds, pushing searing
flames 50 feet above and beyond the burning grass. The intense heat makes it difficult to approach the fire seat.
Like any good nozzle, the Elkhart SFL nozzle, properly supplied, can reach out and hit the flames before they hit
you. H

ave you wondered why the forestry firefighters have such a hard time putting out fires? It’s because they must go
hundreds of feet from their water supply to get to the fire, using small diameter hoses (1arger lines would be too
heavy). By the time they get to the fire, friction loss has cut their water flow to almost nothing.
Fortunately, you don’t have this problem. You have a fixed base. You know where fire will come from and how
much line you need to get there. Your water supply is stationary and therefore much larger. Weight is no concern.
Because it’s your own property you’re defending, cost is probably no concern either. You are literally fighting on
home turf. In these circumstances, it doesn’t take much intelligence to win. Just keep two things in mind: Always
have an escape route and keep looking behind you.

House Fires

Houses like to burn. For years I’ve used leftover construction wood to start fires in my woodstove. Nothing else
seems to catch as quickly nor burn as hot and fast as roof shingles and 2x4’s. And to really extend a fire, add some
cellulose insulation from your attic. But be careful! Too much will overheat your stove. My wood stove turns
cherry red when I use these products. Just think how well they will burn when not confined by a stove.

If your goal is to protect your system from harm, you must have the proper tools and the knowledge to use them.
Without these tools any size fire will cause a total loss. The level of sophistication you need depends mostly on how
soon you begin your attack. If we designate a fairly complete fire-fighting system for the average homestead/retreat
as 100%, we can talk about other systems in terms of that 100% level.

5% No special firefighting equipment, reliance on wet blankets and garden hose.

15% Fire extinguishers.

30% Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

45% 30% level plus 40 gpm/50 psi pump, 1” hose and low cost nozzle, and 500-gallon reservoir.

75% 30% level plus 70 gpm/100 psi pump, 1½” hose and good nozzle, and 1500-gallon reservoir.

100% 30% level plus 90 gpm/100 psi pump, 1½” hose and good nozzle, 1” hose and low-cost nozzle for
spotters, 2000-gallon reservoir.

175% 30% level plus 230 gpm/100 psi pump, two 1½” hose lines and nozzles, water curtains, fixed fog
nozzles, and pond and swimming pool.

If you are present when a fire starts -in toaster or stove fire, or a log rolls out of the fireplace onto the carpet- the
15% level is sufficient. If fire starts while you are asleep or at the other end of the house, the 30% system will
probably save the lives of your family but it’s ​questionable whether you will save your home. The 45% level will
greatly improve your odds.
What if you are out working in the garden or pasture, happen to look back at the house, and see plumes of rising
smoke? If it’s a roof fire, 45% may handle it. If the fire is inside, the 75% system is the minimum level of
protection you need to extinguish the fire effectively. Although damage will be high, you will save your home. (“I
always wanted a breezeway!”) If you alone will be fighting the fire, this is a good system to have, but put in fire
stops. Also, 1500 gallons of water is marginal.

If you have help, your loss will be greatly reduced. As I said earlier, with spotters watching for extension of the fire
and someone with a line in the attic or upstairs, the main attack need not be interrupted. Thus, the 100% level
allows a main attack with a full 1½” line and a 1” support line. Ninety gpm and 2000 gallons will support this
approach. This is the optimum system for the survival homestead/retreat.

The 175% system is for the “whispering pines” residence, the home nestled in the woods. In order to maximize its
effectiveness, you need at least two healthy, coordinated people who are willing to practice and plan. Such a system
will handle any fire situation you are likely to encounter.


What do you do when you discover a fire in your house? If it is small, use a fire extinguisher. If it is beyond that
stage, you must start making fast decisions. Do the following: close all doors and windows, especially to the seat of
the fire, alerting everyone while you work. Send for help and get noncombatants out to a prearranged location that
offers shelter to young and old. Count heads to be sure everyone is there. Turn off power and gas to the house.
Open suction water supply to the pump, start the pump.

Put on protective clothing: heavy canvas, leather, or Nomex coat and pants, boots with steel toes, head, eye, and
lung protection. These things must always be ready to go. You don’t have time to search for them. If it is dark, grab
your always-charged lantern. Lay hose to the house and inside to the fire. Charge the line (open outlet). If you can
have someone else do this, it will save time.

Where do you enter the house? Away from the fire. Try to contain the fire to one end or corner of the building. Cut
it off from new fuel by approaching from untouched areas. This does two things: it allows you to push flame and
smoke ahead of you away from unaffected areas and it gives you a good route for retreat.

If you have the manpower, use the buddy system when you enter a burning building, especially if you are not using
breathing apparatus. If you don’t have the manpower or the breathing apparatus, come outside every three or four
minutes for at least 30 seconds. Breathe fresh air deeply to throw off carbon monoxide. This method is not very
effective, but it might make the difference.
It may be hard to believe but you may have difficulty finding the fire because of thick smoke. For better visibility
and more oxygen, stay low and crawl under the heated gas layer. There is also another layer of gasses at the floor
which you must avoid- i.e. carbon monoxide.

Don’t spray smoke. Once water hits the hot smoke, the smoke will drop and close off the clear area. So delay
opening the nozzle until you can see or hear flames.

If you need to open doors to gain access to the fire, be ready to open the nozzle and stay low and to the side of the
doorway. A hot, confined fire produces volatile gasses which will burn spontaneously if given oxygen. As you open
the door, the required oxygen rushes in and the fire “blows”. This resembles a slow explosion. Flame will flash out
the door.

It is desirable to have someone break windows from the outside just before you open the door. The fire will “blow”
outside rather than inside. Once the door is open, you can break the windows yourself by directing a straight stream
from your nozzle at the windows. The force of the water and the rapid temperature change will shatter the glass.
With the windows gone, clearing will slowly begin.

Kneeling or lying in the doorway, look into the room. Remember the layout of the furniture and the location of the
fire, because as soon as you open the nozzle you will be enveloped in a grey cloud of smoky steam. You will see
nothing else. The layer of superheated gasses at the ceiling will be replaced by superheated steam. The steam will
turn the sheetrock above you to mush, and this mush will rain down on you in chunks, along with soffit lights and
attic insulation. Hopefully you are wearing your helmet.

Use a narrow fog on the base of the flames. If you can’t hit the base because of obstructions, bounce the water
stream off walls, ceiling, or furniture with a straight stream setting. If the smoke is so thick you can’t find the fire,
sweep back and forth across the room with a circular motion with the nozzle on a medium fog setting. This will at
least cool things down a bit. If you have to get fresh air, close the door behind you when you leave to reduce
oxygen inflow.

Let me talk briefly about water and steam. Water is a good extinguisher. It penetrates, cools, and smothers. Read
your book on woodstoves and you will learn about the different stages of the burning process. You will be dealing
with the stage in the process that involves the heat-induced release of volatile, combustible gasses which burn and
produce heat, thus continuing the process.

You can extinguish the fire if you 1) remove the producer of the gasses (for example, the wood), 2) cool the wood
so that it quits producing gasses, 3) stop the introduction of fresh oxygen so the gasses can not burn, or 4)
chemically inhibit the oxygen that is present from reacting with the gasses. When water hits the hot burning wood
(and cloth), heat is transferred from wood to water.
When the water rises from 50 degrees to 212 degrees, a great deal of heat is removed from the wood, cutting way
back on the production of combustible gasses. When that hot water turns to steam, it absorbs six times as much heat
as it did to get to 212. Then the steam expands 1600 times its water volume, pushing oxygen away from the flames
and dispersing the combustible gasses. As the temperature of the steam increases, so does its volume. What more
could you ask for?

The drawback is the visibility problem. Once you have darkened the flames you can hold the nozzle on a fog
setting about 3’ inside the window and spray out, which will pull smoke and steam outside. But don’t spend too
much time on ventilation yet. First check on your partner’s and spotters’ well-being and then start looking for
hidden hot spots.

Many firemen have lost houses after extinguishing the main fire because they didn’t check for extension of the fire
base to concealed spaces. Check the attic or second floor first, as fire will travel fastest here (especially if there are
no fire stops). It may be too smoky to see fire, so listen carefully. When there is finished floor above the fire (in a
multi-story home or finished attic), you must check the concealed spaces between ceilings and floors for fire.

Heat or smoke are obvious signs of problems, but again, listen! If there is fire there, it will be easier to get at it
through the sheetrock ceiling below. This is what the fire ax is designed for. Any single-bitted ax will do. Always
have water ready when you open a hot, concealed space.

Check all walls around and above the fire scene for extension. Check air conditioning ducts, hollow doors,
furniture, crawl space, every place in the building that could possibly support fire. Once you have completed your
inspection, open all doors and windows in the smoky parts of the building. Go to the main fire area and remove
smoldering debris through the window.

Check the room for holes or cracks in the floor, walls, or ceiling where fire may have traveled. See where it
traveled to! Follow up on anything you find. Then go outside and rest. If you have not been wearing breathing
apparatus during all this, you are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, among other things.

While you are preparing your attack inside, your partner (spouse, child, or neighbor) checks on extension,
especially in the attic. His job is to lay out the secondary line, set up the ladder to the outside attic vent, and deal
with any fire he finds. A 1” booster line is sufficient for this, if a good nozzle is used. High pressure is more
important than high gpm, as pressure determines the quality of the fog pattern. Sixty psi is nice, but 100 psi is

If the attic is not a problem, this second line man should check other possible extensions, back up the main attack
line inside, and close interior doors, and open exterior doors and windows to ventilate smoke if it is safe to do so.

With these ideas in mind, follow me through the recent residential fire we responded to. I was with the first
response of three firefighters and three fire vehicles. When we arrived, we found the garage completely involved
and most of the garage roof burning. The main attack line went through the front door to contain the fire to one
corner of the house, while the second line went to the attic vent at the end of the house.
After we borrowed a ladder from a neighbor (Our ladder was too short to reach the attic opening- very
embarrassing!), the screen at the vent was cleared with a fire ax. By the time the nozzle was in place, the entire attic
was engulfed in flames. Because the attic had no fire stops, we almost lost the entire house. Ten seconds of medium
fog spray pretty much extinguished the flame.

Five or ten minutes of mop-up work soaked the smoldering rafters and roof joists. The roof and attic were not
seriously damaged, but because of no fire stops, line No. 2 had to stay in position to keep flame from regaining lost
ground. Thus, line No. 1 had to handle the main fire, solo. If the wind had been blowing from the other direction,
line No. 1 alone would not have saved the kitchen. As it was, we held and extinguished the fire at the kitchen.

This fire had several complications which could have been avoided by the homeowner. As mentioned, there were
no fire stops in the attic. Also, the access vent was too small. The firefighter could not get into the attic; he had to
spray water the full length of the house, causing extensive water damage. All around the house for miles there was
thick, dry, four-foot high sagebrush. If it had caught fire from flying debris, we would have lost 50 homes.

A fire perimeter would have taken care of this hazard. Additionally, a 250-gallon propane tank was exposed to
much heat and flame, causing the overpressure valve to blast open three times, nearly causing cardiac arrest for all
present. Luckily the wind carried the explosive gas away from the flaming house. Any fuel tank should be located
downhill and as far from buildings as possible. Propane gas is heavier than air, and will flow like water until it finds
an ignition source, at which time life gets very exciting.

You probably noticed that attack line No. 1 entered fairly close to the fire. A safer approach would have been
through the bedroom window or through the sliding glass door in the living room. But this would have required
more manpower and time; we had neither. The important point is that fire line No. 1 went inside and established
itself between the fire and new fuel.

If position No. 0 had been used to fight the fire from the outside, smoke and flame would have been pushed inside
to involve the rest of the structure. Line No. 2 would have been blinded and possibly forced out of position,
allowing fire to regain the entire attic. When you fight structure fires, you go inside if you can, and push the fire out
the nearest exit.

The simplified steps:

Evacuate everyone, send for help. Plan your attack.

Prepare for reentry: turn utilities off but not water/electricity, get equipment and clothing ready.
Enter and attack: keep track of extension hazard around you.
Search for extension.
Baby-sit the fire scene.
What makes me think you can handle a fire on your property as effectively as a professional firefighter? Your
response time is the best in town, you know the layout better than any firefighter (because you crawled every inch
in practice), you have fire stops, your fire equipment is stationary and therefore always ready, and you practice
specific attack procedures for specific fire situations: fire in kitchen, fire in bedroom, etc. You have all the
advantages of the home court team.

You know your priorities. You must be willing to lose your fields to save your house, to lose your house to save
your life. Be brave but not foolish. When things get too intense, pull back. A good survival system will take into
account the possibility of fire. Plan for it! Limit your losses by taking the precautions I have outlined. Practice your
own fire procedures with your family! In other words, PLAN, EQUIP, and PRACTICE!

Editor’s Note: I had never considered that long-term shifts in the weather would have any immediate effect upon
my life until this past January when I was stuck in the Sheraton Atlanta with no heat and no water on the coldest
recorded day in that city’s history, and came home to find that my freshly-seeded alfalfa field had been covered
with snow for three weeks straight.

Because weather experts claim that this year’s winter will be the norm for years to come, I asked Eugene A. Barron
to look at some of the problems the changes in the long-term weather patterns will cause. After reading his article,
one fact seems clear: if possible, you should acquire the ability to grow your own food on a small scale and learn
the techniques that make maximum use of micro-climates, water, and organic nutrients.

​ he Cooling​ (Prentice Hall 1976)

For more on the shift toward colder weather I recommend Lowell Ponte’s T N.T.

Climates, Soils, and Crops

by Eugene A. Barron

Record cold and blizzards in the Midwest and East, record rains on the West Coast. Excessively cold weather in
Europe. How was it so predictable, and what is the weather outlook in the near future?
For years a small group of research scientists have been studying the aspects of weather cycles, trying to explain
them and evolve a system of predicting future weather and even climatic changes over extended periods. An
analysis of cycles has shown that there are a series of cycles, varying in period from comparatively short, say 11-17
years, to long, such as 500+ years.

The shorter, wet-dry hydrological cycle of 11-17 years is well-known to most botanists, but there are intermediate
and longer-term precipitation periods. Similarly, there are a series of different period temperature cycles. At
present we are in a span of cold and dry long-term weather, which should be characterized by severe winters,
drought-ridden summers, and much precipitation in the wrong places, with little in others.

Another known phenomenon is the impact upon the weather of sunspots, which operate on a short cycle of 11
years. 1982 is expected to be a year of maximum sunspot activity that will produce, in addition to interruptions of
radio and even electrical transmissions, stresses on the earth’s magnetic field causing shifts in the jet streams and,
for reasons currently unknown, a much higher incidence of contagious disease, such as influenza.

The grand planetary alignment scheduled for April of 1982 (sometimes called the Jupiter Effect), when combined
with the magnetic field stresses of the sunspot activities, could well lead to a much higher incidence of earthquake
and volcanic activity, which will diminish slowly thereafter through 1984-85. Look for a higher incidence of severe
magnetic storms during this period.

Soil composition and the resultant crops are a function of temperature and precipitation to a greater degree than is
realized even by the average farmer. Soils subjected to extended periods of precipitation in excess of the
evaporative rate have some of the basic mineral nutrients washed out, lowering pH levels and thereby locking up
via chemical bonding other elements of nutrition.

An extreme form of this action can be found in the tropical rainforest, where the soil is basically only a clay
composed of silica, alumina, and some iron. By contrast, soils with below-average precipitation are characterized
by a buildup of mineral elements due to the lack of leaching activity. This buildup raises pH levels, which also
locks in elements due to bonding, rendering them unavailable to plants. The extreme of this lack of precipitation is
the desert.

Most temperate-zone crops, especially the grain crops, which are essentially specialized grasses, are relatively
sensitive to moisture levels, temperatures, and pH levels. The modern, high-yield grain and vegetable varieties that
are common today are far more sensitive to ambient conditions than the hardier, lower-yielding strains of our
Modern irrigation practices can contribute to problems by increasing dissolved salt levels in the soil, thereby
increasing alkalinity (pH) levels. (Most plants prefer slightly acid soil.) And, the great bulk of the US wheat crop,
some 96.8%, is dry land, not irrigated, subject to the whims of weather. (By mistake, the opposite statement was
made in my December article, “Why Survival?”)

Not only does minimum irrigation without periodic flushing lead to alkaline, non-productive land, but it lowers the
water tables in aquifers, which represent our hydrological capital. These are man-made problems affecting this
planet now, despite the fact that we have the knowledge to solve them. Millions of acres are being rendered out of
production annually, while other prime food-growing acreage is being paved over for roads or sequestered for

This situation should lead to less acreage being intensively cultivated for higher-yield crops that are more sensitive
to inclement ambient conditions, in addition to being less resistant to disease and insect vectors. The prospect for
much lower worldwide crop yields in the next few years is substantial, and the consequences for the surplus
populations that have resulted from the good years and American generosity to the Third World are far-reaching.
Unable to feed themselves, and with their birth rates up and death rates down considerably as a result of modern
medicine and insect control, their existence will pose a great problem for the people of this country and its leaders.

Even the great communist nations are not immune to agricultural problems. In addition to the gross inefficiencies of
the commune system and central planning, Russia and China face a temperature-precipitation problem fortunately
not facing North America and Western Europe. In most of the world, bands of temperatures and precipitation move
in parallel, and not at right angles, as they do here.

Thus, while extremes of water and drought, combined with extremes of temperature will always provide some areas
of North America and Western Europe with some areas of ideal growing conditions, creating a checkerboard effect,
the same is not true for the rest of the world. For them, a shift in the jet stream, for example, can drastically change
both temperature and precipitation, making the production of even a marginal crop impossible. What might the
actions of these military giants be in the face of inadequate food for their populations?

Most crops for human and animal nutrition depend upon nearly ideal soil, precipitation, and temperature conditions
for proper growth and maturation. The world as a whole experienced an intermediate period of such near-perfect
crop conditions during 1945-1979.

The urban and suburban dweller frequently overlooks the fact that all civilization is based on the premise of an
agricultural surplus, and that the degree of advancement of a culture is the direct reflection of how few of its
populace are engaged in food production.
The great record of manufactured goods in this country, which in its 200+ year history has provided more than half
of all such production in the entire history of the world, is the result of our ability to feed ourselves and a good part
of the world with a small fraction of our population, while China, for example, has the great bulk of her people
engaged in food production.

What will happen to us if the high food production we take for granted is suddenly interrupted, and a higher
percentage of people must undertake the growing of crops and the raising or hunting of meat and seafood? What
will be the response of countries faced with an even more severe form of this problem?

Various cycles, ranging in length from 3+ years to a known 800+, interact over periods of thousands of years in
differing combinations, some of which occur most infrequently. The combination of cycle aspects due over the next
18 years, and especially the next few years, will certainly be beyond the memory of anyone alive today and will
possibly be worse than any past recorded period of history. (Daily accounts of weather more than 500 years ago are
really not available to us.)

What is known is that times of great weather and climatic stress are always accompanied by resulting social, moral,
and political upheavals, all accomplished with great strife and warfare. We can anticipate heightened tensions for at
least the next three years. We can hope that our wisdom will be such that we can avoid bloodshed, but we have
never done so in the past under these conditions.

The following two letters from PS Letter readers underscore in a highly personal way the facts discussed in the
above article. Barry Worrell, a sheriff in DeKalb County, GA, and staff instructor at Gunsite, was in Atlanta when I
was there.

“… As a side note, for your information, the weather that we experienced in this area showed how few people are
ready for a ‘crisis’.

The first day of snow paralyzed the city. It was impossible to leave the city by major highways or side streets.
Grocery stores were selling out of food, milk, etc. In one store I entered, there were shelves that were completely
barren. People who didn’t have a four-wheel-drive vehicle or snow chains were walking miles to buy food. It was
not unusual to see families, husband, wife, and young children, going to stores so that all members of the family
could carry food.
While there wasn’t a major economic collapse or military-style problem, those who had been preparing for a
‘survivalist’ environment received a dry run. A few bands of street vermin would come on a motorist, enter the
vehicle and demand money at knifepoint. I guess, what I’m trying to convey is that those who are prepared for a
self-sustaining environment suddenly appeared very smart.

Not once did I hear anyone make derogatory remarks about survival. If anything, people were asking questions of
those of us who have been talking about personal survival. Before this little crisis, several people had raised
questions about the sanity of a person storing food, weapons, ammunition, etc. This attitude seems to have been

Keith Olsen, who is writing ​The Mini-Farm, How to Survive and Prosper on That Small Parcel of Land​, sent me the
following account of his experiences in the aftermath of the rains in Santa Cruz. Note his remarks about neighbors.
Encouraging, I think.

“When we returned to Santa Cruz, Marlene and I enrolled in a course on survival training given by one Mother
Nature. It was an intensive week of on-the-job training, and I’ll be the first to admit that Mother is one stern
disciplinarian. The course began with rising rivers and falling mountains, and continued with power outages and
food & water shortages. With the exception of the dust which fills the air, the course is over now, and together with
the other students of this county, we are allowing ourselves a moment or two of relaxation. Yet before the
experience is distilled in the memory, I would like to jot down a few notes for the files.

Perhaps the most profound aspect of Mother’s class in disaster survival is the quickness with which class begins.
One incident which comes to mind is the experience of a real estate agent in Boulder Creek. On the afternoon of
January 4th, this lady sat at her kitchen table preparing her tax returns. Suddenly, the wall behind her imploded and
a wave of mud surged through the house, picked her up, and deposited her kicking and screaming into the
neighbor’s backyard.

While we suffered no severe damage here, our experience was similar in scope. Having just returned from the road,
Marlene and I were enjoying some morning coffee in front of the fireplace and warming ourselves in the thought of
not having to go anywhere. But Marlene looked out the window and through the trees and saw water in the creek.
Normally about two feet wide and a couple inches deep, Rodeo Gulch looked like the Big Muddy about to burst the
banks. Our first thought was the bridge below our house- the only way out. Before I could slip on my clothes,
however, the neighbors came knocking and said, ‘The bridge is going.’

As you know, our house is sandwiched between a hill and the creek. In a moment’s time we had repacked our
vehicle and were on the road again. We made it over the bridge in the proverbial nick-of-time. The water backed up
behind the culvert (5 ft.), then went over the top and cut a hole out of the earth on the other side. You could pack a
fleet of Greyhound busses in that abyss. Oddly enough, neither the bridge nor the hill fell, although both are
unstable at this time.
By the time we had secured a dry room in a high place, electricity was out in the entire county and the rains
continued unabated (over 1 ft. in less than 24 hrs.). On this Monday afternoon the rivers rose and the hills fell. In
the passing of a day, Santa Cruz County became the school of survival, and nobody was late for class.

Another interesting lesson in this course was the value of the neighbor. Indeed, when things fell apart, people came
from everywhere to help each other dig. It became a festival of neighbors, and labor was free and plentiful. Many of
the mountain valleys are still isolated and existing without any of the amenities of Modern Times. One young man
who hiked out of an area called Lockhardt Gulch said he counted 24 houses completely destroyed. When asked
how everyone was surviving, he said, ‘We all got together and helped each other. We share what we have left.’

Many people were forced to abandon their homes. This, of course, created opportunity for the less desirable
elements found in all neighborhoods. To prevent looting, people armed themselves and talked mean: ‘WARNING:

As the sun draws the moisture from the soil, dust fills the air. It is a good time to take a break and think ahead for a
few days- a luxury for students of Mother’s School of Survival.”

The Homestead Retreat Power System

by Eric and Anne Teller

Most of us have come to expect a certain number and quality of conveniences in our daily lives. Few of us care to
do without adequate lighting, the entertainment and communication value of a radio, tape deck, TV, and a
minimum number of power tools to assist us in our daily living.

Once one decides on the necessity of a homestead retreat, provision for maintaining these desired amenities needs
to be considered. Beyond the traditional essentials of plentiful food, sufficient clothing, and adequate shelter, high
on the list of survival preparations must be the homestead retreat power system. By this we mean a system for
producing, and being able to continue to produce over a long period of time, one’s own electrical power completely
independent from any outside supply or source.

Our present-day technology has given us the opportunities to enjoy and take advantage of many innovations that
allow us to live both comfortably and securely, whether we are in downtown Manhattan or in an isolated wilderness
area. In sound survivalist planning for self-sufficiency, an independent power system is necessary to insure the
continuation of at least minimal conveniences. The focus of this article is to show that such a system is both
possible and practical. And furthermore, we have proven, at least in our own case, that the alternative electrical
system which we put together is the only power system necessary to live comfortably.
Since moving to our homestead retreat in the early 70’s, Anne and I have been committed to putting together a
workable, dependable electrical system which takes the place of the commercial, ever-so vulnerable supply lines of

With continual research, experimentation, and refinement, we have, over a period of years, been able to evolve a
system which successfully meets all of the electrical power needs for our homestead retreat. Even with the
commercial power line available within a couple miles of our homestead today, we get along nicely without it!

The one big limitation we have encountered in putting together a home power system is the lack of integrated
knowledge and expertise in this field. Since the late 60’s, hundreds of people have been talking up alternative
energy. We have found, however, that very few have gotten involved in the nitty-gritty of really doing anything
with the available information and technology.

Further, big business apparently does not feel that there is much market potential for integrated independent
alternative energy systems, which makes it all the more difficult for an individual to acquire a complete ready-made
power system. Hopefully, the information found in this series of articles will make the process considerably easier
for those who wish to pursue this end.

Our own homestead retreat power system is designed around four major components. The first component is our
120/240-volt AC electric generator. This generator powers all 120-volt tools and appliances and recharges our
battery bank whenever the generator is running.

The second component consists of a group of 6-volt special heavy-duty batteries which serve as a storage unit for
electricity. These six batteries, which form the heart of our power system, are wired in a combination parallel/series
hook-up to provide us with a full storage capacity of 300 amps of 12-volt DC electrical power.

A heavy-duty commercial garage-type battery charger is the third component of our system. It is used an average
of once a week for approximately a four- to eight-hour period to replenish the charge level in our bank of batteries.

The fourth component is a 500-watt Tripp-Lite 12-volt DC to 120-volt AC electric inverter, which is powered by
the battery bank as needed. It allows us to use many common 120-volt AC household appliances during periods
when the large 120-volt AC generator is not running (and that’s most of the time).
In most permanent households, 120-volt AC power is needed at least occasionally. Heavy-duty tools, water pumps,
food grinders, etc., all require a 120-volt AC power source. Similarly, some important workshop tools, such as an
arc welder, require 240-volt power. In terms of constructing, and certainly maintaining the homestead retreat, the
time and labor savings of power tools is undeniable.

It is also possible to do careful, accurate work with power tools that would be very difficult and tedious with simple
hand tools. Of course, quality hand work is certainly a valid goal, but in the context of survival preparedness, time
is usually of the essence.

Avoiding stress and preserving mental well-being during times of crisis and hardship will be greatly facilitated by
having an independent power system. A working system will make what could be otherwise burdensome and
unpleasant daily tasks much more tolerable. The maintenance of both physical and mental well-being on a
homestead retreat is terribly important at all times.

Even now as I sit in my favorite chair in front of the open fire, I’m able to dictate part of this article using a
technologically-advanced dictating machine. I shudder to think of the laborious process of taking pencil in hand and
writing out these words! The task most likely wouldn’t get done.

Returning recently from a two-week trip, we found our home area gripped in deep snow and below zero cold.
Commercial power service in the region had been out for over fourteen hours. It was a comfortable feeling knowing
that we could continue to function effectively with our independent power system.

The same heavy-duty battery charger which maintains our battery bank was pressed into service to start the
recalcitrant 4-wheel-drive truck which had been left parked in the yard. Our generator was started and the charger
was wheeled out to the truck. An extension cord was hooked up, and within a matter of minutes, the revitalized
battery of the truck coaxed the engine to life and we were back in business.

A vastly different procedure than I’d have to follow were it not for the generator and battery charger/booster. At 10
degrees below zero with a thirty mile an hour wind blowing on our ridge top, I thought back less than fondly to the
days before our system was perfected to its present state!

Should there be a commercial power outage caused by blown down ice-covered lines or by something as serious
and long-lasting as sabotage, your own 120-volt AC electric system can provide such basics as outdoor lights at
night. With the flick of a switch you can illuminate all the grounds in the event of any social menace, attack on your
livestock, or a simple need to walk across the yard on a starless night. You can probably imagine your own
nighttime emergency situation where having your own source of 120-volt AC electrical power could he of critical
In terms of system continuity, a dependable source of 120-volt AC electricity is necessary to bridge all gaps in
maintaining our battery bank. The battery bank can store, for long periods of time, large amounts of power. Ideally,
most of this power will be supplied by a non-fueled source such as wind, water, or solar energy. However, during
those times when such energy is not sufficiently available, the standby generator is critical to keeping the battery
bank charged up.

In our opinion, the only type of electric generator that makes any sense for a homestead retreat is a continuous-duty
model supplying both 120 and 240-volts of AC electrical power. It is possible to do without the 240-volt feature,
but it is imperative that the generator be of the continuous-duty type. For without that feature, the unit lacks
long-lived dependability and without dependability, the maintenance of a truly self-sufficient homestead retreat
power system is tenuous, at best.

A continuous-duty unit is exactly what the name implies. It is a generator capable of running on a 24-hour basis day
after day; one that can provide electrical power for thousands and thousands of hours with minimal maintenance
required. Such a unit, if used intermittently, can provide 120-volt AC electrical power literally for decades, limited
only by sufficient fuel supplies.

Units which produce 120 or 240-volt AC electricity are defined as being generators or alternators. In a previous age
of technology, generators were the only units on the market; today both generators and alternators are available. An
advantage of alternators is that they are simpler in design and require somewhat less maintenance. However, both
units have been proven over a period of time, and whether one obtains a 120-volt AC generator or alternator is not
of that much importance as long as the unit is rated as a continuous-duty model.

Generators (alternators) come in sizes ranging from outputs of 1,000 to 100,000 watts. For most homestead retreat
power systems, we recommend units ranging in size from 3,000 to 10,000 watts (or 3 to 10 kilowatts) with 3,000 to
5,000-watt output capacity being the most common. Our own unit is a 3,000-watt diesel model which meets the
needs of our family quite adequately even when several power tools are being used simultaneously. A 3,000-watt
continuous-duty generator similar to ours is currently priced at about $2,000 to $2,500 with larger units ranging up
to $6,000.

A principle to keep in mind when sizing a unit is that it is more efficient to run a generator engine near its
maximum capacity than to have it loaf along carrying a light load, especially in the case of a diesel engine, which
runs much more efficiently near or at its maximum output capacity. So it is wiser to run a 3,000 or 5,000-watt unit
at full capacity than to run an 8,000 or 10,000 unit at only half of its potential capacity.

The three most common types of fuel for 120-volt AC generators are gasoline, diesel fuel, and LP (liquefied
petroleum) or natural gas. Diesel-fueled generators are constructed more substantially and designed for
heavier-duty, longer-lived operation than typical gasoline models.
Diesel engines also run more efficiently, although they are initially more expensive. I must admit to being slightly
prejudiced toward diesels as they are so economical to operate. For all of our 120/240-volt AC electrical needs, we
use only about 95 gallons of No. 2 diesel fuel per year (plus perhaps 5 gallons of gas in our small portable

The LP gas or natural gas-operated generator is similar to the gasoline-operated unit. A significant difference,
however, is the fact that LP gas operated units have a much longer life than comparable gasoline models due to the
inherent clean burning qualities of LP gas. (Natural gas will not be considered because of its unsuitability for

This clean burning feature, along with the fact that LP gas is an especially desirable fuel from the storage
standpoint, makes an LP gas generator a very attractive choice. If it were not for the fact that we also use our diesel
fuel for other homestead retreat machinery, we would have one here ourselves.

It is axiomatic that sufficient fuel must be stored, and stored properly, in order to maintain the homestead retreat
electrical power system.

In the case of LP gas, fuel storage is as simple as providing a bulk tank of sufficient size. We would recommend a
500- to 1,000-gallon minimum size. In addition, I would suggest that a framework be constructed around the tank
and filled with at least four to six inches of gravel. It should be kept in mind that the independent system is
completely dependent on reliable techniques of fuel storage. Hence, the need for taking necessary precautions to
insure the invulnerability of any and all fuel storage tanks.

Diesel and gasoline fuel is best stored in a cool, dry place. If the soil is suitable, the best installation is in tanks
underground as this provides both security as well as the optimum, cool, stable temperature desired. If the tanks are
kept filled, and the exteriors properly treated, moisture should not be a problem. In situations where a high water
table exists, below-ground storage is not advisable, for there will be a tendency for partially filled tanks to “float”
upward toward the surface.

Prior to the purchase of our continuous-duty generator, Anne and I conducted an in-depth study of the various types
of generator fuels by contacting the research and technical departments of major petroleum and LP gas companies.
We concluded that with petroleum products, as with many other storage items, stability depends to a great extent
upon storage conditions.

Generally speaking, if a fuel is stored in a dry, cool place, it will be satisfactory for use after several years and much
longer if additives such as SI’s Gas Saver (can be purchased from SI Outdoor Food & Equipment, P.O. Box 5509,
Carson, CA 90749) are regularly added. In addition to the fuel stabilizers, a water-absorption additive such as the
commercial product “Heet” or denatured alcohol (see PS Letter No. 9, page 9) is recommended.
Since most petroleum products are lighter than water, any water present will be found at the bottom of the storage
container. In almost every instance anaerobic bacteria will be present in the water layer to at least some extent.
Since hydrocarbon fuels are acceptable nutrients for some strains of these bacteria, over a period of time the
bacteria proliferate and produce a slimy by-product which will eventually contaminate the fuel plus clog most fuel

Diesel fuel, and also kerosene, is generally rated as having a longer storage life than gasoline. Kerosene can be used
in place of diesel fuel to run a diesel engine generator if one quart of No. 30 non-detergent oil is mixed in with
every 25 gallons of kerosene. The oil provides lubrication for the fuel injection components. Since we recommend
the homestead retreater stock kerosene anyway for emergency lighting use, the kerosene then becomes a back-up
supply of fuel for the 120-volt AC diesel generator.

Any heavy-duty continuous-duty generator such as we’re suggesting here should have a separate 12-volt DC
battery to provide electrical start so that the generator can be started by anyone whenever it is needed simply by
pushing a button. This does much to enhance the usability of the self-sufficient 120-volt AC electrical generator.
The 12-volt starting battery is the same type as is used for starting cars and is used only for starting the generator. It
is completely separate from the deep-cycle 12-volt battery bank.

In addition, a 12-volt electrical starting system makes it possible to have a 120/240-volt AC generator hooked up
for automatic load demand starting. This desirable feature enables one to have a system which, except for
maintenance, works independently on its own. When power is needed, the generator automatically turns itself on.
When power is not needed, the generator automatically turns itself off. This automatic on and off feature has
achieved a high degree of reliability through the incorporation of solid state electronic controls.

Housing the Generator

The generator should be in a building of its own or within a building complex in order to provide convenience and
security as well as weather-protection for the unit. Any securely-built, well-insulated building goes a long way
toward furnishing these requirements. Insulated, fireproof walls filled with a minimum thickness of 4” of gravel
will grant additional security. The fuel for the generator should be nearby but not stored in the same room because
of the heat factor.
A substantial building will also provide some silencing of the mechanical noises associated with the unit’s
operation. The silencing of the unit is an important factor; it’s necessary for peace of mind as well as for obvious
reasons. Further silencing is best accomplished by diverting the exhaust sound into a special muffler chamber or by
exhausting the muffled sound away from an area where it might be objectionable.

One of the best ways of quieting the unit down is through a series of mufflers or any device which absorbs and
diffuses the sound without creating much back pressure. In our own unit, we have obtained a reasonable level of
sound simply by installing two mufflers in series, connected end to end and facing the exhaust away from our

An eventual refinement will be having this exhaust piped into a series of two baffled 55-gallon barrels placed in an
earth berm alongside our to-be-constructed permanent generator house. This system should provide for almost total
silencing of the power unit.

In terms of maintaining the reliability of the generator, it is important to stock replacement for all parts subject to
wear. This will naturally include such items as engine oil, fuel, and oil filters, etc. An exact list of what is needed
can be obtained from the dealer from whom you acquire your generator.

It has been our experience that reputable engine supply companies are usually knowledgeable about the parts
necessary to maintain such units indefinitely, and a stock of replacement parts plus the tools, shop manuals, etc., to
make the replacements is good insurance. A dependable 120-volt AC generating unit with a complete backup
inventory of parts and fuel can be relied upon to provide you with an independent electrical system whenever you
need it.

Jeff Cooper Reviews: ​The Rights of Gun Owners ​by Alan M. Gottlieb
(Caroline House Publishers, Inc., 920W. Industrial Dr., Aurora, IL 60506) $5.95

Alan Gottlieb, well-known to all as president of the Second Amendment Foundation, has done all true believers a
great service in the writing of this book. It is a compendium of the legal status of gun ownership in this country,
together with a catalog of the state statutes on the subject of personal ownership of firearms. We plan to stock it
here at Gunsite so that students and clients may have quick access to the current information on their rights as gun
owners in whatever place they may reside.

Simply listing the table of contents will convey the importance of this work, which is introduced by no less a figure
than Congressman Phil Crane, of whom we hope to see a great deal more in Washington as the years go by:
1. Constitutional History of the Individual’s Right to Keep and Bear Arms. In this chapter Mr. Gottlieb disposes
clearly and unequivocally of the notion that the Second Amendment somehow applies only to the National Guard.
This specious argument is continuously thrown at us by those who know too little of their subject.

2. Gun Control, The Basic Issues. We might wish that the term “gun control” could be replaced by “personal
disarmament”. Here at the API we pride ourselves on the fact that exactly what we teach is ​gun control​. A man who
cannot control his gun should not carry it. As with so many other terms in this day and age, the left has been able to
grab onto words which confuse the issue. No one is against “gun control”, as such, for gun control may be defined
as marksmanship. What we are against is ​personal disarmament,​ and we should make that clear.

3. BATF Abuse of Gun Owner’s Rights. Most of us are aware of this dreary topic, but the story is told well here.
The fact that the ill-starred Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has been effectively terminated by President
Reagan, to whom all honor should be duly rendered, makes this chapter a bit dated but nonetheless interesting. If
the BATF does not get after us there always will be those who will.

We noticed recently one hoplophobic type on national television pointing out that since the functions of the BATF
were to be taken over by the Secret Service, the job would be much better done. This person felt that “the job” was
to deprive us of our personal means of defense, and did not seem to realize that the quality of the organization was
not the point. We feel, however, that the Secret Service is too high-toned an organization to indulge in the
shenanigans of the defunct Batmen. Let us hope we are right.

4. Rights of Gun Owners during Arrest and Trial. This chapter is self-explanatory. One hopes it will not be
pertinent in his own case. We never know, however.

5. Rights of Those Using Firearms for Self-Defense. This unit examines the theory behind the laws applied in most
states. It is of course absolutely essential for anyone who owns a firearm to understand this material fully.

6. Federal Gun Control Laws. These are listed as they now stand and will have to be updated as changes are made,
as we trust they will be in the coming year. The McClure/Volkmer amendments to Kennedy’s GCA of ‘68 will
indeed make the law much more sensible when passed.

7. State and Local Gun Control Ordinances. Here in tabular form are presented the rules, as currently enforced in
each of the fifty states.
There follow appendices A thru L, including such things as Title One of the 1968 act, the details of the
McClure/Volkmer reform, and the rules of the Federal Aviation Administration- among others.

As you can see the work has been inclusive and comprehensive.

If one were to pick nits, it might be said that Mr. Gottlieb is more of a legalist than a shooter and tends to get
somewhat afield in his generalizations. In one of the late Jack O’Connor’s important books, a whole chapter is
devoted to the problem of “picking your expert”. Mr. Gottlieb’s experts have not, I fear, been picked with adequate

One, for example, points out that the major-caliber handguns are impossible for most women to control, which will
come as a great surprise to scores of students of ours who have proved the contrary. Another claims that handguns
are useful since they require almost no skill for their proper utilization. This comes as a great surprise to me.

These are minor quibbles. We hope that the volume will be updated periodically as new laws and regulations are
forthcoming, and as those now in the books become amended or repealed.

I can hardly recommend the book enough. Everybody should have one.

Survival Gunsmithing- Winchester Model 94 Rifle

by J.B. Wood

The Winchester Model 94 carbine was not one of Mel’s top choices in ​Survival Guns​, but he included it there, and
on this list, for two reasons: First, because nearly everyone is likely to have one, and secondly because it is a good,
reliable close-range hunting piece. Its cartridge doesn’t have much reach, and its lever action is slow for defensive
use, but it ​works​, every time.

As some readers may know, the Olin Corporation recently sold the gunmaking half of the Winchester Company,
while retaining the cartridge production facility under the Winchester name. The new gunmaking firm is called the
US Repeating Arms Company, and they are continuing production of many of the Winchester models, including the
Model 94.
A basic parts list for the Model 94 includes the following: Firing pin, extractor, hammer spring, and sear/safety

The firing pin of the Model 94 is a particularly strong-bodied type, but the front point does occasionally fracture
after long use. The extractor seldom breaks, but it is its own blade-type spring, and it can weaken and lose tension
in time. Extractors are also occasionally deformed or broken during improper removal. This part is usually tightly
fitted in its recess, and after removal of the cross-pin that retains it, the extractor should never be pried upward at
the front. Instead, hook a screwdriver under its beak, and lever it out of the bolt toward the front.

The blade-type hammer spring is subject to age-weakening more often than breakage. The combination sear and
safety block spring is also a blade type. If the arm that powers the safety block weakens or breaks, the gun will still
function, but the automatic blockage of the trigger while the lever is open won’t work. If the other arm breaks,
though, the sear will have no tension, and the hammer won’t stay cocked.

Repeating the items above, here is a more comprehensive spare parts list for the Model 94: Firing pin, extractor,
hammer spring, sear/safety spring, ejector, lever link pin, link pin cover screw, carrier (if sheet steel type),
magazine spring, rear sight, and rear sight elevator.

The ejector rarely breaks, but I have seen a few that had cracked at the front, in the area of the stop pin slot. So, just
in case. The lever link pin (“finger lever pin”) and its cover screw are not subject to excessive wear or breakage, but
they are included in case of loss and because of their essential function.

The Winchester Company went through a brief “cheap” period beginning in 1965, and for a time certain parts of the
Model 94 were changed from solid machined construction to formed sheet-steel. The most notable example of this
was the cartridge lifter, or carrier. Early guns, and those currently made by the successor, US Repeating Arms Co.,
have the solid carrier. If your Model 94 has the sheet-steel type, it would be a good idea to get a solid-type spare.

In survival-hunting use, the magazine is likely to stay fully-loaded for long periods of time, and over several years
this could tend to weaken the magazine spring. Symptoms of this would include failure to feed the last round onto
the carrier when the action is operated. Replacement is a simple matter, requiring only the removal of one screw
and the endpiece.

On most Model 94’s, the rear sight is dovetail mounted on the barrel, with a spring-tempered rear section that is
slotted to accept a sliding elevator. If the rear sight is struck with enough force to cause damage, the elevator will
probably be lost. The front sight is not as likely to be damaged, but since it is a relatively inexpensive part, perhaps
it might be a good idea to have a spare of it as well.
And now, for those who worry a lot, let’s look at the realm of the remotely possible: The hammer and sear are not
likely to show extreme wear in a normal lifetime, but since they are hardened parts there is a possibility of chipping
in the area of the sear beak or the sear steps (notches) on the hammer. If you get a spare hammer, you might also
want to add the hammer stirrup and its pin. These parts used to come with the hammer, as an assembly, but I’m not
sure whether this is still the case.

The carrier tension spring is a heavy blade type, and it seldom breaks, as it is not severely flexed in normal
operation. After years of use, though, it could weaken and fail to hold the carrier in position for feeding. The
loading gate (factory name: “spring cover”) has a tempered tail, and is its own spring. While it is flexed rather far
during loading, breakage is rare. If it should weaken, however, it could bear on the side of the carrier, affecting

In old, well-used guns, there will be some wear in the area of the locking bolt, its tracks in the receiver, and its
locking recesses in the breech bolt. If this wear is extreme, it can cause slight headspace problems. This will
normally not be dangerous, but it can create a problem for those who load their own cartridges.

The bolt locking block is available separately, but is sold to dealers and distributors with the understanding that the
part will be fitted by a gunsmith. If you know your dealer well, you can probably get him to order it for you. For a
couple of dollars more, you can get it complete with the firing pin striker and its retaining pin.

The only other part on the Model 94 that sustains any appreciable wear is the lever detent plunger (“friction stud”),
which keeps the lever in closed position until it is intentionally moved in operation. A weakening of the plunger
spring can have the same effect as extreme plunger wear- the lever will drop down when not held in place by the
shooter’s hand. This symptom appears only on very old and well-worn guns, but those who want to cover
everything might want to add the detent plunger and spring to their lists.

The Model 94 is shown on page 223 of the ​Gun Digest Book of Exploded Firearms Drawings, S ​ econd Edition. The
Winchester illustrations in this book, though, are taken from the factory parts catalogue, and these are not as clear
as most of the other illustrations in the book. A better layout of the Model 94 parts can be found in the ​NRA
Firearms Assembly Book,​ in a fine drawing by Jim Triggs.

Complete takedown and reassembly instructions can be found on pages 471-479 in the ​Gun Digest Book of
Firearms Assembly/Disassembly, Part IV: Centerfire Rifles​. Many parts for the Model 94 are available at local gun
shops. For those that aren’t, the address is: US Repeating Arms Co., 275 Winchester Avenue, New Haven, CT