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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 30

Issue No. 30- April, 1982

Notes on Tactical Architecture

by Jeff Cooper

It is easy to deplore the degeneration of our social order, difficult as it may be to explain it. But it is not impossible
to do something about it. Before doing so, however, one must admit that it exists. The news tells us that we live in a
savage society in which subhumans prey with relative impunity upon the innocent and the decent; but, as with
death, these facts are hard to accept.

Since most people respond to hypothetical peril with the assumption that it will not come to ​them​, the first step in
adjusting to our present social situation is the hard, clear, unflinching understanding that it can indeed come to us-
personally. It is amazing to read of people who did not choose to believe this until ​after they had been victimized.
They all knew that burglary, robbery, assault, and murder were not only possible but frequent, but they took no
precautions because they simply would not admit that they, themselves, could be the victims.

Once you accept the fact that you actually may be the next target -today- you have taken the first great step toward
your own physical security. Having made this simple, if difficult, admission, you can never afterward be surprised,
and surprise is the greatest single element in tactics- offensive or defensive.

Defense of your person is your first concern, and it is a very elaborate study to which we have given a great deal of
professional attention over the years, but let us turn for the moment to the defense of your home. Street crime is
certainly horrific, and it is our national shame that we cannot maintain safe streets in our big cities, but more
shocking yet is the thought that we cannot even go home, shut out the street, and relax. The goblins follow us even
there. Consider the Manson atrocities as only the most notorious on a long and horrible list.

Defense of your home may probably be stated better as defense ​in your home, for saving your life is the main
concern, whether on the street or home in bed. There are things that can be done to avert burglary in your absence,
but they are only effective if they are incorporated into the house as it is being built, and they are dauntingly
To build a house that cannot be broken into is to build a fort, and even then it can be defeated if the intruder has the
time and the wit. (The pyramids were designed to be burglar-proof, by kings who commanded unlimited wealth and
labor. The tomb robbers broke into them almost as soon as the funeral flowers wilted.)

But we can make certain arrangements to insure that our homes are a good deal more secure when we are in them,
and I think we should.

In a recent visit to Southern California, we were depressed to note the efforts made by householders to harden their
homes; first because this was necessary, and second because the systems employed did not seem very effective.

To see iron bars and barbed wire around the houses in which we grew up without even door locks is sadder than to
see a city smashed by war, but still worse is to see good people relying on completely passive structures which can
never succeed against an evil will. We saw great, electrically-operated gates which could be climbed by any active

We saw heavy locks on doors which could be burst open at the hinges. We saw guard dogs which could be bribed
with doped hamburger. We saw nothing that was specifically designed to enable the homeowner to counterattack.
Evidently the doctrine is that one covers up, keeps his head down, and calls the police.

Let us agree on one major point right here. ​The police cannot protect you in your home. If goblins break in upon
you, the police should be called -as soon as you get around to it- in order to write out reports and clean up the mess.
But the goblins are your problem.​ Bear that always in mind.

Several features in a house can help you defend it. Some must be built in as the house goes up, but others may be
added to structures already completed. In most cases they need be neither unsightly nor inconvenient.

Point One

When you are asleep, you are helpless. Few things can be more nightmarish than to open a drowsy eye to see a
shadowy figure standing over you in the gloom. This need never happen.
Bedroom windows must be ironed, obviously in such a way as to permit their opening from the inside in case of
fire. (A prominent United States senator must live out his life with the memory of his adolescent daughter who was
murdered in her bedroom by a monster who simply kicked open the French windows- because he, the senator, had
not protected his own child.)

But just the windows are not enough. There must be a strong barrier between the sleeping quarters and the rest of
the house. A bolted door will do (deadbolt, not a pickable latch), an iron grill is better because you can see through
it- and shoot through it.

No barrier is impenetrable, but if it causes a racket if attacked it will awaken you, and that is all you need. If you are
awake, armed, and ​aware, you cannot be defeated by any predator, human or otherwise. Clearly the iron grill must
be fastened in such a way that it cannot be unfastened by stealth. Use your imagination here.

Point Two

Sleeping quarter protection can usually be installed in a ready-made house, but door arrangement is another matter.
You must be able to see who is at the door without exposing yourself. Peep holes are better than nothing, but
essentially all doors -front, back, and side- should be recessed in such a way that anyone seeking entrance may be
viewed in full, from the side or, preferably, from behind. When a visitor knocks on your door he should be, in
effect, surrounded by your house, aware that he is in view of the people inside from several angles. Even if he
intends a ​coup-de-main,​ he will be at such a tactical disadvantage that he may well chicken out.

Observation must include the capability to fire, so the observation ports must be unscreened, narrow, and openable
with one motion. Several sorts of slit windows made for trailers serve this purpose very well if set vertically.

A proof door is an expensive luxury but it does promote sound sleep. Our lower-deck door, which is farthest from
our bedroom and therefore hardest for us to hear, is a plywood sandwich with an armored filling, and fastened from
the inside with cross-bars rather than a latch. It would be quieter to come through the grouted block wall.

Point Three

Any house which is properly designed for the Age of Aquarius must permit its perimeter to be visible from inside
it. This is the “Vauban Principle”, and you must start from scratch to achieve it completely, but even if stuck with a
blind rectangle, a single added bastion on one corner will give you coverage of two of four walls, and two
diagonally-placed bastions will cover all but their own backsides.
Clearly nothing is perfect. Existing structures may be all but impossible to harden, and terrain will often render
specific protective features unnecessary, but this is where architectural ingenuity becomes important. (Remember
Castle Dracula, protected by frowning battlements on three sides but light and airy on the fourth, which overlooked
a thousand-foot precipice?)

Point Four

Roman patricians, when in town, dwelt in houses designed for an urban jungle no less savage than our own. Outside
walls, right on the property line and generally rectangular in plan, were proof against anything but a ram and
pierced by very narrow doors. The open living space was inside. This plan was borrowed by the Spaniards and
exported to the New World as the patio.

This design has much to offer today, where building codes permit. With one side of the quadrangle serving as a
garage, and bastions at the four corners, it offers a hard carapace to the outside while providing as large an interior
garden as space permits.

Point Five

No inanimate structure or device can provide physical security in and of itself. Furthermore, no fortress nor sconce
can withstand intelligent attack by determined besiegers. What tomorrow’s house can offer, however, is
comfortable living space which is hard enough to daunt the casual savage and, in addition, will permit the
inhabitants to sleep secure in the knowledge that any prospective intruders must (1) make enough noise to alert the
defense, and (2) be placed at a serious tactical disadvantage.

Naturally it is desirable for all walls to be relatively proof against small arms fire- especially those which include
observation ports. This is not as critical as might first appear, however, since the criminal cannot undertake a siege
and must count upon surprise to gain his objectives. You can prevent this by correct observation techniques coupled
with a manifest willingness to use lethal force against him. Passive defense can succeed only if the cops are within
earshot- and not always then.

For those who wish to build a stronghold in the boondocks -as opposed to a house in which to spend extended
periods in comfort- the Army Department has a nifty field manual on the subject. This is FM 5-15, Field
Fortifications. It is not classified.
It should be unnecessary to point out that the shield is useless without the sword, and that neither is of value without
the brain. Lincoln and Trotsky and Castillo and Sharon Tate and the LaBiancas and General Dozier and the victims
of the Boston Strangler could not have been helped by architecture. ​Their killers were allowed inside.

A stranger at your door must be considered a possible target until proven otherwise. ​And this is not fear, much less
the popularly misused term “paranoia”. This is intelligent caution. The great leopard of Rudraprayag had no “fear”
of people. He was able to terrorize his district for eight years because he was very, very careful. In today’s savage
world we need not be afraid, but we do need to be careful.

The Homestead Retreat Power System, Part II

by Eric and Anne Teller

The Portable Generator

There are times when electrical power is needed on the homestead retreat at a location far removed from the
120-volt AC continuous-duty generator. For example, when we were constructing one of our ponds and needed to
bail out water, it was necessary to use a portable electrical generator to run a water pump. Many times when
working around the buildings, it is easier to wheel over the portable generator than it is to hook up a series of
extension cords from the main generator shed.

The portable generator (or alternator) should be powerful enough to carry any load that might be demanded of it,
yet small enough to be transportable and economical to operate. The unit we have is a Wards 1800-watt alternator
(currently priced at about $450) which will handle a surge load of 2200 watts. We would recommend any unit from
1100 to 2500 watts as being of a practical size.

These are readily obtainable from Sears, Wards, J.C. Penney, and the three generator sources that were listed at the
end of the first article in this series. Stay away from units of less than a thousand watts as they do not produce
enough power to be practical for most homestead retreat tasks.
Previously, we recommended the 1800 rpm continuous-duty generator as the one to choose. And there is some
merit to considering the heavy-duty 1800 rpm design for your portable generator, also. However, for a portable unit
which isn’t going to be used all that often, it probably makes more sense to go with a 3600 rpm engine because it is
lighter and more versatile in terms of its portability.

It’s also less expensive than an 1800 rpm generator of the same electrical output. It’s a trade off; you’re trading less
weight and greater portability for shorter engine life when choosing a 3600 rpm unit.

Be aware of the fact that even a small portable generator is not very portable when it comes to picking it up and
carrying it around. It certainly can be lifted from one place to another, but it is heavy enough that you won’t want to
carry it very far.

So whenever possible we recommend that it be permanently fastened to a suitable frame with wheels or, as we have
done, on a two-shelved steel utility cart with five-inch wheels, which can easily be rolled in and out of the
garage/workshop. Today most portable generators are available (as an option) mounted on a steel rack with wheels.
Some of these racks are even constructed on the order of a wheelbarrow or garden cart with comfortable handles to
control movement of the load.

The vast majority of lightweight portable electrical generator engines are designed to operate on gasoline. Most of
us will be storing a quantity of gasoline for other uses anyway. Since a small portable generator will run for up to
three hours on a gallon of gasoline, heavy fuel consumption should not be a problem.

Another advantage of gasoline-fueled portable generators is that they are easier to hand-start. We usually
recommend that they be hand-started since the lack of a heavy tag-along lead battery is an obvious factor in the
portability of the unit. On the other hand, if you keep a portable generator and small starting battery mounted on a
steel frame with 8-10” wheels, the starting battery might be more of an advantage than a hindrance.

Here is where physical build and strength can make a difference. I can start our small generator with one or two
tugs on the built-in starting rope. Anne, who by the way is no weakling, has trouble starting the unit because her
petite stature makes it difficult for her to pull the starter rope out far enough to spin the engine over rapidly.
The decision as to exactly what size and type of portable 120-volt AC electrical generator should be obtained for
the homestead retreat depends mainly on each individual situation. The survivalist with 80 acres of land to take care
of might prefer a light, compact, hand-started unit which can be set in or out of the back of a truck. The retreater
living on three acres at the edge of town would be happier with a small generator complete with starting battery
mounted on a substantial push cart.

The 120-Volt Wind-Power System

Many people feel l20-volt wind-power offers the ultimate form of inexhaustible homestead retreat electrical energy.
Proven wind-powered generators from 6 to 120-volts in output have been in existence for fifty years. We know they

If seriously considering any form of wind-power, you must begin by looking at the major limitation: the site.

The potential value of a wind-powered generating system is in direct proportion to the amount of wind available on
a regular basis. The most efficient wind plant in the world isn’t worth a lick if there isn’t enough consistent wind.

As a 120-volt wind generator is being contemplated, it is imperative that a careful survey of the wind potential at
the particular site be carried out. This requires the installation of a wind speed measuring device, an anemometer, at
the exact site (including the proper height off the ground, usually a minimum of 60 to 90 feet) where the proposed
wind plant might be installed.

The wind speed measurements must then be monitored and recorded for at least a year in order to get a reasonable
estimate of the ​actual potential for producing wind power. Without going through this effort, there is no way of
knowing whether a wind-powered generator has any practical value or not. A serious survivalist can’t afford to do it
any other way.

On a properly-sited location, the 120-volt wind-power system, complete with backup generator and large battery
bank, represents the ultimate in similarity to the common and convenient plugged-in utility company electricity.
Powerful, new wind plants on the market today can provide as much power as any typical, fully-equipped
household would need.
Under favorable wind conditions, the new, off-the-shelf systems such as Dunlite or Jacobs ranging in price from
$5,000 to $20,000 could certainly provide all the electrical needs for a homestead retreat. There are also some older,
reconditioned models currently available and, if indeed one is committed to a total high-consumption power
system, one of them might be something to consider.

The only problem with such an extensive and luxurious 120-volt wind-power system is that it is vulnerable. Very
vulnerable. A single rifle shot from a passing vandal can disable the wind generator. A critical task is the regular
inspection and maintenance of the huge battery bank which needs to be housed in a temperate environment with
adequate ventilation. All components of the system require frequent monitoring just for safety’s sake.

The 120-volt wind-power generator is a heavy unit. The large propeller blades are also heavy. Through improper
installation or maintenance, many of these units have blown down. If something happens to the wind generator, the
whole system is severely crippled.

In our opinion, there are too many potential problems with a high voltage wind-powered system to make it
dependable for a permanent, self-sufficient homestead retreat. This system shouldn’t even be considered unless one
has sufficient funds to duplicate all primary components. A system of this size and complexity requires a technician
trained and knowledgeable in almost all phases of the electrical field to maintain and repair the installation. (Be
certain this technician does not have acrophobia!)

An additional disadvantage of the 120-volt wind system is that for many uses the power needs to be inverted. This
is another costly proposition in that a 120-volt DC to 120-volt AC inverter is an expensive item costing several
thousand dollars for one large enough to be compatible with a full-scale system. Further, it adds just another
vulnerable dimension to the system.

In summary, the 120-volt wind-powered generator represents a complex and highly sophisticated electrical system.
It also represents a very large capital investment. By establishing this kind of power system, you admittedly do have
the potential for the steady production of large amounts of usable electrical power.

But at the same time, you also have some very real potential for a host of problems. The basic complexity simply
multiplies the chances and the proportional seriousness of disasters which can occur. This reality must be faced.

All this is not to say that a dependable 120-volt system can’t be developed, but from extensive research, our own
experience, and knowledge of several systems in our own area, we feel we cannot recommend 120-volt wind power
as part of the homestead retreat concept.
Our basic feeling is that if a system can’t be installed, or at least maintained, by the homestead retreater himself, the
system is not viable for survival purposes. The only exception we can conceive of is in the special case of a group
retreat situation with two or more trained technicians available to supervise and maintain the power system.


Harnessing the downhill movement of water has a proven record of success. Hydro-power is an appealing source
for electrical energy and in the history of our country, water power has provided a significant amount of electrical

Today, as fossil fuel prices continue their upward spiral, long-neglected commercial hydroelectric power stations
are being refurbished and put back “on line”. Homestead retreaters with a stream running through their land may
wonder if this water power can be harnessed in some way, especially to produce electricity.

When an appropriate site is available, a water-turbine generating unit offers one of the most dependable and, over
the long term, least expensive forms of independent electrical power. But, it does have its limitations.

Before considering hydro-power as an energy source, one must ask some questions. Is the winter weather of the
locality so severe as to endanger the installation? In our area, for instance, neglecting the consequences of harsh
below zero temperatures extending for weeks at a time would have disastrous results.

Is there enough potential power available to make an installation worthwhile? Both the head and the volume of
water are variables to be considered. The head is the difference in elevation between any two given points, usually
the vertical distance from where water is directed to begin a steep downhill run to the hydro-electric generator fins.
The volume is simply the quantity of water moving past a particular point in a measured time.

During late summer or drought, a stream can completely dry up. Under conditions of serious upstream erosion, the
most elaborate water reservoir can be silted up and most of the water storage capacity of the impoundment lost.
This can happen in a relatively short time. The consequence is that if and when the stream flow slows down, there
will not be enough water in storage to continue operation of the hydroelectric generator.

An opposite but possibly more troublesome problem is that there can be too much water. A large watershed can be
made up of hundreds or even thousands of acres. The volume of water coming from the watershed can be altered
overnight by a forest fire or in a short season by a clear-cut logging operation. After a long period of steady rainfall,
or during spring snow run-off, a small stream can become a raging torrent, carrying up to ten or more times its
normal volume of water.
Anne and I experienced the effects of torrential rainfall on a small watershed. When putting in one of our
permanent hillside pastures, we carefully followed the advice of our local USDA Soil and Water Conservation
District engineer. The pasture fence line terminated the recommended distance from the stream with a light-duty
maintenance road alongside. The area was carefully prepared and the recommended seeding planted. Then came the

The engineer, surveying the damage later, explained that it was one of those minor catastrophes which occurs only
once every hundred years. “Just a quirk of nature”, he assured us. “Will never happen again in our lifetime.”

Several weeks of work and no small amount of expense went into correcting the situation and putting the stream
bed back where it was supposed to be. Hundreds of cubic yards of eroded soil had to be replaced and the entire area
needed reseeding again. A year later, one more quirk of nature brought us another “once every hundred years”
downpour and the total washout was repeated.

Yet another question one must ask is, do the costs and logistics of developing the site and harnessing the moving
water make it a practical project? A promising hydropower site needs extensive time-consuming development to
effectively utilize the amount of water flowage available. There is often considerable land-clearing and
earth-moving to be done. Construction of a dam, spillway, and other water containment structures need to be

Building a dam which will handle the water flow and coordinate the stream velocity with a hydroelectric generator
can be a tremendous task. It may take a year or more just to get the permits sometimes required before the project
can be seriously considered. Then, too, the entangling questions of legal water rights might compound the issue still
further, even if all the physical problems are resolved.

Obviously, the variables affecting the decision to pursue a hydro-power installation are very complex. Because of
this, we don’t recommend hydro-power as part of the initial homestead retreat power system. In many ways, it
comes down to the same negative conclusion we faced with the 120-volt wind-powered electrical system.

Lots of potential with a hat full of maybe-if’s... but these aren’t the kinds of power system components that any
serious survivalist wants or needs, at least not to start with. The homestead retreater, out of sheer necessity, is
concerned with putting together a power system with a high probability of immediate and continuing success. It has
to do the job it is depended on to do.

For those still wishing to pursue a hydro-power installation as a long-term objective to supplement the main power
system, there is one particularly well-rated source of information. The James Leffel Company is one of the oldest
manufacturers of hydro-electrical generating equipment found in the United States. They offer a complete service
devoted to small water-power development.
They even advise how to measure a stream head and flow amount, which then enables them to give definite
recommendations and price quotations. Also, they are able to offer off-the-shelf items or custom-designed units
directly applicable to the particular situation. They can be contacted at Springfield, OH 45501, phone

Another source of information for hydro-power installation is the Independent Power Developers, Inc., Box 1467,
Noxon, MT 59853, phone 406-847-2315. They offer a complete planning, advisory, and engineering service, and
custom-design and build each turbine to match the requirements of the site.

A complete bibliography and source list will be included at the end of the third and final article in this series. For
those who want to get additional information immediately on wind- or water-powered electrical systems, we
recommend the following:

Home Wind Power by the US Department of Energy, updated 1981. Available from Garden Way Publishing,
Charlotte, VT 05445. $10.95 plus $1.25 for postage.

Windpower for the Homeowner by Donald Marier, 1981. Available from Alternative Sources of Energy, Inc.,
Milaca, MN 56353. $12.95 plus$2.00 for postage.

Low-Cost Development of Small Waterpower Sites by Hans W. Hamm. Available from VITA, 3706 Rhode Island
Avenue, Mt. Rainier, MD 20822. $2.95 plus $1.25 for postage. Nuts and bolts information can be extracted from
this booklet which was originally aimed at providing technical assistance for underdeveloped countries.

Letters from the Editor

The Tellers’ article in Issue No. 29 generated (no pun intended) considerable interest, and several of you, including
Rick Fines, have written me about your experiences with generators. We will run those remarks in the next issue,
but until then, remember that the 120/240-volt AC electric generator is but one component of the Tellers’ system,
and that they use it only occasionally for special purposes- to run power tools, food grinders, etc. For their daily
power needs they rely on their 12-volt DC system, which they will discuss in Issue No. 31.

Next month we will also include a supplement for those of you who want to know more about wind- and
If you are like I am, books play an important part in your life and you have several favorites that are either falling
apart from repeated use or that you would like to have bound in leather or leather and cloth for personal reasons. As
you may have discovered, trying to find a bindery that will do quality work is no easy task.

Gary Sarkisian of the American Bindery will not only bind books in library buckram, leather, and leather and cloth
but he also has a ​durable​ softcover binding that is handmade.

He will bind your issues of PS Letter, or for that matter, any newsletter or magazine of your choice (the softcover
binding will not work on glossy-coated stock, however).

If you’ve never priced bindings, his prices may seem high, but the quality you receive is worth the money- the
workmanship on the volumes that I have seen is superb. During April and May he is offering PS Letter subscribers
a special on his softcover bindings ($20/book plus shipping for fewer than five books- the regular price is $25).

Send Mr. Sarkisian a No. 10 SASE requesting additional information. Gary Sarkisian, American Bindery, P.O. Box
3004, Redondo Beach, CA 90277.

Survival Clothing
by Robert E. Kimball

You might think that the best solution to the long-term survival clothing problem is to have someone in the family
who sews. Then all that you need do is stock up on bolts of material, patterns, thread, and a treadle sewing machine.

This solution has merit and should be considered; however, you should keep in mind that it takes a great deal of
time just to make one garment. In a retreat environment, time is a very precious commodity. As long as your supply
of ready-made clothing holds out, time can be better spent on other activities.

Without clothing and shelter, man can survive only in a tropical environment. The original purpose of clothing was
to protect the body from cold, heat, sun, wind, rain, and injury. Today, most people are more concerned about
fashion than protection. For long-term survival, fashion doesn’t matter, protection does. Survival clothing must be
rugged so that it not only protects but lasts.
Fibers & Fabrics

Space does not permit a full discussion of all types of fabrics and their properties. What follows should be enough
information for you to make intelligent decisions on survival clothing purchases. Fabrics are woven or knitted from
fibers. There are natural fibers such as cotton and wool. There are synthetic fibers- polyester, acrylic, and nylon.
There are blends of two or more fibers, for example, cotton/polyester.

For each man-made fiber there are several registered names such as Dacron polyester and Kodel polyester. Natural
fibers are absorbent; synthetics are not. Synthetic fibers are stronger, will not shrink, and will last longer than
natural fibers. Most blends combine a natural fiber and a synthetic fiber in order to make a fabric that will have
some of the best qualities of both. For example, a cotton/polyester shirt will wear longer than an all-cotton shirt and
will still be absorbent, but not as absorbent as an all-cotton shirt.

The properties of a fabric will be not only the result of the properties of the fibers used but also the result of how the
fabric is woven or knitted. A tight weave will produce a hard finish, while a loose weave will produce a soft finish.
The tight weave will wear better; the loose weave will be warmer because of the air that it traps between the fibers.
The Fiber Properties chart will help you determine which fibers to choose for survival clothing.

There are three categories of clothing that you will need for long-term survival use: hot weather clothing, cold
weather clothing, and protective clothing. Hot weather clothing must provide protection from the sun while at the
same time keeping the body as cool as possible. Cold weather clothing must provide sufficient insulation to keep
the body warm and must be able to vent water vapor to prevent cooling from evaporation. Protective clothing
includes gloves, knee pads, safety glasses, etc.

Hot Weather Clothing

The easiest way to stay cool in hot weather is to remove all clothing, stay out of the sun, and remain inactive.
Removing all clothing will allow the body’s system of cooling by evaporation to work efficiently. Staying out of
the sun will reduce the amount of heat absorbed by radiation. Staying inactive will reduce the amount of heat
produced by the body’s metabolism.

More often than not you will find that you have work to do, that you can’t afford the luxury of taking it easy in hot
weather. Clothing for hot weather has to be a compromise between staying cool (no clothes at all) and enough
clothing to protect you from the sun’s rays. You not only have to worry about sunburn but skin cancer. The
minimum amount of clothing for working outside in hot weather is: a broad-brimmed straw hat to shade eyes, neck,
and ears; short pants; boots, and socks.
With a good suntan, you won’t have to worry about sunburn, but you might be concerned about skin cancer. My
preference is a hat, a short-sleeved cotton or cotton/polyester shirt, long pants, socks, and boots. I add the extra
clothing for two reasons. One for protection from the sun; the other for protection from abrasion. It’s surprising
how often I need to kneel on my knees or carry something against my body. I’d rather wear out the knees to my
pants than my knees or the front of my shirt than my front. I have a friend who works in hot weather in minimum
clothing and never seems to have a problem, so take your pick.

Clothing for hot weather needs to be absorbent and loose-fitting. In order for the body to cool by the evaporation of
perspiration, air must be free to circulate next to the skin and/or the perspiration must be absorbed by the clothing
so that it can then evaporate. The best fiber for absorption and evaporation is linen made from flax, but if you can
find it at all it is very expensive. The next best fiber is cotton, but over time the sun’s rays weaken cotton to the
point that it disintegrates. The best compromise is a cotton/polyester blend.

Cold Weather Clothing

Clothing does not produce heat; your body does. The more active you are, the more heat your body produces. The
purpose of cold weather clothing is to conserve body heat by providing insulation. Clothing provides insulation by
trapping dead air either in the fabric itself and/or between layers of fabrics. To remain efficient, the insulation must
be kept dry and protected from the wind. The body not only gives off moisture with perspiration but loses about 1
½ pints of water per day from the continual drying out of the skin.

To stay warm in cold weather, you must avoid sweating and wear clothing that can vent moisture. There are two
ways to remove moisture. One is by venting, e.g. unzipping a jacket. The other is through fabrics that breathe. The
problem with fabrics that breathe is that they can also absorb moisture from the outside. The thickness of insulation
needed depends upon your activity level and on how cold it is.

If you want to stay warm while sleeping at -40 degrees F. you will need a sleeping bag with three inches of
insulation. If you want to stay warm while doing heavy work at 40 degrees F. you will need clothing that will
provide one-half inch of insulation. One of the reasons that goose down is often used for cold weather garment fill
is that it gives the most thickness with the least amount of weight.

When you are cold your body conserves heat through the process of vasoconstriction in the extremities of the body.
The exception to this is the head, where full blood supply is maintained. Because of this, headwear is extremely
important in cold weather. If you are cold, put your hat on. If you start to get too warm, the first thing to remove is
your hat. Your bare head will radiate excess body heat.
There are two solutions to the need for various thicknesses of insulation required, based on how cold it is and how
active you are. One is to combine maximum insulation with maximum ability to vent. The other is layering. An
example of the former would be a down jacket and down pants, both with lots of zippers that work in both
directions, so that you can zip up or down or both for maximum flexibility in venting.

An example of the latter would be the following layers: ventilating net underwear, lightweight shirt, wool shirt,
wool sweater, and a windbreaker. With layering, as the body warms up, layers can be removed and then replaced
again when the body cools down.

The disadvantage is that you have to have some place to put the layers that are removed, and it takes time to remove
them and put them on again. Ventilating net underwear allows air to circulate next to the skin so that water vapor
can be removed. The open mesh must be 3/8” or larger. Layers over the net underwear should be loose-fitting to
provide air circulation.

You will need gloves or mittens. Mittens will keep your hands warmer but are hard to work in. The L.L. Bean
Catalog (Freeport, ME 04033) has a work glove with separate thumb and index finger, with the other fingers
contained in a mitten. They are made of buckskin and sell for $11.75 ppd. An item to consider for very cold
weather is the balaclava. It can be worn folded up like a knit cap or pulled down over the head to cover face, ears,
and neck. It sells for $7.75 ppd., also from L.L. Bean.

Protective Clothing

The most important item of protective clothing is gloves. I say this even though many people do very hard manual
labor and rarely, if ever, use gloves. Once you have enough calluses, you can do pick and shovel work without
gloves but when it comes to working with chemicals, rough lumber, or items either too hot or too cold to handle, I
strongly recommend that you wear gloves for the protection of your hands. When you are working with power
tools, safety glasses are a must.

Knee pads will not only save your knees but also the knees of your pants. For some types of work, an apron is a
good idea, e.g. welding, working with chemicals. If you plan to do heavy construction work, a hardhat is a must.
Protective clothing is available at hardware stores. A special note on gloves, buy the best you can afford. Cheap
gloves don’t fit well and wear out faster than better gloves. It is, however, a good idea to have some cheap gloves
on hand to be used once then thrown away, e.g. when you tar the roof.
The best all-purpose work gloves I have found are White Mules. They sell for $11.00 pair at most hardware stores.
For working with chemicals, I recommend a supply of throwaway plastic gloves available at hardware and paint
stores for $.31 each. If you use gloves for heavy work, they wear out quickly. I wear out six pair a year, not
including the throwaways.

The Long-Term Survival Clothing List is a suggested two-year list only. It’s a rough compromise between how
long various items will last under heavy use and having enough of each item so that washing can be done at
reasonable intervals.

How long an item of clothing will last under heavy use depends on: the fabric the garment is made of, how it is
made, how hard you use it, how often it is washed, and how it is washed.

You will most likely have hard water, which means if you don’t soften the water, you will have to use more
detergent to get clothes clean. But using more detergent in hard water means that more rinsing will be required to
remove the detergent. Washing in hard water is going to cause more wear.

Exposure to sunlight, especially ultra-violet, causes most fabrics to lose strength and eventually to disintegrate. You
should select garments that have proven themselves under difficult working conditions over time.

A good example is Levis No. 501 blue jeans. This is the same style and fabric that made Levis famous. They were
preferred by the California gold miners, and they are preferred today by those who want a pair of pants that will
last. But even Levis 501’s won’t last forever. I wear out two or three pair a year.

If you buy Levis 501’s, remember that they shrink, two inches in length and two inches in the waist. There is no
necessary relationship between price and how long a garment will last. Levis 501’s will outlast designer jeans that
cost two to four times as much.
Suggested Two-Year Long-Term Survival Clothing List

Quantity Item Fabric

12 sets underwear cotton or cotton/poly

6 each net tee shirt cotton/poly

6 each work shirt cotton/poly

6 pair work pants cotton denim or cotton/poly

3 each flannel shirt cotton or cotton/poly

2 each wool shirt wool, wool/poly, or nylon

2 each turtleneck shirt cotton/poly

1 each vest nylon shell, poly or down fill

1 each jacket nylon shell, poly or down fill

1 each windbreaker nylon

2 sets long underwear cotton/poly or cotton/wool

1 each sweater wool

1 each straw hat straw

1 each knit hat wool

1 each work belt leather

How to Store

Clothing should be stored in a cool, clean, dark place with a low relative humidity, 65% or less. Clothes should be
clean and wrapped in non-acid tissue paper. A cedar chest with tight-fitting lid will help prevent problems with
bugs. Mothballs or crystals can be used, but don’t place them directly on clothing. Properly stored, most clothing
will last indefinitely.

Buy now as much ready-made clothing as you can afford. While it is still available, ready-made clothing is a
bargain compared to the cost in time and energy that it takes to make your own.

How to Survive Survival Foods

by Janet Groene

Don’t tuck this article away to read when some future emergency sends you to your stored food supplies. Buying
the stores is just one prong in your pitchfork against hunger. The other two are rehearsal and rotation. If you begin
using these special foods regularly, you’ll learn many things about both the foods and about yourself. In the bargain
you’ll get older stores off the shelves, making room for fresh ones.

During the years when we lived on a small sailboat, cruising the most remote islands of the Bahamas and living
largely on stored foods, we encountered the same scenario every few months. Another couple would row over to
our boat in their dinghy and ask if we’d like to trade any fresh or canned foods for dehydrates.

They had provisioned the easy, no-think, no-rehearsal way, by buying enough survival foods to serve so-many
people for so-many days. They were well into the voyage before they finally admitted they couldn’t abide the stuff.

Hunger is a great appetizer, you may say, but some cultures of the world have died out because the people were
unwilling to eat foods that were unfamiliar to them. Good food is a tremendous psychological boost, especially
when you are under the stress we’ll have when some emergency forces us to delve into survival supplies. Since so
much good food is available, why not learn what you like and how to prepare it the most palatable way?
Begin at the beginning, simply by opening a can of some food that is new to you, and see what you can do with it.
If you’ve bought the smallest size cans of those foods you haven’t tried before, so much the better. It’s a mistake to
provision with No. 10 tins of unknowns. The space and money could be better spent on things your family will eat
and enjoy.

In my years of experimenting, both through necessity and choice, with preserved foods, I’ve found that some are
just too vile to buy at all; others can be improved through various dodges; still others are so good they have become
a part of our daily diet. Among these, for instance, are canned wheat and large tins of almonds, which aren’t
available otherwise in our small town. We also prefer the survival-pack banana chips and mung beans for everyday

We also find sometimes, during spot shortages, that stored survival choices are cheaper than supermarket
alternatives for the moment. There was an onion shortage one year, for example, during which we dipped into our
supply of dehydrated onions until local supplies swelled again.

First, my failures. I wish I could tell you I’ve found a magical way to make soy meat substitutes as grainy and
toothsome as chicken and steak. I have tried soaking TVP in water, broth, bouillon, tomato sauce, hot water, cold
water. I’ve tried short soaks and long soaks, browning it in butter or oil. I’ve tried just about every shape and size,
from beef chunks to chicken and ham. I’ve even tried telling my husband it was a new breed of capon or cattle.

Frankly we’ve decided to rely on other protein sources. For ourselves, we’d rather eat baked soybeans or stewed
lentils than some bean product that has been corrupted into some masquerade of meat. The one TVP I do use
regularly is the granular type resembling hamburger.

This type has satisfactory shape, appearance, taste, and texture when used in chili, spaghetti sauce, and other
combinations, especially spicy ones. Still, it develops a strong dog food flavor after a few months on the shelf, so I
buy it in small quantities.

Livening Dried Foods

Almost any dried food seems to improve with longer soaking time, except for a few delicate items that can lose
their character completely if soaked too long. To prepare dehydrated prunes or peaches, for instance, I cover them
with boiling water the night before. By breakfast time they are moist and tender, floating in their own juice. Boiling
would have tenderized them faster, but would have taken much more fuel.
By using heavy, heat-retaining pans with tight-fitting lids, you can extend the reconstituting time of freeze-dried
main dish meals without cooling them below serving temperature. Instructions on Mountain House’s beef
stroganoff, for example, call for a wait of 5 to 10 minutes after boiling water is added. If the pot is heavy enough to
keep it hot for steeping twice as long, it will be twice as good.

Fireless cookers and thermos bottles can extend steeping times even further, enhance flavors, and save fuel. Put a
packet of dried soup in a wide-mouth thermos, add boiling water according to package directions (don’t try this
with soups that should be started in cold water), and lid the thermos for a couple of hours. Tip the bottle very gently
to mix, then carefully remove the lid, and serve. The soup will be better than if you boiled it 20 minutes according
to package directions, and you’ve cooked it without a fire.

I’ve found that foods which have been dried, packaged, or canned together tend to taste pretty much the same. In
some cases, where you want a stew or soup to be uniformly penetrated by spices and seasonings, this is good. But
when you are eating from cans and packages for months, as we have, texture and flavor contrast become important

Where possible, I buy storage foods which are single flavors. If you open a can of peas and carrots, it tastes like
peasandcarrots. If you combine a can of peas with a can of carrots, you’ll have a fresher flavor in each.

Mountain House makes a very good cheese omelet, but I prefer to buy their plain eggs, then add my own butter and
cheese. A stew or soup made from ingredients derived from separate sources will look more homemade, and often
taste better, than a product that has been marinating in the same can for a couple of years. Freeze-dried cottage
cheese, reconstituted and mixed with drained, canned pineapple or moistened with sour cream from a mix, tastes
better than any of them would have been alone.

Dare to mix things you wouldn’t ordinarily put together. By adding a few peanuts to coleslaw made from
reconstituted cabbage, you’ll add crunch and punch that are otherwise missing. Mix peas with corn, green beans
with mushrooms, cranberry sauce with canned oranges, pickles with rehydrated salad mix.

In many cases, I prefer to buy dried foods which reconstitute to raw, rather than cooked. If you’re backpacking and
have time only to add water, cooked scrambled eggs are probably the best choice. But reconstituted raw eggs,
freshly cooked in butter, are a better substitute for the real thing. So are freshly-fried reconstituted steaks, burgers,
and chops.

One of my favorite tricks for adding fresh-like crispness is to fry things that aren’t ordinarily fried. Many things can
be done with canned tuna, but none is as satisfying to the texture-hungry survivor as tuna burgers- and I guarantee
your family will love them.
Mash the tuna (or any other canned meat) with at least one egg, some grated onion, and an extender such as bread
crumbs or reconstituted mashed potatoes if necessary. Shape into patties, dip in bread crumbs, and fry in oil until
the burgers are crunchy and browned.

It’s not likely that we’ll run so completely out of fresh foods for long periods that we won’t be able to incorporate
them into our menus. It takes so little to add new life to a meal made entirely from stored foods. Two of the things I
rely on most are onions and cabbage. They keep for weeks, even in the tropics; months in root cellars and cool

Add grated raw onion to any “salad” made from canned or rehydrated vegetables; saute fresh onion in oil or butter
before adding any main dish meal. I’ve used grated cabbage in all the obvious ways, and have used it to add texture
contrast to everything from chicken salad (from canned chicken) to meatless chili.

Even a few scraps of fresh lettuce can be extended into a large salad by adding well-drained canned green beans.
Grated carrots can be mixed with raisins and lemon juice or, if you have only one or two, add the grated carrot to
any “salad” you can manage. Every scrap of fresh food is used in my kitchen, and is eaten raw if possible.

Even cabbage core, in dices, is a substitute for celery in cold dishes. If there are only a few blades of asparagus or
leaves of mustard in the garden, they go into the salad. When food is precious, and you’re living on preserved
foods, don’t cook anything fresh that can be eaten raw.

Years ago, before we moved aboard our tiny sailboat with its telephone booth-size galley, I spent a lot of time in the
kitchen experimenting with the foods and tools I would have to live with later. In some cases I was able to save a
dish by using ingredients or the oven that I would not have later.

By the time we went to sea, I had some idea of what would work, what would waste. When the chips were down,
we didn’t have to waste precious food.

Don’t put your reserve foods away and forget them. Begin today to work with them, around them, through them.
Today you can throw your failures in the compost heap and take the family to the golden arches for dinner.
Tomorrow may be another story.
Notes from Washington
by Eugene A. Barron

Editor’s note: Due to the lack of space in this issue and the urgency of Mr. Barron’s information, we have
excerpted what we feel are the highlights and are offering the report in its entirety, free of charge, to those of you
who write requesting it. N.T.

A recent visit to Capitol Hill with one of the top conservative economic advisors produced some insights that are
worth sharing.

The Administration has abandoned any pretense of budgetary control, and the only concern now seems to be how to
raise the legal debt ceiling due to be reached in May without embarrassing the President.

Unwilling to flood the economy with cheap money or raise taxes, the Administration is concentrating on “loophole
closing” to lessen the projected deficits, and will continue to try to borrow to cover revenue shortfalls. This
crowding out of other borrowers has led to continued high interest rates and the elimination for the present of the
long-term private sector loan market, especially mortgages, and has triggered an initial wave of small business

Long-term now means three to five years financing. Present rates are so high that the Treasury estimates it will have
to issue a 15% coupon on 30-year bonds. At present the Treasury is at its legal limit of $70 billion in securities of
more than 10-year term and will be seeking Congressional approval to increase the limit, as the average of Federal
debt is now less than 2 ¾ years and yield is in excess of 11%. (47% of the US Federal debt is due within one year,
and an additional 33% is due between one and five years.)

The outlook for private industry is for no improvement in conditions for at least one year, possibly longer. The
bellwether industries that usually lead financial recoveries, autos, housing, and their derivative industries, are not
responding because reasonable long-term financing is not available. The oil glut has hurt other support industries,

The fragility of the economy has made the chance of a monetary control error on the part of the Administration or
Fed, leading to a wave of bankruptcies, a distinct possibility, as Government has always had a talent for doing the
wrong thing at the wrong time. A financial panic in the late 3rd or early 4th quarter of this year is not out of the
This recession marks the first time in US history that there has been a decline in both machinery capacity utilization
(to 70%) and productivity (down 6.7% in the 4th quarter of 1981). Despite the facile explanations of this
phenomenon by the Government, a drop in machine usage and the number in the workforce usually increases
efficiency dramatically, as only the most productive are retained.

However, in this recession, the combination of high unemployment and supplemental unemployment payments to
furloughed workers by businesses, the retention of excess staff and management personnel by companies, as well as
a lack of newer and more efficient machines (the result of 20 years of ridiculous IRS depreciation schedules) has
resulted in the “Britonization” of American industry. One result will be a major move by corporations and trade
unions alike for tariff barriers and quotas on imported goods, setting off an international wave of protectionism.

With 30 to 50% of all savings and loan companies expected to be bankrupt by the early 4th quarter if interest rates
do not decline, a bill has been introduced in the House to provide a $7.5 billion “Home Mortgage Capital Stability
Bill” to bail them out at taxpayer expense.

Other measures to look for would include wage and price controls before the November elections, with credit
controls possibly imposed when money availability is eased in the second quarter. Long-term, there is little doubt
that foreign exchange controls will be enacted.

The Administration may propose a partial gold standard if the economy enters a major crisis, but only as a morale
builder for the public. Any movement toward fiscal discipline is not tolerable at present, due to heavy military
expenditure commitments. A more probable first step in the event of a severe financial crisis will be rapid reflation,
for the Administration will have a face-saving excuse to start printing money.

For the present, get liquid and stay liquid until the reflation starts. Place your excess funds in a money market fund
devoted solely to short-term government securities, preferably one that has a preponderance of T-bills or T-notes
with a maturity of less than 90 days.

P.S. “Star-Spangled Spenders” is an excellent PBS program put together by columnist Donald Lambro detailing the
Federal Government fiscal and regulatory policies. Pressure from a coalition of Federal Government employee
unions prevented it from being shown in the Washington DC area.
Alternative Weapons, Part III: Crossbows, Models Not Recommended
by Bob Taylor

The Barnett Commando

Barnett International, Inc., P.O. Box 226, Port Huron, MI 48060. This is advertised as the most fantastic crossbow
ever produced. In my opinion, this statement is true only if you consider looks important.

The Commando boasts a draw weight of 175 pounds, but only has a ​draw length of 7 inches, which places it in the
150-pound class. Its self-cocking feature is an ingenious solution to a nonexistent problem. (Where have I heard
that before?) Testing showed that after extensive use the self-cocking mechanism became loose and quite noisy.

Next time you go hunting, fill your pockets full of quarters and you can experience what this crossbow sounds like.
When using the self-cocking feature, the pistol grip breaks in half. A number of times when closing the weapon, I
pinched the palm of my hand in the middle of the action, which resulted in a nasty blood blister and a very colorful

The Commando uses open sights, which are adequate, and has an automatic safety. However, because of the alloy
frame, it is heavy and cumbersome, almost 8 pounds. If macho and appearance are what you are looking for, the
Commando is your cup of tea. If you are looking for a dependable crossbow that is worth the price, look elsewhere.

The price of the Commando is $500.00.

The Barnett Wildcat

I do not recommend the Wildcat any more than I do the Commando. When Mel first tested the Wildcat, he only
shot the particular model 100 times, and from what I have learned, his experience was a lucky one.

I have had two chronic problems with this model, which make it a poor choice for survival use. First, the Wildcat’s
trigger and release mechanism is prone to failure with extensive use. Personally, I have experienced three failures
and know of five more that have happened to other Wildcat owners. One of these took place on the second shot.
Eric Ruppert, a gunsmith who owns A & E Gunworks in Grants Pass, Oregon, repaired the trigger, and remarked to
me about how poorly the trigger was constructed and that the materials used were second-rate at best. If you
currently own a Wildcat, I would definitely have someone silver solder the set pins, which do not move- don’t
silver solder the sear pin. To achieve this, remove the trigger assembly and work the action to locate the sear pin.

The Wildcat is also extremely tough on strings, unless you use a large amount of wax on both string and barrel.
String life is limited to ten or so shots. This is due to poor engineering- there is simply too much string friction. It
almost seems that Barnett was trying to make their profit on replacement strings.

Unfortunately, Barnett only has a 90-day warranty. A number of people who have bought crossbows for survival
use never shoot them and could be unpleasantly surprised when they need them.

The Wildcat ranges in price from $200 to $250.

The Ballista

The Ballista is an interesting concept, poorly executed. In reality the Ballista is not a crossbow, but rather a cross
between a spear gun and a crossbow.

Power is supplied by two surgical-type rubber bands attached to nylon, and run through pulleys. While this concept
is sound, the construction is second-rate. The unit is constructed from wood, ABS pipe, and flimsy aluminum,
prone to breakage.

While the manufacturer claims the Ballista has a 200-pound pull, in actuality the power is around that of a
100-pound crossbow. The reason for this is the slow reaction time of the rubber bands. During one conversation I
had with someone in the Ballista factory, he revealed that the reason it wasn’t more powerful is that it would be
illegal, which of course is just a bunch of malarkey.

The Ballista has a number of faults which, as yet, have not been corrected. Being without any type of sights makes
it an impractical survival weapon, as does its flimsy construction and the fact that it has no means of holding the
arrow in place. The Ballista was originally marketed as the Ballista Fun Gun for family basement fun, and the
basement is where it belongs- not in the field, where your life could be at stake.
PMC .45 ACP Ammunition
by Bob Taylor

After over a year of promises, PMC has finally delivered their .45 ACP to wholesalers, and during the past two
months it has been appearing on dealers’ shelves. In the past, factory ammo for the .45 ACP ran upwards from
$18.00 for fifty rounds. This left the serious shooter the choice of either spending the inflated price or long boring
hours at the reloading press in order to practice or to increase his stock of supplies for future use or barter.

Because there is often a wide variation between lots of any given manufacture, we waited until we obtained two
separate lots of the new PMC before evaluating it for PS Letter readers. The two lots did in fact show about 25 feet
per second variation between them. Lot 004-81 averaged approximately 870 fps with a low of 815 fps and a high of
912 fps, and lot 014-81 averaged around 845 fps with a low of 825 fps and a high of 880 fps.

While this isn’t what you’d call radical, it is a good practice to buy any commercial ammunition in the same caliber
from the same lot. From a prone position, we shot 2-3” groups at 25 yards, using seven weapons.

The PMC ammo has three desirable features: first, it is manufactured to military specifications, which means the
cartridges have crimped and sealed primers and sealed bullets. This feature is intended as a safeguard for use in
automatic weapons, but also insures a long shelf-life. I am still shooting some 1950-vintage military ball ammo and
it’s pretty consistent. Second, while it is by no means a hot load, an average of 850 fps with a 230 gr. bullet is a
good defense round.

The third, and best feature, is the price. The PMC .45 lists for about $240.00 per thousand, but I have been buying it
for $205.00 per case. Most gun stores are more willing to deal when you are willing to pay in advance for case lots,
and should work on about 10% mark-up when you don’t tie up their money. Start at $205.00 per case. If you are
paying in advance, I wouldn’t pay more than $215.00 per case of one thousand. And don’t forget that if you buy
more than one case, make sure that all the ammo has the same lot number.
Survival Gunsmithing- Marlin Model 336
by J.B. Wood

The Marlin Model 336 has two features that some consider advantageous over the Model 94 Winchester. One is its
closed-top receiver, which allows easy application of a standard scope sight. The other feature is mechanical. While
the Winchester elevates the cartridge carrier on the forward, or opening, stroke of the lever, the Marlin has an
opposite arrangement. Its carrier is elevated on the closing stroke of the lever, and for many shooters this is a
stronger and easier movement. Still, this is a matter of personal preference.

As mentioned in the previous column, the lever-action carbine is useful for short-range hunting, but its operation is
too slow and its magazine capacity limited for a defensive role in the survivalist’s battery. Like the Winchester, the
Model 336 is eminently reliable, and within its limited range it is quite accurate.

A basic spare parts list should include: Firing pin, firing pin striker, firing pin striker spring, extractor, and ejector
(with spring). While the main firing pin is a strong and solid part, the front tip is subject to occasional breakage
after long use. The firing pin striker (“rear firing pin”) does not normally break, but since it does receive direct
impact from the hammer, it's a “just in case” part. The small blade-type spring above the striker tips it down when
the breech bolt is unlocked, taking it out of contact with the rear of the main firing pin. This spring does fracture

The clip-on-style extractor is tempered to be its own spring, and for a formed steel part it is remarkably sturdy. It is
under considerable repeated stress, though, and is also very inexpensive. I’d suggest a couple of spares. The ejector
and its blade-type spring are supplied as a unit, and the same comments and advice can be applied.

Repeating the items from the basic group, here is a more comprehensive list: Firing pin, firing pin striker, firing pin
striker spring, extractor, ejector and spring, magazine spring, sear/safety block spring, hammer spring, hammer
spring plate, rear sight, and rear sight elevator. A survival piece is more likely to be fully-loaded for long periods of
time, and this can eventually lead to some weakening of the magazine spring. If this becomes pronounced, it can
cause misfeeding of the last round in the magazine. A spare magazine spring is cheap insurance against this.

The sear/safety block spring is a round-wire torsion type, and breakage is rare, but age-weakening is possible. In the
left arm of the spring, powering the safety block, this will probably cause no difficulty. If the sear arm of the spring
is weak, though, it can affect the proper engagement of the sear with the notches on the hammer. One possibility is
that the sear beak could fail to drop into the full-cock or safety notch as it should. In the former case, it would
produce a hair-trigger effect. In the latter, a “false-safe” condition.

The coil-type hammer spring (“mainspring”) can weaken with age and extensive use, but breakage is extremely
unlikely. The spring plate is subject to neither wear nor breakage, but there is a slight chance of loss if it should slip
during disassembly or reassembly.
The dovetail-mounted rear sight has twin tempered arms extending to the rear, and a separate notch-piece that is
retained by the lateral tension of the arms. If the sight receives a sharp impact, the notch-piece and the elevator can
be lost, and the rear arms deformed. The front sight is normally protected by its hood, but if this has been removed,
a spare front blade might be added to the list. The front sight base is retained by two vertical screws, and these
should be frequently checked for tightness.

Those who want to cover the remote possibilities may want to add a spare hammer and sear. These are hardened
parts, and there is no great wear factor. However, there is a slight chance of edge-chipping in the areas of the
hammer notches or the sear beak. These two parts are on the factory restricted list because they require some
hand-fitting. You’ll have to ask your local gun shop or gunsmith to order them for you.

The loading gate (“loading spring”) has a tempered tail, and it is extensively flexed each time a cartridge is inserted
into the magazine. Breakage of the springtail is not common, but I have seen a few cases over the years.
Age-weakening is also a possibility. The part is not expensive, so perhaps it would be good insurance. In
non-professional installation of the part, stripping of the screw that retains it happens occasionally. So, for those
uncertain of their mechanical aptitude, the screw might be added to the list.

The lever detent (“finger lever plunger”) and its spring are subject to wear and age-weakening, respectively, after
many years of use. If this situation develops, the gun will still be usable, but the lever will stay closed only if held in
place. It should be noted that this problem is seen only in old, well-worn guns.

Another problem that can develop in older guns is wear of the locking bolt and its recess in the breech bolt. This
rarely reaches a point that could be dangerous, but for the handloader it can be a problem, as the cases will have a
slightly relocated shoulder.

The locking bolt is available but, like the hammer and sear, it is sold only to gunsmiths. New locking bolts have
slight extra dimensions, and this will usually compensate for any wear in the locking recess of the breech bolt.
Some hand-fitting will probably be required. Here again, you’ll have to get the part through a gunshop or gunsmith.

There is only one other mechanism in the Model 336 that could cause difficulty if it should fail- the carrier rocker
and its spring. In that case, the carrier would fail to raise the cartridge to feeding position. I have never seen a
broken carrier rocker, and the small coil spring that powers it has ample allowance for any age-weakening. Still, for
the chronic worrier, it’s noted here.

In the ​Gun Digest Book of Exploded Firearms Drawings,​ Second Edition, the Marlin Model 336 is shown on page
272. Complete takedown and reassembly instructions are on pages 168 through 175 of ​Part V: Centerfire Rifles,​ in
the ​Gun Digest Firearms Assembly/Disassembly series of books. If you can’t find either of these books at your local
gun shop or bookstore, they are available direct from DBI Books, Inc., One Northfield Plaza, Northfield, IL 60093.