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Mel Tappan’s Personal Survival Letter # 35

Issue No. 35- September, 1982

Shots in the Dark

by G. Richards, Jeff Cooper, and Clint Smith

Editor’s note: In the questionnaire we sent out last year, the majority of you requested information on night vision
systems. Jeff Cooper, Clint Smith, Operations Officer at the American Pistol Institute, and G. Richards, who is
knowledgeable about optics as well as being an avid shooter, agreed to write an article on the subject.

Because the three men took different approaches to the topic after they had had a chance to think about it, they
decided to present the piece as a round table discussion rather than as one article. N.T

G. Richards

A “shot in the dark” has traditionally been a blind stroke delivered with more hope than confidence again an unseen
target- a desperation measure. Current technology, however, has changed this, and now a shot in the dark can be
precisely delivered if the proper equipment is available. At present this equipment is generically termed “night
vision systems”, “night vision devices”, or simply “NVD’s”.

Although this terminology refers to instruments for simple viewing as well as for sighting firearms, it distinguishes
them from other night sighting devices such as the Aimpoint, Single Point, and laser sighting systems. These latter
types of weapon sighting systems require enough ambient light for target recognition and acquisition, whereas
NVD’s do not.

By virtue of their design, night vision systems fall into one of two categories- “active” or “passive”. Active systems
are often referred to as IR devices since they require an infrared (IR) light source to illuminate the subject or target.
Because of this active light source, they can function efficiently in total darkness.

Since the infrared illumination is invisible to the unaided human eye, an IR image intensifier is required for the
operator to visualize objects reflected within the infrared light beam. As a result, there are three operational
disadvantages to an active night vision system:

(1) Active NVD’s require an IR light source, IR image intensifier, and corresponding power sources, which make
them bulky and heavy.

(2) Active NVD’s are limited to the scope and range (transmission power) of their IR light source.

(3) Active NVD’s require IR illumination to function, whereas passive NVD’s do not. An operator with a passive
NVD can detect an operator with an active NVD due to the IR light source, but the reverse is not true.
Because of these negatives, we decided not to evaluate active night vision system in the field.

Passive night vision devices operate by amplifying low-level ambient light (i.e. starlight, moonlight, or streetlight
reflections), and thus do not require extra IR illumination. Although these devices cannot function in total darkness,
their amplification gain of the ambient light is on the order of 20,000 to 60,000, depending on the type or
generation of light-amplifying process.

Regardless of the generation, any illumination at all presents the viewing observer with almost the illusion of broad
daylight. However, this large amplification gain also makes NVD’s sensitive to normal sunlight or bright artificial
lighting. The result of using an unshielded NVD in daylight may result in permanent burnout of the phosphor
elements or at least a temporary incapacitation of the instrument.

When viewing through a passive night vision device on a typical Arizona starry night, one will find the darkness
replaced with a monochromatic world. All images in the viewfinder are contrasting shades of green, such as you
would see on an old black-and-white movie on a color TV, with the tint control racked all the way to green.

Jeff Cooper

Night vision systems have their place, but just what that place is, is a matter for careful evaluation.

It seems clear that all of the night vision systems available now are more suitable for departmental rather than
personal use. This is partly because of expense. All of the available night firing systems are intimidatingly

It may be advanced that anyone who can spend forty-five thousand dollars on an automobile when he could get
equivalent transportation for half that ought not to be dismayed at spending five or six thousand dollars for a
shooting system which may save his life. Still, the circumstances under which the night vision system might
sensibly be used are, for the most part, those of the battlefield rather than the retreat, ranch, or penthouse.

All night firing systems are clumsy, though the laser is handier than the others. This means that the user of the night
vision device will usually be in a stationary position and in a watch-and-wait situation. It is difficult to see how
these circumstances would pertain to a private citizen, though any sort of scenario can be dreamed up if one has an
active imagination.

Probably the most essential tactical difference between firing at night and firing in the daytime is that in daylight
one can identify one’s enemy positively, whereas in the dark using any of the systems, this is difficult. In war,
anyone “out there” may be considered an enemy.

In problems of personal defense this is not true, and someone moving about out in the dark may well be one of your
people instead of one of theirs. It is true that, using such a system, one can see one’s adversary, but unless he is
quite close it is difficult to see him clearly enough to identify him by features or clothing.
It may generally be assumed that the acquisition of a night firing device by a private citizen is so specialized a
circumstance as to require elaborate explanations. In the military, however, where cost is no object and
specialization is the rule, they serve very definite purposes.

Additionally, all of these systems are somewhat fragile and call for careful maintenance by qualified technicians.
The military can supply this at regimental or divisional levels but the private owner will not find this an easy

The military use of night sighting equipment can be either offensive or defensive. In night attacks, a night rifle can
be used to cover routes of probable movement on the part of the enemy. When he tries to reinforce a hot point or to
withdraw from a dubious position, he may be taken under fire by precise, yet unseen, killers.

Needless to say, to be struck carefully one man at a time, by an enemy one cannot see in the dark is a demoralizing
experience. When properly inflicted, it can cause panic amongst even fairly sound troops.

Clint Smith

The use of passive night vision systems can be of great value in both offensive and defensive applications. This has
been documented militarily. In the offensive role, night vision systems can be utilized to restrict the movement of
hostiles in known areas of high activity. An unseen and proficient sniper using an NVD effectively can inflict great
psychological stress among enemy troops.

Such an offensive application using NVD’s was carried out by Combined Action Platoons (CAP’s) in Vietnam in
late 1969. (A Combined Action Platoon consisted of 10 US Marines and 25 Vietnamese Nationals.) Due to the
reluctance of the Vietnamese to engage or locate NVA regulars, the marines used the AN/PVS-2 night vision
system mounted on an M-14 loaded with tracer ammunition.

Marines using this M-14/AN/PVS-2 weapons system were to find the enemy moving in the night by means of the
NVD, then flood him with accurate tracer fire. Although this method was definitely not a substitute for individual
marksmanship, it was substantially better than volley fire at night in all directions.

Defensively, the night vision system may be used to analyze tactical situations, detect movement, or place effective
fire on selected targets. However, the civilian must surmount three problems before he can use them as a survival
implement. They are:

(1) cost,

(2) the need for batteries and general maintenance, and

(3) the need to operate them from a static position.

As previously stated, these systems are unwieldy and heavy- especially if carried in a field environment with other
essential items. One must have a lot of energy and desire to carry such a system in the field.
NVD Measures

Should one choose to utilize night vision equipment, four operational hints will help to make its application a

(1) “Light discipline” is important for both the front and rear NVD lenses. Screen the front lens to keep it from
direct light. Extended exposure to direct or bright light can permanently disable the photo-intensifier tube. Short
bursts of light (from flares or high-quality flashlights) can result in what is known as burnout or blooming-
short-term loss of the intensifier tube and, therefore, short-term loss of night vision capability.

(2) When using the scope, the operator must take care to place his face against the rear eyepiece before turning the
scope on, and then stay in that position until the rear eyepiece is turned off. Failure to do so will allow a green ring
or “casting” to be emitted from the phosphor viewing screen and illuminate the operator’s face. This reflection can
be highly visible to anyone out front.

(3) Operators should also consider the merits of tactical restraint before engaging targets. Hopefully you will be
able to see better than your intended target, so firing too soon and engaging a long-range target without need may
result in a miss, unnecessary engagement, and trouble.

(4) As with any optical instrument, keeping it clean and dry is essential.

Counter-NVD Measures

When combating passive night vision systems, one must rely on the limitations inherent to these instruments.

(1) Daylight engagements reduce the effectiveness of NVD’s. During the day, these systems are reduced to very
bulky and inefficient rifle scopes.

(2) If forced to engage or move against any NVD at night, high intensity lights (Streamlight flashlights, or flares
such as the Smith and Wesson handheld parachute flare) may be directed towards the scope and induce temporary
burnout prior to your movement. In Vietnam, Zeon searchlights and parachute flares were used to counter enemy
troops armed with NVD’s.

(3) In any event, one should use the darkest clothing available and stay in the darkest area of the shadows, moving
as little as possible. Night vision devices are not perfect, and their effectiveness may be reduced by careful
movement and proper attention to concealment.

Take optimal advantage of cloudy overcast nights with low ambient light levels (starlight, moonlight, reflective
glow from city lights or clouds). Restrain travel to hours just before the gray of dawn. Choose clothes which will
blend in well with the background terrain. Wearing a tiger-stripe camouflage in fallen snow would make a sniper’s
dream come true, even at night.

NVD’s in the Field

During the past month, we have renewed our relationship with night vision equipment while field testing samples of
both first and second generation passive NVD’s. The following is an abbreviated account of our results.
The first generation device tested was extremely heavy and large. The scope, a Mark-4 from Security Research
International, was mounted on a Colt CAR-15 in .223 caliber. The size of the weapon proved the only redeeming
factor of this combination since the small weapon size helped to offset the scope bulkiness. Unfortunately, this
device lacked the quality and clarity of optics represented by the second generation NVD.

The second generation NVD was a Litton M-845, the current state-of-the-art, which we received from Accuracy
Systems, Inc. This scope was equipped with a red-dot (LED) reticle and mounted on a Remington M-700 rifle in
7.62 NATO caliber. With this weapons system, ten IPSC targets were located and engaged successfully at ranges of
50 to over 400 meters, with no sighting shots required.

The scope magnification of only 1.5X presented no problems in target acquisition, but perhaps the Arizona
moonlight at half-moon made recognition easier. A statement of point should be made about target recognition with
NVD’s. A target of buff color placed on a sandy background was not visible enough for engagement at a range of
only 150 meters. This observation supports previous comments about background terrain and contrasting colored

Night vision equipment systems are very highly-specialized tools in function and operation. Their size, weight,
maintenance, cost, and limitations to night use may certainly make their purchase suspect. However, with the
money and desire to make use of their remarkable capabilities, you can be confident that they will do their intended

G. Richards

For sales information,​ the

​ following is a list of reputable dealers:

Frank Augustine STANO Components 260 Mission

Applied Device Corp. P.O. Box 6274 San Francisco, CA 94103
3129 Flintlock San Bernardino, CA 92412
Fairfax, VA 22030
Terry Kuchenreuther
Chuck Byers Northwest Nightvision
Accuracy Systems, Inc. 5967 Noon Road
2105 S. Hardy Dr. Bellingham, WA 98226
Tempe, AZ 85282
Allen Glanze Security Store

Except for STANO Components, all of the above carry Litton equipment, which is the best there is at present. Allen
Glanze at STANO is coming out with a second generation passive system that will sell for about $1500 as opposed
to the $4,000-$5,000 for the Litton devices, but it was not yet available for testing.
As soon as we have had the chance to try one, which should be in a couple of months, we will report to you. This
sounds like the answer for the civilian who wants night vision equipment. I will probably buy one for my own use if
it checks out, simply because of the cheaper price. If, on the other hand, I were in the military or in law
enforcement, I would not hesitate to choose the Litton equipment

Glanze also carries a complete line of military night vision equipment- both active and passive. Some is mint and
some he builds from military parts that he has purchased from DOD. His prices are good and he is very
knowledgeable about the subject.

Ing’s Things- Shining Those Survival Wheels

Rick Fines shrewdly advised you to paint your survival vehicle as a bird of drab plumage; a dull green perhaps, or a
sand-tan in arid country. But let’s face it: until D+1, the day after ‘doomsday’, we’ll probably be driving our
survival vehicles a lot as everyday transportation.

Do we really want to blend in so well that average motorists might fail to notice us? I’d hate to get T-boned by
some dude who wasn’t paying attention, and who would argue in court that of course he couldn’t see my bloody
VW, because it was camouflaged!

Well, we can have it both ways. Go ahead; get that inconspicuous paint job (including the bumpers). Then buy wide
strips of highly-reflective automotive striping favored by the “Hey, look at me” crowd. Apply the shiny tape in a
pattern that outlines your vehicle (but not on your hood where reflection might dazzle your vision).

This way, you become just conspicuous enough to be safe in normal driving. And the day you need to become
invisible, all you need to do is peel the shiny tape off; a five-minute conversion to pure camouflage!

The Homestead Retreat Water/Sewage System, Part II

by Eric & Anne Teller

Seekers of that dream piece of rural or deep woods property frequently visualize the slowly flowing spring as the
romantically ideal water supply. The early pioneers in our country’s development found springs to be an excellent
source from which to obtain water with little effort. In isolated cases today, a spring can still be a good water

But a frequent problem is surface contamination, both at the spring’s origin and at the point where it comes out of
the ground. In remote areas where contamination is unlikely and where the spring is conveniently located, it can be
successfully developed as a good source of water.
Springs, too, however, can dry up, as can shallow dug wells. Most springs are also unable to provide a large volume
of water. If a reliable spring exists on your homestead retreat property close enough to use as one of your water
sources, it deserves protection and development.

Details of spring development can be found in ​Water Supply for Rural Areas and Small Communities, Manual of
Individual Water Supply Systems, and ​Private Water Systems​, all listed in the bibliography. But, as with any other
source of water, we do not recommend a spring as your sole water supply.

Lakes, ponds, and even swimming pools deserve serious consideration for integration in homestead retreat water
system planning. Their outstanding advantage is the tremendous volume of water that is immediately available.
This large reserve can be of inestimable value. In our own case, we have used our pond on many occasions to keep
a large garden at a high production level during periods of extended dryness.

And, as mentioned previously, we’ve even refilled the cistern from the pond. On one occasion, our fire pump was
hooked up and hose laid out in reaction to a large brush fire, which fortunately was contained just a mile west of
our place, but only after burning hundreds of acres and several buildings. Until you personally experience the need
for a large volume of water, it’s hard to appreciate the value of a substantial water reservoir.

Important side benefits are obtainable from water impoundment, too. Each year, the amount of wildlife attracted to
our ponds increases considerably. In the spring, the ponds are dominated by nesting ducks, then throughout
summer, the antics of the new crop of ducklings are a joy to observe. Fall season finds the ponds serving as a handy
stopover for the daily flocks of migrating waterfowl.

The thrill of seeing a large V of Canadian honkers circle the big pond and come braking down upon the water is one
of the great pleasures of rural living. Both deer and moose are attracted to plants growing around the ponds. We
have plans to install a simple wind-driven water agitator to maintain winter oxygen levels in the largest of our
ponds. This will enable us to stock the pond with fish and avoid the problem of winter-kill which has plagued us in
the past.

Successful fish propagation will enhance our year-round food supply, not to mention provide for stress-reducing
recreation. Finally, pleasantly etched into our memories are the hot August afternoons of family relaxation spent on
the sand beach along the pond’s edge... before the cattails took over and the snapping turtles got too big!

When a stream is large enough and has an adequate watershed to provide a high degree of dependability in terms of
year round flowage, such a stream can take the place of a large water impoundment and serve the same purposes.
But if a stream lacks the size, or the watershed is not large enough to guarantee year-round flowage, a dam and
impoundment on the stream might be considered.

Please be cautioned though that we don’t recommend entering into such a project without careful study and
consideration. Even a small dam involves precise engineering, and the larger an impoundment becomes, the
​ more
critical the importance of careful planning and design.
Where feasible, an impoundment can both insure the availability of a large quantity of water as well as offer
potential integration with a hydro system of some sort. But be aware of the limitations and complications involved
with this kind of project. (See PS Letter No. 30 for a discussion of hydroelectric systems.)

If it is neither practical nor possible to create an impoundment by damming up a stream, a separate reservoir might
be constructed nearby and kept filled with fresh water from the stream, via a hydraulic ram. A hydraulic ram is a
simple, dependable, proven device for moving water from one point to another, a distance away.

Where climate and conditions permit it, a hydraulic ram can act as a trouble-free water-moving device for tapping
stream water and conveying it to a land-locked impoundment. The same end can be obtained with a special
wind-powered device installed at a suitable location. Traditional style water-pumping windmills usually aren’t
feasible for this application because they must be located directly over the water source.

The Earth Store, P.O. Box 679, North San Juan, CA 95960, features the Bowjon Windmill/Air-Lift water pump
which lifts up to 4 gpm. The windmill can be installed more than 1,000 feet away from the water source.

Hydraulic water rams can be obtained from the Earth Store, mentioned above, or from Real Goods Trading Co.,
Energy Division, 308C East Perkins, Ukiah, CA 95482.


Your total water system is dependent on more than just the water sources and storage facilities. We all realize that
the average town water system can be put out of commission, at least temporarily, by a broken main, a stuck valve,
or a power outage.

Similarly, the homestead retreat water system can suffer breakdowns and necessarily requires several optional ways
of moving the water from the sources to where it’s needed. In cases where complete dependability is the prime
requisite, we recommend a triple-powered system with the first, and hopefully, most fail-safe source of power being

The person-powered hand pump, familiar to summer camps and vacation retreats of the past, is still a wise choice
when it comes to raising water from a below-ground location. You don’t have to carry water by the bucketful
either. Equipped with a threaded adapter, the hand pump can be used to send water a considerable distance via a
common garden hose or permanent pipe.

Don’t underestimate the general usefulness and practicality of a hand pump on either a well or cistern/reservoir
(preferably both). A properly-installed hand pump is simple to operate and maintain and it works in all weather
conditions, even outside. Our hand pumps give us clean, uncontaminated water just as readily at the chill factored
minus 95 degrees F. in the icy January wind as on the plus 95 degrees day in the hot August sun.
Aside from an occasional oiling and the replacement every few years of the graphite-impregnated rope gasket near
the top of the pump rod, our hand pumps have required no other maintenance, and one of the units has given nine
years of regular service. Although we haven’t needed to replace ours yet, Anne and I recommend stocking a supply
of pump cylinder leathers. The leathers are best stored saturated with neatsfoot oil in a tightly-sealed container and
kept in a dark, cool place.

Besides the rope gasket, the leathers are the only replacement parts you should ever need if routine lubrication of
the pump itself is carried out. On the other hand, if you have the storage space, a complete extra hand pump would
be a good investment, even if only for future barter purposes.

A second means of moving water is with a 12-volt shallow-well pump. (See discussion of the homestead retreat
12-volt power system in PS Letter No. 31.) Basically, two types of twelve-volt pumps are available. One style
functions on demand and it begins pumping every time a faucet or valve is opened.

The other water pump operates on the same principle as the typical 110- or 220-volt unit found in rural water
system installations. This type of pump pressurizes a water storage tank, which in turn maintains the household
water system pressure. The advantage of this pump is that it does not operate as often as the demand-load pump.

The third general-purpose type of pump is that which is found as part of most rural household water systems and is
operated from conventional power sources or from a 110/220-electric generator. In deep-well applications,
submersible types are most common today and in shallow wells, jet pumps prevail.

In a few minutes of running the electric pump each day, you can sufficiently pressurize a diaphragm, balloon-type
tank (approximately 80 gallon size) so that with a little water conservation, enough pressurized tap water may be
available for the entire day. The same short amount of pumping time can also fill a 100-200 gallon elevated
gravity-feed water tank which can readily be integrated with a pressurized system. (A future article will deal with
the specifics of homestead retreat plumbing, laundry, and related equipment)

In the case of a drilled well of any significant depth, we recommend a combination installation of a submersible
pump and hand pump, or a windmill, discussed later on. Submersible pumps are highly reliable, usually lasting at
least 15 years in non-abrasive water conditions. Shallow wells allow the use of small jet or suction pumps. Any
electrical pump is used most feasibly in conjunction with a pressure tank of some kind, with the possible exception
of the 12-volt demand-load pump.

One other piece of hardware that deserves mention is the traditional water-pumping windmill, skeletons of which
can still be found dotting the landscape of rural America. Mechanically simple and of basic design, these machines
can still be purchased and used to operate an above- or below-ground pump installation. In cold climates, the
former needs weather protection for year-round operation, while below-ground (and below frost level) installations
are automatically protected.
For the homestead retreat water system, the windmill water pump offers numerous advantages besides the obvious
energy savings. It lacks complexity and requires minimal annual maintenance. It can be easily turned on and off.
Water-pumping windmills are quiet and have a long, useful life.

Unlike electricity-producing wind machines, these windmills are little affected by high winds or storm conditions
and can even absorb a degree of misplaced target shooting. Anne and I are considering a windmill over our drilled
well to eliminate the need for the electrically-operated pump jack.

A forty-foot tower and windmill head costs approximately $2,000-$2,500 today. Current information on
wind-powered components for water pumping is available from Dempster Industries, Beatrice, NE 68310, phone
(402) 2234026.

Special-Duty Equipment

In addition to conventional water pumping equipment used for providing household and outbuilding water,
special-duty equipment is required to round out typical homestead retreat needs. Under special-duty equipment we
include high-volume pumps, transfer pumps, and high-pressure pumps, all of which perform different and
specialized tasks.

As has been discussed in recent PS Letter articles, the high-volume pump is principally used for fire protection.
Because of the importance of mobility, we recommend a gasoline-powered portable unit for this specific
requirement. This pump and engine combination should be small enough to allow ease of transport and yet
powerful enough to provide at least 60 pounds of working pressure for a minimal inch-and-a-half fire hose. (See PS
Letter Nos. 27-29 for more specific information on this topic.)

Other uses for which the fire pump-type equipment can be used are irrigation and transferring large volumes of
water in a short time. We have used ours for emptying the cistern, for cleaning, and in one case we even pumped
out one of our small ponds after a heavy rainfall during a critical phase of the initial construction.

Transfer pumps, as the name implies, commonly are used to move liquid from one place to another on a
sustained-use basis. We have found a small paddle pump connected to a 110-volt electric motor to be ideal for such
purposes as irrigating (when the heavy-duty generator is running), pumping out small quantities of water during
construction projects, and for loaning to desperate friends who have leaky basements!
The high-pressure pump is a relative newcomer on the hydro-hardware scene, but is becoming an increasingly
valuable homestead retreat tool. We have found this 110-volt powered unit to be quite useful for various cleaning
and maintenance jobs. For half the year, getting the mail is an alternatingly muddy and dusty trip of several miles
on our trail bike. In a couple of minutes, the high-pressure sprayer has the machine shining again.

Similarly, before the bi-annual oil spray maintenance treatment of our car and trucks, the high-pressure water
sprayer quickly removes accumulations of dried road salt and caked-on mud. Cleaning and disinfecting livestock
equipment and housing is an easy chore with the high-pressure pump. This pump is characterized by providing five-
to seven-hundred pounds of water pressure while using relatively small quantities of water.

Incidentally, both the transfer and the high-pressure pumps can be powered handily from a portable electric
generator such as we’ve recommended in a previous article. All of these special-purpose pumps are available from
Sears and Wards. If you can’t find them in the general catalogs, check their farm catalogs.

To be concluded

Making an Alternative Engine Oil

by Dean Ing

Piston engines have improved enormously since 1916, when Fokkers and Sopwiths tangled in dogfights over the
trenches of Europe. Then, as now, military aircraft used the best lubricants money could buy for reliability.
Petroleum-based oil was available, but many of those aircraft used castor oil instead!

Today we depend on cheaper engine oil. With detergents and other additives that keep the oils from thinning too
much at high temperatures, these modern oils are better in some respects than castor oil. But in a pinch, we could
use castor oil again.

Some years ago, I researched castor oil as an emergency alternative to petroleum-based lubricants. My own Porsche
Special, and many of my competitors, used Castrol ‘R’, the so-called bean oil, for racing. Castrol ‘R’ had its own
additives, but basically it was still castor oil. Yes, it eventually causes a hard shellac to form on engine parts- but
harmlessly; not on bearing surfaces.

Yes, the durn stuff flows like glop when cold, and like water when it’s hot- but as a thin-film lubricant, it’s great
stuff. We wanted the best in engines turning 8500 rpm, and castor oil is slippery stuff. Yes, it is definitely a
vegetable oil, since it comes from the bean of the castor bush- but this is one vegetable oil that could keep your VW
going for a long time. If you’re doubtful, check an engineering handbook on castor oil lubricant.
Some special engines still use castor oil, though it is expensive. You may find model engine enthusiasts and
go-karters using it for their expensive boy-toys. Most of those engines are two-strokes with special fuels, and castor
oil is added directly to the fuel, mixing well with alcohols too.

But you may one day find it necessary to pour castor oil into the sump of your four-stroke engine. Be sure to drain
your old oil completely before switching to castor oil, because castor oil doesn’t mix with most other lubricants. It
does​ mix with a few, notably a silicone-based racing lube called Steen ‘C’, which I can no longer find.

I’ve had a 50-50 mix of Castrol ‘R’ and Steen ‘C’ in the sump of my Corvair-powered Mayan Magnum (see ​Road
& Track​, May ‘68) for sixteen years now. I’ve never changed that oil. Never. Anyone who’s willing to pay for an
analysis of this much-used lubricant can put me to the test by draining a sample from the Magnum.

All I ask is a copy of the analysis- I’m kinda curious about it myself! It may indeed be rotten junk by now, but the
engine compression is still good. Oh, yes: I combined the two because the Steen oil didn’t change its viscosity
(thickness) much over a very wide range of temperatures, and because castor oil is so lubricious (slippery). Will
castor oil mix with some favorite multi-viscosity lubricant of yours? I don’t know; wish I had time to test every
possible combination.

Okay, So castor oil is great; but it’s exotic. How the devil can you get your hands on it during hard times? By
processing it, as I did. Correction. Almost as I did. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

The castor plant, or Palma Christi, is a tall bush with large leaves, often grown as an ornamental plant in warm
climates, including much of California and sun-belt states. The plant and its seeds -beans to you and me- vary
widely, so ask an expert to identify it for you.

Many of the beans have a mottled shell, but the ones I collected from pods on the plant were a uniform grayish
brown. I’m told some of the beans are quite large, but mine were smaller than common red bean. I was warned that
the bean shells were hard, but found that I could crush one between thumb and forefinger. The oil-producing stuff
inside was white and cheesy.

If I’d had a nut press, I could’ve expressed the oil by simply dumping my pound of beans into the press and
squeezing until the oil came trickling out. Lacking a press, I decocted it. That is to say, I mashed the beans up,
added water to make a soup, and boiled the whole mess for a half-hour, stirring as it simmered.

I drained the castor oil off the surface, then washed it -poured it into a mason jar with clean water and shook it- then
I poured it off the top and finally separated the oil from the water in a chemist’s thistle tube. That wasn’t difficult,
since the clear light-yellow oil doesn’t mix with water. The oil smelled right, looked right, felt right, and worked
fine in my Ohlsson model engine.
Then I took a book and retired to the john. I did a lot of reading in the next twenty-four hours. I’m putting this as
delicately as I can, but- you know the laxative properties of castor oil? Well, the confounded stuff works all too
well when you’re standing near while decocting it, too. An aircraft historian later told me, between fits of laughter
at my sorry tale, that World War I fighter pilots made the same discovery.

Sitting out there in God’s open air behind an engine that wafted castor oil fumes back in his face, the pilot had good
reason to make his fights brief. The historian swore that some flight suits, and pilot seats, were redesigned to
provide fast, fast, fast relief for the suffering schnook in the cockpit. I don’t know about the truth of that. I do know
that if you decoct castor oil from beans, you’d be wise to use a fume hood or otherwise protect yourself from the

I extracted, if memory serves, only 50 ml. of oil from a pound of beans. Either I was klutzy or my beans were
inferior; the ​Britannica says a hundred pounds of good beans will yield five gal1ons of oil. It might take a day to
collect a hundred pounds of beans, and you’d have to grind them before decocting the oil. But it’s a low-tech

Another text warns that the oil contains a violent alkaloid, ricin, which must be removed before the oil is taken
medicinally. I don’t know how that’s done. Don’t drink it; pour it into your VW. If your bug smokes a lot, lord help
the fellow who chases you.

Economic Update
by Eugene A. Barron

The Eye of the Storm

Today the economy is in much the same posture as the eye of the hurricane, complete with false calm, optimism,
and choppy seas with no clear directions. Purchases of Government securities by the Open Market Committee and
the Federal Reserve have added to available lendable bank funds, while drops in the discount rate and Federal Fund,
have made borrowing easier for the present. As a result, the prime rate has dropped, and stock and bond prices have
run up.

However, this monetary manipulation is at odds with the facts: June and July retail sales, led by poor performances
from the automotive and housing sectors, are down significantly from 1981. Factory utilization is down below 70%,
off 10% from a year earlier.

Twenty-four banks have failed as of August first; while the financial community is rife with rumors of several large
institutions due to have major problems by October. On August 2, no less than 11 ailing S&L’s were forcibly
merged with their stronger (?) counterparts at a cost of $21 million in cash for loan losses & more than $50 million
in promissory notes.
The fundamentals of this economic situation have not changed. Interest rates are still well in excess of reported
inflation. Corporations, which were expected to invest in new goods, thereby creating employment, cannot do so
because of liquidity problems. Corporate debt is heavily short-term compared with long-term, leading to a high
degree of instability and concern whether it can be “rolled over” continually.

Despite the recent injection of cash, banks are still heavily “1oaned out”, while the Government cannot expand the
money supply too fast for fear of losing essential foreign deposits and creating a “hyper-inflation mentality”.
Meanwhile, the high levels of debt and resulting interest payments continue to strangle the country.

The price of crude oil is under pressure as certain countries (Nigeria, Iran, Libya, and now Venezuela) ship
above-quota quantities to provide needed foreign exchange. With daily shipments of one million barrels in excess
of the maximum, prices should continue to decline from the $34/bbl. level. As this occurs, the US “international
banks” will have another problem.

Having loaned heavily to the international oil companies, these banks will be pinched again for lendable funds
when declining prices for crude make it difficult for the “seven sisters” and others to repay their loans. And
countries that borrowed excessively in the expectation of repayment via high oil revenues will also be in trouble.
Mexico, for example, now cannot even pay the interest on its foreign debt.

Canadian banks are in severe trouble due to the problems of Dome Petroleum, which borrowed heavily against
large anticipated oil income, and which should collapse by year-end. If the banks rewrite the loan, they will reduce
their liquidity substantially. Other banks in trouble include a major West German and an Italian one, the latter
connected to the Vatican.

Interest rates, despite some easing, continue to be historically high to the point that most businesses cannot afford
them while inflation continues to climb despite Government efforts. The Commerce Department recently dropped
one of the leading economic indicators, net business formations, ​without notice,​ from those twelve historically
employed. This is no doubt due to the record level of bankruptcies, which are at the highest level in 50 years.

Since mid-July, there has been an easing of monetary restraints that have led to a false relaxation of fears about
financial crisis. Some minor areas of improvement in the economy have been highly publicized for political
purposes to convey the impression to voters that we are coming out of this inflationary recession. However, the
worldwide shrinkage of liquidity continues for governments, companies, and banks, as well as for individuals.
There will be some attempt to offset this shrinkage with careful increases in the money supply, while business
continues to decline. However, look for the “other edge” of the storm after the elections, when the Fed will again
tighten monetary supplies amid bankruptcies and closings. Finally, at some point, money printing on a grand scale
will begin. But we are not there yet, as the Fed tries to walk a dangerous tightrope.

Prepare for continuing adverse economic news, especially that relating to businesses struggling for survival. Some
of it will be suppressed until after the November elections. In the meantime, reduce corporate and personal debts as
much as possible, and stay liquid. Cash is still king, and short-term Government securities are still the safest place
for your funds, even at the price of a slightly lower income. Don’t be caught in a money-market fund invested
heavily in commercial paper, when some major companies cannot make their payments.


There is a great deal of anger abroad in the land. Racial confrontation has been controlled, with great difficulty, by
the authorities. The unemployed who cannot find any reasonable work are venting their anger, while labor unions
continue to strike in the face of declining business.

City dwellers are becoming increasingly upset over the inability of the criminal justice system to reduce
steadily-growing crime. Anger against “unfair foreign competition” is leading to many protectionist measures
aimed at imports. Meanwhile many conservatives feel totally betrayed by Ronald Reagan, whom they feel has sold
out the conservative cause.

Now a new anger has surfaced- that of farmers. Despairing of any successful solution to the continuing problems of
high costs and low prices for products, the Farmers’ Liberation Army, based in eastern Colorado and western
Kansas, has decided on violence as the only possible alternative following the “failure of peaceful methods”. This
same geographical area produced the American Agricultural Movement several years ago.

The AAM plowed crops under voluntarily and led tractor-cades in Washington, DC to draw attention to their plight,
only to have politicians ignore them. This cold shoulder to a minority is understandable, since cheap food, along
with cheap housing, cheap medical care, and cheap clothing are all goals of the Welfare State.

The FLA claims David Rockefeller and the major banks are “out to destroy the independent American farmer”.
They threaten to burn the crops and kill the animals of non-cooperating farmers who won’t do so voluntarily, and
use force to stop train shipments of grain and other farm products. They are also looking for a restoration of gold
and silver as currency, the end of the Federal Reserve and IRS, the boycott of imported food, the elimination of all
surplus food, and the replacement of anti-farmer politicians.

The frustration of farmers is certainly understandable. The cost of every input to production for the farmer has
increased steadily for the past thirty years, while the revenue received for products is about what it was in the
1950’s. Many farmers have survived the past few very bad years by borrowing against the equity in their land, the
value of which has been increasing regularly until the past year.
Many farmers’ banks have made these loans, waiting for price improvements that would bail them and the farmers
out, but the prices have stayed low. Farm foreclosures, auctions, and defaulted FHA loans are at all-time highs.
Many farm banks are near insolvency, and the reason is clear. Despite renewed sales to the USSR, a bushel of
wheat that costs about $6.00 to produce will sell for about $3.20, and there is no relief in sight.

The FLA promises “open warfare” in September and October. From March 26​th to the 28​th​, a 3-day “school” was
conducted on the Colorado-Kansas border, with some 55 attendees, followed by local meetings. Military training
was emphasized, including use of weapons and the demolition of bridges and dams. It now appears that the FLA
will join the burgeoning “Posse Comitatus” movement, an organization that claims more than 2 million members
nationwide, and which provided the instructors for the school.

Interestingly, the Posse Comitatus members do not recognize any governmental levels above the county, and
consider the county sheriff the ultimate legal authority. These gun-carrying members have stated that citizens have
the right and duty to protect themselves from the illegal acts of anyone, including any level of government, by the
use of force.

Ironically, while potential farm violence is growing, adverse weather throughout the world has destroyed millions
of acres of crops. Providential rains saved the Midwest grain crops in both 1981 and 1982, even if the water was too
high for efficient reaping this year. How long can this fortunate weather continue? In spite of bumper crops,
overseas shipments and loss of product quality in storage will reduce the grain carry-forward to about 60 days by
early spring.

Thanks to massive grain shipments, the Soviet Union is now in possession of one to two years’ grain supplies,
“sold” to them for just the interest on the loans extended them at below-market rates, just as the price they paid for
the grain was below market. It is possible they could sell it back to us in a crisis at a substantial profit.

The core of any survival program must be the ability to grow food and/or the storage of sufficient food for your
family for at least one year. Not all crises involving food will necessarily be cataclysmic; interruption of food
supplies could result not only from shortfalls in production, but from labor strikes, farmer violence (as detailed
here), adverse weather, civil disturbance, or other causes.

Interestingly, the current “Reagan euphoria” has led to low demand for survival food supplies. Before the emerging
world food crisis becomes evident to the perennially short-sighted populace, now is the time to make sure that you
and yours will have the food to insure your survival.
Vintage VW’s: Long-Term Support
by Rick L. Fines

For some years now, this author has suggested that certain VW products, notably transporters and Beetles through
1967, and Type 181 “Things”, represent the best possible choice in basic survival transport.

A good deal of personal experience has been accumulated which should be shared with readers. Some of the
nuances of long-term vehicle operation and progressive maintenance are simply not to be gathered from factory or
aftermarket manuals, so here goes.

Please note that the VW is an odd sort of machine. Nearly everything it does can be done better by some other
vehicle. For example, Jeep CJ-5’s are better off-road, Cadillacs and Impalas are better on the highway, and light
trucks are preferable for hauling cargo. However, the VW performs a wide spectrum of diverse tasks tolerably well,
reliably, and at very low cost. As added attractions, fuel tolerance and fuel economy are readily repaired and
serviced by individuals with only minimal skill.

One often hears nonsense about making vehicles last “forever”. No machine can. However, by following careful,
progressive maintenance procedures, the life of individual components may be greatly increased. At the very least,
“surprise” failures will seldom occur. The observations noted here are derived from some six years experience with
three vintage VW’s, operated in diverse service and circumstances.

The first machine is the author’s 1973 Thing. The vehicle was purchased when nearly new. It has seen urban
service on the LA freeway system, has been used as an off-road machine/car/light truck in Oregon, and is know
back in urban service in Pennsylvania.

The second vehicle is a ’73 Thing purchased by a friend at about the same time. This machine was converted to
something of a dune buggy. A number of very questionable modifications were made. My friend’s VW expired in
Mexico as a direct and predictable result of his tinkering.

The third VW is a stock ’67 VW Beetle, bought in the mid-70’s and still in urban commute service in Los Angeles.

All of these machines have been well-maintained, but they have also been well-used. Pulling wrenches on them has
not been a fetish, and they have not been kept in plastic bags.

Items of concern will be covered by area. The first is front suspension:

Be certain to lube the two zerk grease fittings in the front axle torsion bar housing, twice a year. Do so with both
front wheels off the ground. Some manuals mention this- others don’t. In any event, few owners ever do it.

The hydraulic steering stabilizer/damper is up where it’s a bit hard to see, above the torsion bar housing and
between the front wheels. The “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” philosophy operates here, and the stabilizer is often
forgotten. The stabilizer should be replaced when the shock absorbers are. That means about every 20,000 miles on
smooth urban roads.
On rough roads, replace the shocks and stabilizer at 10,000 mile intervals. Failure to do so will mean that wear
induced by road irregularities will simply bypass worn-out shocks and be dissipated in more expensive and more
difficult-to-service components like tie-rod ends and the steering box. The damper costs about $20, as do shocks,
and may be replaced in no more than 30 minutes. Replacing all four shock absorbers at once will consume, at
worst, two hours.

Unlike most “modern” cars, VW brakes, fore and aft, do not adjust automatically. Learn from the manual how to
adjust the brakes, then do it. Adjust the brakes twice a year, as a matter of routine. Even if the pedal is still up, be
sure to give the adjustment hardware a squirt of WD-40 through the adjustment access holes in the brake backing

Also, make certain that the access holes are plugged with the plastic dust covers which came from the factory. If, as
usual, these inexpensive parts are missing, be sure to replace them. The world will not collapse if the covers are
missing, but trash in the brakes is less than helpful.

The emergency brake is controlled by a combination of a manual handle and a pair of cables which lead to the rear
brakes. After some time, the adjustment nuts on the cables will not compensate for gradual cable stretch. Before
you need them, buy a set of emergency brake cables and learn to install them.

When existing cables run out of adjustment, replace them. Most owners do not, and learn how to do without the
brake. A shame, really, considering that the cables cost only about $10, should take no more than an hour or so to
install, and need to be replaced no more than every five years or so.


Most of these items are covered in manuals, but the problem is that no one seems to notice. You should.

Door hinges- use engine oil and lube the Beetle hinges through the hinge oil slots when you change engine oil. On
the Thing, the hinges are equipped with small plastic plugs that likely will be missing. Replace them. Lube the
Thing’s hinges at the top with the plugs removed. Failure to lube the hinges on the Beetle means the hinges will
bind, make Inner Sanctum sounds when the doors are opened, then simply get loose and sloppy.

On the Thing, water will rust the much slimmer hinge pins, until one fine day you will open the door and the silly
thing will fall into the street as the rusted, bound pins snap. To avoid these surprises, lube the door hinges, and do
the same for the Thing’s engine hatch hinges, windshield hinges, and the front trunk hinges.

Check door hardware for tightness of handles and latch plates. Tighten as necessary and, like badly-worn door
hinges, replace as appropriate. Lubricate with door hardware grease and wipe off the grit-gathering excess.
When you wash the exterior, don’t forget the undercarriage and underpan. Pay particular attention to the area
between the underside of the front trunk and the forward end of the underpan. Mud and debris build up in this area,
which contains the brake master cylinder, stop light switch wiring, and the fuel line flex connection from the tank.

These parts may be slightly difficult to service when covered with three inches and ten years of concrete crud.
While you’re flushing out this area, do the same for the upper and lower mounting points for all four shock
absorbers and the steering damper.


Unlike most other machines, throttle and clutch actuation is via flexible steel cables which run through enclosed
conduits within the chassis pan to the rear of the vehicle. While these items seldom fail with less than at least five
years of use behind them, they ​never fail at a convenient time. When the attach ends of the throttle cable wear, the
result can be erratic or difficult throttle operation.

With the clutch cable, a worn or frayed part can cause clutch chatter to the point that many people have spent the
price of a new revolver on a complete clutch job, rather than the price of a few six-packs of beer on a new cable. If
the cable should happen to snap while the clutch pedal is depressed in traffic, the sudden engagement could propel
you into an unexpected relationship with a stranger.

If you want to assure no cable problems, replace them once a year. If the takeouts appear serviceable, clean them
and put aside for spares.

The gas pedal attach points and pivot pin should be lubed with gun oil.

Check the clutch and brake pedal cross-shaft; that is, the shaft on which both pedals pivot. Particularly on the open
Thing, rain can combine with time to cause corrosion and binding. The result can be failure of the clutch pedal to
fully release, with subsequent heavy wear on the clutch and release bearing.

On some really elderly VW’s, the cross-shaft is equipped with a grease fitting; on most, which are not, use gun oil
at the juncture of the brake and clutch pedals. Work the pedals a number of times to help the oil to penetrate.

While you’re down there, check to see if any hydraulic fluid is leaking from around the rubber dust boot on the rear
of the brake master cylinder. The brake pedal actuates the cylinder directly via a clevis and rod. The rubber boot
into which the rod fits is the dust cover. If the cylinder is losing fluid, it will take about an hour and $50 to make the
problem go away. The master and wheel cylinders should be good for at least 50,000 miles.
The old VW Beetles were known for lousy heaters when, in fact, they are equipped with excellent, simple heaters.
The supposedly defective heater design is essentially identical to the hot-air muff heaters used on aircraft for the
past 50 years. Problems are most often with frozen control cables or missing heater parts removed to compensate
for heater controls jammed in the “hot” position.

The answer to this problem is to consult your manual until you believe you understand how the heater works. Then,
crawl under and really learn. Repair or replace missing parts as appropriate. Obtain new control cables, lube them
with a light coat of wheel bearing grease, and install. Be warm.

After the system is restored, remove the cables once a year, clean, lube, and replace. Inspect other heater hardware
at the same time.

Rumor has it that these heaters present a severe carbon monoxide hazard. Not so- heat comes from the engine
cylinder banks, not the muffler. If, however, you can throw kittens through holes in the muffler, replace it ​now with
a factory stock unit.

In the case of electrical controls, it’s a good idea to give a shot of WD-40 to the actuating rods on the push-pull
switches on the dash. Locate the fuse block (under the hood on Beetles, on the left lower side of the dash on
Things); clean it with WD-40 and a cloth. If the fuses look cruddy, replace them. Check your manual and do so
with fuses of the correct value. Check all the push-pull connections, and clean or replace as necessary.

This simple operation should be performed annually.

To be continued next issue:​ The Engine and Modifications

The Bug-out Kit, Part III

by C.G. Cobb

Preparing the Sanctuary

You should be thinking at this point about placing certain supplies in various hidden places near -not directly at-
your sanctuary. The reasons should be fairly obvious. A prolonged stay out-of-doors will be difficult -not to
mention extremely uncomfortable- if you depend strictly upon those items included in your bug-out kit.
You might want to erect a more permanent shelter than a tent. You might want to take steps to grow your own food.
You will almost certainly need such things as extra clothing, certain tools, medical supplies, extra ammunition, and
other things, most of which are scarce in wilderness areas.

The prudent thing to do is to pre-cache these needed items, and to do it in those areas surrounding your sanctuary.
You know why. In case those gun-toting strangers somehow get there before you do, you can reach your stashes
without having to sneak in and/or brace them with your weapon.

You’ll need to make several trips to your sanctuary, pick your spots, and bury those supplies. Put them in containers
which can resist the effects of soil and temperature changes. This means containers such as PVC pipe for the
smaller, more compact items. A six-foot length of PVC which is 4 inches in diameter and capped at both ends can
hold an amazing quantity of certain things, provided they are packed correctly.

Get your PVC pipe, together with the end pieces which glue on (and which can be cut off with a hacksaw), at local
sources such as hardware stores and discount building materials outlets. It’s quite cheap, and also impervious to the
worst effects of being buried.

Those 5-gallon plastic containers used to store water are good for storing other things, too. And there are metal
footlockers for the larger items. Just remember to bury all your stashes below the frost line, and to oil your metal
implements thoroughly to prevent rust. Include desiccant crystals or other vapor-barrier agents, too.

What sort of supplies should you cache around your sanctuary? Include changes of clothing; extra boots; extra
ammunition for your bug-out weapon(s), and you might think about at least one extra weapon, too; cleaning
supplies for all firearms; food; more water; a water purifier with refills; salt; soap; trade goods; vacuum-packed
seeds such as those sold by SI for long-term storage; tools such as a full-sized ax, a hand ax, a rip saw, a crosscut
saw, a pick, two shovels, a good hoist and some extra rope, sharpening stones and files, hammers, nails, screws,
nuts, bolts, chisels, a wood plane, the aforementioned hacksaw with extra blades, and measuring devices such as a
level, steel tape, T-square, and chalk line.

You should consider cookware which includes a Dutch oven, and a sheepherder stove with extra stovepipe material
in the flat form. Include extra blankets, a good paramedic’s kit, and a supply of medical books.

If your sanctuary is on a high mountain lake, you might want to stash an inflatable boat with paddles and life
jackets along with the pump, plus more fishing equipment. Include sewing gear and a good leatherworking kit you
can use to make shoes and boots.
Don’t miss a trick; you might have to live there for awhile. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t hurt you a bit to include
camouflage netting to string over your campsite and make yourself difficult to see from the air (the netting breaks
up shadows; if a plane passes over, freeze and don’t look up). A good, strong, general coverage receiver with
antenna and battery pack would be useful to have under such conditions.

Before undertaking any of the above, consult with your budget and your income, naturally. You may not be able to
afford all of this, so pick and choose according to your means and your locale.

If you’re thinking that such an isolated existence would be an extremely dangerous way to live, you’re absolutely
right. This type of sanctuary is to be used only as a last resort, when your small agricultural town becomes
untenable. Hope with all your might that it never happens. If it does, however, you’d better have somewhere to go.
An isolated sanctuary, as dangerous as it is, is still a sanctuary.

If The Worst Happens

Practice with your bug-out weapons. Make yourself good enough to hit what you’re aiming at, within range,
movement, and lighting limitations, of course. If you practice regularly, you’ll probably be surprised at how easy it
is to hit what you want to hit. Practice. It could save your life while bugging out.

More likely, it will allow you to use your AR-7, M24C, Mauser, Remington, Ruger, or whatever weapon you have
as a food-gathering tool successfully. It will bag rabbits, squirrels, sitting birds, and even fish for your pot. If your
sanctuary is isolated in the high country of a wilderness area, you’d better make sure it can handle deer and even
bear as well.

You’ll know when it’s time to bug out. When that time comes, don’t delay an extra second, don’t cast about for
prized personal possessions, don’t stand pensively and wonder what you’ve forgotten. If it’s time for you to bug
out, then snatch up that bug-out kit and BUG OUT! Do it ​now.​

If you do have to bug out, then it’s probable that roads and settlements will be dangerous places for you, so avoid
them. Use your notebook and take those routes you marched during your dress rehearsals. However, in spite of
precautions, it may be necessary for you to deal with other people. Use reason, be calm, and follow the Golden
Rule- ​after​ you do the following:
Cut your rope to the correct length and tie it to your assembled and loaded bug-out weapon in such a way as it will
hang from your right shoulder (assuming you’re right-handed) with the butt in your armpit and the barrel pointed
down. You should have a piece of light plastic (cut from one of the ziploc bags) secured around the muzzle to
prevent the barrel from getting clogged with dirt and other debris while you’re bugging out. You should have
already sewn a button to the tip of your shirt’s or jacket’s right shoulder to keep the weight of the weapon from
sliding the rope off you.

In this position, you can keep one hand on the grip of the weapon and thus be ready to swing it into firing position
instantly. There should be a round in the chamber. Put your poncho on. It will cover you and your weapon, but still
reveal your open, friendly face. Now you’re ready to use reason, be calm, and follow the Golden Rule. But
remember, always, Finagle’s Law.

Under bug-out conditions, be wary of other people. They won’t be as farsighted as yourself. They’ll be worse off
than you are. They’ll be needing things which you might have. So use utmost caution in dealing with them. Try not
to put yourself into the position of having to deal with them at all. But, Finagle’s Law being what it is, you may find
yourself in that position whether you like it or not.

Don’t let them get behind you. Stand on the edges of groups. If you’re bugging out with a companion (wise move),
stay together and don’t let anyone get between you. Speak slowly, move slowly, and don’t make them nervous. Be
confident, tranquil, and quiet. It may be necessary to repeat yourself to make them understand you, as they will in
all likelihood be in an excitable condition and their attention spans may be severely limited. Their concentration
won’t be all it should be.

Some of them may be perfectly willing to help you, even if “helping” you consists merely of allowing you to go
your own way without extracting a price. If so, be thankful, be courteous, and remain especially watchful while
you’re with them.

On the other hand, they may want payment of some kind. Here is where your trade goods come in.

Some of those people will be smokers, and the chances are excellent that they haven’t had a smoke in days, perhaps
longer. Offer a cigarette (with your left hand) and watch the reaction. If they have something you need or want,
maybe they’d part with it if you let them keep the pack. A pack of butts might get you past an improvised toll
bridge. It might get you directions, or a safe-conduct pass, or entry to a region where others are prohibited.

If you’re caught in a blizzard while bugging out, do you suppose that a can of coffee might get you into a guarded
farmhouse for shelter? In Bad Times, a quart of Chivas Regal scotch whiskey might get you entrance, and also
room, board, and a steady job. The same goes for .22 rimfire ammo. Nobody’s going to have enough of this stuff.
Save it for closing deals.

There may be times when trade is not possible. You may have encounters with those species of libertarians who
want to share everything you have among themselves. If you should meet these people -and I hope you ​never meet
them- then your bug-out weapon will help you to reason with them.
The Golden Rule is something for everyone to live by, but when it’s apparent that another individual -or a group of
them- intends to work his will on you by force, then the Golden Rule takes on a slightly different character: Do unto
others as they intend to do unto you, only do it ​first.​ Faced with the initiation of force, you may now consider that
your opponent has forfeited ​all of his rights. I thought about that last sentence very carefully before writing it down.
Please go back and read it again.

When confronted with a threat of this magnitude, don’t bother with threats or tough talk, as they’ll do you more
harm than good. Instead, continue to be alert, tranquil, confident, and quiet. If he unlimbers a firearm or comes at
you with a cutting or striking weapon (and that includes fists and feet), use that weapon under your poncho, and
don't worry about making holes in your garment. Just swing the weapon up and use it.

If your weapon is a .22, it should be loaded with CCI Stingers, and you should start in the middle of his torso and
work upward to chest, neck, and eye sockets. If you’re carrying something more substantial, aim for the center of
mass, of course. ​Stop​ him, and do it in any way you can.

Because the person attacking you has forfeited all of his rights, you should never take it upon yourself to initiate
violence. (As far as I am concerned, telling someone by word or deed that you intend to kill or maim him is the
initiation of force.) The foremost of all rights is the right to defend your person and property. Don’t forfeit that
right. Ever.

I realize as well as you do that the steps I’ve outlined in this three-part report are expensive and time-consuming. I
hope you never need to make use of these preparations, but if you do, I certainly hope you made them.

Not all of them are possible for everyone, naturally. Many budgets are extremely limited, and preclude any
preparations except the most elementary. But you should exert all the effort necessary to get at least the basic
bug-out kit, and to make yourself proficient with it over your chosen route. You will then be a hair’s breadth ahead
of everyone else. That should make you feel a hair’s breadth better, and will give you breathing room to widen the
gap. When Bad Times come, you’ll want to be as far ahead of the pack as you can possibly get.

A Note from Bruce Clayton

I found Jeff Cooper’s article on defensive architecture very stimulating, especially the description of the Vauban
star, the fortress design in which every square inch of the outer wall can be fired on from within the building,
through embrasures.
Having visited Jeff’s home, I also understood his comments about how the house should surround anyone who
knocks at the front door, so he knows that you can view him from several angles before opening up. Jeff’s own
front porch is nothing less than a mantrap.

My own theoretical favorite house is an underground or earth-sheltered design. One design which appeals is the
Roman model, in which the rooms of the underground house are wrapped in a C- or 0-pattern around a central patio
that is open to the sky. The house is entered by descending a flight of steps into the sunken patio, and then through
a “front door” in the patio wall.

After reflecting on Jeff’s article, I realized that this arrangement could make a ​coup de main somewhat hazardous.
A person who knocks on the front door is visible from all angles, and from literally every room in the house.
Defenders firing from suitably-placed embrasures could command every square inch of the patio and its walls. If
the embrasures were placed high and angled downward, they could not be easily suppressed from above.

If the stairway could be folded or blocked from within, an attacker would be trapped in a pit from which there was
no exit. He would have a defender firing at him from behind no matter which way he turned, not to mention the
difficulty of firing from a lighted patio into a darkened house (in daytime). At night the arrangement has the
advantage of making it hard for a lurking sniper to fire through your lighted windows, since he would have to be
standing in the patio to do it.

Obviously there would be ways to do this stupidly (defenders shooting each other across the patio) but the natural
advantages of the geometry are overwhelming

Survival Gunsmithing- Heckler & Koch HK91

by J.B. Wood

In .308 chambering, the Heckler & Koch Model HK91 stands alone as the beat gun of its type. A recent HK ad
immodestly proclaims “The HK91- State of the Art Performance”. Well, for once the ad people are not just carried
away by their own rhetoric. The HK91 is that good. My own gun has infallibly and accurately fired more than five
hundred rounds so far, including one memorable shot in Vermont, when I was looking through the Schmidt and
Bender scope at an ill-tempered Russian boar.
My gun is the HK91 A-2, the model with a fixed buttstock. There is also a .223 version, the HK93, and both
calibers are available with a collapsible buttstock. Except for the stock difference, they are practically identical,
mechanically, so the comments that follow can be applied to the entire group. The selective-fire versions, the G3
and the HK33, are not being considered here.

Here is the spare parts list for the HK91: firing pin, firing pin spring, extractor, extractor spring, ejector, ejector
spring, bolt head locking lever, locking lever spring, cocking lever axle (pivot pin), cocking lever spring, recoil
spring, hammer spring, stock locking pins (2), handguard locking pin, gas chamber cap, spare magazines.

While the HK91 is not prone to firing pin or extractor breakage, these two parts are recommended spares for any
gun. The springs are not likely to break, but some tension loss with age is possible, especially in the torsion-type
extractor spring. The ejector is very strongly-designed; a spare is a good idea. The ejector spring is compressed with
each bolt cycle, and some loss of tension over a long period of use is possible.

The bolt head locking lever is under considerable stress, and is included for this reason, though I’ve never heard of
one breaking. Its spring is insurance against age-weakening. The cocking lever axle pivot pin and the cocking lever
spring are listed because of stress and extreme flexing, in that order.

Any recoil spring can take a “set” after several thousand rounds, and if this does occur, it will put extra stress on the
buffer system. The buffer, with its three concentric springs, has ample allowance for maintaining its tension in
normal use, and I doubt that spare springs for it would ever be necessary.

With any survival-use gun, being carried for long periods with the chamber loaded and the hammer cocked, some
eventual loss of hammer spring tension would be inevitable. If this progressed to the point of causing misfires, a
spare hammer spring would be particularly valuable.

The two stock locking pins and the handguard locking pin are not subject to wear or breakage. They are on the list
because of their essential function, and in case of lose. The same reasoning applies to the gas chamber cap. Spare
magazines you should already have, in quantity. Two or three spares should be the minimum number.

In the realm of the possible-but-unlikely, there are several parts that could be added. The hammer, trigger, and sear
are hardened to perfection, and wear will not be a problem. Breakage is also unlikely, but there is a slight chance
that at some time in the far future one of the engagement edges might chip. A spare sear, hammer, or trigger would
then be most welcome. The trigger and sear springs could also be added, in case of fatigue.

The more affluent survivalist could, of course, just add a complete trigger housing unit to his spares, and thus be
prepared to take care of any problem in that area in seconds. When this is financially possible, it’s an excellent way
to go, as it will allow repairs to be done almost instantly, without any gunsmithing. Replacement of the entire
assembly does not require any fitting.
The locking rollers in the bolt head and the locking piece in the bolt carrier are under considerable stress at the
moment of firing, but these parts are super-hardened, and neither wear nor breakage will be any cause for concern.
Also, replacement of the rollers may be beyond the skills of the average non-gunsmith. So, in this case, I think it’s
best to trust that Heckler & Koch made a system that will virtually last forever.

The magazine catch, spring, and release button could be added, on the basis of their essential function. I doubt,
though, that anything other than the spring would ever be needed. The front sight is protected by a heavy ring of
steel, and any impact that could damage it would likely be severe enough to do serious damage to the gun.

The rear sight, though, might be an item to add. While it is very sturdy, it is held in place by a single screw, and a
heavy side impact could shear the screw and knock the sight off. If this ever occurs, you will need the sight, the
retaining screw, two washers, and the adjustment balls and springs.

If you have the original HK91 instruction booklet, it has a fold-out exploded view of the gun. This view does not,
however, show the trigger group disassembled. For a copy of the booklet, and for parts orders, the address is:
Heckler & Koch, Inc., 933 Kenmore Street, Suite 218, Arlington, VA 22201.

While the HK91 is not shown in the ​Gun Digest Book of Exploded Firearms Drawings​, Second Edition, the HK33,
the selective-fire .223 version, is on page 59. The mechanism is so similar that this may be a help, and in this
illustration, the trigger group is shown disassembled.

Complete takedown instructions for the HK91 are on pages 228-238 of the ​Gun Digest Book of Firearms Assembly/
Disassembly, Part IV: Law Enforcement Weapons.​ This is the most recent volume in my takedown and reassembly
series, and it covers a number of other guns of interest to the survivalist. It should be available at your local gun
shop or bookstore, and can also be ordered direct from DBI Books, Inc., One Northfield Plaza, Northfield, IL

This column marks the end of our nineteen-part coverage of the guns that Mel listed for me about two years ago.
It’s been an interesting endeavor because some of the guns are of such recent manufacture that long-term use
problems have not yet emerged. In those cases, I had to base my parts list on what ​might happen, rather than what
has happened. While doing this, I’ve learned a few things. I hope this series has been of help to the serious
survivalists. Our editor says that I might possibly return from time to time.