Sunday, November 29, 2009

Field Expedient Slugs

Based on the amount of mail I have received about the field expedient slugs we created for the shotgun course, I thought I’d give y’all a quick explanation.

There are a couple times when you want a slug for a shotgun – one is penetration. A slug will go through a much denser barrier than will shot – the smaller the shot size, the less of a barrier it will penetrate. Another time you may need a slug is when you want to make a precise shot – say into the head of a bad guy holding a hostage. It just wouldn’t do to pepper (in this case) the little girl in order to “save” her.

There is a technique called scalloping whereby you hold off to the side of your intended target and only hit it with the outer edge of your pattern. Nice theory but it doesn’t always work out in practice and you cannot account for the wad. A plastic wad can penetrate 1/4” plywood at room distances and it never flies to the same place. I wouldn’t want my daughter to have to absorb that energy with her face, or eye. So sometimes a single projectile – in this case a slug - is called for.

I told the students to bring slugs to the class. One failed to do so. No problem, it created a good learning opportunity for what I call a field expedient slug. Others call them “ringed rounds”, “cut down shells” and so on. I think it was invented a long time ago by folks who couldn’t afford slugs to hunt deer with (they are more expensive than bird shot by a long shot); or maybe it was some good ol’ boy out dove hunting and he saw something that just cried out for a slug strike. In any case, I learned it a long time ago at a mysterious place called Mott Lake and now I reckon I’ll teach you.

Know this up front though: I am not telling you to do this. I am not saying this is safe. It may be extremely unsafe. It may void the warranty of your shotgun. For all I know, it could cause your gun to blow up. You could cut yourself. You could somehow (who knows?) ignite the powder. Consult a professional before you even CONSIDER doing something like this. This is just FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY.

A shotgun shell is made up of the brass cup which holds the primer and the gun powder. Above that is a plastic wad and shot cup. The wad is about ¾ inch long or less and the cup is just thin plastic wings which contain the shot inside the shell. The primer ignites the powder; the powder burns very quickly creating gas; the gas expands and forces the wad away from the breech; the wad pushes the cup containing the shot through the end of the crimped shell and down range. The wad usually flies about 10 yards or so and then just falls to the ground while the shot continues down range.

What you do is cut around the plastic hull where I marked it on the intact shell. A serrated blade works best. Cut all the way through the hull to the wad but leave two tabs opposite each other connecting the top of the hull to the bottom. This round is a bit more fragile than an intact slug but you can load it without difficulty.

When you fire it, instead of the wad pushing the shot out of the end of the crimped hull, the hull separates at the tabs and the intact upper hull containing the shot moves out down range.

The important thing is it moves out as a single projectile – not multiple pieces of lead shot. The other important thing is it hits as a single mass in a single point - thus allowing greater penetration than the shot would by itself. It will not hold together like a slug once it does impact so you won’t get the same penetration performance out of a field expedient slug – but it is impressive when compared to the shell it was created from.

For our use though, we needed a single projectile for a precise hit and as you can see from the photo in the blog entry below – it worked.

Sometimes it doesn't extract quite as well as full sized round does. You can see the remenant of one there on the right - it even has a tab still on it. So for those who wanted to know - there ya go!

Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. Judges 4:21

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Defensive Shotgun Course

The hills were alive with the sound of gunfire on the day after Thanksgiving. We conducted a Defensive Shotgun course which covers a wide variety of topics but which basically trains students to make maximum use of the ubiquitous shootin’ iron.

We plan the courses weeks and months in advance and this time of year one really never knows what the weather will be on The Day. Once, a couple years ago, we had to build warming fires for the students. This time it could not have been better – mid fifties with bright blue skies.

Six students attended this iteration and were taught a variety of related topics from safety, to proper selection of a defensive shotgun (regular readers will already know I’m not big on goo-gaws), ammo selection, proper hold, stance, negotiating various obstacles and several drills or “mini-scenarios”. This course is aimed and empowering the home defender and the final exercise scenario has a gang of ruffians invading the students’ “home” forcing him or her to deal with several situations in a compressed time cycle.

The final obstacle is a 20 yard slug shot to save the little girl. This student showed up with no slugs so we showed him how to make some field expedient ones out of regular ol’ bird shot. Not a bad shot, huh? I’d say he “solved the problem”.

Everyone left happy and with some newfound skills they will hopefully never have to put into practice for real.

And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; - Ezekiel 9:2


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Come out of Babylon

On the forums recently, a Viking asked what would be the sign for the chaos that is coming so that he could tell his friends, they could be alert for that sign, and – when the time was right, they could flee the city for safer regions. For our purposes, “city” need not be NYC - it is any place there are a whole lot of people crowded together. It includes "suburbia".

There are a few problems with this line of thinking:

1. There is more than one potential scenario
Our world could change significantly due to a number of situations: Real Pandemic Flu; Nuclear strike “Out of the Blue”; Comet Strike or Yellowstone Caldera, or Krakatoa; Foreign Invasion – be it Chinese, or Venezuelans, or Aliens. Hey, the list goes on – pick YOUR poison.

Each scenario, while being life changing, is also unique. Each contains its own problem sets and each presents with different indications and warnings. One could develop a watch matrix for each potential threat (what I consider potential threat will differ from what you do) and monitor all of them. But the sheeple won’t…which leads us to…

2. By the time a sheeple gets his sign – all the other sheeple will get it also and it won’t do them any good – it will be too late
The Life Changing Event will make our so called “shock and awe” at the start of the current iteration of the Iraqi war look like a kumbaya sing-along. To paraphrase one of the Wayans brothers – it’s gonna rock our world, Baby!

By the time those living in the cities get a clue (even those looking for signs) it will be way too late. Google OODA Loop and do some reading. People living in cities are, in vast percentages, “sheeple”. They are all going to realize nearly simultaneously that something is up and panic will ensue. Those who thought they had a plan will find it is severely impacted by the chaos around them.

Here’s another little tidbit: There are people in higher places (.gov, industry and private organizations) that are paid to watch for signs. They will see these indicators before the masses do. That is their intent. That is what they are paid to do. When their little indicator board lights up they will inform their superiors who will take action before the masses even know something is happening. In short, the masses will be acted upon.

3. They want it all and they want it now!
This is the problem of the people asking the original question, “What will be the sign for which I must watch so that I can flee this city ahead of all of those who do not get it?” The sad fact is THEY don’t get it.

They think they are wise – they live where they can have Ethiopian, or Thai or whatever kind of ethnic food they want delivered to the house in 20 minutes; they make “better money here than I can out in the sticks”; they have to live near their family who lives in the city – and yet they think they can flee in time to stay ahead of the Four Horsemen.

Most people have an idea of some idealized retreat or bug out location – a little cabin in the woods; a working ranch/farm on which live a few families; a small town nestled out there in the boonies…what it is, is not germane to this post – the point is they KNOW that where they are will not work in their envisioned scenario and yet they don’t want to move “out there” for a variety of reasons. So their plan is to flee there at the last safe moment.

4. Bad boy, bad boy – whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
“I’m gonna bug out!”
“To where?”

See – that cabin, that ranch and that small town – they don’t really exist. Not for the majority of the sheeple who are just awake enough to ask, “What will be the sign…?”
They don’t exist because they would divert funds from other pursuits, they would divert time from other activities and quite simply – most don’t have enough of either.

The Real Answer
The real answer flows from this precept: Real preparedness does not happen overnight and there is no easy, instantaneous solution. It is costly in terms of money, time, and most importantly for some – ego.

No, Mr Capitalist…
No, Ms Consumer – you cannot buy your way out of this.
You CANNOT have it all, Baby.
You cannot live in the city surrounded by pretty shiny things.
You cannot drive your SAAB Turbo to work, drink lattes by the gallon, and dine out at a different restaurant every evening.
You cannot maintain your current lifestyle.
Not if you want to survive what is coming down the pike.

See, real preparedness is a lifestyle. It encompasses everything we do. It guides our daily actions. If one is truly concerned with surviving the turmoil ahead, one will change one’s lifestyle to reflect that.
If one was truly aware, one would move, get a different job, value different things.

Real preparedness is a lifestyle
If you want to survive the calamities that are just over the horizon – if you truly want it – you will change your behavior. You will change your lifestyle.
While you have time.
If you want to survive that – let your actions mirror your words. Don’t just talk about getting out – get out.

If you want to survive eternity, if you truly want it – you will change your mindset. If you want to survive what is coming after the Horsemen ride though – you will allow your heart to be changed – and your actions will follow.

Either way, you need to come out of Babylon.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. – 1 John 2:15 - 17

Life is about choices
Choices have consequences
Choose wisely
Choose Jesus

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. – Revelation 18:4 - 5


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Friday, November 20, 2009

Viking Pocket Fire

I don’t smoke. I do, however, carry a lighter everywhere I go.
You just never know when you are going to need to start a fire.
Oh, I can and do make fire a bunch of different ways – I teach people to do so. But I carry a lighter in my pocket for when I need fire. A good friend of mine is fond of saying, “If Davy Crockett had had a Bic – he would have carried it.”

I also teach wilderness survival and in the wilderness survival arena there really is not much that is “new”. Instructors just rehash old knowledge with their personal spin on it.
I do believe I have “invented” something in this area though, and I will share it with you now.

Now I did not come up with this idea completely out of the blue. A long time ago, in a land far away, I was working with some foreign commandos in a dark and dank jungle. As real darkness descended (and it does so quickly in the jungle) the commandos wanted to get a fire going. Hey, it was their jungle, their bad guys – if they wanted a fire who was I to tell them differently? I wondered how they were going to do so with all the wet wood laying about.

When I was in the Pacific Northwest (another dark, dank, wet place) we would get fires going with Trioxene heat tablets – they were like magic. These guys had hexamine fuel for their little ration heaters but they didn’t have a lot and they were not going to waste it starting their fires. What they used instead was pieces of truck inner tube they all carried. They just laid the rubber on a log, whacked it with their heavy bladed jungle knife and sliced off a piece about an inch and half wide by about 3 inches long.

They slid this slice of rubber into the end of a long green stick they had split a bit. They then lit one corner of the rubber with … you got it – a Bic. I was impressed. Until that night, I never knew that rubber burned like that. The now hotly burning torch was applied to their damp fire lay and in no time we had fire.

My twist on this technique is to slide a piece of bicycle inner tube over my lighters. I get it from my son who rides and hangs out with other bicyclists. They must be rich because most of the time, instead of repairing their flat tires, they just use a new inner tube. And my son gives me the old ones.

When I want to start a fire, I just slice a circle around the inner tube using the lighter as a cutting board. I then take my donut of rubber, hang it on a stick, light it with the lighter and voila! I have a big hot match. If the wood is wet – slice a thicker piece of rubber.

So there ya go – I boldly and unabashedly lay claim to the concept of Viking Pocket Fire. I reckon we could call it VPF and sell them by the boatload if we wanted to – but why don’t you just make your own? Heck, make several – they are cheap!

See ya out there.

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. – Genesis 22:6


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snake - it's what's for supper

Several years ago, I was living on a couple acres but we had neighbors on both sides – the houses about 100 yards apart.
Behind the houses was a big wooded hill. We had our chicken coop up on the wood line.

One day my wife says, "I know where all my eggs are going - I found two big black snakes in there and they had eggs in them." You see, we had a hen sitting on a clutch of eggs and every other day or so, some eggs would be missing. Now we knew we were be raided by a pair of snakes.

"Did you kill them?" I asked.

"No, but I took them about 25 yards into the woods and let them go" she says.

"They'll be back" says I.

Sure enough on a Saturday my wife comes down from the coop with a 6 foot long live black snake in her hand. It had an egg in it.

"KILL this snake!" she says. (She's a lover, not a killer)
So I chop the snake's head off.

My then little (7 years old) daughter says, "Daddy, can I hold it?"

Now this snake was still wiggling as recently dead snakes are apt to do.

You know I let her hold it. When she grabbed it by the middle, both ends were touching the ground.

Next door, my neighbors were having a barbeque. He was a Major in the Army and had his whole office over. Now HE was cool - he shot everything that moved in his back yard and had killed deer, turkey and a bobcat back there. But the other families that were visiting him "out in the country" were decidedly urbane. My neighbor had a daughter about my girl's age....there were other kids over there at the barbeque as well...

My daughter says, "Daddy, can I go show Sarah the snake?"

heh, heh, heh - "SURE you can Sweetie!"

Off she runs to the neighbors.

I watched.
I listened.

Oh the screams
Oh the jerky movements of the moms AND the dads.
Oh the look my neighbor's wife shot me across 100 yards of pasture.


My daughter came back dejected - "They didn't like my snake, Daddy"

"Yeah Sweetie, some people are just weird like that".

"Can we eat it?"

…Yeah, she's Daddy's little girl...

We gut it, skinned it, cut it into six-inch pieces and soaked it in salt water over night. The next day I placed the pieces in a glass baking pan, brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with Italian seasonings and lemon juice.
Baked at 350 until it was “done”.

We served it on a rice pilaf with steamed asparagus.
It was good and when we were finished eating, we gave the bones to the chickens - kinda karma-esque.

I think a chilled Rose` is about the perfect wine with black snake.

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. – Matthew 15:11


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just in Time for Christmas!

I acquire gear like some women stock up on shoes. And like some of those women, I may get something and then wait a long time before I actually use it. Such was the case with the Swack-Shack. I got this piece of WonderGear some time ago but I just didn’t have time, couldn’t find time, wouldn’t make time to go play with my new toy.

Well recently I took the time to do some Woods Walkin’ with my new puppy to the far reaches of the realm were we set up camp, hung out, and howled back a coyotes. Well, I did, Mahdi barked back.

So just what is this “Swack-Shack”? To call it a tarp would be to do it a grave injustice. To those in the know, it is more properly called a “basha” and it was designed by a friend of mine, George Jasper who wrote the most excellent book, 6 Ways In, 12 Ways Out and with whom I sometimes work. The basha is 8.5 feet long and over 7 feet wide – it is big. But it folds up small as you can see. It folds up much smaller and is much lighter than the two ponchos I used to carry. It is made of rip-stop nylon, is very light weight and comes with multiple, very well made loops and grommets to allow for a variety of tie out options. You can see more pictures, read more details, and yes, order a couple for Christmas here: Survival Solutions

The Swack-Shack stood up to a mild rain with absolutely no problems. I was in a hammock and I was completely covered and remained completely dry. I had seam sealed it when I first got it and I suggest you do the same – Sur-Sol who runs Survival Solutions also sells the stuff for very reasonable prices. His customer service is excellent and he is not just a merchant – he is a practitioner of the arts of preparedness and survival.

Due to the numerous grommets and loops, this piece of kit just begs to be played with. I typically set up my hooches as depicted in the other photos but as I was packing up I decided to see if I could make a tipi by suspending it from the center loop. I did and it would have made a nice hasty shelter to eat lunch under or take a nap or what not.

So there ya go – a great piece of kit, reasonably priced at $84, and it comes in a cammo pattern that will make your gear queer buddies drool. All this and just in time for Christmas!

And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts. - Numbers 1:52

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America