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4 years ago @ Survival Cache - The Ruger Alaskan: Sur... · 0 replies · +1 points

At one point in time I had a Ruger Super Redhawk in .44 magnum with a 7.5 inch barrel. I liked it but with that barrel it was awkward to carry. Eventually I ran short of money and had to sell it off. A little while ago my finances had improved somewhat and I wanted another heavy pistol to potentially fill the "bear defense" niche. I looked at the Ruger Alaskan models but the 2.5 inch barrels that they came with just did not appeal to me. Fortunately though there is an alternative that splits the difference.

Ruger makes a Super Redhawk variant which is available as a Talo distributor exclusive, model 5517, which comes with a 5 inch barrel. It is chambered in .454 Casull. It has the word "Toklat" engraved on the left side of the frame which I understand is the name of a river in Alaska. The barrel is slightly different from Ruger's usual round barrel profile in that it is flattened on both sides. I haven't had the chance to do much shooting with it yet, but plan on using .45 Colt more often than not. I would then end up using .454 Casull ammo only when the circumstances were such that bears were likely to pose a problem.

So far I like the pistol and it looks like it will do what I need it to. I have always been a fan of Ruger revolvers and it looks like this one will not disappoint.

Other revolvers I had been considering were the Taurus Raging Bull in .454 Casull with a 5 inch barrel. While that particular model comes ported to help reduce recoil, it also has a 5 shot cylinder instead of a 6 shot cylinder. Also, anecdotal data suggests that while Taurus has come a long way in terms of the quality of their weapons, they may still have a slightly higher percentage of lemons than some of the other manufacturers.

Also under consideration was one of the Smith and Wesson revolvers chambered in their .460 S&W magnum which can take .454 Casull as a subload. The variant I was looking at also had a 5 inch barrel and was ported, but again it had a 5 shot cylinder instead of a 6 shot cylinder and was a couple of hundred dollars more than the Ruger.

Thus I opted to go for the Ruger, getting a 6 shot cylinder with a 5 inch barrel, but no porting. Time will tell how well that ends up working out. But as I am planning on shooting only enough .454 Casull ammo in it to get used to it and to have some in reserve for when I think I need that power level then I don't think the lack of a ported barrel will be a problem.

7 years ago @ Survival Cache - Bug In Contingencies · 0 replies · +1 points


Booze, especially the hard stuff, is a great resource to have on hand. It can be used for a multitude of purposes from medicinal to recreational to being a cleaner/disinfectant. It keeps virtually forever and has great potential as barter material.

My own plans are somewhat variable, largely depending on what goes down. In a serious enough situation I would have to up and relocate with some friends who live a couple of hours' drive away. However, if for whatever reason my vehicle is inoperative, I would not relish the hike. The couple of hours' drive could easily be a week or more on foot.

Granted I have a bicycle and one of the things I had thought of was using it "Vietcong" style more as something to overload by hanging gear off of and pushing it than riding it. But then that begs the question of how everybody else is reacting to the situation and how desperate they are. In a worst case scenario going on foot could still be the better option as I could cut cross country avoiding roads and paths and would not obviously stand out as somebody who might have a lot of gear that could be worth stealing.

The other potential problem is how to know when to split. If we end up in some sort of slow motion economic collapse then trying to figure out the optimum time to leave could be tricky. Too soon and I would have effectively given up my job, my apartment and a bunch of stuff I would prefer not to have lost for a situation that might have sorted itself out given time. Also, as long as my personal economic situation hasn't totally gone to hell in a handbasket there's always stuff I can do to improve my situation.

Too late and I end up trying to deal with the "Golden Horde" problem of all the other refugees who came to the same decision at the same time and are now competing with everybody else for what they need. The other version of "too late" has me trapped in a last stand situation in my apartment or getting jumped on the street while trying to run whatever errands I needed to get done.

I'm not that worried about the sort of situation that suddenly springs up out of nowhere because if the catastrophe is big, bold, obvious and in your face then that makes it easier to decide what to do. But the slow motion scenarios where you're dealing with a lot of "gray" situations leading up to a serious collapse but with no obvious point of no return are what are concerning me more lately.

7 years ago @ Survival Cache - Survival Gear Review: ... · 0 replies · +1 points

One of the vagaries of Washington State law is that while I could not legally carry my favorite large Bowie knives concealed, I can legally carry them openly if I so choose. Normally I choose not to carry them openly when I am out and about in town as I think that tends to attract unnecessary attention. I simply have one of them that lives in my bug out bag. However, the flip side is that if I were wearing one of the large Bowie knives openly, people might be less likely to think I was packing a concealed pistol. :-)

While this runs counter to what most people might think, I usually wear one of the Bowies when I am simply hanging out in my apartment. The reasoning for this is that I live in a cheap apartment in a relatively bad neighborhood. The apartment is on the third floor of my apartment building and has only one door. The door has neither a peephole nor a chain. Not that I would necessarily trust either one of those devices, but they're nice to have. Thus I can never be sure just who I am opening my apartment door to until I actually open the door. If it turns out that I have opened the door to somebody with bad intentions, then the situation needs to get dealt with right then and there. I have no decent fallback position once the door is open. Engagement range at and near the door would be less than 6 feet.

If I were carrying my pistol, then anybody who saw me open the door would know that I have a pistol. That is information that I do not want to be common knowledge among my fellow apartment dwellers, to say nothing of the community at large. I could carry the pistol concealed, but then that would slow down the draw speed in a situation where I would need instantaneous access to my weapon. Furthermore, if I were to draw the pistol in the sort of situation that would be presented by somebody trying to rapidly force their way through the door there's an excellent chance it would result in a grapple for the gun.

However, this sort of thing is potentially standard fare for a large knife. Using the knife, the same motion can be both a defense and an offense (stop cut or thrust to an opponent's weapon hand). There's also another thing that people overlook. If I were to shoot somebody in my doorway with my .45, that would make a serious mess. Then the police would cheerfully seize my pistol as evidence and hold it for God knows how long while they did their investigation. However, the larger the knife, the more pain you can inflict by hitting somebody with the *flat* of the blade. Thus, there is an extent to which a large enough Bowie effectively has a "stun" setting. And if I need lethal force I simply have to hold the blade a little differently to strike with an edge or the point. Finally, if the police feel the need to seize the Bowie as evidence while they investigate, I have a relatively large selection of other big blades to choose from and so have not lost any of my defensive capabilities.

7 years ago @ Survival Cache - Survival Gear Review: ... · 0 replies · +2 points

I'm glad that Doc Montana likes the knife. I am one of those people who would be tempted to argue that one can never have too many knives. However, while I normally do carry folding knives on me, I always make sure that at least one of them is a knife I can open with one hand. The knives I normally carry are the Swiss Army equivalent of the Leatherman tool and a Cold Steel Triple Action Tanto Point folder. They each ride in separate pouches on my belt.

The way the Washington State concealed carry laws work, the carry permit only applies to pistols and does not cover carrying edged weapons concealed. While I don't think that matters for the two folders that I carry, trying to carry a more serious edged weapon concealed would be a no no. So I pack my .45 along.

7 years ago @ Survival Cache - More Tips For Your Bug... · 0 replies · +2 points

I'll just make one last quick comment. Unlike the guy in the photo at the beginning of the article carrying enough weapons to equip at least a squad [Elmer Fudd's great grandson takes up the hunt for Bugs Bunny? :-) ] depending on circumstances you may want to give some serious thought to how to set up your gear such that you are not obviously/visibly armed.

These days you will never know when you are under surveillance. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that we may see some of our drone technology and tactics turned against American citizens in CONUS, either by our government gone rogue or by an invading power. In which case people may end up getting targeted by drone strikes for no better reason than they are visibly armed in an area where whoever is controlling the drone doesn't want to see armed people. While this potentially puts long guns at a disadvantage, some thought given to acquiring/improvising folding/collapsible stocks and how one goes about carrying the piece can go a long way towards mitigating that potential problem.

7 years ago @ Survival Cache - More Tips For Your Bug... · 2 replies · +1 points

Just reading the article now. One quick comment though. I say a resounding NO to sword canes.

(1) The sword blade isn't long enough/heavy enough to do what you're going to really need it to do.

(2) Depending on how it's designed, you may lose some of the utility of the piece as an impact weapon.

(3) Depending on where you are, how it got used and or found out, running afoul of the local laws is never a good thing. That won't be as much of a problem post SHTF, but post SHTF you're going to want REAL weapons.

Options, depending on circumstances:

A good walking stick can be very handy in and of itself. I would avoid the collapsible trekking poles though. I am a big boy, pushing 6'2" tall, 250+ lbs, and had one trekking pole get bent into uselessness when I tried to catch myself after tripping in some snow a few years ago. Cold Steel makes several different models that are solid polypropylene and billed as "unbreakable". While I am somewhat skeptical of that claim the one I have has lasted years, has held my weight under various circumstances, and was flat out designed to be an impact weapon. If you get one of these make sure to go to a drug store and get yourself a hard rubber cane tip for it though. The polypropylene may be "unbreakable", but it's soft enough that constantly hitting the pavement with it as you walk will wear the material down.

If you really must have a large blade then get any one of the following that suits your fancy:

a good Bowie knife (my personal favorite)



Cavalry sabre*

Japanese Katana/Ninjato knock off

* Depending on how the hand guard is designed, these weapons may be almost totally unusable in your left hand.

More comments later.

7 years ago @ Survival Cache - Survival Gear Review: ... · 0 replies · +2 points

The laws that apply to knives are even more bizarre and varied than the laws that apply to firearms. In some states a Concealed Carry Permit will enable you to carry a knife (or any other weapon you desire) concealed as well as a pistol. In other states the Concealed Carry Permits apply only to pistols.

Personally, I like Bowie knives for some purposes. But in Texas IIRC Bowie knives are singled out as being illegal, period. In other states you can have a Bowie knife as long as the false edge is not sharpened, and in other states they just don't give a hoot.

I think that part of the reason for that is that there are laws on the books that are holdovers from a century or more ago where a good knife would have been viewed more as a primary (or at worst a secondary) weapon than is the case today. Regardless, they should still be covered by the same sort of second amendment considerations that have been applied to firearms. I understand that there is an organization out there which is trying to reform the various laws that apply to carrying knives as defensive weapons, but I don't have a link to post for them.

7 years ago @ Survival Cache - Survival Gear Review: ... · 2 replies · +2 points

Recent unfortunate events in France have, if anything, served to highlight the need to carry concealed weaponry with you if at all possible. To that end reviews like those the author has graciously supplied us with about the jacket are most useful. I commend the author for doing a good job of stating both the pros and the cons of the item in question.

Personally, I'm not sure that I would want to use that particular jacket. One of the sections of the review that made me think that the jacket might not be to my taste was where the author commented on the ability of one's weapon to fall out of the jacket if one was not careful with it. Given that as a potential problem, I think I would be happier going with something like a shoulder holster rig, in which case any reasonably loose fitting jacket could serve as a cover garment (though that particular jacket might still have good potential used in that role).

The other comment the author made that disinclined me towards the jacket was that because of weaknesses in the way the jacket was set up he wanted to carry his semiautomatic pistol in condition 3 as opposed to condition 2. Note that I believe that he should carry his pistol in any condition he feels to be safe and reasonable, and in other postings on this board I have suggested condition 3 carry of auto pistols in some circumstances. But having the mode of carry dictated by the jacket seems to me to be doing it backwards. I would think that the ideal situation would be to choose a jacket that supported one's desired method of carry.

7 years ago @ Survival Cache - Best Handgun Calibers ... · 0 replies · +2 points

For what anybody thinks it's worth, my friend was of the opinion that the HK-91 was the most reliable of all the .308/7.62x51mm NATO battle rifles that were available at the time. I'm not sure how the HK-91 would compare to the AK-47 in that regard though. While the AK-47 has a well deserved reputation for ruggedness and reliability, it also has a gas system. The HK-91, being essentially recoil operated, does not.

Personally I liked the fact that the HK-91 basically had no felt recoil. There are two caveats though. It was designed by German armaments engineers and they do/did things differently over there. The first caveat is that if you go to establish a proper "cheek weld" on the receiver like almost anybody who has been trained with rifles here in America would, you won't like it. As the action cycles the bolt carrier comes ramming back into the rear of the receiver like a miniature jack hammer. If your face is in contact with the receiver you WILL feel that and you will not enjoy it. You need to find some other way to index your head with relation to the weapon for a proper/consistent sight picture. Once you do that the problem goes away and you can enjoy shooting a .308 battle rifle for an extended period of time without getting a sore shoulder.

The second is that if you use the collapsible stock designed by HK to go with that weapon, you need to know that it locks in two and only two positions. Fully open and fully closed. I had read one review of the HK-91 written by an alleged "professional gun writer" who did not know that and panned the weapon because of felt recoil (he had his cheek against the receiver) and the fact that the collapsible stock would not hold in the position he wanted it to. Both were arguably the problems of the end user and not the weapon itself.

7 years ago @ Survival Cache - Best Handgun Calibers ... · 2 replies · +3 points

My friend got the Colt Officer's model after he had done his work as a mercenary. IIRC he was active in that regard some time in the late 60's to early 70's. He had originally done a stint in the U.S. Army, and with the Vietnam war winding down he wanted to go see some action. The rifle that he carried as a mercenary was an HK-91 and I believe the pistol he was using then was a Browning High Power. He had somehow managed to keep the rifle with him and still had it when I knew him in the 1990's.