Take Cover

Just finished watching a cops and robbers film where the hero crouches behind a standard car door and survives against two guys throwing 7.62 X 39 mm AK 47 bullets at him from about 20 yards.

He would have been shredded in real life and it got me thinking, what is taking cover all about for John and Jane Doe sat in their nice little suburban home?

I could get all technical and start by saying a number of factors come into play i.e.

  1. Caliber, Type, angle, and velocity of the bullet.
  2. The amount of bullets thrown at you
  3. The range from the shooter to you.
  4. Building construction.

Yet cutting straight through all the B.S. it’s down to the TYPE of materials, the THICKNESS of MULTIPLE LAYERS, and the method of CONSTRUCTION.

That and the knowledge that anything over .22 happily goes through brick and most general materials.

Talking materials,
If it ain’t conventional brick it will have little resistance to bullets.
The mortar that holds the bricks together is a weak point though and concentrated fire at a mortar line will open up a wall with little effort. There again by including layers with metal ladder wire in with the mortar helps to control that disintegration. That’s not generally a typical form of construction though.

12 inches of brick thickness (typically 3 bricks thick) is OK at stopping most standard auto handgun loads and the occasional light load rifle round. Again not a normal build in the UK where you get two layers plus air gap at best.

Remember we are talking about conventional building materials and construction techniques here with timber frame, plasterboard, hollow building blocks, and even full thickness logs just ain’t going to stop a lot.

I had to laugh about Doomsday prepping when some guy “tested” his shipping container against bullets. They didn’t actually say what caliber was used yet it sounded a lot like a 22 (ish) round AND he shot at the framework and not the skin. Yet another bit of TV theater.

Ouch!
A NATO 5.56 x 45 mm is capable of punching through a 3 mm steel plate at 600 meters, so a brick wall is easy meat. If that “upgrades” to a  7.62 x 51mm NATO round,  that will also happily punch through the same steel at 600 meters and will just keep on going through brick with little loss of power. Little hole one side, masses of brick shrapnel PLUS the lead spalling round the room.

Before you start wondering about penetration, there is an argument about size and speed i.e. Is thin and fast as good as thick and slow?

The one thing thin doesn’t do is well is KNOCK DOWN with  5.56 x 45 mm NATO working poorly at close ranges and better at longer ranges. The 7.62 x 51mm NATO works best at 600 meters!

I once watched a couple of bad guys duck behind a wall, the section MG opened up, 7.62 GPMG. Nice job, cut through the wall and dropped a full yard of bricks onto the bandits below in one LARGE slab. For some reason they didn’t put up much of a fight after that.

Little note to the unknowing there,
Projectiles don’t usually fly in straight lines passing though material and as the wall is penetrated, weakens, and fragments, bullets can fly in all sorts of directions.

What about sandbags?
I can just feel you all building a 3 layer closely “pounded” sandbag wall round your dwelling.
Confident are you?  It’ll stop something light and the army says its OK against AK rounds YET in urban / suburban areas, people might think it a bit extreme. Hardly covert.

What’s the options?
Get a level 4 safe room built. OK it won’t help you unless you are sat in it the whole time AND if you leave the door open, a simple stun grenade will reduce your brains and ears to what will feel like jam.

And finally
S.O.P. for being under fire is to get low and behind cover.
In the absence of you building that level 3/4 building proof against .44 (1250 ft.lb) and 7.62mm (3100 ft.lb). Your best option is to hit the ground and stay there. One guy I knew said lay down feet towards the shooter. Ummm, brick spall may not damage your boots a lot but the bullet generating that spall doesn’t give a toss about your steel work boots.

Besides, so far I’ve been talking about TAKING fire!
No one said you just had to lie there cringing did they?
The one thing a shooter hates is hot lead coming back at him / her. For some reason they take it VERY PERSONALLY. Just imagine, now they have to seek cover and all that time them laying down accurate fire is “unlikely”.

As for a vehicle,
Always think ENGINE BLOCK!
Forget the crouching behind a vehicle door although a wheel rim and brake disk are “useful”. Contrary to popular belief, bullets can pass under cars and occasionally set off spilling petrol (gasoline) from newly penetrated fuel tanks. A round (especially from  a pistol) through a car battery can get spectacular.

In the open, think DEEP ditch.
Forget the “I can’t see him, he can’t shoot me” attitude.
You need plenty of earth, LOADS OF EARTH between you and the shooter.

If there is no cover, your best defense is DISTANCE.
There again if the shooter is running full auto, you can only hope they run out of ammo and are lousy on reloads.

Green

Ever wondered why green has been the most popular with night vision?

nvbunny

When it comes to picking out movement the eye is amazing BUT it is a heck of a lot better at picking out green than the other two cone sensitive colors Blue and Red. The graph below shows an average eyes response to color.I’ve been thinking about this for a long time as my old eyes are getting more dependent on optics both of the goggles persuasion (spectacles) and telescopic sights yet my generation one night vision had seemingly got better. Took me ages to work out that it wasn’t getting better, just everything else was getting worse!

Glasses in low light levels.
WHILST I FULLY ENDORSE WEARING SHOOTING GLASSES, and have the scar on the face to back that statement up, I occasionally see people wearing tinted shooting glasses. I’ve never understood why as the BEST coloring for NOT losing light intensity is CLEAR.

Probably going to upset a lens manufacturer or two here (Yawn) but all they seem to be concerned about is fashion and punching paper. Making them little bulls eyes easier to see NOT the real world of urban, woody, or shadow environments and NOT the natural drab colors camo clothing folk wear.

Until criminals start going round with orange targets on their chests, I prefer seeing them in all their disgusting colors.

Some lens manufacturers quote something like this for different tints. Bear in mind they are thinking about their little round paper circles and the “cool dude” range shooter (Them who like to wear the latest in Gucci Cam ).

Yellow  / Amber  helps to filter out blues. The poorest part of the light spectrum our eyes pick out.
Use? Makes them orange or yellow circles stick out more.
Now view a body in gray / drab clothing in shade. Useless.

Blue when looking at paper it stands out better against a tree or lush green background. OK, as above and as green is made up of blue and yellow, you are carefully reducing your vision. Once again viewing a body in gray / drab clothing in shade. Useless.

Brown sort of makes paper orange targets in bright light stand out.
Gray just cuts out light intensity.
In urban environments, loads of shadow? Useless

Clear. ‘Nuff said!
shotglassGlare. A lot of shooters say they wear a tint to stop glare.Then they get all defensive when I ask why they sacrifice light to avoid dealing with something that only requires a bit of thought i.e.

The simple Bush Hat.
bushhat

And finally.
Don’t forget viewing something in bright light it appears closer than it actually is, and further in poor light conditions. You adding a dimming factor to your range estimation just made matters worse.

Sleep

I know I keep going on about sleep but it’s one factor that a lot of the “experts” skip over like how to deal with toileting and personal hygiene.
It’s as though they assume you all know how to keep clean “in the field”.
My thought is to ASSUME something is to make an ASS out of U and ME.

SLEEP

Why do you need sleep in a survival scenario let alone “normal life”?
It’s restoring to your physical self and rests the mind.
More importantly of all it allows you to “reset” your mind to the situation.

What?

Having had to face up to a fair bit of death, destruction, and hatred (to put it mildly) I can safely say it’s a bit wearing on the soul. Did mine in anyway.

They (being the experts aka shrinks) say that the more exposure you have to the carnage of a situation, you sooner you reach a plateau where it doesn’t affect you.

For the most part that’s right YET one of the things I’ve also found true for me is if I could sleep during a crisis, every time I woke up what was shocking ‘yesterday’ (be that after a short power nap or a couple of hours) doesn’t quite jar so much “today”.

The learned elderly have always said “it’ll look better in the morning” and for the most part that’s true.

Most servicemen know how to get their heads down given half a chance. It’s a skill you soon pick up. Clothed, wet, or covered with filth, it don’t matter. You get the opportunity to have a kip, away you go.

It’s a skill you should try to learn.

sleeptriangle

I submit that although the triangle of survival has to be satisfied it actually leaves space in the middle for the word SLEEP.
How long you manage may not be up to you as the situation may dictate the terms BUT the one you should listen to is the voice of your body.

Consider this.
The absolute need for 8 hours sleep is a myth but the effects of loss of sleep can be devastating. Decision making (judgement calls) and mental arithmetic gets difficult. You lose objectivity, you stop noticing the signs that your own body is screaming at you let alone those whispers telling you hypothermia is only a few shakes away. As for reaction time and physical acuity? They typically go to pot. Consider the amount of road deaths as people fall asleep.

Ever been on stag (night guard) or looking through a telescopic sight for hours? Even the most experienced minds drift, images blur, and you lose the speed to assess a fast-moving sight picture yet a short chill out, eyes shut, mind in neutral, is normally all it takes.

And finally
The problem is sleep deprivation is it is accumulative and like the first aid for Hypo or hyperthermia, a short-term fix makes you feel great.

Then you stand up and faint.
Just how many times can you bounce off your nose?
Once tired you must rest.

No, more accurately BEFORE you feel tired you should rest.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Yes or No

What, you didn’t see a question?
Whatever the question you need to TRAIN YOURSELF to think in  absolute terms i.e. Yes or No, Do or Don’t, Run or Stay.
Most people find it hard to make decisions especially under duress and usually they end up with a degree of “DOUBT” in their thoughts. Once you start down that line, you’ll invariably find it impossible to make any decisions.

Even worse most of you will be unable or unwilling to commit fully to a plan as whether you like it or not,“doubt” is a powerful psychological inhibitor to your actions.

Problem solving by the numbers.
Well not strictly numbers more looking at a problem in terms of:-

What is your ultimate goal?

(This should be followed by you gathering Intel in order to decide)

  1. Who will execute your plan? (Your available manpower may just be you)
  2. What are they going to do? (For example scavenge fuel)
  3. When are they going to do it? (Could be KGB time 03-04h)
  4. Where are they going to do it? (The Location of the fuel)
  5. How are they going to do it? (In terms of method, logistics, and timing)
  6. What is the Acceptable risk to achieve your goal?

Acceptable risk is the level of loss that a commander is willing to take in order to accomplish the mission. Bluntly put it’s how much they are willing to lose in terms of manpower or logistics to achieve their ultimate aim. (For example, scavenging fuel)

Tactical planning by an experienced commander will contain both cold calculation and a bit of art.
The cold calculation I’ve just covered .
The “art bit” is something you just can’t quantify.
Some say it’s experience, others a sixth sense, even being lucky.

The best combat commanders are born not created.
Probably the reason why I haven’t got a lot of time for officers!
Yet once the thinking bit is done, the experienced commander makes a definite plan and sticks to it.

So is this purely a theoretical article with no practical use?
NOT IF YOU LEARN ONLY ONE THING.
Think about whatever problem you have to solve but all means but ultimately make a firm decision, then make a DEFINITE PLAN.

It was once said that no combat plan survives first contact with the enemy and whilst it is tactically good to modify your actions as the situation develops, ALWAYS START FROM THAT PLAN.

That way you will always be able to commit fully and in combat, survival, or just everyday life,

THE MOST COMMITTED WINS.

And finally
What if you are a defender, a victim, the object of attack?
This positive hard cold absolute thinking also works then.
The first thing you should do is work out WHAT THE ENEMY IS AFTER. Once you have worked that out you can build a robust plan to prevent them from achieving their goal.

For example, they want your store of fuel.
Your counter plan could be as simple as put a lock on it, surround it with barbed wire and let the dogs loose on any intruders.
Bottom line, you’ve identified a problem, planned, and actioned that plan.
Just sitting there ENDLESSLY mulling about things solves NOTHING and just leaves you a potential victim.

Tin Pest

OK, what is that?
It’s one of the things that makes field based electronics unreliable in cold climates.
Cold weather can wreak havoc on electronic circuitry and for the most part it’s all down to the “Preserve the planet” nonsense.

On July 1, 2006 the European Union Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) came into effect prohibiting the intentional addition of lead to most consumer electronics produced in the EU. In short you have to use LEAD (Pb) FREE SOLDER.

The insane drive for LEAD FREE SOLDERING.
Solder is the glue used to join electrical components and wiring.
Removing the lead (Pb) from solder apparently prevents discarded electronic equipment leaching lead (Pb) into the soil.

A typical mix for lead free solder:-
Tin (Sn) >99.5% (CAS No. 7440-31-5)
Copper (Cu)<0.5% (CAS No. 7440-50-8)
(CAS Registry Numbers are unique numerical identifiers assigned by the Chemical Abstracts Service to every chemical)

That has made matters worse for modern “field” electronics.
Cold literally changes the tin at a molecular level into a substance that no longer conducts electricity. At 13.2C (56F) pure tin starts to turn from being electrically conductive through a resistive state into a totally non conductive material (dust). If you freeze tin to around -30C the change is VERY rapid and VERY destructive. Unless checked, your tin eventually turns to powder and everything grinds to a halt. Not a good thing.

Historically it was first noted in Napoleonic times where the tin buttons of the French army literally dissolved in the cold of the Russian winter. Too far back? Try the Scott expedition in Antarctica. There they trekked to fuel and supply dumps only to find the fuel cans “sealed” but empty.

The intense cold had literally “changed” the tin of the metal fuel cans and the fuel either leaked out or more probably just evaporated through the now vapor porous “skin”.

Back to modern times
This effect is a major “tilt” for equipment used in the field. Take vehicles with the wide range of electronics and things like weather stations, aircraft, and ships (although salt is the main killer there). Drop the ambient temperature and over time the tin-rich solder changes to dust.
In the case of soldered joints, they literally fall apart. Slightly embarrassing if a power wire drops out of a connector onto the chassis. That’s the way fires start.

What to do about it?
Your three cures are:-

  1. Use an alloy solder made up of tin and high levels of antimony or bismuth.
  2. Keep things warm.
  3. Ignore the law and use lead based solder.

And finally.
Regular readers of my blog will know I’m not a fan of
electronics in the field yet you find it everywhere from comms devices to GPS. Knowing about this metallurgic effect, you might now be less surprised at why equipment in the field goes a bit “wonky” after a few seasons ESPECIALLY in winter.

It’s also why I’m constantly re-soldering aerial joints and comms lines in the field and why I also see grey crystalline looking solder joints on field equipment that crosses my work bench. Good money for me so keep on with the “electronics” folks especially you ham radio lot.

Just in case you are thinking that you can just cover the joints with a conformal varnish, grease, or oil? Nope, no good. Tin pest is triggered by temperature not exposure to air.

Cold Starting Diesels

It’s all about the battery.
Diesels take a lot of power to crank them due to the high-compression in the engines (Typically 20:1) .
That’s typically twice that of a comparable petrol engine (Typically 9:1)

Diesel vehicles always have bigger batteries than petrol engines,
They are fitted with larger diameter battery cables and heavier-duty starters for cold weather cranking. They need to be “meaty” as they need to spin the motor at a decent cranking speed to start the engine (typically 100-150 RPM).dieselbattTIP:-
Don’t forget to hold the clutch in when cranking the engine.
The strain on the battery is plenty enough without it also having to stir the cold thick oil in the gear box.

Pre-heaters and Glow plugs
The high-compression in a diesel is what heats the fuel to combustion temperature (think fire piston) but even then it’s sometimes not enough if it’s too cold a day / night.

Usually the electronics in a high pressure common rail diesel engine will sense the cold and trigger glow plugs whose job is to preheat the air in the cylinder. On bigger engines you may also find inlet manifold heaters.

glowplug
If an intake heater or glow plugs are not working, the engine may be difficult to start, run rough and create white smoke during starting and initial operation. Once the cylinders warm up, the engine will run fine.

TIP:-
In the cold, you need to be cranking the instant the glows turn off.
Any delay in cranking will allow the air to cool down.
If it is EXTREMELY cold, cycle the glow plug / pre-heater a couple of times BUT be cautioned, in some modern vehicles it needs you to crank the engine BEFORE the glow circuit is re-enabled. All it takes is a short spin in some vehicles to reset the circuits.

Spray additives.
You can buy spray assists to start the engine like ether cold starts.
Whilst they do work, if the engine backfires, it can do SERIOUS (Big Buck) DAMAGE to the inlet manifolds.

Battery output shrinks DRAMATICALLY as it chills down.
A battery that will typically deliver:-
100 percent capacity at 27°C (80°F)
75 percent at just over 4°C  (40°F)
50 percent at –18°C (0°F)

Freezing a battery will also make a battery useless.
The good news is that a charged battery won’t usually freeze due to the high specific gravity of the battery fluid. It’s got to be DAMN cold for one to freeze though typically under -50 C.
CAUTION. Near frozen batteries have been known to EXPLODE when worked too hard. Let alone if you try to fast charge them.

Hot Water “Fix”
I watched one day as a person poured hot water over their chilled battery to get a bit more power out of it. For some reason he started crying as the cold plastic case of the battery split and dumped battery acid all over this starter motor and solenoid. Personally this is not a plan I subscribe too.

And finally

  • Lead acid Car batteries usually only last 4-6 years no matter how lovingly you look after them.
  • Batteries take WAY LONGER to charge up in the cold in or out of the vehicle so a short “school run” in winter won’t be enough to keep your battery fully charged.
  • I also did a little article on Jump starting a vehicle a while ago if you want to refresh your knowledge a bit.

Winter Fuel

The United Kingdom starts to sell winter diesel at the pumps round the 16th November.

Why is this important?
Winter fuel has a much lower “cloud” temperature i.e.
MINUS 5 degrees Celsius compared to (Available between 16.11 – 15.03)
PLUS  3 degrees Celsius for the “Summer Diesel” (Available between 16.03. – 15.11)

What’s “cloud” temperature?
Diesel fuel waxes or gels in cold weather. The wax or gel forms solid wax particles. This eventually blocks up filters and fuel lines.

There is a lower temperature state where the diesel fuel JUST WON’T FLOW. (Remember this is only applicable for the UK, other countries differ)
Typically of experts and big business, they seldom list the individual “freezing” points of diesel relying on the basic “classifications”.
Practically there is little difference and MINUS 20-24  Celsius is about the average in the UK.

Can you stop this?
You can put additives in the fuel BUT it doesn’t actually dissolve the wax once it has formed, all it does is stops the gelling from making the larger flakes which gunk up filters.
NOTE. You need to put these additives in with WARM FUEL and mix it in well i.e. when filling up.

Work Rounds
Some advocate adding a dose of petrol (gasoline) or  paraffin (kerosene).
It worked for me on older diesel engines BUT modern engineering has created the common rail diesel and that puppy is abysmal at coping with lesser quality fuels. CAUTION. The high pressure injectors fitted to these types of engines don’t like random quality mixes and they can burn out.

I’ve also seen trucks with fires lit under the fuel tanks.
I’ve got two minds about that.
First they are stark raving mad but secondly all it warms up the fuel the tank. Unless you can manually force that into the filter to dissolve the  waxy flakes it doesn’t work. I’ve never seen it succeed.

Modern is BAD!
Modern emission controls have actually made things VERY difficult for the survivor and most try to run older type diesel motors for just that fact. From rape oil to bio-diesel the old  motors just keep on chugging on. Besides, older diesels don’t need the EMP sensitive electronics of their modern counterparts.

Something in Crystal

I fancy something a little more lighthearted having depressed myself with the numbers game of dying in the UK this winter so here’s how to make a simple.

CRYSTAL RADIO

A battery free radio useful for listening to AM broadcast radio stations in your local area.

Why this?
Sometimes the fiendishly complicated modern radio gear fails.
Add a EMP pulse and no matter how much the “experts” bleat about they’ll put their radios in steel boxes, etc, a lot of us “normal” people won’t. Once a radio is fried, that’s generally it with modern electronics.

In a time where you can’t just send it a way or wave a credit card round, you’ll be left with two choices. Fix it (often WAY BEYOND the skill set of the average person) or replace it with all the logistical let alone financial problems that will introduce.

So, it’s useful to know how our “ancestors” played with radio WAY WAY back in days where life was lived at a gentler pace.

So, here is how to make a schoolboys crystal radio aka foxhole radio.
Funny thing about this one compared to all the sophisticated digital high-tech stuff out there? No batteries, and it’s EMP proof.

Questions & Answers 

  • No you can’t talk to people with it.
    You can only hear AM broadcast radio.
  • No you don’t need to license it
  • No you don’t need a degree or college diploma to make it.
    I made my first one aged 8.
  • What about the components? Look round the house and garage.
  • No you don’t need soldering irons.
    On mine? I just twisted the wires round each other and held the joints using thumb tacks into a little piece of board.
  • No in-depth instructions to follow apart from the picture.
    Most moms will manage this very well as they often make the best “junkyard engineers” well-practiced fixing and making things for the kids.
  • As people seem to love lists:
    Wire, enameled or “varnished” about 40 feet is best
    Toilet roll paper center *ideal size, found world-wide
    Razor blade *doesn’t have to be hard backed
    Cigarette lighter to heat the blade to a “blue color”.
    Ordinary graphite Pencil tip * BIC / Biro pens won’t work
    Safety pin round 1″ to 1 1/2″ in length
    Tacks – A bit of board
    Crystal Ear-piece
    HUGE DOSE OF PATIENCE. *LOADS OF THAT!

xtalrx

Click to enlarge

Easy to construct, it can be a little FIDDLY to get it going and will usually only pick up the closest AM radio station. At night, it may pick up more than you’ll be able to make out clearly!

The piezo sounder came from an old home telephone BUT you can find these things in all manner of beeping, trilling, ringing, alarm type thingies. The only complicated bit when using a reclaimed sounder is the resistor. Look for the color banding. It should read (working from one end ) BROWN, BLACK, YELLOW. You MAY get away with a lesser size of resistor which is identified as BROWN, BLACK, ORANGE (10 K ohms)
If making the “speaker” is too complicated, too fiddly for you to make I completely understand. I included it because you never know if you’ll need to know how to make one. So instead of that, use a simple crystal ear phone.

To buy a Crystal Ear phone is only a few $’s from Radio Shack (Tandy) or Ebay,
The advantage of having a crystal ear piece in your survival kit is it works with a lot of different radios AND doesn’t use a lot of power. (Caution. when plugging in to a conventional radio, TURN THE VOLUME TO NIL AND SLOWLY INCREASE IT!)

That’s good OPSEC to use an earpiece. After all why broadcast your location?

Why is that important?
I was wandering through the woods one night trapping rabbit and luckily the game keeper had his “walkie-talkie” clipped to his belt to communicate with his “mate”. It crackled and spoke to him. I heard it, he cursed, I got away!

Tips?
Don’t forget to heat the razor until it “blues”, or, if it is NON stainless steel, rusty seems to work too!

Use only light pressure of the graphite pencil stub is needed. It will be very quiet using a salvaged telephone sounder. Better to use a crystal ear piece.

The wire you’ll find in all sorts of things.
From door buzzers to electric motors. Look for the “varnished” type wire. It should be slightly less thickness than the safety-pin you’ll be using. Only scrap the varnish off the ends you twist together.
As for holding the “coil” on? Duct tape!

Long aerials work a treat, the longer the better.
An aerial is just a long bit of wire NOT TOUCHING or connected to the ground.
Use ONLY METAL WATER PIPES to earth the radio, NOT THE GAS LINE!

Don’t use it in a lightning storm, you could get fried by a lightning strike.

Yes it is VERY quiet and PROBABLY poor sound quality with a DIY earphone.
There again with the junk coming out of radios nowadays, that could be to your advantage.

I mentioned above that you can buy kits.
They are available mainly from the Internet BUT that wasn’t the idea of this article. This is a REALLY basic thing to make from what is scrap material.

So that’s it.
A bit of fun for the technically interested.
For me it led into getting interested in all sorts of radio bits and pieces.
I stopped short of becoming a radio ham though, too many ‘stuck up’ idiots.

To REALLY upset the radio hams, find me on 27.555 MHz USB.
C/S 26FB962, Yes, I’m one of those radio bandits!

SAVE BATTERIES,
GO CRYSTAL!

Wet Feet

I hate it when the boots leak BUT it is becoming hard to find a decent natural(ish) waterproofer. I’ve always used DUBBIN.

Yes you can buy all sorts of high-tech sprays which do the same thing BUT IF IT’S NOT BROKE WHY CHANGE IT!

Dubbin is a waxy “gunk”
Used to soften and waterproof leather and, from experience, works a treat on canvas game bags, and gaiters. I’ve even rubbed the essential oil type into my Boonie hat to keep the flies off.

dubbin

The above tin is “proper stuff”, manufactured,
Sold in a shiny tin or pot and darn expensive to buy.

It consists of a natural wax (usually Bees-wax), a Vegetable oil and Tallow (i.e. Rendered animal fat, suet,  or the fully processed white Lard).

Recipe 1.
1 part white cooking Lard. (No straining necessary if it is decent quality)
1 part Beeswax
1 part Cod liver oil (Turpentine is suggested as an alternative)
Melt but don’t boil, the Lard and Beeswax.
Take it off the heat and add the Cod liver oil or Turpentine. Stirring well.
Store as above, pour into a tobacco tin and let it set.

Recipe 2
Mix equal parts of Beeswax and Neats foot oil.
Melt but don’t boil, the Beeswax gently, add the same amount of Neats foot oil.
Stir well. It will end up as gooey as Vaseline.
Store as above, pour into a tobacco tin and let it set.

Recipe 3
200 ml (3 1/2 fl.oz) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
50 g (1 3/4 oz) Beeswax
10 drops of Lavender essential oil
10 drops of Tea Tree essential oil.
Make and store as above!

And finally
You definitely need the ‘smelly’ oils to stop flies from being attracted UNLESS you want these brews for when hunting.

dogsnose

Why?
Because animal noses are a
lot more sensitive than ours.

Cooking Foil

Cooking foil is a useful thing to carry for all sorts of reasons.
Apart from making tin foil hats for those cosmic rays, a foil hat will keep the sun off your head!
Damp boots? I’ve wrapped a layer round my insoles before now only to discover that my feet got warm and toasty. 
I’ve wrapped it round my chest, stomach, thighs, and upper arms for warmth.

Cooking gets easy especially potato type foods.
Just wrap whatever it is in foil and drop into a nice bed of hot embers.
Guess what. NO WASHING UP!
Just bury the evidence and away you go.

Wrap warmed rocks in it and slip them into your sleeping bag.
All the heat, no mess.
Getting art’y, wrapped round a candle it can be formed into a reflector to focus the candle light. That’s just a few of the basic uses.

This article is primarily about making a cooking pot.  
I’m not a bush craft fanatic so I’ll not be making any birch bark cooking containers in the near future LOL.  I’ve tried, it burnt, and I felt really horrible about cutting the tree too.

Perfected many years ago this is still a useful prepping trick seeing as though a roll of cooking foil takes up a lot less room than a set of cooking pans.

A SMALL NOTE, FOR THE UNKNOWING,
THE SHINY SIDE ALWAYS GOES ON THE OUTSIDE!

A square of good quality thick aluminum cooking foil can make you a simple expedient cooking pot for food or to boil water in. A DIY billy can without the tears!

A 18 inch (45 cm) square converts with just 6 folds into a useful disposable pot or even a large mug to drink from.

When using it in a fire
DON’T put it into flames, it works best sat on embers.
Remember that foil DOES “BURN” so stack the embers no higher than the level of the fluid you are cooking in or boiling.
It’s as bit fragile so don’t expect too much of it strength wise BUT I’ve boiled both rabbit, bird, and vegetables in one of these little pots to make a simple stew.

DON’T be tempted to use a double thickness of foil, whenever I’ve tried that the outer layer just burnt off.

You can use the same trick with paper to make a disposable cup!
Note the green is the shiny side of the foil.

foil cup

  1. Fold across to square up the foil and cut as shown
  2. Now take that triangle rotate it so the flat  (1) is on the bottom and make your first fold.
  3. Second fold
  4. Now the clever bit. The two upper triangles get folded down. The front one goes into the outer pocket, the back one into the cup
  5. Open the cup out and push the base into itself a bit. REALLY IMPORTANT this is as it makes the pot sit nicely and no sharp edges for the fire to burn through.

The finished little pot.
Round off the edges as much as you can. Anything pointy tends to burn up.
Fill with water and your cooking items BEFORE putting into the embers.

REMEMBER FLAME BAD,
EMBERS GOOD

noflame

Simple Saw

Wanna cut green wood but you don’t own a rough cut saw?
Nothing too big, up to about 3 inches (7.5 cm).

Got any garden wire?
That uncoated steel stuff width around the thickness of a dress making pin.
Don’t bother using electrical copper wiring, it’s just too soft.
The stuff needs to be too strong to break with your hands.
You need 3 lengths each about a yard or finger tip to nose length.

Now plait it as shown below.
Wind it onto two 5 inch handles like a garrote cheese wire.
It should end up round 28 – 30 inches.
You need at least 8 good tight twists at the ‘handles’ to hold it on.
Provided you aren’t “too enthusiastic” when cutting you will be able to saw through most green woods with no problem. Keep the wire as straight as possible.

woodsaw

Wanna beef it up a bit? 
Dead easy, Use 6 strands lightly plaited in pairs together, the simple plait is usually coarse enough to “wear” its way through green wood.
It’s no where as good as a chainsaw but it will get there in the end.

And finally
The saws you can buy in prepper and survival shops are pretty good yet don’t last for ever. This one will coil if you can slip it off the handles but only down to about 5 inches (13 cm) across and yes it does work on bone.

Cut!

A simple single-edged razor blade.

Not exactly high-tech is it?
40 mm x 19 mm x 0.40 mm  yet it has so many uses.

What, I’m not going to list them all?
Why bother, with gutting, skinning, cutting cordage, first aid, etc you’ll all have uses for this little gem.

Someone is bound to ask what is my first best cutting tool?
That would be a kukri

Patrolling

I read an interesting article on patrolling to stop intruders when TEOTWAWKI sort of thing has happened.

From the get go I think patrolling when you are a small unit is truly DAFT.
There are two basic sorts of patrol, Intel gathering / surveillance only and for offensive operations. BOTH OF THEM put you outside your core perimeter and thus vulnerable to ambush.

Patrolling has three distinct disadvantages for a small unit.

  1. It can draw attention to yourself (Never a good thing)
  2. Puts you in the open against an unknown force with them choosing the ground to ambush you.
  3. If your base was under surveillance in the first place (Tactical 101, Only fools rush in) any opposing force will KNOW your manpower at the homestead has just been reduced as you disappear off on patrol and therefore easier to attack.

OK, you may have “skills”.
You may be able to sneak up on a force even though they probably possess equal to if not superior skills to your own and have posted a proper watch.
You may be able to gather Intel and leave without tipping them off, BUT TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE them with your limited firepower, in the open, not knowing the “full story” (they could be part of a larger force), as a small unit, IMHO you’ve got to be either cracked or demented!

It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night or even if you have numerical superiority, you are taking a chance of injury and in an “austere” time, even a minor injury could be fatal.

So looking at the above 3, consider what would happen if you found someone (or they found you) and you actively engaged or were ambushed by them?

  1. What are your plans if you found you had taken on more than you had bargained for?
  2. What if you LOST personnel or (if applicable) your vehicle was disabled?
  3. What about the surveillance team you DIDN’T know about (after all being paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t watching) that saw you leave and watched as your wife and children waved goodbye?

wavesoff

Point 3 First.
That surveillance team could just attack the homestead and clear you out.
Even if you get a call for help, you may have to fight your way BACK INTO YOUR COMPOUND you carefully designed to KEEP PEOPLE OUT.
Shame about your wife and kids BUT someone thought patrolling was a damn good idea.

crosses

Point 2. You LOST personnel / vehicle was disabled?
Man down?
Logistically disastrous, you went looking for trouble and it found you.
Apart from treating the injured you have just reduced your effective personnel and your mobility. At worse you end up burying your dead, 

Vehicle down?
Possibly aways from base it has to be recovered or replaced.
Either way you are on foot in the open.

Point 1. You’ve taken on more than you can cope with.
If you unwittingly engage or are engaged by a superior force (or one just better than you are) and need support, who’s going to be coming to save you?
Your main backup would be them left at your homestead.
Are you in radio contact? Even so, it’s going to take time for them to mobilize.
As for your radio? It’s not only walls that have ears.
A simple scanner or D/F set up and they’ll know where you are and what you are doing.

This then opens up a number of scenarios.
Remember the surveillance team you didn’t know about?
Two things could happen.

  • Your support drives / runs out straight into a preset ambush.
  • Your support drives / runs out to help you, the aggressor move in and attacks your base.

In both cases you would be nuts not to break contact and head back to support them.
After all your base is EVERYTHING logistically and probably where your kin are. 

So you, under attack from the force you shouldn’t have been engaging in the first place, now have to break contact. That’s tactically as dangerous as hell!

You then have to get home (probably under fire) or with them quietly following as you lead them to the mother lode. Once there, you then may have to fight your way in through the very defenses you put up to keep someone out.

With your 3+1 magazines (120 rounds) of rifle ammo and what, 3+1 magazines (60 rounds) of close quarter pistol ammo against an unknown force now loading up with your own ammo?

I’d say the advantage was all theirs,
DEFINITELY ALL THEIRS!

Patrolling only works
IF YOU HAVE A BIG ENOUGH FORCE AT HOME TO WITHSTAND A SUSTAINED ATTACK when you are out and have manpower to spare to provide you with back up.

Thus there is a VERY STRONG ARGUMENT for setting up low-key, covert area surveillance and if possible alarm systems.

Then you just deploy within your well thought out perimeter defenses rather than go out looking for trouble.

Walk Alone?

I’ve been a bit caught up in the discussion about survival colonies and the benefits over the small family unit and the “Lone Warrior” sort of thing.

Basically I follow the belief that a small (preferably family) unit has a lot more flexibility than a larger more organized settlement aka colony.

I don’t however follow the other extreme view of some preppers and survivalists that ALONE IS BEST. 

Laying out my basic thoughts might show where I’m coming from.

LARGE GROUP / SETTLEMENT / COLONY
A single leader in a colony NEVER works over a long time.
At some time they have to delegate, at that time the next point kicks in.

Usually a colony has a quasi-military hierarchy and leadership.
Whilst I believe in letting expert knowledge lead, most colony leadership has a degree of “politics and philosophy” rather than “the experienced professionals” in charge. It rarely runs to the more efficient structured no-nonsense military format.

Management by committee.
Whilst advice should be sought and opinions listened to, there is always a danger that too much discussion will lead to hesitation and indecision. Also a degree of favoritism or perceived sense of status will reveal itself.

Once that starts, you have a government.  
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”
(George Orwell Animal Farm).

Large groups that have been “designed and practiced”
are often unable to improvise or adapt to rapidly changing situations.
They often rely on the equivalent of a play book or even constitution.

Large groups tend to build fortresses AND even worse a fortress mentality.
In the event of a bug out, their judgment is often colored by the loss of facilities or logistics, and the logistics of moving the whole group.

Sex
Lets face it colonies should be made up of equal parts men and women.
Even if it isn’t an isolated under stress environment, bust ups are a part of natural living OR (more likely in a survivalist vein), as a result of living in a system of absolute control.
That’s wearing on the individual or pairing. Conflict is inevitable.

Once partners split up, conflict within the group starts.
Unless they are BOTH RELEASED OR FORCED OUT of the colony such “unbalance” will result in loss of colony cohesion. 

In any colony there are the “bad jobs” to be done.
Without strong leadership and unbiased rotation of duties, some will feel “put on”. Eventually that will lead to claims of favoritism.
Once that starts, all the discussion in the world won’t solve any resentment.
Once resentment starts, the colony is finished.

Security is easier to achieve with a large group.
The numbers game SHOULD mean that guard duties are split and everyone gets enough rest. That’s vitally important in a survival situation. The problem is all that man power. It requires a lot of logistics, room, and sticks out like a sore thumb. BIG IS BAD WHEN TRYING TO MAINTAIN A LOW PROFILE.
The very size is an attraction to marauders and the authorities.
Your obvious success will be a magnet to all.

Remember the fortress mentality?
The fortress mentality of colonies can be inflexible and counterproductive with newcomers who are generally treated with mistrust as opposed to what possible gains they can offer. There again there is the “What to do about callers” problem.

  • What if you operate a closed-door policy?
    That may end up as an attack. 

    Don’t forget even if you have a fortress, you may have to come out to forage. Refusal to “cooperate” could end up in a siege.
  • What if you let just anyone in?
    If you become selective, the above applies, you could end up being attacked. There again you could always just kill those deemed “unworthy”.
    Let everyone in and that’s going to be a huge strain on your resources let alone the danger of accidentally letting an enemy agent in who is accessing your defensive capabilities and your weaknesses.
    Or, worse still, a carrier of infection either biological or psychological with tales of better somewhere else. That could cause disharmony let alone an unbalance to the groups pairing.
  • What’s your policy about “joining”?
    Will your policy be to disarm and hand over your stores, etc?
    My reaction to such a request would be way impolite.
    (F’ You sort of thing.) Personally I’d be suspicious at any other reaction.

FAMILY UNIT
pair

A family unit benefits greatly by a closer cohesion and above all inherent trust of each other.

Knowledge is often well disseminated.
Whilst one MAY know more, the other party learns a lot by simple osmosis. Everyone has “skills” and within a family unit they are shared and given freely.

Communication is often easier and in most cases non verbal.

Flexibility is based round that cohesion and communication.
Being small mobility is easier, logistics is easier.

Most family groups are too small for protracted survival.
We are only two plus the dog. We readily acknowledge that is too small for long-term survival.
Ideally, long-term,  we would need more to share the load.
We would be looking for one other “paired” family unit to join us.

LONE WOLF / WARRIOR
Flexibility is their ultimate strength,
Their loneliness 
their weakness.
They have to keep moving as building a fortress / lair is largely indefensible against anything greater than a single foe. This prevents long-term planning.

Logistics are easy
Coping with one and maybe a dog is simple.
Foraging / scavenging for one can be tactically dangerous though. You have no one to watch your back. Except your dog.

Why do I always push the dog bit?
A good dog is a mobile forager, battery free alarm system, hot water bottle, and companion. If all else fails, it can be sent in to check things out.
It’s got better 6th senses, hearing, and a nose than you’ll ever have.

Load carrying
One person, one pair of hands, one back.
You have to travel light and your equipment will therefore be limited. Fine while there is a surplus laying round but after a while the easy pickings might just evaporate.

Everything has to be done by one.
Another weakness as they can’t share the workload.
They never get a break. Just how long can one person survive without sleep?
It doesn’t even work with one plus a dog.
To sleep and rest PROPERLY needs a shift pattern.
If you are awake, so is the dog. Neither of you end up fully rested.

A lone person will be looked on as a danger or with mistrust.
Tactically you are at a disadvantage as even the most simple of gesture or comment could lead to you being instantly disarmed, harmed or both.

Don’t get sick on your own.
Finally if you are on your own and get sick, hurt, or just unable to cope (either physically or mentally) the slide into hell can be pretty quick.
The effects of Hypothermia or even hyperthermia (heat stress) can be subtle.
Without human companionship you could miss the signs.
Remember my (not) love of bugs and checking yourself regularly.
It’s so much easier and safer in a pair.

And finally
Tactically a single person and large group have their advantages and disadvantages. Mostly disadvantages IMHO.

I wouldn’t trust a singleton if I came across one.
They may have been “damaged” by events and therefore unpredictable.

As for large groups?
Stuff the “common good” bit. Stuff the structured approach.
Large groups can be more dangerous as they will have a misplaced belief that there is power in numbers. They are more likely to disarm and strip you of your weapons and equipment “for the common good”.

A small tight-knit (family) group tends to have more balance and flexibility than the other two.  Add to that two is better than one when it comes to personal hygiene.

No, IMO the smaller number “family” unit is the only effective answer to short to medium survivability.

That Itchy Feeling

Talking about being forced into temporary accommodation in Recipe for Payback, if you stay in a hotel, guest house, or even at someone’s place, there is always a chance you will bring home slightly more than you bargained for.

I’m talking about BED BUGS.

Catching one can be as simple as sitting on someone’s settee (sofa) or even just putting your bag down onto the carpet and one crawls onto / into your gear.

So what’s the danger? Apparently Nothing!
Firstly It is claimed that they do not carry diseases.
What they do is make you BLEED and that opens a path for other not so nice things into your body. Their bites cause itching, you scratch with dirty nails, you introduce “bugs”.

Bottom line is they are a possible cause of illness.

Survival Strategy for bugs
I always carry a container of permethrin.
IT IS A CHEMICAL INSECTICIDE, a synthetic version of pyrethrin which is a natural organic compound normally derived from Chrysanthemum.

Worried about my magic dust?
Your skin metabolizes, or breaks down Permethrin within fifteen minutes of contact with skin. Therefore, it is of no value as an insect repellent when applied to the skin. It does however work a treat on clothing! When I am going to walk in a TICK ZONE, I heavily sprinkle and rub my leggings with Permethrin. They land, they touch, they die!

Having said all that, it’s up to you if you want to use it BUT it also helps to deter fleas, ants, and ticks. I use a simple ant powder version. Not strong enough for the “meatiest” of bugs BUT “Every little helps”.

First rule
It doesn’t matter if a place is spotlessly clean or “rancid”,  these things like dark places, crevasses, warmth, and human blood.
Attack the mattress on arrival with my magic “sprinkle dust” Permethrin. Sprinkle everything! Under, over, and behind. It will help BUT IS NOT 100% effective. Wait for at least 15 minutes before use.

Second rule
Cover the bedding with your own tight weave sheet. They cannot burrow through so a sheet will help to stop them. Don’t forget the pillows! You can also buy Permethrin impregnated clothing and sheets. It works by bonding to the fibers. When a tick or other insect comes into contact with the Permethrin it absorbs a dose that will either repel or kill the insect. It is also used in military clothing.

Third rule
Light and fresh air discourages them. Keep everything open and bright. Turn back beds, turn out bags and hang to air in the light.

Rule Four.
Clothing? Common sense should be kicking in here. Hang your stuff from a line or at least put it on an impermeable surface.
Your Boots? They are crawlers, they like the dark, they like un-aired and damp.

When Bitten.

  • Watch for the bed bug’s unique bite pattern. Although some bites may appear alone, most bites occur in a row of 3 to 5 bites.
    bbugbites
  • To treat use a OTC steroidal anti-itch cream that contains hydro-cortisone or cortisone. 
  • Other cheaper treatments include baking power paste or lemon juice.

And finally.
These horrible things are everywhere. What I do is I keep a sheet in a pillow case well dusted with permethrin. A quick “hold the breath” and shake out, the sheet goes onto the bed with the pillows UNDER the sheet.

ALWAYS CARRY
PERMETHRIN

premethrinIts cheap, easy to use,
and works for me.

Example makes include NIPPON ANT KILLER POWDER which contains permethrin (0.488%) on a talc base. CAUTION TOXIC TO CATS.

Tick Season Not Over

Talking to a friend he was complaining how bad his dog gets covered with ticks. (All over his eyebrows). OK he lives in a tick infested area in Europe but what alarmed me was he could get bitten himself. It could be because like 40% of all dog owners (and me), the dog sleeps on his bed.

Ticks
They live in wooded areas (especially by water), moist pastures, and the edges of fields. Active from April through October till the first REAL freeze.

czechtick

The tick shown is endemic in Europe

Climbing blades of grass and ferns, they wait for their meal to brush past. At that point they latch on and look for a place to feed. Typical sites are behind the ears, along the hairline, eyebrows, along the thighs, around the armpits, under the breasts, and the testicles.

The dangers
Ticks are carriers of a number of diseases, commonly Lyme disease.
aka Borrelia burgdorferi aka Tick Fever.
A bacterial infection cleared by antibiotic treatment.
Another disease carried by ticks is the rare tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). This is a viral infection and as such EXTREMELY hard to treat.
Occasionally additional infections can be rare, complex, and “elegant”

The good news.
Infection takes time and Infection rates are low.
As per the EDIT AT THE BOTTOM, get the tick OFF ASAP! 

To remove.
DON’T JUST PULL THEM OFF YOURSELF.
That will leave the head parts embedded in your skin.

A recommended form of removal is to grip the tick with a pair of tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull with a slow steady motion. Do not grip the tick around the abdomen as you risk squeezing any organisms within the parasite into your bloodstream. Nor is it advised to twist the tick the idea is to twist the jaws OUT.

The BEST WAY is to use a simple tick hook.
Obtainable from most veterinarian offices or eBay.
As I always say, why write when it is easier to look.
ticks

To avoid ticks
Wear closed boots with long trousers tucked into your socks or gaiters.
Also be sure to spray your clothes, possessions and person with insect repellent . DEET is recommended, I also use Permethrin heavily rubbed into my lower clothing.

Once home, change out of your clothing and check yourself.
Ref: Why being shy may kill you
Remember it usually takes a few hours for a tick to lock on.

Signs of a Tick Bite
A circular rash may appear around the bite area 3 to 30 days after the bite.
Stroke like effects of the face
Acute headaches and sharp shooting pains,
Muscular stiffness,
Heart palpitations and dizziness
There is no definitive order though BUT ANY feeling of malaise should be reported. YOU NEED THOSE ANTIBIOTICS!

Notes (including data from CDC)
Early diagnosis and treatment involve a 2–4 week course of antibiotics.
Common oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin. 10-20% are not instantly “cured”. Research into a cure continues. (SEE EDIT BELOW)

EDIT  24/7/13@18h GMT-
Following advice from thepersonnexttoyou.wordpress.com it appears that the advise from CDC may be wrong. As this particular blogger has personal experience from Lyme, it is recommended that you use http://www.ilads.org for further in depth information.

Sixth Sense.

This article is all about listening.
NOT with your ears but listening to that inexplicable feeling you sometimes get that something’s wrong. It’s that thing when driving that you just know the idiot in front is going to do something STUPID! No reason for it, it’s just that gut feeling.

I recall a couple of statements that go “if you think something is wrong it usually is” or “Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.” On the streets they are powerful aids for survival.

Your SIXTH SENSE
That GUT FEELING
aka INTUITION.

Female intuition
Some ‘experts’ dismissively say that it is an evolutionary genetic trait. A survival skill brought about by the need to read the intentions of persons who could hurt them and their offspring. Only what a fantastic skill it is. Certainly when it comes to reading non verbal communications, some women are streets ahead of men.

It doesn’t stop there though.
Intuition has been described as “intellect without fear” and “a state of logic beyond logic or experience.” I just know it as a gut feeling.

Luckily that sixth sense is strongly exhibited by my wife.
Something that I learnt to trust a long time ago.
“Don’t go there” or “Something’s wrong” in all manner of situations.
Finally I add the “I don’t trust them”. A 100% correct judgement call.
She says that there is no reason for her judgement, it’s just a feeling, however it’s been proven repeatedly that she has picked up on something REAL which she couldn’t have possibly seen, heard, or smelt. How does she do it? “I just knew” is the usual answer.

Professional “gut feelings”
In military high stress situations that sixth sense can literally save your life. It’s the ‘knowing’ that something is not right. That “feeling” you are being watched or not alone.

As a lone night worker, the routes and locations I used to travel were a mixture of rural and urban. Many a time I have been “unsettled” by something, that feeling that all is not quite right that makes you think twice about leaving the car, entering a building, or even carrying out a task. It’s quite common in lone outdoors workers (especially night workers) that they will tell you they start to pick up on non tangible things.

It’s the same when working with the most dangerous animal of all THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
Especially in high stress environments. You start to pick up on things.

ESPECIALLY Aggression, fear, and unstable personalities.

You can “train to notice” things i.e. profiling BUT after a while you just KNOW something is wrong. Those who can’t usually end up HURT!

Doggy sixth sense.
I have been walking down paths and the dog has blocked further access.
No definite reason, just a “I wouldn’t go down there” sort of thing.
Sat at home the dog starts to growl. I have heard nothing yet when I’ve have checked, there is always something there.
I have driven down roads at night and the dog gets distressed YET on other nights it’s fine. How to explain that? Dogs have senses we can only dream of developing. They hear all, smell things that we would never have noticed, and pick up on things that are just not “right”.

That is IF YOU CAN PICK UP ON THAT PROMPT and trust your dog!

Applying this to survival.
As a rule I always try to think with my head and not my heart i.e. emotions YET there are times when you have to listen to your inner self, your intuition, that gut feeling.

You can train all you like for events, practice drills and responses to situations yet occasionally your GUT FEELING is probably more accurate than your assessment of what is actually going on.

Where it works for me is in preventing me “blindly” walking into a situation I shouldn’t have got into in the first place.

On the other hand, too much thought, too much intuition can induce a choking like effect and your thought processes interfere with the trained movements of your muscles.

It’s a judgement call in the end but in a fast-moving, high stress, physically dangerous situation, I’m more likely to fall back on the muscle memory of military days and get to cover (safety) fast.

 

SODIS

SO-lar DIS-infection of water.
I’ve always been an advocate of boiling water.
Somehow I’ve got fixated with the fact that it’s a rare bug that can survive boiling.
Yet, here I am, in the UK, writing about using PET 2 liter lemonade bottles and the sun to disinfect water.

SODIS Principles. (They aren’t even hard to understand).

sodis

  • Fill a clear, clean, 2 liter PET bottle (think lemonade bottle)
  • With clear (low turbidity i.e. no color or bits) water,
  • Initially filling the bottle to 2/3 capacity, shaking it like mad for 20 seconds to pump air into it, (Some bugs hate Oxygen)
  • Then complete the fill to the top, and screw on the cap.
  • Leave in the bright sun preferably on a shiny surface like a corrugated roof or in a silver lined ‘solar’ collector
    (Caution now kicks in because of living on this little island paradise latitude 50-57 1/2 degrees North) for 2 full days.
    As it gets cloudy in the UK and never as hot as the tropics.

Water now safe to drink.
The system works, the figures prove it, even if the weather is cloudy . Apparently the usual storage methods can be applied now i.e. Hydrogen Peroxide or Chlorine Bleach to keep things “nice”.
Back to chemicals, ho-hum!

YET:-

Is it REALLY possible to SODIS in the UK?
Wading through 4 MB of impressive research from sodis.ch in Switzerland the answer for me is PROBABLY.

What, no better than probably? I feel that is an appropriate answer because of our lousy climate.

This year it’s been a good summer, plenty of sunshine BUT rarely has the ambient temperature been above 20 Celsius.

SODIS works in two ways as far as I can tell.

  1. The UV side of the light attacks the living bugs at a cellular level and certainly Crypto and Giardia don’t like a suntan. That I like!
  2. Sunlight heats the water. Bugs and heat don’t mix. This is where I feel uneasy as although Crypto and Giardia would ruin my day, it’s everything else I worry about like Hepatitis, HIV, and Leptospirosis. Let alone the common disaster bugs like cholera. Them? Well them can ruin my life.

Hence my love of giving bugs
a nice hot bath in the billy can.

And finally.
I’m all for alternative ways to treat water and am not a fan of chemicals. I can’t afford portable reverse osmosis pumps preferring low tech silvered ceramic to stop the Giardia and Crypto.

However, it’s the tiniest little things in life that cause the most harm (after all it was bacteria that killed the Martians in “War of the Worlds”) so not being too worried about destroying the ozone, I’m still going to boil.

It’s winter (in case no one noticed) so I’m now collecting rainwater directly from a plastic sheet into my water bottle.
Am I still boiling that? YOU BET!

Leading the Target

aka Deflection shooting or aiming ahead of a moving target and hopefully it arrives at the same spot as your bullet does.

A skill which I was taught in the military BUT, if can’t correct fire rapidly with a semi automatic, your one shot one kill is best left for the sniper brigade.

Calculation of leads
I often get asked why I never shoot at moving targets.
Duh! I use an air rifle or a 22 LR not a shotgun so why calculate on the fly when you can simply wait for it to stop!
Besides I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, TRAPPING is a much better way of getting food.

If I did have to shoot at something on the move though, the maths sounds easy.

As always you need the range.
With that you can work out the time of flight of your “projectile”.
Multiply that by the target speed and you get the lead.
Sounds simple until you write it out in long hand.

Metric System
Range in meters / velocity in meters = Time of flight in secs X Target speed in meters per second = lead in meters
Mil-Dot
Meters X 1000 / Range in meters = mil lead.

Imperial System
Range in yards X 3 / Velocity in FPS = Time of flight in secs x Target speed in fps = lead in feet.
Mil-Dot
Lead in feet X .3048 X 1000 / Range in meters = mil lead

Target speed of a man.
slow patrol = 1 fps (.3 mps)
fast  patrol  = 2 fps (.6 mps)
slow walk = 4 fps (1.2 mps)
fast walk   = 6 fps (1.8 mps)
At the run = 11 fps (3.3 mps)

So, me taking on a person is quite straight forward (NOT).

As for the rabbit?
Feeding , why shoot when it is moving?
Running flat out, length 18 inches (45 cm), 30 mph or 44 fps (13 mps) with rapidly changing angles.

Except, it ain’t even quite that easy.
Shooting up or down, you need to calculate the angle range.
Then there is the wind deflection.
That also changes depending on how the wind is blowing in relation to you
i.e. (clock method)
With either full value, half value, or no effect.

Then the angle the target is moving in relation to you. (Using a clock face)
Moving from 3 to 9 / 9 to 3 (the flip) is easy. Range stays the same, deflection the same
Moving from 1 to 7 and the flip results in a varying range and less lateral movement i.e. deflection
Moving from 2 to 8 and the flip results in a varying range and slightly more lateral movement i.e. deflection

Dare I add 12 to 6, coming closer. No deflection but you range decreases as does the wind deflection
Add the flip 6 to 12, further away. No deflection but you range increases as does the wind deflection

Add you shooting at a rabbit jinking all over the place, flat-out?
Get real!

And finally.
Patience is a virtue and when shooting rabbit the difference between a clean kill or a mad scramble after one that’s limping away.

.22 LR v .22 Air Rifle

Not the tiniest of ammunition, but the all time favorite for small game, the rim fire .22 Long Rifle (LR) has been round for ever. (Well since 1887).

22lrA good round developing about 100 ft.lb (at the muzzle) worth of “smack down” with the familiar 40 grain soft lead bullet.

Compared to what I use for hunting which is a simple cheap little air gun pellet weighing in at only 21 grains and through my UK legal Air Rifle it develops just 11.7 Ft.lbs

OK, you can stop laughing now because you’re all thinking no comparison and ballistically you’re quite correct.

Ballistic coefficients (BC)?
For beginners BC is its shape, it’s aerodynamics, and how it slows down from air drag. With a high BC, it cuts though the air like a hot knife through butter, low BC and the air acts like molasses slowing the projectile REALLY FAST.
The 22 LR 40 grain soft lead, 1040 fps, BC is 0.169 (Internet figures, not great, not bad)
Th
e 21 grain air pellet at 500 fps, BC is 0.034 Chrono’d, (Absolutely DIRE)

Trajectory of both over 50 yards (zeroed at 50 yards)?
Green is the little air gun pellet
22ballisticsSo what’s the appeal of the obviously underpowered air gun pellet over the .22 LR? It can’t be trajectory, it can’t be “smack”, could it be accuracy?

Accuracy.
As I used to shoot 97-99/100 prone at 25 yards with a .22 Martini-Henry Target Rifle, I can’t really fault the 22 LR in any way.
Having said that, 93-97/100 prone on the same range with the air gun pellet in my PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) it is pretty even.
In inches terms that 0.12″. Not really worrying about is it?

Accuracy is about the same just low on the “smack down power”.
Although do you really need the power?

I regularly go out rabbiting and pot the occasional hare should one be stupid enough to come into range. That’s my main prey with grey squirrel, wood-pigeon, collared dove, and if I’m really lucky, a duck.

My maximum effective kill range is only 35 to 40 yards.
At that range 8.75 ft lb of smack which is tiny when compared to the 22 LR (86 ft lb).
Yet I often come home with a net full of eatables. Can’t be power.

The advantage for me (UK-based), is I don’t need a license for a firearm, I can use my air gun in an urban environment safely when pest controlling, and with the moderator on the front, it’s virtually silent.

Does the US hunting world bother to moderate (silence) their 22’s? I’ve got it in my mind that moderators are banned in some US states, is that still right? Certainly in the UK a moderator (silencer) is a listed accessory on a firearms license.
Not on an air gun though.

My absolute maximum range is pathetic too.

Initial Angle: 25.0 deg Terminal Angle: 57.5 deg
Terminal Range: 406.7 yd Terminal Velocity: 119.1 ft/s
Terminal Time: 7.7 s Terminal Energy: 0.7 ft lbs

I’m thinking you’ve got to be a lot more careful as the little 22 LR slug can carry way over a mile.

Initial Angle: 35.0 deg Terminal Angle: 66.1 deg
Terminal Range: 1980.0 yd Terminal Velocity: 281.3 ft/s
Terminal Time: 20.6 s Terminal Energy: 7.0 ft•lbs

(Both data worked out using  JBM Ballistics)

Why is that important?
Because we all miss occasionally and when shooting upwards into trees, the bullet or pellet just keeps on going till it does its ICBM bit and falls to Earth. It only takes 163 fps (2.3ft lb)  to penetrate skin and 213 fps (4 ft lb) to break bone  (Belkin, 1978)

OUCH! Your little 22 LR slug is WAY over that. Mine? Perhaps a bruise.
Boy, have you .22 LR  users got to be careful about back drop when shooting.

Whilst talking about shooting into trees.
Most anyone who shoots tree game must have had a ricochet or two because even if you penetrate the prey, green wood has a nasty knack of returning the bullet or pellet to the sender with little reduction of power.

I’ve had a few pellets come back at me one taking out my safety glasses frame (never go out without wearing a pair) and putting a nice “dent” into my eyebrow.
I know a 22 LR coming back will do serious damage as I’ve seen what one did to a fellow pest controller when it came back off two trees and dug into his knee. He’s still limping on cold days, that’s 6 years ago.

Ummm. So I can’t shoot fox (which I trap) or deer with my little air rifle and its pathetic power and range. Not looking good for me is it?

Yet, for safety, covert operation, cheapness of ammunition, licensing, and putting the listed food on my table, I’m quite happy with my little 22 Air Pellet.

Now I sit back and wait for all you US shooters to (figuratively I hope) shoot me down. (Probably noisily, expensively, and with tales of rabbit shoots with whole pick up trucks full of bunnies).

There again I can only eat one bunny at a sitting and my freezer has plenty of jointed rabbit waiting time in the stew pot.