Saturday, April 21, 2012

Firearms for Preppers, SKS Rifle

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

The SKS rifle was manufactured by about seven countries, Russia, China, East Germany, Romania, Yugoslavia, North Korea, and Albania. Notice, I wrote 'was.' The SKS rifle is no longer manufactured by most of these countries; however, a prepper can still purchase a SKS from their local firearms dealer, mostly likely a Chinese or Yugoslavian surplus rifle.

Yugoslavian M59/66 SKS Rifle
Thomas Powell

By now, most folks know a little about the SKS rifle. For those preppers that don't or those who would like to know more; I have provided two links (in the link section, of course)

My Family's Situation
We live in a suburban area, like most preppers, so we need a rifle that accurately shoots about  300 meters (325 yards). Plus, we are on a budget, but not that tight of a budget.

Some folks would recommend a Mosin-Nagant rifle at about $100, each. For a family of four that would set you back about $400 for the rifles, another $200 for 1600 rounds of surplus ammo from the 1970's, and another $200 for accessories like cleaning kits, slings, and ammo pouches, $800 total.


The Mosin-Nagant rifle kicks (recoils) like a mule. Not really, but most women and some men will have difficulty shooting a Mosin-Nagant rifle. Children will find it nearly impossible to shoot.

Other folks would recommend a M16/AR15 series rifle. At about $1.000 each, the rifles would set your family back $4.000. Plus, you'll still need magazines, ammo, cleaning kits,  slings, and the necessary kit to carry the magazines, another $2.000, $6.00 total.

My Family's Solution
We decided on the SKS rifle for several reasons. First, for about $400 per rifle I can budget $100 a month for about six months and have a rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition, and other accessories. In two years, my family and I can have four rifles, ammo, and other necessities for under $2.500 total.

Another reason, we choose the SKS; all you really need is the rifle and some ammo. There is no need to purchase magazines, like the AR-15 rifle, for the rifle to effectively shoot.

Lastly, we choose to buy SKS rifles because If we upgrade, we will purchase AK-47 series rifles for the adults. All of the ammunition and most of the tools and other necessities will transfer to the AK-47 type-rifle, but none of the spare parts : - (

Modifications to the SKS Rifle
Chinese SKS Rifle
Bought Used for Under $200
The SKS is a very good rifle, the way it is. I wouldn't make any modifications to the rifle.

That means ...

No extended magazine

No collapsible stock

No rail system

No pistol grip

No telescopic sight

No detachable magazine

No recoil buffer


For some folks, especially folks with older eyes, adding the SKM Mojo sight or the TS-100 Tech sight to the rifle would be helpful.

Spare Parts
Many decades ago, some survival writers suggested getting a second rifle to use as a source for spare parts. Not very smart. : - (

Now a days, you can shop on-line at SARCO Inc. or Numrich Gun Parts Corp. for spare parts for your rifle. I mean any rifle; just not the SKS.

But what spare parts to get?

First, do you really need spare parts? If you're planning for a short disaster, like a hurricane, you don't need spare parts. If you're planning for a long-term disaster, you'll want to store some common spare parts for you'uns' SKS rifles.

Firing Pin
Firing pin retainer

Extractor spring

Ejector spring

Magazine follower
Follower spring

Recoil spring, Complete assembly

Front sight

Tools and Other Almost Necessities
I'll repeat myself; "all you really need is the rifle and some ammo." Needless to say, every prepper owning a SKS rifle should plan on buying some tools and other necessities for their SKS, to increase the rifles utility.

First, after ammunition, I would suggest a way of carrying the ammo, like ammo pouches or carrier. The soviets (an example) and the DDR (an example) have a little pouch that holds loaded stripper clips or loose ammunition, buy two for each rifle and a belt. The Chinese had a ten-pocket canvas pouch that held 180 to 200 rounds of ammo on stripper clips (an example).

Next, I would suggest a cleaning kit because your rifle needs to be cleaned. The one that comes with the rifle will do, but a U.S. military .30 caliber cleaning kit (an example) is a higher quality. Either way, you will want to add an old (clean) tooth brush, an used (clean) t-shirt, some .30 caliber rifle cleaning patches (an example), and a small bottle of oil.

Oh, don't forget a ruptured case/broken shell extractor.

Empty and Loaded Stripper Clips
Next, you'll want some stripper clips. These hold ten rounds and allow a quick reload, with practice.

Remember, your family needs to practice, practice, and practice some more on new skills, especially quickly reloading your SKS rifle with 10-round stripper clips.

Almost lastly, you and your family will want a sight adjustment tool; there are two types. First is the tool that only adjusts for elevation, up and down (an example). Second is the tool that adjusts for elevation and windage, left and right (an example).

Finally, you'll probably want a sling; unless, the rifle came with one.

I'll say it again. The SKS rifle is probably the best rifle for most urban and suburban preppers because it's reasonably priced, rugged, and needs only ammunition to be functional for you and your family.

Wikipedia - SKS Rifle

William Sanders - Meet the SKS

Yooper John's SKS: Battle rifle of many nations - Section 26
Note: Neat page with two cut away SKS rifles showing the inside of the rifle. Plus, check out the home page for more information.

Pistol Craft - SKS-56 Instruction Manual (html)

The Firearm Blog - SKS Manual

Wonder How To - How to Disassemble and Clean an SKS Rifle

The following links are supplied for information only. If you have a company you would like to add, write a comment. If you want to complain, call the company.

Ammunition Dealers

Ammo Man - Home

Bulk Ammo - Home

Cabela's - Home

Cabela's - Ammunition

Cheaper Than Dirt - Home and Ammunition

After Cheaper than Dirt's actions in late 2013, early 2014. I'll never do business with them again. Ever!

Lucky Gunner - Home

The Sportsman's Guide - Home

The Sportsman's Guide - Ammunition

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Department of Shameless Commerce - Fire

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

Fire is a two-edged sword; it is a lifesaver and a lifetaker.

During an emergency, especially in the wilderness, fire is the same priority as shelter, so preppers and their families should carry two or three methods of starting a fire for warmth and signalling. One method is the typical book of matches stored in a waterproof container, such as a ziplock baggie.


Another method of carrying fire, during a trip to the park, is strike anywhere matches stored in a waterproof match holder and placed in your jacket pocket.


You and your family can carry butane lighters. These lighter can be disposable or refillable. If you buy a refillable lighter, you will need butane and flints.


Needless to say, even an empty, yes empty, lighter can be used as a fire starter, just spin the thumbwheel. It will create a spark, and the spark can be used to ignite tinder. That's very old school, using a flint and steel.

A modern method is firesteels. They come in a variety of models and price ranges.


Lastly, there are even more modern devices for starting fires.


Link: - Learning Center: Zippo Buying Guide

Izismile: In Fun We Trust - What to do with Lighter Parts

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

The number one disaster, that most preppers will face, is a fire, and my family and I had a chance to experience that disaster, this week.

Yep, we had a fire.

We were lucky; it was a barn fire.

The Facts

Fire is Fast
In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

From the time the neighbors alerted us to the fire, and we started getting water on the fire, with a garden hose. The fire had spread from a bale of straw, on the outside of the barn, into the barn's roof, and it was moving fast.

Fire is Dark
Fire produces gases that make you disoriented and drowsy.  Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three- to- one ratio

When I first saw the fire, I thought I could just grab the bale of straw and toss it to the side, away from the barn. I quickly realized that was a poor idea, so I decided to get a garden rake and pull the straw bale away.

I opened the door to the barn, and it was pitch black inside the barn.

Fire is Hot
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames.  Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs.

After we, me and the neighbor, removed the bale of straw and was spraying down the fire; I went around the barn to check on the inside. Since I had learned that smoke rises, I knelt down as I opened the big sliding door. Smoke bellowed out of the door.

I saw some fire, so I went and got the garden hose. I crouched down, took a deep breath, and entered the barn. It was a small fire (it seemed that way) and started spraying. Quickly, it was very hot, so I run out of the barn, taking a shallow breath as I left.

My throat still hurts, a little.

The Mistakes

Failing to check the door - Firefighters teach to check any closed doors with the back of your hand before grabbing the door knob to open it. This technique tells you if there is a fire in that room, and it prevents the palm of your hand from being burnt.

Failing to call 911 immediately - The neighbors thought we could fight the fire by ourselves, so we didn't call the emergency telephone number until I asked if anyone had called 911.

Going back into the barn, three times - Yep, I went back into the barn three times. Once for tools, once to rescue the chickens, and once to open the other big door.

Once you leave a burning building, Stay out of the building!!!

The Damage

Outside of Barn

Inside the Barn
Roof Above Chicken Coop

Inside the Barn

On-Going Concerns

Crime Scene - There is a possibility that the fire was intentionality set, so the barn is a crime scene. To a certain extent, I have lost access to my tools, equipment, and stored building material because we are waiting for the detectives to contact us.

Insurance - We contacted the insurance company right after the fire. We have insurance for the barn and any tools but not the chickens : - (

Lessons I'm Learning

One lesson I'm learning. Fires are a pain in the *ss. A fire will disrupt you and your family's life. My wife is p*ssed because it might be arson. The children are sad because most of the chickens are dead, and I have to start the insurance process.

Another lesson, I'm learning. Insurance companies are slow, and I'm going to do most of the work. I make the inventory. I get the estimate. I contact three repair crews. I ...

OK. That was a pity party, but you get the point. It's your stuff; you will have to deal with it.

Thanks in Advance
Folks, I appreciate all of the good thoughts and prayers you and your family will be sending our way over the next few weeks.


I need for y'all to do something for me, today.

Smoke Detectors
I need for you to check your smoke detectors. If you don't have any, buy at least one (install the smoke detector by the bedrooms) and install it, today. If you didn't changed the batteries on the switch to Daylight Savings Time, you need to change them, today.

Evacuation Plan
Tonight, I need for you to talk with your family about evacuating the house and practice the plan, tonight.

Keep prepping.

City of Camden, NJ - Fire Safety and Fire Prevention Tips

WikiHow - How to Keep Safe During a House Fire