Sunday, May 21, 2023

Goex Update

Yesterday I got an email from Maine Powder House stating the following:

Yes, in case you have not heard, GOEX production date was pushed back again.

GOEX dealers were informed the new projected production date is end of June. If they are able to make this happen, this means they will not start shipping product out to dealers until earliest August. GOEX has also informed us prices will be going up, but they have yet to give us a new price list.

Schuetzen and Swiss containers are here in the US, however their prices have gone up 17% and 22% respectively. This price increase was a surprise to all of us...including the distributor. Current prices listed as of the date of this email DO NOT reflect the 17% & 22% increases.

Maine Powder House current inventory on black powder is very low. I will be working with the Schuetzen/Swiss distributor on a new order, however it will be a limited order due to the anticipation of GOEX getting back in business sometime this fall.

Check the website for details as I will keep that up-to-date for everyone.


My $0.02:

With Goex availability pushed back yet again, if you need black powder I recommend buying Scheutzen, Swiss, or Graf's house brand (made by Scheutzen) from MPH, Powder Inc., Grafs, or whoever else might have it in stock. If you shoot a gun that works reliably with it, don't turn your nose up at Pyrodex or Triple 7, either. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Update on Percussion Cap Availability

Here's a video update on the availability of percussion caps, from the NRA convention.

Key points:

  • Per Ethan, CCI produces caps in seasonal runs. Next run is in June, reaching shelves in July/August.
  • No real updates on Remington or RWS caps.

My $0.02 is that I recommended stocking up after they become available this summer.

Sunday, April 09, 2023

Alpineaire Black Bart Chili Review

 Back in the fall I bought two packages of Alpineaire Black Bart Chili from Amazon Prime. Today I decided to try one for lunch.

To prepared it, pour two cups of boiling water into the bag, mix, and then let sit for 10 - 12 minutes. Then mix it again before eating.

I let it sit for at least 12 minutes, mixed it up, and it looked like this:

It came out a bit soupier than I'd like. The texture was typical for reconstituted freeze dried meals. It was fairly spicy.

Because it was so soupy, after I ate half I tried adding some parched corn flour to it to thicken it a bit. Not recommended. I didn't care for the resulting texture.

Overall, I'd recommend it and will probably buy some more for my camping/emergency prep food stash.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Converting Rifle Brass to Use No.209 Shotshell Primers

AKA, “Yet another reason to have a small lathe.”

Obligatory disclaimer: We don’t guarantee that these will be safe in your rifle or with your components. Do this at your own risk.

The cartridge cases converted using this method are NOT safe to use with full loads. Read that again. They are only safe to use with low pressure reduced loads. Use at your own risk.

My friend N. has recently delved into shooting his M-1891/59 Mosin-Nagant and No.4 Mk.I Lee-Enfield with "mousefart" loads. These are even less powerful than Ed Harris’s “The Load” of 13 grains of Red Dot under a 150 - 180 grain bullet. N. is loading a 115 or 125 grain cast bullet on top of 5.0 grains of Bullseye. (His first try in 7.62R used 6 grains of Bullseye but accuracy was horrible. Backing off to 5 grains shrank the groups.)

He has a good stock of No.209 shotshell primers but not a lot of large rifle primers. He also has a lathe in his basement workshop, as you can see in the picture. It’s an older Jet unit with a 7” swing (not sure how long it is). He took some Berdan primed .303 cases that he’d stashed away and drilled out the primer pockets so they will accept No.209 primers.

Per N., he used three drill bits to modify each case:

"Center drill to keep main drill from following the firing pin dent, letter C for the main body, 21/64 to countersink the flange on the battery cup.  Be careful!  My Fiocchi primers are .002" larger than my Cheddite, and I understand the Cheddites are larger than most Yankee brands."

So measure the No.209 primers you have and pick drill sizes to match.

We haven't tried this with Boxer-primed brass but I don't see why it wouldn't work. This project was primarily to make something useful from what otherwise would be trash.

Something else to consider is how your rifle will handle escaping gas if something goes wrong. I have been present when someone experienced complete case head separations in a No.4 Lee-Enfield and another time in a Mosin-Nagant. The Lee-Enfield shooter didn't notice anything awry until he opened the bolt. The Mosin shooter got gas back in his face but was uninjured because he wore eye protection.

Also note that a lot of milsurp .303 and all 7.62x54R were corrosively primed. Make sure to clean your rifle accordingly when shooting that ammo. You also need to rinse out the brass with water if you plan to reuse it. (The No.209 primers are not corrosive. I'm only referring to the initial firing with the original primers.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

A Canoe Gun by Jackie Brown, and Muzzleloaders for Survival

Over on Blog O'Stuff I've already posted about this, but this post will have a different slant.

I bought this "Canoe Gun" (really just a short version of the Indian Trade Gun) at Dixon's Muzzleloading Shop last weekend. It's a 20 gauge percussion smoothbore. It was built by Jackie Brown. As a southpaw I could not pass it up.

I made a sling for it from a cowhide shoulder I had.

Some measurements I took:

  • Overall length 40"
  • Barrel: 24.5"
  • Length of pull 13.5"
  • Weight 6.5 lbs.
  • Width of buttplate 2"

The lock is a large Siler. The barrel has a slight flare at the muzzle end. It may be slightly coned on the inside. The front and only sight is a trade gun-style turtle. It has a large Siler lock and the nipple is sized for No.11 caps. A .580" ball will drop freely down a clean barrel all the way to the breech.

I got a chance to shoot itthe next day over at a friend's place. He has some land and we can shoot safely in his yard. Unfortunately it was raining and the only place I could load while under overhead cover was his patio. I'd then step out to shoot and some tin cans we placed on a hillside.

My load of 1 oz. of #5 shot on top of 65 grains of Scheutzen 3Fg black powder penetrated both side of a #10 can from about 20 yards, so it's got enough power for hunting.

I also tried a couple varieties of ball loads. I shot a half dozen .570 balls loaded in paper cartridges on top of 65 grains of powder. I also tried a few shots with .575 balls loaded on top of a tow wad, with another tow wad over the ball to hold it in place. The balls loads shot high with how I was holding the gun.

Recoil with both the shot and ball loads was very mild. I plan to try some heavier charges.

I absolutely need to put both shot and ball loads on paper.

Everything went mostly well until the gun fell over onto the brick patio, landing on the hammer which was set to half cock. That broke the half cock notch on the tumbler. (Insert vast amounts of profanity here.)

When I was done I used tow wrapped around a worm to scrub the bore. This was the first time I've tried using tow for cleaning and it works pretty well, much like a bore brush. I'll be using it at least for my smoothbores in the future. This is what tow looks like when wrapped around the worm. There's no reason you can't use it in a modern shotgun. It can even be washed and reused. Once it's worn out you can use it as tinder. You can make the equivalent by cutting a 4" to 6" length of hemp, sisal, or jute rope and unraveling it.

The primitive worm I use is just a coil of wire that winds onto the end of my ramrod. It works like a Chinese finger trap and doesn't easily come off.

After getting home I ordered a replacement tumbler from Track of the Wolf and I paid extra for 2 day delivery. My order arrived today and I repaired the lock after work. It took about a half hour with some needle files to fit the new tumbler to the hammer. I also cleaned up the side of the tumbler that rubs against the lock plate, using a stone. The hammer now clicks solidly into both the half and full cock notches.

I may be going upstate next weekend and if so I should be able to pattern shot loads and figure out how to hold it when shooting ball.

OK, Dave, I know you're saying. Why consider a muzzleloader for a survival gun? Sure, when these guns were originally made they were used for real as survival guns, but it's 2022 now.

For a long term/TEOTWAWKI survival gun a muzzleloader has some advantages, IMO:

  • No paperwork in most states.
  • You can make your own black powder and projectiles.
  • You can shoot birdshot, buckshot, ball, or buck and ball in it. In extremis you can shoot rocks or sticks.
  • It can use modern plastic shot cups for better shot patterns, or traditional materials for wads like felt, tow (flax or hemp fiber), or wasp's nest.
  • You can make percussion caps if you have the correct tool, thin sheet aluminum, copper, or brass, and the chemicals which are freely available now.
  • If it's a flintlock, each flint should be good for at least 30 shots and it's possible to make your own if you live in the right area and know how to do it. (For me, making caps is actually easier.)
  • If the gun is constructed like mine with a nipple and drum, the gun can easily be converted to a flintlock by replacing the drum with a vent liner and the lock with a large Siler flint lock.

I'll have to do a separate, more detailed post on the caplock vs. flintlock for a survival gun.

Of course it's nowhere near as good as even a single shot breech loader for defense but it still beats a sharp stick or harsh language. You are far from unarmed with one of these.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

While you're prepping for food shortages ...

It occurred to me this morning at breakfast that while we're prepping for possible food shortages, we should also be stocking vitamin and mineral supplements. Compared with food and water, storing enough supplements for one person for a year is inexpensive and takes up minimal storage space, and are easily portable should you need to bug out.

I'm planning on picking this up for myself.

This is the formulation for women.

A main difference between the two is that women's multivitamins include iron while those for men don't.

Note that while the above are Amazon affiliate links, I'm planning to purchase locally so I can check the expiration date before purchasing. I don't want to buy a 10 month supply that expires in a few months, regardless of how long they'll last past the expiration date.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

TA Outdoors: 10 Wilderness Survival Tips

I ran across this video from TA Outdoors and was very impressed with what he was able to accomplish with a Swiss Army Knife. A lot of these would apply to scout knives as well.