New Jersey Bastardy

From Reader Mark D in Comments yesterday:

On the topic of suppressors, I’ve been saying for a while that I want to move from New Jersey to America, but I NEVER thought America would be found in Great Britain…

Don’t even get me started. On Saturday last, we got a text from Doc Russia in Newark Airport, while he was flying Edinburgh – Newark – DFW:

Fun fact: going through Newark with a federally-licensed suppressor will end up with you face-down on the ground, handcuffed.

Here’s the deal. Doc has a legal suppressor for his Remington, all the paperwork done, tax paid, blessed by the Pope, yadda yadda yadda. He was about to pack it in his rifle case to bring home, when both Combat Controller and I suggested that he shouldn’t, because New Jersey. He laughed it off, saying his luggage was checked through to DFW — but agreed that discretion was called for, and that he could bring it back another time when flying direct from Britishland to Dallas.

It’s a good thing he did. Here’s why.

As we all know, when arriving in a foreign country, you have to go through Customs and Immigration in your arrival “port”, even if you’re connecting to go further. Now, if your connecting flight is from the same terminal, you’re good to go. If you have to go to another terminal for your connecting flight, things might get more tricky.

As is the case here. Suppressors are completely banned in New Jersey — no federal blessing counts, no paperwork is acceptable. Set foot in the state of New Jersey with a suppressor, no matter how legal, and you will end up face-down on the ground, handcuffed.

So had Doc arrived in Newark with his suppressor and left the international terminal, the NJ State Police would have arrested him, even though he was simply in transit — going from one jurisdiction where suppressors are legal to another where it’s also legal — the very fact that he was in New Jersey at all with his suppressor, albeit only for a few minutes, would have made him an instant felon.

And we know all this because Doc happened to ask a member of New Jersey’s Staatspolizei what their policy is. Apparently the offizier got instantly aggro, and insisted on checking Doc’s luggage for himself — just asking the question is grounds for suspicion in the New Jersey Reich.

I’m curious as to how many other states would behave the same way. I can see New York and California doing likewise, but if anyone can shed light on this topic, I’d like to know.

In the interim, all New Jersey People Of Our Sort should make preparations to leave that shitty place and move to the United States as soon as it’s practically feasible. Like I once did.

Proper Kit

Several people have asked for details on the shooting equipment we used in the Angus Glens last week.

Here’s a pic of the rifles we took up:

From left to right, they are: Combat Controller’s Browning A-Bolt, Mr. Free Market’s two Blaser R8s (the other is a “back-up” in .308 Win), my Mauser M12, and Doc Russia’s Remington 700. All of us used Harris HBLMS (9″-13″ tiltable) bipods, as they’ve proved to be the most reliable and rugged.

Here are their details, in order of seniority. (Mr. FM has been going up there for the past twenty-odd years, CC for seven, and Doc for four.)

Mr. FM:
Rifle:  Blaser R8 Professional
Caliber:  .300 Win Mag
Ammo:  RWS Evolution 165gr RapidX
Barrel length:  24″ (six groove, 1:11″ twist)
Scope:  Swarovski Gen 1 Z6i 2.5-15×56 w/ illuminated reticle + Swarovski ballistic turret
Binoculars:  Leica 8×42 Geovid w/integral 1,200-meter rangefinder

CC:
Rifle:  Browning A-Bolt
Caliber:  .300 Win Mag
Ammo:  Federal Premium 165gr Trophy Coppertip
Barrel length:  20″ — cut back from its original 24″ –(1:10″ twist)
Scope:  Trijicon Accupoint 2.5-10x56mm
Binoculars:  Steiner Safari 8×42

Doc Russia:
Rifle:  Remington 700 M40 long action (custom-built by Fivetoes Custom Rifles)
Caliber:  .300 Win Mag (Hornady  140gr)
Ammo:  Hornady Superformance 180gr SST polymer tip
Barrel length:  22″ (Proof Research Carbon-Fiber)
Stock:  McMillan M40A1 synthetic
Scope:  Nightforce NXS 2.5-10×32mm, with ballistic turret and Vortex Optics anti-cant device
Rangefinder:  Sig-Sauer Kilo 2000 (doubles as his binos)

Kim:
Rifle:  Mauser M12
Caliber:  6.5x55mm
Ammo:  RWS Dual-Core 140gr HP
Barrel length:  22″
Scope:  Minox ZX5i 2-10x50mm 30mm tube w/illuminated reticle, on Mauser Hexalock Quick-Release mounts. Unusually, it has a German #4 reticle:

My equipment was based simply on my own experience and, as we all know, was not tested on this trip. But all agreed that my rifle and scope, at least, were quite adequate for the task. (The rifleman, maybe not so much.)

Just a few additional thoughts:
We all agree on the wisdom of using range-finders. In featureless terrain such as in the Glens (and in places such as eastern Montana and the prairie states), it is almost impossible to gauge the correct distance to target because of hidden crests, no reference points such as trees, and so on. If possible, get a range-finder that can reach out to 1,000 yards/meters at minimum — not because you’re going to take many shots at 1,000 whatever but because the longer the reach, the higher the quality. If the range-finders are incorporated into binoculars (e.g. Mr. FM’s Leica), so much the better. And when it comes to binoculars: cheap ones just don’t work, period. I tried using the “back-up” Bushnell 6×32 binos, and they were just inadequate. Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss, Steiner, whatever: don’t skimp on the quality because it will almost certainly screw up your hunt.

Ballistic turrets are not absolutely vital, but they certainly make your precision a lot easier to come by. With his turret, Doc Russia calls his shots to within an inch of point of impact at almost any distance, and his number of one-shot kills has climbed to close to 100% on flat terrain (the uphill- and downhill shots still “need work”, as he himself admits). Also: have a ballistic chart for your ammo’s performance in your rifle (the manufacturer’s specs may not reflect reality, in this regard), and keep it handy. All three of the experienced stalkers in our group had them taped somewhere (sleeve, rifle stock, wherever).

Doc also has an anti-cant device (bubble-level) built onto his scope. When the horizon is hidden in the mist or otherwise unreliable and your firing position is not on level ground, a tilted rifle makes nonsense of ballistic tables.

Personal fitness. Muscle pain, puffing and panting, pounding heart and gasping for oxygen are no way to go through hunting, son. All the pros like Craig Boddington emphasize serious exercise as preparation for every hunt. I walked a couple miles each day before my trip back to the UK, up and down quite a steep hill between my residence and the village. I should have carried a heavy pack and done the thing twice or three times a day. Even Doc Russia, who works out in the gym in his garage, referred to himself as “fat and out of condition” after his first stalk. Our Head Stalker Dougal can walk the glens all day, and has been known to run(!) up to four miles in search of a wounded deer — and even if you can’t get to that level, halfway is an absolute prerequisite.

One last point: all our rifles, as seen in the pic above, carried sound suppressors / moderators, and I cannot impress enough on my Murkin Readers what a difference  these can make to hunting. Quite apart from the noise reduction (itself a wonderful benefit), the reduction in felt recoil is considerable and therefore makes target re-acquisition much quicker. The noise reduction, of course, simply turns “ear-splitting” into “bloody loud”, as we all know. (Ignore Hollywood’s depiction of a small phut! when shooting anything other than a .22 or 9mm subsonic cartridge. When sighting in our rifles on Day One, Doc touched off a shot before I could get my hands or plugs to my ears, and they were still ringing a half-hour later.) I would urge everyone to write to their Congresscritter(s) and urge them to get the HPPA (pro-moderator/suppressor) legislation to the President’s desk ASAP. It’s long past due that Americans can enjoy the benefits of suppressed-fire hunting and target shooting that our European counterparts have always had.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. Any further questions can be asked in Comments or via email, as usual.

Timekeeping (Ladies’ Special)

Some time back, I spoke a little bit about buying a dress watch, and soon thereafter was asked to do a similar piece for my (few) Lady Readers. That’s a problematic topic for me to tackle, because as always with women, I have very little clue as to what makes them tick [sic] and therefore any advice I have to give must necessarily be fraught with caveats and such. Nevertheless, I’m going to give it a shot.

As with my earlier discussion, I’m not going to argue about the merits and whatever of using a cheap and accurate digital watch, or about the merits or disadvantages of telling time via one’s smart phone. This post, therefore, will look only at the subject of dress watches — such as would be worn on special occasions, or for a job interview or whatever. As with the men’s watches, I’ll set an arbitrary budget of between $2,000 and $8,000 at first, then look at ladies’ watches from a different perspective at the end.

As women (even more than men) tend to treat watches as fashion accessories, something I’ll cover later, it may well be that choices may have to be multiple — i.e. one would wear this watch for that occasion, and that watch for another. Fortunately, women’s watches can be somewhat less expensive than men’s (although once one gets up there… phew), and so I’ll approach the topic from that angle.

Probably the most popular ladies’ watch ever made has been Cartier’s “Tank” model, worn by just about every fashion icon over the years (Jackie O., Princess Grace and so on).

That’s the Tank Americaine model, and while it’s spendy (the gold Cartier Tanks, as shown, can run anywhere from $7,500 to $10,000 depending on the bling level), I would respectfully suggest that if a woman were to own only one watch her whole life, this would be as good a choice as any. (Almost every ladies’ watch in this price range can add precious stones like diamonds or sapphires to the face, which drives the price up considerably. Your choice, your money.)

The stainless steel versions are the Tank Anglaise (also with the rectangular face) which is half the price ($4,000):

…and the Tank Française which is much cheaper (about $3,000) and has a square face:

Still beautiful, in my opinion, if a little more “masculine”, perhaps. But there are other brand options, so let’s look at a few. All three below are square-faced, and run around $3,000:

As with all things female, branding seems to be important — but I should mention that the lesser-known Baume & Mercier will have (I believe) a better action than the other two because the “fashion” brands carry a premium over their nominal price, for not necessarily better quality.

Should Madame prefer watches with a round face, or ones that look a tad more practical, there are these options, again all costing around $3,000:

“Nomos” is apparently watchmaker Glashutte’s “budget” line — GH watches typically cost well over $10,000 — and having myself owned a men’s Omega Aqua Terra before, it goes recommended; but Tag Heuer is excellent too.

Obviously, if a lady requires a very practical watch — Mrs. Free Market owns a Breitling because of her yachting “hobby” (obsession) — there are those types too, but be aware that their prices are usually well above what we’re looking at today.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t look at two of my favorite watch brands as well. Here are two from Jaeger-LeCoultre, at about $8,000 each:

..and another two from IWC, these running about $5,500 to $7,500 each:

Both the above are downsized versions of IWC’s Men’s Pilot- and Portofino variants.

Now let’s look away from the “one dress watch” category for the moment and examine watches instead as a fashion accessory — i.e. ones that can be matched to a particular outfit or occasion such as a garden party or suchlike. Here, the watches are considerably cheaper for the simple reason that Madame would probably prefer to have several different types. Here are some examples from the Olivia Burton line, which cost around $100 each:

OB is owned by Movado, so while they’re not Omega or Piguet, they’re not complete crap, either.

And should Madame wish to match her watch with her purse, here are some Michael Kors watches, each costing around $200 (i.e. somewhat less than the hand bags):

Frankly, however, if I talk any more about watches of this ilk, I’ll need to go and shoot something just to restore my testosterone levels.

Let me then, suggest a watch for those ladies who are independently wealthy, or who have indulgent husbands / long-time partners. It’s one for the ages, being feminine, practical, of high quality and eclectic enough so that anyone who knows anything about watches will give an approving nod. It’s a lottery watch, in other words (just as the Vacheron Constantine 1907 is my lottery watch), and because I’m an unashamed sucker for women, you get two choices, each costing around $30,000: a “plain” (classic) and something a little more ummm decorative.

Ladies: am I completely off-base here? (Wouldn’t be the first time.) Your thoughts in Comments, please.

 

 

 

Not Surprising

Oh boo fucking hoo. A bunch of tatted-up, pierced and hairstyle-challenged kids are having difficulty landing jobs, and of course it’s all The Man’s fault:

In 2017, individuality and creativity are widely regarded as desirable traits in an potential employee.
But it seems some firms still judge prospective hires on appearance, as well as experience.
Jobseekers have been revealing the pettiest reasons they’ve ever been overlooked for a position on the anonymous secret-sharing app Whisper – and tattoos feature heavily in the surprising confessions.
One man with dreadlocks who was turned down for a job said it was not a coincidence that all the other staff members had ‘preppy hair’.
Another woman who had the word ‘hope’ tattooed on her wrist to cover a self-harm scar was informed she was out of the running as a result.

Here’s a pro tip to the author of this piece: employers are looking for individuality and creativity in employees, all right — but self-mutilation and peacocking attitudes aren’t that.

One commenter had the perfect response: “Make a statement about yourself with a tattoo, and be prepared to be judged by it.” 

I note that a large number of these jobs involve interaction with the public, and surprise, surprise: people are turned off by freaky-looking employees.

And then, of course, comes the classic whine of the narcissist: “We shouldn’t have to change our appearance (no matter how freakish); you should change your attitudes because insensitivity.”

Fuck off, the lot of you. Enjoy your welfare existence.

Not The Optimal Choice

Following a link from Reader Jabrwok’s comment on this post, I ended up here (video), where this Scando-lass(?) opens up a coconut. Good grief, what a schlep.

Which makes me think: if you’re doing serious bush work, ignore that lil’ knife she’s using. Use a serious blade like this one (pictured next to a 1911, for scale):

If I knew I was heading anywhere that even looked like I’d end up in the boonies, you’d better believe that this puppy would be on my hip.

Emergency Supplies

Before I start, please note that I don’t normally post pieces of this type over the weekend, but this is going to be a long one and is therefore best posted on a non-workday. Get yourselves a fresh cup of joe or your Morning Margerita and some snack food before going any further.

Here goes.

The need for emergency supplies, or rather, the media’s interest therein, seems to be a cyclical thing. The Red Cross has just published a list which is okay, I guess, but it’s woefully incomplete. I’ll address its shortcomings further down.

I’m not one of the “seasoned” preppers by any means. But I have made, and continue to make, various kinds of contingency plans for myself and, if possible, for my family. So here’s my take on the whole thing.

Before you start any kind of emergency / disaster preparation, understand that you’ll need to make two kinds of preparation in answer to the eternal questions concerning looming disaster: do I hunker down, or do I bug out? Each requires not only a different set of preparations, but also a different mindset. Frankly, unless your town is being evacuated, you’re better off staying in place. And if you are getting the hell out, do not go to a marshalling point with your carefully-packed supplies, because the first thing the law enforcement stooges will do is take all your stuff and stick it in the communal pot — which means you’ll be supporting the grasshoppers.

Just remember that if you’re going to join up at someone else’s house — highly recommended because it makes the place easier to defend — just make sure that you arrive properly armed and provisioned, or else your buddy running the sanctuary is going to turn you away (or he should, anyway). Do not be the guy who has to rely on the good graces of others: four or five self-sufficient extra people can defend a house and its contents with ease, but four or five hungry mouths just means that everyone’s going to go hungry sooner. And don’t get angry or butt-hurt when your buddy turns you away if all you’re bringing is your empty hands: you’re the one who’s unprepared, not he. This is all the more critical if you’re bringing small kids to the party: look after them yourself, because otherwise they’re just a burden on everyone else.

I can’t believe I even have to say all this, but I suspect that most people have made no plans either because they’re stupid and negligent, or they think “it can’t happen here”, or else they expect “the government” to look after them. We are not Europeans, people: we’re Americans and we take care of ourselves.

Hunkering down. This means that you’re not going to leave the house because the situation out there is too volatile. Complete social breakdown means that you’d likely be vulnerable outside your house unless you’re part of a group which can handle any kind of mutual self-defense requirement. So you decide to stay at home and create a fortified position. This is generally the case too when there’s a local issue such as a prolonged power outage, or nearby locations have been flooded, leaving you isolated. (Obviously, if we’re talking potential damage such as wrought by a tropical storm in Florida, the East Coast or the Gulf Coast, then it’s time to bug out.)
I would even say that in 90% of occasions other than the above, you’d be better off staying put. The reason is simple: you can keep more survival items in a house than in a car. Also, you can keep larger / heavier items simply because you don’t have to lug them around.

It sounds all daring and romantic to hit the trail and be independent and stuff, but anyone who’s ever been on a full-pack route march will quickly disabuse you of your illusions. And a car / SUV / EOTWAWKI vehicle is all very well, right up until you run out of gas because you were stuck in a fifty-mile line of barely-moving cars on the interstate.

So let’s look at what you need in a hunker-down situation.

Backup power. This could mean as little as spare batteries for all your survival appliances like phones and flashlights, through a power inverter than can be run by your car and keep your fridge running, all the way up to a large backup power unit which will keep your large items usable (e.g. fridge, deep freeze, ovens, microwaves and of course, laptops).

Food should not be a problem if you have a decent quantity of shelf-stable groceries in your pantry — and if you don’t have these, then you should get some. This would include canned goods, dry goods (sugar, flour, salt etc.) as well as protein bars and such. (By the way, forget making bread au naturel; it seldom works and usually tastes like crap. Stick to rice and porridges like oatmeal or grits (see below).

Water is of course a necessity, and you need lots, at least a gallon a day just for drinking alone — although if you have a swimming pool or even a large hot tub, you’ll be okay for water for some time. (Yeah, chlorinated water tastes like crap but you won’t die of thirst.) And if you get one of those water purifying thingies, you’ll have fourteen to twenty thousand gallons of potable water on hand. With a couple of cheap plastic paint buckets, you’ll even be able to flush your toilet with the pool water.

You’ll need to cook stuff. You can do it the hard way or the easy way. The hard way means cutting wood and making fires — not easy in the suburbs when firewood is at a premium, and impossible in any large city. The easy way is a Weber grill with two propane cylinders. I keep one full and use the other until it runs out; then I hook up the full one and get a refill immediately. (Some people rotate three cylinders in this manner, and I’ll never argue with them about it.) If you’re careful and husband your gas, you’d have about six to eights weeks’ cooking with that supply. I also have on hand a couple of single-burner Coleman-type camp stoves (with a zillion butane gas cylinders), which worked fine the last time we had a serious power outage. They are remarkably frugal — you can heat up a can of coffee and food twice per day (i.e. warming up a can in a pot of water), and doing just that, one of those gas cylinders will last you 4-5 days. (Pro tip: most Asian markets sell cheap copies of the Coleman stove that last forever — mine are at least a decade old and are still running strong — and the cylinders cost about a buck each, much cheaper than the branded butane sold by camping stores.)

Lighting. If the mains power is out, you have to have light because apart from any actual need (e.g. for reading), light stops you from getting depressed at night. I have a couple of DD battery-powered mini-florescent lanterns, which likewise worked just fine.

And of course, you’re gonna need a few flashlights, such as the SureFire (for personal defense) and the venerable Maglite 3D. What I like about these two old warhorses is that modern xenon bulb technology has changed them both beyond words and given them new life.

First aid / medications: get as comprehensive a kit as you can afford, and supplement according to your own assessment and needs. Most important are your medications, if you’re taking any. It’s no good having lots of Tylenol when what you need is Diovan for your blood pressure. I know that insurance companies only pay for about a month’s worth of medications at a time — we all know why — but if your life depends on your meds, get your doctor to write you a prescription for three months’ supply, then bite the bullet and pay cash for them. All the prep in the world isn’t going to be worth much when you keel over from a preventable heart attack. Once you have the extra meds, start using them and top up the stash with your “fresh” monthly Rx so the drugs stay effective. I have at least 90 days’ worth each of Diovan (for high BP) and Allopurinol (gout), as well as stuff like low-dose aspirin 87mg (heart) and the (exceedingly few) supplementary vitamins I take. Also, if you’re of that age, don’t forget your contraceptives. Danger causes the libido to rocket, folks, and it’s also a good way to keep warm.

Weaponry: you’ll need to protect all this stuff from people who aren’t as prepared as you, so I don’t think I need to talk too much about this one. Suffice it to say that you should have at minimum one each of the following, and make sure every adult in the house can use all of them:

Pump-action shotgun — I prefer 20ga, but 12ga seems to be the most popular. Just remember that a shotgun is fine, but they don’t hold much ammo and reloading is a bitch.

Assault rifle — I prefer the AK-47 (7.62x39mm) , and the PTR-91 (7.62 NATO) is equally fine; but the AR-15 (5.56mm Poodleshooter) is mighty popular too, so go with what you’re comfortable using. If you live in one of the gun-fearing wussy (GFW) states and can’t buy a modern semi-auto rifle, get a Marlin lever-action carbine in .30-30 — or, if your handgun of choice is a .44 or .357 Magnum, then make the Marlin a “companion piece” and get it in the same caliber.

Handgun — any semi-auto; mine is of course the Colt 1911-style, but if you can shoot the eyes out of a gnat with a Glock 9mm, then go ahead [sigh]. Generally speaking, a semi-auto is more effective if you’re going to be involved in a prolonged shooting, but honestly, I won’t argue with anyone who prefers to use their S&W 686 (as long as you stock up with speedloaders and practice using them). Actually, choice of ammo is more important than the gun: make sure you’re loaded with hollowpoints, whatever the caliber or handgun type.

Rimfire rifle / handgun — for all those times when you don’t need a large caliber.

And it goes without saying that you should have plentiful ammo  — at least 200 rounds each per gun, not just per type. (Rimfire ammo should be in much, much greater quantities — in the thousands or even tens of thousands — because if nothing else, it’s good barter material, as is liquor.)

Now let me address the contents of the Red Cross’s list, because that seems to be an attempt to get people ready to bug out. You will need to carry sufficient supplies for three days, and preferably five. And if you have small kids, forget about hiking: you’ll need a car.

  • Rucksack: sure. Just make sure that it’s not so heavy that you can’t carry it further than a couple miles without passing out.
  • Water: get a Camelbak. Water is heavy, and 5-gallon jugs are as awkward as hell to carry. Remember, though, that if you’re already carrying a backpack, the Camelbak isn’t going to lighten your load any. And if you get the smaller Camelbak, you may as well just carry three canteens. 
  • Food: jerky, energy bars / trail mix, nuts and dried fruit or candy. Everything else is too heavy. Forget cans of anything unless you eat them all in the first couple days, and forget any kind of balanced diet — remember that you’re out for five days, tops — and all you really need is protein and minerals to survive that small period of time. But if you still want something more, go here and knock yourself out.
  • Flashlight: small and powerful (e.g. Surefire 6P and/or Maglite AA), with spare batteries.
  • Radio: the hand-cranked ones are fine, but beware of the cheap ones because they require so much cranking, you’ll be exhausted by the time you get enough juice for a 2-minute broadcast. Easier to take batteries for them. My advice: spend a little more and get a phone charger and solar panel included.
  • First aid kit: as large as you can fit into your backpack, including medications.
  • Multi-purpose tool: I have two: a Gerber Multiplier 600 and a Swiss Army Champ (it’s a sentimental choice, sue me). Why two? Because they’re small and easily lost.
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items: they mean asswipes, handwipes and tampons. Baby wipes are the best, and tampons can also be used to plug up a wound.
  • Mobile phone with chargers: get a spare battery, charge it and swap it out occasionally with the “first” one to keep it in condition. Also get a small portable charger for an emergency boost.
  • Copies of personal documents:  (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies). Just guard them with your life.
  • Emergency blanket: a.k.a. the Mylar sleeping bag. I like the Titan, but the SOL Bivvy is also good, just less rugged. If you live in a cold climate, don’t forget stuff like gloves, a scarf, a coat, a hat, thermal undies and decent insulated boots. 
  • Extra cash: $500. If you need any more, you’ll have to start shooting (see below).

What the Red Cross missed:

  • Gun: Two would be better, three optimal. Carry a rifle or shotgun openly, conceal your handgun(s). I’d recommend a tiny revolver like the NAA Mini-Revolver or a Bond Arms Derringer as the third, “last resort” piece. 
  • Knife: not just the little thing you get on a multitool; you need at least one large knife (e.g. a Ka-Bar) and a smaller pocket knife. 
  • Axe / hatchet: actually, I prefer a roofing hammer, as long as you sharpen the blade first.
  • Fire starter: I like the SurvivalSPARK, because it has a spiffy little compass attached.

 

I’ve written way too much, and I’ve only scratched the surface. I only hope I’ve got people to think about this a little, if they haven’t already. Just remember: like most stuff of this nature, you never need it until you need it — but then you’ll need it really badly.

For a more comprehensive treatment of the topic, go to Bill Quick’s SHTF place. In the meantime, let’s not get carried away, shall we?

Little light on foodstuffs would be my only criticism, but otherwise, not a bad start.