How To Hunt Game Using Long Range Rifle Scopes

26 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: I know, Summer is hardly begun, some kids still have a long Summer breaks in front of them while some return to school this week; but the time to start preparing for the upcoming hunting season is upon us so this article from James Smith at PointOptics.com is timely in the overall scheme of things.

Nothing beats the feeling of stalking a game animal successfully. It’s the pay-off for rising before dawn, hitting the trail, and using the best equipment for the job. The devil is in the details when it comes to choosing the right rifle, scope, and ammunition. And when it comes to long range riflescopes, it is a crucial step in the stalking, sighting-in, and shooting process.

This is a comprehensive guide on how to hunt game using a long range rifle scope. It includes a breakdown of the five features you should look for in the long range rifle scope you use, and the best ways to hunt game with this equipment.

Features to Look for When Choosing a Scope for Your Hunting Rifle

When it comes down to selecting the perfect long range riflescope for hunting game, the process can get complicated. The many available options just end up muddying the waters sometimes. To help you get a better picture, there are five features to look for that will make this process much easier for you.

Magnification: Choosing the magnification capacity of your long range scope is half personal preference and half scientific algorithm. The most straightforward method of considering which magnification type is best for your hunting requirements is to work out the 1 x magnification per 100 feet (30,5 meters) of shooting distance.

For example, if you were sighting-in at 300 feet/91.5 meters, you would select the 3 x magnification setting on your scope. By using this scope selection technique, you will never be looking at a target that appears more than 35 yards/32 meters away. This viewpoint is a comfortable distance for the eyesight and brain to process.

Most game hunters sight-in at around 100 yards to 300 yards/ 274 meters in distance. It is for this reason that 3 x 9 power riflescopes are the most popular choice for most hunters. It’s the ideal range where most hunters like to take aim.

Ballistic Reticles: This long range scope feature is a relative newcomer to the hunting rifle scene. It provides additional crosshairs or aiming points in the available field of view. Once you have zeroed in your rifle sight picture, you can use the ballistic reticle feature on your scope for better aiming precision.

Ballistic reticles for hunting comes most typically in two formats: Minute Of Angle format (MOA) and mil-dot format. If you have a mil reticle, you will need to have mil-dot adjustments on your scope. Correspondingly, if you have a MOA reticle, you will need to have MOA adjustments on the scope. In that way, the adjustments you make with your elevation and windage turrets will coincide with the sub-tensions in the reticle. But more about that later.

Parallax Adjustment: A parallax is the position of the reticle on your target in relationship to your eye. The PA is a popular feature on bigger, higher magnification scopes because it allows you to dial out the parallax at a specific range so that what you see is what you get. It goes from zero all the way to infinity. If you have a 3 x 9 power scope, you probably don’t need this high-tech addition. However, if you have a 4 x 12 or 4 x 16 power scope, getting a parallax adjustment is a good idea.

First or Front Focal Plane Reticle: You used to find first focal plane reticles only in European manufactured riflescopes, but they have started to become more popular in other countries, and for a good reason. A first focal plane reticle allows you to adjust the magnification on your rifle scope, but the additional aiming points you have in the reticle will still be feeding you the correct trajectory compensation information.

A second focal plane reticle is different. The hash marks only typically match the trajectory when the scope is set at its maximum magnification capacity.

Fast Focus Eyepiece: One of the main benefits of this equipment is its user-friendly integration. It is yet another bit of European technology that is spreading across the Atlantic. It allows you to fine tune your interface with the rifle scope in real time. This saves on sighting and adjusting when shooting over long distances.

There are many things to consider when choosing a rifle scope, the size of the scope, the size of the game, and the shooting distance. But these are the five scope features that you need to have basic knowledge about.

The Anatomy of a Rifle Scope

Because riflescopes are fairly costly pieces of equipment, it makes sense to buy one suitable for your long range hunting rifle and the terrain over which you will be sighting in. It also depends on the company you keep when hunting outdoors as a group. If everyone on the team considers less than 100 yards/91 meters as fair game shooting distance, and you want to go after the more challenging targets, then you should change your hunting group, not your equipment.

The scope you choose should be at least 12 x top magnification, and 16 x is preferable. Higher magnification of 6 x 24 is possible, but finding a target at close range will be more difficult, especially if it is moving. The larger the magnification, the better the optics must be. It’s no good being able to zoom in when you can’t see a clear target in low light conditions.

When you mount the scope, it needs to be with the greatest possible integrity. Any movement in the tube or loosening of the mounting screws will turn your trip into a “one that got away,” saga. It is for this reason that a standard mil-dot or MOA reticle in front focal plane position is recommended.

Once you establish the perfect sight-in distance for each of the mil-dots descending from the center, the calculation won’t change. Even if the scope is set to 8, 22, or 16 x, the first mil-dot will be set at the correct distance. The same thing applies to windage turret calculations. When you have a front focal plane mil-dot, any windage (horizontal) adjustments are the same whether the scope variable is positioned at 10 or 16 x.

Your scope should hold up to the recoil of your rifle caliber as well. Taking this into account when choosing a long range rifle scope may limit your options, sadly, but it’s a vital component to getting the job done.

Mil-Dot vs. MOA for Game Hunting

Do your research before deciding on which system to use.

  • Stick to the measuring system with which you are most familiar
  • If you are more comfortable with metric, mil-dot may be the best choice, although the “mil” is not an abbreviation of millimeters
  • If you are shooting over shorter ranges, many hunters holdover using a reticle altogether
  • Long range riflescope accuracy should consider precision, calculation ability, and equipment cost

If this calculating is ruining your hunting experience, simply carry a dope card with you at all times. Once you are more familiar with your mils, you can give over using the dots and make super-fast shots without it.

Sighting-In

Proper shot placement for long range hunting is a very important factor. It’s not as simple as sighting-in your rifle so that the cross-hairs are dead-on at 300 yards/274 meters and pulling the trigger. That means the first mil-dot (see diagram) down would be dead-on at around 500 yards/457 meters.

The best way to illustrate this is by using a trophy object standing at a distance of approximately 300 feet away at a steeply inclined uphill angle as an example. When the rifle scope is zeroed at 300 yards, it is actually almost 4 inches/10 cm too high because of the shortening of the trajectory angle. The bullet’s pathway is 4 inches above the aim point, even though the game target was at 300 yards. The best calculation is to zero the target per 100 yards. The first mil-dot should be down dead-on at around 400 yards/366 meters and the second at 550 yards/503 meters. These adjustments will ensure that the bullet path will never be above your point of aim.

Depending on what caliber and bullet weight you’re using, most riflescopes will use this basic sight-in and trajectory. The bullet has a slight left to right arc at long range. If the windage turret is set at zero per 100 yards, this can veer as much as 7 inches/17 cm off target. Counter this by setting the windage at 550 yards on a calm day. The bullet will still be 1.5 inches/3.8 cm to the left of the target when shooting at 100 to 400 yards, but it will be dead to rights at 550 yards.

Remember, the more practice you get in making these decisions, the faster they will become second nature to you on the field. And that brings us to the crucial part of long range game hunting:

Taking the Shot

Before you take any shot over 200 yards/182 meters, make a few calculations in your head using the WAR acronym: wind, angle, and range.

Wind deflection calculations: Use a handheld wind speed calculator if mental arithmetic is not your forte. It will help you formulate the wind speed, angle of the wind, and how it will affect your trajectory. There are also some useful computer software programs to help you grasp the required compensations.

Angle: Straight down being zero, and level straight out being 90 degrees, if your target is approximately 65 degrees, your angle x range multiplier will be 0.8. The more hunting experience you have, the easier it will become to gauge the angle degree. A good handheld rangefinder will calculate and angle x range multiplier of 0.7 for a 45 degree target.

When to Take Another Shot

If you are using a spotter to let you know when you’ve made a marginal hit on the target, base your next shot on the information you receive from your spotter. If the first shot was a complete miss, but the trophy target is still unaware, make the necessary adjustments and try again. If the target is on the move, withhold shooting again until the target is stationary once more.

If you begin game hunting with an experienced crew, they can guide you to all the best places to sight-in. Someone can use the spotter, and point out any beneficial observations. Remember that once your spotting scope is deployed, you will be locked into that position for a while.

A few other hunting essentials are water or energy drinks, PB&J sandwiches (they don’t turn in the heat), granola bars, and jerky. Don’t forget to wear weather-appropriate clothing, and cover up with insect repellent if it’s bug season.

The only thing left to say is Happy Hunting!

Glossary of Long Range Rifle Scope Terms:

  • 1-inch tube: The erector tube of the rifle scope, most come in 1 inch diameter
  • AO: Adjustable objective. A type of parallax correction feature
  • Ballistic reticle: Incorporates many factors for correct point of aim
  • Ballistic turret: A feature of high-end riflescopes. Allows for more than one predetermined turret setting distance
  • BDC: Bullet Drop Compensation. The relationship between the fired bullet, target, and gravity
  • Clicks: the number of rotations of the turret adjustments
  • Duplex reticle: The most common style of available reticle with cross-hairs reaching the field of view edge
  • Elevation: The vertical cross-hair of the reticle
  • Fast Focus Eyepiece: Sighting and focusing technology from Europe that allows for a sharp, crisp image
  • Fixed Power: The magnification is fixed without varying high to low power settings
  • Holdover: Calculation using BDC technology
  • Light Transmission: The amount of light that’s collected by the objective bell and transmitted to the eyepiece
  • LR: Long range
  • Original Zero: The distance for which you have sighted your scope.
  • RS: Rifle Scope
  • Turrets: Used interchangeably to describe the knobs and dials that protrude from the scope
  • Windage: The horizontal cross-hair of the reticle.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post How To Hunt Game Using Long Range Rifle Scopes appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Best Car Security Gadgets to Look Out For in 2019

7 Jun

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

As preppers our vehicles are important parts of our survival gear, whether needed to get home to family and supplies in an emergency, to retrieve family members or to get out of dodge, we depend upon them. So they should get the same scrutiny as any other piece of survival gear, more considering their relative expense. And their security should be considered as important as that to which we give our homes or our bug out locations. In that vain Wendy Dessler has provided some tips on security equipment to consider for your vehicle.

Buying a new car can be both exciting and extremely stressful. Finding the right vehicle to purchase will require a lot of time and research. Using tools like VINCheck.info to get a vehicle history report is a great idea. With this report, you can see how well a specific vehicle has been taken care of.

Once you have found and purchased a new vehicle, finding ways to make it more appealing and safer should be one of your main concerns. Each year, over $6 billion is lost due to vehicle theft. Instead of having your car burglarized, you need to find great security gadgets to use.

The following are some cool car security gadgets you need to look out for in 2019.

Taking Advantage of Bio-metric Technology

Over the past few years, bio-metric technology has exploded in popularity. These days, everything from door locks to phones can be unlocked with a fingerprint. The best part about using this technology is just how fail safe it is generally, though dirty fingers and dirty touch pads can be a frustration. But so can frantically searching for keys or, in the worst case, being car-jacked. 

If you are looking for a way to secure your vehicle, then getting bio-metric door locks is a great idea and these will be offered on a number of 2020 vehicles. With these locks, you can rest assured that only authorized users can unlock and use your vehicle. Before investing in new bio-metric locks for your vehicle, be sure to do your homework.

Ideally, you want to choose locks that have an app that allows users to alter settings when needed. An easy-to-use interface will make using these locks a breeze. Then again, if you can alter it, so can a hacker.

The Power of Car Shield

Are you looking for a way to bring your car into the 21st century? If so, then consider using the diagnostic and security system known as Car Shield. This system will monitor data like battery life, oil levels and even heat levels to ensure your vehicle is running correctly.

The Car Shield system also doubles as a security system. This means that if your vehicle is burglarized, the system will send an alert to the authorities with the GPS coordinates of your car. With this information, members of law enforcement may be able to catch the criminals trying to gain access to your vehicle.

While you will have to pay a fee to have this type of monitoring, it is worth it. 

Invest in a Vehicle Tracking System

One of the biggest mistakes most car owners make is abiding by the “it will never happen to me” philosophy when it comes to having their vehicle stolen. Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst is the mantra all car owners should live by, something prepper do by nature. This is why having things like a vehicle tracking system installed is vital.

These systems will allow law enforcement to pinpoint exactly where their automobile is in the event it is stolen. These units use GPS technology to offer up the location of a vehicle in a timely manner.

There was an incident a few years ago in Long Beach harbor where a single Lo-Jack system lead police to a shipping container already loaded on a ship about to set sail through the Panama Canal that had 7 other vehicles in the container, total worth of the automobiles was in excess of $2.1 million. 

There are tons of different vehicle tracking systems on the market. Taking the time to weigh the features each one has to offer will help you make the right decision. The time and effort invested in this research will pay off in the end.

Don’t Forget to Add a Kill Switch

Stopping car thieves in their tracks takes a lot of hard work. While having a vehicle tracking system and bio-metric locks is a good idea, there are a variety of other security additions you need to make. For years, car owners have used devices known as kill switches to make it hard for thieves to make off with their prized possession.

A kill switch is an anti-theft device that is mounted onto the car’s electrical system. Newer model vehicles can have their fuel pump and starter shutdown if the electrical current is interrupted. When activated, the kill switch will interrupt a car’s electrical system and make it stop running.

This means you can switch off the car and then activate your GPS tracking system to figure out where it is. Allowing car security professionals to install these systems is imperative. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake during the installation process due to the long-term electrical issues this can cause.

A Good Old Fashioned Steering Wheel Club

If you are looking for a functional and reliable way to keep your car from getting stolen, then a steering wheel club is probably the most affordable option. A club locks in the middle of your steering wheel and extends out on both sides. This device is designed to prohibit car thieves from being able to turn the steering wheel. Using a mix of both traditional and new age car security tools is vital when trying to keep your vehicle safe and sound.

Most thieves will move on to an easier target when they see these. But then again, some are adept at even defeating these proven standards.

Seek Out Some Professional Guidance

Instead of trying to find and install car security gadgets on your own, consulting with experienced professionals is a good idea. These professionals will be able to consider things like your budget and the type of vehicle you have before offering up suggestions.

Be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Best Car Security Gadgets to Look Out For in 2019 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

My Gun Can Beat Up Your Gun

17 May

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Oh boy, another “gun debate”. The extension of the “my mommy can beat up your mommy” challenge from our days at recess in Kindergarten.

And not to worry, the AR vs the AK has been beaten to death of late, and we all have our opinions and our “religion” when it comes to these discussions. That we have them is a testament that there are still alpha-males, and females, and that bodes well for the Republic.

So on a day where the news brings stories of “diversity staffers” at major Universities, the clown car now a clown bus of candidates for 2020, and the battle lines drawn by New York and Virginia being challenged by Alabama and Missouri, I want to look at something NOT electronically delivered.

The 300 Blackout vs the 5.56

The 300 Blackout vs 5.56, while there are often no winners and losers in a gun debate as to each their own when it comes to the art of the pew, what fun is a gun community without a little debate? Ever since the .300 Blackout hit the scene it has been winning over fans of the 5.56. The truth is that 300 Blackout will never fully replace all the functions of the 5.56, particularly when it comes to long range shooting, but the people I know who have made the investment are happy with the result.

It is a painful truth for lovers of the 5.56 that it cannot match some of the unique capabilities of the 300 Blackout, but what would you expect? The Blackout is new and benefits from decades of 5.56 use and refinement. Kinda like being jealous of that kid with the hover-board while your skateboard sits in the corner of your garage. Still works great but you know that Break.com going forward is going to be inundated with videos of people crashing hover-boards as they already have plenty of skateboard mishaps on file. Think of it as “I love scotch and you love bourbon”, so at one level we both like whisky.

Is the 300 Blackout everything you want in a gun, of course not. The 300 Blackout gives you the ability to shoot a larger bullet , similar to what is shot out of the AK-47, straight out of your basic AR compatible platform. You will need a new upper receiver, unless you’ve always wanted to see a major weapon malfunction up close, but you can use your standard AR lower as well as your standard AR mags. Smart.

Silence

In my humble opinion its real advantage is its ability to speak a little softer while delivering the same punch out to about 200 yards. The 300 Blackout is perfectly designed to switch from supersonic to subsonic ammunition with the simple change of a magazine. This type of versatility is key when one might be facing an unknown threat as the bad guys typically don’t like to tell you what they are going to do. If the threat should approach from a distance, then you simply throw on the supersonic ammo. Should you find yourself in a close quarter fight where the report is doing a little damage to your ears then just throw on the subsonic mag. It really is that easy (as long as you aren’t in full John Wicks Mode.)

Its lethality derives from knowing how best to use the bullet in a combat scenario. A 300 Blackout is great for defense and hunting due to its penetration power at the lesser range. Not only will it punch through both Bambi’s father and mother at a couple hundred yards to provide for a tasty dinner, but it will punch through barriers in a fight leaving the bad guy few places to hide. Keep in mind, this does mean that if you plan to get into a firefight in your small apartment with thin walls then this might not be the best choice for your neighbors, the neighbors across the street, their dog sleeping in their back yard, etc. Is there a frangible 300 Blackout round? Why yes there is, thank you Engel’s Mission Specific Ammunition. In any case it does mean that if what you are shooting at doesn’t make a wise choice for cover it’s as good as gone.

In fact, let a bad guy stand behind another bad guy and you might just get one of those rare one bullet double kills you see in the movies or video games. But again, we go back to versatility. If for some reason you find the 300 Blackout not the right tool for the job at hand then just swap it out. Because it was designed to work with the standard AR lower you can simply just throw on the 5.56 upper when it’s time. Then, when the 300 Blackout is called back into the game just swap it back. For the gun enthusiast, the 300 Blackout is a powerful tool and there is no reason not to have it in your inventory.

So, 300 Blackout versus 5.56? We say 300 Blackout, but then again why not both because there is nothing wrong with scotch or bourbon (unless the Scotch is heavy on the peet.) Though that old adage about ammunition availability now, and when the SHTF surely favors the 5.56 and will for a long time to come. But isn’t that why we really debate? To exchange ideas over another pour?

Be safe out there, be steady and always know where your target is and isn’t.

Be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

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HOW TO USE A TORCH FOR PERSONAL DEFENSE

3 May

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: Continuing in the spirit of how others view prepping from a different prospective, an interesting contribution to The Prepper Journal from Stephany Jonson. “Torch” is the British word for flashlight. 

A torch is a simple tool, which is often kept in kitchen cabinets in case of a power outage. Sometimes, it is also stored in cars during camping trips. However, you might be surprised to learn that a torch could be a lifesaving tool which should be kept on hand at all times. Read on to find out why.

What Is a Tactical Torch?

This article doesn’t just focus on the average home torch. In fact, the tactical torch differs from the average torch in that it is much more compact in size, brighter, and is covered with weapon-grade aluminum as a major constituent. It is used primarily by the police force and the military, and is normally combined with weapons to allow for shooting in low light. However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be used by the average person for self-defense.

The Importance of Carrying a Torch

There are numerous situations in which (even if you aren’t in any danger) you will find a torch to be  essential. In fact, the torch is second on the list of items that every man and woman should have on their person, after the pocket knife.

Recently, my car tire punctured on a dark street. It was 2 a.m. and I had to rummage through the storage space at the back of my car to look for my tool kit. Twenty minutes into the struggle, I realized that I had to return to the front storage to get my torch, in order for my search to prove fruitful. If I had a pocket torch, I would have saved myself the trouble and gone back home to my beloved bed to get some much-needed sleep.

Why Torches Are Underrated As A Tool for Defense

If you carry a handgun, you also need a torch in order to identify attackers in low light. Unfortunately, if your locale has firm weapon laws and you are unable to gain access to a handgun, the torch can help you to feel a little more secure.

Here are some ways that torches help you defend yourself:

  • It reveals enemies who use darkness as cover to attack you
  • It shines a bright light on the enemy’s eyes, which will temporarily stun the attacker. Use this as a chance to run or attack
  • Some torches have toothed bezels which can be used to hit attackers very hard in the face, so that you can flee

How to Pick a Torch for Every Situation

Go to any store and you will see an array of torches, which promise this or that feature. “What kind of torch do you need?” and “Which features should it have?” are some of the questions that you might ask yourself. The perfect choice for you depends on how much you are willing to spend, as well as other preferences. 

However, there are some basic features that your tactical torch should have. These include:

Compact Size

For you to carry the torch in your pocket every day, you will need something that is small enough for transport. Pick a torch that’s no bigger than your palm.

At Least 120 Lumens of Light Output

Your torch needs to stun enemies with its brightness. Torches with low light output value won’t have the same effect.

User-Friendly

Torches that are currently on the market promise fancy features such as strobe, SOS, and light switches that can regulate brightness with an on and off switch. Although these features might be helpful, you have to make sure that the torch is easy to use. Hence, when selecting a torch, go for simplicity over complicated features.

Water Resistant

Your torch should be able to help you when it’s pouring outside, and even after falling into water.

Wear Resistant

The material used for the torch should be anodized aluminum. This metal is light but extremely strong, so it lasts for a long time. Moreover, your torch’s body should have ridges to allow for a better grip. An excellent tactical torch should have plastic or rubber enforcement’s. These can be used to hit and momentarily blind the enemy.

LED VS. Incandescent

Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED doesn’t break easily if the torch is dropped, and is more energy efficient. Hence, you spend less on batteries.

How to Safely Move Around In a Dark Space with a Torch

Once you get an inkling of a potential threat lurking nearby under the cover of darkness, you have to know how to move to safety. To achieve this, there are a few steps that you need to follow:

  • Turn the torch on and do a swift inspection of your surrounding environment
  • Move towards the area which you deem to be the safest. This could be the exit if you are inside of a building, or a clear road which leads to street lights and more people
  • Switch off the light and keep moving until you become unsure of which direction to move towards. Then, switch on the torchlight briefly to recognize a new direction. Keeping the light switched on alerts the attacker to your whereabouts, making it more likely that you could get hurt
  • Repeat the steps above until you reach safety.

We advise you to call 911 if you are being stalked, or if you fear that you may be attacked. Avoid situations where you are left alone in the dark. This will give ample opportunity for an attacker to harm you. Keep loved ones or close friends updated of your whereabouts if you must travel alone.

Conclusion

Carrying a tactical torch at all times ensures that you are never deprived of light or your ability to see in situations when you need to most. Hopefully, this article has helped to show you why you need to add this essential tool to your purse or pocket.

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Fact-checking Gun Factoids

26 Feb

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

There’s a number of things that get passed around about firearms, even among shooters, that bear some consideration. Some of them truly deserve their own articles, but meantime, here’s a few that I hear and see pretty regularly passed around on the range, in gun stores, on forums, and in articles and videos.

Brandishing A Gun Scares Off Bad Guys

I tend to brush off legalities of self-defense, because if I’m pulling a gun, it’s the potential of life or death anyway and I’m willing to face repercussions – as well as potential retribution attempts from the deceased’s family/friends/community.

However, for those who like the “flash it” theory of scaring off would-be thieves or possible assailants, do be aware that in some jurisdictions, it’s illegal. In some, without actual threat of violence predicating it, it’s considered assault with a deadly weapon.

As far as the sound of a pump gun or facing a gaping maw sending bad guys running in fear … don’t count on it.

Before we pull a gun, we need to be ready to use it. If it’s not worth killing or dying over – killing, because “shoot to wound” is another fallacy – that gun needs to stay in our holster, vehicle, closet, etc.

When we pull a gun, or even print or gesture a willingness to shoot, we have just escalated the level of violence.

This puts whoever we’re facing in a high-level threat situation. There are three responses to threats: Fight, Flight, & Freeze.

Only one of those three actually leads to a result we want if we’re trying to scare our bad guy into leaving.

Not myth. Not supposition. Not conjecture. Not projecting. For-real 100% documented solid fact: “Fight” is a common response when people feel threatened, whether they “deserve it” or not.

It’s why higher-level defensive shooting training actually includes retention and disarming tactics. It’s also why the upper-level daily gun-toting professionals spend so much time learning to de-escalate a situation, and avoid escalations in threat – even in the military.

There’s not really much statistical chance you actually land on the loaded cartridge in Russian Roulette. Most of us still wouldn’t risk it.

Don’t risk it by counting on a show of force dispelling trouble, either.

Pulling or intentionally drawing attention to a firearm should be a last resort.

It should never be done with the expectation that it will scare somebody away and that will be that, all done, no bloodshed or screaming today.

If you’re not willing to kill or be killed, and willing to expose family and bystanders to crossfire, right then, over whatever the (possible) offense is, leave it be.

(Same goes for loading a gun with rock salt, powder bombs, bean bags, blanks, rubber bullets/shot, etc. We have to be able and willing to back it up, or we need to leave it alone.)

Preppers Must Get A Battle Rifle … and, Soon/Early

Only if you’re planning to ride into battle. Even then, only if the most-likely scenarios are already covered.

For many, a defensive pistol is likely to be more practical and thus a higher priority. We’re more likely to have it on us, every day or End of Days, because it’s lighter, smaller, and easier to carry and work while carrying.

If it’s not on us when we need it, whatever we’re doing, wherever we are, we might as well spend the money and skills development elsewhere.

A shotgun is another practical option, every day or End of Days, for home defense, walking into the wilds if that’s the plan, urban combat, property defense, and a wide range of hunting possibilities even with a shorty designed for working corners and close quarters.

If we do feel like a battle rifle is a biggie, try to get one with the accuracy to cross purpose into hunting, whether it’s new high-speed poly or an old surplus we can hack and chop to 1/2 or 2/3 the weight.

Some of the hunting rifles (and surplus bolt guns) have reasonable conversions to detachable mags and extended mags, and can fill a lot of the battle rifle roles if we really want to go that road.

Women & Small People Should Get 20-gauge Shotguns

Not necessarily. A shotgun’s action type and weight, the specific model and even era/age of that model, and the shell(s) loaded are going to play equal or bigger roles in experienced recoil.

My 1960-1970’s and 2010 break-action 20-gauges feel the exact same as my 12-gauge 1931 Model 97 and 1980’s 870 and my nephew’s 2015 Maverick. My 12-gauge 1990’s-2000’s Nova shoots lighter than any of them for bird shot, but with goose, buck, or slug loads – big grrrr-girl or not – oh, ow.

I’ve played on other people’s much more expensive auto loaders 12-gauges that feel like total whispers even with those goose and buck loads and slugs, and others that are so light they go back to the “hell no” of the Nova and ’97.

The tradeoff in shell variety, pellets-per-shell, range, and sourcing easy-to-upgrade platforms outweighs the differences for most adults.

We can have stocks fitted with pads, weigh stocks with lead shot or fishing weights, and choose lower-recoil shells to reduce experienced recoil. There are some particularly slim, petite people who would still do better with a child’s model in 20-ga., but if it’s at all manageable, the 12-gauge is a better choice.

(This lady breaks down action selection really well here http://norcalcazadora.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-choose-shotgun-for-hunting.html, and is also a proponent of 12’s for women, which she details elsewhere.)

Revolvers Are Safer/Better For Self-Defense Carry Than Semi-autos

There’s numerous arguments to this theme.

One is that because you have to cock the hammer of a revolver, it’s less likely to be fired accidentally/prematurely – as opposed to “just” pulling the trigger for a pistol.

I assume the ones who propose such have never heard of double-action revolvers or considered the possibility of an exposed/external hammer being cocked by a scuffle or by clothing or hands in the draw phase.

(A gun is a gun is a gun and should be handled and treated with respect – if only two rules are followed, there would never be an accidental shooting.)

A second is that a revolver is faster/easier to deploy in self-defense because you have to work the slide of a semi-auto.

That threw me for a while. Turns out, it stems from an apparently not-uncommon resistance to holstering a pistol that is ready to fire. That’s a training and familiarity issue, and ignores the many CCW/W&C civilians, security guards, cops, and military who do it daily with no issues.

It also ignores the possibility of holstering a ready-to-use double-action revolver.

If you’re not ready (read: comfortable enough) to carry hot, you’re not ready to carry in public, period. Train to build the confidence in safe handling.

There’s also a few that stem from the likelihood of mechanical failures, particularly in cold weather.

Since Arctic Circle cops and military keep semi-autos working in some seriously gnarly conditions, we can pretty well write off the latter.

The former is, actually, more of a risk. The more moving parts something has, the more likely it is to have a failure in one of those parts.

On the other hand, if your firearm is (reasonably) clean, checked for wear – just like we should be checking springs and pins in our revolvers – and you’re using the usual ammo (1911s, .22LRs), you should be okay.

It’s only “more” of a risk, not “risky”. We also risk more driving to work in the fog and super bright days than “normal” days, and buying supermarket greens instead of growing our own.

*I in no way hate revolvers and think they actually have some specific better-best circumstances … just not safety or reliability vs. semis.

Persisting Myths

These are just a few of the most common and most persistent “truths” that get passed around.

One of my other absolute favorites is that modern revolvers should still sit on an empty chamber (there’s a safety bar to prevent dropping/slapping causing the hammer to send the firing pin forward). The newly spreading insistence that every gun should “fit” each shooter is another head-scratcher, given how many of us own a standard-stock 10/22s, served with fixed-stock rifles (and still do), and swap or inherited firearms that perform well.

I also love the apparent belief that at household distances shotguns never miss, and the near-on “one shot one kill” mental image so many ascribe to combat and defensive situations (versus police hit rates of <50% and the averages of 10 K to 250 K shots fired per each enemy KIA in various modern war eras and guerrilla actions).

There are plenty of others out there. I’d rather not get into the political-oriented idiocies or caliber debates, but if you have a favorite myth that involves ownership, use, and safety, feel free to throw it in the comments.

It won’t step on my toes at all – I’d far rather have mistruths dispelled than have them linger.

If you have a question about some truth that gets passed around about firearms, throw that in the ring, too. You are almost assuredly not the only one with that question.

And I promise you, bottom of my heart, from behind the counter and standing in front of classes, unless you start with “but I…” and get “Red Dawn” and “Call of Duty” in the same sentence, it is not even in the running for the most ridiculous legitimate question ever heard. Promise.

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Finding the Best Rifle Scope: Answer These Questions

21 Feb

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

A sponsored post from Scopes Field to The Prepper Journal about how to choose the best rifle scope. Their take on taking some of the guess work out of the process. guessing. Their step-by-step scope guide you’ll need to read.

What is the best scope for you? Nobody really knows because everyone has different uses for a rifle scope. Some people hunt in the outback of Australia while others hunt in subzero, arctic temperatures.

Different environments require a different kind of rifle scope. So, there’s no such thing as ‘the best rifle scope in the world.’ It doesn’t exist. Sorry.

However, there’s the best rifle scope for you. But…at a cost. To find that secret answer you must be willing to sacrifice hours reading through very technical, dry jargon about objective lens diameter, parallax adjustment, MRAD, and mountains of other data.

Is that how you want to spend your time? Of course not! But if you want to make an informed decision that is exactly what most of us have to do. Come on, one should be shooting — and we hope the information below gets you shooting sooner as we’ve created a shortcut with a to-the-point, simple guide on how to choose the best rifle scope for you.

Read it. It explains everything you need to know about scopes. Read that and you’ll be more knowledgeable than 90% of scope users. Isn’t that great?

With that kind of knowledge, you can now cut through all the technical jargon and finally find out…

With the scope guide knowledge, you now know the answer to this question: it depends on your rifle scope needs. Some only target shoot while others need it for big game hunting in extreme environment.

So, ask yourself: What do you plan on using the rifle scope for?

Because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all for rifle scopes, which is why we’re going to break it down, step-by-step, to find out…

What do you use your rifle scope for?

To find a good scope for your needs, we’re going to break down the most important scope basics like:

  • Usage
  • Shooting Distance
  • Magnification and Objective Lens
  • Fixed Vs. Variable Scope
  • Preferences

By the end, you’ll know exactly what kind of qualities to look for in a scope. And more importantly, you’ll make the right decision.

So, let’s start off with the most important question, your…

Rifle Scope Usage

Do you use your rifle primarily for homestead defense and stalking game? If so, refer to 1A below.

Do you use your rifle primarily for stalking large game and hunting in closed landscapes like forests and mountains? If so, refer to 2A below.

Do you use your rifle primarily for hunting in large, open landscapes like deserts and fields? If so refer to 2A below.

Shooting Distance

1A. Do you shoot up to 100 yards? If so, refer to 1B below.

2A. Do you shoot up to 200 yards? If so, refer to 2B below.

3A. Do you shoot 200+ yards? If so, refer to 3B below.

Magnification and Objective Lens

1B. Use a scope power (or magnification) between 1-4x and >28mm objective lens diameter.

2B. Use a scope power (or magnification) between 5-8x and 30-44mm objective lens diameter.

3B. Use a scope power (or magnification) between 9-12x and 50mm objective lens diameter and up.

Now you know what kind of power and diameter to look for, the final question we constantly get asked is which is better…

Fixed Power Scope Vs. Variable Power Scope?

The answer to this question is dependent on your usage. If your scope needs fit within 1B, you should only buy a fixed power scope. It’s cheap, reliable and gets you straight to the range.

But if you’re in an unpredictable environment that requires you to be versatile, then definitely go for a variable power scope. Sure, it costs more but it’s very versatile.

Yet, at the end of the day, what matters is what works for you. If I had to choose one type of power scope, it would definitely be a fixed power scope. It’s cheaper, faster to sight in, and allows you to invest more in the scope’s build.

With the scope basics out of the way, we can move onto the last part, your…

Scope’s Preferences

This is the part that you have to decide. Do you need extra scope coats due to the extreme weather conditions? Or do you prefer a specific reticle?

That’s the easy part because you know what you’re looking for. However, that’s the key — knowing what you’re looking for.

That’s the hard part, but at my site Scopes Field we make choosing the best rifle scope for you super easy (check out our best scope for AR-15). If you ever have a scope’s question, come on over!

Because, let’s be honest, when you’re buying scopes this costly, being well-informed is the difference between a good buy and buyers remorse. Don’t suffer the latter.

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Gun Buying Considerations Guide

26 Dec

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

First off, I want to acknowledge that there is no one right gun – not for everyone and not for every task. Firearms diversified for a reason. I’ll touch on some specific types, calibers, and platforms here, but mostly just as examples. This isn’t a “buy this” article of 5/7/10/14 “must-have” guns for preppers. This focuses on general factors and options to consider.

For people on a budget, working through a mindful selection process when buying a gun is even more important than others. It’s less likely they’ll be adding to either their arsenal or ammo stockpile as much or as quickly as those with more disposable income.

It also applies to beginners and preppers who face encumberments like regulations, limited range access, and unsupportive spouses/housemates (of either preparedness or firearms).

Really, though, all of us can benefit from weighing pro-con’s and some general checkpoints before we pull the trigger on a purchase.

“Purpose-driven”

Our specific shooting plays an enormous role in how much gun we need. It’s a huge topic on its own, one that deserves the focus of an article. The factors here apply to any firearm, for any purpose. Along with them, though, keep the most-likely and immediate-need use(s) in mind. (Preexisting armory and human resource capabilities/limitations, too.)

Homegrown v. Import Ammo

Some foreign ammo is inexpensive enough to buy and ship in bulk, so whether or not it’s ever on brick-and-mortar store shelves might be irrelevant. Flip side: What if we have to leave/lose our stockpile? How easy will it be to source that caliber during grabs and “after”?

There’s no one right answer. Plenty have gone with AK, SKS, Mosin-Nagant’s, and others. Plenty lean homegrown/NATO. Personally, I love my ugly hack-chop sporterized 8mm Mauser K98/98k Frankengun … but I love her as a hunting, fun-fire, and “some situations” home-defense rifle, not a bugout platform.

Ammo origins is just a consideration we need to weigh.

Common Calibers

There are two big draws to common calibers, and a drawback. Bad news: The most common calibers are the most likely to disappear and skyrocket in price during grabs. Good news: Common calibers are generally less expensive during “normal” times than new and less-common ammo, and they typically come in a wide range of off-the-shelf loads and bullets/molds and powders. The variety gives us a lot of versatility.

Slightly Less-Common Calibers

These are the ones that are more immune to the gun grabs, as well as to lowered availability when imports and manufacturers refocus and go all-balls after the NATO and AK rounds disappear and jump in price.

They’re common enough to already be on shelves, and common enough that in any group of 15-20 hunters, CCW’ers, and sports shooters we’re likely to find at least one carrying them. They’re just not as popular (or, not anymore) so they’re available longer.

If grabs and post-event resupply are a concern, remember not to get too carried away with finding an “other” caliber. We may want to avoid the grabbed/gone calibers, but we also want to avoid something super oddball that isn’t on shelves or belts routinely at all.

Flexible Calibers

Some calibers are continuously upgraded and tweaked by cartridge manufacturers, increasing our versatility. For instance, check out the range of shot shells now available for center fire pistol calibers (and some rifle). #12 and #9 shot shells are most common, but other sizes are out there, such as #4 – a nice, multi-function pest, small game, and even defensive round.

Some calibers are just all-around workhorses, though, and have been “forever”.

There is a 12-gauge round for everything – punch body armor or a coolant reservoir past a grill using a full-saboted rifle bullet, hunt anything, make doorknobs disappear without endangering anyone past them, offer LTL interrupters/distractions, guide rescuers with flares, and for-real throw the confetti for the after party.

I don’t think of .30-06 as a ridge-to-ridge antelope caliber (more ditch-to-ditch, heavy brush and cornfield stubble), but there’s nothing in North America I can’t hunt with a factory-shipped load, from prairie dog to bear.

Even a .22LR semi-auto leaves some options with standard ammo and pellets, and if we check the gun specs, some really nice zingers. Bolt, lever, and revolver guns can take advantage of more options yet.

*The basic 10/22 and S&W 22A willingly run almost anything (although neither will fully chamber the three sub-sonics I stock), but many .22LR semi-autos, especially pistols, are picky about ammo. The most-common fails are in generating enough force to cycle completely and feed refusals.

Versatile Platforms

There’s all kinds of versatility – chamber inserts for additional calibers, dual-caliber double-barrels, even guns that share magazines, sometimes across a wide range. Some are quick switches to change calibers, and some pop out of the box ready to shoot multiple calibers. That versatility increases our options – especially the latter two.

Beyond the 5.56/.223 and .308/7.62 compatibility, some AR and Steyr AUG platforms have simple conversion kits and-or let us change the upper and mags to go between those two/four, .22LR, and pistol calibers (and others, but remember affordability/accessibility and primary purpose during caliber selection.)

Similarly, a revolver with switch-out cylinders for .22LR and .22 Mag/WMR gives us a lot of options, especially as a hunting or bugout sidearm that lets us avail ourselves of super-quiet primer-only sub-sonics while retaining a harder-hitting, further-distance caliber.

Then there are rifles, shotguns and handguns that let us go between calibers without any conversions or swaps.

That includes firearms that accept .45 Long Colt cartridges and .410 bore shells – slugs or pellets – and some that add .454 Casull. The .410 opens up a lot of options alone, from the off-the-shelf rounds to the inserts for other pistol calibers.

*2.5” 410 adapter inserts are better than the shorter .45LC inserts for .22LR, but they’re still not accurate enough for hunting even when you precisely, consistently align them in the chamber/cylinder.

The .45LC is also fairly versatile. There are some factory-manufactured self-defense sizzlers, medium-large game hunting loads, and Big 4 shot and #9 as well as snake shot/window sill bird shot. If we reload our own, our options increase further still with .45 ACP bullets.

Rifles and revolvers for .357 can handle .38 Special without any changes. That lets us readily adapt ammo loads for practice, sports, shooters with recoil sensitivity, self-defense personnel rounds for both penetration and spreading, #4 shot cartridges, rounds that can handle glass, and rounds applicable to small, medium, and even some large game.

Growing Guns

No, I’m not talking about the water-on-gremlin effect that takes over once we enter the gun game. I’m talking about selecting a platform that can evolve with us – our skills, our desired uses, even our family members.

We want a gun that, if we need or want, can take a rail without much issue, for either red-dot optics or magnified scopes, easily accepts a sling, and gives us the option of a pistol grip or shortening the stock and using a buffer pad. Customization’s become more numerous, easier, and less expensive with one of the platforms that’s been around for a while and retained popularity.

It applies to caliber, too. Especially if we budget hard, we don’t want to limit ourselves too much with a caliber that’s too much as we age, or too hard for family to use. However, we also want to watch for excessive limitations in range and effectiveness.

Magazine Compatibility

When we’re making our firearm selections, the ability to source mag replacements and toss reloads to partners should weigh in there (looking extra-hard at you, H&K AR’s). Being able to upgrade to reliable, hard-use magazines like Chip McCormick or Wilson Combat can weigh high, too.

Action & Feed Type

Action is bottom of the list for a reason. Need for semi-auto and detachable-magazine speeds is purpose driven. For slow, aimed hunting and some DMR/over-watch work, it’s irrelevant.

For some of the exceptions, if you can reload it quickly (stripper clip vs. either type of tube mag; swing cylinder vs. loading-chute revolver), you can practice enough to close and eliminate the gap.

Ease of operation, ease of maintenance, functioning “dirty”, resilience to hard knocks, and the checkpoints above are each more important than action type.

So is total cost. If you can’t get to a range or afford practice ammo and-or training, among others, the gun isn’t going to be much use when it’s needed.

True & Full Costs

There’s the initial cost of a gun. Then there’s cost for training ammo so we develop muscle memory. Some of that can be accomplished with snap caps – more and less effectively by platform – or a laser. Even so, eventually, we do need to get the barrel dirty.

*Practice round tip: Don’t buy round-nose or wad-cutter practice rounds based on what’s cheap or what has the tightest group. Select the one that shoots the most like our pick hunting and self-defense rounds.

That means some range time. Maybe we already have our own, or we’re scrounging backstops or paying for a rental lane/membership.

We’ll need to get it dirty with periodic maintenance practice, too – more often if it’s a platform that presents a stoppage with every trigger pull using those snap caps (semi-automatics, versus lever guns, pumps, bolt guns, and revolvers). So, more ammo and more range time.

We need something to keep ammo and a light in for creak-in-the-night guns, but we can usually fill that need from stuff already in the house. Even good slings aren’t overly expensive or they, too, can be DIY/upcycle/repurposed projects.

For a handgun, we’ll usually and eventually need holsters – holsters, plural, because we rarely find “it” on the first try, and, what we’re doing is likely to change our wear of a sidearm.

Plus we’ll want our prepper stockpile of purpose-driven ammo, and enough extra that we can keep shooting through the next ammo grab without eyeing that stash.

Other costs that could add to the total are stripper or speed clips, spare and better magazines (especially pricey factory-only mags), and cleaning kits.

Knowing what we’re really looking at spending can help us decide what gun we can afford.

Firearm Selection

There are plenty of opinions on the “perfect” gun, but we’re all different, with different family/group considerations and different daily and emergency circumstances. Our firearm choices should reflect those differences. Decide on the highest-priority gun based on your most-likely uses and needs, and the factors above that matter most.

Work the true costs. It may mean returning to the starting block, and that’s okay. Make the effort to find a best-fit model for you. It’ll pay off in the long run.

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MIL vs MOA: Understanding The Difference in Scope Measurements

5 Dec

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

When the military standardizes particular ammo calibers, the civilian world usually catches on. Although it was not made as a military round, the 6.5 Creedmoor chambering suddenly becomes very popular in the long-range shooting community and thus the quest for the perfect 6.5 Creedmoor Scope gained considerable interest among competition shooters and hunters.

While a few decades ago, “long-range” was considered distances of 400 to 800 yards, today those ranges are well beyond 1,000 yards.  Currently, more and more target shooters and long-range hunters skew towards specific rifles chambered in an adequate caliber and equipped with specially designed optics featuring more precise ballistic reticles.

For a better understanding of the difference between these two terms, let’s explain their names and roles in precision marksmanship.

With a growing presence of those long and mid-range-capable cartridges and more affordable precision rifles, the conversation between long-range shooters lingers around MIL vs MOA.

Actually, you can’t really go wrong with either.

Until the first decade of 21st century, the Minutes of Angle (or more precisely “minute of arc”) were the only accepted units of measure for riflescopes and gun accuracy among North American hunters and shooters.

Somewhere between the years 2005-2006, that measuring method was followed by the advent of milliradians (MIL). Factors that contributed to the spread of a new angular unit of measure were influenced by the military standardizing on the MIL system and the decision of many optics manufacturers to focus on MIL-based systems (milliradians).

As said, both angular measurements are created for measuring small angles to compensate for the effects of Earth’s gravity and wind deflection with an MOA as a finer unit of adjustment. On the other hand, a reticle with 1 MOA hash marks is not as fine as a rifle scope with 0.2-mil lines in it.

A True MOA represents a 1/60th of one degree that subtends to 1.047″ at 100 yards but for simplicity’s sake, lot of shooters simply round that figure down to 1-inch at 100 yards.

With even some riflescopes factory-calibrated for Shooter’s MOA, this standard known as S-MOA would admittedly have been inaccurate, especially if we know that extra 0.047 inch matters more than ever when modern rifle/ammo combinations allow for shooting well beyond 1,000 yards.

Since angles operate proportionally, that MOA value increases with distance, so at 200 yards one MOA equals 2-inches, 300 yards is 3-inches and so on. At 1,000 yards the angle of one True MOA translates to 10.47-inches or 10-inches rounded.

On the other side, MIL is representing 3.6-inches at 100 yards or mil based scope calibrated for 1/10th increments, each 10th of a mil will equal .36” at 100 yards.

Being the same measure of an angle like MOA, MIL values would increase proportionally with longer yardage. Therefore, at 200 yards, 1 mil equals 7.2-inches, at 500 yards, one mil equals 18”, and at 1,000 yards 1 mil equals 36”.

The table below gives you a quick preview of adjustments for 1 MOA and MIL

S-MOA True MOA 1/10 MIL 1 MIL
100 Yards 1 inch 1.047” 0.36” 3.6″
200 Yards 2 inch 2.094” 0.72” 7.2”
300 Yards 3 inch 3.141” 1.08” 10.8”
600 Yards 6 inch 6.283” 2.16” 21.6
700 Yards 7 inch 7.330” 2.52” 25.2”
800 Yards 8 inch 8.377” 2.88” 28.8”
900 Yards 9 inch 9.424” 3.24” 32.4
1000 Yards 10 inch 10.471” 3.6” 36”

 

While both units represent measurements of an angle within a circle, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding them. One is that “Mils” stands for “military” which is not true, as it is short for milliradians and represents 1/1,000th of a radian. And a radian is an angular unit of measure commonly referred to as the metric measurement and in the scope industry it is expressed in 1/1000th parts or a milliradian.

Many of the high-end optics (riflescopes and spotter scopes) are made in a MILS standard, but for the sake of truth, mil is not exclusively a metric measurement and can be used with both the metric and imperial system.

Just as a side note, the math remains a little easier for those who know the metric system as the converting from MIL to MOA math formula can be difficult. If you are still trying to use the MIL system to do range estimation in yards, you may end up with using strange numbers and constants like 3.6″ and 27.778 to account for the necessary conversions between the metric and imperial systems. Adoption of the metric system worldwide:

Since most countries outside the U.S. have switched entirely to the metric system, their scoped shooters will find milliradians much easier to use and to do the math.

To take a lead from Lowlight at SnipersHide.com who thinks “outside of the disciplines like Bench-rest Shooting and F Class, Minutes of Angle should be retired. We have bastardized the unit to the point people have no idea a true MOA is not 1″ at 100 yards, or 10″ at 1,000, but 1.047″ and 10.47″ at 1,000. If you round this angle, you create errors at the longer distances. We shoot at longer ranges, 5% is a lot more than you think.”

5% is a lot more than you think at the longer ranges and most American’s chose to stick with the easier math, and compensate with their practiced “Kentucky Windage” at the longer ranges. I certainly can’t present any proof that they are wrong other than this chart from 5 years ago with just a small sampling of competitive shooters:

Lowlight makes the point further on that “a reticle with 1 MOA hash marks is not as fine as a scope with .2 or even .1 (MIL) lines. You now have to break up an already fine 1 MOA into quarters; vs. already having reticles with .1 mils.”

A general rule is most people would prefer to use the one with the measuring system that they are comfortable and familiar with, however, as Americans, we should really start thinking in the angular unit of measure you have in your rifle scope, unless you have some bucks set aside to change the scope out. Considering the “Milrad” or “MIL”, as a completely foreign concept designed for the metric system, we have the potential to be limiting ourselves at the longer distances to maintain our comfort level.

As a prepper who believes that the SHTF, TEOTWAWKI is a real possibility we need to plan accordingly, and 10.47″ at 1,000 yards is not really acceptable considering the changing landscape of rounds and rifles and scopes designed to get the maximum performance out of them.

The is especially true of the prepper who is taking a real assessment of his or hers abilities and value as they age. There comes a point when you realize that you really can’t mimic your Call of Duty avatar, that climbing walls, kicking in doors, clearing urban spaces and repelling behind enemy lines is now for others, so you are left with developing others skills to make yourself of value. Long range accuracy is one of the first things that comes to mind if you want to stay in the fight.

Therefore, the U.S. hunters commonly use Minutes of Angle to quantify a rifle’s accuracy, because it operates cohesively with inches and yards. By some surveys, most of U.S. hunters and newer target shooters lean towards MOA, while around 90% of the pros use MIL based optics.

Of course, it does not mean that the MIL system is better; it just means MIL riflescopes are more popular for precision rifles and those looking for a 6.5 Creedmoor Scope. With more product options, MIL based scopes and reticles are on the rise because Mils are much more intuitive than an MOA-based system and much easier to master despite the metric system.

Whatever you decide, the best advice will be not to mix reticle and turrets (dials) of different units, because that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

For example, your reticle is a tape measure. In case you are using a mil-based scope, a distance between dots or hash marks represents a height of 3.6 inches on your target at 100 yards. If you are looking through MOA–based scope, the distance between these dots shows a height of 1.047 inches on your target.

Next step will be to adjust the cross-hair by turning the turrets. If you owe a reticle/turret system that is either MIL/MIL or MOA/MOA, you can quickly dial adjustment for a rapid shot.

However, if you have purchased a scope (usually an entry-level) with a Mildot reticle (MIL based) and the turret adjustments in 1/4 MOA clicks, doing the math in the field will indeed prove challenging. There is a lot more to sighting in a rifle at 1,000 + yards than meets the eye.

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Why You Can’t Rely on a Cheap Safe

29 Nov

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: An article from TheSimplePrepper.com to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share then enter into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies

Think of the most valuable and irreplaceable things you keep around your home – old family photographs, important documents like birth certificates, a backup of your computer’s hard drive and the lifetime of work it contains, stockpiles of cash for a rainy day, and even precious jewelry and family heirlooms, as well as things you need to control, such as firearms. Consider this, what would happen to these possessions in the event of a burglary, fire, or flood?  Are you prepared?

Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to protecting your valuables at home – a home safe. High-end safes are designed to not only survive the destruction of your home, but to protect whatever you store inside them from being ruined or severely damaged.

While you may already have a safe, it’s worth taking a closer look at how it will stand up in the event of a burglary or a major disaster. Ideally, you want a safe that can protect against nearly anything that you could imagine happening to your home – unfortunately, most standard safes are not able to protect against capable burglars, fires, or floods. Check out what you should consider when investing in a safe so that you can rest easy knowing that your irreplaceable possessions are protected no matter what happens.

What to Consider When Protecting Against Burglary

The first thing that many people think of protecting against when considering a safe is burglary. Protecting your valuables against burglars requires more than just a basic fireproof safe – unlike a fire, burglars are able to actively pick the locks on cheap safes and can even drill their way through a safe that is not thick enough to provide security. A common misconception is that hidden safes – like those that are placed into your floor or a wall – will provide protection against burglars. However, these safes are often cheaply designed and will rapidly open up for thieves if they are discovered (not to mention most wall and floor safes are not fire resistant).

Instead, the best way to judge a safe is to look at its protection rating, which gives an idea of how long a safe can withstand an attack for. These ratings range from withstanding mere seconds of attack by thieves to protecting against sustained attacks with tools and torches for up to 30 minutes. Be sure to purchase a safe from a trusted manufacturer, and when possible be sure to look for a UL label indicating the safe has undergone a standard testing procedure to ensure safety.

The exact level of protection you need depends on a couple factors. The most important is whether burglars will be working against time while they try to pick your safe. If you live far out in the countryside and don’t have a home security system, even the most secure safe is vulnerable to an hours-long attack by thieves. On the other hand, if your home is armed with an alarm system and you live close to the local police station, you may be able to spend less money on a less secure safe. In addition, consider the total value of everything you plan to store in your safe. Obviously, the higher the value the more secure a safe you should opt for. Also be sure to consult with your home insurance company to see if they have specific requirements to insure the contents of your safe.

What to Consider When Protecting Against Fire

The ability to protect irreplaceable valuables against a fire that turns everything else in your home to ashes is one of the best reasons to invest in a high-quality safe. Not every safe is resistant to fire, and not every fire resistant safe is designed equally – which is why, if you want to be sure that your valuables will be there when you return to your home after a disaster, it’s worth spending extra on a safe that you can trust.

When choosing a safe to protect against fires, there are a few essential features to look for. First, opt for a safe with a minimum of one hour rated resistance time against fire. Even fire resistant safes are only able to keep their internal temperature down for so long, and this time decreases if your safe is close to where the fire started – the hottest area of the burn. Second, look for safes that come with a fire seal around the door. These seals are designed to expand when they heat up, keeping out flames and smoke as well as any water that gets on the safe during firefighting efforts. Plus, fire seals have the added advantage that they will keep out moisture on a day-to-day basis, which reduces the chance of steam forming inside the safe during a fire and ruining important documents.

Another thing to consider is that sensitive electronics – like a computer hard drive – and old photographs have different requirements than documents and money. These media are highly sensitive to moisture inside the safe during a fire since some amount of steam is almost certain to form. Although safes specifically designed to keep electronics and media safe by keeping their internal temperature even lower than a standard fire-proof safe are available, they are typically not secure against burglars. The best option then is to store a small, secondary electronics safe inside your primary safe.

(Editor’s Note: Did you know that if you work with classified materials from the U.S. Government and have an approved safe in your office, that storing your personal valuables, like gold coins or jewelry or cash in it is a violation of Federal Law? Even your EDC items like your purse or wallet stored in the safe during work hours is punishable by fine and imprisonment. This is because the addition of monetary valuables to the classified materials increases the likelihood that the classified materials will be compromised as a result of an attempted theft. Know before you go – to prison.) 

What to Consider When Protecting Against Flood

While many fire resistant safes are also resistant to flooding, especially if they have a fire seal around the door, it’s important to double-check. In the case that you cannot find a fire and water resistant safe that fits your needs, another option is to place a waterproof box inside your safe. However, make sure that whatever waterproof material you opt for is able to withstand the high temperatures that your safe’s interior is likely to reach during a fire (typically 350 degrees).

What to Consider When Protecting Against EMP

Although not the disaster that is most likely to befall your home, it’s worth considering the possibility of an electromagnetic pulse when choosing a safe. After all, the last thing you want after an emergency is to return to your home only to find that you cannot access your valuables because the electronic combination lock has been disabled. To protect against this, high-end safes typically come with either an EMP-safe electronic lock or a redundant manual and electronic locking system. For valuable electronics stored in your safe consider using Faraday bags.

Make Sure You Consider Your Top Threats When Choosing a Home Safe

Investing in a safe is one of the best ways to protect your irreplaceable valuables in the event of a disaster, but it’s important to remember that not all safes are created equally. When choosing a safe, it is well worth the added investment to choose a model that will protect its contents against most anything that can happen.

BIO: The Simple Prepper is a survival blog devoted to educating the casual Prepper on topics such as disaster preparedness, emergency survival, prepper kits, self-reliance, and personal defense.  Our mission is to make prepping easy and fun! 

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A Hunker In Place Cooking Option

23 Nov

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Looking for a great way to do two things at once, checkout a great prepper stove and heat up some Thanksgiving leftovers, all without making another mess in the kitchen. Thanks to the people at ecozoom who sent me their Zoom Versa outdoor wood/charcoal stove I get to do just that.

This is one substantial, solid outdoor stove that I tried with wood at home a few days ago, and the cheap pot you see in the picture below, and it was quick, efficient and best of all, smokeless with the seasoned wood I used. They recommend cast iron pots and pans and for good reasons. While excellent at heat distribution they also require the least amount of cleanup, and they mesh well with the stoves cast iron heating surface.

The makers list it as “light & portable” and at 15.6 lbs. I will leave that to your discretion. What impressed me most was the absence of smoke from the wood fire and efficiency of the combustion as it produced a lot of heat. The lower door functions as an air-flow adjustment allowing some management of the heat level being produced. This and the type and amount of fuel give any cook good control of the heating temperature.

One of the things I especially like is that it has a small, almost undetectable footprint. Unlike cooking over an open fire, or a gas or charcoal grill, cooking can be done efficiently and without leaving a long-lasting footprint (of flame, smoke or odors) for persons unwanted to smell, see and zero in on.

If you look close at the above picture you can see the two chambers which are employed when cooking with either wood or charcoal and this video does an excellent job of demonstrating the operation with the different bio-fuels.

The cast iron top is solid, excellent at facilitating the distributing of the heat from the fuel and can support large cooking pans and pots. The handles are insulated and far enough from the surface to be used to move the stove, even in the middle of the cooking process, should that suddenly become necessary though I am certain the makers don’t recommend this, but, in a hunkered down situation where avoiding detection is job number one, they work.

The company that produces them is very much a model of corporate responsibility, I am impressed with their commitment to helping others, take a look at the “Impact” link on their home page and their Donate A Stove program. As preppers we gravitate towards those who actually walk the walk. Available on eartheasy.com as well as on Amazon, I think every prepper should invest in this excellent product for either hunkering down at home in a SHTF, TEOTWAWKI or just getting through the critical first 72 hours after a natural disaster, or as necessary equipment if you have to bug out. I am adding them to my resources page.

As for this particular stove well, it has found a home, and in the future it will be watched in envy by my less efficient charcoal grill. The real selling point is the efficiency of the burn and as such, something that will be at home, getting me out of the blazing Southwestern sun in summer as efficiently as possible. And it will going with me when I Jeremiah Johnson it in the near future.

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