Sunday, March 12, 2023


Interesting factoid: There are approximately fifty leopards in Africa for every lion.

It is significantly easier to estimate the population of lions than it is to estimate the population of leopards. Lions lounge about in the open. They make noise. Leopards are stealthy and secretive and exploit all three dimensions (they like vertical).

Lions are social. Leopards are solitary.

Male lions will kill cubs to bring lionesses back into heat so they can breed. Leopards, not so much.

Prides of lions eat a lot. A single leopard can eek out a living on poorer land than needed to support a pride of lions....much poorer land.

It is easy to over-estimate lion populations and underestimate leopard populations.

Interesting not-a-recession Mr Biden

Wake me up when they decide to call our current economic, $8.50 for a frozen pizza situation a recession. Denial only makes it worse.

Hoary "survival" debates

Well, yes. Some discussions have long-whiskers and are boring. But they are not boring to people who haven't been in-the-loop. I think more and more people are feeling the pain of the dissonance between what authorities are saying and what they are observing with their very own eyes,  ears and wallets.


The "best" survival firearm is the one you have in your hands and have ammo for.

Even a gun that jams is usually capable of getting off one shot.

Beats throwing rocks or writing a harshly-worded memo

Fit-and-finish is over-rated. Ask the Nazi about the quality of the arms used to repel them at Stalingrad.

Something similar to this could be cranked out with a simple punch-and-die. 460 to the pound of lead
A case can be made for almost any firearm, even a flint-lock muzzleloader or an air-rifle. Both of those have advantages after the supply of ammo runs dry. Neither one needs primers or smokeless powder.

The standard survival firearm  "battery" or portfolio includes a shotgun, a rimfire, a handgun and a centerfire rifle. If you could only have one then the shotgun is the most versatile but the ammo is heavy and relatively expensive. The second most versatile is the rimfire and its ammo is very lightweight and relatively inexpensive, especially in .22LR.

As a frame-of-reference, the trade-guns that were used as currency by Hudson Bay and other fur-buyers were essentially 0.57", smoothbore muskets. Also known as 28 gauge shotguns or 9/16" I.D. steel pipe lashed to a board. Native-Americans used them for everything from ground-sluicing Ruffed Grouse (shot) to shooting moose (280 grain roundball and 50 grains of low-quality blackpowder).

When the beer runs out and the debate ends, somebody will point out that two months into "the situation" there will very little big game left in populated areas AND that poaching methods are far more effective at putting meat into the stew-pot than legal-methods-of-take. After all, methods that were too effective were outlawed to protect the population of wildlife; ergo, methods now considered illegal (poaching) are the by definition the most effective ways to bring fish and game to bag.

It is worth repeating:

The "best" survival firearm is the one you have in your hands and have ammo for.

It is also worth pointing out that snares, fish-traps and gill-nets are more leopard-like than firearms.


  1. I don't buy soda much, but saw people picking out 12 packs at the store for $9.00 !!!!!!

    1. Joe, Ive been using air rifles, springers, for quite a few years. They are one of the quietest ways to put calories on the table in either fur or feather form. 500 pellets are no larger than a snuff can and won't break the bank to stock up.
      Something to keep around if times get tough.

    2. Being 'mature' I learnt to shoot with a springer, and 'professionally' I noticed every one of my 'more accurate' colleagues did so too (not to mention all being noticeably better at stalking).

      I still love my PCP's but include a springers in my preps, for exactly the reasons you note (including you aren't going to freak some freak out if you are carrying a 'toy', little do they know).

    3. It is my perception that springers can show a distinct preference for type of pellet with regard to accuracy. Do either of you folks want comment?

      I think Gamo offers "Combo packs" that make it economical to sort through your Pffter's preferences.

  2. I have a mossberg 500 in 20 ga., with both rifled slug barrel and smooth bore with 3 chokes. Figured it was the best of both worlds for 1 receiver. Ammo tougher to find than 12, but when I see it I buy it. Lots of it.

  3. I watched (at least the first season anyway of) "Alone" and found it instructive/revealing.

    No firearms were allowed, but some of the contestants took bows, etc. Not one of them had a single 'kill', whereas the (smart) ones who took snares, gill and purse nets managed to eat regularly.

    My SERE kit included sundry items include two 'pocket' gill nets (and even a small netting needle) as well as brass wire. [labelled: Only to be used in provable survival/life-threatening situations on pain of being impaled as they're 'too' successful].

    Being honest, having some small experience of similar, the only times a firearm becomes important is for protection against animals (and other humans), or if you are having to provide for a 'tribe', all other times trapping and netting will have way better outcomes.

  4. I would definitely vote for heavy duty line and hooks. Kid here sets trot and jug lines in the cove, gets a haul of catfish every year.

  5. Some free resources on trapping and snaring:

    These are downloadable as an EPub or PDF - the EPubs are generated from a optical character scanner and lapse into a garbled format on occasion. The PDFs are scanned so tend to be "grubby" and large file sizes but still readable and could be printed out if you want to keep them in paper format. Plus the PDF's have the illustrations and figures whereas the EPubs do not. has a LOT of free books on various subjects. Their search function is a bit clunky but entering trapping or snaring will shake quite a few books out of the woodwork. A. R. Harding has published a lot of books around the turn of the last century and there are a lot on Gutenberg - search for his name - and one I'd recommend is Deadfalls and Snares.

    One of the very best snaring books I have is called Snaring for Survival by Newt Sterling ($29.95) published in 2020. If you are going to buy one book on snaring, this is the one I would recommend without reservation.

    Air rifles ... I'd recommend that you stick to springers. They have two components that need replacing - the main spring (don't leave the rifle cocked for prolonged periods so that the spring does not take a set) and the breech seal - though if you have an under/side lever one then this is usually not needed. Both are pocket money cheap so keeping a spare isn't going to break the bank. PCP's are quite delicate due to the complicated valve and measuring system and in a long term survival situation, are not my first choice. Besides, keeping a dive bottle filled to recharge the rifle reservoir is ... tricky. Dive shops will refuse to charge the bottle unless it has been tested regularly. Air guns that rely on the small CO2 soda syphon cartridges are a poor choice too.

    Pellets - buy good quality ones. An inexpensive air rifle will shoot well with good pellets but the best in the world won't shoot poor pellets well. Pellets are so cheap that you can use them to practice and reserve the more expensive firearms ammunition for other purposes. Plus a cardboard box filled with layered newspapers makes a satisfactory back stop for practice inside the house.

    My preference is for European air rifles and to avoid Chinese ones. Never "dry fire" a springer without a pellet and lubricate it sparingly and it will last you a LONG time. My BSA Meteor is 50 years old and other than one new mainspring, is starting to beed a breech seal. Not bad, eh?

    Phil B

    1. Hello Mr Phil B:

      Looking at the pyramydair website, there appears to be a lot of love for the RWS Diabolo Basic and RWS Meisterkugeln for relatively inexpensive, accurate .177 pellets.

      Any preferences from your end?

    2. As Phil says, quality is almost a requirement, but ‘which’ of the many and sundry options (air-rifles from the same manufacturer ‘prefer’ different pellets, and there's variation in preference ‘within’ the same rifle when changing calibre .177/.22/.25 or the ‘exotic’ .30/.347/.457) is either left to trial and error, or (my preferred choice) following the advice of fellow shooters.

      There’s a major air-rifle ‘community’ and there ‘will’ be someone who has found the best pellet (accessories and scope) for whichever rifle you choose (and will have rhapsodised about why and listed crono readings to the point OCDish me even finds them over-the-top).

      I have used Weihrauch (hw77 springer and hw100 PCP in .22) for … decades (both have tens of thousands of pellets through them, and have yet to need anything beyond care and basic maintenance) but I’m trending towards using my Umarex Gauntlet ( a PCP, pre-charged which can be re-charged like most, with a bit of effort, with a bicycle pump if necessary).

      For someone whose ‘safe’ is bigger than his living-room, that I’m still enamoured has to say something, right?

    3. Mr. E. R. Joe,

      Oof! You are asking a lot about pellets! Peoples opinion about them is similar to their opinion on religion, their favourite football team and red headed women! And just like those subjects, any discussion tends to generate more heat than light. However (with a big pinch of YMMV) ...

      I have on hand eight different brands of pellet in .22 calibre and three in .177 - the .177's are used in an air pistol only and the .22's in my four air rifles.

      RWS pellets are very consistent and likely a good choice but for general use and hunting, I have found that the ordinary round nosed pellets to be the best all rounder. Air rifles generate modest powers so the hollow points (in my opinion) are a sales gimmick. They won't reach a high enough velocity to expand and the flat points slow down faster, yielding a greater drop at range. The round nosed pellets are a better all rounder and give a slightly flatter trajectory. The flat nosed ones punch clean holes in targets but, if your rifle shoots them well, do give better results on animals, bearing in mind the trajectory and range limitations.

      I have found that the rifle makers pellets (such as BSA, Diana, Webley, El Gamo etc.) are good - they don't want their product to show a poor performance and therefore tend to be good quality.

      My advice would be to buy a tin of each and see which ones your rifle likes. Do give a new rifle a chance by shooting at least 1000 pellets through it. Just like a car engine, it has a piston and cylinder which needs running in. The difference is noticeable between a brand new rifle and a well run in one. Pellets are not expensive so if your rifle is not giving optimum accuracy for hunting with them, reserve them for practice in the house - the handling of the rifle and trigger time will pay off. You will be surprised just how quickly you will use 500 pellets, so no great loss if you have to use them up like that. >};o)

      About scopes on air rifles. Springer air rifles are extremely hard on scopes. When the trigger is pulled, the piston wants to stay still so the spring pushes the body of the rifle rearwards (the recoil comes first), the piston starts to move, a few milliseconds later the piston slams into the cushion of air pushed forwards by the piston and then the pellet starts to move. The piston may bounce a few times on the air cushion too. This "pepperpot shaking" reversal of movement will cause even a riflescope suitable for mounting on a .458 Win Mag to break the reticle or dislodge lenses etc. So if you are going to fit a scope, buy one specifically manufactured for an air rifle such as Leapers brand - again the BSA ones are good to excellent and relatively inexpensive. But considering the effective range of the rifles, then I prefer to stick with iron sights.

      Air rifles are sort of addictive and although I do own a number of cartridge firearms, my Original 27 (manufactured July 1977) is the one that gets the most use. It has dispatched to the happy vegetable patch many rabbits, starlings and quite a few crows too, plus whole legions of paper targets.

  6. Re: Leopards and lions

    Thanks to my white privilege of having two parents who stayed married, both worked, grew and preserved their own fruits and vegetables, made a lot of their childrens' clothes and toys, and saved every nickel they could, they were able to take the kids and grandkids on a trip to east Africa a few years ago to see all the cool animals.

    What we learned about a major difference between leopards and lions was how they handled their kills. Leopards drag their kills into trees, so the can guard it for multiple days while they work on it. They end up consuming the majority of it themselves, while it is quite ripe at the end (frugality, waste-not want-not?). This also means they tend to kill smaller animals, so that they can both haul and finish them.

    Lions, on the other hand, kill just about anything, hang around for only about 2 days to eat off of it, then leave the remainder for the scavengers (charity?). We saw a group of three or four lions camped out around a giraffe they'd taken down, still working on it, while the jackals and hyenas were circling around, waiting for the lions to move on, so they could move in.

    Different practices - hog it all, and end up eating spoiling meat; or eat the best bits, then donate the rest to those who can't make the kill themselves. Either way, in the end, nothing gets wasted.

    1. That is cool!

      Thanks for the lesson.

      You are a lucky man.

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