April 22, 2009

Global Oligarchs and Looming Domestic Starvation

Posted in gardening at 7:14 pm by yjohn

by John Young

When folks think about an “interconnected world” or a “global economy,” they usually think about how they can get Chinese stuff really cheap, or how illegal aliens just keep pouring over our borders unabated.

But there is more to it than that.

Many semi-Utopian thinkers have long labored for an interconnected world for many reasons; but mainly because a financially interdependent world is less prone to shooting wars between major powers. Fewer shooting wars translates into more money for these semi-Utopian thinkers who usually work for a Federal Reserve branch, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank or some similar shadowy entity in their country of residence.

Financial interdependence makes shooting wars less likely for fairly obvious reasons: if someone owes you money, you don’t want to destroy his ability to pay you back. Likewise, if someone is sending you lots of money or lending you money when you need it, you certainly don’t want him to come to harm. And thus peace is achieved — not because of some sort of practical idealism, but because of a confluence of hard-core self interests.

The core premises behind this set of ideas are extremely revealing because they don’t take into account the interests of nations or societies — but rather a very small subset of the nation, a very small economic oligarchy — whose interests are very different from those of the overwhelming preponderance of the population of that nation. Thus it is revealed that the economic interdependence seen as a “social good” because it can prevent wars between great powers primarily serves the interest of an international oligarchy.

What this situation implicitly admits is something very few people have truly stated, to wit: that nations generally go to war to extend or defend the economic interests of its own economic oligarchs. When it is no longer in the best interests of those oligarchs to go to war, nations no longer engage in war. In other words, for who knows how long, our nations have not been controlled by the people we *think* control them — be it parliaments, or kings. Instead, our nations have been controlled by national oligarchies.

Now, these oligarchies have become international — think of folks like George Soros as an example. And because they have become international, wars between great powers are no longer in their best interests. Instead, wars take place in other arenas.

At its most basic level, the consolidation of international oligarchies now creates a problem in which nation states have extreme difficulty, even if well-intended, in pursuing the best interests of their citizenry. They have always had to balance their national oligarchies, but international oligarchies are a far more difficult matter with which to contend.

So what does this have to do with food and gardening?

Quite a lot.

It turns out that China is rapidly depleting its groundwater so that in just a couple of years it will need to import grain from the United States.

This demand will cause the price of grain to rise into the stratosphere in the United States.

IF our government were capable of acting in the interests of Americans, it would refuse to export the grain. But, because of financial interdependence in which our government depends upon China to float the national debt, our federal government will not be ABLE to say “no.” Thus, that grain will be sold to China and you can expect the cost of food here to climb dramatically.

So what I’m saying here is: start that garden. There is no time like the present. Let me tell you, when you are already hungry is NOT a good time to learn how to grow your own food.

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April 14, 2009

Inexpensive Hunting Rifles

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:14 pm by yjohn

by John Young

Ever since the blog entry on The Frugal Hunter, a lot of folks have been asking about the suitability of various military surplus rifles for hunting.

In terms of the power of the rounds, most of them are comparable to the .308 Winchester, and are thus suitable for most North American game when loaded with proper bullets and the ranges are kept within 200 yards. Proper bullets are the key. In terms of penetration and weight retention, moving up to a Nosler Partition, Swift A-frame or a Barnes X bullet can give a .308 the effective hunting power of a heavy magnum loaded with a lesser bullet.

I reload all of my own ammunition. In fact, the majority of the rifles I own have never seen a round of factory ammunition. So when I take a military surplus rifle hunting, you can be certain that I have tuned the load to the rifle for the best combination of accuracy and velocity, and that a premium bullet is being used. Likewise, the rifle has been shot quite a few times using that particular load; and I have sighted it in well.

Preparation and practice, no matter what the endeavor, are the secrets to making your own luck.

So rather than specific makes and models of rifles, what I really want to stress is the importance of high quality ammunition, knowing your rifle, and marksmanship. If you have these down solid, you can do amazing things provided the rifle is mechanically sound.

The Mosin Nagant rifle that I mentioned in the Frugal Hunting blog post uses the 7.62x54R cartridge. I slugged the bore and it measured .312, so I use .312 X-bullets intended for use in a British .303. They work wonderfully!

I have also used a Yugoslavian Mauser in 8×57. It uses a .323 bullet. With this rifle, I use the Nosler Partition bullet because I get better expansion at Mauser velocities.

I have no direct experience with the Enfields except that one of my uncles never had any trouble using it to bring home dinner; but I have used one of the Hungarian M95 rifles in 8x56R caliber. Again — I fashioned my own ammunition from high-quality components. Unfortunately, its odd bore-size of .329 makes finding a suitable bullet difficult, but I found a nice selection through Buffalo Arms.

One common surplus rifle I want to mention in connection with deer hunting is the SKS. The SKS shoots a cartridge — the 7.62×39 — that is vastly less powerful than the others mentioned. If you are going to use an SKS for deer hunting, restrict the distance to under 100 yards and use a high-quality hunting bullet intended for use in that particular cartridge. Observing these cautions, my father has successfully taken deer with one shot from a tree stand.

Most military surplus bolt-action rifles, using handloads that have been matched to the particular rifle, are capable of sufficient accuracy to take deer at ranges up to 200 yards without difficulty if the marksmanship is up to par. In many cases, accuracy is sufficient up to 350 yards, which is the maximum distance — in my opinion — for a humane kill using cartridges in this category.

Semi-autos using less powerful cartridges, such as the 7.62×39 usually have a long bullet jump to the bore, combined with moving mechanical attachments to the barrel (such as gas cylinders) that limit practical accuracy to about 3″ at 100 yards under the best of circumstances. Combined with the fact that a 123 grain bullet from one of these is unlikely to be exceeding 2,100 fps at a distance of 100 yards; that is really their effective limit as a deer cartridge.

(As an aside, I have successfully modified SKS carbines to shoot 1.5″ groups; but you should not expect that from a rack-grade rifle.)

One thing you need to observe is the limitation on magazine capacity for rifles used while hunting. These limitations are completely unrelated to gun laws generally; and are intended to give game a sporting chance. Make sure you have effectively limited the magazine capacity of whatever you are using to comply with applicable hunting regulations. Both Enfields and SKSs usually hold 10 rounds which is way too many.

At some point in the future, I’ll go into a little more depth on reloading because I consider it to be an essential skill for gun owners.

For now,  though, I just want to emphasize the fact that any military surplus center-fire bolt-action rifle is sufficient for deer hunting provided the rifle is mechanically sound, high grade ammunition is used, and the hunter is a solid marksman.