B is for...


Many think that barter will be a staple of the post-SHTF economy.  So why not start practicing?  I think the key to a successful barter is that both sides are satisfied.  I had just such an encounter today.

A friend of my brothers makes part of his living as a "picker."  He cleans out garages, houses, attics, offices, etc..., keeping what he wants and getting rid of the things that are of no value.  He then sells things on EBay or at a booth he has at an antique mall.  He recently came across four pistols and wanted me to have first pick at them.  I didn't have the spare cash to go pistol shopping, but I did have something that I thought would be of interest to him... random sterling silver utensils. 

I went by his place this morning and looked at what he had, consulted a 10-year-old pricing guide, and gave him some educated estimates on what he could expect to get.  I explained full retail for excellent condition, retail for the appropriate wear, and what he would get at a gun shop if he took them there to try and sell them.

I ended up with two revolvers, one worth about $250 and the other $50 or so.  The first is a Colt Trooper Mk. III (I've always wanted one) with a rough finish but clean barrel and nice action.  The second is an old H&R topbreak .32 5-shooter that I'll use for Cowboy Action Shooting side matches.  I traded him sterling with a melt value of more than $300, but I knew that he would not be able to sell it for full melt value.  Plus, he's a good guy and has done a lot to help my brother since he had a stroke a couple of months ago.  We were both happy with the outcome.  And that leads me to...

Barbecue Gun

A tradition in much of the South is the "barbecue gun."  This is also a Sunday-go-to-meeting gun, or a wedding gun.  Generally, it is a large revolver (some use a 1911 instead), shiny, engraved, and an exotic custom rig.  That is the goal for my new Trooper.  It has some surface pitting and roughness, but I'm going to work slowly and surely with jeweler's rouge to get it as smooth and clean as possible, then find an engraver and refinisher to nickel plate it.  Finally, some custom grips and a holster to show it off.  My walking Liberty silver dollar bolo tie, my finest black cowboy hat, leather sport coat and creased jeans over Tony Lama boots and I'll be the life of the garden party.


Got a little shooting in today.  First thing, I had to go do my annual qualification with the sheriff's office for my retired LEO credentials.  I used my old Sig Sauer P220 (the gun I was issued in 93 when we transitioned from S&W .38 wheelguns to semi autos - made in W. Germany before reunification) and knocked out the qualification with no problem.  They only use pass/fail, but had them all in the black, probably about 93 or 95%.

When I got the Trooper home this afternoon, I put a few rounds through it to test for function.  I shot .38 wadcutters, midrange .38s and some full powered .357 magnums.  The gun functioned flawlessly with all, and the recoil with the magnums was very manageable.  I did not set up for accuracy, but so far I'm very pleased.


A mountain bike can be great exercise, a potential BOV, and just plain fun.  I spent the afternoon getting ours ready for the summer.  I used a special bike degreaser that I bought at the bike store for $12.  After using it and smelling it, I realized that it is the exact same thing as Gun Scrubber and similar carbon cleaners that typically sell for about $7 or so.  Of course, that is the same as carburetor cleaner which you can find on sale at Wal-Mart for $1 a can sometimes.  Anyway, we're ready to ride.


This weekend is the big annual Blade show in Atlanta.  Two folks that I know will be there showing their wares.

Luke Swenson, knife and sheath maker extraordinaire is there with some of his creations that are both useful and great to look at.  If you can't make the show, check out his website here.

Also at the show will be Chance Sanders, with the release of his new urban survival DVD.  Chance was one of my instructors at Pathfinder School last summer and a good guy with a lot of knowledge.  His DVD should be informative and entertaining.  I've seen a trailer for it and it looks very professionally produced.

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