This is post 2 of 2 today.
Prepping and hoarding and all that is good, but what about when the days turn to weeks, and in worst case scenarios perhaps even advancing to months, years, or even decades? Civilization-ending stuff. Unlikely that we will experience such, to say the least, but the concept of such long-term survivalism is fascinating none the less. We will want to make ammunition last as long as possible, and to be able to also make use of ammunition that we cannot use, a portable reloading setup would be ideal. Lee Hand Press, the necessary dies for the cartridge(s) that you'll be primarily using, bullets, and a powder scale that does not require batteries such as the Lyman 500 which Richard uses in my book. Comes in a convenient cardboard box for storage, and requires only a flat surface to set up. A small pair of pliers can also be useful, or even a plastic kinetic bullet-puller if you've got the space for the big hammer-like tool. With it, you won't risk marring the bullets themselves, so if you're pulling .30-06 to reload .308 you can use the like-new bullets, of if you're wishing to reload .303 British and happen upon some 7.62x39 or 7.62x54r then you should be ok to use the bullets of those Russian rounds in the British firearm.
So that's all well and good, it can certainly extend your ammunition to make it last as long as possible. To go one step further it would be most impressive if you can get a mould to make your own bullets out of lead, but it is advised to keep your ammo somewhere around the speed of sound. Too fast, and I hear the soft lead won't grip the rifling, basically getting lead shaved off in the rifling and causing large amounts of lead fouling, which is obviously not ideal. Due to this, manually-operated firearms would be preferable to semi-auto ones for truly long-term survival because lightly-loaded ammo won't influence reliability at all. If you have a bayonet, then even when you run out of ammo the firearm will still be a handy and durable spear.
Ideally, only use ammo for hunting, and in extreme situations like if someone is armed and actively attacking you. Or if we're going more in the realm of Science Fiction (why not? we're talking about the end of the world here) if you're surrounded by walkers. Just one or two, then deal with them using melee, like with a bayonet. If there's too many to deal with melee, try to avoid them. If they can't be avoided and are bearing down on you, flip the safety off and start shooting as calmly and steadily as you can, making every round last, but ideally the majority of your shooting is only for hunting. Avoid confrontations if possible. Smokeless powder won't last forever though, which is another reason why manually-operated firearms are ideal. Semi-auto firearms don't have the best trackrecord in the world with black powder, which is why semi-auto firearms and actual self-loading machine guns didn't start to really come about until after 1886 when the French blessed the world with 'Poudre B' which I believe is what they called it.
The Gatling Gun is another matter; it is for all intents and purposes a manually-operated firearm, except instead of turning a bolt, working a lever, or anything like that, you just turn a crank. There's no trigger to my knowledge, just a crank. the idea of an automatic self-loading firearm is you just need to keep the trigger held down, or for semi-auto, just keep pulling the trigger, which is different from continually rotating a crank.
So what about when (not if; WHEN) that precious smokeless powder goes? Either by then you've either figured out the ancient process of making black powder, found someone who does with whom you can trade stuff with for their black powder, or you've reverted to the immemorial craft of bows and arrows. For those who are more technologically inclined, perhaps handy with woodword, a crossbow is a nifty bit of technology to get into. Bow and arrow requires MUCH strength, time, and practice to become good with, but not so with crossbow. Or at least, not QUITE so. As for black powder, at least two ingredients are required, a third is, to my knowlege, optional. Charcoal and saltpetre are the necessary ones, with sulphur being the optional one to my knowledge. The ratio I think is 75/15/10 for saltpetre/charcoal/sulphur, or for the simpler mixture if I had to guess (just to protect my ass as well as Jim's, imma say 'don't try this at home') is 70/30 or 75/25 for saltpetre/charcoal. Charcoal is simple, I've made it before myself. Get a clean paintcan, punch holes in the top, fill it with wood, stick it over a fire (can't remember how long), and you're basically baking the wood. Flammable air will be shooting out of the holes in the top so if you see fire spewing from the holes (again, gonna say not to try this at home just for legal reasons) it's ok.
As for saltpetre, I've never tried. All I know is you need stale piss, fecal matter, and lots of time to let it essentially rot. Mix it up from time to time, add more stale piss (possibly hay too?), and eventually it will be developing white fuzz and/or white crystals. Then I think you boil it down (I can only imagine the stench), somehow filter it to separate the solids from the liquids, and with the liquids you boil, boil, boil to get rid of the water. It's similar to the process of making sea salt from what I understand (I'll explain that simple process below*). So as you boil the mixture down it'll get thicker and thicker and thicker. Once down to a certain point you don't want to risk burning it on the fire so take it from the fire and put it into pans. Let the Sun do the rest, and the crystalline material left is the precious and necessary main ingredient of the thing that goes boom. Mix the ingredients as mentioned, and in theory, you should have a simple form of black powder to be more than likely used in muskets of sorts, maybe rifled if you're lucky, or even smoothbore would be acceptable. Matchlock or flintlock, it depends on your own capabilities.
As my Living amongst the Dead series continues (SPOILER ALERT! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!) once he finally gets to his desired destination, if he lives long enough to do so, then such experimentations will take place, and I will PERSONALLY make my own black powder from scratch as well as my own sea salt from scratch so that I will be writing from experience rather than writing from theory. I myself have owned a Lee hand Press, Lyman 500 powder scale, .303 dies, kinetic bullet puller (not seen in the book series), and so on, so it is all from experience thus far.
*Sea salt. You need LOTS of sea water, and I think stuff gathered farther out will be better than stuff directly from the coast but anyways, get the cleanest sea water you can. Gonna be spending a long time out by the fire. Boil, boil, boil, add more sea water, boil, boil, boil, add more, boil, boil, boil, and it will steadily become like a slurry or clear sludge of hyper-salty liquid. Once it gets to a certain point (I haven't made my own sea salt yet but i will some day), put it into pans, and let the Sun do the rest. You will end up with (hopefully) pure sea salt.
**BONUS CONTENT! Bottling meat! Again, haven't done this myself yet, but I've learned the process from a few sources both online and IRL. Get a perfectly clean Mason jar, fill nearly to the top with cubed-up meat, add a tablespoon of canning salt or sea salt (not iodized for some reason), no need to mix it in to my knowedge, put the lid on almost tight but not quite, and boil the bottle in water that I think is JUST shy from being over the lid. The meat will boil and cook, once cooked you turn the heat off and eventually carefully take the bottles from the water. I think you then tighten the lid down as it cools and then wait. In time, the dimple on the top will POP from being sealed. Richard bottles his own meat using Mason jars and sea salt but I've not described the process yet. I want to wait until I do it myself.
Well, I think that's enough from me, hopefully this has been interesting! If I'm mistaken anywhere, please inform me of such in the comments below. This is that writer fellow J N Morgan, just released my 7th book, 4th in the Living amongst the Dead series, it's titled "Living amongst the Dead: Struggles New and Old." As of writing this guest article on the afternoon of the 18th, Newfoundland time, the paperback is in the review process a second time because I had to make a quick two-word revision unfortunately, and after that I'll be putting the Kindle version through the review process which should take less than a day to correct. So availability MIGHT be a bit odd until, oh, by the 20th everything should be right as rain across the board. I've got another promotional offer coming, in fact already started technically!
Living amongst the Dead - July 22-23
When her No means Yes - July 22-23
Firearm Valhalla - July 22-23
Another One Please, to Dull the Pain - Perma-FREE on Lulu in the link below
Living amongst the Dead : Dark Days
July 18-23 USA - $1.99 USD
July 18-23 UK - .99 GBP
Otherwise - $2.99 USD
Living amongst the Dead : On the Road Again
July 18-23 UK - .99 GBP
Otherwise - $2.99 USD
Living amongst the Dead : Struggles New and Old
LatD : Stuggles New and Old might not be on my Amazon Author page yet. You can find that, my latest book, specifically in the link below if it is not yet on my author page.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the guest article, and if you check out my books then I hope you enjoy them! Once again, Jim was the first to buy my latest book, and as I've done many times already I thank him once again for his support over the months. A huge inspiration. Cheers!
Oh yeah, one last note, I started a Fiverr. If you'd like a custom story written, be it action, survival, post-apocalyptic, drama, erotica, or whatever, I might be able to come up with something good!
(Guest Article End)