PICK THE PROPER PRO­JEC­TILES

An ammo as­sort­ment for now un­til the end of the world

American Survival Guide - - CONTENTS - By Will Dabbs, M.D.

More than any other hu­man con­trivance, it is the hand­held firearm that has most pro­foundly shaped the af­fairs of men. Nukes sit in their si­los un­til they are re­tired, and smart bombs make for sexy head­lines. Nev­er­the­less, it is the hum­ble gun that truly changes the world. There are lit­er­ally thou­sands of dis­parate cal­ibers and bul­let weights to feed the roughly 875 mil­lion firearms on the planet. How­ever, all that ammo can be sep­a­rated into three broad, in­for­mal cat­e­gories.

BLAST­ING BUL­LETS

These are steel-cased rounds you buy in bulk. Tu­lammo and Wolf have been the ma­jor play­ers in the past, al­though Winch­ester now makes some ab­so­lutely splen­did steel-cased 9mm that costs about what the im­ported stuff might. The Winch­ester prod­uct is called Forged, and it uses the same nice FMJ bul­lets, clean-burn­ing pow­der and top-notch primers as Winch­ester White Box bulk pack. Blast­ing bul­lets are for train­ing and fun. The de­tails of pre­ci­sion and tidi­ness re­ally don’t mat­ter all that much. You just want them to shoot fairly straight and go bang! ev­ery time you squeeze the trig­ger. Steel cases run just fine; and, with the sin­gu­lar ex­cep­tion of a .223 pre­ci­sion ri­fle in my col­lec­tion, I have never had func­tion or per­for­mance prob­lems through many tens of thou­sands of rounds. You can po­lice the cas­ings with a mag­net or sim­ply leave them where they lie. The pre­pon­der­ance of the Earth’s molten core com­prises iron. It’s not as if we will run out of the stuff any time soon. Steel cor­rodes read­ily in the pres­ence of oxy­gen. Leave steel cases ex­posed to the weather on

THE AC­TUAL BUL­LETS IN YOUR SO­CIAL AMMO EM­BODY MORE TECH­NOL­OGY THAN DOES YOUR SMART PHONE. THEY ARE DE­SIGNED TO CONTORT INTO THE MOST EGRE­GIOUS CON­FIG­U­RA­TIONS ONCE THEY CON­TACT SOME­THING SOFT, WET AND WARM.

your range even a few days when the cli­mate is damp. and they will be­gin to de­grade. This same prop­erty makes them a poor choice for long-term stor­age un­less ef­fec­tively sealed. You can find bulk-packed, steel-cased, mil­i­tary-style ammo sealed in air­tight spam cans, but once you open a can, you should plan to burn the stuff in a rea­son­able pe­riod of time. Al­though not quite as volatile as milk or may­on­naise, steel-cased ammo should be viewed as hav­ing a “best if used by” date once the seals are cracked.

SO­CIAL BUL­LETS

These are the "hot rods" of the bal­lis­tic set. If steel-cased blast­ing bul­lets were Fords, so­cial bul­lets would be Fer­raris. These cases are typ­i­cally nickel plated to re­main cor­ro­sion re­sis­tant. They will be called upon to ride in the mag­a­zine of your carry gun for months, if not years, while re­main­ing ready to make that one, per­fect, life-sav­ing shot. It re­ally doesn’t mat­ter your sta­tion in life—you spare no ex­pense on your so­cial bul­lets.

Ex­pect them to cost up­ward of a dol­lar a round, but that’s es­sen­tially a one-time in­vest­ment. I burn mine off and re­place them ev­ery few years just to be safe, but even that is not re­ally nec­es­sary. Keep them clean and free of lint, and they should still be ready to go, come what may. The ac­tual bul­lets in your so­cial ammo em­body more tech­nol­ogy than does your smart phone. They are de­signed to contort into the most egre­gious con­fig­u­ra­tions once they con­tact some­thing soft, wet and warm. In so do­ing, they are in­tended to ex­pe­di­tiously

NO­BODY EVER WANTS TO USE THE SO­CIAL OR ZOM­BIE SORT [OF AMMO], BUT IT IS BET­TER TO HAVE THEM AND NOT NEED THEM THAN THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

ren­der the threat no longer threat­en­ing. Here’s where your pre­vi­ous in­vest­ments yield a proper re­turn. Where blast­ing bul­lets poke lit­tle holes, so­cial bul­lets ver­i­ta­bly ex­plode.

ZOM­BIE BUL­LETS

We’ve all seen the movies. It’s not a mat­ter

I HAVE IT ON RE­LI­ABLE MED­I­CAL IN­FOR­MA­TION THAT ZOMBIES ARE NOT TECH­NI­CALLY REAL, BUT THAT HASN’T STOPPED OUR VERY OWN FED­ERAL EMER­GENCY MAN­AGE­MENT AGENCY FROM IS­SU­ING GEN­UINE GOV­ERN­MENT-SPON­SORED GUID­ANCE ON HOW TO COPE WITH THEM ...

of “if” as much as “when.” I have it on re­li­able med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion that zombies are not tech­ni­cally real, but that hasn’t stopped our very own Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency from is­su­ing gen­uine gov­ern­ment-spon­sored guid­ance on how to cope with them (No kid­ding. Google "FEMA Zom­bie Apoc­a­lypse." Now who still thinks it’s silly?). Re­gard­less of whether the pre­cip­i­tat­ing event ac­tu­ally in­volves the un­dead, main­tain­ing a de­cent sup­ply of ser­vice ammo as an in­te­gral part of your sur­vival stash is foun­da­tional dogma. That $2,000, tricked-out black ri­fle might look like pure death and run like a scalded ape, but if you run out of ammo, it’s sim­ply an­other club. In that event, I’m not sure I wouldn’t pre­fer a Louisville Slug­ger. Zom­bie bul­lets de­mand their own pe­cu­liar spec­i­fi­ca­tions. They must ob­vi­ously be ef­fec­tive down­range. That’s a func­tion of bar­rel length, me­chan­i­cal par­tic­u­lars, cal­iber and op­tics. The su­perla­tive pe­ri­od­i­cal you cur­rently clutch owes much of its suc­cess to the ex­plo­ration of these nu­anced de­tails. How­ever, there’s more to it than just that. Zom­bie bul­lets must also be un­flinch­ingly re­li­able. While they need not be quite the su­per­stars your so­cial bul­lets might, their per­for­mance will po­ten­tially carry sub­stan­tial grav­i­tas if ever used for real. As a re­sult, you re­ally don’t want to stock­pile the cheap stuff for counter-zom­bie op­er­a­tions. Lastly, you need to be able to get to your zom­bie bul­lets quickly. The un­dead may yet show the good grace to ar­rive when you are well rested af­ter a proper night’s sleep and a ro­bust break­fast. How­ever, I doubt it. I have been in a cou­ple of real emer­gen­cies, and they were come-as-you-are af­fairs. You need to be able to ac­cess and em­ploy your zom­bie bul­lets with min­i­mal fuss. Mod­est cost, life­sav­ing re­li­a­bil­ity, the ca­pac­ity to age grace­fully and ready ac­cess in an emer­gency might seem like mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive pa­ram­e­ters. How­ever, it turns out there is an or­ga­ni­za­tion of some re­pute that has some mod­est ex­pe­ri­ence in this area: To find the state-of-the-art in zom­bie bul­let tech­nol­ogy, one need look no fur­ther than

the United States Army.

BUL­LETS FOR THE BIG, GREEN MA­CHINE

They come in a va­ri­ety of “fla­vors,” but for now, we will re­strict our in­ves­ti­ga­tion to 5.56mm. Al­though vig­or­ously de­rided as an in­ad­e­quate poo­dle-shooter at the time of its in­tro­duc­tion, Eugene Stoner’s .223 Rem­ing­ton and the nearly, but not quite iden­ti­cal 5.56mm are now com­bat-proved. To­day’s it­er­a­tions come in two ma­jor fla­vors. M193 rounds push a fairly non­de­script 55-grain, lead-cored, cop­per-jack­eted bul­let. This round’s down­range per­for­mance stems from its in­nate in­sta­bil­ity. When this zippy, lit­tle bul­let strikes some­thing soft, it typ­i­cally yaws side­ways, fre­quently break­ing at its can­nelure into two or three ma­jor frag­ments that then pro­duce their own in­de­pen­dent wound chan­nels. The per­for­mance of this round is de­pen­dent upon ve­loc­ity, and it is, in­deed, more sus­cep­ti­ble to brush and bar­rier ma­te­rial than 7.62x51mm ball. How­ever, it is light to carry and fun to run while still re­li­ably bring­ing the pain out to half a kilo­me­ter or so. M855 rounds weigh 62 grains, sport a green-painted tip and em­ploy a bit more tech. These lead-cored, cop­per-jack­eted bul­lets in­clude a hard­ened steel pen­e­tra­tor that makes them more ef­fec­tive against lightly ar­mored tar­gets. M855 am­mu­ni­tion will re­li­ably pen­e­trate about 3mm of steel at 600 me­ters. This makes them ca­pa­ble of de­feat­ing most steel com­bat hel­mets at that range. Much of the per­for­mance of the 5.56mm round is de­pen­dent upon the afore­men­tioned in­sta­bil­ity. The M193 was de­signed to launch out of a 20-inch M16 bar­rel with a 1:12 twist. Mod­ern M4 ri­fles sport a 14.5-inch bar­rel with a tighter, 1:7 twist. The faster twist in­creases the round’s in­nate sta­bil­ity and sub­se­quently lessens its down­range ef­fec­tive­ness. How­ever, I have seen a lot of peo­ple shot with a lot of dif­fer­ent weapons, and none of them seemed par­tic­u­larly happy.

FED­ERAL XM855

This qual­ity mil­i­tary-grade am­mu­ni­tion is the best zom­bie ammo I have found thus far. It comes packed in a stan­dard, air­tight, wa­ter­proof .30-cal­iber ammo can in the same con­fig­u­ra­tion as re­ceived by our troops cur­rently serv­ing in Afghanistan. This means that it is safe to store for the long haul and re­mains ready to go on a mo­ment’s no­tice. The de­sign of these pressed steel ammo cans dates back to World War II. The de­tails have been up­dated a bit over the years, but the con­cept re­mains the same: They seal via a rub­ber gas­ket and are the "Swiss Army Knife" of the prepper world. I have stored some of the most eclectic kit in my ridicu­lous col­lec­tion of these cans. If prop­erly packed, they will re­li­ably keep their contents dry and dark while ren­der­ing most stuff im­mune to rough han­dling. Fed­eral XM855 comes 420 rounds to a box and packed on 10-round strip­per clips. New math tells us that 420 rounds equates out to 14 30-round mag­a­zines for your M4, AUG or SCAR. I keep two boxes on hand at all times and feel ad­e­quately pre­pared to deal with any rea­son­able threat, as well as most of the un­rea­son­able sorts. Each box packs three loaded 10-round strip­pers into each card­board sleeve and in­cludes a pair of pressed steel strip­per clip guides. This means you can grab a sleeve and fill a sin­gle mag­a­zine. To use the strip­per clip guide, you slip the broad end over the top of the mag­a­zine spine and then ar­range a loaded strip­per in the top. Press vig­or­ously, and all 10 rounds pop right into place. Re­peat this process two more times, smack the spine of the mag­a­zine on some­thing sub­stan­tial to keep all the rounds seated prop­erly, and you are ready to go. I can load a 30-round M4 mag­a­zine in maybe 30 sec­onds with­out feel­ing un­duly rushed.

RUMINATIONS

Ev­ery­body who is se­ri­ous about sur­vival needs all three sorts of ammo. The ini­tial in­vest­ment need not be ridicu­lous; and, as long as you think it through, in to­day’s po­lit­i­cal cli­mate, you can make your ammo dol­lars stretch quite a bit. Burn the blast­ing bul­lets to keep sharp, tote the so­cial bul­lets to keep safe, and tuck the zom­bie bul­lets in the cor­ner of your closet for a rainy day. No­body ever wants to use the so­cial or zom­bie sort, but it is bet­ter to have them and not need them than the other way around.

For feed­ing fast-fir­ing buzz guns such as this full-auto MAC-11, noth­ing beats cheap, steel-cased blast­ing bul­lets.

Above: Winch­ester’s Forged line of 9mm am­mu­ni­tion sports the same qual­ity primers, bul­lets and clean-burn­ing pow­ders as its Winch­ester White Box rounds in in­ex­pen­sive steel cases. It costs about the same per round as the cheap, im­ported stuff and sup­ports Amer­i­can jobs. Far right, top, and cen­ter: Im­ported steel-cased FMJ rounds have his­tor­i­cally rep­re­sented the cheap­est train­ing ammo on the mar­ket. Typ­i­cally pro­duced in eastern Europe on mil­i­tary ma­chin­ery, these rounds are re­li­able and ad­e­quately ac­cu­rate for train­ing pur­poses. Far right, bot­tom: Most all new-pro­duc­tion, steel-cased ammo is non­cor­ro­sive and fairly clean.

Top left: So­cial ammo such as these solid-cop­per Sil­ver­back rounds from Go­rilla Ammo will sit for months to years in your mag­a­zines, wait­ing for that one crit­i­cal shot. Mid­dle left: SIG Sauer re­cently opened a spank­ing-new am­mu­ni­tion plant in Arkansas that pro­duces some of the finest so­cial bul­lets in the world. Bot­tom left: So­cial bul­lets are not con­fined to hand­gun rounds. Winch­ester PDX-1 De­fender loads are avail­able in ri­fle, pis­tol and shot­gun ver­sions.

So­cial bul­lets are those top-qual­ity de­fen­sive loads that stand ready to de­fend your fam­ily on no no­tice.

Far left, bot­tom: Packed dry and snug in a GI ammo can, this Fed­eral XM855 ammo will stand ready for years un­til you need it to come out and play. Near left: XM855 zom­bie bul­lets shoot plenty straight. These 30-me­ter groups came from a MIL-SPEC M4A1, the SIG MCX and the home­built Pocket AR. Far left, top: Fed­eral XM855 comes packed 10 rounds per strip­per and three strip­pers per card­board sleeve, along with a pair of strip­per clip charg­ers. Each card­board sleeve charges a sin­gle 30-round mag­a­zine. Pop­u­lar com­bat ri­fles such as this Steyr AUG feed XM855 ammo with alacrity.

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