Saturday, June 18, 2016

MADE IN THE USA GEAR REVIEW: "APOCALYSPORK" Titanium Survival Spork

 
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, ©2012)

Is this spork the last eating utensil you'll ever need? DJ Urbanovsky, owner of American Kami and creator of the "APOCALYSPORK," thinks so. He says confidently that, "If you want flatware that will last you through the apocalypse, this is it."

The Spork

Urbanovsky touts the "APOCALYSPORK" as an indestructible, multi-function survival tool. Forged from 6AL4V Medical Grade Titianum, he says the the APOCALYSPORK is the strongest spork on the market. Here are some of things it can do:

  • Bottle Opener/Pot Lid Lifting Hook
  • Oxygen Bottle Key/Small Carabiner Hole
  • MSR Shaker Stove Takedown Key
  • .25" Emergency Hex Driver Key
  • Extra Long Handle for getting food out of extra deep cans/MRE pouches
  • Excellent for cooking and fire poking

Urbanovsky says the titanium he uses is sourced from military and aerospace scrap. In addition to its robust construction and multi-tool capability, the APOCALYSPORK has these additional features:

  • Berry compliant
  • Available variants are Spork, Fork, or Spoon, in full size or stubby.
  • 9.3" long from tip to tines and 0.071"-0.073" thick. (Stubbies are 6.85" long)
  • Won't rust or corrode.
  • Non-Magnetic.
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Stonewash over Torch Anodization for good looks, slick mouth feel, and ease of cleaning. All corners, points, and edges are smoothed over, for comfort and TSA Compliance.
  • Fluid capacity at tines is 1/3 more than the Snowpeak Spork
  • Weight: 1.3 ounces (as weighed on a digital postal scale)
  • Price: $44.00

Size comparison with a Snow Peak Titanium Spork:
(photo credit: American Kami)

FIELD TESTING

I've carried an APOCALYSPORK in my pack for the last three years. For the review, I will focus on the longer 9.3" version, because I've found its additional length to be more useful for bushcrafting and survival tasks. If you're looking for a lighter, more compact version of the APOCALYSPORK, check out DJ's "Stubby" version, which is only 6.85" long (shown in the main photos).

Here's my impression......

The APOCALYSPORK's extra long handle makes it great for eating food out of Mountain House packages or for stirring soups in camp pots:


The back of the handle, which also doubles as a bottle opener, comes in handy for lifting hot lids, prying things open, or poking the campfire. Titanium has a melting point higher than steel and is a poor conductor of heat, so it is ideal for this purpose.

Wilderness Survival Gun companion tool

The APOCALYSPORK turned out to be very useful for adjusting or maintaining my wilderness survival guns. I found that the large wrench hole fits the bolts on my Konus Quick-Release Rifle Scope Mounts perfectly:


The bottle opener also functioned very efficiently as a wrench on the bolts of a scope mount on another one of my bush rifles:


Although it's not the best tool for this job, I found that the APOCALYSPORK was strong enough to tighten the barrel nut on my Marlin Papoose .22 Survival Rifle:


Improvised Firesteel Striker and Tinder Scraper

As it comes from American Kami's shop, the APOCALYSPORK's edges are a bit too rounded to be able to use it as a tinder scraper or as a striker for a firesteel. However, with a file and a few minutes work, I was able to square off a section on the handle which made it into a usable scraper/striker:



Thanks to the wrench holes in the APOCALYSPORK, it easily attaches to a backpack. Since Titanium is impervious to the elements, there is no worry about rust or corrosion when leaving it attached to the outside of the pack.


To keep it secured, I use a Nite Ize S-Biner SlidelockOf course, you can always just use plain ol' 550 paracord if you prefer (I rec'd Lifeview Outdoor's USA made Mil-Spec Paracord). Although paracord works fine, I like the convenience of a quick-detach device like the S-Biner.


CONCLUSION

After carrying the APOCALYSPORK in the field for several years, I have, as Bob Ross used to say, "Beat the devil out of it!," yet it still looks like new. It has definitely proven to be as strong and durable as it's advertised to be.

I like that it can easily be modified to suit my individual survival needs, such as converting a part of the handle into a usable tinder scraper and firesteel striker.

One minor criticism is that I wish the spoon was a little deeper for eating soup. I notified American Kami's owner, DJ, about this not long after I got it, and he said he would take another look at the design and modify it if need be. This was several years ago, so it's possible that the newer APOCALYSPORK's have been modified.

At $44.00, the price might be a bit steep for some. It is quite a bit more expensive than titanium sporks from other manufacturers. However, when you consider the APOCALYSPORK is a high quality, forged titanium survival tool that's made in the USA, you realize the quality makes it worth the price.

Minor criticisms aside, I think the APOCALYSPORK is an excellent, well crafted survival and bushcraft tool. Plus, its torch anodized, stone washed finish makes it very attractive and unique looking. A super tool that can handle super tough situations, the APOCALYSPORK would no doubt survive any doomsday scenario and beyond. 

4.5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

For more information, visit:


About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for the The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Marlin Papoose .22 Survival Rifle @ 50 Yards on Deer Target- full review coming soon



RMB NOTE- In case someone might think I am some kind of cruel deer murderer for posting this, please note that this is the most humane and efficient way to hunt a deer with a .22 rifle in a wilderness survival situation.

A .22 rifle does not have sufficient power to kill a deer humanely or quickly by shooting it in the vitals the way most hunters would do with a high-powered rifle. A .22 does however have enough power to completely penetrate a deer's skull. This is why you would take head shots at a deer with a .22 if you are faced with a survival situation. 

Remember, "survival should never be political" as I always like to say.

Survival is never pretty. What's most important is that you come out alive. 

Regards,

Jason

Monday, May 16, 2016

Re: Update, Gear Testing, Fishing, etc


Hey friends! Hope all is well. I was out scouting some new places to test gear over the weekend, and decided to stop and do a little bit of fishing. Found a high mountain lake in the Gunnison National Forest that was well stocked with Rainbow Trout, and gave it a whirl using my favorite lure. Ended up catching 5 Rainbows in less than 2 hours. Fun!





On the way in, I saw a wild turkey cross the road and was able to snap a few photos which you can see below.




On the way out, I ran into a few Pronghorn Antelopes that were grazing on the side of the road. Pronghorns are very interesting animals. They are capable of running up to 55 mph, making them the second fastest mammal on earth. Only the Cheetah can faster. 


Overall, the trip was great, and I was able to find some beautiful new locations for finishing my gear testing this year. Look for lots of new content soon, and as always, Leah and I greatly appreciate all of your support.

Take care,

Jason

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

LONG TERM UPDATE: Chiappa Double Badger Folding .22 Magnum/410 Shotgun

(Photo credit: Monica Tymcio/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, ©2014)

Pelican Storm Case, Uncle Mike's Sling/Buttstock Holder, New Ammo Tested, and more

Hey friends, I wanted to give you an update on the Chiappa Double Badger Folding .22 Magnum/410 Shotgun I reviewed back in July of 2014. After nearly 2 years, the Double Badger is still going strong. I have taken a number of rabbits and squirrels for the dinner table with it, and just as when I first reviewed it, I still really enjoy shooting it. In the last two years, I have received quite a number of questions about the Double Badger, so here goes.....

Issues/Questions on the choke, shooting slugs, scope mounts, and more


QUESTION #1- THE CHOKE- One of our readers left a comment on the original Double Badger review, saying they believed it had an Extra Full Choke, not a standard Full Choke as specified by Chiappa. I contacted Chiappa about this and they were adamant that the Double Badger had a Full Choke, not Extra Full. It is possible that the Double Badger, being an Italian-made gun, has a full choke that is tighter than a standard American full choke.


QUESTION #2- SIGHTS- Several readers emailed me expressing concern over the fragility of the Double Badger's Williams' manufactured fiber-optic front sight. Some consider it a potential weak spot for survival and bushcraft use. I was also a bit curious about this, so I removed the fiber optic insert and shot the gun at both 25 yards and 50 yards.

Even with the fiber optic sight removed, the remaining steel housing of the sight functioned well, allowing me to maintain a decent sight picture. The shotgun's accuracy stayed virtually the same with both slugs and birdshot, and the rimfire barrel was only slightly less accurate, even out to 50 yards.

This proved that losing or damaging the fiber optic sight in a survival situation would be at worst a minor inconvenience. This is good to know, since many rifles and shotguns today use these types of sights. 

One way to improve the sight picture if you were to lose the fiber optic insert would be to carve a small piece of green wood and insert it into the sight holder. This would fill the hole and allow a more precise sight picture.

QUESTION #3- SHOOTING BRENNEKE SLUGS THROUGH THE DOUBLE BADGER- Several readers expressed concern that shooting Brenneke slugs through the Double Badger's full choke could damage the barrel.


The best answer to this question comes directly from Brenneke's FAQ page:

Why do Brenneke USA slugs have the ribs on the outside diameter of their slugs?

ANSWER: The purpose of the ribs on the outside diameter of the slug..........allows them, unlike most competitors slugs, to be used with any choke. As the slug passes through the three constricted areas, inside of the barrel, the Forcing Cone, Inside Bore, and then the Choke, the excess lead is squeezed into the gaps between the ribs with no damage to the barrel. Somewhat better accuracy may be noted when using a more open choke."

QUESTION #4- BRENNEKE SLUGS SHOOT HIGH THROUGH THE DOUBLE BADGER- Another concern some have are Brenneke slugs shooting high in their Double Badgers. Brenneke also addresses this issue on their FAQ page:

QUESTION: When the slug leaves the barrel does it have a different flight path other than a straight plane?

ANSWER: Yes, once the slugs leaves the muzzle of the shotgun it will rise - - flying somewhat like an arrow. Depending on the slug it may be as much as 1.3 inches high at 50 yards and then at 75 yards the law of gravity begins to take place and the slug will start to drop. Please refer to the ballistics information for each slug found in the individual Product Sheets.

QUESTION #5- MOUNTING A SCOPE ON THE DOUBLE BADGER- Early Double Badgers were drilled and tapped on their barrels for a scope base. The problem was that no one made a scope base that fit. You would either have to pay a gunsmith to make one, or just go without a scope. Some people have apparently resorted to epoxying a close fitting base on the barrel in order to get a scope mounted.

The good news is that newer Double Badgers have a standard grooved dovetail receiver which will allow standard rimfire scope rings to be used. I haven't seen one of these newer Double Badgers in person, so maybe someone can post a photo in the comments section showing a scope successfully mounted on one.

QUESTION #6- I THINK THE FIBER OPTIC FRONT SITE ON THE DOUBLE BADGER IS TOO BIG/BLOCKS  THE SIGHT PICTURE FOR SMALL GAME HUNTING. WHAT DO YOU THINK? The Double Badger's Williams Fiber Optic front sight, which is great for close range shotgun shooting due to it's high visibility, does limit longer range rifle accuracy due to its larger diameter when compared to a typical thin-bladed front sight, such as those used on the Ruger 10/22 and Marlin 795/Papoose .22 Rifles. Of course for small game targets a thin front sight blade is best to ensure pinpoint accuracy for humane kills.

Having the ability to mount a scope would fix the problem. Chiappa was going for a compromise when they decided to put a Williams sight system on the Double Badger because of it having a .410 shotgun barrel. Now that they added a grooved receiver to accept scope rings, hopefully this will no longer be an issue for people wanting to reach out farther for small game.

QUESTION #7- MY DOUBLE BADGER IS VERY TIGHT WHEN I FOLD/UNFOLD IT- ANY SUGGESTIONS?- Yes- just loosen the main hinge screws with a screwdriver and it will be easier to fold and unfold:


It will also loosen up on its own over time as you use the gun.

More Buckshot Testing

For the update. I thought I would test a couple of popular 410 self-defense rounds for people who might carry their Double Badger for "two-legged critter" protection on the trail, while camping, or at their homestead.

The two loads I tested were Winchester's popular PDX1 410 Defender Load, which shoots 3 Copper plated lead discs and 12 copper plated lead BBs, and Remington's new Ultimate Home Defense 410 000 Buckshot load, which has three .36 caliber lead balls in it.

As you can see below, the Double Badger performed well with both loads:

 15 Yards- Winchester PDX1 Defender 410 


Winchester says that the PDX1 can also be used for pest and varmint control. Based on the pattern above, I'd say their description was pretty accurate. This could make the PDX1 a flexible 410 ammo for rural/off-the-grid use, especially if you frequently have to deal with predators attacking your livestock, etc.

15 Yards- Remington "Ultimate Home Defense" 410 2.5" 000 Buckshot


The Remington buckshot load shot slightly to the right at 15 yards, but nothing too extreme. It would certainly be very effective.

Winchester Super X .22 Magnum Lead-Free Ammo

After bumping into the Winchester folks at SHOT Show last year, they kindly offered to send me a test sample of their environmentally friendly, lead-free Super X .22 Magnum to try.  I thought this ammo would be of special interest to our California readers who will have to comply with a total ban on lead hunting ammo in their state within the next three years.

Winchester's Lead-Free Super X .22 Magnum consists of a 28 grain, copper jacketed, tin-alloy bullet. This bullet zings along at a sizzling 2200FPS.

Below are the test results using open sights in a seated position at 50 yards, using a Champion squirrel target:

(click to enlarge)

As mentioned in the question and answer section above, the large, fiber optic sight on the Double Badger makes longer range shots a little more difficult, so I consider this to be good, practical accuracy considering the limitations of the sight and not using a rest. Using a scope would have undoubtedly cut this group in half.

Shooting Winchester's .22 WRF (Winchester Rimfire) in the Double Badger

As you may recall from my original review, I got a chance to test CCI's .22 WRF Winchester Rimfire in the Double Badger. What's great about .22 WRF ammo is that it has roughly the same energy as a hot .22 Long Rifle round (169 foot pounds), yet is perfectly safe to shoot in any .22 Magnum rifle. This makes it excellent for small game hunting at close range without destroying too much of the edible meat.

I had wanted to try Winchester's version of the .22 WRF in the Double Badger, but at the time of the review, I was unable to find any in my area.


Recently, I got lucky and managed to score some in a trade at a local gun store, so thought I would test it and post the results.

Here are the results at 25 yards using open sights: 


The Double Badger really seemed to like this ammo. Unfortunately, Winchester only makes it once every 1-2 years, so it can be a bit hard to find. It can be found pretty regularly at online gun auctions, albeit at a slight premium.

Luckily, since the Double Badger is a slow loading single shot, even just 1-2 boxes go a long way. With the rising popularity of .22 Magnum survival rifles, hopefully Winchester will resume making .22 WRF as a regular item.

Champion Target Holder Stand

I'd like to thank Champion Targets for sending me one of their portable Target Holder Stands. I like to travel to different areas in the mountains to test gear, so I am always on the move. The Champion target holder was lightweight and convenient because of its ease of setup and take down. 


Uncle Mike Sling and Buttstock Holder

While rummaging around the gear section of a local gun shop, I happened across a used Uncle Mike's Ultra Padded Cartridge Sling that fit the Double Badger perfectly. It has padding for comfort and holds six rounds of 410 ammo:


Unfortunately, these slings were discontinued recently, but there are other excellent options out there, such as Specialty Outdoor's Ultimate Rifle Sling, which I started using on my one of my other survival guns recently with great success.

I also added an Uncle Mike's buttstock rifle shell holder, to the Double Badger, which conveniently holds nine rounds of 410 at my fingertips:


In order to carry a small cache of .22 Magnum ammo with the gun, I picked up a couple of penny-sized coin tubes that I bought from a local coin shop and made them into improvised ammo holders. 


There is just enough room on the other side of the Uncle Mike Buttstock Shell Holder to securely hold these tubes:


As it is installed now, the Uncle Mike's Buttstock Holder tends to move around on the stock. I plan to punch a hole in it and reinstall it over the sling swivel stud to make it more secure.

Pelican Storm Case IM2700

I wanted to find a good, sturdy, waterproof case to protect the Double Badger during my rough and tumble trips into the mountains, so I contacted Pelican Products Inc. out in Torrance, California.

Pelican cases are widely used by the military, law enforcement and professionals in TV, film and journalism to keep equipment safe from damage while in the field. They are mil-spec, water resistant, dustproof, crushproof, and 100% made in the USA. These qualities make them a great choice for keeping survival rifles protected under the harshest conditions.

Pelican recommended their IM2700 case, which is not only waterproof, but also able to float, a great plus if you plan to take this case on boating or canoe trips. They were nice enough to send me one to try with the Double Badger (click any image to enlarge):





Not only did the IM2700 case fit the Double Badger, but it also had enough room to include other survival goodies, such as extra ammo, a survival knife (yes, that is the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Survival Knife I reviewed back 2013!), a multi-tool, and an IOSSO cleaning kit



The multi-tool I chose to keep with the Double Badger is a SOG Powerlock, which has a driver set that fits the Double Badgers' odd sized screws. I have several multi-tools from different makers, but the SOG's driver set fit the best.


I've used this case since last year to haul the Double Badger into the mountains during my gear test outings, and it has worked like a champ. I have left it out during driving rainstorms at my camp, and have never seen even a drop of water inside.

Cheers,

Jason

Own a Double Badger? Share your thoughts and experiences below

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft and a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor. He has also written for the The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)