Sunday, March 4, 2018

Reader Email: Pistol Scope on a Chiappa Double Badger 410/.22LR Survival Rifle, Great Versatility

(This email was recently sent to us from Gene in Wisconsin. Gene wanted to share his experience with his Chiappa Double Badger 410/.22LR folding survival gun and how he mounted a scope on it):

Dear Rocky Mountain Bushcraft,

This is my set up. 22LR/410.


I bought one of the first ones and found Savage mounts at Walmart that were a perfect fit. I have a Simmons pistol scope mounted on see-through mounts and this setup is awesome.


I own a hundred guns, and if I could only own one, it would be this one. Here in Wisconsin, this is the gun I use for everything except deer hunting. If it was legal to use the .410, I would use it for that as well. In a survival situation, I definitely would.

I can get 1 inch groups at 50 yards with the pistol scope if I do my part. I have found that using .22 Shorts are very accurate and for small game hunting, they are great because they are so quiet.

With this setup, it is still under 6 lbs. Out of all the combo guns I’ve had, this is the lightest. My Savage Model 24 .17 HMR over 20 gauge was over 9 lbs, and I had a Baikal .22 Mag over 410 and that was 7.5 lbs. For me, the double triggers makes this the best set up over all the other combo guns. No switches to fumble with, with just pull and shoot.

FYI - 1/2 of the Ruger 10/22 scope mounts are a perfect fit, so I went to Walmart with that half and matched them up with a pair of Savage mounts that worked perfectly.


I also took the rear peep off and replaced it with a notched Williams Fire Sight. I’m just not a fan of peeps.

Very versatile gun with .22 Shorts, Longs, Long Rifle, and CB’s. In the .410, Birdshot, Buckshot, Slugs. Pretty much a gun that will take any game in the USA.

Love reading your web page.

Gene


EDITOR'S NOTE- Great information- thanks Gene!

If you would like to check out RMB's original review of the Chiappa Double Badger 410/.22LR Survival Rifle, click HERE

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Italian Army Wool Officer's Blanket vs Regular Italian Army Wool Blanket

Left: Italian Army Officer's Wool Blanket. Right: Standard Italian Army Wool Blanket (the dark black markings on both blankets are faded maker's marks) Photo: ©2018 Rocky Mountain Bushcraft

Bushcrafters LOVE wool blankets for their versatility in the field. One of the blankets they particularly like for this role are the surplus Italian Army Wool Blankets.

The Italian Army Blankets were available for many years from surplus stores for dirt cheap prices ($10 a piece in some cases). Weighing in at roughly 5 to 5 1/2 lbs, constructed of 100% wool, tightly woven, and built like a tank, they work great as a general purpose field blanket.

The Italian Army Standard Wool Blankets in use circa 1985:

Unfortunately, the supply of these blankets, like most quality military wool blankets, has dried up over the years and have become more difficult to find. The Italian Army blankets in particular have become highly sought after, fetching upwards of $100 to $200 per blanket on eBay and online forums.

As rare as the Italian Army Wool Blankets are, the Officer's version of Italian Army Wool Blanket is even more more difficult to find.

The Officer's Blanket has a distinctive star on it (see main photo above), is generally lighter in color, is longer than the standard army blanket by 10" to 15", and noticeably heavier. Dimensionally, my one Officer's blanket is 96" X 67", and the other is 98" X 66". How much heavier are these  blankets? One weighs 7lbs 12oz, and the other is 7lbs 14oz. That's nearly 8lbs of pure wool! 

By way of comparison, a large 4 point Hudson Bay Wool Blanket generally weighs 6 to 6 1/2 lbs:

Photo credit: Jason Schwartz/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft ©2018

So the Italian Officer's Wool Blanket, at 1 1/2 to almost 2lbs heavier, is one serious field blanket!

Despite its weight, the Officer's blanket actually packs down much smaller than a Hudson Bay because of its dense, tightly woven construction. To give you an idea of just how small it will pack down, here is one of my Officer's Blankets next to a smallish 100% Wool USGI Army Blanket:

 Left: Italian Army Officer's Wool Blanket. Right: USGI 100% Wool Blanket
Photo credit: Jason Schwartz/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft ©2018

That's a seriously small package for nearly 8lbs of wool! My rolled up Hudson Bay blanket is twice this size. 

As cool as these Officer's blankets are, they are extremely rare unfortunately. In fact, they are so rare that I could hardly find any information about them, even on bushcrafting forums. 

Photo credit: Jason Schwartz/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft ©2018

To add to the confusion, it seems that a lot of people think that the regular Italian Army Wool Blanket is actually the Officer's model. As you can see from the main photo and from the differences in their size and weight, they are actually quite different. 

Hopefully, this post will help clarify these differences in case someone should run into one of them at a yard sale, estate sale, online, etc.

If you happen to own one and can add to this information, please leave a comment below. 

Cheers,

Jason

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Review coming soon...... Barco-Kelly "Perfect" Felling Axe

Rocky Mountain Bushcraft now has 4.7 Million Pageviews- pretty cool!

Cool photos from RMB reader in British Columbia, Canada


Hey friends, hope you are well.

Check out these cool photos from RMB reader Joe SB Smith from British Columbia, Canada!

Joe was one of the winners of the Rocky Mountain Bushcraft Liberty Bottle Giveaway recently. He took these cool photos and wanted to share them.

Thanks Joe!

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you'd like to grab one of these cool bottles, I've listed them for sale at the Rocky Mountain Bushcraft eBay store.





Wednesday, October 11, 2017

GIVEAWAY!-- Rocky Mountain Bushcraft-themed Liberty Bottleworks 32oz Water Bottles- Made in the USA!


Hey friends!

Jason here.

I wanted to let you know that I am GIVING AWAY two brand NEW Made in the USA Liberty Bottleworks ROCKY MOUNTAIN BUSHCRAFT THEMED 32oz ALUMINUM WATER BOTTLES, retail value $24.95, to two lucky RMB followers.

Liberty Bottles are 100% Made in the USA from Deep-Drawn recycled Aluminum. They feature an easy to use 1/4 turn on/off BPA-Free cap, an easy to drink from wide opening, and an FDA-approved flexible food grade coating inside the bottle.

I have been using these bottles for years, and I love them. The opening is the perfect size to drink from- not too small, not too large.

For more information about Liberty Bottles, check out my June, 2012 review- Gear Review: Liberty Bottleworks 32 ounce Aluminum Water Bottles

The BOTTLES

Each bottle features one of three popular survival/bushcraft tips from RMB:

(click to enlarge)

 

TO ENTER:

1) LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TELLING US WHICH RMB ARTICLE, REVIEW OR 'TIPS & TRICKS' IS YOUR FAVORITE, AND WHAT RMB BOTTLE COLOR YOU LIKE BEST

2) VISIT THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN BUSHCRAFT FACEBOOK AND HIT THE "LIKE" BUTTON

THAT'S IT!

NOTE!: You must have a regular Disqus comment profile so I can contact you after the winners are selected. 

The two selected winners will each receive (1) RMB themed Liberty bottle of their choice (White, Aluminum, Tan, or Army Green). 

The giveaway will run for approximately 2 weeks, and end on Wednesday October 25th, 2017 at 6pm MST. Winners will be announced 24 hours after the end of the drawing. 

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING RULES BEFORE ENTERING!

1) To enter the giveaway, you must do the following-- a) Leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite RMB post/article is, and which Rocky Mountain Bushcraft Liberty Bottle color you like best. You must post it using a regular Disqus commenter profile so that you can be contacted after the drawing ends. Sorry, anonymous profiles will not be counted.

3) Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

4) Two winners will be selected from the comments section using a Random Number Generator, and will be announced here on Thursday October 26th, 2017.

5) RMB reserves the right to announce the winning screen names in the prize winner announcement post.

6) Winners will be contacted through their Disqus registered email address. You will have 5 days to respond to the winner notification. You must provide a valid mailing address so that we can mail you your prize. If a response is not received within 5 days, Rocky Mountain Bushcraft reserves the right to rescind the offer and offer the prize to another giveaway participant, which will be determined by running a second Random Number Generator sequence.

Me with the crew from Liberty Bottleworks at the 2013 Outdoor Retailer Show:

Good luck!

-Jason

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Survival Gear Review: The S.O.L. Escape Bivvy at 14 Degrees F

Photo credits: © 2012 Rocky Mountain Bushcraft/Jason Schwartz

Photo courtesy of S.O.L.

Here's the scenario.....Your vehicle breaks down on a lonely, remote stretch of road in the middle of winter at 10pm at night. There's no cell phone signal, and due to its remoteness, you will probably be the last vehicle to travel this road that night. Temps are expected to drop down to the low to mid teens.

To make it even worse, all you have on is a shirt, light jacket, pants and stylish shoes, because you were on your way back from a party at a friend's house, so you dressed more for style than for warmth for this occasion.

Now, you are faced with a serious dilemma -- walk 20 miles to civilization, which could take a full 6-7 hours, or, you brave the night out inside your vehicle, all without adequate winter clothing to stave off hypothermia. Things are beginning to look VERY grim.....

But wait! You just remembered you have an SOL Escape Bivvy in your trunk that you bought along for just such an emergency.

Your excitement quickly deflates, however, after you fish it out of your trunk and see just how awfully small and light it is. This Escape Bivvy weighs a measly eight ounces--really? With no insulation? In low to mid teens? Are you kidding me? "I am SERIOUSLY screwed!"



Now, back to reality.

The above scenario plays out all too often in real life. Many unprepared motorists have died from hypothermia because they didn't bring enough warm clothes or a sleeping bag to survive a night in extreme conditions.

So what if all you had was an SOL Escape Bivvy, like in the above scenario, would it keep you alive?

I decided to find out by testing it in similar conditions to the fictional scenario above.

The SPECS:

  • Weather the Elements- Highly water-resistant fabric keeps you dry even in wet, soggy conditions.
  • Stay Warm- Reflects 70% of radiated body heat.
  • All-season Durability- Hard-wearing fabric resists punctures and tears through heavy use.
  • High-visibility orange exterior- Makes it easy for rescuers to spot you even in areas with high tree cover.
  • Size: 84" x 31"
  • Weight: 8.5 oz
  • Street Price: $40

The TEST 

On a cold winter evening with temperatures hovering between 13 and 15 degrees F, I dressed in very light clothing, laid the Escape Bivvy down outside, grabbed my trusty Kestrel Portable Weather Meter, and jumped inside for as long as I could stand it!

For test consistency, I laid the bivvy on a winter-rated sleeping pad to simulate being insulated from the ground like I would be if I were laying inside a vehicle, or was using pine boughs or leaves underneath me for insulation if I were out in the woods. 

The goal -- measure the temperature inside the bivvy while I was inside, while also taking note of the perceived warmth (or lack thereof).

I wanted to make it as harsh as possible, so I wore just a thin long sleeved polypro t-shirt, cotton khaki casual pants, and a pair of socks. Since I was going in shoeless, I didn't want to risk frostbite on my toes, so I wore a pair of my heavier wool socks.

Just before jumping into the bivvy, I measured the outside temperature-- a bonafide 14 degrees Fahrenheit:


The view once I was inside- this sure ain't the Hilton!

Once safely nestled inside the bivvy, I pulled the drawstring as tight as I could make it. I then waited about a half an hour before taking the first temperature reading.

At the end of the half hour mark, I took the first temperature reading- 51.6 degrees! This means it was an amazing 37 degrees warmer inside the Escape Bivvy than outside:


A half hour later, I checked the temperature again -- 54 degrees!


I managed to rough it for 4 hours with just a t-shirt, thin cotton pants, and wool socks. Temps stayed in the low to mid 50s the entire time.

That's very impressive for something this small and light that also manages to be breathable. Speaking of breathability, the Tyvek material SOL used in the Escape Bivvy works very well. I did not notice any unusual buildup of moisture or ice while inside of it.

Once again, I find this very impressive.

I am quite confident that I would have easily survived the night inside the Escape Bivvy, especially with a light jacket and wearing shoes. That's impressive.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The Escape Bivvy is an impressive piece of survival gear. It weights just a fraction of what a sleeping bag weighs, packs up incredibly small, and has the breathability of Gore-Tex.

The material used in it is also soft enough to use it as a sleeping bag liner, without feeling uncomfortable. When I've used it in this role, it seems to have added 15 to 20 degrees to my sleeping bag rating.

The final verdict? Highly recommended.


For more information, visit SOL at: 

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft and the author of Edible & Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains pocket guides. He has written for Backpacker Magazine and The New Pioneer, and has been featured in media outlets such as The San Jose Mercury News and The Columbus Dispatch. Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com

Monday, September 25, 2017

Knife Porn: Buck 119 75th Anniversary Edition

(click to enlarge)
All photos © 2017 Jason Schwartz/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft



Description from Buck's website:

Celebrating 75 years of the famous 119 Special! 

Hoyt Buck's first knife, made from a worn out file blade in 1902 was a fixed blade. The U.S. Government requested blade donations for the military after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is then, in the basement of a church in 1942, that Hoyt Buck began making knives by hand. It was designed that was dialed in after 40 years of making knives to customer specifications. The anniversary edition 119 Special features a custom medallion in the handle and a 75th anniversary blade stamp. The leather sheath also features an embossed anniversary logo.



Editor's Note:
I really dig the 75th Anniversary edition of this knife! Cool factoid: Les Stroud used this same knife as his survival knife in his early episodes of "Survivorman."

Budget Bushcraft Gear Review: French Army Wool Blankets- Grab'em while you can


Hey friends, I have no affiliation with Coleman's Military Surplus, but I wanted to let you know that they just got in some rare French Army Wool Blankets for just under $30 bucks a piece.

What's the big deal about the French Army Wool Blanket?

Well, I've owned a bunch of different military wool blankets, including the 100% Wool GI Blanket, Polish, Russian, Italian, Yugoslavian, you name it. A while back, I bought a French Army Wool Blanket on eBay, and it blew away everything else I've owned.

A big problem with nearly all military wool blankets is that they are too small for an adult to do the "bushcraft wool blanket wrap."

The bushcraft blanket wrap allows 2 layers of wool over your body, and 3-4 layers over your feet. It is much warmer to use a wool blanket this way than just covering up with it.

Most military blankets are only 52" to 66" wide, which means you can't use them to their full potential to keep warm when sleeping.

By contrast, the French Army Wool Blanket is a full 72" wide, which is as wide as a typical Hudson Bay 4 Point Blanket, the standard in bushcrafting for wool blankets. This makes it wide enough to actually do the bushcraft blanket wrap in.

Speaking of warmth, my French Army Blanket is probably 30-40% warmer than my 100% Wool Italian Army Blanket, to give you an idea. The Italian Army Wool Blanket, which has pretty much disappeared from the market and is highly sought after, now fetches between $100 to $175 on eBay.

It is a really cool blanket, but it simply pales in comparison to the French Army Blanket in size, thickness, loft and warmth in my opinion.

Here are some comparison shots of the two:
(click to enlarge)

My French Army Wool Blanket (left), weighs 5lbs even. My Italian Army Wool Blanket (right), weighs 5lbs 4oz.  The size difference between the two is noticeable: 


The French Army blanket is also tough like the Italian Army Blanket in case you're worried about durability in the field.

For $29.95, this blanket is literally the steal of the century, and there's a chance you may not see them again after these are gone.

Cheers,

Jason

The French Army Wool Blanket is available here- 

Saturday, April 1, 2017