Taking the Past and Use it To Prepare for the Future

As preppers we are always trying to figure out the perfect combination of living simply, while taking advantage of today’s technology. There is quite a bit we can learn from how people lived a century ago. If an EMP, CME or something else took down the power grid, we could easily find ourselves in that type of situation.

In the early 1900’s, unless you lived in the big city, or had big money, you probably didn’t have refrigeration (1930’s), electricity, running water, automobiles, or grocery stores. While we try to become more self-reliant just in case, back then it wasn’t a choice…it was a necessity.

Life was simpler in the early 1900’s. The population was smaller, there was less technology, and nearly half the population were farmers. The typical family size (or household) was bigger out of necessity, their diets were different, and transportation was walking, horses and a few cars.

Because of all this, most people were a lot less dependent on others for their survival. In today’s society, people have become dependent on technology, and others for their survival. This is why if the power grid went down, 90% of the population would not exist.

 Preparing For the Future By Learning From the Past

In order to give ourselves the best chance possible to live through a larger grid down event, or even just get through a smaller power outage, we need to learn how they did it 100 years ago. We don’t necessarily need to live like they did 100 years ago, or go back to the old west, but we need to learn how they did.

Lessons We Can Learn

Preparedness is about marrying the new with the old. We have the technology to harness solar power and communicate (ham radio) so why not use it. What we don’t want to do is be dependent on water coming from the faucet, food being at the grocery store, and the light coming on at the flip of a switch.

The basics of preparedness are pretty simple. The gadgets and trinkets are great, but won’t save your life. When it comes to any sort of disaster or SHTF scenario, life will be different, like it or not. We all try to do things today that will make life easier then, but we need to learn to live differently, and learning from the past is a good way to do that.

The 6 areas of preparedness

The 6 areas of preparedness, and how we can prepare in each of those categories. By taking the knowledge and supplies we have today, and coupling them with how they lived in the past, we can make life much easier when and if something goes down.

Were are a few topics we covered in the show…

Food

Liberty Gardens: Most people in the early 1900’s gardened to one extent or the other. During WW1 people began to plant Liberty Gardens. This was to help feed the soldiers, and also because most of the farmers were sent off to war.

Cooking From Scratch: Cooking from scratch was a necessity. There was no pancake mix, hamburger helper or Campbell’s soup. If people wanted beef stew, they had to make it from scratch.

Ranching: Just like gardening, a lot of people owned livestock in the 1900’s. This may not been a full fledged “Ranch”, but quite a few people had cows, chickens and goats.

Hunting/Trapping: Hunting was a little easier back then because there were more animals, but just about everyone who didn’t live in the big city knew how to hunt at an early age.

Food Preservation: Because you had to grow your own crops, and hunt your own meat, preserving your food was also important. canning, smoking, dehydrating and root cellars were widely used.

Water

Water Safety: Cholera and Typhoid are nearly non existent in the United States today, but that wasn’t the case 100 years ago. Today we have much more knowledge about clean drinking water, and this is one of the most important parts of preparedness.

Wells: If you lived in the city you might have indoor plumbing, but in the outskirts you were on your own. This meant people needed to dig wells, live close to a water source, and bring it into the house manually.

No Indoor Plumbing: If you lived in an Urban area, you might have had indoor plumbing. If you didn’t, you would have used used chamber pots or outhouses. This would be a huge culture shock to most people if the indoor plumbing didn’t work.

Shelter

No Handymen: While everything back then was a lot simpler (easier to fix), DIY projects weren’t projects…they were necessity. There was no “Angie’s List” back then, and if you wanted something done, you did it yourself.

Clothing: We think of shelter as a roof over our head, but clothing is also shelter. Most people back then didn’t have a closet full of clothes like we do. A lot of people has Sunday Clothes, and Work Cloths. There were no clothing stores like we think of them, so if you wanted something new, you made it, or waited for it.

Houses: If you drive through an older town you will notice that the houses are much smaller, even the “Mansions” back then are smaller than some suburban homes these days. Smaller homes are easier to heat, easier to build, and the average household occupancy was larger back then.

Security

Police: They didn’t have the police force that we have today, and the police couldn’t communicate like they do today. This meant that is something were to happen, you were probably on your own.

Culture: People had a different mentality back then. People we more self reliant, and didn’t like to depend on someone else for their livelihood or survival. These days it’s almost the exact opposite, most people expect (and feel entitled to) help from others.

Crime: The population was about a third of what it is today, and less population meant less crime. Because the society and culture were so different than it is today, you didn’t see some of the things we see today. Everyone pretty much knew everyone in smaller town, and sometimes criminals didn’t “get their day in court” if you know what I mean.

Sanitation

Supplies: Back then people didn’t have vacuums (or even carpet), air filters, or Swiffer Sweepers. The mops and brooms they used were very basic, and sometimes homemade.

Cleaning: Today it seems like we have never ending choices about what cleaning supplies we can buy, back than that was not the case. Cleaning supplies are a sometimes overlooked prepping supply, but are very important in preventing sickness and infection.

Indoor Plumbing: As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people did not have indoor plumbing, and this is what lead to many of the common diseases back then. It’s important that we learn about how they did things back then, and not make the same mistakes.

Trash Removal: People back then didn’t generate the amount of trash that we do today, but trash can also lead to health issues. In a SHTF scenario I doubt that the trash man will be coming around, so we need to figure out a solution.

First Aid (Medical)

Technology: The advancements we have made in science and technology would seem like magic to people in the 1900’s. If you’ve ever seen some of the equipment they used back then, you know what I mean. Medical professionals not only have better equipment, but better knowledge as well.

Medicine: Advancements is medicine have also come a long way in the last 100 years. With the advent of antibiotics, diseases and infections that would be fatal then, can be treated today. We have written a few articles about antibiotics for preppers.

Medical Help: Back then there weren’t hospitals like we think of then today, no flight for life, and no ambulances. Most towns had a town doctor with his doctor bag, and which probably had some Opium, snake oil and Heroin in it.

Incorporating Today’s Tools With Yesterday’s Skills

If we learn how people lived 100 years ago we can better prepare for any sort of grid down event, or SHTF event. We have much more knowledge and technology today than they had back then, but some of that technology may not be available.

By looking at all the topics covered above, and trying to figure out a solution for each, we can give ourselves a little better chance for survival, or at the very least, a little normalcy in a tough situation.

Winter is Coming, Time to Prepare

11 Survival Essentials For Winter Driving And To Have In Your Car

Emergencies can happen any time – that’s why having a stash of these 11 survival essentials for winter driving in your car is very important. These items could save you from a miserable, possibly even life threatening experience on the road.

Pay attention to the local weather forecast or if traveling watch the Weather Channel and keep track of your planned route.

If bad weather is expected ask yourself this question, Is this trip really essential? Life or death essential? Consider rescheduling your trip.

1. Water. Store the water bottles inside a box or a bag so it will take a longer time to freeze.

2. Food. When picking out which type of food to store, look for MREs or other items which are high in protein like survival bars and jerky. This will provide you the needed energy if you have to hike to somewhere.

3. Fire starters. Any type of fire starter will do but if you opt to use matches, make sure to bring the waterproof variety.

4. Blankets. If you’re stuck on the side of the road in the winter, you need to stay warm.

5. Flares or reflective triangle. So that you or your vehicle are less likely to get hit at the side of the road in the dark.

6. Shovel. If you’re in a region where you car could get stuck in deep snow it would always be a good idea to bring a shovel whenever you decide to drive during winter.

7. Gloves. Always keep your hands warm with a good pair of gloves. You will need your hands to be in their best condition if you expect to be doing work out in the cold.

8. Light. Keep a good flashlight handy and make sure the batteries are charged or fresh.

9. First aid kit. Accidents happen, and you can’t just stand by and be helpless. Having a first aid kit will permit you to help yourself or your passengers before medical aid arrives.

10. Communications. You need to have a device with you to allow you to call for help in case you get stuck somewhere. So keep your cell phone or ham radio charged always and in the vehicle with you.

11. Spare tire, jack and tire iron. This is applicable ALL the time. Always have a spare and tools in the car in case of a flat tire.

Winter will present a number of challenges for both you and your car so always be prepared for the cold. Before setting out, check your vehicle’s hoses, belts, spark plugs, fluid levels, tires, filters, etc. to make sure that everything is working well. Practice extra control when driving on an icy road and if you do skid, stay calm. Keep it together if ever you find yourself in a situation where you are stranded and make use of the essential tools in your trunk.

What Will Be Valuable in an Economic Collapse

What Will Be Valuable in an Economic Collapse

what will be valuable in an economic collapse

 

The value or price of something is always determined by the supply vs. demand.  In an economic collapse, the supply of many items will be greatly reduced which in turn will increase the price.  So in this post, we are going to discuss what will be valuable in an economic collapse.

An economic collapse will slow down the flow of commerce and trade.  We will see importing and exporting from and to countries will drop rapidly.  The busy highways of semi-trucks hauling goods will come to a screeching halt.

So the demand for those items will increase as they become harder to get during a collapse.  Along with that, the demand for other goods which was relatively low before the collapse will then skyrocket.  For an example, gardening tools will be highly demanded in an economic collapse because many will turn to growing their own food during this time.As a prepper, we not only want to survive during an economic collapse but more importantly thrive.  To thrive means to flourish or prosper.  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be barely getting by day to day after an economic collapse.  This is will already be a stressful situation.  In order to prevent that then we need to start preparing now.  This is why it is important to get an understanding of what will be valuable in an economic collapse.

What will be valuable in an economic collapse?

Water and purification systems

Oil will no longer be the liquid gold during an economic collapse.  Instead, the demand for oil will probably decrease as many are laid off or lose jobs.  People will stop traveling for leisure or business.

Instead, water, especially drinking water, will be highly sought after.  Many grocery and convenience stores will go out of business during an economic collapse.  The stores that remain open will become bare of goods.

American’s specifically, have become mostly urbanized in the last hundred years.  We are no longer taught to be self-sufficient with our own sources of water.  Instead, we mostly rely on city water.  This isn’t always safe to drink and tastes horrible.

In a collapse, I believe that many water systems across the country will shut down.  As a result, many city slickers will be searching and scavenging looking for water.  Along with that, the need for purification systems will increase.  Collecting city water has a lot of health risks with it.  This risk is much higher than rural water collection.

Therefore, many will be turning to natural sources of water and seeking to become self-sufficient.  As a prepper, it is important to have our own sources of water in order to multiply our survivability.

As I mention in the book, if you don’t currently have your own source of water then there needs to be a strategic plan to one day attain it.  In meantime, if you are in a collapse without your own source of water then you will be forced to collect from other sources.  So having a collapsible water bag can be super helpful.  It is lightweight and easy to carry.

You will also need ways to purify your water with water filters and purification tablets.  At the time of this writing, you find some for a reasonable price.  After a collapse, the price will skyrocket.  I would recommend purchasing some of these items to barter or sell during the collapse.  You can make a decent profit and thrive during such an event.

Food

Food is another important item of survival.  You can only survive 3 weeks without food.  However, during a collapse, I wouldn’t recommend bartering or selling your emergency food storage.

Our society is so used to having food quickly.  There are fast food restaurants on almost every corner.  Then we have microwaves to provide us with a dinner in only a few minutes.

During a collapse, this convenience will hardly exist.  This is along with many grocery and convenience stores shutting down.  Food will become scarce.

Since you are not able to plant and reap a garden overnight there will be a lot of looting for survival items such as food.  So you will need to have your emergency food stored securely.

In order to really thrive, I recommend growing and raising your own food now.  Now, this can be used to barter or sell during a collapse.  Not only that but it will increase your survivability by becoming more self-sufficient.

Land

Piggybacking off of the previous point is that you will need land in order to grow a garden.  Trying to find private land for a reasonable price during an economic collapse will be challenging.  This is especially true if you are jobless and can’t afford it.

This is why it is important to find private land now.  It is easier said than done, I know.  Most preppers are on a very low budget.  However, it’s not impossible.  There are many websites like Landwatch where you can find owner financed land.  So if you can’t afford to get a loan through a bank then this can be a reasonable option for you.

Shelter

Having a fortified shelter on the land that you own will increase your survivability a ton.  Having a shelter helps you to survive rough weather conditions.  It also protects you from other outside threats like looters.

If you don’t own a home during an economic collapse then there is a high chance that you can be forced out.  Many property owners will fall behind on mortgage payments.  This could force them to sell the property to pay off the loan.  The other option is that they can jack your rent sky high forcing you to become homeless.

This is why it is important for preppers to get out of debt and purchase their own land and property.  In order to do so, we must prepare on a strict budget.  We must also put together a strategic plan now so that you are not forced to bug out.  Again, I talk about how to put together a bugout proof plan on a budget in The Strategic Prepper eBook.

Another option to have are tents or shelter systems.  A low-cost way of having a shelter is to learn how to bushcraft a shelter.  Such survival skills are one of the many prepper skills that will be imperative to have during a collapse.

Not only are they important for you to have but they will be valuable bartering items during a collapse.  So you could stock up on shelters or you could produce your own to barter.  You can typically find tarps for about $10 that can be used for shelter.

Warm Clothing

Yes, a shelter does provide protection from weather elements.  However, you can’t be cooped up in your shelter all the time.  You will need to go out to gather, hunt or work your garden.

So if you live up north then you will be facing extreme weather conditions.  Therefore you will need to have 3 specific layers to stay warm.  Those three layers include the base layer, insulation layer, and shell layer.

The base layer is designed to wick moisture from your sweating body to prevent hypothermia.  The insulation layer is designed to trap your body heat to keep you warm.  The shell layer is designed to block the outside cold from penetrating your body.

 

Hand tools

Hand tools at this moment are already a wise investment to have.  So in an economic collapse, they will be so much more valuable.  This is because you most likely won’t be able to call on maintenance to come fix things at your location.  Instead, you will be forced to become self-sufficient and fix items yourself.

Ammunition and firearms

In order to keep your shelter fortified you will need some security systems in place.  One of the few security layers that you should have include ammunition and firearms.  This will be more important than ever to have since violent crime will skyrocket.  People will be willing to kill others just for some canned food.

On top of that, there will probably be government takeovers or foreign invasions.  Either way, they could do some serious harm with the amount of firepower that they have.  Now, I’m not saying that you should stock up on AR 15s to fight off the government.

Because they have tanks and drones that can demolish you.  You don’t stand a chance.  So you will need to choose your battles wisely.

With that being said, many other people will be looking to defend themselves during this time.  People will be willing to pay high prices in order to protect themselves.  The price for ammunition will at least quadruple during a collapse.

Emergency items and medication

With so much violence going on during an economic collapse it will be important to have emergency items like first aid kits.  Along with that antibiotics will be in high demand to fight off infections.  Most likely hospitals will run through or be taken over.  Therefore it is important to have your own medical emergency supply.  You could also stock up on these items to barter or sell.

Addictive items

In an economic collapse, it will be a hard struggle for those that are addicted to things like alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco.  It will be especially hard for those that are addicted to illegal drugs.  Many will go to great lengths and pay higher prices to attain those items.

I don’t know about you but I need my coffee.  Without my morning coffee, you wouldn’t want to speak with me.

During a collapse, I know that it is going to be especially challenging.  There are many people just like me that will need or want their caffeine fix.

Now I’m not saying that you should stockpile on illegal items.  Instead, focus on those that won’t land you behind bars.  You can find cheap alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes.  These will be highly valued during a collapse.

Precious metals

During past economic collapses and financial crisis, we have seen inflation skyrocket.  This means the value of the paper dollar will become worthless.  Stores and other traders will begin rejecting the dollar.

Coincidentally the value of precious metals stays consistent with the rise of inflation.  Precious metals hold tangible value compared to the fiat currency.  There are many uses of silver that keeps the demand for silver so high.  This is one of the many reasons preppers should have silver.

On top of that, silver has always been recognized as a symbol of currency across thousands of years.  When the dollar collapses then many will return to using silver as currency.

Now those that are struggling for survival during a collapse would probably care less about purchasing precious metals.  They will be focused mainly on survival items such as food and water.  However, in order to purchase those items at the store, you will need to provide something of value.

Junk silver will most likely be the most recognized form of currency during a collapse.  Most stores and those that deal with money on a daily basis understand the real value of junk coins.  These coins contain 90% silver.  Therefore it represents value.

There are a few ways to collect junk silver. First, you should look through your change drawer to find quarters and dimes that were produced before 1965.  You could also exchange dollars at a local change machine to see if you can find some.  If those options don’t work then I would recommend checking out SD Bullion where I get most of my silver.

The great thing about SD Bullion is that they don’t require a $100 minimum order.  Most bullion companies require a $100 minimum order.  Instead, I take about $20 to $30 of each paycheck to buy silver bullion.  You don’t have to go broke trying to prepare for such a situation.

Altogether these would be my suggestions on what will be valuable in an economic collapse.  If you have suggestions or feedback then please leave it in the comment section below.  Your feedback helps the community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.

 

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How To Plan Your Survival Group

How To Plan Your Survival Group

How To Plan Your Survival Group
Source: The Division

Are you a lone wolf or do you believe there are still capable people around you? Starting a survival group makes sense in today’s political situation and social climate. You could make it on your own, but survival is much easier within a group of people. Here is what you can do to for your own survival group and make it work.

As preppers, we must understand that we are not special and we cannot do everything to keep things in order. Is just not possible and you can’t be a hunter and a medic at the same time. There are tasks which require the help of your fellow neighbors and projects are done much faster when you have the numbers. Not to mention that surviving alone is not ideal and it takes a toll on your mindset over time. We are social creatures, and we evolved by sticking together and helping each other.

Seeking out like-minded people should be the first step in establishing a survival group. The number of preppers is increasing year after year, and we are no longer being seen as the “odd” members of society. While certain TV shows are twisting the reality of prepping, the increasing natural disaster in the U.S. made people realize that preparing for an emergency is just, and should be common sense.

The essential steps to planning a survival group

Self-assess

Before you ask what others can do for the survival group, you should ask yourself what you can do for it. You should become a valuable member and show others what you can bring to the table. Maybe you are trained in self-defense, maybe you have medical training, or maybe you are bushcraft master. All your skills should be brought forward, and you should never sell yourself short. It may look like you’re showing off at first, but it’s not a popularity contest.

You should also consider your psychical condition. Some people can spend a lot of times outside, exploring the great outdoors, while others require medication to get through the day. Even if some members have certain limitations, that doesn’t mean they are less worthy to be part of your survival group.

Be honest with yourself and don’t assume you can do more than you are capable. The point here is to become an efficient member of the survival group and be fair to others while acknowledging your own limitations.

Start building and expand

When people think about forming a survival group, they start with close friends and neighbors. Before you reach out to them, you should look closer to home. Your family is your immediate survival group, and you need to take them into account. Your kids and elderly parents have capabilities that can be put to good use. They can offer assistance with your prepping plans, and they can learn or teach you skills which you lack.

When the group evolves, each individual’s qualities should be assessed, and roles need to be assigned accordingly. An elderly person may not be able to do more than cook or see after the kids, but it still makes a huge difference.

Seek others in your proximity to expand the group. The group could be a few houses around your block or even a subdivision of a suburban neighborhood. Keep everything inside your survival group since once it is formed, it will not be open to outsiders.

Make sure to pick a leader

An effective survival group is an organized one. You can’t have order without an overall leader with a second in command. Most survival groups will choose people with clear leadership ability, perhaps military or law enforcement. However, the other roles in the group can be filled by anyone. Even more, they should teach their job to others so that the group can still function in case some member is lost.

Check if you have all the needed skillsets

You should identify all the skillsets available in your survival group since not everything you may need is in your geographical area. Chances are you may need to extend your area of action, in case your team needs a profession that is hard to find. You may need a doctor, a mechanic or a farmer/gardener and there’s no guarantee you will find one in your neighborhood. In an efficient group, you will find people who can do more than one job. The more skills you have in the group, the better.

Do a field test

There’s no point to having a good array of skills if you don’t practice and evolve them. Plan a weekend outing with your survival group and test their skills. A camping trip or gathering at someone’s house outside of town is an ideal scenario.

You can even do it in your neighborhood and gather at a member’s house. Turn off the utilities and see how everyone is coping with privation. You can even establish a perimeter around the house and post guard during the gathering. It will help you practice your skills in a less stressful environment before the brown stuff hits the fan.

Stockpile resources

Since you cannot predict the future and precisely establish how long a disruption may last, the goal will be to plan up to one year’s duration. Your survival group will need all the basics to survive during that time. Water, food, clothing, tools, medicine, communication gear, weapons, and ammunition are all a must for each member of the group.

You can help each other by sharing tips and information about your prepping plans. If there’s an ammo sale or if a nearby farm has a surplus of produce, you could save money, and everyone from your survival group will be prepared.

The good thing about having access to a variety of resources is that you can trade for the things you need or those you want. Bartering inside your group is much safer than having to deal with outsiders. A smart prepper will always accumulate extra supplies for use in barter.

Establish a territory

Depending on how the survival group is formed, and the skillset it has, you may need to establish a bug-in territory. This may be your own house or a city block, whatever works and can be protected without putting everyone in danger. You also need to plan a bug-out scenario, since you may be forced to relocate to a place in the country if a natural disaster destroys your neighborhood. This will require transportation vehicles for both people and resources and a well-established transportation plan. Not everyone from the group will agree to leave everything behind when the time comes.

If you establish a bug-in location, you should patrol the area around your territory. You will need to maintain awareness of local activities and keep everyone informed in case something happens. Depending on your region, you can either display a weapon openly or keep a low profile. Once it hits the fan, everyone approaching your territory must be stopped before entering your perimeter. All the talking and interrogation should be done outside that perimeter. They may be scouting the location, or they may carry infectious diseases. You also need to keep an open mind since some of the people approaching you may just need to barter, or they seek aid. You need to establish a protocol on how to handle outsiders and stick to it.

Everyone should be ready at any time

They should acquire basic proficiency with firearms, and they should have their resources organized. Training together will help everyone from your group since you learn much faster by doing rather than reading or talking about it. If the order is given to evacuate, you can’t waste time because some members can’t find their bug out bags or they misplaced certain resources. Your escape and evasion load should always be ready, and everyone should follow an established bug out timeline.

Ideally, everyone should have similar items in their bags so that each group member can go to any pack for support in an emergency. This is especially useful when it comes to firearms and ammunition since you can’t share ammo which is useless for your caliber.

Organization and fluidity are the main characteristics of an efficient survival group. You can’t use an electric vehicle as a common resource if you don’t have a method of charging it. You shouldn’t pack food that needs cooking if your bug out plan doesn’t include a resting or camping spot. These are all things that can be discussed and members need to communicate to identify flaws which can jeopardize the integrity of your survival group. There’s no shame in asking for advice and people should trust each other.

A last word

As I said before, immediate survival groups are forming inside families, and it seems this trend is growing. People are starting to show interest more and more to prepping and they are discussing with their neighbors about how to prepare better. I believe this year is a wake-up call for many out there and we can no longer ignore the natural disasters happening in our backyard. Forming a survival group will help you survive and learn how to prepare for a short or long-term disaster.

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How to Cure Your Shooting Accuracy Illness

How to Cure Your Shooting Accuracy Illnesses

The first step to overcoming shooting woes is to start from scratch and examine everything with your shooting platform and technique. Eliminating bad habits and building new ones, or returning to your old form, takes patience and time. (Photo: Josh Dahlke)

Your shooting health has been strong for years, but suddenly and unexpectedly it has deteriorated into a bad case of “accuritis.” What’s the cure for this mysterious condition? Starting with a clean slate is just what the doctor ordered.

A string of bad shooting recently plagued me, and I couldn’t allow this infection to spread into deer season. I took a hard look at all of the complex factors that could have caused my accuracy slump, but I arrogantly overlooked the rookie stuff. There was only one thing to do: Throw everything out the window and start from scratch with some of the simplest, yet most critical shooting fundamentals.

You must first trust in your rifle platform. Start at the bench to eliminate human error and ensure your rifle/optic/ammo combination is producing predictable results. A bench is also a great place to review the critical mechanics of both your tool and its master. It’s marvelous that a calculated explosion can send a fine-tuned piece of metal spinning out of a short tube at upwards of 3,000 fps. When you’re conscious of this magical process, you realize the key to accurately deliver a bullet downrange is letting the rifle do its job with minimal human interference.

Now’s your chance to focus on the most influential shooting fundamental: trigger control. Close your eyes and dry-fire your rifle at the bench. Find the most comfortable position for your finger on the trigger that allows you to press it backward in a perfectly straight line, parallel with the rifle’s stock, until the trigger breaks. Every trigger feels different — weight, contour, cycle — but the motion of your finger should be repeatable and consistent across virtually every rifle’s trigger.

GET A GRIP
There are a handful of factors that will greatly determine your grip, but “consistency” is again the keyword. The first gripping consideration lies in the design of your rifle’s stock. It should fit in your hands comfortably atthefore-endandthegripatthebutt end closest to the trigger.

Tightness of your grip shouldn’t differ greatly from rifle to rifle. If recoil is a flinching concern, here are three solutions: shoot a caliber in your comfort zone; mount a scope with adequate eye relief; get solid contact between the stock and your shoulder. Too tight of a grip will hinder accuracy because muscle tension is always inconsistent, plus you run the risk of forcing the stock against the barrel and disrupting the barrel’s natural harmonics with the bullet.

FIELD TESTING
Practicing shots from realistic field positions is extremely important — that’s why you’ve heard this lesson preached hundreds of times. But let’s take this lesson a step further. Learn how to shift your body to get the most stability from every position: standing, sitting, prone and kneeling. The more contact your body has with the ground or other stationary objects, the more stable your shooting platform.

Here’s where a hunting pack can be a tremendous aid. Aside from haul- ing gear, you can use your pack to support the fore-end of your rifle in the prone position. You can also lean into your pack from the sitting position to eliminate wobbling of your core. The weight of a pack on your back will also keep you steadier in the standing position, which is usually the most unstable of all field shooting positions.

THE BRAIN GAME
Of all factors that influence the accuracy of a rifle, your brain can be the most detrimental. If you can’t maintain composure during the moment of truth, everything can quickly fall apart. Choose a shooting sequence and stick to it. Everyone’s routine is slightly different, but here’s an example: find a rest, grip your rifle, establish solid cheek weld, aim, turn off safety, exhale, squeeze trigger, cycle new round into chamber while maintaining sight on target.

Learn your limits and respect them. If you can’t consistently fire 300-yard shots on the range with certain accuracy, don’t expect any superpowers to activate in the field. Over-thinking your shot can also spell shooting doom. Once you’ve decided to kill an animal, focus on your shooting sequence and nothing else. If your instincts led you to bearing down on your rifle in the first place, odds are you’ll be thrilled with what’s lying at the end of the blood trail

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