Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Little Ketchup

As in catching up.  Tab clearing.

There was a Fun Show in town this past weekend and Mrs. Graybeard and I dropped by Saturday afternoon.  There was no line and the crowd wasn't overwhelming.  The last one we went to was the last weekend of December (there's usually one a month here in town) and it was more crowded.  I was wondering what I'd see on ammo prices and the shock started early.  The first seller I saw with 500 round bricks of .22LR on his desk wanted $65/box for them.  We kept moving.  A dozen tables away, another seller was asking $95/box. The cheapest box of .45ACP 230 grain FMJ I saw was about $35.  Most was closer to $45.  9mm 115 gr. ball was $20-ish for box of 50.  .223 was closer to .75/round (in the common 55grain FMJ).  There was ammo, it was just 2x to 3x the prices from before the Schumer storm started. 

ARs seemed down in price from the December show and they were everywhere (as fits "America's Rifle").  I saw several "bare bones" ARs in the $900 to $950 range, and the higher end guns seemed pretty reasonably priced.  I should have written down more prices, but I seem to recall Bushmasters at $1250 or $1500 - pretty reasonable for those guns.  Nobody was giving them away, but nobody was asking for body parts in trade, either.

Hunting guns were there in number, as bolt guns have not been as popular as semiautomatics.  I saw a Savage Axis XP in .308, that really caught my eye and made me go sit and think about getting it (I didn't) but not at Bud's price here, at full list price of $420.  Bolt rifles seemed pretty much unaffected by the price hits that black rifles are getting. 

Yeah, I still have my unrequited lust for something like a Scout rifle and still haven't gotten around to doing it.  I like 308 as a cartridge and Colonel Cooper envisioned a nice configuration.  From what I know, the choices are the Ruger Scout and the Savage 10 FCM - unless you have really deep pockets.  Savage has their "Accu-Trigger"; but I have no idea if it's worth going for.  Ruger's offering is more expensive, but a quick check of a couple dealers show magazines are cheaper (but all are out of stock).  

Got this in the daily email.  He has a point.

Lastly, CA at WRSA links to this article in the NY Times that has gotten some buzz; it's by David Stockman, former director of the Office of Management and Budget under Reagan.  Stockman tells a lot of important truths about the economy and it's worth reading.  Written last week (3/30) he begins:
The Dow Jones and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes reached record highs on Thursday, having completely erased the losses since the stock market’s last peak, in 2007. But instead of cheering, we should be very afraid.
I've said before and firmly believe that the peaks in the stock indices are strictly due to the funny money that the Fed is creating out of thin air.  Up to 90% of the deficit is being funded by creating money with no value behind it.  The stock market isn't creating wealth, it's taking $10 bills and writing another number on them.  Hideous inflation is coming.  When corrected for inflation, the Dow been losing value since its inflation-adjusted peak in Y2K.  The Fed gladly takes credit for driving those prices up as more dollars chase a relatively fixed number of stocks, but won't accept any blame for food prices going up, as more dollars chase a relatively fixed amount of food.  The same artificial pricing game is being directed at housing prices right now.

Tough times are coming.  I wish I could tell you exactly when.  But they are coming.


  1. Im actually expecting deflation, not hyper-inflation.

    The problem with hyper-inflation has always been that it burns out quickly. People get tired of their money being worthless so they try to hold on to things of worth.

    The inflation that people fear is coming due to The Bernank's actions is a one step logical assumption. If things are denominated in dollars and dollars become more available, it will take more dollars to buy something. And this is true...to a point.

    You have to go a step further and think how logical people will react in that environment.

    See, as people we learn over time and react to our surroundings. Over time people will see prices ever increasing as more and more money works its way into the system. Eventually a point is reached where people will not take any amount of dollars for a thing of real value. Instead they will demand something of equal or greater value in exchange.

    At that point, the faith in the currency is lost and the ridiculous amounts of liquidity are meaningless as dollars no longer make sense as a medium of exchange.

    The sudden loss of faith in the currency has a hyper-deflationary effect as the market tries to find a new medium of exchange and barter markets emerge...both of which cause transitional illiquidity of the market.

    And make no mistake, I dont mean the equities markets when I say "the market", I mean the general market for beans, bandaids, and bullets at the local corner store.

    For a look at a true hyper-deflationary crash, look at what happened between 1920 and 1921. It was painful, but was short and the economy surged back quickly.

    Just remember that there is no good hedge against a deflationary spiral. Even gold will not be a good hedge. That coin that you could sell today and buy a pallet of beans with (or a nice rifle) will buy a couple boxes of ammo or a meer armload of bean cans once liquidity dries up and scarcity sets in. The only real hedge is to have marketable skills that you can use to provide things of value to people...sort of like is required in a real market economy...or have a large stash of things of practical value that you can use to trade (bartering and negotiating are real market skills, come to think of it).

    Because see, that nice rifle is still worth a pallet of bean cans no matter what is happening with the dollar. Still, having the skills to produce either will be much more valuable than the thing itself.

  2. My son's Savage has the Accu-Trigger, and it's VERY nice.
    Good smooth pull, crisp let-off, and easily adjustable.

    I was skeptical, too, until I shot his rifle.

  3. RE: Scout. Got both - an older Savage Model 10, a new Ruger Gunsite Scout. The Savage has a Leupold 2.5X Scout scope, I installed a Burris 2.75X on the Ruger, like it more. My Savage is old enough it has the pre-nifty trigger, but my gunsmith tweaked it enough I can't tell much difference between it and the Accu-Trigger rifles I've had the opportunity to shoot. I'd like to see a 2.0-5X variable Scout scope with a large enough objective to work well in really low light, but none of the scope manufacturers seem to agree with me. The Ruger trigger needs some work, but it's good enough to get by. At some point I'll have it tweaked. Neither is a 600 yard rifle, but for muzzle to 300 or so both do what I need done. The Ruger has 3, 5 and 10 round mags, the Savage only 3 rounders, which is a vote for the Ruger.

    Hornady factory ammo seems top notch, especially the 168 grain TAP. Much spendy, however, when it can be found. Benchrest shooters will know how to build really good ammo from the right empty brass, so that's not as big a problem as it sounds. Learn to reload really quality stuff.

    I'd suggest, Scout or semi-, it be something you're comfortable carrying all day, every day, works as far out as you can see with the naked eye (which largely rules out 223), and won't break much AND for which you have parts. There will come a time where you put on a long gun the way you now put on pants.

    RE: inflation. Making the rounds is “Ammo will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no ammo...” I agree. Three months after SHTF I'll trade 100 rounds of 9MM for a case of food, 20 gallons of gasoline or your 17 year-old daughter. And you'll be glad to do it (that assumes you're a Liberal who never understood the value of firearms for self defense, and has an attractive 17 year-old daughter who also knows how to cook and hoe a vegetable patch and likes to eat....) Stuff you can eat or shoot will be worth more than anything else, because with one you can trade for the other.

  4. If you want a Savage Scout rifle, with Leupold scope, and fitted with an aftermarket Sharp Shooter Supply trigger that's a joy to use, drop me a line (my e-mail addy's in my blog profile). Trades welcome - either guns or ammo.

  5. Re: DJIA - I saw an article the other day that indicated that the average is calculated as a sum of however many stocks divided by a variable divisor that is less than one (therefore a multiplier). I can't remember who sets the divisor's value, but I absolutely do not believe that they set it purely by some rational algorithm with no politics intruding.

    (I didn't read the linked article, so forgive me if this information was in it.)

  6. DrJim and Anon 0651 - thanks much for the feedback on the two rifles. I've come to the conclusion that the Savage may be a better long range target rifle, especially with the Accu-Trigger, but the Ruger has the advantage with the 10 round magazines.

    I can reload .308; I bought bullets powder and primers before the SHTF.

  7. If you want a cheap 7.62/.308 "Scout" get an Ishapore 2A1 SMLE and remove the too-distant No.1 Mk.3-type rear irons and voila, pre-drilled for scope.
    Additional mags are available at around $50+ a pop, but it really prefers being stripper-clip fed and the magazine is just an ammo holding-tank. These guns were designed as NATO 7.62 rifles, NOT converted or any such thing as some say, in a factory that is still in operation today - and seldom shot, the bores are often mirror clear.