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Cold weather survival-part #3

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posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 03:27 AM
All exposed metal surfaces of weapons must be free of lubricants, or they will freeze the action mechanisms. Instead of a liquid lubrication, opt instead, for the graphite based lubes. There are several excellent sources for this fine product.
Firearms should never be taken inside of a warm tent. Even a slight temperature fluctuation will create moisture, and cause the weapons to freeze. It’s always best to keep weapons outside of the tent, at the same temperature as the conditions outside, but u=insure that the weapons is protected from blowing snow.

Handguns can be taken inside the tent, as long as they are carried inside the park when going outside. It’s a difficult lesson to learn; that when you need your Colt .45 handgun, and the action is frozen, and it don’t work.

If you’re going to carry a handgun, keep one in a covered holster on your equipment , and another one inside a pocket of your parka. Taking a warm gun outside, is paramount to suicide in the events the weapon is needed.

Check every screw, nut, and bolt on every weapon, every day. Cold weather can snap these little screws, and your weapon sis rendered useless. Likewise; keep the ammunition dry, and ice free. If you drop a bullet in the snow, and your fortunate enough to recover it; then don’t replace it into the magazine. Instead, store it next to your chest inside your park, at least until it dries out completely. Never use lubricants on the ammunition either. Same principal applies, as with the weapons itself.

Keep all of your firearms protected from wet snow. A cap on the end of the barrel keeps snow from freezing in the barrel. You don’t want to fire a weapon that is clogged with an ice plug. The Old way is to use a prophylactic (Trojan Rubber). But there are many ingenious ways to accomplish this task.

If your weapon is dropped into the snow. Stop what you’re doing, and take everything apart. Dry out the weapon, and lubricate with whatever graphite formula you are using. Don’t make the mistake of just drying out the outside surfaces, make sure the action is dried out as well.

Stay away from wood stock weapons in cold areas. Wood has the capacity to absorb moisture. Factory finished stocks are just as bad, as untreated stocks. Even the smallest crack in the wood will create moisture buildup. Composite Nylon stocks are best suited for cold weather environments. Wood will contract and expand with different temperatures. This changes the point of aim. Synthetic stocks remain constant, and they offer less weight, but increased recoil in heavier caliber rifles.

In cold weather, only a minimum amount of magazines should be loaded. Sub-zero weather will actually deform the springs inside a loaded magazine. If you need to carry several loaded magazines, then don’t load them to their full capacity. Leave a few round out, and that gives the inner spring some protection.

Cold Weather Tactical Considerations:
If you all alone, then guard duty is out of the question. You’ll be dog-tired at the end of each day. Shelter, warmth, food, drink, and plenty of sleep is the answer to the days problems. There is no substitute for any of these.

If however, you have other people with you; then it might be necessary to post a guard for potential intruders, if the situation warrants it.

The guard shouldn’t be outside for more than two hours at a one time. The cold, being tired, and watching the endless snow fall or blowing wind, will soon lull the guard into a state of relaxation and eventually he will fall asleep. Change the guard every two hours. More so, if the weather is below -40 degrees. If there are enough people in your group, then have two people on guard duty. One outside, and one inside the tent. The guard changes position every thirty minutes. This allows the outside guard to get out of the extreme cold, and helps to insure that the inside guard remains awake.

Arrange sleeping areas in definition to the guard duty roster. The first man is the first sleeping bag near the door, the second man on duty, is the second sleeping bag near the door. In this way, the next guard always knows who to awaken for duty. There’s never any question of who’s next.

If your group is using a wood burning stove inside the tent, or a fuel fired heater; then a “fire guard” duty is also the responsibility of the “inside guard”. He keeps an eye on the heater, adding fuel or wood, and insures that there are no fires present to burn down the tent.

A large group would also use a “ready force” in addition to the two guards. The ready-force is normally 2-3 people that though asleep, they remain fully dressed, and lay on top of their sleeping bags. Their job is to respond to perimeter intrusions. There are allowed to continue sleeping, and sometimes are excuses form guard duty for the night.

One of the most important duties that each guard (inside and outside) must perform, is to keep an eye on noise and light discipline.

At night, in treeless frozen areas, such as found in Alaska; light is visible for miles. Even brief light, like flashlights, or opening tent doors, will pose a security issue. Hostile (enemy) elements using night vision goggles can quickly pin point even faint occurrences of lights at great distances. That goes double for spotters and pilots of aircraft flying the night skies.

One of the outside guard’s duties, is to insure that no light is visible. Every hour he should walk around the tent, and make sure that snow is piled up along the edge to keep lights from disclosing the camp’s position. He should also make sure that loud noises aren’t present. Laughing, yelling, the clanking of cooking ware, and radio transmission are some of the violation of noise discipline that each guard should be aware of.

The inside guard has the added burden of insuring noise is kept down, and maintaining light discipline. Every time that the doorway to the tent is opened, every light inside the tent must be extinguished. He should also be aware of loud noises, and take protective measure to insure that noise inside the tent is kept to an absolute minimum. That doesn’t mean all talking must cease, but it does mean that personal discipline must be used by every member of the group.

Use a double-red lens on every flashlight at night. It both protects your naked eye night vision, and prevents lights from revealing your position.

Travelling tactically in an extreme environment is possible, but nonetheless, its difficult. The group must be alert at all times in open areas, as well as wooded areas. The clinking and clanking of loose gear, the sounds of sleds being dragged across ice and snow, and in some cases, even the labored breathing, can give away a groups position and direction of travel.

The best bet is to travel in a well defined, but loose formation. Weapons are kept ready, and scouts are sent ahead, and to the flanks, when terrain dictates, or allows it. Even then in flat treeless areas, enemy forces can easily spot you, or the group, just by sheer movement. Whiteout suits, help to conceal your form, but do little to conceal body movements. Snow cammie clothing is great for hiding yourself from people far away, but up close, it’s pretty easy to identify people moving about in the snow.
Survival in extreme cold weather situations takes both practice and skill, as well as forward thinking survival strategies. Even though you might live in areas that do not recreate the Alaska winters. There’s a good chance that these conditions will occur in the Northern US states. From Washington State, across the top of the USA, all the way to Vermont/Maine, weather conditions can change within minutes, and most times with little or no warning. Lake Effect snow, blizzard conditions, white out conditions; all of these weather phenomena will have a adverse effect on your survivability.
Having a plan, and working the plan, as well as the right gear will insure that winter will not kill you. It will surely make things difficult, but at least you will be prepared for enduring the worst that winter storms and sub-arctic weather can throw at you.

Mod Edit: All Caps – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 7-10-2009 by Gemwolf]

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 03:39 AM
Er, I hate to burst anyone's bubble, and possibly the OP can answer, but what about FLIR technology? I would love to live in a warm tent environment, but when faced with being shredded beyond recognition, I'd rather be cold. Now, You mentioned fire, and warmth so please explain how I can accomplish this without exposure to the enemy?

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 04:09 AM
reply to post by sanchoearlyjones

Forward Looking Infrared Radar? I would have to ask what type of people you are escaping from. The normal person on the streets dont have FLIR capabiltity, and they havent built one that is hand-held yet. Most that I am familiar with are aircraft mounted. Their pretty darn expensive on top of that. Alaska has one FLIR distributor, but rarely sells any units, except to the various government agencies, and then only on a limited basis...

Unless you are expecting to be chased by heavily armed troops in aircraft, or perhaps government agents; FLIR is probably something you shouldn't worry about in the firt place. Perhaps nightvision would be better to worry about, at least to some dgree, considering that in snow, and cold weather extremes, they are almost nill, as far as being effective.

As to the question about "fire". This falls back onto Basic Primitive Survival Skills. If your'e in a treeless area, then wood is going to be the very first problem, Alaska natives use whale oil and whale blubber. Bear grease, as well as other animals fats can be used like a candle. Both for cooking, and for heating. It's the same principal as the canned 120-hour candles, but they use parrafin instead of animal fats.

I think that I explained how to minimize exposrue through light and noise discipline. In any potentially hostile situation, these two areas are what makes, or breaks ytour secuirty efforts at the fundemental level....

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 08:23 AM
reply to post by AlaskaFranke

Good points you make there about firearms -- especially using graphite-based lubes and not oil. It was the same when we carried firearms in very dry, dusty and sandy places back in Oz. (Mainly semi-desert country.) If you drop a firearm in fine sand it takes an awful lot of careful work to clean it if it's been oiled. So we preferred graphite. (In fact we used graphite lubes on some farm equipment for similar reasons.)

Back to this problem with oil-based lubes freezing. Here's a case in point of how serious it can be in terms of repercussions to use the wrong type of lube in very cold conditions. In WWII when the German soldiers were advancing into Russia, they ran into a problem with their tanks. As you know, tanks have a periscope to assist the driver to see where to go. (Leastways they did then. I'm not well up on modern tanks.) The Germans used a their normal oil lube on the tank periscopes and in the Russian winter they froze solid and because the driver couldn't see, the tanks got stranded. The Russians had a special salve they used on their periscopes and so they could maneuver. This simple product helped them greatly against the German forces.

It points out the value of doing research and taking care of the fine details. Like you do.

Even your advice about changing temperatures and firearms is very valuable. I watched a documentary some time back about tagging polar bears in Canada. The scientists always had at least one team member on watch, with a revolver in the hip holster -- just in case.

Now I know why they kept that gun exposed to the cold.

I hope they used graphite lube. Imagine if they didn't and the thing froze up just when another Polar bear came charging at em...

Good advice, man.

[edit on 7/10/09 by JustMike]

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:36 AM
Yeah-having a frozen gun, and an unfriendly Polar bear in the area, would be detrimental to one's health. Man-Oh-man, the thought of that is freaky.

I always carry a .44-Mag on the hip, and 12-gauge in my hands (loaded with 3" Mag Rifled slugs), and a .338 Win-Mag bolt action rifle in the tent, or back of the ATV.

Lately, here in Alaska, we are seeing a higher number of bear attacks. I live about 35 north of Anchorage, surrouned by the Chugach Mountains, which are said to be home to about 400 (+) bears.

I have a survival camp 100 miles further north. The area is full of grizzly, black bear, moose, and wolves. I never go outside without having something to protect myself.

Last week, a person around here was attacked by a very large black bear. The bear grabbed his left arm, and bite trough it. The guy was armed with a 12-gauge pumpgun, but he went against instinct, and didn't chamber a round. The shotgun became a clubs, and that's how he managed to fend off the bear.

I carry my shotgun with a slug loaded, but the action pulled back so the slug is cradled nicely within the mechanism. The worse thing that can happen, is the breech is closed on accident, or the slug falls out. There's no chance of accidental discharge when carried this way.

posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 12:59 AM
reply to post by AlaskaFranke

So I have to ask.. At what temp. does the cold become a danger to your weapon?

It can get cold here, it can snow a lot. Depending on your area. In the forest areas more towards the coast.. it snows a lot, and is cold.
It's no where near as bad as the more northern areas.

But I don't think it gets below 15 degrees.

[edit on 8-10-2009 by Miraj]

posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 01:35 AM
I have a friend who hunts in Northern Alberta in Late November. He puts a non-lubricated condom on the end of his gun to keep blowing snow out. And he can fire through it when he needs to.

posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 01:46 AM
I work in Northern Alberta outdoors in the winter. Temperature changes here quickly. If the wind comes up you can have a 30 or 40 degree change in an hour or two. I understand equipment freezing up. I remember having a pen inside my parka and taking it out, usually it takes less than 20 seconds for the ink to solidify enough the pen stops writing. I assume that gun lubricant is similar. I keep a small bottle of lock de-icer in my kit because it is a great way to unstick locks or hinges in winter. Not sure i'd try it on a gun though.

posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 04:05 AM

Cold Weather Tactical Considerations:
If you all alone, then guard duty is out of the question. You’ll be dog-tired at the end of each day. Shelter, warmth, food, drink, and plenty of sleep is the answer to the days problems. There is no substitute for any of these.

This all depends on what you are surviving from. But in the Army we did a lot of tactical training on this part.

We often did this in 2s or 4s. That means we where either a two man team or a 4 man team. But we also had to master this on our own while being chased by the Police with dogs or other spacial forces.

What i often did and scored a lot of points on was that i set up my camp, But slept at a totally different location under open sky. I used my tent as a decoy.
Sometimes i was not able to retrieve my tent because it was guarded. But in the army a tent is only a luxury, and you can do fine without it. Sometimes you have to run from your tent anyway.
You can also gain time if you put up your tent and just leave it to be spotted. When they spot the tent all their focus will be on that location. While you get time to relocate and vanish.

There are many advantages by sleeping under a open sky rather in a tent. A tent makes a lot of noise if its windy and it can distract you from getting a early warning. You also have to go outside to get orientated if a situation is occurring suddenly.

Things you have to know if you are being chased or hiding is "light". Even if your inside a tent and only use your light inside the tent. It can bee seen by others if they have night vision goggles or a scope. The light you use inside the tent will light up the tent like a light bulb. Even your burner which you cock your food on. So have your hot meal before it gets dark. And dont ever use it to heat up your tent.
Prepare your gadgets that you want to use before dark so you don't have to fool around with light in the dark to find it.

EDIT: If you use night vision goggles. keep in mind the Diode light. Don't ever use it without knowing that that light looks like a torch from a distance. Using the Diode light on the goggles is not a good thing to use if your running or hiding from other people using the same equipment.

Before you enter your sleeping bag:

Think about how you would like to dress when you wake up. And take into consideration that your close might be frozen solid/stiff when you wake up. This will create a problem getting dressed. How you fold your close will determine how hard it might get to soften them up so that you will be able to put it on. All this takes up valuable time.

Surviving without a tent at temperatures at -40 or -50 is easy even in very strong winds. Its harder to survive if the temperature is around 0* and very windy. But only if you cant keep your sleeping bag dry on the inside. At 0 degrees you often encounter rain. And the ground is often wet. And its harder to keep things dry.
From -2 to -4 and down to -50 degrees the snow is often dry and powdery and works very good as isolation. You dont have to dig or build anything Fancy. All you have to do is dig a coffin, that's what i call the hole that i make.
I make a hole that is just wide enough and long enough for me to fit in. And so that the wind passes over the opening/top. It doesn't matter if it snows as long as the temperature is below 0. Your sleeping bag wont melt the snow that builds up on top of your sleeping bag. It will function as cover and isolation.
I make this cover on a high ground maybe 400 to 800m away from where i put up my tent. And all i do is keep a eye on the tent and the aria surrounding my tent, By making a look out channel in that direction. Its more likely that people will spot the tent before they spot my cover. And i listen for the sound that steps make when compressing snow or radio chatter. People often talk a lot on radios or just babble and you can hear them long before you can see them. I do this because i dont want to make to much movement. Movement often is what people spot you on.

Helli's, Fighter jets and Tanks use heat detection equipment. And that's what most forces will use to try and spot you. People on the ground will most often use numbers and dogs to spot you. But they have restrictions. Helli's and fighters might have to cover a lot of territory with different zooms to even catch a glimt of your heat signature, if you hid in you sleeping bag. The sleeping bag is a isolator and dont give of much heat. If you put on your gas mask and tighten up your sleeping bag. You will hardly give of any heat signature that they will spot. But that depends on how tho rel their search is. A Tank will most likely not see you at all.

Dogs often use a caller with a stick placed on it. We call these dogs for silent spies. They move around in the field freely and if they spot you. The dog will grab the stick and return to his owner. Without making a sound. The Dog wont stop and bark at you like dogs do with animals. The dog wont even come close to you. All it has to do is sent you. If you dont see the Dog but the dog sees you. Your in big trouble. The dog will point his nose in the direction you are spotted. And then the Fighter jets and Helli's get called back. And then they move in on your location. GAME OVER.

Fighter jets and Helli's can also use the radar to find your tent. Radars are built to see the difference between natural environment and Non natural environment. Keep that in mind as well.


Great survival Post by the way. A lot of good tips for people to get knowledge from.

[edit on 27.06.08 by spy66]

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