Thursday, October 27, 2022

10-22 Feddersen Grey Birch and Hawke Optics Build

10-22 Feddersen Grey Birch and Hawke Optics Build

If the zombie apocalypse occurs and I can only grab one 10/22 rifle, this will be it plus a bag full of magazines and .22LR ammo. This is that cherished custom 10/22 build that I covet over all others. When I say others, I can say with confidence that with well over a hundred 10/22 builds that I have more experience than most with the platform. Why this configuration and why this build? Mainly the versatility, moderate weight, comfort and insane accuracy of this build is what I love.

At the heart of this build is a Feddersen Bronze-Nickel alloy receiver and heavy tapered 17.1-inch Feddersen barrel. This is paired with a Kidd bolt, v-block, and charging handle and Timney Calvin Elite 10/22 2-stage trigger. Before I jump into the Grey Birch billet chassis, let’s unwrap why this action combo is so great.

Feddersen 10/22 Bronze Nickel Receivers

The Feddersen 10/22 receivers and barrels have proven themselves over and over performing at the highest tier through the years for me and this build is no exception. Though the Feddersen receivers appear to be the same integrated picatinny billet rail format as other premier tier 10/22 receivers in the industry, the receiver action itself is unique. The Feddersen 10/22 receivers are available in Nickel and Nickel Bronze alloy versions which are significantly heavier and harder than aluminum receivers. Feddersen does offer lightweight Aluminum versions, however the bronze nickel version looks like gold when polished and was the obvious choice for this midweight build. The advantages of these receivers are the high precision, room temperature slip fit shank size, and buttery smooth cycling. The Feddersen receiver has also been the base of my most historically accurate builds. Once polished, they are stunning and designed to perfectly host the Feddersen barrels. Notably the bronze and nickel versions are naturally very slick due to the metal which I think helps with reliability as the round count increases.

Feddersen 17.1 Heavy Taper 10/22 Barrel

The Feddersen 17.1-inch heavy tapered Feddersen barrel is a bit of a magical thing with a straight taper style barrel profile similar to a heavy target taper barrel in the bolt action world. Several of these 17.1-inchers have shot as well as my bull barrels while saving about ½-lb in the process. In fact even Feddersen’s light taper barrels are amazing performing. In my Dad’s 10/22 build with the light version of this 17.1 barrel, he was head shooting the squirrel steel at 125-yards with a 2-7 Nikon optic and my Dad is not a precision shooter guy. The Feddersen Heavy Taper barrel is even better.

The Feddersen 17.1-inch length itself was based on testing to develop the optimal length for stiffness and barrel harmonics. I do have a few 17.1 Feddersen based .223 Wylde AR barrels and they are also a bit magical. Whatever the case, I was delighted to see single hole groups appear downrange with the usual ammo which consistently performs well across all Feddersen barrels. Generally, that non-picky nature means a pretty wide range of ammo including CCI SV, CCI Velociter, CCI MiniMag, the range of SK and Lapua ammo, Wolf and other similar match ammo all shoot extremely well. Lapua Center-X has been my go-to ammo for my 50-yard split a playing card “trick shot”; and this build certainly delivered that result. That predictable accuracy is not only why I love this barrel, there is more. Feddersen barrels are one of the most reliable match barrels and least ammo picky I have shot. This means chances are high that whatever ammo I find or have to jam into the chamber, this barrel is probably going to shoot it really well and likely be extremely reliable. As a bonus, this barrel is threaded and with one of my suppressors it is nice and quiet.

Timney Calvin Elite 10/22 Triggers

Timney triggers have always been really outstanding, but usually trumped by Kidd triggers for premier tier bench gun builders. I would say previously the standard Timney 10/22 trigger was designed as a match grade trigger for the field which was a little heavier and not as crisp as Kidd triggers. Enter the Timney Calvin Elite model which has been heavily tuned for a trigger pull all the way down in the very light 2-lb range with a noticeably more crisp break plus end user swappable trigger shoes. Timney even offers the CE model in both single or two stage triggers. I think that the Timney CE 10/22 model may be the new reigning king of 10/22 triggers paired with the field tested reliability and solid ignition that we all expect in a Timney trigger. I certainly have no reservations including the trigger in my most coveted build.

Grey Birch Foundation Chassis

Now, about the shockingly amazing Grey Birch Foundation Chassis. Initially, I just thought this was a wild out-of-the-box design for a 10/22 chassis, however once I tested it, I think it could be the most awesome chassis for this type of mid to lightweight build on the market. At only 1.5-lbs, the billet chassis is crazy light, has a boatload of MLOK slots, includes a custom AR compatible grip, integrated ARCA mount, rear receiver locking screw, and a folding stock. The cheek and buttsock are both fully adjustable as well just like any great precision stock. All the features are there plus that wonderful folding stock that allows me to stow it a space way smaller than any other non-folder. It's like a super-duper light-weight high tier precision stock. In fact, I can fold this entire rig up and slip it in a low key gray Hazard 4 Takedown sling bag which goes pretty much unnoticed in most situations. Even with basic hotel to hotel travel, this does come in handy. Sure it is $500, but you get what you pay for and the quality is nothing short of amazing.

Hawke Optics 30 SF 2.5-15 & Extras

The last few pieces of this build include the Hawke Optics Frontier 30 SF 2.5-15, infinitely flexible QD Atlas Bipod, and a decent stockpile of my favorite Lapua, SK and CCI ammo. The ammo should be obvious, however I am heavily considering sending this gun to Lapua for their factory ammo matching process and then buying a pallet of the best shooting Lapua ammo for this rig. The Hawke Optics Frontier 30 SF 2.5-15 is rather special with its extremely wide magnification range that allows everything from shots on running rabbits on 2.5x to precision shots on 15X out to 200+ yards. The other features of the Frontier optics are the flexibility to adjust parallax down to 10-yards, illuminated reticle, and the really amazing clarity that makes it just that much easier to see what I am aiming at. I am a bit ashamed to say the clarity of this optic far surpses some of my long range rifle optics which eclipse this price point… maybe I need another of these to swap between rifles. For this purpose I do like the standard second focal plane which affords different holdovers at very long ranges for rimfire.


If I swapped out just one component on this build it would become something different - a different stock and it's too heavy and less portable, a different optic and not as flexible, or the barrel and it becomes potentially too heavy or too light and not as accurate. As amazing as the reliability, accuracy, comfort and broad flexibility is of this build, I do reconsider why I have other 10/22 builds. We all know that picking up a 4.2-lb ultra-light steel challenge gun is also an amazing but totally different experience than settling down behind a 15+lb weighted bench gun that seems to always find its target. As we know you cannot have just one 10/22. This build is just that perfect in between land that usually is filled with a factory barrel and a 3-9 scope, but in this case my absolute utopia of a 10/22 build.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

DonnyFL Shogun Airgun Moderator Suppressor Review

DonnyFL Shogun Airgun Moderator Suppressor Review

Airguns have matured since I was a kid pumping up my .22 pellet gun until my arm nearly fell off. Back then a 20 ft/lb .22 pellet gun with 10-pumps was a powerhouse and still they were not all that loud. Today, the amazing PCP - Pre Charged Pneumatic airguns are delivering massive convenience, accuracy and power up to 650 ft/lb with 40 ft/lbs of energy being common. With the massive air burst required to deliver that power, often in large bore sizes, there is a lot of air noise and that is where the DonnyFL Airgun Moderator comes in to quiet things down to a shocking level.

We see suppressors/silencers in the premium airgun world a lot but are generally known as shrouds or moderators by the Euro shooters and even to some degree in the US. In many cases some of these moderators or shrouds are nothing more than just empty cavities like the empty tube on my Walther Reign, but the more advanced PCP airguns like Airforce actually have tuned baffles. In most cases factory shrouds and moderators usually are not particularly great.

The right airgun moderator design can make all the difference in the world if you want to shoot in your backyard without a sound level that can exceed the noise level of many firearms rounds or totally tick off your neighbors. This was definitely the case with my Airforce TalonP in .25 caliber delivering a whopping 50 ft/lbs of energy out of a 12-inch barrel. The TalonP has tons of power, but the air volume required for the short pistol barrel is much higher than it would be in a longer barrel. The result was that it sounded like a .22LR pistol when you shot it and was not so neighborhood friendly to shoot at all. Another TalonP silencer brand hit the market which was over $500, and they just seemed too much. A friend told me about the DonnyFL airgun moderators with a note that they were “The Airgun Moderator” as an alternative and after looking at their site I was impressed.

A chat with PJ at DonnyFL, netted I would likely be most happy with the Shogun model - more later on why that model. Order placed and received in about a week with impressive professional packaging that screamed, if you love our packaging then you will love our quality product. Slipping the Shogun silencer out of the nicely branded tube, I was immediately impressed with the quality, fit and finish - for under $200 for most of their suppressors, this was stunning quality as I spun the Shogun onto the optional TalonP DonnyFL ½-20 airgun threaded adapter.

The DonnyFL Shogun was $185 including the ½-20 threaded and cap thread adapter. Of note, they offer six different adapter options in common airgun threading. DonnyFL also offers several pages of other options including the $45 ½-20 male threaded TalonP shroud adapter I added that slipped perfectly into the TalonP with a thread protector included. With the factory muzzle cap Airforce retainer screw tightened down on the adapter, the Shogun threaded right on. For the premium PCP airgun owners who have spent well over $500 on the gun, $225 should seem inexpensive considering the cost of pellets and with the capability to now shoot comfortably indoors or in the backyard. The quality of the DonnyFL silencer will match the quality of even the highest tier of airguns.

Where firearm baffles and designs need to optimize heat dissipation and powder burn on top of baffling high air pressure, simple compressed PCP airgun pressure is totally different from firearm pressure. According to PJ at DonnyFL, with airguns there is just this huge exponentially larger amount of relatively low velocity air pressure that needs someplace to go in a quiet manner. With firearms, the pressure is super high velocity, but compressed and hot. In the case of TalonP, there is a lot of pressure plus a larger than average amount of air volume to deliver the energy out of a shorter barrel.

PJ noted that a larger displacement DonnyFL Shogun silencer is needed just to manage all that TalonP air pressure. He also noted that once I could mount a silencer on my Walther Reign, the pressure is less in the longer barrel and a smaller silencer sounds just as quiet since the rifle length barrel needs less pressure for the same power. Basically Shorter Barrel = bigger required suppressor.

If you are familiar with typical firearm suppressor baffles, then the DonnyFL monolithic baffle design will really have you scratching your head. It is a totally different design optimized to give the huge volume of air someplace to go quietly. Its nothing like anything in the firearm industry and likely would not work at all with high pressure gas. The monolithic baffle stack is wrapped in a metal mesh and then a felt. The tube and end caps are also micro vented. The result is a very dead sounding airgun suppressor that works amazingly well.

Before anyone freaks out about the fact that I simply ordered and was directly shipped something that is a moderator-suppressor all without an ATF tax stamp, don’t worry, airguns moderators are not in the purview of ATF or federal regulations. Obviously, moron laws that were concocted by politicians make so little sense when it comes to anything Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms or explosives related.

Yes, airgun suppressors are legal and in fact have always been legal even though we have pellet sizes in similar calibers to firearms such as .22, .25, .30, .357, .457, and .50 caliber airguns which are widely all suppressed. The net of all this madness is that the ATF is still a bit sensitive about anything that might be used as a suppressor on a firearm. Thus the reason we see the thread adapter on the DonnyFL moderator copiously labeled with “For Airguns Only” and DonnyFL moderators are only available in airgun thread pitches which do not align to typical firearm thread pitches.

PJ noted that they do get odd questions from some customers who suggest using their silencers on something other than an airguns. DonnyFL notes that is completely illegal, but more importantly really dangerous since the design is not engineered to manage the heat and pressures of firearm rounds and would likely deliver a dangerous catastrophic failure. DonnyFL is not using the same materials or structural strength as what is used on firearms suppressors including titanium and super metals. DonnyFL was quick to note there are plenty of inexpensive rimfire suppressors available which are designed and legal to use on firearms. DonnyFL even goes further to assure there is no misunderstanding with compliance and will not make any adapters that offer common threading to firearms and in fact do not even have any firearm threaded tooling in the shop.

There is something so special about being able to safely shoot in the backyard with a proper backstop without disturbing the neighbors or even getting a look. As far as my neighbors are concerned my blow hard TalonP now equipped with the Shogun sounds about like an electric stapler which blends into the typical neighborhood soundtrack and goes unnoticed. The transformation is stunning and the utility of being able to shoot anytime is a transformative experience. One day you are the noisy neighborhood nuisance and the next day neighborly just by threading on a DonnyFL silencer on the airgun.

Though outside the city limits and technically legal to discharge a firearm in our neighborhood, the loose spaced houses are close enough that firearm discharge is frowned upon. With that noted, we are rural and we get a lot of critters that become nuisances really quick and dispatch is in some cases legally required. Of course the scourge of starlings this year has been so crazy dense and loud, you have to thin the herd a bit. The suppressed TalonP with its ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9 is a fantastic option for work at night and provides some video and images during the hunt.

Threading the Shogun onto the stripped Walther .25 Caliber Reign converted the barking Reign into crazy quiet with about the only sound being the hammer drop. From a quality perspective, the DonnyFL Suppressors/ moderators are fantastic and the price is right for the PCP airgun shooters.

So should you buy one if you are a PCP airgun owner and have a compatible airgun. Why in the hell wouldn’t you? I loved the Shogun so much I ordered a FatBoy and also a Ronin. The Fatboy is a big fat 2-inch wide and short suppressor with interchangeable caliber wipes. It is by no means as quiet as the Shogun or Ronin, but it has a lot of caliber flexibility in a small package. My Fatboy is mounted to my TalonSS which was already very quiet but is now hammer drop quiet even when the pressure is jacked up a bit. Just as DonnyFL noted, the Shogun was the perfect fit for the TalonP and my blowhard Umarex .30 Gauntlet, but a shorter suppressor like the Ronin was a better fit on the Walther Reign in a 2-inch shorter package. So yes, I freaking love these and totally and unequivocally recommend them for your PCP airguns.

Literally The Best Neck Knife Ever - Fallkniven WM1

Literally The Best Neck Knife Ever - Fallkniven WM1

As a self professed knife nerd and aficionado I am always on the quest for the best knife for any task. My lifetime knife passion even led to founding and running one of the first and largest online knife retailers in the world all the way back in the late 1990s. Without offending the alphabet people or gender unidentifiable, I think I found the best neck knife ever and it's a woman’s knife, the Fallkniven WM1, not really; Fallkniven literally named it based on “WoMen”.

Today, I buy my knives just like everyone else, but the circle of brands I trust continuously shrinks based on testing. For instance, I think Gransfors makes the best axe, Victorinox and Leatherman the best multi-tools, Chris Reeves the best general purpose folder and Extrema Ratio the best defensive knives. But for an all around utility and survival knife, Fallkniven gets my money with laminated premier tier steels, insane edge-holding, handle comfort, and edge geometry.

For the last twenty or so years, I have attempted to find a neck knife that I really like and is also legal to carry. Even in my very conservative state, our “moron laws” state any blade over 3.5-inches is a weapon, but under that is just a "tool." So the double edged 3.5-inch serrated push dagger is fine to conceal, but not a 3.8-inch Fallkniven F1 fixed blade. Concealing a 3.6-inch blade is a felony, a 3.5-inch blade you are just a guy with a box opener… moron laws.

The other issue is that I like a standard drop point blade for general purpose utility use with a real actual handle. Going to the max; a legally concealable 3.5-inch bladed knife with a realistic handle is going to easily be over 8-inches long which looks like you are hiding a dildo under your shirt. I needed something overall shorter and thinner. Oddly, the Mora Eldris knife kit is unbelievably amazing for $44 that includes a fire steel but the fat stumpy hand filling handle profile makes it look like… well, a shorter dildo under your shirt.

Then it hit me, why not the Fallkniven WM1. Yeah… yeah I know technically the WM1 was designed as a woman's knife and Fallkniven literally named it based on “WoMen”, but hey I am solid on my sexuality after decades of marriage. The Fallknifen WM1 is the perfect neck knife for a variety of reasons besides making me feel sexy when shirtless.

First off is the rather magical Fallkniven 2.8-inch COS steel blade that seems to continue cutting like a lightsaber long after it should be dull. If you have not tried COS steel, it is an experience that is truly worth the hype of premium steels. The blade geometry also helps the blade stay insanely sharp, so even after a lot of use, you never have to search around for an area on the blade that is still sharp. The blade size also does not get the “OMG he has a knife” reaction like a larger blade. Generally, I get a "that's a handy little knife". At just under 3-inches, it's not a lot of blade but the cutting ability of this blade defensively is not something anyone would want to go against and about what you get these days from a blade length on a defensive karambit.

Overall, the Fallkniven WM1 knife is under the 7-inch mark at 6.75-inches and also has a very flat .39-inch handle which still affords a full grasp for hard cutting chores. The net is that the knife lays flat and is barely perceptible under a shirt as a neck knife and still usable as a real tool.

Then we get to carry. The Fallkniven Thermorun minimalist sheaths are not what I would call sexy, but they do work well. No they are not Kydex, but if you do really use a knife and get it nice and dirty, the loose feeling Thermorun Fallkniven sheath will actually work better than a tight snap fit custom molded Kydex sheath. My only complaint is that knife tension is just a bit light and without using the snap handle strap, they can come out of the sheath during vigorous play.

Though I have never accidentally cut myself from a tip-up neck knife dropping out, I have had more than my share of knives falling on the ground. I recalled the survival "expert" Cody Lundin did note the same and usually carries his knife around his neck but tip-down noting safety and knife retention. Almost a year later after carrying this knife tip-down with the handle up, I have had zero issues and it makes so much more sense. Plus top access is so much more elegant. I can just gently pull out my shirt collar and pull up a knife rather than fishing all the way under my shirt and looking like a pervert groping myself.

After searching the world wide interweb for custom Kydex WM1 sheaths, I wondered if I could just make the factory Fallkniven sheath work. I drilled out the nylon webbing rivets and laced some paracord through the vacant holes. What did my eyes behold, a rather perfect tip-down balancing sheath with about twice as much retention thanks to the paracord pressure against the handle. It is perfect… literally perfect. I do have a strangling concern with knotted 550 paracord around a neck. I use a plastic cord-lock to secure the paracord ends for a failure point should the paracord become caught on something like a tree branch or Russian hit man's hand. It does take a decent yank to have the paracord pass through the cord-lock, but I will not choke to death on $2 worth of paracord.

With this, I present to you the absolute best neck knife money can buy that conceals without unsightly dildo bulges and nestles ever so beautifully between my marginally out of shape man boobs. Yes I am carrying a woman’s knife and love it… shhh it will be our secret.

Fallkniven WM1 Specs

- Blade Length: 2.8"

- Overall Length: 6.75"

- Blade Material: Laminated Cobalt Steel

- Blade Thickness: 0.14"

- Blade Hardness: 60 HRC

- Blade Style: Drop Point

- Blade Grind: Convex

- Blade Finish: Satin

- Handle Material: Thermorun

- Handle Thickness: 0.39"

- Sheath Material: Zytel

- Weight: 2.5 oz.

- Weight with Sheath: 4.2 oz.

- Made in Sweden

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Founders Cigar Co - More than Just Cigars

Founders Cigar Co - More than Just Cigars

I hate it when life gets in the way of a good article and fine cigars, but so is life. I met the Founders Club cigar team virtually after seeing an email from them really stand out amongst the hundreds of Memorial Day offers. I ordered an executive box, a few accessories, and some sample packs to try. Then life happened. My older dogs passed and our new little puppy had to have two separate knee surgeries from a genetic defect, a promotion at my real job, and my magazine editor (2nd job) having some rush articles all tied me up so much I could not break away to smoke a cigar. As a long time cigar smoker, it is hard to talk about how amazing a cigar is if you actually have not cut the end lit the damn thing.

Cigars are a magical thing to behold and once you enjoy a really amazing cigar you are hooked. You can start with a simple and inexpensive vanilla flavored large ring-gauge cigar or you can reach for something smoother, spicer, heavier, bolder… all with different flavor profiles. In many ways fine cigars are a lot like understanding fine wine. Cigars can be constructed many different ways with many different types of tobacco or even the same tobacco can be treated differently and taste totally different based on time of harvest, curing, aging, environmental influences, and region. Tobacco colors range from a pale brown, to green, to almost dark black leaves. All have different tastes and profiles. The skill of the master cigar roller and maker is to not only produce an attractive well rolled cigar, but to understand how the wrapper tobacco or blends merge with the filler tobaccos which could be single or likely a blend of different tobaccos.

It takes a huge amount of experience to put the right tobacco leaves together into something that looks great, burns and draws well, tastes amazing. You could likely live your entire life and never experience every cigar and this is why they are so special and unique. After trying a lot of brands, you start to understand what you like and your style. I generally like a large ring gauge cigar with a middle of the road mouthfeel and flavor, but I had friends who loved eiter super mild or the very strong and bold cigars. Founders Cigars offers a number of cigar options from different regions which allows someone to experience many different flavor profiles from just one cigar brand. They also really try and deliver an accessible affordable smoke the average Joe can afford and I think they have done an exceptional job.
The accessories are high quality as well

The problem for new cigar smokers is they usually are overwhelmed when starting out with 1000s of brands on the market. The industry turned around starting in 1992 with Gen X discovering cigars and Boomers re-entering the market to try new brands. We have an entirely new set of Millennials and older GenZ buyers which are becoming cigar smokers. The cigar industry support has grown with a huge amount of south American and surrounding county growth including in the US. The quality is higher, the competition is high and the prices have remained fairly steady since the 1990s for a quality cigar. Most premium cigars are priced around the $10/cigar, but many of the historically consistent super premium brands do push their prices well beyond that into the $15-$30 a cigar range. Founder’s Cigars are by contrast priced right around $10 which is a great price for a high quality well made cigar.

So what is Founder’s Cigars about? I really connected with what they were doing as a company and were not “just another cigar brand”. THey were doing things that connect back to the military and those that serve and let’s face it, I am also a sucker for a good Pandemic story.

Founders Cigar Co. began with a small group of friends who started meeting weekly for bonfires and cigars in the early days of the 2020 pandemic. At a time when the rest of the world was shut down, cigars served as a surprising catalyst for connection.

Founders was created to empower others toward the same, drawing on the rich history of the American experience to deliver timeless smokes with distinctive profiles that fuel conversation, inspire friendship, and build community.

Our cigars seek to embody the immutable characteristics of the men and women who made America the great nation she is today. Crafted from the finest tobaccos, each stick reflects a unique part of the American identity.

By honoring the rich diversity of America’s founding personalities, we hope to bring friends and strangers together for great smokes that hearken to a free people marked by common destiny. E pluribus unum!

Back more than a few months ago, Founders Cigar Company did something different for a Memorial Day sale and instead promoted a partnership with Operation: Cigars For Warriors. The program is a “purchase and donation” promotion that will allow customers to “buy a cigar for the troops” - For only $8.50, a customer can purchase a cigar, which is then matched by Founders with an additional stick (cigar) and sent every month to Operation: CFW’s Operations Center for inclusion in care packages. That was not just one event, but a series of give back programs for our warrior community.

There are a lot of different types of cigar smokers that range from those that always look like they are channeling Patton with a steely eyed gaze to me who tend to love the social nature and allow myself to slow down and reflect. I was very much looking forward to trying the Founder’s Cigar brand, because it would have been something my closest and best friend would have loved. He was a history buff, patriot and deep red conservative. In reality, the last cigar I smoked was a few years ago with him shortly before he unexpectedly passed and I had been maybe waiting for a sign that it was again OK to clip the end, toast and carefully light a cigar and enjoy one thinking of him… you know without bawling my eyes out into my scotch.

The Maduro was my first cigar from the sampler pack and as they say in the food world, it was the “perfect bite”. It was that reflective smooth even smoke I wanted as I sat outside on a perfect evening enjoying a few glasses of Scotch quietly reflecting about how he would have enjoyed it. I imagined him up there with my other two dogs that just passed in the last year, all having a great old time. I enjoyed the cigar and cheered to his friendship. That is what cigars are about for me.

That time to slow down and concentrate on what is important, time to get your brain right, to come together with old friends and make some new ones. Cigars make you slow down, the way they burn, if you rush them you get an uneven burning cigar, so that reminder is there to slow you down, enjoy the time and not rush the smoke.

Founders Cigar Co Sample Packs - Everyone should start with the Founder’s Cigar sample pack that includes their four main cigars - Dual Wrap, Franklin Connecticut, Douglas Habano, and Roosevelt Maduro.

Founders Cigar Co Executive Box Set $299 - If you have a patriot that loves cigars, I really cannot think of a better gift than this Executive Box set that includes:
  • 16 Toro 6×52 Cigars (choose one of four blends or the Sampler) – $160.00 Value
  • Custom Butane Zippo Lighter (Made in USA!) – $75.00 Value
  • Custom Combo V-Cut & Punch Cigar Cutter – $75.00 Value
  • Custom Cigar Box made of Mahogany by Woodchuck USA – $50.00 Value
  • Total Value – $360.00

The Executive Box set is extremely well made and includes everything that a cigar lover would want and need to properly enjoy their cigars… well maybe you will still need a good Scotch.

Founders Cigar Co Signature Dual Wrap Cigar - Our Signature Dual Wrap cigar is a dual-wrap homage to the rugged royalty of the original Mr. President, who led our new nation to freedom and virtue with nobility and poise. Cut in “barber pole” style, it combines a medium Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with superb Connecticut shade. With a Nicaraguan binder and long-fill from Nicaraguan Condega & Estelí and Dominican Olor, this smooth, savory smoke unites brave flavors with cool and calm.

Founders Cigar Co Franklin Connecticut Cigar - Inspired by the wit and wisdom of Poor Richard himself, our Franklin Connecticut is an ode to American ingenuity. At all points inventive and inviting, this stick uses the choicest blend of Nicaraguan Estelí & Condega and Dominican-grown (Villa Gonzalez) filler, a Ecuadorian Habano 2000 binder, and a silky, Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper. It’s an elegant smoke worthy of the First American.

Founders Cigar Co Douglas Habano - Named for the famous orator and abolitionist, our Douglass Habano honors America’s restless appetite for freedom. Built with a blend of aged Nicaraguan Estelí & Condega and Dominican fillers, this stick focuses its flavors with fight and flourish. Topped off with a beautiful Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, these sticks are packed with promise!

Founders Cigar Co Roosevelt Maduro - Our Roosevelt Maduro is a whimsical nod to the Cowboy Conservationist, an apt symbol of the best of American strength and swagger. This dark, medium-bodied cigar offers a combination of well-aged Nicaraguan & Dominican fillers and Ecuadorian binder, wrapped in a bold Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper. It’s a bombastic, exuberant smoke steeped with T.R.’s taste for adventure!

Founders Cigar Co Hamilton Candela - The newly added cigar is named after Alexander Hamilton, who has been one of our most requested historical figures to name a cigar after. The interesting thing about Hamilton is that he was the chief architect of the American financial and banking system. Naming our green wrapper cigar after the man greatly influential for our ‘greenback’ system seemed only fitting! Hamilton also fought in the American Revolutionary War, had a hand in drafting the Constitution and served as the first secretary of the treasury for the United States of America.

If you just want to try some great cigars, hit their site at to buy some great cigars from a veteran operated business.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Get Home Back - Stuck 700-Miles From Home

Get Home Back - Stuck 700-Miles From Home

In the midst of Putin threatening war, Biden admitting we are closer to nuclear war than during the Cuban Missile Crisis, New York running nuclear emergency notices and me back on the road again… it got me thinking; What if the worst case happened and I could not fly back home. What if we were hit with just one high altitude EMP, a localized suitcase nuke, or what if any notable attack occurred again in the US and what would that mean for me being stuck 700- miles from home? It certainly becomes a figure it out vs shoot it out problem.

A major EMP would put us all back to living like pilgrims and likely like savages since most of us are devoid of living with that level of discomfort and inconvenience. Any nuclear or biological attack would lock everything up nationally. Something less significant but serious at a national level like the Boston, Oklahoma City or the Twin Towers would surely again halt flights and close cities either fully or partially across the US with imposed curfews. I happened to be in New York City when the Boston Bombing occured and let me tell you NYC was shut down for over 48-hours until they determined the threat was isolated to Boston. Most of us are not prepared for this level of survival and navigating 700-miles back home or in the best case staying put if that is the best option. What would you do?

No Secret Numbers - I wish I had one of those secret numbers to call where I say I need an extraction and a code phrase and gain access to a global network of safehouses, 2-hour response global transportation, $100K in unmarked US currency, and a healthy packed armory, but I don’t. I have a suitcase and backpack that I lug around with basic TSA approved items and supplies, and sometimes access to a rental car and on rare occasions, an SUV that could get me off road if needed and off gridlocked paved roads.

You Ain’t Walking It - As Mrs Pandemic is fond of saying, “You have enough crap in your truck to take down and restart a planet”, however that does little good when it is sitting in an airport parking lot 700-miles from me. I am noting 700-miles, because it is a good average distance most people travel in the US for work or vacation unless you are hopping from coast to coast. It also makes you stretch the mind a bit, because you are not going to walk it… well, you could in about 280 days assuming you net a constant 2.5mph and can more or less walk a straight line.

The harsh reality is whoever you are going back to will likely be dead or gone before you make that year-long walking trek back home. This becomes a logistics question, planning and resourcefulness and that is super ugly in a mega crisis. Maybe it is a situation like the terror attacks we have had and it just means, you are forceable required to stay put for a few days or in the case of another Covid lock down, maybe longer. What is your plan?

Let’s say for example we have another terror attack and it was a small format dirty suitcase nuke in another city, but the government is doing a manhunt like what occurred in Boston or is worried about other cities and grounds all flight. They may even throw in a 48-hour no-travel military enforced curfew. Do you attempt to outrun the blockades getting set up and get out of the city before you get locked in for an unknown amount of time or sit tight in potential safety and comfort and wait for your flights to reschedule?

How you respond all depends on the situation and the information you can obtain. Is this a city level or national level event? Is there a riot moving through the city burning down things in the path and you need to move now, or should you avoid overreacting. Obviously the faster you decide on any course of action is better for you because others are making decisions about what to do and officials can be counted on to have the knee jerk reaction to just lock everything down to control the situation. Get out or stay, but you better decide quickly.

Intel vs Communication - There is intel and there is communication which are different things. Intel allows you to assess the situation and understand what is happening so you can make decisions about your next steps. Communication is helpful to gain intel and assist with your next steps, but communication is usually difficult after a large event either because of a lack of accurate information or the lack of ability to gain information. I have started carrying a Baofeng U5R with me in my carryon with pre-programmed local weather and public CB, MURS, and FRS channels. Amazing what you can hear going on in an area even during typical days and of course during an emergency there will be a lot of chatter across these channels.

During every terror attack on 1st world countries in the last decade, typical cell phone service has been immediately clogged. I will guaran-damn-tee that you will not have cell phone voice service to call people. The actual beauty of text though is that text works on the next available connection, so even though cell phone voice service was not working after the Boston, Oklahoma City, and NYC attacks, people were generally still able to text fairly reliably with short messages. The shorter message the faster it will get delivered. An “IMOK” will get through more reliably than essay level texts. I guess the Millennials and younger may not even notice there is anything wrong since that is their communication method of choice.

If you do happen to be HAM licensed, the world can really open up to you especially with the number of global relay stations. You could literally use your mobile HAM radio to communicate and hop from relay to relay station all the way home if you know what you are doing. For those that want to dive into this technical hobby, there are almost unlimited options to be able to communicate in even the worst situations.

If you have a cell phone and wired headphones you likely have a phone with a hidden FM Radio Chip which I can say is CRAZY HELPFUL when you just want to know what is going on around you. It does not require any internet or cell phone service signal and acts just like an old fashioned handheld FM radio. The new Samsung A72 has an actual headphone port and an FM Chipset according to specs plus a super long running 5000ma battery and internal mini-SD card support up to 1T of space. If there is something nuts going on, the stations will almost always cut regular programming and deliver updates. If your phone includes this often hidden FM chip you will need a tuner app pre-loaded like NEXTRADIO and wired headphones which acts as the antenna. It will not work with bluetooth headphones. Obviously these are several things you want to try out before you need to use them in an emergency, but delivers a fairly fail proof option to gaining intel into what is going on even without cell signal or internet service.

Get out Right Freaking Now - In this case having some friends who have real intel that watch your back is handy. Having gone through this with the Boston Bombing and being in NYC that day, I can note what I did. A friend called me knowing I was traveling in NYC and said drop everything and get out of there right freaking now… they are shutting down NYC. I did have a small FM radio that I carried with me at the time and what was being said was that NYC was suspected of being the next target. We didn’t really know if there were going to be other attacks or for how long they would keep NYC closed off. Frankly NYC feels claustrophobic to me anyway and the thought of getting stuck on the island after an attack like what happened during the Twin Towers event made my skin crawl.

I jumped in a private black car and noted a $100 tip if he hauled ass and got me to Newark Airport and to stay out of the tunnels. He got his $100 tip, but they were closing down all bridge and tunnel traffic right behind us as we were crossing. I got the first flight out to anywhere literally minutes before witnessing from the air the travel gridlock. That worked in that particular situation and timing was everything. Five extra minutes of debating and I would have still been stuck there three days later. If you do this strategy seconds count, you just have to move immediately with what is on your back, not three hours from now after you are all packed with all your ultimate bug out and survival gear. What if I had a car? To be honest the driver was ripping through parking lots and back alleys after he realized what was going on…I would likely have still been stuck in traffic if I was driving using Google Maps.

Stay Put but Where to Go? - “Getting out of there” sometimes is not the best idea and you need to just let everyone calm down. Riots are a good example if they are isolated and you really don’t want to be mistakenly in the middle of all that. The problem is this could mean needing some place to stay. Do you have friends or relatives you could call to stay with within walking distance if needed… even really distant Linkedin level friends might help out in this situation and let you sleep in the garage and provide at least food and water. Do you have their addresses, contact info and a printed map? Do you have printed local hotel numbers to call if the internet is jammed with traffic. Well until this trip, I did not. Most car rental companies will provide a free local city map on request and I always ask for one as I pull out of the lot. A printed list of all your contacts or at least stored locally on your phone is a great idea.

Get Housing Sorted out Quick - During these chaos events, the moment you know you are going to get stuck, book the hotel fast for a 10-day stay and directly with the hotel if you can. Lock up housing and remember the more you pay for a room, the more obligated generally they will be to assure you are getting the food and drink you need. If you are going to be stuck, do it in style and use the extra amenities you get with a higher end hotel. Sure you will pay for it, but I will guarantee the Motel 6 is not going to lift a finger to help you figure out food for the next three days, but the 4-Star Hilton likely will and most likely will take pity on the guests and go the extra mile. I would suggest booking a longer stay like 10-days since you can always cancel with the worst case getting a 1-night room charge, but having housing for more than a week is essential during this chaos. If you do need to stay longer, the hotel will be more likely to extend your stay than pull in another reservation.

Use your Status - There have been a few times where I have been stuck from a travel perspective and “Loyalty Program” status paid off big. This is the time you do not want to cheap out and where you can leverage your hotel status to have priority over other people. If you have an Amex Platinum or Black card… I will note that these status and loyalty programs do open doors. I was once stuck at 1AM from a flight cancellation in the middle of a sold-out sporting event date for a large city. I plopped my Gold Hotel status and Amex Platinum card on the counter and noted Amex Platinum guaranteed me a room at any hotel and I wanted this one and they bumped another guest’s reservation. Maybe not the nicest or most Christian thing I have done, but I was not stuck sleeping on a couch in the hotel lobby that night.

Create Leverage to Move - You want to go in the direction of home, but sometimes an airline or hotel reservation is all you will need to get past the roadblock and maybe one or two steps beyond where everyone else is stuck. Yes of course officer, I will get off the road immediately and know I should not be going this way, but see here is my reservation for tonight at this hotel or airline just 10 miles up the road and it's the only one I could get, and if needed you can follow me there to assure I get there safely. Verus, I am getting out of town… “Yeah, the road is closed, turn around.” I recently had a weird situation entering a hotel after what was later learned as a bomb threat. A unique security checkpoint was set up where a uniformed police officer would not let me pass into the hotel until I could prove a hotel reservation. I am sure there is some strategy where you could daisy chain hotel reservations from point A to B leapfrogging blockages with that excuse and still retaining a backtrack housing option but that seems to venture into another level of tactics. There are certainly also other options that have higher risks personally and legally, but I cannot in good conscience suggest any of those.

If you happen to find yourself in the middle of something and somewhere you do not want to be or in the midst of a country level shutdown, this is likely the point where you need to have a plan with logistics to get back to where you want to be. Likely the only thing moving will be military, LEO, and essential transportation like food and fuel. For some they might be able to leverage their former military, LEO or First Responder experience to jump on a vehicle that may be an option. I have a press badge and first responder training credentials for example that I may be able to leverage for transport. Assuming you do not need to worry about nuclear or biological issues that would make things wildly complex, your best bet is to find ad hoc level transportation that could span from with approved permission to slipping into railcars. That could include having enough cash or things of value to bribe your way to where you need to go. How are you set there? An old special ops trick is to have a $2000-$5000 watch on your wrist that you can say, here this is a designer watch worth $2000.

If we are hit with a lower altitude nuke, life is about to get really complex. Take your daily Iosat until someone with a geiger counter tells you otherwise and really hope for the best. There are MANY books on the subject of surviving nuclear attack and at least from what I have read, none of them are super awesome options if you are inside the 20-mile radius. Seal all your windows and doors, stay inside and away, preferably underground, away from the contaminated fallout dust and stay put for two-three days unless otherwise directed.

The common US DHS First Responder recommendations are around the 7-10 Rule: For every sevenfold increase in time after detonation, there is a tenfold decrease in the radiation rate. So, after seven hours the radiation rate is only 10% of the original and after 49 hours (7 x 7 = 49) it is 1%. Of note, 10% exposure is considered a crapload of exposure. If you shelter in place for 2-3 days you “should be” far safer moving around if required than anytime before that. There are many variables including the amount of fallout dust in the air, however the general guidance is to not be outside breathing in contaminated dust and stay is the most protected (preferably underground) area you have available for at 49 hours but preferably longer. At that point, it is going to be a really ugly game of survival. I hope your skills are sharp, your kit is in order, and you have a plan.

IOSTAT and what no one is telling you. IOSTAT (potassium iodide tablet) is a thyroid blocker indicated to help prevent radioactive iodine from getting into the thyroid gland during a nuclear radiation emergency, however… it is going to do little if you have to stand in a DHS line outside exposed while they hand out IOSTAT. To be effective it needs to be taken immediately prior to or at the time of exposure. So if you hear Putin it “putin” missiles in the sky I personally will take my first dose as opposed to waiting until it hits. The net is that if you do not have IOSAT tablets on you, it is likely pointless to go stand in a line for hours to get them… the damage is likely already done. I have IOSAT in every bag I own and travel with.

The TSA Approved Kit
Hopefully this gives you some ideas and are all self explanatory

Carry On
  • Torquiet
  • Halo Patch
  • Isreali Bandage
  • Sterile Gauze & standard large band aids with neosporin
  • 2x rubber gloves
  • IOSAT Pills
  • Pain, Allergy, and Diarrhea pills
  • Angle Armor Backpack Plate - 44Mag rated
  • Micro and Full sized Map Compasses, US, and Local Maps
  • Paracord, Ferro-Rod and Striker
  • Tactical Flashlight & extra Batteries
  • Olight USB Rechargeable Flashlight
  • Several USB Charger bricks
  • Empty Hydration Bladder + Purification Pills
  • Pens & Jumbo Sharpie
  • Set of bamboo chopsticks
  • 1 Generic Stainless Fork
  • 2x Large Trash Bags
  • 2X Clear Trash Bags
  • 2X Large Ziplock Freezer Bags
  • Baofeng U5R Radio
  • Wired headphones for cell phone NextRadio use
  • Typical Bag stuff
  • Sanitary Toilet seat Covers
  • Ziplock bag of clorox wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • TOOOL Emergency Pick Card (depending on laws)
  • PocketMonkey Wallet Tool
  • Jacket, Hat, and Leather Gloves
  • Press and other ID
  • Cash
  • Safety Grade Goggles
  • RZ Mask with F3 Premium Filter + Carbon and spare filters.
  • Snacks
  • Caffeinated Tea Bags
  • 1 Bottle of Water
  • Sometimes 8x monocular
  • Shockingly, all this is really not that heavy. The heaviest thing still is the laptop

Trip dependant, I may offload some of this to my Checkbag.

Checked Bag

  • 18-inch Large Standard Head Screwdriver - Weapon & Pry Bar
  • 3-inch Fixed Blade Knife
  • 3.5-inch Spyderco Folder
  • Door Jammer - T-Type Manual Door Lock
  • Solar USB Charger - Slow but useful
  • Leatherman Tool
  • Victorinox Cadet
  • Victorinox Super Tinker with Scissors
  • 1-Metal-Free-Poly-Carbon-Fiber Knife
  • Extra Bags & Med Kit
  • Clothes and Toiletries
  • Role of Charmin TP in a Ziplock Freezer Bag (from Cardboard to Luxury)
  • 2X small Crescent Adjustable Wrenches & Punch for High Flow Shower Conversions
  • Food