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Thread: Mel Tappan: Survival & Survival Guns

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold 450 Fuller's Avatar
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    Mel Tappan: Survival & Survival Guns

    The late Mel Tappan wrote SURVIVAL and SURVIVAL GUNS decades ago and his work
    on survival and preparedness is still unequaled in many respects.

    The 1911 series is still the best defense handgun, while following
    the LDS basics in the 4 or 5 basic food storage groups continues to be validated.
    Rifles, food storage, locations and getaway plans: water and food purification;
    maps, compasses all are covered.

    Emphasis on logical planning and common sense are strongly emphasized.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master
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    The 1911 may have been the best defensive handgun decades ago, but there are better options now. Having had five 1911's and carried them for a long time, I am down to one. If it was not the gun I gave my son on his 21st birthday, it would be gone too.
    Don Verna


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    I remember Mel very well. I used to look forward to reading his monthly columns. He was kind of a pioneer in the survival field, and you are right that lots of his thoughts and advice are still valid today.

    He had some unique ideas like having a seaworthy boat to retreat to, and instead of holing up in a basement to go to sea. Not one of my favorites, but it was unique.

    Of course there are pros and cons to everything-- but to me there aren't many cons to the 1911!

    DG

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    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    I remember Mel very well. I used to look forward to reading his monthly columns. He was kind of a pioneer in the survival field, and you are right that lots of his thoughts and advice are still valid today.

    He had some unique ideas like having a seaworthy boat to retreat to, and instead of holing up in a basement to go to sea. Not one of my favorites, but it was unique.

    Of course there are pros and cons to everything-- but to me there aren't many cons to the 1911!

    DG
    I fully agree! His advice was also down to earth.
    I would also like to re-characterize his advice on the 1911. Rephrase it as "Stick with the tried and proven tool with a massive track record for proven superior performance. Don't waste your time with the latest, greatest whizbang which might turn into a flash in the pan."
    Following this advice as re-characterized we can now add CZ-75, Glock 17/19, and a few others to the 1911 and Browning HP.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    I really didn't want to kill this thread. Come on, people! This isn't a closed subject. Survival is never a closed subject!

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    In some locations a boat makes a lot o sense. I don't think a person can walk east out of LA carrying enough water to make it unless you know where the desert water holes are.
    In a SHTF scenario a boat that lets you sail north to less densly populated and better watered terrain makes sense to me.

    Several Science fiction writers have pointed out that in a SHTF scenario every interstate on ramp is a choke point which would be easily controlled by less than a dozen people.
    They can sit there and take whatever they want from whoever comes through. Including your daughters, wifes, food, guns, and valuables. Leaving you bound and working as a slave and totally helpless.

    With that kind of setup, saling away makes a lot of sense. Me I always figured I would wait till things quiet down. Then if I wanted to move some night about 2am I would take to the river. Travel at night, cook, forage, and sleep during the day.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
    Get back to the land.
    Get back to thinking like our forefathers thought.


    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
    and give you His peace. Let all of the earth all of His creation worship and praise His name! Make His
    praise glorious!

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    Well, it's been many a year since I read Mel's writings. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, including the boat idea. Some of the drawbacks are that there is a limited amount of space in which to store food, water, and other supplies. Of course the boat can be bigger and bigger to solve these problems, but it becomes harder to hide its presence. As I recall, the idea was to have a medium sized cabin cruiser that was capable of being concealed in estuaries and inlets along the coast from which one could make forays into towns and villages for supplies. There was a discussion about motor powered vs. sail powered, as the motor requires fuel. One plus was being able to fish to supplement the food supply. The risk of pirates becoming a problem was discussed.

    DG

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    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I guess my question with Pirates is this.

    If you kill the guy at their helm at 150+ yards, do you really think the rest of the group will come try to hassle you?

    After that initial event, any indicator that says they are still coming. Means they have chosen unrestricted warfare. So hit em with all you got with a clear conscious.
    Worst case scenario I don't think you would end up any worse off than than a similar situation on land. Plus you have the option of scuttling charges. Sheer off or I blow us both out of the water.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
    Get back to the land.
    Get back to thinking like our forefathers thought.


    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
    and give you His peace. Let all of the earth all of His creation worship and praise His name! Make His
    praise glorious!

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy

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    I have an original hard cover copy of Mel's book. Nice condition. Very well thought out.
    Curious what these sell for now?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Mr. Tappan was no dummy. He graduated from Stanford, so he had SOMETHING going on.
    Concerning the primacy of the 1911 platform as a defensive pistol, he may have been taking his cues from Jeff Cooper (ALSO a Stanford graduate, and no simpleton), but it's not like either of those men got it wrong. I STILL carry a 1911 on a daily basis, and my only complaint is the weight. That's easily fixed with an alloy frame.
    I have a Tanfoglio Witness in .38 Super that holds 17+1 rounds. That's nearly equivalent to 3 revolvers, chambered for .357 Magnum, in one sidearm. EVENTUALLY, it will become my EDC, because it simplifies certain concerns involved in defensive carry, without besetting me with a whole new set of problems. When it is ready to go, I'll retire my 1911 to a "desk job".
    If I suddenly had to switch from the 18-round .38 Super back to the 1911 for EDC, it would only force me to change my approach to an attack, not my confidence in my means to respond to it. An aggressor who willingly engages a defender armed with a 1911 and the training to shoot it properly either doesn't have enough information to understand his predicament, or he has a deathwish. Either way, the penalty for THEIR predicament can easily be CAPITAL in nature.
    For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Ecclesiastes 1:18
    He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool become servant to the wise of heart. Proverbs 11:29
    ...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40


    Carpe SCOTCH!

  11. #11
    I found Mel Tappan while in a pain killer stupor while recovering from surgery this summer.

    I really enjoy this work and while alot of the info is dated and selection of firearms are no longer financially practical for the masses I still take inspiration.

    I would love to see how these survival retreats were set up in the 1970s, the doomsday prepper series on nat geo always seemed unrealistic unless one invested their life savings.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check