Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.



‘Lifeboat rations’  What the heck is that?


It is exactly what it says.  This is the food supply designed to be kept in lifeboats.  They were never intended to be a complete meal or to provide complete nutrition, they are simply intended to keep you alive until rescued.


There are some substantial advantages to keeping some on hand for emergencies.  These include:


1.  Guaranteed shelf life of five years.

2.  Does not make you thirsty.

3.  Don’t need to drink anything along with eating it.

4.  Does not go bad in extreme temperatures of hot or cold.


The storage conditions apply while the packaging is unbroken, if a package is opened so individual bars are accessible, the storage guarantees no longer apply.


These rations are an excellent choice for hiking, hunting, the ‘’bug out’ bag, and the ‘get home’ bag.  You can just throw some in the trunk of your car and forget about them until needed.


These are not just snack bars or ‘gorp’.  They are U.S. Coast Guard approved and most manufacturers are also internationally approved as well.  To be lifeboat rations they must meet specific standards for nutrition and stability.


They do contain a good bit of sugar so diabetics beware.  They are low protein, high carbohydrate, high sugar.  Some of them taste good enough to use for snacks and are cheaper than many similar sized items sold as snacks.  They may carry a lot more calories however.  For official use, each is offered in packets containing at least 3600 calories.  The basic packet of 3600 calories is said to be enough for 3 days, but that is for lifeboat use, the caloric needs of a hiker would be higher.  They also offer packets of 2400 calories.


The three manufacturers available of which I am aware are: S.O.S., Mainstay, and Datrex.


S.O.S.:  This is my favorite.  I find them appealing enough to occasionally eat as snacks.  The standard packet contains 9 bars of 400 calories each. Each bar is individually wrapped but not sealed.  The packet can be slightly difficult to open with bare hands, the individual wrappers often have a ‘greasy’ feel.  I usually open one end of the bars wrapper and squeeze the bar up to the top.  People to whom I have offered these find the taste either appealing or neutral.


Mainstay:  It has been 5 years since I have tried Mainstay.  Each packet contains 9 cubes, again 400 calories each.  The cubes were not separate but part of a larger block and not individually wrapped.  I do not recall how easily or not the packet opened.  The ration reminded me of dense, crumbly, fine grained corn bread but with a strong lemon flavor.  I do not like these but I do not like lemon, no lemon pies, lemon cakes, etc., however my niece loved them and so did others of her associates.


Datrex:  Just tried these this week.  Each packet contains 18 individually wrapped and sealed flat squares. The packet opened well enough but the individual bar wrappers were a bear to open with my bare hands.  The bars are soft and the effort to open the individual wrapper caused them to crumble, then some of it would be lost while trying to get it out of the wrapper.  If my hands were tired, weak, sweaty, or wet, I would never be able to open them without the point of a knife or other implement.  The taste is neither pleasant nor unpleasant, it was just…stuff.  I will not buy these again.  However, as I have a case of them, I have decided that in the event of very bad times, this is what I will hand out to others if requested.  Did occur to me, one could crumple the stuff into a bowl, add milk and eat it as a cereal.


When shopping for these, prices vary TREMENDOUSLY.  Some places actually charge twice what others do.  On top of that, these things are heavy so shipping cost is easily the same as the price of the product.  The manufacturer of the S.O.S. rations is only 3 or 4 hours away from me but does not sell retail, nor are there any nearby retailers.  My most recent purchase was from a company the furthest you could get from me in the continental U.S., essentially from one ‘corner’ of the country to the farthest other ‘corner’.  Look very carefully at the shipping costs, it is often cheaper to pay a higher price for the rations if the shipping rate is reduced, than to buy at a low sale price and pay full shipping.


As said, I keep some in my car.  I take them when hiking or hunting, and keep some in the house for emergencies. If you are thinking of long term food supply for bad times obviously you will want more than just these, but they are a good item for part of your emergency planning.

Though we try to stay out of the political fight and continue with original content for the most part. This is well worthy of being re posted. This gentleman has took the fight to the enemy so to speak. A lot of private citizens info and home address was released in a news paper for left wing kooks and who knows what, to see and harass them. The favor was returned on the “reporter” who perpetrated this damage against private, law abiding gun owning citizens of counties in NY state.

More from the range.


I am no fan of DPMS, for many reasons.  Recently I was helping a a gentleman replace the upper on his AR15.  After using a DPMS stripped upper to replace a DPMS upper on a rifle, we found that his charging handle would not fit into the new upper.  DPMS (and CMMG when they used DPMS parts) are the only company I have ever known to have this issue.  In this world of universally modular AR15s, DPMS can’t even keep their own parts working with each other.  This is one of the many reasons I dislike and DO NOT recommend DPMS.

Steel cased ammo

Almost every day at the range, we have someone tell someone else about how the lacquer on the steel cased ammo will melt off and cause a round to be stuck in your chamber.  We also see guns jam up with less then 10 rounds fired of steel cased ammo in this session.  But lacquer isn’t to blame.  Around the world, military run machine guns with steel cased lacquer coated ammunition and they do not have this issue.  So wjhat is going on?

First, steel doesn’t expand like brass will.  So carbon and blow back into the chamber, when then can harden and cement a case in place.  It is this carbon causing stuck cases, not any melting lacquer.  Due to Americans complaining, Wolf switch from the far better lacquer to a lousy polymer coating, which rust more easily, and didn’t stop the issue.

Second, barrel chambers matter.  I have seen quality rifles with 5.56 NATO chambers run thousands of rounds of steel cased Wolf or Tula with out issues.  I have even seen and personally run hundred of rounds of steel cased through Wylde chambered match barreled with out issue.  So why the issue?  Some rifles are not coming with proper chambers.  I see more stuck cases in DPMS rifle then any other(Another reason I don’t like DPMS).  Many of these cheaper rifle cut corners, and chambers are not an exception.  I don’t know if these companies are not using 5.56 reamers, or if they are using the reamers too long, and cutting undersized chambers with worn out reamers.  Regardless there is a huge different in performance with this steel cased ammo with quality rifles, and cheaper ones.

Now remember that cheap steel cased ammo is going to perform poorly, but reliability issues can be negated by using quality barrels and cleaning chambers properly.

Aftermarket parts

Glock sight fell off

Saw a couple of interesting issues with aftermarket parts in Glocks today.  As pictured above, one shooter bought a pistol with an aftermarket front sight post.  Unfortunately the front sight wasn’t secured correctly, and fell off while he was shooting.  Good thing this happened to him on the range, and not in a fight.  Fortunately in this case, no parts were lost, and the sight can be re-installed.

Another shooter installed an aftermarket trigger disconnector in a couple of his Glocks.  In one, it functioned great, but it caused the other to double.  The pistol would fire multiple shots per trigger pull, and would fire as you release the trigger.  Once again, it is good that this happened on the range, instead of anywhere else.

Don’t be afraid to use aftermarket equipment, just be sure to test it out and make sure it works before you rely it on.




Broken CMMG .22 kit


We also saw a CMMG .22 conversion kit break.  Hopefully they will take care of the owner of this kit.

Keep in mind that all things can break, it is good to have a backup or alternate available as well.


Merry Christmas.



Tonight the facebook “fan” page has hit over 300 “likes.”  While thats a really small number compared to other pages and compared to the daily visits to the looseorunds website. It is still pretty exciting to me.   The reason is simple.  We have not spent 1 dollar in some kind of advertising to gain likes or paid some expert PR firm to get us likes.   I like it better that way. I want people to like us and find us on their own.

Since its a bit of a mile stone for us I thought I would say a few things about looserounds that none of us have share so far in the short time LR has been in this world.  And because of the 300 likes this is as good time as any to say it and for me to blather and gibber on longer then I should.

When Howard and I decided to start loose rounds, we wanted it to be different to a lot of the fire arms blogs out there all over the web.  First, we did not want it to be another NRA parrot site full of  news about anti gun laws being passed or pro gun law victories. You can get that every where else. We agreed that unless its something critically important, we would skip on it. Another thing was we wanted to have content that was at least an attempt at something meaningful. Some other sites will post up stuff every day, but its just as likely to be rumor or non news as anything informative.  It gives the illusion of activity, but its really not.  We also did not want to or seem to be talking down to the readers or lecture them as if they were ignorant beginners.  There is one fire arm blog I saw a few months ago that had the smug arrogance to lecture readers on their FB page about the readers spelling and grammar. I suppose he could not help himself from complaining about his readers comments in the comment section, or felt his readers intelligence was so low he felt it is duty to make the world a better place by making sure the people who came to his blog were as smart as he felt he deserved them to be…..Have no idea. But I told Howard that I would have been highly insulted by his condescending posts toward his fans.       Looserounds is here to share info and give you our opinion on what is good and works and what does not.  We do not feel we are better then you nor are we going to lecture you on your spelling or how you dress.  There is enough of that on gun boards that are suppose to be technical and are the furthest from it.

Some of us may have more or different experience in some things that you do not, but does not mean we are anything special.   We will give you an honest opinion whether you like the opinion or not is another thing. You might not agree with out opinion and that OK. but if you get mad over it that is not going to change our opinio. We do not hold that against anyone and we hope you would not take it personal and hold it against us. Though if you do. well.  whatever.

We do try to talk to our readers as adults that have more then basic fire arms knowledge.  Sure, not everyone does, but  the fundamentals always apply and I have always found that people will learn pretty fast.  We also will take the time to answer any beginner level question, shooting or technical or informational. We cover a wide range sometimes and try to be entertaining, helpful and to sometimes teach a little fire arms history along with other useful and sundry skill.

One thing I feel is important to point out is looserounds and the writers at LR does not feel or think anyone who is not LEO or Military, does not know what they are talking about. This is another point that has always bothered us about some of the other gun blogs and websites.  Experts come from all over and just because some one is paid or “trained” to do something hardly makes them an expert.  I am sure everyone has seen examples of both. So do not feel like something on this site is not for you just because you never had to throw a grenade through a window or make some SWAT team raid. The info we try to provide is meant to help everyone and to make everyone think. We do not think some ones opinion can not be judged because they are LEO or Mil.  That thinking leads to blind hero worship and relying  on people who may not know what they are doing and leading other to follow the same mistakes.   So comment on anything you wish even if some one has told you that you can not argue with the topic because you don’t have the experience. We are always willing to listen and talk about it ( unless you start out with  insulting ).

We started out to talk about tactics and shooting more then reviews and gear tests but we certainly evolved fast into doing that as well. We also added topics like survival and prepping and even the comedic section. Starting next year we will  debut our Youtube Channel with videos. Catherine will be at SHOT show to show some video of the new stuff and hopefully some interviews with company reps.  And of course videos with shooting tips. I can not say for sure what the video portion will evolve into though because we seem to not know how we are going to do things until it just happens. Just like pregnancy. no one knows how it works until a kid pops out.

I can say we will probably have more AAR and reviews of come carbine and shooting classes this year from Mark. He may be going to a Costa shooting class so if that happens you can read his always excellent review of his experience and we will have some more article about antique and obscure guns form the Editor of LR C.Lopes. If that is popular, maybe we will do more.  I am always waiting to hear from readers about what they would like to read about, so suggestions are welcome. But, I can not promise we will write about it. But we will do our very best to answer questions as usual. There is a very wide range and knowledge base on looseorunds and there is not much we can not answer.


Thanks for reading what we have to say this year and thanks to our facebook fans for “liking” us.  I for one am surprised on how much we have grown. I never imagined so many people would want to read what we had to say in this time of every gun blog being run by a “SEAL.”

We just want to help other shooters with what we learned over years and hundreds of thousands of rounds and even Combat for one of us.  Keep reading if you like what we do and 2013 will be better then this year with more to offer and new and better things.