I figured I'd start this thread since SR asked about this in another thread, and I didn't want to clutter that up. I'll post the full article without the comments afterward, and the link if anyone wants to check it out.
Sad to say, the march of anti-constitutional laws continues to quicken the pace. Today tens of thousands of law abiding citizens face becoming "armchair felons" because they are not gullible enough to comply with mandatory registration and licensing of long owned firearms. Collectors have been raided on bogus pretexts, then arrested for "paper violations", and had their assets seized. It's a shame, but in many jurisdictions your AR-15 or SKS is an "outlaw rifle", and you are at risk every day that you keep it in your house. It is doubly a shame because these are exactly the types of arms the founding fathers were speaking of when they wrote the 2nd Amendment...
So if you will not register or turn in your weapons, and are reluctant to keep some of them in your house, what is to be done with them, to preserve them for use at some future date? Many folks just say "bury them" but this is simplistic and may be self defeating, for a buried gun may be rusted, forgotten, or paved over in time. The "art of the cache" is then the subject of this lesson.
First we must define a few terms, for there are several classes of caches. A fighting cache or ready cache is one where a rifle or other weapon is kept, sighted in and with the correct ammunition and cleaning gear, available on short notice. A long term cache should be able to lay undetected for years if need be. An Escape and Evasion cache will contain a complete getaway kit in addition to a firearm, against the day that the owner finds himself pursued by enemies.
An E&E cache will contain the items listed in Squantos' E&E kits, as well as hair dye, "instant tan" lotion, scissors, a razor, a nylon windbreaker and a hat for a quick appearance change. Cash, gold, a space blanket, a poncho for shelter and a pistol would also be included. All of these items can be kept in a .50 caliber metal ammo box available at any army surplus store.
What arms to cache? If you are considering caching any weapons, it makes sense to cache both your black "outlaw" firearms and your cheap surplus military rifles, the Enfields and SKS's and so on. The former may land you in legal trouble, the latter are inexpensive and may best prove their worth by waiting hidden and silent for the moment of need. Pistols also should be considered, particularly inexpensive surplus police revolvers. There is no other type of firearm which may be handed to a complete novice with confidence that the new shooter will be able to use it effectively on the first try, and you may someday be in the position of arming a complete novice. Millions of non-shooters may become ardent RKBA advocates in the years to come and you should consider arms for them as well as for yourself.
Where should you locate your cache?I will consider three broad areas: rural caches, urban caches, and underwater caches.
The Rural Cache:
In the countryside, cache options abound far beyond the cliched hole in the ground, although that option is not to be left out! In the boonies, look for old private junkyards, every big farm has at least one on the back 40! Rusty forgotten tractors, cars, refrigerators and farm equipment are made to order, full of hidden nooks and crannies where a rifle or three may be inserted, yet remain readily available. Of course, hiding firearms in and around old iron negates the chance of technical detection. Abandoned farmhouses, barns, ruins, and foundations provide countless hiding places, as do small caves, worked out mines, and graveyards. And of course you can just bury your package, preferably near or around some clutter of old scrap metal to provide magnetic camouflage.
The Urban Cache:
In cities and towns you must be a bit more creative to find a good cache location which will remain undisturbed for years. Abandoned factories and warehouses, forgotten steam tunnels, scrap yards and neglected corners of basements and attics of some buildings may be used. You need to find a quiet dark out of the way corner were you can remove some tile or blocks or panels to create a mini vault, then hide by replacing the cover. Old large diameter pipes or pump casings may be used as is. Sometimes it is possible to create a cache by adding a bogus utility box or fake run of pipe which has no other purpose than to look old and nasty, and hide a gun or two.
The Underwater Cache:
Arms may be sealed into a PVC pipe, then sunk for a great cache. Ammo packed inside around the arms will provide enough weight to sink the tube. Tie a strong nylon or monofilament line around the middle of the pipe, and lower the cache under an old rotten abandoned dock or wharf. So much junk accumulates under old docks that one more slime and barnacle encrusted pipe section will attract no attention at all. Tie the top end of the line to a piling down under the waterline, the entire line will soon be so nasty that no one will ever touch it, except you!
Packaging the Cache:
No matter where your cache will be located, you should go to great pains to make sure that it remains sealed and moisture proof. As mentioned, large diameter PVC pipe fits the bill perfectly. If you want access without cutting open the pipe, you can buy an end cap with a threaded center. For really long term storage, release the springs from your magazines and operating rods where possible. A chunk of dry ice dropped into a watertight package and allowed to "steam off" before sealing will purge out the rust producing oxygen. Store bought silica desiccant bags may also be used. Wherever ammo is stored, beware of using penetrating oils, as in time they may deaden the primers.
Plastic five gallon buckets with sealed lids may also be used, as well as heavy duty "white water rafting" bags, marine "flare kit" boxes and containers, surplus military ammo and ordnance boxes and many other types of containers. Where possible, for long term storage seal the lids with a bead of silicone glue.
Where tight cache space is a consideration, you may have to merely wrap your weapons in plastic. In this case use the biggest thickest heavy duty lawn and garden bags you can find. After placing the arms inside, suck out all the air you can, twist the end, put a few strong wires ties around the neck, fold it over, and put more wire around it again. Then do this again inside another bag. Long rifles which will not fit in a bag will have to be wrapped in industrial plastic sheeting, taped up, and kept in a fairly dry location. This type of packaging may be considered where a weapon may be in a "fighting cache", ready for use on short notice.
Locating Your Cache:
Nothing is worse than stumbling around looking for a cache so well hidden that you cannot find it, so give a lot of thought to the landmarks you will locate it by, and write them down! Don't put the entire location on one piece of paper (for security), just the final directions which will not make sense if the paper is compromised. Remember, your cache area may look very different in different seasons, so choose landmarks which will stand out in summer foliage or winter snow. It is a good idea to take compass bearings from several permanent landmarks, as well as pacing the distances where possible. Or you may locate the cache by aligning it with an old wall, or between distinctive boulders, just make sure the features are permanent: bushes and gullies may disappear. Be alert to construction around your cache, and if the survey stakes go up, move it out ASAP. You may use GPS coordinates, but consider that GPS may be degraded or turned off at any time, and mark your location the "old fashioned way" first.
When you look for a cache location, consider that you will need a "cover for action" to explain your presence in the area. If you jog cross country, go on hikes, bike or four wheel drive you have it made. The cache location must have terrain or vegetation cover to conceal your loading and unloading it: forget the "cover of darkness", in this era of NVGs that is a thing of the past.
Before returning to a cache do some counter-surveillance: loop around the area looking for the "watchers" who may be staking it out, or a new "utility box" which may contain a remotely operated camera. When finally approaching the cache, don't go directly to it, first "fish hook" your trail, double back and observe your own path in to check for followers. Finally, walk right past your cache and make a "false unload". If you are taken down at this point, they may not find the true cache, and your "cover for action" (eg.: taking a leak on a routine hike) may pass muster. Only when you are truly sure of your safety should you go to the cache and unload it.
In addition, you should leave "tell-tales", small innoucuous secret marks which will tell you if anyone has disturbed and replaced your cache. It is a favorite trick of security forces to put tracking devices into cached weapons in order to follow the guerrilla back to his base and catch the entire band. A tell-tale may be a bit of thread or a pebble etc. placed in such a way that if the cache is disturbed it will break or fall out without the security forces noticing it.
I hope this has been an informative and thought provoking article. Even if you do not think it is necessary to cache any weapons (or an E&E kit!) at this time, you will at least be able to take walks in the woods to scout out some likely sites for future use. Look for sites at various distances from your home from a short walk to a day's drive: don't keep all your eggs in one basket. It is a good idea to "load" a cache with some old tools just for practice. See if they rust, see if the local eleven year old boys find them, see if you can get in and out of the area without being seen. Practice makes perfect, so try some "dry runs" today so that you will be a seasoned pro if and when it becomes necessary to cache "the war iron" for real and for keeps.
And don't forget to BLOAT! Buy Lots Of Ammo Today!