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Hiked the Appalachian Trail today, and carried my S&W 637

2278 Views 42 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  RufDriver
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And, here’s my 637. Ended up hiking 5 miles over fairly mountainous terrain.
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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
It was about 30 years ago so my memory is a little rusty but it was just over 2 weeks. Maybe 16-17 days. My dad made 2 supply drop for us along the way. Our scout troop was extremely active and we hiked every square inch of the trail in PA throughout the years. 2 of my best friends in the troop and I made the trek between our junior and senior year. It was a great time. What part of the trail did you work on?
That's awesome. I'd like to take my son backpacking like that.

I worked on the portion just northwest of Harrisburg, the capitol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Pretty country and a nice, short day hike.

Nice M637, and an old-school +P load. Might not significantly deform or expand, but it has the weight and, normally, sufficient 'reach'.

While I've formerly carried all manner of pistols and revolvers for backwoods activities, nowadays I find my +P capable or .357MAG J's to be suitable choices. The largest threats in the mountains might be a mountain lion, or feral humans.

While I still have a respectable amount of 158gr LSWCHP +P left over from previous years when I favored the load (Rem, W-W & Fed versions), I've come to favor the more modern middleweight +P loads after seeing their performance in organic gel and hearing reports of their successful use in LE hands (meaning for off-duty and Secondary weapons nowadays).

There are some .357MAG loads that produce some surprisingly decent velocities, even from the short barrels, but the average shooter has to ask themselves if the juice if worth the squeeze when it comes to felt recoil and controllability, especially in rapid shot strings. When I do carry a MAG load in one of my M&P 340's, it's typically the mid-range 145gr STHP. Less wrist torque effect than the 125gr loads, and the mid-range STHP has gained an enviable reputation in actual use over the many years of its production.

Anyway, congrats on an enviable day hike in some beautiful country. The 637 is a handy Airweight that's easy to carry.
Thanks! It is lovely, and it's one of about 2 good hikes near me with both beauty and actual steep inclines/declines where I can get some cardio. My motivation is two fold, to get out in nature and also get a natural workout once a week besides the gym. If one does a mountain hike one absolutely can get a cardio workout.

I hear you on the .38 special. I carry either the FBI load type, or Speer Gold Dot +P 135 grain. I seem to have misplaced my remaining box of it, but I think I'll find it when I clean my gun closet. People have said it's too low power for the woods. In my area, basically, you are only dealing with 2 legged threats. Even still, at times I'll carry a Shield Plus which has 13 round mags and 9mm. If I lived in Montana or Alaska, I'd probably up my firepower a bit when hiking any distance.
 

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And, here’s my 637. Ended up hiking 5 miles over fairly mountainous terrain.

I've hiked the AT numerous times in PA for many miles starting just north of Hamburg (you can get on the trail about 1 mile north of Cabelas). I highly recommend this section of the AT, there are excellent lookout spots (Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle) as well as rocky, technical parts of the trail. There is even a parking lot close to the Pulpit Rock and Pinnacle areas on the trail so you can hit both of these spots on a brisk half-day hike.
 

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You went in the backwoods with a non .4 caliber 5 shot?

According to a lot of posters on this forum, you should be dead. Are you posting this from heaven?

My LCR is my carry of choice when hiking.

Lightweight and enough.


Awesome pictures.
The news is full of stories - daily it seems -wherein those who carry 38 snub nose revolvers are prey to gangs, psychopaths and man eating animals. These predators can smell weakness.
 

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I've hiked the AT numerous times in PA for many miles starting just north of Hamburg (you can get on the trail about 1 mile north of Cabelas). I highly recommend this section of the AT, there are excellent lookout spots (Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle) as well as rocky, technical parts of the trail. There is even a parking lot close to the Pulpit Rock and Pinnacle areas on the trail so you can hit both of these spots on a brisk half-day hike.
Although you do run in to some unusual things.
 

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It seems that some thru hikers get too focused on mileage and logistics and don’t pay enough attention to beauty, plants, animals, etc. along the way. If it devolves to being just about grinding out the miles, one might as well hike along highways.

“Section hikers” who eventually cover the whole AT (or PCT or whatever) via scattered dayhikes and shorter backpacking trips often seem to get more out of it.
 

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I've done some of the Georgia and NC sections. But I have to admit now I'd prefer hiking from Prevost to Prevost rather than sleeping (or at least trying to) in a flapping tent and a sleeping bag on the ground.
 
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Although I'm not much of an outdoorsy type, I'm rather fascinated with the AT for some reason. I've read several books by thru-hikers and have watched several of their YT channels. One of my favorites for both is the young woman from the Auburn, AL area, Jessica Mills. She had an opportunity to take some time off from her career and started thru-hiking the AT without much if any extra training. She's since hiked the other long distance trails.

She's from Alabama and owns firearms, but said she decided against bringing one mainly because of the weight. It's a long walk from Georgia to Maine (and vice versa) and those who hike the whole thing are concerned with weight; females probably more so than males although they are probably also more vulnerable. Apparently the AT gets rather crowded from time to time and she said she's never felt unsafe. She's made a lot of friends hiking it. I'm not sure I'd want to be totally unarmed, though, but she's very knowledgeable and successful so far.

Some of her YT videos are a hoot. You can't be prissy and be a thru-hiker for sure.

There have been a few murders on the AT, or in parks that it happens to pass through, but overall not many for the large numbers of people who hike it. A few were targeted and solved and a few unsolved. I don't think there have been very many black bear attacks for the number of hikers but I'm not sure.

My son likes to day hike and I hope he will hike the Georgia section someday. While not the most difficult, it's not the easiest section either. No chance I'll do it at this point.

Nice photos, OP! I'm a little bit jealous of you guys, LOL.
 

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I've done numerous sections of the AT trail - mostly in the northern PA region. However, I tend to hike/mountain bike other lesser known trails in PA, NJ, etc.

One section of the AT that I am really jonesing to do is the Mt. Washington area in NH. The trail goes directly over Mt. Washington, which is the tallest peak in the N.E.
 

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Although I'm not much of an outdoorsy type, I'm rather fascinated with the AT for some reason. I've read several books by thru-hikers and have watched several of their YT channels. One of my favorites for both is the young woman from the Auburn, AL area, Jessica Mills. She had an opportunity to take some time off from her career and started thru-hiking the AT without much if any extra training. She's since hiked the other long distance trails.
.....
Oh yea, that's "Dixie"! I've seen a bunch of her videos. I went on a hiking / camping / bushcrafting YouTube spree when I was laid up getting both my knees replaced... yea, odd that when I couldn't walk for awhile all I watched was outdoor videos, lol!

 
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