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Old November 3, 2018, 12:04 AM   #26
bamaranger
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....and 50 rds of ammo!!!!!!

Note Skeeters caveat that the trail gun would include 50RDS Of AMMO!!!!! And that you would not be aware your were carrying it. That is a tall order if you are walking very far, or aren't as spry as you used to be. Pretty much totally eliminates all the big bores........and that's 3 Glock mags, not counting the one that's in the pistol. I don't take 50 rds of ammo in the woods ever......unless I intend to shoot or "woods plink." Unless.....Skeeter was talking about "on the trail", for more than a couple of hours or a day. Then 50 rds makes more sense. I'd like to see the context of the sentence and the complete article. There may well be a difference between a "trail gun" and and a "woods gun"?

I went for a stroll this afternoon, archery deer scouting. I could legally carry any handgun I wanted, since small game was in, I could have carried a shotgun, or a rimfire rifle as well, even both. I took a Ruger Single 6 in .22 mag and 12 extra rounds of ammo, all on a leather belt rig with a sheath knife. I shot a drink can 1 time on an embankment, then went over and retrieved it along with some other trash I carried out.

When I stopped for gas at dusk at the C-store, I felt a little undergunned should trouble arisen, but not totally naked. I hadn't planned on going to the store, but that darn Bronco is just plain thirsty all the time. I had planned on covering as much ground as possible (not so much these days) and was glad my rig was pretty light. Had I paid more attention to the gage a forehand, I might have carried the B-hawk in .357 with 6 extra rounds in its chest rig, which I did aplenty in years gone by. The b-hawk puts .38 WC(woods) and .357/125 (SD) in the same place, a very useful trait (my M28 does the same thing BTW). But I semi retired both the .357 revolvers for a G20/10mm as a heavy woods pistol.

But............ had I taken the G20, I would not have shot the can!!!!!!!
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Old November 3, 2018, 06:33 AM   #27
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Maybe two?

A small light 22 semiautomatic, like maybe the Taurus polymer one. With maybe an extra magazine. That would be good if a small game animal stood close by demanding to be shot, or if you felt like plinking just a little.

My EDC is a Ruger LCR 38. If the weather is good for a cover garment, a G43 or G26 might be substituted. That would be enough to discourage larger varmints, at least in my neck of the woods.

Even carrying both and a reload or two for each wouldn't be that taxing or obtrusive.
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Old November 3, 2018, 08:28 AM   #28
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This article was written back in 1977, which explains the emphasis on revolvers. And I note that many of the revolvers he's talking about weigh over 30 ounces.
Which also explains why he didn't recommend the 10mm AUTO - which, while available in a wheelgun platform, packs lighter and with greater capacity in the Glock autoloader platform.

But Glocks weren't here in 1977 either.
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Old November 3, 2018, 01:02 PM   #29
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I included a link to the full article in the original post. That website has dozens of his writings archived. Skeeter didn't really give a whole lotta context, which is partly why I sought discussion here. He talks at length about various .22 pistols and loads, and weights of various guns, and how many makes and models are available. But very little about what he'd expect to shoot with it, how long/far the trip was, or why he'd carry 50 rounds when he didn't plan to use it in the first place. I believe he was talking about a gun belt complete with cartridge loops, which may be why.

I've noticed I tend to carry a pocket full of ammo, regardless of the pistol I brought. (Unless I plan on some "woods plinking"- I like that term.) Smaller ammo means more rounds, so I'm more inclined to use a few.

I've pondered the 10mm for 20 years, but never made the leap to purchase one. Glocks just don't fit my hand- I have short fingers. But the Tanfoglio Witness feels great.
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Old November 3, 2018, 08:11 PM   #30
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That was about the time I started reading about guns and there were lots of articles on trail guns. They were some of my favorite reads too. My trail gun of choice for the last decade has been a Ruger single Six in 32 mag. Its a little lighter in weight over the 22 version but the slightly heavier ammo makes up the difference.

I do wish it would occur to S&W to take their alloy frame 5 shot revolvers like the 637 and add a 4" barrel and open sights. That would be a great, easy to carry field and trail gun in a decent caliber. Dream on.

I have a couple other guns that work for trail use. An old S&W model 34-1 with a flat latch in 22lr and a model 36-6 38 special with 3" barrel and adjustable sights and a matt finish like my model 28. S&W only made 615 of those guns so its sort of rare. I think both are under 24oz unloaded. Easy to carry guns.
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Old November 3, 2018, 11:52 PM   #31
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woods pistols/trail guns over the years

I started out with a 4" Ruger Securtiy Six, purchased initially a a spare service revolver in the front of my career. Wish I still had it. Anyhow, after a few years, I acquired a Charter Bulldog .44 spl. and that did woods duty. Eventually the Bulldog went out of time. Then I had to have a single action, and traded the Security Six for a Blackhawk in .357. Still have it, and carry it afield now and again as noted earlier. But eventually I drifted away from serious calibers as woods/trail guns and started toting a Ruger MkII .22lr standard auto afield. Later I acquired a dual cyinder Single Six, and keep the mag cylinder in the revolber. I found I shoot the rimfires more plinking and at targets of opportunity, than the bigger calibers, and did not mind the fact that the rimfire was not as powerful as a bigger cartridge.

Then there was a horrendous crime in our area, a double homicide of a father and son (unarmed) at a boat ramp, and I reconsidered my light caliber. I swapped back and forth between the Blackhawk and a S&W Mtn gun in .44, but really considered both a bit heavy and cumbersome if I was walking very far. About that time, I stumbled up on a G20, almost by accident, and have pretty much retired my serious revolvers in the woods.

But I still enjoy carrying a .22 handgun if I intend to walk very far, and the aforementioned Single -6 in .22 mag still goes afield now and then. With its longer tube (6.5") I can manage the sights better than a shorter barreled handgun, and thus likely shoot it better than any pistol I own.
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Old November 4, 2018, 01:52 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the possum
This leads me to some questions for the group. Do you consider this weight range to be as featherweight at Skeeter seemed to? How have polymer or lightweight alloys changed the equation? What sorts of modern automatics would fit in with Skeeter's personal definition of a "trail gun"? How do you define a "trail gun", and does it jive with Skeeter's definition?

And a big one:
If you're carrying a gun outdoors without expecting to actually shoot it, then what kinds of situations could make you change your mind and pull it out?
I think much depends on the activity to determine the definition. For a "trail gun", my definition is for backpacking; anywhere from 50-150 miles, which we do a couple times a year. At those distances, weight is paramount. I still prefer the weight-sacrifice of a lightweight auto (and carry system), but for reference, my base-weight (everything minus food, water, and fuel) is usually about 13-14 pounds for a spring to fall trip, and that includes my Hill People Gear Kit Bag with handgun:













No, I don't expect to use it and for it's use, it's primarily for two-legged predators. Defining your threat is likely more important than the activity, but for backpacking, weight is an important factor...this isn't a day hike, it's cranking out 12-18 miles a day for several consecutive days. Concealed carry is important given that we travel through several small towns and some backpackers on the AT aren't overly fond of guns (not that I care, but it's less hassle). I have close to 1500 miles logged with Kit Bags (latest is their original Snubby which is perfect). I've tried various handguns and the Kahr CM9 just seems to be the right fit. My wife and I even took a week long "Leave No Trace" instructor certification course in the Shenandoah National Park with a group of about 12. I wore my Kit Bag and handgun the entire time and never once got anything other than "cool idea for carrying snacks and your map".

For me, a lightweight, sub-compact auto is the perfect trail gun if you're backpacking. I also carried a J-Frame which is another great choice.

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Old November 4, 2018, 01:56 AM   #33
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For reference, you can see I tried a few types:













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Old November 4, 2018, 10:13 AM   #34
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Terms like "trail gun" and "featherweight" are relative and subjective. So is perceived threat/danger. Many times tho, none of those are realistic. Modern thought and technology has made recent production guns lighter/smaller and their ammo more effective than back in Skeeter's day. So has the ease accessibility and variety of firearms.

Folks should use want they feel most confident and comfortable with and what they are most proficient with. This relates to Trail guns, EDCs, nightstand guns and primary hunting weapons.
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Old November 4, 2018, 10:28 AM   #35
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Ed Harris once did a gunzine piece, saying that he was tired of wearing out Chiefs' Specials and wanted a new light walking around gun. So he got a then-new Ruger Single Six .32 H&R. Which isn't a BIG gun but certainly heavier than a Chief.

Not a trail gun, but one LA LEO, also top competitive shooter, said that during the LA riots he had a M51 and a box of .22 WMR in his pocket to supplement his service pistol should he be cut off. An extra 56 rounds might have made a difference.
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Old November 4, 2018, 12:15 PM   #36
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One think I like about revolvers as trail guns is that it's easier to police your brass. Finding ejected cases in high grass or fallen leaves is a hassle (unless you use steel-cased ammo & carry a shop magnet). This also makes revolvers in auto calibers appealing.

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Old November 5, 2018, 07:18 AM   #37
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* * * This also makes revolvers in auto calibers appealing.
Yep, especially those revolvers chambered in 10mm AUTO that use moon clips.

Easy to load, unload, and no brass to chase. The spent cases hang right there on the clips.
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Old November 5, 2018, 08:08 AM   #38
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Revolver in 10MM? So essentially a .41 Magnum.
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Old November 5, 2018, 10:16 AM   #39
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Risking putting the post on a sidetrack, not quite .41mag......close enough for comparison though. The 10mm auto comes close to the softer factory .41 mag police load with the LSWC slug, factory .41 JHP hunting ammo was hotter still. Too, much factory 10mm ammo is notoriously soft, the boutique companies get the 10mm on up there, but domestic stuff can be a bit lame, especially from shorter tubes (less than 5"). And handloading requires the right choice of powders to get top velocities as well. I'm still a fan of the 10mm, but it is not a .41........with the right loads it has a good edge on factory .357 from short barreled revolvers though.

The .32 H&R may make an ideal trail caliber. More gun than any rimfire, not as big as a .38/.357. Seems like somewhere I read an article where a 'smith made up a .32 on a Bearcat frame.......5-shot, but I could be wrong about that. The old 25-20 is another soft centerfire and might be a candidate for such a conversion as well...........but I have no idea on the real compatibility and the dimensions necessary. Skeeter likely had the right idea with the .38 spl. Something like a 5 shot, 3- 4" steel J-frame and adjustable sights. Thing is, I've never had an interest in .38spl ONLY revolvers, and many available are K frames, and most of them, fixed sights. I bought, shot and loaded .357's, and if I wanted .38's, simply interchanged them.

I too recall mention of a .22 revolver and ammo in the pants pocket comments during the riot era of the late 60's.
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Old November 5, 2018, 10:34 AM   #40
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Rock6-
Love those pictures; think I saw you post 'em on Bladeforums in the past. I've been thinking about one of those Hill People Gear chest rigs myself. I rarely get to do the kind of hiking you're talking about, but when I do have a pack, the waist belt really hinders most normal (pistol) carry options. That chest bag, or really any other kind of bag that could attach to the shoulder straps in front, would be a great option.

I can't find any reason to question the gun you've chosen for your stated purposes. In my situation, where one of my primary purposes is shooting at varmints or small game, I don't think the sub compact defensive pistols would be nearly as easy to score hits with. But I honestly haven't practiced with them much like that; maybe they wouldn't be as bad as I expect. Think you could nail a skunk at 25 yards with your CM9 most of the time?
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Old November 5, 2018, 02:09 PM   #41
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I don't know about carrying fifty rounds but in the four decades since that was written, we've had a revolution in polymer and alloy construction. There are plenty of choices in 9mm where an extra magazine would easily get you up past thirty rounds. As far as revolvers go, the .32 Long he mentions has had two subsequent generations of improvement. The modern .327 is more powerful than 9mm and can be had in a compact six-round LCR that's literally light enough to forget you're carrying it.

Either of the above rounds will be fine for dangerous people, coyotes, and a bunch of other things. Other wildlife might merit more firepower but even .357 magnum and 10mm come in lightweight packages now. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, just do your best to prepare and practice with what you carry.
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Old November 5, 2018, 08:57 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by bamaranger View Post
Skeeter likely had the right idea with the .38 spl. Something like a 5 shot, 3- 4" steel J-frame and adjustable sights.

This is why I picked up a Ruger SP101 .357 in 4”. Adjustable sights and a nice little gun.



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Old November 5, 2018, 09:01 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by the possum
Rock6-
Love those pictures; think I saw you post 'em on Bladeforums in the past. I've been thinking about one of those Hill People Gear chest rigs myself. I rarely get to do the kind of hiking you're talking about, but when I do have a pack, the waist belt really hinders most normal (pistol) carry options. That chest bag, or really any other kind of bag that could attach to the shoulder straps in front, would be a great option.

I can't find any reason to question the gun you've chosen for your stated purposes. In my situation, where one of my primary purposes is shooting at varmints or small game, I don't think the sub compact defensive pistols would be nearly as easy to score hits with. But I honestly haven't practiced with them much like that; maybe they wouldn't be as bad as I expect. Think you could nail a skunk at 25 yards with your CM9 most of the time?
Yeah, I'm a member over there, so I'm sure they've popped up in the past. The HPG Kit Bag can attach to your pack straps, or you can wear it under your pack as a stand-alone kit. I prefer the latter. While I'm never really away from my pack when distance backpacking, I like the idea of keep my handgun on me as much as possible.

This location of carry (I'll include open carry holsters as well or "tanker-styled" rigs") is about perfect when used with a large pack where using the waist belt as part of the suspension is a necessity. I've slogged through swamps and crossed rivers waist deep, so the other benefit is keeping your handgun high-and-dry is another excellent advantage. While it serves as a concealed platform, it's also like a flapped holster in that it protects your handgun from debris or mud if you take a fall or are beating heavy brush.

I've tried a few options such as the Safepacker, fanny-pack, RIBZ chest pack, etc., and the HPG Kit Bag has just worked best for me and distance backpacking...even in 90+temps and extremely high humidity.

I have carried a S&W Kit Gun or Ruger 22/45 in my Kit Bag for different kinds of activities, so while I might be hard-pressed to hit a skunk at 25 yards with my CM9, I know I could hit a larger bipedal threat

Another good option I've recently added and really like is Ruger's LCRx .38SPL with the 3" barrel. I've been impressed with the 15.8oz weight and accuracy. Additionally, when around wetter areas, the snake shot option is much better than with a semi-auto.

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Last edited by ROCK6; November 5, 2018 at 09:11 PM.
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Old November 5, 2018, 10:28 PM   #44
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Revolver in 10MM? So essentially a .41 Magnum.
No, not at all.

The hottest 10mm AUTO loads only tread into the .41 Mag's low end range. The closer cartridge analog to the .41 Mag is the 10mm Magnum, which actually exceeds it.

But the 10mm Mag is a different animal from the 10mm AUTO, although you can shoot both (along with the .40S&W) using moon clips in the same revolver if the cylinder has undergone 'conversion' to the longer specs of the 10mm Mag.
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Old November 6, 2018, 12:23 PM   #45
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My Skeeter gun is a Ruger Blackhawk flat top mid-size. Chambered in 44 spl. with a 4 5/8" barrel and the ejector housing along with the grip frame replaced with aluminum ones.
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Old November 22, 2018, 01:00 PM   #46
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I started a similar thread on a now defunct survival forum and the answers I got were close to the responses here. I thought a "Trail Gun" was a gun you carried to plink with, put game in the pot and just to have because you can. Thats because that was my perceived use of a trail gun. I simply didn't consider what others might carry because of where they lived and where they went exploring.

Many responses were from people in bear country. Or places where they might run into some dopers pot field and need to get away from the guards. It was an eyeopener for me. It made me rethink my own ideas.

There is a fellow that comes on the radio show Coast To Coast named David Paulides, a retired LE and talks about all the people that disappear in the forest and mountains. Maybe they got lost, maybe they were snatched by druggies because they stumbled on to a pot field or maybe a bear got them. So being armed with a bigger than a 22 may not be a bad idea.

There is no way I would ever pay this much for this book but its what I am referring to.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/14...t_bibl_vppi_i0
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Old November 22, 2018, 02:49 PM   #47
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There is a fellow that comes on the radio show Coast To Coast named David Paulides, a retired LE and talks about all the people that disappear in the forest and mountains. Maybe they got lost, maybe they were snatched by druggies because they stumbled on to a pot field or maybe a bear got them. So being armed with a bigger than a 22 may not be a bad idea.
There is no way I would ever pay this much for this book but its what I am referring to.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/14...t_bibl_vppi_i0
Yes, I've heard of that dude ...

Besides bears and crazo-druggies as possible explanations for these unexplained disappearances, they should include alien abductions. (By the way, that's 'aliens' as in Mr. Spock, not Jorge Yo-Tango who jumped an Arizona border-fence yesterday ).

The problem with the Alien Abduction explanation is the fact that we learn of these reports only because alleged abductees have been returned by their alleged off-world abductors, and at some point afterward come forward to reveal their experiences.

If it was the aliens who were permanently disappearing folks taken while out on a long romp through the forests and boonies, how would you ever know it?

Of course, I guess there could be more than one type of alien species engaged in abducting humans for genetic study, anal probings, etc., and maybe some of them are "harvester"-types - like mushroom hunters, so they keep what they find.

Last edited by agtman; November 23, 2018 at 06:28 AM.
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Old November 22, 2018, 04:54 PM   #48
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Yes, I've heard of that dude ...

Besides bears and crazo-druggies as possible explanations for these unexplained disappearances, they should include alien abductions. (By the way, that's 'aliens' as in Mr. Spock, not Jorge Yo-Tango who jumped an Arizona border-fence yesterday ).

The problem with the Alien Abduction explanation is the fact that we learn of these reports only because alleged abductees have been returned by their alleged off-world abductors, and at some point afterward come forward to reveal their experiences.

If it was the aliens who were permanently disappearing folks taken out on a long romp through the forests and boonies, how would you ever know it?

Of course, I guess there could be more than one type of alien species engaged in abducting humans for genetic study, probings, etc., and maybe some of them are "harvester"-types - like mushroom hunters, so they keep what they find.
What caliber for space aliens?......

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Old November 22, 2018, 06:13 PM   #49
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And don't ignore the smaller perps and their even innyer friends - ticks and Lyme !
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Old November 22, 2018, 06:22 PM   #50
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The problem with the Alien Abduction explanation is the fact that we learn of these reports only because alleged abductees have been returned by their alleged off-world abductors, and at some point afterward come forward to reveal their experiences.
Agtman don't make fun. I was once abducted myself by aliens. Three Mexicans in a Pee-Cup gave me a ride when I broke down.
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