Handgun for wolf protection

Jay Kelley

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My brother lives in Colorado and hikes near where they are releasing wolves. He is considering buying a couple of handguns for he and his wife to carry while hiking. They are not hunters, but grew up around guns. He is thinking about .38 due to low recoil. I am leaning toward .357 for a little more punch, although a 10mm such as a Glock 20 might be better. I understand wolves operate in packs, so capacity my be an issue. Also, would standard self defense ammo such as Hornady Critical Defense/Duty (my preference for daily carry) be sufficient? I don't know much about wolves. Thanks for any advice.
 
Wolves are fairly easy to kill. Bullet placement is more of the issue. For personal carry I recommend a 40 cal or higher for this situation and nothing less than 44 mag in Alaska.

HH
 
My brother lives in Colorado and hikes near where they are releasing wolves. He is considering buying a couple of handguns for he and his wife to carry while hiking. They are not hunters, but grew up around guns. He is thinking about .38 due to low recoil. I am leaning toward .357 for a little more punch, although a 10mm such as a Glock 20 might be better. I understand wolves operate in packs, so capacity my be an issue. Also, would standard self defense ammo such as Hornady Critical Defense/Duty (my preference for daily carry) be sufficient? I don't know much about wolves. Thanks for any advice.
You can shoot .38 specials through a .357.
 
First of all, they need handguns for bipeds, not wolves. The perfect gun for a hiker is a light weight .357 revolver. Load it with a .38 +P and they can handily protect themselves from a rabid wolf, Coyote or Ted Bundy.

If it is too big, heavy, or powerful, they won't carry them, or they will be in the bottom of a pack when needed. If they can find them, the old S&W Titanium Lite revolver loaded with 38 +P is an ideal hiker's handgun.
 
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While I'd agree that the chances of an encounter are low, they won't stay that way for long.

Are they experienced with handguns or at least willing to do some training?

Given that wolves are skilled at co-ordinated pack hunting, I'd feel more comfortable with a high capacity semi-auto than a revolver. I wouldn't discount a 9mm for wolf protection. A 10mm would be better if they're also concerned about bears. Glock would be my preferred platform, but that's purely a personal preference. There are plenty of good choices out there.

Whatever they chose needs to be compact enough to be easily carries. The best gun in the world is no good if its sitting in the safe at home.
 
Any typical personal defense caliber (38, 9mm, 45, etc) will do…

I have had the terrible task of having to dispatch a few large breed aggressive dogs over the years (Rottweiler, German shepherd, pit, etc).. 40 cal from a pistol or 9mm from an mp5 was always enough… a wolf isn’t any larger or more armored… with a quality round you’ll get total pass through and big expansion…

I typically carry a Glock 19 in the deer/elk/wolf woods…

Glock 10mm in the bear woods
 
My brother lives in Colorado and hikes near where they are releasing wolves. He is considering buying a couple of handguns for he and his wife to carry while hiking. They are not hunters, but grew up around guns. He is thinking about .38 due to low recoil. I am leaning toward .357 for a little more punch, although a 10mm such as a Glock 20 might be better. I understand wolves operate in packs, so capacity my be an issue. Also, would standard self defense ammo such as Hornady Critical Defense/Duty (my preference for daily carry) be sufficient? I don't know much about wolves. Thanks for any advice.

My brother lives in Colorado and hikes near where they are releasing wolves. He is considering buying a couple of handguns for he and his wife to carry while hiking. They are not hunters, but grew up around guns. He is thinking about .38 due to low recoil. I am leaning toward .357 for a little more punch, although a 10mm such as a Glock 20 might be better. I understand wolves operate in packs, so capacity my be an issue. Also, would standard self defense ammo such as Hornady Critical Defense/Duty (my preference for daily carry) be sufficient? I don't know much about wolves. Thanks for any advice.
Really!? 20 some odd fatal attacks on humans by wolves in North America since any records have been kept, 16th century forward. And a pretty good percentage of those were captive/domesticated wolves. Sure, anything is possible but there are MANY ways you are more likely to meet your demise on a hike in Colorado than an encounter with wolves no matter how well established they become.
 
If he does encounter any wolves a loud noise is more than likely to scare them off.

But ask him if he willing to practice enough to be able to make a good shot on one and being able to follow it up.

I pack a handgun in the backwoods of Colorado because of the 2 legged animals that frequent the hills. While they aren't wolves all the bears and cats that I have come upon have left the area fast enough that all that I have seen of them is their tail ends.

Now after saying that, a snub nose 38 will work quite well. They are light and noisy.
 
As others have said, the dangers from wolves are next to non-existent. That said, there were some very odd things going on with some packs in 1979 near Thunder Bay. The one native woman that was consumed was very sick and may actually have died before the pack got to her. The timber cruisers accounts of packs tracking them were very credible, but even so the wildlife folks wouldn’t believe them until one of the cruisers actually killed a wolf with his axe!

I do agree with packing, but as others have stated, bipeds are the real danger. I would get a high capacity 9 mm that you shoot well. That will discourage any recalcitrants met on the trail.
 
The Glock 10mm platform is my backpacking gun of choice. Normally has been the G40. Am picking up a G29 right now and a G20 will probably be on the list soon.
The 10mm is a great round. You can also buy a conversion barrel if someone is recoils sensitive.
High capacity mag of a round that, when you load it with high quality ammo, will stop just about anything in the woods.
The polymer frame soaks up a lot of the 10mm snappiness. I had one of the original S&W 10mm and I’d say the Glock, even though it is lighter, felt like 20%+ less recoil.
Also, advantage of a Glock is if you are used to that platform, doesn’t matter if it is a 17, a 19, a 20. Controls and feel are pretty much the same.
Practice with softer ammo, carry hot. Adrenaline will make it feel like a 9mm.
 
The only wolf I have shot soaked up 4 rounds of 180 grain .300 win mag barnes.
I feel the first shot was lethal but I wasn't going to track a wolf in the forests of BC so I continued shooting. Great difference between discouraging an attack and killing an animal cleanly and/or quickly. After living and hiking in Colorado I would take my chances with the four legged wolves over the 2 legged vermin. I would and do carry a 9mm when out and about unless I have a rifle.
 
One more plug for the 10mm. Look through the offerings from Underwood and DoubleTap. 675-750 ft-lbs of energy. Even Magtec FMJ is over 600 ft-lbs. Also, since 10mm is gaining popularity, it is about the same price as .45 when you buy in bulk.
 
Thanks for the advice. I've been encouraging him not to go unarmed in the woods (or anywhere else these days.) Caliber selection is about what I was thinking, but it never hurts to get advice.
 
A guy here in WI was cornered by two wolves and one shot into one of them from a .380 sent them both on their way.
 
I've hunted in wolf country for years and, although I have seen wolves, I've had no problems. However, I live and hunt on the southern border and I am ALWAYS armed when out on the ground. Colt Officer's Model .45 ACP.
 
I've hunted in wolf country for years and, although I have seen wolves, I've had no problems. However, I live and hunt on the southern border and I am ALWAYS armed when out on the ground. Colt Officer's Model .45 ACP.
When out in the woods, I prefer a revolver, just because it is simple, reliable and I can shoot well quickly.

I’m not a Glock owner, but appreciate the easy ergonomics for a lot of folks. They shoot well.

Having to put down a few feral dogs calf killers with a.38 Special, in my youth, with only 158 grain RN lead, I prefer a.357 magnum with a good 158 grain HP.

Preferably in a Ruger SP- 101, 3 inch barrel, or a Smith K-frame in a 4” barrel.

The best gun is the one you have and can shoot.
 
30-30 Lever gun?
 

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