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The Gun Shots
April 09, 2013
Dinosaur Hunting Guns: Taking Down T-Rex and Other Extinct Reptiles - 20
by John B. Snow
Over the weekend I took my two children to see Jurassic Park, which has been re-released in 3D to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film’s introduction. I find it impossible to watch without putting myself in the shoes of the professional hunter whose job it is to somehow manage the beasts once they escape.
His firearm of choice is a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, which has the ability to work both as a semi-auto and a pump-action. The extended magazine tube, oversized foreend and skeletonized folding stock give it some serious bad-ass cred and it’s hardly surprising that it has appeared in numerous films, including the Terminator, the Matrix, RoboCop, and Snatch—not counting a whole host of utterly forgettable action films. (Blastfighter, anyone?)
But I digress. The real question is what is the ideal gun for the job as head game ranger on an island full of dinosaurs?
A full grown T-Rex is 40 feet long, stands 13-feet tall at the hips and weighs somewhere around 6 tons and is estimated to have the most powerful bite of any terrestrial animal in earth’s history, generating more than 15 times the chomping power of an African lion. Making matters worse, conservative estimates put its top speed at 25 mph while some scientists believe it could truck along at 45 mph, which is faster than either a charging grizzly or a lion.
If the movie is accurate, then one slight blessing is that the animal’s sight cues in on movement, so, in theory, if you stay still it should have a more difficult time finding you.
Needless to say, a shotgun isn’t worth a warm bucket of spit against an animal of this stature.
Being over-gunned is an impossibility against a T-Rex, but with a true charge-stopping rifle, like a Merkle double, you’d at least have a chance. Personally, I wouldn’t go any lighter than a .458 Lott. The .470 NE, .500 NE and .600 NE would also be good contenders. I would probably opt for a double-rifle with a red-dot sight on it. I’d want that red dot for precise bullet placement as the only shot that makes sense is a broadside shot that takes out either the hip or smashes the knee. Take out the leg to put it down and then finish it off with a double lung shot or a shot in the neck.
The open sights that are usually on a rifle like this, meant to stop a charging animal, would be worthless against a charging T-Rex. With a puny brain inside a massive skull the chances of turning off the switch with a head shot are minimal. Of course, the only bullets worth using on a T-Rex are solids. I’d be curious to see how Federal’s new safari load would fare.
As any self-respecting first grader knows, the velociraptors in Jurassic Park were not accurately depicted. True velociraptors stood about a foot and a half high at the hip, were approximately 7 feet long from nose to tail and only weighed about 33 pounds. I wouldn’t underestimate the little monsters, but a good semi-auto shotgun loaded with buckshot should settle their hash without much difficulty. So I’ll go with either the Remington Versa Max Tactical or an FNH SLP Mk1 Tactical.
This fearsome predator is more akin to what Spielberg was going for with his “velociraptors” in the movie. These larger cousins of the smaller true velociraptors grew to 11 feet long, could weigh as much as 160 pounds, and were, by all accounts, very smart pack-hunting animals that used the large curved talons on their feet to deadly effect. Picture them with the speed and agility of a leopard and the killing power of a lion and you’ll get some idea of what they could do. It probably wouldn’t require a lot of gun to take one down, but woe to the hunter who only wounds one. A semi-auto shotgun loaded with slugs might serve well, but I’m going with a Springfield Armory M1A Socom 16 for this job. I’d put either an EOTech optic up front on it or something like the Trijicon SRS. Mount a SureFire X400 combo weapon light/laser and you’ll be good to go.