Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dinosaur Hunting

Since I can't think of anything serious that I want to post about today, we will instead delve into that most important of gun questions. No, not 9mm NATO versus .45 ACP, not even 5.56mm versus 7.62mm. Today we discuss which firearms we would use on dinosaurs. Of course Dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes. (BTW, I got a science credit for taking a 2000 level Geology course about dinosaurs. Best class in four years of university, hands down. Made an A, too.)  So for the purpose of this admittedly silly exercise, we will be thinking about the most famous and Jurassic Park-y dinos. Oh look, here is a nifty size comparison chart.

It all started back in 1997 with the N64 release of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter.  For those of you who don't know Turok was a comic book character dating back to 1954. So fast forward and he makes a great video game protagonist, because he gets to shoot dinosaurs. In the video games he also fights intelligent, sci-fi dinosaurs with neato space guns as well.

First up on the list, a gun that isn't even in production. It is the Barrett Payload Rifle also known as the XM109, an attempt to further the design of their famous M107 .50 caliber rifle. It was designed to fire a 25x59mm explosive shell, making it a rifle that is more powerful than than the "Light .50". Hence the "payload" which would be High Explosives. The same round was developed for use in the XM307 Advanced Crew Served Weapon. It also was listed as having an effective range of 2000 meters. Which, coincidentally, is about as close as I want to come to an even vaguely hungry T-rex.  The only problem with this weapon (other than the fact that you can not buy one) is that they have so far not been able to tame the recoil of the weapon down to a manageable level. I haven't heard anything new on this weapon for a long time, so it may be development limbo. All that aside, it is my first choice for an all around dino-killer.

Whenever one is hunting dangerous game, a backup weapon is recommended. A century ago, during the heyday of the African Safari, modern  high velocity hunting handguns like the S&W .460 Magnum were not yet invented and handguns of the time did not have sufficient power to function as a viable backup gun.  Then a type weapon which was widely used in India became a favored backup gun. Wealthy hunters in India would hunt from a large platform mounted on the back of a elephant called a howdah. To the left we see an example of the Howdah pistol, a double barrel percussion cap, with a .577 chamber. Guns like these were used to ward off or kill tigers that would charge the elephant with a tower full of hunters on its back. Don't believe that a tiger would charge an elephant? Go to  1:50  to see the evil that is several hundred pounds of angry cat.

Today, one might pick a single shot .50 BMG pistol like the one above, as the modern Howdah pistol for emergencies. If you don't like that (and you probably wouldn't if you shot one) You could go all "Hollywood-style" with Desert Eagle .50 Action Express. But everyone would call you a poser.  So I would go for the tried and true anti-bear gun, the .454 Casull, which is more or less a .44 magnum case sized down to a .45 caliber bullet. In my opinion, it is about as much power as can be used effectively in a handgun.

The mighty Ruger Super Redhawk in .454 Casull

Next up, shotguns. While I would not want to use my trusty 12 gauge on a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a charging Triceratops, I think it might do quite nicely for a Velociraptor or rampaging group of Compsognathus - the small, chicken to turkey-sized meat eater of the late Jurassic period. They were featured in the first two sequels to Jurassic Park and called "Compys". I love these little guys and I bet they would be pretty good seared over a hot fire and slathered in Texas Pete. Contrary to what most people believe, there were many types of smaller dinosaurs and it is likely that many of them would be dangerous to a tasty human. Anyhow, first on my list is the AA-12. In its most recent incarnation, the AA stands for the Auto Assault and it is a select fire 12 gauge shotgun. It can be fed from 8 round box mags (lame) or rotary drum mags that hold either 20 or 32 shots. Now that is what I am talking about. The AA-12 has remarkably little felt recoil, due to its very efficient gas operating system. On full auto, it fires at 300 rounds per minute, which is leisurely compared to most machine guns, but plenty fast enough with 12 gauge rounds if you ask me.

Frag-12 grenade
 If I couldn't get my hands on a AA-12, I suppose the next best option would be a Saiga 12. I have mixed feelings about this weapon. On one hand, it is way cool, very powerful, etc. But on the other, it is heavy, more expensive than it ought to be and from what I have seen, fairly unreliable without extensive modifications that cost more than the original price of the gun. The times that I have seen them on the range (I have not yet had a chance to shoot one) they have jammed repeatedly. I hope the issue was the ammo and I have been told by some that to cycle reliably all they need full power 12 gauge rounds. Others have told me that they only work well with 3" shells, which are much less common in the States compared to the standard 2 3/4". Either way, I doubt if the Velociraptor on the receiving end of a 10 round mag of 00 buckshot will like it. So a nice, modded and tacti-cool Saiga might serve well as a good all around gun, Especially if we could get our greasy little hands on some of those Frag-12 19mm fin-stabilized grenades. In a somewhat real world (where I was still shooting dinosaurs), I would go for something like this Knight's Armament Company Remington 870 which was heavily modified, allegedly for Naval Special Warfare use. Short barrel, tactical white light, sling, pistol grip, nice thick buttpad to take the sting out of shooting such a short and light shotgun. I would 86 the red dot sight, but that is just me. There is not many other ways to get so much power and versatility in such a small package. And therein lies its strength. Now that I think about it, I think I would take the 870 over the AA-12. Maybe.

And lastly, the classic safari/big game gun. The Holland and Holland Double Rifle, chambered in .375 H&H Magnum. This is considered the classic big game cartridge and weapon. Many professional big game hunters have said that they would prefer the .375 Magnum over all other cartridges if they could only have one gun. The Double Rifle became the "go-to" weapon of the early big game hunters due to its power and the ability to almost instantly fire a second shot should the first miss or be ineffective. This could very easily save your life if we are talking about facing down a large, dangerous and very tough animal like the Big 5 of Africa. I don't think that I ma off base in thinking that most dinosaurs are more dangerous than a Cape Buffalo. Probably not as mean spirited though.
 Double Rifle in .375 H&H Magnum

The skill and craftsmanship that is necessary to make a quality double rifle is very high and so the prices of double rifles is correspondingly very high. I am talking about somewhere around $6,000 US for a cheaper, used weapon and somewhere around $25,000 for a high end one. I have no idea what a "vintage" double rifle might go for, but suffice to say that I won't be buying one.

Comparison of two .375 Holland and Holland Magnums next to a 7.62x39mm

Did you think I left something out? All the crazy modern automatic grenade launchers and anti-materiel rifles? Well, I did. 'Cuz I got bored and I am going to have a nice homebrewed Irish Stout. But I will return with even more ridiculous excuses to talk about big guns.

Edit: I was in a car crash on the interstate a week before I wrote this and was apparently fairly heavily medicated when I wrote this.  I do think about fighting dinosaurs a lot though.

1 comment:

  1. Very Cool! I think a combo of the Barrett Payload Rifle and a large revolver is good a good shotgun would help as well in the end Dinosaurs just like zombies if you see one coming at you it needs to die!