Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What Kind of Gun to use for Dinosaur Hunting?

Seeing as how I've spent so much time fiddling around with illogical and absurdly fun ideas in my head when I should be working, I decided to type a few of them down for the amusement of the masses.

Although I've not yet had the pleasure to hunt abroad with a rifle or shotgun, I've found the concepts fascinating since childhood and have devoured all the literature within grabbing distance on the subjects. And, given my current writing subject, I couldn't help but wonder: What would I use in dinosaur hunting today?

The number of firearms, cartridges, bullet types and powder mixes are seemingly limitless, but I've given a good bit of thought as to what I would take if I were to somehow be transported to the Cretaceous or thereabouts!
One of my favorite novellas is the story A Gun for Dinosaur by L. Sprague de Camp, and is a fascinating contrast to Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder, and Camp did a bit more research than most for guns in fiction, but being an unrepentant nut about firearms, I couldn't help but notice his misconception regarding the idea of shock value when dealing with big game.

I can't fault Mr. Camp too much however, as at the time this was an extremely popular theory and holds a considerable amount of sway even today. But I shan't bore the lot of you by ramming a sharpened stake through the heart of Shock Value, and simply say that the .600 Nitro Express is NOT a prime choice for dinosaur hunting.

My first choice would be the Marlin 1895 Guide Gun in 45-70 loaded with Garrett 420 grain Hammerhead rounds. These things are dynamite! http://www.garrettcartridges.com/4570420tech.html
Although the Ghost Ring sights ought to work just fine, I'd prefer a fiber optic front sight and a much smaller rear aperture, just being what I prefer and what I'm used to. I've not fired a Guide Gun yet, but I've handled one and boy did I want it! The action was smooth, it snuggled up to my shoulder like a flirty date (Not that I'd know what that feels like) and pointed naturally.

Not sure how I feel about the .450 Marlin. It can safely be loaded to higher pressures and still push heavy 45 caliber pills, but it's hard for me to see a use for it with the 45-70 around and still slaying grizzlies and elephants. My opinion is divided on that one!

Ah, but who can forget the 50 Alaskan? That massive pull pusher is today capable of slaying anything that walks this earth and has the vote of anyone who has used it.
I can't help but mention some of my favorite developers, the gents of B&M Rifles and Cartridges. They aren't a company, but rather a few gentlemen using their expertise to make the best platforms and cartridges possible for taking down big game, and boy do they deliver! They actually have some of the only bolt actions that I salivate over, incorporating a great many features that are sadly remiss on so many guns today.
Take a look at some of these bad boys!

Also for those who might doubt the potency of the 50 Alaskan, here is an interesting story where Belt Mountain brass bullets were employed against an elephant. By the way, Belt Mountain bullets are way up there for monster penetration in big game. Those things are beasts!

I'm one of those nuts that doesn't fiddle around with controlled expansion hollow points. I like rolling with solids, particularly hard cast bullets or Belt Mountain Punch bullets. Maximum penetration please! If I'm going to be tracking down those ancient lizards, I want to be able to him the vitals from any angle I'm presented, and I want to do it fast.

Although not my first choice, a pump action twelve gauge with slugs wouldn't be too bad. I'm annoyed that ammunition manufacturers haven't made many decent deep penetrating slugs, although I would love to be proven wrong about that. If you know of any great penetrating twelve gauge slugs, please let me know!

Although I'm not a big fan of the AR-15 platform, would most certainly not turn my nose up to using it chambered in the .450 Bushmaster or the .50 Beowulf. Ten rounds of either of those would be pretty darned vicious in a carbine package and should be all the firepower anyone darned well needs!

But yeah, in the end I personally would stick with a Marlin Guide Gun in 45-70, as I could handle almost all jobs with just that. Love that setup!
Although I likely wouldn't have need for a sidearm, most lacking the power to do the job of killing large birdtilians and I probably couldn't take advantage of their power anyway, I would certainly feel safer packing a S&W Governor loaded with .45 Colts, preferably fat 300 grain flat nosed bullets. Those should be just dandy on smaller saurian out on a dinosaur shikar.

What I'd be hunting on shikar there would depend a lot on where and when I would go, although I personally would be less inclined to go after the huge theropods. I'm quite partial to the idea of going after some of the huge crocodiles that were prowling around at the time. A deinosuchus or sacrosuchus skull would look mighty intimidating above the fireplace, wouldn't you say?
Ahhh, the idea of visiting the ancient African continent holds a great deal of appeal to me! Along with the usual sauropods and such, that era held all sorts of fascinating crocodile species. A documentary came out not long ago about the staggering variety of crocodilians that once roamed there, filling all sorts of niches in the food chain. Fascinating stuff! Not to mention that Spinosaurus and Suchomimus were abroad there at the time.

If in the Jurassic I'd like to find an Allosaur, as those gents are underrated. Great balance of size, speed and ferocity by all accounts. After all, they've been nicknamed "the lion of the Jurassic." What trophy collection would be complete without at least one lion, eh?
But before the paleontologist nuts bark over how I only care about the hungry carnivores, there are a few herbivorous species I'd be interested in collecting. For some reason the Kentrosaurus really strikes my fancy. Something about the different shapes of the spines and plates along its back are appealing, and it would more than likely be able to outrun me in any case. I'm not exactly Harry Hot Heels.

So, what about you gents?
What would you use if you were to go on a prehistoric safari? What would you hunt? Where would you go? Please, share your thoughts!

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