Hunting Dinosaurs

I recently made my way to the cineplex to catch the latest dinosaur film.  I don’t think I’m revealing any spoilers when I say it turned out just as expected.  Extremely dangerous beasts are poorly contained, they get loose, and scores of innocent people lose their lives.

child eating apple while lounging on dinosaur sculpture

The few times we see guns being used, they are effective only against the smaller fiends.  What type of firearms are deployed against the larger lizards?

chris pratt in jurassic world

According to this website, the hero uses a rifle from gun manufacturer Marlin known as the Model 1895SBL.

marlin 1895sbl

As one would guess from the 1895 in the name the design is pretty close to rifles used back in the cowboy era, at least so far as handling and operation is concerned.  The ammunition used is also a throwback, being the .45-70 cartridge that first appeared in 1873.

selection of 45 70 ammo

(Picture source.)

This particular cartridge is robust, powerful, and of a large caliber.  It is certainly capable of harvesting any large game found in North America, but I think I would be more comfortable with a gun that has a bit more punch when going up against something the size of a T. Rex.

t rex from original jurassic park

For many years, the most powerful rifle cartridge that was commercially available was the .460 Weatherby Magnum.  Designed to be used as a “stopping rifle” for hunting guides in Africa, the concept was to make a cartridge that would drop a charging animal just before the guy paying for the safari was stomped into red paste.

rhino charging out of the brush

This would most certainly be very useful if confronted by a surly T. Rex.

Capable as the .460 is, I am an old school kind of guy.  If I could afford it, I would be equipped with a double gun chambered for the .600 Nitro Express cartridge.

600 double nitro rifle

There are no advantages to be gained if I do, I just like the look and feel of those old big game rifles.  Besides, it was the favorite arm of people who play in my Call of Cthulhu games.  If the round is good enough to be used on shambling horrors from beyond this reality, it should be plenty good enough to put down a few overgrown lizards.


11 thoughts on “Hunting Dinosaurs

  1. IIRC the hunter in the original film was using some sort of shotgun to go after the “velociraptors”, presumably loaded with rifled slugs. It seemed an odd choice to me – what do you think?

    • Correct — Muldoon used a 12 gauge SPAS-12, and it seems like a good choice. The velociraptors in the movies were just about man-sized, so whatever would drop a man would probably also put down a velo. Considering the heavily-foliaged terrain and short range of most encounters, a big rifle would probably be overkill unless you were hunting the big monster dinos.

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  3. So you’d prefer 600 Nitro Express for dinosaur, eh?

    I can’t argue with you. That cartridge was intended as a stopper for elephant in the old days. Also, it’s the gun recommended in L. Sprague DeCamps “A gun for dinosaur.”

    Myself, I think a Barrett in .50 BMG might be a better choice. The automatic would be heavier for sure but would you really notice in the heat of the moment?

    • The Barrett sounds nice,but it’s awfully heavy to be humping around the jungles of Isla Nubar. The mercs in the third JP movie brought a Barrett with them, and they still didn’t last long.

      On a side note, did anybody else notice that the big silver “tranquilizer” guns they used in JP2 were actually 50-cal Grizzlies?

  4. You not only play, but GM Call of Cthullu? I’m surprised at how sensible your writing seems. Or are you sneaking in obscure incantations which caus th reder to slwly loose them mynds…

  5. I read years ago about one of the legendary professional hunters back in the good ol’ days. This is when they were shooting quarter bores and such in Africa. He said there were a few guns that he regretted ever shooting. They were so hard on the shooter that the guy felt permanent effects from it.

  6. .45-70, with either a hard-cast or- preferably- one of the good solid bullets, would do it. You can take anything up to elephant with that, if you place your shot; penetration out the wazoo.

    Of course, if someone else is paying for it, I’d like the Holland & Holland double and a case of .470 Nitro express. Mixed solids and soft-points, of course.

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  8. The 1895 Marlin seemed to me to be a fair choice for the character: a good compromise between range, power, capacity, and cowboy-like theatrics.

    A couple of rounds in the hip of the baddie dino would have shortened the movie a fair bit.

    Its depiction as recoilless and ineffective was irksome, though. Shooting a light 45-70 will send you on a quest for a better recoil pad in a hurry.

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