Shotgunning Raptors

My previous post concerning the proper guns to be used against carnivorous dinosaurs has prompted a question from long time reader knirirr

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?

Keen eye, there, knirrir!

The professional hunter employed to control the dangerous livestock in the first Jurassic Park movie was played by the late Bob Peck, an actor whom I always felt deserved more recognition for his work and talent.  The gun knirirr mentions as being wielded by Mr. Peck in the film is known as the Franchi SPAS 12.

jurassic park spas 12

spas 12 with sling

spas 12 with stock deployed

A fascinating design, the SPAS 12 could be set to fire either pump action or as a semi-auto.  No longer manufactured, the importation of the gun into the US was banned in 1994.  There were only about 1,800 of them shipped to America all told, and it would appear that a fair number were snapped up by the film studios to be used as props in action movies.

spas as used in graceland

spas as used in the terminator

spas as used in the matrix

(Hover your cursor over the pics to see which movies these pics are from.)

The rather complex workings of the gun, as well as the fact that it had to be imported into the US, resulted in a sticker price of $1,500 USD (£1000) back in 1993.  I always wanted one, if for no other reason than I thought the concept of a pump and semi-auto all in one was really cool, but could never justify the price when brand new Winchester pump actions were going for about $300 USD (£200) or so at the time.

At any rate, I have yet to address knirirr’s question.  What do I think about the choice of a 12 gauge shotgun to take on resurrected dinosaurs that weigh 300 lbs (135 kilos)?

My answer is that it would work just fine!  Even the enlarged head of the beast, no doubt packed full with dense and hardened skull, would start to come apart if a deer slug was applied.

velociraptor head and eye

Another advantage a slug-spitting shotgun would have over smaller projectiles is that the chomp-chomp lizards tend to keep to heavy brush.  Not only would most encounters be up close and personal, so the longer range of a rifle would not be required, but it would also be best to shoot something pretty massive in order to plow through all those branches and leaves without your shot being deflected too much.  Looks like a shotgun would be just the thing!

Not that I’m claiming any sort of effort went in to determining the most logical weapon to equip the security forces of an imaginary theme park.  The prop masters for the film probably thought the SPAS 12 looked cool, all shiny and futuristic, and so they just used any that were lying about the warehouse where they store such things.

6 thoughts on “Shotgunning Raptors

  1. Thanks! I’m not really familiar with the use of shotgun slugs for hunting, but I suppose it makes sense if the range is to be close.

    Re. Mr. Peck, I thought he was rather good in “An Ungentlemanly Act”.

  2. If I needed to do this, I think I’d want a full-auto rifle firing significant ammunition (i.e. not 5.56 mm).

    A BAR would be great. A Ma Deuce mounted on a HMMV would be even better.

    • I hear the IAV Stryker has a remote controlled turret. You don’t have to send someone to stand exposed to work the gun.

    • Unless you were in a state of high training with that specific weapon, fully automatic is the last thing you want when faced with a fast moving target that you must hit multiple times before it closes on you. Especially once you get up to medium and heavy machine guns which are pintle mounted, accurately engaging one target is not happening, they’re for suppressing an area, as in “I’m not going out there, LT, why don’t you stick YOUR head up?”

      Something like the HCAR (, which is basically a modern BAR, would be a good choice.

      • David, I think it’s inherent in this issue that we assume that the user is well trained in the use of whatever weapon he’s using.

        And when it comes to a Ma Deuce, I don’t think you’d need more than one hit. Have you ever seen a .50 BMG cartridge? They’re immense! I don’t need an instant kill; I’ll settle for “knock ’em down so they don’t get back up again” and for that’s a lower threshold of damage easily within reach of an M2.

  3. Well, 12 gauge slugs work quite well against boars, who can be quite dangerous against any hunter who are not up for it.

    Also, buckshots could be effective within 20-30 meters.

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