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  1. #1

    Default Shotguns for very big game

    John Taylor wrote the following in his book "African Rifles and Cartridges" (1948): "In the days when there was almost unlimited elephant hunting in Ceylon, for instance, those men who claimed the biggest bags - one claimed 1,200 elephant and another 1,500 - shot those elephant with ordinary breech-loading shot guns of 12 and 16 gauge with the barrels cut down to 24 inches.... They used ordinary spherical lead balls." I don't know if the days of unlimited hunting in Ceylon were the days of low pressure black powder guns or not.

    I personally have no experience with any game bigger than wild pig, and no experience with shotgun slugs on game. However, I have read that some recommend only 12 gauge for deer and consider 16 gauge marginal. If anybody has any comments on the 16 gauge as an elephant gun, or even a deer gun, I would be interested in reading them.

  2. #2
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    There's some interesting commentary and ongoing experimentation being discussed in the gunboards big bore board: http://forums.gunboards.com/forumdis...Big-Bore-Board Sounds like something you might be interested in.
    Regards, Alan K.
    Available for Cabinet level positions, consultation on matters of foreign policy, weddings and bar-mitzvahs. Will work for gold or guns.

  3. #3
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    I have seen a lot of deer taken with a 16 guage shotgun and seen more than one butchered at a meat processing plant where I worked some hunting seasons and can say the slug was quite devasting. They are very effective if you learn your shotgun and how it shoots slugs and buckshot and stay within its limits, but that is the same as a 12. My fathers family fed themselves with a 16 gauge HR Topper through the depression and according to my dad, they never used one than one shell on any game. Of course who knows if his memory is quite that accurate, but it did the job on pheasants, partridge and deer.

    The only shotgun I think personally is marginal is the 410, but even that can be effective. I used one for my first two hunting seasons as a kid and took a deer each year with one shot from a Savage over and under 410/.22. I would however recommend larger if possible.

    Have no clue about any use on elephants however.

  4. #4
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    12 ga. slugs are the choice for Brown Bear in Alaska. I've always thought 3" Magnum 000 Plated Buckshot would work on them too. The lower 48? 12 ga., 16 ga., 20 ga... With the right cartridge, sure.

    Elephant? The muzzle energy of a modern 12 ga. is about that of an old .270 Winchester. If you look on page 13 of Taylor's book you'll see that is almost the bottom of the scores of cartridges listed (from .600 on down) for ANYTHING in Africa and doesn't even list a "knockout value."

    No, I wouldn't think an old thin-skinned shotgun barrel could handle a slug fast enough to kill an elephant rationally.

    Alden

  5. #5
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    I personally taken deer with 20 Ga. slugs from a rifled barreled slug gun, specifically an NEF Tracker II.
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  6. #6
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    The original elephant guns were double 4 bore unrifled guns. Shot a 1510 grain lead ball in front of 14 drams of powder and weighed 14 to 18 lbs. Not for wimps. They were mostly replaced by 8 bore double rifles.
    Yours truly would not try a 12 or 16 ga on elephants although enough of almost anything will kill them - lots of them were killed by 7.62x39 AKs for food during the various US - USSR proxy wars and rebellions in Africa.
    I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard2 View Post
    John Taylor wrote the following in his book "African Rifles and Cartridges" (1948): "In the days when there was almost unlimited elephant hunting in Ceylon, for instance, those men who claimed the biggest bags - one claimed 1,200 elephant and another 1,500 - shot those elephant with ordinary breech-loading shot guns of 12 and 16 gauge with the barrels cut down to 24 inches.... They used ordinary spherical lead balls." I don't know if the days of unlimited hunting in Ceylon were the days of low pressure black powder guns or not.

    I personally have no experience with any game bigger than wild pig, and no experience with shotgun slugs on game. However, I have read that some recommend only 12 gauge for deer and consider 16 gauge marginal. If anybody has any comments on the 16 gauge as an elephant gun, or even a deer gun, I would be interested in reading them.


    One thing your book does not touch on is how many shots were taken to bag those animals and how many were wounded and crippled yet escaped. Hunting ethics and tactics have come a considerable ways from the "golden ages".

  8. #8
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    Yeah, I like reading the tomes from the old African Big Game hunters. But they were dfferent times and quite sad if not just sick. It really is hard to imagine the levels these people went to...

    Today, neanderthal poachers kill elephants with AK-47's just to cut out the tusks to sell the ivory.



    Alden

  9. #9
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    Default I've used 12 gauge and 20 gauge on deer

    I've shot big Ohio deer very successfully with both 20 gauge and 12 gauge from rifled barrels and have shot deer from 20 gauge unrifled barrels. A sabot 20 gauge slug's ballistics are very impressive and work fine on boar or deer at moderate range.

    As to the old elephant ivory hunters in Africa such as Bell and Selous, none I am aware of or read about even thought of using a shotgun, cut down or otherwise, for elephant as the huge black powder loads and heavy balls they used would have blown a damascus shotgun barrel to bits.
    Many of the old 4 bore rifles and smoothbores used in their elephant hunting still exist and I have seen them -they bear no resemblence to shotguns -massive barrels to stand the pressure, heavy stocks to take the insane recoil and a weight sufficient to absorb some of the hand-cannon recoil (Selous tells of being knocked unconscious by his smoothbore when he accidently fired a double load and I once wrote a paper on the demented ballistics these hunters stood up to, perhaps 6 times or more the recoil of a modern 12 gauge.)
    Read Selous' books or those of Bell - every rifle or smoothbore they used is documented and photos of the great elephant hunters exist with their London and Dutch "elephant guns." Later, small-bore Mannlichers took many elephants by brain shots, very carefully placed by master ivory hunters..
    Perhaps shotguns were used somewhere on elephant, and certainly poachers used them with iron slugs hammered out of old barrel hoops, as Selous describes, but neither effectively or humanely or safely for the hunter -the ballistics are just not there.
    In Africa it was monster black powder 4 bores or slightly smaller brutes firing huge round balls that did the early slaughter until proper Victorian doubles in Nitro-express and such came along.

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