« When Leopards Attack! | Main | Online Auction »

September 19, 2007

This page has been moved to http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/gun-shots

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Gun Shots at its new location: www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/gun-shots.

Pick Your Gun

Here’s the scenario. A tiger charging at close range out of the grass, leaping with claws extended and mouth open, right onto the top of your elephant. Which rifle, cartridge, bullet combo do you go with?

For my peace of mind, I want something with two triggers and two barrels, both big enough for the kitty’s head to fit in. Not too big, however, because this rifle needs to be fast handling and well balanced—just look at the wheels on that cat! So call it a Holland & Holland Round Action Sidelock in .500/465 H&H. This rifle will set me back £40,165 ($80,921), which makes it, by the way, the bargain priced Holland & Holland double. The fancy one, the Royal, will costs at least £83,475, which translates into $168,163 of your hard earned American greenbacks.

But what price can you put on your own hide and the utter reliability that comes with owning an English Best gun? You might be broke, but at least you don’t have to worry about the rifle going ‘bang’ when you work the triggers.

The cartridge from Kynoch is loaded with 480 gr. softnose bullets that chug downrange at 2,150 fps and is a proven dangerous game load.

If forced to forced to face up to financial reality—meaning I have to grab a rifle from my own gun safe—I’m pulling out my Ruger Magnum in .416 Rigby. The speed of the tiger’s charge means I’m only getting off one shot, but that uncomfortable fact is offset somewhat by the confidence I have in the Ruger. I’ve hunted with it in three countries in Africa and have shot it out to 300 yards. It’s accurate and the cartridge has been sending animals to their reward with aplomb since it was introduced back in 1911. You could do worse.

John Snow


Thad Adams

As close as the tiger was when it came out of the grass, a 12 guage short barrelled shot gun of either semi-auto or side by side configuration, loaded with 00 buck would have been appropriate in my estimation. Reaction time form shooter to cat would be real short. Could you get an effective shot off in the time from seeing the cat to when he was about to whack the Mahout? I don't know if I could or not.

Seth from Massachusetts

This is why the British gave the world large bore double rifles. A couple of Howdah Pistols in addition would be good for the nerves here.


I would go with a double 577 nitro. If you did not even hit a vital organ the shock alone will stop the tiger its tracks, time enough to put in a kill shot.

I have found a shotgun loaded with double 00 buck is not as lethal as you might think. The lead shot would flatten out on the skull. With a heavy hide and being being very muscled the shot would not pentrate very far. I have had to dispatch a couple of black bears with a shotgun loaded with 00 buck and it did not kill the animal as quickly as I thought. If the animal had not already been injured it could have got me very easily if it wanted to do so.


We can rent satellite telephoones for a week; how about renting those expensive doubles for a week? In any event the doubles are exceedingly overpriced. Maybe a good big bore bolt action or the aforementioned semi auto or pump shotgun with 00 buck is a better, quicker, and less expensive fit.


It's not likely I will ever get to be in that situation, but in case I ever was I'll take the 12 gauge auto (the best I could afford, and most reliabile) fitted with rifle sights. I've talked with one guide from way up in the thick woods that had to use one loaded with 3" slugs on a charging Grizzly. I don't know what it's live weight was, but the skull and skin turned into the wildlife authorities was weighted at over 190# (green). That's about as big as any Tiger get's, and he wasn't sitting on top of an elephant.


Use my 458 with soft 500-grain bullets.

I don't know what I'd use on that elephant I'd be sitting on top of. I can't imagine the animal being calm with all that shooting and a tiger crawling all over it.

Clay Cooper

Remington Model 11-87 with 3 inch 12 ga with 00 buckshot!

mean green

$80,000 for a tiger rifle? You must think we're all trust fund babies or gun writers. How about one of those old Savage double barrel twelve gauges with 00 buck. It would do the job nicely and save about $79,925...


Either Rem 870 or Mossberg 500 in 12 ga., rifled, loaded with 3 or 3.5 in slugs. Ultra reliable show stopper. 00 buck does not offer enough penetration/stopping power.

Dennis L. Crabtrey II

I give the nod to the Howdah pistol, for this is the exact situation it was designed for however; if i had to buy my own double rifle for the job I'd get a Blaser s-2 or merkel in 470NE. They're comparitively cheap at $7-10K or a used continental boxlock. The semi-auto shotgun in 3 1/2 mag like the Benelli SBE II would be an adequate choice providing the correct slugs were used.

B. Cameron

Shotgun of your choice with 3" slugs. I don't know why anyone would want 00-buck for dangerous game: would you hunt a tiger with a .32 revolver? 00-buck is essentially the same power; it simply reduces (not removes) the need to aim.


Benelli Black Eagle + 5 loads of 00 Buck. I can't imagine anyone trying to aim at a moving cat with a rifle that can knock you right out of your seat.

Clay Cooper

Lyn, true that 00 buck shot doesn’t penetrate. Have you ever seen what 1 ½ oz of #4 bird shot does with a facial shot to a charging Griz? Hey it works great!

Dennis L. Crabtrey II

To Brian:
Double rifles in reasonable calibers aren't that bad in recoil expecially when compared to a 12Ga (pump) w/ slugs or a Heavy 45/70 or 454 Casull load in a light lever action rifle. I shot a puma 1892 454 casull that was very painful, but my 458 winmag is very pleasant to shoot. Rifle design has a lot to do with it. Double rifles are usually pretty heavy (10-12 lbs) with those two large bore rifle barrels and velocity is almost always around 2000-2200 fps. Run the numbers on a recoil program and you'll be surprised where a double rates.

mean green

OO buck doesn't penetrate? Jack O'Connor claims 00 buck is the perfect medicine for charging lions if you can hold steady until they are under ten yards. I haven't shot any charging tigers with buckshot so I'll take his word.

Mike Strehlow

For openers, Peter Capstick used single ought buckshot rather than 00; you get an extra half ounce of shot in the cup compared to 00. Second, within ten yards you haven't got a pattern per se, just a dense clump of shot. Capstick used birdshot once on a charging lionness and at close range, it absolutely crushed her. Me? I've seen what a shotgun can do to a man. Yes, I'd trust it.

So, if I was up on an elephant in a howdah and I was worried about making a super close range shot on a charging big cat, I'd have a short, double barreled shotgun (the kind with functional exposed hammers would be ideal), loaded with 0 buck, up there along with my rifle.

Clay Cooper

$80,000 for a tiger rifle?

It's not the arrow, it's the INDIAN!

John King

A GE Mini gun would do well. Mounted right on top of the APC.


I echo the comments that suggest using a shotgun. Nothing beats a charge of 00 buck in the kisser.


I think I'll stay here in the city, where all the woman I married needed to repel the commonest threat (big adult male) was a .32 revolver.


I have heard good things about the .577 T-Rex by "A Square" -- yes, the same company that pioneered the ammunition industry for dangerous game rounds. Anything that produces over 10,000 ft lbs at the muzzle is ok in my book!

I think if you did wind up hitting the cat, you'd both be on your rears for a while, though!


Two words: Dillon Aero.... 7.62 variety.

Hey, I'm on an elephant, ain't I?

As for bullet choice, at that rate of fire I'm not sure it matters.

Graziano Carreri

A friend of mine lives in South Africa. Farmers there protect their cows from big cats with double barrels shotguns charged with Brenneke slugs. Let`s trust them. It works. They know.


The exact same .375H&H Brno and A-Square bullets that I have used for most everything I've ever shot in Africa. Has worked for everything so far and has a good history of one shot stops made by me.


These folks were forestry officials driving the cat back from the village on protected lands. The full story: http://tinyurl.com/2xmx59 . They tried firing a dart at the cat which enraged it and brought on the attack.