Reviving over 20 years of nostalgia, Jurassic World came out of the gate with a record setting opening weekend. Watching the movie, I know I couldn’t be the only one considering the ages old debate: What gun would you take dinosaur hunting?
This article will be as light as possible on spoilers.
The Guns Used in Jurassic World
The first thing we can do is take a look at the choices made by the various groups on the island. Lots of their choices make good logistical sense and some interesting firearms make an appearance.
Owen Grady’s Marlin – Owen Grady, one of the main characters featured heavily in the trailer as the raptor trainer, carries with him both a rifle and a fixed blade knife. Grady’s rifle is a smooth, classic rifle that fits in very well with his character – The Marlin 1895 SBL. A compact lever-action brush gun in the powerful .45-70 Government cartridge, set ups like this are popular with big game hunters taking everything from trophy hog to bison. Although the .45-70 is a nasty shoulder kicker, it can be loaded very hot for deep penetration and massive wound channel. At the same time, it can be chambered in a relatively light and handy rifle with a 6-round capacity which can be easily slung over a shoulder. As Grady is not part of security or containment teams and likely doesn’t expect to have to fend off the biggest dinosaurs in the park, the .45-70 makes a lot of sense. It has plenty of power to take dinosaurs man-sized or bigger but can be easily taken anywhere he may need to go. Relatively inexpensive, rugged, and classic, the 1895 has all the makings of a classic guide or adventurer rifle and perfectly suits Grady’s Character.
Large Bore Revolver – There is some debate over what type of revolver is shown here, but it is a large bore double action revolver. It may be a Colt or a Smith & Wesson. Although the first source seems to indicate it’s a .357 Colt Python, the Bore instead looks to be larger – at least a .44 caliber. In my estimation, it’s something like a .44 magnum, .460 VXR, or .500 S&W. These rounds, popular for hunting large hogs and for carrying in bear country, pack an impressive punch in a size that can be carried in a thigh or large shoulder holster easily. Although follow-up shots may be relatively slow, the impressive penetration and kinetic energy from these large bore revolvers would be desirable if somebody found themselves set upon by a fairly large dinosaur such as a velociraptor*.
12 Gauge Shotguns – Featured briefly are the Remington 870 and possibly Mossberg 500 shotguns. These are pretty standard 12 gauge shotguns, a similar choice to the SPAS-12 shotguns used in the original Jurassic Park movie. An interesting addition is the UTAS UTS-15 shotgun. This bullpup pump-action shotgun keeps a full 18″ barrel in a very compact set up. Even more notable, it feeds from two 7 round magazines with a cut-off function to feed from both or either one individually. Load one magazine with slugs for big dinosaur stopping, the other with smaller shot for a Compsognathus problem or maybe an exotic load like flechettes for pteranodon control. Alternately, load both magazines with the heaviest shot available for 15 pounds of serious close range power.
.308 Battle Rifles – Although they make a very short appearance, several people on the security team have semi or fully automatic battle rifles chambered in .308 or 7.62X51mm. The M1A or M14 is a notable appearance, but an easy one to miss is the DRD Paratus. Commonly known as the “suitcase gun” the DRD paratus is a semi automatic AR-10 type rifle which can be broken down into multiple pieces to fit into a suitcase or similar container. The .308 is a good caliber for medium sized dinosaurs but lacks the punch needed to control many of the extreme carnivores contained within the park. Still, for a rifle that can be easily broken down and carried discreetly and conveniently, the Paratus is a good choice for mobile firepower to be used on a number of dinosaurs.
Assault Rifles and Submachine Guns – A number of other standby classics appeared in Jurassic World as a part of various security teams, including the Colt M4 and the HK UMP45. Although both of these are great real world choices for security operations, it seems to me that their effect on dinosaurs would be underwhelming. Both the .45 ACP and the 5.56mm from short barrels lack in desired penetration and wound channel characteristics desired for big game. Although I don’t doubt that a good burst from either would dissuade an animal as large as a raptor, they should be taken only in personal defense roles and used as part of larger team support. Here is a situation where a hiker killed a large brown bear with an AK-74. It’s estimated that the hiker needed 13 shots from his 5.45mm rifle, very similar in ballistics to a 5.56. Although it ultimately did the job, it took a number of shots to do so. This would obviously be a detriment when talking about animals that are bigger, faster, stronger, and may be dedicated pack hunters.
Big Guns – Grady mentions by name an M134 during the movie and mentions that it should be put on a helicopter and used. The M134, a six-barreled electric mini gun capable of up to 6,000 rounds per minute, is one of the most iconic volley fire weapons ever fielded. Although the 7.62X51mm NATO round isn’t necessarily known for efficient dinosaur killing power, the sheer rate of fire makes it a valuable defensive tool. Logistically, however, the massive size and recoil along with the ammunition storage requirements necessitates a form of transport such as a helicopter or large motor vehicle.
Also briefly used is a shoulder-fired rocket launcher, most likely an AT-4.
What They Should Have Brought
Big Bore Hunting Rifles – The first tool in any serious dinosaur hunter’s toolbox, a big bore hunting rifle can’t be overlooked. Rifles capable of taking down an elephant or a charging lion should be capable of giving a comfortable buffer to humanely take down an animal or protect yourself from one when angered. Nitro Express rounds H&H Magnum rounds provide immense power in classic bolt action or double barrel rifles and are classic in appearance.
Bigger Battle Rifles – Although the .308 is a great, classic cartridge capable of medium game and anti-personnel use out to good distances, it would be desirable to step up to something with more energy capable of more penetration against large dinosaurs. The NEMO Omen is a great example staying in the AR-15/10 platform of rifles. Chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum or .338 Lapua, the NEMO is capable of follow up shots to extreme distances and packs a lot more velocity and weight into a bullet the same diameter as the .308. Another possibility is the Ohio Ordnance HCAR (Heavy Counter-Assault Rifle). The HCAR is a modernized version of the M1917 BAR fielded in World War II. Like its predecessor, it’s a select-fire .30-06 caliber firearm. It improves on the original through use of detachable 30 round magazines, rail systems for mounting optics and accessories, and a recoil buffer system that the company says makes the recoil feel like shooting a .223. .30-06 is a classic hunting cartridge used even for large game, and 30 rounds of the .30-06 without reloading is sure to make an impression on even large dinosaurs in an emergency.
Upgrade the Assault Rifles and Submachine Guns – the 5.56mm NATO and .45 ACP rounds are great in their use for security roles where people are the primary concern. Dinosaurs are bigger and stronger people, though, and more energy is needed. Carbines in the .223 caliber should be upgraded to something more capable of taking medium and large game. At a minimum, the .300 Blackout fires a .30 caliber bullet out of the same size cartridge used in the .223, at an impressive power boost. .30 Caliber solid core copper bullets like those offered by Barnes are capable of extreme penetration and expansion to create more lethal wound profiles, offering more humane killing for hunting and quicker stop rates for self-defense against hungry dinosaurs. Intermediate calibers like the 6.8 SPC should also be considered to improve the stopping power of the rifles while maintaining the overall capacity of the rifle (27 rounds in a magazine versus 30 of 5.56). For semi-automatic carbines, rounds like the .458 SOCOM give nearly the power of the .45-70 Lever Action rifle and could effectively replace them. The .50 Beowulf is another great choice, as it is made to shoot through the engine blocks of vehicles and stop them. This type of penetration and displacement proves invaluable.
Pistol Caliber submachine guns should be upgraded at the very least to compact rifle caliber platforms. Rifles such as the AAC Honey Badger and Sig Sauer MCX pack the .300 Blackout, an intermediate rifle power cartridge, into a firearm of a similar size to the .45 caliber submachine guns used by the ACU. Given a very similar size and weight, an upgrade to the penetration of rifle bullets is very beneficial. Similarly, for just a small step up in both size and weight, there are a number of personal defense weapons (PDW) available in the full powered .308 round. These include the SCAR 17 configured with a short barrel or something like the HK 51.
Another consideration is a short barreled shotgun. These are available in a number of configurations, from the magazine-fed semi automatic Saiga to the pump action tube-fed Super Shorty produced by Serbu firearms. These are highly maneuverable, small enough to keep on the body at all times, and capable of putting out plenty of firepower when packed with slugs or large buckshot.
Shoulder-fired Anti-Material Rifles – For when the big bore hunting rifles just don’t cut it. Militaries and even police departments around the world use very large and powerful cartridges in large shoulder-fired rifles for anti-material purposes including communications equipment, vehicles, and even hardened armor targets including light tanks. They saw use in World War II in rifles such as the Russian PTRD or the Finnish Lahti, both capable of penetrating hardened steel targets at well over a thousand meters. Since then, although the more extreme calibers have largely disappeared, efficient anti-material cartridges such as the .50 BMG have continued to be used, and they have guns using them have continued to advance to more accurate and portable firearms.
To meet the needs of packing extreme firepower into a portable and maneuverable firearm, a semi automatic .50 BMG should be heavily considered. The GM6 Lynx is a great contender, fitting that power into a compact, low-recoiling platform to be easily fielded by a foot soldier. With access to repeated high power follow up shots, the sheer displacement and penetration of the .50 BMG cartridge makes it formidable for use even against the largest dinosaurs that may make an appearance in the park. If for some reason a larger cartridge is needed, similar platforms are available in both 14.5mm and 20mm cartridges. In fact, the rifle shown in the beginning of Jurassic Park 3 is claimed to be a semi-automatic, gas operated 20mm rifle firing high-explosive incendiary rounds. Such a rifle, while heavy and requiring team support, is capable of devastating fire on enormous predatory targets.
Bigger Big Guns – When all other hope is lost, your fire support weapons need to be your capable last line of defense. Dinosaurs may not understand suppressive fire, but the people being hunted by them may certainly appreciate the extra power. Although the M134 is a mean gun, I can’t help but think the .308 cartridge lacks the penetration and overall power to be the necessary last line of defense against the biggest, meanest dinosaurs around.
I would recommend stepping up to a larger, more capable cartridge. If the anti-material rifle is capable, the same cartridge fired at 2,000 rounds per minute is preferable. A .50 caliber support machine gun such as the FN GAU 21 should be available both for close air support and mounted motor vehicle units.
The best gun to hunt (or defend from) dinosaurs is a hotly debated topic, perhaps as much so as the best caliber for concealed carry or the best gun for a zombie invasion. I’ve given my two cents for hunting and park security. If you were in their roles, what guns would you want to have and be backed up by? What calibers are capable of humane kills on a Utahraptor or Spinosaurus?
Let me know what you think
*Velociraptors as known in the Jurassic Park world are most likely actually Utahraptors, as a true velociraptor is thought to have been about the size of a turkey.
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