How do you kill a T-Rex
June 25, 2005 1:34 PM   Subscribe

How do you kill a T-Rex?

So yeah, the boy and I are watching "The Lost World" : Jurassic Park II and I note that Pete Postlethwaite is carrying an elephant gun. Seeing as an elephant or rhino weighs up to maybe 2 tons and a T Rex weighs between 5 to 10 tons I am not certain of exactly how they intended to bring it down if they needed to. I know the chances of encountering an enraged 8 ton chicken are slim in this day and age but me and my son were wondering if there is any hope at all of stopping a hungry Tyrannosaur and what you'd realistically need to do it. Any experienced MeFi hunters willing to take a shot at it?
posted by longbaugh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (58 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Actually, wikipedia claims the largest elephant known was one shot in 1974, that weighed 13 tons.

So an elephant gun is a pretty good choice for Mr. Rex. Preferably from a helicopter.
posted by Drastic at 1:44 PM on June 25, 2005

As Drastic indicates, you've grossly underestimated how much an elephant weights. An average male elephant weights about 7-8 tons, or roughly the same as a T-Rex.

A T-Rex would have no chance in a modern environment. You don't even need n elephant gun (which would work). Any chump with an AK-47 could take a T-Rex down. Unload a full clip from an AK into a T-Rex and presto, no more T-Rex. This is, unfortunately, how a lot of ivory poachers hunt elephants.

So, in summary: Any untrained punk with a dirt-cheap AK could take out a T-Rex.
posted by Justinian at 1:48 PM on June 25, 2005

Justinian's off the mark. An untrained punk with an AK would put 30 projectiles in the air. A few of them might strike the T-rex, likely lodging in muscle or the abdominal cavity. By the time you would have reloaded, the T-rex would have torn you to bits.

The trick with hunting is the vital shot. When shooting deer, one aims just behind the front shoulder, to hit the lungs and hopefully the heart. A lung-shot deer cannot run and dies quickly; the heart shot is an instant kill.

My casual observation of T-rex skulls at the natural history museum makes me suspect that the cranium is an even less good target than it would be in a game mammal. But in fact T-rex's have a hell of a lot of heavy armor bone in their front, which is presumably pointed at you. Even a .458 Winchester Magnum or a .460 Weatherby - "elephant guns" - might not penetrate the frontal bone of an elephant's skull or breastbone. Ever take a look at the breastbone of a T-rex? It'd make a good shield for a phalanx infantryman.

So: hit him just behind the shoulder, from the side, with a hotted up .458 Winchester Magnum. I think you get one shot.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:58 PM on June 25, 2005

By the way, "The Lost World" has got nothing on Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder.

Which stepped-on butterfly gave us W., anyway?
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:01 PM on June 25, 2005

+1 on the inefficacy of the untrained punk.

+1 on the armor-like qualities of the T. Rex skeletal system.

My suggestion would be a Barret M82A3 loaded up with depleted uranium or tungsten-cored rounds. This should significantly improve your options in shot placement. If you're a civilian, though, you're pretty much stuck with FMJ ammunition... even that, though, in .50BMG is capable of punching through several sucessive brick walls, so I wouldn't be concerned.

Now, the problem is, of course, that you're never going to be able to fire that weapon from the shoulder or on the move. You need to be entrenched several hundred yards away to really bring it to bear on the dino. Perhaps shooting from a helicopter is possible, but I'm not sure.

Actually, if you've got a helicopter, simply mount a .50BMG machinegun out the door and let loose.

I assume that you're not trying to keep the animal as a pristine trophy, of course. Really, though, even if it's completely riddled with bullet holes, I think it'd make a fine trophy.

Damn... now I really want a T. Rex-leather holster for my CCW piece.
posted by Netzapper at 2:16 PM on June 25, 2005

Nah, a real man would do it with a chainsaw.
posted by epimorph at 2:33 PM on June 25, 2005

ikkyu is off the mark. As I said, this is exactly how untrained punks hunt elephants for ivory. It really isn't that hard to hit an elephant sized target with an AK at moderate range.
posted by Justinian at 2:45 PM on June 25, 2005

You could drive him (through controlled fires) or lead him (by making him chase you or other bait) into a concealed pit, or tar, or a really big net, or an electric fence. You could bolo his legs together with heavy-duty wire. You could lead him into a gully and then un-stop a dam, washing him to a downstream location where he could be more easily killed. You could even go all Wile E. Coyote on him and drop something heavy on his head.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:50 PM on June 25, 2005

10mm explosive-tipped caseless. Standard light armor-piercing round. Why?

And a real man would just walk up to the T-rex, kick it in a tender spot, and dare it to do anything about it. Basically, glower it to death.

Okay, a phased plasma rifle in the forty watt range would also do.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:55 PM on June 25, 2005

I think part of the problem here is people wanting to believe that it takes a skilled marksman with a cool gun to take down something like a T-Rex. It does not. It simply takes a willingness to be unsporting.

An AK-47 is not sporting, but it works. A T-Rex is no tougher than an elephant and, sad as it is to believe, a punk with an AK would have just as much luck against a T-Rex as against an elephant.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on June 25, 2005

I think in any reasonable scenario an untrained punk with an AK-47 could easily take a T-Rex. Maybe not if he strolled up to him and fired in the middle of the street, but if there was a T-Rex in your town and you wanted to kill him, you'd probably fire from a second or third story window, then duck, then reload, then fire again. Even if the T-Rex could figure out who had attacked it (and I don't think they had any concept of projectile weapons -- it would be looking for some other dinosaur nearby) you'd be out of his reach if you were inside a building -- at least temporarily.

There's a good chance it would just run away and bleed to death, too.

Also, something as large as a Tyrannosaurus would be hard to miss. I'm no expert, but I suspect the grouping even for a novice firing on full-auto would be small enough that at least half the bullets would hit.

Again, I am no expert -- biggest thing I've ever brought down was an Allosaurus.
posted by Hildago at 2:59 PM on June 25, 2005

Best answer: I bet even pre-modern sapiens could pull this off.

Just trip it.

They probably took a fair bit of time to stand back up, and they would most probably break bones in the fall. Once on the ground, mount from behind, and get to work on the neck or spine.

Those big jaws-on-legs never had to deal with a real hunter.
posted by clord at 3:02 PM on June 25, 2005

Trick him into drinking the iocaine.
posted by Aknaton at 3:06 PM on June 25, 2005

I think in Jurassic Park there was a mention of using one of these. Regardless of what fires it, a HEAT round would seem the way to go to me. The Russian RPG-7 is cheap and easily available, so that would be what I would use.
posted by 517 at 3:15 PM on June 25, 2005

Response by poster: I just have a mental image of the Gummers from Tremors going through the wall mounted arsenal of death.

"I din't even get penetration with the elephant guhn!"

I was thinking more of the experience within the film i.e. bursting out of the undergrowth or across open ground. Your AK47 has an effective range (decent accuracy and reasonable stopping power) of maybe 300-400yards. You have an 8 ton beast with a 1 ton skull bearing down on you. Are you going to rely on that dinky little AK? Really?

This link states a very large African elephant is maybe 6.5 tons and that's the limit for a small T-Rex. I just don't think your AK is going to do much more than piss it off some.
posted by longbaugh at 3:24 PM on June 25, 2005

This is like the "How many 5-year-olds could you take in a fight" thread...

Um, my vote is for a Big Mac a day for a month. That should do it.
posted by socratic at 3:27 PM on June 25, 2005

Best answer: Asteroid. Big one. Does the trick every time.
posted by filmgeek at 3:35 PM on June 25, 2005

Odinsdream: the blast from a claymore only goes up to about 2m height after 50m of travel so you'll just be nicking him at the knees and still have a fair amount of work cut out for you. Not just that, but you'll have to take out those 700 steel bearings from the tasty drumsticks.
posted by furtive at 3:44 PM on June 25, 2005

socratic: To me it's more like the bear thread. But I like your plan.
posted by coelecanth at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2005

longbaugh: You are, I think, considerably underestimating the power of a round from an AK-47. A full clip would almost certainly not just piss it off some. Real life ain't like the movies.

It may well not kill it fast enough to save you if you're on flat, open ground. But humans have brains. Don't engage the thing at close range on flat, open ground.
posted by Justinian at 4:22 PM on June 25, 2005

an exploding harpoon gun would work ... some of the hardware on this page would probably work well, especially if updated ... and remember, it wouldn't be necessary to attach a line

if it could kill a whale, i'm sure it would take care of a little ol' t rex
posted by pyramid termite at 4:30 PM on June 25, 2005

ikkyu2, am I wrong, or was there a novel based on that short story?
posted by NickDouglas at 4:45 PM on June 25, 2005

The AK-47 uses a 7.62 caliber bullet which is comparable to the caliber used in a deer hunting rifle (7.62mm ~= .300in, while .270 and .308 are both common calibers used for deer hunting). A quick Google search indicates that the AK-47 bullets weigh in the 100-120 grain range and it has a muzzle velocity of around 2400fps. These are both, again, comparable to a deer rifle.

I think we can all agree that a deer rifle is under-powered for hunting elephants, so if the AK-47 is successful against an elephant (or a T-Rex), it is likely due to the automatic or semi-automatic nature of the weapon, i.e., killing through blood-loss or a lucky shot (which becomes more and more probable the more bullets you throw at the beast), rather than particularly strong stopping or penetrating power.
posted by event at 4:50 PM on June 25, 2005

coelecanth - How is it that I missed that grizzly bear thread? That's about the most awesome thing ever. It makes me wonder if you could kill a t-rex with a grizzly bear...
posted by socratic at 5:19 PM on June 25, 2005

filmgeek wins
posted by doctor_negative at 5:25 PM on June 25, 2005

Go back in time. Kill his dad.
posted by inksyndicate at 5:41 PM on June 25, 2005

Make him watch Bill O'Reilly on Fox News. He will die of envy.

PS -- Asteroid comment rocked.
posted by realcountrymusic at 5:51 PM on June 25, 2005

The trick is to land your time machine right on top of one. I've done it dozens of times.
posted by LarryC at 6:01 PM on June 25, 2005

Fundamental Christianity?
posted by Ufez Jones at 6:01 PM on June 25, 2005

If you want to revel in glory, rip its tongue out bare handed.

But, you only get the glory if you live. If you don't, everyone will think it was an absolutely moronic thing to try. :)
posted by -harlequin- at 6:06 PM on June 25, 2005

...and the drunk dude leaves the cross-time bar, and they hear this ungodly howling and snorting and stamping, and, underneath it all they can just barely hear the dude screamin' "Yeeeeeeeee-haw!" And this goes for for-fucking-EVER, with the earth shaking and the room quaking, until the snorting and stomping slow down and finally just stop, and there's a giant THUD, and the dude finally comes back in. And he is a mess; he's bruised all to hell and he's bleeding from cuts all over himself and his pants are torn and he's lost some teeth but, somehow, he looks happy. Drunk, but happy.

And he says, "Now where's that Neanderthal you wanted me to kill?"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:00 PM on June 25, 2005

Bea Arthur?
(this hangs proudly on my wall)
posted by themadjuggler at 7:02 PM on June 25, 2005

THIS is why i LOVE ask.metafilter....
posted by ShawnString at 7:06 PM on June 25, 2005

Stake out a Mefite goat and let the t-rex start munching on him it. Whilst it's distracted roll a grenade under it's belly. Boom! Dead t-rex.
posted by deborah at 7:30 PM on June 25, 2005

Send it to PETA, where they will convert it to vegetarianism.

[and if they fail... well, bonus!]
posted by five fresh fish at 7:41 PM on June 25, 2005

L. Sprague DeCamp* advocated a .500 Nitro Express (Pic) for the big lizards, but according to this article, the muzzle energy of modern handguns isn't all that far behind.

* "A Gun for Dinosaur." pub. 1956
posted by Crosius at 7:42 PM on June 25, 2005

If'n I was huntin me some T-Rex I wouldn't go in without a standard Chechen firefight unit, one guy with an AK and two with RPGs.

OK, or your M-220 wire-guided TOW missile. That'd do 'er.
posted by sacre_bleu at 7:43 PM on June 25, 2005

event: Yes, the guys that poach elephants with AK47s don't use them like deer rifles. They empty the clip at them. If that doesn't work, repeat as necessary. Many bullets = dead elephant/T-Rex.

posted by Justinian at 7:48 PM on June 25, 2005

Dammit, now I've gone and accidently put my name in a message. You net stalkers leave me alone!
posted by Justinian at 7:49 PM on June 25, 2005

You... you're not actually a Byzantine emperor come back from the grave to feast on the living? You're just a little schmuck with a rock?

And I for one was all set to welcome you as some sort of overlord.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:18 PM on June 25, 2005

Overlord welcoming is so last week.
posted by matildaben at 10:02 PM on June 25, 2005

One of those belt-fed Browning .50cal machine guns would do the trick, wouldn't it?

Or, an olympic-sized swimming pool full of Jell-O...
posted by Jon-o at 11:49 PM on June 25, 2005

Best answer: Event: the AK-47 uses a shortened version of the Russian 7.62x54mm, specifically it uses 7.62x33mm. Hunting and sniper rifles generally use .308 which is similar to the NATO 7.62x51mm, comprable to the unshortened Russian 7.62mm round.

Brief history: German Kar98's used full 7.92mm which was shortened down to 7.92 Kurz (German for 'short') to give the Stg. 44 (Sturmgewehr) controllable automatic fire. Thus was born the modern assault rifle. The Russians saw how effective this was and used the same concept for the AK-47, albeit with significant differences in internal functioning from the Stg. 44.

The point is that the 7.62x33 fired from an AK-47 is significantly less powerful than the traditional 'real' 7.62x51/54 rounds used in hunting and sniping, and this is a good thing because the AK-47 was intended to be used by untrained conscripts.

For actually hunting the T-Rex, I'd suggest going with an NTW-20, which is a South African anti-material 'sniper' rifle. Comes chambered in two variants - the 20x83.5mm variant with explosive/incendiary rounds if you're not overly concerned with things like a good trophy, and the 14.5x114 mm API (armour-piercing incendiary) variant which has twice the muzzle energy of a .50 BMG round if you are.

Two shots of the latter have as much kinetic energy as an entire 30-round clip of 7.62x33mm, and two hits center-torso should be more than enough to down anything that ever lived, and you get a nice trophy to mount on your wall, you sick animal-killing jerk, you.

As for finishing off the dying/thrashing T-Rex, probably your best bet would be 4-bore, an antiquated .998 inch elephant round:

If you really want to do it on the cheap, though, in some parts of central Africa AK-47s can reportedly be had for as little as $10-20, and a full clip center-torso would probably suffice.
posted by Ryvar at 12:59 AM on June 26, 2005

Alright, you morons, you're all wrong ;-) If you unloaded a sniper rifle, AK-47, even a Bofors cannon into a T-Rex that was bearing down on you, it would die, but probably not before it had bitten your head off. If you're hunting from a safe location, then use whatever you want. Bows and arrows, if that tickles your fancy.

When in danger of being attacked by a large animal, the pros use chemical darts (tranquilizer or nerve agent). That is the only way to guarantee that the animal will reliably and immediately be immobilized. If you want you can then finish it off with a knife, revolver, whatever.
posted by randomstriker at 2:17 AM on June 26, 2005

random: chemical agents would do it, but I think you're greatly underestimating the effects of shock-trauma produced by .50cal rounds and especially anything larger.

Research by Dr. Martin Fackler, one of the leading authorities on terminal ballistics strongly suggests that rounds that enter human or animal flesh at velocities greater than 800m/s (and the 14.5mm round fired by the NTW-20 has a muzzle velocity of 1080m/s) produce an effect known as hydrostatic shock.

Essentially, the sound-barrier within the medium of flesh is broken by the projectile, causing a 'sonic boom' in the flesh medium itself. The resultant shockwave is catastrophic to surrounding tissue. A great deal of Dr. Fackler's work can be found on the Internet and I encourage you to read up on it before drawing any conclusions as to what conventional ammunition can or cannot do to large animals.
posted by Ryvar at 3:25 AM on June 26, 2005

This thread is great, but the grizzly-bear one is perhaps the greatest moment in AskMe history, and I had somehow missed it. Thanks, coelacanth. And this is perhaps the greatest answer in AskMe history:

no, the bear would consistently kill the fucking shit out of you

posted by languagehat at 6:53 AM on June 26, 2005

Big Macs. About 150 of them should do.
posted by zaelic at 7:40 AM on June 26, 2005

All this talk of assault rifles & explosive rounds is distasteful. Famed white hunter Karamojo Bell perfected the "quartering away" brain shot on elephants and successfully used a .257 to routinely take them down. Of course, shot placement was EVERYTHING & the little feller obviously had balls bigger than the rest of us.....
posted by Pressed Rat at 8:26 AM on June 26, 2005

Response by poster: Okay, I was just watching Jeremy Clarkson on the UK History Channel firing an AK47 at a van 50ft away on full auto. He missed with every round. Does Jeremy Clarkson count as a punk?

I am still going to have to go with tripping it over somehow or using an extremely large weapon, possibly with exploding bits. Or maybe a bear attached to a long stick?
posted by longbaugh at 8:47 AM on June 26, 2005

Best answer: Kill a T Rex? Just pack him in the front seat of a Mini then crash it into a tree
Fully expecting to go to hell for that
posted by punilux at 9:38 AM on June 26, 2005

Get it indoors and turn on the air conditioning. As it gets cold, it'll fall asleep.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:40 AM on June 26, 2005

whoa, punilux wins, but what took you so long?
posted by furtive at 10:58 AM on June 26, 2005

Ryvar: Hyrdostatic shock is a myth. Bullets cause damage the same way that a knife causes damage: by putting holes in vital organs.

Now, I'll give you that there is a local shockwave that distends the wound channel for a split second, and probably causes some collatoral damage to immediately-surrounding tissue and organs. However, unless you're talking about a literal cannonball, this shockwave DOES NOT travel very far.

You cannot simply shoot something and expect the hydrostatic shock to stop it. Talk to any hunter on the planet... if you don't get a vital shot, your quarry will not go down.
posted by Netzapper at 1:43 PM on June 26, 2005

Justinian: Those guys who empty multiple clips into elephants from their AK-47s are in jeeps. Large number of bullet wounds and then they run the poor bastards to death while they're bleeding internally. The jeep is as necessary as the AK is. This is not a clean or elegant way to hunt elephant, but as you say, it works.

There's some debate over how fast a T-rex could run, but I think it's pretty sure that a T-rex is far better equipped to fuck up a jeep full of African gunmen than an elephant is. He could flip it with his tail, pick it up in his jaws, use his ultrasonic scream that induces paralytic fear in all mammals, or just step on it. I think it'd take a pair of brass ones to try to run a T-rex to death in a jeep.

As for a .500 Nitro Express, L. Sprague deCamp must be a big fella. I'm 5'11 and 200# myself and I wouldn't try to detonate one of those things on my shoulder - I am generally of the opinion that the firearm should do more damage to its target than to the shooter. That .996 is more of an artillery piece, and that suggests mechanized infantry; I agree that if I personally had to go up against a T-rex, I'd feel quite pleased to be in an M1A1 Abrams tank, or an Apache with the chin chaingun loaded with 20mm H.E.A.T.

High velocity projectiles do indeed cause tissue damage from shockwave - I've spent several months as an acting surgeon's assistant (while I was a med student) on the L.A. county trauma service, which I think qualifies me to comment expertly on all kinds of firearm trauma. The shock waves screw up tissue in proportion to how much water/cellularity they have, but they are centered on the projectile and don't actually propagate much more than a few inches, maybe less. The ribcage of a T-rex is made of the equivalent of bone rebar - you'd need to penetrate that outer wall of rib and muscle, in my opinion, for the hydrostatic wave to get access to the vital organs. Bear in mind that T-rexes are built on a much larger scale than people are, but the shock waves from the AK are not.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:31 PM on June 26, 2005

Your post reflects my thinking when suggesting going with the recoil-compensated 14.5x114mm API round. It'll go through a T-Rex ribcage like paper (and turn the rib fragments into projectiles as well), and is built on the same larger scale that a T-Rex is, while maintaining the critical >1000m/s velocity necessary to create significant shockwave damage.

Another thought - it would be ideal if it were possible to recreate the fragmentation effect of modern 5.56x45mm with the 14.5mm cartridge for purposes of kinetic energy transfer and maximizing likelihood of vital organ trauma (the increased surface area of the wound is useless in this instance). Unfortunately I know almost nothing about custom bullet fabrication outside of what a few friends have mentioned in passing, so I don't know if such an effect can be achieved at that scale - any takers?
posted by Ryvar at 7:42 PM on June 26, 2005

I can't really add anything as far as killing the poor guy, considering my pacifism (READ: I'm a big, fat pansy.), but I feel a need to correct the nomenclature used in this question (and its answers).

"T-Rex" is not correct. The full, biological name for the animal in question is Tyrannosaurus rex. Always in italics/underlined. First (genus) name, capitalized. Second (species) name, lower case. The abbreviation of this is T. rex. No hyphen.

Just a pet peeve of mine. Otherwise, this thread freakin' rocks.
posted by brundlefly at 5:34 PM on June 27, 2005

If anyone cares, by the way, I would never actually attempt to kill a T. rex. Far from a hunter, I am actually the sort of person who enjoys admiring big game in their native habitat and maybe shooting a photo. I would not like to shoot a dinosaur, or a lion, or a cape buffalo, or anything like that - it'd just make me feel stupid and slightly guilty.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:50 PM on June 28, 2005

As the late great Bill Z. Williams once said, "There are two types of guns. Ones you can carry and ones you can hit things with." His .50 BMG rifles got nice tight groups at a mile.

But for me, I'll take the 30mm Gatling on a tracked vehicle. Or an Abrams M-1 with VX rounds. Why fool around?
posted by warbaby at 8:35 AM on July 22, 2005

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