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Old February 28, 2012, 02:35 AM   #1
MOSFET-Engineer
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What is the most painless way of killing a heavily wounded mammal?

Assume the animal’s brain more or less resembles that of an average sized mammal (similar in size and properties of the brain of homo sapiens sapiens). EDIT: Nothing is to be fallaciously extrapolated from this: See my response below.
You aim for the brain point blank, but what angle/impact point do you pick and what kind of round do you use:

A .410, 10, 12, or a 20 gauge slug or a .4 HydraShok AE or a generic .5 AE?

The objective is minimization of expected pain and time to death of the animal. Please establish a ranking on the previously mentioned projectiles based on the objective.

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Old February 28, 2012, 02:47 AM   #2
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Brains of mammals, while larger or smaller, are constructed in similar fashion.

Assuming that you can get to it, note on all mammals where the back of the skull opens, and the top of the neck begins.

At about a 45 degree angle upward, a shot directed in that area will destroy the pons--the nerve center of the body. This is the body's circuit breaker--destroy it and death is instant.

As for the firearm used to put the animal down, a .40 caliber bullet or larger will usually do the job for medium sized animals. This is assuming that you can approach the animal from the rear and deliver the shot from almost muzzle contact range.
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Old February 28, 2012, 02:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for your informative answer, Powderman.

Suppose you could not do the rear. What's the next best option w.r.t. to the objective defined above: the side or frontal?

Moreover, which of the above-mentioned projectiles would you assume has the highest fatality probability and will optimize the objective defined above?
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Old February 28, 2012, 03:06 AM   #4
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Well, drat. Always a wrench in the works....

If you HAVE to do a frontal shot, you have a problem. The skull is thickest in the front. If you have to take a shot through the skull, then I would opt for penetration as opposed to expansion.

For most instances, I'd take a look at a high speed full patch (jacketed) bullet. A 9mm Parabellum--probably a 124 grain or better--would get the nod. Barring that, a .45 ACP loaded to standard ball ammo specs (850 fps or better) will do; so will a .357 with full jacketed loads--or even something shooting a HARD cast bullet.
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Old February 28, 2012, 03:16 AM   #5
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Now I know that the HydraShok is inferior to the .5 AE when the entry is frontal, but doesn't the generic .5 AE beat all the projectiles you just listed (because of larger width)?
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Old February 28, 2012, 03:46 AM   #6
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1. 10 gauge slug
2. 12 gauge slug
3. 20 gauge slug
4. .410 gauge slug
4. .5 AE FMJ
5. .4 HydraShok AE

1. Rear
2. Side
3. Frontal

I think this is the answer.
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Old February 28, 2012, 05:30 AM   #7
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Why no high velocity rifles on your list?

While this is a common question, this thread has a weird feel.

What animal do you have in mind?
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Old February 28, 2012, 06:57 AM   #8
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In some seventy years of shooting rifles, I've yet to see any shot into the brain with a high-intensity cartridge which did not result in instant flop. (Several javelina and whitetail deer, and a few feral dogs.) I'm reasonably convinced that the same holds for shotguns and major cartridge handguns. Since the brain has no nerves to signal pain, any quivering does not represent what we normally think of as "suffering".

I have seen animals bounce about after a brain shot from a .22 rimfire, but, again, no pain in the brain. Just disconnected motor signals to the extremities.
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Old February 28, 2012, 09:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
The skull is thickest in the front.
Not necessarily. In some mammals, one of the thicker areas of the skull is the frontal bones. In some, the rear of the skull where you suggested the animal be shot can be thicker. If your upwards rear shot does not pass through the foramen magnum, then it will hit the occiptal or one of the occipital condyles. The occiptial is is often much thicker because of the natural anatomical position of the head relative to the body. The head is supported out in front of the body by the neck muscles that attach primarly to the rear of the skull. In order for the skull to be held in this position with the rear of the skull supporting the rest of the head forward of the muscles, the skull is often thicker there.

On a deer, for example, the frontal bones are thinner than the occipital and the frontal bones are not further protected by much soft tissue, occipital condyles, mastoid processes, or bony ear structures such as the petrosals that are located laterally at the rear of the skull at the corners between the temporal bones and the occipital.

Quote:
In some seventy years of shooting rifles, I've yet to see any shot into the brain with a high-intensity cartridge which did not result in instant flop.
I am with Art on this. I have not seen a penetrating brain shot on the hogs I hunt that has not resulted in as he called it, the instant flop. Given that wounded hogs often seem to run into some of the thickest and thorniest brush, down into creek bottoms, and further away from me than when they were when shot, I prefer to use brain shots to drop them in place. And speaking of hogs, while they do have a "thick" set of frontal bones, the interior and exterior aspects of the fronts are quite thin and so what make the bone so thick is a large gap between the bones that is filled with soft tissue. Much thicker and comprised of much more bone is the area at the top rear of the skull where the occipital and parietals meet.

MOSFET-Engineer, any of your calibers would work fine for putting down just about any North American mammal. Given that many animals are much more dangerous when injured than not, I would suggest that whatever caliber your choose that it be fired from a long gun which will makie it easier to shoot accurately from a longer distance and hence keeping you safer.
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Old February 28, 2012, 10:05 AM   #10
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Don't know...never wounded one....
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Old February 28, 2012, 12:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Assume the animal’s brain more or less resembles that of an average sized mammal (similar in size and properties of the brain of homo sapiens sapiens).
This is a fallacious assumption, Homo sapiens have very large cerebral hemispheres, "lower" mammals do not, birds none at all. A hit to the cerebral hemispheres alone will not kill a human, there are many, many documented cases of people shot in the head who survived. The goal is not to hit "the brain" per se, the goal is to hit a vital part of the brain, i.e. the brain stem. The brain stem (medulla oblongata, pons, midbrain) controls autonomic functions, equilibrium, coordination, and basic sensory functions. So, you need to impact the brainstem. Having witnessed the killing of millions (literally) of animals, the way you do that is to draw an X from each ear to the opposite eye, and shoot where the lines cross. The animal will collapse on the spot.
Quote:
You aim for the brain point blank, but what angle/impact point do you pick and what kind of round do you use:
Killing an animal does not take much energy, any of the choices you listed would be sufficient if you hit the right spot. I have seen 2,000 lbs bulls dropped where they stood with a single shot to the forehead from a 22. I have seen rabbits shot with shotguns that run off never to be found. Placement counts.
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Old February 28, 2012, 12:37 PM   #12
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This thread feels very strange. I'm wondering about the motives behind the question/scenario.

The OP also seems to have a liking for the .50AE. Given post count and relative tone about the thread I'd wonder about the experience the OP has with firearms.

Now about wounding animals - I have never shot an animal I had to shoot again to kill. Most of my kills fell where they were struck and died where they fell. In the last 15 years of hunting I can remember about only a dozen that ran for more than 20 or 30 yards before dieing.

Now then I can tell you that a .45acp FMJ will take out a ****** off bull from 20 yards if you hit him in the brain. Found myself facing off with a bull that had broken out of its enclosure from a neighbor's land and in self defense I shot at it with the only gun I had on me at the time - a 1911 in .45acp. It charged me and I took aim and shot. The bull dropped and slid to a halt 10 yards from my position. After checking to make sure my pants were still clean I watched it for signs of life... after several minutes I decided to put another one in its head just to make sure but it was already dead I'm sure. No bull. lol! Anyway I wouldn't want to be in that position again. I KNOW that was a lucky shot and no way do I expect to make a shot like that again.
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Old February 28, 2012, 01:50 PM   #13
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This guy is trolling the forums with the same question and same list. Ignore him.
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Old February 28, 2012, 02:30 PM   #14
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Since you've already wounded the game, its already in pain, is it not? Pushing the animal would only cause it more pain and suffering. If you failed to make a DRT killing shot initially allowing sufficient time for it to expire would be the best thing. If you have to finish it off, a bullet in the ear hole usually does the trick.

Personally I'm a big believer in the high shoulder shot where the spine passes through the blades and enough gun to punch that area out. Take out the spine and you don't track them much at all.
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Old February 28, 2012, 02:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
This guy is trolling the forums with the same question and same list. Ignore him.
Must be that same feller that had his toy shot down by us SC boys for messin with a pigeon eradication program.

BTW for those interested word on the dirt road here is it was a .308 that took it out.
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Old February 28, 2012, 02:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
This guy is trolling the forums with the same question and same list. Ignore him.
Funny, I clicked this thread, read your comment, clicked to the only other gun site I visit, and it was the first thread showing.

You don't need a shotgun to kill a mammal with a head shot.
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Old February 28, 2012, 02:41 PM   #17
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LOL at the pigeon plane. I wondered.


The term mammal is what weirded me out.
I woulda asked pig, deer, dolphin, grizzly ect....
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Old February 28, 2012, 06:37 PM   #18
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Scorch said...

Quote:
This is a fallacious assumption, Homo sapiens have very large cerebral hemispheres, "lower" mammals do not, birds none at all. A hit to the cerebral hemispheres alone will not kill a human, there are many, many documented cases of people shot in the head who survived. The goal is not to hit "the brain" per se, the goal is to hit a vital part of the brain, i.e. the brain stem. The brain stem (medulla oblongata, pons, midbrain) controls autonomic functions, equilibrium, coordination, and basic sensory functions. So, you need to impact the brainstem. Having witnessed the killing of millions (literally) of animals, the way you do that is to draw an X from each ear to the opposite eye, and shoot where the lines cross. The animal will collapse on the spot.
I think witnessing all those animals being killed has been at the cost of understanding anatomy. Even in a "lower" mammal such as the primitive armadillo and in bird that you claim have none, the cerebral hemispheres are pronounced. A quick Google search reveals many article dedicated to avian cerebral hemispheres. Heck, even in the alligator which is evolutionarily lower than birds, the cerebral hemispheres are quite pronounced, though the overall size of the brain is small. Even frogs have them.

http://www.biolbull.org/content/12/4/285.full.pdf
http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/48500/485...ator_brain.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00540-0104.pdf
http://www.tutorvista.com/biology/ne...stem-of-a-frog

Your directions for locating the brain stem externally for shot placement suffers the exact same problem that people spout when claiming shot placement is everything. Without penetration and trajectory, shot placement is just an external spot. You can shoot animals on your X all day long and not hit the brain stem without the correct trajectory and sufficient penetration to reach it. Put another way, you have provided 2D directions to find a 3D target via another location.
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Old February 28, 2012, 06:52 PM   #19
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The way I figger, I try to hit them in the neck where there's plenty of juices to let the hydrostatic shock to do the dirty work. 'cept that when the eyes pop out, it gives me the Willies. Sometimes a 45 to the head is not as speedy.

With coyotes any Varmint round to the fuselage is usually instant incapacitations.

But, now the disclaimer: I base my facts on my own theory of the facts, not on any real facts, and can't be proven by any reasonable means
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Old February 28, 2012, 07:08 PM   #20
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I hate to push this thread up because I already got my answer and I might incite some anger/aggressive responses by doing so.
First of all I want to thank everyone who gave a serious and relevant response.
Then, I want to address the charge that I’m a “troll” because I posted the content in other forums: My only intention was to get more answers, thus increasing my chances of getting a high-quality, competent answer.
In hindsight, I have to admit it does look a little suspect with the homo sapiens brain reference in there. I only wanted to signify that we’re talking about a big species (like a buffalo, bear or deer).
The extrapolation that I’m anti-gun person or attention-seeking troll, I don’t understand at all. Layman yes, but I respect the 2nd Amendment as one of the most important parts of the Bill of Rights because it defines freedom, responsibility and democracy.

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Old February 28, 2012, 08:06 PM   #21
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Having to put your specs. in order, I'm thinking your answer in post #6 would be correct.
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Old February 28, 2012, 08:39 PM   #22
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Thanks for the explanation, and welcome aboard.
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Old February 28, 2012, 09:17 PM   #23
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IMHO, any animal in north america with the exception of possibly a big bruin can be instantly and reliably dispatched with a point blank shot with a projectile over 8 grains delivered at 1,000 fps or more to the brain (if known) or to the area immediately south of the skull to where the spine joins the brain stem. It is instant and all over humane dispatch.

I "brain" hogs with a high power .177 pellet rifle no matter the size of critter... They drop to their knees dead 100% of the time no matter their size...

If you look up the term "pithing" and translate it from blade to projectile, you will understand the brainstem/spine connection point and resulting humane death.

Brent
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Old February 29, 2012, 01:58 AM   #24
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Quote:
In hindsight, I have to admit it does look a little suspect with the homo sapiens brain reference in there. I only wanted to signify that we’re talking about a big species (like a buffalo, bear or deer).
Than you should have said that in the first place and I would not compare a deer with either a bear or a bison assuming you didn't really mean buffalo.

Find a site like this one and get anatomical targets to find out where hunters have learned to shoot game.

http://www.tuffhead.com/education/anatomy_main.html

Your choice of guns made little sense either which is why it looks like you are trolling. Not many of us have 10 gauges because 12 has taken over what the 10 could do with 3 and 3 1/2" magnums 20 you wouldn't use on anything larger than a deer, your other choices are not hunting guns but if you aren't hunting but slaughtering a penned animal then a 38 special will do as good a job as the 10 gauge.

Mostly it would help if you would have stated why you wanted to know instead of the limited parameter you gave with no reason for it. If you answer is in the title, a downed wounded animal then any gun you downed it with to the skull will do it. Before you hunt learn your basic anatomy so you aren't just blowing holes in it's sinus cavities.
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Old February 29, 2012, 09:03 AM   #25
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All autonomic functions needed for life are controlled by the brain stem. You can survive a shot to any other part of the brain execpt here. A shot to the base of the skull would not only destroy the brain stem but possibly sever the spine and make for a quick painless death.
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