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My feet are feats
9 days ago

[Jurassic Park] Why did Robert Muldoon decide to hunt Velociraptors with a 12ga shotgun?

Muldoon is a serious hunter that's "hunted most things that can hunt you," and he deeply respects/fears the velociraptors. So why does he use a shotgun instead of a rifle? Even if he was loaded with 12ga slugs, wouldn't a rifle with a high capacity be better suited to taking on prehistoric megapredators?

I know in the book he uses rockets, and that would make for a rather anticlimactic end to the movies raptors, but surely there must be a middle ground.

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Preternatural Information Specialist
39 points · 9 days ago

Shotguns are good, that's why. Shotguns shoot more than one projectile with a lot of power at reasonably good accuracy. You can switch ammo and shoot one large projectile with accuracy very close to that of a rifle. Or you can switch to a shitton of shot with very little power but great spread (though this one is better for small game, not exactly velociraptors).

Rifles, even with high capacity magazines, require much more pinpoint accuracy, which isn't the best thing to use when you are being hunted back, especially when you know they hunt in a pack.

My feet are feats
Original Poster9 points · 9 days ago · edited 9 days ago

I'm with you on accuracy being on par with a rifle at that range, and the variety of available cartridges is a bonus I hadn't considered, but "spread" as it's often thought of is largely a myth from Hollywood.

Even a shotgun with an open choke (a choke is a device that affects the projectile dispersion of a shotgun, "open" has the most spread, "full" has the least, and there's more options in between) will have a "spread" the size of dinner plate at 30 yards. Granted, there are many factors, barrel length, number, shape, and size of the individual projectiles, the choke, etc. But the idea that shotguns are no-miss death-cloud machines at close range is an absolute myth.

*Edit: a word

I'd argue he was firing a slug or 000 buck. Something large with a lot of energy transfer to take the animal off its feet. Similar to the 45 ACP's design history, it transfers a lot of kinetic force.

It was also the only weapon available at the time. The room they grabbed the weapons in all the guns looked identical.

My feet are feats
Original Poster3 points · 9 days ago

I don't remember the exact shot, but this image shows a pair of AR15s in the locker as well.

An AR-15 is underpowered for deer hunting, let alone raptor hunting. A 12 gauge has over twice the muzzle energy of an AR chambered in .223. The only advantage of an AR would be magazine capacity, but considering the close ranges we see during raptor engagement, one would only have time to squeeze off a few shots before the raptors closed the gap between them and you.

What shotgun do you use that has a spread of a baseball at 30 yds? Not saying you’re wrong, but the one’s that I own have a spread the size of a dinner plate at 30, with a full choke in.

My feet are feats
Original Poster3 points · 9 days ago

I mixed up my units, feet/yards. I'll make an edit. However, a dinner plate is still pretty tight considering what most non-gun people seem to assume shotguns are.

Unrepentant Goblin-Hating Extremist
1 point · 9 days ago

This is both true and false.

Grandpa's duck gun will have the spread you described, because the barrel is so darn long.

John's illegal SBS with a barrel of 4" will have a much wider spread.

My feet are feats
Original Poster1 point · 9 days ago · edited 9 days ago

I did mention barrel length in my comment, so I'm not sure why you're fixating on it. And Muldoon was using a full size shotgun, not a garage hacksaw conversion.

They were in the jungle, line of sight through the trees and foliage was limited to less than 10m. He knew the odds they were going to get ambushed were high. He wanted something with stopping power that didn't take long to ready and couldn't miss.

My feet are feats
Original Poster0 points · 9 days ago

The spread of a shotgun, even with an open choke, at 10 meters is about the size of a fist. It's super easy to miss. And even if it was wider, that dispersion takes away from the mass, and therefore power, of the shot.

Super easy to miss compared to what, what were the other choices of weapons?

He's not the kind of guy that's likely to miss too often, but in any case a fist is better than a pencil. Plus the shot might hit more than one bird. A couple of pellets in the flank might be enough to spook one long enough to get away.

At close range, within 3m, it would put a pretty nice hole in just about anything. It's also probably easier to shoot from the hip than some rifles. Pump action is faster and more sure than bolt action when you're on the run.

My feet are feats
Original Poster1 point · 9 days ago

A fist is better than a pencil, but a shotgun only holds 4-5 fists, while I can throw 30 supersonic pencils in an equal amount of time, and the pencils penetrate a lot deeper.

Are you suggesting that Muldoon uses fully automatic weapons to hunt with?

The shotgun has a lot of advantage and disadvantages. People in high-stress survival situations often have to make snap judgements with limited information.

Not sure what you're even arguing for. You asked for an in-universe answer about his choice of firearm and several people have offered you reasonable explanations. If you would have made a different call than a character in the same set of circumstances that's fine, but it's beyond the scope of this sub as I understand it.

Slaaneshi Devoted
1 point · 8 days ago

What makes you think muldoons using normal shotgun shells? For all we know he's using his own custom magnum HE airburst shells.

My feet are feats
Original Poster1 point · 8 days ago

Last time I saw the movie he didn't really use anything.

10 points · 9 days ago

12 gauge has been used to hunt bear. It can kill anything outside of Africa so it's probably not a bad choice for velociraptor.

4 points · 9 days ago

My guess is he uses a shotgun because it supports some kind of specialty round he trusts to get the job done?

My feet are feats
Original Poster1 point · 9 days ago

That's possible. Heavy slugs or sabots could offer more versatility than a rifle. Maybe even incendiary shells.

6 points · 9 days ago

Two words:

Discarding Sabot

Essentially a mini tank round in a cute 12 gauge package.

AKA: Bear slugs

3 points · 9 days ago

Raptor slugs

My feet are feats
Original Poster1 point · 9 days ago

I hadn't considered sabots, but that makes a lot of sense.

15 points · 9 days ago(1 child)

It was probably going to be that or a blunderbuss.

Two words: Bear Slugs

If you're going after something very big and very scary, you're going to need a big gun. 12 gauge shotguns have a .75 inch bore, which allows for a huge projectile.

Now, you could argue something like a .458 winchester, or .470 Nitro express would be a smarter move, since they have more power, but they also require a pretty huge rifle and/or the grip strength of zeus himself. A 12 gauge shotgun with bear slugs is simple, maneuverable in densely-wooded areas, and can be used by anyone who knows which end the boom comes out of. There really aren't many better options in 1993 that are as user-friendly as a spas12, while also being suited for numerous different goals.

Unrepentant Goblin-Hating Extremist
5 points · 9 days ago · edited 9 days ago

In the book he describes how the velociraptors have a distributed nervous system - you can't kill them with a well-placed shot to the face, you have to destroy several major chunks of their body to drop them with certainty. IIRC he seemed to favor thigh shots.

Yeah, a 30-06 with hollowpoints can blow an 8" hole in most animals that size, but most of them are bolt-action and freaking long. Muldoon is going to be hoofing it through dense jungle and needs to be able to get off shot-after-shot-after-shot. A typical deer rifle simply isn't going to work.

So maybe an AR-10? Those can be adapted to pretty much any cartridge, so it is definitely possible, but there are a couple problems:

  1. Replacement parts are not terribly common worldwide, AR-10s are kinda an American thing, and Isla Nublar is nowhere near anything American. Shotgun ammo/parts, on the other hand, are everywhere.

  2. Many AR-10s are finicky - Bob's might run perfectly on any ammo. John's might FTF/FTE on every round except for certain TulAmmo rounds. This is not the sort of situation that you want to trust with your life. Shotguns are pretty freaking reliable.

  3. Any decent AR-10 is going to have a long barrel. Chopping that down to "jungle" length means dicking with the gas system until it cycles properly, and this makes problem #1 an issue again.

EDIT: Pretty sure Muldoon had a rocket launcher in the book as well.

My feet are feats
Original Poster2 points · 9 days ago

A 30-06 will make a mess of anything you hit with it, and you're right that the armaments that fire it aren't the best suited for the environment, but 30-06 also isn't the only available cartridge. There's a large number of .308 rifles that will deliver similar results to a 30-06 that also offer more reliability than an AR-10. Ammo is plentiful, parts are a non-issue, and as far as rarity or cost, Hammond makes it very clear that he "spared no expense," so getting a G3, FAL, or even a Galil would be no trouble.

I can't argue with the reliability and ease of use for a shotgun. They're simple machines and readily available.

And as a side note, what the hell is a distributed nervous system? I get that they are similar to reptiles and have a relatively simple (small) brain, but wrecking a skull kills anything that has a skull to wreck. Shooting them in the leg will likely result in a mobility kill, which I'm fine with, but dinosaurs don't become immune to catastrophic injury just because they're nervous system isn't developed.

Unrepentant Goblin-Hating Extremist
1 point · 8 days ago

And as a side note, what the hell is a distributed nervous system?

We'll have to ask Michael Crichton... and he's dead.

But to handle it in or out of the JW universe... I guess it means that blowing their head clean off isn't necessarily enough to kill them.

Hammond makes it very clear that he "spared no expense," so getting a G3, FAL, or even a Galil would be no trouble.

They did have a few HK91s in the gun locker along with the M16s, but he must have thought the SPAS would be better suited in the thick jungle and tight spaces of the maintenance shed.

I can't argue with the reliability and ease of use for a shotgun. They're simple machines and readily available.

Ironically, the SPAS-12 jammed on Dr. Grant after just two shots. As the IMFDB page mentions, it was just an extraction issue and would have been easy to fix, but if you aren't very familiar with the gun and are panicking that could be pretty difficult.

Stop Settling for Lesser Evils
3 points · 9 days ago

Because he knows it's likely going to be a close-in fight; unless he managed to catch a velociraptor out on an open field, it's either going to be in the jungle or inside one of the buildings. In a close range engagement, a shotgun loaded with heavy buckshot or similar offensive load has a better chance of inflicting an incapacitating shot in the limited window between when the raptor breaks cover and when it can close into contact range; if Muldoon can snap off one solid center mass shot in that time, a heavy slug or buck load is going to do more harm than a single 7.62mm or 5.56mm rifle bullet.

Capacity is relatively limited, but he's dealing with a pack of raptors not a herd; it's a disadvantage but not a crippling one. Assuming he's careful to keep topping off the magazine in between moments of action (and doesn't get sideswiped from the undergrowth), he should be able to keep up a solid rate of fire.

To harp on another point in the OP, Muldoon hardly respects the raptors in the film. He openly mentions to Grant and the others, even before he introduces himself, that "they should all be destroyed." He might have some vague hint of respect from one hunter towards another, but his hatred and/or fear of them far outweighs his respect. He doesn't point out to Grant and the others that the raptors systematically test their own pen for weaknesses just because he thinks it's cute. He's telling them just how scary and dangerous they are! He's already watched one of his fellow employees get ripped to shreds by the things in an ideal situation, and he's not too keen in having them around for a second incident.

My feet are feats
Original Poster6 points · 8 days ago

I meant respect as a term of warning and caution. Muldoon is definitely afraid of the raptors, and he probably hates them to a degree, but he sure as hell respects the danger they pose.

It looked to me that those spas-12 shotguns were the only firearms stocked on the island.

My feet are feats
Original Poster2 points · 9 days ago

The guards in the first scene had AR15s and there were even two stored next to Muldoon's shotgun when he loaded it up to go raptor hunting.

It's all in the sport. That was his weapon of choice

1 point · 9 days ago

Much better at closer range with a lot of spread. Pretty important if something is moving fast and you're trying to take it down

My feet are feats
Original Poster0 points · 9 days ago

Spread is pretty much nonexistent at close range. Shotguns are not lead spewing fog machines, more like incredibly violent snot rockets. Especially with any ammo that would penetrate something with thick (ish) hide like a velociraptor.

I'd also taken the shotgun. Those things aren't armored and don't weight less than 1 ton.

Velociraptors are fast, a hunter needs to be faster. Shotguns require less aim, less reload time, and are less difficult to wield since they are generally shorter. A rifle would be good for long distance hunting in which the target stays still for long periods of time, also if the rifle guarantees a one shot one kill, all of which is too many “ifs” in a life and death situation. The shotgun also has more stopping power, which would definitely help against a predator that relies on speed, momentum, and agility to hunt you down.

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