What Caliber for Cow?

What Caliber for Cow?

This is a discussion on What Caliber for Cow? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Yes, this is a serious question. If you're from the city and not really kosher with slaughtering animals for meat, please don't read this thread. ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    What Caliber for Cow?

    Yes, this is a serious question. If you're from the city and not really kosher with slaughtering animals for meat, please don't read this thread.


    I'm on a board of directors for a local wildlife refuge here in Kentucky. We have 2 African lions, 3 mountain lions, a bobcat, and a bunch of wolf hybrids. Anyways, a local farmer is willing to give us an old cow that is attacking children (gotten grumpy I guess) as long as we put it down and drag it off.

    For those of you that have been around non-profit stuff, money can be pretty tight, so an entire cow's worth of beef would save us a lot of money (the cats eat 100lbs of chicken every couple of days).

    Anyways, long story short, I'm sure I can get close enough to deliver a head shot and won't settle for anything less as I want it to drop on the spot. From talking with my dad when we had beef slaughtered on the farm it was done with a .22 to the forehead and they always dropped on the spot. I'd rather up the ante some, so anyone with experience here, will .40 do the trick? I can do ball to make sure I get the penetration I need. If it's not adequate, I have several rifle calibers at my disposal (.223, 7.62x39, .25-06, 7mm Rem Mag).

    Also, will a frontal shot to the forehead work? We've got some ranchers and stuff on here, so I'm sure someone can point me in the right direction. Google searches so far were coming up with flash games. Thanks for any help!
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    The brain is pretty small. Aiming for the spine would do the trick as well. I believe its standard procedure to hit them in the head with a wooden hammer (big one) to stun them, and then hoist them up by the leg and cut their throat. In any case, if a .22LR can do it, a .40 can definitely do it.
    Congrats on the free meat!

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    No direct experience, but did once know a guy who put a cow down with a 22 rifle. So, I would think almost anything larger and faster in ball for penetration, should do.

    It turned out the shooter was noticed by a cop who happened past, and when he correctly stated that he worked at the location and had the authority to kill the cow, the cop left him alone.

    It was fortunate the cop didn't pursue things because the incident was on Federal property, (no guns allowed), and within city limits.

    This poor man who shot the cow was soon diagnosed with a very early onset alzheimer's --and passed on in about two years.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/geissal23.html

    This site had some good stuff. Here's a quote "A goat is shot in the back of the head. The front is too hard. With a cow or a pig, mentally draw lines from the top of each ear to the opposite eye. Where the lines cross is where you shoot. One shot with a .22 should do it"

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    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    As a kid growing up in Nebraska, we did our annual butchering. I watched my Dad and Grandpa drop countless steers with a .22 between the eyes upward at point blank range. When I was a teenager, they let me do the honors. Mid-forehead never failed.

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    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    We always used 22LR to drop pigs for slaughter, 1 shot to forehead, worked well for yearling calves as well. The 40SW will work just fine.

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    Distinguished Member Array Agave's Avatar
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    I've killed a deer with a .38 Special JHP between the eyes. I've seen it done once before as well with a .38 Special SP. Both seemed instant. I imagine that other ruminant animals are pretty similar.

    I've read about the "triangle of death" on any mammal. Apparently, the eyes and nose form a triangle that is considered an excellent target for clean kill.
    The preceding post may contain sarcasm; it's just better that way. However, it is still intended with construction and with the Love of my L-rd Y'shua.

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    Senior Member Array Duisburg's Avatar
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    well if you are going to feed it to lions, why kill it first? I'd let the lions do the job
    I am sworn to protect the Constitution of the U.S.A. from all threats both foreign and domestic.

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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duisburg View Post
    well if you are going to feed it to lions, why kill it first? I'd let the lions do the job
    Haha, well they have no claws, which is why we have them and not a zoo, so I imagine they'd have difficulties properly killing it. That and since they don't usually get whole carcasses (sometimes during deer season), they tend to get sick from eating too much at once. That and we gotta share with the other big cats. :)


    Thanks for all the information so far!
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Well i use .22lr to put down beef we butcher . About any round will do it thro the forhead with a brain shot , and conversly almost nothing will do it thro the forhead if you miss the brain .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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    As usual, it's all about shot placement a .22 will do the job though you have to know exactly where to aim; if not a larger gauge/caliber would likely help your margin of error if you are a bit off on your shot placement. I wouldn't care to turn over an old cow for lions to slaughter, I'd prefer to put the cow down myself.

    http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/anima...x.htm#appendix

    Below is an excerpt from the above site, there are diagrams for aiming in the appendix section, but they wouldn't copy and paste here.

    Cattle
    The shot should be aimed towards the brain at a point determined by the intersection of two imaginary lines each drawn from the inside corner of the eye to a point a little above and behind the opposite ear (or to the base of the opposite horn). In mature animals and bulls a site slightly to one side of the intersection should be chosen

    Cattle must not be shot in the poll (back of head) position
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Repairs View Post
    Well i use .22lr to put down beef we butcher . About any round will do it thro the forhead with a brain shot , and conversly almost nothing will do it thro the forhead if you miss the brain .
    So, the eye to the ear cris cross works to find the brain?

    EDIT: ppkheat, just saw your link. Thanks much!
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

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    When I was young I was once called on to put down a cow. I showed up with my .45-70 Trapdoor Springfield and some newly assembled black powder handloads, enthused to make a ballistic test out of the occasion. I shot the cow through the heart/lung area, much to the ire of the dairyman who intended for me just to put her down with a shot to the brain.

    Though the cow did immediately go down it probably wasn't as pretty a sight as an efficient shot to the head.

    I'm aware of several small local processing plants that use the .22 Long Rifle cartridge on the killing floor.

  14. #14
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    As usual, it's all about shot placement a .22 will do the job though you have to know exactly where to aim; if not a larger gauge/caliber would likely help your margin of error if you are a bit off on your shot placement. I wouldn't care to turn over an old cow for lions to slaughter, I'd prefer to put the cow down myself.
    Boy----think of all those steaks! Mmm mmm.
    You've received alot of advice here. Just be prepared to do a second shot, and don't freak out if your first shot doesn't take immediately for the 'instant' kill. Skull bone is pretty hard, and depth of penetration, or a deflection (altering projectile path from perpendicular or 90) may yield unexpected results. While many have seemed to state the 22lr as a possible venue for the concerned activity, I'd personally use the largest diameter (expanding) projectile available to increase the odds.

  15. #15
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    Heavy and slow whatever you use.

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