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Thread: RTA Volunteers / Humane Dispatch Pistol Owners - A question...

  1. #1

    RTA Volunteers / Humane Dispatch Pistol Owners - A question...

    I've just come back from my second RTA this week - in both cases I used my .38 Special Taurus Ultralite (2" barrel, 150 grain round nose American Eagle bullets)...

    The one today felt like a cluster-f*ck so I'll give you some background then ask if those with actual experience would kindly make comment - don't worry I won't cry if I get criticism, I'd appreciate any constructive feedback too though if anyone thinks I've done something wrong. I'd like to know if I've done something wrong as although I'm confident killing deer there isn't any formal training on this type of activity. I've not had any issues in the past with RTA's but these have all been Roe as I live on the south coast.

    I was in bed all day with a dodgy tum, had several missed calls and eventually picked up to a desperate control centre asking if I could go and dispatch a wounded deer - I said I was ill but depends how far it was. She advised it was only ten mins away and the deer was immobile despite being approached by the officer in attendance. She also said she'd had a refusal from another volunteer so I was the only person. I said I'd go and do it on the proviso the officer waited and that they would sort out carcass disposal.

    I arrived on the scene 10 mins later - I only took the pistol as I'd been assured I could get close to the animal and didn't feel up to wrestling the usual kit into the car (shotgun & rifle as well as pistol). It was a young fallow buck and was indeed immobile by the side of the road. It had blood around its mouth so I decided to put it down ASAP. At this stage I was happy with the pistol as my choice as the animal was in a heavily brambled ditch next to a busy road - so a discreet close quarters weapon was ideal. The police car and officer were keeping traffic from getting too close so I knelt into within 2ft cocked the hammer, and squeezed.

    One between the eyes... nope. Another one between the eyes... still wheezing! Another three in the back of the head... still going! Another one at the back of the neck... nope. Another one between the eyes. STILL NO! - now I'll add that after the first shot it wasn't going anywhere, but I was still getting eye response even after the SEVENTH SHOT! After the seventh shot I just jumped on him and stuck him in the heart with my knife - a short while later he'd bled out and was still/dead. Officer in attendance said "he didn't want to go did he!".

    Had that been a shot with my 17hmr or centrefires I know there would have been very little left of the head, let alone any issue with a quick kill. The Roe buck I shot in the head with the 38spl on Monday showed very little damage to the skull (though did at least die quickly with one shot). You would think 7 shots with a 38 would have obliterated the skull, but the shots appeared as no more than small red dots.

    So my questions to any of you with experience are:
    - Is the 38 enough gun for this purpose? Fallow?
    - Is there somewhere else you aim on the head that is 100% effective? (though I think I hit pretty much everywhere!)
    - What's your take on the above?
    - What calibre and rounds are you using?
    - Does anyone know what effect the 2" barrel has on power?
    - Could this have been to the round nose slugs over penetrating and not expanding?

    Probably not a popular thing to mention - but I've heard of plenty of deer large and small dropping to a .22lr to the head, let alone 7 shots from a 38 special!

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    i have never done anything like this but i have been told that to dispatch at close range as described you sould be aiming half way between the and the ear? i may be wrong but i think it was in the DSC1 book.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by BunnyDoom View Post
    So my questions to any of you with experience are:
    - Is the 38 enough gun for this purpose? Fallow?
    - Is there somewhere else you aim on the head that is 100% effective? (though I think I hit pretty much everywhere!)
    - yes it's enough
    - imagine a line from right eye to left ear and left eye to right ear, the intersection is the spot

  4. #4
    You should have removed the head for analysis! lol

    Sounds like bu some fluke you missed the brainstem. I suppose a fat heavy slug that doesn't fragment much may not do as much damage as a small fast frangible projectile.

    ​I once killed a wounded deer with a knife as I had nothing else, I pinned it down as quickly as I could and bled it at the base of the neck abattoir style. If expired quite quickly.

  5. #5
    There'll always be the odd beast that just won't go. Thick head or something!
    I do quite a lot of slaughtering using a .410 shotgun.
    Kills everything from small pigs and lambs right up to full grown cattle, no problem.
    However, I once shot a big horned billy goat at point blank in the forehead and he just dropped to his knees briefly before jumping up and coming straight for me! Had to climb a fence to get away. Took two more shots to finish him. It wasn't nice, but these things do occasionally happen.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member tartinjock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Nairn, Inverness-shire
    I use a .32 ACP, I've shot Red, Roe and Sika with success, I have had the odd one require a 2nd shot.
    Position and hold must be firm enough to support the firearm
    The firearm must point naturally at the target without any undue physical effort
    Sight alignment (aiming) must be correct
    The shot must be released and followed through without disturbing the position

  7. #7
    Short barrelled pistols are very inaccurate, even at close range. I've worked with pistols for years but would never contemplate using one for an RTA! Dangerous (ricochet) and not very effective as proved by yourself. Imagine trying that with one of the bigger antlered species! Shot placement is critical to destroy the brain with a calibre such as that.
    I only ever use a shotgun if I can help it. I normally reach for a fully moderated folding .410 which I use 18gram No. 6 shot. Makes a hole in the forehead about the size of a 10p piece from a short distance away which completely destroys the brain as the shot disperses inside. No exit wound and no danger from ricochet or splashback. Much easier to aim and hit a possibly moving animal too!
    Only ever needed 1 shot even on larger deer although I will take the 12 bore along for a big beast! Get rid of it, to avoid embarrassment if nothing else!

  8. #8
    Thanks all, sounds like I went for the right spot the first two times... so just an unlucky fluke I guess.

    Maybe in time we could all put together a bit of a handbook for people new to it or offer a mentoring service - when I've done a lot more I'd certainly be happy to... few years away for me though I reckon.

  9. #9
    A 2" barrel would reduce the velocity and produce a loud bang 4" a better optin ,back in the day when pistols about there was a discussion on this very subject .I'll try and dig it out .125gr jhp from a 4" gun would be better after all the deer act says expanding ammunition for deer doesn't it ?

  10. #10
    MS - thanks that's interesting, I've a moderated .410 also that I use for foxes in traps and as you say it's very efficient.

    Mate of mine has a long barrelled larger calibre that he's v accurate with so might chop my 38 in at some point.

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