Buckshot & Leopard- Fact Or Fiction?

Kawshik Rahman

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Even at five yards , lead shot of any form will not reliably work in penetrating into the brain of a leopard. Yes , you are correct in that it may work. In deed , it has. However , it must be borne in mind that the average weight of a leopard is from 200 pound to 250 pound ( live weight ) . I have had to remove the skins of many leopard which had been shot with SG cartridge. More often than not, the SG pellets ( sometimes 7 or 8 ) would be found lodged against the wall of their skull . The skull of a leopard may not be robust , like you say. However , it is the shape of the leopard's head which makes the use of shot unsuitable.
Generally , for any leopard upwards of 210 pounds , this is not suitable . For leopards below 210 pounds , it may work , but my experience tells me that it has a fifty fifty probability of success.
When using SG cartridge for leopard , the ideal place of aim is the region where the shoulder meets the neck .
 
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Kawshik Rahman

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This is a leopard shot by my client in 1964 . It weighed 217 pounds . The average weight of a male leopard in Darjeeling , India was in the ambit of 200 pounds and unless they have suddenly gone extinct , they without a doubt certainly still are. The largest l have ever measured is 243 pounds .
 
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Kawshik Rahman

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It is actually quite large and and as can clearly be seen in the picture , it is not laid straight . The leopards of Central India on average weight in the ambit of 200 pounds. Nobody knew at the time of taking this photograph that one day fifty years later , an internet forum would exist where leopard sizes will be compared.
Also , a most famous Indian sportsman of our time , Dr. Jagdish Kumar who used to guide clients in Kuch Bihar documented numerous leopards in the 200 pound range . A forum member here named Hoss Delgado has even shown me the article , which means that clearly my weighing for 32 leopards is not greviously mistaken.
 
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Hoss Delgado

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l have to agree with IvW and Mr. Rahman and what they say . Both are Professional Hunter Dudes :)
IvW is still active , but Mr. Rahman is retired :( . And Mr. Rahman is right about that Doc Jagdish Kumar :) I have a PDF of the article which l was discussing with Mr. Rahman for my new upcoming
Screenshot_20190706-083140.png
book. I wanted to confirm with Mr. Rahman if Doc Kumar's article was true , coz you know... Never believe what you read ;).
Check it out :)
 
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Kawshik Rahman

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But l have to agree with IvW and Mr. Rahman and what they say . Both are Professional Hunter Dudes :)
IvW is still active , but Mr. Rahman is retired :( . And Mr. Rahman is right about that Doc Jagdish Kumar :) I have a PDF of the article which l was discussing with Mr. Rahman for my new upcoming View attachment 308458 book. I wanted to confirm with Mr. Rahman if Doc Kumar's article was true , coz you know... Never believe what you read ;).
Check it out :)
Hoss Delgado
Thank you. He is the one , yes. However , l see that even though this article was published in 1964 , Dr. Kumar's last personal Shikar in India was in 1956 when some quantities of imported ammunition were still left in the country from British rule period. He is accurate about the leopard weight , however . He was a good sportsman. Your grandfather was a client of his outfitting firm in 1960 . It was my dream as a child to one day hunt alongside Dr. Kumar , but he retired before l began my career in 1962
 
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mark-hunter

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Hoss Delgado,
This reminds me on another point:
You are still collecting some materials for your next publication.
Question: Do you have any book already published that may be of interest to us?
 

Mort Hill

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All very interesting post of the back and forth between two parties who each feel themselves justified. One by personal experience, the other by science and collected facts/documentation. Fascinating. I do think that to the initial statement by @sambarhunter he states a distance of 5 feet (5’), where as the distance referenced back by @Kawshik Rahman was 5 yards (15’). This is a big difference. Regardless. I never, ever, ever care to be in the situation to prove either party’s case for them.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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M
All very interesting post of the back and forth between two parties who each feel themselves justified. One by personal experience, the other by science and collected facts/documentation. Fascinating. I do think that to the initial statement by @sambarhunter he states a distance of 5 feet (5’), where as the distance referenced back by @Kawshik Rahman was 5 yards (15’). This is a big difference. Regardless. I never, ever, ever care to be in the situation to prove either party’s case for them.
Mort Hill
You raise an excellent point in a very logical and neutral manner . The issue here with shot of any size is that ( as IvW notes ) they are round sphere type in shape and thus they lack penetration . Let us imagine the scenario with a distance of 5 feet. SG will , work , say seven times out of ten. There are times when it will not work. This is usually limited to the larger leopards , but it was all too common in my career. There is a way around this problem , however , which will give you a greater chance of success . If you open up your shot-gun cartridge and pour hot molten wax over the SG pellets , then this reduces spreading and improves concentration. In such a case of five feet , as you have specified , the leopard will be shot incredibly close to the muzzle and so your chances of success are fairly high . However , as IvW notes , it is not a guaranteed method as the SG pellets can ( and do) lose penetration very easily and may not work ( l have personally seen three such cases , one of which will feature in my next article ). Thank you for being so respectful in your assessment.
 

IvW

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I have hunted many leopards. I have also been privileged to hunt two leopards over 200 pounds. One of 221 pounds and one of 216 pounds. I have also hunted quite a few over 170 pounds.

Yes you do not find them so often in Africa, but many big leopards have been hunted and many over 200 lbs.
Were you hunt them also makes a difference.

140-160 would be average
160-180 would be a big cat
180-190 would be a really big cat
190-200 would be a monster
200 plus would be what we refer to as a super cat.

Nothing personal but suggesting that a load of SG at 5 feet is guaranteed to stop a charging leopard when you have never even shot one, well its like trying to convince me there are unicorns..
 
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Supercat

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I have hunted many leopards. I have also been privileged to hunt two leopards over 200 pounds. One of 221 pounds and one of 216 pounds. I have also hunted quite a few over 170 pounds.

Yes you do not find them so often in Africa, but many big leopards have been hunted and many over 200 lbs.
Were you hunt them also makes a difference.

140-160 would be average
160-180 would be a big cat
180-190 would be a really big cat
190-200 would be a monster
200 plus would be what we refer to as a super cat.

Nothing personal but suggesting that a load of SG at 5 feet is guaranteed to stop a charging leopard when you have never even shot one, well its like trying to convince me there are unicorns..

That’s amazing...where were those 200+ Leopard taken...Limpopo?

Do you have any pics? I would love to see them
 

WAB

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The wise man sides with experience. IvW and Mr. Rahman, thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is extremely valuable and highly entertaining.
Ballistics don’t always tell the full story. I have stopped coastal grizzlies and black bear in their tracks with a 270 gr A-Frame out of my .375 H&H. It flips the switch off and turns them into a big bag of bear jelly. That same rifle with .300 gr A-Frames is quite effective in Africa, however it does not produce the same immediate devastating effect. My conclusion, we can’t work it all out on paper, experience matters. African game seems to be wired differently.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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This gentleman , IvW speaks from solid experience . The leopard which l shot in 1995 before l retired , weighed 202 pounds. The photograph is on this thread.
 

Shootist43

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There seems to be an easy explanation of the weight differences being discussed / argued in this post. There is an obvious difference in the average weight of an African Leopard and the Leopards of India. Is that so hard to fathom? Just look at the difference of the sizes of the animals in Africa alone. Aren't East Cape species smaller than those from other parts of the country? To me many of the posts in this thread are comparing an Apple to an Orange.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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The wise man sides with experience. IvW and Mr. Rahman, thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is extremely valuable and highly entertaining.
Ballistics don’t always tell the full story. I have stopped coastal grizzlies and black bear in their tracks with a 270 gr A-Frame out of my .375 H&H. It flips the switch off and turns them into a big bag of bear jelly. That same rifle with .300 gr A-Frames is quite effective in Africa, however it does not produce the same immediate devastating effect. My conclusion, we can’t work it all out on paper, experience matters. African game seems to be wired differently.
WAB
Thank you for your support. Studying something is very important and useful. However , things in real field experience and papers can vary often.
During my time , one of the most talked about rifle cartridges was the magnum .460 from Weatherby. I always heard about how potent it would be as a cartridge for big animals , however l unfortunately never had a client bring one to India. Today , during a conversation with two fellow forum members who actually have first hand experience with this cartridge , l learnt that it was problematic in actual use in the field.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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There seems to be an easy explanation of the weight differences being discussed / argued in this post. There is an obvious difference in the average weight of an African Leopard and the Leopards of India. Is that so hard to fathom? Just look at the difference of the sizes of the animals in Africa alone. Aren't East Cape species smaller than those from other parts of the country? To me many of the posts in this thread are comparing an Apple to an Orange.
Shootist43
You raise a most sensible point. Just like how the Indian Elephant is smaller than the African elephant .
 

IvW

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That’s amazing...where were those 200+ Leopard taken...Limpopo?

Do you have any pics? I would love to see them

Nope both were shot in Northern KZN, up the escarpment close to Magudu, on the wat down to Pongola. Yes sure I will dig out some pics when I have time. One was hunted with a client and may be an issue to post as I was only a Freelance PH at the time and do not have either the client or the Outfitters written consent to use the pictures.

I might add that as we speak we are in the process of trying to get a PAC permit for a giant super cat that is wreaking havoc on two properties in the Waterberg area. The tracks of this leopard are the size of a large old lioness. This is a very old male which is finding it hard to hunt wild game and is hunting livestock. This is the largest leopard track by far I have ever seen in my life. He is a very cunning old leopard. We will see if we get the permit and try and hunt him but if we do I am convinced it will be the largest leopard ever.
 

IvW

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We also hunted great leopards in:
Mpumalanga-Lydenburg/Ohrigstad area, Komatipoort
Zim-The great Nuanetsi ranch when it was owned by Colcom and had game and cattle, Matopos, Lions Den escarpment area. Matetsi. Sengwe Unit 1&2 TTL/Campfire area bordering Kruger on the Limpopo river. Charara
Mozambique, Niassa has some great leopard.
 

TMac

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As I mentioned earlier, I know nothing of Leopards. But I do know a good bit about Cougars, they are scored by two measurements of their skull. Presumably a leopard would be done the same, the weight is not used for the score. When told about the weight of a Cougar someone killed, I always ask if that was with an empty or full belly.

The cat I mentioned earlier was 180 lbs. with an empty belly. That is a big Cougar, but they get bigger. His skull is just outside B&C all time, he was a middle aged male with growing yet to do. If you look at his skull, you will see a small brain way back in the head, with a very sloped front of the skull. I will offer that up in view of the efficacy buckshot query in the OP. Anatomy needs to be considered. If Leopards are built similarly, one can rationally make some judgements.

My experience tells me buckshot is best deployed for home defense against two legged goblins, not Cougars. If it was all I had, I’d use it, otherwise there are much better projectiles for the job imo. Suspect the same applies here for Leopards.

upload_2019-10-3_12-44-38.jpeg
 
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Kawshik Rahman

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At the time of taking this photograph in India , 1965 , no body knew that one day there would be an internet forum would exist where leopard sizes would be compared . The leopard below is laid straight and the picture is taken with a relatively modern camera in 1995. It weighed 203 pounds. What you see as a mere black and white picture to compare leopard sizes with , is what l lived my life doing for a living seven months of a year . Also , I would like to add one more thing . When hunting was allowed in India , the minimum weight of a leopard for which you could get a license would have to be 180 pounds. For a Royal Bengal tiger , it was 400 pounds minimum . If it was any less , then you were not allowed to shoot it
If you would like to positively disagree with some body , please do not hesitate . However , if you want to imply that l am being untruthful or that l was so inept during my career of eight years that l would incorrectly measure a leopard by 100 pounds , then l do not know what to say anymore. I am very respectful to people on these forums generally . I have killed 32 of these creatures , several of which were man eaters . I have guided dozens of clients who used to kill these creatures and make us measure them .
 
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IvW

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Indian leopards weigh between 40-60 lbs more than African leopards on average and are much more prone to man eating than African leopards. So a 170 lb african leopard would be a 210 lb Indian leopard..and so forth.

I have also been privileged to see a black leopard and even though it was black the rosettes where still very visible.
 
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