Could a .22LR possibly kill a leopard?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Hoss Delgado, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    No. I am not suicidal . I ask this because of an Indian Shikaree l suddenly remembered. When l was a kid , l had visited India with my Family on a trip in the early 1980s , a place called Darjileeng . One of my Granddad's Indian friends was a hunter named Mr. Karim ( he sadly passed away in 2002) . Now , Hunting was legal in India till 1972 , before those stupid anti hunters passed those laws. In the 1960s , this Gentleman , Mr. Karim had dispatched over 36 leopards. He also hunted Sambhar deer and Gaur . Even as kid , l was interested in fire arms and hunting , so l remember talking to him about the guns he used for hunting. He actually showed me the two guns which l remember clearly . One was a 12 gauge Double barrelled side by side shotgun ( which Indians used to call 12 bore DBBL ) which was locally made in India by the ordinance factory. The other was a .22LR caliber rifle made by BRNO ( l can't remember if it was a bolt action or a semi ). I know for a fact that these were the only two guns he ever owned and used for hunting . I know that these were the two calibers he used to use because ( according to my granddad ) he would always take some boxes of 12 gauge 2 3/4 inch shells and .22 LR ammo from my Granddad whenever he would visit our house in the states every year. And whenever my Granddad would visit India , he would gift Mr. Karim some boxes of 12 gauge 2 3/4 inch shells and some boxes of .22 LR Ammo. Mr. Karim used to HATE Indian ammunition. I believe that at that time the only sporting Ammunition made in India was 12 gauge shotgun shells ( 2 3/4 inch ) and .315 bore rifle cartridges loaded with 244 grain round nose soft points ( meant to be used in their locally made Lee Enfield action rifles ) .
    Now , what l don't understand is HOW the Hell can a guy kill leopards with a .22 Rimfire ?! If it was a centre fire like a .22 Hornet , l could buy it . But a .22 Rimfire seems like the last weapon on Earth , l would wanna shoot 200 lb leopards with. I know that he was definitely the real deal , because my Granddad still has some of the leopard skins from the man eaters that he shot and my grandfather knew him for many years . And he was really celebrated by the locals at the time .
    P.S : I never actually asked him which of the two guns he used for leopard . It may be possible that he used the 12 gauge side by side for leopard. But isn't using a shotgun for leopard , just as unwise as using a .22 Rimfire ? I know that he must have used the 12 gauge for Gaur , since Indian game regulations at the time mandated that a minimum caliber of .400 be used on bison and buffalo.
     

  2. leslie hetrick

    leslie hetrick AH Enthusiast

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    there was a man who killed a polar bear with a .22 lr and a grizzly bear was also killed with a .22 lr, I think the .22 lr was all they had at the time of the encounter and were not hunting the bears. I have seen large bulls(herfords-800 lbs+) killed at a butcher shop with a .22 lr.
     
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  3. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    Yes. But the bulls were domestic animals
     

  4. Inline6

    Inline6 AH Veteran

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    I know of cougars killed with a 22lr. They were head shots.
     
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  5. leslie hetrick

    leslie hetrick AH Enthusiast

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    I agree they were domestic bulls, but dead is dead and a .22 that enters the brain will kill most animals right now. the problem is getting that small bullet where it needs to go before the animal runs away or kills you. a .22 lr will always beat a sharp stick.
     
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  6. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Eyeball shots at close range with the .22 or maybe he first shot them with Double O buck shot and finished them off with the .22?
     
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  7. Tra3

    Tra3 AH Veteran

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    A friend of mine who is a butcher uses a .22 hornet to dispatch bovine when he takes his mobile butchery truck to ranches. He swears by the effectiveness of the .22 hornet for a head shot.
    A .22 lr on a cat?? I believe it, but I can only imagine the astounding level of calm that one must find to make that shot.
     
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  8. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I read a book by Justice Marshall about his float/hunting trip down the Yukon where he shot and killed a black bear with one 22LR shot to the heart.
    Eskimos use to use a 22Hornet and 222 for polar bear hunting.
    A warden once told me Texas deer poachers are notorious for using a 22LR in the ear.

    Me, I’ll use my 375 H&H. My comfort zone rifle.
     

  9. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    A .22 lr bullet in the brain would kill a leopard. As noted above quite a few mountain lions have been killed with them (they are wired very, very differently, but generally the same size cat). However, the shooter, obviously, has zero room for error. Even a very slight miss could angle off the cranium. I doubt if your old family friend attempted a follow-up on one that he didn't hit just right. Quite a few of the post WWII PH's kept a .243 in camp as a leopard rifle - it would be superb on a thin-skinned animal of that size. And though I don't want to be the one to try, I would be confident a Hornet would kill any leopard alive if shot just behind the shoulder. Again, though, the margin for error would be very small.
     
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  10. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    I suspect the Indian gentlemen dispatched the leopards with the shotgun. One of our resident AH PHs has previously described how as a young PH he could not afford a proper double rifle so he used a double barrel shotgun loaded with slugs.
     
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  11. charleslabounty

    charleslabounty AH Veteran

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    A 22lr will consistently shoot through a 2”x4” at 100 yards.
    Cheap bulk ammo, Both Solids and hollow points.
    18” barrel.
    2x4 set on edge, unsupported.
    I was surprised at this penetration so I have done it several times to verify.
    So a 22lr will likely penetrate some pretty thick skulls at close range.

    Please note, none of the 2x4’s were charging, moving nor had claws and teeth. No live 2x4’s were injured in these tests.
     
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  12. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I’ve seen a lot of Mountain Lions fall out of trees from 22 LR head shots. I always used a 357 revolver but some of the old timers used to worry about hide damage and were quite possibly just real cheap when it came to buying ammo. One guy I hunted cats with carried a TC Contender with a 10” 223 barrel with an insert cartridge that looked like a 223 but broke apart and was loaded with a 22 LR cartridge. I couldn’t even imagine how many Bobcat and Mountain Lion that contraption accounted for but it was substantial.
    That being said a mountain Lion is definitely a different beast than a leopard with dispositions very different from all I’ve read as I’ve not had the pleasure of hunting leopard as of yet. I’ve seen some pretty pissed off ML, typically when bayed up in rocks rather than trees but never felt imminent danger hunting them. The chase was always the fun part with the dispatch anticlimactic. Still one of my favorite animals in NA to hunt.
     

  13. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    Thanks guys. Having a .22 LR BRNO rifle and a 12 gauge side by side loaded with LG buckshot to kill leopards doesn't seem all that implausible now ( not that l would care to try , using anything smaller than my .350 Rigby Magnum ). I can imagine why he would take so much ammo from my granddad. Indian Ammo is a joke. The locally made .22 LR have an official shelf life of 18 years ( in reality it's much less ) and the shotgun shells have a shelf life of officially 5 years ( in reality it would be much less ) with no size larger than #1 being available.
     

  14. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    22 LR kills more people in the USA then any other round. Granted the bulk are self imposed head shots, but I am sure that it would kill a leopard too.
     
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  15. njc110381

    njc110381 AH Enthusiast

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    My experience of the .22lr is that it's a very under rated round. It wouldn't be my first choice for that job but don't let it's puny size cause you to underestimate it's capabilities. It will kill a person with ease, even some quite large cattle. I can't imagine a leopard would stand much chance if it was hit in the right place.

    It's much like the 7x57 for elephant. Not ideal, but proven none the less.
     

  16. Bruce

    Bruce AH Elite

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    I still have a leopard skin of a leopard shot by my father with a .22Long.. he was managing a cattle ranch in Rhodesia( Nuanetsi) and often shot Leopards out of trees after being treed by his dogs...mostly at night with a flashlight!!! He was an excellent shot...one shot brainers.
    This was before my birth and I'm now 66 yrs old, so that skin has a sacred place in my trophy room!!!
     
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  17. Philip Glass

    Philip Glass AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Maybe he was hunting with hounds and had the chance at close range shots? You can kill nearly anything with a .22 but it’s not practical for big animals as we all know.
     
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  18. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I have had a few raccoons run off after being hit in the head with a 22. Killed a lot in traps with a 22
     

  19. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    My dad used a 22LR when we butchered a beef bull. Shot in the head right where the hair curls and it floored them. It didn't work on hogs, though. The skull is too thick right between the eyes. He had to shoot them in the ear. A 22LR was all I had growing up and I killed more deer with it than anything else. I'd sit near an apple tree and pop them in the ear when they put their head down to get an apple.
     

  20. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

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    On this forum, if you search there is a report of elephants being killed (poached) with 22 cal rifle.
    It is partly based on court records, mentioning only 22 caliber rifle, but it is not clear is it 22 short, 22 long, 22 LR, or 22-something-else.
     

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