The Royal Bengal Tiger Which Almost Did Me In

Velo Dog

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Dear Major Khan,

Thank you for another great story.
It was of course spell binding.

I know that I am preaching to the choir when you and many others here read my following rant.
However, it hopefully will be of some use to anyone new to hand loading and hunting larger than deer sized animals.

It is puzzling and a shame that, Winchester released their .458 “Magnum” to the world in such a short cartridge.
In their attempt to drive bullets up near .450 NE Flanged 3.25” velocity, the powder charge they rammed into this stubby brass was seriously compressed.
The chamber pressure was too high.
I suspect this is precisely why your Italian client’s double failed to eject when he opened it.

In double rifles, extractors have a slight advantage, when one insists on using over-pressure ammunition.
In hot weather, chamber pressures spike even higher than they most likely were, at the factories where ammunition is made and tested.

Furthermore, it is a shame that the bullets of yesterday were too soft for animals tougher than N. American deer.
When stout bullets are used, the .458 Winchester is very effective, only loaded to about 1900 fps, on many species (probably not the best ballistics for elephant or hippo on land though).

Fortunately today, rifle powders are such that, the .458 Winchester is now very capable of 2100 fps with 500 grain bullets, without “red line” super high chamber pressure.
Likewise, today’s bonded core bullets are fantastic.
If your client had shot that huge Royal Bengal Tiger in the shoulder with a 450 grain or 500 grain Swift A-Frame bullet, or any of several other present day bonded core bullets, I believe said monster would not have lasted long enough to have attacked you.

Anyway, I’m glad you made it through that bad situation unharmed.
And, thanks again for a wonderful read.

Cheers,
Paul.
 

Shootist43

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Poton, what a story!! My friend, have you ever heard the American expression "I'd rather be lucky than good?" It is obvious that you are not just lucky but EXTREMELY LUCKY.

I have a non-related question. What did you do to celebrate the 50th anniversary of your LUCKY DAY besides sharing this almost unbelievable experience with friends from all over the world.
 

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Thank you Major, It is for all of us a Godsend that you survived that day. Great respect for your deceased friend, in Heaven he is for sure.
 

Major Khan

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Thank you for sharing this account of a very close call ! I have enjoyed your writing immensely.
Thank you so much for enjoying my article , Jeff . I consider it to be an utmost privilege when gentlemen such as yourself appreciate my writing.
 

Major Khan

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Dear Major Khan,

Thank you for another great story.
It was of course spell binding.

I know that I am preaching to the choir when you and many others here read my following rant.
However, it hopefully will be of some use to anyone new to hand loading and hunting larger than deer sized animals.

It is puzzling and a shame that, Winchester released their .458 “Magnum” to the world in such a short cartridge.
In their attempt to drive bullets up near .450 NE Flanged 3.25” velocity, the powder charge they rammed into this stubby brass was seriously compressed.
The chamber pressure was too high.
I suspect this is precisely why your Italian client’s double failed to eject when he opened it.

In double rifles, extractors have a slight advantage, when one insists on using over-pressure ammunition.
In hot weather, chamber pressures spike even higher than they most likely were, at the factories where ammunition is made and tested.

Furthermore, it is a shame that the bullets of yesterday were too soft for animals tougher than N. American deer.
When stout bullets are used, the .458 Winchester is very effective, only loaded to about 1900 fps, on many species (probably not the best ballistics for elephant or hippo on land though).

Fortunately today, rifle powders are such that, the .458 Winchester is now very capable of 2100 fps with 500 grain bullets, without “red line” super high chamber pressure.
Likewise, today’s bonded core bullets are fantastic.
If your client had shot that huge Royal Bengal Tiger in the shoulder with a 450 grain or 500 grain Swift A-Frame bullet, or any of several other present day bonded core bullets, I believe said monster would not have lasted long enough to have attacked you.

Anyway, I’m glad you made it through that bad situation unharmed.
And, thanks again for a wonderful read.

Cheers,
Paul.
You are 100 % in your assessment , Paul !
Back in those days , the .458 Winchester magnum calibre was the " problem child " of big game cartridges . I believe that the propellant powder used in those days , was called " Olin Powder " , if my memory serves me correctly .
.458 Winchester magnum was a calibre which was known for having a notoriously definite shelf life back in those days , especially on account of the disproportionately small case capacity ( Which was a strategy chosen by Winchester in order to make the cartridge fit the standard length actions of the Winchester Model 70 " African " models . )
When Winchester began to manufacture their early batches of "Super X " ammunition for the .458 Winchester magnum in 1956 , the initial advertised velocity of the ammunition was 2150 feet per second . When used fresh , this ammunition delivered satisfactory results . However , after a few years of storage , this ammunition would develop erratic velocities . Thus , In 1961 , Winchester and Remington ( who began to manufacture .458 Winchester magnum calibre ammunition from 1961 , onwards ) began to load their .458 Winchester magnum calibre ammunition to an advertised velocity of 2130 feet per second . However , shelf life issues were still prevalent . In 1973 , both Winchester and Remington further reduced the powder charge in their .458 Winchester magnum calibre ammunition in order to accomplish an advertised velocity of 2120 feet per second . However , shelf life problems were still being experienced . Finally , in 1978 , Winchester and Remington reduced the powder charge in their .458 Winchester magnum calibre ammunition to accomplish an advertised velocity of 2040 feet per second . Shelf life was finally improved , but now penetration was lacking on large bull elephants and ( as you so wisely noted ) hippopotamus on land .

Also In the late 1960s , the bullets utilized by Winchester in some batches of their .458 Winchester magnum calibre ammunition also had grossly thin " jackets " , which led to severe distortion on large game .
The best bullets available for the .458 Winchester magnum calibre during our time were the 500 grain solid metal covered bullets from the American brand , Hornady . These had impressively thick steel " jackets " which were quite strong . They never deformed .
Your assessment that a lighter bullet in the .458 Winchester magnum calibre being the correct course of action , is the correct way to go . There is the Swift A frame soft point bullet . Then there is also the 480 grain bullet being manufactured by Woodleigh . Then , there is also the 480 grain bullet being manufactured by Hornady . I believe that any of these would make for an excellent choice in the .458 Winchester magnum calibre , as they would aid in accomplishing increased powder space in the small cartridge case .
Of course , I would much rather prefer if the gentleman had brought along a double barreled rifle chambered in .476 Westley Richards . This fine calibre would utilize a 520 grain bullet and I have actually seen an old stock ICI Kynoch solid metal covered cartridge fired from a client's .476 Westley Richards calibre double barreled rifle , which broke both the shoulders of a 2000 pound male gaur bison and anchored it with a single shot !
Unfortunately , this excellent " Heavy Weight " calibre has lost favour in modern times .
I am personally not a very ardent fan of the .458 Winchester magnum calibre ( a rimless design ) being utilized in a double barreled rifle . During my 10 year career as a professional shikaree , I have unfortunately NEVER seen even 1 double barreled rifle which was chambered in .458 Winchester magnum provide 100 % flawless extraction of the expended cartridge cases . The metal pawls would slip over the rims of the cartridges all too often .
That said , John Rigby & Co . used to chamber double barreled rifles in .375 Holland & Holland belted magnum during the 1960s ( which was was a rimless cartridge design ) and somehow they were always able to guarantee 100 % flawless extraction . Based on my personal experiences , only John Rigby & Co. is the 1960s were able to accomplish 100 % flawless extraction in their double barreled rifles , when chambered for a calibre utilizing a rimless cartridge case.
 
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Major Khan

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Poton, what a story!! My friend, have you ever heard the American expression "I'd rather be lucky than good?" It is obvious that you are not just lucky but EXTREMELY LUCKY.

I have a non-related question. What did you do to celebrate the 50th anniversary of your LUCKY DAY besides sharing this almost unbelievable experience with friends from all over the world.
Come now , Shootist43 . My best friend was American ( born and raised in Wisconsin ) . Of course , I am familiar with this terminology !
Even the words , " Extremely Lucky " would be an understatement for the fortunate manner in which events transpired for me on that day .
There is no doubt about it .
It was only through Divine Intervention that the Lord sent my friend , Tobin Stakkatz to come and rescue me from that brute .

And THIS was how I celebrated my 50th anniversary of my narrow escape from almost certain death .
IMG_20200317_180703.jpg
IMG_20200317_181048.jpg

35 day Dry Aged USDA prime beef Porterhouse steak . Could a better form of celebration exist ?
 

Major Khan

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Thank you Major, It is for all of us a Godsend that you survived that day. Great respect for your deceased friend, in Heaven he is for sure.
Well , it certainly feels good to know how much appreciated I am amongst all of you fine gentlemen , Die Jager . And there is no doubt about it . They do not make magnificent specimens of humanity like Tobin Stakkatz anymore . Even with 1 missing kidney , my old friend rushed to my rescue on the spot .
 

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Major
I unfortunately never had the scope to hunt a Royal Bengal Tiger , but do you think that my 7 millimeter Remington Magnum could put one down if the head or the heart were selected as a target ? I know that a small Royal Bengal Tiger weighs double of a heavy Hunting Leopard .
 

Major Khan

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Major
I unfortunately never had the scope to hunt a Royal Bengal Tiger , but do you think that my 7 millimeter Remington Magnum could put one down if the head or the heart were selected as a target ? I know that a small Royal Bengal Tiger weighs double of a heavy Hunting Leopard .
If a single .243 Winchester calibre 105 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridge can accomplish this ...
Screenshot_20191125-042910_01_01.png

And a .270 Winchester calibre 130 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridge
can accomplish this ...
Screenshot_20191125-042606_01_01.png

Then I am confident that a 7 mm Remington magnum calibre rifle , loaded with 175 grain premium quality soft point bullets in the hands of a retired military Marks Man ( with a confirmed kill count of 56 ) could easily dispatch the largest 500 pound male royal Bengal tiger . Your point of aim should ideally be in the region between the 2 eyes , or in the soft part behind the brute's shoulder , Panther Shooter .

However , I am only saying this ... only because I have personally seen how you can shoot with that 7 mm Remington magnum calibre rifle . For the operator of average competence .... a centre fire rifle with a minimum calibre of .338 Winchester magnum , loaded with 250, 275 or 300 grain premium quality soft point bullets ( such as Winchester Silver Tips ) are the safest way to go .
 

Shootist43

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Panther Shooter the only way I'd consider taking on a large Bengal Tiger with a 7 mm Mag would be if I had Poton backing me up with his Belgian or other suitable double barrel. I think he is being too kind. IMHO the 7 mm Mag was "bred" for distance, not stopping power. Poton once asked me if I thought my 35 Whelen could be used on Tigers. My reply was maybe, but I'd sooner have something more powerful.
 

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Never shot nor even seen a tiger, but I have killed a big male lion and a good size lioness (I suspect she may have been the size of a tiger) and watched a friend kill another lioness. We both used 375 H&H rifles. If/when I do it again, I will use my 375 again. Lions are very heavily muscled just as I suspect tigers are. That dense muscle can take a lot of lead.
I’m just a firm believer that you can’t be over gunned with dangerous game. Panther Shooter and Poton, you should meet me in Africa some day for a lion hunt and I’ll be glad to loan you my 375 H&H just to help keep you safe!
 

Major Khan

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Panther Shooter the only way I'd consider taking on a large Bengal Tiger with a 7 mm Mag would be if I had Poton backing me up with his Belgian or other suitable double barrel. I think he is being too kind. IMHO the 7 mm Mag was "bred" for distance, not stopping power. Poton once asked me if I thought my 35 Whelen could be used on Tigers. My reply was maybe, but I'd sooner have something more powerful.
Shootist43 gives extremely sound advice , Panther Shooter . While a 7 mm Remington magnum CAN and HAS been used ( by at least 2 of my clients ) to dispatch a 500 pound male royal Bengal tiger ... It is a bit like practically going out on a suicide mission . As this article proves , even my " Old Belgian " and 1 ounce hand loaded spherical ball bullets is inadequate for a very large male royal Bengal tiger ( weighing in excess of 500 pounds ... which they often are . ) , when only a frontal brain shot is presented . A 1 ounce spherical lead ball bullet fired from by " Old Belgian " in to the region between the brute's 2 eyes at a distance of 12 feet ... had failed to penetrate in to the royal Bengal tiger's brain . In order to comfortably hunt a royal Bengal tiger under ANY context ( not just picked shots ) ... it is imperative that a centre fire rifle with a bare minimum calibre of .338 Winchester magnum be used . The bullets should be premium quality soft points of at least 250 grain weight ( preferably around 300 . )
The Winchester Silver Tip used to be a good example , but a Trophy Bonded Bear Claw will do just as well . Based upon my reading ... a Swift A Frame soft point bullet would also make for an excellent choice to be used against royal Bengal tigers .
 
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Major Khan

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Never shot nor even seen a tiger, but I have killed a big male lion and a good size lioness (I suspect she may have been the size of a tiger) and watched a friend kill another lioness. We both used 375 H&H rifles. If/when I do it again, I will use my 375 again. Lions are very heavily muscled just as I suspect tigers are. That dense muscle can take a lot of lead.
I’m just a firm believer that you can’t be over gunned with dangerous game. Panther Shooter and Poton, you should meet me in Africa some day for a lion hunt and I’ll be glad to loan you my 375 H&H just to help keep you safe!
That is an extremely tempting offer , Ridge Walker ... especially since ( like me ) you are partial to Winchester Model 70 bolt rifles !
 

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Panther Shooter the only way I'd consider taking on a large Bengal Tiger with a 7 mm Mag would be if I had Poton backing me up with his Belgian or other suitable double barrel. I think he is being too kind. IMHO the 7 mm Mag was "bred" for distance, not stopping power. Poton once asked me if I thought my 35 Whelen could be used on Tigers. My reply was maybe, but I'd sooner have something more powerful.
Shootist43
Your advice is extremely sensible . While I have successfully put down one Gaur and six Asian Sloth Bears down with my 7 millimeter Remington Magnum , these were extremely lucky shots placed under favorable circumstances , which cannot always be hope for . And no matter what game we are hunting , it is always a good idea to have Major Khan back us up with that old Belgian shotgun . That man has successfully taken more dangerous game with that old shotgun than many people have , with proper, modern rifles . It is downright terrifying. Some of those dangerous game animals were fiends which no sane man would ever attempt to take down with a shotgun. Even last month , he killed another man eating Hunting Leopard with a single spherical ball from that old shotgun , five days before his 80th birthday .
 

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Never shot nor even seen a tiger, but I have killed a big male lion and a good size lioness (I suspect she may have been the size of a tiger) and watched a friend kill another lioness. We both used 375 H&H rifles. If/when I do it again, I will use my 375 again. Lions are very heavily muscled just as I suspect tigers are. That dense muscle can take a lot of lead.
I’m just a firm believer that you can’t be over gunned with dangerous game. Panther Shooter and Poton, you should meet me in Africa some day for a lion hunt and I’ll be glad to loan you my 375 H&H just to help keep you safe!
Ridge Walker
I am most grateful for your generous and kind offer. The .375 Holland & Holland Magnum is a fine rifle caliber . I have used one to put down 16 man eating Hunting Leopards between 1973 and 1974 . It was a best grade Double Rifle ; a side by side built bespoke by John Rigby & Co , which was regulated for 300 grain Winchester Silvertip and Full Metal Jacket cartridges.
 

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That was a riveting tale, thanks! It's fascinating to dive into that bygone era...
By the way, I was wondering, if the conservation efforts of the Bengal tigers go right, and if their population grows again to "natural" levels, will it be allowed to hunt them again?
 

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That was a riveting tale, thanks! It's fascinating to dive into that bygone era...
By the way, I was wondering, if the conservation efforts of the Bengal tigers go right, and if their population grows again to "natural" levels, will it be allowed to hunt them again?
It is my utmost privilege that you have enjoyed this article , Tanker 64 B.
I would really like for royal Bengal tiger shikar to be re legalized again .
Unfortunately , with the vegan , cow urine drinking pieces of shit who have been running India since 1972 still running the show ... I highly doubt it .
India's royal Bengal tiger population is actually excessive now . That is why human wild life conflicts occurs so much in India ever since 1972 . Killing a few of them off , through controlled and legalized hunting would actually benefit the economy , environment and common people as well. Unfortunately , vegans and common sense are 2 things which do not mix , even 1 bit .
In Bangladesh , we do have a stable population of royal Bengal tigers , living in the Sundarban man grove forest . Occasionally a man eater troubles the local villages around the Khulna Division and local shikarees are given written authorization by the local police DC to hunt down and dispatch the brute .
It may take several more years , but I am hopeful that someday , maybe... just maybe the shikar of royal Bengal tigers in Bangladesh shall be permitted again in a controlled and sustainable manner .
 
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I made some inescapable conclusions after this hair raising experience. While my “ Old Belgian “ was a most perfect weapon for flooring even the largest of forest panthers ... It was certainly far from being the appropriate tool for contending with a large unwounded male royal Bengal tiger ( which exceeded more than 500 pounds in weight . ) The skulls , bones and muscles of these creatures were far too strong to be defeated by a 1 ounce spherical ball of hardened lead . Even though , I had hand loaded my spherical ball bullets myself in to Eley 3 inch Alphamax Magnum “ High Brass “ cartridge cases , the increased charge of powder was still not enough to drive the spherical lead ball cleanly through the skulls of the largest male royal Bengal tigers with utter reliability 100 % of the time . While effective on 400-450 pound wounded female royal Bengal tigers ( if the region between the 2 eyes , was selected as a target , at short distances .) a spherical lead ball ( even if backed by an increased charge of powder ) would simply not cut it , for the 500+ pound male royal Bengal tigers . Only a suitable rifle of at least .338 Winchester magnum calibre , loaded with 250 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges is the correct way to go , for the largest and heaviest of these great cats .

Our client was a true gentle man and a man of great honor . He insisted that Tobin keep the skin of the royal Bengal tiger , as a fine momento of the time when Tobin Stakkatz had “ Saved The Day . “ Even though Tobin requested our client to keep the skin of the royal Bengal tiger... our honorable client would certainly not have any of it . In the end , Tobin kept that skin of the 518 pound royal Bengal tiger and ( unless I am very mistaken. ).... I believe that Tobin’s lovely widow still has the skin of that brute , draped over a 3 seater sofa in her living room . Hopefully , it shall remain in the Stakkatz household forever ; a testament to her late husband’s superb marksmanship and his ability to act swiftly during desperate times.

I would like to dedicate this story to my dearly deceased best friend and former fellow professional shikaree, the late Tobin Stakkatz . Had he not chosen to follow me when I had gone after that brutish royal Bengal tiger .... then I would not be here today to write about any of my adventures on African Hunting Forums . Even with 1 kidney and having undergone extensive surgery , the previous year ... Tobin Stakkatz would risk his life without hesitation to save his friend from the face of death , and I will never be able to forget that as long as I breathe . In 1976 , Tobin and his wife paid a jaw dropping sum for my facial reconstruction surgery in America after I had been wounded , during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 . Today , the only reason why I can look relatively normal in society is because of Tobin and his wife’s never ending kindness towards me . Kindness , which I could never , ever repay . I know not if there is a Heaven... However , if there is, then I know for a fact that Tobin Stakkatz is up there .

Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself in America in the 1970s of Tobin with a freshly hunted North American Black Bear . He clutches his custom built .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifle , which is built on a Springfield Model 1903 action .
View attachment 338021

I hope that this article has proven enjoyable to our fellow forum members . Hopefully , from tomorrow ... my good friend , fellow freedom fighter and new forum member , Panther Shooter shall grace African Hunting Forums with 1 of his own articles . I greatly look forward to reading his excellent work and I am 100 % confident that his writing shall surpass mine in every single manner .

THE END
Friend Ponton
You are truly blessed to have had a friend such as Tobin. A man only has one friend in his life like that if they are lucky. Friendship like father is truly a wonderful thing.
Your writing continues to enthralling my humble self and I look forward to reading more.
How goes your book my friend. I look forward to reading it and being able toss it on to my son.
I regard you writings to be up with the best like Ruark an Selous.
Cheers friend Ponton
Your humble reader
Bob Nelson.
 
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Come now , Shootist43 . My best friend was American ( born and raised in Wisconsin ) . Of course , I am familiar with this terminology !
Even the words , " Extremely Lucky " would be an understatement for the fortunate manner in which events transpired for me on that day .
There is no doubt about it .
It was only through Divine Intervention that the Lord sent my friend , Tobin Stakkatz to come and rescue me from that brute .

And THIS was how I celebrated my 50th anniversary of my narrow escape from almost certain death .
View attachment 338494 View attachment 338495
35 day Dry Aged USDA prime beef Porterhouse steak . Could a better form of celebration exist ?
Friend Ponton
Yes a 35 day dry aged sambar backstrap would be far niser than beef. I have dry aged mine for 14 days and it just melts in the mouth.
Cheers my Friend
Bob Nelson
 

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