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It’s always nice to see the weapon in action that our Jon Wayne Taylor calls “the most perfect thing ever invented by man”: the Browning .50 caliber machine gun. This is not that gun! As our more ballistically informed readers have pointed out it’s a Russian .51 caliber DShK. Still the question remains: funny or die? I reckon elephants are one of the most magnificent creatures on planet Earth. But this is not one of those “you got peanut butter in my chocolate” moments. Don’t get me wrong . . .

My name is Robert Farago and I approve of game hunting as a form of conservation. Yes, even elephants. But the reality of shooting these way-cool beasts still makes me queasy. Which is why I find this video . . . funny. Maybe because I first saw it on Schadenfreude Saturday. Or perhaps because it’s a finger in the eye of the Cecil the Lion lovers – who didn’t deserve such a slow, ignominious, illegal death. Cecil I mean. Anyway, what’s your take?

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  1. That’s a dshka. You can tell from the mount, muzzle device, and the way it charges from the bottom. Totally a Russian gun and not American at all.

    • That was one of the extremely rare Opossum elephants , found only in the outback and I know it is endangered .
      You can always tell this species by it’s tendency to remain completely still in the face of danger . Poor thing probably heard them chambering those first rounds . It didn’t stand a chance .
      First the majestic Cecil the Lion and now Opossumphant . What’s next , Sharknado ? When will the terror end ?

  2. I see TTAG is in a .50BMG mood this week.

    No, it’s not practical since the guns are heavy usually and elephant hunting is normally done in the bush within 150 yards. Check up on gun recommendations for safaris if you doubt me. I think a double rifle is usually sighted in at 60 yards, which is about the max distance of a rifled slug shot out of a smoothbore slug barrel. So the BMG would be too heavy and too overkill.

    • +1000. You nailed it. Bunch of low-rent poseurs showing their asses to other low-rent poseurs. I think having lunch with these guys would be rather, uhm, trying . . .

      • I’m sorry, but you’re a little on the ***hole/judgemental side with this. Owning full-auto AKMs and Dushkas automatically precludes you from the low rent category. Even if those weren’t transferable guns and they only have them because their FFL license allows it, those Dushkas are $15,000-$20,000 guns even as a post-86 sample. If those are transferable AKMs, then they’re worth about $20k each.

  3. As noted above, that’s a .51 caliber DShK. And there’s no H in my first name.
    As far as using an M2 to hunt elephants, considering the range it would give you and that you would almost certainly have to have it mounted on a vehicle, I think that’s less hunting and more “aggressive shopping”.

  4. I get it, Robert. Hunting Elephants is, to me, distasteful. However for conservation purposes it seems to be necessary. Elephants and Lions and such hold little value to the people they must share space with, and would probably be wiped out as dangerous nuisances if their value to rich, foreign hunters wasn’t so high.

    For now there doesn’t seem to be a better solution.

    • Agreed. I personally have never hunted, but if you look at what happened in North America, Europe and Tasmania with the Red Wolf, Grey Wolf, Catamount, Giant Alligator Garr, Tasmanian Tiger, Jaguar, and almost the American Alligator and the Great White Shark, conservation and controlled game reservations with allowed sport hunting is far preferable to government bounties and outright state sponsored eradication of species in my opinion.

  5. Steve Lee likes guns. So I like Steve Lee. The joke wasn’t really funny but so what. If you watch his other videos it is clear he likes to shoot guns, play guitar, and ride dirt bikes. He’s a good guy.

  6. Well, that is 3 minutes and 4 seconds of my life that I cannot get back.

    More on topic, I do remember seeing a video several years ago of a few men who opened up on a small herd of elephants at close range with full auto machine guns in some modest caliber. The elephants dropped almost immediately. That suggested that some giant caliber and shot placement were anything but critical.

    Note: I don’t remember the exact context of that action although I seem to remember that it was “management” related such as reducing the size of a herd to a sustainable level or “harvesting” the elephants for meat. Either way, it didn’t seem like a very humane way to accomplish either goal.

  7. Hmmm. A rich man pays $35-$75 K for an elephant hunt. That money goes to guides, landowners, servants, etc. It’s a real incentive to prevent poaching and to provide jobs in impoverished nations. Poaching is a tenth of that financially, with money distributed almost entirely to violent criminals. If it’s a choice between legitimate hunting or poaching, I’ll take hunting any day. Even if it’s politically incorrect trophy hunting.

  8. The exotic game animals in Africa will be exterminated by the poachers, but the hunters will get the blame. I can see these animals put on preserves in countries where less poaching occurs.

      • To be fair though, it’s all nomenclature, not numbers, since so is the .50 cal. I buy British .303 bullets for my Mosins that slug to .311. Or is it the other way around? Who needs standards?

        • I’m just gonna say that you’re the only one I’ve came across that’s ever called the Dushka a .51 caliber versus a .50 caliber. It’s 12.7x108mm which is .50 cal exactly. I get it that in actuality some bullet specs are actually larger than the cartridge name implies. But calling it .51 caliber is… different. I guess. I dunno. Whatever.

        • Not any different than what the Romanian and Afghan troops that taught me to use it called it, which was a 51. They also believed the myth that the bullet was bigger around than the M2’s, when, in fact, they are both actually 51s, not 50.

    • Their 7.62 is a .311 as opposed to ours, a .308. 9mm nato is .35 9mm mak is .36. We field an 81mm mortar they field an 82.

      Russians are in a perptual dick waving contest.

      • pretty simple really man. if you look closely you will notice that all the russian calibers are just slightly bigger than ours. MEANING, they can shoot our ammo but we can’t shoot theirs. if we do shoot theirs, it will render the equipment if not the person, inept. if they shoot our ammo out of their weapons , they just lose some accuracy. that would be my educated guess.

        • Ummmm…. I think you’re gonna have an issue shooting .308 out of a 7.62x54r or .50bmg out of a Dushka.

      • pres stone, I had heard this myself for years, and then I won an adventure vacation to Afghanistan sponsored by the U.S. Army. While there, I had access to both the DShK and the M2 and got to personally find out that the stories are not true. The M2’s round won’t chamber in the DShK and the DShK’s round won’t chamber in the M2.

        • This particular story is, I think, an extension of an older one about mortars in WW2 timeframe, that is not a myth.

          In particular, most European armies at the time were using 82mm (really 81.4mm) mortar, all derived directly or indirectly from the Stokes mortar in that same caliber. Soviets captured some French-manufactured Stokes-Brandt mortars from the Chinese in 1929, and decided to make their own based on the same design, but increased the caliber to 82mm (exactly). The committee that designed it specifically gave the main reason for the caliber change as the desire to be able to use captured enemy shells while denying enemy the ability to do the same – a 0.6mm difference would be just enough for that purpose.

          This came in very handy during WW2, when Soviets were indeed able to use the captured 81mm German mortar shells, and also the American 81mm shells supplied via lend lease, while Germans had to stick to their own stuff.

          On the other hand, Germans were able to use the captured PPD, PPSh and TT guns by chambering 7.63mm Mauser in them, while the reverse was generally not safe.

      • I would argue that it’s the Americans that are in a dick waving contest, since they’re the ones who are putting larger numbers on the packaging for smaller physical size of the thing inside 🙂

        Anyway, this actually has a very simple explanation. When measuring the diameter of a rifled bore for the purpose of determining the caliber, there are different approaches as to how to deal with the rifling. US (and, generally, modern NATO) approach is to measure the distance between the bottoms of the opposite grooves. OTOH, Russians (and historically, most Europeans) measure it between the tops of the opposite lands. Consequently, the Russian way of measuring it will always produce the smaller number.

  9. Wherever such regulations exist, the AR is still capable of being an excellent hunting rifle primarily by purchasing an upper that is chambered in one of the many available up-sized calibers. There are a slew of hard-hitting calibers that are available in the AR platform with the simple switch of an upper.


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