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Thread: Rubber bullets and deer

  1. #1
    Member Sh00ter's Avatar
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    Rubber bullets and deer

    James Cagney wrote some great posts about his father and net guns on FB. He has very kindly allowed me to collate them into a blog post.
    One of the stories involved homemade rubber bullets and I thought it would be cool to share here.
    Stories of the early days of the venison industry never cease to amaze me. All the talent and guts that went into getting it started, would make a great movie.


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    Here's an extract from the blog,
    During the late 70's Robin Cagney started his early net gun development while he was with South West Helicopters. At the same time he experimented with other ideas for helicopter deer live capture, one of these was the use of rubber bullets to ‘stun’ deer.

    Robin, always the gun guru and experimenter, found that one portion of the back end of a cowshed inflation rubber fitted perfectly in the bore of a 12 gauge shotgun. Robin made rubber 12 gauge slugs by cutting these to about 1 inch in length and plugging the hole in the middle with a rubber plug and adhesive.

    He worked up loads in the 12 gauge, using the carcasses of dead bobby calves as the test media to perfect the right charge, so that he had the optimum velocity at the usual ‘out the helicopter door’ range to thump the deer, without breaking the skin. He worked the powder charge up until the rubber bullet would break the skin of the dead bobby calf and penetrate, and would then back the load off a grain, so that he had maximum thump, without penetrating and killing the animal.

    When Robin and Patrick tested this out of the helicopter on deer, it knocked the deer down, but not for long. On an early experimental run, Patrick wanted to see the deer knocked down for a bit longer so there would be more time for Robin to jump on the incapacitated animal; he wanted Robin to increase the charge. Robin insisted that if he upped the charge it would kill the deer. A dead deer was worth only 5% to 10% the value of a live one at the time.
    So they upped the powder charge - possibly by a couple more grains than required to prove the point. Anyways they got onto a big hind, Robin put the shot, from above, between the hinds shoulder blades. The rubber slug exited out the hinds brisket and rolled up dead.

    Back to the drawing board - Robin figured that the only way to increase knock down thump without penetrating and killing the animal was to increase the diameter or the rubber bullet. His next ‘stun gun’ was built on a Lee Enfield .303 with the barrel cut down. The large diameter barrel was something like 1.5” - 1.75” in diameter, the perfect size for a push fit of the good old ‘superball’, the big solid rubber bouncy ball, a popular kids toy at the time.


    The superball would be muzzle loaded with a ramrod and the .303 loaded with a blank net gun cartridge. This proved surprisingly accurate and effective in initial testing, but no doubt the potential ricochet hazard of that big bouncy ball caused some concerns. By this time the net gun had established itself as ‘the tool’ for helicopter live capture and it prevailed.
    Hit the hills, live the BushLife!

    https://bushlifenz.com

  2. #2
    Member Sh00ter's Avatar
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    Those guys were literally making it up as they went along.


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    Joe Collins and Stu Patton's 300 with the net around the rotor head.

    Joe had been living with the Cagney's on the West Coast, this must have been late 1978 or '79. When Robin was building his early net guns. Joe had Robin build him the net gun pictured. This was Joe's first net gun. Joe was into motor cross and had a few motor cross bikes at the time. He swapped one of his bikes, a Yamaha YZ80 for the net gun build. Robin gave the YZ to his sons Grant and James. This was their first bike, they were about 9 at the time. A few days after receiving the new net gun, Joe called with the news that he had put the net into the rotors and bought the 300 down.


    For those interested there's more on the blog,
    https://bushlifenz.com/blogs/bushlif...elopment-in-nz
    NRT, NZ_noddy, Gibo and 8 others like this.
    Hit the hills, live the BushLife!

    https://bushlifenz.com

  3. #3
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    Joe was known as a bit of a no fear pilot when I was young. Once at a fly-in at Galatea he claimed he could loop the loop in his 500, when doubted by some of the guys there he went out, cranked up the chopper and actually did it.
    Sh00ter and paremata like this.

  4. #4
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    @wekaman
    Show Pete this eh?
    wekaman likes this.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RUMPY View Post
    Joe was known as a bit of a no fear pilot when I was young. Once at a fly-in at Galatea he claimed he could loop the loop in his 500, when doubted by some of the guys there he went out, cranked up the chopper and actually did it.
    Local bushman now retired shot for a while for Joe Keeley. Up Raupunga Keeley did a loop for the locals after a hunt.
    Sh00ter and RUMPY like this.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sh00ter View Post
    James Cagney wrote some great posts about his father and net guns on FB. He has very kindly allowed me to collate them into a blog post.
    One of the stories involved homemade rubber bullets and I thought it would be cool to share here.
    Stories of the early days of the venison industry never cease to amaze me. All the talent and guts that went into getting it started, would make a great movie.


    Attachment 248528
    Here's an extract from the blog,
    During the late 70's Robin Cagney started his early net gun development while he was with South West Helicopters. At the same time he experimented with other ideas for helicopter deer live capture, one of these was the use of rubber bullets to ‘stun’ deer.

    Robin, always the gun guru and experimenter, found that one portion of the back end of a cowshed inflation rubber fitted perfectly in the bore of a 12 gauge shotgun. Robin made rubber 12 gauge slugs by cutting these to about 1 inch in length and plugging the hole in the middle with a rubber plug and adhesive.

    He worked up loads in the 12 gauge, using the carcasses of dead bobby calves as the test media to perfect the right charge, so that he had the optimum velocity at the usual ‘out the helicopter door’ range to thump the deer, without breaking the skin. He worked the powder charge up until the rubber bullet would break the skin of the dead bobby calf and penetrate, and would then back the load off a grain, so that he had maximum thump, without penetrating and killing the animal.

    When Robin and Patrick tested this out of the helicopter on deer, it knocked the deer down, but not for long. On an early experimental run, Patrick wanted to see the deer knocked down for a bit longer so there would be more time for Robin to jump on the incapacitated animal; he wanted Robin to increase the charge. Robin insisted that if he upped the charge it would kill the deer. A dead deer was worth only 5% to 10% the value of a live one at the time.
    So they upped the powder charge - possibly by a couple more grains than required to prove the point. Anyways they got onto a big hind, Robin put the shot, from above, between the hinds shoulder blades. The rubber slug exited out the hinds brisket and rolled up dead.

    Back to the drawing board - Robin figured that the only way to increase knock down thump without penetrating and killing the animal was to increase the diameter or the rubber bullet. His next ‘stun gun’ was built on a Lee Enfield .303 with the barrel cut down. The large diameter barrel was something like 1.5” - 1.75” in diameter, the perfect size for a push fit of the good old ‘superball’, the big solid rubber bouncy ball, a popular kids toy at the time.


    The superball would be muzzle loaded with a ramrod and the .303 loaded with a blank net gun cartridge. This proved surprisingly accurate and effective in initial testing, but no doubt the potential ricochet hazard of that big bouncy ball caused some concerns. By this time the net gun had established itself as ‘the tool’ for helicopter live capture and it prevailed.
    A lump of plasticine in a shotgun wad works too.
    Sh00ter likes this.
    Overkill is still dead.

 

 

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