What caliber for alligators/crocodiles (Florida)


Highland Ranger
April 13, 2005, 02:46 PM
Have a friend who fishes in Florida on a regular basis - just got his Florida concealed carry permit and wants to carry something for self defense that will also be useful for any alligators or crocs he runs up against. (Believe alligators are more common)

So the question, what caliber for big reptiles?

(refreshing to get away from bears eh?)

Leaning toward recommending a 4" S&W 629 in stainless (44mag) . . . . big enough?

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HI express
April 13, 2005, 02:52 PM
There was a guy that posted under the user name..Alan Fud. He related an incident about a few years back where he had just moved to Florida, bought a place near the water and his daughter was just kind of wandering towards the water when he noticed a big log that started moving towards her. :what:

Realizing that it was a Florida 'gator, he started running towards it shooting his .40 caliber handgun....to no effect in his estimate. :uhoh: I believe he ran dry but it was enough for him to get to his little girl, scoop her up, and run away.

That's what I recall and I'm sticking to it. :confused:

April 13, 2005, 02:53 PM
Crocs are nasty.

I'd tend towards shotgun/rifle. Not only do they have a thick skull and smaller brain, they have the reptilian resistance to damage, it takes more damage to drop them immediatly.

April 13, 2005, 02:57 PM
12 gauge shotgun...close range. Maybe a higher caliber handgun (45 colt, 44, etc).

Bear Gulch
April 13, 2005, 03:07 PM
I'd get a cheap 8mm mauser for a boat gun. Steel core 8mm will sttle gators hash. Intersting point raise by your post. I think that there are some croc in Florida and that they are endangered. Shooting one would not doubt bring on the wrath of the fish cops.

April 13, 2005, 03:20 PM
The problem with alligators (and crocodiles) is that they really have only one point that will "switch them off" instantly - a brain shot. Their brains are high up on the head, and one usually needs a shot from a position above them to shoot down into the brain pan. I've seen crocs in Africa taken with a .243, but the shooter had to get a direct hit on the brain to stop them in their tracks.

So, I don't think a heavy caliber is going to make that much of a difference (I don't know if alligator nervous systems are well-developed enough to take much notice of a solid body shot). Shot placement is going to be the most important thing.

April 13, 2005, 03:51 PM
An ongoing problem for golfers on Hilton Head. Seems every year a golfer or two loses a hunk of meat after pursuing an errant ball. I guess you could put a rifle in your bag. Yea, that's the ticket. A rifle with some kind of butt cover to sorta conceal it. Then again a 4" 686 with some seriously souped of ball ammo would give you a fighting chance.

April 13, 2005, 03:58 PM
Use alligator spray instead


April 13, 2005, 04:18 PM
seriously a good solid hit by one of those will pretty much stop
all but the nastiest gators. Just think its another cool attachment
for your M-4. :evil:

April 13, 2005, 04:24 PM
.357 magnum!

Don't ask me how I know...

April 13, 2005, 05:12 PM
A well placed shot (as previously pointed out) from any decent handgun cartidge will put down a gator. But you are asking specifically about a defensive round, I think a shotgun is your best bet.

Gators don't present much of a target due to their build and bulk, but a shot to the eye(s) will spin them around and start them rolling. Most gator hunters use a lever action rifle or .38, .357 to dispatch the animal but these shots are from above the animals head. A defensive shot will be difficult at best but a load of #6 to the eye area should allow you time to get out of the immediate area.

April 13, 2005, 05:18 PM
wow, this is interesting- you probably could hit a gator several times in the body, and all it would do is make it more angry.

what about hitting it in the back? spine damage wouldnt slow it down?

do they really attack that often? my Gma had one in her yard (has a place n a canal), it never did anything, but when it got really big, fish and game came over and just shot it.

there was one in the bushes at the swimming spring, all it did was croak a lot, i thought they pretty much stay away from people??

do they actually come at you in a boat sometimes??

ps- if there are any crocs left, they are protected, you should check on that.

wow check out this site=

"man beats gator with nose punch!"

also- "The crocodile, whose range extends to Peru, is listed as endangered by U.S. and international wildlife agencies. Thirty years ago, because of hunting and habitat loss, the crocodile population in South Florida had dwindled to less than 400.

Now, though, the number is up to 1,000—enough to prompt the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider down-listing the crocodile's status to "threatened," according to Britta Muiznieks, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife recovery biologist who specializes in endangered South Florida wildlife. "

this art. goes on to say american crocs are not agressive, and are pretty much only in the southern swamps, so you probably wont see any crocs, just gators

Bear Gulch
April 13, 2005, 05:55 PM
See if it's endangered I might get lost on the way back drop my rifle into and not be able to navigate back to where it all happened. The harrowing experience of getting lots might cause me to repress any memory of the event before I could even contact Fish and Game. :D

April 13, 2005, 06:06 PM
357 magnum!

Don't ask me how I know...
TheFederalistWeasel, Special Agent-Bureau of Missing Socks

Okay Federalist come clean. :scrutiny:

How do you know?

April 13, 2005, 06:42 PM
Main problem I'd see with shooting one of those varmits is that you've done been bit before you get a chance to unholster your weapon. Those things are amazing at the ambush.

I don't like to get bit by a dog, let alone a mini-dinosaur.

Highland Ranger
April 13, 2005, 08:53 PM
Didn't realize they were that tough.

Re endangered: yes there are Crocs, believe they are endangered, fewer of them than gators and only in the Everglades I believe.

Heard that they were more aggressive than alligators and that they are controlling the gator shooting because folks were mistaking crocs for gators.

Not an issue for him, he's fishing further north and even if it was, me being endangered trumps any list, anytime.

(I'm all for saving animals when they aren't trying to eat me, then I need to reassert my top of the food chain status.)

April 13, 2005, 08:57 PM
Yep. As has already been said, them critters are hard to put down with body shots. Since he's asking about something he can carry concealed, I'd recommend a good quality, hi-capacity 9mm. Gators and crocs don't have a lot of thickness to them, so you don't really need so much penetration, but you would probably want as many shots as you can carry.

Some fairly hot hollowpoints (and lots of them) would be easiest to conceal.

April 13, 2005, 08:59 PM

The only way you can shoot a croc or gator and NOT go to jail is if you can show the bite marks and running blood. This definitely falls into the "shoot, shovel, shut up" category.

April 13, 2005, 09:39 PM
he started running towards it shooting his .40 caliber handgunRunning + shooting a handgun = missing. At least for most folks.

Bear Gulch
April 13, 2005, 09:42 PM
Or the trauma induced amnesia method described earlier. I though that they were opening up some gator seasons. I was watching people actually using a bow with a fiberglass bowfishing like arrow and a line with a float. They were working it much like bowfishing for gar at night with lights.

April 13, 2005, 09:47 PM
try a winchester lever action in .44/.357 if you want a rifle. or just those same rounds in a nice accurate pistol. bring plenty of back up ammo, just incase :D

P5 Guy
April 13, 2005, 10:27 PM
What ever you shoot a gator or croc with DO NOT get caught doing so. Even the new no retreat law won't get you out of trouble.

April 13, 2005, 10:46 PM
Heard that they were more aggressive than alligators and that they are controlling the gator shooting because folks were mistaking crocs for gators.
Okay, I knew there is a difference between a crocodile and an alligator, but can anyone explain to me what the difference is? If a "log" starts chasing me along a canal, how do I know if it's a croc or a 'gator?

April 13, 2005, 11:14 PM
how do I know if it's a croc or a 'gator?


Here's one:


and here's the other:


April 13, 2005, 11:29 PM
Long, thin snout: Alligator
Can see the bottom teeth w/mouth closed: Crocodile

April 13, 2005, 11:35 PM
how do I know if it's a croc or a 'gator?

The nose of a croc comes to more of a rounded point, the gator has more of a squared off boxy snout.

April 14, 2005, 10:19 AM
But don't take too long deciding which one is about to take your leg off!!
And don't try to outrun one.
Well,you can try I guess...they like a little exercise with their meal. :D

April 14, 2005, 10:38 AM
Anything that will penetrate. Previous posts about the necessity of a brain shot are correct, but a gators brain is only about the size of a plum, so AIM CAREFULLY! The American Croc is very rare, so I doubt you would ever run into one, but the same rules apply. Actually a stout stick, five feet or so long like a nice walking staff, provides excellent protection. Gators don't like to be poked in the face with a stick....I know!



April 14, 2005, 01:29 PM
What about 10mm. Say the glock 20 or 29, they're concealable and should have enough power/penetration.

Bear Gulch
April 14, 2005, 01:48 PM
Top one, croc

bottom, gator

April 14, 2005, 02:16 PM
A guy I know shot a gator with an ak down past Krome in Miami, (southwest dade) out at one of the lakes back in the woods past the burnt out insurance job cars. (locals get this one)

Gator wasn't in battle mode and settled down pretty quickly. I would not lay bets on any blaster with a pissed off gator though.

I'm told there are crocs down here but have never seen one. The only time I've ever seen a pants ????ting big gator was in Lake County FL.

I am pretty sure legit hunters use bang sticks or handguns close up, .357 and .44 mag I would imagine.

April 14, 2005, 04:31 PM
I know a guy who killed a gator legally hunting it.

He used a .30-06 rifle from a boat. It was a head shot. The top of the head looked like it got caved in by a sledgehammer. That gator went DRT.

His son in law shot another one, that one wasn't DRT, to bad they didn't find out until it tried to eat them when they got it into the boat.

Bear Gulch
April 14, 2005, 04:42 PM
I seem to remember reading that the FAL was a popular croc rifle in Africa.

April 14, 2005, 05:11 PM
There is a legal gator season in Georgia and I also believe one in Florida. Might also have one in South Carolina.

Folks hunting them generally use a bang stick - its a long speer/pole that has either a 12 gauge slug or a .45 ACp on it. You sneak up on the gator in your boat, place it at the base of their skull and go BANG.

Kills em pretty quick, but its not too easy to get that close to them. As other have pointed out, like most reptiles, they don't have a very developed central nervous system, so shots to the brain stem via the base of the skull are really the only way to take them down consistently.

April 14, 2005, 05:52 PM
I have a newspaper article around here somewhere from the Pensacola News-Journal discussing a 13.5-foot, 850-pound alligator some professional gator hunters pulled out of Perdido Bay. He had lost his fear of people and had started nosing around where he could easily have eaten a child (or at 850 pounds, an adult!). As I recall, the gator hunters were working out of a 13' Boston Whaler and the gator took them on a Nantucket sleighride before they were done. :what:

I once had a beaver scare the @$%&! out of me while walking near a Florida pond after dark. When beavers are alarmed, they slip into the water, then slap their tail and surface-dive, and the sound they make sounds like a 500-pound alligator just jumped in the water. I had my flashlight off, it was VERY dark, and I was about 10 feet from the water's edge. I apparently startled the beaver, who then REALLY startled me with the gator impression...

Oh, our local convenience store in Florida sold, among other things, alligator jerky. I fed some to our miniature poodle so I could tell everybody that our dog ate an alligator...

April 14, 2005, 07:25 PM
I seem to remember reading that the FAL was a popular croc rifle in Africa.
The FAL is a popular anything rifle in Africa! :D

brian roberts
April 14, 2005, 07:47 PM
hmmm....Perdido bay....my airbase was on the Perdido, i swam in that water; never knew there were 'gators in there though.
anyway, if you can find an old S&W 624, get it ported, & load it w/some 250gr Keiths. no real sense in using a mag., too much torque in a 4" bbl. lotsa recoil. if you want something really light, you can get one of the Scandium S&Ws; they make a 4" 329, i believe it is, goes about 27ozs. needless to say, you DEFINITELY want THAT one ported, then you'll have to develop a load that uses souped-up .44 Special ballistics w/Pachmayr full-frame grips. this does require some practice, but you should be able to handle it. the Marlin .44 lever will do a good job; the .357 carbine will work well, too, you just have to remember that w/the extra velocity generated in the longer bbl., don't use a bullet LIGHTER than 158-160gr., as the lighter bullets will fragment. HTH :cool: .

Bear Gulch
April 14, 2005, 08:27 PM
Brian or you ran the risk of sharks out at Ft Pickens. We swam there as kids about 100yards from the pier. One day while swimming, we watched a fellow pull out a 7 foot hammerhead from the water near us. As a 12 years old, I was pretty durned impressed.

April 14, 2005, 09:20 PM
Here's a couple shots I took while in FL.. almost wished I'd had my firearm instead of my camara. :o


Bear Gulch
April 14, 2005, 09:30 PM
nice pics!

April 15, 2005, 01:51 AM
Arnie used his trusty Desert Eagle in Eraser to cap gators!

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