I just got an email from an animal rights guy named Manny Jakel, who’s threatening to come after me with a “50 gauge shotgun.” Apparently, he doesn’t realize that there’s an inverse correlation between the gauge number and the bore diameter on shotguns. This is somewhat excusable, as “gauge” is an arcane term that correlates the bore diameter to how many lead spheres of that size it would take to make a pound of weight. A 20-gauge shotgun has a bore diameter of .615 inches. A sphere of pure lead with that diameter would weigh 1/20th of a pound; in other words, it would take 20 lead balls of that size to make a pound of weight. A 12-gauge has a bore diameter of .729, which means it would take twelve lead balls of that size to make up a pound of weight.
As it turns out, Manny’s hypothetical 50-gauge shotgun is not as intimidating as he’d like it to sound. My friend Bill, an engineer, did a few few calculations for me and determined that a 50-gauge shotgun would approximate the size of a .410 shotgun — basically a squirrel and rabbit gun. (Interestingly, a .410 shotgun derivates from the typical gauge-naming system; it’s name comes from the fact that its bore diameter is .410 of an inch.)
I’m bringing all of this up as a way to help poor Manny. Since he believes that predators who kill animals for food deserve to die at his hands, he’s eventually going to have to wipe out all the critters that make their living killing meat, including coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, and even bottlenose dolphins. And when he undertakes this project, he needs to realize that his 50-gauge just ain’t gonna cut it.