Author Topic: Small Game  (Read 29800 times)

northmn

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Small Game
« on: May 14, 2011, 06:17:53 PM »



Was going to entitle this squirrel rifles, but there is also other stuff out there like cottontails, snowshoes (getting scarce in my country, coyotes getting common), woodchucks, etc not counting game birds. Shown these pictures before but they do help set the theme.  I do more small game hunting than anything as deer season lasts 2 weeks and the family is moving away such that about one deer is all that we really need.  Squirrels I hide in casseroles with chicken as the family would not eat them otherwise, grouse are pretty tasty.  Starting to hunt more with a BP gun, often a smoothbore as it works best for both birds and fur in an outing.  Getting where the pleasure of being out is as enoyable as getting the game.  Sitting out in the sun or at least in the woods is not a bad way to spend time.  Have to get a finish on the 20 gauge smooth rifle as it has been sitting around awhile and I shot it in the rough last yet

DP

BrownBear

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2011, 07:11:44 PM »
We share similar "circumstances" in our need for less deer now, but even in the days of 8-10 a year I was still more of a small game hunter in days afield.  We're blessed with no closed season and no bag limit on snowshoe hares, and an 8 month ptarmigan season with a 20 bird limit, as well as a 4 month waterfowl season with generous limits.  Certainly the biggest factor in my choice of which species to hunt is weather. We don't get many nice days, and often have to contend with wind or rain and their influence on the game, as well as the hunting conditions.

Throw it all in a box and rattle it around real good,  and your assessment of the utility of smoothbores is a perfect fit.  We can legally hunt ptarmigan with rifles and handguns, and I've done my share of it.  But even when they're sitting and willing to allow head shots, it's a whole lot more fun to stomp your foot and make them fly.  Snowshoe hare and rifles are a terrific combo, but with the thick brush and the influence of weather, often as not they're on the move when you first see them.  Basically if the weather is too bad for hares or ptarmigan it's perfect for waterfowl, and if it's too good for ducks, it's perfect for the others.

I've got a "smooth rifle" in a TC Renegade with a 62 cal Green Mountain barrel, and I've got a Brown Bess.  Both get the job done, but I have to say a true shotgun (and especially a double) is a lot more satisfying and versatile in terms of balance and swing for quick wing shooting.  I'm yet to own a fowler so I can give it a workout and see for myself, but it's hard to convince myself that I'll find it as versatile as a double.

Hunting is but one of my excuses for time in the hills, and more guns leading to more hunting is certainly a worthy goal.  Anything that adds to the days out there has to be a good thing, doesn't it!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 07:14:10 PM by BrownBear »

Offline hanshi

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2011, 08:07:58 PM »
Squirrel hunting is almost dead even with deer hunting in my book.  Actually, squirrel hunting may be the more fun; and the greater challenge, too.  For years I've hunted exclusively with MLs, mostly flinters; won't ever go back to modern. 

Being a rifleman some sort of "groove tube" is usually my choice.  But now I have a nice flint smoothbore and it is seeing more use.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

northmn

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2011, 08:51:50 PM »
Squirrel hunting for me is getting more interesting as the public land for grouse hunting is getting so crowded.  Almost need a traffic cop to direct traffice on weekends.  One of my problems is that I got spoiled and it was easy to walk a couple of trails and take a couple of grouse.  Now I see a need to brush bust.  Squirrels I can sit in a chair and relax.  I also have a few deer stands on the place and sit in them once in a while.  Get to kind of scout and use them double duty.  Every now and then I jump a grouse in the oaks and am starting to take the fowlers more and more.  May even look at making one out of a 24 gauge trade gun barrel.

DP

BrownBear

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2011, 09:03:31 PM »
May even look at making one out of a 24 gauge trade gun barrel.

Good choice for my tastes.  I'm real prone to 28 gauges in modern guns, to the point that mine gets about 10x the use of my matching 20 gauge.  Just seems "right" for upland birds and hares.  Last few trips to the lower 48 for pheasants, quail and dove I left the 20 at home.  The sudden appearance of a used ML 24 gauge double would seriously realign my spending priorities!  If you make the fowler, keep us posted cuzz there's nothing in my rule book about 2 barrels.  It's all about the balance.

roundball

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2011, 09:58:56 PM »
I love squirrel hunting with a Flintlock but I struggle with the same two problems every year:

1) The squirrel season kicks off in parallel with deer season here for me, and deer trump squirrels;

2) Then once the rut is over so I feel like squirrel hunting some, the leaves are off the trees and they can see me coming a mile away.

But...any day in the woods trumps everything else !
 ;D

blunderbuss

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2011, 02:50:08 AM »
I love squirrel hunting with a Flintlock but I struggle with the same two problems every year:

1) The squirrel season kicks off in parallel with deer season here for me, and deer trump squirrels;

2) Then once the rut is over so I feel like squirrel hunting some, the leaves are off the trees and they can see me coming a mile away.

But...any day in the woods trumps everything else !
 ;D
I hunt squirrel with a .25 flintlock 10gr fffg it doesn't make alot of noise .Our deer season is mostly the same as deer season I do the squirrel hunting in the middle of the day .Deer hunt morning and night.


Offline hanshi

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2011, 04:55:29 AM »
I love squirrel hunting with a Flintlock but I struggle with the same two problems every year:

1) The squirrel season kicks off in parallel with deer season here for me, and deer trump squirrels;

2) Then once the rut is over so I feel like squirrel hunting some, the leaves are off the trees and they can see me coming a mile away.

But...any day in the woods trumps everything else !
 ;D

I don't mind the bare trees as that makes it easier for me to see the squirrels.  Otherwise yes, it's hard to pull away from deer hunting and concentrate on squirrels.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Offline Kermit

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2011, 05:23:23 AM »
Blunderbuss--10 grains? I'm shooting 20. Am I wasting powder? Could I be even more frugal and still be effective? I see some range time coming.....
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

northmn

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2011, 05:33:35 AM »
Blunderbuss--10 grains? I'm shooting 20. Am I wasting powder? Could I be even more frugal and still be effective? I see some range time coming.....

I was thinking the same thing.

DP

BrownBear

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2011, 08:56:05 AM »
It certainly depends on what the gun wants, but after years of shooting 20 grains in my 32 I recently dropped it to 15 and it shot as well or better.  In my experience 20 grains in a 32 is still a bit much, because if you drop the shot from the head into the neck of a hare, you can pretty well write off the front shoulders due to blood shot.  I'm finishing a 30 cal right now, and I had expected to start at 20 grains and work down, hopefully to around 10 grains or so.  I'd expect that or less as the charge in a 25 for ideal hare performance, certainly within 30 yards or so where most of the shooting occurs.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2011, 08:56:56 AM by BrownBear »

northmn

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2011, 04:37:22 PM »
When I had a 32 I used to shoot 15 grains at squirrels and got a few with it.  The loads may not do that well at longer ranges, but some of the stuff is shot at distances in feet and not yards.  When I used the 45 I loaded down to about 30 grains.  Same for the 40.  The 40 really does not do that much damage either.  They will carry further on tree shots.  The smallbores are fun but I used to get a few with a larger rifle.  If they hug a tree squirrels can be "barked".  Although you can speed them up if you do not do it right.

DP

Daryl

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2011, 05:45:00 PM »
My .69 worked well on snowshoe hares, with a mere 30gr. 3F. I suspect the velocity was in the 500 to 600fps range. You could hear almost a slow motion-sound bone crunching as that big slow moving ball passed through their little heads.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2011, 05:45:28 PM by Daryl »

Roxie_L

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2011, 06:45:03 PM »
I've been lurking for a while and just saying "Hello" now.

I don't have a .25 but I do have some in the .30-.40 range.  This all started when I went shooting with a guy I worked with who taught me the basics of loading and shooting his Lyman Plains rifle.  Needless to say I was hooked and have been ever since.  When I got my first .32 flintlock I was using 25+ grains of 3f and it wasn't grouping like I thought it should and the fouling was just dreadful!  In my quest to learn, I came across a forum post from a guy who suggested using a light charge of 2f.  After some experimenting I settled on 13 grains in the flintlock and 10 grains in the underhammer, both give good accuracy and I'm not blowing game animals to bits.

Ciao!
Roxie

BrownBear

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2011, 07:10:48 PM »
In my quest to learn, I came across a forum post from a guy who suggested using a light charge of 2f.  After some experimenting I settled on 13 grains in the flintlock and 10 grains in the underhammer, both give good accuracy and I'm not blowing game animals to bits.

Ciao!
Roxie

Welcome, and many thanks for the post!  I missed the post you reference, but I'm certainly interested.  It never even occurred to me to try 2f in my small bores, but in my lifelong bent for breaking "rules" and learning the real truth, I'm certainly going to try it.  Thanks!

Offline hanshi

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2011, 08:19:59 PM »
Welcome, Roxie.  Back when I hunted with my .32 using 30 grains of 3F, it was the most accurate load for that little rifle and it was not any more destructive on squirrels than a .22LR HP.  I experimented with 20 grains but any improvement was inconclusive.  I still may split the difference and try 25 or maybe even 15.  I don't shoot it as much now that I have a .36 flinter.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Offline Skychief

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2011, 09:34:46 PM »
In my quest to learn, I came across a forum post from a guy who suggested using a light charge of 2f.  After some experimenting I settled on 13 grains in the flintlock and 10 grains in the underhammer, both give good accuracy and I'm not blowing game animals to bits.

Ciao!
Roxie

Welcome, and many thanks for the post!  I missed the post you reference, but I'm certainly interested.  It never even occurred to me to try 2f in my small bores, but in my lifelong bent for breaking "rules" and learning the real truth, I'm certainly going to try it.  Thanks!

BrownBear, I have a 45 caliber that prefers 2f in lieu of 3f.   Like you, I have not tried 2f in anything smaller to speak of.

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2011, 09:49:05 PM »
Quote
I came across a forum post from a guy who suggested using a light charge of 2f.  After some experimenting I settled on 13 grains in the flintlock
Rarely shoot 2f in anything anymore but I will sure give it a try in my .32. I assumed the fouling was a part of shoot the small bores.
Welcome to ALR, good to have another lady to join with us.
Dennis
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camerl2009

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2011, 10:01:25 PM »
i find people like to use 3f in every thing up to 12ga i use 2f in my .50 lol some people think use faster burning powder becuse thay want more FPS  ::) thay dont think that a slow burning powder will do the same job in fact it mite do better in some guns becuse it burns longer down the barrel

i use 2f in every thing i have except my BPCR .577-450 i use 1f in that

Offline Cobweb

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2011, 10:21:25 PM »

First of all--- Welcome Roxie! You'll never regret joining on here.

In the middle '80's I was unemployed a great deal of the time. I took my .40 cal. Poor Boy squirrel hunting a lot! I used 18 grains of 2F with spit patch and a .386 ball. Very accurate out to 60 yards. I shot 114 during the season but you have to realize we have a very long season. It runs from the Saturday before Memorial Day to Feb. 15th.

I started saving the claws and made a necklace of them. I couldn't wear it without a leather shirt! Those are the sharpest little buggers :o you ever saw and would work their way through any sort of cloth.
I finally just hung it up for decoration!

John
Nobody can help everybody, but everybody can help somebody!

blunderbuss

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2011, 10:29:52 PM »
Blunderbuss--10 grains? I'm shooting 20. Am I wasting powder? Could I be even more frugal and still be effective? I see some range time coming.....
What ever the rifle shoots with is the best answer, but for close range work on a squirrel one could use a pellet gun I mean even a pellet gun and surely your .25 will shoot that hard with 10 g ffg It doesn't have to pop or crack your not looking for warp speed just get the ball in ol fluffy If it starts bouncing off squirrels I'd go up on the charge. :D

BrownBear

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2011, 01:58:44 AM »
Having nothing to do with anything except the fact that I was shooting squirrels, back in the late 60's squirrel season on the west coast corresponded with deer season, and I got to experimenting with quiet loads.  I ended up with 1.1 grains of bullseye powder under a 38 special wadcutter for 350 fps if I recall correctly.  With that load I often managed limits of 4 squirrels while deer hunting with friends- yet they almost never heard my shots.  You could actually watch the wadcutter through the air on a sunny day, but I can recall only one squirrel that it failed to penetrate completely. 

Taking that into terms more suitable for my current interests, I'm sure if it wasn't for the smoke I could watch the ball from my 58 and 62 cals with the 30 grain charge I'm using in them for snowshoe hares.  Sighted in dead on at 25 yards, they drop completely below the paper on a standard target at 75 yards.  Yet they almost completely decapitate a hare at any range I've hit them. 

blunderbuss

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2011, 02:12:18 AM »
Years ago i went to a North South skirmish at or near Dixie gun works. As I was sitting on the ground and there fore under the rounds with the sky as a back drop I could see the Minies going down range.
 I've used .22 CB's for squirrel hunting too my pellet gun is louder than those

northmn

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2011, 02:13:35 AM »
When we had a discussion on long range lethality of round ball, I loaded a 54 with 20 grains of 3f and chronographed it.  It gave a velocity in the high 500's and penetrated about 4-5 inches of wetpack.  A 22 long rifle would pentrate more as I tried it against that 54 load,  Still it would work.  Personally, I like the small bores, but could live with hunting with a larger one loaded very light.  Even so, it is kind of satisfying to rest the rifle and make a longer shot on a more distant target.  Small bores make that more possible.  I have been seeing a few grouse this fall so suspect I may be hunting with the smoothbore a little more.  Still it pleasant to go out into the woods and sit a bit and wait for a squirrel to come along.  I have had grouse fly in close to deer stands also.  I remembe a young spike buck taht I could have nealry tackled while sitting on a stump waiting for a squirrel.

DP  

blunderbuss

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Re: Small Game
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2011, 02:30:47 AM »
I had a friend years ago that had a 48" barreld percussion .36 long rifle he'd shoot smallgame with it but if he wanted to shoot white tail he'd double ball it.He said that at 50 yards the balls were about an inch apart.
The old timers would shoot one grain per caliber or less that's  45-50 grains.  A .50 A duelling pistol carried 3/4 of a dram  and a dram is 27 1/2 grains That load will just barely kill ya.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 05:14:32 PM by blunderbuss »