Author Topic: How big is too big for tree rats??  (Read 24576 times)

LehighBrad

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How big is too big for tree rats??
« on: September 05, 2011, 05:21:30 PM »
Hi guys.....My question is....what's the ideal roundball caliber for plinking off a few tree rats every now and then??? Is a .40 caliber too big??? In Pa. the law is up to .44 caliber I believe for small game. I know for deer it's .44 caliber or larger. I have a .40 caliber barrel that I bought specifically for squirrel hunting but now I'm begining to think maybe a .36 or .32 would've been better to have. Any thoughts????

roundball

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2011, 05:30:06 PM »
The .40cal happens to be my choice...never having an interest in "squirrel brains" or the tiny bit of meat on the shoulders, the whole front half of a squirrel is fair game to me so caliber really doesn't matter...have shot them with a .45 and a .62cal before... 

Offline okieboy

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2011, 05:32:53 PM »
  A .36 might be better, but when I still hunted, I killed a lot of squirrels with my .45 using about 15 or 20 grains of powder. With such a light charge the meat was not overly damaged.
Okieboy

LehighBrad

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2011, 05:36:58 PM »
Thanks guys.....now I don't feel like I bought too big of a caliber. Bring on tree rat season!!!

Offline wvmtnman

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2011, 05:42:09 PM »
I personaly believe that your .40 caliber will be fine.  You really want to try for head shots.  Even with a .32 caliber, a body shot will really tear them apart.  Very similar to shooting one with a .22 mag. hollow point.
    If a head shot is not possible, the second best shot would be to hit them in the lower gut.  It will be really messy but will give you an instant kill and not waste any meat.  
   Personally I have hunted with a .32 and a .36.  Both give similar results in the field.  However, I think I like the .36 a little better due to the larger ball size.  It seems a little easier to load under pressure.  
   As far as too big, I saw a picture of a .54 flinter rifle with 6 squirrels laying under it.  Three were completly missing their heads and three were untouched.  The shooter "barked" the squirrels.  
 Here in WV we have 5 weeks until the season comes in.  I am really looking forward to squirrel gravy and squirrel stew.
                                                                              Brian
                                                                  
B. Lakatos

LehighBrad

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2011, 06:06:49 PM »
Amen on the squirrel stew!! My favorite though is to cook'em low and slow in a crock pot with various flavors of hot wing sauce!! Buffalo wing squirrel legs....I know they're good that way ,cuz even the wife will eat'em if they're made that way!! ;D

camerl2009

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2011, 06:15:21 PM »
i still dont get what the heck barking is  :P you shoot the branch under thems and what does that give the a heart attack   ???

i tried the .50 on a rabbit and boy was that a big hole and alot of meat damage

low loads in the .50 does good on coyote have not got the chance for a wolf yet but i bet it will drop them fast to

Offline SCLoyalist

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2011, 06:51:04 PM »
Barking can do the squirrel in a couple of different ways.  Wood or lead splinters can get him or the impact of ball to wood can dislodge his grip and end up dumping him on the ground, at which time you put your foot on his head and tug on his hind legs to break his neck.   You gotta be quick or the tree rat can recover and run back up the tree.

Offline alyce-james

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2011, 08:26:06 PM »
I have a .32 flint that does a great job. If I bark the critter. I take hold of the head, gloved, and the other hand around the front sholder and give a quite turn. Bagged and on to the next one. Once at home the slow-cooker is the last step. AJ
"Candy is Dandy but Liquor is Quicker". by Poet Ogden Nash 1931.

Leatherbelly

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2011, 09:16:06 PM »
Re: How big is too big for tree rats??

An eight(8) bore? yep,too bick! the 40 will be just fine!

Online Dphariss

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2011, 10:24:21 PM »
If I were building one for squirrels/small game I would use a 32.
I used 32-36-40 back in the day and all are headshots only anyway so even a 45 or 50 would work just a lot noisier and expensive to shoot.
Smaller than 32 is really not all that practical but thats just my opinion. 32 has pretty good power to 50 yards or more for stuff like fox etc.
Dan
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Offline hanshi

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2011, 10:24:54 PM »
a .32 is perfect, a .36 is that and more and a .40 can't be beat.  As rb said (and from my experience) nothing's worth saving in front of the hind quarters.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

camerl2009

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2011, 12:15:16 AM »
unlike thses guys i use as much of the animal as possible

for small game this means the meat and as much of it as i can get off thats not damaged and the fur/hide

game like deer,moose,coyote/wolf,bear the fur/hide,meat,heart/liver,bones and sinew are used yes i eat coyote and wolf meat its not bad 

idk i guess its the native blood in me but i use as much as i can to show respect for the animal


LehighBrad

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2011, 01:21:48 AM »
Nothing wrong with getting all the use you can from a kill camerl. As a young fella I can remember watching my Dad clean squirrels and he'd always get that little bit of "back meat" on the squirrel for the stew pot. Me?....I'm happy with getting four good legs off of'em. ;)

jim moore

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2011, 01:37:10 AM »
LehighBrad, in the Pa hunting trapping digest on page 21 for small game its 40 cal
or less.

Offline Gene Carrell

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2011, 02:53:54 AM »
I've  been using a 32  and try for head shots. Used a new 40 last weekend (season came in Aug. 15 in Indiana) with results similar to the 32. I do not down load; just use my accuracy  load. IMHO your 40cal is a very good choice.
Gene

camerl2009

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2011, 03:35:31 AM »
Nothing wrong with getting all the use you can from a kill camerl. As a young fella I can remember watching my Dad clean squirrels and he'd always get that little bit of "back meat" on the squirrel for the stew pot. Me?....I'm happy with getting four good legs off of'em. ;)

well im into that hole self reliance thing too so i use everything i can get


Mike R

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2011, 05:56:04 PM »
A .32 is ideal and .36 is fine.  Here in Lousyanna we are restricted from hunting small game with any caliber over .36.  I had a .40 which was very accurate and I would have tried it if legal, but gave it to my son in Arkansas, where it is legal--but he does not hunt much.   My personal squirrel rifle is a .32 which I find very like a .22 LR in effect--and I have taken hundreds [1000s?] of squirrels over the years with a .22 [100s with just the lowly .22CB].  A .32 through the head [if you don't eat the brains like many here do] is great but the .32 through the body does not destroy much meat and kills cleanly.  The .32 is cheapest to shoot too.  Why use overkill on these little beasts?  Now if I were to double up on larger varmints, the .36 might be a better choice, but I am impressed with the ability of the little .32 ball at .22 or better velocities.

BrownBear

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2011, 08:04:05 PM »
Snowshoe hare rather than squirrels, but I regularly use my bigger bore rifles including 54, 58 and 62 calibers with reduced loads for head shooting.  Just can't beat it for field practice with your big game guns.  But there's no caliber restriction here, and even if hares climbed trees there'd be little concern about the landing pad for spent balls. 

Saying all that, I really like my small bores too, so I'm usually in a bit of a quandary what to carry.  My 36 and 32 have performed flawlessly, even as I'm real prone to light charges to avoid spoiling the front shoulders with blood shot when a head shot drops into the neck.  Right now I'm working the kinks out of a 30 caliber, finding as I suspected that the kinks are in me and not in that sweet little gun.


northmn

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2011, 10:49:39 PM »
My favorite squirrel rifle is my 25 using #3 buckshot. 

I have taken them with a 45 and lighter charges as well as 32's and 40's.  The 40 with a lighter charge was no more destructive fro me than a 32 as the 32 with a pure lead roundball will decapitate a squirrel.  45's make a great all around deer/target/small game gun but I never seem to settle on one gun.  I would be able to live with hunting squirrels with a 40 if that was all I had.

DP

54Bucks

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2011, 11:12:59 PM »
 I prefer the .32 for squirrels and have no arguement with any calibre a person chooses. But I would hestitate to use Pa. Rules and Regs. as a recomendation. I think their priority is to keep  deer sized calibers out of our hands and the woods during the small game season. Kinda nonsensical when you see the regs. of other states. Then again.......in Pa. I doubt they know the difference between flint, cap, or in-line. Considering that scoped in-lines are legal for the early "muzzleloader" season.

Offline hanshi

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2011, 01:42:21 AM »
After reading all the posts I think I now understand "barking" now.  It has to do with shooting, I see.  Maybe it's that noise I've been making that actually keeps squirrels away. ;D
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Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

northmn

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2011, 03:39:07 AM »
I tried barking a squirrel once.  After the bark flew the squirrel jumped to another branch and called me names in squirrel that I am sure were not printable here.  I laughed about it and did not even bother to reload for that critter.  The squirrel has to be hugging the tree as in hiding and you shoot next to the squirrel.  Some claim to have done it with the bigger bores, but as stated the squirrel has to be hugging the branch or tree.  It is not a  universal opportunity.  The 25 kills even with body shots, but might be limited to smaller game.  If coyotes were also on the menu as they are in my area a 40 is not all bad.

DP

BrownBear

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2011, 04:00:55 AM »
Back in the good old, bad old days, pushing 40 years ago I did a whole bunch of squirrel hunting in a western state.  It was not muzzleloaders so I'll say no more about the details.  But I did try hard to bark them.  Did it a time or two, but it was a very low percentage shot for me, even though I could head shoot them much of the time.

The only sure "barking" shot I found was to shoot THROUGH the limb from the bottom up.  The explosion of wood was most impressive and deadly.  Maybe I should call it "limbing" squirrels or some such.  

In fact it became my preferred shot for squirrels way high in a tree.  I've had squirrels take a death grip on a branch with head shots and fail to come down, even though they were deader than dead.  But I never lost one from a limb shot.  Blew them too high in the air way too fast for their pointy little toes to hold on, I'm sure. ;D  I can say for sure that they didn't have to be laying flat on the limb for it to work.

Next time I get near squirrels with a muzzleloader, I'm looking forward to more speriments with limbing!
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 04:01:54 AM by BrownBear »

Daryl

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Re: How big is too big for tree rats??
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2011, 01:20:29 AM »
Tried my .69 on Pine Squirrels a couple times with the full power hunting load and was not entirely pleased with the results - it's best left for dangerous game and moose or elk - I feel the 14 bore ball is quite simply a bit on the  large side for squirrels - it does however, work well on snowshoe hare's heads with 30gr. powder. Pow--crunch/crackle.