Author Topic: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?  (Read 32545 times)

Offline JTR

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Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« on: February 26, 2015, 01:59:56 AM »
I think I read all of the 'Let's see all of the squirrel rifles' thread, and there's some fine looking guns there! I've got the urge to build something along these lines and have most of the details for a rifle in mind, well, except for the caliber.

Seems caliber in the other thread ran from about .25 up to around .40, with .32 being mentioned a lot, if not the most. Out here, all of our squirrels live in the ground and aren't much good to eat, so most of my shooting would be targets.

So, if you were going to build or buy another squirrel buster, what caliber would you chose? And why; accuracy, longer range capability, easy of loading, etc?

Thanks, John     
John Robbins

Offline Don Adams

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2015, 02:28:42 AM »
I currently have a .32 caliber Tennessee rifle that is very accurate and I don't seem to have a whole lot of trouble with loading it.  I am hoping that a builder that I have used in the past will make me a real nice Tennessee Southern Mountain in a .40 caliber.  A lot depends on his health right now as he is not in very good shape.  He is still very weak, but optimistic that he will recover.  I am praying that he will make a full recovery.  He's working on a dainty yet man sized rifle.  He's working out the safety and strength factors before he starts building it for others.

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2015, 06:19:24 AM »
I read up all i could when making this decision a year or two ago,  and the result is that I am making a 30

and backing that up with a 40. 

I mean it could be windy right? 

Accuracy is paramount, every other consideration is bogus if you don't hit the critter.
Hold to the Wind

Offline wattlebuster

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2015, 07:02:48 PM »
Id go .40 an never look back. I like being able to use a 3/8th ramrod too
Nothing beats the feel of a handmade southern iron mounted flintlock on a cold frosty morning

Offline Daryl

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2015, 07:03:16 PM »
Years ago, I borrowed Taylor's original little English rifle for shooting showshoe hares.  The bore of this rifle was rotten, so Taylor turned down or had Don Robinson turn down a round .36 Bauska barrel to make a liner. As well, Taylor bored out the little English gun's barrel for this .36 cal.  liner using a long shank drill seems to me. I think Taylor used AcraGlass for the sickum.

The little rifle shoots amazingly well. With 40gr. of powder (I think it was - 30 years ago), it will completely remove a hare's head - that part of the formula I remember quite vividly. I suggest .36 is a might strong for squirrels, however, if one stays away from the eating part, it should be ok.
Daryl

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Offline Tony N

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2015, 07:57:02 PM »
I have a .32, .36, and a .40 and in my opinion, a head shots required by all! If in fact they are to be eaten, which in my case they are!

~Tony

Offline JTR

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2015, 09:28:41 PM »
Thank you guys!
I should have mentioned that I already have a .40, so am leaning more toward a .36 or a .32. And, I had a .36 once, and never could get it to shoot accurately so tossed the barrel and put the .40 in its place.

So I guess I'm coming to down to just how good accuracy wise is a .32, and out to what range?

For the rifle, I'm thinking an 'A' weight barrel, 46 inches long, so looong and skinny.
John   
John Robbins

Offline little joe

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2015, 10:09:23 PM »
This is nitpicking but for me a 36 as the 32 is much harder to load with my husky (chubby)  and arthritic fingers. Have witnessed fine shooting from both.

Offline hanshi

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2015, 10:32:31 PM »
Yes, a .32 is a bit more "fumble prone" than larger bores.  Still, I prefer the .32 by a slight margin and it is as accurate as one is able to shoot.  A .36, assuming a good barrel, is as accurate as a .32 or a .40.  For me the choice is .32 vs .36.  It's easy to underestimate the .32 since it is tiny.  But the .32 can be a terror when loaded up and a gentle squirrel head shooter when loaded down.  And the .32 (along with the .36) can be astonishingly accurate at a longer range than suspected.
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Offline iloco

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2015, 10:41:16 PM »
I have a 36 and a 32.
 I prefer the 32 for shooting.  It's just a fun gun to shoot and mine is very accurate. I am waiting on a 40 caliber to arrive anyday so will see how I like it when it arrives.
iloco

Offline shifty

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2015, 10:47:39 PM »
  10grns 3f in my 32 is all i need for squirrels out to as far as i can hit one , loading is no problem with a block and i use a hollow brass ram rod  cleaning is no more difficult than my other calibers,great cal. I think with bigger charge maybe up to 35grns it would take care of anything up to Coyotes at 50 yds or so, my rifle has a 1/48 twist barrel.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2015, 12:03:57 AM »
My .32 will put usually 5 into an inch to 1-1/2" at 50 yards. My other rifles will usually group close to 1/2"- all shot the same, off bags.
I found a huge difference between light loads as in 20gr. had heavier loads as in 35gr. when I started shooting at 50yards.  The light charges opened groups to 2 1/2 times as large. The longer ranges required more powder - same as with ALL of my rifles - no change there.
If I use an oiled patch as in hunting, I have to increase the charge to 40gr. 3F.
The rifle shoots cleanly - easy to load and shoot all day, no wiping when using either the .311" ball (.311"Lee mould) or the .320" (.319 Lee mould) balls. Cleans up quickly at home after a day's plinking on the range.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline flinchrocket

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2015, 01:11:31 AM »
I think my next squirrel gun is going to be 54 cal. Smoothbore with some #6 shot dumped down the
barrel. ( .530 round ball for big bushytails).
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 01:13:59 AM by flinchrocket »

Offline JTR

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2015, 01:14:06 AM »
Okay, thanks, excellent information and I appreciate it!
I think I'll go with a .32.
Now to find a barrel.
I'd like to build the rifle as a compilation of two of the southern mountain rifles I have, but finding a swamped barrel anywhere close to the dimensions of the barrels on my rifles looks like it's going to be difficult. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm thinking long and slender, and my rifle with the 45 inch long barrel measures .900 at the breech, .775 at the waist, which is about 32 inches from the breech, and .915 at the muzzle.
I think Ed Rayl will make a barrel like that, but I'm not sure how long the wait might be.
John
John Robbins

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2015, 02:31:53 AM »
Thank you guys!
I should have mentioned that I already have a .40, so am leaning more toward a .36 or a .32. And, I had a .36 once, and never could get it to shoot accurately so tossed the barrel and put the .40 in its place.

So I guess I'm coming to down to just how good accuracy wise is a .32, and out to what range?

For the rifle, I'm thinking an 'A' weight barrel, 46 inches long, so looong and skinny.
John    

Yes, 46" is a good number.  And heck yeah, .36 is extremely close to 40-so 32 is the next "logical" step if you want a modern "standard" bore size.  

Accuracy-wise, it is what you make it.  Takes a good bbl, well-constructed gun (good sights and eyes), predictable lock, and a properly-developed load (of consistent components).  No ball size has "unique" properties of accuracy.  

Lighter projectiles will always shed speed more quickly and thus drop and drift more at (as a function of time to target) than heavier projectiles started at the same speed.  This fact cannot be avoided (without changing projectile shape), and is the foundation of my comment "It might be windy" with reference to the 40 in my initial reply to this thread.

The "wait" for a bbl from any maker doesn't get shorter until one makes that order.   ;)  Jason does the "Southern Classic" and a squirrel version of that, but they're only 42 inches long.  They have a thicker waist-much more like the old stuff. I inquired with him and he says he can make longer.  I'm not ready to place that order but you might be.  Says he can go to 4', don't know if up-charges or extended delivery time would be expected.  I won't trouble him with that query until i have $ in hand, ready to order. These guys can make bbls faster if the tire-kickers don't hassle 'em all day.  :P
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 03:05:08 AM by WadePatton »
Hold to the Wind

Offline flinchrocket

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2015, 04:05:43 AM »
JTR, Rice just came out with a barrel that's 45 in. long called " Allentown". You can find specs. in the items
for sale forum on page 3.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 04:08:48 AM by flinchrocket »

Offline JTR

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2015, 08:20:39 PM »
Thanks, I'll take a look!
John
John Robbins

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2015, 09:07:30 PM »
John i'm sure you've read some of these previous threads, but as i'm a bit under the wx this morn, i piddled around with the search function, pre-screened, and copied these links for previous threads on the subjects of small-game rifle caliber selecting, shooting, and loading.  

Save somebuddy else the trouble.  ;)


 Topic: Good Squirrel Calibers  (Read 7257 times) 2008
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=1640.0

 Topic: caliber choice .32 vs .36  (Read 5448 times) 2014
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=30688.0

Topic: .36 vs. .32  (Read 2167 times) 2009
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=8163.0

Topic: How big is too big for tree rats??  (Read 5255 times) 2011
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=18094.0

Topic: best small caliber?  (Read 4139 times) 2009
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=2672.0

Topic: Your thoughts on the 32 caliber...  (Read 5398 times) 2010
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=10364.0

Topic: Advise on small game rifle  (Read 1759 times) 2009
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=5579.0

Topic: Small Game  (Read 6280 times) 2011
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=16293.0
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 02:46:48 AM by WadePatton »
Hold to the Wind

Offline JTR

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2015, 10:53:59 PM »
Thanks Wade, and yep, I've read some of those. And will read the others as well, before deciding for sure.
John
John Robbins

Vomitus

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2015, 10:38:02 AM »
  Brown Bess .840 for Killer Squirels

Offline Dewey

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2015, 02:33:08 PM »
 :o

You must have some hellacious squirrels, LB !!!
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 02:34:56 PM by Dewey »

Offline Carper

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2015, 05:32:10 PM »
Until just of late I always kept a squirrel dog. The last little fiest had over one thousand squirrels shot out to her. I would say 80% of them with a muzzleloader. Hunting the southern hills of WV it was funny to see someone show up to hunt with some sort of ML fowling piece with an open choke that could not knock a treed squirrel out from a tall poplar. I liked a .32 rifle with long barrel. Practice on something like the size of a ping pong ball. That's about the size of the head you are shooting at. If you are not going to head shoot them around here you will have to hunt alone because the tale of you poor marksmanship will make it out of the woods before you do. I don't know how! Truly the caliber is of little matter, a .45 with 30gr will take the head clean off beautifully. But you have to be able to hit the head not neck or shoulders etc. Just of late someone asked me if I was not afraid to shoot up at treed squirrels concerning the ball falling back to earth a way off yonder and hitting somebody on the head. I figured I had been hit by heavier hailstones and survived. But started taking pains to line up a limb behind the darling so the ball would spend itself  in it. I sort of considered the .32 like it was a .22 mag in practical use. Be sure to grease your patch really well because when shooting upwards the spent patch drifts back down like a parachute and gets lots of time to fan itself and a spark stays alive. I always rammed a piece of hornets nest down on the powder first which formed it into a hard wad that resisted fire on the patch. You can occasionally see the little wads bounce off your practice target or backboard and find them looking whole on the ground. I have yet to see a patch set leaves afire loading like that.  Johnny Walker

Offline WKevinD

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2015, 07:27:27 PM »
I like a small .32 but I also like a 3/8" ramrod so I stick with .40
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2015, 08:25:49 PM »
:o

You must have some hellacious squirrels, LB !!!

My little .69 was able to handle them just fine, with full through and through penetration (I think).
Daryl

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Offline Dan'l 1946

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2015, 08:32:58 PM »
   My 10 bore fowler stops squirrels dead in their tracks. (90 grains of ffg and a .76" ball make a nice, light load. It's a bit difficult to make a good stew using eyeballs and tails, however.
                           Dan
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 08:33:38 PM by Dan'l 1946 »