Author Topic: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?  (Read 31805 times)

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2015, 08:37:51 PM »

  Brown Bess .840 for Killer Squirels
: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).

   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

they was coming RIGHT AT US!!!

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Offline hanshi

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2015, 11:21:22 PM »
Wade's list of past squirrel threads was very entertaining to read and a real "memory jogger".  One thing stood out, however, and that was the extent to which my experiences differed from the majority.  I've killed squirrels with the .32, .36, .45 and .58; not to mention a number of modern calibers.  Some of these experiences are purely anecdotal with no point proved nor disproved.

While deer hunting once with a .58 loaded with a prb and heavy powder charge, I had a fox squirrel present himself in a manner that defied any attempts at self control.  I aimed at the rear part of the head and fired off.  After retrieving my trophy an examination revealed a tiny entrance slit in the neck at the base of the skull and a tiny slit where the .562" ball exited.  No damage!

Squirrel hunting a few seasons with a .32 over 30 grains of 3F, I shot most of them in the mid section.  Always there was a small entrance hole and a barely larger exit hole.  None of them ever showed more damage than what a .22LR would cause.  I did stay away from the shoulders and hind quarters.  Similarly when using a .36 with a head-on shot, the ball slipped under the chin, entered to the inside of the shoulder and exited low just behind the shoulder.  No particular damage.

Now contrast that with two grays I shot with a deer load in my .45.  Aiming at the base of the neck where it merged with the shoulders; they both were literally blown apart with nothing salvageable. 

With scores upon scores taken with .22LR, CB caps, pellet guns and cf revolvers, no particular damage.  A .38spl HBWC through the side of the head left one unmoving, sticking to the side of a tree trunk with the tiniest through and through hole one could imagine.  I'd think a .40 prb at under 1000fps would do about the same.  At the same time I'm sure a .32 or .36 prb at .22LR velocities would produce virtually the same results.

My conclusion is that small calibers (.32 and .36) roughly duplicating the .22LR from a rifle would not cause any mess unless shoulders or hindquarters are hit.  The .40 (no experience, here) would need velocities below 1000fps.  A hit to the head is always best but not always possible.  So  where one hits a game animal is more important than with what it is hit with.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2015, 09:58:59 PM »
That's really interesting, hanshi - I barked a red squirrel about 20years ago with the .69o, and it turned into a red rag with feet at both ends and a head on one. Of course, I was hunting moose and used my normal 6 dram load.

The grey, black and Eastern Fox squirrel do have tough hides.

A .36 with a mere 45gr. 3f will completely decapitate a snowshoe hare with a hit somewhere on the head- front, back or sides.  Their hide is of course, not particularly tough and is easily torn off with with fingers- almost as easily as a grouse.
Daryl

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Offline okawbow

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2015, 10:41:13 PM »
Every solid hit I've made with my .36 cal. Squirrel rifle, has either completely removed the head, or if I hit the shoulders, nearly blown the squirrel in half. That's why I'm trying to work up a light load in my .30 cal. Rifle. I'll try a .283 ball with 15 grains 3f. Hopefully, that will do less damage. If I have to;I'll use harder lead.
As in life; its the journey, not the destination. How you get there matters most.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2015, 08:25:37 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     

32
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Offline Dphariss

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2015, 08:29:10 AM »
Every solid hit I've made with my .36 cal. Squirrel rifle, has either completely removed the head, or if I hit the shoulders, nearly blown the squirrel in half. That's why I'm trying to work up a light load in my .30 cal. Rifle. I'll try a .283 ball with 15 grains 3f. Hopefully, that will do less damage. If I have to;I'll use harder lead.

Do you eat the heads?
Its hard to get RB rifles to shoot with low velocity loads. Once over the speed of sound they are likely to be destructive on Squirrels and such. Thats why I always used head shots. You could try barking them. I shot quite a few with a 40. 32-36-40 all remove the head with a good hit. Saves cutting it off when skinning.

Dan
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JoeG

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #31 on: March 02, 2015, 08:42:10 AM »
Dan if you destroy the head ,you wont be able to cape it out for a wall    :D

Offline okawbow

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #32 on: March 02, 2015, 03:42:52 PM »
Every solid hit I've made with my .36 cal. Squirrel rifle, has either completely removed the head, or if I hit the shoulders, nearly blown the squirrel in half. That's why I'm trying to work up a light load in my .30 cal. Rifle. I'll try a .283 ball with 15 grains 3f. Hopefully, that will do less damage. If I have to;I'll use harder lead.

Do you eat the heads?
Its hard to get RB rifles to shoot with low velocity loads. Once over the speed of sound they are likely to be destructive on Squirrels and such. Thats why I always used head shots. You could try barking them. I shot quite a few with a 40. 32-36-40 all remove the head with a good hit. Saves cutting it off when skinning.

Dan

We have some really tall trees where I hunt them. It's not always possible to make a clean head shot. Even hits at the base of the head tend to ruin the shoulders and some back meat.

I shot my .30 cal last weekend, and 15 grains seemed to work well at 25 yards. That should be close to a 22 lR load, and with a harder ball, might not tear them up as bad.
As in life; its the journey, not the destination. How you get there matters most.

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #33 on: March 02, 2015, 05:41:23 PM »
I have had  a .32 ,  a .36,  and now a .40     For all around use I love the .40 since I never know what I will find in my woods wanderings, and the .40 is extremely versatile.  That said, I will most likely build another .32 since I often hesitate to shoot up into the trees if I think the trajectory will take the shot over my neighbours . I'm thinking that the .32  wouldn't carry as far .  Something worth checking out

Offline Daryl

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2015, 07:19:05 PM »
Mentioning what gun you are packing, Bob, reminds me of a hunt my daughter and I went on a few years back - we came across a grizzly bear's living/dining and toilet room.  I looked at her .26 cal rifle, my .22 cal rifle and said - lets get out of here - quickly now. :o
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 07:19:20 PM by Daryl »
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Vomitus

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2015, 09:21:51 PM »
   Squirrels around here aren't worth shooting.(although they are very aggravating when hunting big game.)Red squirrels are too small. I've blown them up with many calibers,...40,50,54,338Win mag,12 gauge and a Bren gun!
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 05:36:41 AM by Leatherbelly »

Offline hanshi

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2015, 10:25:18 PM »
Shooting up into trees is definitely an endeavor plagued with risks.  I move around until I can put a trunk or limb behind the target.  Still, IMHO, the two things that will lower that risk are small calibers and low velocity; a no-brainer, of course.  I've found that small calibers can be extremely accurate at velocities a little below and above 1000fps. 
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Offline JTR

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2015, 11:06:19 PM »
I'm still going to go with a .32.
John
« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 04:26:33 AM by T.C.Albert »
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Offline Dphariss

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #38 on: March 02, 2015, 11:09:22 PM »
Shooting up into trees is definitely an endeavor plagued with risks.  I move around until I can put a trunk or limb behind the target.  Still, IMHO, the two things that will lower that risk are small calibers and low velocity; a no-brainer, of course.  I've found that small calibers can be extremely accurate at velocities a little below and above 1000fps. 

This is an approximate trajectory for a 315 RB at 1450. I guessed at the BC. Lyman shows a .350 at .049.

Note that it falls 375 FEET from 700 to 800 yards. So in reality its virtually impossible to get it to go that far.
If it strikes ANYTHING of any substance this will be greatly reduced. Even in free flight is under what the military considers effective (35 ft lbs, some say 53) at +- 300 yards.
I don't like shooting without a backstop. But with a ML I seldom shoot at anything on the skyline and no longer hunt squirrels due to where I live. So while its a good idea to try to get something behind the squirrel in my experience this is to always easy unless the critter cooperates and given what we see here the range and lethality of a high angle 32 RB is not very impressive. If the squirrel is struck its unlikely the ball will make it more than 200 yards.

Dan
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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2015, 01:25:47 AM »
Thank you for that, Dan.  Although I really like my .40, I do think that there is another .32 in my future plans .
As a side note, the squirrels here seem to be getting more numerous, anda lot bigger  :)   Lots more black ones lately.   

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2015, 08:47:04 AM »
Mentioning what gun you are packing, Bob, reminds me of a hunt my daughter and I went on a few years back - we came across a grizzly bear's living/dining and toilet room.  I looked at her .26 cal rifle, my .22 cal rifle and said - lets get out of here - quickly now. :o

I have noticed that coming across a Gbear track or any size always seems to make whatever firearm one is carrying get smaller somehow....

Dan
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Mike R

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2015, 05:41:34 PM »
I use a .32, like folks say, it is akin to a modern .22 mag in power whern loaded right--and no squirrel on earth needs more. As for head shots--around here many folks consider that a miss--as they eat the brains, often scrambled with eggs.  A "pure shot" for them is the neck.  Plus the .32 offers more shots per pound of lead or powder.  Anything larger is a waste....but somehow I want another .36 [that I traded off some 45 years ago!]....

Offline sonny

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2015, 07:23:39 PM »
squirrel brains an eggs sound wonderful.......ewwwwww!?!????!?....I have 32 cal halfstock Vincent rifle that shoots honest to gosh, three shot one hole/an I do mean one hole groups at 25yrds. I have used it plenty on 50 yrd competition shooting events an mopped up the larger cal shooters.....When I shoot at squirrels, it is only head shots, an they are when hit there, headless......$#&^! things shoots like a ray gun....sonny
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 12:54:25 AM by Dennis Glazener »

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2015, 09:05:41 PM »
I use a .32, like folks say, it is akin to a modern .22 mag in power whern loaded right--and no squirrel on earth needs more. As for head shots--around here many folks consider that a miss--as they eat the brains, often scrambled with eggs.  A "pure shot" for them is the neck.  Plus the .32 offers more shots per pound of lead or powder.  Anything larger is a waste....but somehow I want another .36 [that I traded off some 45 years ago!]....

Eating the head or using large calibers is why people used to "bark" them.
Shooting a squirrel in the neck with the ML loads I used to hunt with would have been pointless.
Being fed brain parts is how mad cow disease got started. Its something that cannot be stopped by cooking since the protein itself is the transmission mechanism.
Dan
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Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2015, 10:05:19 PM »
I was going to build a .32 but decided a .40 would be best for me, the reason; Someone put a brand new 13/16 Green Mountain 42" barrel on ebay with a buy it now price of $75. I suspect I caught it after it had been listed for just a few minutes so a 40 cal squirrel rifle is best for me. I have most of the parts and just need to get started building.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 10:06:56 PM by Eric Krewson »

Offline hanshi

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2015, 10:28:34 PM »
I'm pretty well settled (have been for some time) on a .32 and head shots.  I don't save or eat the heads; just too crunchy for me. :D
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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2015, 05:43:08 AM »
This may be a bit off topic, but it does concern  the .32 cal.   Some 20 years ago we had a competitor do very very well with his .32 in the 100 yard match.  He was shooting  60 gr of 3F  !!    I was impressed, since he held his own with the larger cal.  [ most of us were using .54's    ]     That experience was what prompted me to build my first .36 small bore , which I used for many years.  It took care of many raccoons that were trying to get at my chickens.
The smaller bores can be accurate at longer ranges than they usually get credit for. 

Offline T.C.Albert

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2015, 09:35:26 PM »
Where is James Levy's answer...I would not consider this topic done till he weighs in...
James is the squirrel killin'ist longrifle shooter I know of...
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Offline JTR

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2015, 11:34:35 PM »
I'm thrilled that guys are still answering!
I dug out my three original SMR's and measured the barrels and compared them to the modern offerings. All the modern barrels have much more swamp, or thinner waist, than the originals do. One of my guns, that ebay one that was sold in pieces, holds very nicely, weighs about 8 pounds and has a pleasing look to the barrel, at least to me. So I think I'll use those dimensions more or less for my barrel. That gun is .34 cal, and has a 41" long barrel, but I want to stretch it out a bit longer to about 46", and .32 caliber.

So where to get the barrel? I know Ed Rayl can make a custom contour, but does anyone else do that type of work?
 
Also, I realize most of these rifles were percussion, but I'd like to build a flint. I have a lock, a late Ketland with the straight tail that I bought from TOW for some reason. Anything good, or not so good to say about this lock? I seen pictures of a few SMR's with flat tailed locks, so guess the style would work okay?  

Thanks for any help you can give me here, John    
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 11:36:04 PM by JTR »
John Robbins

Offline Kermit

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Re: Best Squirrel shootin caliber?
« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2015, 12:43:51 AM »
Whoever, you'll probably be waiting in a line. Rice Barrels (Jason) made me a 46" x .40 pretty quickly, but I think I caught him at the right moment for what I was seeking.
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