Author Topic: Squirrel rifle calibers  (Read 6891 times)

Offline Tilefish

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Squirrel rifle calibers
« on: November 12, 2019, 06:06:47 PM »
Was thinking about getting a squirrel rifle built. And was wondering what caliber you all would recommend. It would strictly be used for squirrel rabbit and grouse. Also what style rifle would you recommend. Thanks
Chad

Offline Joe Schell

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 06:12:45 PM »
Of the standard squirrel calibers, 36 is my favorite.
The 32 or 40 would work just as well though.

Offline Dave Marsh

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 06:22:03 PM »
Going to need a lot of practice with a .32 -- .40 if they are rifles and you want to shoot grouse with them.  I'd recommend a .62 smoothie if you are including grouse in the mix.  Squirrels and rabbits my favorite is a .32.

Dave
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Offline Brokennock

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2019, 06:42:37 PM »
Does your state have laws/regulations regarding minimum and maximum caliber size for small and large game? For instance, here in CT. I can't use a muzzleloader larger than .36 caliber for small game, and not smaller than .45 caliber for large game, and can't use a rifle at all for birds (turkeys or partridge), making a .40 almost useless here. But, I can hunt anything with a 20 gauge smoothbore, loaded with a single roundball for deer or shot for birds and small game.
If I had no restrictions like I do, I'd go with a .45, but I'd be hunting deer too. No deer on the agenda, I'd go with the .36 as I don't want to fuss with anything smaller, especially when it's cold.

Offline Tilefish

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2019, 07:10:16 PM »
Brokennock  we don't have any restrictions on small game calibers. 45cal min on big game. I already have a 45 and 54cal. Was looking strictly for small game mostly squirrels and rabbits. Thanks
Chad

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2019, 07:24:20 PM »
Anything from 25-40. 

"Non-standards" are just as functional as "standards" and no small animal is going to give you much problem when struck squarely with -ANY- of those.  Bigger holds up further assuming it's pushed to the same speed (but it burns more powder and lead).  It's all trade-offs.

Don't let one caliber make/break your rifle buying/making decision unless you are a buy-everything-readymade sort of shooter. If that's the case, stick to the standards.  OTOH, there are makers of bbls and moulds to serve those who don't limit themselves to the "standards".

If resale is a consideration, then I'd go 32 or 36 because you have a 45 and 40 is no big step from 45.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 07:27:37 PM by WadePatton »
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Offline MuskratMike

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2019, 07:57:48 PM »
Have a .40 and love it. A little more versatile than a .32 or .36, but they all will work.
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
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Offline Robby

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2019, 08:39:16 PM »
I prefer the .36 but any will work just fine. As for style, the rugged simplicity and clean line of the southern mountain rifle can't be beat, for me anyway.
Robby
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2019, 09:21:39 PM »
I've had ..32 and .40, now using a .36.  I do think that one is the best after shooting it a bit, although the others worked just fine.
Daryl

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Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2019, 09:52:38 PM »
I love to shoot all three but find the 36 is the best compromise for me. The 32 is too small for my clumsy hands (and RR too small) and 40 is larger than it needs to be since it's not legal for deer in VA.
Dennis
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Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2019, 10:19:14 PM »
[quoteIf resale is a consideration, then I'd go 32 or 36 because you have a 45 and 40 is no big step from 45.[/quote]

Yes forgot about resale, I have built 3 - 40's for resale and in our area it takes awhile to sell a 40, at least that's been my experience. In some eastern states a rifle has to be 36 or less for squirrels and at least 45 for deer. Yet further south the 40's are really popular for deer hunting and target shooting.
Dennis
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Offline Tilefish

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2019, 11:46:03 PM »
Thanks everyone for the feedback leaning towards the 36cal. Any suggestions on a builder would be much appreciated.


Chad

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2019, 12:02:03 AM »
Tilefish, it might be pricey, and there is a waiting list, but Mike Brooks on this forum consistently turns out firearms that are outstanding, and he generally gives the customer exactly what is asked, plus a good bit more.

If I didn't enjoy building so much, I would commission a squirrel rifle with him.  Or a fowler.
Craig Wilcox
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Offline hanshi

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2019, 12:28:51 AM »
I like the .36 best for small game although I've taken more squirrels with the .32.  Cold wasn't an issue when I was in Georgia but it definitely is up here in Maine.  For a small game rifle nothing compares with an iron mounted SMR.  I have a .40 and it's legal for deer and small game but I prefer a .45 over the .40 for deer.
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Offline alacran

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2019, 01:13:51 AM »
I see no problem with shooting squirrels,rabbits or grouse with a .45. Regardless of caliber head shots are paramount. The only advantage that a .32 or .36 has over other larger calibers is the cost per shot.     
A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.  Frederick Douglass

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2019, 01:42:44 AM »
Thanks everyone for the feedback leaning towards the 36cal. Any suggestions on a builder would be much appreciated.

Maybe would be a good time to look at the "Show us your Squirrel Rifle" thread on here that is 12 or 14 pages long. See if you like anything there.  Correction, 30 pages long: 

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=9725.msg91782#msg91782   

Another good place to view a lot of various builders is on the Contemporary Makers blog.  ON that blog, go down the right column to see some builders' with articles in the blog, and further down you'll find direct links to many builders and some of their blogs and such. There's a site search feature as well.

http://contemporarymakers.blogspot.com/


But do be aware that most of the popular builders have a pretty good backlog of orders.  So be prepared to wait for top-notch work. The greatest thing about a "squirrel rifle" is that they can pretty much be any school that is suitable to the smaller bores.  I won't call any names because I enjoy the works of so many and wouldn't want to leave anyone out. Enjoy the process.

And don't forget our classifieds for guns needing new homes. If your timing/luck is right, you might snag a real deal.
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Offline Tilefish

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2019, 01:52:46 AM »
Thank you Wade that was very helpful. Much appreciated
Chad

Online Stoner creek

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2019, 02:22:32 AM »
It has been my experience that there is little difference between the trauma that a .29 cal and a .45 cal deliver. I’ve shot squirrels with both. It’s more about how much noise that you want to make in the woods. May I suggest .32-.36 cal with 15-20 grains of fffg? The problem with the .29 and smaller is that flimsy little 1/4” ramrod.
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Offline Greg Pennell

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2019, 03:08:57 AM »
Wade, the Squirrel Rifle thread is probably one of my favorite, all-time threads on this forum. Great recommendation.

My choice is a .36 caliber, mostly because of the better than average chance of encountering coyotes while I’m small game hunting.  I have more confidence in the .36, though undoubtedly a.32 will probably do just as well. I tend to load my .36 a little hotter (45 grains of 3F) for the same reason. I sure wish Kentucky would let us turkey hunt with ML rifles...

Greg
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Offline Ghillie

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2019, 06:47:21 AM »
I built a .32 flinter in 1972.  It has been my go to rifle for squirrel hunting.  Some say it isn't accurate beyond 25 yards, but my first 1st place ribbon at our local MZ club was with that .32 at 100 yards.  I've killed groundhogs with it out to 125 yards.  It's just a powder charge change.  I shot 30 grains at 25 and 50 yards  and 60 grs at 100 yards, same sight picture.  I've killed my limit with it many times.  It's my favorite gun to hunt and shoot with.  Cheap too.  A pound of lead and powder lasts a L O N G time.  That's my 2 cents worth with a history of use for the past 45 years or so.

Offline hanshi

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2019, 12:00:18 AM »
Another thing to keep in mind is (just like deer) where you hit them.  I've killed squirrels with .58 prb.  One example is a fox squirrel I killed by shooting it in the neck.  That large ball made a tiny slit going in and going out.  Two places to never hit them is the front shoulders and the hindquarters.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2019, 06:19:11 AM »
The only muzzleloading rifle I have used on squirrels, is my .69. :o
Of course,  a 2 bore might be better yet.




Daryl

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Offline alacran

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2019, 01:47:34 PM »
Daryl with that gun there is no need to bark them. Just shoot down the branch it is on and smash it's head in with the but when the squirrel hits the ground.
A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.  Frederick Douglass

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2019, 03:03:26 PM »
Daryl with that gun there is no need to bark them. Just shoot down the branch it is on and smash it's head in with the but when the squirrel hits the ground.

Or the tree ;D
Dennis
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Offline Top Jaw

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Re: Squirrel rifle calibers
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2019, 07:57:42 PM »
Tilefish.  PM sent.