Squirrel-spawned .17HMR thoughts


May 7, 2003, 07:42 PM
While out walking today, I saw a trememdous surplus of squirrel.
I was thinking how nice it would have been to have had my Remington 597 .22WMR. Then I though how much better it would have been to have a new rifle... something in a .17HMR maybe.

I was wondering if NEF makes a cheap Handi-Rifle in this caliber.

Also, those of you who have had experience with the Handi-Rifle in general, is the accuracy generated by these cheap little rifles respectable?

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Bruce H
May 7, 2003, 07:47 PM
Several have been sold here. Marlin, Savage, and NEF. All seem to shoot rather well according to the owners. I don't own a .17 but have a .22 and a 45/70 in NEF. Good rifles for the money.

May 7, 2003, 08:26 PM
I had a UltraVarmint (heavy barrel, laminated stock) in 223 that did just fine accuracy-wise - couple failures to extract. For the price, it would be pretty hard to beat but I think for a rimfire rifle, I'd rather ante up a couple more bucks to get a fast followup shot.

May 8, 2003, 01:55 AM

I have a .17 and I am told it is wonderful. I can't say for sure because I can't find ammo for the darn thing!:banghead: :cuss:

May 8, 2003, 06:38 AM
What the hell's the point of shooting squirrels....

Running out of ingredients for possum stew?

May 8, 2003, 08:42 AM
I've shot 6 at my house in downtown urbania... With a $40 177 cal pellet rifle i got from wally world.

War was declared when they started chewing huge holes in the eves of my house.. I am out numbered, but my spirits are high.

Last message received from Shai in Maine:

Send. More. Squirrels.


May 8, 2003, 09:25 AM
Running out of ingredients for possum stew?

Don't tell me a fellow THR member reduced himself to demographic slights! Isn't that what this question is intended to be? :mad:

As for the reason why? Take a look at the trees in my back yard and perhaps you'll understand.
For the past few winters, squirrels have been tearing the holy hell out of my pines and for what reason, I haven't a clue. I wouldn't have even attributed such atrocious damage to common squirrels if my neighbor hadn't pointed it out last year, having suffered the same quandary himself.

These same rodents have also been digging away at his wife's garden, so there's less love for them on his property.

Yes, they're cute critters, but then again, so are prairie dogs.

May 8, 2003, 10:36 AM
I've been using a Have-a-heart trap for squirrels and chipmunks at my house. When I get a customer, I pick up the trap and take it over to a trash barrel I have full of water and immerse it for a while. Result is a dead critter and is even quieter than an air gun.

Not as fun as using an air gun, but takes less time and less concern over a neighbor calling the police...

May 8, 2003, 12:59 PM
I hope someone does that to you one day. Shooting varmints to get rid of them is one thing. That's a quick, clean kill. Drowning an animal in a cage borders on barbaric. You sicken me.

May 8, 2003, 01:27 PM
Yeah M1911, I'm kinda suprised that you'd do that. I don't really wish anyone to drown you to teach you a lesson or anything but I think that definately falls under animal cruelty in my book, anyway. My wife's dad (who has an orchard and was killing them for damage control) would trap them then drown them... even had a big trough that he could put the whole trap in. When I started going out with my wife and heard about this, I asked him why he didn't just shoot them through the cage and he said, "Oh no... I couldn't just shoot an animal that close... I don't have the heart for it." But it's OK to drown them over several minutes and take at least two deer every season?

Some folks I just don't get.

What the hell's the point of shooting squirrels....

Brown squirrels are cute and all and the kids love to watch them do their cute little hand things but around here grey squirrels are pretty agressive. I've had them rush towards me while walking the dog. And I don't care what any tre-hugging PETA wannabe says, I ain't takin' no chances with my kids. There's plenty of land around here - they don't have to be on mine. I shoot everyone of em I see immediately around here. After 3 days of shooting, I don't see any for a while.

May 8, 2003, 02:26 PM
I'm not judging anybody. If an action needs to be done, be done with it. How can someone say their method is peachy keen and roses but someone else from a different background and rationale is Bad bad bad. That's weak. Hell, if it don't work for you, don't do it. Free choice is neat if you think about it.

May 8, 2003, 02:27 PM
I hope someone does that to you one day.

Shooting varmints to get rid of them is one thing. That's a quick, clean kill.

Should i say i hope somebody does that to you one day?:fire:

May 8, 2003, 02:42 PM
Perhaps that was a little harsh on my part....but if I have to be killed, PLEASE give me a bullet to the vitals over drowning.

M. Jager
May 8, 2003, 07:36 PM
According to what they teach in Iowa Furharvester Education courses drowning is concidered a humane form of dispatch.
Personally, I wouldn't know but if the DNR says its humane then its acceptable in my book.

Art Eatman
May 9, 2003, 09:49 AM
How about more thought and less emoting of emotions? Hmmm?

All you "pro-shoot" types: You can guarantee me that you have never ever made a bad shot? That you never will? NEVER?

Like it or not, drowning of small critters has been an accepted method of disposal for many, many decades.

Heck, when I was around six months old, I set a world record for the length of an underwater swim while totally surrounded by a gunny-sack!

:D, Art

May 9, 2003, 10:02 AM
Having almost drowned once I can say it is pretty terrifying. After a lot of coughing, gasping and puking (even after the point where you think you are as good as dead) you finally get your breath back then it hits you that you almost died.

Just shoot me even if it takes a few shots, it has to be quicker than drowning.

El Rojo
May 9, 2003, 10:26 AM
I have enabled mice to drown themselves before. I was at this remote camping location for the boys camp I used to work at. The mice are always getting into stuff, imagine that! Anyway, I discovered by accident that if you leave a 5 gallon bucket lying around, a mouse can jump in it and get stuck. I discovered this when I found a huge fat, pregnant mouse in an empty bucket by the log storage cabin. So I figured, how could I catch more mice that way? I set up a 5 gallon bucket in the log cook cabin. I put about 4 inches of water in it. Then all around the top of the water line went peanut butter. Set the bucket next to a shelf. Instant results. Were were at camp fire one night, 30 minutes after setting out the bucket I went to check on it, one dead mouse! I ended up getting like 11 mice in a matter of 3-4 days with that method. I don't think it took that mouse too long to drown. I guess I am not as horrible as M1911 because I leave it up to the critter to drown himself.

I have killed a ground squirrel in a live trap before though. I used a trapping stake and speared him through the head. Very graphic, but fairly quick. Never thought of drowning them. Really what is the difference between this and gut shooting a squirrel and watching it run back into its whole with its guts hanging out? You want quick kills, but it just doesn't always happen.

May 9, 2003, 10:35 AM
Perhaps that was a little harsh on my partPerhaps a little harsh? Personally, I think that's more than a bit of an understatement.

First, it does not take minutes to drown a squirrel or chipmunk. These are small critters with small lungs. Second, I've hit a squirrel once with a .22 in the chest, and before I could get a second shot, he dragged himself off to die. How much more humane is that? Third, there's zero chance of a ricochet with drowning. I'm in the suburbs with neighbors nearby, not out in the boonies. I personally consider the safety of my neighbors to be of highest importance.

May 9, 2003, 11:42 AM
I'm not arguing either way if drowning or gunfire is a more humane way to kill... Is there really? Maybe paying $20 to get them put down at a vet, but you have to consider that they will probably get injured in handling alone to get them there and give them a shot that they dont want to get.

I've found tons of drowned rats and mice in the water buckets at my mothers horse farm, and I have shot a squirrel with a 22, twice, only to have to put it down after i find it on the ground with its intenstines hanging out (after it finally rolls off of the roof).

There is no sure way to kill something quick and painfull, and my concience is clean as long as i TRY.

The issue i have is with somebody spouting "I hope somebody does that to you!".

That just ticks me off, and i know it was a hasty post. A sincere attempt to destroy something quickly, and the sadistic and intentional prolonging of the suffering of another creature for ones own perverted excitement are two completely different ball fields.

I just dont like it when an innocent act is draged to an evil act. :(

In closing, if somebody was actually commiting the Evil act, then I certainly hope they meet a demise, although I can't in good conscience express hope that the same act is visited upon them. Dead is dead, and no matter how they get there, they're still gone for good.

May 9, 2003, 02:31 PM
Non-shooters always seem to be hung up on how distasteful it is to actually dispatch a critter. They pride themselves on how bad it turns their stomach. Yet they buy meat on a styrofoam tray at the grocery store. Their hands are clean. They like to think that humans are above killing and the deed done at the slaughter house is just best left un-thought-of. Now, contrast a human dispatching a critter with the way it goes down in the wild. Talons ripping flesh and joints apart. Packs of viscous beasts ambushing and dragging down an unsuspecting creature after its last mad dash for life. Succumbing to numerous mortal bites tearing flesh. Pardon the graphic content, but a quick submersion or whack on the back of the head or JHP seems far more humane than going down to a cougar or pack of coyotes.

My sister's dog (1/2 coyote, sweet little feller) recently disappeared in the Mojave Desert area so I have a fresh resentment to the natural order of what could happen to a trusting companion in the wild...

Such is life.

May 9, 2003, 02:41 PM
Thats a good point. I'm sure PETA and others would call me grabbing a rat and eating it while its still thrashing horrible abuse, yet it is exactly what will happen to it if caught by a cat or avian predator in nature, which they worship. Just when i thought "Gaia" was cute and non-violent!

And yet, when this happens to humans (I.E. Shark and allagator attacks), its typically OUR fault, while when we shoot varments, its not THEIR fault.:rolleyes:

May 9, 2003, 03:23 PM
I don't disagree with you on many things, Art, but just because something is accepted by some, sure don't make it right. I know guys that go hunting every year and never practice in between. If they're lucky, they wound a deer. No one on here with any sporting backbone would condone or defend a poor shooter taking unlikely shots on animals, mostly because it could result in an animal suffering but for some reason, it's OK to do something that you know will result in an animal suffering?

Hey... if it works for you... fine. My father in law actually said he drowned racoons because he couldn't stand to shoot them with the animals looking right at him. I guess maybe for some folks drowning and animal and not having to watch it is easier than having to watch yourself shoot it. :(

Steve Smith
May 9, 2003, 03:39 PM
Personally I am in favor of shooting rather than drowning. Of course, you'd have to be careful not to damage the cage when you shoot into it. Perhaps it would be better to empty it into a large cardboard box before the shooting began, OR you could just drop a little rat poison in the cage with them.

Having lived in rural Colorado, I am a big fan of vermin poison. If you have a big problem, you can't shoot them fast enough or wait around for one to stick his head up...too many other things to do in life. Just walk around with your jug of "Gopher bait" and drop a few tablespoons full in each hole. The next day you won't have a vermin problem.

May 9, 2003, 04:23 PM
Shalako: Good point. A dear departed cat of ours (may she rest in peace) was quite an accomplished huntress. Until Dimanda succumbed to kidney disease, the chipmunk population was under control. Unfortunately, her litter mate is aging quickly, and while the instinct is still there, his arthritis is such that he's mostly retired from hunting.

But there was nothing that disappointed Dimanda more than when the chipmunk died prematurely. She preferred to bring them in the house alive and play with them. I remember one time when her "toy" died too quickly. For the next 30 minutes, she picked up the dead chipmunk in her mouth, tossed it into the air with a flick of her head, and then pounced on it when it hit the ground.

May 9, 2003, 04:24 PM
Perhaps it would be better to empty it into a large cardboard box before the shooting beganI suspect that the critter would be up and out of the box before you could say the word "escaped." Is the death from poison more "humane" than drowning? Or is it simply out of site, out of mind?

Steve Smith
May 9, 2003, 04:46 PM
Poison thins the blood. Before the little critter even has a heart attack he goes unconscious.

May 9, 2003, 05:44 PM
What the hell's the point of shooting squirrels....Running out of ingredients for possum stew?

its the rule in my house "if you kill em you got to eat em" Squirrel is not my favorite food but its not bad if cooked right. Yes people in these parts had to eat possums, better than starveing to death. I have never eat possum hope I never have to. Herd its kind greasy.

May 9, 2003, 06:18 PM
Generally I am able to one-shot chipmunks (about 10-20 feet with a Ruger .22 target pistol) and they are dead. With squirrels, I will use a .22 rifle and it's usually one shot. But the WOODCHUCKS take at least two rounds of .22.

May 9, 2003, 09:39 PM
Poison thins the blood.I thought at least some of the poisons were coagulants, not anti-coagulants. Dunno what the mechanism of death is, though.

May 10, 2003, 02:39 PM
I believe the mechanism of expiration is internal exsanguination.
The anticoagulant poison results in uncontollable internal bleeding. It's certainly a comforting thought, but I don't think they go to sleep before they die.

May 10, 2003, 03:11 PM
I've been cursed with a Gray Squirrel(luckily not RED!!) invasion and have dispatched nearly 25 since I moved in 11 months ago.
I've used a Henry lever action mostly with CB caps at close range. 3 with CCI shot shells at close range. Two required finishing shots when using CB caps. Both were on the move( one running on the ground the other bolting up the wall of the stone barn) and got hit in the spine resulting in 2WD escape attempts. All were DRT within 30 secs or so. I finished one with a CCI Stinger and was surprised to find the bullet perfectly mushroomed in the dirt on the far side of the squirrel.
My grandfather suggested getting the Have a Hart and dumping in the pond but I'm not into the drowning approach. Spring has sent them back outdoors so they are not the issue they've been. I think I shot all the dumb ones and now if I see one around our house they usually bolt.

Art Eatman
May 10, 2003, 04:10 PM
Cratz2, that "some" is not just a little percentage of varmint-disposers. And as M1911 pointed out, there's no hazard for one's neighbors--whose safety is far more important than any suffering of a problem animal. Fortunately, living in a wilderness area means I don't have city problems.

Having been attacked at one time or another by cows, horses and dogs, I can tell you that the last thing on my mind was any aspect of humaneness. Now, so far, I haven't had to deal with attack-squirrels or suicidal killer mice...:D

I'm definitely against wilful and wanton cruelty. That's part of why I tend to use "too much gun" on varmints. Instantaneous death is far better than imposing any sort of lengthy suffering.

But I'm gonna do what I believe I need to do w/r/t varmints--mouse, squirrel or coyote. I'll do my best to minimize suffering, but minimize is about as good as it can get.


May 10, 2003, 04:38 PM
All were DRT within 30 secs or so.Which is about how much time it takes to drown a squirrel. Less for a chipmunk.

May 10, 2003, 04:43 PM
I guess maybe for some folks drowning and animal and not having to watch it is easier than having to watch yourself shoot it.Ccratz2: Before I got the trap, I tried shooting. And as I stated before, some of those that I shot did not die immediately and crawled off into a bush before I could put it out of its misery. Actually, in terms of "psychic" ease, shooting is far easier for me. It is done at a distance. With drowning, you have to hold the cage under the water to hold the cage doors closed.

But as I mentioned before, here in the suburbs, drowning is safer for my neighbors than shooting. And far more acceptable to them as well.

May 10, 2003, 06:34 PM
Man... I feel like I'm being attacked! :p

I admit that there are situations wherein shooting might not be the best or safest alternative for all those around such as neighbors etc... Just I think that drowning, accepted or not, isn't something that I personally feel is the most humane method. That's all. No offense to anyone that supports or promotes or allows the drowning method, but I don't like it and I wouldn't feel good about it. Heck, you're talking to a guy that killed a mouse with a pocket knife and actually felt bad at his little yelps.

Oh well... please resume downing. ;)

May 10, 2003, 07:23 PM
Obviously the problem is that our Second Amendment rights have become restricted to historical curiosities instead of growing with technology. If we had lasers, particle beams, and guided micromissiles there would be no more suffering from poison, drowning, or deflected .22s. I expect to see PETA come out for a strict Constitutional interpretation of the Second Amendment any second now.

BTW, I almost drowned once in a waterfall and it was no more terrifying than the Dallas Central Expressway.

May 10, 2003, 08:00 PM
cratz2: If you can suggest a more humane method (other than shooting), I'm all ears.

May 10, 2003, 08:31 PM
This thread started out promising a discussion of the .17HMR for squirrel hunting. Kinda' drifted, didn't it? :confused: :banghead:

Art Eatman
May 10, 2003, 11:26 PM
Hokay, ralphtt, howzis: The .17 would ruin too much meat if the squirrel is not hit in the head--if squirrel stew is what you're after. It would work just fine for disposal of "varmint" squirrels. Probably a quicker kill than a body hit with a .22 LR and suchlike.

:), Art

May 11, 2003, 12:12 AM
I'm sorry for contributing to the thread drift. I really don't care they die. Not in the least.

Those .17s are pretty dogone spiffy if you can get any ammo for 'em, ain't they! :neener:

Hot brass
May 11, 2003, 08:24 PM
The 17hmr(hummer) is a wonderful squirrel gun. It is good out to 300yds, maybe more. It is hard on squirrels. If you are shooting tree squirrels do not shoot in the body. Too much destruction. Head shots only. NEF makes a single shot in 17hmr. It comes in two variations. Laminated and a synthetic version.
I have a Savage 17. It is a blast.:D

May 11, 2003, 09:57 PM
I think it's more of a 200 yard max cartridge than 300, HB.

Trajectory tables show that it has about 9" of drop at 200 yards and only has about 75 ft/lbs of energy remaining at 200 yards. This is considerably less than a high velocity 22LR (40gr @ 1250fps) will have remaining at 100 yards. Granted, many of the 17 bullets are a well-researched design and may be a bit more effective at a given energy level, but 75 ft/lbs still ain't a whole lot of energy. At 300 yards, I'd expect the energy to be about 35 ft/lbs which is what a 22 Short develops at the muzzle.

May 12, 2003, 01:48 PM
Squirrels are fun to hunt, challenging targets for the discriminating rifleman, and....


Ya gotta know how to cook 'em so the y stay tender, and all that. Reds are better than greys. But the best part is the liver. Honest. Saute in butter 'till nearly done. Heavy on the butter. At the end, pour in some Port, simmer down, then salt & pepper to taste. Can throw in a few plain bread crumbs and roll around if desired.

Squirrel body fur and tails are unmatched for tying certain trout flies. And the Mepps spinner people will pay you (I think with lures) for squirrel tails in good condition.

I'd rather hunt squirrel than deer.

May 12, 2003, 04:07 PM
I agree that squirrel hunting can be a challenging and inexpensive game. I got in the habbit of making a loud noise to add to the difficulty... loud clang then try to get the little guy on the run without taking a dangerous (ricochet or overshot in case of a miss) shot. I wasn't always successful but it was fun. I have no love for grey squirrel.

I have eaten squirrel, when I was much younger. In Cleveland or just outside. More recently, I usually leave the animal after I make sure it's dead (usually with a 22 Magnum and the Winchester Supreme load, you either miss or it's pretty dead)... something always comes along to get as I check the next morning and I can't recall a time when there was anything left. Funny thing is, though a wounded or dead rabbit is good bait for coyote, I've never ever seen a coyote approach a dead squirrel. Course... they are sneaky. :p

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