Varmint & Squirrel Plinking


January 2, 2007, 09:18 PM
I'm looking for something to do a little varmint/squirrel hunting. The guys at Academy recommended the Mossberg 702 Plinkster. I'm seeing more people getting .17's too, but they are much pricier. What's the real difference? The guys there told me basically it was a smaller caliber and hotter load. Academy had that Mossberg at $99 + scope, roughly $130. Any other suggestions to consider?


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January 2, 2007, 09:37 PM
Sounds like you need either a little Savage 93 in .22 or an old Remington 500 series, (510, 511, 512, 513, etc.) bolt action .22.

January 2, 2007, 09:40 PM

For most of my squirel hunting, a .22 lr. Ruger 10/22 for about $150, give or take a few bucks. My Marlin & Savage Bolt actions are also good shooters.
I shoot subsonics to keep it quiet. My .17 HMR is great but, its louder and mostly use it when the leaves are mostly down and the shots are longer.

The .22 Mag in a Marlin or Savage Bolt Action should fall between the .22 lr and the .17 HMR price wise. The .17 HMR and .17 Mach 2 are newer and
cost more as you have seen.

If your gonna varmit hunt also, and cost plays a part, I'd go with the .22 Mag.

Best ............ Mike

January 2, 2007, 10:06 PM
you dont need a 17hmr. the mossy is a fine rifle to start with, and to get very good with. It is actually a pretty elegant designed little thing. easy to take apart, you get a lot for the money, especially if you can find the nickel washed ones, with the scope for the 130. or no scope, for 99. I also like their fully adjustable rear site. now granted you will get more help/support from here and other sites, such as rimfirecentral, with a marlin mod 60, which is determined as the best , most accurate, semi auto for the money , ever. but the mossy is just fine.
If you wanna get a 17 later on, that is fine, but i see them as having a diff purpose. Target shooting past 100, out to 200 yds , for one thing, also very good for pdog towns,since the little vermin have excellent hearing. If you shoot centerfire in a pdog town, they try to estimate, so to speak how far away you are, from the bang of your rifle, and then pop their heads up out of that range.
The 17, fired through a long bbl, is rather quiet, they misjudge the range as a 22, when they stick their head up out at 125 or 150, POP! off with their heads.
the 17 hmr round is highly explosive, so if you wanna eat meat or save skins, the 17 hmr could be a prob. not to mention that they are 10 dollars for a 50 round box now. So 100 boxes of this is gonna push you 1000 dollars , whereas 100 boxes of 22 , is between 100 and 200 dollars.
The compromise is the 17mach 2, which I love. It is half the cost of the 17hmr, is a dead on small game stopper out to 150 yds, is also super accurate like the hmr, and is not so explosive on small game.
For comparison, a 22 zero'd at 100 yds, rises 3 inches at 50 and is 7 inches low at 130 yds, for a typical hi velocity round.
the 17mach2 zero'd the same way, is .5 inches high at 50, and 3 inches low at 130 yds. So you are cutting your trajectory in half. Also some people say, well , it drifts more in the wind. The mach 2 is going faster at 100 yds, than a 22 is at the muzzle!!! so the above statement is impossible, unless the laws of physics don't apply to 17m2's.
now consider this, the 17hmr, cuts in half again, it's trajectory over the mach2. and its speed at 70 yds, is the same as the mach 2 at the muzzle!!!
But like i say, get very good with a 22 first, and then , if you wanna make tiny holes in paper, hit squirrel or pdog's in the head at 125 or more yds, or lay the smackdown to a coyote at 50 to 75 yds, then think of the 17 hmr or mach2.

January 2, 2007, 10:43 PM
Shoot, I hunt squirrel with an extremely light loaded 38 special wadcutter in a Model 92. Their range is not very far loaed that light though. It sure takes'em of the limb. Kinda like a croquet mallet would. Nice clean hole through the head, with no floppin around on the ground. A little quiter than a 22 also. But that was not the question was it? Ruger 10/22 is a rifle to last.:)

January 2, 2007, 10:54 PM
I agree with Mike, a Ruger 10/22 is perfect for plinking and squirrel hunting. I have one and use it for this purpose, and there are no squirrels around my house because of it!

January 2, 2007, 11:02 PM
ive got a ruger, and they are fun, but i guarantee that you will spend more to get it, it may or may not be reliable out of the box, and the mossy or marlin will both be more accurate , out of the box, or used, than the 10.22, and like I said, I have a 10.22. but I have spent some money in modification, to get it almost as accurate as any of my 3 marlins, i like the ruger , just because it is fun. the others are more accurate, though. Way cheaper as well.

January 3, 2007, 09:18 AM
My wife loves her plinkster. I have borrowed a scoped Marlin and was not impressed with the accuracy, and the Savage has a very narrow (too narrow even for me, who usually likes a narrow splinter or schnabbel forend) and squarish forend... I'm gonna do the whole 10-22 thing, but know what I'm getting into. I'm real impressed with the Mossberg, and think it's an excellent low-buck .22. The .17 seems to me to be an answer to an unasked question. Certainly an expensive to shoot answer, too.

Vern Humphrey
January 3, 2007, 12:32 PM
Squirrel hunting is a rifleman's game. The newer Savages with the AccuTrigger ae superb for squirrel hunting.

The .17 HM2 is just too expensive and too destructive to be a good squirrel round in my opinion. In fact, I prefer .22 LR solids to hollowpoints for squirrels.

January 3, 2007, 12:47 PM
i picked up a Savage Model 93R17-GLV Left-hand 17 HMR today , put a Tasco World class 3-9x40 on it.

i needed a cheap fun plinking and varmint gun.

i got the winchester 77 in 22lr , but i wanted someting lil more accurate , and the 77 jams alot. i also perffer bolt action.

cant wait to try this new 17 out and see how this savage works out

if it works out good ill probly pick up a 204 ruger in a savage left hand

January 3, 2007, 01:17 PM
for plinking, the .22 all the way. i semi's for plinking, and much prefer bolt guns to squirrel hunting (scoped or not). that mossy is a good gun by the way, and a good price as well. i LOVE the .17 hmr. it is a great round. head shots on squirrels tho. otherwise you are going to lose some meat. good thing is, head shots are pretty darn easy w/ this thing. i have a cheap savage (pre accutrigger) and i have never had a more accurate rimfire. it wears a cheap simmons 3-9x40 and it shoots great. it loves winchester loads for sure. the only problem w/ it is that the ammo is still too expensive. i would have hoped it would be popular enough by now the come down a little.

January 3, 2007, 01:56 PM
You can never go wrong with an old Marlin/Glenfield 80/25...

January 3, 2007, 02:17 PM
Marlin 60
Marlin 60
Marlin 60
Marlin 60
Marlin 60

Oh, and did I mention the Marlin 60? Put a halfway decent scope on it (I have a Tasco 3-9x Pronghorn that I got on sale for $40)....shoots 10 shot dime sized groups at 50 yards (w/ ammo it likes), and quarter sized groups at 100. Head shots on squirrels out to about 75, crows at 100.

You can usually get them on sale (new) for about $125.

January 3, 2007, 02:37 PM
+1 on the model 60. My brother in law picked up a nice one at the last Richland Center show for $65.

January 4, 2007, 08:13 AM
I have a Marlin 25MN .22mag I expect will turn out to be a very good longer distance small game rifle.Ammo's not as cheep as 22lr, but you get a little flatter trajectory at longer distances, and a little extra punch.I've seen them going for fairly cheap on gunbroker and such.Not as cheap as the Marlin 60 many are recomending, which I also have, and is a VERY good gun for the money, but its still a good gun, good deal, a little 'different' and has a few extra benifits.YMMV.

1911 guy
January 4, 2007, 08:49 AM
I'd go out and buy a solid .22 bolt gun. Marlin, Remington, Savage and Mossberg come to mind. I'm not crazy about Mossberg rifles, though. I'm sold on Marlin rimfires and own several. If you find one with a scope already on it, fine, but don't sweat it if you can't. Once you begin stepping out with the rifle, you'll want better glass than came with it. Mine has been drilled and tapped (no dovetail mounts) and wears a Simmons (not top shelf, but better than bottom tier Tasco). If I can find a rest, tree rats fear me to 100 yards. The key to shooting a rimfire over longer ranges (varmint hunting, like you stated) is a repeatable scope and range time to figure your clicks. You have several inches of drop at 100 and a small target won't allow for that and a hit, too. Holdover is too unpredictable.

In short, concentrate on buying the rifle, let the chips fall where they may on glass. You'll probably upgrade later, anyway.

If I had to pick one, I'd tell you to find a synthetic stocked Marlin bolt action. The cheap wood used on most rimfires is too easily affected by moisture for foul weather use, but absolutely fine for a kids plinker that won't see rain. Dovetail mounts are alright, as long as you mount them with a correct (not from your garage) screwdriver and make them tight.

January 4, 2007, 01:04 PM
I have both a .22lr and a .17 hmr. The .17 is not necessary for squirrel hunting. However, I do prefer the .17 for shooting groundhogs due to the fact I can accurately hit them at a farther range. most squirrel hunting I have done is less than 50 yrds. for squirrels a ruger 10/22 or a marlin model 60 is perfect. For squirrels I also prefer the iron sights because I can acquire the target alot faster especially since squirrels dont sit still for too long. Also, look at the price of the ammo, .22lr is alot cheaper than .17hmr if you want to do alot of plinking.

January 4, 2007, 05:34 PM
look for an older model called the mossberg "chuckster".These are 22 mag and extremly accurate rifles.They have a detachable magazine and a raised cheeck-rest on the buttstock.Replacement mags cost in the neighborhood of 25 bucks,not a good thing if you drop your mag in the woods.Seen these rifles with a scope sell for 100 bucks at a show.Lost my mag and sold the gun.

I now use a Ruger slabside competition model in a 22 auto pistol and placed a 1.5 to 4x pistol scope on it.It handles squirrels and groundhogs at 22 long rife ranges(generally, about 100 or less yardage),anything farther,Im using my varmiter in 223.

Colonel Plink
January 4, 2007, 06:13 PM
I didn't read every reply, so forgive me if this is redundant.
I've got a mARLIN 25MN that is by far my favorite prairie dog gun.
It's 22 Mag and has killed hundreds of the pesky critters.

January 4, 2007, 07:59 PM
do your self a favor and check out CZ. there well built, very accurate, and the price is right. there not semi auto but there quality makes up for the ability to spray lead like a hose. if your accurate you only need one shot at a time.:)

January 5, 2007, 09:51 PM
Thanks for all the replies peoples. Good suggestions. I think I may stick with the Mossberg, just because it is readily available and cheap enough on the budget. Now here's another question. I have heard of .22 ammo that makes almost little to no noise at all. Which I think would be great for squirreling, no noise, means the rest of them stick around and don't run off. Is this info correct or not?


January 5, 2007, 10:02 PM
CZ 452 trumps all others. Mine's killed more squirrels than I can easily count. One time I shot six in a row before getting out of bed!

January 5, 2007, 10:11 PM
Looked at the CZ site ... what is the difference between a .22 LR(Long Rifle), and a .22 WMR(what is that)?

January 5, 2007, 10:20 PM
I think you are reffering to colbri ammo made by aguilla, its basically a 25 or so gr bullet with primer only (standard) or a small amount of powder (super colbri) they are red rider quiet out of any barrell more than 18" and the supers go about 550fps, basically the same velocity, but with a much heavier bullet than a 22 pellet rifle, the supers are about the size of a 22 long the supers are same as 22LR either is great for squirell or can shooting in the burbs there are also cci cb's they are a little hotter and do make a little noise, then sub sonics that are a little quieter than standard 22, but have a 60gr bullet, I personally like the lever action 22s they feed anything from 22 short and colbris up to standard 22s, cycle faster than bolt guns hold 14 in a tube mag and have the mini john wayne cool factor.

January 5, 2007, 10:24 PM
.22WMR is .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (or Rifle, not real sure which honestly), or .22 magnum. Its a .22 caliber bullet like .22 long rifle, in a longer case. .22mags have slightly heavier grain bullets available, and a noticeable increase in velocity (and also noise level and flatter trajectory). Ammo is also more expensive than .22lr but not very bad really.I haveone, its a pretty neat round IMHO.

January 5, 2007, 10:36 PM
Thanks for the info again. Now I remember why I loved this forum when I found it for my handguns. :rolleyes:

January 6, 2007, 01:40 AM
speaking of handguns, the most fun I have shooting squirrels is with my Beretta Neos 6"...after a few bricks of ammo for practice and a BSA red dot scope it rarely takes more than one shot out to 30-40 yards. That is, if your in to that sort of thing :uhoh:

But I would go with the 10/22, plenty of room to upgrade those badboys

January 6, 2007, 01:47 AM
Hey there, I'm also a Bersa 380 owner here.

So, since we have the same taste and "IF" you like the style of that Mossberg 702 Plinkster, please check out the marlin 795. It can be had for little over 110.00 mark. Great gun. I just added an 22 Mag scope by Simmons on it. Plan to shoot @ the range and play @ the 100 yrd mark, maybe if I am feeling lucky, I dare 200yrd mark. lol :scrutiny:

January 6, 2007, 01:49 AM
I've gone plinking with everything from an M1 Carbine, to a .45 pistol to a 44/40 Yellowboy (Early Navy Arms and loved it!). Yep, even used a mouse gun to kill squirrels (.223)...

You take what you take... it's placing the shot that counts. ;)

Personally, I honestly prefer to wait till they turn around and face you... with the old Yellowboy.. you could put a round just down the face of the tree bark and it would gut them darn near perfectly... this was with a black powder load and a Lyman 205 grn lead bullet if memory serves.. obviously it was 40 grains of FFFG.. under that Lyman bullet.

I don't handload for .223.. I don't have enough time and out here .223 is cheap.

January 6, 2007, 03:15 AM
dont get cloibris, they may not make it out of the bbl of a rifle, look at cb shorts and longs, by cci, they are pretty quiet, but you will proly have to single load them, allthough with a really slick action you may get the cb longs to cycle.
Also Aguila makes , beside colibris, the super colibris, which are about 550 fps from the muzzel. the colbiris are about 350 fps from the muzzle.

January 6, 2007, 11:49 AM
I use a Winchester 63 semi auto .22 for squirrel hunting, plinking, informal target shooting and about anything else that requuires the use of a rimfire.

I like semi auto .22s for squirrel because you can hunker down make a shot not do a lot of moving around to chamber another round and kill two or three more from one sit in fairly short order.

January 6, 2007, 05:19 PM
For a little more you could get into a Savage. They're just about the most accurate out of the box factory gun on the market. For varmints, accuracy is important. I haven't shot the Mossberg so I can't make a comparison, but I know the accuracy of the Savages.

As for the .17's, to each his own I guess. They shoot a little flatter than the .22's at an increased cost. They also don't have a whole lot of wallop downrange, but that's the price we pay for increased velocity. As for me, I've always went by the theory that if I need more than a .22 LR, it's time to move up to a centerfire. I'm not about to pay centerfire prices for ammo that I can't reload.

I think as a whole, us shooters are turning into a rather lazy lot. Rather than learning marksmanship, ranging, and elevation compensation, we're looking for flatter shooting cartridges.

January 7, 2007, 08:01 PM
I picked up my old Rossi .22 from my dad tonight. Heh, almost forgot he had it. It's about 20 years old and perfect condition. Problem is the stock was cut down to fit me at the time, and I can't put a scope on it. Gonna see about getting the stock fixed with an extension or something if it's not too expensive. If it is, I'm going with the Mossberg.

The Rossi runs .22 Short Long or Long Rifle, as per what the barrel says. I know that .22 come in Short, LR, and MAG. Is there a rifle that will run all three types or is that pipe dreams?

January 7, 2007, 09:02 PM
Rifles can't shoot .22 shorts/longs/long rifle AND .22 magnum. The cartridges are too different: the case of the .22 Mag is wider than the other .22 rimfires. The .22 mag is seated inside the case, the smaller .22s are heel-seated, with the case being the same diameter as the bullet.

.22 revolvers can shoot both, if you get a cylinder for the .22 magnum and a cylinder for the others, like the Ruger Single Six convertible.

January 8, 2007, 08:43 PM
Ok .. didn't know there was a size difference in the .22 Mag's. Good to know.
Thanks for the info guys.

Brian Williams
January 8, 2007, 09:23 PM
Tis a little pricey but my vote goes to the Marlin 39M. It will cost you a bit more than most rifles but it will become your Grandchilds rifle someday.

January 9, 2007, 01:01 AM
Bought a Mossberg Plinkster 702 with scope on Dec 23, 2006 and have put about 1200 rounds through it so far. Great little gun, stylish and deadly accurate out of the box. I did some research and found that the 4x scope is a Barska Plinker model MA-4. Works well on this gun. Price paid was $116 including tax. I liked this gun so much I went back two days ago at Dick's and purchased another one this time the salesman discounted it for me and I got it for $105.99 including tax. This one must have been messed with because I had to walk the scope in from 5 inches left and two inches low, but in a few minutes I had it driving tacks. I love the Mossberg philosophy of "more gun for the money".
This is not your father's .22 but a more modern sophisticated Plinkster. Its is not a Marlin, or a Ruger or anything else it is a Magtech 7022 with a new name and is great for gobbling up cheap or expensive ammo. I shoot the Rem Golden Bullets on a regular basis but this thing really places the Yellow jackets well.
I am not knocking anyone but gun lovers can be quite the traditionalists and can miss when something new comes along that doesn't have a history or a pedigree.
Mossberg has marketed a great little twenty two for very little money.
These make great first guns and great practice and plinkers, and later this year we will see how this dog hunts.

January 9, 2007, 01:09 AM
I hunt squirrels during deer season when activity is low on that end with a 10/22. Previously I used ironsights or a crappy scope I got in a package deal from a funshop with a dustcover rail for my AK (also crappy).

worked well though, but I bought an EOTech for my AK and am waiting on an ultimak rail, and in the interrum I have it on my 10/22. took it to the range last Friday and holy crap that's a whole new animal! So my thoughts were that while I wait for my rail in the mail I'll hunt with my EOTech/1022.

Regardless of all that though, 10/22 has provided me quite a few meals.

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