best 22LR for woodchuck?


May 30, 2007, 03:51 PM
Hey everyone,

Just out of curiosity, what in your opinion is the best 22LR round for quickly and humanely dispatching a woodchuck with a heart/lungs shot? would such a shot kill him before he can get that 10 feet or so back to his hole?

Or is it even possible to kill a woodchuck instantly with a 22LR to the heart/lungs?

*all shots would be taken at approximately 50-60 yards


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May 30, 2007, 04:04 PM
We don't have them around here.

I visited some people in rural Ohio, and they had a real problem with them eating their garden vegetables.

Anyway, they ended up getting a 12 Gauge HD gun, since their .22LR rifle didn't kill the things humanely or quickly, at much closer range than 50+ yards! The 12 Gauge, with buckshot, worked well for the close-range shooting they did, but not a .22LR. The .22 is almost guaranteed to send them back into their holes, especially at 50+ yards.

I think you just found an excuse to get a legitimate varmint rifle.:D

V-Max bullets in a scoped smallbore centerfire should do the trick.

May 30, 2007, 04:19 PM
I consider a .22LR to be a little on the light side for 'chucks. Of course we used to use a .243 with 80gr bullets (man we would have loved the new polymer tipped 50gr stuff from Hornady back then!).

May 30, 2007, 05:53 PM
They can have alot of tough hide and fat that can soak up .22's at ranges closer than 50. I prefer head shots if I'm holding a .22rimfire , especially effective if you can pop one into the ear hole. I have dispatched several with a scoped Browning Buckmark 10" Sihouette.
In my personal experience, .223, .243, 12g, and .44mag from a levergun are all more effective.

May 30, 2007, 06:02 PM
Have shot(at) a few. Keep it under 75 yards, depending on your shooting ability, and they will die soon.

May 30, 2007, 06:18 PM
Any good 36 gr hollow point. The remmies used to work well for me. CCI's too.

May 30, 2007, 06:22 PM
If you can get ahold of the CCI quick Shok ammo its pretty good for little critters,

its pre fragmented into three pieces which basicly turn the insides into jello, and it cooks along pretty good.

if you want proof set up some watter bottles and shoot them with a regular bullet, then pop it with the quick shok.

its impressive.

May 30, 2007, 06:23 PM
I've probably shot 20-25 woodchucks with a scoped Browning BL-22 and stingers, and found them effective to beyond 100 yards, if you take head shots. And though a .22 to the body will eventually kill them, body shots with anything much under .357 will not anchor them, unless you darn near tear 'em in two. They're very tough.

May 30, 2007, 07:00 PM
Remington Thunderbolts are fantastic! They group 2.25" at 225 yards from my Ruger 10/22 HB. I have used them for head/neck shots on chucks to 150 yards with instant kills. At 225 they still died with-in about 5 seconds, and that, I my opinion, is fair. I do, however, try to keep shots at not more than 150 rounds for instant drops.


May 30, 2007, 07:07 PM
I'm guessing that the reason the original poster asked about heart/lung at 50 yards was that this doesn't involve a benchrest.:)

Sure, with a good rest, an accurized rifle and a good scope, you can shoot 'em in the neck at 150 yards. But if he just wants to get them out of his garden with a quick-handling rifle, that's a different kind of shooting.

trueg50- What are the details?:)

May 30, 2007, 07:10 PM
Dude, back in "the day", I grew up on a dairy farm. I shot 128 in one summer (that was with a 22-250 & .270).

A .22 rimfire to the body will NOT give instant kills in most circumstances. I remember one time when my brother was shooting at a really big one with our Nylon 66 .22 autoloader. He racked off maybe 3-4 rounds and it started to run. He shot a couple more times and it still was moving. Ended up emptying the gun, maybe 8-9 rounds total. It ran maybe 30 feet and finally died just short of the hole. We flipped it over and the bottom side had all kinds of exit holes.

Having killed hundreds, I'd consider 100 yards with a .22 exceptionally optimistic. If I were going, I'd either take my .22 mag or .223/22-250. As with most animals, it depends on the size. A little one, maybe a .22 is OK. For the big, big ones a .22 is nominal.

May 30, 2007, 07:33 PM
Well thank all of you for your help.

I agree with ArmedBear, I think I have just found a good reason to get a mini-14, or at least something a little harder hitting than my 10/22 carbine.

I plan on picking up so different high velocity hollowpoints, just to try out at the range to see which is the best for my rifle.

I will have to restrict my shots to under 50 yards, and keep it to head shots. It seems a bit more "sporting" to take the perfect shot I only get once in a great while.

May 30, 2007, 07:44 PM
At 50 yards, this could be a great choice:

Depends what's beyond the chucks. A .357 will slow down and drop a lot sooner than a .223, .22-250 or the like, but it will hit really hard at the range in question.

May 30, 2007, 08:42 PM
Sorry, I'm trying to be Highroad, but ""soon" isn't good enough. As a hunter of anything, one has a primary obligation to deliver a quick, humane kill. "Use enough gun."

May 30, 2007, 09:12 PM
I think I have just found a good reason to get a mini-14, or at least something a little harder hitting than my 10/22 carbine

Once you get into hunting, you'll find that there's light years of difference between a .22 and something like a .223 or 22-250. I've used a Mini-14 and they're fine for what they are, but a real varmint rifle in something like .223 is a treat. Match it up with a good scope and you're in for some fun.

May 30, 2007, 10:20 PM
Remington Yellow Jackets if your rifle will shoot them well enough. As with all .22's, you need to try a box of as many brands of ammo as you can to find the ammo your rifle shoots best. Especially with hypervelocity .22's.

May 30, 2007, 10:34 PM
from what i have seen people useing on the hunting shows for small game like groundhods and woodchucks. they use the new .17 caliber guns. i think they go a lot faster than a 22. might look into one of them instead of a 22

May 31, 2007, 01:05 AM
Hang on a minute here... woodchucks are REAL?!?! :what: Totally thought those were just a joke... I guess the best round would depend on how much wood the woodchuck chucks (sorry, someone had to do it). :neener:

30-06 lover
May 31, 2007, 11:31 AM
I would get CCI Velocitors. It is a 40 gr. Gold Dot HP bullet that flies at 1435fps. I would go with CCI Stingers as a second choice.

Vern Humphrey
May 31, 2007, 12:02 PM
Personally, I prefer the .22 Hornet -- it's a mild little cartridge, and with modern loads, especially with the 35-grain V-Max, it kills chucks and similar varmits like lightning.

May 31, 2007, 12:12 PM
I would get CCI Velocitors. It is a 40 gr. Gold Dot HP bullet that flies at 1435fps. I would go with CCI Stingers as a second choice.

I second this. If you really intend to stick with a .22LR, this is probably the way to go.

Another option would be Paco Kelly's Accurizer. I've seen some of those modified .22 rounds do some vicious work on varmints. Never seen a groundhog, though. Don't know how big those are.

Luis Leon
May 31, 2007, 12:36 PM
I've killed quite a few woodchucks with my CZ452 American and 36 grain remington hollowpoints. My longest shot was eighty measure yards, most were in the 25 to 50 yard range. Haven't lost one and I shot a really big one last summer. All headshots, with a good .22 rifle, headshots on chucks out to 100 yards aren't difficult, but I prefer to get closer.


Luis Leon

May 31, 2007, 01:17 PM
I walked to the livingroom this morning to look out through the window at the beautiful view. Anyone care to guess whom I saw? It was Woodrow! Our daughter named him three years back when we moved in. Here, in a subdivision-setting, Woodrow poses no genuine threat, and so he gets a varmint pass. Now, if Woodrow were to move to the family farm, that would be a different case.

May 31, 2007, 01:55 PM
Could a wood chuck chuck a 22? :D

May 31, 2007, 03:26 PM
Yea, I have a woodchuck who was nice enough to move in under my shed, which is one 10 foot clover patch away from my families medium sized garden, complete with a few rows of pea plants.

As much as I don't mind him, he will most likely eat the whole pea row in a night, along with what ever else strikes his fancy. So its him or the garden. He also poses a problem for my dog. He is a Jack Russel terrier, who has an uncanny ability to never back down or run away, even when the 10 lb dog corners a 20lb woodchuck.

I have heard good things about the Velocitors, I will certainly try them out. I have some stingers kicking around, and I will also try some CCI mini-mags, and some federal bulk packs of HV HP

May 31, 2007, 03:35 PM
Yeah! See how "Woodrow" is standing and looking? I have not yet planted the garden. Usually by this time, the garden would be coming up. Woodrow appears to have been checking on the garden's progress. Woodrow may have to go shopping else where.

June 1, 2007, 01:19 AM
Guess if you are in an urban setting, then maybe subsoni counrds are called for? :D

June 1, 2007, 09:53 AM
Definately sub-sonic, or Super Colibris! I posted a target here from the Super Colibri (powderless) ammunition. The thread title is .22 Rimfire Specialty Ammunitions:

It is pretty darned accurate, and it is as-quiet-as a Red Ryder BB gun! The problem still remains, given the suburbon setting, I am sure the police would visit me for shooting him.


June 1, 2007, 11:23 AM
I, too, have a Jack . . . an amazingly loyal & immensely entertaining (read: life IS a tennis ball . . . or a squirrel) creature . . . 9 pounds of dog in what Sadie truly believes is a 150#, absolutely armor-plated body. On the plus side, I haven't seen a mouse since she matured . . . and she DOES retrieve doves!

June 1, 2007, 12:22 PM
yup, he is an all around great hunter dog, he hunts squirrels, and now woodchucks, nearly killed my neighbors >50lb black lab when it cornered my dog in our garage. weighs 10 lb, but thinks he is 200lb's.

A few days ago he cornered a woodchuck in my neighbors lilac bushes, it must have weighed >10 lb's, so I grabbed my trusty 10/22 and since my area has had some problems with rabid raccoons and skunks, I just put the full clip (10 rounds) into him. Remington golden bullets (34 or 36 grain, 1,300FPS) from 10 feet, all shot from behind into his upper back/shoulder, and not one exited him! He immediately dragged it out, and started biting it and yelping like it was hurting him, but it wasn't even moving. Much to my surprise he started biting it in the back legs, body, and head and just broke every bone in its body in a few minutes. Boy I have never seen him any more proud than after he "killed" that woodchuck.

last night the woodchuck I was going to shoot came out, so I let the dog out, and much to my surprise ran the 30 yards, and almost caught the woodchuck! wouldn't have stood a chance against a 20lb woodchuck, but it sure was funny!

June 1, 2007, 12:31 PM
20lb woodchuck

I would like to see a picture as that would rank right up there with "hogzilla".

June 1, 2007, 12:36 PM
ok ok not quite 20lb, but certainly a little tubby, at first glance from 30 yards away, he looks like a beaver.

June 1, 2007, 02:45 PM
They can get up to 30 pounds, but are usually 5-10 pounds.

June 1, 2007, 04:13 PM
I will believe a 20lb woodchuck when I see it; as for 30lbs not unless it is living on Three Mile Island.

Vern Humphrey
June 1, 2007, 04:22 PM
I will believe a 20lb woodchuck when I see it; as for 30lbs not unless it is living on Three Mile Island.

I had one larger than that in my pasture. I used to saddle it and ride it to round up the cattle.

I had to quit, though -- it got sore-footed and the farrier couldn't figure out how to nail on the shoes.:p

June 1, 2007, 04:48 PM
Vern, Are you sure it wasn't your grandkids shetland pony?:D

June 1, 2007, 04:55 PM
Doc: thats what we call a Groundhog up here in canada :)

trueg50: from everything i have read. Rodents dont get rabies. (groundhogs, squerrels, rabbits etc)

Vern Humphrey
June 1, 2007, 04:58 PM
Vern, Are you sure it wasn't your grandkids shetland pony?

No, he was too big for that.

But come to think of it, I haven't seen that pony around for a while. You don't think the woodchuck ate him, do you?

June 1, 2007, 05:07 PM
I believe that Groundhogs are almost exclusively herbivors; and if there are any 30lbers our there I hope they are exclusively herbivors or deathly afraid of old, slow, fat men.

June 1, 2007, 05:53 PM
Check out the "smug" look on his miserable little face too! :neener: Give him a cigarette and offer him a blind fold. It's as though he knows he can't be shot.

I would estimate this guy to weigh in at about 8ish pounds, perhaps 10. He's good sized, but not the biggest I have ever seen. I did see one at the family farm 2 years back that had to have weighed in around 20ish pounds. He was so fat he could hardly walk...running was out of the question! Survival of the fittest, I am sure, has had its toll on him by now. :evil:


June 1, 2007, 07:43 PM
308win: groundhogs can get really big. ive seen some REALLY frickin fat ones. they look like inchworms when they run cuz of all the fat they have.

June 1, 2007, 09:59 PM
Generally, those with short barrels & youth-model stocks . . . most chucks I've seen have really short arms . . .

June 1, 2007, 10:16 PM
I would get CCI Velocitors. It is a 40 gr. Gold Dot HP bullet that flies at 1435fps. I would go with CCI Stingers as a second choice.

That echos my advice if you choose to use a 22lr.

A few thoughts as I have shot quite a few with a 22 rifle. First, put a good scope on it and learn to shoot it well. Second, when the opportunity arises for a shot, do not take shots at running chucks. Shoot only for the head on the first shot. I always aimed for an eye or ear and if you are good enough, it drops them pretty much like a rock. Body shots almost always mean the groundhog runs into his den and probably dies a long slow death. Be a sportsman and only take good shots that present themselves to you.

A better choice is to pick up a centerfire rifle, scope it, shoot it, and you are good for as far as you can accurately place your shots in the chest or head area (upper torso). It is essentially about a 5-6" diameter target. Not a small target area for a good shooting rifle from a rest.

June 18, 2007, 10:52 AM
I just made my latest purchase of woodchuck/ground hog/target rounds...8K of Remington Tumderbolts. :what:

well, there WERE little one shoots them off quick. Imagine a kid going through 600 rounds in a day of shooting! I wish my dad had bought me that much ammo when I was a kid. As I see it, it's a small price to pay ( .99c per box ) to keep my little gal interested in shooting/hunting.

June 18, 2007, 12:08 PM
Mini-14 imo are not great accurate rifles. You're better off building a Varmit AR15.

June 18, 2007, 12:49 PM
i've taken a couple from my mark II with plan old federal bulk pack.

these were close though, 10 yards and under and a quick controlled pair to the chuck's noggin allowed him to expire quickly and painlessly.

50-60 yards you could still make a headshot if you had a rest with no problem. i take blackbirds out to 70 with a rest more often than not. i'd just say use whatever your gun groups best, so you could get him right in the head.

that being said, remington bulk pack i think run a bit hotter. you guys like thunderbolts? i never had luck with them, but i used to shoot them cause they were 7.98 a brick by me. recently stores or is it remington? are trying to reposition them in the market and upped the price to 12.99 a brick. federal go for 9.97 and remington golden go for 10.48 winchester xpert split the two, but never shot very well for me.

anyone use american redbox? i picked up a brick of 400 for a deal but havent cracked em open yet.

June 18, 2007, 07:25 PM
The Thunderbolts are the most accurate that I have ever bought. It's every bit as good as the Remington Blue Box Target. :) The price is right too, a mere .99c for 50 rounds!

June 18, 2007, 07:29 PM
Bolt action 22 magnum, look to Hornaday for a good round.

Steel Talon
June 18, 2007, 09:59 PM
Yep another vote here for 22lr Velociters .

We have huge Jack Rabbits here is SE AZ ever bit as big as a woodchuck. One shot kills with the Velociters.

Steel Talon:cool:

June 18, 2007, 10:26 PM

Well, did you get him and if so what worked, if not, how's the second installment of the garden coming along?



June 18, 2007, 10:51 PM
trueg50-the chuck will not eat the peas in one night. They are diurnal.

June 19, 2007, 06:58 AM
well, an update, well he may not be nocturnal, but while I went away to my girlfriends for the night, the next day the pea plants were gone, The only trail was small depressions from hit feet, he just got on the mount, and walked along as he ate. My father and dog keep a close eye on him, so I assume he ate them some time around dusk, or before 6:00AM.

Yesterday night I had a clear perfect shot at him, be was about 40 feet from his hole, but my neighbors who live about 100 yards away (don't worry, they aren't any where near down range) had some company over, so I spared him. Tonight he will not be so lucky if he tries that again.

I checked the garden this morning and now a row of string beans is gone. However they have all been "trimmed" down so that only one inch is left, but that one inch still has leaves on it. I don't know if deer or woodchuck are to blame for this, but I do know that that woodchuck may be forced to give up his ghost soon.

I checked for velocitors at my local gunshop, but they don't carry them. Though I nearly bought a nearly perfect condition universal M1 carbine for $449. I have some Aguila SSS, but they keyhole pretty badly in my 10/22. Tonight I will try some CCI stingers, I am currently using Remington golden bullets that may be iffy for accuracy and power, not to mention reliability.

June 19, 2007, 07:59 AM
Due to time and circumstance, the noise that comes with more power is a non-starter when you have a pest managment project like this one. Been there, done that.

I don't recall what kind of rifle you plan to use but for a 40 to 50 foot shot you might want to spend the $ for a box of CCI Subsonics.

They have a very consistent point of aim in several of my rifles.
They are pretty quiet compared to HV ammo. (louder than CCI Longs, much more quiet than my Hornet or 223)
The hollow point they have is about the largest I've seen and they hit with authority.
100 round box will allow for some testing and practice with plenty left over to get the job done.

If you have any kind of rifle at all you should be able to get a head shot at 40feet which will quietly and efficiently correct Mr. Groundhog's pea-eating ways very effectively. I had a similar problem myself lately and CCI Subs took care of matters. I keep a rifle setup for them now just for this kind of project.

Let us know how it turns out.


June 19, 2007, 08:23 AM
well, thank you very much for your help/ tips selfdfenz, Mr. Woodchuck however does not

June 19, 2007, 09:03 AM
IMHO, there is a strategy in harvesting groundhogs that works in conjunction with the .22LR selection. These are curious critters. Jays Sporting Good (a sports shop in Clare, MI) used to sell swinging, armor-plate steel, silhouette targets of groundhogs. They were life-size.

I had my Ruger 10/22 HB zeroed at 225 yards, using a 4X target-turreted scope. This rig, with Remington Thunderbolts, consistently was grouping in the 2" range at 225 yards (off the bench). I would set the steel target a few yards from the groundhogs' entrances. Then, I would insert the 10-round magazine and plink the steel silhouette 2 or 3 times. As I sat there waiting, the groundhogs almost always would start to pop out and look to see what was causing the noise.

As the groundhogs came out and stood on rear legs to look, I would take my shot. I save the most important for last. The silhouette looked real (shape). I placed it between the collective entrances and the sun. As the sun provided (I believe) some hindrance to see if the target was real, fellow groundhog, or if it was something else. When they would stand up, I would take a head-shot or neck-shot. The rationale for shooting to the head or neck was two-fold: 1) I would hit or I would miss…small target, and 2) if hit, it would be fatal because all tissue therein is vital, period. A body-shot may or may not be fatal. I never had to make 2 shots on these groundhogs. All dropped where they stood.

I usually either sat at the picnic table, under a tree and behind the grapevine. This way, sitting and waiting for hours on end was comfortable. Sometimes I would stalk closer, 150 to 175 yards, and wait. Having the target turrets, and a cheat-sheet for the trajectory really helped. In closing, the Thunderbolts worked incredibly well, provinding complete penetration each and every time, and rendering "instant results".

June 19, 2007, 09:19 AM
good Idea.

currently, what I do is since with iron sights, left, right is very easy, while elevation is difficult, I aim for his head while he is on all fours and side ways to me, that way it is 1) if I hit him it is in the head and he is a goner instantly. 2) a miss is a miss and he is unharmed. 3) I do feel a little guilty shooting him, so I consider it more "sporting" if I take a shot at him when he is in the garden and he is positioned the way I previously stated.

Bottom Gun
June 20, 2007, 06:37 PM
Winchester Power Points are the best .22 HP's I have used. They are a true 40 grain HP which chronograph at 1280. They have a very large cavity and expand well. They hit hard and are also quite accurate.

June 20, 2007, 08:59 PM
Well, there are certainly enough suggestions for a woodchuck..... But what about for an Overly Dramatic Gopher (

I'm sorry... Couldn't help myself. Had to be done.

June 21, 2007, 06:33 AM
Ohhh man, that is too funny, MarineTech!!

Well the woodchuck has been dealt with.. though not by me.

I was watching him last night, near my garden, which half of is surrounded by tall weeds followed by a stone wall. I walk away and come back 15 minutes later, and there is a coyote standing right where the woodchuck was. I think he got him, considering the woodchuck was about 30 feet from his hole at the time. I wanted to take a shot at the coyote, but this was the first time I had seen one so I was worried it was a neighbor hood dog on the loose (although I have never seen a dog like this before). I grabbed my dads S&W .357 but by the time I got it and looked out side it was gone.

The animal was about 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall, bushy tail, and was a tan ish with pointy ears and a long jaw. Does this sound like a coyote or a red fox?

hmmm, maybe I should change this to "bes 22lr for coyote"? actually I would never use that for a coyote, so no worries.

June 24, 2007, 10:03 PM
i remember when i was younger, i used to watch my grandpa take woodchucks out to 100 yards and a some with a 22lr. they were all headshots, and he dropped them right there. but he is a pretty accomplished marksman as he was expert in every category of guns in the air force.

June 24, 2007, 10:21 PM
I've never killed a woodchuck. And with that in mind the most effective killing round I've ever used in a .22LR is the good old 40 gr Winchester power point.

A friend once killed a whole herd of 30+ LB wild piglets with these out of a M-97T Marlin all body shots all killed quite quickly.

I've been told the 40gr Win Power point was designed to kill larger varmints in Australia. I don't know if that is true or not but they are good hunting bullets.

June 25, 2007, 08:59 AM
Chucky's are tough.. so 75yards get to the point where it might get tough for anything but a headshot.


Otherwise, a bolt action like a 77/22..

June 25, 2007, 09:31 AM
Put a 4x scope on your rifle, sight it in, and a whole new world will open up to you with regard to effectively killing groundhogs with head shots at moderate ranges.

June 26, 2007, 10:17 PM
No doubt the Velocitor is the way to go. It carries way more energy downrange than any of the 31 grain "high-speed" stuff (Stingers, Quickshock, etc.). I've chronoed Stingers and Velocitors at 100 yards. They are the same velocity at that distance, except that one is 40 grains and the other is 31. Velocitor=bigger hammer. WW power point is a good choice also. I was going to mention the SSS for pure penetration capabilities, but unfortunately they keyhole in some guns. (Sounds like yours does that).

Good luck!

June 27, 2007, 08:25 AM
well, I am sort of siding with the SSS just for that reason outdoorfan. It's keyholing is so violent that I am thinking that it will do more damage than my remmy golden bullets. I shot red squirrels with the HP and SSS and the SSS do much more impressive damage. instead of a clean .22 in, ~.30-40 out, they just hit almost straight in, and exit violently sideways and have caused 100% instant kills on the red squirrels versus about 50% with the HP's. Has anyone tried the Aquila interceptors? they sound like lots of fun as well!

Still waiting for him to come out, I have a feeling it will be very soon.

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