Muzzle loader squirrel hunting.


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CajunBass
November 10, 2007, 07:18 AM
Maybe this should be in the black powder section, I don't know, but since it's "hunting" I'll try here.

Does anyone hunt squirrels with a muzzle loader? I've got a little Thompson Seneca .36 cal rifle that I've never fired. (It was fired before I got it, I've just never fired it.) Had it for years. I've thought about taking it squirrel hunting, especially on those days when I just want to walk in the woods, and carry a rifle, but don't really give a hoot if I kill anything or not.

How do you go about knowing what load to shoot? I guess Thompson could send me an owners manual. Everybody that sells M/L stuff seems to know about bigger ones for deer hunting. Mention a 36 and I get looked at like I'm from Mars.

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b292/CajunBass/Cajunshoots054a.jpg

Pretty little rifle. I need to polish the brass.

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MCgunner
November 10, 2007, 09:53 AM
I've thought about it, but I think i'd be a hassle in the field if the squirrel were out. If I did, I'd definitely think about using that American Pioneer Powder, the "Jim Shocky's Gold" or the standard due to the cleaning thing. My Hawken needs a bore scrub with water every three rounds or accuracy goes to pot. A squirrel rifle needs to be really accurate and having accuracy go south after three rounds due to bore fouling is not a good thing while hunting squirrel on a good day and I don't think cleaning the bore every three rounds would be an option. From what I've hearing, you can fire many rounds, 50 or better, with that American Pioneer Powder stuff and not worry about scrubbing, burns that clean. It's one problem is it goes bad in humid environments, so you have to take pains to store it in such a way as to keep it dry and away from humidity. Down here, that's sorta hard to do.

But, if I lived up in east Texas, I think I could get into muzzle loading squirrels, be kinda neat to do. And, you're right, I'd post this on the black powder discussion board. More likely to find experience there.

kenhtake
November 10, 2007, 10:18 AM
I've done a decent amount of squirrel hunting with a muzzle loader, it is still a bit of a tradition in Kentucky.

I would take your rifle out to the range and try shooting it to see where it hits with each progressive round. This should solve any accuracy concerns if you can figure out how it shoots over a series of shots. In my experience, patched round balls are extremely accurate out of a good rifle and just about ideal for squirrel. I always swab out the bore before reloading (a good idea when using blackpowder) and have never had a problem with my accuracy going bad.

I imagine a .36 hawken style rifle would make a wonderful small game gun. I use a .40 cal Kentucky Rifle and would highly recommend trying small game with these old guns to anyone. Also, if you get fairly good with your rifle, try barking the squirrels, this actually works out pretty well with the larger calibers.

Kimber1911_06238
November 10, 2007, 10:34 AM
I used to hunt squirrel with a .36 caliber hatfield. I missed more than I hit, but when you connect it sure is fun

MCgunner
November 10, 2007, 12:11 PM
A patched ball probably does shoot more consistently for multiple shots than my 1:24 hawken 50 with 360 grain minie balls. The patch would tend to scrub previous fouling, I'd think.

I think I'll stick to my .22 contender barrel. It's fun and I can actually collect supper with it. :D

Zeke/PA
November 10, 2007, 07:34 PM
I just LOVE to go Squirrel hunting with my .36 cal Seneca.
My pet load is 40 grs. FFFG and a home cast round ball.
I shoot just enough squirrels in a year to have a mess or two of squirrels and gravy.
Incendentaly, the Seneca is a great little rifle, no longer made and quite valuable on the gun show circuit.
Respectfully, Zeke

sixgunner455
November 10, 2007, 08:24 PM
I wouldn't worry about polishing the brass if you're going to hunt with it.

I've had a T/C Hawken .50 cal for many years now. Love to hunt with it and shoot it. I've never had occasion to shoot it at a squirrel, but it does sound like fun.

alsaqr
November 10, 2007, 09:59 PM
i hunt squirrels and rabbits with two muzzleloaders one is a CVA Staghorn. I use a 240 grain XTP bullet and 60 grains of Pyrodex in it. The other gun is 140 years old: It fires a #1 buckshot. This is the smallest caliber muzzleloading rifle i have ever seen.

dispatch55126
November 10, 2007, 10:38 PM
I've got a Cabela's Model 1851 Confederate I use. Let me word that another way, I try and hit squirrels/chipmunks with it. The closest was taking a tail off but unfortunately I couldn't locate it to finish it. If you're going for the meat, I would thing a ML shotgun would work.

1911 guy
November 11, 2007, 06:19 PM
I've got a Pedersoli made flint .36 I use for bushy tails. Here's what I'd do:

Take a day and go to the range with some good patch material and a hundred round balls, .350 diameter. I use Ox-Yoke brand patches because they're pre-cut and easy to use in the field. Spit patch works fine for smaller calibers, no need to buy anything but powder, caps, balls, patches and ramrod accessories. Maybe you've already got that stuff.

Use FFFg (3f) powder, start with 25 grains. Shoot a few, between five and ten, at 25 yards. Increase the powder in 5gr increments until you get the tightest group. I wouldn't go over 45gr of FFFg in a .36 barrel.

Once you've got the powder charge that will give you the best accuracy, then adjust your sights.

Swap with a spit patch between shots. The smaller calibers foul very quickly and two or three shots can leave you unable to load the next ball completely.

ArmedBear
November 12, 2007, 01:42 AM
WRT accuracy, I have always used Hoppes powder solvent/patch lube liquid as a lube, and it cleans the bore pretty well, automatically.

I can shoot a lot of rounds of PRB's through my T/C, no problem. A lot more rounds than you'd ever shoot in the field.

MCgunner
November 12, 2007, 11:54 AM
i hunt squirrels and rabbits with two muzzleloaders one is a CVA Staghorn. I use a 240 grain XTP bullet and 60 grains of Pyrodex in it. The other gun is 140 years old: It fires a #1 buckshot. This is the smallest caliber muzzleloading rifle i have ever seen.

OMG, now you done went and done it, gave me another idea to play with. LOL! My 50 is mighty accurate, like 3 MOA with iron sights, with a 240 grain sabot .44 bullet. Hmmmmmm.......

alsaqr
November 12, 2007, 12:36 PM
"OMG, now you done went and done it, gave me another idea to play with. LOL! My 50 is mighty accurate, like 3 MOA with iron sights, with a 240 grain sabot .44 bullet. Hmmmmmm......."

i use my scoped Staghorn. Have used iron sights to good effect too. The bullet that i use is the .44 caliber XTP. It is easy to make head shots on squirrels and rabbits with that bullet and 60 grains of granualr Pyrodex. Get them squirrels and rabbits!!!!

MCgunner
November 12, 2007, 01:07 PM
I've got a supply of 'em. I'll dump 60 grains and try 'em out at the range. I'm thinkin' if they work, I could get a .44/240 mold and sabot them. I think you can get the sabots without bullets. Be cool shootin' squirrel with cast .44s out of a Hawken. :D

1911 guy
November 15, 2007, 09:43 AM
Try it, you'll like it. These little guns are accurate as all get-out and nearly as cheap as a .22 rimfire to shoot. One pound of lead gives me just over 100 balls, one pound of powder gives me over 150 shots. Thats about...cipherin' quickly...fifteen cents a pop. Caps and patches not included, but they're cheap, too.

If you've got a pot or furnace to cast lead already, get a LEE bullet mold for a .350" ball and your cost goes down a bit.

ocharry
November 15, 2007, 04:34 PM
Cajun,, i got one of them purty lettle rifle guns an i kin tell ya ifin you are gona shoot squrls wif it load her lite,,,or take only hade shots,,,,,cuz them lettle balls really mess things up on a body shot wif a hot load,,,,you can ask me how i know this ifin ya like

one more thing,,,, you need ta use the real powder in it,,,, that new fangled smokeyless stuff and all them substitutes,,,, why there just passin fads,,,,an asides you need to smell the smoke to get the full efect

good huntin,, an ya know this here is just another ol farts pinion;)

ocharry

CajunBass
November 15, 2007, 07:18 PM
I wanted to reply to this so everyone would know I was paying attention. Thanks for all the advice. I probably won't use it this year, deer season is about to open here now, and I'm still trying to wack a bushytail with a Ruger 22/45, but I'm going to get me some of that real power that ocharry talked about, and some caps, balls and stuff, and learn to shoot this thing pretty soon.

Does seem a shame that it's just sitting here looking pretty.

c3006
November 17, 2007, 08:25 AM
You will get hooked on it if your not carefull,cleaning between shots is the waay to go as it will stay easy to load and accuracy will be better. Also the lighter load you can shoot the less the bore fouls and the more powder you save. Have fun. c

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