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Old October 13, 2014, 10:35 PM   #1
amc317
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Small game hunting: what's truly "powerful" enough?

I went squrriel hunting with a 16gauge modified choke #6 shot , ar 30 yards i dropped a squrriel that was eating a nut, as I was cleaning it i seen only very few pellets hit and almost all of them was a complete pass through, the others stuck in the hide on the other side, this got me thinking today as I am in search for a pellet rifle to hunt small game with as the shotgun was terribly loud and rang my ears for days.
Now, those small pellets can't be producing very high amounts of energy and even more surprising was no vitals were hit and I only needed 1 shot, air rifle guys say you "need" like 8ft lbs of energy to kill a squrriel but i don't think you "need" the 8pounds but more like a minimum of 4ish, what do you think? Share a story of a shot that shouldn't have killed but did if you want
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Old October 13, 2014, 10:51 PM   #2
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Small game hunting: what's truly "powerful" enough?

The last rabbit I killed (and ate) was with a 2" Taurus 905 9mm revolver

At the shooting range no less
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Old October 13, 2014, 11:46 PM   #3
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AMC - 30 yds. with #6 shot in a modified choke (was it a "hi-brass" or a "lo-brass" load) is about the limit on a squirrel, esp. with a 16 gauge. Their hide is fairly thick and tough, esp. when compared to something like a rabbit or quail. If you were going to shoot any further than that, you might have better luck (on squirrels) using either #5 shot, unless you can change the choke to a tighter pattern.

FYI - Hi-brass 12 ga. loads (#6 shot) have 3 3/4 dram eq. gunpowder with 3 3/4 oz. shot.
Lo-brass have 3 1/4 dram eq. and 1 oz. of shot.
Being a 16 gauge, even if 2 3/4" shells, they will have less shot, powder, and thus less power.

You also didn't say whether the gun is a single-shot, double barrel, pump, or semi-auto.

Good hunting!
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Old October 13, 2014, 11:55 PM   #4
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410 derringer at 25 yards was pretty remarkable at consistency on wabbits until I traded that piece of junk off on something more valuable and pleasant to shoot.
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Old October 14, 2014, 12:03 AM   #5
amc317
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTHunter View Post
AMC - 30 yds. with #6 shot in a modified choke (was it a "hi-brass" or a "lo-brass" load) is about the limit on a squirrel, esp. with a 16 gauge. Their hide is fairly thick and tough, esp. when compared to something like a rabbit or quail. If you were going to shoot any further than that, you might have better luck (on squirrels) using either #5 shot, unless you can change the choke to a tighter pattern.



FYI - Hi-brass 12 ga. loads (#6 shot) have 3 3/4 dram eq. gunpowder with 3 3/4 oz. shot.

Lo-brass have 3 1/4 dram eq. and 1 oz. of shot.

Being a 16 gauge, even if 2 3/4" shells, they will have less shot, powder, and thus less power.



You also didn't say whether the gun is a single-shot, double barrel, pump, or semi-auto.



Good hunting!

Pump, old 50s 870, I actually aim low so I don't make it into Swiss cheese. And according to my bore sight my sights are way off and it hits left but I didn't compensate for that as I just found that out
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Old October 14, 2014, 03:46 AM   #6
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.22 magnum and .17 HMR will make rabbits and hares DRT at 100-150 yards. Inside 25 yards they turn them inside out.

For squirrels at 30 yards? I would look at a .22lr loaded with CCI Quiet .22. Not enough noise to hurt, with a heavy enough projectile to do the job.

http://www.cci-ammunition.com/produc...e=3&loadNo=960

Unlike the lighter Winchester Long Z, these are accurate in my rifle and fairly flat for the first 25 yards. With the .22lr you will also have the option of standard and high velocity .22lr for longer shots. I recommend using hearing protection with both however.

.22 air rifle pellets will weight between 13 & 22 grains. The 40 grain CCI round will have more oomph.
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Old October 14, 2014, 03:49 AM   #7
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Just to add, Britain does not require a license for air rifles with energy levels less than 12 foot pound. There is an entire industry based on building hunting rigs below that maximum and they are used on rabbits to good effect.

www.airgunbbs.com is the British forum if you want to look further into the equipment they use.
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Old October 14, 2014, 09:25 AM   #8
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I have an RWS .17 air rifle that I've shot a few squirrels with. You have to hit then just right or they can be gone, probably to die someplace else. I don't like shooting any critter like that. My best advice is use a .22 rifle for rabbits and squirrels if you can, preferably one with a scope so you can keep your shots 2 MOA. Some rifles can shoot .22 shorts which are reduced loads and pretty effective at 25 yards. Another problem with air rifles are the triggers. If you shoot one and then compare the trigger to a decent .22 you will know what I'm talking about. .22 rifles are much easier to be accurate with.
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Old October 14, 2014, 10:20 AM   #9
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I agree with Radagast. If you are interested in airgun hunting, look to our friends across the pond. Airgun hunting has just starred to take off here in the states. There is still a lot if misconseptions among US hunters about their capabilities. The Brits have it down to a science. They know their stuff.
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Old October 14, 2014, 10:20 AM   #10
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What I forgot to mention was that .22 ammo around here is still getting hoarded so I can't get any good stuff, im actually looking into a .22 air rifle that has roughly 12-13 ft lbs and the british(as stated above) do use them to great effect, they even use air rifles(somtimes) to hunt medium game like deer size game, however that's more like 190ft lb rifle, that and I live in the city and the nearest range is over an hour away. So with that I can practice in town cheaply and figure out what pellet is most accurate. The air rifle im looking at they garentee 1/2 inch groups at like 25 yards. From what I've seen with those very small pellets still passing through and some hitting BOTH thighs and those ending up lodged in the hide on the other side I think 12 ft lb will carry enough energy at 25 yards and still be accurate enough to reliably take game. Also the air gun looking at is very popular and has many many miss you can buy like triggers and valve systems to doue the power.
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Old October 14, 2014, 10:31 AM   #11
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I have found .22lr lead 40 gr solids to be the ideal squirrel and rabbit round if you are looking to eat them. The stingers and hollow points make too much of a mess in my experience.
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Old October 14, 2014, 10:42 AM   #12
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I have likely killed more squirrls and rabbits with a Benjamin air rifle than with any firearm. Any .22 rimfire will do the job for sure.

Anytime a shot is aimed up in the air like when shooting squirrls in a tree, I think a pellet gun is a better idea than something that has much greater range.
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Old October 14, 2014, 11:00 AM   #13
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I found that .22 CBs at ten to fifteen yards work just fine on squirrels.
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Old October 14, 2014, 07:23 PM   #14
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Yard hunting I use .22 pellets out of a modified QB 78. I keep it under 15 yards or so. I think vel is about 625 fps. I don't like .17 cal on squirrels unless real close.
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Old October 14, 2014, 08:33 PM   #15
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Having killed numerous squirrels, a few rabbits, and a few other > 5 lb critters with a .177 air rifle, I'd certainly opt for the .22 version if I were buying it to hunt anything bigger than rats or chipmunks.
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Old October 14, 2014, 09:40 PM   #16
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.22 Nitro Venom is a good option if you want an air rifle solution. Trigger needs some work (many US air rifles need that) but it's a simple fix.

Quiet and pretty powerful at a nice price. More power usually means more noise if that is an issue for you.
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Old October 14, 2014, 10:47 PM   #17
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I found that .22 CBs at ten to fifteen yards work just fine on squirrels.
That is a good choice too and what I keep handy. Pretty much the same as a .22 cal air rifle but with a little more mass and less noise.
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Old October 14, 2014, 11:38 PM   #18
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When I was a kid, a long time ago, my squirrel gun was a Winchester pump with short hollow points. Quiet enough for follow up shots, tried for head but still left meat on shoulder shots. I also used, and still do, a Stevens 22/410, again with shorts or 410 #6 shot loads. You don't need many pellet to bring down a squirrel and even fewer on a cottontail.
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Old October 14, 2014, 11:59 PM   #19
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hunt with a break open 17 air rifle. it shoots a pellet at around 1200 fps. kills rabbits at 30 feet no problem with head shots
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Old October 15, 2014, 09:17 AM   #20
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You don't want to be undergunned as Elmer Keith and Mr. Ruark wouldn't like you if you were. Also, if you respect the animal, you should shoot it with something expensive. That's why I chose a 458 Lott. Since it was a head shot, no usable meat on the rabbit was lost (not that I ate it).
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Old October 15, 2014, 10:34 AM   #21
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Not a big fan of using a .22 to shoot up in trees, depending on what direction im shooting there's houses less than half a mile away, if I can find a break barrel that doesn't shoot like poo(have had very bad experince in the past with one) I was actually looking at a Benjamin pnumatic in .22 and they pretty much garentee good accuracy wich is key for air rifles
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Old October 15, 2014, 11:48 AM   #22
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Quote:
410 derringer at 25 yards was pretty remarkable at consistency on wabbits until I traded that piece of junk off on something more valuable and pleasant to shoot.
Hmm, did you shoot with it or just throw it at the rabbit? I knew a guy that was deadly with a rock, could kill a rabbit at 20 yards with a rock, seen him do it. That boy should have been drafted by the Astros.

I've killed swamp rabbit (bigger than your average cottontail) and squirrel with a .22 caliber pump up Benjamin. Then, for my ninth birthday, I got my Remington M512X bolt action .22. With shorts, it was deadly to 30-35 yards. Still own that rifle, still deadly accurate. I've been shooting shorts in it because I found 2000 of 'em in a stash. You shoot what you can find. .22 has been scarce for a while, now. If there's anything harder to find than .22LR it's .22 WMR. I do have a Rossi 92 I load with a 105 grain cast SWC (Lee mold, very accurate) in .38 special brass over 2.3 grains of bullseye to 900 fps at the muzzle. It passes for a good squirrel gun.

I love to chase small game with a Ruger Mk 2 and a 2x scope. Running shots are out, of course, and stalking or stand hunting is the name of the game, not still hunting. You have to change your tactics to fit what you are using. On my woods walks where I'll just take targets of opportunity, anything in season is fair game, my little Remington Spartan coach gun choked I/C-Mod with 20 gauge 3" five shot is pretty amazing. I also have a 28" mod-full choked old Sarasqueta SxS I bought in 1971 that still takes game. I load it with high brass 6s for small game. During deer season and when the hogs are around, I'll load one barrel with buckshot or a slug, a combination gun if you will. I took an 8 point last season, first I ever took with a shotgun, using that 20 gauge with 3 buck, 3 head hits from 35 yards put him down post haste. The other barrel was loaded with a duck load as I was trying to sneak up on the tank when I saw the deer staring at me. With my eyes like they are in my old age, shotguns make WONDERFUL woods walking guns. I'm not that swift at shooting running rabbits with an iron sighted rifle anymore. There was a time, but one must adapt with age. I'm no longer the rifleman I once was and I've learned to accept that. Old age sux.
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Old October 15, 2014, 04:41 PM   #23
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I've used a slew of .22s both rifles and handguns but for a long time, now, I've been using either a couple of .32 muzzleloaders or a pet .36 flint SMR. For years, muzzleloaders (mostly flintlocks) are all I hunt with; both large and small game.
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Old October 15, 2014, 04:54 PM   #24
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I've seen .177 pellets bounce off of squirrels too many times. A .22 pellet and 800 fps impact should do the job reliably with good placement.
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Old October 15, 2014, 09:12 PM   #25
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Quote:
if I can find a break barrel that doesn't shoot like poo(have had very bad experince in the past with one) I was actually looking at a Benjamin pnumatic in .22 and they pretty much garentee good accuracy wich is key for air rifles
I picked up an RWS 34 at the first of the year. It has more power and is more accurate than old Benjamin but is a different animal. The Benjamin is the one I grab most often unless the shots are further away than what I consider airgun ranges. I have hit crows as far away as 98 yards with the 34.
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