.58 for Squirrel?

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Absolutely possible for @Smokey Plainsman to go hunting squirrels with his 58 caliber smoothbore. Any decent 24 gauge load should work just fine. 65 grains (volume of course) of 2f powder. a few over shot cards, then a 70 grain measure of 7 to 7 1/2 shot and an over shot card and at most normal distances, Smokey will be bringing home some squirrels for the pot.
 

smoothshooter

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Thinking about using my .58 caliber smoothbore trade gun to try and get some squirrels.

Anyone think it’s possible in this role? If so, what shot loads do you recommend? I’d prefer to use tow wadding for historical correctness. Thank you!

Dillon
Thinking about using my .58 caliber smoothbore trade gun to try and get some squirrels.

Anyone think it’s possible in this role? If so, what shot loads do you recommend? I’d prefer to use tow wadding for historical correctness. Thank you!

Dillon

Is that a serious question?
 
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Many a squirrel has become camp meat using a .410 bore modern shot gun w/ 1/2 to 7/8 oz of fine shot. Mine was a killer , so why wouldn't a 28 ga. , .58 kill also?? I'm building zombe .555 cal. smooth longrifle ,and expect it to kill small game , as well.
 

hanshi

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The only squirrel I ever shot with a .58 was with a .562" patched ball. I always aim at the head/neck area for obvious reasons. That big ball passed through the neck with both entry and exit slits only noticeable with a detailed search. I'd prefer a large ball to shot any day.
 
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With my T/C 56 smooth bore (essentially a 28 gauge) I use a square load of 65 grains 2f and the same volume of #5 shot with a lubed felt wad over the powder and a dry wad over the shot. I have taken a number of squirrels with this load out to 30 yards or so.
 
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I have the same rifle and just picked up another hunting area. How do you lube the wad and how much do you use? I’m guessing that these are sized to .56, and not oversized? Thanks!

don
 
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I have the same rifle and just picked up another hunting area. How do you lube the wad and how much do you use? I’m guessing that these are sized to .56, and not oversized? Thanks!

don
I melt some TOW mink oil in a small sauce pan and drop the felt wads in, let them soak for a minute, then take them out and squeeze out any excess lube. The wads are sized .560.
 

powdermeasure

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The only squirrel I ever shot with a .58 was with a .562" patched ball. I always aim at the head/neck area for obvious reasons. That big ball passed through the neck with both entry and exit slits only noticeable with a detailed search. I'd prefer a large ball to shot any day.
I agree, you don't need a full charge of powder either.
 
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The only squirrel I ever shot with a .58 was with a .562" patched ball. I always aim at the head/neck area for obvious reasons. That big ball passed through the neck with both entry and exit slits only noticeable with a detailed search. I'd prefer a large ball to shot any day.
I would aim at the head and neck also. The problem is where I hit. 😂
Larry
 

Steel Hayes

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1.jpg
Took 4 Tree rats this fall with #6 shot. Used the SkyChief load minus the lubed wad.
.58 works well.
 
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Crazdgunman

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Can you? Sure.

I whacked a squirrel not long ago with a .50 patched ball, and the results were pretty dramatic: not much meat left.
 

Notchy Bob

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@Smokey Plainsman ,

I used to hunt squirrels with my dad, using muzzleloading smoothbores loaded with shot. We used equal volumes of powder and shot. Probably about 2-1/4 drams of powder (roughly 62 grains) and an equal amount of shot would be a good starting load for your 24 gauge. I would test a few shots on paper to check the pattern, and maybe shoot a few tin cans to assess penetration, if you have a place where you can do that.

Dad and I used hornet's nest for wadding, and it worked. We also used Kleenex when we didn't have hornet's nest, and I have used Spanish moss. We didn't have wad cutters for the good guns. I got a cheap, Spanish 28 gauge single barrel muzzleloader when I was about 15, and oddly enough, we did have a wad cutter in that size. I preferred leather wads. I got a lot of squirrels with it.

The Bevel Brothers wrote an article in Muzzle Blasts last year, I believe, testing velocity and penetration of shot loads with punched wads and with natural (loose) wadding such as tow, leaves, etc. I don't remember if they tested wasp or hornet nest. The results were sobering. Loads with the loose, fiber wadding showed something like 40% less velocity, with a comparable loss in penetration when compared to card and fiber wads. Lots of birds and small game have fallen before smoothbores that were loaded with improvised wads, but I think the key to success is to know and stay within your gun's effective range.

I really enjoy the historical aspects of blackpowder shooting, and I would encourage you to research and experiment with traditional and historic loading methods. I do. However, if you are going after game, even squirrels, you will want to use the most effective loads you can develop, or at least determine and stay within your effective range. Blown patterns and reduced velocities result in wounded animals and cripples.

Good luck!

Notchy Bob
 
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When using .32 , .36 ,with full loads, or .40 with reduced loads , if a squirrel is in a position for a cross body shot , I treat the target area just as if i'm wacking a deer , or any other critter , shoot 'em in the ribs. The other target spot , is where the neck joins the body. Little meat is vaporized due to high velocity .
I don't recommend larger caliber rifles for squirrel hunting simply due to the possibility of wasting usable meat. Once was hunting an early season doe hunt , and a pesky squirrel kept getting in my face , and I guess trying to run me out of his space. Since I was going to come back in the morning , I decided to invite him to supper. I was using a .54 , but he was 10 yds. from me , I aimed at his head. As I let fly w/ the .54 round ball and an 84 gr. FFFG deer load. he turned his body just slightly , and the ball vaporized a little of his right front shoulder , and totally , his head was a cloud of detritus in the evening air. He was enjoyed at the camp supper table , as well as the story of his demise............oldwood
 
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