Need opinions for a squirrel rifle?

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R.C.BINGAMAN

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Gee Dave, I have hunted a bunch of tree rats in my life, with both the small cal. modern rifles and small cal. flinter (32 Dixie long rifle)A wounded squirrel is a tough and mean critter I doubt the fall was the demise of Mr. Squirrel. Seen them fall a long ways out of oaks and hickory trees and hit the ground a running. Thing to look for is on the way down if he is spayed out belly down, with tail up get ready the chase is on. If falling back towards the ground it looks like squirrel and dumplings. Never tried to bark one and probably never will. Just my opinion. AN APPALICHIAN HUNTER
 

Davemuzz

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Squirrel's are one tough little critter. I use to shoot 'em with a 16ga shotgun. Direct hits were no problem.....but I hated when I just winged 'em. As the above poster stated....."The hunt is on!"
 

Danny Ross

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I think we are just taking the senic route to the answer :shocked2: .
 

Danny Ross

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Some years back I was bow hunting in West Virginia and watched a squirrel fall about 20-25 feet out of a tree when it missed the branch it was jumping for. I was about 40 yds away and heard the THUD when the squirrel hit the ground, he laid there for quite a while, all of a sudden he got up and took off running and back up a tree :shocked2: . Thought I WAS going to have squirrel for dinner there for a while :wink: . There is no arguement they are TOUGH little critters. I also had one I hit with a 12ga, the shot pick him up out of the crotch of the tree he was setting in and sent him flying. I looked for over 20 minutes on the ground on the back side of that tree for that squirrel and never found it :idunno: . YOU HAVE TO RESPECT the squirrel. Kinda why I am asking my question about caliber. DANNY
 

DarrinG

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I shot a grey squirrel last fall while walking out from my stand from a bowhunt. The squirrel jumped up on a log about 20 yards away to eat an acorn and I grabbed a hex-head out of my quiver, drew my recurve and dead-centered him. The arrow impact literally knocked him several flips off the log. I smiled as I knew I got him and would have a squirrel for supper. Not so. Within seconds he was running over the hill towards the county line. They are tough critters.
 

M. De Land

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I'd still go .45 as a head shot will not destroy any meat and you have a caliber for big game as well.
Much easier to handle loading, less wind sensitive and shoots just as flat as the .32-.36 or .40.
A better all around caliber for everything.
I doubt any 17th century long hunter ever carried a caliber much under .44-.45.
 
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Back in the mid 1970's, I was deer hunting with a friend's original .58 cal. Colt Amoskeag Rifle Musket on Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA.

We could only hunt in the morning that day and we saw no sign of deer. However, there was a Gray Squirrel in a tree a good 35 feet above me that had made barking sounds at me all morning long. I decided it was time to end his barking and have something to show for the morning's hunt. However, I was concerned what a .58 cal. Minie' Ball would leave of the meat. So I decided to "bark" him.

My aim was off a little and instead of hitting just below his head, I hit almost dead center on the large branch he was perched on. OMG, a huge chunk of that branch and other things came crashing/raining down and I leapt for cover. The squirrel hit the ground with a thud and did not move. While I was walking towards him, he shook himself and I swear he stood up on his hind legs, was shaking his front paws at me and cussed me royal in "squirrel talk," then he bounded off into the woods. I figured that squirrel needed to be in the gene pool.

Gus
 
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The horned toad says we should go to Mexico.
Like the wolves, they are playing you. As you walk up to squirrel and dumplings, you never see that 6 more are circling you from behind. :shocked2:
And that squirrel chatter roughly translates to them asking each other "do you want the white meat or the dark?"
 

hanshi

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Squirrels are very, very tough and can survive a lot of punishment. That's one reason I haven't used shot on them for probably 55 years.

I like little calibers for little targets. But I did shoot a fox squirrel with a prb from a .58, once. It was a deer hunt but a "no show". Aiming for the neck I fired and he fell out of the tree and didn't move. Surprisingly, there was only a small "slit" entrance and an equally small one for the exit. I guess it makes all the difference where they are hit. Another time I shot one that was sitting on a log. In this case I had a .45acp. The bullet hit and spun him like a frisbee several yards. He still managed to get to a ground den before I could reach him. I did "explode" a couple with off shots from a .45 flinter with a prb.
 

R.C.BINGAMAN

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My recommendation is either a .32 rifle or a fowler loaded with #5 shot, Take your time and aim small miss small. AN APPALICHIAN HUNTER
 

M. De Land

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I think it doesn't matter what caliber you hit them with in the guts when there full of chewed up wet acorns because they are going to come apart from hydraulic compression like a water filled balloon.
 
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M.D. said:
I think it doesn't matter what caliber you hit them with in the guts when there full of chewed up wet acorns because they are going to come apart from hydraulic compression like a water filled balloon.
I disagree.....
I once shot a squirrel that was facing me....I aimed for the head and pulled the trigger...When the smoke cleared I saw him jump off a branch on the tree behind the tree I shot him in and he landed out of sight into a ditch....I thought I missed him. I was in disbelief...Because it was a good shot....So I investigated....I found him on the side of the embankment behind the second tree...Dead.
The ball (.45 cal) went in his mouth and came out where the tail meets the body....The damage to meat was minimal.
He didn't jump off that second tree....That's how far he was thrown.

Even when I have hit squirrels broadside, the damage is manageable....The bigger balls act more like a paper punch.
Squirrels usually get quartered up and put in a crock pot anyway....So there's always something to salvage...
 

SDSmlf

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Find a caliber/rifle and distance that you can hit a golfball with offhand. You will have your squirrel rifle and effective range. At the current time, personality using a 32 caliber Pedersoli flint Frontier (believe that is the model). Less than 30 yards and time to set up shot, dead squirrel. Purchased 8 pounds of swaged balls. May never run out. Have multiple 45 percussion and flint rifles that will pot squirrels just as effectively. But still prefer 32 as a dedicated squirrel rifle. 62 will also remove squirrel heads, but where will larger ball return to Mother Earth? Once you squeeze the trigger you are responsible for the projectile. Larger balls travel further than smaller ones.
 

smoothshooter

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When an elongated bullet ( such as a .30 caliber FMJ ) starts to fall after being fired up at a fairly steep angle, it swaps ends and comes down base first, particularly if it is a boat-tailled one.
Center of gravity thing.
A hollow-based Minnie bullet, don't know. Badminton effect might keep it nose forward.
Because of it's poor ballistic shape ( the only thing worse would be a disc ), the lowly ball may come down the slowest of all.

Round side first, of course. :grin:
 

smoothshooter

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You ought to read Twain's story about pepperbox pistols, and what " cheerful " little weapons they were.
 

M. De Land

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I think that is the episode where Twain said "the fella was trying to hit the bole of the tree and fetched the nigh mule off the hitch". :rotf:
Bet that made for a really ****** skinner!
 

smoothshooter

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I never had any luck "barking" them...But I will say this.
If your aim is off with a .32 and you just nick the squirrel or wound it, it gets away......But a nick from a .45 kills.
I suspect a lot more “ barking “ has been done by accident than on purpose.
If someone is a good enough shot to bark a squirrel intentionally, they are good enough to shoot them in the head.
Not enough edibles in the head to worry about damaging anyway.
 

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