What makes a good squirrel rifle ?

Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Muzzleloading Forum:

Gunny5821

Richard Turner
MLF Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
989
Reaction score
2,259
Location
Alabama
As far as small game goes, before I settled on the .32 over a .36 caliber, I took a look at the difference diameter wise between the two. There is not much considering there's only .040 thousandths difference between the two, less than the thickness of a dime. I can't see .040 thousandths difference in diameter between the two giving cold fingers any more problems whether you choose a .32 or .36. It's all personal preference, but I have a flint and a percussion in .32 caliber and am happy with both.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
974
Reaction score
1,401
Location
THE WOODS OF S.C.
my 40 SMR and squirrel, in the photo i am hiding the huge exit on the other side. with 30gr. of 3f it will blow a squirrel up!
40 killer.JPG
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
102
Reaction score
205
The difference in diameter in 32, 36, and 40 seems slight, but the difference in mass is significant. A 36 is close to half again the size of a 32 and a 40 is almost twice the size. This makes a dramatic difference on impact if velocity is equal. Correct me if this is not right.
 

amicalola

32 Cal
Joined
Jun 8, 2022
Messages
12
Reaction score
25
I read time after time how a 32 caliber fouled badly, was hard to clean, ramrod would break, and little ball hard to hold.

It kept me from buying one. I found a rifle, ended up buying it, even though it was a 32. I was a little ****** over years of Internet advice. I can shoot and shoot without any fouling, affecting loading, it cleans just as easily as any of my other calibers, the ramrod is no big deal, and the little ball is a little ball, so i use a loading block if I need in cold weather while hunting.

I now have two 32 caliber rifles, my go to for enjoyment and paper punching. Yes even at 100 yards, but I rarely shoot that far and it is just fine to 25-75 yards which is most of my off-hand shooting. And the best thing yet if you can shoot and hardly spend any money doing it. Easy on powder, and certainly easy on lead!

Love’m.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
102
Reaction score
205
You are right about the cost and 32 is an excellent choice. My first muzzleloader was, believe it or not, a 28 caliber percussion. I had a curling iron Dixie mold for it. I’ve never seen another one that size. Bringing down a moose is one thing, but shooting squirrels and punching holes in paper doesn’t require anything larger than 32.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2010
Messages
4,714
Reaction score
2,533
Location
On the Mississippi in SE Minnesota
You absolutely cannot go wrong with the Kibler SMR in .32 or .36 for squirrels. Many first time builders have good results building a Kibler kit. "Building" is more like assembling with Jim's kits.

I put together a Kibler .36 SMR for squirrels/small game. I actually think a .32 is better for a dedicated squirrel gun but I wanted something that might also be more effective on coyote.
20201231_130536.jpg
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
374
Reaction score
494
😄😄😄😄
With a little practice and technique, the difference isn't that dramatic. At least not with a well made gun using a quality lock.

Does your state have caliber restrictions for small game? If not, maybe get a .45 and use it for deer and squirrels. Otherwise I'd opt for a .36 for the loading reasons mentioned above, just easier to grab and manipulate the slightly larger ball. Also it allows for a thicker ramrod.
Keep your eyes tuned on the Track of The Wolf website for guns that come up for sale there.
Is a kit an option for you? If so there is the Kibler SMR, a fee models from Sitting Fox and from TVM.
TVM also makes decent completed rifles. I have heard good things about Sitting Fox kits,,, but not about there completed guns.
Also watch the classifieds both here and on the ALR forum.
What he said...
 

smoothshooter

50 Cal.
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Messages
2,887
Reaction score
1,479
As far as small game goes, before I settled on the .32 over a .36 caliber, I took a look at the difference diameter wise between the two. There is not much considering there's only .040 thousandths difference between the two, less than the thickness of a dime. I can't see .040 thousandths difference in diameter between the two giving cold fingers any more problems whether you choose a .32 or .36. It's all personal preference, but I have a flint and a percussion in .32 caliber and am happy with both.

With lead balls, a seemingly small bump up in caliber causes a significant increase in weight.
Look over a chart that shows all the ball diameters in increments of .001” and the corresponding weights and you will see what I mean.
 

Gunny5821

Richard Turner
MLF Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
989
Reaction score
2,259
Location
Alabama
With lead balls, a seemingly small bump up in caliber causes a significant increase in weight.
Look over a chart that shows all the ball diameters in increments of .001” and the corresponding weights and you will see what I mean.
I don't question the weight difference when choosing a .36 vice .32 caliber. All I was stating was that .040 diameter difference is not going to make much difference when loading with cold fingers, which is what I was replying to. I have no problem killing a rabbit or squirrel with a .32 stone cold dead, and the little .32 punches a hole clean through, plenty of power actually more than what is needed for small game.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2022
Messages
14
Reaction score
22
Location
Virginia
I agree with most everything already stated. I have enjoyed Shooting BP since the late 1970's. When I retired a few years ago I wanted to enjoy squirrel hunting with a muzzleloader. Had a old 50 caliber Lyman trade rifle. Found a new 36 caliber barrel on Ebay and switched the 50. Fine-tuned the set trigger and installed a receiver peep sight (old eyes) headed to the woods. Killed a lot of squirrels that first year. Loved it and was very, very accurate with PRB. Then the following year. found a 32-caliber percussion and worked up a load works very well. But I hate cleaning it and have broken a ram rod. I find the 36 just all around more enjoyable to use. I then ordered a 40 cal. barrel (1-48 TR) and it to is very accurate Wanted something to hunt squirrel in GA. with my son that was large enough for feral pigs. I live in Virginia, and we have an early squirrel season when trees are fully leafed. I purchased a English 12ga. SxS with 1 oz of lead # 5 and 1F it is my favorite squirrel gun. So last year I purchased a modern CVA 12ga. SxS so I could use a heavier load say 1 1/4oz over 2 FF and not destroy my antique double. Really the only shotgun I use. The CVA has to high of a comb for me can't really hit with it . Need to find a stock maker or another brand of modern shotgun (Pedersoli?). The moral of the story can't have too many squirrel guns ..
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2022
Messages
950
Reaction score
1,794
Location
Virginia
I want to get a a squirrel rifle, I want it to be flintlock cause I want it to be a challenge to time the delayed ignition compared to percussion with the quick moving squirrels. That being said where do I start ? I see the main two calibers are .32 and .36 . I see percussion rifles turn up in .22-.31 caliber but I want to get a flintlock so they wont do it for me. I also see options are limited. To my knowledge Thompson Center only made .32 and .36 in Percussion barrels. Hopkins & Allen, Traditions and CVA also only made .32 and .36 cal percussion rifles to my knowledge. I have found that there are a few custom flintlocks floating around on the auction sights and Kibler makes the SMR in .32 and .36. I also found that DGW had a .32 cal flint Tenn Mountain Rifle but im sure they are a needle in a haystack these days. Pedersoli also makes .32 cal flintlocks but I havent heard good things about them. That brings me to my next two questions.

What custom builders or manufacturers still make a .32 and .36 flintlock besides kibler and pedersoli ?

Is it better to have a long barrel say 36"+ or a shorter barrel of say 20"- 32" ?

If anyone is looking to sell a flintlock in either .32 , .36 or a smaller caliber PM me.
If anyone has any knowledge of custom builders and manufacturers besides what is mentioned above who make small game rifles please share what you know... it helps a lot I have been scouring the internet for about 5 weeks now and I figured I should put a post here to see what others know that I havent found yet. Thanks for all replies and for any knowledge shared.
Yep, as you can see the delay is awful on my Kibler SMR. 😁 All joking aside, a good flintlock will not have any more delay than most cap locks. Sometimes it may take a bit of tuning and fiddling to get one there, but it's very doable. I have a couple cap lock rifles that use to give me fits with ignition problems until I started using real BP. My Traditions Crocket rifle is hard to beat for a squirrel rifle, but it is a cap lock and the flintlock in the picture is a .40 caliber and to me, it's the best of both worlds as far as versatility. I could load a light powder charge of 25 grains and shoot it all day long for small game or punch paper or load it up a bit more for deer if I had a mind to deer hunt again. As far as flintlocks, I only have two. One is a Trades rifle in 50 caliber and the Kibler SMR in .40 cal. I hear good things about different manufacturers like Chambers so others can chime in on those, but for the money and time invested a Kibler is tough to beat as far as new rifles. Good luck in your quest.
 

Attachments

  • kibler smr finished 4.png
    kibler smr finished 4.png
    3 MB · Views: 0
Last edited:

Bassdog1

32 Seneca Guy
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 18, 2018
Messages
928
Reaction score
855
Location
Indiana
My answer is Accuracy first and foremost regardless of caliber. Lightweight secondly cause squirrel hunting is addictive and I often find myself wandering the woods even after my hunt is done. Third would be a gun that fits your build. I have a deadly accurate 32 TC Cherokee that I love but is just a little awkward for me to shoot whereas my 32 Seneca fits me like a glove. I would love to someday hunt with a 32 flinter but I have 0 skills with any kind of wood or metal working and would hate to screw up a kit. Once you pick a squirrel gun shoot as often as you can and learn every little thing about what that gun requires for best performance and accuracy. I like to shoot at tennis balls and when I am feeling full of myself I will shoot at ping pong balls. I like to head shoot and would like to tell you I limit out every hunt which would be a lie but I will always have enough squirrel in the freezer to meet my needs.
 
Joined
Dec 5, 2022
Messages
199
Reaction score
383
Location
Cook Forest, Pa.
I want to get a a squirrel rifle, I want it to be flintlock cause I want it to be a challenge to time the delayed ignition compared to percussion with the quick moving squirrels. That being said where do I start ? I see the main two calibers are .32 and .36 . I see percussion rifles turn up in .22-.31 caliber but I want to get a flintlock so they wont do it for me. I also see options are limited. To my knowledge Thompson Center only made .32 and .36 in Percussion barrels. Hopkins & Allen, Traditions and CVA also only made .32 and .36 cal percussion rifles to my knowledge. I have found that there are a few custom flintlocks floating around on the auction sights and Kibler makes the SMR in .32 and .36. I also found that DGW had a .32 cal flint Tenn Mountain Rifle but im sure they are a needle in a haystack these days. Pedersoli also makes .32 cal flintlocks but I havent heard good things about them. That brings me to my next two questions.

What custom builders or manufacturers still make a .32 and .36 flintlock besides kibler and pedersoli ?

Is it better to have a long barrel say 36"+ or a shorter barrel of say 20"- 32" ?

If anyone is looking to sell a flintlock in either .32 , .36 or a smaller caliber PM me.
If anyone has any knowledge of custom builders and manufacturers besides what is mentioned above who make small game rifles please share what you know... it helps a lot I have been scouring the internet for about 5 weeks now and I figured I should put a post here to see what others know that I havent found yet. Thanks for all replies and for any knowledge shared.

Shot gun.
That's taking the sport out of the sport.
 
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
Messages
254
Reaction score
253
Spencer_Murphy Fellow Pilgrim, i used Big bore .50 for forty Years. Finally decided to ease my shoulder so converted the .50 percussion to 19 gauge Flint smoothbore. Love at first trigger pull. The ball tore through anything this side of a grizzly with less sharp push. Pattern was super at 30 yards. Now recently i have wanted to have more eatable squirrel meat so I contacted Kim Kibler and chose after thought and prayer a .40 SMR. Super easy build. Accurate as all get out and the Kibler swamped barrel feels more balanced than my little Savage .22 automatic…Shudder!! Just right for the rodents head and good for the walk up deer. I’m a pretty healthy 84 year old and this is all i will ever need or want. (Kibler is amazing)
I appreciate that you pray in your decisions, we all could learn something from this. Wise man at 84!
 
Top