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Thread: First squirrel hunt of 2020

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master


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    First squirrel hunt of 2020

    Tomorrow is the last day to deer hunt and I should have been out doing that, but chose to hang around the house and target shoot. Haven't done much squirrel hunting this past year, I need to do it more. Usually I sit out the last hour of daylight and can usually expect to get one, maybe two on a good day.

    I walked the dog out to the mail box and we have a good stand of mature osage trees in that corner of the property. I heard one barking up a storm and saw him at a distance, so I put the dog back in and took my old Winchester 72A out and stood behind a big hackberry tree and waited. About 45 minutes later, I had four big fox squirrels on the ground. Guess I need to get out earlier in the day. Saw a couple of others I didn't get shots at all in a fairly small area. I usually like small centerfires and cast for such tasks, just starting to work with a Savage 23D in .25-20, maybe I can get it out this weekend on the public land where I hunt deer, been seeing a lot of them out there.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Good on you Rich. That's some mighty fine shootin', and a nice looking old Winchester. I used to really enjoy squirrel hunting. I haven't done it in a long time. My grandson and I would make it kinda rough on em. He used a 22 LR and I used a .410 as back-up. Those were good times. Posts like yours makes me want to drag out the old 22. I also used to use my TC 56 smooth bore with about 1/2 oz of shot.
    Mark 5:34 And He said to her (Jesus speaking), "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction."

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I got out for two days in between the end of antlerless only season in the holiday hunt we had here. I was seeing an average of 15 to 16 fox squirrels all all in a group while I was bow hunting and of course I never saw one with my rifle. I connected with four gray squirrels. They were the only ones I saw that day. I used my Ruger American 22 WMR with the Hornaday 30 grain VMAX. That little gun is ridiculously accurate and shoots a .3 inch group at 100 yards . I have to start making sure I hit them directly in the head. The only one I head shot was 110 yards away. The rest were taken at 10 to 30 yards and I forgot my gun shoots about an inch and a half low at close distance.



    Here’s what that nasty little ballistic tip does...




    Head shot didn’t make a mess,



    I think I saved three shoulders out of eight squirrels.



    I picked up a box of CCI stingers today for my CZ 452 ultra lux super exclusive I’m going to give those a try next and see if they’re a little less explosive on squirrels. I had a few crawl offs two years ago with my 22 LR so I switch to the mag. It blows squirrels out of the tree but it’s pretty destructive at times. Some shots bullet sized holes in and out and then some shots blow up like on that picture above. I shot a huge rabbit last year with the same load at about 10 yards and it blew half its head off.


    I’m gonna go out and get a few more this weekend and make some squirrel drummies.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 01-02-2020 at 09:47 PM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Here’s a few more from last year with the same load. I guess it just depends on where you hit them on how the bullet reacts. I went out and bought a 22 LR Cz452 and then the Ruger American and 22 MMR two years ago. I decided to go out and have fun and start small game hunting. I haven’t been squirrel hunting since probably the early 80s using my buckMark pistol and H&R 410.







    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 01-02-2020 at 09:19 PM.

  5. #5
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    When I was a kid, about 14, nothing would do but that I had to have a .22 WMR, and I scrounged the cash to get one, a Squires Bingham Model 20 (I still have it). Killed all kinds of stuff with it, but even then, I quickly came to the conclusion that hollow points were too destructive on edible game and the solid points didn't kill as well as .22 LR hollow points did.

    I took the rifle out a few years ago with some of that 30 grain bullet ammo and the rifle shoots much, much better with that stuff than it did back in the day when ammo selection was a lot more limited.

    I still think a downloaded .22 Hornet or .25-20 with a lead bullet is a better choice for this. Interestingly, the first one I shot still had the bullet in it (Winchester hollow point) never had that happen before, only ever had air gun pellets or bird shot stay in one, never a bullet. Kind of makes me wonder if I hit a limb on the way to the squirrel or something.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I had a long skinny piece of lead i found in one of the squirrels this year from the 30 grain VMAX. That was a first for me as well.

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    Richhodge, What is your load for the 25-20? My grandfather had one that was scary accurate? [I] have always jonesed for one after getting to shoot grandpa's.....robin

  8. #8
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    I just started loading for it a couple of weeks ago. Was shooting some my Dad had cast up years ago with 3.5 grains of 700X and it seems to consistently be good enough for squirrel hunting at 50 yards. Since then I've cast some of my own and just got some good brass in yesterday, hope to get that project going soon.

  9. #9
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    When I was 10 to 12 years old I went squirrel hunting with my trusty JC HIggins single shot .22. I killed a few, all shot in the head so as not to ruin any meat, and proudly took them to the house to my Grandfather. He looked at them with a disappointed look on his face and told me I had ruined the best part. He liked to eat the brains! I had to learn to shoot them in the top of the neck just behind the ears from then on so I didn't ruin the brains. I can still remember my granddad popping the heads open with the edge of a soup spoon.
    I haven't been squirrel hunting in years! May have to put that on the "to do" list.
    Rick

  10. #10
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    Richhodge, Thank you for your speedy reply. I was thinkin about a 90 grain cast over 4 grains of Hodgdons Clays. I don't yet have brass or a mold...…….robin

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    That’s a bunch of wasted meat. Gotta hit em in the head with the HMR. I had one but got rid of it and went back to my 22LR.

    Deer season is over in a week or so here. I’d like to get 1-2 and took almost a week off to attempt to do so. After that it’s squirrel season.

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    We just got our first two of the new year this morning. My 16yo son really has taken over the chore of keeping the house-siding destroying Fox squirrels from taking over. After buying the place some years ago, I had to spend a lot $ on replacing much of the ceder siding that had been squirrel chewed from before we moved in.

    We have only a few acres and the horses next door prevent the use of 22rf here at home. That leaves it up to a pellet rifle - My son is pretty good with the 177 cal Air Arms 2200 to about 35 yards.
    At about 1/15th the energy of a standard velocity 22rf, the Air Arms demands good head and neck hits or you are hunting them down for a second shot. The little rifle does however have enough power at 25 yards, a head shot is in and an exit too. Very effective but little room for error. Shoulder and lung shots enter but not often exit.

    The 22 Hornet and the 25-20 WCF is the cast bullet of choice when we are out camping.
    Chill Wills

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osteodoc08 View Post
    That’s a bunch of wasted meat. Gotta hit em in the head with the HMR. I had one but got rid of it and went back to my 22LR.

    Deer season is over in a week or so here. I’d like to get 1-2 and took almost a week off to attempt to do so. After that it’s squirrel season.
    I agree. Id switch bullets but everything else ive tried is less accurate. I haven’t sighted in dead center at 100 yards. I think I’m gonna sight in at 75 yards...or even 50 yards so there’s less drop when I aim at the heads. I grabbed a box of CCI stingers the other day and just mounted a scope on my CZ 452 ultralux 22lr. I’m going to go get it sighted in tomorrow. I’m hoping the stingers will at least put squirrels down where they stand and not blow them apart. I’m guessing they’re probably going to be almost as destructive as the 22 WMR. I guess I’d rather blow few of them up with low POA instead of picking out lead BBs.

  14. #14
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    Nice looking bushy tail foxes Rich. Good luck on the 25-20 project.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tripplebeards View Post
    I agree. Id switch bullets but everything else ive tried is less accurate. I haven’t sighted in dead center at 100 yards. I think I’m gonna sight in at 75 yards...or even 50 yards so there’s less drop when I aim at the heads. I grabbed a box of CCI stingers the other day and just mounted a scope on my CZ 452 ultralux 22lr. I’m going to go get it sighted in tomorrow. I’m hoping the stingers will at least put squirrels down where they stand and not blow them apart. I’m guessing they’re probably going to be almost as destructive as the 22 WMR. I guess I’d rather blow few of them up with low POA instead of picking out lead BBs.
    I've found slow and soft bullet get it done just fine. The WFN cast I use in .22 Hornet anchors them even at the mild velocities I shoot them at. Actually, I'm pretty impressed by standard .22 LR hollow points. I will say that these fox squirrels here west of the Mississippi don't seem to take near as much killing as the smaller gray squirrels I grew up hunting.

    I haven't found a 16 or 20 gauge loaded with #6 shot to be real bad about leaving pellets in them, a few, but nothing that isn't picked out easily enough during cleaning. Haven't done a lot of shot gun reloading (yet) but have quite a bit of #5 shot and want to develop a nice, low pressure load for my 16s to use on squirrels. Gotta get back to that project soon.

  16. #16
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    I shoot dozens of squirrels every year. I have resorted to shooting them with either 22 CB Longs or the new CCI Quiet Segmented HP at 710fps. That segmented HP doesn't kill them as instant as you'd expect. They run a short distance and fall deader than a door nail with 3 exit wounds. I like that the squirrels don't scurry off into the next county every time I shoot.

    Thanks, Dinny
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    That’s why I switched to a 22 WMR. Squirrels don’t move after being shot. I just end up losing meat sometimes if I don’t hit them directly in the head.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 01-05-2020 at 10:16 AM.

  18. #18
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    Well I went out in the woods today with the 22 WMR and 30 gr vmax even though the winds had been almost 20 miles an hour. Screwed around walking and sitting for about an hour and finally saw my first and only squirrel a little over 85 yards away on a branch about three feet off the ground up hill of me. I was getting ready to shoot him in the head and he turned facing away from me getting ready to run and figured I’d try a Texas heart shot. I thought it sounded good on paper if I could clear both rear and front legs...






    Well of course when I skinned it the front leg was destroyed. I shot just to the left of the Gloryhole and knocked the rear leg joint away from the body and I was able to save a good 95% of the rear leg so it’ll be added to the drummy pot. Definitely won’t try that shot again and back to head shots. That was one of the biggest grays I’ve shot in a while. He had a belly full of corn.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 01-05-2020 at 07:16 PM.

  19. #19
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    Wish I could find someone that likes to eat them we feed them good all deer season and I goggled one will eat 1.5 lbs of seeds or nuts a week. I counted 7 on the corn put out for the deer at a time.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RP View Post
    Wish I could find someone that likes to eat them we feed them good all deer season and I goggled one will eat 1.5 lbs of seeds or nuts a week. I counted 7 on the corn put out for the deer at a time.
    Made a stew out of these four. Probably won't eat it til tomorrow, both my boys had other things to do this evening and the wife won't eat squirrel.

    Never thought about baiting them. I don't try to bait deer, it would be a waste of time anyway, this is Kansas farmland and they live in a veritable grocery store for them. We have had the biggest crop of Osage apples I have ever seen this year, every tree was heavy laden with them and squirrels like to dig the seeds out of them, so this little grove became a target rich environment real quick.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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