Choosing Between a Rifle and a Shotgun for Squirrel Hunting

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A squirrel can be taken with either type of gun, so how do you decide which is best for you?

Like other forms of hunting, some enthusiasts prefer different methods of taking for their game of choice. Squirrel hunters fall into two distinct groups along a strong dividing line: those who use shotguns and those who use rifles. Within these groups, you can break them down even further, like the sights used or caliber. Particularly for rifles, some hunters pride themselves on skill with open (iron) sights and those that enjoy scopes'.

Rifle or Shotgun for Squirrel Hunting

We already know that we can use either rifle or shotgun for hunting squirrels. Let's see the technical differences.

Hunting Squirrels with a Rifle

The rifles most commonly used for squirrel hunts are .22 rifles. Today, most hunters use a .22 long-rifle because they are readily available.

You can use the Marlin Model 60; it's one of the most popular .22 rifles of all time. As a price-friendly gun that underwent a long-running production, you will generally find a lot of hunters using this gun.

The Model 60 features a steel inner magazine tube that can hold 10-12 rounds, convenient so you don't have to carry extra ammunition with you. The gun is semi-automatic, so once you shoot, you can continue to shoot as another round is automatically loaded.

You will see other popular models for squirrel hunting, including the Ruger 10-22 and various old hand-me-down classic single shots gun that never go out of style. Browning SA-22 is also a good option. Its incredible features include loading ammunition into the barrel through the bottom of the action. The gun is not as steady since the weight distribution is different. The weight of the gun is shifted to the back of the gun since the forearm grip, and stock is two separate pieces of wood. The Marlin Model 60 has a much better weight distribution.

The purpose is to handle every gun with care, but the Marlin is much more durable than the Browning. The SA-22, being light at the front, helps hold the muzzle calmly for a long period if you are taking your time to shoot squirrels at a further distance.

For a few years, there was a surge in .17 HMR promotions, but then the expense and ammunition shortages put a stop to that. However, the .17 was considered a bit too high-powered for squirrels anyway. People used it for bigger games like a fox. Some people are diehard fans of .32 caliber muzzleloaders since they are fun and have similar ballistics to a .22 caliber gun. Especially in the South, shotgunners are much more prevalent for squirrel hunting.

Hunting Squirrels with a Shotgun

The most common bullet size for squirrels is #6. The general rule for the exact shot is to go with the size of bigger bullets. You can also consider the .410 for a squirrel shotgun. However, make sure it can take a three-inch shell. The .410 is the lightest, most compact option. Break barrels are usually the most popular. Assure your state's guidelines about the number of shotgun bullets you can own.

Other Options for Hunting Squirrels

Squirrel hunting can be easy and straightforward if you keep practicing and invest your energy in finding new tactics. The top brands have good options that suit your preferences and hunting style.

The rifle and shotgun each have their advantages. Shotguns are incredible for areas with many dusky squirrels as it's hard to shoot the squirrels that look similar to the tree's roots. Rifles are ideal for intentionally positioned headshots at a sitting squirrel or in spots where fox squirrels can be found. The best area for squirrel hunting is the open area where you can find trees loaded with fruits.

If you love hunting and want to learn more good hunting practices, visit Hunt Peak for more authentic and genuine tips and news related to hunting.

by Kevin Miller
Hi! I am Kevin Miller. Stepping into 42. This site is about my experience, ideas and in some cases suggestions. Wanna fly to see the world!!! Just get the ground to zoom around.

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