Should I buy a Air Rifle, .410 SG, or .22 Squirrel Hunting

Discussion in 'The Hunting & Fishing Forum' started by Jmg198, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. Jmg198

    Jmg198 New Member

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    I can't decide whether to buy a .177 or .22 Air Rifle, a .410 caliber shotgun, or a .22 rifle. I have done some research on the air rifles but don't know a great deal about the .22 rifles or .410 shotguns.I currently hunt squirrels with either a 12 or 20 guage. Most of the time I place more shot into the squirrels than I would like to, for eating purposes. I hunt in an wooden area where homes are off in the distance. I would love to hear some pros and cons for each type and what make and models you would recommend under $200. Or should I save and purchase something greater than $200. Thanks
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2007
  2. Sturm&Rugerfan

    Sturm&Rugerfan New Member

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    what state do you live in, I live in Western PA no air guns are legal for hunting period. even though I have one 1000fps and louder than my CZ 452 22lr was. air rifles are good for practice like 22lr are. See how much 410 rounds are and look up your state hunting laws on allowable means of dispatching critters.
  3. Jmg198

    Jmg198 New Member

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    As far as I can tell it is legal to hunt here in Maryland with a Air Rifle. I am looking on the Maryland DNR website for Firearms regulations. It says that rifles can be used to hunt forest game. I might have to ask someone in the DNR system. (The website page is http://www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/weapon.asp). I have read a few accounts of some airguns not lasting very long and even snapping in half. How is yours holding up Sturm?

    I have resently read a book titled "The Ultimate Guide to Shotgunning" by David R. Henderson. I learned a great deal of information from this book. Especially the importance of knowing what pattern your gun puts out and with what brand and load your using with that gun. Knowing the pattern of my gun may help in my squirrel hunting effort.

    The .410 bore may be the best choice for me since I will be hunting in a slightly populated area. I just think that it would be fun to pluck a squirrel off with one projectile instead of 50. I wouldn't need to worry about biting down on lead shot either.

    Does anyone else have a helpful opinion or agree? Thanks
  4. catfish83861

    catfish83861 Active Member

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    Personally I would stick with a 22 or a 410 shotgun. I prefer a 22 but if you are in a congested area of course there is the added necessity of a proper backstop for your shots. Most of my squirrel hunting was in an area that I was miles from any habitation. I still like a 22, like you I don't like picking the shot out of the squirrels. Dad always had me shoot the squirrels in the head which irritated Grandpa as he liked to cook the heads. Daddy said head shots so Grandpa was out voted on that one. Most of the time anyway. I personally would not go with the air rifle but that is just my opinion. I have a CZ22 long rifle that I sold a Remington target rifle as the CZ shoots so much better. The cost of the CZ is about $200.00 which is in your stated price range. I would probably put a 2.5X8 Leupold scope on it also,expensive I know but they are great scopes. Makes a great squirrel rifle. Don't know if this helps but its my story and I'm sticking to it. catfish
  5. durk

    durk New Member

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    I don't know the price of the .17 HMR but have you considered them?
  6. Jmg198

    Jmg198 New Member

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    I haven't looked at either the CZ 22 long rifle or the .17 HMR. Would either of you happen to know of a good website to find information on these firearms?

    While looking for information on the CZ22 I found a youtube video titled "Shooting CZ22long". I watched it and I would give it two thumbs down. If your bored and have nothing else to do I would recommend that you watch it.
    Thanks for the help.
  7. chim

    chim New Member

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    http://www.cz-usa.com/

    try this site i have a .22lr and the .17hmr both good guns shoot great straight out the box for the money .as for air rifles they have there place as well as the rim fire i have two .177 great for close shots at 30-45 yards oh buy the way mine are 12lb pcp's guns
    hoped this helped
    rgds chim;)
  8. Michael G

    Michael G New Member

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    I own a German made RWS air rifle with an air rifle scope in .177 cal. Sweet gun. Not cheap though.

    I guess you first need to decide what type of hunting you want to do. Do you want long shots (22 rimfire) or do you want to test your ability to get closer and do head shots with an air rifle and not eat lead.
    Be advised though, if you get a quality air rifle without a scope and later want to install one. It needs to be a scope made for air rifles. I found out by doing some research that an air rifle will break a regular rifle scope over time due to the forward and rear recoil of an air rifle. It has something to do with the inner seals of the scope.
  9. Jmg198

    Jmg198 New Member

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    Thanks for your input Michael G. I will take it into consideration and take a look at the RWS air rifle. I have been practicing still hunting (without a gun) with the squirrels in my fathers back woods and am getting quite good. I can get within about ten feet without then getting scared or barking at me. While deer hunting in the stand this year I almost had a squirrel take a seat next to me. The squirrel jumped into the tree I was in from the tree beside me and proceeded to walk down toward me. It got within about 3 feet when I threw my arms in the air. It stayed still for a second or two and then bolted away. I got scared that it might jump on my head or something. I don't want to find out what thier claws will do to my skin.
  10. BillP

    BillP New Member

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    Nix the airgun unless you need to shoot the "tame" squirrels in town. Go with the shotgun if downrange safety issues are a problem. Keep in mind that 410 shells are comparatively expensive. Not much data on this as they are new but in theory the 17s should present less of a downrange safety issue when fired at high angles as the bullet only weighs half of what a .22 LR does. Keep in mind that you can buy .22 shorts, BB caps, and even CB caps which will work fine in a .22 bolt gun. They do however present the same "humane kill" problems that the air gun does. Airguns and sub power .22s can do the job but range and your ability to hit the most vital areas are important. :)
  11. user

    user Active Member

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    I recently got a Ruger 10/22 stainless Target model .22LR rifle, and I love it. Put a Weaver 4x32 scope on it, puts holes in paper right where I want 'em. Can't wait to go to the farm in W.Va. and put some holes in ground hogs that are undermining the foundations of the house.
  12. MOS0311

    MOS0311 New Member

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  13. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    to heck with that, get a .50 bmg, with a 70mm tube and show those squirrels whos boss from two counties over:D
  14. Michael G

    Michael G New Member

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    The reason I nixed the 22 and 17 cal. is because of the "houses off in the distance" part of JMG's statement. He also stated that he was tired of eating lead from a shotgun. So the logical alternative is either an accurate pellet gun( if legal) or a slingshot (if legal). Urban squirrels or not. A pellet in the brain will kill it.
  15. Texman

    Texman New Member

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    Personally I would find a good new or second hand 410 bolt action,, like the Stevens I have in the closet.. Perfect for squirrels. and bunnies and bull frogs. Wish I knew how old mine is,, Daddy got it from his mother and I got it from him.. Sweet gun,, fun to shoot.
  16. wrcraw1965

    wrcraw1965 New Member

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    This all depends on what kind of noise level you are afforded! Someone on here had compared a .17HMR to a .22LR? NO COMPARISON! A .17HMR is much louder, much more powerful, much more precise, and much more range than a .22LR! Basically, the .17HMR and .17Mach 2 has made the .22LR and the .22 WMR both more or less OBSOLETE cartridges, except for use in revolvers.

    I have good experience with all, and the .17s are far superior, especially since they've came out with the 20 grain HMRs. The 17 grainers didn't quite get the job done on large body groundhog shots at say 100 yards, but the 20 grainers will get it done.

    My friend has a low cost Marlin .17HMR with a bull barrel, and it's pin point accurate where he can put the little screaming 17 or 20 grainers right down the earholes of groundhogs out to 100 yards with a 9X or better scope, etc.

    These HMRs shoot like a laser beam. No recoil, and my buddy with his Marlin heavy barrel can keep shots on or inside a nickel at 100 yards all day long!

    A .22Lr has a huge parabolic trajectory in comparison. On heavier game you just have to be a little more selective at long ranges with the HMR, but then again it's such a laser for a rimfire that it allows you to be able to do that where such long range shots aren't even responsible with a .22 LR.

    It's like a scaled difference between shooting a .223 or some higher powered varmint cartridge against straight walled pistol cartridges out of a rifle!

    If you can stand the noise and aren't short on money go with a .17HMR. You won't ever "grow out" of it.

    To hell with shotguns unless your going bird hunting, hunting moving targets, home defense, or just can't half see, or shoot a rifle in my opinion!

    Think back on the evolution of firearms. Rifles were not such precision pieces like today, or easy to shoot those large muzzle loaded calibers of olden days, so I can understand why shotguns were the choice of many common man to cover the gammut, but today with smokeless powders, bottleneck cartridges, and aboratory quality optics, rifles are the way to go for stationary targets at ever expanding ranges. Plus, who wants to pick BBs and bone pieces out of their food?

    A .410 shotgun limits your distance greatly compared to a .17HMR.

    If you're on a budget go for a .17 Mach II.

    I just bought a high powered spring air rifle in .22 cal for backyard varmints in a development.

    These air rifles seem to have a place in the ever increasing populated areas, but there is no actual comparison between a .17 rimfire vs. an air rifle, regardless of what air gun enthusiasts might tell you. Many airgunners may still be kids who have not had the opportunity to do much hunting with firearms, or the .17 rimfires.

    I mean your talking 250-300 foot lbs. of muzzle energy for a .17HMR rifle compared to maybe 50 foot lbs. for some steroid pumped up $800 air rifle.

    So as you can see, the two are completely different animals. That's why air guns and firearms fall under completely different national and international regulations.

    I'd say airguns have their place where locality or regulations restrict noise or firearms, and/or age requirments, but if you're planning on doing some real hunting on larger game than squirrels beyond your backyard someday, and you can get away with the noise factor, experience tells me you should just go ahead and go with a .17 rimfire, the HMR being about 400 feet per second faster than the Mach II. That's a good difference, but cost is less on the Mach IIs.

    I've read where most .22 rimfire rifles can be easily converted to .17 HMR or Mach II with a barrel change being that the actions were made for the .22 rimfires which both .17s were derived from.

    The Mach II was made from a necked down .22LR, and the HMR was made from necking down the .22 Magnum.
  17. BillP

    BillP New Member

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    I love my 17HMR but I consider it an excellent gun for someone who already has a .22. If you are not already a well trained marksman, then the .22 with it's versatility and low cost ammunition is the way to become one. If you eat squirrels the 17HMR is a "head shot only" proposition. The 17M2 less so but still more damaging than a .22 solid and you can go to sub-sonic rounds for even less damage or all the way down to shorts if necessary with the .22.

    The current crop of .17s is exceptionally accurate but as yet neither the guns or the ammunition suffers from the problems of "mass production". That may well remain the case because manufacturers are not under pressure to keep costs low as they are with .22s. It's not hard to buy an accurate .22 rifle and accurate ammunition is available but usually not in cheep bulk ammo.

    One thing you can do to minimize shot pellets in squirrels shot with a 12GA is to just clip it with the edge of your pattern. Pheasant and duck hunters use this to dispatch cripples they can't catch and if done rite you only add a few pellets to the head. It works well with squirrels and rabbits.
  18. Jmg198

    Jmg198 New Member

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    Thank you BillP for your thourough input. You make many great points.
  19. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Active Member

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    Welcome to TFF Wrcraw...Good stuff.

    You make some good points Bill, I was reading along here wondering how anyone could expect to save any meat off a tree rat using a .17 while never considering head shots only... On that note though, I think I'd vote on a .22 simply because you wouldn't have to depend on that perfect shot...If it's there take it, but in my area the squirrels like to move around quite a bit, a heart shot is much faster to acquire leaving you more of a chance to fill the skillet.

    Never tried the .17 though, so I am a bit biased, perhaps head shots out to 100 yards, through the brush, would be no trick?

    Gotta try one. =)

    Crpdeth
  20. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

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    I always hunted with a .22, Marlin 39, when growing up. Best for head shots and saving the meat for eatin'. One of my daughters would rather eat squirrel than anything else in the world, still - - now at Thirty-four !!!!!!!! :)
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