View Full Version : Squirrel/Rabbit .410 or .22lr?

December 24, 2011, 12:02 PM
Hi all. I have a .22lr but saw some cheap .410's yesterday and was wondering if one would be a better choice considering the long range capabilities of the .22lr. I just don't like the idea of firing up a tree with it. If you did choose the .410 what load would you use for each? Eastern by the way! Thanks.

December 24, 2011, 12:16 PM
For rabbit, I would go #6 for dumb ones that let me get in close and #4 for "out yonder" bunnies...

For tree rats, 7 1/2 for normal height and leaf cover trees and maybe #6 for higher thicker canopy cover.

But I would prefer a 20 gauge over .410... Per ounce on ingredient it is hard to spend more than buying .410 loads.

If you use tree trunk as back stop and the torso to slow and deform the bullet, a .22 is fine in the trees.


December 24, 2011, 12:19 PM
depends how bad of shot you are :D. I just use a 22 for anything smaller than a big stray dog. it's never failed me and it's a lot cheaper than a 410 to shoot

December 24, 2011, 12:27 PM
hogs pretty much summed my opine up as well.

If you do decide on your .22, naturally, secured backstop has to be paramount over killing the game. Which in turn will more than likely cost you a few bunnies and tree rats having to pass on shots.

Also, the reason I would prefer the 20 over the 410 is the price of 410 ammo around these parts compared to the 20ga ammo.

December 24, 2011, 12:35 PM
This may be absurd, but would a 12 gauge with light loads be acceptable? I already have one of those.

December 24, 2011, 12:51 PM
22 or 410???? Both

Thefirst two years I lived in Alaska I would get laid off in the winter. Lived in a little cabin about 3 miles north of Healy.

I fed my family with rabbits and ptargamin. I used a Savage 22/410. Normally I used the 22 for rabbits but there was times I couldn't get them to stand still, so if they ran I used the 410. But most of my rabbits were taken with the 22. Ptarmagin with the 410.

December 24, 2011, 12:52 PM
YES!!! The 12 is fully suited to this... No need for "light loads"... The game animal will be destroyed with too close shooting from any shot shell including the .410.

Once at the right range for the pellet size, all a bigger shell does is keep more game killing pellets in the chosen "pattern diameter"...

I always used 12 gauge and considered the 20 to be a girl's or child's gun.

But as I aged i realized, I am just as lethal with the 12 gauge. The 20 gauge in a proportionately lighter gun will recoil exactly the same as a 12 gauge.

The 20 is usually a lighter gun than the same model in a 12 gauge bore.

Take a single shot 20 and a pump 12 fully loaded and you will cherish the light feeling recoil of the 12.

Make any sense?


December 24, 2011, 12:56 PM
Depends entirely upon the situation:

Heavy cover and spooky rabbits that only give you a momentary moving target need a shotgun. A shotgun would also be necessary when there are backstop considerations...... Farmer Brown does not like .22 bullets whizzing amongst his cattle or farm equipment.

Sparser cover (especially with a couple inches of new snow) can make a .22 the ideal rabbit killing tool. Plus, you don't have to pick shot out of them.

I have killed the majority of my rabbits with a .22 ...... usually on the first sunny day after a snow storm...... the bunnies come out and sit in the sun, and will usually won't move until you have shot them through the head.

Rabbits I take with a shotgun are usually just targets of opportunity that I kicked up while hunting pheasants and quail. 12 guage with #6 or #7 1/2 shot from a modified choke works fine...... just don't shoot them too close, or it will be messy.

December 24, 2011, 01:04 PM

I meant to say I realized I am equally lethal with the 20 gauge...
Currently, I do not own a 12 gauge but when I get the 930, it will be a 12.


December 24, 2011, 01:05 PM
When I lived down around Galveston I used a 12 ga SXS. Now I live in South Texas and use a .22. At extreme shotgun range squirrels are tough. I used #6 shot and got'er done.

December 24, 2011, 03:34 PM
Yes 12 ga. works wonderfully for bunnies and squirrel.

I would say that in most cases, people use a modified or Improved cyl. choke for both, but when the foilage is heavy in early spring and the squirrels are 70-90ft up in the tree tops, I've used full choke.

December 24, 2011, 05:05 PM
.22 for when they're still. 20ga when they're moving.
A 410 would be fine.

Hog Buster
December 24, 2011, 05:48 PM
Many moons ago as a kid I shot and crippled many squirrels, rabbits too, with a .410. I quickly found out that it didn’t have enough killing power for long shots in tall trees or shot pattern for running rabbits. I saved my nickels and dimes and bought a single shot 20 gauge. My kill ratio suddenly improved.

While I still used a .22 with a fair amount of success, it was also cheaper to feed, but the 20 gauge was a sure thing. Loaded with high brass number 6’s it put meat on the table.

Nothing wrong with a 12 gauge either, more dense shot pattern.

December 24, 2011, 05:50 PM
20 H&R with mod choke, go to go!:D

December 24, 2011, 06:12 PM
Squirrels I usually hunt with a 22lr making sure I have a safe shot.
Rabbits it depends on the hunting situtation on which firearm I use 22lr or 12ga.,with the 12ga. I use 71/2 or 6 shot.

Big Yac
December 25, 2011, 10:42 PM
12 gauge is fine. Since I reload I load 1 oz of hard #5 shot and use it both for rabbits and squirrel. I figure with one ounce of a large shot size there arent as many pieces of shot to worry about. By the way I pretty much use my 1 oz trap load for this. Also, I use a fixed full choke barrel all the time on my old Winchester 1200, occasionally I'll put the modified on but 90% of the time its full choke and aim for the head or nose, doesn't mess up a squirrel or rabbit like some may think. :)

December 26, 2011, 01:09 PM
I strictly use a full choke .410 loaded with 3 inch shells of #6 shot for squirrels.
It only takes hitting the squirrel with one well placed #6 pellet in the head or chest. But with a full choke .410, hitting a squirrel with up to about 1/2 dozen pellets is the norm when firing out to about 40 yards.
The .410 is much easier for making running shots when compared to using a .22LR.
When I used a 20 gauge with a modified choke and rabbit loads of #6 shot, much of the squirrel meat was ruined due to all of the pellet damage.
But I wouldn't hesitate to use a 20 or 12 gauge with a modified to cylinder choke for hunting running rabbits though.

December 26, 2011, 05:53 PM
use .410 in spring when you can only see and shoot 30 to 40 yards because of leaves and in fall use the .22 where u can reach out a lil further:D

December 26, 2011, 10:02 PM
any gage shot gun will work for squerril even 10 gage. I like hunting when there is snow on the ground because usually the squerrils are on the ground also by this time. I like to use a shot gun because the ones i see are usually moving and get out of sight pretty fast. the 22 i used one time just wasn't good for having to shoot at them quick

phil mcwilliam
December 27, 2011, 05:26 AM
Since you already own a 12 gauge shotgun, get the .22.

December 27, 2011, 06:16 AM
410 makes for a great squirrel and rabbit firearm. I still have my old fox side by side that I take out once in a while. Occasionally I use it for Dove and Quail, but only after a day or two of hunting with the 12 ga. so I am in practice. Its a lot more challenging to hit those buggers with the 410.

December 27, 2011, 09:13 AM
.410 does a good job. Yea there are other guns that will do better, but if all a man has is a .410 or .22 then you can make it work.

As a kid my first shotgun was a Savage single shot with the hammer. Needless to say on about any given day I could get my limit of bushy tales. And when we went on the rabbit hunts I could do pretty well with it. I think I always made my shots count since it was a single shot.

Choice of shot was number 5 or 6 for squirrels and rabbits.

December 29, 2011, 04:23 PM
When most of us think squirrel hunting we think .22 rifles. How many gun articles have you seen titled "squirrel shotguns" Being said, I use both for no other reason than I can. Squirrel can be a lot tougher than people give them credit for. Even with 12ga #6 pheasant loads many shot will be right under the skin and if you use the right choke and don't shoot em close up you won't blow em up. Cottontails are a different story. Most fall over if you look at em cross eyed and ranges can be remarkably short. Sometimes measured in feet instead of yards. Open choke with small shot works great. To use the same shotgun on both you have to go with a compromise. #6 with an improved choke?

.410 sucks. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck. Glad I got that off my chest.

Take what you want, live with your choice.


December 29, 2011, 04:49 PM
I use to use a .410 for dove and quail, worked great. Never tried shooting squrriel with one but the .22lr did great. One shot, one kill!