View Full Version : 12 gauge for squirrel

January 21, 2012, 04:54 PM
I just wondered if a 12 gauge loaded with #5 shot would be an effective load for squirell and if it would produce edible meat

January 21, 2012, 05:13 PM
Yes. I've shot lots of squirrels with #5 shot 12 gauge while bird hunting. Anyone who says it will "blow them to pieces" is full of it.

Shoot away. Enjoy your stew.

January 21, 2012, 06:19 PM
I can't speak to #5 shot, but my buddy uses #6 in his 12ga. for squirrel hunting. It works great and doesn't blow them to pieces at all, in fact I think it messes them up less than my .22 does.

January 21, 2012, 07:49 PM
Yes, 5 will work fine, I normally use 6 shot 2 3/4 shells in mine.

playin' hookey
January 21, 2012, 08:21 PM
#5 is what I use. Excessive meat damage is caused by shooting them too close to you.

January 21, 2012, 08:40 PM
Normally I would not question any choice. You can certainly use a 12ga. but a .22 would be better. ... ;)

Be Safe !!!

January 21, 2012, 09:32 PM
Have used 4, 5, and 6. I liked 4 and 5 best.

January 22, 2012, 01:38 AM
Used a 12 gauge with 4,5, and 6 shot all my youth.

Haven't picked up a shotty to squirrel hunt in years however.

The 22 is much more fun.

If you are after pure meat gathering capabilities however, the shotgun is the way to go.

January 22, 2012, 02:30 AM
#4 or #5 shot work just fine. But umm I am going to go against the grain here, I love to eat squirrel stew and have used many tools to take them, I don't like shot in all of my meat, nor do I like to bust them up with the .22. I use my Crossman Powermaster ( a very accurate bb gun too I might add) with 4 power scope to take them, yep thats right a BB gun. And I have found that it doesn't scare the rest off for a while like using the shotgun or 22. just my .02

Irish B
January 22, 2012, 02:50 AM
I pull out the old pellet gun any time I want squirrel

January 22, 2012, 11:02 AM
Around here, squirrels are smaller. They've never lived long enough to complain about number 8s either. I generally don't have to pull many pieces of shot out. They are either a pass-through or they hit something inedible like the head. The .22 tends to shatter big bones and make kind of a mess. They always pass through as well. Unless you drill a squirrel right in the head, there is a lot of loss. I use a cylinder bore 12 gauge for squirrel. My friend uses a .410 with a full choke. The 12 does far less damage. It peppers them. The .410, at the right range, will blow big chunks out of them due to the shot concentration.

January 23, 2012, 09:32 PM
just aim off side and that minimizes the meat damage. Choking was "SKEET".

Have taken three squirrels and the number of pellets hitting after skinning have range from one to three.

Other taken have been with .22 rifle or pistol. two shot max.

January 23, 2012, 11:04 PM
Occasionally in the flooded timber where i duck hunt, we'll have a slow day and pop a few squirrel for the pot. #2 steel shot works real well. Doesn't tear them up much at all - tends to pass right through so hardly ever find a pellet unless its in under the hide on the other side from where shot.

January 23, 2012, 11:23 PM
dang you guys use big shot :/ i always have used 7 1/2 shot remington game loads an never had a pellet an it kills them in 1 shot.

January 23, 2012, 11:36 PM
I just use trap loads.

January 24, 2012, 12:14 PM
i do like jroth, aim a little to the outside of the head and hopefull little or no shot will hit the body. If i squirrel hunt with a shotty i usually use a 20g with express 4's or 5's, the shot goes fast enough that it will usually pass thru the squirrel if you do hit body, so no chomping down on a shot when youre eating it later.

January 25, 2012, 09:48 AM
Luckily around here (I guess) the squirrels are small enough that you can see any shot left behind. Most of the time, if it stops in the squirrel, it stops on the off-side hide and falls out when you skin.

January 25, 2012, 09:58 AM
Can't remember ever using #5 but use #6 for much of my squirrel killin'... 7 1/2 when shots will be closer and/or less foliage in the canopy...

If I am killin' for the dogs or snake/s, I don't mind the damage of a .22 but if it is for me, I want shot pellet killed tree rats...


January 25, 2012, 12:38 PM
just don't get real close and you'll be fine.

January 27, 2012, 02:02 PM
I rather use a .22.

January 27, 2012, 08:23 PM
Used .22 shorts as a kid for squirrel and rabbit quiet so it didn't scare the rest into their nests. Didn't go through so I didn't have stray bullet worries. Head shots only, no head shot, no shooting.

January 28, 2012, 07:14 PM
Ive taken many squirrels and small rabbits with 12 gauge. Unless you are shooting it point blank it wont "vaporize" them. I usually just use #6 bird shot mostly because its my standard small game load. But now days i prefer to hunt small game with rimfire of some kind. I enjoy the longer shots and challenge. Even funner is hunting with a .22 pistol IMO.

January 28, 2012, 07:26 PM
Don't hunt the bushytails much any more, but in my youth many years ago it was always either a 16 Ga. or 12 Ga. with #4

January 29, 2012, 03:46 PM
2 3/4 #6 out of a 12 ga. People look at you funny when I say that around here. They think .22 lr is all you need. My experience is .22 will tear them up worse than shotgun pellets. If they are close to you, just aim off their nose a little bit.

Deja vu
January 29, 2012, 04:17 PM
Shooting a squirrel with a 12ga will destroy meat! If the squirrel is with in 10 feet. Other wise it works great! I typically just use trap load such as 7 1/2 or 8