View Full Version : Rabbits: I'm stuck with limited gun choices and need advice.

November 4, 2001, 07:23 AM
This'll be my first year huntin in a loooooonnng time. It's probably been 15 years.

I used to really like 'huntin wabbits'. I've been practicing stalking them for the last month, and I think I'm ready.

My dilemna is this - when I was younger, I had access to my step father's gun collection for hunting. I could either pick up the 10/22, the 410, or the 20ga for huntin rabbits.

Now, with my step father gone, my choices are limited to my own arsenal - mostly all military rifles and one Remington 870 12ga that's not legalized to hunt with.

What do you think would happen if I carried my M1 Carbine with it's FMJ bullets I have? I figure it's a big, slow bullet, so maybe it'd slow'm enough to finish'm off with a club? Or do you think it'd go right through?

I guess I could go buy a legal mag cap for my 870, but I remember that 12 making a mess of a rabbit at closer ranges. Plus, I hate picking all the lead out of the meat.

The rest of my guns are either too big of caliber for small game (closest I have to a small caliber is the AR), or inaccurate commie guns.

So whatcha think? M1 Carbine or 870?

November 4, 2001, 07:29 AM
Perfect with correct ammo.

Any gun with correct ammo (and enough accuracy for you to use it).

November 4, 2001, 12:53 PM
Use the 870. Plug it to hold only 3 rounds so it's legal and shoot low brass #6 field loads. Assuming it's a fairly open choke it won,t put too many pellets in the rabbits, and the #6 shot will usually punch on through. I don't know where you hunt, but I would be somewhat concerned with richochets with the carbine. There are plenty of .22 rifles and 20 and 410 pump guns available in the 150 to 200 dollar range. Good shooting, Weagle.

November 4, 2001, 04:26 PM
Ya know, it would be fun takin the AR huntin. There's something I've never done - took my favorite rifle huntin.

I used to live in the mountains, but now I'm down here on the flats in Virginia. Rocks have to be trucked in, so richochets aren't as much of an issue anymore.

I think I'll get on the horn first thing in the morning and get me a couple huntin mags ordered. (or, for that matter, I've got so many 20's lying around, I guess I could go out in the shop and make wooden blockers for a couple of'm....)

November 5, 2001, 11:04 AM
One more note on rabbits. They are very fragile. I killed a fair number of them with a slingshot as a boy. almost any shot will anchor one. Not at all like a squirrell which will keep on going when wounded. Good shooting, Weagle

November 5, 2001, 12:04 PM
I think your M-1 Carbine would make a great rabbit gun so long as it hold a tight group out to fifty yards or so (rabbit range!) Its light and holds sufficient ammo to hold off evena determined bunny charge... :D

My second choice would be your 870. Get a 3/8 inch dowel and cut it to a length that will allow only the legal number of shells to fit in your magazine when it's inserted inside the spring and ahead of the shell plunger. That's the way my Mossberg's came plugged to accept 3 rounds only. It should work in your Remmy too.

The AR will do well too, but beware making body hits - it should tear them up pretty good!

Gotta love fried rabbit - :)

November 5, 2001, 12:47 PM
Where do you people live? Are the rabbits 4 feet tall? LOL... Seriouslly, rabbits die when the wind blows wrong. Shot batches of them with my old Daisy 880 pellet rifle and they drop with a gut shot. Still, save for knocking them off when they are munching in the garden, most rabbit shots I get are when they are on the move and that makes them hard to hit without a scattergun. I'd wager that 870 is improved cylinder or looser and with #6 shot you won't tear up a bunny at all unless you are close enough to just stomp it!

November 5, 2001, 01:18 PM
Since I have extensive experience with rabbit hunting (read that, “it was one of my favorite growing up pastimes whenever I visited my grandfathers ranch, which was often") I will pontificate on proper methods for bagging them. I started with my grandfathers 22 semi-auto and landed more than I could count with it. Later, when I became the proud owner of my first gun, I used it. It was a Marlin 22 mag. I discovered that body shots with that gun were too devastating. In fact, I kept messing up the meat when I would shoot one in the body so I started only taking headshots when I used my 22 mag. On occasion I have used a shotgun, but found that to be too easy so I went back to a 22. 50-100 yard kills are nothing special with a 22. Ever since I got my 22 conversion kit for my Colt I have wanted to try it, but I haven’t had the chance to go rabbit hunting since I have had it. Oh the pains of a job!

Also a few tactics I learned on the jackrabbits of South Texas. First: They run in circles. This means that if you are walking around and startle one but miss it, remember where you saw it and come back later. 10-20 min. is usually enough time for the rabbit to come back to where you found them first. This doesn’t always work, but it will increase your chance to bag some if you are having a bad day. Second: Getting a rabbit to stop running can make all the difference. I have used different techniques to try and make them stop and the best one I have found is a loud sharp whistle. It only works about 50% of the time but hey, that is a 50% increase in your shot opportunities. Third: They are sneaky animals When you startle one it will start running and then stop, or so you think. What they actually do is stop, lay their ears down flat on their heads, then sneak through the grass. So when you walk up to where you thought they stopped they aren’t there anymore. Don’t know that that last bit of information will help much but at least you know. I couldn’t say for sure if all this will apply to rabbits around you, but it might help you out some.

Art Eatman
November 5, 2001, 02:50 PM
I'm another worrier about ricochets, with the Carbine. I sure would vote against any .223, unless it's a pest-control situation. Not much bunny left after a hotshot 22 hits it...

A .22 rimfire or a .410 justifies its existence, when bunny-huntin'...

:), Art

November 6, 2001, 12:38 AM
My Favorite is a .22 Caliber PELLET Rifle.

If you want rabbit meat go out at night to where you store the Horse feed.

The rabbits ALWAYS know where this is because at night they come looking for any spilled kernals.

Yum Corn fattened Cottontail rabbit. :)

November 6, 2001, 06:29 AM
Dang, I knew I shoulda went woodchuck huntin to test wich gun I wanted to use.

But, when I used to be an avid killer of small animals, I used a 22 Hornet a lot too. Although that's not packin the punch of an AR, wouldn't the wound at 75yds, 100yds, or less be comparable to the 223 on a small animal?

I'l be huntin in deep woods, so I won't have the opportunity of a long shot. My stalking excursions have shown me that I'm probably going to be making shots of about 50yds on average.

November 6, 2001, 10:06 AM
I thought mag limits on shotguns only applied when hunting waterfowl? Are you sure your state has mag limits when hunting small game? I've hunted upland game with my Benelli in other states, and don't remember seeing mag limits in the regs. And I looked! Of course, state laws vary depending on where you live. (If there are mag limits you might have a problem with a Ruger 10/22 . . . I've never seen a mag holding less than 10 rounds for that little rifle.)

Anyway, just to echo what others have said - rabbits are fragile. I've killed a lot with an RWS M48 spring-piston .177 pellet rifle out to 40 yards or so. Any solid hit and it's DOWN.

November 6, 2001, 05:53 PM
i dont think there are any states that have mag sizes for small game but in KS u have to have a plug to only hold 3-1 in the chamber and 2 in the mag-just imputing :)

Art Eatman
November 6, 2001, 08:14 PM
I'd guess that ricochets are less likely in the country you describe, Y.T.; they'd bounce into brush/trees. You can always load a Hornet down a bit, if you like, and non-HP bullets won't tear up meat.


November 6, 2001, 10:16 PM
I'm trying to watch the election returns and read TFL at the same time, but I would like a recount.

Are we really talking about centerfire rifles at 50 yards or less for rabbits? It never crossed my mind to use a centerfire. Too expensive, I guess, as many as I've missed.

For .22s, I always liked a Browning autoloader or Marlin lever. A bolt action gives them a more than sporting chance.

Long ago I saw one killed at 35 yards by a lucky shot to the base of the neck using a cheap, one-pump, bb pistol. The pellet was barely stuck in the skin over the spine. Go figure.

Forget the recount. If you're hungry, use the shotgun and the recommended 6s.