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Old February 7, 2019, 11:21 AM   #1
SmellyShooter
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.410 Shotgun Squirrel Killer

I'm not crazy for wanting to use my .410 shotgun for squirrel/small game hunting right? Also, assuming I'm not crazy, what size shot should I use?
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Old February 7, 2019, 11:37 AM   #2
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Many pots of squirrel have been filled with a .410. If I were going to use one, I'd use a 3" load of #5 or 6.

However, if you are going to do that a lot you'd wind up paying for a new 20ga with the high cost of .410 shells.
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Old February 7, 2019, 11:49 AM   #3
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Would you say 12 gauge has too much oomph to it or is it still good for squirrel?
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Old February 7, 2019, 12:28 PM   #4
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"...say 12 gauge has..." Nope. A .410 is an expert's gun due to less shot in the shell. A 12 is not. You use the same size shot in either and you must pattern either one. Size 4, 5 or 6 will do nicely.
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Old February 7, 2019, 12:38 PM   #5
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What distance would it be good to test the patterning at?
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Old February 7, 2019, 04:29 PM   #6
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There is nothing wrong with a 410 for small game you just have to take shorter shots. My dad always thought 410s were lousy for a kid. He was right, they are light recoil but with amount of shot pattern is sparse. I have always had a 410 around a 24 Savage OU but have not used 410s much for serious hunting. Always us #6 shot on rabbits and squirrel.
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Old February 7, 2019, 04:47 PM   #7
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Why a .410?

Quote:
I'm not crazy for wanting to use my .410 shotgun for squirrel/small game hunting right? Also, assuming I'm not crazy, what size shot should I use?
I guess in this case, I'm making an exception and to why a .410 when you really don't want to? Don't get me wrong, I have used a .410 on them before. I Don't plan on ever using these again. I had a great squirrel woods that I hunted and the landowner would only allow a shotgun to be used. We pretty much know why he made this requirement but I'm telling you, his woods were full of dumb squirrels. I took my Savage 24DL .22 over 20Ga. I loaded shorts in the top barrel and 20 on the bottom. I picked my shots and never used the bottom barrel..

Whenever I hunted there, I always too three dressed, cut and frozen squirrels to him to show my appreciation. …..


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Old February 7, 2019, 04:58 PM   #8
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410 is my prefered small game cartridge.
I use a bolt action Hawthorne, and a Savage 242 in 410/410..
Have taken countless squirrels, rabits, pheasants with them.

To my neighbors chagrin i also use the Hawthorne for spring gobler.
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Old February 7, 2019, 05:56 PM   #9
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I kill squirrels with a .177 air rifle so 6s, should be more than adequate (assuming your goal is to actually eat one of those tree rats.)
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Old February 7, 2019, 07:00 PM   #10
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What I learned as a kid over 60 years ago, use a 410 with a full choke. My dad bought me my first shotgun, a Stevens Model 59 bolt action in 410. Not really considering the deficiencies of the 410 bore he bought it with what he considered an all around choked barrel. Modified. OK for our hunting rabbits in front of dogs, but not too good at taking tough old fox squis out of the tops of tall oak and hickory trees.
My shot choice was always #4 or #5.
Not sure how much today's plastic shell/shot cup has improved the efficiency of the 410 over my days of paper shells, and cardboard wads.
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Old February 7, 2019, 07:30 PM   #11
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#6's will do you fine. I found a few boxes of shells at walmart for $10 last week. It was much easier to pay in the 90's when I used only a 410 on small game. Yes I still have one but I would take a 20 gauge over it or a 22lr. Every time I used the 12 gauge even aiming 1 foot to the right or left I destroyed squirrels. Maybe your experience will be better.
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Old February 7, 2019, 09:31 PM   #12
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6s work fine. 5s will penetrate thru.

410 is fine. 22 is better, learn to make head shots. I know from experience 1 ounce of 5 from a 20 gauge make squirrel burger with a good hit.

My favorite meat guns are a Savage 22-410 and a Savage model 24V. 222 Over 20 ga.

I download the 222 to almost rimfire velocity. The 24 V. Has a receiver sight.

The last few years I have been using a scoped 22 rifle, or scoped 17 HMR. Head shots only with the 17.

I shot a few with a scoped TC Contender in 32-20.

Enjoy
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Old February 8, 2019, 09:45 AM   #13
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Any recommendations for a decent scope for a 22? I've got a 10/22 ready for a scope.
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Old February 8, 2019, 11:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Any recommendations for a decent scope for a 22? I've got a 10/22 ready for a scope.
I have a Simmons 22 MAG in QD rings on my 10/22 Takedown. It shoots 10 round, quarter sized groups @ 50 yards. The gun can be broken down, scope removed, reassembled, and put ten more in the same hole.
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Old February 8, 2019, 12:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
6s work fine. 5s will penetrate thru.
For squirrels? 6's seem a little heavy to me. 7 1/2 or 8's have always worked fine for me. Haven't seen 5's in years, though I will admit to not looking.


Better also carry a .460 or .50 pistol, for when the enraged wounded beastie charges!

Fixed bayonet might be useful, too...that's it! that why they want to ban bayonet lugs! TO save the squirrels!!

My Grandfather taught me how to "bark" squirrels so that using a 12 ga there was still useful squirrel left. (not counting tails)
The .410 works fine, if you're small game hunting, or controlling pests, but unless you can do better than one shot per squirrel, there are more cost efficient rounds to use. .22rimfires are best, but even 12ga is cheaper than .410, round for round, if you're shooting store bought ammo.
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Old February 8, 2019, 12:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Haven't seen 5's in years, though I will admit to not looking.
https://ammoseek.com/ammo/410-bore?ss=5
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Old February 8, 2019, 12:22 PM   #17
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For squirrels? 6's seem a little heavy to me. 7 1/2 or 8's have always worked fine for me.
Yes, 7 1/2 or 8 will definitely kill squirrels. BUT, you'll be forever picking out all the small shot after you skin them. That's why most squirrel and rabbit hunters tend to go with larger shot (with fewer pellets in the load). Personally, I'd rather have a very light load of #4s.

BTW, a trick I saw in a magazine decades ago still works well. To pick out shot, take yourself a long-shank medium sized nail (like an 8d size) and using a ball peen hammer flatten a section just behind the point making it slightly concave. Then, you just shove that into the wound channel and scoop out the shot.
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Old February 8, 2019, 07:46 PM   #18
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I had great results with a 20, modified choke and #6 shot. Tried a .410 once, fairly certain it was #8, the two I shot died immediately (there is nothing quite like the sound of a limp squirrel falling out of a tree) and had very little damage. I did have to get much closer to feel comfortable taking the shot.
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Old February 8, 2019, 10:14 PM   #19
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.410's

There was a period of time in my youth where a .410 shotgun was all I had. My Dad, who was an avid rabbit hunter, also shot a .410 as his bunny gun a great deal as well. I've had more than a passing interest in the chambering ever since.

I am of the firm opinion that any shot size larger than #6 is TOO LARGE for the .410. Further, I can only advise #6 shot in the larger 3" shell. There is just not enough room in that tiny .410 shell for enough shot in the larger sizes to be effective. You see #5 and #4 shot in .410 for sale in the big stores all the time, and folks buy and shoot them. I believe this leads to the reputation of the .410 being a crippler. Dose a squirrel or rabbit with just a few #4 shot due to the sparse patterns because of low pellet count/large shot, and you may not collect the critter. Dad and I established early on that the 3" shell with #7-1/2 shot was by far the best killer on rabbits and I am going to extend that claim to squirrels as well. Another good load may be the 2-1/2" shell and #8 shot, but I do not have much experience with those.

The .410 is a difficult chambering for swing and shoot wing shooting or clay birds, but squirrel and rabbit hunting is a good bit different than shooting at flushing, feathered game. The "point and shoot process" of rabbits in front of slow dogs, or a squirrel on a stump is a far easier target than a grouse underfoot or a dove zipping past. On those semi stationary targets (bunnies and squirrels) the .410, when properly loaded, is very effective. Note that I am not talking about a squirrel 35 yds up, running from tree to tree in the canopy, but unalarmed squirrels on the ground, inside 30 yds.

All .410's I have handled and shot are fixed, full choke.
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Old February 9, 2019, 12:07 AM   #20
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1/2 oz of #6 will kill rabbits and squirrels out to 20 or 30 yards from a full choke. #5 may work and #4 too but with thinner patterns.
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Old February 11, 2019, 06:00 AM   #21
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My father always used a Remington 512 Sportmaster 22 S,L&LR to hunt squirrels. His father bought it in 1940 and it’s now mine and it is still extremely accurate. My grandfather would put light-anywhere matches in the edge of a piece of cardboard and then put it on the top of a fence and shoot from 15 ft away and light those matches. My father would always aim at the tree limb or trunk directly below the head of the squirrel and the squirrel would fall out of the tree and my father would put the heel of his boot on the neck of the squirrel and break its neck. No meat ruined. My father can also clean a squirrel in less than a minute.

I killed my first squirrel with a Savage 24 in 22/410 that was a friends’ fathers rifle. When I found a decent one at a pawn shop I bought it so I’d always have one. I’d like that 222/20 ga spoke of earlier!

4-6 shot is good medicine for squirrel...if you aren’t a very good shot with a 22.. ;~)
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Old February 14, 2019, 06:29 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmellyShooter View Post
Would you say 12 gauge has too much oomph to it or is it still good for squirrel?
With a given choke, all shotguns should pattern the same. That is to say, a .410 and a 12 gauge shotgun with an improved choke shooting the same size shot should both put the same percentage of their shot within a circle at the same distance. The big difference between them is that since the 12 gauge shoots a much heavier load of shot, that works out to a whole lot more pellets.
I started out with a .410 hunting squirrels as a kid, which worked out pretty well. I eventually moved up to a 20 gauge though and I actually thought it was a lot easier to use for the reasons listed above.
https://thebiggamehuntingblog.com/sh...-vs-28-vs-410/
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Old February 14, 2019, 06:48 PM   #23
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I you can get anywhere close to a squirrel a .410 will work great. You will need to use the 3" magnum in #4 or #5 shot but it will pull them from the tree tops if you do your part.
My old Mossberg bolt action works well to fill the dinner pot.
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Old February 18, 2019, 10:23 PM   #24
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My squirrel gun is . . .

My squirrel gun is a Savage 42. 22 mag barrel with 410 under it. I've killed dozens of squirrels with a 410 shooting #4 shot. I use the 410 barrel if the tree rat is in a tree and I'm shooting in a direction that may have buildings etc with in a mile. If I've got a clean ground shot and I know the bullet won't go far I hit it with the 22 mag. I've got a scope on the gun and the two barrels line up just fine. I've walked and stalked squirrels and I've still hunted them too. Both seem to work if you adjust for your circumstances.

My best advice about squirrel hunting is . . . leave the big red fox squirrels in the woods. Very tough. Really hard to skin and the meat is tough too.

Life is good.
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Old Yesterday, 11:26 AM   #25
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No problems with Fox Squirrels

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My best advice about squirrel hunting is . . . leave the big red fox squirrels in the woods. Very tough. Really hard to skin and the meat is tough too.
I'll admit that I prefer Greys to Fox squirrels but have never had skinning or cooking problems. Yes, I prefer the greys but never pass up a shot on any. …..


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