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Author Topic: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?  (Read 6370 times)

Offline Gilky

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Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« on: March 11, 2017, 11:10:03 PM »
What cal. do you recommend for a squirrel rifle. And where is a good place to find the smaller calibers at a reasonable price?

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 07:34:04 AM »
new commercial traditional muzzleloaders under .45 bore size are gonna be limited - for the most part - by the offshore .32 flint and percussion rifles of pedersoli (more than a few to chose) and the traditions crockett percsussion rifle.  in terms of cost and value, having owned a traditions crockett, it's about the best offshore deal around for a new gun, and cheaper yet it can be had in kit form.  the best online vendor for these .32's is probably www.DixieGunWorks.com

a newly built onshore .32 or .36 or .40 (i've had them all in flintlock versions) will set ya back at least about $1300 minimum, but expect it to be more like $1600.  there are always the used guns to check out, too - lotsa online resources for quality used longarms. 

a swkerl rifle don't need to be a small caliber, either.  even a little .32 will spoil the meat unless a head shot is made.  a head shot with a .32 or .54 will yield the same results, so it'll all come down to accuracy.  and them big calibers can be downloaded to work real well at skwerl killin' distances.  food for thought - and a good offshore .50 can be had new for cheap.

i'm NOT a fan of percussion guns, but bought the crockett kit for cheap to check out - long since sold.

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Offline FlintNSteel

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, 10:59:42 AM »
If a rifle is what you want and it was going to be dedicated to small game (squirrel, rabbit, etc) then I personally believe the .32 is the way to go.  If you want flint, then I believe Pedersoli is the only production maker.  If Percussion, then, as Rob already stated, Pedersoli or the Crockett. 

I've owned all the common calibers from .32 to .62.  A .32, downloaded to only 15 or 20 grains, will be a great squirrel gun and the damage is not much more than a .22 LR.  Head shots are better.  Go up from there, and there will be a lot of meat damage on a body shot.  First squirrel I body shot with a .36 (after hunting with a .32) came down literally in pieces.  Never did a body shot again with that gun. 

The crockett is a good little squirrel gun for a reasonable price. I owned one.   I liked my Pedersoli's better, but they are about double the price tag too.  Tip Curtis could probably provide a nice semi-custom in the white for a grand.

If you want a multi-use gun, then get the larger caliber you want for big game and figure out a small load for small game....a lot of times, big rifles loaded down to 30 grains will work very well on small game...head shots only!

Personally, I've been shooting a .62 (20 ga) smoothie loaded with shot for small game for several years now.  Have been able to capitalize on some running shots that would be impossible with a rifle (well....impossible for me anyway!)  Used Blackpowder doubles show up on auction sites at some pretty reasonable prices.

Mike
"The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of it's lonely freedom."  Theodore Roosevelt

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 02:56:55 PM »
for a one gun hunter, it's hard to beat a .62/20ga smoothbore - best of both fowler and rifle, without the rifling.  8)
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Offline FlintNSteel

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 10:49:54 AM »
for a one gun hunter, it's hard to beat a .62/20ga smoothbore - best of both fowler and rifle, without the rifling.  8)

And contrary to popular believe, one can work up a good deer load to 75 yards and maybe further.  They are not just 50 yard big game guns.  I haven't spent a lot of time working up a ball load for mine, but the work I have done certainly has me at "minute-of-deer" at 75 yards....rested.  In general, for those of us in heavily wooded areas, we generally can't shoot that far anyway due to obstructions.  If I absolutely HAD to go down to one gun, I'd keep my .62 Virginia styled smooth rifle and let all the others go.
"The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of it's lonely freedom."  Theodore Roosevelt

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2017, 10:59:40 AM »
for a one gun hunter, it's hard to beat a .62/20ga smoothbore - best of both fowler and rifle, without the rifling.  8)

And contrary to popular believe, one can work up a good deer load to 75 yards and maybe further.  They are not just 50 yard big game guns.  I haven't spent a lot of time working up a ball load for mine, but the work I have done certainly has me at "minute-of-deer" at 75 yards....rested.  In general, for those of us in heavily wooded areas, we generally can't shoot that far anyway due to obstructions.  If I absolutely HAD to go down to one gun, I'd keep my .62 Virginia styled smooth rifle and let all the others go.

+1 for me, too.

the chris walker .62 i had was an easy "minute of deer - in the vitals" at 78 yards - offhand!

a good .62 would make me happy if all i could have is one trad ml.   :thumbs: :thumbs:

 :camp:
Trad Gang ~ Buffalo Rifles ~ TMA ~ NRA ~ NRA RSO ~ GOA ~ VCDL

Offline Gilky

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2017, 08:34:45 AM »
Really not looking for a shotgun? Was looking for something like a Pennsylvania/ Kentucky/ or Southern full stock .. Was kinda worried about the .32 cal. cause I have heard that they foul up so much?  :-\

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2017, 08:45:04 AM »
let's talk ...

are you new to traditional muzzleloaders?

what ignition system do you prefer, or think you will prefer - caplock or flintlock?

will you be using real black powder or substitute black powder (pyrodex, 777, blackthorn209, etc)?

are you only going be hunting squirrels?




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Offline Gilky

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2017, 01:37:50 PM »
I've hunted 4-5 years with an in-line ( Remington 700ml). I have taken 4 deer with the in-line and it just seemed like hunting with a regular rifle scope and all. Just became bored with it. So I got me 2 side locks. 1 T/C 45 Hawkens caplock  and 1 Cabalas 50 Hawkens caplock that I took to the range several times before I discovered longbows and recurves. The ML's then went to the back of the closet for the last 10 years. Now that I am having trouble with drawing my bows and it hurts to even draw them anymore I have taken the ML's out to start fiddling with... I eventually want to get a caplock Pennsylvania type ML in 50 cal. with a 1in60 for round balls and the same in .32, or .36 for squirrel hunting and plinking around... Right now I am shooting up the pyrodex I have in hand. But I am planning on going to real bp maybe next year?

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2017, 01:49:19 PM »
sounds like yer a perfect candidate for a traditions crockett .32 caplock.  it sports double set triggers and is Very Accurate.  use 3f black powder, .311 balls from a lee mould and test out .010 and .015 cotton patching that's well lubed ... i prefer a good grease lube.  i found fouling the same as any larger caliber, not much.  iirc, i went near a dozen patched ball firings with no fouling control required.  clean up with any trad ml, full stock or hooked breech, is too easy.  enjoy!  :thumbs:
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Offline Gilky

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2017, 04:38:09 PM »
Thanks Rob, I been looking at those. And only have read good things about them. Or I might just keep tinkering around with the two I have now until I can save up for a TVM. Really like the looks of those full stocks. :)

Offline FlintNSteel

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2017, 10:48:16 PM »
Really not looking for a shotgun? Was looking for something like a Pennsylvania/ Kentucky/ or Southern full stock

Gilky,  not trying to sell you on a smoothie, but a smooth rifle looks just like any other traditional muzzleloading rifle, it's just that it has a smooth bore vs rifled.  It doesn't resemble a shotgun at all.  Mine has a .62 caliber (20 GA) bore in a swamped octagon 42" barrel.  Sights front and rear.  Cheekpiece.  All the features of a rifle.

Here's some pics of my Virginia styled flint smooth rifle.





This squirrel died so fast, the nut was locked in his jaws!  And that was after falling about 60 feet out of a tree.

"The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of it's lonely freedom."  Theodore Roosevelt

Offline Gilky

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2017, 05:53:15 AM »
You have me re-thinking this thing? What size grouping can you get with a ball and patch at 50yrds or so with a smooth bore? And what caliber would you need for about a 16 gauge? And lol would they shoot tight enough patterns with shot to be a decent turkey gun out to 30yrds. Truethfully I know zero about smooth bores.

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2017, 06:42:44 AM »
for me and most aficionados of the smooth tube, a 20 gauge is the right balance for both shot and patched ball.  this is a .62 caliber that typically uses a 325 grain pure lead patched .600 ball.  the consistent accuracy of such a long gun is dependent on the load and operator.  most .62's are good for "minute of turkey" @ 50 yards and "minute of deer" at about 75 yards employing a patched ball.  yes, the big patched ball can be used to hunt the tree rats, but at sane distances that allow head shots or what's known as "tree barking".

also, that big .600 lead ball is powerful medicine for most any north american critters.  skwerls to moose - covers it all.  8)

a smoothbore was *the* defacto firearm during all of the 18th century.  rifles were all but banned from warfare.  the smoothbore was easier, faster, and far more utilitarian than the rifled tube long gun.

if i was forced to have only ony trad muzzleloader, it would be a .62 smoothie. 

BTW, "smooth rifle" simply means a smoothbore that has a rear sight.  most smoothbores have just a front blade sight.  a rear sight on a smoothbore is typically not legal for some smoothbore match events.

my previous chris walker .62 smooth rifle was good for "minute of water bottle" at 27 yards ...

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Offline Gilky

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Re: Squirrel rifle cal. .32, .36, or .40 cal. And where to find?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2017, 01:57:52 PM »
Rob, thanks for the cool video. I started watching some other YouTube videos last night to get more info on them. One guy used a felt wade between the charge and the ball and another used a rb with a patch. Witch do you think is better? I also couldn't find what size groups I should expect? At 50 yards? 1 inch? 6inches ect........ Also, could I use a shot cup like in a regular shotgun shell when using bird shot? And can you use multiple buckshot in a load?