Comprehensive Guide To Squirrel Hunting With A .22

Squirrel hunting with a .22 caliber rifle is the top choice of hunters today. The .22 rifle, known for its accuracy and versatility, offers outdoor enthusiasts exciting challenges. The lightweight and maneuverable nature of the .22 allows you to move quickly and stealthily through dense forests and woodlands. 

The limited noise and recoil make it an ideal firearm for maintaining accuracy and minimizing disturbance in the pursuit of these elusive rodents. With its capacity to deliver precise shots, the.22 presents a thrilling challenge to you, requiring a good eye and steady hand to effectively capture squirrels. 

The outstanding advantages of a.22 gun include relatively low cost, low noise, good accuracy and enough power to kill small animals at a range of up to 50 yards. It is not surprising that the.22 caliber has become the preferred weapon for squirrel hunting. A. 22 is ideal if you are new to squirrel hunting or want to improve your skills. 

Guide To Choosing A Gun

A .22 rifle is a great option for squirrel hunting because it is lightweight, easy to handle, and accurate. It is also relatively inexpensive, making it a good choice for budget-minded hunters. 

Bolt-Action Vs Semi-Automatic Rifles

When selecting a.22 rifle, you must choose between a bolt-action and a semi-automatic rifle. Bolt-action rifles are more accurate, although they fire slower. It’s more accurate when you’re trying to aim accurately at squirrels. Semi-automatic rifles, on the other hand, are faster to fire, which might be useful when dealing with multiple squirrels or moving targets.

Choosing Caliber

The.22 Short High-Speed Hollow Point is effective for small game at distances of 25 to 30 yards. The most common caliber for squirrel hunting is .22 Long Rifle (LR). They can be used at distances of 50 or 60 yards. This cartridge is relatively inexpensive and easy to find, making it a popular choice among hunters. 

However, there are other .22 caliber options such as .22 Magnum and .22 Hornet, which offer higher velocities and more stopping power. These calibers may be better suited for hunting larger squirrels or for longer range shots. 

squirrel hunting with a 22

The.22 Magnum is useful for all of the same hunting purposes as the.22 Long Rifle. Plus it can extend varmint hunters’ range to 100 yards, and possibly to 125 yards with appropriate equipment. Despite promising energy levels at longer ranges, the WMR is not feasible above 125 due to accuracy restrictions. 

Selecting A Scope

A scope is an essential tool for squirrel hunting with the .22 rifle. It helps hunters to see squirrels more clearly and make more accurate shots. First, you need to decide on the magnification. A scope with a higher magnification allows you to see targets at longer distances, but it may also make it more challenging to acquire and track moving squirrels.

For squirrel hunting, a scope with a magnification of 3-9x is typically sufficient.

The objective lens size is another important consideration when selecting a scope. The larger the objective lens, the more light it can gather, resulting in a brighter and clearer image. However, a larger objective lens also means a heavier and bulkier scope. A scope with 32mm or 40mm objective lenses is suitable for squirrel hunting.

Instruction Squirrel Hunting With A .22

Hunting squirrels with a .22 requires a strategic approach that combines stealth, marksmanship and patience. Before you go hunting, acquaint yourself with local restrictions and seasons, and make sure you have the proper permits and hunting areas. 

How To Hunt Squirrels With A .22

Scouting the hunting is crucial because signs of squirrel activity such as nests, chewed nuts or droppings give you an exact location. Squirrels are small, fast-moving creatures that are known for their keen senses. They have excellent eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell, making them difficult to approach undetected. 

Early mornings and late afternoons are prime periods for squirrel activity. You should wear camouflage clothing to minimize visibility because squirrels have very sharp eyesight. You need to approach hunting areas slowly and quietly, avoiding sudden movements that could startle the alert rodents. Choose a comfortable shooting position with a clear line of sight, utilizing natural cover to remain concealed. 

squirrel hunting with a 22

When shooting a squirrel with a .22 rifle, it’s best to aim for the head. This will ensure a quick and humane kill. Squirrels have small bodies, and their vital organs are well protected by fur and bones. A shot to the body may not be fatal, and the squirrel could escape and suffer unnecessarily. 

You should regularly practice accurate shooting at varying distances to enhance your marksmanship skills. You especially need to be patient when hunting squirrels as these agile creatures can take time to emerge when they feel safe.

Read this post: Can You Kill A Squirrel With A Bb Gun?

Where To Shoot A Squirrel With A .22?

Three most effective shooting positions when hunting squirrels include head, neck and heart/lung. Knowing where to shoot a squirrel with a .22 rifle is crucial for a clean and ethical kill. 

Head Shot 

Aiming for the head is the most effective way to take down a squirrel. The ideal spot to aim for is just behind the eye, where the skull is thinnest. This shot placement will result in an instant kill, as it will penetrate the brain and cause immediate death. 

Neck Shot

If you are unable to get a clear shot at the squirrel’s head, a neck shot is the next best option. You should aim for the base of the skull, just below the ear. This shot will also result in a quick and humane kill, as it will sever the spinal cord and cause instant paralysis.

Heart/Lung Shot

A heart/lung shot is another effective shot placement for squirrel hunting. Aim for the center of the chest, just behind the front legs will penetrate the heart and lungs, causing the squirrel to die from internal bleeding. However, this shot placement requires more precision, as the vital organs are relatively small targets. 

A Comparison Of Popular Rifles

To help you choose the best rifle for squirrel hunting, we have compared three popular models in the table below:

Rifle ModelWeightBarrel LengthMagazine CapacityPrice
Ruger 10/225 lbs.18.5 inches10 rounds$300
Marlin 605.5 lbs.19 inches14 rounds$200
Savage Mark II5.5 lbs.21 inches10 rounds$250

The Ruger 10/22 is a classic semi-automatic rifle that has been a favorite among hunters for decades. It is lightweight, accurate, and has a large aftermarket for customization. The Marlin 60 is another classic semi-automatic rifle that is noted for its dependability and affordability. It has a longer barrel, allowing for superior accuracy at longer ranges. 

The Savage Mark II is a bolt-action rifle with exceptional accuracy and a crisp trigger pull. It weighs slightly more than the other two rifles, but it remains quite lightweight and easy to handle.

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