• Site updates are now live!

    If you see any issues, click on the VIEW THREAD button below to report them.

    VIEW THREAD

  • In order to be able to send private messages to other users, you must have a minimum of 10 posts on the site.

Hanging up the HW30s for squirrel duty

I got another squirrel yesterday. It was a young one, pretty small. Normally, I'd leave them alone and let them grow up a bit. But this one was wrapped around the bird feeder and had torn it open twice already. Pest status was earned.

​I made a perfect head shot on it with my HW30s. Right in the eye. (but didn't pop it) Knocked it off of the feeder. It was just laying there. The pellet didn't exit. There was blood coming out from around the eye and out of the nose. It twitched a bit at first, but it was breathing normally. It had some reaction when I poked it. I waited a minute and watched. (might be nerves?) But it kept breathing normally. I think I brain-damaged it. I put another one right in the top of the skull, and that did it.

That's enough wounding of these little guys for me. 6 FPE just isn't quite enough to reliably kill squirrels, even with good head shots. I'm thinking about the Vortek kit for it, which will raise the power to 8 FPE. I think that'll make the difference, for head shots. But for now, that gun's back to target and plinking duty. The old trusty Marauder's coming back upstairs for pest duty until I get the TX200 shooting the way I want it to. I think 12 FPE will be about right. Plenty of power, but not excessive, and good accuracy.

With the Marauder, I've made less than perfect shots, but still, they resulted in a clean kill. One time, I also shot a little low on the head of an adult squirrel. It went in just above the jaw, but instead of breaking the jaw and stopping, the pellet kept going into the neck, through most of the length of the body cavity, out the belly, and into the rear leg, broke the knee, and stopped finally. Massive damage, for a little .177 dome. Wound up being a heart shot. Gonna see if Beeman Crow Magnums (hollow points) or RWS Supermag (heavy wadcutters) pellets shoot accurately out to maybe 15 yards. Those should be pretty hard-hitting, and with > 16 FPE, they should have adequate penetration too. I'll just have to take a pass on across-the-yard shots, if I see any of the bigger pests, like 'coons or 'possums.
 
  • Like
Reactions: musketman101

MarkUK

Member
Jun 16, 2015
126
11
Staffordshire
    That squirrel didn't suffer. But you're right, 6fpe is not quite enough. I read somewhere that a pellet arriving with 5 or less fpe is likely to just injure them.

    squirrels are tough critters with small brains.

    Careful with that 30s tune. There was a very recent thread on this on the UK airgunbbs: http://www.airgunbbs.com/showthread.php?782232-Hw30s&highlight=vortek
    The TX, on the other hand, should be perfect.

    From the land of sub 12fpe hunting.
     
    Thanks Mark, I'll read up more on it, (aside from on Vortek's site)

    Thanks also to whoever gave me negative accuracy for sharing my experience and feelings here. I could just as easily have NOT shared this experience with the group, out of shame, and now I know this is the kind of place I have to be more careful what I say, because there is someone out there waiting to jump on me. If anything, I should GAIN accuracy for publicly admitting my fault and trying to educate other new shooters on that fact.

    There is no set minimum amount of power for hunting; what I said, and what I read previously said 4-5 FPE. Lots of folks get a Pumpmaster or something less accurate and blast away at anything up to raccoon size.
     

    MarkUK

    Member
    Jun 16, 2015
    126
    11
    Staffordshire
      I got a neg accuracy for not referencing my 5 FPE minimum.

      I think it was the mighty Tom Gaylord (BB Pelletier), who talks a lot about squirrels on his blog. The nearest I can get with a search was this:

      "Six hundred feet per second (about 6.5 fpe) is pretty slow for hunting squirrels with a .177. I know you said point blank range, which I interpret to mean you are shooting close — maybe 10 yards or less. If you were shooting a .22 at that velocity I’d say no problem, but a .177 is marginal."

      Smaug, your instinct appears well grounded.

      The 30s is well regarded, as is the Vortek kit,but it appears difficult to get above 7.5 fpe, and if you succeed, it will likely lose its good, smooth manners.
       
      • Like
      Reactions: Smaug

      AlliInLL

      Member
      Jun 7, 2016
      53
      2
      California
        Well! Thanks, guys, for the explanation of the 'accuracy' under our profile pics. Had no idea and now I'll have to check mine as I had bunches of BS piled on me because a few guys "thought" I said that I would shoot dogs.

        I don't have a chronograph so I have no idea how fast my pellets are going, so I have no idea how much FPE they deliver. I'll have to try some old apples, etc., to get an idea if it's good enough for pigeons. Hmm, maybe I'll get some spinners from SteelPlinkers.
         
        G

        Guest

        Guest
          "AlliInLL"Well! Thanks, guys, for the explanation of the 'accuracy' under our profile pics. Had no idea and now I'll have to check mine as I had bunches of BS piled on me because a few guys "thought" I said that I would shoot dogs.

          I don't have a chronograph so I have no idea how fast my pellets are going, so I have no idea how much FPE they deliver. I'll have to try some old apples, etc., to get an idea if it's good enough for pigeons. Hmm, maybe I'll get some spinners from SteelPlinkers.
          Off topic... You had no accuracy votes.

          If you can shoot through a grape fruit at 40 yards (the depth of your back yard) you will do fine on Pigeons and smaller birds. That S510 is a 25 fpe rifle with the right pellet and setup. It will humanely take anything you have mentioned shooting in your posts. That said, that rifle is capable of pushing a middle weight .22 pellet over 900 fps. Be very sure of your backstop. Even a shot that goes through your wood fence, would be dangerous down range. :) But you knew that.

          Shoot straight. Yesterday is ashes. Tomorrow is wood. Only today the fire burns brightly.

          :)
           
          G

          Guest

          Guest
            "sharroff"Oldspook,

            You a time traveler or an alchemist? If not, I think the order goes wood, then fire fire, then ashes. Never seen it work the other way around :)


            
Yesterday is ashes. This means that yesterday is done. There isn't much left. Get over it.
            Tomorrow is wood. This means that you can't change it. It is what it is.
            Today the fire burns brightly. This means that the focus is here and now. Change what you can. The important thing is what you do now, not tomorrow, and not yesterday.

            Taken together it means that you can't change the past or the future, all you can do is live in the now.
            https://books.google.com/books?id=bhDc-cCxYYUC&pg=PP2&lpg=PP2&dq=Native+American+%22Yesterday+is+ashes%22&source=bl&ots=60xk3Im_nL&sig=uQBFVYN_fyqW8DXBDKn5xdTAO4M&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjr8MGg4r_PAhXLsh4KHSoBCy4Q6AEIRjAL#v=onepage&q=Native%20American%20%22Yesterday%20is%20ashes%22&f=false

            Perhaps you can point me to a different version of the saying. I don't really understand the comment? Maybe I'm just a bit slow on the uptake?
             
            In the EU (the UK isn't part of that any more since the Brexit) it's prohibited by law to hunt with airguns, because in a lot of EU countries you're not allowed to own high-powered airguns. Germany for instance the maximum power is 5.5 Ft/lbs. So I'll let you do the guessing why that is. 12 Ft/lbs .177 is in my opinion the absolute minimum for hunting with air rifles within a 40 yard range on small game such as birds, rabbits and squirrels. But that's just how I think about this topic. I see way too much videos coming by where you see (mostly doves and pigeons) being shot, that still fly away after being hit. Turns my stomach!
             
            Jonnes, don't assume too much with the birds. A pigeon can be hit right in the clockwork and still fly away some small distance. Same with crows and magpies.

            The only time they DON'T fly off a bit is if you spine them above the wings, or headshots, which takes out their navigation system.

            With my HW30s, I have enough penetration (it'll go through both jaws of a squirrel) but shot placement has to be perfect. Can't really use expanding ammo either, as it needs all the penetration it has, just to reach the vitals. That's with 6 FPE. Now, I'm up to 6.5 - 7 FPE, but I don't think I'll try again, even with Polymags.

            Going up to 9-10 FPE would be what, 40% more energy? (and remember, I'm talking about 10 yds. here, so not much energy lost to aerodynamics)

            I shot several squirrels with my 12 FPE TX200, All shots at 10 yds. were pass-throughs, even chest shots that went through an arm too. (more power than needed) The one shot at 40 yds. stopped under the skin of the far side of the squirrel.

            So in short, I think you're right: 12 FPE for 40 yds.But for 10 yds? I bet 9 FPE would be plenty. I'm thinking of an HW50s, maybe.
             
            @Smaug; at 10 yards it's a slightly other story Jeremy, I agree. Didn't know you where able to get that close to those little buggers. But you still have to get that shot right in their nugget or heart. @oldspook has a serious point, there's no margin for error with a low power air gun. That's why I advice against using those things for hunting purposes. You're an experienced shooter, and even you've seen a squirrel "survive" (sorta) a close range shot. 

            When I still lived in the US, I used to shoot squirrels because they would tear down my window and door screens all the time. Took down a lot of magpies also for the same reason. I owned a RWS 34 in .177, and I stopped using that 12 Ft/lbs airgun when I shot a squirrel right in the eye at 40 yards, and it still managed to run away. I found it the next morning laying on my porch, still breathing. I had to snap it's neck to get it out of it's misery. I bought a Marauder .25 the next day, and at that point I decided never to use low- to medium powered airguns ever again on small animals. I did continue to use the RWS 34 for shooting tarantula's though. Speaking of serious fun. :D 
             
            Shot placement is all thats needed for 12 fpe to cleanly do the job. If 12 fpe doesnt cleanly kill a squirrel at 25 yds its not the fault of the energy level it is the fault of the shooter not hitting the mark. Of course its correct that you need to be very precise to get the job done but lets not confuse being precise with not enough power. 12 fpe is plenty the real question to ask: does the shooter and equipment consistently have the ability to accurately place the shot. I have allot of experience with sub 12 fpe rifles and what they can and cant do. 
             
            "LDP"Shot placement is all thats needed for 12 fpe to cleanly do the job. If 12 fpe doesnt cleanly kill a squirrel at 25 yds its not the fault of the energy level it is the fault of the shooter not hitting the mark. Of course its correct that you need to be very precise to get the job done but lets not confuse being precise with not enough power. 12 fpe is plenty the real question to ask: does the shooter and equipment consistently have the ability to accurately place the shot. I have allot of experience with sub 12 fpe rifles and what they can and cant do.
            
I agree 100%.

            Supporting examples

            Example 1: 10 yard offhand shot on a squirrel with my 6 FPE HW30s and Exact RS pellet. I was going for a brain shot, but hit about 1/4" low. Broke her jaws and she ran off and starved for a week before I got another shot on her. Finished her with a proper brain shot from the TX200. In this case, a .22 at the same energy level may have done the job where the .177 didn't. 

            Example 2: 36-38 yd. shot with the TX200, Air Arms Diabolo Field 8.4 gr. dome. Again, on a squirrel. By the time the pellet got there, it was down to probably 5 FPE. Yet, the pellet penetrated through both sides of the ribcage and through the far arm, with the pellet resting under the skin on the far side. The squirrel dropped, and died right there.1/2" forward, and the pellet may have hit the shoulder, and just wounded him. 1/2" back, and it would have been a gut shot. 1/2" high, and it might spine (OK) or miss. 1/2" low, and it would have been a bad wound. 

            When I'm calculating my kill zone with Chairgun Pro, I put 0.8". That's a good brain size estimate, and I have a bit more room with a chest shot, maybe 1-1/4" kill zone.
             
            "oldspook"Target rifles for target work. If there is no margin for error, there is NO margin for error. The average muzzle energy of a PAINTBALL MARKER is 9 foot pounds.
            
I'm not sure how that's relevant here. Paintballs are meant to use their energy to burst the paintball, with zero penetration, and on much larger prey. ;D and with a much larger diameter, much heavier, and much slower projectile.

            9 FPE, from a paintball to MY body is not the same at all as 9 FPE from a .177 pellet to a squirrel's body.
             
            G

            Guest

            Guest
              "Smaug"
              "oldspook"Target rifles for target work. If there is no margin for error, there is NO margin for error. The average muzzle energy of a PAINTBALL MARKER is 9 foot pounds.
              
I'm not sure how that's relevant here. Paintballs are meant to use their energy to burst the paintball, with zero penetration, and on much larger prey. ;D and with a much larger diameter, much heavier, and much slower projectile.

              9 FPE, from a paintball to MY body is not the same at all as 9 FPE from a .177 pellet to a squirrel's body.
              Jeremy, You are absolutely right. That is why it is ok to shoot a dog with a paint marker and not ok to shoot one with a 500 fps air rifle, contrary to what you have suggested elsewhere privately and publicly. Talking appropriate power levels with you is damn near impossible, to be honest. On the one hand you think your six fpe rifle is just fine for humanely shooting a pellet through the head of a squirrel on the other hand you maintain it isn't too much to shoot a dog in the arse with if it is chasing your cats. If it is sufficient to kill a squirrel at any range, it is too much to shoot an offending dog in the arse. If it is safe to shoot a dog in the arse with it, it isn't enough to humanely kill squirrels. You can't have both. It seems to me that you really don't have a clue what is humane and what is not humane.