Shot placement on Squirrels

I’m no expert in this category, but I believe you should make the most ethical, lethal shot available on a squirrel or don’t take the shot at all.  Back in my early years of hunting with a shotgun you just put the front sight bead on the squirrel and pulled the trigger.  Well with a 22, or 17, shot placement is more important.  One you want to effect a kill as quickly as possible, and two you want to preserve the meat.

Eley Subsonic Hollowpoint

I find that my favorite place to shoot a squirrel is in the head (bean, noggin, control center, etc…).  This usually means dead on impact.  Now ammo type usually won’t play a role here.  Using hollowpoints will be effective, as will a solid lead tip.  A hit to the head will pretty much guarantee you a squirrel for the pot.   This is why I focus so much on group size at the range.  I would say a squirrels head is around the size of a plum, knowing that I need my group size at 50 yards to be under the one inch mark.  That puts me well within that “plum” sized head area.

SK Standard Plus Modded with Waltz Die EPS

The only other available area is the vitals (heart, lungs, etc.).  Again this is another plum sized area.  When shooting in the vitals I think that ammo type has a little more to do with how quickly the kill is effected.  The only time I will take body shots, is if I am shooting a rifle that is sighted in for hollowpoints, be it subsonic hp or high velocity hp.  The added expansion, coupled with hydraulic shock will be enough to take said squirrel out.  That’s not to say that it can’t be done with solid lead tipped ammo like SK Standard Plus or Wolf Match Target, but I have seen my share of crawl offs using this technique.  If I’m shooting solids I will pass on a body shot and wait for a head shot to open up, or not take the shot at all.

SK Subsonic HP Suppressed 50 yard group

I have rifles doped for both hollowpoint and solid, as 22 rimfires are a game of what ammo does your rifle like.  The majority of my rifles are doped for some type of hollowpoint ammo.  I’m currently experimenting with a sizing die that changes a solid tip to an Eley EPS tipped ammo.  I hope to have some data on those through the 2013-2014 season.  Hopefully this knowledge can help you in making a choice of what type of ammo you will shoot in your rifle.

SK Standard Plus 35 yard group Waltz Die Modded

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3 thoughts on “Shot placement on Squirrels

  1. Nate , what sizing die tool are you using the D Rock tool or the Pacotool and how much has it improved accuracy and/or bullet performance , Also what is your rifle’s preferred bullet dia. ? I was thinking of purchasing one but want to be sure it’s at least half as useful as it seems it would be . Thank you for your time again .


    1. Ed,

      I’m using the Neal Waltz die. It resizes to .225. I have one 452 American that really likes the modified round and I hope to use it on squirrels this year to see how the EPS tip works. I’d say if you have a rifle that likes a match ammo with a solid tip and you want to modify it for hunting I’d say it may be worth your time. The hollow point tool makes the SK Standard plus for me highly inaccurate. I was hoping it would be make it more accurate, but from what I’ve read the EPS tip hits almost like a CCI Small Game Bullet. I’ve only done limited testing so don’t take my info to the bank.

      1. Nate

        Thanks for your time , I completely forgot about the N. Waltz die and will have to give it a closer look. I really was just looking to modify rds to the CCI SGB but the resizing should help tighten rifle groups up a bit as well as with the .22 lr accuracy of my ruger super single six as well. Thanks again for your time.


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