Marlin Firearms Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,912 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be the first time I go squirrel hunting with a shotgun. I always hunted with a 22lr rifle but with me having the quivers or small shakes from my stroke I dont feel comfortable in shooting a squirrel with a 22 with out missing and the bullet travelling a 1 1/2 or more thru the air. So I am gonna use my tristar 20 gauge this year and I can change the chokes on it. To all if any that hunted squirrel with a shotgun what shot size and choke do you use. Will steel be better or lead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
964 Posts
I'd use an open choke and 9 shot, lead.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mjadams61

·
Registered
Joined
·
377 Posts
This will be the first time I go squirrel hunting with a shotgun. I always hunted with a 22lr rifle but with me having the quivers or small shakes from my stroke I dont feel comfortable in shooting a squirrel with a 22 with out missing and the bullet travelling a 1 1/2 or more thru the air. So I am gonna use my tristar 20 gauge this year and I can change the chokes on it. To all if any that hunted squirrel with a shotgun what shot size and choke do you use. Will steel be better or lead.
What kind of range do you anticipate?

The reason I ask is that if not far enough out for the pattern to open up, choke may not matter much in any event. I should think any pellet from 6 down to 9 would work esp at ranges where the pattern is still very dense in which case size 6 should be easier to pick out of the meat. At ranges under 45 feet, personally, I'd be tempted to use a full choke with 6 shot and aim like a rifle for a clean head shot.
Good hunting to you!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
222 Posts
I always use 6 lead. The choke always depended on where I hunted them at. In the hills of arkansas the trees are fairly short,40ft or less, but in our river bottoms the trees can rise up to 50-60ft. I always use a full when range is on the long side.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,328 Posts
I use to always use #6 lead. My shotguns, 20 ga. and 12 ga. were both modified chokes. Never had a problem with bringing them down.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mjadams61

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,271 Posts
I have read and been told that #6 steel is the way to go. Anything larger (or lead) tends to drag hair into the meat, anything smaller may not cut through the foliage. Modified seems to be the internet's favorite choke for squirrels, but some people use full or extra full choke and go for head shots. I have not shot any squirrels with a shotgun so all this could be wrong. It's just what I've read while trying to set up my daughter's 20 gauge.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mjadams61

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,859 Posts
I use to always use #6 lead. My shotguns, 20 ga. and 12 ga. were both modified chokes. Never had a problem with bringing them down.
My squirrel hunting was always in Midwestern woods with tall trees and mostly grays that cut aggressively in early morning. While I like using a .22, I learned to hunt with a 20 gauge full choke that hardly ever let me down.

I used light load #6 lead shot. If you're under or near the tree they're cutting on, a well placed 20 gauge shot will score clean kills.

I guess steel shot wasn't available when I was younger. I don't know why steel would be better than lead shot for squirrels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,077 Posts
I have the shakes too. We all do what we have to do in order to stay in the Sport. Best of luck and Happy hunting.:congrats:

Enjoy the Journey
444GS2
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,912 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to all for y'alls responses and after doing a little researching myself and knowing how my shotgun patterns I am going modified on the choke using #6 steel shot. Where I be hunting the trees aint really that tall and being familiar with using steel shot on other game I will feel comfortable using #6 steel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,600 Posts
Good luck to you. We almost always use shotguns when hunting squirrels; Abert Squirrels mostly, using both 20ga and 12ga. Usually with modified chokes, but being national forest with some very tall pine trees, sometimes the full choke in 12 seems to help... especially when they're hiding from you way up there, ha! Also, we normally just use the regular cheaper field loads with lead #6 shot.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mjadams61 and BFPGW

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,322 Posts
Cheaper field loads of #6 like AZSparrow. I don't officially hunt squirrels much. Except for the random one the dogs tree in the yard and won't stop howling until I come out and knock it down. Then I use a trap load of 1.125oz #7.5 with IC or full choke. But that doesn't leave much of the squirrel to eat. At shorter ranges a 410 with full choke and #6 aimed at its head could be useful.

I would prefer to use a 22short but the fear around where it lands if an error is made weighs heavily on my mind also. Better safe than sorry.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mjadams61

·
Registered
Joined
·
350 Posts
20ga. with modified choke. I used to use #6 lead shot, but have lately switched to #4 (or #5 when I can find it) for better pass through of the shot. (Biting down on pellets sucks)



Good luck to you, whatever you choose.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mjadams61

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,836 Posts
Its not safe to shoot into the air at tree squirrels where I hunt. No telling where the bullet will land. So my older 16 gauge loaded with low base #6 works best for me. I use a full choke that patterns more like an improved modified. The acorn mast is especially heavy this year in Pennsylvania. Should be excellent for squirrels and deer hunting.

TR
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top