Best caliber for small game hunting? ?
Hey all, I have a Ruger American in .308 and that is my dedicated medium - large game rifle. Obviously because if I try to shoot small game with it, it would obliterate the animal. I’m looking for the best round for all small game such as squirrels, rabbits, up to groundhogs, coyotes and other animals around there. I was looking at 22LR but I see they kinda fall off when trying to hunt anything a tiny bit close to medium game. I’m looking for a dedicated rifle and caliber for small game. Any suggestions?
- Mr.357Lv 71 month ago
For squirrels and rabbits, .22LR. For slightly bigger game, the .223 Rem is ideal, with the .22-250 and the .243 Win being fine choices along with others.
- MegumiLv 61 month ago
For squirrels, quail and rabbits, a .22 Long Rifle rimfire is adequate. Woodchucks and coyotes varmints that are tougher, so you need a .22 centerfire, e.g. .22-250 Remington or .220 Swift or a .243 Winchester for longer ranges and windy days. Your .308 is alright for whitetail deer, but you need something bigger for moose, grizzly bears, Kodiak bears, polar bears and elk
- daniel gLv 71 month ago
Your small game, .22LR has been much the standard over a century, (wonder why)
Variants like the hotter .22WMR or the hornet.
The .17 HMR holds its own,
Coyote, prfered is a good varmint round, center fire .22 like 22-250 and .223.
.308 is a great mid size game round and good to 600 yards.
- RobinLv 71 month ago
308 is a goodish round for small game but marginal for medium game. Far too small for big game. For miniature game like rabbits and squirrels use a pistol calibre rifle. Rifles like the 22 LR are good practice rounds but not so good in the real hunting world.
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- Adam DLv 71 month ago
As others have pointed out, there's no single choice that will really do what you need here. Darn, sounds like you'll end up with 3 guns instead of 2, oh the torture.
For small game, it's hard to beat the .22LR. And you've already got a Ruger American, if you like it, the Ruger American rimfire .22LR is just as fine. Great for squirrels and rabbits, for groundhogs, meh, depends on the circumstances and the groundhog, they can be tough.
For a sure-thing rifle for tougher groundhogs and coyotes, there is a whole class of .22 caliber centerfires, many of which have been named in other answers. There are also some interesting choices that are slightly smaller that do pretty much the same thing (.204 Ruger for example). Look into ammo and rifle availability if you decide on one of these rifles, it would suck to read up on a cartridge, decide you like it and buy a rifle that you can hardly find ammo to feed.
Also, don't dismiss a shotgun as a small game option. Well-placed shots and a little effort when cleaning still leaves plenty of meat on squirrels and rabbits. This also opens up other choices as well, such as hunting for birds, or deer hunting with slugs in short-range situations where you may not want to lug a scoped rifle.
There are also varmint and predator loads for the .308, but I'm not sure I support this recommendation, solely because it might discourage you from buying more guns...
- Russ in NOVALv 71 month ago
Stick with the .22lr for squirrels and rabbits at less than 50 yards, or for 50-100 yards .22 mag or .17 HMR. For Groundhogs and coyotes, then a centerfire .22 caliber is warranted, somewhere in the range from .22 Hornet to .223 Remington
- C T MLv 71 month ago
You're new to hunting and guns in general, at least you were three weeks ago when you asked a question about lever action guns. A 308 will not obliterate small game. However, there are better rifles for small game. 22LR is one, so is 223, 22 Hornet, 22-250, 220 Swift, 218 Bee. 243, and a host of other small bore rifles.
- ?Lv 61 month ago
22 LR, if hunting medium game use a .308 lighter load.