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#266370 - 03/12/04 Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
TwentyTwo Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 446
I've had enough hunting experience to know that an exactly placed .22 LR bullet makes a clean kill on squirrels and rabbits. I also know that a .38 Special wadcutter from a handgun kills well. But I don't have enough experience to say any more than that. Marlin didn't sell enough M-1894 rifles in .218 Bee, .25-20 and .32-20 to keep them in production for long. The new M-1894 in .32 H&R Mag is being marketed to Cowboy Action Shooting folks, not to us small game hunters. I haven't seen any mention of the M-1894 in .357 Mag being used on small game. A few writers, among them Francis Sell, Bob Milek, John Wooters and Al Miller have written about using centerfires for small game. Despite several articles over the years, nobody brought John Wooters' .25/222 Copperhead to market, and that's a flexible squirrel to coyote round if ever there was one. Does anyone here have enough experience to tell the rest of us how and why centerfires ranging from, say the .25-20 through the .45 provide enough increased performance on small edible game to justify their increased cost? I assume semi-wadcutter or wadcutter bullets at 700 to 1500 ft/sec. Even handloaded, centerfires are more expensive to shoot than the .22 LR, especially for fumble-fingered folks like me who don't dare to cast bullets. I haven't mentioned the .22 Rimfire Mag because I have no hunting experience with that round.

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#266371 - 03/12/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
JerryLester Offline
Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 14
I use a Marlin 1894C 357 magnum for rabbits, and squirrels quite a bit. As a matter of fact, I use it for everything from squirrels to deer here in Virginia.

I use 357s with 125g SPs for mostly everything exept deer. I load them to about 1500 fps, and although they kill with athority, they don't tend to blow up hides on predators much, and of course on small game, I take head shots.

38s in the 357 rifles actually make a perfect small game load, as long as you stay away from HP bullets. A SP in a 38 will just knock a hole through a squirrel or rabbit, and not tear up much meat at all.

As far as the cost, my 357s cost me about $3.75 for a box of 50. I buy Remington bulk bullets from Midway, and my primers from the gun show at about $15 per 1000. I live fairly close to the Radford Alliant Powder Plant, and the employees get powder(up to 8lbs a month) for a very cheap price. I'm friends with a lot of them, so I get my Unique, and a few other powders really cheap.

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#266372 - 03/13/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
STARJCB Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 09/08/03
Posts: 297
Loc: TX
Jerry ; You ought to be a crack shot with that rifle . First time I've heard of anyone useing one rifle on every thing from squirrels to deer . I have many rifles but like the ideal of one rifle to do it all . None of my hunting is past a 100yds . Hunters in my neck of the woods hunt hogs & deer with 22mags & 22 Hornets . 357 ought to be better than any 22 .

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#266373 - 03/13/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
JerryLester Offline
Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 14
I own more than just my Marlin 357, but it's just my favorite hunting gun. It just seems to end up being the one I reach for when I head out the door.

I also hunt eveything from small game to deer with my 357 Blackhawk.

For deer I used the XTP-FPs in maximum loads for a long time, but this past fall I switched to 158g Remington SPs in maximum loads. The Remington SP in the Blackhawk at 1350 fps got me one deer, and then I killed another one with the same bullet in my rifle. The velocity in the rifle was around 1650-1700 fps.

Other than for deer season, I basically stick to the lighter loads. My all time favorite so far in my rifle is the Remington 125g SP, 7.5g of Unique, and CCI 550 primers. With this load, I've killed piles of game. I like it because I can thump a groundhog past 100 yards(have killed them past 200 yards with it), and still kill a fox at 25 yards without blowing up the hide.

If you're after hogs, deer, or basically anything else under 100 yards, then a good Marlin 357 would definately win you over. I love my other guns too, but if I had to just own one gun, this 357 rifle would be my choice.

The only down side to the 357s is that if you're limited to factory ammo, you're limited to mainly deer sized game, or varmints that you don't care about blowing up. You can buy factory 38 SPs which do nicely on small game, but tend to not kill very quickly on foxes, bobcats and such. The 357 is a handloaders dream in my opinion.

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#266374 - 03/13/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
STARJCB Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 09/08/03
Posts: 297
Loc: TX
Jerry ; Thanks for the inspiration on the 357 . I been an avid handloader and shooter for 37 years . I've just over looked the potential of the 357-38special . I'm growing tired of the recoil and expence of feeding magnum rifles . I love those marlin rifles . Have a few in 30-30 , 35 rem. and 44mag but would not consider them suitable for small game like the 357 .
I have not even used these marlins for deer hunting .

Jerry do you use a scope or iron sites ?

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#266375 - 03/13/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
JerryLester Offline
Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 14
I only use iron sights. I'll put a scope on now, and then for load testing, but it comes right back off as soon as I'm done testing. I just can't stand the looks, or feel of a nice handy lever action, after you clutter it all up with a scope. Besides, most of the hunting I end up doing with a lever action puts my game well under 100 yards unless I'm after a groundhog.

Open sights can be deadly accurate if you shoot'em enough to get used to them.

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#266376 - 03/15/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
conhntr3030 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/02/04
Posts: 16
Loc: virginia
i hunt most squirrel rabbits, and the occassional varmint with my 22 hornet (weaver k-6). the meat destruction isnt that bad, i only eat the front and back legs on the squirrel, so a shot through the ribs usually kills instantly of within a few seconds. rabbits i try for headshots, if they are running i just try to hit them .
over the 22 mag the hornet dosnt give much but extra cost. i use the 45gr round nose factory loads. it certainly has more range, but were talking small game not varmints, i can't see taking a shot at a squirrel at much over 125 or 150 yards which an accurate 22mag can do. it is cool to have something different though
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#266377 - 03/16/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
carlos111 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 926
Loc: Missouri Ozarks
Not to knock the .357, but you can load down the .30-30 et al as well. The late Don Zutz, in "Handloading for Hunters", included recommended small game loads for some pretty peppy cartridges. One illustration is a photo of Zutz with a 7x57 in one hand and a grouse in the other. The trick is to get a low velocity round that will shoot at 25-50 yards to the aimpoint of the big game cartridge. Takes a little bench time, but doable.

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#266378 - 03/18/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
sako2506 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 50
Loc: Allen, Texas
Hey Guys,
I now several people that have hunted and still hunt small game with center fires. Most of them use hornets, but i have seen everything from 218bees, 25-20's to 30-30. I have used the 30cal carbine several times. I work really well with fmj. It does take some practice hitting small targets with it.
sako

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#266379 - 03/18/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
Eremicus Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 18881
Loc: Placerville,CA,USA
I've used the .22 Magnum out of a handgun enough to know it kills really well - much better than a .22 RF. Anchors big, tough desert jacks w/o a doubt. I've got a buddy who says it works well on called, close range coyotes, fox and bobcat from a rifle.
I've got a .25-20 which hasn't killed anything yet. Sweet shooter and apparently plenty powerful for even deer if carefully hit at short range.
I've used the .22 Hornet as well. I always found the factory HP's to hold together better and do not tear up the edible stuff as bad as the soft points made for that round by the bullet companys. Another very useful rd. that's good to at least 200 yds. E

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#266380 - 03/20/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
Carwi Offline
Member

Registered: 02/07/04
Posts: 15
Loc: Albemarle, NC
Jerry Lester is right on the money when it comes to using the .357 from Squirrels to Deer. I myself devoted my entire hunting season last year to using my Marlin .357 after reading posts from Jerry from the old Marlin Talk forums. He definitely got me curious and the result is the purchase of 2 more .357 Marlins and a Ruger SS Blackhawk!! My personal preference for Squirrels in that caliber is a 158 or 125gr FP Hard cast lead bullet over a light charge of Bullseye in a .357 Mag case. For anything larger I use Jerry's recommendation of a 125gr JSP over 7.5grs of Unique and CCI-550 Magnum primers. That load is very accurate indeed! I can load my .357's as cheap as shooting my .22's so I shoot them a lot more than my Magnum rifles now, and they are just plain fun to shoot. I use the factory open sights and just can't seem to think of anything better for me. I just can't stand to shoot a lever gun with a scope for some reason, it just don't feel natural to me.




P.S.>I'm thinking of getting a Marlin 1894 Cowboy in .357 or 32-20, can't make up my mind....my wife thinks I'm crazy!!


Edited by Carwi (03/20/04)
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#266381 - 04/01/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
TwentyTwo Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 446
Thank you one and all for your answers to my question about using centerfire cartridges for small game hunting. Disinterested information based on field experience is most valuable to all of us.

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#266382 - 04/03/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
Bushwacker Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/16/03
Posts: 2784
Loc: Colorado
I like to use my 25-20 and 32-20 for small game and varmints. Hard cast bullets in 25-20 make nice clean holes in coyote pelts and the bobcat I got with my 32-20 went about two steps after hit in the lungs with a 115 grn cast. Squirrels are neat targets and even prarie dogs have fallen to my bolt action 25-20 in the Savage 23. I have used the Hornet with good success but prefer the slower cast for things I am going to eat. The 44-40 and 45 Colt make fine little snowshoe Hare rifles when I am on snowshoes myself. Light and handy Winchester '92s and Marlin 1889. Nostalgia and good eating make for some fun hunting.
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#266383 - 04/03/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
TwentyTwo Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 446
I assume that a proper 86 grain .25-20 cast bullet or a 115 grain cast .32-20 bullet will pass through the body of a small animal, even through a coyote. One potential problem that I've not seen discussed and with which I have no experience is ricochet. I've had two ricochets with .22 LR solid bullets because I misjudged the backstop. I haven't had any ricochets since, partly because I'm a lot more careful about my backstop and partly because I use only hollow point .22 LR ammo in the field. How do you prevent cast bullets from ricocheting after they pass through an animal? Does a relatively large flat meplat help?

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#266384 - 04/03/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
Bushwacker Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 08/16/03
Posts: 2784
Loc: Colorado
I generally just try to manuever myself to where I have a good backdrop and that has been enough. It has been my experience that after loosing energy in the animal that the bullets have yet to richochet. Not that is couldn't happen but I think the heavier bullets help versus the .22 with its 39-45gr bullet at the same velocity. The 86 gr cast that I am shooting aren't much faster, around 1400-1500 fps.
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#266385 - 04/22/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
VAnimrod Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 61130
Loc: gone
What about either a 25-20 or a 25-35? It might help to know if this was going to be a deer-first, small/varmint game-second, or a small/varmint game-first, deer-second piece. (Hey, I think I just found a reason to get more than one such "dual purpose" gun... )

Either way, either should do the trick. The 25-35 is deadly on deer and with handloads can be good on small/varmint game. The 25-20 is the reverse: deadly on the little stuff, adequate on deer (with handloads, and a good shooter, and the right shot).

That said, there are no flies on the 32-20, 32-40, 38-40, or 30-30 for the same purpose, granted you know what you're doing on your end, and you probably do if you're asking this type of question.

Hey, there's nothing wrong with the suggestions as to the .357/38 set-up, I just figured I'd add a couple of comments and maybe a few options to the mix.

Should be interesting to hear where you come out on this one...

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#266386 - 05/22/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
MANOFTHEWEST Offline
Member

Registered: 08/03/02
Posts: 83
Loc: depends on the job
I am thinkin' on a 25/35 in a '93 mauser and am thinkin' on a barrel-chambered .256 win. in a N frame smith,,if I could figger out a cheap way to have a tilting breechblock made,,maybe just have the cyl.s sleeved and chambered for 25/20,,the 256 brass is easy but the gun work would be a bear
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#266387 - 07/22/04 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
ConradCA Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 01/31/02
Posts: 7554
Loc: Los Gatos CA, USA
Quote:

i only eat the front and back legs on the squirrel




You must kill a lot of squirrels as their legs don't have much meat. Why don't you try for head or shoulder shots ?

COnrad
_________________________
The political scale is fascists on the left and individual freedom on the right.

"It takes a village".....to torture a young girl and her family.


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#8510576 - 01/25/14 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges [Re: ConradCA]
Mackay_Sagebrush Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 07/04/07
Posts: 4662
While cruising the net I happened across this old thread. Since I enjoy the topic and really enjoy getting out in the winter,after big game season is over and hunting the big high desert Jacks I figured I would pull a Frankenstein and bring this puppy back to life.

I am a big fan of using one of my .44 Magnums, loaded with SWCs, at mild to moderate velocities. Works slick, kills clean.

Oddly enough I was handloading this morning, loading .38 specials, with 148 grain full wadcutters. They should not only be excellent for the Jack's and ground squirrels, but also for practicing with my Smith 442, that is my BUG at work. Plus my wife wants to go shoot her J frame too, so more opportunities to shoot as well.
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THE CHAIR IS AGAINST THE WALL.

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#8511060 - 01/26/14 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges [Re: Mackay_Sagebrush]
WyoCoyoteHunter Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/04/11
Posts: 4369
Loc: Carbon Co. Wyoming
Somehow I missed this thread also.. Most of my small game hunting with centerfires for rabbits, tree squirrel and forest grouse has been with my .22 Hornet.. Very accurate.. Nicely takes the heads off of squirrel and cottontails.. Sometimes I load a lighter small game load, but often I use nearly full power handloads.. This little rifle has been a dandy..
It also has taken whitetailed deer and wild turkey..
I have tried the .222, but the Hornet works better due to the smaller case..
I used to load down my .22-250, but haven't done that since I got the Hornet in'95..
I also used several of the Marlins in .357, but sold both, as well as a Marlin .25-20.. Both were very fine, but I prefer a scope for my shooting so switched to the Hornet..
Sell wrote of using his .25-35 for tree squirrel with cast bullets.. It would be excellent, but I don't cast, so never tried my .25-35 on small game.
Paco Kelly wrote a little book called LEVERGUNS.. He discusses small game shooting with many calibers even the .348 Win. If you can find one it would be a great read... I have levers, but much prefer bolt action rifles.. Either way to me small game hunting up though turkeys is much more fun with a centerfire rifle...

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#8511678 - 01/26/14 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges [Re: WyoCoyoteHunter]
Colo_Wolf Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 06/09/03
Posts: 704
Loc: Colorado
For about five years I used the 38 with 148 wads/3.5gr Bullseye/ 800fps Smith 586 6" for snow shoe, cottontail and jacks. Had a long string of one shot kills. When I first started that decided I would do so until I ended up shooting a bunny twice for the kill. Mid season in the fifth year finally happened and went back to a 22 rifle, finally got tired of eating rabbit so gave it up completely. Does do wondrous things to coyote also.
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Donít underestimate me. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and notice more than you realize.

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#8511730 - 01/26/14 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges [Re: Colo_Wolf]
shrapnel Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 06/05/07
Posts: 12844
Loc: Bozeman, MT
More interesting than the thread itself, is looking up the previous posters and when they last posted, most are gone...
_________________________
Originally Posted By: deflave
If you want to fit in with a new crowd, ask them if they know shrapnel. There is no friggin' way they won't know who that man is. He is the Chuck Norris of Montana and you will have a nice icebreaker to discuss.
Travis



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#8511861 - 01/26/14 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges [Re: shrapnel]
kawi Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 05/11/10
Posts: 2303
Where should the butter be? Before or after the biscet is baked.

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#8512056 - 01/26/14 Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges [Re: kawi]
ingwe Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 12/20/08
Posts: 57153
Loc: Southwestern Montucky
The butter should be with the salt,before the biscet is baked, and with the pepper after the biscet is baked.
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" Tell 'em we done it for Dixie and nothing else...."

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