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#266370 - 03/12/04 09:26 AM Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
TwentyTwo Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 436
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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CI16728
#266371 - 03/12/04 10:01 AM 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 - 03/12/04 08:54 PM Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
STARJCB Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 09/07/03
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 08:29 AM 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 01:27 PM Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
STARJCB Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 09/07/03
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 03:16 PM 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 - 03/14/04 05:00 PM 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
_________________________
30-06 is good for all game from moose to squill

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#266377 - 03/15/04 05:22 PM Re: Centerfire Small Game Cartridges
carlos111 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/05/04
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 07:09 AM 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 02:41 PM 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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