A blog by Bob Rich. Squirrel Hunting, Henry Rifles, Reloading, Range Shooting and More!


Monday, September 12, 2016

Three shots, three squirrels in about an hour after work with the Henry .22 Carbine and CCI Quiet 22

It was so hot, humid and miserable this weekend that I actually skipped a weekend of September squirrel hunting and stayed in the house. That's unheard of and very disappointing. As expected, the day we return to work the weather was absolutely perfect: low 70's, no humidity and a bright blue cloudless sky. I need to get at least an hour trigger time in the woods before this day was over, so before going to work I put my Henry Carbine in the car trunk. After doing my eight hours, I jumped in the car and drove to the closest WMA, which is less than 10 minutes away.

I haven't hunted this spot in a few years because the small game population had almost vanished. I jokingly say that walking through this spot is like hunting an area where a neutron bomb was detonated. All life was gone but the trees and rocks appeared untouched. The WMA has a glut of coyote, likely because it's a prime whitetail deer bow hunting spot. It also has hawks, fishercats and old trees, which is bad for the small game population. Years ago I had a very close encounter with a mountain lion in this area, so all things considered I wasn't in a big hurry to hunt this spot again. But today it was close so I decide to give it a walk-through before sunset. My expectation were low to none.

When I arrived in the parking area, I immediately spotted a squirrel running across a branch. That was an excellent sign! I quietly got out of my car, opened the trunk and grabbed my gear. I lost sight of that squirrel, but I could hear squirrels everywhere! This area is so quiet you can hear your ears ringing, and I could hear the nut shells dropping from the top of the trees.

Click on this photo to get a closer look. Check out the lump on the squirrel's back. It's the CCI Quiet 22 trying to exist the squirrel but unable to penetrate the pelt.

Almost immediately I spotted another squirrel about 50 yards away. I closed in about ten yards, leaned up against a tree and looked through the scope. I couldn't get a clear shot... until it stopped and showed its head poking out from behind the trunk. This was a long shot for Quiet 22, but I decided to see what this cartridge can do. It had to be dead nuts on the head or it would be a total miss. I squeezed the trigger and... Holy Crap! The squirrel dropped like a bean bag and hit the brush below. I didn't hear any movement, so I decided to sit tight and wait to see if another showed itself. After 5 minutes I decided to retrieve the squirrel. I mentally took note of the location of the branch and carefully made my way through the brush to the base of the tree. Carefully, because I still had on my office clothes (though I did put on some sneakers). I spent a good 10 minutes looking for the squirrel and couldn't find it! I returned to the tree where I took the shot, mentally made note of where it dropped and went out again. Still couldn't find it. "Damn!" I hate when I can't locate a squirrel that I dropped. The only thing I could figure it that it had enough gas to flop somewhere and buried itself under some brush or it made it into a hole to die. With a head shot it didn't go far. After another 10 to 15 minutes I gave up and moved on.

Walking for another 5 minutes I spotted another gray running across a branch. This one was about 25 yards away and I had to take an unsupported shot. It stopped. I fired. It dropped. Once again I couldn't locate it! Now I was getting pissed. How could this be happening?! I was losing light, but it was still bright enough. Once again I had no choice but to give it up.

Next I took a seat on a rock, fired up one of those cattail-looking bug repellent sticks and waited. In only a few minutes two squirrels appeared, running circles around the trunk of a tree about 35 yards out. They ran down the trunk and made it onto a stone wall. I put the crosshairs on one and fired. It dropped. This time I got right up and looked for it... and looked... where the hell was it?! Then I spotted it. I managed to move about 20 feet before it died. I saw a strange bump on it's side which looked like a bot fly maggot trying to punch through the skin. Looking closer I saw the entrance wound on the opposite side. That strange bump was the bullet trying to punch through the skin. It obviously didn't have the power. To test this theory, I took a second shot at it from about 10 feet away. It still couldn't exit the pelt.

Putting two and two together I've come to the conclusion that I'm hitting these squirrels in vital spots, but the failure to create an exit wound increases the time it takes the squirrel to expire. That gives them time to thrash to a spot away from where it was dropped. This ammo is working great, but I have a problem. The cartridge is so quiet that if I take a shot and stay seated, there will be a possibility to drop a second squirrel, but what good is that if they can't be found? I'll need to work on that one. Remember the two I dropped over the weekend? I thought I missed both because they took so long to fall out of their trees.

Tonight turned out to be one of the most action-filled hours I've had in a long time. I also discovered that the new sling worked great, letting me almost forget that I had the rifle over my shoulder. Three shots. Three squirrels. This Henry Carbine, Quiet 22 combo is working much better than I ever expected. 

Rifle: Henry .22 Carbine
Ammo: CCI Quiet 22


Anonymous said...

Great information on the Quiet .22. Thanks! I enjoy the blog.

Bob Rich said...

Thanks for letting me know that you're out there!