Originally Posted by Crop Damage
I'm going to try some test loads with a few 168 gr triple shocks that my buddy is giving me. He likes them for deer around here. Hope my rifle likes them.
I'm so excited about this hunt I can't stand it. I've already bitten off all my fingernails, while fiddling with my gear and rifles. My buddies that are going on this trip are really laid back, they don't really care too much about the hogs, just want to get away and have fun. I'm planning an all out assault on the entire hog population of western CA. I want the hogs to be glad when I leave to go home.
I did hear there were plenty of ground squirrels. Is a .243 too much gun, or a .22-250? I can borrow a .223, if need be. I've got some work to do, to get these rifles set up with copper ammo.
A .243 or .22-250 are too much "rifle" for ground squirrels. I am a veteran at ground squirrel hunting, having shot thousands of the little critters. A .222 or .223 is as much rifle as you will need for distances of up to maybe 250 yards. Besides, on a hot day the barrels of the heavier calibers heat up the barrels very quickly during fast & furious shooting, making it a good idea to have at least two centerfire rifles available, so as to let one rifle cool down while you use the other. You should clean these rifles after every 10-20 shots anyway.
I personally have shot more ground squirrels with an accurized 10/22 Ruger Clark Special rimfire rifle than anything else, using a 4 x 12 scope. You can use a more powerful scope, but it will just add weight to the rifle and is kind of useless on a rimfire rifle since you are usually restricted to shooting at ranges under 100 yards. Mil-dots are okay, but at shorter ranges, I have found that a fine duplex reticle works fine. You can range it like a Mil-Dot by using the top of the bottom post on the reticle as a guide for shooting at distances over 50 yards.
I usually buy my rimfire ammo at Walmart. I have found that the 40-grain Winchester Power Points work well, but I recently ran across the Winchester 36-grain "333" rounds. They cost a little less than the Power Points and shoot flatter than the Power Points due to their lighter weight bullets. Using the rimfire also means that I don't have to stick around the truck to keep the rifle clean, such as I would be forced to do when shooting centerfires. Also, the squirrels don't like the noise of centerfires; the rimfires are much quieter.
Take along a range-finder and a pair of binoculars. They will really help. Don't forget to sight in your rifles at your hunting site before you start plinking ground squirrels. I like the compact version of the MTM target holder. I don't like the higher version; it sticks up too far, making ricochets more probable. The MTMs are available through Amazon. You will need some sort of target holder so you can sight in your rifle. A bore sighter is a good thing to have to help you when you sight in your rifles, but it isn't mandatory.
Put all the stuff you want to take in a back pack so you can leave your hands free to carry your rifle, bipod, or the shooting platform of your choice. Make sure you have your hunting license readily available. Plan on taking along a straw hat with a wide brim to keep your head cool. Baseball caps are fine, but if you wear one, slather a lot of sun screen on your face and ears.
Ground squirrels might be a bit few and far between at this time. They start to hibernate in July and don't usually come out of their holes until the end of January....at least in Northern California where I hunt. They also tend to stay underground during the heat of the day. Best time to hunt is early in the morning on a cold day. They then like to come out and warm up in the sun. Also, forget using any type of mouth caller.
Whatever you do, do NOT pick up the dead bodies. They may carry the Hanta Virus. Leave the bodies for the eagles, hawks, magpies, crows and seagulls. PM me if you need any more info.