Choosing the type of firearm to hunt with is one of the first and most important choices you’ll make as a hunter. The choice over whether a shotgun is better than a rifle (and vice versa) has been debated time and time again but why not add one more opinion into the mix?
I will give you my personal recommendation, compare the pro and cons of each firearm and hopefully assist you in making your decision.
For simplicity purposes when I use the word SHOTGUN, I will encompass many version of this gun such as the .410, 12 gauge and 20 gauge. On the flip side, when I reference RIFLES, I am referring to the basics such as powerful air rifles, .22’s and .177’s.
-less accuracy required to hit target
-easier to hit moving targets
-less bullet trajectory (this equates to safer hunting if missing a target when hunting in smaller areas or where the terrain is unknown i.e. are there houses close by, a road over that hill, etc)
-better suited to aggressive hunters or hunters that like to move around from place to place or stalk hunt
-quicker and easier shot picture acquiring due to larger shot picture
-can be more effective in heavy cover when leaves hide the squirrels more
-likely to get shot pellets in the meat
-can destroy the meat and fur (in case there is interest in drying or tanning the hide)
-not scope friendly
-can be heavier to carry than a rifle
-ammo cost is usually greater
-louder report – potentially scarring away near by squirrels
-quieter – may not spook nearby squirrels
-longer range for projectile
-more accurate shots
-preserves meat better with accurate shooting (head/shoulder shots)
-no shot pellets to pick out of the meat
-can add a scope
-usually better for “sit and wait” hunters
-usually lighter to carry than shotguns
-ammo is usually cheaper to buy
-easier to carry plenty of ammo due to small size
-great practice for other game shooting (deer, etc)
CON’S: 303 British ammo
-larger bullet trajectory – can travel a mile+ or more if not obstructed (be careful in areas if you don’t know what’s around you)
-decreased accuracy if you must shoot quickly or at a moving target (squirrels are notorious for being twitchy and energetic)
-have to “zero” and maintain scope (if utilized)
-more chalking to shoot and miss more often
-Use the information above to help you decide which of the two types would work best for you.