Light and fast



  • I was invited to a squirrel roundup by my partner today. Apparently his father in law has a fairly substantial amount of land out in eastern Oregon.

    Unfortunately I don’t have a suitable bolt gun for this, so I’m either going to take my SPRish AR (18 inch barrel) or build an upper for that purpose.

    My AR has a 1-8 twist for heavy bullets. Searching the internet quickly, all the other barrels out there are fast twist with a few custom made to order 1-12 or 14 expressly for varmint hunting.

    Would I be tremendously disadvantaged trying to shoot light bullets in this rifle (or any rifle bolt or otherwise), either in terms of bullet failure or over stabilizing or the like?
    I’m sure the long leade/freebore wont do me any favors, but I’m willing to try it.

    I’m thinking 50 grain vmax



  • What kind of "squirrel" are we talking about here? Seems a large cartridge for squirrels. lol

    Anyway, calculating RPM is what you need to do here @tackyp. Formula is Muzzle velocity times 720 divided by the twist rate in inches.

    MV x 720 / twist

    So for an 8 twist, pushing a bullet at 3000fps, you'd end up at 270,000 rpm. Different bullets can take different amounts of rpm before coming apart. I've had 52SMK's going 320,000+ rpm with no ill effects. A lightly constructed thin-jacketed bullet might not fair as well.

    When shooting varmints, the fast twist has a unique and extremely fun side effect. Due to the bullet spinning so fast to push it close to its structural limit, as soon as it touches anything... it will explode. This will cause the critters to detonate viciously and go spiraling through the air in many cases. An 8-twist 22-250 and 50gr bullets is the "recipe" for such things in a prairie dog town. Short range, at least. I've experienced some inconsistent results at distances beyond 400yds.

    There is no such thing as "over stabilizing" so long as the bullet holds together. I see no reason why you couldn't "try" 50gr vmax. They are the quintessential vermin bullet. Cheap, and available. Their lot-to-lot consistency leaves a bit to be desired, as does their performance when compared with more expensive offerings. However, they usually get the job done in a colony varmint town. It's doubtful the .223 in such a short barrel has the velocity to tear them apart. Though a rough throat/barrel can cause jacket damage which will still rip 'em up on occasion. So just make sure you don't have your suppressor on for that first round. Make sure the bullets are actually making it to the berm. hehe.

    We expect to see pictures of all the carnage by the way. ;)



  • Most people shoot tree squirrels with a 22 LR or .410 shotgun. But, if as I suspect, by squirrel you mean Belding's Ground Squirrel, that is highly dependent on the use of the land. 22 LR is excellent in sage pasture but 17 HMR really owns the fields and open pastures. If your rifle will shoot them to sufficient precision out to 200-250 yards, Hornady V-Max 50 gr will definitely create clouds of red mist but you will need to be mindful of barrel heating as you are likely to be shooting in a target rich environment and 30 round mag dumps are hard on throats. If you can find them, there were once 600 count boxes of Z-Max 50 grain bullets which were just V-Max with a lime green tip substituted and they were very attractively priced relative to red tipped V-Maxs.



  • @orkan said:

    What kind of "squirrel" are we talking about here? Seems a large cartridge for squirrels. lol

    Yeah, the cartridge is excessive for squirrels or prairie dogs. I'd love something in the 17 or 20 calibers for this type of work, though it the first time I've ever done anything of this nature.

    Anyway, calculating RPM is what you need to do here @tackyp. Formula is Muzzle velocity times 720 divided by the twist rate in inches.

    MV x 720 / twist

    So for an 8 twist, pushing a bullet at 3000fps, you'd end up at 270,000 rpm. Different bullets can take different amounts of rpm before coming apart. I've had 52SMK's going 320,000+ rpm with no ill effects. A lightly constructed thin-jacketed bullet might not fair as well.

    Just so I understand whats happening with the math, is the 720 a constant? What does it represent?

    When shooting varmints, the fast twist has a unique and extremely fun side effect. Due to the bullet spinning so fast to push it close to its structural limit, as soon as it touches anything... it will explode. This will cause the critters to detonate viciously and go spiraling through the air in many cases. An 8-twist 22-250 and 50gr bullets is the "recipe" for such things in a prairie dog town. Short range, at least. I've experienced some inconsistent results at distances beyond 400yds.

    That's exactly what I want. Little pink clouds. With any luck I'll be able to prove my squirrel killing prowess to my host and he lets me make this a regular thing. When you say inconsistent do you mean critter detonation?

    There is no such thing as "over stabilizing" so long as the bullet holds together. I see no reason why you couldn't "try" 50gr vmax. They are the quintessential vermin bullet. Cheap, and available. Their lot-to-lot consistency leaves a bit to be desired, as does their performance when compared with more expensive offerings. However, they usually get the job done in a colony varmint town. It's doubtful the .223 in such a short barrel has the velocity to tear them apart. Though a rough throat/barrel can cause jacket damage which will still rip 'em up on occasion. So just make sure you don't have your suppressor on for that first round. Make sure the bullets are actually making it to the berm. hehe.

    Myths perpetrated by the internet... I'll run without the can for the first few just to make sure. The barrel is half way decent quality and I can't see anything on the bore scope, so I'm optimistic.

    We expect to see pictures of all the carnage by the way. ;)

    But of course....



  • You are converting twist rate in inches per revolution to feet per revolution, and then muzzle velocity from feet per second to feet per minute

    12:1-inches to feet
    60:1 seconds to minutes

    12x60=720



  • @rr2241tx said:

    Most people shoot tree squirrels with a 22 LR or .410 shotgun. But, if as I suspect, by squirrel you mean Belding's Ground Squirrel, that is highly dependent on the use of the land. 22 LR is excellent in sage pasture but 17 HMR really owns the fields and open pastures.

    I'll be bringing a HB 10/22 as well. It does well enough at shorter ranges. The idea is that I have something for longer ranges if the need be.

    If your rifle will shoot them to sufficient precision out to 200-250 yards, Hornady V-Max 50 gr will definitely create clouds of red mist but you will need to be mindful of barrel heating as you are likely to be shooting in a target rich environment and 30 round mag dumps are hard on throats. If you can find them, there were once 600 count boxes of Z-Max 50 grain bullets which were just V-Max with a lime green tip substituted and they were very attractively priced relative to red tipped V-Maxs.

    I'll definitely take a look around. I was gonna grab a couple different bullets in that weight range and see what I could make happen.



  • The 223 isn’t gonna be over kill on prairie dogs at all. Orkan is correct in the explosion effects, craziest thing ive seen. What amazed me was the unpredictable way they would fly when hit. Sometimes they would just explode other times they would fly several feet in the air. Last time I went around 300 yards was the maximum range the 223 AR I was using would have that effect on them, past that distance it just knocked them over dead. Make sure to take plenty of ammo cause it’s addictive.



  • @flyinphill

    Ah, math...I suppose I could have reasoned that out



  • @bull81 said:

    The 223 isn’t gonna be over kill on prairie dogs at all.

    Yes, but if memory serves he's talking "ground squirrels" which are little gopher type critters. .223 is a bit much on those little guys. hehe. Still fun though.

    @tackyp said:

    When you say inconsistent do you mean critter detonation?

    No, I mean accuracy. I've had some strange flyers at distance. You'd need to wring it out for sure.

    Just to get you excited... here's me beating up on some local prairie dogs with my .17 remington. The far dogs were just inside of 400.



  • Yeah these are ground squirrels. They’re maybe half the size of a prairie dog, full grown.

    TIL prairie dogs raid ground squirrel nests and kill ground squirrel young. They do it to limit competition for food.



  • @orkan said:

    @bull81 said:

    The 223 isn’t gonna be over kill on prairie dogs at all.

    Yes, but if memory serves he's talking "ground squirrels" which are little gopher type critters. .223 is a bit much on those little guys. hehe. Still fun though.

    @tackyp said:

    When you say inconsistent do you mean critter detonation?

    No, I mean accuracy. I've had some strange flyers at distance. You'd need to wring it out for sure.

    Just to get you excited... here's me beating up on some local prairie dogs with my .17 remington. The far dogs were just inside of 400.

    Man I needed that. It was a good laugh especially the choice of music applied to the end.


 

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