What Size Rifle is Good For Hunting Small Game? 

Hunting small game is a time-honored tradition for many hunters and their families. For some, this means chasing rabbits and squirrels in their woodlots or fields. For others, it means deer or turkeys on the open range or in the mountains. In today’s world, where there are more demands on young hunters’ time with video games, sports, and social media, small-game hunting isn’t as popular as it once was. 

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There are fewer young hunters chasing small game, which leaves a void in the trophy record books and the number of people who enjoy a meal of quail, rabbit, or squirrel on a regular basis. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with every hunter, but the majority of hunters still love the excitement and challenge of small game hunting, even if they don’t pursue it as often. 

The right cartridge for the job 

Whether you are hunting foxes, rabbits, or coyotes, it’s important to choose a gun that will kill the animal with accuracy and no damage to its meat. This requires a versatile firearm that shoots several different cartridges, each of which is appropriate for the specific game you’re trying to take down. 

For most small-game hunting, a rimfire cartridge is the most effective choice. Fortunately, there are many rimfire cartridges to choose from. Among the most popular are the.17 Mach II,.17 Hornet and.22 Long Rifle, each of which is effective in a variety of small games. 

If you’re hunting rabbits or jackrabbits, the.22 Long Rifle High-Velocity load, which propels a 40-grain solid or 36-grain hollowpoint bullet at 1200 to 1300 feet per second (fps), is a great choice. It’s accurate enough to hit targets within 50 yards, which isn’t far from reality for most small-game hunters. 

Alternatively, you can try shooting at smaller targets with a varmint cartridge. Most of these rounds are very effective on jackrabbits, but they may not be the best choice for foxes and other larger games. 

Another option for small game is an air rifle, which can be purchased in a variety of calibers and with either C02 or pump-action designs. These rifles are typically not powerful enough to kill a rabbit or squirrel, but they do provide a low-cost way for hunters to get in the field and test out their skills. 

A shotgun is also an excellent choice for hunting small game. It’s lightweight and can be carried all day, which makes it a great choice for those who are new to the sport or those who don’t want to haul around a rifle or pistol. 

Before going out on a small game hunt, you should learn safe gun handling techniques. This includes unloading your firearm before crossing a fence or ditch, if possible. It’s a good lesson for youth hunters to learn and it will prevent accidental accidents in the future. 

Having a safe hunt is the most important thing you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of those you hunt with. A good hunting plan, like a hunter’s safety manual, will teach you how to hunt safely. In addition, it will help you find the right rifle or shotgun for your needs and keep you safe throughout your entire hunt.