How Far Should I Zero My 22 For Squirrel Hunting?
Most shots will be taken at 25 yards, so your rifle should be zeroed for that distance. The bullet will travel from 1.5″ below the bore up to meet the path it is traveling at this distance. At 25 yards, the bullet will travel at nearly 2000 f.p.s. and will continue on its upward arc for longer. It should peak just below the aiming point. Aim for a zero that leaves your bullet moving less than an inch above your target.
Ideal scope magnification range for squirrel hunting
The optimal scope magnification range for squirrel hunting depends on what type of squirrel hunting you’re doing and the distance between your gun and target. While no one magnification range is right for everyone, a magnification range of three to nine is usually safe for most hunters. It’s also important to consider the condition of your eyes when selecting a scope. The following table provides an overview of the magnification ranges that are appropriate for squirrel hunting.
While you might not need a scope with a magnification range of 500 yards, you will find that a scope with a maximum magnification of seven to 10x will work just fine. You may not even need a long-range scope – 100 yards is usually plenty for squirrel hunting. Be sure to check the lenses for clarity and brightness in the dark. Similarly, most reticles are suitable for close-range shooting.
Aiming a rifle for hunting squirrels requires you to zero the firearm for the range at which you intend to shoot. Depending on the distance of your target and the varmints’ size, you may be able to engage the target ethically at only 50 yards or so. In such cases, you should zero your firearm for the range at which you will be most comfortable. In addition to the range, you should know the holding distances of other types of varmints.
A five-yard shot may be acceptable, but it may not be the best choice. A five-yard shot will be too low, while the same bullet at 20 yards will climb steeply. A better distance for zeroing is 15 or 20 yards, which will ensure your bullet hits the squirrel about a quarter-inch low. However, if you are hunting squirrels from a tree or other low-hanging structure, you may have to go further.
Whether you’re aiming for a long-range shot or a close-range slam, the answer to the question “How far should I zero my.22LR for squirrel hunting?” depends on the distance you’re going to be shooting. If you’re shooting from fifteen to forty yards, a dead-on zero will allow you to shoot dead-on and hit within a half-inch of your target. If you’re shooting from 50 to 75 yards, however, you’ll have to compensate for the initial rise in bullet speed.
The best distance to zero your rifle for hunting is about fifty yards. This is the distance you’re most likely to use. A hundred yard zero gives you less of a margin of error, and a fifty yard zero is more likely to be safe than a 100-yard zero. The difference between these two numbers is minimal, but it’s worth noting that a fifty-yard zero fails to take advantage of the bullet trajectory at long distances. In addition, a hundred-yard zero will allow you to shoot at the maximum mid-range rise, which can result in misses if you shoot over the target.
.17 Mach II
When you zero your rifle, you are adjusting the arrow trajectory and the effective range to achieve the desired range. You should have a solid background and a target set up for zeroing the rifle. For a long distance shot, zero the rifle to about fifty yards. Then, shoot a test shot at 50 yards and again at 100 yards to check for accuracy. You should shoot the target at least five times before making any adjustments to the zero.
The closer you are to the animal, the more likely you are to hit it. A headshot might leave a squirrel in critical condition, but a body shot might just cause too much damage to salvage the carcass. The best compromise would be to zero your rifle to twenty-five yards with a one-half-inch variation. Once you’re comfortable with this range, you can adjust your scope as needed.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.