The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had planed on using light loads in 22 hornet or .223 for squirrel hunting. Not sure it's legal after checking. Can someone confirm or deny?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
You may hunt small game with a centerfire. I use to do it. I would recommend using normal loads that maximise accuracy and take only head shots. Keep in mind you must have a background to shoot into. That bullet can go 5 miles. I would hunt along ridgetops always shooting down towards the ground. A 100 yd headshot on a squirrel gives you a good feeling. I used a light barrel .222magnum with double set triggers and a 12x Luepold. Worked great after the leaves are gone. I also hunted where some cornfields bordered a mountian and set up in a fence line about 180 yards from the edge. I was shooting into a mountian and had fun picking fow squirrels off. Have fun, keep it safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,528 Posts
I thought it had to be .22 and smaller and a rimfire, but the way it is worded it may be just handguns need to be rimfire. They do have a note about the caliber restrictions do not apply to woodchucks, but that note does not say about rimfire. It could be a little more clear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
407 Posts
The way I read it is a centerfire round of 22 cal or less.
I at one time used a lot of different downloaded rounds for squirrel. My 30-06 and 308 loads for squirrel became inaccurate at 30 yards but were quite good at 25. A lot of my "squirrel guns" became illegal when the Game Commission instituted the 22 cal rule. I got a lot of funny looks with my squirrel guns but it gave me a lot of extra time with my rifles. Cast bullets were the answer in a lot of the different rounds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,997 Posts
The PGC changed the law and added the wording "Rimfire" a few years back. Prior to that it had been legal to use a centerfire.

Personally I wish the PGC hadnt changed the law because I had a reduced load for my .222 that I enjoyed using for squirrel hunting.

Good luck, Tony
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
Used to enjoy hunting small game with my big bore revolvers, loaded down with cast bullets. Used to enjoy handgun hunting for turkey in the fall, would love to be able to hunt small game with my scoped .22 semi-auto target pistols like I could years ago in anti gun CT. But nope. The PA Game Commission giveth, and taketh away....

Larry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts
Why not just use a .22 lr

Of if you want a challenge use a pellet gun

Browning hollow points are great for squirrel
( Exit hole on young early season gray)
View attachment 176806
I have 2 reasons, One I would like to use the hunting rifles I have and a .223 barrel costs less than a nice .22. And two my suppressors are sealed and .22 LR should not be fired through them where as I can shoot subsonic .223 through it all day with no issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
368 Posts
Yeah...I'm not sure when they changed it. I'm pretty sure it was centerfire for small game for a while when it was manually operated. Then they allowed autoloaders, and that first year there were guys sniping stocked pheasants off the game land trails with scoped ARs at long range. 200-300 yards. Guys pushing fields with dogs and these AR guys shooting from bipods and shooting down lanes. I know I mentioned it to the food and cover guys, and they said they knew about it and were seeing what could be done.

That is what a lot of hunters had/have against allowing ARs for hunting. It brings out a certain type of person that would not otherwise bother to hunt, but if they can use an AR... They just want to shoot live targets.

I really wish there would be some actual discussion and thought going into all these changes. There should NOT be changes to the regs every single year. Changes should be discussed - in public - and kicked around for a few years. Regulation updates should only be made every four years or so. It is an outrageous that we lost rifles for turkey. And who knows how long this straight wall thing will last? How long before that gets changed back or they move to a case length limit after every one buys 45-70s? These changes need to be thought out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
368 Posts
I found some files and the centerfire AR were legal for small game in 2017.

Centerfire was allowed not too long ago.

2013-2014 reg book
REGULATIONS
Arms & Ammunition: 1) Manually operated and semi-automatic 10-gauge or less shotguns with a capacity of no more than 3 shells in the
chamber and magazine combined; 2) Manually operated rifl es and handguns .23 and less calibers;


I don't have the next couple at hand, but 2017 semis were allowed.


2017-2018 reg book
Arms & Ammunition
1) Manually operated and semiautomat c 10-gauge or less
shotguns with a capacity of no more than 3 shells in the cham-
ber and magazine combined; 2) Manually operated and semi-
automat c rif es and manually operated handguns 22-caliber or
less;

By 2018 centerfires are GONE. And I'm willing to bet good money that the pheasant snipers caused it.

2018-2019 reg book
Arms & Ammunition
1) Manually operated and semiautomatc 10-gauge or less
shotguns with a capacity of no more than 3 shells in the
chamber and magazine combined; 2) Manually operated
and semi-automatc rifes and manually operated handguns
22-caliber rimfre or less;
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
368 Posts
2016-17 - this was a year you had to pay $6 to have the regs with you in the truck...that is why I couldn't find it on the shelf.
It was still manually operated .22 cal centerfire legal. In 2017 they added semiautomatic, and in 2018, bye bye centerfire.

Arms & Ammunition
1) Manually operated and semi-automatc 10-gauge or less
shotguns with a capacity of no more than 3 shells in the
chamber and magazine combined; 2) Manually operated rifes
and handguns 23 caliber or less; 3) Muzzleloading rifes and
handguns 40 caliber or less, and shotguns 10-gauge or less;
and 4) long, recurve and compound bows and arrows, and
crossbows. Single-projectle ammuniton, or fne shot pel-
lets no larger than No. 4 lead, bismuth-tn, or tungsten-iron,
or other approved non-toxic shot or No. 2 steel. Note: Rife
and handgun caliber restrictons do not apply when huntng
woodchucks or porcupines, although rifes and handguns must
be manually operated
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28,915 Posts
i hunt squirrels and woodchuck with my semi auto 22lr

did you personally see the guys shooting pheasant with their AR's or did you hear about it and report it ?

if it was done in a safe manner, and legal so what. rifles use to be legal for turkey too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,503 Posts
§ 141.22. Small game seasons.
(a) Permitted devices. It is lawful to hunt small game, except woodchucks, during any small game season with the following devices:
(1) A manually operated or semiautomatic rimfire rifle or manually operated rimfire handgun. The firearm must be .22 caliber or less, that propels single-projectile ammunition.
(2) A manually operated or semiautomatic centerfire shotgun or muzzleloading shotgun. The firearm must be 10 gauge or less, that propels multiple-projectile shotgun ammunition not larger than # 4 lead, # 2 steel, or # 4 of any other composition or alloy of nontoxic shot approved by the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service or an authorized representative under 50 CFR 20.134 (relating to approval of nontoxic shot types and shot coatings). A centerfire shotgun’s magazine capacity may not exceed two rounds. The shotgun’s total aggregate ammunition capacity may not exceed three rounds.
(3) A muzzleloading rifle or handgun. The firearm must be .40 caliber or less, that propels single-projectile ammunition.
(4) A bow and arrow.
(5) A crossbow and bolt.
(6) A raptor. The raptor shall be lawfully possessed under a falconry permit under section 2925 of the act (relating to falconry permits).
(7) A manually operated or semiautomatic air rifle or manually operated air handgun bet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts
Yeah...I'm not sure when they changed it. I'm pretty sure it was centerfire for small game for a while when it was manually operated. Then they allowed autoloaders, and that first year there were guys sniping stocked pheasants off the game land trails with scoped ARs at long range. 200-300 yards. Guys pushing fields with dogs and these AR guys shooting from bipods and shooting down lanes. I know I mentioned it to the food and cover guys, and they said they knew about it and were seeing what could be done.

That is what a lot of hunters had/have against allowing ARs for hunting. It brings out a certain type of person that would not otherwise bother to hunt, but if they can use an AR... They just want to shoot live targets.

I really wish there would be some actual discussion and thought going into all these changes. There should NOT be changes to the regs every single year. Changes should be discussed - in public - and kicked around for a few years. Regulation updates should only be made every four years or so. It is an outrageous that we lost rifles for turkey. And who knows how long this straight wall thing will last? How long before that gets changed back or they move to a case length limit after every one buys 45-70s? These changes need to be thought out.
The biggest issue I have with updating every 4 years is the piecemeal way that changes are implemented. If the change takes 3 iterations of test runs to fully progress then that is 12 years passed by the time a rule is fully implemented. That is way too much time to pass rules that in many cases have a rather minor effect.

Additionally you bring up the AR guys shooting pheasants but the problem with your analogy is that the AR isn’t relevant at all in that scenario as anybody with a rifle, rimfire or centerfire, could have been doing the same thing. As long as they were picking up the birds they shot then how they legally took them shouldn’t really be a factor but the “that’s not the right way” mentality is exactly how we lost rifles for fall Turkey. Honestly if that was one of the deciding factors in the change then that is as ridiculously short sighted as the attempted .22 cal ban for deer.

I’ve shot exactly two birds since I started hunting, both crows with a 6.5 PRC at 130 and 300 yards respectively and though I’ve never hunted pheasant I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to finding a way to hunt them with a rifle should it be legal as I generally prefer rifles to shotgun.

The rifle turkey ban was the PGC using the unfortunate state of Turkey populations to change rules to cater to a particular group while spouting BS to the rest of the hunters whose opinions were completely ignored in that case.

The straight wall thing has been done for years in other places and there is plenty of evidence to show that straight walls would be perfectly fine with no issues. Additionally many of those states have entirely too strict restrictions based on old case designs as the .460 S&W and .450 Bushmaster would be legal due to their length but the .45-70 is not despite having near identical performance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
368 Posts
If the proposed changes were printed and up for comments/discussion for a few years, there would not be 3 iterations required. It should be right the first time.

I didn't hear about the turkey rifle restrictions until it was already "decided". I'm sure most hunters did not hear about it until they bought their license...maybe not then. This thread itself started with asking about centerfire loads for small game, and that change was 4 seasons ago.

The tag limit change this year was ramrodded through as well. Most people had no clue and many I talked to lost out on their usual tags. When I heard about it, it was already voted on once. It sounded fishy., very unclear and not like official wording. So I called around, and all the people I talked to said "it should not affect special regs areas, that makes no sense". Even the commissioners I talked to did not know. And they are the ones that passed it! If that proposed change is printed a year earlier in plain speak, it never would have passed like that.

The proposed changes should be printed in the manual the year before, in plain text, so that they can be discussed by the people those changes affect - the hunters. Then, the right questions can be asked and answered. If the turkey population has dropped, then I'm sure hunter feedback would have pointed to a shorter season, not outlawing rifles.

Perhaps a review period would have led to a change in the regs regarding stocked pheasants as well. Shotgun or bow only for these stocked game birds. But retained centerfire rifles for other small game. Though it seems to me they want to keep all "small game" uniform regs.

I asked the forum about straightwall cartridges in Jan. '20 and no one had heard anything. any mention of straight walled cartridge for Special... So I asked some pgc ppl - no, not being discussed at this time. Then just a year later, heard about it when it was already passed, preliminarily, just need another vote to confirm. Call about it, what calibers, length restriction? No one is sure. But it already passed?! How can they not be sure? I halfway expect them to institute a case length limit - as a first iteration.

I did indeed see the pheasant snipers. Heard them, first, and that is a scary sound to hear with dogs running ahead. At first, I thought they hunting groundhogs, which was so weird for pheasant season. I had never seen anyone shoot at cockbirds with a rifle before. Never saw it before with bolt action. It would not even occur to me that anyone would want to. As I wrote earlier, the guys that had just stocked knew about it and were NOT happy. I'd certainly be pissed to have done all that work to see someone treating them like long range targets instead of live game birds.

Separate incident, I did get a bit concerned a couple years back when we were walking a standing corn field and I heard a rimfire shot. I don't know what, I figured a .22mag but I'm not sure. After a second shot 15 secs later, I blew my 210 -1/2 as loud as I could and yelled "hunter ahead" every 10 yards. I didn't shoot at the birds that flushed. Got to the end of the field and there is a guy with a combo gun squatting/crouching at the end of the corn. I didn't even see him until I was about 5 yards from the end. He was just a couple lanes over. He had been shooting down the standing corn rows at cockbirds...as we hunted it from the other end.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top