If you are aiming to kill a number of squirrels in the shortest possible time, then a shotgun can be the best device! This is because a shotgun for squirrel hunting is cable of shooting moving squirrels as they jump in different tree branches. The best part? A shotgun can also shoot and penetrate through obstructions caused by season foliage to ensure power shot.
If this is your first time to use a shotgun for your squirrel hunting, you have landed in the right reading. In here, we have provided reviews of the 5 best shotgun for squirrel hunting that might help you with a productive hunt. As an add-on, some secret tactics are also included.
5 Best Shotgun for Squirrel Hunting
1. Remington 870 20-Gauge
The Remington 870 20-gauge is definitely affordable with all its nice features. The ergonomics of this model contains soft grippy panels and a downright comfortable scattergun. Whether lubed or not, the shotgun also functions with high reliability and superior performance.
Further, it includes a rubber recoil to serve as an excellent absorbing butt pad. This feature similarly aids in creating a lightweight structure for over 7 pounds. Above all, the Remington stock is also crafted a good-sized comb style that provides the hunter with a solid cheek rest when aiming the gun.
Hence, we are certain that this Remington 870 is still the best when it comes to the pump action industry. Even after all the years that have passed, it still provides a superior performance similar to its predecessors. And for a very affordable price, the Remington 870 20-gauge is definitely worth every penny.
Provides ease on racking the slide
Very affordable with superior performance
Provides comfortable feel
Made with hardwood construction
Contains steel receiver
Crossbolt style safety can be uncomfortable for some
Forward and trigger are far from each other
2. Mossberg .410
This Mossberg 500 Field .410 Pump Action Shotgun features a smooth and reliable 3” chamber and a dual action bar. Similarly, it contains twin-bead sights that enable you to aim with maximum accuracy. Since the stocks are also made with quality wood, the Mossberg .410 is ensured to achieve the durability requirements for it to last for years.
At the same time, having an ambidextrous and thumb-operated safety further helps you to avoid accidents. For its physique, the Mossberg comes with blue finish, 14 inches pull, 24 inches barrel length, and a total 6.25 pounds in product weight. With more than 10,000,000 M-500 Field products made worldwide, it is then proven that the Mossberg is packed with value and quality. Its reliability and versatility also noted the product as the most successful six-round pump-action shotguns. It even provides 10 years manufacturer warranty.
Generally, the device never experienced malfunctioning even for years of usage. It also requires minimum to almost zero maintenance when it comes to cleaning. Just little wipes on the wood stock and you are good to go.
Short, light, and handy
Made with durable hardwood
Works great for kids
Shoots with versatility and reliability
Reported issues on shell tubes
Plastic trigger housing
3. Stoeger Coach Shotgun
The Stoeger Coach Gun is a simple shotgun designed for easy operation. It contains short barrels for quick handling and easy break-open design. Generally, it can be used by anyone who wants to try the product for squirrel hunting - whether you are a beginner or a professional hunter.
This shotgun is also available with a 3-inch chamber in 12 and 20 gauge that enables maximum functioning. It features a rugged and reliable buttplate that helps in the beautiful aesthetics of the device. During testing, the product was tested for 400 rounds single fire without experiencing any malfunction and interruption. Its double triggers similarly provide instantaneous and simple barrels.
But, although proven reliable, there are still several downsides of buying this model. As it includes a 12-gauge, the lightweight double won’t probably work with inexperienced hunters. At the same time, the slick plastic buttplate seems to slide off every shoot delivery. Aside from the discomfort it provides, it also infers with the shotgun performance.
If you also want to go squirrel hunting with your family, there is one important customization that you should do with this model. It includes removing the automatic feature of Coach Shotgun for safety purposes. As it shoots very fast and easy, you might point it in the wrong direction and suddenly release a dangerous shot.
Overall length is shorter than the usual
Easy to use and operate
Versatile and reliable
Requires taking the gun out of battery to add shells
4. Ithaca Model 37 Shotgun
The Ithaca Gun Company has been one of the most classic American gun manufacturers for 20 years now. Their designs, especially the Ithaca Model 37 shotgun, still got the praise of modernity in design and style. The mentioned model has 12-gauge, eight-round magazine, 3-inch chambers, 20-inch barrel, and another adjustable AR-style stock. Indeed, its design is well-made and dependable when it comes to squirrel hunting.
The tested 12 gauge Ithaca Model 37 is the high-capacity 20 inch barreled model, able to hold seven shells in the magazine plus one in the chamber. The buttstock is uncheckered walnut, finished off with a nicely ground. Further, the product has been identified to perform and function flawlessly in the field. The 3-inch shell recoil is also mild for a pump-action shotgun as it contains a tactical stock to buffer its movement.
Overall, its well-made and tactical design allow users to enjoy this shotgun for hunting. The Ithaca Model 37 had the excellent overall build quality, a smooth action, superb balance, the best trigger, and it was fast and user-friendly to operate. It is easy to load quickly, easy to shoot quickly, easy to point quickly, has impressive eight-shot firepower and is pleasant to shoot despite its comparatively spritely weight.
Well-made and dependable
Shoots quickly and easily
5. CVA Hunter Compact Single-Shot Shotguns
CVA delivers superior shooting performance at a budget-friendly price. It features an easy manoeuvring 24" steel barrel with a matte black and ambidextrous stock and recoil pad. It also contains 13” to 14” pull which is ideal for small-framed shooters. The best part? As the CVA confidently promotes a durable shotgun, it also offers a lifetime warranty.
Further, its 20 gauge smooth bore can be the best alternative in case your hunting area prohibits the use of slugs.With its 24-inch barrel, the smooth bore also comes with a fixed choke. Single-shots, similar to CVA Hunter, always possesses effective and very easy operation. Hence, this model can fit best your kids, your spouse, or anyone who wants to start squirrel hunting.
Good to learn with
Simple and easy to operate
Provides safety for children’s use
Slow to reload
Lightweight which makes you feel recoil a lot
Fires in singles
Not applicable for moving targets
Choosing a Shotgun for Squirrel Hunting
A shotgun is a perfect device for a beginner squirrel hunter who also wishes to bag some squirrels. Since shotguns throw big patterns, it is more likely that the shot will hit the squirrel. This is mostly applicable for kids and spouses. Additionally, if you are using a semi-automatic or pump action shotgun with impressive targeting skills, you can stalk on a single squirrel on a limb and still hit multiple squirrels in one.
Whether you are shooting on moving targets, only for a close range, the shotguns are still useful on hitting flushing birds, jumping squirrels, or running rabbits. However, using shotguns have drawbacks as well. Firstly, this device’s range can only reach to about 40 yards. Secondly, shotguns produces louder sounds than a .22 Rifle. In that case, all the other squirrels in the area might get spooked and run afar. Lastly, hitting squirrels at a close range will mostly likely ruin the rest of its meat.
The use of shotgun also includes advantages and disadvantages.The right device for a squirrel hunt depends largely on the season and the hunter’s goal. To maximize its benefits, use a shotgun in a peak season of the squirrels in the woods.
Choosing 20 Gauge for Your Shotgun
Gauge is identified from the number of lead balls that will fit the bore of the shotgun and expressed as an inverse of the sphere's overall weight. It comes with a 10 gauge, 12 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge, and 28 gauge. Further, the common question on choosing a gauge for the shotgun is whether 20 gauge will work best in your hunt.
If you own a lightweight shotgun, a 20 gauge can do as it already provides a better range and more pellets to hit the squirrel or rabbit with. Some 20 gauge users also exclaimed that they never experience ruining the meat with the use of this. The 20 will also have the advantage on larger birds at longer ranges. You do have to be a pretty good shot to be effective with your gun especially if it is a 410.
Basic Tactics to Follow
Aside from the importance of picking the best shotgun, using basic tactics is also the key for your successful hunting expedition. You cannot just bring a toolset, but also a skill set. With that said, here are the most important reminders you have to know before you begin:
Imitating Feeding Sounds
Squirrels have a natural instinct to stop moving once predators approach. The first tactic that you should learn is to attract the squirrels at hand. You can sit in an area where they usually stay. After which, gather leaves and at a random interval, stir it repeating the pattern continually. The sound of the leaves as you move your hand imitates the sound of the squirrel that’s feeding. In this case, all the other squirrels in the area will gather in the same location as where the sound is coming from.
Cruise on a Creek
Some of the areas that squirrels feel unpressured are along creeks and streams. They can be abundant anywhere in hardwood such as ash tree, oak tree, sycamore tree, and hickory. Hence, minimizing the movement of your kayak and canoe while approaching to these borders will definitely give you a fruitful gather. You just need to keep your eyes open and shoot quickly once you found one. If you are also hunting with a friend, you can instruct him to do a sitting position, as a sign of calmness, while the other shoots one at a time.
Target the Head
When shooting a squirrel, the best place to aim your gun is in the head area. This is because hitting the brain alongside, ensures that the squirrel will die instantly. Aside from it lessens the squirrel’s suffering, it also preserves its fur and meat freshly. For instance that the head is too difficult to aim, targeting the heart instead can be a great alternative. The heart of a squirrel is located near the upper body and not too far from the neck. Shooting the body of the squirrel, like a deer – is not something favorable if you want to keep the meat edible and intact.
Identify the Target
You can sense the squirrels’ presence when you start to hear the sound of rustling tree bark or sections of the bark falling. When you finally hear these sounds, check the colors of their coats. While most squirrels have brown coats, you may also see others that have gray, red, or white. Some squirrels even have shiny black coats. The deal here is to first check if it is really a squirrel you are going to shoot. After that, aim your rifle directly to it for a quick kill.
Spot and Stalk
Squirrels are active in most parts of the day. They are just all around you. They can be in the burrows, on trees, on mast crops scouting acorns, or anywhere in the stack. Basically, you can stroll through the daylight and nightlight hours with still a day of productive squirrel hunt. Practice walking very slowly taking a step at a time. This helps in avoiding the chance that the squirrel hears you. A surprise shot always assure a productive hunt.
Indeed, there are plenty of impressive and outstanding shotguns in the market. All the ones we have reviewed are on the toplist of the hunting industry. Perhaps, the most popular options will always be the pump action shotgun: Remington Model 870 and Mossberg 410. However, if you don’t want a pump action shotgun, CVA also produces very affordable 20 gauge single-shot shotguns that are also great choices for small game hunting.
Overall, our top favorite definitely goes to the Remington 870. This shotgun is proven effective and durable being one of the most widely used shotguns by the United States public for sport shooting, hunting and even home defense. It is also used by law enforcement agencies and militaries around the globe!
Why is it important that you always choose the best gun for your needs? Aside from it provides you the full comfort that you need, it also assures a productive and fruitful hunting expedition. Every hunting game will surely be fulfilling and entertaining! Remember, it does not have to be expensive, you just have to obtain the right gun that fits your overall preferences. So get yourself one and hit the woods for some small game hunting this year!