I recently built my retirement home out in the country, but since I've decided to keep working a few more years, it stays mainly unoccupied. I needed to control fox squirrels who were doing minor cosmetic damage when I was away. The reason is I have a number of mature hickory trees around the house that draws them out of the surrounding woodline in droves, and then they either feel the need to gnaw or are looking for minerals in the my house's wood.
That's the backdrop and the problem. Dusted off the Ruger 10/22 I've had for 30 years, but a Leopold scope on it, and took it to the range. I settled on CCI stingers - nice groups at 25 yards which is really all I needed and I wanted maximum terminal effects.
Worked great if I could get a head shot (about a third of the time, when they weren't aware of my presense). So would any round I suppose. Otherwise I would go for center of mass shot when they were "treed" and found the results pretty underwhelming. Had a number that took two or three rounds, fall out of the tree and run for it, even making it to the woodline sometimes. Even though I consider this more varmint control than sport, I wanted a more humane approach. The .22 rifle that worked great on gray squirrels in my youth wasn't cutting it for my current purposes, even with an acclaimed modern round.
The remedy, it turned out, was the .17 HMR. Although a better discussion for another string, anything center of mass meant lights out. Didn't matter what ammo manufacturer. Took 18 squirrels over a week with a single shot each (and no angry neighbors) Critter control now achieved. The 10/22 went back to the back of the safe.
And when I finally retire there, I'll get me an aggressive cat from the SPCA...