This is the kind of thing I originally wrote in The Sixgunner. I did it to share information that may help some. So, please excuse my dribble if you don't care for it and move on.
2017 was, in general, a crummy hunting year. I saw no bucks in our 13 day season-2nd time in 42 years here. Groundhogs are greatly decreased in numbers. '80s and '90s saw 8 years of over 500 kills. Coyotes and some redneck killed them all.
Groundhogs 2017: The years total was only 239. Lifetime totals- 8685- single shots; 3574-revolvers/autos; rifles( pre 1978)-835: Grand total- 13,094 groundhogs. 'Hogs in open fields are a thing of the past. Now I find them around fence rows, abandoned buildings, chicken houses, and my local airport. I did about 70 at the airport this year. I have exclusive rights there for them and any other animal on or near the runways.
My #1 groundhog gun this year was my SSK suppressed MKII .22. It and my Whisper were used almost exclusively at the airport. Public there doesn't like gun fire. The best bullet has been the Aguila subsonic 38 gr. HP, but I can't find them any more. I've switched to Remington 38 gr. subsonics. They're almost as good. The new Ely 38 gr. sub is a touch more accurate, but doesn't function well thought the MKIII.
All together I've used 47 handguns to take groundhogs. #1 is a SSK .22-250(1394). I found with this gun that 40 gr. BTs and VMaxes will not exit a groundhog. 50 grainers will. Oddly, the 40s have done deer out to 175 yds. Most drop or go less than 50. #2 is the good ol' .223(1137). I use 50s here, because I have so many. 50s will exit a 'hog all the time. #3 is .250 Sav. AI (896)-pure lightening on 'hogs with 85 gr. BTs. #4-6mm AI(596)- 70 gr. BTs are devastating. Did good on PDs in the wind. #5 is one of JD's great inventions, the 6.5 JDJ(557)- anything works. A very accurate round that still gives the new guys a run.
Three revolvers stand out. #1- .454s (835)- I have 3 different ones. All are good with any bullet. Obviously, any bullet works, but the best compromise of accuracy/lesser recoil is the 260 gr. Speer Mag HP (old and new forms). #2- .44Mag (813)- I've had 8 of these. Again, all work with any bullet. I've experimented with dozens of bullets sent to me by different companies. 240 gr. Rem HPs or 180 gr. anything show the most damage. #3 .357 (680)- This is exclusive Python territory. 125s for the 4", 158 for the 6", a few others just to experiment.
In addition to these I've used guns up to .416 Taylor. All the big guns are used in preparation for fall big game hunts. Plus, it's a little cool to see the look in guys eyes when I'm doing 150-350 yd. shots with these cannons.
I guess these numbers are why I'm considered "the groundhog man" in WV. It has been a blast.