Rifles for Hunting Coyotes

by James Phillips
Coyote's scientific name is Canis latrans, or

Coyote's scientific name is Canis latrans, or "barking dog."

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If you have a coyote problem, hunting them may not be a choice but a required part of a removal program. It's important to have the right rifle, and also important to familiarize yourself with the habits of the coyote to have a successful hunt.

Rifles and Territory

Select a rifle that accommodates your environment and your hunting style. Wide-open prairie is a different environment than dense Eastern forest, where a solid brush gun is more appropriate because you may have to make shots through heavy brush cover. On flatlands, choose a rifle with a flatter trajectory.

Appropriate Calibers

The most popular calibers for hunting coyote are .22-250, .204 Ruger and .223. For long-range shooting, experts suggest using .223 WSSM and .220 Swift. The Savage 110 is known to be an affordable and efficient coyote gun available in a number of these calibers. For those on strict budgets, a single rifle may be required to fulfill all of the hunter's needs, from deer hunting to varmint killing; .308 is an excellent round capable of taking deer at range, and 30-30 is fine for a brush gun.

Specific Recommendations

AR-pattern rifles are generally chambered in .223, and are renowned for their light weight and accuracy. AR-pattern rifles like the AR-15 are styled after military-issue assault rifles, and may not be to every sportsman's taste, but they make excellent workhorse rifles. Many prefer bolt-actions for their reliability. In the lower calibers, the Savage 110 stands out as an efficient coyote gun. Larger bore rifles like the .308 include the Remington 700 and Savage 12fv. Manufacturers also offer military-pattern semi-automatic rifles in .308, and while these may be overpowered, they make excellent hunting rifles, like the FN FAL, G3, CETME, Saiga and AR-10. Bolt-action rifles that stand out in the .308 category include the Remington 700 and the Savage 12fv.

Scopes

Choosing the right scope for the situation can determine the success of a rifle platform. Coyotes are known to close in on a hunter, so a higher-power scope may be inappropriate. Scopes of 4X power or scopes that decrease in magnification to 3X are appropriate, and in areas that allow shots of 50 meters or less, open sights are better. These hunting scopes are particularly good: Leupold VX-III 3.5-10x50mm, Bushnell Elite 4200 5-24x40, Burris Black Diamond 6-24x50mm, Leupold VX III 6.5-20X40 LR Varmint Reticle and the Nikon Monarch 4-14x42.

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