View Full Version : Proper Coyote caliber?

December 21, 2005, 01:33 AM
I am new to the idea of using a rifle. I have used many shotguns in the past for small game and started waterfoul hunting this last year. But I have never used a rifle for any game at all. Deer hunting has always been during bow season.

So the problem is that the area I hunt in does have houses within one to two miles. I want a bullet caliber that will stop fast but still be able to stop a coyote inside of 50 yards. The range I have seen them at is always less than 70 yards. I have read several pages of weather or not a .22lr will work, but I feel that it is my job to make the coyotes suffering end quickly. So I am leaning more toward a .223 or a .17 HMR.

I am trying to save the pelt.

What I have now:

12 gage pump
20 gage single shot
mosin nagant 7.62x54R
.50 caliber muzzle loader (used with saboted .45 250 grain)

If any of those will work.

December 21, 2005, 07:41 AM
I would get the Remington Model 710 .270!
Its a cheap($350), rugged, all weather gun that
comes with a scope. Not a great scope but
good enough for 100 yard shot on a coyote.
You could also use this rifle for more then small
animals. You could use this on whitetail all day long.
I have a friend that goes to OSU(Oklahoma State)
who dropped a 400LB elk with his .270! His isn't a
remington though. He's also a very, very good shot.
To explain his shot, he dropped the right lung i believe,
then the elk turned for a perfect shot on the left lung,
so he took it also. The elk just stood there for like
10 seconds and then stumbled a few seconds then dropped.
Ok back to the coyotes. This gun should get the job
done and plus a little more. I don't if anyone agrees with
me, but from seeing what some of my friends can do with
this gun, I say the caliber is great. I'm getting the 300 Win MAg
of the Model 710 Remington, but thats overkill on a whitetail at 100yards,
so imagine what it would do to a coyote at 100yards.
I hoped my info has helped you some. Before you take any of my info
and make a choice on a rifle, I suggest you get the views of other
hunters who have alot more experience then I do. I'm really just telling
you my personal opinion and what I would do in your situation.
Take It Easy, and Safe Hunting.


December 21, 2005, 07:45 AM
Runner Up rifle of my choice in your situation would be a 30-30 lever action with a decent scope. You could pick one of these guns up for cheap and get a good enough scoop to hunt coyotes with from your local pawn shop for $50 or $60 dollars. But with this 30-30 you can't hunt deer. Maybe you can, but I haven't never met someone who's hunted deer with a 30-30.


December 21, 2005, 07:47 AM
Sorry for multiple posts. Also, take a look at the .22 250 mag's. Would be great for things this size of coyotes. When I go hog hunting my friend uses a .22 250, but still I think would be perfect for coyotes. But if you got a rifle like this you still need to have a decent scope for it also.

My 2 Cents.


December 21, 2005, 07:49 AM
Maybe you can, but I haven't never met someone who's hunted deer with a 30-30.
are you serious? the 30-30 is the most popular deer rifle of all time...

that said it doesn't have the longer range. plus if you wanna sell / keep coyote pelts you want a small entrance hole. look into a .243, .22-250, .223, 17 rem, something along those lines. .243 is the only one you could use on deer though. .270 isn't a bad choice, and like "back" said, it can handle bigger game than most people give it credit for...

December 21, 2005, 08:00 AM
Well said sir. I know that the 30-30 is popular, I just don't know anyone personally, like friends who have used that caliber for deer hunting. Personally thinking about it I would take out the 30-30 as a choice, and go with the .270 if your just getting rid of coyotes, but a .22-250 if you want to keep, or sell their pelts.


December 21, 2005, 08:02 AM
If you are hunting coyotes where you are within sight of private homes as a rule, I would use a 223. I don't mean shooting animals in people's back yards either.... follow the game laws on acceptable distance from private dwellings. If the buildings are 1 to 2 miles away, I lean toward the 243 as the most verstile rifle. You can use that for deer also.

The biggest factor when private homes are in the vicinity of where you shoot is SAFETY of course. The second concern is NOISE. Centerfire rifles are pretty noisey. The last concern is which caliber and rifle you choose. Go with the 243, you won't be displeased. Lots of power and a versatile caliber for animals up to whitetail deer in size.

Art Eatman
December 21, 2005, 10:38 AM
Always be sure of what's behind the coyote, before you shoot. That's the standard rule, even if you're in the middle of nowhere.

To reduce the chance of ricochets, I recommend something like a .223, and to use lightweight bullets. Soft points are less likely to ricochet than are hollow points.

A .270 or a .30-30 is overkill, as far as "need". The .30-30 is the most likely to ricochet in the event of a miss.


December 21, 2005, 12:56 PM
I am not hunting in town. The houses I am talking about are more like hunting/atv camps. I am shooting into a swamp from on a hill, I just don't want something to big as there are people on atvs in the woods too. We always seem to see the coyotes as they cross atv trails going down to a swamp. They do not seem to spook easy, and we often get within 20-30 yards before they run. Most of the time they will stop and stare down the road at you for about 30 seconds, giving a good shot.

I am going to the local gun shop today to see what they have for a good price. If .223 will do the job then I will get that (or larger).

December 21, 2005, 01:09 PM
But with this 30-30 you can't hunt deer. Maybe you can, but I haven't never met someone who's hunted deer with a 30-30.

Do you live in a cave? The .30-30 has taken more deer in this country than any other cartrige period. The .223 will be a great yote round. If you want to save the pelt you should make a head shot.

December 21, 2005, 03:02 PM
I dont mean to sound like a know it all of the pelt saving world, but if you SERIOUSLY want to save them, and I do, use less gun. If you are planning on buying a rifle for this purpose and are not planning on hunting elk with it too, opt for a .22 Hornet. If it is going to be used for the same purpose but at distances above 150yds, look hard at the .223. If you reload, the .222 is inherently more accurate but more expensive to buy ammo. The .22-250 is my general goto rifle for longer ranges, but will shred the pelt at 70ish yds. Good luck with your purchase and keep us posted.

December 21, 2005, 03:34 PM
The .22 Hornet may be a better rifle as my uncle has one and likes to reload ammo. So at least I could give him my spent brass. So the .22 Hornet will do the deed at 50 yards without blowing the coyote apart? If thats the case the higher ammo cost will not kill me (only need one bullet anyway). Also would the NEF single shot rifles do the job or are bolt actions better?

I am going to shop around to see what some of the other gun shops have used and what I can order new. Also hunting season does not open until september so I have time to find a deal.

The first gun shop I went to only has "human guns" Glocks and Armalites. They really did not have guns made to hunt with. Better luck next time right?

December 21, 2005, 03:39 PM
Where are you that you can not hunt coyotes till Sept?

December 21, 2005, 03:51 PM
If your getting 20 to 30 yards away from them, I'd get some 00-buckshot for your 12 guage. Or, maybe even some size 4 buckshot. I usually carry my NEF 10 guage with 4 shot turkey loads for close shots, plus my rifle.

December 21, 2005, 04:24 PM
What Art said.

Let me add that the .17 HMR does a bang-up job on foxes and creates sewing jobs on mink, but I would be hesitant to use one on a yote.

The bullets-even the new 20 grain Gamepoint-are too frangible and may not penetrate completely to the vitals on coyote sized critter.
If only Nosler could make a .17 cal Partition for this round................:D

December 21, 2005, 04:30 PM
Michigan does not allow summer coyote hunting on state land. It does run until march (I think) but I am a snowbird so I'm not there. Also I am out bowfishing every night I can until august 15th(close of bowfishing). So anything before that I would have trouble getting up for. Sept is the start of small game season, so until then I have no bait.

I geuss -00- buck could work. But I would like to get a rifle for watching the swamp.

Ok *crosses something off on peice of paper* .17 is out.

December 21, 2005, 08:43 PM
.22 hornet
.218 bee
.221 fireball
.222 rem
.223 rem
.25-20 Win

somewhere in there, with light bullets, meets your criteria for (more) safety, IMO, and is up to the task. But be sure of your backstop. Don't shoot up at an angle unless there's a big hill (uninhabited) behind that will stop the bullet if you miss.

December 21, 2005, 11:32 PM
My vote goes for the .223 i don't think the 17 hmr can kill coyotes consistantly but if i had a choice i would go with a .243.

December 21, 2005, 11:44 PM
Arts last statement all the way if you really want to anliate them then do it but your pelts will be ruined the best to date in my opioion would have to be the .22-.250 small caliber bullet that packs quite a punch and who ever said you cant hunt deer with it the .243 is a great one why heck any thing under the .243 will work really just sonething small now I have been known to pull out the ole smoke stick (my .270 ) to pop a coupple of dogs but way too much to save skins way too nasty of a exit wound smoke stick was formaly the meat stick until the ole .243 proved its self this year but thats a whole nother story so your choice and how do you get them in so close those buggers wont even get within 100 yards of us skiddish little buggers down here

December 22, 2005, 12:48 AM
They seem to follow us or at least to come to us looking for food. But they run when they see that we are not tree huggers.(just joking)

To be honest they just have no fear and are not really paying any attention at all. When they do look up when they hear us walk toward them they just seem to stare, like they have no idea what we are or what they are supposed to do. If we stop they will just keep stareing for a long time. They also don't run off they just walk away.

From what I have heard there was a group of "Old Timers" that would hunt them all the time. Most of them died this last year or stoped hunting. So no one is really hunting them anymore, maybe this is why they are losing their fear?

December 22, 2005, 07:12 AM
I think the 223 would work just fine. I use a 25-06 or a 12 gage pump. I think you need to check out the laws better. To my knowledge Michigan only closes the season on coyote during the firearm deer season and that is to protect the very bad for wildlife timber wolf. Pelts are really only worth anything in the later fall and early winter. If you hunt outside of that time use what you will as the hide is not worth the chances you have to get fleas, ticks, or mange from them.

December 22, 2005, 03:08 PM
For the distance you want to shoot the coyotes at you might consider a .357 Mag carbine with 158 gr soft point ammo. This will definitely address your safety concerns (obviously you still need to be careful), but I'm not sure it will be the best as far as pelt preservation.

December 22, 2005, 03:15 PM
22 mag will go just fine if it under 70 yard shots like you say. Ive been hunting coyotes for a long time and have just recently started using a 22 mag, only because it was a gift. Before hand, I used my 22LR and have killed nearly 75 yotes or more from varying ranges closer and farther than 70yrds.

Varmint Eviscerator
December 22, 2005, 10:01 PM
anything bigger then a bb gun is to much:rolleyes: seriously, 75yrds+ you need a bigger gun, but, for under 75 a 22lr will work just fine, choose a heavy bullet-stingers are not what you want, they bleed energy waaaaaay too quickly and are too light to sufficiently and reliably penetrate. use a velocitor 40grn GDHP at around 1430fps, or the eley hvhp, winpp work ok too, regular MM or Super x or American eagle wont do, these rounds acount for the 22's poor kill stats, I have killed yotes cleanly, only shot 2 yotes in my life, both drt or within 30ft
oh,hollow point is a must! along with a bullet heavier then 36grns and faster then 1255 fps
Good luck, let the torch blow, I've got ceramic-tile armor!

December 23, 2005, 02:27 AM
between the .223 and the .17, i'd go with .223 for coyote

December 23, 2005, 07:25 PM
Been shooting Yotes for years ,must have shot 50 or 60 over the last 20 years always used an AR15 with 5.56x45 55 grain xm193 or Q3131 ball ammo and never had a problem it realy tears them up .they are varmints after all.

December 25, 2005, 08:58 PM
I don't think there's ever been a finer coyote round for shots over 250 yards than a .243/6mm. The 25-06 will work too, only with slightly more blast and muzzle jump.

For under 250 yards -.204 ruger!!!

December 25, 2005, 10:24 PM
The big question in this is wether or not you hunt for hides.
If you are just exterminating 'yotes, the 223 will do fine. If you are hunting for the hide market you need something that will not blow holes in them. The 22 Hornet or the 22 WRM will both do fine for a hide hunter but use the fmj loads in the WMR and reload 55 gr surplus fmj in the Hornet.


December 27, 2005, 11:57 AM
Sam, you sound like you know what you are talking about...but. Try the 35gn Vmax, push them around 33-3400fps. I did alot of testing for the purpose of anchoring and minimal hide dammage. My target for testing, 2L bottle 3/4 full of water at 50yds. The 35s will explode the bottle but not exit the far side. On coyotes from 30-110yds, I have not cut the hide anywhere except the entrance hole. Bullet frags and makes jell of the vitals. Fragments hang up in the meat of the ribs, I have not tried it closer of further than the above ranges, but have taken 32 with this load, all good hides. Try it, you may like it.

December 27, 2005, 01:08 PM
I like the 30/30 for yotes. Dead right there (DRT) if I do my part. Plenty of range and quick pointing, they don't stand still for long. Not easy on pelts though.

The 357/38 lever carbine or handgun would be fun too.

The guys over at www.coyotegods.com seem to like the 17 cal rimfires. I haven't tried them but their results look pretty good.

January 8, 2006, 09:00 PM
I use my 30-06 Remington Semi-Auto for killin coyote's. It is very good practice for moose hunting. Here in Newfoundland, coyotes are not native. It is believed that they came across on pack ice or ice drifts during the winter. They are really doing damage on the wildlife, expecially the caribou population! $25 dollar bounty for them makes them worth while to kill. Nothing brings me more satisfaction then to blow one of those stupid creatures brains out!! Ok, I need to calm down now...lol:rolleyes: A buddy of mine hit one running with a .338 win mag. What a mess that was! Split the thing in two! One of the most fun shooting sports IMHO. I really hate the creatures.

January 8, 2006, 09:16 PM
go over to the rimfire Central web site and there are people there that use the .17hmr for Coyotes, i would say its good up to about 100 yards

January 8, 2006, 10:54 PM
For what it's worth, I talked to a guy yesterday who swears that the .17 MACH 2 works far better on yotes (head shots) than .17 HMR, because at the slower velocity, the mach 2 bullets don't explode upon impact like the faster HMR rounds, so they give better penetration. And of course, you extend your range a bit over .22lr. I'd still use .22 hornet or up for a coyote myself, however.

January 9, 2006, 08:22 AM
Hello!! You bowhunt deer, your uncle loads .22 Hornet, your shots are close, the Hornet will smash them to 150 yards.
Order an NEF Hornet, put a good scope on it GIT-R-DONE!!!!

January 9, 2006, 06:59 PM
you are right about the 17.HMR mach 2 but i think if you used the 20 grain 17hmr it wouldnt explode..i think your better off with a center fire..i dont know much about it but what about the ruger 204??? anyone know anything on it?? i think i read someplace that its travels at 4000 FPS...

January 9, 2006, 07:19 PM
My experience with the .30-30 only gets me within about 200 yards of them, and I can't calculate bullet drop correctly off my iron sights with 170gr bullets.

I am experimenting with 100gr and 110gr bullets from hornady and sierra for velocity and accuracy. I'm hoping for about 2600fps and more or less level shots at 200 yards, rather than 2100fps and a foot of drop at 200 yards.

We'll find out what happens in another couple of weeks:D

January 9, 2006, 07:53 PM
Since you are looking at the 17HMR why not consider the 22WMR? It should work pretty good out to about 100yds on coyote but won't carry as far and retain energy like the 223. It expands pretty violently and will drop coyotes pretty good. I have a large coyote, fox, bobcat and even cougar problem in my area as well. I saw a full size coyote while parking my truck at work today about 35yds away. The 22LR would work but only at extremely short ranges. Less than 30yds due to its lack of velocity for proper bullet upset and penetration.

The .223, 22-250 or .243 would be the ideal coyote calibers in my opinion but if you are looking for a cheap and affordable short range pest control rifle, I can't think of anything better than the 22Mag. Ammo is cheap and widely available and there are quite a few rifles chambered for it. A 270 and 30-30 for coyote? Sounds like using a 338WM for white tails. Some people will always recommend way more gun than you really need. Don't use something too anemic though because coyotes, although small can be dangerous. If they bite you, you could get pretty sick from it. I've found that 124gr. 9mm JHPs at about 1180-1220fps are pretty good coyote medicine. 357Mag drops them like a sledge hammer.

January 9, 2006, 10:35 PM
I would seriouly check out the 204 Ruger. That is a very good coyote round. These are the gun I would choose in order:

204 Ruger
220 Swift
17 Rem (center fire)
218 Bee
221 Fireball

I mainly use my 25-06 because yotes in my area are worth little to nothing. I shoot 75 gr v-max and it sure does the job on a yote. Once you shoot one yote, you will probaly be hooked!

January 10, 2006, 09:36 AM
Marlin 94 357mag carbine

Wild Bill Bucks
January 10, 2006, 12:45 PM
If you shoot a LOT, the .204 is a great yote killer.
Prarie dogs and range time will wear the 22-250's out in about 5200 rds.
Most of the calibers start to open there groups at about 5000 rds because of throat erosion due to the massive burn behind the bullets.
The .204 uses lots less powder and a lot smaller case, so the throat erosion
shouldn't be nearly as bad(I expect to get 10,000 or 12,000 rds out of mine before the groups start to spread)
For most guys that would make your barrel last through several generations
of kids and grandkids.
Excellent gun for predator hunting since it shoots so flat and fast.
Re-loading ammo won't be much of a speed advantage on this round because factory powders can't be purchased(Special blends are held as a tight secret by the factories) and the factory powder already pushes this ammo at over 4200 fps.
If you re-load, your probably not going to get your loads any better than that and stay within a safe chamber pressure.
Biggest advantage with re-loads will be the cost, should be able to get your cost down to about 20 cents per round if you hang on to your Brass.
I shoot the 40 grain bullets by Hornady called V-Max, I like them better than the 32 grain, even though you loose a little speed, it doesn't change your trajectory hardly at all and it has a better ballistic coefficient.
Right now you are fairly limited as to what you can buy ammunition wise, but that will get better as the popularity of this caliber increases(and believe me IT WILL INCREASE).
Don't have a lot of info for you yet BUT I WILL as soon as I can.
I will post my findings based on shooting the gun, as soon as I can.

January 12, 2006, 10:22 AM
In this neck of the woods, the ADC (Animal Damage Control) used Beretta A302 12 guage with 34 count pellet #4 buck magnum and a modified choke. Range out to 100 yds. from an Artic Tern Piper. Rolls 'em up like bread dough. Easy to repair holes too! I've used a Mosberg 500 in Cyl. choke out to 60 yrds with no problem. When calling, the first round is Mag BBs then the next 4 rounds are #4 buck 27 count. I use a Bushmaster when I'm driving though 'cause I always see them when they are in 4th gear and LOW to the ground!:)

TJ Freak
January 14, 2006, 09:12 PM
My vote would be a 22 lr or 22 mag. I have a friend who is out this weekend hunting yotes. He has the calls and the whole nine yards. He uses a 223. But he also carries a 10/22 with a scope and uses it too. If there are a lot of campers and such around I would go with a 22 or 22 mag. Remember ya may get a few of em, but they will wise up fast. You ma need to go to a 223 or 22-250 after that.

February 10, 2010, 10:44 AM
QUOTE"Michigan does not allow summer coyote hunting on state land. It does run until march (I think) but I am a snowbird so I'm not there. "ENDQUOTE

Michigan allows hunting for coyotes from July 15 to April 15 with a small game license, except no HUnting for Coyotes during firearms deer season Nov 15-30 in the Upper peninsula.

February 10, 2010, 11:16 AM
Best of both worlds. I use a .19-223 Calhoon. .17 velocities with heavier bullets.


February 10, 2010, 11:54 AM
Sounds to me that shotgun is going to be your best bet the 12 gauge pump that is i know alot of guys that hunt yotes with the shot gun and they are very effective if you have the right load. I wouldn't use anything less than the four shot tungsten and up to 000 buck or even a slug a guy can shoot out to 80- 90 yards pretty accuratly with the slugs and the 4 shot prob 40 yards and the buck shot maybe 50. I was going to tell you that i hunt coyotes with a 243 wssm and thats what i recommend cause it kicks @($ but if there are houses and people nearby the 243 223 22-250 they will all travel to far for safety Take the shotgun practice with diff bullets and find your effective range and take a rabbit in distress call you'll have a blast i called a few in last week within ten yards wished i had my shotgun :) good huntng

February 10, 2010, 12:44 PM
Coming from a guy that shoots dozens of yotes every winter, it is .204 through .243 including .222 .223 .22-250, and any other that falls in between. If saving hides for selling it comes down to bullet choice. I have seen 204 rounds tear up a hide with the wrong bullet. PM me if you want more on bullets and selling your hides.

February 10, 2010, 01:04 PM
I won't disagree with any of the above but I have shot quite a few yotes.
#1: 22 lr is out for two reasons it won't consistently kill coyotes and it is prone to ricochet.
#2: 12 gauge w/00 buck is even less lethal unless you're close enough to club them and those pellets also bounce around
#3: I don't feel the 17 HMR will kill coyotes w/o a broadside chest hit
#4: 223 with one of the light, polytipped bullets or Hornady SX(super explosive) will break up inside the animal w/o making an exit since the exit is usually the one that ruins the pelt, will do the job under 300 yards and these bullets don't bounce
#5: Any bullet designed for deer sized game and larger is out regardless of caliber-it will exit, make a big hole, and bounce in some weird direction
Most of the coyotes I've shot were with the 22-250 w/52 grain BTHP or 55 grain Hornady SX. When I bother to hunt coyotes I intend to kil every one I see regardless of range and have even used the 25/06 or .308 if it's windy.

Magnum Mike
February 10, 2010, 01:14 PM
Kind of an old thread guys!!!

February 10, 2010, 01:17 PM
I use a 243 Winchester with a 1/8" twist rate barrel and 105 grain Berger VLD bullets, and a 7mm Remington Magnum with a 1/9" twist rate and 180 grain Berger VLD bullets.

Most of my shots are at longer ranges with an occasional close (300 yards or less) shot. It is very open here in Southwest Montana and the opportunities for a close shot are minimal so I set up my equipment for long range. My zero for both rifles is at 300 yards.

young mosin
February 10, 2010, 07:36 PM
12 gage pump
20 gage single shot
mosin nagant 7.62x54R

you almost got the same setup i got. missing the .270 and .22

anyways. I would suggest four calibers. .22 hornet,222 remington,223 remington and 204 ruger.