Coyote Hunting Rifles: The Complete Guide To Choosing Yours

Coyote Hunting Rifles: Our Complete Guide To Finding The Best Rifle for Coyote Hunting

Coyotes can seem harmless enough from a distance.  The reality is that they can be dangerous to children, pets, and livestock.  A pack of coyotes can take down a full-grown cow. An opportunistic feeder, they can become a real nuisance to farmers, ranchers, and suburbanites. 

If the population is left unchecked, they can have a detrimental effect on the ecosystem as well. This is why the conservation departments of various states have a hunting and trapping season on them. 

Some states, such as Missouri, have laws that allow for shooting or trapping damage-causing coyotes out of season. Be sure to check the updated laws for your state on their conservation website. It boils down to two reasons for shooting coyotes: they are furbearers and varmint control.  

What to look for in a coyote rifle:

What is the best rifle for shooting a coyote? 

The coyote hunters we interviewed stated they wanted a firearm with these main attributes:  Knockdown power, accuracy, flat trajectory, and low recoil. There are multiple opinions on what kind of projectile to use also.  

Knockdown power:  Often times a shot at a coyote will be at longer distances up to 200 yards or possibly longer if you are confident in your skills.  Therefore, the rifle will need to have enough knockdown power to accommodate those distances.  

Accuracy:  With an average weight of 45 pounds a coyote is not a large target, especially at farther distances.  The vital organs are about the same size as the average man’s fist, a small target at 150 yards. The best coyote rifle will shoot groups of ½ MOA in the right conditions.  

Flat trajectory:  Often the given shot on a coyote is not planned put more of a spur of the moment type of thing.  Often you don’t have time to wait for the perfect shot. A rifle with a fast velocity and flat trajectory will tend to be more forgiving.

Low Recoil:  A low recoil will allow you to keep in position to view how successful your shot was.  If you happen to need a second shot a low recoil will allow you to determine this without wasting time. 

Projectile:  The pelt hunter wants a smaller caliber rifle with a lead tip, spear pointed projectile.  This will save the pelt by putting a smaller hole in it. The hunter who is practicing some varmint control wants a cartridge that will expand on impact, causing an immediate death.

Hollowpoint or vermin point cartridges are recommended.  They will cause a larger hole in the pelt. One thing both types of hunters told us is that they did not recommend full metal jacket projectiles. These projectiles are known to pass completely thru the coyote allowing the entry and exit wounds to clot up.  If no vital organs are hit the coyote will run off wounded, and suffering to live another day.   

1- Remington 700 ADL Varmint Bolt-Action Rifles 

The Remington 700 ADL Varmint Bolt-Action Rifles is a prime example for why the Remington Model 700 rifles have been around for over 50 years.  These rifles offer incredible accuracy and reliability, even in the harshest for conditions.   

Our favorite features: 

  • SPS Varmint synthetic stock with a ventilated beavertail fore-end
  • Heavy-contour barrel
  • Non-adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger
  • Classic, reliable Model 700 bolt action
  • Matte-black barrel and stock

Reduced weight, enhanced grip, and increased heat dissipation are provided by the ventilated beavertail fore-end features of the SPS Varmint synthetic stock.  Along with a heavy-contour barrel, the 700 ADL Varmint Bolt-Action Rifle features a non-adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger.  

Consistent accuracy is made possible because of the cylindrical receiver mates perfectly with the stock and stays that way.  Mounting your favorite scope is not a problem because the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts.  

A glare from the rifle spooking off the game will not be a problem with the matte-black barrel and SPS Varmint synthetic stock.  

Available in the following calibers:

  • .223 Remington
  • 22-250 Remington
  • 6.5 mm Creedmoor
  • .308 Winchester

2- Savage Arms 12 FV Bolt-Action Varmint Rifles

Savage Arms has entered the varmint hunting niche with the Savage Arms 12 FV Bolt-Action Varmint rifle.  Hunters who want an adjustable trigger combined with accuracy and durability should consider this rifle.

Our favorite features:

  • Free-floating, button-rifled barrels are durable and accurate
  • Features Savage Arms’ revolutionary, adjustable AccuTrigger
  • Synthetic stock with a matte-blued finish
  • Internal box magazine

Prairie winds and other harsh conditions are not a problem for the Savage Arms 12 FV Bolt-Action Varmint rifles.  The button rifling and free-floating barrels are accurate, durable, and easy to clean. These carbon-steel barrels come in different rates of twist to stabilize heavier bullets on long-range shots.  The barrels are also tapped and drilled for scope mounts. The receiver along with the barrel have a matte blued finish.

For those hunters who prefer an adjustable trigger, this rifle features Savages Arms’ revolutionary, adjustable AccuTrigger.  This is good for those of us who get excited and jerk the trigger instead of squeezing it.  

A pillar bedding black synthetic stock, internal box magazine, oversized bolt handle, swivel studs and recoil pad are also included on the Savage Arms 12 FV Bolt-Action Varmint rifles. 

Available in the following calibers:

  • .223 Remington
  • 308 Winchester
  • 6.5 Creedmoor

3- Ruger American Rifle Predator Bolt-Action Rifle with Rotary Magazine

Ruger has not forgotten about the varmint hunter, by developing the Ruger American Rifle Predator Bolt-Action Rifle with Rotary Magazine.  The combination of features that this rifle has, makes it an excellent rifle for coyote hunting.  

Our favorite features:

  • Marksman Adjustable trigger customizes pull from 3 to 5 lbs.
  • Power Bedding integral bedding block system
  • Hammer-forged, free-floating barrel
  • Flush-fit rotary magazine

Do you want the versatility of an adjustable trigger?  The Ruger American Rifle Predator Bolt-Action Rifle with Rotary Magazine features the Ruger Marksman Adjustable trigger.  This is a crisp-breaking trigger that offers a customizable pull between 3 and 5 pounds.  

Ruger achieves exceptional accuracy for this rifle with the Power Bedding block system.  This system locks the receiver and free-floats the barrel for consistent and accurate shooting.  The cold hammer-forged barrel has a 5/8”-24 thread pattern. A cold hammer-forging process results in enhanced accuracy, durability, and easy cleaning.  

You won’t need to stress about making multiple shots straight from the shoulder.  The Ruger American Rifle Predator Bolt-Action Rifle features a full-diameter body and dual-cocking cams.  Scope clearance is provided by the three-lug bolt with a 70-degree throw. Maximum recoil reduction is absorbed by butt pads.  

You should be able to keep from dropping your coyote rifle in any weather conditions with the lightweight, ergonomic stock.  The serrations will make it easier to grip. The rifle is installed with swivel studs for adding a sling is you prefer to carry your rifle that way.  

The tang safety is easy to see and operate.  The rotary magazine fits flush with the stock.  Mounting a scope will not be a problem with the factory-installed one-piece aluminum scope rail.  

Available in the following calibers:

  • .22-250 Remington
  • .243 Winchester
  • 6mm Creedmoor
  • 6.5mm Creedmoor

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