When it comes to hunting coyotes, foxes, bobcats, or larger predators, you a rifle that does a handful of very specific things. Any rifle can work, but there may be downsides. On this episode I talk in-depth about what attributes you want in a rifle, what chamberings are most effective, and what a new hunter should be looking for in a gun for predator hunting. My recommendations might surprise you.
- Any gun can be used, from a shotgun to a magnum rifle, and if that is what you have, then start there to see if you enjoy the sport and want to invest more in it.
- Predator hunting rifles should fire a small bullet, at high speed, that is very accurate at long range.
- You want a round with minimal bullet drop, that will kill the animal quickly and humanely, without doing excessive damage to the fur.
- Your benchmark distance should be 200 yards. You want to practice for that range and have the equipment to effectively take game at that range. Your ability and environment may call for longer or shorter shots, but this is where to start.
- Adjustable trigger, longer barrel, and 4-12x or better scope are major features you want to have.
- The smallest effective round for coyotes is 22 magnum at short range, it is not viable at long range.
- The largest advisable round is .243 Winchester which is a little bit too large but is a versatile rifle that can be used for deer as well. Larger rifles are fine for pest control but not for preserving the quality and value of the fur.
- Three of the major ideal rounds are the .223, the 22-250, and the 204 Ruger.
- My recommendation for new hunters, is hands down the .223 for many reasons stated in the episode. The other calibers may be used more effectively by a master, but most hunters will not have the skill or environment to make use of any additional benefit they provide.
- Savage makes Model 11’s and Model 10’s in various configurations that are ideal for the new hunter, as does Ruger with their American rifle line. Expect to spend between $400 and $600 for a new rifle with scope already mounted depending on what sales and deals you can find.
- Only buy a package deal if the scope comes with it’s own warrantee.
- New hunters should seriously consider getting a used rifle to save money. Which is one of the reasons for the .223 recommendation, there are many more of these guns out there.
Keep in mind the size of the rifle you use for predator hunting is directly connected to what you intend to do with the animal. If you are wanting to save or sell the fur, then my above recommendations are on target. If you are out for pest control, then the equation changes. If that is the case, then you can use any rifle caliber because you are not trying to preserve meat or hides. When it comes to pest control, you can use just about anything.
I would normally never advise you to use something like a 300 Winchester Magnum but if you are shooting from long range for pest control then the only downside is the cost of the ammo. But traditionally you are keeping or selling the fur. So for those scenarios you want to use a caliber that quickly and humanely kills the animal but does minimal damage to the hide.
Listen to the whole podcast episode to learn more.