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Coyote Calibers: Five Picks for Your Next Hunt

For many parts of the country, coyote hunting is a year-round sport. If you want to take your coyote hunting to the next level, there are even coyote hunting tournaments. If you’re going to get serious about coyote hunting, you’re going to have to get serious about the gear with which you coyote hunt. You will want the best and warmest hunting clothes and the best electronic calls. Of course, the most significant decision you will make is the best coyote caliber. Let’s take a look at some of the all-time best coyote calibers available.
coyote peeking out of woods

Opinions Will Vary

The topic of best coyote caliber sparks emotional debates after every deer season. The truth is that all the calibers listed have killed coyotes in the past, are killing coyotes as we speak and will continue to kill coyotes for years to come. The real question is, out of these popular coyote calibers, what caliber best suits the hunting conditions in which you hunt coyotes? Let’s look at the pros and cons of the best coyote calibers available today.

1. The .243 Winchester. The .243 is a great caliber for coyotes, deer, hogs, antelope and many other animals across the globe. The .243 with a 55-grain Ballistic Tip is a good choice for coyotes. When everything works right, it is a fur-friendly round. If you connect at close range, the exit wounds can get soupy. Fifty-five grain Winchester Supreme Ballistic Silvertips are a great round for coyotes. If a coyote is running across the pasture, the .243 can reach out and touch him.

2. The .22-250 Remington. The .22-250 has had a reputation as a coyote-killing caliber for many years. The .22-250 is the choice of many competitive coyote hunters who have no problem rolling them at 600 yards. Most .22-250s will have a 1:14 or 1:12 twist barrel. You must match your ammo to the type of barrel you have. Coyote hunters with a 1:14 twist barrel will have great results with a 55-grain or smaller V-Max. Hunters with a 1:12 twist barrel can use a 60-grain or more with no problems.
coyote caliber

3. The .223 Remington. The .223 Remington is one of the most popular calibers for several reasons. Coyote hunters can choose the 55-grain FMJ ammo capable of 3000-FPS and can take coyotes out to 400 yards. Other hunters prefer the 80-grain hollow-point ammo to put them down and keep them down. 

Best Time of Day to Hunt Coyotes

4. The .17 Hornet. Many hunters live in areas where they will never need to take a 300-yard shot. Either elevation, trees or both keep their average shot below 200 yards. A coyote under 200 yards is right in the .17 Hornet’s wheelhouse. The .17 WSM or .17 Remington are a touch faster, but the bite of the .17 Hornet gives it the edge. The 25-grain ammo is preferred for coyotes. You will be pleasantly surprised how well the .17 Hornet performs in the wind. Pack the .17 Hornet on your next backcountry camping trip for small game, too.
5. The 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor. The topic of 6.5 Grendel or 6.5 Creedmoor versus the .223 Remington or .308 Winchester is polarizing. It seems you either love anything that has 6.5 on it or you hate anything with 6.5 on it. With that said, you can’t argue the performance or cult-like following of these two calibers. Neither the 6.5 Grendel or 6.5 Creedmoor are fur-friendly. 

The 6.5 Grendel was originally designed to improve on the .223/AR-15. The 6.5 Grendel is more powerful than the .223 Remington, especially at greater distances. It has light recoil and is a good dual-purpose caliber. If you want to put a coyote down for the count at 400 yards but also use the same rifle for a 300-pound hog, the 6.5 Grendel is a good choice. The 95-grain V-Max is a great round to have if either the coyote or hog steps out.

long distance rifle shot


The 6.5 Creedmoor was originally designed to improve on the .308 Winchester. The 6.5 does have a flatter trajectory and less recoil than the .308, but for many, the difference is not enough to switch from the .308. Even so, the 6.5 Creedmoor is extremely accurate at long range with little wind drift. The 6.5 Creedmoor does have a slight ballistic advantage inside 300 yards than the 6.5 Grendel and a distinct advantage past 300 yards. The 95-grain V-Max is also a great round for the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Both of these calibers are tack drivers. If you want to shoot a semi-auto inside of 300 yards, go with the 6.5 Grendel. If you want to shoot 300 to 700 yards with a bolt action, then go with the 6.5 Creedmoor. 

Any of the Top Five Will Kill a Coyote

If you want to hunt coyotes year-round and plan on taking your coyote game up a notch. You can’t go wrong with any caliber listed above. Take into consideration the cost and availability of the ammo in the caliber in which you’re interested. Then, choose what best suits the hunting conditions you hunt the most. It doesn’t matter if that is a tried-and-true caliber or a hot new caliber. Either will help take your coyote hunting up a level.

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