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Firearms for Predators

Steven Reinhold | Mossy Oak Regional ProStaff Manager


Just wanted to share my views on a couple of things I hear all the time when asked about what firearm I recommend or use when predator hunting. As I'm writing this, I have two things going through my head. First is man, what a great morning afield, and the other is the work that lies ahead of me in the fur shed.

Back to the main subject, I will spend almost every weekend and free time that I have from now until the end of March chasing coyotes. And you can bet I will either be packing my 22 Hornet or my 12-gauge shotgun. These are my two guns of choice, and I have been really successful through the years with both. Some say a 22 Magnum is plenty for coyotes at close range, but velocity of less than 2,000 feet a second compared to the 22 Hornet at about 2,700 feet per second is the round for me. But both are proven rounds for taking coyotes.

As mentioned, I also prefer my shotgun for coyotes here in the eastern thickets. I've found that lead BB shot penetrates a coyote out to 60 yards with the right choke set-up. But my load of choice is Heavy Shot's Predator load in T-size. I have no idea how far out the heavier-than-lead will reach a coyote,but I have made some pretty amazing shots with it.

If I had to pick a rifle for coyotes that is also versatile for most big game,it would be an AR. They can be found in light weight or heavy weight packages, with excellent accuracy. As an aside, if you do get an AR chambered in .223 look for one with 5.56/.223 chambering. Rifles marked 5.56/.223 shoot both military 5.56 and commercial .223 ammo.

While the .223 may be most popular,the 22-250 has always been the top long-range predator and varmint cartridge, and the .243 is more versatile as a combination predator and deer cartridge. All the firearms I've mentioned are all proven excellent predator killers. The reason I choose to carry the two firearms is mainly to do less hide damage. Most of the areas I call in are heavy urbanized, making my shotgun more versatile in these areas.

I hope this gives you a little insight on my predator firearms of choice. But don't be scared to go afield with your favorite firearm you feel comfortable using. Good Luck and Hunt Safe! 

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