Best shotgun load for coyotes?


May 19, 2005, 09:06 PM
I have some "shotgun only" areas close by for coyotes. I have heard #4 Buck is best in 12 gauge. Should I go with the standard 2 3/4" or is the 3" shell better?

For my sons 20 gauge, what would you recommend? I already have some 2 3/4" #3 Buckshot. Will this do the job? Is there something better?


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May 19, 2005, 10:12 PM
3" shells carry a higher number of pellets so you have a better chance of getting a good kill shot with a 3" vs. a 2 3/4. With that said, I have killed more coyotes with a 2 3/4 load of #1 buck than anything else so it's really up to whichever load you want or can find.

For the 20 guage your only two choices are #2 and #3 buckshot with Federal being the only ammo that I know of that offers a #2 load. I've only shot one coyote with a 20 guage and that was with a 3" load of #3 buck. Range was about 25 yards and he ran about 15 yards before he realized he was dead.

One word of advice, regardless of what load you use, don't forget to aim.

May 20, 2005, 10:48 AM
i would say a magnum turkey load would be good... soon they should be on sale 'round here... :D

Art Eatman
May 20, 2005, 08:41 PM
Distance and choke will be important factors.

For example, my old Model 12 is a full choke. But, that's with the old paper cartridges of "Olden Times". With modern ammo, it's more like Xtra-Full. I made a one-shot kill on a bobcat at 25 yards with 7-1/2 Winchester high-base max load.

If you expect shots out to around 50 yards, though, I'd bet that any of the buckshot would be a lot better choice.

I'd do some testing at, say, 50 yards, to check both pattern and sighting...


1911 guy
May 22, 2005, 09:37 AM
I would use turkey loads, too. You might want to pack a few slugs for farther out opportunities, also. For the 20's, go up one or two shot sizes if you want. For all the hype and discussion, within reasonable shotgun range there's really little difference.

May 22, 2005, 10:06 AM
I have found 12 Ga 2 3/4 inch BB loads to work well on feral dogs, and I assume that the same load would work fine on Coyotes.
Where I hunt some farms in North Central Florida, getting a Coyote in close enough to use any shotgun load on is problematical. I gave up on shotties for this years ago, and use my Colt HBAR Heavy Target rifle, with Federal VMax loads.

Mr. Chitlin
May 22, 2005, 12:05 PM
Here in Arkansas, buckshot is not legal for coyotes. My son and I use 3" magnum #2 lead loads out of XFull turkey chokes, and they do a number on the coyotes out to 50 yards or so. I also hear the 3" mag #4 Buck is devestating. If it was legal, that's what I'd use.

May 22, 2005, 03:24 PM
We hunt fox around here with #4 birdshot and coyotes with #2's 1's or BB's. #4buck is a bit overkill and if your pattern opens up at all it cold be a wounding shot.

May 22, 2005, 04:21 PM
Distance and choke will be important factors.
Art Nailed it.

Makes no nevermind what a barrel, or choke is marked , what does YOUR gun and loads actually reveal by Mr. Pattern Board.

Yeah well being in AR and all, never had a problem with Slugs from a 12 or 20 bore. These tend to work from a "bit close" to "out yonder".

Then again I paid my dues to the pattern board...getting to where just counting to "one" beats all them pellets and figgerin' math stuff.

Yep - I punched that doggie...

Mistied a few feral felines too...

Slugs are for killing - Pellets are what wabbits leave behind


May 22, 2005, 09:01 PM

May 22, 2005, 09:10 PM
I am skeptical. $2.75 a round. You have got to be kidding. I am sure they pattern better than standard #4 buck. But, 100 yards on a coyote with a shotgun is a tall claim. They will need more "proof" of their claims on the website before I cough up that type of cash per shell.

May 23, 2005, 12:15 AM
Yep Dave, I agree 100 yards from a shotgun is a fur piece ... :rolleyes: But the 1.5 ounce loads are with Ts, so probably quite a few of 'em.

I popped for the big bucks when Hevi-Shot first came out. It was rather impressive on pattern board and shortly thereafter on TX Panhandle pheasant ... but no shots taken at 100 yards!

May 23, 2005, 07:29 AM
Number 4 buck is probably the most common size shot used for coyotes in Wis. In all my years checking hound hunters probably 75% used this load. In doing pattern testing in riot guns, I found that a mod. choke shot the best patterns at 50 yds. Took a riot gun and tubed it to run the tests as most iots are cyl. or IC at best.

May 23, 2005, 01:18 PM
I just dug out the handy-dandy Hunter Ed. textbook ... It looks like number 4 buck shot (lead) is .24" diameter. And as others have said, they usually pack around 20 of 'em in a 20 gauge. And IIRC, in 12 gauge 3" mags, there are around 41 of 'em per shell ...

The book sez in steel shot, T's are .20" diameter and 53 pellets per ounce. Which means with Hevi-Shot, there would be around 80 of 'em per 3" 12 gauge shell ... Hmmmmmmmm ... How many times have I passed up a shot on Mr. Wiley because he was "out of shotgun range" just as he shifted in to high gear ? ...

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