.223 Rem vs. Coyote; effective range?


August 17, 2006, 12:51 PM
I'm looking at getting a .223 for coyote and squirrel. I figure it's a good balance with plenty of power but still plenty affordable. I wonder how far is too far a shot though. Not as far as accuracy is concerned, I know that if the wind is still the right .223 rifle is dead accurate, but when does the power peter off to the point of being too weak for coyote?

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Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 12:59 PM
Depends on what you're shooting. A 50 grain bullet will lose velocity pretty fast, and most (all) 50s are designed for explosive expansion on light critters. But heavier bullets -- 60 grains and up -- can be found that are constructed for larger game, and these bullets have very high sectional densities, so they don't lose velocity so fast.

In fact, you can buy Hornady 75-grain A-Max and 60 grain Nosler Partition Jackets in .22.

Of course, you need a fast-twist barrel to shoot such bullets accurately.

That said, I've killed coyotes at just over 200 yards with a .22 Hornet (muzzle velocity of 3,000 fps) and a 35-grain Hornady V-Max bullet. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot at a coyote inside 300 yards with a normal "varmit" load in .223.

August 17, 2006, 01:03 PM
This is an anti-personnel load, and works pretty well for the military. It should make the average 40lb coyote drop dead out to distances of 300yds and beyond.

August 17, 2006, 01:05 PM

August 17, 2006, 02:25 PM
60gr.'er killed a 'yote out at 400 yards fired from a good 'ol M16.(1997)

August 17, 2006, 03:11 PM
About 30 years ago, I paid for a couple of semesters of college by shooting coyotes in west Texas. I used a Mini-14 w/ a Weaver V9, and shot prone down a power line access. I had staked out yardage markers to 300 yards, and found that I could consistently put a mil-surp bullet in the brain pan at up to 200 yards, and would get lucky up to about 300 yards.

These 'yotes were typically loping along slowly or even standing still, and didn't know I was there until they crumpled up from the shot.

Better rifle and better ammo would have given better results, but I was a poor college student!

August 17, 2006, 04:49 PM
I think that, realistically, you have to consider the ballistics of the bullet you are shooting from your 223.

The 223 was the first cartridge I reloaded. I am no guru on the cartridge but I did shoot a lot of them that I hand loaded from a single shot ruger.

I created two loads, one using a 40 grain vmax and the other using a 50 grain vmax.

The point blank range on these, meaning one inch high at 100 yards and 1 inch low where it hit was between 225 and 235 yards.

Beyond 235 yards the bullet really falls off. So if you are shooting at something 300 yards out the bullet is going to drop about 45 inches or so from its highest trajectory. The heavier the bullet, the greater the arc.

If you could actually hit something at 400 yards I am sure it would probably die. But the arc you would make with the bullet would make hitting something unlikely on the first try. Not that it can't be done, but coyotes don't wait around, you get one shot, maybe two and its over.

But if you get your rifle dialed in at its point blank range with the round you are using then you will know the maximum distance you can shoot out to.

freedom and guns
August 17, 2006, 05:16 PM
Squirrel? I think he means California Ground Squirrels http://www.varmintal.com/avarm.htm These squirrels (and most others) carry lyme disease (they give it to ticks who gave it to me twice. This disease almost killed my brother. It is extremely prevalent in the Northeast. Please poach deer), eat farmers crops, are commonly too poisoned to eat, full of ticks, and not well liked. No one eats them. There are millions and, since they live on mostly open ground a long range scoped varmint rifle would be the preffered tool.Even if he doesn't, most squirrels are pests that are hard to skin and probably a pain to cook in large numbers ( with a good rifle in one day you could get alot of ground squirrels) and nothing is lost in not using them for anything.

August 17, 2006, 06:27 PM
Thanks for the info, guys. I was hoping for some good firsthand experience and looks like I got it. I don't imagine I'd be shooting at anything past 300 meters, but if the situation presented itself and I had enough practice hitting at that range (on the first shot) then I wouldn't want to be thinking about whether the bullet would do its job in addition to everything else.


Yeah, I'm after ground squirrel as well as coyote. They're nasty little buggers, carry ticks and fleas, which carry lyme disease and plague. Just leave 'em where they die so the hawks and eagles can enjoy a free meal. I've got a .22LR, but they don't always let you get close enough for that. Plus shooting two inch kill zones all day is great practice for coyote.

August 17, 2006, 07:11 PM
With the right bullet a 223 will kill at 800 meters if you do your part or your target is big enough(platoon of Iraqies in formation)

one shot one kill

August 17, 2006, 07:18 PM
Yeah, I'm after ground squirrel as well as coyote.

Thanks, I had visions of .223 being launched into the air at a high angle.

freedom and guns
August 18, 2006, 09:49 AM
I was just reminded. Most rodent species out west carry the BLACK PLAGUE Gee, that sounds nice.

Art Eatman
August 18, 2006, 10:17 AM
I've not had occasion to reach beyond 100 yards on a coyote with a .223, but I'd figure it's reliable to at least 200 or 250. I'm thinking clean, ethical kill, pretty much DRT.

With a good, tack-driving rifle and the somewhat heavier bullets, the .223 oughta work okay out to around 400, for a clean kill. As usual, shot placement...


August 18, 2006, 04:08 PM
I was driving on highway 41 between camden and selma ala a couple of years ago at about 8 am and saw a deer laying just off the shoulder of the road. There was a couple buzzards standing back on the side of the road and I guess thats why I looked more carefully at the deer. There was a cayote eating on the rear end, I guess he was keeping the buzzards back. I pulled into a side road approximately 250 yards past them. Got out my range finder and Remington .222, ranged the cayote at 245 and shot the cayote in the shoulder. He rared up on his back legs and sort of back stepped a couple of steps and fell over dead. I went back and took a picture from the road. I have it around here and if I find it I will post it, the cayote is about 10 feet behind the deer.
I was shooting a 55 gr. Hornady SP loaded to 3000fps. I have killed deer with this load out to 200 yds and it will deffinately put a "dog" down.

August 18, 2006, 09:52 PM
For me, the .223 is a 300 yd. coyote "gun".

Jimmy Newman
August 19, 2006, 05:24 PM
****So if you are shooting at something 300 yards out the bullet is going to drop about 45 inches or so from its highest trajectory.****

.223 doesn't drop nearly that fast... Hornady's loadings, zeroed at 200 yards, are around 1.4" high at 100 yards and 7" low at 300 (depending on bullet weight). 45" low starts to happen around 500 yards.

August 20, 2006, 09:51 PM
300 yard would be max for me with a 223!


August 20, 2006, 09:57 PM
I shoot within 200rds using the Wolf 55gr HPs. They work remarkably well and are very cheap.

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