308 for coyotes.. ok or overkill?


February 4, 2004, 08:44 AM
I know a lot of people tell me 223 is perfect for coyot's but is 308 overkill? If so, is there a tip type that someone can recommend to minimize the mess with a 308?

Or 308 is perfectly fine?

If you enjoyed reading about "308 for coyotes.. ok or overkill?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Art Eatman
February 4, 2004, 08:57 AM
If you're not interested in skinning out the hide for sale, I don't see what difference it makes. I have bolt actions in .223 and .243 that I prefer to use when I'm hunting Ol' Wiley, but if what I have with me is my '06, that's what I'll use.

Look at it this way: The more powerful cartridges do a better job of "disassembling" a coyote, which makes life easier for scavengers.

But if a fellow needs to find a reason for buying another rifle and scope...

:), Art

February 4, 2004, 09:51 AM
How much (less) pelt and how much more mess is a 308 over a .223?

February 4, 2004, 10:21 AM
that is going to depend on bullet weight and velocity (wich is related to distance).
light weight 30 cal. (110/120 gr) at heigh volicity could make a real mess if a coyot size target is hit right.
a "deer" weight bullet (150/180) might pass though with out to much expansion unless it hits alot of bone. all this assumung the bulletts are not fmj.

February 4, 2004, 10:48 AM
Back when I was a one-rifle guy, I hunted Wiley and Brer Red Fox with my Remington 721 .30-06. Used a 125-grain bullet head of a bunch of 4895 powder.

It did the job, but I never worried about saving pelts. Foxes in January were never safe from that trusty old gun.

February 4, 2004, 11:13 AM
Just as Art said, a great excuse for another setup! :D

I never really worry about the pelt anyway. Of course if you can find a buyer, nice coyote pelts are at a premium. I was checking the last Cabellas catalog and a coyote pelt is much more expensive than a fox pelt.

I've always just docked the tail if there was a bounty on them. Lots of places still have a bounty on coyotes. It can definitely help pay for ammo.

Good Shooting

February 4, 2004, 12:24 PM
Shooting crows with a .308 I will never consider overkill. They are pests just like coyotes. Like everyone is saying a .50 wouldn't be overkill unless you are saving the pelts.

February 4, 2004, 01:12 PM
My only concern with the .30 caliber-sized rounds is what happens to them after they exit. Some people don't pay attention to what's behind the target and with a large, high velocity round, it's going to go a little farther than the farside rib of some critter. In flat open areas like the north half of Indiana that can be a problem.

February 4, 2004, 01:41 PM
Use either the 110grn Vmax or the 125grn TNT and you'll be GOOD TO GO!

El_Rojo and I have played around with the 110grn Vmax and 125grn TNT bullets for California ground squirrel shooting(ca. ground squirrels be mighty small targets, for coyote I'd say the 110-125s would be good to 500 if you are up to the task as a marksman). Them little bullets is good for out to 300 yards and you should hear the pop/splat made from a 110grn Vmax, it rivals that of any 22-250 pop/splat I've heard at equal distances. My thinking is that there is a VERY large hollow point cavity lurking within that larger 30cal diameter bullet to help account for it's shortcoming in velocity compared to the more zippy 22s.

The 110grn Vmax and 125grn TNT are constructed in the same fashion with very fragile jackets, very little risk of over penetration or richochette in the event of a missed shot.

If you are a handloader, coming up with loads shouldn't be a problem. However I'm not too familiar with commercial loadings in those bullets, Hornady might have a 110grn factory loading for the 308Win but I'm not certain.

If you've got a 1:12 twist barrel the two bullets mentioned should hold together up around the 3k-3100fps range and they are still remarkably accurate.

February 4, 2004, 02:24 PM
I'm not sure don't flame me if i'm wrong :fire: I don't think hornady makes Vmax for 30 caliber? But they do make the Amax and i'm sure they are basically the same thing. I've been very impressed with the Vmax bullets I shoot 1/4 inch groups all day with my rem 700 vs

February 4, 2004, 02:28 PM
They do indeed... unless they've stopped making them.

I've got 50rounds of 110grn Vmaxes loaded up for my AR10 right now as I type this.

February 4, 2004, 03:50 PM
Or 308 is perfectly fine? My main rifle is a .308 bolt-action. I use if for everything from whitetails to swallows, and black bear to gophers. The ability to employ a certain rifle year-round helps to increase a shooter's skills and confidence with that rifle. It gives you the opportunity to engage different sized game at various distances, ultimately making the shooter a skilled rifleman.

You can also purchase cartridge adaptors for your .308 that allow you to saftely fire .32H&R Mag and .32 auto in your rifle. The ones I have were around $25 through Alex Cartridge. I also handload rounds using a couple grains of RedDot and .310" muzzleloading roundballs. The rifle is no louder than an adult air rifle. I have spent many hours using these to take Barn Swallows from high-line wires and under bridges. In fact, I even fire these same loads in my basement while using an adequate backstop.

I recommend using your .308 before purchasing another caliber. You will eventually 'learn' the caliber and the platform it's deployed from. A coyote's body is large enough to accurately gain measurments while using a laser rangfinder. As long as you know the correct distance you're not going to miss. If you do, it won't be the fault of the rifle, as long as you've learned it's come-ups/downs prior.

I handload 130gr Barnes-X's for everything larger than birds. I know eveywhere these bullets impact, from 10ft to 880yds. Just as an Army sniper studies and ducuments the M118LR in his M24, I do the same with my petload and my Win M70.

El Rojo
February 4, 2004, 04:07 PM
Twoblink, if you want to save the pelt, then don't use .308 varmint bullets. I have shot plenty of coyotes with my 700 VS with 110 gr. V-max and 125 Speer TNT HPs. They are devestating. If you just want them to die a quick and sure death, then .308 will do it just as well as anything else with proper shot placement. With errors in your shots you are still going to bring home the bacon. I have watched coyotes run away after hitting them with 168 gr. HPBTs, but in nearly the same situation with a 110 gr. V-max, the coyote only made it ten yards and went down. And as was mentioned, the lighter bullets break up right easily.

If you are hunting coyotes as varmints, .308 will do a very good job and the only overkill might be no your wallet.

February 4, 2004, 07:18 PM
My son kills the 'yotes with a .243. I use a 7x57 Ackley Improved. Both turn the stock killing critters into dead varmints quickly. We dont care about the pelts, we are just thinning the pack on his GF farm.

February 4, 2004, 08:01 PM
the 'big" calibers can make less mess than the small fast ones

used to shoot groundhogs with a .270 and 130 grain bullets...

.270 in and out

as above...unless you're saving pelts, use a small fast bullet. Results are impressive and quick. Bullet disintegrates with significantly reduced chance of damage downrange

If you're selling fur, the best alternatives are either something in .223 or less (power) with a super light (40 grain or less) bullet, or the perfect solution, a .17 caliber. If you use a .22-250 and 55 grains or anything bigger, you need to get out the needle and thread

If I've got a .308 in my hands and see a 'yote, he's gonna have a .30 caliber hole in him

Zeke Menuar
February 4, 2004, 10:14 PM
Up until recently I used a 270 on everything. Nothing zaps a coyote like a 130gr ballistic tip heading out at 3150fps. Does a number on bunnies too if they stand still long enough to get the shot off.


February 4, 2004, 10:36 PM
I own a .22LR and a 2 .308's (M1A, Mauser98 rebarreled in 308).

I always thought these two rounds would take care of everything (the .22LR for small critters, 308 for the rest).

That's why I asked.... I wanted to know if logistically, I need to add another round.. As far as saving the Pelt, I'd probably just keep the tail.. :D Same for the 'coons, a coon-skin hat would be cool though..

The Vmax seems like a good choice...

February 4, 2004, 10:47 PM
I get the impression that the 308 is a weak and pathetic cartridge(not trying to start a flame) I have never shot 880 yds with a rifle. I think the furthest I have shot is 150 yards. Basically my question is this. I read the gun mags and they make it sound like you need a 50 BMG or a 300RUM to reach out and touch stuff. But military snipers have reached way out there for years with the 308. It is an effecient cartridge(from what I've heard) but I doubt its ability to accurately go past 600 yards(I heard that the bullet slows down to sub-sonic and hits a lot of turbulance). Can you consistantly hit stuff at 800+ yds? If so thats amazing. For a long range rifle is there any need to have a long heavy bull barrel, or would a standard hunting rifle that shoots sub-moa groups be sufficient for 600+ yds? What kind of scope do you use in conjunction with the military ballistic charts? Do have a scope with the ability to "click up" or "click over"? What power of scope is suitable for long range shooting? Is a longer barrel necessarily better?
Sorry if this is off topic,

February 4, 2004, 10:52 PM
For coyotes- 125gr Speer TNT Hollow Point. :cool:

El Rojo
February 5, 2004, 12:50 AM
Two comments. First, about this statement, "the 'big" calibers can make less mess than the small fast ones." I have found this to be completely the opposite of what I have observed. I just bought a .223 and shooting squirrels with a 50 gr. V-max is cool, but the squirrels are not launched. The 110 gr. V-max absolutely launches nearly every squirrel I hit. I mean blows them into two or three pieces and they fly literally 10-20 yards. Absolutely devestating. The only coyote I haven't blown a huge wound into with my .308 was one I hit with a 125 gr. TNT HP right in the chest as he was facing me. There was no exit wound!!! I can only imagine the internal damage done to this coyote for a 125 gr. TNT HP to hit him and not have an exit wound. I have literally gutted coyotes with that round.

Next, Stinkyshoe. I have used my stock Remington 700 VS in .308 to shoot at matches of 800, 900, and 1000 yards. At 800 yards I shot a 150-10X. What that means is I hit 10 rounds inside a 10" circle and the other 5 were just outside of that 10" circle, no further than 20" from the middle. At 1000 yards I shot a 385-15X (maybe not that many X's I can't remember). That means out of 40 shots, many of them were within that same 10" circle at 1000 yards. The .308 is good to a thousand yards and from my understanding it start to drop off a little after that. Heck, people are even shooting the thousand yard matches with heavy .223's now a days.

Stinkyshoe I highly recommend you do a search of the archives for "long range shooting" or anything else you can think of. Also go to our parent site www.thefiringline.com and you can do a search of its massive database. If you still haven't found your answers, simply make a new thread and ask those questions. I don't want to hijack this thread.

Twoblink I too was once like you. I had my .308 and I was happy. I didn't need one of them varmint calibers. Well the FAB-10 caught me. It is calling your name too! You know you want one. Not because it is serves any real purpose, but because you want one. And deep down inside we are still young enough to believe someday we can legally order a real lower to replace the FAB-10 nonsense sometime in our lifetime. I hear it calling your name!!!

"Come buy one of me Twoblink! You know you want me! Please order my upper from AR-15.com classified adds and get my lower from your FFL! Take me home Twoblink, I need you. (http://home.bak.rr.com/elrojo14/pictures/fab10h.JPG)"

February 5, 2004, 03:12 AM
El Rojo is prime example of why I hate THR..

First, there's the wallet devistation (Does a 308 put a bigger hole in the wallet or a .223?)

Second, there's the trouble with the Mrs.

Third, there's the problem of running out of room for all them guns..

Evil El Rojo.. go sit in the corner :evil:


Stinky.. my friend in San Fran is part of the "M1A long range shooting club". What makes them a bit special is that there are two qualifications:

#1) It must be an M1A (I think M14's and M1Garands are acceptable)

My friend shoots 500 yards...as warm up!! He is up to 40/50 @ 1000 yards dings when I talked to him about a year and a half ago..

A "ding" as they say in that club is a 24" x 12" steel plate they shoot at. So he's shooting 80% IRON SIGHTS!! eeek! :what: I think there's 8 of them in the club. I think he'd liked to move to 40/50 "pings", a ping being the 12" x 6" plate they shoot at....

Question: Do you all scope or use iron sights?? I'm an Iron sight type of guy, but I'm not sure I'd be able to hit creatures out past 200 yards without a scope..

February 5, 2004, 05:07 AM

Our annual shooting event is advertised as "The Half-Mile". It's held about 3 weeks before the yearly whitetail season opens. Competitions are hald at 1/4 mile(440yds) and 1/2 mile(880 yds), and any dear-legal caliber may enter. This is any caliber from .23 up, so a .243/6mm would be considered the smallest allowed.

The top shooters on the 440yd gongs move up to shoot at the 880yd gongs later. Not sure about the diameter of the 440's, but the 880's are 30" wide. This equates to 3 3/4" at 100yds. Not a very difficult task. It's a non-profesional event put on by the area sportsmans club. Usually a centerfire rifle is given away for first place, with a rimfire for second.

I'd consider myself a "4-out-of-5" shooter on the long ones.Heck, people are even shooting the thousand yard matches with heavy .223's now a days. Didn't a shooter make 20-of-20 at Camp Perry with an AR15 last year? I believe 14 of the bullseyes were also in the X ring. This was accomplished using IRON SIGHTS.---1,000yds---

February 5, 2004, 10:19 AM
Like they said a .308 is good to 1000 yards+ and still be accurate. The 50 for sure is better for the longer range but my god the expense. And about the heavy barrels. The heavy barrels of course will group better than a normal barrel especially if it's a Shilen Hart ect. And as for the scopes. If your going to be shooting that far you want a good quality high power scope like a bausch & lomb, leupold, zeiss, burris ect. WILL cost you quite a bit for a nice rig.

February 5, 2004, 01:37 PM
El_Rojo, we gotta get out and do some more shootin....

I need to find out whether you're familiar with the carizo plains or not, a friend and I want to head up that way for a bit of shooting by Soda lake one of these weekends and I could use some recommendations.

As for the "blown to bits" stuff with the 308Win, I was truely surprised that day we were at the range and the amount of splats you were getting at extended ranges. I've had some super aerobatics while using my 223Rem but usually they only last to around 200 yards, inside of 100 yards and it's a grotesque display and at 100-200 yards it's only a measily 2-3 feet. But the 110grn Vmaxes seemed to deliver downright evil carnage upon the varmintcong on anything inside of 300 yards.

I'm stressed as heck from work and school, with the weather turning nice I GOTTA GET OUT SHOOTING! I've been stockpiling ammo all winter long, squirrels stash away nuts while I stash away ammo. I'm set for doing some varminting when the time comes.

El Rojo
February 5, 2004, 01:59 PM
I have never really gone over that way much (soda lake). However, if I have free time, there is no reason we can't all cruise over there together. Today would probably be as near a perfect day as any to be out at 5 dogs at the benches prowling for targets. Well except it isn't open today.

Twoblink, just start looking for uppers now. You can buy it a piece at a time. Ok, you know I am lying. As soo as you get your upper you will have to get the rest. Just act like you don't know what I am getting you into. And remember, as the male you are in charge of the household. That is biblical. Now just explain to God why you bought a rifle instead of making the wife's car payment. :evil:

February 5, 2004, 02:08 PM
I don't make any attempt to skin coyotes. I don't think anything you might take would be overkill. I don't even understand the purpose of the word.
I have gone out specifically for coyotes with a .338 Win Mag.

February 5, 2004, 02:16 PM
Whelp, heck if I didn't have the exact same thought...

Today would probably be as near a perfect day as any to be out at 5 dogs at the benches prowling for targets. Well except it isn't open today.

Walkin out of work this morning around 9AM I couldn't help but think how perfect it would be to run out to 5 doggies with the 300WinMag and the AR15 to blast some little furry vermin.

The thing that is driving me nuts more than anything is that I have TWO NEW GUNS that I have yet to shoot. Both N-frames, a 28-2 and a 25-2. I desperately want to get some trigger time with those guns to see how they are shooting.

If tomorrow is clear for you and the weather is good, feel up for heading out to 5 dogs? I've got a stash of near 6k rounds of 5.56x45mm and 3k rounds of 7.62Nato sittin here staring at me, no way I'm gonna blast through all of it but I wouldn't feel too terribly bad if I were to burn through 300 or so rounds of 7.62Nato and 400-500 rounds of 5.56x45mm.

I kinda wanna get set for the action rifle matches that will be comin up soon and get back into that scene.

February 5, 2004, 02:33 PM
VarmitCong :D :D :D :D :D me likes.

February 5, 2004, 05:05 PM
if you note, I said the heavy caliber "can" make less of a mess

I used a .270 with large game (deer) type bullets. The groundhogs I hit always seemed to go down immediately even though there was little expansion. They are exceptionally tough, but the .270 did the job

light varmint type bullets are a different program. They're made to explode

big bore + big velocity (light bullets) = big splatter

February 5, 2004, 08:54 PM
Use the 308 on them to get rid of them fast. If don't get serious about killing them they are going to take over. A farmer up the road lost some farm animals just the other day to ol wiley. Years ago they didn't exist in my neck of the woods until some of the fox hunters brought them in.

February 5, 2004, 09:09 PM
my first northern coyote was a beautiful male, shot broadside through the shoulders with my .308 Browning Lever Action -- at 10 yards! Damage-wise, not bad, and his full body mount still adorns my den. Not so much damage the taxidermist couldn't make the exit wound completely invisible.

February 5, 2004, 09:30 PM

There's anal, and then there's... me! :D

So I took some data and plotted the bullet drop rate for .357Mag, .223, .30Carbine, .308 (147grain), 308 (180 grain), and the .17HMR.

It seems to me, the 308 is as versatile as I first thought. With the 147gr, you aren't loosing a lot of bullet drop compared to the .223, but you get a LOT more mass and umph. So I figure, 180gr for deer, 147-155grainers for Wiley. And it's good out to 1000 yards (assuming I can shoot that far).

Someone told me the 308 (and 30-06) is probably the most versatile round from a North American needs perspective. I see why now.

But as for Pdogs, I'll probably go with the 357Mag out of a rifle at first.. Of course if I'm not hitting with that... time to move to the 308! :evil:

El Rojo...

I have 2 lower AR15 receivers. I shipped them out of the state, because I don't need to become "tactically broke" from making "tactical rifles" out of both..

El Rojo
February 6, 2004, 12:21 AM
Sorry Ugly, my last day of student teaching is tomorrow. I have been working at Maricopa High School from 0730-1400 hours and then at the prison from 1400-2030 hours everyday for the last 5 weeks. I can't wait to take a break! Saturday I have to go do some ranch work to get on the ranchers good side so I can do some seek and destroy on the varmint cong that breed on the south side of the valley. Bad news is it is on the other side of the border and I can't get anything less than special forces into that area. You know how the ranchers are sometimes.

February 6, 2004, 12:32 AM
"Someone told me the 308 (and 30-06) is probably the most versatile round from a North American needs perspective. I see why now."

I am an '06 man myself, but the .308 is basically the same thing. I did the same thing about five years ago. I ran all the numbers, studied all the tables, played with the ballistic software and came away with a new appreciation for the cartridge. The '06 (and .308) hold their own with most of the new super cartridges. For a general purpose rifle, or for the man that only wants one rifle, you have made the perfect choice. Sure, there are other calibers that are more specialized that out perform them; but not by much.

February 6, 2004, 01:58 AM
For those of you who want to see the results..

Here's my spreadsheet... :evil:

The 17HMR is flat shooting, but not as flat as the 308's with .223 being the flattest by a smig...

February 6, 2004, 02:38 AM
Well, if you don't save the hides, the exit wounds don't matter too much.

One bud back in college hunted fur in West Texas - Bobcat, Fox, and 'yotes. He tried everything from .17 cal to the big .25's. In the end he kept going back to a Swift shooting 55 grain bullets as the best combo of killing power and minimal exit wound. Anything he found that would never exit a songdog would also fail to put them down and let them run off.

Back before I learned they were good to eat, I drilled a cottontail with a .25-06, at 80 yards. Something like 2/3 of the rabbit simply vanished.:what:

A Texas doe shot with a 150 grain softpoint from a .300 Savage dropped quickly, with a 3" exit hole in her offside shoulder. I expect a .308 would give similar results.

If you want to add some excitement to the mix, why not hide in cover, and call in the 'yotes? You could try for some with a pistol. I keep meaning to try this in the Inyo Mountains, where they're tons of them. Of course, there's also tons of lions there too, who might just decide to join in on the fun. Hmmm...Maybe a 1911 and a leather neck guard would be in order.


February 6, 2004, 09:35 AM
The 17HMR is flat shooting, but not as flat as the 308's with .223 being the flattest by a smig... Try the .222 on your flat shooting list and see what it will do :D

February 6, 2004, 09:11 PM
.308 and a head shot works juuuuuust fine.

February 7, 2004, 02:17 AM
My friend + lawn chair + 12 gauge shotgun + #00 Buckshot + barrel pointed down a Pdog hole... = red mist :D

He told me the Pdog just simply vanished!

I WILL add the .222 to the list...

But I will now begin studying the different types of bullet heads..

If you enjoyed reading about "308 for coyotes.. ok or overkill?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!