Coyote/Deer caliber?


December 28, 2011, 07:48 PM
OK, my 40th is coming up in a few days and Iím getting myself a combo deer/coyote gun. This will be the only center fire rifle in my collection. I have shotguns and rim-fires and a few handguns but no big game rifles.

I live in Colorado but do all my hunting in Nebraska because thatís where I have the best access to land. Elk are not on the menu.

The land has open fields but itís hillier than youíd expect and has numerous pockets and canyons. I jump deer within 25ft all the time while pheasant hunting. Iím half convinced I could hunt deer with a shotgun. The coyotes I see typically present a longer shot.

For rifles Iím looking at Savage, CZ, T/C, Weatherby and Howa. I have my favorites; Iím just looking for the right deal. What I canít decide on is caliber.

Iíd like to keep it a common caliber if possible. The town has a Wal-Mart that stocks the main calibers only. I can get anything I could possibly want here in Denver but itíd be nice to be able to pick ammo up in Nebraska if necessary. I donít reload.

Iím leaning towards .243 but everyone (in the gun stores) keeps telling me itís not enough for deer. 270, 308 and 30-06 seem like a lot of gun for coyotes. 7mm-08, 25-06 and the other intermediate calibers arenít as easy to find.

The coyotes hunting would be predator control. Iím not keeping the pelts.

Anybody have any suggestions or advice.

If you enjoyed reading about "Coyote/Deer caliber?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
CSA 357
December 28, 2011, 07:58 PM
the 270 in hard to beat!

December 28, 2011, 08:02 PM
If it's just coyote predator control, you don't have to worry too much about hide damage. Go with a larger caliber, .30-06 / .308 would be my first choices. It's plenty enough for deer.

December 28, 2011, 08:19 PM
About anything would do on the Yote that kills a deer. The .25s shoot flat, .25-06 is a GREAT caliber for this. .243 isn't a bad choice, or 6mm Remington, but I like the .25s, a little more bullet for mulies and such. .270, .30-06, all the traditional stuff. The list of acceptable calibers is almost endless, just the .25s some to my mind. .25-06 shoots way out there on bigger game and has a light recoil if that matters.

And, .243 is PLENTY for deer, but big mulies at long range I'd avoid with it. That's where I'd go with the .25-06 or more. I have a .257 Roberts that has taken deer out to 400 yards, whitetails that is. I'd use it for mulies, but the only mulie I ever killed was a 360 yard cross canyon shot with a 7 mag. I coulda done that one with the Roberts, 117 grain Hornady interlock at 3050 fps.

December 28, 2011, 09:20 PM
Iím leaning towards .243

That's what I use. I think the 243 is a fun rifle to shoot and will do what you need it to for deer and smaller.

but everyone (in the gun stores) keeps telling me itís not enough for deer
Yeah I've heard that one too. It's BS.

If it's just coyote predator control, you don't have to worry too much about hide damage.

This is the truth. If you don't want a pelt, who cares what you shoot them with. You might look at the 25-06 or 270 as has been mentioned for better punch at longer distances. I shot a 7mm-08 awhile back and loved it. Or you could move up to 308/30-06, it really doesn't matter. If you think elk might ever come onto the menu, I'd go 270 or bigger. If deer is the biggest animal for sure...the 25-06 seems like a pretty sweet deer cartridge in my opinion.

December 28, 2011, 09:31 PM
I like the 243 but out there I would use my 25.06 for deer. I also have a 270 that I use a heaver bullet in. Both will do all you want. GOOD LUCK

December 28, 2011, 09:40 PM
This is the very question I had in the mid 1970's,but my choices waxed and waned over the 6mm or 243.
Frankly in small town America and Wal-Mart stores one will almost always find 243,270,308,and 30-06 ammo in abundance.
My choice in this scenario would be the varmint and deer death call 243 or 308.

Edit to add...Dont listen to those nabobs of negativism about the 243 not being enough for deer.
You do your part and that cartridge will handle it's part.

December 28, 2011, 10:11 PM
Edit to add...Dont listen to those nabobs of negativism about the 243 not being enough for deer.
You do your part and that cartridge will handle it's part.

It seems to be a commonly held belief here in Colorado. I haven’t come across any 243’s in any of the models I’ve been looking at.

I was just over at Dick’s Sporting Goods and they have a Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker for $549. They have it in .270 and 30-06.

Seems like a good price and the rifle felt pretty nice. I can probably special order it in any caliber I want. Anybody have or use one of these?

December 28, 2011, 11:24 PM
DPotvin,I grew up hunting in the very early 1970's listening to a bunch of experts not only in person but the general print media(hunting magazines) that sang the siren song(negatively) of the 243.
Well as I got older in this deer hunting game I found that counsel to be total BS,as long as the person behind the trigger could shoot.
A 243 or 6mm will get it done.
It never hurts to have more gun but you asked about a rifle doing double duty as a varmint/deer hunting rig and a 243/6mm begs to answer that calling as they were specifically built pretty much for that purpose.

December 28, 2011, 11:33 PM
If deer is the biggest animal for sure...

They are.

In Nebraska I have a huge amount of private land to hunt on right outside the door (it’s my in-laws farm), access to ATV’s, a place to process animals, 11+ years worth of personal knowledge about where the deer are, etc. The only drawback is the out of state fees.

In Colorado I don’t have any of that. I’d have to find a spot, scout it and spend time traveling back and forth. Hunting trips would likely be camping trips. I also don’t have a garage at home so processing would be tougher or more expensive.

If, someday down the road, elk become a target then I’ll look at another gun. Right now I’d rather have a gun that’s suitable without having to put up with extra recoil just because I might someday hunt something bigger. That’s why I’m really leaning towards 243.

December 28, 2011, 11:53 PM
Although I would not recommend a 243 for Elk,I personally know of at least two guys who have used them on Elk under 150 yards and both used very premium grade bullets such as a Nosler partition which Federal does load for the 243/6mm.
But honestly for deer and varmints the 243/6mm are pretty damn good from my own experience.

December 28, 2011, 11:59 PM
7mm-08 would be my choice. If you take a look I bet you can find ammo. I could go with a .260 Rem.

You said you don't reload, but if this is your first centerfire rifle, it's understandable. I bought my first relaoding kit shortly after my first bolt rifle.

As an aside, and it's not you, DP, it's a common thing... I don't quite understand the whole ammo availability thing. I mean, is it really that hard to buy a few boxes in preparation for a hunt? Where are you going to find time and a place in the middle of a hunting trip to sight in your rifle for whatever load that they happen to have on the shelf at the local hardware store or WalMart? Do people buy their hunting boots when they get to where they are going? Are they afraid of forgetting their ammo at home or running out? My goodness, what do your do if you forget your rifle? I could inderstand if people are flying to their hunting destination and the airline might "lose" the ammo. But isn't the ammo packed in the gun case? I dunno, maybe I'm just overthinking it.

December 29, 2011, 12:40 AM
Out of what you said you were looking for a .270 is the best choice. You will find it just about anywhere, plenty of knockdown power for deer, extremely accurate at long ranges (I've shot ground squirrels that have been annoying me deer hunting on my way out from accross a field (~160 yrds) and since you aren't keeping the pelts why worry about having too much gun?

December 29, 2011, 01:01 AM
7mm-08 would be my choice. If you take a look I bet you can find ammo.

In Denver it’s pretty much all available locally. As to the wanting to have it available in the local town – I don’t know, it just seems like something that could be handy. Truthfully, I almost never buy ammo there. As you say, I bring my pheasant or dove loads with me when I go.

Where are you going to find time and a place in the middle of a hunting trip to sight in your rifle for whatever load that they happen to have on the shelf at the local hardware store or WalMart?

They actually do have a 100 yard range set up out there. It’d be easy enough to re-zero real quick.

I’ve considered 7mm-08 and 25-06. It’s weird to me that there’s not a really popular and readily available choice between 243 and 270 or 308 or whatever the next level would be.

T Bran
December 29, 2011, 01:12 AM
When you consider the fact that lots of folks are killing deer with a .223 these days I cant imagine that a .243 is inadequate for the task. Just use a good premium bullet yes they cost a bit more but how many are you likely to use in a season anyway.
As for rifles check out a Savage American Classic mine has been a tack driver with zero modifications. Top it off with a Nikon Prostaff and you are good to go at a quite reasonable price. Good glass is worth the cost regardless of the rifle you choose dont settle for a package deal that looks better than it is.
Just my .02 good hunting.

December 29, 2011, 01:51 AM
I’ve considered 7mm-08 and 25-06. It’s weird to me that there’s not a really popular and readily available choice between 243 and 270 or 308 or whatever the next level would be.

Yep, those would be the two most popular, in my estimation... the 7-08 and the .25-06. Ammo selection at the local WalMart will probably go something like this... .223, .30-06, .30-30, .270, .243, 7.62x39, 7mm Rem Mag, .308, .25-06, 7mm-08, .300 Win Mag... and then it's anyone's guess.

The .270 probably has the edge in effective range over the 7-08 and the .25-06 on deer. That said, being your first centerfire rifle, you'll need a lot of trigger time behind either the .25-06 or the 7-08 before you as a shooter will exceed the "limitations" of either cartridge.

The vast majority of deer are taken and ranges of 250 yards or less, and the majority of hunters probably should think twice before taking shots longer than that. The .25-06 and 7-08 have an effective range of 350-400 yards. I'm not likely to ever get good enough in my lifetime to ethically attempt 400+ yard shots from field positions, in other words, the rifle will always exceed my ability.

I'd rather not put up with more length, weight, or recoil than I had to, and a .25 WSSM or .260 seems about perfect to me, but the .25-06 and 7-08 get the nod (by a wide margin) for ammo availability. The .25-06 does best in a long barrel. Most come with 24" barrels, but 26" isn't too long. That takes me right back to the 7-08 which will do fine out of a 20-22" barrel, and with the short action you are saving almost another inch.

Some will argue that the .270 is flatter shooting... but within 300 yards there's not enough difference to even mention.

December 29, 2011, 07:44 AM

For deer and coyote and you like T/C rifles? The 204 Ruger; it's all you'll ever need.

December 29, 2011, 07:59 AM
Although it is quite true most of us dont have a problem buying several boxes of hunting ammo ahead of time some calibers are still not that popular even at a Wal-Mart.
My brother and I have this little game that when we stop at a small town to buy something we always check and see what kind of ammo the local grocer or hardware store carrys and more times than not you will practically never fail to see the 30-06,30-30,270,308,and of course 243.
What I dont see a lot of is 25-06 and 7mm-08.
Way back in the mid 70's a guy I hunted with bought the then relatively new and rare Remington 700 in 25-06.
His wife packed his things while he was at work and knowing nothing about ammo she placed his 270 ammo in his bag instead of the 25-06.
Upon discovering this during the first mornings hunt we set out to Uvalde Texas and scoured every place that we could think of for ammo.
Zero 25-06 to be found.
He used my back up rifle in 30-06 that weekend.

December 29, 2011, 08:00 AM
If I could only own one centerfire hunting rifle, it would be a .30-06. There is little you can't do with one.

December 29, 2011, 09:13 AM
I've never seen a deer that a 243 wouldn't take down. Maybe it's a moose you're shooting at :evil:

December 29, 2011, 09:16 AM
Tough choice! Both are great. Edge to the .270 for velocity, but it shimes with 130 grain bullets. 7-08 shines with 140s, so you have a bigger bullet, but it's going a little slower. Academic to the deer or coyote whose vitals you just punched... it really comes down to whether you want a short action or long action receiver. 7-08, being based on the short and efficient 308 Winchester case is available with a short action receiver and generally on a smaller rifle, 20-22 inch barrel. .270, being .30-06 based, is a much longer cartridge and requires a long action receiver, hence a generally longer rifle, although not always. Summary: If you're hunting in tight places like box stands or will carry your rifle a long way I would get the 7-08. If not, the .270 is a great choice. BTW, same for the .25-06. Great choice, but only available in long action. Good luck!

December 29, 2011, 09:19 AM
The .243 is your answer, I have killed a ton of deer with it and few black bears and hogs. It's going to be cheaper to shoot and easier to shoot accurately than any of those long action calibers mentioned. Nothing wrong with anything mentioned its just that the .243 is such a pleasure to shoot. Recoil is almost nill, accuarcy is top shelf, if they sell ammo they'll have .243 in stock. You can't go wrong with this round!

December 29, 2011, 11:56 AM
.243 is just fine. Today's rounds use very effective bullet technology that will drop anything deer size in its tracks. There are also plenty of varmint load offerings for this caliber. I shoot a TC Encore PH handgun (15" barrel) in this caliber and have not had any issues with dropping a deer.
There are a lot of myths and old hunter's tales out there. Turn a deaf ear. Be sure to do your reaserch on the rate of twist of the barel you choose (1:10 should be fine). A slower rate of twist (higher number) might have difficulty stabalizing the heavier/longer bullets (95 - 105 gr). Please note: heavier does not always mean longer and lighter does not always mean shorter.
I dislike long heavy barrels for walking around type hunting. Pay particular attention to the type of hunting you do, how long your shots are, how hard the wind blows, how far you walk with the rifle, and how much recoil you are willing to take. Most important of all: practice, practice, practice the type of hunting you will do. Walk a typical distance, use the rest you would use, and take shots at the ranges you expect to hunt. You will be amazed how quickly a sub-moa rifle at the range becomes a 6 moa rifle in real life hunting after a 1 mile hike in the hills with the wind gusts at 20 MPH and your heart rate at 170 bpm when you see that 10 pointer.

December 29, 2011, 12:00 PM
well then ill be the first to say 6.5x55 from squirrels to moose you covered.

December 29, 2011, 12:08 PM
.223, .30-06, .30-30, .270, .243, 7.62x39, 7mm Rem Mag, .308, .25-06, 7mm-08, .300 Win Mag

You were pretty close. They didn’t carry the 25-06 or the 7mm-08 the last time I was in there, and I think they had some 45-70, but they had everything else on your list.

December 29, 2011, 01:35 PM
My WalMart had the .25-06 but not the 7mm-08 or .300 WM, or amazingly the .30-06(!) the last time I cared to notice.

My local Dick's had everything except .25-06, but they had .35 Rem and .270 WSM. The Gander Mountain has all those and three dozen more.

December 30, 2011, 02:05 AM
I have been hunting for nearly 50 years and have only had to buy extra ammo once, and that was dove hunting. I thought I was a pretty good scattergun shot when I was young, but did not know that stone dead doves could still fly away. As far as deer hunting goes, I have never fired more than 4 times in a season.
I would go with a .243 in a rifle of your choosing with good optics. A properly fitting rifle will be a great confidence builder, the lower recoil makes you want to shoot more, the cheaper ammo will allow you to.

December 30, 2011, 02:22 AM
My preference would be, in order:


I selected the .308 first in case you decide you ever want to hunt elk. I know you said it wasn't in the plans but plans have a way of changing as one hunts more. It's not the optimal cartridge, and truth be told I prefer something else for longer range deer, but it can be made to get the job done.

If I was limited to one rifle for all North American game it would be the .300 Win Mag. Personally I think you should look at two rifles instead of one. Those two being the 25-06 and the .300 Win Mag.


Arkansas Paul
December 30, 2011, 02:55 AM
If you don't want a pelt, who cares what you shoot them with.

If you don't care about the pelt, focus on what you like for deer hunting. It'll do fine on the yotes. I'd go with .30-06 or .308 Win myself.

December 30, 2011, 03:14 AM
In order: .243, .260, .270

December 30, 2011, 03:23 AM
As far as the advice that the .243 is "not enough gun" all I can say is that IMO many hunters vastly over-gun themselves for deer.

I actually think that while the .30-06 may be a more universal round for NA big game, the .25s are probably closer to ideal deer rounds and the .243 has more than enough power for any whitetail and was in fact intended for just the use you propose (deer/varmint).

About the only reason I can see why your sources are discounting the .243 is that in some circles it's still considered a boy's/woman's round, unsuitable for a "real" man. :p

December 30, 2011, 01:14 PM
If I was limited to one rifle for all North American game it would be the .300 Win Mag. Personally I think you should look at two rifles instead of one.

I’ve put around 40 rounds through a 338 win mag. If I never shoot another magnum round in my life it will be too soon. If I ever do decide to hunt elk I will look at a second rifle.

December 30, 2011, 04:41 PM
My 257bob has served me very well for both whitetail and cyotes

December 31, 2011, 12:02 AM
A 257 Roberts is a great round.
But sadly,finding ammo in the middle of the country stores and even Wal-Mart is another thing.
I love a 6mm but again finding ammo in the hinterland when necessary is none too easy.
Which is the beginning of the end for some ammo except what is known as standard American useage ammo except for the online buyer or reloader.
Sad...But getting very true.
Hit the hinterland stores to get a good grasp of what I am saying here.

December 31, 2011, 12:40 AM
Well... my choice is of course the 7-08.

But, so much of this thread has been dedicated to availability and if I was only going to choose based on that, then I think I would go .270.

You will find it anywhere you find 30-06 and imho just a better caliber for the end of the hunting spectrum your interested in and, will take the bigger stuff if you need it to.

Downrange energy vs recoil, flatness of trajectory is just better with the 6.5-7mm projectiles in the weights you'll be shooting.

AND...I've always stayed away from .243 as a do it all rifle because of its reputation as a barrel burner.

December 31, 2011, 01:17 AM
I've always been an admirer of the .270 and as you aren't worried about saving pelts your could shoot any garden variety 130 gr load for terrific performance on deer or coyote for verh reasonable cost. The .243 would be terrific as well, but generally the ammo I see for it is more expensive than .270 and it doesn't hurt to run a premium bullet in the .243 for the best performance on deer which adds even more to the cost.

December 31, 2011, 02:20 AM
There's a whole class of cartridges designed to do just exactly what you want to do with this rifle. The oldest is the .250 Savage, the hottest is the .240 and .257 Weatherby, and there are a ton of cartridges in between.

The one you will find the most rifles chambered for, and the one you will find the most ammo on the shelf for, at the lowest price, is the .243 Winchester. It is designed to be a varmint and deer killing cartridge. It is easy to load for, and you will be able to shoot it all day and still be enjoying yourself when you run out of ammo. Other cartridges may actually be "better" designed, but the .243 is a success story with no end in sight.

I bought one in July. It's a Savage, and it shoots very, very well. Enjoy!

click clack
December 31, 2011, 03:01 AM
Yea, a .243 is perfectly fine for deer. Also i would look into .257 weatherby, 25-06, and you could even use .223 for both as well.

December 31, 2011, 03:35 PM
if you are considering one of the smaller calibers (204 ruger, 5.56x45, ect...) you should check your states wildlife code to see if they have caliber restrictions for deer. I know Missouri law dictates that for deer you must use "a centerfire cartridge of greater than 22 caliber", I can't say for other states, but it is a possibility.

December 31, 2011, 06:51 PM
223 is legal in Nebraska with an appropriate bullet but is not on my list of possible choices.

Colorado has a minimum of 243 with I think 1000lbs of energy at 100 yards.

December 31, 2011, 07:53 PM
If I could only own one centerfire hunting rifle, it would be a .30-06. There is little you can't do with one.

Especially since I handload, I could say the same thing about a lot of 7 mag is one. You can load .300 win mag down to .30-30 levels if desired, but you can't load the .30-30 UP to .300 win mag....ditto the .30-06.

But, we're talkin' deer and coyote here. My original post stands. :D

January 8, 2012, 12:16 AM
Just because my local dealer doesn't carry 25-06; didn't change my mind about buying two rifles in 25-06; which is my favorite caliber by far. That ammo problem is not even a problem. I ordered 10 boxes of 85 grain ballistic silvertips back in 2003; which is 200 rounds; I zeroed the scope; went on two predator hunts in Texas, am Awesome Coyote Hunt in New Mexico, plus countless coyote hunting here in the East; and I have 145 rounds left. They'll last me the rest of my life probably. All I did was order them from Natchez. It was easy, and I'm supplied for life. Now, if you must shoot at the range every year with that gun just to get some trigger time in; then maybe it's not for you; but once I zero a scope; that zero does not move; at least not yet. I get my trigger time in on a .223 at the range.

I just wanted to share that My choice is the 25-06; the 85 grain ballistic tip bullets are the ultimate Coyote Killer; BUT NOT IF YOU'RE COLLECTING HIDES. It flies out the muzzle at a blistering 3450 fps. Then, if you want to go on a whitetail or Mule Deer hunt; The 115 Grain Nosler Partition would be hard to beat(In this caliber). Although you can go to a 120 grain bullet if you want. However, I went with a 100 grain Nosler Partition for deer. But my 100 grain partition is loaded by Nosler Custom Trophy Grade Ammo and has a muzzle velocity of 3300; which is plain awesome for 100 grains. I was initially set on 115 grain partition; but with the velocity of this particular 100 grain load; I will have the ultimate long range deer round. Some people have their own set of rules; and will absolutely not shoot a deer with anything less than a 270; but you don't have to look hard to find many articles about how awesome the 115 grain partition is on terminal performance in a deer. I found many discussions of guys hunting deer with 100 grain bullets as well. If it was not intended for deer, Nosler Custom would not have chose the partition for their projectile. The partition style bullet has one of the longest track records of big game killing performance. Federal loaded the Triple Shock in the 100 grain load. These loads are just fine for North American Whitetails/Mulies. Please know that this is my opinion.
I do a lot of research but also have experience in the field, which gives me confidence that the 25-06 is a heck of a deer cartridge with 100 to 120 big-game bullets. And it is the ultimate coyote cartridge with 85 grain bullets. I just wanted to add to this discussion guys; I couldn't resist; because I feel so strongly about the 25-06; It's my absolute favorite. With very similar ballistics, the .243 is right up there with it. But I don't think you can go as heavy with the .243. However, you can go to 100 and I think I've read where people use 110 grain on .243; but I could be wrong.

Art Eatman
January 8, 2012, 11:22 AM
I've killed a couple of dozen bucks with a .243, and I don't recall any which moved out of their tracks when hit. Mostly neck shots. A few cross-body heart/lung shots. I don't take angling shots.

Coyotes? The .243 is nicely ruinacious on Ol' Wily. The Federal load with the 85-grain Sierra HPBT does horrible things to him.

My rig is a little Sako 19" carbine; seven pounds ready to hunt. I've never noticed the recoil as other than "mild".

January 9, 2012, 03:32 AM
Absolutely .243 Winchester. You can buy/load V-max bullet 65-80ish grains rounds for pest control. You can buy/load 100 grain soft point rounds for larger game. Can't go wrong. It isn't too loud either. Shoot a .30-06 a few times without ears on and you will know what I am talking about. Of course, the choice is yours to make. .243 is also a lot cheaper than any other centerfire round you are considering and will do the job. All you have to do is hit the animal in the engine bay and it won't be going far. I wouldn't take shots over 300 yards myself, but that is your concern. Ever checked out a Tikka T3 rifle? Good luck.

If you enjoyed reading about "Coyote/Deer caliber?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!