Range limit of the .223 as a varmint/predator cartridge??


October 2, 2012, 08:48 PM
A question for the experts...

What are the practical range limitations of the .223 cartridge, let's say, on Coyote??
What about the same question when used from a quality AR platform with the standard 20" barrel length and 1:9 twist??

Can the 223 be a 5-600 yards coyote medicine??


If you enjoyed reading about "Range limit of the .223 as a varmint/predator cartridge??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
October 3, 2012, 04:28 PM
The range depends on the shooter.If you can hit at 5-600 yards,by all means go for it.A gut shot coyote is still a dead coyote,the best kind.

October 3, 2012, 04:37 PM
Practical range for explosive varmint bullet performance if you want to recover the coyote is about 350 yards.

You can hit them much further then that, and it will kill them further then that, but kill them DRT?
Nope, not every time, or even most of the time.

Even a 22-250 / 220 Swift isn't a 600 yard coyote rifle, if you want to recover the coyote.


October 3, 2012, 04:42 PM
You're going to have to be spot-on with your range to make a good hit at that kind of distance. I can nail a steel plate pretty good at 5-600, but it's not moving and I know the range within a few yds. Any wind and all bets are off for me.

October 3, 2012, 05:20 PM
I agree with rcmodel; 350 yards is about it for effective coyote killing.

October 3, 2012, 05:52 PM
...well at this point the question maybe is, there is such thing as reliable instant coyote kill at that distances?? First of all the target is small so it is more difficult even to hit it...even a 300 Win Mag slows down a lot at that distance for reliable fragmentation....maybe at that extreme range you should use a caliber usually not intended for coyote at closer distances....like one of the 300 super magnums?? (RUM, 30-378 or so)....they may retain enough speed downrange for fragmentation....right??

October 3, 2012, 06:15 PM
I have it on good authority a .243 can and will make one drop to the dirt at 530 yards. Never tried anything past that yet and I've also had them run a few steps inside of 300 yards. Mainly it just depends on shot placement. The long one I mentioned it couldn't have been a more beautiful shot, literally wind had died and bullet went in and did its stuff and exited.

Art Eatman
October 3, 2012, 08:39 PM
I've found it quite practical to zero my .223 at 200 yards. That puts it about six inches low at 300.

So, anything out past, say, 250, and you're "guesstimating" all sorts of things: Distance, drop, wind, your own skill at judging...

So, I just figure the .223 is a fine gun for coyotes to maybe 200 yards for a clean kill, and 300 for prairie dogs. Sure, I can reach out farther, but I've never really worried about it.

October 3, 2012, 09:39 PM
Does the coyote know its a match HPBT that just shredded his lungs? Maybe a SP would make things better? Get real, @ 350 yards it doesn't matter if its a .223 or a 300 RUM that he got gut shot with, he's down, the hunter is pleased, now what? No one is advocating torture to animals, but winds, coyotes running, will oft times not be where the scope was placed when the trigger was pulled, caca occurs, not all shots are made at the Olympics either.

Shadow 7D
October 3, 2012, 09:46 PM
Army say 450-500 point target, 800 (on the M16) group...

October 3, 2012, 09:47 PM
A .300 Win Mag is not needed for 500 yard coyote hunting.... A .243 or .25-06
would be a much better choice.

Sent from my HTC One X

October 4, 2012, 02:34 AM
Anyone advocating gut hits and animal torture is causing us more problems with the anti-hunters And coyotes cause ranchers like my family plenty of problems in their own right. A shot coyote beats an unshot one any day when it comes to protecting livestock, instant kill or not. A persons livlihood matters more than the opinions of people whose minds i will never change in a million years anyway. If I can hit a coyote at 400 yards with a .223, I'll take the shot every time, and not be the least bit stressed if its not a bang-flop. Until you've seen a coyote eat a calf that hasn't ever hit the ground yet (eaten and killed in the process of birth) you can't talk about "animal torture". Yes, its nature, but its also how people make a living, and if I prevent loses, I'll certainly make the effort to do so whenever possible

1911 guy
October 4, 2012, 02:55 AM
Agreed on both sides of the question. If you're hunting for sport, keep it realistic for your equipment and abilities. If you're killing them to prevent depredation, any shot is a good shot, even if they die tomorrow. Would I prefer a quick kill every time? Absolutely. But it doesn't always happen that way.

ETA: I always figured 300 for the light (55gr and smaller) bullets and 500 for the 60 and up crowd. That's for a perfect set-up. Add variables and the range begins to drop.

Justin Holder
October 4, 2012, 05:55 PM
Coyotes take a lot of killing for their size and the .223 is not a high performance round. Smacking steel on a range at 500 yards has absolutely zero in common with killing a critter at 500yds.

I would say 300 yards is the outer range limit for guaranteed kills with a .223rem. And IMO 300 yards is really pushing it.

A lot of the guys that routinely snipe coyotes at extended ranges usually use really fast 6mms or 6.5mms. Something like a .25-06 or 6.5-284 is capable of taking coyotes at whatever range you can hit them.

October 6, 2012, 09:05 AM
I agree that the max for an average rifle and shooter is 300-350yds. I have shot that round out to 800m with my beat up issued M4 and hit the target so yes the round is capable and even then some. I personally use a .243 for coyotes and have no if ands or buts about hitting the trigger at a yote at the 5-600 range I know it can do it and I know I can make it do it. If you primarily only shooting yotes id pick up a .243/6mm and slap some good optics and berger bullets in it and have no worries.

Art Eatman
October 6, 2012, 09:48 AM
I guess my deal on any predator is that my ego says I'm skilled enough to make a clean kill whenever I shoot at anything. While I'm not going to shed tears if I mess up and make a bad hit on a coyote, it's still a bad hit and that means that I messed up.

"As you practice, so will you perform when it's the real deal." If you regard Ol' Wily as practice, you maybe won't mess up on a Boone & Crockett buck.

If you enjoyed reading about "Range limit of the .223 as a varmint/predator cartridge??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!