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Long range limits of the .223 as varmint round?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by saturno_v, Feb 9, 2011.

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  1. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    In particular out of a regular 20" barrel Bushmaster AR.

    Is 500 yards on coyote doable?? What type of bullets??

    Thanks

    Regards
     
  2. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Member

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    I wouldn't recomend it even with a great scope the .233Rem 55gr.SP will have significant drop (also consider the elements,wind drift,etc..). Not to mention that at 500yds. est. velocity would be @ 1,000fps, and energy could be as low as 180-200ft.-lbs. not a risk I would take. (My opinion). A special forces sniper conversion 5.56 Nato rifle against a human target is one thing, a humane animal shot with a civilian Bushmaster 20" is another.
     
  3. OPtact4

    OPtact4 Member

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    You can certainly reach out that far. The 223 is even getting more popular with 100 yard matches. I was at a shoot at the St Louis Bench Rest rifle club, one of the best ranges I've ever been to by the way, and Was hitting 6'' plates with a DPMS 223 with a 4-16 Nikon Monarch. Hornady 75 gr. BTHP Match hits at 500 yards with over 1700 FPS and 500 ft/lbs. Their 60 gr. TAP-FPD hits at 500 yards at 1500 fps and 300 ft/LBS.
    So can you do it, definitely. Just make sure that you are the shot you think you are and take them on your first hit, no one wants a wounded animal running around. Ideally you want to take them closer to be a sure shot.
     
  4. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    Actually the 55 gr. 223 rounds with varmint type bullets (not regular softpoints) from the major manufacturers shows well over 300 ft/lb left at 500 yards (travelling at ~1600 fps) with a drop somewhat comparable to a 150 gr. 30-06 with similar ballistic tip.

    Heavier bullets retain even more energy (the over 60 grainers are in the 400-450 ft/lb range)
     
  5. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Member

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    Heavier bullet weights do add more energy, I was just concerned with a humane shot with the atmospheric elements in play. (I have nothing against the .223Rem. or AR capabilities in the slightest, I'm just not a big fan of using that type of ammunition combating the elements at that distance to kill an animal.) I save that for more powerful rifle's that I shouldn't have to worry, ex. a) .270Win.
    b) .30-06Spfld.
    c) even a scoped 7.62x54R with PPU 150 SP
    would be good if your worried about the price
    of the bullet compared to the above ammo$
     
  6. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I sorta figure that if it's serious pest control, anything goes. But for just casual and occasional coyote hunting I fall back toward the old clean, ethical kill idea. So, I limit myself to around 250-ish on Wily Coyote. It doesn't take much of a breeze to get a six-inch drift at 300 yards, and the farther out you try, the worse it gets.
     
  7. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    Thanks for underscore the difference...yes it is a pest control situation....a friend of mine wants to borrow my Bushmaster for coyote control on its eastern Washington farm...he doesn't own high powered rifles, only shotguns and a couple of .22, he needs to take long range shots...I guess he doesn't care about maiming a coyote as long as he can put it permanently out of business.
     
  8. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    The best long range coyote rig is something in the .243 class.
     
  9. PandaBearBG

    PandaBearBG Member

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    .223/5.56 in AR platform stabilized by the 20" barrel is very doable as long as you have the proper skill and practice to ensure you can make a clean kill. If you can do make hits consistently and are sure of the shot, go for it.
     
  10. BeerSleeper

    BeerSleeper Member

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    It's a coyote. They are pests. Take any safe shot you think you have a chance of hitting. A wounded animal is as good as dead-drop shot. Nature will finish what you started, and the population of a nuisance animal goes -1.
     
  11. oklahoma caveman

    oklahoma caveman Member

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    I disagree. Pest or not I personally do not believe that is a responsible or ethical idea. I believe that if you shoot an animal that you should make EVERY effort to make it as quick and humane as possible. It eats on me for days if I am unable to find a wounded animal. Yes it can/will/does happen, but I try to do my part to see that it doesnt. Be that animal a mouse, a coyote, a wild hog, or a monster buck. All animals should garner the same amount of respect in death or the manner of death. I.E. quick and humane vs long lingering painfull.

    Yes mother nature is cruel in the way things die, But personally I try not to be. YMMV
     
  12. cottswald

    cottswald Member

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    ^^^ Couldn't agree more! ^^^
     
  13. BeerSleeper

    BeerSleeper Member

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    It depends on your priorities. In my case, I'm defending a farm. A wild animal, that has been who knows where, is a biosecurity risk. Every one that steps on the farm is potentially carrying a disease from a previous farm that could do serious economic damage. If the animal is a pest such as that, priority # 1 is elimination, priority #2 is to do so humanely.
     
  14. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    As far as the ethics and morality of how a varmint is killed, the primary issue is the food on the table from the net profit from the rancher's livestock.

    If a thief with his gun comes into your house to steal your money or your family's food, do you really worry about a clean, ethical kill?

    For sheep and goat ranchers, a coyote is a thief coming in at tooth-point to steal the real-world equivalent of money.
     
  15. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    I do not agree with the comparison...a coyote is following its nature and is searching for food....the animal doesn't have any malicious intentions nor it understand the meaning of theft, it cannot make a distinction between good and bad behaviour, it doesn't really have a choice....just following what mother nature instructed to do in its DNA....so I think you still should try when possible to make an ethical kill if you can....

    Obviously if the coyote is just attacking your livestock or, in another circumstance, an animal is attacking me, the ethical kill consideration is out of the picture....
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  16. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Member

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    The .223Rem I was refering to was the Winchester super-x series loads, I wouldn't use that for long range shots. But after looking at some of the more expensive Winchester supreme silvertip(mentioned by SaturnoV) and Hornady ballistic-tip loads, they have about 350-500ft.-lbs. of energy with better trajectory. But that does seem pretty pricey ammo for what his coyote problem may require. ($$$) Then again if I am crazy enough to use that for grouping accurate shots into paper targets( not exclusive to .223 rounds), than I say to heck with the price! I actually switched to the Blackhills FMJ rounds for that(target shooting) it a little less expensive and accurate, but I would pay the extra $ for a good clean hit/kill by using the more expensive ammo.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  17. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    what twist are you working with? do you handload? if you got a fast twist then run some heavy Barnes or bergers 62gr+. and if 500 is the max shot, you'll be great on everything else. my brother took a whitetail doe this year at 350 with a 70gr tsx from a 16" 1:7 twist YHM barrel on his AR carbine. it went in the temple and out the other side. didn't even take another step. just flopped over people really underestimate the 223/556 it's performance really comes down to putting the right bullet for the job in the chamber. if you can stabilize a Barnes VG they are nasty on yotes. you'd have to look at velocities though and see if you had enough left to blow a big round hole out the other side:eek:
     
  18. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    Mine is your regular Bushmaster 20" AR rifle with 1:9 twist
     
  19. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    yeah a 1:9 isn't going to stabilize the heavy stuff I doubt all my 223/556's are 1:7 so I don't have much experience I can add on that twist rate
     
  20. Buzzard

    Buzzard Member

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    1:9 should stabilize anything up to a 75gr round. Note I say should stabilize; there are bullets that tend to run long for their weight (Nosler, among others). The best, and really only thing you can do is to buy one box each of various varmint loads and see what your rifle likes. Then pass the word on to your friend (or be a really good guy and give him a box or two).

    As far as the range consideration, 250-300 yards is about the maximum distance to be shooting at coyotes. Most people have a devil of a time hitting targets beyond that, and as others have said: getting an ethical kill on an animal is priority.
     
  21. Davek1977

    Davek1977 Member

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    Coyotes are a "shoot on sight" animal here in South Dakota. I won't hesitate to shoot at one at about any range with whatever weapon I happen to have with me. Coyotes aren't very merciful and compassionate when feeding on livestock, so i see no reason to extend that courtesy to them. The .223 is certainly capable of killing coyotes at that range with a solid hit.
     
  22. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    "....a coyote is following its nature and is searching for food..."

    Same deal for house flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches.
     
  23. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    ....which usually get killed instantaneously.....I'm not saying they should not get killed...but if I can be merciful in that particular situation I would be....
     
  24. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You can probably hit one that far if you are a very good rifle shot.

    But killing one DRT that far with a .223 is another matter entirely.

    The longest coyote kill I have made was 517 measured yards.
    With a 22-250.

    I hit the coyote right through the chest with a 63 grain Sierra.
    He just sat down and waited for me to walk out and shoot him in the head with a pistol.

    It was evident after skinning that the bullet did not expand at all, and just poked a .22 hole through him with very little internal organ damage.

    IMO: A .223 is at best a 250 - 275 yard caliber for quick humane coyote kills.
    Beyond that, velocity has dropped so much the explosive bullet performance necessary is very poor.

    rc
     
  25. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    I have to disagree with you %100, @ 350 yrds a 70gr tsx had enough velocity to go through and through on a whitetails skull and at that it had enough velocity to make the entire head feel like and old worn out leather boot. no rigidity left to the skull at all, all the sections blew apart. and that was a 16" government profile barrel. the 70gr tsx was powered by 24gr of varget. So it wasn't a crazy hot load or anything. the op I believe said it's a 20" barrel so he'll get the best velocity. whether or not you can make the shot or not I don't know that is your part of the equation. I'll about garantee that gun will dispatch those coyotes no problem at 500. you'll need the right bullet though.
     
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