Need to start thinning the coyote population near you? Look at any of these 10 capable rifles; they will help you on your mission.
What Makes These Rifles Coyote Killers:
Not every rifle model on this list is designed specifically for taking predators or varmints, though some are predator-specific guns.
When choosing a rifle to hunt coyotes, cartridge selection should be an important consideration. Some cartridges are just ideally suited to take coyotes without hammering the hunter with recoil, or causing too much damage on pelts. Cartridges in .22 caliber up to .26 caliber are optimum choices for coyote hunting.
Each Rifle on this list is designed to shoot centerfire cartridges, making them perfect options for taking coyotes within all their habitat and at varying ranges. Price points may vary, yet even the least expensive rifles on this list are coyote capable. Let’s take a closer look:
This Howa rifle is called the MiniAction because the action isn’t short, or long-it is nearly an inch shorter than short actions. The smaller profile of the rifle makes it a lightweight option at 6.4 pounds, that is easily carried and handled through any hunting environment.
The Howa MiniAction is matched to a pillar bedded, outsourced synthetic stock from HTI out of Lincoln, Nebraska. Synthetic stocks such as these by HTI are common on rifles at this price point, but the Howa MiniAction stock feels appropriately rigid and has grip-enhancing checkering along the forend and grip.
Howa’s MiniAction is chambered for four cartridges, including the .223 Remington and the 6.5 Grendel. More and more rifles are being chambered in the excellent little brother to the 6.5 Creedmoor, and the 6.5 Grendel is my personal choice for a predator cartridge.
Howa touts the MiniAction as allowing for faster follow-up shots based on the shorter bolt movement, and these guns are equipped with 5 or 10 round removable magazines.
Not only is the action mini on the Howa MiniAction, so is the price, with an MSRP of $539. This is a rifle that outperforms its price point.
Ruger American Predator
The Ruger American line continuously shows up on lists of best rifles because it is an absolute shooter at an inexpensive price. An example in the Predator lineup will cost between $579 and $639, is capable of shooting sub-moa, and is offered in 10 different chamberings. The best American Predators for coyote hunting will be chambered in 22-250, 6.5 Grendel, .223 Remington or .204 Ruger.
A free-floated, threaded barrel, functioning synthetic stock, factory-installed scope rail, and surprising trigger can all be expected from the Ruger American Predator. Some chamberings like the 6.5 Grendel have drop-down magazines that can hold 10 rounds, while others like the .22-250 have flush-fit magazines with a four-round capacity.
This rifle, chambered in (you guessed it) 6.5 Grendel was my choice for predator hunting until my wife fell in love with the gun. So now I suppose it is hers, and she shoots it extremely well. Any of the four above suggested cartridges equal low-recoiling coyote death.
Tikka T3x Super Varmint
New for 2021 is Tikka’s Super Varmint option within the excellent T3x line. As the name suggests, this rifle is designed to hunt varmints and is therefore chambered for some excellent coyote busting cartridges like the .22-250, .223 Remington or .243 Winchester.
Tikka’s Super Varmint comes equipped with a standard heavy barrel which is threaded and therefore suppressor ready and is protected with a cerakote finish. The heavier barrel increases the rifle’s overall weight to 8.5 pounds before optics, but this also means it is a shooter at home both in the field or at the range.
The stock on the Super Varmint is user adjustable for comb height and grip, and is composed of a grip-enhancing Roughtech material. Magazine capacity is five or six, and the Super Varmint comes with an integrated scope rail as well as attractive fluting of the bolt. A quality two-stage trigger is standard for the T3x Super Varmint, just another feature that adds up to an excellent rifle.
Even rifle makers known for luxury are making affordable rifles paired with synthetic stocks and Weatherby’s Vanguard line is a value-buy starting at $650. The Griptonite synthetic stock is rigid enough for Weatherby to guarantee a three-shot sub-moa target with their quality (and yes, expensive) ammunition.
Weatherby offers 16 different models of Vanguard, and while the least expensive synthetic model may not win a beauty contest, their wood-stocked sporter (MSRP: $849) and Weatherguard Bronze (MSRP: $759) would certainly compete. But hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?
The truth is that any of these Vanguards will shoot and shoot well. Thanks in part to the “match quality” two-stage trigger, which is adjustable; and the forged barrel, the Vanguard is a fine representation of Weatherby’s manufacturing.
Chamberings in .22-250, .223 Remington or .243 Winchester are just right for predator control. Weighing in at 7.5 pounds before scope, you can confidently tote this rifle wherever coyotes may be hiding.
Winchester XPR Stealth
While Winchester’s XPR line is certainly not the rifleman’s rifle of yesterday, it may just be today’s rifle of choice for coyote hunting. Equipped with a short, maneuverable 16.5-inch barrel and a pre-optic weight of 6.5 pounds, the XPR stealth is an easy-to-carry rifle.
The XPR Stealth is a new iteration of Winchester’s XPR line, and boasts a button rifled, free-floated barrel which is threaded to accept a suppressor or brake. A factory-installed Talley Picatinny rail is ready for optics installation, and the dark green synthetic stock has grip-enhancing features where they are needed.
The XPR Stealth is chambered for ten cartridges, including some excellent choices for coyote hunting like .223 Remington or .243 Winchester. Low cost and quality manufacturing are married in the XPR Stealth, making it a quality bolt action rifle with an MSRP of $669.99.
CZ 527 American
Perhaps you prefer handsome wood stocks to house your barrelled action, if so you cannot go wrong with the CZ 527 American.
The 527 American is CZ’s smallest centerfire rifle action and labeled as a micro-Mauser. The rifle action is based on a .223 sized action and can accomodate the six chamberings CZ chose for the 527 American: .223 Remington, .17 Hornet, 6.5 Grendel, .22 Hornet, .204 Ruger and even a light recoiling .30 caliber-the 7.62×39.
The action is fed from a removable 5 round magazine in all chamberings, and is equipped with dove-tail cut outs for optic installation. All chamberings except the 6.5 Grendel come with barrels less than 22 inches while the Grendel utilizes a 24 inch barrel to maximize the potential for longer bullets. The sporter profile barrel helps maintain a scant 6.41 pounds, making the CZ 527 American a lightweight option for coyote hunting.
Browning X-Bolt Max Varmint/Target
When you first glance at the X-Bolt Max Varmint/Target rifle, with its stock ideally suited for target shooting and heavy bull barrel you may simply see a bench rest gun. A closer appraisal will quickly alter this view, however, as the Max Varmint/Target barrel is made of weather sloughing stainless steel, and the stock is equipped with a front Picatinny rail for use with bipods.
Often, hybrids that focus on two differing purposes do neither well, not so with the X-Bolt Max Varmint/Target. Yes, the gun is heavy at 9 pounds pre-optics; but you can hardly ask for another feature from a rifle that has an MSRP of $1380.
The heavy bull barrel helps ensure repeated accuracy while Browning’s new Recoil Hawg muzzle brake purports to reduce recoil by up to 73%! Of course, for coyote hunting, recoil is not likely an issue. Chambered for seven cartridges including .204 Ruger, .223 Remington and .22-250, the Max Varmint/Target can be ideally suited for hunting coyotes.
Cartridge capacity is either 4 or 5 rounds, all fed from a detachable rotary magazine that does not protrude from the stock. The stock itself offers comb adjustability and a target shooting style grip that while suited for benchrest fun, also works well afield.
Kimber Pro Varmint
Kimber’s Pro Varmint is based on the 84M action in stainless steel and equipped with a three-position safety as well as an excellent Mauser claw extractor. Some of Kimber’s barrels, like the ones on the Hunter line are pencil thin to minimize weight, making them less than ideal for repeated or prolonged practice sessions. Not so with the Kimber Pro Varmint which boasts a bull barrel and match grade chamber.
The stock on the Pro Varmint is stiff, made of attractive gray laminated wood and the barrel is pillar and glass bedded. The factory trigger is user adjustable and weight before optics installation is 8 pounds. Other features include an additional front bipod stud and in an attempt to save weight, fluting on the stainless barrel.
This rifle will shoot for days, and at guaranteed sub-moa performance, with an MSRP of $1427.
True to a varmint rifle, the Kimber Pro Varmint is chambered for some ideal coyote cartridges like the .204 Ruger, .223 Remington or .22-250. Unfortunately, though the Hunter line is chambered for the nostalgic .257 Roberts, the Pro Varmint is not.
Winchester Model 70 Long Range MB
The features that helped get the Model 70 its status as the “rifleman’s rifle” are back with a pre-’64 claw extractor and controlled round feed. The Long Range MB is completed with a free floated barrel, action attached via an aluminum bedding block within the superb Bell and Carlson extreme weather stock which itself is vented for barrel cooling.
Though Winchester does not guarantee sub-moa performance, they suggest it is likely with a skilled shooter and quality optics. The barrel is fluted to save some weight and the Long Range MB comes standard with a factory installed muzzle brake.
Available in eight chamberings including the coyote hunting darling .22-250 or .243 Winchester, you may embrace the rifleman’s rifle with an MSRP of $1550.
Christensen Arms Ridgeline
If you want an uber-modern rifle to take out after coyotes, the Christensen Arms Ridgeline is just the ticket. The Ridgeline is lightweight, terrifically accurate, easy on the eyes and loaded with features-with an MSRP of $1995.
Though the Ridgeline is the most expensive rifle on this list, remember that carbon-fiber wrapped barrels themselves are expensive and standard to the Ridgeline. Carbon-fiber wrapped barrels greatly reduce weight and minimize vibration while keeping the barrel cool. Weighing between 6.3 and 6.8 pounds, the Ridgeline comes with a sub-moa guarantee.
The superb Christensen made barrel is free floated, button rifled, and secured to the extremely functional and aesthetically pleasing carbon fiber stock via stainless steel pillars. The sporter style carbon fiber stock is also made in house, which saves some money off of the MSRP, as equivalent aftermarket stocks may cost more than $500.
A Trigger Tech Trigger sets the entire rifle into action, and Trigger Tech is known for making some of the best triggers available. Chambered for 20 different cartridges, the Ridgeline is best deployed for coyotes in either .22-250 or .243 Winchester.
No Rimfire Rifles
Though rimfire rifles are often used in varmint or predator hunting, none make the list of best coyote hunting rifles because of the limited range of rimfire cartridges. The best coyote rifles should be able to take coyotes anywhere they are found. Centerfire cartridges and the rifles that shoot them are simply the best tools for the job. If you want a rimfire rifle for varmint control, look to Savage, CZ or Ruger for inexpensive yet capable rimfire rifles.