My first varmint rifle was my .22LR. Frankly it was pretty disappointing on coyotes, although I dispatched several with it. Then Dad gave me an old .22-250 and I never looked back. Shot the barrel out of that one, got a new 26â€ Ruger M77 MKII VT (heavy barrel, stainless, laminate stock) and fell in love. Sold the old .22-250 and bought a used 22â€ Ruger M77 in .257 Roberts. Later I bought a used Leupold 4.5-14x for the Roberts and it has since become my favorite coyote gun.
A few weeks ago the Roberts shot a 3-shot, 100-yard group that measured 0.232â€ center-to-center. This morning I put that accuracy to work.
The day broke clear and cold, mid-teens, with no wind. We had 2â€ of two-day old snow on the ground. I was up on a hillside shortly after shooting light, watching the brush on the far side of the dry wash down below. The range to the brush averaged about 225 yards at the closest points. After a few minutes I thought I detected some motion out in the grass beyond the brush but try as I might I couldnâ€™t find a coyote. Before writing it off as birds or a figment of my imagination, I decided to use the binoculars to search the area. After a few moments I spotted a coyote behind a few wisps of knee-high grass, the only thing remotely resembling cover on the barren hillside. I estimated the range at 350 yards, lined up the crosshairs, and squeezed the trigger.
And missed. The coyote ran further away, then stopped. I estimated the range now at 500 yards. Normally the coyotes will turn broadside to get a good look at me, but this one was facing straight away with only his head turned back. I estimated the bullet drop at 22â€, held the crosshairs an estimated 18â€ over its back, and squeezed the trigger a second time, taking the â€˜Texas heart shotâ€™. The coyote dropped, then struggled back to its feet. It managed a few yards at a walk before I got the crosshairs lined up, still 18â€ high but in front of its nose this time. I squeezed the trigger a third time and the coyote dropped for good with a solid hit to the lungs.
The load was a 75g V-MAX running 3609fps as it leaves the barrel. This gun is nothing but sweet!
FWIW, the first shot was absolutely fatal, but not immediately. The V-MAX had done tremendous damage but not to the vitals. This is exactly why I wonâ€™t take such a shot at big game, even with a hunting bullet.
NRA, GOA, DAD