Hunting predators lets us all extend our seasons, and gives us more time in the field with our buddies. Not to mention, predator hunting is just plain fun. The part I enjoy most is that I get to choose a specialized setup, in a tried and true caliber, with the specific features I want. Whether it is the larger coyotes and foxes in the Northeast, the gray foxes of Texas or the smaller song-dogs of the Midwest, there are some predator rifles that suit the task perfectly.
Savage Model 25 Walking Varminter in .17 Hornet
The little brother to the .22 Hornet makes for a very fun experience and those little 20 grain Hornady V-Max bullets moving along at 3,600 fps can certainly create the red mist. I had the good fortune to spend some time behind the trigger of the Model 25, and it was a very pleasurable experience. Equipped with the Savage Accu-Trigger and a polymer detachable magazine, this little gem is seriously accurate, with non-existent recoil. If you haven’t tried the .17 Hornet yet, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Remington Model 700BDL in .22-250 Remington
Want to talk classics? Remington has always had a penchant for legitimizing the bastard sons that the wildcatters create, and the .22-250 is a shining example of this. If ever the wildcat gods smiled upon a varmint cartridge, the .22-250 is it. The uber-quick lock time of the Remington Model 700BDL makes a perfect platform for this cartridge, delivering the hair-splitting accuracy that the distant, tiny targets can present. Look to the 50, 52 and 55 grain bullets for optimum performance from the 24” barrel.
Winchester Model 70 Coyote Light, in .243 Winchester
There’s no denying the venerable Winchester Model 70 is one on the best rifle designs ever created, and the Coyote Light is no exception. Featuring a rockin’ Bell & Carlson synthetic stock, a Pachmeyer Decelarator recoil pad, the new MOA trigger, and a 24” fluted pipe, this rifle brings the goods. When chambered in the classic .243 Winchester, you’ve got a combination that will survive those cold-weather coyote hunts and buck the wind to boot. Bullet weights range from the light-for-caliber 55 grainers, all the way through the big game approved 100 and 105-grain bullets, handling any predator that ever walked.
Ruger Hawkeye Varmint Target in .204 Ruger
The Ruger 77, although still viewed by some as the new-kid-on-the-block, has made its bones in the hunting world, and earned a place of respect. The Varmint Target model, which has a target-style laminate wood stock, two-stage trigger, and the effective integral scope mounts and rings that Ruger throws in the mix, makes for a solid choice. The 26” target-gray barrel wrings every last bit of velocity from the .204, which being based on the .222 Remington case has a propensity for accuracy. My favorite predator load is the 40-grain bullet launches at 3,900 fps; the end result is a definitive end to any varmint problem.
Browning A-Bolt II Target/Varmint Suppressor Ready in 6.5 Creedmoor
I’ve always been intrigued by the 6.5mm cartridges, and the 6.5 Creedmoor makes for a fantastic, concise package. Put the stubby cartridge in an easy-to-handle 20” barreled package, like the Browning A-Bolt II, and you’ve got a woods-friendly, easy-to-handle setup. Featuring a synthetic Mossy Oak camo stock, this sweet little rig will give all you’d need in the accuracy department, easily dumping predators out to extreme ranges. The 60-degree bolt throw gets you back on target for a follow-up shot, or to pull doubles on aggressive coyotes. Take a peek at the 100-grain loads, as the lighter bullets will easily handle any predator, while giving a flat trajectory for the reach-out-and-touch-someone shots that a wary ‘yote presents. The fact that the Browning is threaded for suppressor is an added bonus, keeping things quiet when you need to be “seen and not heard.”
Pick out a rifle that suits your needs, and help to rid the world of the game-eating pestilence that is the predator. Oh, don’t forget to add the best glass you can afford, but that’s another topic altogether.