I invested in the 6.5 Grendel caliber...not looking back either. Its an Alexander Arms AWS upper, with Shilen barrel, on top of the Alexander Arms GDMR lower. Have shot .5 MOA @ 100yds. with factory loaded 120gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips. Working up reloaded rounds right now preparing for spring time. If you want more info on the round there is a forum dedicated to it, as some/most know on this forum, at 65grendel.com/forum One coyote so far at 350yds. DRT
When you say you want your rifle to pull double duty as a predator rifle and a target rifle, this can be done with a variety of calibers. An 8 twist 223 will make a fine 600 yard target rifle with heavy match bullets. When it comes to hunting coyotes, cut that range in half and the rifle will do well. If you desire to take a coyote at the further distances, something with more case capacity and fires a heavier bullet than a 223 is a wise choice.
.308 Howa 1500, 24" varmint barrel, Harris bipod Bell & Carlson MkII tactical stock. 4-14x50 tactical scope from Wonder Optics.
Wyndam Weaponry "Predator Exterminator" 1/8 twist heavy 416 stainless flutes bbl.
Highly modified. 3lb Timney drop in trigger made the biggest difference in accuracy. I shoot 69g SMK hp to 600 easily. And believe it or not I can hit the 800yd 10" gong consistently as well. My longest shot kill shot has been just over 340 yds on a sleeping coyote. I had plenty of time to range him an adjust. I would stay away from the 5.56/.223 chamber unless you can utilize the longer leade with handloads and a heavy bullet. Other wise, the distance from the bullet to the lands can be too great and you may loose accuracy. My.02
The best thing about the ar-15 is that you can have a .223 for paper punching out to 600-700 yards and change uppers to a larger caliber for hunting predators and then to a different cartridge for hunting large game. for that money, i believe you are better off buying from a different company. i dont have anything against dpms, but thats pretty steep. if you like the dpms, look around at local gun shops. that just seems high priced. just keep doing your homework and get the weapon you want. the AR is a fantastic rifle and is a hoot to shoot! have fun, and keep us posted!
My experience PD shooting in the winds of Wyoming with my M700 VS in 223 was a real eye opener. Using 52gr HP's I was having to hold into the wind as much as 3 ft. Starting out a heavy weight 75gr or heavier .224" bullet at 2400 to 2500 fps might be fine on paper or PD's, but on a coyote at 600yds? I think I would be looking for something 500+ fps faster. Which may force you into an AR-10 clone lower.
Given the money you are considering spending there are alot great choices.
Personally if I was looking for consistent 600 yard + performance I would not go with the 5.56/.223 cartridge. Sure I know someone who swears up and down that he killed a bear that was in his back yard with a .223. Leaving the illegality of taking a bear without a license in California, the .223 is a poor hunting cartridge at long range, imho. The 6.5 grendel would be the type cartridge that would be great for these ranges. They say the 6.5 grendel is good out to 1200yds. The 1200yds. may be a little optimistic, for hunting, out of an ar15 but 8 or 900 yards may be reasonable! 3 times the lead at 3 times the effective range of the .223.
For the kind of money you have to spend you can get an alexander arms ar-15 with a great match barrel. Probably more in the area of 1/2 inch groups with good ammo and shooter doing his job. If you don't reload the 6.5g would be a great excuse to start. This is a far more "serious" rifle for hunting and target shooting at budget ar15 prices.
The place you will need to spend some bux is glass that will put you on target out to 1000 yards.
This is good advice, the Grendel kicks the crap out of the 5.56/.223. Just saying.