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Which option, would you choose?

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Unread 12-11-2011, 07:19 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Menan, Idaho
Posts: 187
Which option, would you choose?

So here is my question. Sorry this will be a long post and a little dramatic.

I am looking for a new coyote gun. Now, I shoot for fur so my loads are slow for the lighter rounds with the intent of not leaving a 5 inch hole in the hide to sew up. I have narrowed the choice down to:

A. An AR in a 223 with a 20 inch barrel 1-8 twist
Short range load (out to 300 yds) 52 gr A-max loaded to shoot around 2800 fps
Long range load (300-600 yds) 70 gr A-max loaded to shoot around 2800 fps


B. .243 24 inch barrel 1-8 twist
Short Range load (out to 300 yds) 75 gr a-max loaded to shoot 3000 fps
Long Range load (out to 1000 yds) 105 gr Amax or 105 gr bergers loaded to shoot 3000 fps

Now here is why I have narrowed it to those two options

This is a typical coyote stand for me where I hunt. Let me set the scene, bases on actual events.

Situation #1

It is 0750 the air temp is 22 degress, attitude of 5241. We are making our first stand of the morning. The fox pro is set up at the bottom of a draw about 75 yds from where I and my partner are seated in the sage brush. About thrity seconds after I start adult cottontail in distress, from across the caynon I see three specks moving at a full run towars us, just as a shot rings out 75 yds to my right in the next draw where my partner has dispatched the first dog of the day at 25 yds with his cz varmit .223. I glass the three specks and see they are indeed coyotes. They are still coming towards us but much slower. I range them with my leica 1600 at 1019 yds, A little out of range for my ruger compact M77 in 223, shooting 68 gr bthp. We keep calling and a challenge howl comes from the draw below the three coyotes. With a little galssing I find him howling away at 639 yds. I tried everything I could to get him to come closer with no luck. The three coyotes about him start getting nervous and start to bug out after ten minutes of none stop howling from the closer coyote. So I lay prone and set my turrets to 13 MOA with no wind. Through the scope the coyote sitting on hunches looking towards us. I fire and as the scope settles back on the target I see the coyote doing the death spin, or so I thought. After spinning about five times he takes off up the hill goes about 100 yds and then tips over dead. On closer inspection the bullet entered about 2 inches high and a few inches left of the point of aim, taking out one lung explaining the little sprint he had. The exit whole was the same size as the enterance. my guess not enough energy to properly open the bullet (346 ft lbs at 630 yds). Believe it or not the other three coyotes stuck around for the whole show. I wish I would have had my 300 WSM.

Situation #2
Three stands later:

We have been calling about 18 minutes when three coyotes come running in from the left at about 80 yds outs. With a bark I stop one of the dogs and dispatch him. The other two dogs take off, and the game was on. 8 shots later between the two of us, one of us puts one down with a texas heart shot at 300 yds.

I have killed 23 coyotes this year. Out of those 23 dogs 20 were killed under 300 yds. The longest was 843yds with a .257 AI, (which I no longer own)

At the same time I could have kill more coyotes, or at least could have at attempted to kill more if I could have reached out there to those longer ranges with a more ballistically capable round.

Out of those 23 I only had maybe 4 times that two or more coyotes came in.
I choice the .243 becasue of its balistics, I know with the right bullet it is not so hard on fur. But you still do not have the quick follow shot capability that you do with the AR.

I know there are other options out there but this is my perference.
I am aware that both remington and DPMS make an ar in a .243 and I have heard both good and bad and I know I would have to specal order a 1-8 twist barrel for those heavy bullets. I also know that a small base die for a 243 is hard to come by to allow for better feeding with those AR's
Any one with personal experiance with these ARs please chim in.
Or do I just buy my self a good AR and not worry about those longer shots?

Your input would be great.
Walk quite shoot straight.
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Unread 12-11-2011, 07:38 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,232
Re: Which option, would you choose?

Nice write up. I own a 243 and love it. But I'm also wanting an AR/223, so I've spent a bunch of time thinking about your exact question.

One other option that I've considered that is 1/2 way between the tow. How about an AR in 223AI?

I don't have any first hand knowledge of the 223AI, but I've read the following:
1) Can shoot 223 ammo directly.
2) Gain 7-8% powder capacity (100-150 fps improvement).
3) Brass doesn't grow as fast as the 223, so full length sizing is less important.
4) Dies are readily available.

Have you considered the AI? If so, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.

My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives
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Unread 12-11-2011, 08:26 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Menan, Idaho
Posts: 187
Re: Which option, would you choose?

That is a great thought.
I have a 223 wssm and love it I do. It just makes for alot of sewing if you hit them wrong.
Walk quite shoot straight.
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Unread 12-11-2011, 09:50 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Colorado, Front Range
Posts: 561
Re: Which option, would you choose?

There are many one off's in the AR platform. Look at 6mm AR Home Page A buddy of mine has a .204R with a 1:8.5 twist and is smacking yotes with the 55gr Berger and he believes it to be the best bullet he has found so far for TKO's and being fur friendly.

.223 AI's can have feeding problems because of the sharper shoulder. I have one based on a M70 that sometimes hangs up.

Good luck in your search.

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Unread 12-11-2011, 10:23 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 80
Re: Which option, would you choose?

I'd do .223...ammo is everywhere for it. Just in case.
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Unread 12-11-2011, 04:07 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 133
Re: Which option, would you choose?

Jon is your buddy single loading the 55 bergers in his 204 or has he found a way to make them work in a magazine?
Thanks Pete
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Unread 12-11-2011, 07:36 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 3,942
Re: Which option, would you choose?

Good write up and well phrased question. If I remembered your numbers correctly 87% of your coyotes are killed at 300 or under. The math as you've chosen favors the .243 75 grain A-Max.
I know we've been trying forever to come up with one that does it all, I don't expect it to in my life time. Pick what solves most of the variables based on, skill, style of hunting, location, and preference. Accept some limitations, but continue trying to raise your %. Hopefully you find a balance, and at some point your preferences, or circumstances may change also.
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