.20 VarTarg: Enough firepower for coyotes?

Discussion in 'Coyote Hunting - From 10 Yards to over 1,000 Yards' started by Goofycat, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. Goofycat

    Goofycat Well-Known Member

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    I purchased a Cooper .20 VarTarg a couple of years ago for ground squirrels, but thought about taking it on an upcoming coyote hunt. The VarTarg is nothing more than a .221 Fireball necked down to .20. I use 32-grain Nosler Ballistic tips with about 18 grains of the appropriate powder. I have not chronographed the load, but it is supposed to push the bullet into the mid 3,000 fps range.


    I am going to northern Arizona, but have not hunted there, so I have no idea if these shots are going to be long or short. I usually use a .22-250 and don't expect to shoot past 300 yards. All my kills have been at 100 yards or less.

    Since these bullets are on the light end of the spectrum, would using this cartridge drop the coyotes if the shot were not particularly well-placed? Should I just kiss off using the rifle and take along a heavier caliber? I hate to wound animals, then have to track them down later.
     
  2. ol mike

    ol mike Well-Known Member

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    Yes it will definately kill coyotes but if i was expecting longer range shots i'd opt for a bigger cartridge .
    My 221 hammers them out to 200yds but any farther i wouldn't be to confident in a DRT shot .

    Over at coyotegods they worship the 17cal -you might not even be welcome there shooting that big bore 20cal..laf.

    I've considered rebarrelling mine to 17 or 20 cal but doubt that i will ,if anything i might go with a 221 FB AI .

    Also you might have better luck with a heavier bullet -like a 39gr sierra or 35 gr berger -that's two i hear shoot well in many guns .

    Good luck !
    Mike
     

  3. jacack

    jacack Well-Known Member

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    18grns or about any powder should get you alot more than 3000, should be more like 3800. check your data and yes its plenty for a coyote, I have a 20 tac that i have shot tons of coyotes with and its just a bit faster than the vartarg
     
  4. Goofycat

    Goofycat Well-Known Member

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    It was 3,000 PLUS (I forget just what the figure was supposed to be). I loaded about 150 rounds with the 32-grainers, just for ground squirrels, and yes, I would imagine that the 39-grain bullets would work better for coyotes. Ground squirrels are about as large as half the head of a coyote and tend to turn to red mist and a provide for a good anatomy lesson with the VarTarg or other centerfires. I have not shot probably more than 50 rounds through the rifle (two years old), since I kind of got off the ground squirrel kick, purchased a Fox Pro caller system and haven't had the chance to get out and use the VarTarg. I plan to visit a friend soon in Arizona; he is a newbie with no rifle and I thought I would loan him the .22-250 or .270, and use the VT instead. I will load up some heavier bullets for the VT for later on this year. The friend knows which land is available, knows the ranchers, etc., so I don't have to spend a lot of time trying to find a place to hunt. He said the coyotes are thick where he lives.

    The rains in California pretty much ensure snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and I want to wait until things dry out a bit more. It is supposed to rain this week, next week and Lord knows when it will stop, so I just do other things in the meantime. Even the local rifle range is a total bog after all this rain.
     
  5. Goofycat

    Goofycat Well-Known Member

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    Ol Mike, I tried to register at (Coyotegods.com Home Page), but ran into a brick wall. I filled out all the info, was still not let onto the site, tried to contact them and was then informed that my message was undeliverable. Is the site still active, and if so, is it worth it for me to try to contact them again? If not, I won't waste my valuable time.
     
  6. ol mike

    ol mike Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the slow reply -answer -i don't know .

    They have a lot of people come there and dispute the owner of the website -John Henry so maybe he shut it down ?
    I don't log on anymore i just read there -so again i don't know what the deal is with signing on.

    Best of luck with the 20cal..

    -Mike

    ps -check out www.saubier.com

    Small caliber news -they are a great bunch of guys !
     
  7. Goofycat

    Goofycat Well-Known Member

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    No problem, Mike. Thanks for letting me know. I will check with Saubier.
     
  8. Catfish

    Catfish Well-Known Member

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    I have not tried the Nosler bullets in my .204, but I have hit 5 coyotes with the 32 gr. Sierras and NEVER KEPT ANY DOWN. I knocked 1 down 3 times and still didn`t get him. I don`t think that any of the 32 gr. 20 cal. bullets would be a good choice. I did learn the the Sierra has a jacket of .009 and the Hronady has a jacket of .014 which would be a help. I should say that about all of the coyotes I shoot are running and I don`t always put the bullets into the chest, infact most are hit dead in the Texas eyeball, an with my AR and 55 gr. soft point I have only had 2 - 1 shot kills. I`m sure more would have died without the second shot, but if he is moveing I am shooting.
     
  9. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

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    jacack, how many yards do you think would be maximum 1 shot kill distance?
     
  10. jacack

    jacack Well-Known Member

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    i too have had some need more than one shot with the 32grn bulllets, i switched to the 39 and havent had any problems, I have been shooting the 20 tactical since about 2002 and have a few get away but most where bad shots. I run mine hot, alot hotter than you can get the vartarg as in i get 3950 with the 39's and have killed clean one shots out to about 380 i would say with the vartargs speed i would think anything 300 and under should be a bang flop if you hit them right. but thats just me i have killed a few with the vartarg but none over 200.
    I have a buddy that lives in South dakota and he started shooting the 40bergers but hasnt shot but a few and had mixed results.
     
  11. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for responding, just curious.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  12. ogallala_1

    ogallala_1 Well-Known Member

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    With my vartarg the 32 grainers work pretty well out to 300 but you have to watch shot placement. With my 20-250 and the 45 grain sp it sees like they die no matter what. (could just be in my head) I love the 20 caliber for all varmits.

    John
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  13. Goofycat

    Goofycat Well-Known Member

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    I am kind of getting from the above posts that velocity might not be the culprit. With the VT at around 3600 or so, and the .204/Tactical, etc., around 3900-4000 fps, it seems that the problem is either with shot placement or with using the wrong type of bullet. My experience with the .22-250, using 55-grain Nosler Ballistic Tips traveling at 3500-3600 fps at the muzzle, the bullets tend to splatter (as they are designed to do), as evidenced by the huge 2-3" entrance holes they leave.

    If the the lower-weight bullets splatter immediately upon hitting the animal, they obviously will not tend to travel as far into the animal. To immediately kill the animal, the 32-grain bullet must penetrate either the brain or the heart. If this small bullet first hits the shoulder bone, etc., the animal will just be wounded and/or die a slow death. Larger bullets can also hit bone first, before penetrating through the bone, but even if they miss a vital area, such as the heart, aorta, etc., the shock factor takes over, and the animal will die shortly from blood loss. This is not exactly humane.

    I use a .22-250 with no problems, other than that the Ballistic Tips I have used are not the right choice. I anticipate using my .20 VarTarg, but not with 32-grain Ballistic Tips, or anything other bullet that light. It seems reasonable that heavier bullets (39-40 grains) would be more appropriate, as long as they were designed to penetrate and mushroom, rather than splatter. So.....who makes such a bullet? I would love to load some up for the upcoming hunt.
     
  14. Greg Duerr

    Greg Duerr Well-Known Member

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    You hit Coyote and knocked him down three times? Where did you hit him?