I would say, its not all the caliber as much as it is the bullet and to complicate that its bullet placement also. If a coyote is quartering away, pretty hard for me not to get splash, or hitting them high in the shoulder blade/spine, going to get a big hole out the top of the back. .204 holds an energy edge on a .17, so in "theory" better kills a little farther away. I have zero experience on bobcats...orange dust, what bullets have you used in .204? I believe that you are correct on the .17 out to 250 yards. Lately my kills have been in that 300 to max 401 yards and a couple on same day were 356-354 yards and it was amazing to see the dead flop, on chest cavity hits. A month ago I had a "lucky" 353 yard running shot into the guts on a male coyote and he "dead flopped" right now. I ranged him after I shot him, no time otherwise just guess work at the moment.