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Versus Ammo Best Gear Predators

.22-250 Vs. .223: What’s The Best Coyote Cartridge?

by Joseph von Benedikt & David Faubion   |  February 14th, 2014 20

Versus: The Best Coyote Caliber.22-250
A rodent cartridge is invading Coyoteville. Due to the popularity of the AR-15 rifle and the fast stream of follow-up shots it affords, coyote hunters that commonly miss more than they hit are embracing a sub-strength caliber. But let’s pause a moment and get back in touch with the purist inside us. Let’s be loyal to what may be the finest predator cartridge currently available: the .22-250 Remington.

Offering almost 3,700 fps of predator-dropping velocity with a 55-grain projectile, a .22-250 gives around 12 percent more speed and 20 percent more ft-lbs of impact energy than a .223 with the same bullet. And that’s giving the .223 the benefit of a 24-inch barrel and all the velocity it can milk out of it—many guys hunt predators with 16-inch barreled AR-15s.

Insignificant, you say? Not so. The .22-250 carries over 550 ft-lbs of energy at 500 yards, opposed to the .223, which carries only 402 ft-lbs at best. As the late, great, legendary Jack O’Connor taught, speed kills (especially on thin-skinned predators). Where less-than-perfect hits are concerned, more is better.

Known for inherent accuracy and for being mild-mannered to handload, the .22-250 has one other advantage: During these crazy times of frenzied buying and ammo hoarding, it’s much easier to find on store shelves than .223 ammo.

Protest all you want. There’s no denying the facts. The .22-250 shoots flatter, hits harder, and is more accurate than the .223. Factor in those better hits, coupled with more impact authority,  and this cartridge makes more dead predators. Ditch the .223 and opt for the bigger, stronger, superior .22-250 Remington. — Joseph von Benedikt

I’ll come right out and say it: The .223 Remington is the most balanced predator cartridge in existence. From small fox to northern coyotes, if you know how to coax a predator within range, it’s all you’ll ever need.

There is a reason most successful predator hunters sight their rifles dead-on at 100 yards.  It’s because most misses are over a dog’s back. Despite the wet dreams of long-range fanatics, predators are seldom shot beyond 300 yards.

And for those that are, realize this:  A bolt-action .22-250 and an AR-15 .223 firing the same 53-grain V-Max have a difference in drop of less than 2.5 inches at 300 yards (6.7-inch drop vs. 9-inch drop).

Those that claim the .223 lacks killing power are either delusional or they adhere to the Geneva Convention. Ditch the full metal jackets and place expanding bullets in the vitals of even deer-sized game and its lethality will shock you.

Not to mention the vast majority of .22-250s have 1:14 twist barrels, which limits bullet selection to around 50 grains, forcing predator hunters to forego the high ballistic coefficient (BC) bullets that excel as the ranges stretch. This gives the .223 and its common 1:9 or faster twist barrel ready access to modern, high BC bullets, significantly upping its power, versatility, and range.

Can the .223 compete with the speed of the .22-250? Nope. Nor can it equal the .22-250’s ability to transform high-dollar bobcats into hideous rags of fur, flesh, and bone. The mild-mannered .223 offers plenty of lethality without excessive pelt damage or muzzle blast. It’s simply a more all-around predator cartridge. — David Faubion

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  • smitty6398

    Where would the 5.56m fit in this discussion ?

    • Hardnox

      5.56 – .223 is basically the same round. The 5.56 is just a tad longer. If your rifle is chambered for 5.56 then you can shoot .223 ammo.

      My AR is chambered for 5.56 and is deadly accurate to 350 yards. I shoot 2″ groups using Hornady v-max ammo. My rifle shoots flat from 50 to 320 yards using a Shaw 24″ bull barrel and a Smith muzzle brake.

      I have taken plenty of deer with it too. All head shots. Drops them like a stone.

    • gator007

      I believe the 5.56 also has a tad higher pressure( comparable ammo) but it is just a tad. With the right ammo the 223/5.56 is more than enough to drop a yote (or larger critter), and will do less damage to the pelt. Now that ammo prices are falling back into line after the big panic buy, I can’t see paying for more than you need, the 222 was a favored round for such critters for many years and is still just as effective with a well placed shot!

      • songdog sniper

        I have a .223 a 22-250 and a 243 they all work very well on dogs but as many have said already shot placement you can use a .458 and hit them in the tail and not take them down remember 1 shot 1 kill

  • Cougrrcj

    For larger varmints like ‘yotes, I step up in bullet diameter to a .24 caliber. .243Win would be tough to beat. 30% more energy on target at 400yds with a 75gr bullet vs the 22-250 with essentially the same impact velocity with a 55gr pill.

  • HappyDog1

    I’ll use a 22-250 or .243 over a .223 any day.

  • wahotsdad

    I listen to and read these articles and shake my head. What you are good with is what you use. As a minimalist fewer calibers the better, reading this article leads you to think you should have a hundred thousand dollar gun collection if you hunt a multitude of different animals. I have AR’s I also have a Savage model 12 with a 26″ bull barrel in 223 mounted with a Nikon P223 3-9 and bipod. The Savage took a 120lb White tail at 175 yds offhand last fall 62gr hollow point one shot. Shot placement is what you strive for with a competent caliber. That 223 was WPA ammo, if the rifle is good and it works for you that’s the caliber. Have a nice day and hunt on!

  • Harry Rainey Jr.

    A buddy of mine is looking at doing a coyote hunt this summer, but he only has a 30-06 with a Redfield 4-12X scope. He’ll be reloading 110gr Hornady Vmax, with IMR 3031 – 49.5gr for his 30.06 … they shoot well, worked a
    few kinks out of the load… That load will keep em smoking at around 3200fps with
    quite a bit less than normal recoil which is nice when huntin
    varmints. Then in case a Feral Hog steps out, he can add a Porker to the list.

    • 1Big_Bill2

      pristine you hill boys sure are brave little homey. Why don’t you ding pullers take a six inch knife then go out and kill your prey face to face. Are all of you hill people cowards our just you slaterers.

  • Rob Price

    One gun is as good as the other-it is NOT the gun or the bullet that makes the difference, it is the hunter. A solid core 30.06 or a .223 or a 22-250 if used by a hunter that understands shot placement and has good familiarity with his weapon can take ‘yotes with either caliber and have success. The #1 thing to consider in my view when hunting fur bearers (soft targets) is your bullet design.

  • Texas Patriot

    When the ammo shortage started, I had thought about replacing my 22-250 that was stolen several years ago. When I started looking for that caliber ammo, it was in just as short supply as the .223 or anything else. So, that ammo availability statement is baloney!!!!

  • Independentrd

    Although the 22-250 has an Performance edge over the 223, I think it’s more the guy pulling the trigger (OK squeezing) than the cartridge. However, given my druthers I’d take the 220 Swift any day, even if it does eat barrels. OTOH I’ve always had a soft spot for the 22-250. I had little in the way of problems getting 223s, both in hunting and match loads.. OTOH Back when shooting trap competitively and before the 223 existed, besides about a case a week of 12 ga shells, I went through a lot of 38, 357, 45, and 30-06 ammo. IIRC Had a 91.28 average from 26 yd on handicap in 76 which ain’t bad for Mi. Moved back and forth between class A and AA on 16 yd. Last time I shot a round of trap (couple years ago) I think I broke 12….38 years and bifocals can leave one a bit humble<:-)) What I've noticed is the huge difference in ammo and component prices since when I was much more active. Now A box of 38 half jacket HP bullets costs more than I used to pay for a box of factory 357 HPs. A pound of powder is close to what I paid for a keg. Just found a box of 38s with a sticker still on it for $9 and some odd cents.

    Of course the cartridges are not the ones that came in the box.

  • KYBobbyT

    Any thoughts on the 25-06 in this conversation?

  • jacksd3

    I vote for 25-06. More hitting power than either of the two in the article. And low recoil. My second choice would be 22-250.

  • videoshoot243

    Not one mention of the 243 or 6mm???Hmmmmm. I can push a 58 grain at nearly 4000 fps but keep it at 3200 to slow the wear on the barrel and my accuracy is reliant on my trigger pull and not a wandering round. I shoot my Howa 223 at the same speed with 55 or 60 grains. Neither of them have enough kick to worry over. My 243 is a model 70 winchester.

    • James Holloway

      You and I own twins!

  • mini14gb

    gets the nod because of PRICE, availability and the fact that its
    available in FAST SHOOTING AR PLATFORMS when multiple dogs arrive.
    Seriously this isn’t even a competition.

  • marshallbrinson

    I like the 6.8 SPC…110-120 Grain commonly available and is dead on at 200 yards.

  • RAD57

    To eradicate all the yotes around here that try to kill the young calves as they are born I’d say it was the 220 Swift or 243 Winchester. If you want to call them in close and minimize pelt damage then I’d say the .223 Remington with handloads, not the crater producing factory crap. I do think that the good old 22 Hornet is really the “Pelt Meister” out to 150 – 200 yards even on the lighter skinned bobcat and Fox.

  • jrdeahl

    The best caliber is 17 Rem with a 25 gr Berger. It provides shock value at 4000 fps without the hide damage. In 223 try the Berger 40 gr 22 cal bullet at 3,700 fps.

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