The Best Coyote Gun | 100+ Top Varmint Rifles | Predator Calibers

Selecting The Best Coyote Rifle

Finding the best coyote gun is an impossible task. There doesn’t yet exist the perfect weapon for slaying song dogs in every situation. Debates will rage on about what’s the best caliber, the best loads, and of course the best way to hunt coyotes! This list is not complete, it’s intention is to compare the current varmint rifles available on the market. It’s meant to help you in your research in finding the right gun for you.

There are thousands of rifles that can be used for predators. I understand that by limiting this list to varmint, predator, and coyote rifles that I am leaving a lot of good rifles off the list. Without setting a parameter to only focus on these models, I would spend a lifetime comparing models. If there is a gun you think is missing or that is a new release, please paste the link into the comment section below. If you are a custom rifle maker or gun builder and would like to be included in this list, please contact us.

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.17 HMR Coyote Rifles

.17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, commonly known as the .17 HMR, is a rimfire rifle cartridge developed by Littleman in 2002. It was developed by necking down a .22 Magnum case to take a .17 caliber (4.5 mm) projectile. Commonly loaded with a 17 grain (1.1 g) projectile, it can deliver muzzle velocities in excess of 775 m/s (2,650 ft/s).

The .17 HMR round is similar to rounds developed by dedicated rimfire wildcatters who worked to create a rimfire cartridge with an exceptionally flat trajectory. These wildcatters were seeking to match the ballistics of the obsolete 5 mm Remington Rimfire Magnum, which was made from 1970 to 1974, and was to that point the fastest rimfire cartridge ever produced. With 5 mm diameter barrels and bullets being virtually unavailable at the time (the 5mm RMR was the last commercial 5 mm round until the 2004 release of the centerfire .204 Ruger), the commercially available .17 caliber became their bullet of choice. The .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire was the logical parent case, rather than 5mm RMR (with its unique case head size, which requires a significantly different bolt and magazine), because it was commonly available, and it is a far larger and stronger case than the next largest, the .22 Long Rifle. The .17 caliber wildcats not only met, but far exceeded the 5mm RMR’s velocities and flat trajectory. The accuracy of these cartridges was also quite good. However, the downrange energy of the 5mm RMR is superior to both .22 WMR and .17 HMR, so there is still potential in the 5mm rimfire for wildcatters.

Hornady, in conjunction with Marlin Firearms and Sturm, Ruger (manufacturers in the rimfire rifle market), followed much the same path. With the .22 WMR case as the starting point, a simple barrel change was sufficient for most .22 WMR firearms to chamber the new cartridge. In 2002 the first rifles and ammunition began appearing on the market. While the ammunition was relatively expensive due to the high-performance .17 caliber bullets used, it was still cheaper than most centerfire ammunition. By 2004 CCI, Federal Cartridge and Remington had each introduced .17 HMR ammunition offerings.1

Rifles coming soon…

.204 Ruger Coyote Rifles

Tikka T3x Varmint

“The .204 Ruger is a centerfire rifle cartridge developed by Hornady and Ruger. The 204 Ruger was developed from the .222 Remington Magnum, which has the second largest case capacity in the family that began with the .222 Remington. To make the 204 Ruger, the 222 Remington Magnum case was necked down to .204 inches (5 mm) and shoulder moved forward and angle increased to 30 degrees.

The .204 Ruger has proven to be a very accurate and efficient cartridge: an early tester reported 1/2 MOA groups at 100 yards (91 m) with the Hornady loads and a Ruger #1 Varmint rifle. The .204 Ruger was intended primarily for varmint rifles, which require bullets with flat trajectories but not much mass or kinetic energy. The .204 was “splitting the difference” between the popular .224 varmint rounds such as the .220 Swift and .22-250 Remington, and the tiny .172 caliber rounds such as the .17 Remington and the .17 HMR. The resulting cartridge provides somewhat higher velocities than any of these, giving a maximum point blank range of more than 270 yards (250 m).”2

.204 Ruger AR-15 Rifles

A major benefit of the .204 platform is the ability to build an AR-15 in the .204 caliber. There aren’t many companies making a .204 designed for varmints and predators, but the list includes some options.

Rock River Arms LAR-15M Varmint A4

.204 Ruger Varmint Rifles

Popular manufacturers of the .204 Ruger in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
Browning X-Bolt Eclipse Varmint26"9.3 lbs12$1,070
Browning X-Bolt Varmint Stalker24"6.9 lbs12$940
Howa Heavy Barrel Varminter Rifle24"9.0 lbs12$681
Kimber Varmint24"7.3 lbs12$1,291
Kimber Pro Varmint24"8.0 lbs12$1,427
Remington Model 700 SPS Varmint26"8.5 lbs12$761
Ruger American Rifle® Predator22"6.6 lbs12$529
Ruger Hawkeye Predator Rifle24"8.0 lbs12$1,139
Sako 85 Varmint20" or 23.7”7.7 & 8.2 lbs12$1,928
Sako 85 Varmint Stainless20" or 23.7”8.2 & 8.6 lbs12$1,798
Savage® Arms 25 Lightweight Varminter24"8.3 lbs12$772
Savage® Arms 25 Walking Varminter22"6.9 lbs12$620
Savage® Arms Specialty 10/110 Predator Hunter24"8.5 lbs12$999
Savage® Arms 12 FCV Varmint Series26"9.0 lbs12$781
T/C Venture™ Predator22"7.0 lbs10$638
T/C Encore® Pro Hunter™ Predator28"7.8 lbs12$882
Tikka T3x Varmint23.6”7.9 lbs12$848
Tikka T3x Super Varmint20" or 23.7”7.7 & 8.2 lbs12$1,557
Rock River Arms LAR-15M Varmint A4 (AR-15)20"9.1 lbs12$1,400
DPMS LR-204 Varmint Target Rifle (AR-15)24"9.75 lbs12$1,059
CZ 527 Varmint24"7.5 lbs12$725

.220 Swift Coyote Rifles

Remington® Model 700 Varmint SF

“The 220 Swift was the first factory loaded rifle cartridge with a muzzle velocity of over 4,000 ft/s (1,200 m/s). The .220 Swift remains the fastest commercial cartridge in the world, with a published velocity of 4,665 ft/s (1,422 m/s) using a 29 grain bullet and 42 grains of 3031 powder.

The Swift is a large cased .224 caliber cartridge and bullet that was created for small game such as prairie dogs, groundhogs and other vermin (or “varmints” in the US) such as marmots. Upon its introduction it astounded the varmint hunting world by being fully 1,400 ft/s (430 m/s) faster than its nearest competitor, which was the .22 Hornet (also .224 caliber). It was found to be an extremely accurate cartridge as well.

Due to its very high velocity its bullet drop allows dead on sighting on game such as groundhogs to ranges out to 375 yd (343 m), and it is still considered an excellent cartridge for taking varmints by experienced Swift shooters.

The Swift’s high-velocity performance comes at a price, because the high velocities and high internal firing temperatures accelerate chamber and bore wear. Modern metallurgy and cryogenic treatment have vastly improved barrel life with the .220 Swift and other 4,000 ft/s (1,200 m/s) cartridges, although weapons firing these cartridges still usually require rechambering or rebarreling much sooner than those firing lower-velocity cartridges such as the .222 Remington and the .223 Remington.3

.220 Swift Varmint Rifles

Popular manufacturers of the .220 Swift in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
Remington® Model 700 Varmint SF26"8.5 lbs14"$991

.222 Remington Coyote Rifles

Savage® Arms 25 Walking Varminter

The .222 Remington, which is also known as the Triple Deuce/Triple Two/Treble Two is a centerfire rifle cartridge. Introduced in 1950, it was the first commercial rimless .22 (5.56 mm) cartridge made in the United States. As such, it was an entirely new design, without a parent case. The .222 Remington was a popular target cartridge from its introduction until the mid-1970s and still enjoys a reputation for inherent accuracy. It remains a popular vermin or “varmint” cartridge at short and medium ranges with preferred bullet weights of 40-55 grains and muzzle velocities from 3000-3500 fps.

While the .222 Remington is rarely found in current production in America, its derivative cartridges are among the most popular in the world. In addition to the .222 Magnum and .223 Remington, the .222 has also served as the parent case for the .221 Fireball, the fastest production handgun cartridge.4

.222 Remington Varmint Rifles

Popular manufacturers of the .222 Remington in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
Sako 85 Varmint20” or 23.7”7.7 & 8.2 lbs14"$1,928
Sako 85 Varmint Stainless20” or 23.7”8.2 & 8.6 lbs14"$1,798
Savage® Arms 25 Walking Varminter22"6.9 lbs14"$620
Tikka T3x Varmint20” or 23.7”7.5 & 7.9 lbs14"$848
Tikka T3x Super Varmint23.6”7.7 & 8.2 lbs14"$1,557

.223 Remington Coyote Rifles

T/C Encore® Pro Hunter™ Predator

This is the most popular caliber across all varmint rifle manufacturers. It’s a tried and trued caliber for hunting coyotes. This cartridge was designed for military use, and access to ammunition make this an inexpensive round to purchase factory ammunition as well as reloading. The AR-15 Platform has made the .223 caliber an extremely desirable round for coyotes. Having the ability to use a semi-automatic rifle allows for quicker follow up shots. Not many manufacturers are taking advantage of this platform and the desire for hunters to create a predator model. This list has a few popular varmint AR-15’s on the market.

Remington® Model R-15 VTR SS Varmint

“The .223 Rem was first offered to the civilian sporting market in December 1963 in the Remington 760 rifle. In 1964 the .223 Rem cartridge was adopted for use in the Colt M16 rifle which became an alternate standard rifle of the U.S. Army. The military version of the cartridge uses a 55 gr full metal jacket boattail design and was designated M193. In 1980 NATO modified the .223 Remington into a new design which is designated 5.56×45mm NATO type SS109.”5

.223 Remington Varmint Rifles

Popular manufacturers of the .223 Ruger in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
Browning X-Bolt Eclipse Varmint26"9.3 lbs12$1,070
Browning X-Bolt Varmint Stalker24"6.9 lbs12$940
Howa Heavy Barrel Varminter Rifle20"8.5 lbs9$681
Kimber Pro Varmint24"8.0 lbs9$1,427
Mossberg® MVP Series Varmint24"7.8 lbs9$754
Mossberg® MVP Series Predator18.5"7.0 lbs9$733
Remington Model 700 SPS Varmint26"8.5 lbs12$761
Remington Model 700 Varmint SF26"8.5 lbs12$991
Ruger American Rifle® Predator22"6.6 lbs8$529
Ruger Hawkeye Predator Rifle22"7.7 lbs9$1,139
Sako 85 Varmint20” & 23.7”7.7 & 8.2 lbs14$1,928
Sako 85 Varmint Stainless20” & 23.7”8.2 & 8.6 lbs8$1,798
Savage® Arms 25 Lightweight Varminter24"8.3 lbs9$772
Savage® Arms 25 Walking Varminter22"6.9 lbs9$620
Savage® Arms Model 11 Trophy Predator Hunter22"8.8 lbs9$713
Savage® Arms Specialty 10/110 Predator Hunter22"8.5 lbs9$999
Savage® Arms 12 FCV Varmint Series26"9 lbs9$781
T/C Venture™ Predator22"6.8 lbs12$638
T/C Encore® Pro Hunter™ Predator28"7.8 lbs12$882
Tikka T3x Varmint20” & 23.7”7.5 & 7.9 lbs8 - 12$848
Tikka T3x Super Varmint20” & 23.7”7.7 & 8.2 lbs8 - 12$1,557
Bushmaster Predator Rifle (AR-15)20"8.0 lbs8$1,159
Bushmaster Varmint Rifle (AR-15)24"8.4 lbs9$1,159
Remington® Model R-15 VTR Predator (AR-15)18"6.8 lbs9$1,229
Remington® Model R-15 VTR SS Varmint (AR-15)24"7.8 lbs9$1,299
Rock River Arms LAR-15 Coyote Rifle (AR-15)20"8.4 lbs9$1,335
Rock River Arms Predator Pursuit (AR-15)20"7.9 lbs8$1,350
CZ 527 Varmint24" or 25.6"7.8 lbs9$725

22 Nosler AR Coyote Rifles

Nosler 22 Nosler Varmageddon

“The 22 Nosler is a 22 (.224″) caliber, rebated-rim centerfire rifle cartridge designed by Nosler. The 22 Nosler is a SAAMI approved and standardized cartridge. It is the fifth cartridge designed by Nosler. It is claimed that the 22 Nosler delivers 25% more energy and is nearly 300 fps faster than a .223 Remington/ 5.56 NATO. This cartridge is designed to use the existing bolt face of an AR-15, and conversions to this caliber can be accomplished with a simple upper receiver swap. The case diameter and taper resemble those of the 6.8mm Remington SPC, so Nosler recommends using a magazine designed for that cartridge. While similar to the 6.8SPC in some regards, there is no parent case and the 22 Nosler cannot be formed from 6.8SPC brass.”6

22 Nosler Varmint Rifles

Popular manufacturers of the 22 Nosler in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
22 Nosler Varmageddon18"TBDTBD$2,870

22 Creedmoor Coyote Rifles

The 22 Creedmoor is one of the newest overbore magnums introduced in the last few years. Essentially a necked down 6.5 creedmoor, it’s using the same cartridge as the parent 6.5. The 22 was built to shoot long heavy bullets that many of the .224 caliber calibers can’t handle. With an increased volume in the case and a 1-in-7 fast twist barrel you can push longer bullets at over 3,400 fps. The 22 creed also performs well with small grain bullets making it a very versatile predator caliber.

Rifles coming soon…

.22-250 Remington Coyote Rifles

T/C Venture™ Predator

“The .22-250 Remington is a very high-velocity (capable of reaching over 4000 feet per second), short action, .22 caliber rifle cartridge primarily used for varmint hunting and small game hunting, though it finds occasional use on deer. This cartridge is also sometimes known as the .22 Varminter or the .22 Wotkyns Original Swift. Along with the .220 Swift, the .22-250 was one of the high-velocity .22 caliber cartridges that developed a reputation for remote wounding effects known as hydrostatic shock in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The .22-250 started life as a wildcat cartridge developed from the .250 Savage case necked down to take a .224 caliber bullet. In the early days of the cartridge there were several different versions that varied only slightly from one to the next, including one developed in 1937 by Grosvenor Wotkyns, J.E. Gebby and J.B. Smith who named their version the 22 Varminter.

The .22-250 is similar to, but was outperformed by the larger .220 Swift cartridge. However, it is in much wider use and has a larger variety of commercially available factory ammunition than the Swift. This makes it generally cheaper to shoot. The smaller powder load also contributes to more economical shooting if a person is doing their own reloads. Despite common myths regarding longer barrel life on a 22-250 vs the Swift or other calibers, that is directly related to shooter habits, allowing the barrel to cool between volleys and the speed of the bullet, an important factor for high-volume shooters. Both the Swift and the 22-250 shoot at very similar velocities and bullet weights so barrel wear when used and cooled equally is identical between the two calibers. Due to its rimless case the 22-250 also feeds from a box magazine with ease.

The .22-250 is currently the fastest production cartridge, surpassing the .204 Ruger. This round is loaded by Hornady under their Superformance line and is a 35 grain, non-toxic, fragmenting varmint bullet at 4450 feet per second (1356 m/s) from a 26″ barrel. The .223 WSSM is loaded to 4700 fps (1432 m/s) by Monolithic Munitions, but this is a custom loading by a specialty shop, not by a major manufacturer.”7

.22-250 Remington Coyote Rifles

Popular manufacturers of the .22-250 Remington in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
Browning X-Bolt Eclipse Varmint26"9.3 lbs14$1,070
Browning X-Bolt Varmint Stalker26"7.2 lbs14$940
Howa Heavy Barrel Varminter Rifle20"8.5 lbs12$681
Kimber Varmint26"7.6 lbs14$1,291
Kimber Pro Varmint24"8.0 lbs14$1,427
Remington Model 700 SPS Varmint26"8.5 lbs14$761
Remington Model 700 Varmint SF26"8.5 lbs14$991
Ruger American Rifle® Predator22"6.6 lbs10$529
Ruger Hawkeye Predator Rifle24"8.0 lbs14$1,139
Sako 85 Varmint20” & 23.7”8.2 & 8.6 lbs14$1,928
Sako 85 Varmint Stainless20” & 23.7”8.6 & 9.0 lbs14$1,798
Savage® Arms Model 11 Trophy Predator Hunter22"8.8 lbs12$713
Savage® Arms Specialty 10/110 Predator Hunter24"8.5 lbs12$999
Savage® Arms 12 FCV Varmint Series26"9 lbs12$781
T/C Venture™ Predator22"6.8 lbs12$638
T/C Encore® Pro Hunter™ Predator28"7.8 lbs12$882
Tikka T3x Varmint20” & 23.7”7.5 & 7.9 lbs14$848
Tikka T3x Super Varmint20” & 23.7”7.7 & 8.2 lbs14$1,557
Winchester Model 70 Coyote Light24"7.5 lbs14$1,270

.224 Valkyrie Coyote Rifles

The 224 Valkyrie cartridge is a rimless bottlenecked intermediate rifle cartridge that was developed by Federal Ammunition to rival the .22 Nosler while still running well in modern sporting rifles.

In order to fill a need for a long range “small platform” Modern Sporting Rifle, Federal took their proven 6.8 SPC case and necked it down to utilize a .224 projectile. Prior to this, the ability to compete at long range (1000+ yards) was dominated in competition by the large frame MSR’s, primarily in .308 Winchester and 6.5mm Creedmoor.

Precision Rifle Series competitors benefit from having a bolt action rifle and MSR platform rifle in a common caliber.8

Rifles coming soon…

.243 Winchester Coyote Rifles

Howa Heavy Barrel Varminter Rifle

The .243 Winchester (6×52mm) is a popular sporting rifle cartridge. Initially designed as a target/varmint round, it may be used for animals such as coyote, blacktail deer, whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn, and wild hogs. It can also be used against larger animals such as black bear or elk but is sometimes said to be “too light” for such large animals. Rounds of at least 90 grains are better suited for hunting larger animals while rounds less than 90 grains are more suitable for varmints. The .243 is based on a necked down .308 cartridge case. It is very popular with target shooters, Metallic Silhouette, and long range shooters, because of its accuracy and low recoil.

This cartridge was first introduced in 1955 for the Winchester Model 70 bolt-action and Model 88 lever-action sporting rifles and quickly gained popularity among sportsmen worldwide. Just about every major manufacturer offers rifles chambered in .243.

It was a ground-breaking development of the day, combining a very useful combination of lightweight (70 to 85 grain) bullets optimized for long-range performance for varmint hunters (groundhogs, coyotes, prairie dogs) and 90 to 105-grain bullets suitable for the game up to the size of deer and pronghorn antelope. Its predecessor in the Winchester lineup, the very similar .257 Roberts, could have easily been selected to accomplish the same tasks, but was not available factory loaded with either lighter, varmint-weight pills or pointed, long range spitzer (pointed) bullets, so it never achieved the popularity of the newer round.

The .243 produces a velocity of 2,960 feet (902.21 m) per second with a 100-grain (6.6 gram) projectile from a 24-inch (610 mm) barrel. Commercially loaded .243 ammunition is available with bullet weight ranging from 55 grains (3.6 g) up to 115 grains (6.8 g). Twist rate of the barrel is the major deciding factor in which bullets to use, 1:10 being the most popular as it is sufficient to stabilize up to 100-gr. bullets. However, for VLD (very low drag)-profile and bullets heavier than 100 grs., a 1:8 or 1:7 (for 115-gr. VLD bullets) is necessary.9

.243 Winchester Varmint Rifles

Popular manufacturers of the .243 Winchester in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
Browning X-Bolt Varmint Stalker24"6.9 lbs10$940
Howa Heavy Barrel Varminter Rifle24"9.0 lbs10$681
Remington® Model 700 SPS Varmint26"8.5 lbs9.125$761
Ruger® American Rifle® Predator22"6.6 lbs9$529
Sako 85 Varmint20” & 23.7”8.2 & 8.6 lbs10$1,928
Sako 85 Varmint Stainless20” & 23.7”8.6 & 9.0 lbs10$1,798
Savage® Arms 10/110 Predator Hunter24"8.5 lbs9.25
Tikka T3x Varmint20” & 23.7”7.5 & 7.9 lbs10$848
Tikka T3x Super Varmint20” & 23.7”7.7 & 8.2 lbs10$1,557
Winchester Model 70 Coyote Light24"7.5 lbs10$1270
CZ 557 Varmint25.625"10.9 lbs10$865

.260 Remington

Sako 85 Varmint

The .260 Remington (also known as 6.5-08 A-Square) cartridge was introduced by Remington in 1997. Many wildcat cartridges based on the .308 Winchester case had existed for years before Remington standardized this round. Although loaded to higher pressures, the ballistics of this cartridge are basically similar to the 6.5×55mm when bullet weights do not exceed 140 grains. When loaded with heavier bullets, the 6.5×55mm is capable of greater velocity. Due to its shorter overall length the .260 Remington can be chambered in a shorter length action than the 6.5×55mm.

Because 6.5 mm (.264″) bullets have relatively high ballistic coefficients, the .260 Remington has seen success in rifle competition including bench rest, Metallic Silhouette and long range. It is capable of duplicating the trajectory of the .300 Winchester Magnum while generating significantly lower recoil. Also, converting a rifle chambered for the .308 Winchester (or any of its offspring, such as the 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington or .338 Federal) to .260 Remington generally requires little more than a simple barrel change.

Loaded with lighter bullets, the .260 Remington can be used as an effective varmint or a small predator hunting cartridge for use against such species as marmots, woodchucks, bobcats and coyotes. Bullets chosen for these species should be designed to open rapidly unless harvesting of the pelt is the objective. FMJ or other non-expanding bullets can be used if the latter is the case.10

.260 Remington Varmint Rifles

Popular manufacturers of the .260 Remington in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
Sako 85 Varmint20” & 23.7”8.2 & 8.6 lbs8$1,928
Sako 85 Varmint Stainless20” & 23.7”8.6 & 9.0 lbs8$1,798
Savage® Arms 10/110 Predator Hunter24"8.5 lbs8$999
Tikka T3x Varmint20” & 23.7”7.5 & 7.9 lbs8$848
Tikka T3x Super Varmint20” & 23.7”7.7 & 8.2 lbs8$1,557

6MM Creedmoor Coyote Rifles

Ruger American Rifle® Predator

The 6mm creedmoor was created in 2009 by an Outdoor Life writer who had the idea of creating a wildcat round. He was looking to create a cartridge capable of an accurate 1,000 yard shot and had moderate recoil. He had seen the 6.5 creedmoor introduced in 2007 and felt it was a good place to start. With the help of Hornady he necked down the 6.5 cartridge and the 6mm creedmoor was the result.

“I sent him a Sako 85 action and a McMillan stock. Hornady helped George procure a reamer and made custom reloading dies for the two of us. I got a barrel from Bartlein, and I ordered a Surefire muzzle brake and sound suppressor. Warne built a custom one-piece 20-MOA Picatinny rail for the dovetails on the Sako receiver, and I topped it with a Leupold M5 scope. Once George finished the rifle, I sent it to Jeremy Holmes, a talented artist who adorned it with Mongolian nomads on horseback using eagles to hunt wolves.

The 6 Creed’s performance was as dazzling as the rifle’s paint job. Using 105-grain A-Max bullets behind 43.2 grains of H4831SC, it had no difficulty ringing steel at 1,000 yards and beyond. Mission accomplished. We did this work in 2009, and the story appeared in the August 2010 issue of Outdoor Life, after which George and I didn’t give much thought to the little wildcat and moved on to other projects.”11

6MM Creedmoor

Popular manufacturers of the 6MM Creedmoor in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
Ruger® American Rifle® Predator22"6.6 lbs7.7$529

6.5 Creedmoor Coyote Rifles

Mossberg MVP Series Predator

The 6.5mm Creedmoor, also called the 6.5 Creedmoor or 6.5 CM for short, is a centerfire rifle cartridge introduced by Hornady in 2007 as a modification of the .30 TC, which was based on the .300 Savage. It was designed specifically for rifle target shooting, although it is also achieving success in game hunting. Bullet for bullet, the 6.5mm Creedmoor achieves a slower muzzle velocity than longer cartridges such as the 6.5-284 Norma or magnum cartridges such as the 6.5mm Remington Magnum. However, due to its 2.825 inches (71.8 mm) overall length, it is capable of being chambered in short-action bolt action rifles and AR-10 semi-automatic rifles.

6.5 mm (.264″) bullets, in general, are known for their relatively high sectional density and ballistic coefficients, and have seen success in rifle competition. For some loads the 6.5mm Creedmoor is capable of duplicating the muzzle velocity or trajectory of the .300 Winchester Magnum while generating significantly lower recoil, based on lighter projectile weight. As this cartridge is designed for a bolt face diameter of .473 inches (roughly 12 mm), conversion of a short action rifle to another caliber (such as the .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester or .300 Savage) with similar bolt face diameter generally requires little more than a simple barrel change.12

6.5 Creedmoor Varmint Rifles

Popular manufacturers of the 6.5 Creedmoor in a Predator/Varmint model.
Make and ModelBarrelWeightTwistMSRP
Howa Heavy Barrel Varminter Rifle24"9.0 lbs8$681
Mossberg® MVP™ Series Predator20"8.0 lbs8$733
Ruger® American Rifle® Predator22"6.6 lbs8$529
Ruger® Hawkeye Predator Rifle24"8.1 lbs8$1,159
Savage® Arms 10/110 Predator Hunter24"8.5 lbs8$999

6.5mm Grendel Coyote Rifles

The 6.5mm Grendel (6.5×39mm) is an intermediate cartridge designed by Arne Brennan, Bill Alexander, and Janne Pohjoispää as a low recoil, high accuracy, 200–800 yard cartridge specifically for the AR-15. It is an improved variation of the 6.5mm PPC. Since its introduction, it has proven to be a versatile design and is now expanding out into other firearms including bolt-action rifles and the Kalashnikov system.

The 6.5mm Grendel design goal was to create an effective 200–800 yard AR-15 magazine-length cartridge for the AR-15 that surpassed the performance of the native 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington cartridge. Constrained by the length of the 5.56×45mm NATO round, the Grendel designers decided to use a shorter, larger diameter case for higher powder volume while allowing space for long, streamlined, high ballistic coefficient (BC) bullets. Firing factory loaded ammunition loaded with bullets ranging from 90 to 129 grains (5.8–8.4 g), its muzzle velocity ranges from 2,500 ft/s (760 m/s) with 129- and 130-grain (8.4 g) bullets to 2,900 ft/s (880 m/s) with 90 gr (5.8 g) bullets (similar in velocity to a 5.56 mm 77-grain (5.0 g) round). Depending on their case material and bullet 6.5 Grendel cartridges weigh 14.7 to 17.8 grams (227 to 275 gr).

The case head diameter of the Grendel is the same as that of the .220 Russian, the 7.62×39mm, and 6.5mm PPC cases. This diameter is larger than the 5.56×45mm NATO, thereby necessitating the use of a non-standard AR-15 bolt. The increased case diameter results in a small reduction in the capacity of standard size M16/AR-15 magazines. A Grendel magazine with the same dimensions as a STANAG 30-round 5.56 magazine will hold 26 rounds of 6.5mm ammunition.

Proponents assert that the Grendel is a middle ground between the 5.56×45mm NATO and the 7.62×51mm NATO. It retains greater terminal energy at extended ranges than either of these cartridges due to its higher ballistic coefficient. For example, the 123 gr (8.0 g) 6.5 Grendel has more energy and better armor penetration at 1,000 meters than the larger and heavier 147 gr (9.5 g) M80 7.62 NATO round.

In order to obtain ballistics that are superior to the 7.62×51mm cartridge, a weapon with a longer barrel and firing a heavier bullet is necessary. To achieve the same results from shorter length barrels, even heavier bullets are needed.13

Rifles coming soon…

Coyote Guns used in this article:

Browning X-Bolt Eclipse Varmint
Browning X-Bolt Varmint Stalker
Howa Heavy Barrel Varminter Rifle
Kimber Varmint
Kimber Pro Varmint
Mossberg® MVP™ Series Varmint
Mossberg® MVP™ Series Predator
Remington® Model 700 SPS Varmint
Remington® Model 700 Varmint SF
Ruger® American Rifle® Predator Bolt-Action Rifles
Ruger® Hawkeye Predator Rifle
Sako 85 Varmint
Sako 85 Varmint Stainless
Savage® Arms 25 Lightweight Varminter
Savage® Arms 25 Walking Varminter
Savage® Arms Model 11 Trophy Predator Hunter
Savage® Arms 10/110 Predator Hunter
Savage® Arms 12 FCV
Thompson Center Venture Predator
Thompson Center Encore® Pro Hunter™ Predator
Tikka T3x Varmint
Tikka T3x Super Varmint
Winchester Model 70 Coyote Light
Remington® Model R-15 VTR Predator
Remington® Model R-15 VTR SS Varmint
Nosler 22 Nosler Varmageddon
Bushmaster Predator Rifle
Bushmaster Varmint Rifle
Rock River Arms LAR-15 Coyote Rifle
Rock River Arms Predator Pursuit
Rock River Arms LAR-15M Varmint A4
DPMS LR-204 Varmint Target Rifle


  1. Peter Specht

    I was surprised that the .17 HMR was not among your choices. Perhaps in the Savage 93 thumb hole platform.

    • Steve

      I agree. The .17 HMR hollow point with a 38gr bullet is a very good cartridge for dogs within 150 yards.

      • JHink

        I think the name of the game is efficiently killing varmints. 17hmr isn’t much more impressive,if any in my opinion, than a 22mag., look it up. not enough gun and not enough range. 17 may work for you up til now but would definitely upgrade to a real rifle.

        • cary

          agreed tried 17hmr I hit 3 coyotes but just wounded them had to go back to old 22-250 dead in their tracks

    • David

      The .172 in Winchester WSM is better a choice.

  2. Steve D

    I love my .17HMR but no way is it enough gun for coyotes. Don’t believe me, fine! Instead ask Dave Petzal who I believe is one of the most knowledgable gun writers ever!

    • owen

      That is not necessarily true. Would it be my first choice? Definitely not, my coyote gun is a custom AR in 6.5 Grendel (built not just receiver slapped together) which I handload for. A .17 HMR is definitely not an ideal coyote gun, but i, and many others have killed them with the .17. However, it is not a gun i would use specifically for coyote, my main reason being i live on the plains of wyoming and we have wind issues. However, depending on wind, i would be confident taking shots on a coyote out to probably 75 yards. after that energy decreases greatly.

  3. Mark

    If you include the .260 or 6mm Creed and the 6.5 Creed, then why didn’t you mention the 6.5 grendel. It’s a .264 just like the others and a bit less expensive to shoot with still awesome knock down power as the others .

    • Chad Clark

      No manufacturer presently makes a predator model in 6.5 grendel yet. Once they do, we’ll add it to the list. The only reason 6mm creed and others made it is because a predator model is available.

      • Walt

        Howa has made a 6.5 grendel bolt action for a few years, and ruger makes the american predator in 6.5 grendel. Of course a lot of companies make AR’s in 6.5 grendel, 6mm grendel, and 224 grendel.

  4. Danny

    I own a Ruger M77 Mark II Varminter in a .204 .22-250 & .223 and each with a 24″ bull barrel. These are not mentioned and have to the best of all. They are heavy guns for stability, low recoil and absolutely beautifully built and reliable. Retails around $850

  5. Rebeka

    Hi, I’m gun dumb…but have a coyote problem. Does the rifle have to be a predator or varmint version to kill coyotes? I’m just wanting something cheap and easy to use. A guy at the gun store told me to get the HMR 17 but it sounds like that’s wrong? Any suggestions for me and do I need a scope? What do I aim for when trying to hit the coyotes?

    • Chad Clark

      It doesn’t have to be a varmint or predator rifle by name. I had to limit my list or else there would be literally hundreds of options. I would probably recommend a .204 Ruger, doesn’t kick a drop. You’ll need a scope, and you want to aim for the front shoulder area if they are broadside, and chest area if facing you.

    • Phil

      If you have a coyote problem, all you really need is something that YOU are comfortable with and have available. After reading the previous article I realized the out of all of my varmint guns my .22 revolver has downed the most coyote because it’s always there.


      Economically speaking a 223 would be ur best option because ammo is cheap and easy to find plus it still gets up to 2500fps it’s a good round for slingen lead at yotes out to about 400 yards plus the 223 gun is cheap. Then I’d recommend Burris or vortex brand for ur optic , they have cheaper scopes and best part is they have a no questions asked replacement lifetime warranty

  6. Ray Baxter

    Why are Americans so obsessed with killing. Here we have an beautiful animal that help keep mice and Rat population under control. Dont even eat them so thats not a good excuse. Admit you like killing.
    Shameful. But you have right so it’s acceptable. All lived matter

    • buck mulvaney

      Your unawareness of coyote damage is amazing, before remarking please look into what you are commenting on. Simply put you are an idiot, so henceforth please read some dnr reports for one.

      • tony lau

        lol i think human being is more destructive than anything on this planet.

    • mark wilson

      coyotes over breed and kill off the deer population, and will come into residentual areas and attack and kill domestic pets, they are a general pain in the ass, if you knew anything about the outdoors and wildlife you never would have made such a stupid comment treehugger!

    • Bill morin

      Over population due to lack of predation leads to starvation, a slow way to die! hunting is not about the kill to most hunters! Everything you eat is killed by something. Hunters choose to understand the food chain and be personally responsible for their roles in it. If that’s from harvest of meat for food or population control of predators.

    • Tom

      The coyote population around me pert near qualifies them as rats. Small game numbers, like rabbits,hares,grouse, and even turkey numbers are down these last few years. Some nites I have a pack screaming within 15 yards of the house. Some times you hunt for purposes other than table fare. I want to preserve some of my favorite menu items.

    • Jeremy

      Yup you are absolutely right we love killing or it’s called population control? Ever heard of it?? They roam around in suburban neighborhoods killing people’s pets n if I small enough child is left in attended they would snatch one up in a heartbeat

    • Lyle

      Ray must be a real tree hugger. Never seen the damage a pack of cayote can do or wild hogs among other species. Ignorance talking Ray. Pure ignorance.

    • jeff Anderson

      On average a coyote has 72 pups per year. They have attacked me and my dog out walking in a subdivision. They took two jack Russel dogs at 3 pm in the back yard with a 3 year old boy was playing, if not for the dogs, who know what would of happened to the child. Colorado.

      • Chad Clark

        A coyote only has pups once a year, feral hogs might be what you’re thinking, they have litters all year round. A coyote litter will vary from 5 to 12 pups on average. They breed and reproduce in the spring.

    • tony ragio

      why are u even on this site? go back to the rock you crawled out from under.

    • Robert D Hilliard

      Tree hugger go live in the city.

  7. Dan Corrigan

    I have a dilemma. I have a custom built 6.5 x 55 MM Sweede on a thumbhole laminated stock with a Mauser 98 BRNO receiver that I can sustain 1 moa or less with a 140 gr varmint boolit. Equipped with a scope it weighs about 11 pounds. Then I also have a .223 Remington caliber CZ 527 FS bolt rifle with a small Leupold scope. It weighs a lot less than the 6.5 Sweede. It also does not reach out as far with power as the sweede but it is very easy to handle, carry, shoot and it is quite accurate out to 175 yds.

    My backup handgun will be a Ruger Blackhawk in 327 FED Mag with an eight shot cylinder and a 5.5″ bbl.

    I am leaning towards the .223 but maybe I am wrong.

    • Terry K Parkinson

      The Ruger 327 ammo is very expensive and in limited supply with only 1 manufacturer (American Eagle). Try a 357 or 38 plus P. Good performance and much cheaper to shoot.

  8. Sam Robison

    I use a .257 Roberts Ackley Improved with a 75 grain hollow point. The 87 grain HP is good as well.

  9. Justin

    Though the .17 HMR was not included in the comparison (understandably so being a rimfire) but the .17 hornet should absolutely have been included. This is not a 75 yard pest gun. It easily reaches out beyond 250+ yards with a nasty impact. My preference is the Ruger m77 but even the Savage walker would have been a good contender.

    • Chad Clark

      I may add it, it just takes a lot of research and time. I’m only including the rifles with a “varmint,” “predator,” or “coyote” designation. I haven’t looked around to see what varmint models are out there.

  10. Takoda

    I’ve taken just as much Coyotes with a 22 wmr with head shot just as easy that’s my killer it does the job.No need to buy a outrageously expensive rifle to each its own

  11. Slayer

    I’m very surprised that the Remington 700 BDL 17 center fire was not on the list it fires at 4000 fps. I love this rifle. Check one out if you can find one.

  12. Dave from Pitt

    I have a Remington 700 VLS in the .22-250 Rem caliber. I reload 55gr. VMAX in front of 40 grains of H380.
    It will vaporize a coyote at 300 yards. I use a Vortex 6.5x-20x scope’. Here in Ohio, coyotes will kill anything-chickens, fawn, pets you name it. We shoot them on sight.

  13. John

    224 valkyrie should absolutely be on that list!

  14. Kyle

    No mention on the 22 Hornet?

  15. scott knudsen

    In my opinon my ideal coyote rifle would be .25-06 bolt action with a 26″ barrel matched
    with the right scope and bipod, you could sit and snipe the bastards all you want, is that caliber
    to old? I would of thought with the range,speed, and knock down power it would be ideal, and with
    the right bullet you could still have a beautiful pelt depending on time of year.
    Any comment on the .25-06 would be very helpful.

    • George Van Hooren

      Scott, I am also very surprised that the 25-06 is not included in the list. I’ve had 3 different guns in that caliber or the last 55 years, a Rem 700 bld, a Win. 70 and the one I have now been using over about the last 30 years a Browning 78 with a 26 inch medium barrel. All 3 of these guns were shooting sub .7 inch groups at 250 yards, with the Browning shooting sub .5 inch groups. All 3 guns preferred full power loads of 54.5 gr. of IMR 4831 behind a 100 grain Sierra SPBT at 3440 (mean average-Browning 78) FPS through a Oehler chronograph. The browning is topped with a Hawke 6-24 sidewinder scope. Over the years I’ve used quite a few of the regular calibers listed but have always come back to the 25-06 because of it’s flat shooting long range accuracy and remaining energy. I’ve shot coyotes fairly regularly out to 600 yards and a few beyond that. Loaded with the 100 gr. sierra SPBT it’s excellent for varmints and the same load behind a 100 gr. Nosler partion, is excellent for deer sized etc. animals pretty well out to about 500 yards. But Scott I also think I have to agree that the 25-06 is probably not listed because it’s not a modern (read NEW) cartridge. It’s unfortunate that the assumption is that some new caliber is better. But then that’s what sells guns, isn’t it. Just as an aside; I’ve got guns that range from the lowly 22 up to the Win. 458 mag., with many in between. If I could have only one gun; it would be the 25-06. or else the 7MM Rem mag., as the velocities for both are the same; but the 7MM is not legal to use where I live.


      i agree scott ive owned many calibers 25-06 is my favorite

      • Timothy L. Fowler

        I love my 25-06, good all around gun. Thought about trying my .17 HMR for dogs but not sold on the idea yet.

  16. Degan

    I love using my Benelli R1 30-06 it gets the job done.

  17. DE Detmer Sr.

    I’ll take my 224 valkyrie anyday. My old shoulders can’t take the pounding that my 25-06 gave. This stays right with the 6.5 Grendel, with a lot less recoil


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  1. .17 HMR – Wikipedia
  2. .204 Ruger – Wikipedia
  3. .220 Swift – Wikipedia
  4. .222 Remington – Wikipedia
  5. .223 Remington – Wikipedia
  6. Nosler proprietary cartridges – Wikipedia
  7. .22-250 Remington – Wikipedia
  8. .224 Valkyrie – Wikipedia
  9. .243 Winchester – Wikipedia
  10. .260 Remington – Wikipedia
  11. The 6mm Creedmoor is the Next Big Thing in Long-Range Shooting – Outdoor Life
  12. 6.5 Creedmoor – Wikipedia
  13. 6.5mm Grendel – Wikipedia

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