Seeking Deadly Deer and Coyote Combo
“I recently purchased a New England Firearms Huntsman combo chambered in .243 Win., and I plan to use it for the occasional predator hunt and possibly as a deer file. Can I use just one bullet/load in this gun for both hunting purposes? I was thinking about a 55- or 75-grain bullet. Are these bullet weights enough for deer?” – Al Schnaith/Albert Lea, MN
I’ve shot the .243 Win. Extensively for both coyotes and whitetails, and matched with the proper bullet I consider it to be a dandy caliber for both. But while the lighter bullets you mention are excellent varmint killers, in my opinion they fall short in the whitetail woods. There are two ways you can go here. If your’e intent on using one bullet for both types of hunting, step up to one of the many fine 100-grain bullets on the market. While they might be a bit harsh for coyotes, if bullet placement is good fur dmage will be tolerable.
Your other option – the one I recommend – is to match the bullet specifically to the type of hunting you plan to do. Federal offers a couple of 100-grain bullets – Nosley Partition and Sierra GameKing – in its Vital-Shok line that are tailor-made for medium-sized big game such as whitetails.
For coyotes, Winchester’s 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip – which leaves the barrel at a blistering 4,060 fps – is the cat’s meow. However, zeroed at 200 yards, the 100-grain bullets will drop 8 inches more than the 55-grain bullet at 400 yards, so you’ll have to adjust your scope when switching between bullets. – Gordy Krahn
“I’ve just started hunting coyotes and am shooting a Winchester Model 670 chambered in .243 Win. with 100-grain Winchester Super X ammo. What’s your opinion of my setup, and would there be any advantage in switching to 80-grain loads? I want to make sure I’m getting proper penetration.” – Brian Meade/Liberty, MO
Brian, your rig is similar to my favorite fur-taker, a Winchester Featherweight Model 70 in .243 Win. While I assume you’re shooting a 100-grain bullet because of its versatility, for coyotes you should make the move to a lighter bullet for tow reasons: flatter trajectory and less fur damage. B the way, fur value has increased significantly during the past couple of years. At the February 2006 Fur Harvesters Auction, coyotes brought an average price of $28.08, and the top dogs went for $84. On a coyote hunt in Colorado this past winter, I used Winchester’s Mighty Mouse 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip and was pleased with its performances, both from an accuracy standpoint and for it’s inherent fur-friendly nature. This screaming little bullet leaves the barrel at 3,910 fps and provides the flat trajectory I like from my varmint guns. The Ballistic Silvertip is desgined for explosive expansation and fragmentation, expending its enery inside the body cavity. In most cases you’ll have only a small entrance hole and no exit wound. – Gordy Krahn