I think most varmint hunters would agree the .17 Fireball is good medicine for fox-sized critters and smaller. But I shared a common doubt whether this small pill could deliver the knockout punch to large, Northern coyotes, and was pleasantly surprised during our Alberta hunt. While certainly not conclusive, the results were encouraging. Terminal performance in all cases was, well, terminal. While I’d still have reservations shooting at coyotes beyond 200 yards, I’d have very few reservations using the Fireball if I kept my shots under that benchmark.
The following are empirical field results from our Alberta hunt and another field test conducted with the .17 Fireball in Wyoming. Again, the sample is too small to draw clear conclusions, but provides some insight to what this Mighty Mouse caliber is capable of. It will be my great pleasure to add to the database sometime soon.
Alberta/No unrecovered coyotes
• 105 yards/one shot broadside/no exit/traveled zero yards.
• 94 yards/one shot frontal/exit out the shoulder with considerable damage/traveled zero yards.
• 170 yards/running broadside/no exit/traveled zero yards.
• 171 yards/head shot/exit with minimal damage/traveled zero yards.
• 193 yards/broadside/no exit/traveled zero yards.
Wyoming/No unrecovered coyotes
• 60 yards/broadside spine, required finishing shot/one exit/traveled zero yards.
• 80 yards/broadside heart/lung/no exit/traveled zero yards.
• 120 yards/facing, neck/exit/traveled zero yards.
• 200 yards/broadside, neck/complete exit, traveled zero yards.
• 250 yards/broadside/rear lung shot/traveled 200 yards.