Top 3 AR-15 Rifles For Coyote Hunting

Coyote hunting is one of the most controversial hunting practices in the country due to Coyotes being dogs. I don’t know how many domesticated dogs we have in our country, but I think it’s safe to assume that most of us love dogs.

I’ve had pet dogs ever since I was a young boy and I loved every moment I spent with my dogs, (especially my Boxer).

However, as cute as Coyotes appear to be and as close as they are to wolves and domesticated dogs, they’re classified as a nuisance species in most states. There is much debate about whether culling the population works, but that’s for another discussion.

I’d like to focus on some of the best guns you can buy right now online that will give you a great chance at bagging your first Coyote.

1. Rock River Arms X-1

The Rock River X-1  series features an 18" barrel and an overall weight of only 7.7 lbs for a lightweight and quick rifle. Generally speaking, I wouldn’t go with any rifle with less than a 16" barrel in most places. Coyotes are taking their place as one of the nation’s top predators because they’re able to adapt to any environment, are naturally paranoid, and stay out of sight until nighttime. The Rock River Arms (RRA) X-1 features an 18" barrel with a 1:8" twist rate to be able to handle heavier 5.56mm ammo and still chamber the lighter ammo as well. The X-1 is chambered in .223 Wylde to accommodate both a 5.56mm NATO bullet and the .223 bullet for great versatility.

RRA does a great job of keeping this rifle lightweight and effective at any range from 50 to 300 yards with the right riflescope attached. The Picatinny rail system attached allows the owner to put almost any style riflescope imaginable. One of the big reasons I chose this rifle was the ability to install a night vision or infrared scope and allow yourself to hunt Coyotes at night. For the most part, people buy an AR-15 and shoot it a few times a year at a range and keep it in a safe or closet. Coyote hunting with an 18" barrel instead of a 15" or 16" gives you more use out of your AR and helps conservation of other species. AR’s are very diverse and you’ll see barrels from 15" all the way up to 24" to improve accuracy at all ranges.  A lot of companies wouldn’t be as open about guaranteeing RRA guaranteeing a 3/4 MOA at 100 yards. You could always replace the stock and go minimalistic with something like a Magpul CTR stock that remains sturdy in any position with multiple LOP options.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Great audible 2-stage safety
  • Incredible versatility with chambering multiple rounds for different hunts and environments
  • Sub- MOA at 100 yards

Cons

  • It could use a better stock
  • Very expensive

Specs

Weight7.7 lbs
Length36"
Barrel Length18"
Capacity30+1
HandguardRRA Free Floating Rail
Caliber5.56mm, .223 Wylde
TriggerRRA Two-Stage Varmint
SafetyRRA Star Safety
MSRP$1,218.99

Rock River Arms X-1

$1,218.99
at Kentucky Gun Club
Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Stag 15 Varminter 5.56mm Rifle

If you’re new to Stag Arms, they’re known for producing smooth-firing, aesthetically beautiful designs, and top-quality components in everything put out. The Stag 15 Varminter rifle is built with the incredibly durable and rigid 416R stainless steel and 7075 T6 Aluminum with Type 3 hard coat anodizing. Strictly for Coyote hunting, the Stag Arms Varminter is a perfect choice for hunting across large farms or dense forests.

A 24" 416R stainless steel barrel is going to give you much better accuracy than an 18" barrel, but with less mobility and maneuverability. Sometimes you can get within 50 yards of a Coyote, but other times they will smell you hundreds of yards away and whatever decoy you use won’t matter. Having a 24" barrel will allow you to outsmart the dogs and keep your distance to avoid detection.

The most impressive feature of this rifle, for me personally, is the Stag 2 Stage Trigger mechanism. The initial 2 lb break is a little heavy (average is about 1.5 lbs), but the second stage breaks at only 3.5 lbs! Very rarely can you find an AR trigger that is breaking at 3.5 lbs, especially on a rifle with the versatility to act as a hunting rifle with the right scope and skill. I prefer a 2 stage trigger in all of my guns because I’m much more accurate than a single-stage trigger.

The initial break gives me a better indication of when the hammer is going to break and allows me to focus more on my fundamentals. I can shoot too quickly sometimes because I am normally fighting daylight and see my prey during the Golden Hour of the hunt. A 2-stage trigger forces me to slow down and breathe. The only thing I try to listen to is the audible sound of my trigger setting and getting primed to fire. No matter what, you’d be incredibly happy with this firearm, even if you didn’t hunt Coyotes.

Pros

  • The Stag Slimline 16.5 in. M-LOK Handguard is a standout feature that reduces the overall profile of the rifle without sacrificing optics, lights, and lasers
  • Incredible accuracy with sub-MOA at 100 yards
  • Crisp safety lever fit for right-handed
  • 2-stage safety is light and improves accuracy
  • Durable rifle with a high-end coating to protect against trees, rocks, and other gear you’re bound to hit your gun against during a hunt and hike
  • Stag Arms always produces reliable and beautiful rifles

Cons

  • 42.5" overall length is going to limit your ability to transition quickly if a Coyote exposes itself in a different location than anticipated
  • 10 lbs for an AR-15 is really heavy to carry around the woods or farm at 1 AM

Specs

Weight10 lbs
Length42.5"
Capacity10+1
Barrel Length24"
HandguardStag Slimline 16.5 in. M-LOK Handguard
Caliber5.56mm, .223 Wylde
TriggerStag 2-stage trigger
SafetyRight-Handed lever
MSRP$1,116.99

 

Stag 15 Varminter 5.56mm Rifle

$1,029.79
at Kentucky Gun Club
Prices accurate at time of writing

 

3. Radical Firearms 16" Socom 5.56mm AR Rifle

Radical Firearms reminds me a lot of Stag Arms because they both are relatively newer companies that are producing high-end AR-15’s for those who are serious about quality and aesthetics. Normally, I wouldn’t want to do any kind of hunting with a 16" barrel, but when the barrel is made of a Chrome Moly Vanadium or stronger, I consider it.

Chrome Vanadium is the common metal used in Mil-Spec rifle barrels. The reason they add the new process (Moly) is to improve the rigidity, temp tolerance, accuracy, and rust resistance. Radical Firearms spent a lot of money on every aspect of the Socom AR and it shows with CMV and Melonite finish to prevent any marring, abrasions, chips from hitting a rock or metal and handle the heat better from heavy use.

The Radical Firearms AR is built with an A2 muzzle hider so you can take a shot and still stay hidden from the other Coyotes that were not directly in front of you. The accuracy of the barrel is enhanced by the smoothness of the trigger. The twist rate of 1:7" allows for the heaviest of 5.56mm NATO to be used without any issues, giving the shooter better accuracy at range. Coyote hunting with this rifle allows you to maneuver very quickly while maintaining noise discipline and keeping control for a quick shot. One important factor in Coyote hunting is to understand you’ll only get a second to shoot in many circumstances.

Pros

  • 16" barrel provides excellent mobility
  • Incredible accuracy with sub-MOA at 100 yards
  • 15" free-floating RPR handguard improves accuracy
  • Any optic or scope that can be mounted to a Picatinny rail can be installed onto this rifle
  • $719.99 is a steal of a price for an AR that can be used in so many different applications due to its size and features

Cons

  • Even with better processing, a 16" will have a tough time keeping up with the distance of a 24" barrel

Specs

WeightAbout  8 lbs
LengthAbout 36"
Capacity30+1
Barrel Length16"
HandguardM-Lok Thin Rail
Caliber5.56mm
Twist Rate1:7"
SafetyAmbi safety lever (switched with no tool)
MSRP$716.99

 

Radical Firearms 16" Socom 5.56mm AR Rifle

$716.99
at GUNS.COM
Prices accurate at time of writing

Related Article – The Best Caldwell Bipod For Your Hunting Rifle


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