Choosing a Weapon – Will a 22 Kill a Coyote

Using a 22 for hunting

When faced with sly four-legged creatures with impressive speed and an uncanny talent for camouflage, finding the perfect hunting scope is no easy task. Indeed, coyotes tend to sleep during the day and come out in the evening which makes it even more challenging for the predator hunter to spot these elusive creatures. Bear in mind that the majority of your hunting sessions will only be illuminated by the moonlight- and in some cases- faint spot lights. For this reason, it is crucial to find a high-quality scope that will largely improve your aim.

Using a 22 for hunting

Eastern coyotes, for example, are notoriously temperamental and fast, which makes it even harder to hunt them with a poor-quality weapon. Of course, while hunting conditions largely affect one’s aim and general skills, investing in a proper rifle will go a long way into helping you control the coyote population in your surroundings. A 22 is commonly used to hunt coyotes and other wildlife predators such as deer, big cats and the likes. Like every weapon, it goes without saying that the 22 has its own set of advantages and limitations. Ultimately, your choice of weapon can be based on a plethora of external factors such as your expertise, aim, budget and the likes.

Scope Magnification

In the scope industry, magnification is the one issue that’s fiercely debatable. While beginners tend to automatically opt for the 22 with a more powerful magnification, bear in mind that this may not always improve your shot placement. Quite on the contrary, a powerful magnification can make your target appear blurry, especially if the 22 is used at close range. If you’re still a budding hunter, it’s good to know that an overly-powerful magnification can rapidly cause eye strain.

Having said that, it is possible- and extremely easy- to mount a scope on your 22 riffle. Amateur hunters tend to reserve scope magnification for riffles of a higher caliber but in truth, a fairly modest scope will do the job nicely when you’re aiming for a clean kill.  When investing in a scope destined for a big-game weapon, the rule of the thumb is this: don’t hesitate to fork out almost as much as you did for the riffle in question. When it comes to predator control, the higher-quality scope is always the one you should be aiming for. The standard choice when it comes killing a coyote with a 22 is usually a magnification that ranging between 4 to 6X.

Pros & Cons of a 22 for coyote hunting

If you’re a predator hunter, it’s quite important to carefully examine the odds of using a particular riffle before you determine its use in hunting coyotes. While some weapons are ideal for head shots, 22 riffles may not be entirely appropriate in certain cases.

Why a 22 works for coyote hunting:

  • Affordable: It’s a well-known fact that 22’s are among the most budget-friendly weapons on the hunting market. For example, a Casull .454 only costs around $5 per shooting round.
  • Low recoil: 22 riffles are especially reputed for their low recoils. As a result, these weapons are ideal for quick and multiple shots, a feature that might come in handy if you missed the original head shot and want to quickly put the coyote out of its suffering.
  • Adaptable to suppressors: Unlike larger calibers, suppressors for .22 guns and rifles tend to last longer, which is ideal for novice hunters who are on a limited budget.
  • More ammunition: 22 weapons tend to feature much lighter ammunition, which means that you can carry more rounds should the need ever arise. In fact, even beginners should be able to easily carry around 1000 rounds of ammunition for .22 riffles for a coyote hunting session.

Why the 22 might not work for you

  • Questionable quality for big game hunting: If you can’t afford to fork out on a higher-end and often expensive 22 weapon, you might end up with a poor quality riffle which is more suited to smaller preys like hares. 22 riffles can be quite inexpensive, but then again, the cheaper models tend to be stamped instead of machined.
  • Corrosive .22 ammunition: Once again, lower-end 22 riffles can be a problem when it comes to coyote hunting because cheaper ammunition might mean constant cleaning sessions to keep your riffle into perfect condition.
  • Lighter than most: A 22 riffle might not successfully kill a coyote if it’s on the lighter end of the spectrum. Taking the animal’s size and speed into consideration, these riffles can disrupt head shots or single shots, making it harder to quickly take the coyote down. If you’re working with a really light weapon, you might want to consider a leghold trap followed by a swift, close-range shot.

Popular 22 hunting riffles

If you’re wondering whether a 22 will kill a coyote, here are the pros and cons of some of the most popular riffles that are ideal for both small game and big game hunting:

  • Browning’s SA-22

This semi-automatic weapon was first produced in 1914 and boasts a vintage design. Featuring an excellent balance point, the Browing’s SA-22 has a small bottom eject receiver which provides a great grip when tracking coyotes. Quite popular in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, this gun is known for its safe reloading chute. Most hunters found that 11 rounds were able to easily slide their way down the riffle’s feed port for reloading.

On the flip side, if you’re planning on hunting from long-range, the Browing’s SA-22 may not be the ideal weapon of choice for you since it cannot accommodate a magnifying scope. While they it does reload quickly, this gun does lack the necessary features needed for smooth shot placements.

  • The Savage Mark 2.22

Like its name suggests, the Savage Mark 2 is a weapon of impressive caliber. Because of its structure, this riffle is ideal for breezy weather and can be used for long-range as well as short-range shooting alike. If you have a coyote problem in your area, this is the one riffle that will undoubtedly take care of it. Easy to handle and featuring a heavier barrel, this riffle weighs around 8 pounds, providing a firm grip during windy shooting conditions.

Cosmetically speaking, this 22 has a plastic trigger guard which may not please everyone. In spite of its lack of aesthetics, however, the Savage Mark 2 does provide astonishing accuracy, something which will undoubtedly come in handy for wildlife hunting. The one disadvantage is that novice hunters might find this riffle heavy and difficult to handle, especially if they’re used to the more popular pre-charged pneumatic air-riffles that are mainly targeted at inexperienced users.

  • Crosman Benjamin Discovery Pre-Charged .22 Cal Air Riffle

If you’re looking for a precharged pneumatic air rifle, you might want to check out the •    Crosman Benjamin Discovery Pre-Charged .22 Cal. Geared towards less experienced hunters, this riffle is equipped with a Sound-Loc suppressor which will allow you to easily track just about any type of medium-sized prey such as eastern coyotes and white-tailed deers, among others. Whether you’re hunting with a group, your dogs or solo, rest assured that this Crossman Benjamin will rise to the occasion. Boasting hardwood stock, this 22 air rifle also features a built-in air-pressure gauge as well as Williams rear sights and fiber optic front. With an air reservoir of 135cc, this hunting rifle is ideal for moderate to close-range shooting of 40 yards or less.

Because it only weighs around 9 pounds, more experienced hunters might find the Crosman Benjamin Discovery .22 to be on the flimsier side.

  • Ruger 10/22 riffle

An absolute icon in the history of hunting in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, the Ruger 10/22 riffle features a reliable rotary magazine. However, this riffle does stand in stark contrast to other types of 22 weapons because it does not come with a box magazine. While this may be daunting to beginners, more experienced coyote hunters will undoubtedly appreciate the lack of a box magazine, especially when it comes to offhand shooting or shooting from a rested position. In fact, this riffle is fitted with a magazine tube that’s aptly positioned under the barrel to add some extra weight and bulk, consequently providing a much firmer grip.


Suffice to say, there is no exact guideline that will help you find the perfect 22 to kill a coyote. However, it would be safe to say that these riffles can largely assist in a swift kill, provided that you know what you’re doing. Experienced hunters will know how to aptly position themselves for a close-range shoot which will swiftly take the prey down with minimal suffering. For this reason, these riffles may not be the weapon of choice for amateur hunters since it will take more than one shot to kill a coyote, resulting in unnecessary suffering for the prey, especially when it comes to big game hunting. For this reason, if you’re an amateur hunter, it might be best to use a 22 shotgun for smaller prey such as rabbits, hares, squirrels and the likes.