Before you look for the best 22LR ammo for coyote, you have to ask yourself: Is the 22 LR even a good round for hunting coyotes? Some of those pups can weigh over 50 pounds (the largest ever taken weighed 75 pounds). Game that size does indeed challenge the 22 LR’s takedown capabilities.
Is the 22LR Enough Cartridge for Coyote?
Many would say the 22 LR is just too small and weak to ensure a clean kill on a coyote with anything less than a well-placed head shot. At the very least, you must aim a 22 LR at the coyote’s heart/lung area or else you risk a lengthy tracking session. (Not to mention having to listen to some truly pathetic whimpering.)
But what the 22 LR lacks in theoretical performance, it more than makes up for in practice. Plenty of folks bag ‘yotes all day long with their 22 LR firearms – typically with rifles at ranges up to 75 yards, or point-blank with pistols if they’re just finishing off a critter that got ensnared in a trap.
And you can be one of those folks! But there’s no reason not to give yourself a good advantage by selecting the right kind of 22 LR ammo for hunting coyote.
We’re going to give you a few examples of what kind of 22 LR ammo you should use to hunt coyote. This is not an exhaustive list of all the acceptable options. If you can’t find any of these rounds on the market, just look for alternatives that share similar attributes!
Our Picks: Best 22LR Ammo for Coyote
Muzzle velocity: 1,280 feet per second
Muzzle energy: 145 foot pounds
When you pick 22 LR ammo for coyote hunting, it should at the very least have this ammo’s features. First off, you’ve got a reputable American manufacturer. Second, you’ve got a high muzzle velocity – 155 feet per second (fps) faster than the speed of sound, which gives its bullet enough energy to fly flat and hit hard downrange (relatively speaking).
Importantly, this cartridge has a copper plated hollow point (CPHP) bullet that is designed for terminal expansion. It’s going to gouge a wider wound channel into your quarry – and exert more of its energy in lateral directions – than a simple lead round nose (LRN) bullet could ever manage to do.
Winchester makes a similar load, the Winchester Super-X Hyper Velocity 22 LR. It demonstrates the advantage provided by – you guessed it – an even higher muzzle velocity. This cartridge has the same bullet weight and style as the more conventional Super-X round just mentioned, but its muzzle velocity is about 12% faster. Its trajectory is even flatter and easier to aim as the result, and it transfers about 14% more deadly kinetic energy to its target at 100 yards.
Muzzle velocity: 1,435 fps
Muzzle energy: 183 ft lbs
This Idaho-made ammunition also boasts that high muzzle velocity we like to see while hunting coyote – about 200 fps faster than what’s standard for the cartridge. We have to point out that CCI makes exceptional rimfire products, so you can trust their 22 LR out on the trail so long as it’s high velocity and has an expanding bullet.
Browning BPR 37gr Fragmenting HP
Muzzle velocity: 1,400 fps
Muzzle energy: 161 ft lbs
So far we have only recommended conventional hollow point bullets for coyote hunting, but they are not the only type of expanding bullet you want for anchoring small game. The fragmenting hollow point widens out during the initial phase of penetration, but then breaks apart into smaller lead fragments. This creates multiple wound channels while simultaneously shocking the target with rapid energy transferral.
CCI 32gr Segmented HP
Muzzle velocity: 1,640 fps
Muzzle energy: 191 ft lbs
The segmented hollow point has similar terminal ballistics to a fragmenting hollow point. But instead of breaking apart into a random number of differently-sized fragments, it splits apart into three equally-sized segments – each of which courses through soft tissue to transfer deadly energy while carving out its own discrete wound channel.
Buy this CCI 22lR Segmented HP ammo here.
Muzzle velocity: 1,850 fps
Muzzle energy: 160 ft lbs
Don’t be afraid of extremely lightweight 22 LR bullets for coyote hunting. This round’s 21 grain copper-polymer bullet is still designed for terminal expansion, and because it has so little inertia it’s able to compensate for its light weight with a blazing fast 1,850 fps muzzle velocity. A bullet this light will lose its in-flight momentum at a faster rate, however, which makes its impact energy significantly weaker over longer distances. That’s why you’re better off using environmentally-friendly 22 LR ammo for close-to-medium range coyote hunting.
Are you just looking for ammo to finish off trapped coyotes? If you’re only standing a few feet away, then any old 22 LR round will do the trick, expanding bullet or otherwise. Just bust a cap in Wile’s dome and then proceed to the next phase!