Finding The Right Predator Ammo


It’s been an ongoing struggle for me to find a round of ammo that does everything i need it to while i’m out predator hunting. I shoot a Remington Model 700 ADL chambered in .223 as my go-to gun for handing out dirtnaps to Coyotes and other varmints so I am lucky to have a great selection of rounds available at most retailers.

The tricky part for me has been finding a round that performs well at both long and short distances. I have shot hollow points, soft points, FMJs, ballistic tips and other rounds in many different grains from all different manufacturers. While all the rounds seem to perform as expected during target practice the problem arose when out in the field given the varied ranges and conditions that I take shots while predator hunting. I used to shoot 55gr hollow points but shot coyotes at 200 yards and didn’t get the knockdown power I needed. So I switched to 62gr soft point bullets only to find that they don’t expand enough at close range and carry too much energy through the animal instead of delivering the knockdown power needed. This back and forth battle trying to find the right ammo has been going on for a while so when had a sale recently on their Federal Premium Sierra Matchking Boat Tail Hollow Point ammo I jumped at the opportunity to try it out. I figured in the name of science and experimentation I would try out the Matchking in a 77gr bullet to see if that would solved my woes. I placed the order on (those guys are great BTW) and a few days later what i hoped would be my new Coyote bullets arrived in the mail.

After waiting for what seemed like forever through lots of wind and rain for a good day to shoot i finally got the chance to get out to the range and try it out. With the target set up at 100 yards I squeezed off 3 rounds of America Eagle FMJs just to confirm that the “dogslayer” was still dialed in. After walking out to the target and seeing all 3 holes almost touching in the bulls-eye it was time to test the new Matchkings. I loaded up and sent 5 good shots downrange and headed out there to check out how they performed. I was expecting them to be a few inches low since the gun is zeroed for 55gr bullets but what I saw completely blew me away. There was absolutely no pattern, several shots had missed the target and the rest were scattered around the target in disarray. I spent the next hour up and down the range, and in and out of the Cadwell’s lead sled shooting through a box and a half of Matchkings trying to make sense of what was going on.

Finally after all that frustration and a little research it hit me…BARREL TWIST. My barrel twist rate on the Remington 700 is 1:12 which is optimized for bullets that are 55- 63 grains. The heavier 77gr Matchkings needed my old Ruger M77 barrel with it’s 1:9 twist in order to stabilize correctly. I had dealt with this problem in the past and I couldn’t believe that I had been such an idiot and not remembered when I ordered the Ammo. I was so excited because of all the good things I have heard about the Matchking bullets and am now looking for them in 55gr for my next test.

In the meantime I did manage to find a bullet that has been working great on Coyotes so far this season and that is the 55gr Hornady SST. It has delivered great performance on Coyotes from 50-200+ yards so far this year and flies great out of my Remington 700. I’ll keep on testing bullets as long as I’m hunting and I’ll be sure to update you all on the Matchkings as soon as i get my hands on another box…in the optimal bullet weight for my barrel twist of course.

Shoot Straight,


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