The Best Rifles for Predator Hunting
Derrek Sigler 11.17.15
You’ve got the electronic caller going and it’s squealing like a rabbit in distress. The motion decoy is flopping around and you’re completely hidden off to the left of it, with a clear view of the field. A hint of movement at the brush lets you know the calling is paying off—there’s at least one coyote coming in. The ‘yote works down the edge of the field, still not presenting you with a clear shot. He pops up at over 200 yards. Something has him cautious. Still, you’ve got him. One well-placed shot is all it takes. That’s what separates a predator hunting rifle from others.
There is something very primal about hunting predators. Pitting your hunting skills against an animal that was born to do nothing but kill, eat, and reproduce is a challenge amongst challenges. The hunt can vary, too, with long-distance shots on one set and incredibly close action on the next.
Savage Arms made a name for themselves by producing moderately-priced rifles with amazing triggers and impeccable accuracy. This combination of features has made Savage rifles a favorite among predator hunters, and that fact is not lost on the company. They have several specific models and packages available to fill this specific need. If you buy from Cabela’s, the $649.99 Model 11 Trophy Predator Hunter XP Mossy Oak Brush Bolt-Action rifle comes paired with a Nikon 3-9×40 scope. The rifle has everything you’d expect from Savage, including an amazing AccuTrigger adjustable trigger. The Nikon scope has a BDC reticle that helps with staying on target at longer ranges. The Brush camo pattern on the stock helps blend you in whether you’re in the wide-open plains or tucked in along a fence in the Midwest.
Predator hunting isn’t just a fall or spring practice. Hunting during the winter months is not only a great way to pass the snowy season, but also a great time to bring in predators eager to feed. For the winter warriors, Cabela’s has a Model 11 Trophy Predator Hunter XP combo available in Realtree Hardwoods Snow camo for $649.99. For extreme cold weather hunting, make sure you clean your rifle well, but wipe down any excess oil and cleaner, as cold weather can cause these to thicken and jam up your rifle. The last thing you want is to not be able to work the bolt of your rifle.
A popular style for predator rifles is the ranch rifle. These are light, compact, short-action rifles designed for quick handling. The thinking is that a rancher can have one in the back window of the truck and quickly get it out and ready to go to work if he or she sees a coyote or other predator threatening the livestock. These styles of rifles have gained in popularity with hunters everywhere.
Ruger jumped on the bandwagon with their American Rifle platform. The $439.99 American Rifle Ranch variant has everything you’d expect from a Ruger, with high quality fit and finish, and Ruger’s Marksman adjustable trigger system. Being extremely compact at only 36 inches long, the Ranch rifle is perfect for the predator hunter on the move.
Ruger also added the $429.99 American Rifle Predator to the lineup. These rifles take all the features of American series, including the bedding system for consistent accuracy, and add longer, heavier barrels for some reach-out-and-touch-them fun.
AR-15-pattern rifles make solid predator hunting tools too, due to being accurate and highly customizable. You have many options from one basic rifle that you can adapt to whatever type of hunting you’re doing that day. DPMS has been making ARs for decades and is renowned for having a quality rifle that doesn’t break your bank account. The $599.99 Oracle series make for an outstanding platform from which to build your ultimate predator hunting tool. They’re also just fun to shoot.
Mossberg released the MVP rifle a few years ago and it immediately was a hit. Meeting all the criteria for a modern bolt-action rifle, being accurate, reasonably priced, and having an outstanding adjustable trigger, the MVP also did something that the competition couldn’t—it accepted AR-15 magazines. The line grew to now include the $599.99 Patrol Tactical rifles, which work just as well patrolling the ranch for predators as they do for patrolling the streets. These compact rifles make great, highly maneuverable rifles for working a coyote set or tracking down a big cat.
This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.