Manufacturers are producing a number of excellent guns tailor made for hunting predators. It’s hard to pick up a hunting magazine or turn on an outdoor network without seeing something dedicated to predator hunting. Try it and it’s easy to see why calling a predator into gun range is one of the fastest growing segments of the hunting industry. It’s not just challenging, it’s downright fun.
That’s one reason gun makers everywhere are building predator-specific models. Some are little more than variations of standard rifles. Others are specially designed killing machines made just for predator country. No matter what they are, they all have one thing in common: They will put fur on the ground as long as you do your job.
TIKKA T3 VARMINT
Tikka’s T3 Varmint rifle is built in Finland, but it’s a perfect gun for the wide-open spaces of America’s coyote country. It’s available in eight popular calibers and loaded with features including a free-floating barrel, an extra-wide forearm for bench-rest shooting and an ergonomically designed cheek piece. The smooth, 70-degree bolt allows for fast reloads. The T3 Varmint is also available in a left-handed model. ($800; www.Tikka.fi)
This isn’t the first semi-auto .17 HMR rifle, but it’s the only one that seems to function without fault. Thanks to seven years of design and testing by the Savage engineers, the A17 will be a great addition to any predator hunter’s gun safe. It’s perfect for foxes and other small varmints. It features a delayed blowback action for reliability, a detachable 10-round rotary magazine, an adjustable Accutrigger and an oversized bolt handle for easy use. ($465; www.SavageArms.com)
MOSSBERG MVP PREDATOR
You shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg to collect some fur. Mossberg’s MVP Predator is a capable rifle that will put every coyote, cat and fox you call into range on the ground without putting you in the poor house. The scoped combo is fitted with a 3-9x40mm scope and includes a 10-shot box magazine, a fluted sporter barrel and a handsome laminated gray stock. It’s available in 5.56mm and 7.62mm and weighs 8 pounds. ($782; www.Mossberg.com)
WINCHESTER MODEL 70 COYOTE LIGHT
Ounces add up, especially when you hunt hard and cover lots of ground. Winchester’s Coyote Light cuts weight without cutting corners or sacrificing accuracy. The Bell & Carlson stock is made from a lightweight composite, the stainless barrel is fluted, and the receiver is bedded in a skeletonized block for the ultimate light and accurate rifle. It’s available in six popular cali- bers, including three WSM cartridges, and it comes with an adjustable MOA trigger system. It can be set from 3 to 5 pounds. ($1,199.99; www.WinchesterGuns.com)
BROWNING X BOLT ECLIPSE VARMINT
Looking for an out-of-the-box, can’t-miss rifle? Browning’s X Bolt Eclipse is the rifle for you. Along with a free-floating barrel and a bedded action, the Eclipse Varmint comes with Brown- ing’s X-Bolt Feather trigger, adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds. The short, 60-degree bolt lift allows for fast follow-up shots, and the Inflex recoil pad lets you shoot box after box at the range or in the field without the slightest discomfort. It’s available in .223, .204 and .22-250 and weighs 9.6 pounds. ($1,069.99; www.Browning.com)
REMINGTON 700 VTR
The Remington 700 VTR, or Varmint and Tactical Rifle, is just one of Big Green’s high-quality rifles designed for demanding shooters. The VTR, however, is specially designed for those who insist on long-range accuracy in a lightweight, compact package. It’s available in .223, .22-250, .260 and .308 and is equipped with a triangular contoured 22-inch barrel with a unique muzzle break for extreme accuracy. It comes with a flat dark earth synthetic stock with overmolded grips. ($930; www.Remington.com)
Built by Noveske Rifle Works under the demanding specifications of the Nosler team, the Vamageddon is arguably the only rifle you’ll ever need to hunt a variety of predators. It is available in 5.56 or .300 AAC Blackout and comes with a long list of top-of-the-line accessories and features that make the gun worth every penny. It has an NSR handguard, Magpul accessories and a match-grade Noveske barrel. Combined with Nosler’s Varmageddon ammunition, it’s deadly accurate out to ranges beyond most other AR rifles. Options include a pre-mounted Leupold scope. ($2,995; www.Nosler.com)
RUGER AMERICAN PREDATOR
Ruger shook up the gun industry when it introduced its no-frills, budget-conscious American rifle, so it was no surprise the company added a number of variations to the lineup. The Predator is the perfect bolt-action rifle for serious hunters. It’s topped with an attached one-piece scope rail and comes with the Ruger Marksman trigger, adjustable from 3 to 5 pounds. The barrel is free-floated, and the stock incorporates an integral block bedding system for increased accuracy. The three-lug, 70-degree bolt allows for ample scope clearance. It comes in six popular calibers. ($529; www.Ruger.com)
ROCK RIVER LAR-15 A4 PREDATOR
You could choose any Rock River Arms AR and you’d be holding one of the finest modern sporting rifles available. But if your goal is to kill coyotes, why not choose their LAR-15 A4 Predator? It is available in four different barrel lengths, from 16 to 24 inches, and it’s packed with features that allow you to trick it out to meet your needs. The .223/5.56 AR comes with a stainless steel bull barrel, a two-stage trigger, a Hogue grip and an A2 buttstock. ($1,255; www.RockRiverArms.com)
HOWA YOTE COMPACT RANCHLAND
Light, fast, accurate and downright deadly. Howa’s Yote Compact Ranchland is everything you want in a predator rifle. It’s available in .223, .204, .22-250, .243, 7mm-08 and .308 with either a light barrel or a heavy barrel. Even better, it’s equipped with Howa’s match-quality, two-stage trigger for a light, crisp pull. The Yote Compact has a 20-inch barrel and is wrapped with a coyote fur pattern. The package is equipped with a wrapped and mounted Nikko Stirling 2.5-10×42 scope. ($840; LegacySports.com)
ESCORT YOTE SHOTGUN
Sometimes, a shotgun is the perfect medicine for the predators you hunt. Whether they come in running or sneak in through thick cover, Escort’s Yote Shotgun will handle a variety of loads for a variety of situations. It’s versatile and affordable. It’s wrapped in a coyote fur camo pattern. Weighing just 7 pounds (6.35 pounds in the youth model), you can carry this gun all day. It shoots 3-inch, 12-gauge shells and comes with three choke tubes. It’s also available in a compact youth model. ($553; www.LegacySports.com)
This story originally was published in our DDH sister publication, Trapper & Predator Caller Magazine, and is bonus coverage for deer hunters who enjoy predator hunting and predator management.