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"AR-15-The Perfect Predator Rifle?"-Article

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Here is the link to the article I wrote for "AR Guns & Hunting" about the AR-15 as a predator rifle:

 

http://www.arshunt.com/winter2010/winter2010#&pageSet=13&page=0

 

AR15Article640.jpg

 

 

AR-15: The Perfect Predator Rifle?

©2010 by Bob Connell

Predator callers were probably the first hunters to use AR-15’s in the field as hunting rifles. They are easy to get on target, can fire heavier bullets than most bolt action .223’s because of the higher twist rates on the AR barrels, and make follow-up shots on multiple targets much faster. The AR’s were so well accepted in the predator calling fraternity that manufacturers started putting out models designed specifically for hunting. Predator callers then asked the rifle companies for more calibers using the AR-15 and AR-10 platforms. Soon AR’s were showing up in .204, .243, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, and .308 calibers.

 

Many of the veteran predator hunting video producers including Jeff Thomason and Todd Woodall, producers of the 4-volume “Predator Pursuit” series of DVD’s and “Predator Pursuit” TV show, and Byron South, producer of the six-volume “Coming to the Call” series have switched to using AR’s exclusively. Newer notable producers such as Geoff Nemnich of “Coyote Craze” are avid AR-15 shooters as well.

 

The ranchers and farmers whose land we call on want us to eliminate as many stock and wildlife killing, egg eating, crop damaging predators as possible. The AR is particularly well suited to the fast paced world of predator calling. You will frequently call in more than one coyote for example. The AR allows you quicker follow-up shots on multiple targets as well as on those “occasional misses”. With the low recoil and the “shooter friendly” design of the AR-15, you can get back on target and nail that second or third coyote bolting away from you after your nail his buddy. The same applies for grey foxes. I have had as many as six foxes come to the call at the same time. The AR gives us a chance to get more animals on the ground.

 

Most predator calling AR’s are flat tops with barrels from 16” to 20”. The shorter barrels help keep the total weight down to around 8 pounds which is important on a “carry rifle”. This configuration will give excellent accuracy out to over 300 yards. Almost all predators are called to well within 200 yards, with most being taken inside 100 yards, but we all have that occasional 250-300 yard shot. An AR-15 with good glass will let us put down that coyote way out there when needed.

 

In my opinion, a good 3-9x40/42 scope is just what the doctor ordered for predators. Some predator hunters like to go with a bit more magnification and a 50mm objective and some prefer a 2-8x32 though. I personally use 3-9x40/42 scopes on my calling rifles. Both Nikon (M-223) and Leupold (Mark AR) have introduced scopes specifically designed for the AR-15 in the past year with target turrets with an assortment of reticles and power ranges.

 

For hammering predators with minimal pelt damage, I use a 55 gr. soft point boat tail bullet traveling at 3000 feet per second. It is a good compromise for an instant knock-down while still being fairly “fur friendly”. Many predator callers use one of the plastic tipped bullets. I personally stopped using them. Unless your shot is perfect, the plastic tipped bullets can “blow up" on the shoulder and you have a wounded animal running off. With a well placed shot however, the plastic tipped bullets will plant a predator where they stand and frequently not have an exit. I would suggest trying both approaches and see which you like best.

 

As far as loading for the AR in .223, I use the 55 gr. Sierra #1365 SBT bullet, 25.5 grs. of Ramshot TAC powder, Winchester brass, and CCI BR-4 SRBR primers. This load shoots ½” MOA in my AR with its 18”, 1:8 twist barrel. The TAC burns cleaner and meters easier than some of the more traditional powders used for the AR. As always, you should start with a lower load and work up to the powder charge your AR likes and is safe in your rifle. (FYI-Sierra has included recommended loads specifically for AR’s in their “Edition V” loading manual.)

 

When setting up on a stand with my AR I prefer to use a short stool to get me up above the grass and a set of shooting sticks. I always use full camo including a face mask and gloves. I use both hand calls and an electronic caller. I try to set up downwind or crosswind with some elevation and the sun to my back when possible. There is nothing quite as exciting as watching a predator running to the call!

 

The availability of .223 AR-15’s is excellent again and the prices have come back down. If you have been putting off “taking the plunge”, now is time to dive in. We also don’t know what the future may hold…………

 

Good Hunting!!

 

 

 

 

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I have read all three of these articles before , all are good reads . Don't have a bunch of frivolous words just to fill a sentence . Good work Bob !!

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Bobcat, my load also uses 25.5 gr of tac under a 55 gr hornady sp. I use tac in all of my .223s including bolt gun as well as my 204s! Love the metering and cleanliness.

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I have read all three of these articles before , all are good reads . Don't have a bunch of frivolous words just to fill a sentence . Good work Bob !!

+1

 

Highlander

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