(Wow. I don’t normally buy firearms this often – or this impulsively.)
I bought the Ruger 77/22 in .22 Magnum when I did because I wanted to get ready for some serious coyote hunting. However, I was really let down by the accuracy. I’m thinking I might still be able to do something about that, but there are other reasons that the Ruger is not ideal. The .22 Magnum is kind of a marginal cartridge for coyote, especially at longer ranges. Also, that rifle is quite shiny, which might pose a problem with coyotes. In the back of my mind, I thought maybe I would prefer to have a .22 caliber centerfire with a camouflage finish.
In less than a week, I convinced myself to go that direction, chose a rifle, found it, and bought it. I am now the proud owner of a CZ 527 M1 Ultralight Camo Predator rifle, chambered in .223 Remington. It is a sweet little gun (though I haven’t fired it yet). It is light and maneuverable, in part because of the slim “micro” action. It has a free-floated barrel, a detachable magazine, and a single set trigger (the set trigger has only a 1½ pound trigger pull with no creep). It has a 1:12 twist, which is optimal for 55 grain bullets. I have also ordered a nice Nikon 4.5-14x40mm scope, also in a camouflage finish, which has side-focus parallax adjustment and an anti-reflective device. The scope has a BDC reticle calibrated for 55 grain bullets. I can’t wait to get it all together and get out to the range with it.
I will be happy if I can develop a load for it that is sub-MOA, which would mean I could take coyote out to about four hundred yards. I will concentrate my load development on the Sierra 55 grain BlitzKing or the Hornady 53 grain V-Max. They both have a high ballistic coefficient, so there is no question of having enough down-range energy to do the job.
Update: I have mounted and bore-sighted the scope. It is really nice! Bright, clear optics, sharp reticle, a solid feel to all of the adjustments. The side-focus parallax adjustment should give me an edge for longer-range shots. The camouflage pattern matches the rifle well, and the anti-reflective device works great. I plan to take it to the range Sunday. I couldn’t find the brass I want to use (Nosler) locally, so I had to order some. That means I’ll be shooting factory ammunition this weekend, and breaking the barrel in with that.
Update (Range Report): After the experience with the Ruger 77/22, I was quite worried about accuracy. However, I am relieved to report that this rifle is consistently sub-MOA with match factory ammunition (Black Hills 52 gr Match Hollow Point). It was a windy day, but my best group was 0.401″ at 100 yards, 0.654″ average, and even my worst group was just barely sub-MOA. I hope to improve on that with hand loads, but already it is good enough to take coyote out to 400 yards, which is well beyond any distance I am likely to encounter a coyote in Missouri. The scope is great, but the reticle is not ideal for target shooting; I am thinking of a target design to compensate for that during my load development.
See my later post on .223 Remington Load Development.