The modern coyote hunting rifle needs to be a flexible tool.
Gone are the good old days of dusting off a song dog that walks calmly into a shot range of under 50 yards.
Sure, this can happen today, but it is the exception rather than the rule.
AR-15 eating coyote that won't be having lunch anymore on this ranch
Therefore, today's hunters require an optical system that can range to distances beyond 500 yards. With these facts in mind, the choices for good predator shooting optics are many.
Bushnell Engage Riflescope
Leupold Mark AR M-3
Tract TORIC UHD
TRACT Turion Rifle Scope
Vortex Optics Crossfire II
1. Nikon Prostaff 4-12X40
This scope is somewhat compact and is best paired with the flat top AR-15 platform. This is a mid-range scope in terms of a coyote gunning system and is a good choice for the hunters who are budget conscious.
The scope offers excellent durability because it is built with polymer and aluminum. With a 4-12 magnification, the scope is workable for closer in running shots and mid-range sniper shots for ridge-to-ridge style shooting.
The best way to describe this optic system is "general purpose" for those time when you hunt coyotes in close range. The unit features a multi-coated optical system that transmits up to 98 percent of available light.
Nitrogen filled and using an O-ring design, the housing is waterproof, shockproof and fog proof. The reticle retains the BDC system often employed by Nikon. This fast focus eyepiece measures 14.1 inches.
This is a good scope that uses a flagship design used by deer hunters for general hunting and shooting forays.
Palmetto Arms .224 Valkyrie/Pro Staff Nikon glass during coyote hunt on the Rose Bud reservations South Dakota
As a side note here, I use Nikon scopes with two different scope models. This first is the 1000 Black Long Range. The other model is a target Prostaff that uses the elevation turret as an open control system with a capped windage knob on the right side.
This scope also uses MOA graduations for elevation and the same in sub-tensions to give the shooter some latitude regarding scope sight control. Be sure to learn and understand the basic Nikon BDC sub-tensions used on many of their scopes before you buy Nikon.
2. Bushnell Engage Riflescope
In this scope, we have several elements that add up to a higher grade coyote gunning system. This is not top of the line because an ultra high-end scope can break the bank. Believe me on that subject.
This scope fits a good niche for this type of sight because it retains the large 30 mm pain tube that uses heavy, durable turret core materials.
It has excellent light gathering ability and uses a large lens system for bringing in long-range targets. This is one of the best ar 15 scopes for providing a wide field of view on hard running, close contact targets.
By using the MOA graduations and individual hash marks, the shooter can adjust range and wind by clicking his sight settings. No trick reticles here, just old school range and dial when it comes to taking out that old song dog sitting on a fence line some 600 yards down range.
This scope uses a zero stop setting so you always know exact zero when returning to your 100-yard baseline sight settings.
In the past year, I have tested no less than eight different Bushnell systems using real-time field targets. Now owned by Vista Corporation, this line has advanced massively from the old school system once offered to the shooting public.
With modern advancements in optical glass, Bushnell has upgraded its lenses in many ways. Today the optical quality of the Bushnell systems is top notch.
3. Leupold VX
With increasing range due to the advanced cartridge design of the AR-15 platform, the glass required to use with these new cartridges also required an upgrade. Enter the Leupold VX line. The long-range option in these scopes is the 3-15X44 mm optical system.
Leupold does not take a back seat to anyone in the scope business when it comes to adjusting the product to meet customer needs. This scope is range ready for the new .224 Valkyrie on an AR-15 platform that moves this rifle up to a 1500-yard target contact tool.
In effect, just short of double the effective distance of the .223 Remington, .556 NATO round that is commonly chambered in the AR-15.
This scope makes use of the Leupold CDS reticule (custom dial system). This eliminates the need for holdover on longer range shots.
The scope also uses the Leupold “Twilight Max HD” light system that gives the shooter about 30 minutes of extended target sighting shooting time after sundown. This feature alone is a coyote hunter's dream at times.
Unless otherwise indicated all scopes being reviewed here are in the second focal plane. In general, hunters like this because the impact point will not shift with a change in scope magnification.
For example, the bullets will impact exactly in the same place if the riflescope is turned to the 10X or the 3X magnification level.
This scope system makes use of the side focus knob that allows quick adjustment for parallax-free shooting once you're on your target. You can easily range adjust and shoot with a clear sight picture every time.
Leupold “Guard-Ion” hydrophobic lens coating is standard on this scope making it a very durable lens system in any field conditions you encounter.
Using the 30 mm main tube, the scope allows greater latitude for elevation adjustments. It takes many clicks on that turret ring to pull enough elevation for some long shots.
This scope has the capabilities. All you need is the skill to take that 1000-yard coyote shot. “Dial and send” is the term used by coyote hunters working under these rules of engagement.
This scope is designed, machined, and assembled in America.
4. Leupold Mark AR M-3. 3-9X40
Leupold calls its Mark AR M-3 an “Assault Rifle Scope.” For this most part, this means that it is designed for the AR-15 platform or M-16. This scope is mission capable to take on the standard .223 Remington round or advanced rounds like the .224 Valkyrie.
Why you might ask, because of the general construction redesign.
Built for the more open country shooting of song dogs, this scope retains a one-inch main tube, uses the second focal plane SSF system, and retains a 52 MOA adjustment level for advancing elevation for long shots.
5. Tract TORIC UHD 4-20X50
This scope is large, in fact, almost too large for the AR platform. However, even the AR-15 is accepting longer barrels and heat guards these days.
The overall rifles are getting longer for the longer range bullet applications used by so many shooters and hunters. The AR is upgraded significantly by using a scope like this.
I shoot with this exact scope on a one mile 338 Lapua. It has been gunned, written about, and fired hard over the past year on the Dakota grasslands and bad land mud buttes.
This TRACT Optic carries the Toric brand and is outstanding. It features very clear glass.
This glass is made from higher grade European materials. Made from heavy, high-quality 30 mm tube channel metal, the housing on this optic is Russian tank tough.
This scope uses what TRACT calls “Ultra High Definition” optical systems. This system uses low dispersion lenses. These are not just words, my friend, this is one of the best scopes. It rocks all the way to the one-mile target.
This scope is in the first focal plane. This means that the reticle (sub tensions) get larger as the power increases. This is standard in military sniper scopes. Professionals learn to use them to their advantage.
The turret is precision machined and produces .24 MOA per click or 1/10 of an MRAD if that system has been installed. I shoot this optic myself for ultra long-range work.
This scope makes use of a full zero stop setting. Zero your rifle and turn away on the elevation turret because the return to that previous zero is always spot on.
This scope is recommended for open country coyote hunting west of the Missouri River in the American West.
Note: This scope has a material value worth double its price tag. In other words, it would take twice the money to equal its quality and performance in another brand name. This is my opinion based on field experience with this optical system.
Getting to the other side of the matter, there is no need to spend the farm on a scope the size of a fireplace log if you're not shooting much beyond woodland or brush country ranges.
Enter the mid-range optics for ARs that do the job just fine when hunting coyotes through sagebrush or juniper stands. When the shotgun is starting to look like the firearm of preference, it is time to bring down the power setting and drop to a lighter, faster handling scope system.
If I had my way, and I do have just that, I would lock down the Trijicon ACOG onto any AR-15 for the work I have just described and fire away. However, since we are not looking at the ACOG in this review, my first choice is the Tract Turion.
6. TRACT Turion Rifle Scope
This 3-9 x 40 mm rifle scope is a very aggressive optical system for all types of rifles, shotguns and muzzleloader weapons. The scope is a well-rounded hunting option. It fills the bill of a rock solid brush country optic for the AR-15 rifle.
This scope makes use of the TRACT HD optical system that can stand against any other on the market today and outgun most of them. The coated optics and high light transmission SCHOTT-HT glass are key to this scope's success among very discriminating professional shooters.
It can take on any amount of light in any field condition. Believe me, I shoot this glass and the ads don't lie one bit.
My old friend and editor of The Varmint Hunter Magazine, John Anderson, designed the versatile BDC reticle. The industry picked it up some years later. Ain't that always how it goes.
The BDC system uses rings that are spaced to determine exact ranges very quickly. This is important when coyotes come running in and are right on top of you in thick ground cover situations.
At the same time, the sub-tensions on this scope won't obscure a target at long range because you're always shooting through an open hole along the elevation line in the scope sight.
The elevation and windage adjustment on this scope are hand tuned right down to the last micro nick on the metal. These optics are repeatable every time if you shoot the one-inch test box that is common among gun writers when testing these systems.
Built with zero stop rings on the turret, you're never lost if you dial up long-range MOA settings for the longer shots. Tuck the sights into that zero stop setting for a 100 yard zero for the close-range shots and you own the brush country hands down.
TRACT lifetime warranty applies here. There are no time limits or paperwork involved with any issue you have with the scope.
7. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4X24
Hang on, boys and girls, because here comes a $200 optic that will do the deed just as well as the big high priced guys. Get this optic when the ground cover closes down and the funds are a bit tight at home. Vortex is the name and getting the job done is its game.
I have shot this hunting scope in many events for both weapons testing and optics evaluations. I currently own two of them and use them on different rifles.
Vortex scoped long range rifle is just one of several scopes used currently in use.
My first is so much a prototype that it doesn't even have the brand name on it. However, the guts say Vortex all the way.
This brand started to move off dead center very early after reaching store gun counters. As such, it has never stopped improving and building on the brand with new scopes and other related optical systems.
Vortex Scoped Chassis Rifle, Best long range scope for 6.5 creedmoor
The Crossfire makes use of a lighted reticle that enhances the aiming dot with a V shape for fast target acquisition even in very low light conditions. If this is not coyote equipment in nasty brush country right at dusk, I don't know what is?
Mounting a long eye relief and ultra-forgiving eye box, you will be able to get on target fast even when that song dog is up close and personal. This scope is built as a one-piece tube construction system. This aids in the optic staying in one piece when hauled around by coyote hunters.
8. Sightmark COR TX
The Sightmark Cor TX is a scope under $200 that retains coated lenses. It features a red and green lighted reticle system. This hunting scope makes use of an open turret for fast elevation or windage adjustments in the field.
Built on a 30 mm aircraft-grade aluminum tube, the unit is durable. The size of the scope measures 15 x 4 x 4 inches with a carry weight of 2 pounds. The large objective lens and power measure 3-4 X 24.
This company builds many varied models of holographic sights. This is one of the few models that is a fully built tube style optical system.