best coyote bullet for 223

The Best Coyote Bullet For a .223

There are many bullets you can use to hunt a coyote with your .223. I was talking to a buddy this past weekend who has problems with coyotes on his land killing his chickens. A .223 is his go-to for trying to control the issue. However, he seems to run into problems finding the coyotes. Some of them run 50 yards after the shot and some of them seem to survive the shot. Now I know what you’re thinking… my friend is a horrible marksman but I know him not to be. So we sat there discussing what could be the problem. We decided on it being the bullet he was using. So I did some research to find out what would be the best coyote bullet for his .223. 

After some research and talking to some others about their experience the 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet is definitely one of the best rounds for coyote hunting! It offers a quick, humane kill and it also doesn’t do too much damage to the pelt. There are some other options though on the market that you may be interested in. Let’s get into it!

Top Coyote Rounds For Your .223

Many manufacturers make several types of bullets for a .223 and most of these bullets do a great job at humanely taking down a coyote. Which are the top bullets for your .223 and coyotes though?

52 grain Sierra HPBT

The HPBT stands for ‘hollow point boat tail’. The hollow point on this bullet means that as soon as it hits the coyote it will expand almost immediately. That means it will cause a bigger entry hole and will hopefully stop the coyote in his tracks. The boat tail variation of this bullet means it tapers off at the end of the bullet providing it with better accuracy. Although this bullet is accurate the large entry hole the hollow point leaves usually leaves the pelt in bad condition. That is why this bullet didn’t take the top spot. If you will not be harvesting the pelt then this point shouldn’t matter to you as much!

Hornady V-Max

Hornady makes a great bullet for coyote hunting. The ‘V’ in V-Max stands for varmint and is specifically made for varmint hunting. It is offered with a boat tail design and has a ballistic tip like the Nosler bullet. Which provides good expansion upon entry. Since it is so similar to the Nosler bullet it came in as a close second for the best coyote bullet for a .223.

55 Grain Nosler Ballistic Tip 

As you can tell by the title this bullet has a hollow tip that is filled with hard plastic making it a ballistic tip bullet. The hard plastic material is a polymer. The ballistic tip is what differs this from the Sierra HPBT.  Since it is filled with this hard plastic it helps provide the bullet with a more managed expansion. This more controlled expansion helps keep the pelt intact. It still expands quite quickly though! This bullet does have a boat tail taper like the Sierra round though. It’s a very accurate bullet. The reason that this bullet edged out the V-Max is simply that it is a tougher bullet. Which means it has more consistent exit holes and shoots more reliably. 

What other types of bullets do they make for my .223?

We have discussed a couple of types of bullets already that can be used for coyote hunting. The two main bullet types we discussed were a Hollow Point Boat Tail and a Balistic bullet. There are a couple more types of bullets though. 

Full Metal Jacket. These bullets typically consist of lead encased by a harder metal. The metal which is most often copper is ‘jacketed’ around the lead. That’s of course where the name comes from. These bullets don’t expand as well as hollow points or ballistic bullets. These are the type of bullets my buddy was using. Since they don’t expand well they oftentimes go straight through the target and don’t do match damage. This can lead to the animal running after the shot and isn’t as humane as it could be. 

Soft Points. A soft point bullet is also jacketed. However, the inside of the bullet is a softer lead and is exposed at the tip. This allows the bullet to have better expansion than a full metal jacket. It doesn’t expand as quickly as a hollow tip though. Ballistic bullets have built on this with better technology and have thus surpassed soft tipped bullets for coyote hunting usage. Soft tip bullets typically have a place in most big game hunters ammo boxes. 

What bullet is best for keeping the pelt intact?

All of the bullets that you can shoot through your .223 will kill a coyote with proper shot placement. Some of those bullets though will leave too big of an entry or exit wound. If you plan on harvesting the pelts often on coyotes you may also want to try a smaller caliber rifle. A .17 HMR is a great rifle to make sure you won’t damage the pelt. It is a smaller caliber though so it won’t have as much speed or pack as much of a punch at longer distances when compared to a .223. With too large of a wound you cant properly harvest the pelt of the coyote. Hollowpoint bullets expand rapidly upon impact and can many times leave a large entry wound. If you’re looking to take the pelt home then hollowpoints most times arent the route you want to take. With a .223 it’s sometimes best to shoot a bullet that will go clean through the coyote and you won’t have to worry as much about expansion of the bullet. A ballistic bullet strikes a nice balance of expansion but also killing power as well. 


There are a lot of bullets for your .223 that will do great coyote hunting. However, if you’re looking for a quick humane kill as well as being able to harvest the pelt then the Nosler 55 grain Ballistic Tip is the bullet for you. Nothing though will trump proper shot placement and accuracy. So get out and do some hunting or get to the range for some target practice.