Remington 700 VTR Desert Recon
I’ll admit, I’m a Remington girl, and I was going to give a first-hand testament to the VSSF (Varmint Synthetic Stainless Fluted), which I’ve owned for some time now and with which I’ve done my share of prairie dog elimination work. But then I came across the Remington VTR (Varmint Tactical Rifle), and thought that, for coyotes, this was a much better option.
To start with, the gun has some pretty trim lines and what should be a back-weighted balance, thanks to the triangular barrel (my VSSF is, admittedly, long-barreled and forward balanced–bipods, bags, or sticks are mandatory for accurate use). This back-end balance is a help, at least in my opinion, when it comes to shooting sitting or prone off of sticks or a bipod. The gun also weighs between 7.25 and 7.5, depending on caliber, which makes this a really portable option when you need to change setups fast—and when you’re loaded down with ground blind material, an electronic calling system, your bino, decoy, spare ammo and more, every ounce counts. Remington’s easy, externally adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger is a bonus (it’s factory set at a snappy 3.5 pounds), as is the barrel and fore-end porting. The Desert Recon digital camo should prove handy across the Southwest deserts, the scrub-brushed canyons of California, on the plains of Big Sky country, hunkered down in the cactus-studded landscape of Texas, and just about any place wearing snow.
MSRP: Remington’s website still lists this rifle, but shows it as discontinued in the two calibers it was offered in, .223 and .308. I looked at another option, the Remington XHR (Xtreme Hunting Rifle), which also featured the triangular barrel, but without the porting and in a Hardwoods camo with grip inserts. It was also discontinued across the spectrum of calibers, which included coyote-ready .243 and .25-06. That left me with just the straight VTR, which wears olive drab instead of camo. The website shows this model newly introduced in .223 and .243, in addition to the .204 Ruger and .22-250 calibers already on the roster, any of them retailing for $825. You could certainly opt for the olive-drab version, can't think of a landscape it won't work in other than the day after a blizzard hits, though I’d keep an eye for clearance prices on the other versions still sitting on retailers’ shelves and needing to go, especially post-holiday season.
Simmons Predator Quest
Yes, this scope is named for Les Johnson and his popular television show, Predator Quest. Sounds a little hokey? Well, consider this. Pros with TV shows have substantial money invested in their hunts—and no kills equal a lot of wasted time and footage that’ll never make the airwaves. Gear has to work, so I’m going to give this Simmons a recommendation based on that behind-the-scenes knowledge. Two 30mm-tubed versions are available, a 4.5-18×44 and a 6-24×50, either of which are ideal for Wile E. The 4.5-18 has a field of view of nearly 20 feet at 100 yards, while the 6-24 is also wide at 14 feet (likewise at 100 yards). Either has a generous eye relief of 3.9 inches, good when you’re shooting off a bipod or sticks where it’s sometime hard to get up on the stock. The Truplex reticle is standard no-muss-no-fuss fare, the side-focus knob is a handy bonus, and the scope is, of course, waterproof and fogproof.
MSRP: Buy links from the Simmons website put these scopes at $302 to $364, depending on which size. I Googled and found them at easily a third to half that.
The Author Recommends: From population control to pelt harvesting, shot placement is critical in coyote hunting (and no ethical hunter wants to wound an animal, no matter how bad one needs to reduce their numbers). Get your scope on tight and straight with the help of Gun Digest's Scope Mounting and Bore Sighting Instructional DVD, then make your shots count cleanly when that howler comes running towards your wounded rabbit call.