Predator hunting has really seemed to take on a life of its own over the past decade. It is an extremely fast-growing pursuit with plenty of cool toys and trinkets to experiment with along the way.
It’s essential to have a reliable gun and a quality optic, things that are going to stand up against the abuse that the equipment will take out in the field.
Knowing I was wanting to take predator hunting a little more seriously this year, it was time that I put together a coyote killing combo that was light, reliable, and effective. I think I hit a home run with this 22 Nosler rifle from CMMG and the Leupold VX Freedom 3-9X40.
To set the scene a bit, I should inform you that I am not a die hard predator hunter, nor have I ever claimed to be. I love the challenges of all things hunting, and if it’s in season, I will give it a try.
My bread and butter is whitetail hunting and turkey hunting in the Midwest. If you love hunting those things, you know how important predator control can be to a local herd or flock. It didn’t take long for me to realize that every hunt I see a coyote on should quickly becomes a coyote hunt, whether or not I was looking for them.
I wanted a go-to predator hunting gun and devote a good amount of time to it once deer season wraps up, and share my thoughts on the combination I put together.
First thing’s first; let me break down the rifle itself. I went back and forth for what seemed like forever trying to decide exactly which caliber and which gun I wanted. After many hours of debate and research, I finally settled on the 22 Nosler CMMG Mk4 S.
There were a few reasons for this. First off, the AR is extremely light and very compact. The lightweight characteristic was something I really wanted in my hunting gun. I deer hunt many small tracts and properties, so I figured I would likely be on the move from property to property in the hopes of practicing some predator management.
In short, I wanted something that wasn’t a chore to carry around. This AR is a great size to tote and be mobile without fearing you’ll lose accuracy from the bumps and jostles.
The 22 Nosler from CMMG weighs only 6.5 pounds empty, so it’s great in the transport department.
Choosing a caliber was tough too, but I wanted something other than the typical 5.56. The buzz around the 22 Nosler had been incredible, and after what I was seeing the cartridge do to coyotes and varmints through my research, it was a done deal.
Here are the specs of the rifle I chose.
Barrel: 18 inches, 1:8 Twist, 22 Nosler, Medium Taper 416SS
Muzzle: A2 comp., threaded 1/2-28
Hand Guard: CMMG RKM14 KeyMod
Furniture: A2 pistol grip, M4 butt stock with 6-position mil-spec receiver extension
Receivers: Forged 7075-T6 AL M4 type upper, standard AR-15 type lower
Trigger: Single stage mil-spec style trigger
Weight: 6.5 lbs (unloaded)
Overall length: 34.5 inches (stock collapsed)
Overall it’s a really well-built gun, and the flat dark earth Cerakote makes it, in my opinion, look like an almost-perfect predator gun.
It passes the eye test with flying colors and pretty much anyone who looks at my gun collection always ends up holding this gun the longest.
Leupold has always performed really well for me on my whitetail guns, so I decided it was a great fit to go on a predator hunting rig as well. With the style of predator hunting I would be doing and the properties I would be hunting, long distances wouldn’t necessarily be a focal point.
For the most part, I didn’t foresee myself having to shoot at anything over 300 yards very often. Because of that, I wasn’t looking for a four-figure scope with all the long distance bells and whistles. I needed a quality scope with great glass that would help me put some fur on the ground. The affordable VX Freedom seemed to be the perfect fit.
It’s reliable, extremely accurate, holds zero well, and does great in low light. For what I was needing and wanting, the VX Freedom has surpassed my expectations. From what I’ve seen, the entire Freedom line from Leupold would make a good pick if you are in the market for a quality affordable scope.
This was my first go around with Nosler Ammunition. After using it with this CMMG rifle, I’m even more of a believer. When I first got the rifle and was sighting it in and doing some plinking, I was using their 22 Nosler 62 gr FBHP from the Varmageddon series. I was left really impressed.
At 100 yards, the 62 gr FBHP were coming in at 2,731 feet/second.
Once I had the gun sighted in, I wanted to get a round that I was going to actually use while predator hunting. The Varmageddon series would have done the job, but I wanted to try more from Nosler.
So, I will be predator hunting the rest of this season and years to come with their Trophy Grade Varmint 55gr Ballistic Tip. Below is the ballistic chart for the round on an 18″ barrel. I’ve been blown away by the knockdown power of these Nosler bullets from the CMMG.
Simply put, I couldn’t be happier with this little setup. If you want gun that is super light and accurate, this CMMG is the ticket.
The combo of a CMMG 22 Nosler, a Leupold VX-Freedom scope, and Nosler Ammunition is a predator hunting setup to be reckoned with. I see a lot of coyotes hitting the dirt in my future.