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The Coyote lingered at about 100 yds, looking directly at us. Moving slowly, I rested the rifle on fence post, got him in my sights, took aim, and squeezed the trigger. Missed!

After we lost a new bunch of chickens, from more than 20 down to less than a dozen, my wife spotted the Coyote in the horse pasture. I sprinted back to the house, picked up the Pattern-1914 rifle and a clip of .303 and ran back down.

In retrospect, this sounds obvious, especially to all the seasoned shooters out there, but I had forgotten that hunting rounds weigh a lot less than military, and that the battle sight is for 300 yds. Although the rifle prints 2” groups at 100 yds with 175 grain FMJ, I suspect it fires almost a foot high at 100 yds with 145 grain hollow point boat-tails.

I am fed up with predators, and I don’t want to waste any more chances to bag that Coyote. I wanted something I could sight in for a specific round to reliably hit targets at a variety of ranges. I started the research online for a good, reliable, accurate budget hunting rifle. Yes, reliable, accurate and cheap. I know, you rightly think to yourself, I can’t have all three. However, if you know me at all, you know I am too cheap not to try.

I wanted to go Creedmoor 6.5 mm, because everything I hear suggests that this is the best all-round high accuracy, long range, puch packing cartridge, widely available and very flexible - from small game up to whitetail deer. I wanted it primarily to kill predators - so it fits my bill. Flat shooting, wind cutting and punch packing in a low recoil form factor.

Here were the chief candidates, based on what I could find here in Canada at gun shops at less than $800 CDN.

  • Thompson Center Compass.
  • Mossberg Patriot Predator.
  • Ruger American Predator.
  • Remington 783.
  • Savage Axis.

I looked on gunpost.ca, and various on-line stores. I was pipped to the post on a few different deals, and then I tried to buy a Thompson Center Compass at Cabelas, but they wouldn’t take my VISA debit. At this point, I was going to wait until the stores opened fully, when I took another quick search. Lo - a search result showed a Remington 783 in walnut stock in Tillsonburg. The price - $609.95. That was about the same prices I was seeing on plastic stock guns.

Yes, that Tillsonburg - the one immortalised by Stompin’ Tom Connors. A tiny Southern Ontario town. Now it so happens that my wife had just bid up a rifle scope at an auction in London. Not an expensive one. We got a Bushnell Banner 3-9 x 40 Dawn and Dusk for $90. So that seemed like a good match for a budget varmint rifle.

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A pair of scope rings are \$19.99. So for a total of \$720.00 I will have a handy, nice looking, tack driving gun that I can shoot Coyotes out to 600 yds. Or at least to the capability of my marksmanship.