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You are the one that knows your shooting abilities best. I dont suggest that you use any rimfire on coyotes. Smallest I would go would be a 22 hornet, that being said yes you "could" kill an elk with a .223 but would you hunt an elk with it? I am by no means the person that has made every shot count perfectly there have been hundreds of times where I have had to use a second shot. I have also lost animals that I have hit, that is not a good feeling at all, if I am going to experiment with smaller calibers I will work my way down, not up. 17 HMR = Great crow, squirrel, rabbit, p-dog, and small animal rifle it was not however designed to take down larger animals. If you feel that in the crunch time you can shoot a coyote in the head go for it and post some pics!!! My favorite thing on earth is hunting coyotes however my coyote rifle is a browning 22-250, I am going to try to take one with a Glock 22 in .40 S&W on film later this year though. It is your choice
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