The Coyote Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

August 17th, 2003

UPDATED April 30th, 2011

VIDEO UPDATE: Tales from the Vault: The Coyote Rifle


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Author personalized his Dad's Henry .22 Magnum with a laser-engraved coyote.



The Henry .22 Magnum is perfectly-suited to the task intended: getting rid of coyotes at short-to-medium range.



Dad passed away last night. He was a wonderful father to four boys, a loyal husband of 55 years, a hard worker who loved to farm, and a Baptist preacher for five decades. My brothers and I are better men having been raised under his guidance. If we follow his example, we can do no better. 

This brings to mind the passage from St. Paul's letter to Timothy: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7, KJV)

James Patrick Quinn was a good man. We shall see him again.


This article is not about the search for the ultimate, long-range rig for the pursuit of the elusive coyote.  We will not delve into the particulars of the evolution of cartridge development relating to predator hunting, or the subtle differences  in bullet shape and construction for the best terminal performance. Scope reticle design as it relates to predator hunting will not be a topic, nor will the differences in the methods of gun barrel construction and material enter into this article. This is not about building, buying, or designing a coyote rifle, it is about THE Coyote Rifle. To be more specific: Dadís coyote rifle.

My Dad is not a hunter. He is a preacher and a farmer; neither of which is a lucrative profession in our part of Tennessee.  When Dad was younger, he did find time to do some occasional quail and rabbit hunting. Later in life, he tried deer hunting, but found that sitting in a tree during freezing weather was not for him, especially since he greatly preferred beef and pork to the flavor of venison. In his earlier years, he enjoyed shooting squirrels with a .22 rifle, and really liked the way that they fried up with a nice batch of gravy.  When asked where to shoot a squirrel, he would usually reply "Anywhere in the eye." He was pretty good with that old Remington model 510, and did not see any need for a scope or any other fancy appendages on the gun.

Dad is also not what one would refer to as a gun collector. He likes guns, and would shoot with us kids from time to time, but did not acquire guns just for the sake of owning them. He is, or at least used to be, an incurable trader. That is how he did end up with a gun or two. He would trade almost anything. He once traded a tractor for a plow horse. He was also constantly trading vehicles. We never knew what he would drive home in, but it was often not the car that he left in that morning. As far as gun trades, I remember that he once traded our pigs for a double barrel twelve gauge. Also, after one particular morningís hunt, he traded six squirrels and his shirt for his friendís shotgun. Guns were good trading material, but nothing that Dad really got excited about.

As the years passed, Dad quit hunting. I donít think that he really thought much about it; he just got busy. He was preoccupied with working a job, raising four boys, serving the Church, and trying to support his farming habit. He never showed much interest in guns. When I would show up with a new gun of some sort, he would usually say  "I thought you already had one of those." That is why I found it interesting when one day a couple of years ago Dad told me that he had shot a friendís rifle. He really liked it. It was pretty accurate, and didnít have much kick to it. It was a .22 magnum, and he asked if I had ever heard of one. Sure I had. The .22 magnum has been around as long as I have. It is a dandy little cartridge, but like most shooters, I have come to take it for granted. There are many more-powerful cartridges around, and the little .22 Long Rifle is better for plinking.

I asked Dad about his sudden interest in the .22 magnum. "Coyotes" was his reply. He had seen a couple of them while on his tractor, and did not like the idea of coyotes in the pasture with the newborn calves.  The .22 magnum that he had fired that day was a semi-auto that had a plastic stock, and was a bit heavy, but he thought that a .22 magnum would be an ideal coyote rifle, at least under the conditions that his gun would be used. He still has a nice Ruger .243 that he has owned for years, but he wanted something lighter to keep on the tractor, and besides, the .243 was too loud and powerful for close range coyotes. I agreed.

Normally, for close range predator work, I recommend a good centerfire revolver, but Dadís hands are  not as steady as they once were, and his eyes are starting to fail him as well. After a few minutes, the topic of discussion changed, and I didnít think much more about it. Awhile later, he once again was asking about .22 magnum rifles, and if I knew where he might acquire one. He  was serious about this thing.

It was just a few days later that I learned that Henry Repeating Arms was building their handy little lever action in .22 Magnum, and I immediately called McLainís Firearms and placed an order for one. The gun arrived wearing a decent-looking walnut stock, and handled and functioned very well. Still, before giving the rifle to my Dad, I wanted it to be something really special. I wanted the gun to be his, unlike any other, so I called upon a friend who had previously done some laser engraving for me, and had him to put Dadís name on the walnut stock. Also, in keeping with the purpose of the little carbine, I had an image of a coyote engraved beside the name.

A couple of days later, I found Dad walking around outside the barn, and told him that I had something for him in the truck. Pulling the rifle from the cab and handing it to him, you would think that I had given him a million bucks. He didnít say much, but it was obvious that he really liked that little Henry. Looking at the gun, never lifting his eyes from it, he thanked me very much. I pulled a box of Federal .22 magnums from my pocket and showed him how to load the gun. We both fired the little Henry, plinking a few sycamore balls from a tree over by the creek. I heard that he showed that little gun to everyone that stopped by for the next couple of months. Later, he thought that it might help by placing a scope on the little coyote rifle; nothing fancy, just a scope. I picked up a new Simmons at a gun show, and we got it sighted dead on at sixty yards.

I donít think he ever had the rifle with him when a coyote was around, but occasionally I hear him firing the little Henry at sycamore balls or walnuts. We only live a few hundred yards apart, and sometimes when he hears me testing a new gun, he brings over the coyote rifle for a little practice.

While there are many choices in firearms for varmint and predator hunting, the best rifle for coyotes is a Henry .22 magnumÖÖÖat least to me and Dad.

Check out Henry Repeating Arms' line of rifles on the Web at:

Jeff Quinn

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Author and his Dad enjoy an afternoon of shooting with the little Henry. J.P. Quinn has never been one to get very excited about guns, but in the Henry .22 Magnum he's found a rifle with moderate recoil that his aging eyes and shaking hands can shoot accurately. The Henry may not be a very expensive or fancy rifle, but getting to shoot with Dad again makes it worth more than the finest custom guns.



Fitted with a Simmons scope, the Henry .22 Magnum is an unassuming package that WORKS.