I’ve began implementing some thermal use mixed with the old red light while predator hunting. I’ve had a few opportunities now to shoot at trotting and balls out running coyotes.
Question is how far in front of the coyote with thermal should one lead? I’m still learning yardage and distance with the Pulsar
Not being critical, but you are asking a really vague ballistics question and the issue and thermal has nothing to do with the ballistics.
How far do you lead a coyote on the move?
What are the ballistics of your ammo? Muzzle velocity, weight, and BC?
How fast do you think the coyote is moving? You said trotting, so maybe 5-7 mph? (You have walk, trot, lope, gallop, bounding gallop, running, some people actually study this stuff, LOL)
How far away do you think the coyote is? This is needed to understand time of flight.
In my case, right now I am shooting a Grendel with 90 gr. ammo with a BC of .281 and muzzle velocity of 2740 fps.
A coyote trotting at 5 mph is covering 7.3333 feet per second. Here I am assuming that the coyote is trotting perpendicular to you.
At 100 yards, my bullet will take 0.12 seconds to get there (Time of Flight)
In 0.12 seconds, the coyote will have moved 0.88 feet (~11 inches). You need 11 inches of lead for where you want your bullet to impact.
7 mph at 100 yards, you need roughly 15" of lead
At 50 yards, I can cut the lead in half.
At 150 yards, I need to add on about 50% more.
scalebuster is right. The only way to learn how to do it is to do it. If you understand the mechanics beforehand, the process will go easier. I have made some fantastic (for me) shots on moving coyotes, but by and large, I find moving coyotes to be a very challenging target. What I can tell you nearly 100% for certain is that if you miss with your first shot or hit very poorly, the speed of the coyote is apt to change drastically and you will have to adjust accordingly. That will tend to introduce a lot more vertical movment in the coyote's gate, making vertical shot POI virtually impossible to predict because you probably can't assess how much vertical movement is from stride to stride relative to how far each stride is and where all that will meet with your bullet given the time of flight.
My suggestion to you, since the coyote is trotting and is not running away in fear is that you NOT
try to shoot it on the move. Give it a good bark or hoot and get it to stop (which it will tend to do out of curiosity) and be prepared to shoot when it stops. You will likely have 2-5 seconds before it starts moving again.
Here is a video that sums up my general frustration with shooting coyotes including good and not-so-good shots. The ammo used here has different ballistics than the example above.