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Is there a minimum recommended calibre for a foxing rifle?

Two questions about foxing rifles

Fox Control

Q: Is there a minimum recommended calibre for a foxing rifle? I currently use a shotgun and I am planning to apply for a firearms certificate.

A: There is no legal minimum calibre requirement for shooting foxes, but I would recommend you buy a centrefire rifle and not a .22 rimfire. The .22 rimfire, even when loaded with superfast ammunition, doesn’t really have enough “oomph” to kill a fox cleanly.

Buy one of the more common calibres, such as the .223 or the .243 and you won’t go far wrong. There are plenty of good second-hand rifles on the market. Put in for a sound moderator at the same time as the rifle and buy as good a scope as you can afford.

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Q: Why is there a low opinion of the .22 rimfire for fox control? I have taken numerous foxes at a range of 100 yards. The rimfire also has the advantage of causing less disturbance than a centrefire, and the reduced power makes it a safer rifle on the smaller pieces of land, particularly when lamping.

A: I note that this shooter strictly limits his range, and doesn’t attempt shots at distances at which he cannot achieve clean kills.

That’s fine, but it does call for super-accurate shot placement.

For most of us, particularly at longer ranges, a centre-fire really is essential. Remember that a centre-fire generally generates at least seven times the bullet energy of the rimfire, and that a fox is quite a big animal.

Remember, too, that there is generally less ricochet danger from a centre-fire round, and a centre-fire can also be fitted with a sound moderator to help keep noise in check.