Suitable Calibre for Fox and rabbits.

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by commzmeanzbombz, Dec 13, 2008.

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  1. Now then Fellas, I have just got permission to shoot vermin on some land with a 12 bore, I am thinking about applying for my FAC to shoot Rabbits and Foxes although I dont know that much about rifles and suitable calibres. Can Foxes be shot humanely with a 22? If not what would be a suitable calibre? Also what is the difference between centrefire and rimfire rifles and why would you choose one over the other? Cheers
  2. It depends on the .22 you choose really, assuming you mean rim fire then my police area certainly won't approve them for fox. Any centre fire .22 will do the job, you may be lucky and get one on first application.
  3. Cheers mate, is centrefire more powerful than rimfire?
  4. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    There are many .22 centre fire cartridges but almost all destroy rabbits totally, .17 RF is good for fox as is .22rf. I have shot more foxes with .22rf than any centrefire, its all about technique and practise but to be honest its worth calling your FEO and asking informally what the force policy is?
    A good compromise and one that isnt seen much nowadays is the old .2 Hornet, good for fox out to about 150 yards and fine for bunnies. Its also reloadable!
  5. Here we go then


    So that's the first bit dealt with - sort of :lol:

    Before we go any further, it's worth pointing out that .22 rimfire is cheap to shoot but Firearms Officers may not be keen on it. The reason being the problem of ricochets. The tiddlly little .17s tend to break up on impacting anything whereas the .22, being a solid lump, can go on for a considerable distance. My local Firearms bloke is very anti because of the number of flints that we have in the chalk downland around here.

    The .17s will be approximately the same cost as a 12 bore to shoot: The .22 will be at around £4 to £5 per fifty rounds.
    The other .22 to consider is the .22WMR. A lot of people don't care for it but the one that I use has always been good for me.

    Now we get onto the more difficult part of your enquiry.
    I have shot foxes with .22 when the brutes have presented themselves but whether or not it is an approved round to use on them I am not sure.

    The Firearms Officer from your local Police will also want to inspect your land to see that it is suitable for you use a rifle on.

    You will also need a gun safe and they like separate safes for the ammunition.

    Hopefully some-one else will post what calibers are suitable for each species that you might encounter. It is on the DEFRA website but I'm not sure where.
  6. Cheers Ugly
  7. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Thats what I'm here for folks, honestly I do this for a living, firearms advice etc so ask away, I'm sure I can help. I also attend land inspections and have been known to sway FEOs especially those who think they know about guns!
  8. I'd suggest that you apply for a .22 rimfire and a .223 Centrefire rifle. State the reason for needing them as being for "Vermin/Fox/Ground game"

    You should have the same conditions for each rifle.
    Alternatives to the .223 would be .22 Hornet or .222 but .223 should be rather more straightforward to find ammunition for readily.

    I use 7.62 or 303 for Fox but if you haven't got permission to shoot deer you're better off with the smaller calibre.
  9. Cheers HB, EX-S & Ugly, You fellas are a mine of information, I have a few other questions about many aspects of shooting but I will leave them for another day, Cheers Again
  10. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Whereabouts in the country are you? We can help!
  11. PM on its way mate.....
  12. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

  13. I've used a variety of small calibres for bashing foxes here in Germany, including .22LR. You can kill a fox humanly with a rimfire, .22 Magnum or .22LR if you hit them right. These rounds have the advantages of very low cost, the pelts will be in a usable condition and the barrels will last forever. UK foxes have very low quality pelts and so damage is less of a concern. The biggest consideration is range. .22LR is very acurate out to 50 meters after which it nosedives, the new lighter high velocity .22LR rounds , Yellowjacket etc extend the range out to 100 Meters giving parity with .22 magnum, but they use a lighter ball (the same size as the old .22Long) and are therefore a bit windy and less lethal. The question is how often do you see a fox at these ranges.
    In Germany we stalk foxes by moonlight when the snow is on the ground. It is very satisfying to pop a fox at 200 meters with a modern high velocity rimfire round. In crisp old snow it is very difficult to approach a fox quietly in order to get a good shot. .22 hornet is an old unstable round and is not much use over 120 meters, it's cheap but not always cheerfull. Some of the newer very fast rounds are superb for foxes .17 & the 250 swift etc but check the barrel wear figures for the ammunition before making a choice, you should buy a rifle for life.

    I used 5.6 x 56R magnum for years and found it to be a very good round for Fox and Roe, I've even heard of pigs being shot through their lugholes with one but I can't comment on that, it was a mate who heard it from a mate etc. etc and thats all I have to say on that matter your honour.
    Where I shoot now I need to always have a round which is good for Pig and Red Deer, even in the closed season for Reds I might stumble accross a wounded or sick animal and have to top it. The terrain is very difficult so I need good knockdown if I don't want to drag a stag through a mile of steep, tangled and untended Hessisch beech forest.
    When I stalk foxes there I use BSA CS2 7mm x 64, 7mm x 65R (in a Suhler 16 bore drilling) or my Mauser 66 in .243 Winchester. The first two of these are unfamiliar to most Brit shooters but are widely used european rounds hitting hard and flat. The .243 Win was originally designed as a varmint/fox round and I can highly recommend it and if you can get one it gives you the option to shoot bigger game later.

    When I sit in the high seats I use God's own calibre .375 H&H Mag in an allweather Mauser M98 from Zastava, the same rifle is sold in the states as a Remington. It's a heavy rifle to lug through the woods all day when stalking but the piggies and Reds don't run very far after an encounter with it and hey I'm a shi't civvy now so it does me good to sweat a bit. Lots of Germans use the various 9.3 mm rounds for the same reason, but they are less accepted outside Europe and hard to buy worldwide. The H&H round is available worldwide. The heavy round will go clean through a fox or roe without having time to expand fully, the damage to the game is to some extent self limiting. Unfortunately no Brit copper will let you have one, for some perverse reason they want you to have less lethal, less humane firearms, which is as good a reason as any for staying in Germany.
  14. When I lived in Taffland I had good results on rabbits and foxes with a .22WMR, I used 33Gr V-max ammo that expanded quickly like a .17HMR and so avoided the ricochet issues of a normal .22, and it was better in the wind. The relatively flat trajectory made it far more efficient on rabbits than the .22lr I use now.

    The downside was relatively expensive ammo and the fact it wasn't available from every single gunshop, unlike .22lr ammo.

    Its worth considering what ratios you're going to be shooting in. If you are going to be out foxing a lot, say to protect pheasants or poultry, then a .223 or similiar CF is probably the way ahead, with a cheap .22lr for the rabbits. If its going to be hundreds of rabbits and 5-10 foxes a year, maybe a .22WMR or .22Hornet, and if its hundreds of rabbits and a couple of foxes as they present themselves, then the .22lr and the shotgun are all you really need.

    Bear in mind, a decent .22lr rifle can be had, screwcut for a mod, for under #100
  15. I knew a chap who had 45-70 on his certificate conditioned for Deer and Fox. Never used it mind.