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Moniar

Right guns for the job

Further to WVGs mention of the fox problem we currently have (for the first time in 5 years of keeping chickens) http://forum.downsizer.net/viewtopic.php?t=39223

I would appreciate some advice on the right gun choice/purchase. To date, I have dealt with (not too successfully so far) our magpie and rat problem by a mixture of selective poison laying for the rats, a borrowed larson trap for the magpies (some success but magpies are wiser to it now or I need to change the bait from chicken feed to meat), and a ratcatcher .22 air gun (only successfully used to kill the trapped magpies at point blank range due to me being a novice shooter). I also have an airarms 410 .177 air rifle with bi pod and silencer on loan with a view to learning how to shoot accurately and then dissuade the magpies from having a free feed every morning, stealing/eating eggs, and scaring the chickens off laying Mad If I get proficient with the .177 I might move on to try bunnies for the pot as there are plenty on and around our 6 acres.

In the short term, friends/local farmer have volunteered to keep trying to call/lamp the large male fox that is undeterred by our male spaniels scent or WVG's screaming at him at 3ft range next to the chicken coups fencing Shocked He took a roaming chicken on Saturday pm and I spotted him in our bottom field in the evening so he's not going away.

Medium term (end of this week) I have ordered today a fox trap, from someone who used to make them for turkey factories to keep the fox problem down (ie stronger than some of the ones you find on ebay). Assuming the trap is successful in catching one or more of the foxes I now come to my questions:

What is the best calibre/type of gun/s to quickly despatch any fox that I trap? Am I right in thinking that both the .22 and .177 air weapons are not going to give it a quick and relatively painless death even with a headshot at blank range? If so, what is the best gun for this job? I dont like killing things unless I am going to eat it but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that free range small holding is difficult to maintain economically without culling some of the predators. The guy thats making the fox cage for me reckons that the factory managers used to call the rspc for them to remove the trapped foxes to a distant forest - but I cant see them doing that these days, even if they could do?

and secondly, given the magpie problem we still have, is there a single gun that will do both jobs? maybe a .410 shot gun?

I have recently had one afternoon of shooting clays with a 12 bore, and am now more comfortable about getting a licence and buying/using one if required. Alternatively, given that I know a fair few people without land but who like shooting - my reading of the guidance on the local police website is that I can legally use a loaned gun on my own land as long as the certificate holder is with me at all times? If so, then maybe the cheaper option is for me to have a shooting party once a month or so where friends experienced with 12 bores/ 410s can keep the magpies down, and maybe have the odd bunny shoot for the pot. That way I could learn a bit more about shotguns etc without having to hold a licence, have a shotgun, install a gun case etc.

Sorry for the novice questions but I reckon I am more likely to get better answers on here than in the average gun shop. I dont want to spend a fortune on a gun/s - it will be a working tool rather than a hobby, as I have plenty of hobbies already!
vegplot

I'm always dubious about shooting foxes with shotguns. If they're trapped then it's not a problem and in the open I would think twice unless it was using heavy shot or solid slugs. An air rifle certainly won't be humane or even powerful enough.

A .410 is an ideal gun for rabbits and destroying trapped foxes.
Nick

I'd give up on the airgun to kill a fox, unless you plan to beat him to death with the butt.

As for using shotguns, as I understand it, you're quite right. You can use a borrowed gun on your land, with the certificate holder present. Certainly when we have clay shoots, that's what we do, and we have the police present (shooting on his day off, rather than officially).

Can't suggest which gun you should be using, I'm afraid as I'm far from an expert.
vegplot

If you do go down the shotgun route use 12 bore with no less than 36 grammes of No. 1 or No. 3 shot and keep the range to within 30 metres.

For smaller game such as rabbit use No. 5 or No. 6 shot.

Edit: solid slug is devastating and you need to ensure you have a proper backstop behind the target as the slug will go straight through the fox and keep going. So the risk is so much greater than when using shot which dissipates it's energy quite quickly.

They are very heavy hitters and for your size of land I wouldn't advise using them. The energy at 100 yards is given as 1,200 ft. lbs with a muzzle velocity of 1,500 fps, somewhat more powerful than an air rfile.
Moniar

Sounds like a .410 shot gun will do both jobs then, trapped fox kill, and also useful for the magpies and bunnies.

If the trap I have ordered does the business then I'll proceed with a shot gun licence application and look around for a cheap and cheerful but good working order single barrel .410. If the trap isnt that effective, I may have to opt for a .22 rifle and scope to deal with Mr Fox.

Last nights lamping for him was cancelled as the shooter was ill, so hopefully will be having another call for him later tonight (which reminds me, I must go and give the chickens another check as its coming up to dusk patrol time!).

Thanks for the comments.
vegplot

You can expect to wait 4-6 months for the Firearms Certificate to come through. You may, or may not have a valid reason to own a .22LR for your land. A shotgun certificate is likely to be quicker and is easier to obtain.

You have to provide valid reason to posses a rifle but the police have to have valid reasons not to allow you to posses a shotgun.

.410's are ace little guns.
Brownbear

Might also be worth considering a .17HMR. Great little rifles, good for bunnies, magpies etc when on the ground, also quite capable of killing a fox with a headshot. Police class them as rimfires along with .22LR, and often prefer them as they tend to ricochet a lot less than the big slow lump of lead that a .22 throws.
vegplot

How are you going to get around WVG's distaste for guns? EV was dead against them but now she shoots in competitions (and is very good as well).
welsh veg grower

just found out you guys are discussing guns on my land Surprised

Not keen around the house etc but Mr fox has to go poor Hilda has now gone and just feathers left Sad

Something needs to be done. I just dont like having guns around the house
Moniar

welsh veg grower wrote:
just found out you guys are discussing guns on my land Surprised

Not keen around the house etc but Mr fox has to go poor Hilda has now gone and just feathers left Sad

Something needs to be done. I just dont like having guns around the house


Oops we've been discovered ! Embarassed

Time for a sharp exit - the next local shooter taking on the challenge of Mr Fox is due to arrive here in next 30 mins - just need some cloud cover now. Twisted Evil
Brownbear

welsh veg grower wrote:

Something needs to be done. I just dont like having guns around the house


Agricultural pests live on agricultural land; farming said land brings a responsibility to control them. Controlling agricultural pests requires firearms. Liking or disliking them doesn't come in to it.
Moniar

I think the fact that the fox came back sometime during today and took Jeremy, our large Moran cockeral (and central to the spring breeding programme with his three ladies) in daylight may have some bearing on the debate now Mad

6 foxes spotted last night - one killed close in with shotgun, second one at 200yds with .222

I am hoping the guys will be coming back tonight to take out the rest of them - taking Jeremy has now led to a declaration of open warfare Twisted Evil
vegplot

I've just come back from the club practicing with my .357 Long Barreled Revolver, and getting very good groups. Somehow I don't think it would be legal to use it for foxes though.
welsh veg grower

ok ok, I agree they need to be used in the country.

I have no issue with killing pests (espeically having eaten my best young man). I have issue with them being around and about with children.
vegplot

Children and guns don't mix, not unless they are of an age to learn to shoot under strict supervision.

Guns have to be securely locked away when not in use and the only person who knows where the key's location is the owner of the guns. They are not permitted to tell anyone. EV doesn't know where I keep my keys.
Moniar

Not a single fox seen tonight - must be full after eating Jeremy. Fox live trap now in situ next to where the fox got into the coup today and set for the rest of the night. Heres hoping.
Brownbear

Children can develop a morbid fascination with fireams; the best cure for this is to teach then to use them safely and responsibly when they are old enough to handle a fiream safely. Otherwise, they should regard them as a potentally dangerous bit of farm machinery.
Old-Chads-Orchard

vegplot wrote:

Edit: solid slug is devastating and you need to ensure you have a proper backstop behind the target as the slug will go straight through the fox and keep going. So the risk is so much greater than when using shot which dissipates it's energy quite quickly.

They are very heavy hitters and for your size of land I wouldn't advise using them. The energy at 100 yards is given as 1,200 ft. lbs with a muzzle velocity of 1,500 fps, somewhat more powerful than an air rfile.


You need a FAC to fire solid slug from a shotty (according to my local FAO)
vegplot

Yes, very true. I believe FAO's aren't keen on them for pest control and would probably prefer you use a rifle. Practical Shotgun is perhaps the only justifiable reason for solid slug in the UK.
Brownbear

vegplot wrote:
Yes, very true. I believe FAO's aren't keen on them for pest control and would probably prefer you use a rifle. Practical Shotgun is perhaps the only justifiable reason for solid slug in the UK.


I have solid slug on my FAC for humane destruction of farm stock.
vegplot

Brownbear wrote:
vegplot wrote:
Yes, very true. I believe FAO's aren't keen on them for pest control and would probably prefer you use a rifle. Practical Shotgun is perhaps the only justifiable reason for solid slug in the UK.


I have solid slug on my FAC for humane destruction of farm stock.


You learn something new every day.
Brownbear

Essentially, injured horses or deranged cattle, in circs. where it would be too dangerous to use the .308, and not personally safe to get close enough to kill them with a shotgun blast to the head. I had to write to the Firearms dept to make the case, and can only buy 50 and hold 75.

They're very careful who they let have them, mainly because if you use them carelessly in the field they can ricochet like a .22, only weighing an ounce and a half rather than 40 grains, and doing 1550 fps.
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