Rifle projectile choice for fox shooting.
Regardless of if you are a reloader, or just buy factory ammunition, there is a huge array of projectiles to choose from in ammunition designed for killing foxes and other small game. Knowing which projectile to use is almost as important as having the right calibre.
If you are just trying to eradicate Mr Fox then you’ll want the most explosive projectile available. This will produce major hydrostatic shock and huge wounds in the fox’s body that’ll drop them on the spot if shot placement is correct. There are some excellent projectiles out there that are capable of this, these include the Nosler Ballistic tip, Hornady V-Max and Seirra Blitz King projectiles. These have a polymer tip to improve the bullets aerodynamics and subsequent Ballistic Co-offeicant, this result in a flatter trajectory. A cross section of a Nosler Ballistic tip can be seen here.
For reduced pelt damage when shooting for skins, accuracy is paramount and head shooting with high velocity cartridges is a must. This is the realm of the light for calibre traditional thinly jacketed hollowpoint projectile. Products such as the Speer TNT, Seirra Varminter or Nosler Varmageddon HP projectiles are designed for instant expansion to drop them on the spot, but blow apart inside the animal to reduce exit hole damage. Head shooting further reduces pelt damage, a lot of pro shooters hit them on the end of nose when they look at their spotlight. The difference between the ballistic tip and thin skinned varmint bullet is seen below.
An every day shooter that wants a do everything bullet will be well served by the factory soft point projectiles, these generally hold together a little more and drive deeper than the Poly tipped or Hollow point bullets, which causes large exit holes when hit in the centre mass of the fox. The soft point bullet is a good choice when you are hunting where there is a lot of cover for the fox, shooting through grass and bracken fern will cause no real issues with the SP, but it will initiate expansion on a Poly tipped or thinly constructed Hollow Point varmint bullet. The exposed lead nose of the soft point bullet can be seen in the image following.
At the end of the day, any bullet will kill a fox cleanly when shot placement is good, but choosing a projectile can be a confusing task, as not all guns like all bullets. Most will prefer one bullet over many others, its about finding the right bullet for the job, and your rifle. The only way to do that is to try a few different loads through your rifle to see which it prefers.
Enjoy your fox hunting, but as always, shoot safe and always identify your target and any risks behind it where your bullet may go. Fox shooting is usually done on private property, and it’s a sure bet if you shoot livestock or property, even accidentally you won’t be welcomed back.