Modern Foxing Rifles
I want to jump straight in and consider modern foxing rifles. They have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years. Indeed, fox shooting has developed into a specific discipline (I hesitate to say sport because it is technically a form of vermin control). A few years back a classic foxing outfit might have been based on a Sako or Tikka .222, .223, 22-50 or 243 (all still popular rifles and calibres). Then ‘Varmint’ rifles like the Remington VSSF (synthetic stock and stainless, fluted, barrel) became popular on these shores. Winchester and Ruger offered similar models and the ante for serious fox shooters began to rise and rise.
Now, things are getting very specialised and some foxers think nothing of spending two or three grand or more on a custom rifle built by the likes of Border Barrels, Riflecraft, or Precision Rifle Services (Callum Ferguson). The finished gun - often based on a Remy action in a McMillan fibreglass stock - may weigh 10 pounds or more and have some very advanced optics attached as well as a sound moderator by Reflex or ASE. The calibres mentioned above have been supplemented by such exotics as the .243 Ackley as well - which offers a little more velocity and flatter trajectory than the standard Winchester .243.
If your budget is limited you still cannot go wrong with an ‘out of the box’ Sako, Tikka or Remmy in one of the traditional calibres as mentioned (or indeed, a CZ). Whether or not you go down the modernistic/synthetic/stainless route is matter of taste. I normally favour classic looking rifles, but am becoming a convert to synthetic and laminate stocks because they are so stable. You should, moreover, try out various stock shapes. Note the comfort of grip and height of the comb in particular (and bear in mind your head position with a wide objective scope attached when you are in your favoured shooting position).
If you are going to treat yourself to a custom gun, you won’t go wrong, if you base it on a blue-printed Remmy (no need to spend more in this department). My preference would be for a Jewell trigger unit and a Border Barrel. Calibre? I might be tempted by the Ackley, but, otherwise, it would be a 22-250. I would not have the gun made too heavy - I know of a few mates who have overdone it with regard to both barrel and overall weight recently. And, not least important, I would put aside a significant part of the budget for a really good scope - the new SSwarovskis are really special.