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Shotgun certificates and firearms licences

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Shooting problems in the field – and how to handle them

Mud – foot movement killer Heavy, wet mud is the biggest killer of foot movement, and foot position is the foundation of good shotgun shooting. If it’s difficult to move quickly to take a crossing target out to right or left then it is not worth the bother – you are going to miss because your upper body locks up…

Late-season driven shooting

Late-season driven shooting – how to get the most from it

Driven shooting in December and January is arguably the cream of a season’s sport. The birds are strong, the cover has died down, there is hopefully some cold weather and, of course, there should still be enough birds about to shoot at. Driven shooting may be at its best at this time of the year and the Guns…

shotgun in car

Can I keep a shotgun in my mum’s house?

David says: You need to raise the matter with your licensing department. Somehow I don’t think they’d be happy with such an arrangement. Personally I wouldn’t be too worried about transporting your gun to and from Devon provided you take the standard precautions when the gun is in the car. Another possibility would be for your Mum to get…

Man snap shooting pheasant

Snap shooting pheasant – what am I doing wrong?

John Bidwell says: This one has cropped up in this column before so, at the risk of repeating myself, I will cover the salient points of “snap shooting” again. You must stay alert and totally concentrated. Let your gaze fix a little ahead of the tree line. Assume the ready position with the gun muzzles held high. Trust in…

shotgun certificate renewal by GP

Should I pay my GP for my shotgun certificate renewal?

David says: The official Government advice is that there is no expectation of a fee being charged for an initial trawl through your medical records. However, I could find no mention of this on the BMA website although the BMA is well aware of the Home Office position, which is supported by the shooting organisations. In my view the medical profession…

shooting Guns

10 things that can make or break a shoot day

Makes 1. The Weather: Many Guns prefer a lightly overcast day, a favourable wind with a decent nip in the air. Persistent driving rain all day is enough to break the spirit of the keenest gun. 2. The host: They set the mood for the entire day. A bad host…

Man shooting by lake

Can’t stop stopping my gun

A: This is a very misunderstood problem in shooting. People say that you are “stopping your gun” but they are not explaining why. The simple reason for it is that as you go to pull the trigger, you are most likely looking at the end of your gun. It is known as checking your swing. The gun…

Where should I keep the gun cabinet keys safely?

A: On Sunday August 10 1997 a police officer called at the house of Mr Mark Farrer. He wanted to inspect his firearms security. Mr Farrer was not at home. His mother, then in her 80s, who did not hold a certificate, fetched the officer the key and allowed him access to the cabinet. The Chief Constable then declined to…


Cohabiting? What’s the law on shotgun licences and gunsafes?

A: It always makes practical sense for cohabitees to have each other’s shotguns listed on both their individual certificates. If that is done, there never can be any question about either party having access to the other’s shotguns. The same holds true for Section 1 Firearms but then both parties will have to satisfy the “good reason” test…

Man shooting in rain

Struggling on long crossers – what should I do?

Shooting instructor Adam Calvert replies: A: The walking gun brief can be one of my favourite roles but equally it is a tricky one, and the addition of long crossers can be an extra challenge. When you are given a brief as a walking gun the most important thing is to remember the associated safety that actually surrounds walking…

woman with pheasant on shoot

Beaters’ pay and the living wage

Most of us go beating or picking-up for fun and don’t think of it as a form of employment with formal beaters’ pay. There are few exceptions to this principle, such as in areas where shoots form an important part of the seasonal employment pattern – grouse moors in summer and shoots in tourist areas in the winter,…

28 or 20 bore

Bigger is best

Peter says: A lot depends on the stature of the child, but nothing will evaporate the enthusiasm of a young lad faster than learning to shoot with a .410. The very minimum I would start him on would be a 28-bore, moving on to a 20, or even a 12-bore as soon as he can handle the…

No. 9 shot

Get shot of No. 9s…

John says: Too many people hamper their scores by constantly changing chokes and worrying about shot sizes. They seem to forget that No. 8 shot – and certainly 7½ shot – fired through ¼ and ½ choke will cope with just about every target on a Sporting layout. Eights are a good all-round choice but it’s worth taking along a few 7s…

Gun dealer

Should you always buy a gun from a dealer rather than privately?

A: I always think it is a good idea to buy a gun from a dealer rather than from a friend or private person’s advert. Admittedly you will be paying for the dealer’s profit, but this does at least give you the security of buying a gun whose state has been properly assessed and described. Also, if anything…

shooting at dusk

Is it legal for me and my friends to swap guns?

Peter Glenser replies: A: In short, yes absolutely. Assuming you both have valid shotgun certificates there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t do as you ask. The law allows a certificate holder to borrow a shotgun from another certificate holder for up to 72 hours without needing to…

shotgun in car boot

Gun security in your car – your responsibilities

Now that the season is fully under way, I think that a timely reminder about gun security in your car would not go amiss. I’m told by my colleague, Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton of the National Ballistic Intelligence Service, that there have been targeted thefts of shotguns in the North West. Certificate holders are responsible people and…

hitting high birds

Trouble hitting high birds?

A: If there is one question I get asked time again, it’s about hitting high birds. The first thing is to know your range; I often see people shooting at things that are out of range. We have a duty to only shoot at what we think is killable. The second thing is to be realistic about your…

Antimony in cartridges

What’s antimony content?

Mike says: Antimony is a metallic element, which, in its pure state, is rather brittle. However, it has a low melting point and mixes readily with lead in small percentages. Lead-antimony alloys are harder than pure lead, and this extra hardness gives shot two desirable qualities. First, since pellets containing antimony tend not to get squashed out of round…


The danger of mixing cartridges

A: I once conducted an experiment in order to  find out which calibres and cartridges this risk applies to. Of course, chamber and bore dimensions vary quite widely in large-bore guns, particularly older ones. However, an 8-bore cartridge will lodge in the forcing cone of a 4-bore, allowing a 4-bore cartridge to be loaded on top of it, while…

man shooting

20 golden gun safety rules

Always know where your fellow shooters are Have a quick glance around as you walk onto the stand – it could save a life If anyone hands you a gun (and they’re stupid enough to hand it closed), check to see if the chambers are empty and the barrels clear…