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

Q: Is it legal for me and my friends to swap guns on shoot day if we fancy having a shot or two with something different?

shooting at dusk

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 enter the borrowed gun on either the lender or borrower’s certificate. If you notify the police you can extend the loan period for as long as your tickets are valid. There are some common sense precautions, of course. I have shot for the last couple of seasons with a rounded action 20 bore. I often shoot with a friend who has a pair of covetable Purdeys. He quite likes having a go with my 20. As a favour to him I’m prepared to lend him my 20 and do a drive or two with one of his Purdeys before we swap back. We are both always extremely careful to make sure we only have ammunition on us that is of the same calibre as the gun we are using. Too many horrid accidents are caused by a 20 bore cartridge in a 12 bore barrel. You must also be careful about S1 shotguns. You may not lend a large magazine capacity shotgun to anyone at all – even a friend with the identical gun or the S2 version of it. They aren’t covered by SGC rules nor the estate rifle exemption, so don’t be tempted to let someone have a go and blat off a magazine full of rounds – you could both end up in serious trouble.

Peter Glenser is a firearms barrister and BASC council member.