Pigeon cartridges

What’s the law on transporting shotgun cartridges?

Q: I am new to shooting, having gained my shotgun certificate in May last year. I am now the proud owner of a Beretta 12-bore and a Browning 20-bore. I am shooting clays at the moment to get used to the guns and improve my accuracy, but may go on…

Shooting birds in the field

The top 10 shooting excuses

1.The sun was in my eyes… This is a classic, especially among partridge shooters in, as it might be, October when the sun tends to hang low in the sky of a morning. Step one, of course, would be to slip on a pair of sunglasses. Really good sunglasses, mind…

cartridge colour

Should cartridge colour denote bore?

Q: Why don’t cartridge makers stick 
to an internationally agreed colour code for different bore sizes as used to be the case (12-bore were red, 16-bore blue and 20-bore yellow)? Surely this would stop all of these dreadful accidents where people who mix cartridges double-load a 12-bore on top of…

Hatsan Escort Magnum Xtreme

What makes a gun a magnum?

A: With regard to the proofing of shotguns, “magnum” is a legacy term that is no longer current. Under the 1954 Rules of Proof, 3in 12-bore shotguns were proofed at either 3½ton or 4ton per square inch, the abbreviation MAG being applied to the latter. However, the word magnum is now only used in relation to proofing rifles of…

shotgun security

Firearms security

One of the most tragic events of 2016 was the murder of the MP, Jo Cox. She was shot with a sawn-off .22 rifle. Quite how the odious Thomas Mair came to be in possession of it is not known, but it is known that it was previously a lawfully held rifle that had been stolen. It…

Gun fit

Do I really need to have my gun fitted?

Q: Is there really any need to have a gun fitted? My factory-stocked Beretta is perfect in every respect. A couple of friends, though, are forever tinkering with their guns, with mixed results. What are your thoughts on this? A: John says: A lot of folk are fortunate in that “standard” stock measurements…

Banned from shooting for life?

Q: I am currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for manslaughter (there was no element of violence in this offence and the court accepted that there was no intention to cause harm to anyone). I have been a keen shooter for around 15 years but have been told that because…

shotgun barrel

Can I break my gun down into parts to store it?

Q: I need to buy a gun safe for my house, but I don’t have room for a full-size cabinet. I will therefore need to break my gun down into its parts to store it. Will this cause any problems with the gun? A: None whatsoever. Shotguns are designed to be broken…

DIY shoot beaters

Tax and the DIY shoot

Many shoots on farms and estates, with just a modest number of shoot days taken by family and friends, will be run as DIY shoots and private affairs and very much outside the scope of tax and VAT. But there may also be thoughts as to whether the shoot could make money if placed on a commercial footing. Points…

pest species in garden

Can I shoot pest species in my inner-city garden?

A: Always be very circumspect about shooting pests in your own back garden. You do not want armed police attending because some nosy neighbour has called to report that there is someone firing a gun out of the window. In most gardens, it is only safe to use an air rifle. However, larger gardens may be suitable for…

shotgun certificate

Can I do anything to speed up getting my shotgun certificate?

Q: In light of the huge delays in processing shotgun certificate renewals in some counties (Lincolnshire for example) what is your advice to help speed up the process of receiving my shotgun certificate? I call and call but just get fobbed off… A: This is a widespread problem. Whilst some forces are excellent others are woefully inefficient. Lincolnshire in particular has…

My gun cabinet

Do I have to tell police when I move my gun cabinet?

A: Firearm security is the responsibility of the certificate holder not the police. Read condition 4(a) on your certificate. Police involvement is limited to advice only. You don’t need to tell police when you move your gun cabinet There is no statutory duty or need to tell the police that you have moved your cabinet. If you do…

Vintage luggage

8 key things you need to know before you take a gun abroad

A: Firstly congratulations. It’s on my bucket list. I very much like the idea of enjoying a little early sunshine, shooting and eating a little jamon Ibérico washed down with some manzanilla. Let us know how you get on. If you are going with a sporting agent they will normally make all the necessary arrangements to take a gun…

Shooting with choke

Should I change chokes on high bird days?

A: In more recent years it has become fairly standard practice for over-unders to be multi-choked, thereby opening up a dilemma for many shooters about what choke to use. I think this decision is best made by answering the following three questions: what are you going to be shooting, over what distances, and more importantly, with what cartridges? Thinking about the…

Woodcock

When it’s best not to shoot woodcock

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has published a short guide detailing when and when not to shoot woodcock. The British breeding population of this wading bird is on the red list of birds of conservation concern, with only an estimated 55,000 male woodcock breeding in the UK in 2013 — a 29 per cent decline on…

fresh game

Tips for freezing game

I’ve made a few mistakes freezing game in my time. The first mistake was made by not knowing if the frozen bag of pheasant was diced meat or just breast and legs. Obviously once defrosted I realised it was the wrong type and the meal plan had to be changed quickly.…

man with air rifle

Should I use a sound moderator on my airgun?

Q: You would be surprised just how much of a crack an airgun can make — especially pre-charged models. An airgun-specific sound moderator from the likes of Huggett, Air Arms, BSA, Weihrauch or Daystate can hush an air rifle’s muzzle report to the merest of whispers. Keeping an airgun quiet is a great aid to stealth and helps…

Will Garfit chooses dream pigeon shooting team

Will Garfit’s dream pigeon shooting team

The first would have to be the late Archie Coats, father of modern pigeon shooting. He was like a sporting father to me as friend, tutor and influence, for better or for worse. He was a superb shot using his Webley 700 boxlock, side-by-side, with nimble footwork, fast reactions and intense concentration for the opportunity of a safe shot at whatever quarry entered…