Purdey side-by-side

A Purdey side-by-side – highly desired by many and one of the most expensive guns in the world

If you have a question about guns then you’re in the right place. Whether  buying a new gun or wanting to know what proofmarks on guns are. You may need to brush up on certain aspects of gun law, be searching for a particular gun review or want some information on ammunition.

Shotguns What is the main difference between rifles and shotguns?

A gun has a long metal tube (barrel) from which gun cartridges are fired . A rifle has a long metal barrel that is ‘rifled’ inside, which makes the bullets it uses spin as they are expelled, which allows for greater accuracy at a longer range.

Rifling in a rifle barrel

Close up of rifling in a rifle barrel, which makes the bullet ‘spin’ for greater accuracy long distance

Gun reviews

If you’re in the market for a gun then take a look at our comprehensive list of shotgun and rifle reviews. We regularly ask experts to look at the latest models and updates from popular manufacturers, as well as rounding up useful guns to buy second-hand.

Guide to buying guns

There’s a lot to know before you part with your hard-earned cash. In our gun-buying guide here we have listings of the best shotguns for gameshooting, clayshooting, guns for under £1000, how to find a reputable dealer, what bore side would be right for you …

Second hand guns – should you? 

We’re written a lot on the subject of buying second-hand guns. On the plus side you’re likely to pick up a bargain, but on the minus side you may not get a warranty. Here’s how to make sure you end up with the right gun for you when buying second-hand. 

Engraving proof marks on guns

Proof marks are added to a gun at the Birmingham Proofhouse

Proof marks

A proof mark on a gun is a bit like an MOT certificate on a car. It means that it was safe on the day it was examined. However, a proof market can be many years old. So if you are buying a gun and have some doubts about the proof mark you can take it to a gunsmith for a safety check, which will include checking that the gun closes tightly and safely, and that the barrels are free from dents and bulges and that they are not worn beyond safe limits.

It is legal?

You should also bear in mind when buying a gun that it’s illegal to sell an out-of-proof and dangerous gun, and this applies to individuals as well as to the trade.

Every cartridge firearm must bear valid proof marks if it is sold legally. As the UK is a signatory of the International Proof Commission (CIP), it recognises the proof marks of every other member state.

Keeping guns securely

Part of being a responsible shooter (and obeying the law) is knowing how to store your guns securely, whether that’s in a gun cabinet or whilst you’re at a shoot lunch. 

Fausti XF4

The Fausti XF4. A round body gives this Sporter a touch of Italian style

Different types of guns

A question we’re often asked is what is the difference between a Sporter and a trap gun.

We usually advise newcomers to pick a Sporter as their first gun.

Sporters are known for all-round use, suitable for shooting clays as well as game. They are generally steady to handle, a little heavier and recoil less.

Sporter guns usually weigh between 7.1/2lb and 7.3/4lb. These guns shoot closer to point of aim than a trap gun, are less tightly choked (1/4 and 1/4 being the norm in a fixed-choke), and their handling and balance are designed for fast swinging.

gun barrels for trap shooting

Long barrels on a trap gun help achieve a smooth swing

Trap guns are designed for trap shooting and many weight over 8lb. When tackling trap targets you don’t have to swing the gun as quickly or as far as you do in Sporting, so the gun can be heavier (which helps to soak up recoil), and also steadier in its handling.

A trap gun is configured so that it shoots slightly high. This enables the shooter to fire with the target in view just above the muzzle end of the rib, and hit it right in the middle of the pattern.

As the target is retreating from the shooter at quite a rapid rate, choking is usually quite tight: 3/4in the lower barrel (which is fired first), and full in the top.

Versatile?

Some believe trap guns they can’t be used for gameshooting but instructor Adam Calvert disagrees, saying: “There is no reason whatsoever why you can’t use a trap gun for game shooting, however, I would check the impact point of the gun on a pattern board.” He also notes that trap guns are sometimes used for high pheasant shooting.

Bettinsoli DiamondDeluxe

The handsomely decorated sideplates conceal a standard Italian boxlock action

What are a sidelock and a sideplate on a shotgun? What’s the difference?

On a sidelock, lock mechanisms are built on separate plates which are fixed to the wood of the stock immediately behind the action. These plates carry the hammers, mainsprings and sears.

A side-plated gun is a conventional boxlock, with all parts of the firing mechanism mounted within the action body. However, plates giving the appearance of artificial lock plates are added for cosmetic reasons, providing an area for elegant engraving.

Baikal shotguns

31 things you should know about Baikal shotguns

So why do Baikal shotguns get such good press? They’re not beautiful. Maybe not, but Baikal guns achieve two things that shooters are looking for. They are inexpensive and reliable. Read our Baikal reviews here. Thanks to Baikal shotguns thousands of UK shooters have been able to afford to enjoy…

secondhand over under shotgun choice

20 popular secondhand all-rounders

So you’re on the hunt for a reliable, good quality secondhand over under shotgun. Which is going to suit you best? Our experts recommend taking a look at the selection below. Why would you choose an over under shotgun? Many consider that an over-and-under delivers a better and more consistent…

garden airgunning

How to enjoy a spot of garden airgunning safely and legally

Provided you follow some sensible safety rules, garden airgunning is a great way to improve your target skills. Any garden with a range of above 20m will make for interesting shooting and allow enough room to set up an air rifle shooting range. Garden airgunning safety Although airguns are low-powered…

10 PCP air rifles from £430 to under £1000

We’ve looked around for some cheap PCP air rifles that still do the job, for budgets of up to £500 and under £1000. Once you’ve bought the airgun you’ll be able to enjoy relatively cheap and accurate shooting, whether you’re a target shooter or need to do some pest control.…

Clay pigeon shooting guns

10 best shotguns for clay pigeon shooting

All the shotguns for clay pigeon shooting listed here are worthy to be mentioned. I’ve picked them out for a variety of reasons,  from the budget-busting ATA right up to the mighty wallet bashing Krieghoff. Prices as reviewed. Blaser F16  £2550 This was voted shotgun of the year in 2016…

best airguns

We pick out some of the best airguns around

On the hunt for something new. Looking at air rifles? We’ve rounded up some of the best airguns around . Weihrauch HW100 K, HW100 TK Length: 96cm Weight: 3.3kg with moderator What it offers: A beautifully finished pre-charged air rifle that is rugged in build but with a refined performance.…

410 Mossberg pump action

Is it time to change our mind about pump-action shotguns?

We British are a traditional bunch. Only in recent years have we finally accepted the presence of over-and-under shotguns on driven shoots. If you turned up at a shoot with a semi-auto or pump-action you would probably be asked to leave because it is considered somewhat unsporting to use three…

high pheasant shooting

Cartridges for high pheasants

January has come round again and that means it’s high pheasant time. So we asked around some Guns and shooting instructors of our acquaintance to see what ammunition they used and for any tips they had to share. Concentration “Truly high pheasant shooting needs the right gun and cartridge combination.…

shooting with a dog

Steel-proofing for a Spanish side-by-side

  Anyone with even a vague interest in live quarry shooting will be aware that there is an ongoing conversation about the continued 
use of lead shot. The centre of gravity of this debate has recently shifted away from lead’s toxicity when scattered into the wider environment. This is because…

first gun a Baikal

Should his first gun be a Baikal?

We recently had a query from a reader, Tomasz Dojnikowski,  who asked: ” Hi guys. I’m looking to buy my first shotgun but do not have a big budget. I’m looking at second-hand Baikal 12g 27E-1C. Are these any good as first shotguns? Not much experience with it. Been using an air…

choosing rifles for pest control

Rifles for pest control

I have been spending money this
 month and invested in two rifles for pest control. 
A gamekeeper’s work is never done and in the constant battle against pests and predators, I need all the tools that I can muster. New guns To this end, I managed to pick up a…

Air rifles under £300

Seven of the best airguns for under £300

One of the greatest attractions of airgun shooting is that it’s such an affordable sport to take up. Here are seven reliable full-power air rifles under £300. Webley VMX Classic £163.99 (without scope) This traditionally styled spring-powered break-barrel has a muzzle energy close to the UK legal limit and features…