Civvy Rifle and FAC advice required.

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by Bladensburg, May 16, 2005.

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  1. This is mainly for Ugly and Stoatman but anyone else who has relevent knowledge feel free to post (particularly if you're a police FAC officer).

    A friend of mine is about to renew his shotgun cert and wants to get an FAC at the same time as it's cheaper, however he's not sure what rifle calibre(s) to apply for, how many different calibres he can reasonably apply for and how much ammo is reasonable to hold/buy.

    He's an agric with plenty of safe land, on the small vermin side he wants to do a bit of rabbiting and possibly the odd tree-rat and on the large vermin front he wants a fox rifle that's capable of taking down the odd sheep-worrying dog. There is also the possiblity over the next few years or so that the ever increasing small deer population will need culling. He's also interested in doing a bit of wildfowling.

    I've reccomended that he starts with the same as I have, .22LR for small stuff and .223Rem for foxes (although I don't think it's an ideal dog calibre). I must admit that I've always been able to borrow .308win, 6.5x55swede or a .243 if I've needed but this won't always be an option for him.
    His local shop has been trying to sell him on .222 for foxes or even .17HMR as an all-rounder, I've shot both against paper but I'm not sure I'd consider .17HMR as a primary fox rifle, anyone have any experience?

    Then there's the deer/big dog option, is it worth asking for .243/.308/6.5Sw at the same time even if he doesn't intend to get one right away? The advice is usually to ask for whatever you think you'll need over the next five years but I've heard the police are becoming less flexible and expecting you to pay for a ticket variation every time rather than allowing you to apply "on spec".

    I kow next to nothing about the rules for FAC shotguns so I though I'd ask if there was anything worth applying for for wildfowling duty, particularly for bloody Canada geese. I'm not sure how the rules re. non-lead shot and magnums apply (not enough wetland on our place to worry about).

    Finally there's the ammo possession/purchase issue, again it's nomething I've never had to worry about because I can borrow (I think my .223 alowance is 100 held/40 to buy and also a few boxes of .22LR) but I'd like to know what would be considered reasonable for pest-control purposes.

    The Constabulary in question is West Mercia, so any tips about them would be usefull.
     
  2. I'm not that much of an expert but i thought that the max ammount for .22LR ammo was 250 rounds (i may be wrong). As for foxes a .223 would do fine but if he is wanting to go after deer too, assuming its roe or fallow, id go for a .243 as it will give you a good clean kill on the deer and a wee bit of overkill on a fox is no big issue anyway.

    I don't myself have my own licence yet but am hoping to apply for one and get my dad to buy my rifle and get it put on my licence, which is legal when your only 16.
     
  3. I believe (but I could well be wrong) that legally you are unable to shoot deer with any calibre smaller than .243, with the exception of Muntjac.
    As I say this could well be wrong, but I have never had to deal with deer. With regards the foxes, .223 works but I converted some time ago to .22-250.
    For more accurate and up to date advice I would recommend having a look at the following:

    http://www.basc.org.uk/content/firearmsdept

    If he is not a member I would strongly suggest it as they have a rather good insurance scheme which is included in the cost of membership - a friend had to use this last winter and it saved him a small fortune.
     
  4. I was wrong. Muntjac have to be taken with .243.

    With regards a section 1 shotgun, my local police force are a bit awkward about giving allowing them when the applicant already has a section 3 license. They argue it is duplication.

    I would suggest being realtively quick about the process though, as there are suggestions that the Home Office will be looking to carry out another firearms act review which is supposed to make the whole experience more efficient. This will supposedly result in higher charges.
     
  5. I've got my licence for target shooting so couldn't possibly comment on suitable rifles for game & varmints apart from hearsay & what I've read.

    Get what you can, and as much ammo as you can. Make sure that you can also zero at a Home Office Approved Club, otherwise you are obliged to zero on your open land (which might not be a problem).

    Sec. 1 shotguns for pest control have to be justified by the need to take large numbers quickly (say you've got a really serious goose problem & a 3-shot semi just doesn't cut it).

    Also, the policy on moderators has changed recently due to Health & Safety legislation, so don't be afraid to ask for them. See here: http://www.reflexsuppressors.co.uk/uklicensing.htm

    It's not outside the realms of possibility that your local firearms officer will be a total numpty. The following things have been reported to me as having been said to them:

    You want a .22 magnum for pest control? I can't let you have a Magnum, but I can let you have a .22-250
    7.62 is too powerful for deer, you should use .223 (this is of course illegal)
    .357 Magnum is too powerful for foxes, you should use .22 rimfire
    What do you want a .22 revolver for - hunting?
     
  6. 1)Join BASC, which brings insurance cover

    2)Ask their legal helpline for all the advice you can carry!

    3)Don't, for God's sake, mention shooting stray dogs when applying for a FAC!!

    8)
     
  7. A mate of mine does a lot of foxes and has used .17 frequently (I thought it was .177?); swears by it. Very safe too, as there is practically no ricochet problem.

    What Stoatman says is right - a lot of police licensing chaps are clueless. Not all, though, get in touch and judge for yourself. I used to be one, and the team I worked with could answer most questions between us. We also prided ourselves on a non-jobsworth attitude, especially towards the common or garden shooter. Some of the 'gun nuts' took a bit more watching.

    Agree with Cuddles: DO NOT mention dogs. Also, any footpaths over the said land are 'very lightly used', get my drift? Any dead ground is never used by local picnicers/doggers, and there is no circumstance in which your friend will be provoked by burglars etc. into getting the gat out.

    This last is something to remember - I had to warn a couple of farmers post Tony Martin when they 'jokingly' mentioned the extra range a new .223 would give them over their 12 bore on anti thiving git duty.

    If there's one person in the county you shouldn't make that sort of light hearted comment to, it's the firearms licensing officer who signs off on your application.


    I'm a bit out of the loop now, but all the above still holds true. Can't help with calibres. Good luck.
     
  8. I know about the dogs issue and have warned him not to mention it under any circumstances. Have had problems with dogs myself (there's a thread about it somewhere, "Pikey Problems" or something similar. The police attitude was to say the least, unhelpful.
    Shotguns I've found, are useless against dogs unless you can get close and my .223 wasn't brilliant against larger dogs - when you think about it a big Alsatian/Doberman sized thing it probably masses more than a medium sized deer - ended up borrowing a 6.5.

    .177 in an air rifle calibre .17HMR is "Hornady Magnum Rimfire" and there's a centrefire .17 round out there as well. I was wondering just how effective .17HMR was as a Fox round?

    What I'm recomending he applies for is .22LR, .223Rem and probably .17HMR and .243 even if he doesn't intend to get one immediately - would this be a problem? How great is the advantage of .22-250 over .223Rem and is it worth the cost.

    Steamywindow -- What is considered an acceptable ammo quantity by the Police?

    I refuse to join BASC on principle after their contribution to the Hunting Act but I'll suggest he thinks about it.
     
  9. If you don't want to join BASC, then the Countryside Alliance has a broadly similar insurance setup.
     
  10. agree shotguns are not much cop against dogs saw on officer use 3rounds to kill a dog on op muttley and this was point blank
     
  11. Basically, it depends on your experience and your realistic needs. You need to justify the amount you hold; for instance "that amount is what I would likely consume in a month for that use, otherwise I'll have to go to the ammunition shop every other week".

    If you're doing target shooting, you might need to buy a 500 round brick of 0.22LR to compete in a single weekend of smallbore competition (for instance, I went through about 450 rounds the other weekend). However, a fullbore competitor is unlikely to approach that rate of consumption, and holdings of 7.62 scale accordingly.

    At the start of your FAC, holdings will be held at the low end of the scale, until the local Force are more confident that you're not a knobber. When you renew your certificate five years later, if you're able to show that you're making frequent buys of ammunition up to your limit, you've got a case to increase your holding.

    Don't be surprised at an initial holding of 0.22LR is only 500 or so; maybe only 100 rounds for one of the larger calibres. It depends on the Force and the Licensing Officer (ours are particularly helpful :) ).

    For instance, I can hold 12,000 rounds of 0.22LR and buy 10,000, but then I easily go through 10,000 rounds a year, and do buy selected batches up to that amount direct from the factory (who will only sell in unbroken boxes of 5,000).

    On an aside, the other weekend I read the "Labour Party Charter on Shooting". Interesting, and actually talked about easing some of the existing licensing law restrictions. Of course, no Cabinet ministers had put their name to it, but then what do you expect......
    http://www.basc.org.uk/media/shooting_charter_new.pdf
     
  12. Yep much cheaper and convenient - the police call them 'Coterminous'. I have both shotgun (sect 2) and firearms (sect 1) certificates.

    I use a .22 carbine for rabbits, squirrels and the occasional close-up shot of foxes (the calibre is not recommended for shooting foxes, but if you chance across one 10ft away it will drop them without wounding. For longer ranges it is not acceptable). I use sub-sonic ammo (expanding/hollow point) with a suppressor - it eliminates the 'crack' of faster ammo.

    I use a .222 (again expanding) for foxes. I don't shoot deer, but I believe the calibres allowable vary by species (size) and county - England and Scotland? I find that the .222 does the job perfectly well, but the calibre is not the most popular?

    I also use shotguns for close up shooting all of the above. If you have a firearms certificate you can use solid/rifled shot for larger game, but you may as well get a rifle.

    Other people (including my local gun shop and some more experience hunters) suggested that I might want .243 - so I had the option to shoot larger game if required.

    The firearms enquiries officer was prepared to let me apply for a .243 as well, but in the end I stuck with .22 and .222 - ample for my needs. Once I had explained that I was in the army, had experience of firearms and was range qualified he was happy to tick the 'knowledge of firearms' box!

    I can buy 500 x .22 at any one time and hold 600.

    I can buy 100 x .222 at any one time and hold 200.

    Hope this is of use.
     
  13. Cheers Doomsayer and Gravelbelly it's good to finally get some decent information on ammo holdings, the Police and Home Office would do themselves a favour if they produced a decent advisory booklet to go out with the forms.
    When you think about it 500 .22LR might not last very long, another friend has just got himself a Walther G22 semi-auto rimfire bullpup and it consumes enormous quantities of brass on the range.
    I still feel inclined to recomend .223 over .222 (it's what I use) but I'm prepared to be converted.
    Still waiting to hear good user info on .17HMR... I'm suspecting it's all hype and no substance.

    BTW does anyone know anything about Minsterly Ranges? The friend who's applying is considering joining to get some experience and range-time pre-application and I was wondering what sort of reputation the place had.
     
  14. I agree with 99% of all the preceding posts; BASC is okay for insurance but I'm concerned that they're getting too cosy with the the Government; it's a good way to get shafted.

    Ammo; again always ask to hold at least a hundred more than you buy. Remember that, as the law stands, expanding ammuntion is permitted for the destruction of vermin and for deer control. The total that you are allowed to hold includes any projectiles (bullets) that you may require for reloading purposes. I know it sounds like a load of arrse but that's the way it is under our c*ck-eyed laws.

    For calibres and pieces I'd go for a Ruger 10/22 with a moderator for small ground game; not against tree rats, though- .22s ricochet like mad, so aiming upwards into the branches ain't a good idea; use a shotgun for those beasties.

    .223 Rem. for foxes: ammo is more available than .222 Rem and reloading info and options are wider. Get a copy of Robert Bucknel's book 'Foxing with Lamp and Rifle'; there's more good solid shooting info in that book than anything since Hatcher's Notebook. I don't know .17HMR but my instinct is to avoid anything that small.

    .308 Win. for deer; it will do for anything from Muntjac to Reds. Whilst .243 Win is faster and flatter shooting, it does tend to tear up the meat more than the .308 Win. You can load up to a bigger bullet, as much as 180grs, and, if you're stalking in close country, the encounter ranges aren't likely to be much more than 150-200 metres, so the holdover is fairly easy to calculate.

    Get a light rifle for walking up in close country; don't end up like me, toting a ruddy great Ruger M77V around the woods for 2 hours :oops: By the time I saw a deer I was too shagged out to take aim! :lol: A .308 Steyr Scout is what I ended up with, since, and worth every penny! She's short, light and handy; target acquisition is fast and the trigger is great, straight out of the box.
     
  15. I agree about .22LR for squirrels, the round is far too easily deflected although I'm told it was once commonly used for shooting rook squabs - overshoot obviously wasn't a worry then. I find a nice .22 airgun makes tree-ratting an entertaining challenge and causes a minimum of disturbance, I had a PCP Webly Spectre on loan for a while and the biathlon style action was perfect for rats of all sorts.
    It's been suggested to me that .17HMR is actually less likey to produce dangerous richochet because of the ballistic tip and flatter trajectory I must say that I've shot rabbits with .177 air-rifles where a rimfire would be inappropriate, it's easier to shoot at longish airgun ranges thanks to the flatter trajectory so I've no predjudice against smaller calibres. I do think that brass is a bit dear for a rimfire though.

    I like the idea of the Steyr Scout myself, it's just that it seems to have been well-and-truely thrashed with the ugly stick. I find Tikka, SHR or even budget BRNO perfectly acceptable although if I was more professional I'd consider spending more.