HOw would go about acquiring....

Right, font-of-all-knowledge that is ARRSE...

I've been having the urge to begin a small collection of antique/old rifles. Now I already have a shotgun license, and own a couple of shotguns etc etc... i', aware of the procedure for 'upgrading' to a FAC but would they accept the reason just being me wanting to own a Lee-Enfield or similar to shoot at my local club? Is that a valid reason for owning a .303, for example?

Any musings would be appreciated.
Target shooting is a perfectly valid reason to own any weapon. You have five initial slots on your FAC so a couple of .22LR, maybe a .357/.38 underlever and a couple of .303.

.303 ammunition is seriously expensive, consider 7.92 German 98k or 7.62 in anything.

You will need to be a full member of a target shooting club.
What CQMS said.

Join rifle club, you can normally get your licence in 3 months from joining.
Shooting .303 is fun. Your club does not need to be cleared for shooting full bore, mine isn't. I go shoot at Longmoor and Bisley.
First - join the rifle club of your choice, whilst first making sure that they actually have the facilities to shoot centre-fire on site, and that the kind of shooting that goes on there is commensurate with the type of shooting you wish to pursue.

Check with your FEO with regard to this aspect.

With respect to the poster - the post above is misleading. We have members in OUR club from seven different counties, and all joined our club because we DO have the facility to shoot all centre-fire up to .75cal lead, and with certain other reservations on m/e and velocity - 7000 ft lbs and 3500 fps. They had joined THEIR club in the mistaken belief that they could own and shoot anything simply by being a member of their club.

In OUR part of the UK it is pointless joining a club that only shoot small-bore, as you will not then have 'good reason' to own a firearm of a larger calibre.

Remember that although you can legally own ANY firearm that shoots an obsolescent cartridge without any form of license, you cannot make ammunition for it and shoot it unless you transfer it onto your ticket.

The club you join does not have to have full-bore facilities on-site. Mine has only a 22LR range but the full-bore section shoots regularly at Bisley. That is an advantage because there is a choice of ranges out to 1,000 yards, along with shops such as Fultons who can fettle your .303, sell you ammo etc. I just had my first FLO visit so awaiting my FAC with its .303 slot, and if you put as your reason "target shooting as a full member of xyz rifle club" then you can shoot at whatever ranges they use.
What part of London? I only know South London clubs and beyond. PM me and I'll recommend a couple.
If you are interested in historic arms, then the two clubs to consider are Historic Breechloading Smallarms Association (HBSA) and the Lee Enfield Rifle Association (LERA). Both are national clubs, but predominantly meeting and/or shooting in the South East.

HBSA is mainly geared towards serious collectors/researchers, and having some sort of specific interest area and knowledge is part of the membership interview process.

LERA is a shooting club. Much of the "management" is serving or ex-forces, and most of the shooting programme is based on historic military practices for Lee Enfields.

Membership of either makes thing fairly easy when applying for an FAC for shooting and/or collecting, as both organisations are very well known to all Police forces. Both clubs have a huge amount of expert resource.

There are plenty of local clubs in most parts of the country. Best to join one which already has members shooting all sorts of rifles. Some target rifle-only clubs can be extraordinarily disinterested in supporting other types of shooting!

Most police forces are fairly reasonable about granting FACs for old military rifles. They now understand that there is significant public interest in the historical aspect (ie people joining a club so that they can shoot the same rifle as Grandpa did in WW2), and that these rifles are not a particular threat to public safety (criminals are more interested in nicking a shotgun than a .303" rifle).

Don't forget that there are hundreds of rifles and pistols that are "off ticket" (not licensable) because they are of "obsolete" or "not commonly available commercially" calibres. You can go out and buy Martini-Henrys, Sniders, P'53 rifled muskets, etc, without any need for an FAC. These in fact are all superb shooting weapons and, in due course of time, you can have them put onto an FAC so that you can shoot them.
Join rifle club, you can normally get your licence in 3 months from joining.
The normal period, mandated by most police forces is a minimum six months probation before accepting a reccomendation for an FAC.

The number of "slots" on an FAC also depends on the licencing authority. A number of constabularies limit the number of free slots to 2, although this is not laid down anywhere..

You can also, of course, own and use a smoothbore musket on a shotgun ticket...

If you have an urge to become addicted to vintage shooting (ohhh.. yess), I would strongly advise you to join a club that does this, if only to save you falling into the holes that others have..

1. Your safest, and cheapest bet is to start with a .303 No4 - probably the best value/accuracy gun on the market, and with just enough anorakishness to get you hooked. Ammuniton is still reasonably easy to get hold off and reload, and the action is simple and straightforward..

2. Speak to someone BEFORE buying your first rifle..

3. STEP AWAY from most Italian repros unless they are by Petersoli and ANYTHING made in India.. With one or two notable exceptions, most of this is cheap and nasty crap built for the American Bubba market. The line of Parker Hale repro Enfields made in the 1970s are however an exception. They were extremely well made using the original plans and guages. The little muskatoon is fabulous value for money and the best way of getting in to muzzle loading by far.. (fits into most gun cabinets as well!)

4. Join, either directly, or through an affiliated club either the Muzzle loaders association (MLAGB) Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain or the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association (HBSA) HBSA Front page logo ( or both..). The former are a band of the true beardies, with a high concentration around Warwickshire, the latter a more academic based group which meet at the Imperial War Museum in London and at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Both host regular shoots at Bisley and other venues. If you are north of the Border, the Vintage Arms Scotland Club Vintage Arms Scotland - Home is the largest historical firearms group in that part of the world. I have no idea what happens in Wales...!

5. The Mecca for historic shooters are the three historical meetings at Bisley: The Phoenix in May, The middle week of the Imperial in July, and the Trafalgar in October. These all host historical shoots but are probably almost more interesting for the arms fairs.. of which the Trafalgar is the best. I would hold off buying stuff until one of these meetings....

6. Finally, and I would hope that you join a club which will promote this.. Make sure you know what you are doing when you start shooting vintage arms. Please ask for and take note of advice before diving in, particularly when you start (and you will have to eventually) getting in to reloading..

Have fun - and don't say you weren't warned..!
Oh, and line up a remortgage or a few fake child benefit claims; once you get into historic military firearms, you'll be off down the slippery slope....

(time for some gratuitous gun pron.....)

It is readily apparent that the 'law', or rather, it's interpretation, varies substantially from one county to another.

This, of course, is something we all know, often to our cost.

I only have the number of guns that I do 'under suffrance', since I had them in my possession before the previous CC brought in her ill-advised limit of fifteen Section 1 firearms before RFD-level security was essential.

Already they had insisted on alarms being fitted to any house where 12 or more firearms were kept. It is a 'well-known fact' that eleven guns may be kept in a home without any form of alarm, but the moment that TWELVE appear then every hood in the local area will come breaking down the doors to get at them.

What a farce this whole MESS is.



Book Reviewer
Part of the problem is that we let them get away with it because we don't want to make a fuss and risk losing our licences. My county only "allow" an initial 4 on the FAC and have a "12 guns and get an alarm" rule. Neither are legal requirements, could be challenged in court and should be challenged by a representative organisation such as the NRA. And I should be married to Sandra Bullock.
Oh, and line up a remortgage or a few fake child benefit claims; once you get into historic military firearms, you'll be off down the slippery slope....

(time for some gratuitous gun pron.....)

Oh dear me...... I think I need to go off somewhere quiet and .... clean up after myself now
Avon and Somerset require an alarm when you go over five guns. Again can always be challenged but easier just to fix an alarm.
Already they had insisted on alarms being fitted to any house where 12 or more firearms were kept.
That's actually the HO Guidance and I'm not sure that I can find a good case against an alarm in those circumstances.

Having said that I do wonder what good they do. If my neighbours called the fuzz what chance do they have getting to may place on time. As to the noise scaring the perps off, Local Crime "Reduction" (they're not "Prevention" any more) Officers admit that, like dogs and security lights some scrotes don't like them whereas others don't care.

So I have all three: alarm, dogs, lights. (Plus 'er indoors but don't let on that I said that.)
The normal period, mandated by most police forces is a minimum six months probation before accepting a reccomendation for an FAC.

The police have no mandate to demand anything of the sort. If you don't already hold an FAC a Home Office approved club accepting you as a new member must place you on a three month probationary period to comply with the conditions of their Home Office Approval. Some may make it longer but it is not up to the Police. Though they may like to think that they can make up their own laws they can't. Once you are a full member of the club the police can not refuse to grant you a certificate on the grounds that they think the probationary period should be longer.

Join BASC, they have the best legal department of all the shooting organisations.

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