I have had a shotgun since about 12 I think, and used it a lot. Time pressure in later years has caused use to dwindle, but I still aspire to get out as much as possible. What I have always wanted to do, and haven’t done for no reason other than not getting round to it, is get a rifle.
Now, I’ve shot a hind or two with my pal who manages the hill behind my mum’s house on the west coast of Scotland. My shooting is straight enough, I was in the rifle team at school shooting antiquated .22 Martini action things (possibly Winchester?) and my little brother somehow got a license for a .22 rimfire when he was 14 (yes 14). Or maybe 15, but pretty young anyway, and we shot a lot of rabbits with that thing.
So recently, having moved to Sussex and starting (slowly) to get to know the farming community I thought I’d get a rifle license and get a .22 bunny gun and see how things go. Maybe a bit of deer shooting would come up as well. Can’t be that tough, my little brother had that license at 15.
Things seem to have changed. I got on to the excellent BASC website and look through the guidance. Turns out there are quite a lot of hoops to go through. Duly I worked my way through the process, and finally off went the application.
When my local firearms officer called me, I have to say the service was excellent. He offered to visit me at 7am so I could get to work on time, and gave me a good run down on the rules. He suggested I should have my shotgun certificate expiring conterminously, being the cheapest way of renewing it. He also suggested I put a .17 HMR on my license. Now being as naive as I am, I hadn’t heard of this calibre. I still don’t fully understand, but his view was that it is safer in some situations because of reduced ricochet. The other benefit, apparently, is that if I change one of the allowances for another rifle at a later date, there will be no fee.
I tackled whether I could get a deer rifle whilst I was at it. It seemed like it would slow things down a bit, so I opted against it. I’m still not entirely sure if my local police force requires a DSC1 before allowing me a deer rifle, or whether I just need a mentor.
Anyway, after showing the officer my two gun cupboards and all the shotguns on my SGC, he agreed that I could have a license for .22 and .17HMR with moderators. He even helped me with how many bullets I should have on the license. He also informed me that I need to get the land I shoot on ‘cleared’. So far, so good. I emailed the details of the farm I am starting on and he returned my email within 2 hours telling me it’s cleared already.
A couple of weeks later I thought I ought to start looking for a rifle for when the license hits my doormat. A little trip to my local gunshop has unearthed a really old, hand painted matt black Anschutz. Perfect. Exactly the thing for me, and I put a deposit on it straight away. Even better, he’s put a new scope on it, zeroed it and even agreed to sell my Remington 12g semi auto which should fund the whole venture. I am now desperately waiting for the ticket to arrive so I can go and pick it up.
Whilst this has happened, opportunities are coming flocking, including the chance at a small forestry block with muntjac and fallow amongst it. So my poor old firearms officer is not going to be getting a break from me I’m afraid!