First FAC and SGC received at the end of March, application in end of January, total time 9 weeks.
Some specific lessons learned below, but overall I thought the process took too long (which I understand is due to drastic reduction in FEO's) but those I have dealt with in Aberdeen and my local FEO have been first class. Really helpful and professional - couldnt ask for better people, just perhaps that there were more of them to manage the workload.
1) Are you sure you've got the right forms? Being IT literate, and very careful, I was sure I had. Turned out I had followed an out of date link and downloaded forms over a year old - not the 'new' simplified forms. End result was delay getting my referees to sign my forms unnecessarily. Queen St helpfully advised me of the mistake and I quickly resolved. Download them from Police Scotland website, or your local equivalent, directly.
2) Done your homework? SD site and the Home Office guidelines give you pretty much all you need to know with regard to 'good reason', calibres, ammunition allowances, firearms security. Research it, if in doubt speak to the firearms team. If you have security in place before the FEO's visit you remove the need for a follow up to check it. These guys are busy. Security can be achieved in everything from a mobile home to a castle - get it right but dont sweat it.
3) Staying on top of it? Once in, keep following up. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Renewals will get priority, but you might just improve your visibility to the team by staying in touch regularly. I was fortunate to get the FEO's mobile, called him and worked out a suitable time for the visit. Just don't be passive.
4) Signed it? In your euphoria and joy, don't forget to sign it when it arrives.
5) Purchases advised to firearms team? An email does the job, let them know the details as per your FAC.
6) Copy or original? Original for purchases, otherwise a copy goes with me when stalking to keep the original in good order. I can produce the copy to show right to possess. Tin hat on for the barrack room lawyers, but really - you don't want to get the original in your pocket when a pxshing rain/ wet peat/ a burn is flowing through it.