I have been shooting for about 35 years (since I was 8) with my own shottie licence for 25. I spent 9 yrs in the mob and fired off some gucci kit that would make some drool. I applied for my FAC 7 yrs ago and was told by the FEO (Sussex) that I would only be granted .22LR and being naive, that's what I applied for and got on a closed ticket.
2 yrs ago I went centrefire for deer and fox and was told in no uncertain terms that I would not be granted anything larger than .243 and that I would be conditioned for a mentor. I scoffed (a lot) and a unhappy compromise was to omit mentoring in lieu of me attending a DSC1 which I did. My .22LR was opened. I then had the dirty done on me and the ticket was returned conditioned for a high seat for deer (but not fox with the same .243) and closed.
No amount of badgering by me or BASC would get them to change their mind and as it was a first issue I couldn't appeal. A month ago I asked for it to be opened and the high seat condition removed. The reply came back that it would be considered providing I could evidence kills and had experience of "stalking" other ground and that the High Seat may have been imposed due to the terrain of my permission. Now, I don't photo my kills and I shoot alone and they also have an OS map of my permission which is on the South Downs. The Downs are biggest undulating range between here and the Peak District!
There was a flurry of emails between Suspol and me and me to BASC. In short Suspol demanded an FEO interview. The FEO turned up and asked about my kills and my evidence for them and I told him that I wasn't required to keep such records. He asked where my ground was (yes really) and I showed him the contours on the map. I went to great lengths to discuss and describe backstops and safety. He asked about my experience with centrefire, but I'm not convinced he believed me when I said at least 1/2m rounds
He said he would write a report and I just came straight out and asked him if he would support the application- he would. This was only Weds night.
My open and unrestricted ticket plopped on the mat this morning (Sat) with AOLQ on it.
So, a well done to Sussex for doing it so quickly but what an irritating and unnecessary series of hoop jumping to get there. On the plus side the FEO acknowledged the new ACPO guidance including the recommendation that once a reason for a FAC was established that changing calibres was a paper exercise stating that Sussex would be following that, but in the same breath said that newly licenced deer stalkers would continue to be mentored!