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Thread: Handgun hunting

  1. #1
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Handgun hunting

    I was tempted to put this is Off Topic but since it's law based I thought it probably belongs here despite it being a hypothetical.

    Obviously we all 'know' that handgun hunting is illegal in the UK, however, where in law does it say so?

    I think I read it somewhere but I can't find it now.
    So, for your perusal:
    Attachment 60737
    13.3 Doesn't specifically state rifle, it states rifle CARTRIDGE. Therefore nothing in there says I can't use a handgun chambered in a rifle cartridge
    13.4 Specifically states rifle but only in relation to CWD and Muntjac

    Chapter 13.3 refers to chapter 14 so here is the relevant section:
    Attachment 60738

    Again, rifle CARTRIDGE is referred to in the firearms section of 14.2 but not specifically rifle. It is in the ammunition section of 14.2 but, and I quote, "any bullet for use in a rifle other than a soft-nosed or hollow-nosed bullet" (shall be illegal to use on deer). So, again hypothetically, if I had a rifle cartridge handgun it would be firing bullets for use in a rifle. I do concede that the bullets won't be used in a rifle though, despite a long-barrelled pistol and rifle both being S1 and subject to the same length laws.
    To finish off, 14.5 (a) again refers to rifle specifically but only in relation to CWD and Muntjac.

    I am sure getting a handgun for hunting in the UK would be impossible but I am just curious as to where it states I can't.

    I'll probably call NGO tomorrow anyway just to satisfy the curiously but I'd like to hear anyone else's take on it since these laws of ours are very subjective.
    Last edited by Greener Jim; 02-09-2015 at 17:34.
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  2. #2
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    1) Firstly the chances of getting a "handgun", now, in mainland Great Britain renders the thread semi-redundant if by "handgun" you mean any firearm with a barrel under twelve inches and an overall length of under...what is it twenty-four inches.

    However assuming that one could then in the law there is nothing as far as I can see that would prohibit a handgun for use on goats and ground game or on birds such as grouse or pheasant. Or even shooting pigeon. I'd declare now that in the mid 1990s I did have a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver on my licence for use for "destruction of feral goats.

    So the only handgun that might pass muster might be a Thompson Contender with a fourteen inch barrel and a wrist extension rod at the bottom of the pistol grip. Yes. In that sense it is perhaps possible.


    So now to deer.

    2) So whilst the law refers to, as prohibited" "any smooth bore gun" and 'any rifle other than..." and therefore does not on the face of it prohibit any firearm that is neither "a smooth bore gun" nor "a rifle other than..." the reality is that my very first paragraph 1) renders this post-1998 all a red herring. Unless as in my third part of 1) you can have a Thompson Contender made to pass the dimension test.

    But I'll answer YOUR question with another.

    3) Where in the law does it say that hunting deer with a muzzle loading rifle or a black powder cartridge rifle is illegal? The answer is that, per se, it doesn't except that the velocity, bullet weight and muzzle energy regulations are such that in Scotland it is effectively impossible to achieve with a muzzle loader and marginally achievable with any black powder cartridge rifle. So whilst such weapons (and handguns) are not prohibited "de jure" in reality they are prohibited "de facto".

    So my input is that for deer you'd have to surmount the laws on muzzle energy and muzzle velocity that ONCE UPON A TIME rendered even a .44 Magnum rifle marginal in anywhere in mainland UK...but that now for the smaller species the change to muzzle energy and muzzle velocity now make it achievable with cartridges that once would not have been legal...and if that can be achieved in the theoretical Thomson Contender in paragraph 1)...then maybe..but then again is said Thompson Contender really, truly, a handgun?
    Last edited by enfieldspares; 01-09-2015 at 22:09.

  3. #3
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response. I shall answer in similar form to you to make it easier.

    1. I do very much mean handguns like the Contender/Encore and others such as the XP100, Savage Striker, CVA (Bergara) Apex etc. The Smith and Wesson X-Frame in 460 or 500 Magnum also fit the bill.
    Many that could be bought or built which would fit the 12"/24" rule.

    2. As per my 1. really. Long barrel pistols are legal in the UK, having one in a rifle cartridge is relatively easy to do.

    3. I think you may be surprised. Many rifle cartridges, in 12-15" barrels, are deer legal in England and Wales by being over 1700 ft-lbs. Depending on barrel length and bullet weight some would be legal on velocity in Scotland also.
    Obviously too many variables to guarantee the velocity side of things but with the correct choice of cartridge and barrel length there is no reason a 12" barrel firearm couldn't make deer legal.


    I think these long barrel handguns are still handguns, just hunting handguns. Like the difference between an AR15, a Mauser sporter or a target rifle.

    Again thanks for the reply
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  4. #4
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    So, i spoke to the NGO's firearms expert today. He is with me on it. Not illegal since, in the eyes of the law, its not a handgun, it is a stockless carbine like the other long barrel pistols in the UK.
    His take was "If you can justify it they cant turn it down as nowhere in law does it say you can't". The problem of course is justifying it or more accurately, justifying it to my FLO.

    I'm sure i can explain how a light, portable, manoeuvrable firearm would be an asset. Especially since a chest holster would free up your hands completely.

    A call will go in to the Police tomorrow to see if i can it discuss with them. Their usual response is "Pop in a variation and we'll go from there" so that may be the next course of action.
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  5. #5
    I do like these threads where someone thinks outside the box. Out of interest what cartridge choices would likely prove legal foe English and Welsh deer?

  6. #6
    I'm sure I can make a nice leather shoulder holster for an XP100 in 300 Herret.

    K
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    I do like these threads where someone thinks outside the box. Out of interest what cartridge choices would likely prove legal foe English and Welsh deer?
    There's a host of "JDJ" calibres designed by Lee Jurras in the USA but I am thinking that 243 Winchester would work or 6mm Remington. One could always take a standard 7x57R case and run it through a 6mm Remington die to make a 6mm Remington Rimmed.

  8. #8
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun_hunter View Post
    I do like these threads where someone thinks outside the box. Out of interest what cartridge choices would likely prove legal foe English and Welsh deer?
    Why thankyou.

    To to be honest it's all very dependant on barrel length with some of the cartridges, what is legal at 15" isn't legal at 12".
    However 308 win, 338 Fed, 358 win, 30-06, 35 whelen and many many others would be deer legal. All sorts of wildcats out there. Nice, efficient, not overbore cartridges work best IE .375-284 rather than 6.5-284.
    Relying on weight rather than velocity is a good choice as well.

    Obviously the bigger stuff increases noise and recoil a fair amount
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    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klenchblaize View Post
    I'm sure I can make a nice leather shoulder holster for an XP100 in 300 Herret.

    K
    Don't say stuff like that!
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  10. #10
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enfieldspares View Post
    There's a host of "JDJ" calibres designed by Lee Jurras in the USA but I am thinking that 243 Winchester would work or 6mm Remington. One could always take a standard 7x57R case and run it through a 6mm Remington die to make a 6mm Remington Rimmed.
    I belive the JDJ cartridges were designed by John D Jones of SSK and Lee Jurras made his own, the Jurras Howdah range being my favourite. I may be wrong mind.

    I dont think .243 would work since they can drop below 1700 ft-lbs in 20" barrels let alone 15".
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