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Thread: How Restrictive Are Military Calibres?

  1. #1

    How Restrictive Are Military Calibres?

    The question of military calibres and our awkward Gallic neighbours comes up a lot, but I was wondering just how restrictive a military calibre can be. In real terms, what are you missing out on? For those of you who travel with your rifles, would only owning military calibres be very restrictive? Do you find yourself wanting to travel to or through countries that ban them on a regular basis? As I understand it this includes France, Spain, Italy and a few African countries, although I have never heard which ones.

  2. #2
    Hi liamnjs - which calibres are you thinking of?
    By example, 7.62x51 is .308; 6.5x55 widely used across europe; .223 is 5.56mm; .30-06; .303 is 7.7mm - list goes on.
    "There comes in the dead of night a hand of cold steel that plucks the German sentries from their posts"
    WSC 1942

  3. #3
    Well I am talking in generalities really, but I currently own a 6.5x55 and hope to add a lever action .30-06. I suppose what I am asking is this- if you only owned military calibres for the entirety of your rifle shooting life, how restricted would you be in your opportunities? Personally the only driven boar trip I have ever been invited on was in France, so that lever action .30-06 I am lusting over would not have been much good!

  4. #4
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    To be a bit of an anorak allow me to put on my "history hat" from when I studied the Versailles Treaty some thirty-five years ago!

    Ironically the cartridge associated with it, the 8x60S, now really survives only in France (where military calibres are prohibited)! Yet it was France that with the other signatories imposed the cartridge on Germany in 1919 when a "cap" was imposed not only on rifles possessed BUT ALSO ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION. But in modern Germany military calibres are, of course, now allowed!

    The "cap" was 84,000 rifles, 18,000 carbines and importantly 40,800,000 rounds of ammunition.

    So, presumably 8x60S came about to stop a "hidden" war reserve of ammunition (that would chamber in German Army weapons) being "disguised" as private ammunition kept by private sportsmen. Or, like the Swiss, each German maintaining a stock of military calibre ammunition in his private house for when he was "called up"!

    So now you know!

  5. #5
    In my opinion you loose nothing in not being able to posssess military cartridges in some countries. There are sufficient non military cartridges of similar or better abilities available. I say cartridges rather than calibres because you can generally have rifles and ammo in the same calibre as a military calibre but not the same designation. For example .300wm is popular in France and acceptable for hunting, but .308w and .30-06 are regarded as weapons of war. Similarly 8mm mauser (8x57) is a weapon of war but 8x57jrs (the rimmed version) is a sporting round.

    The only thing you loose is the ability to purchase cheap ex military ammunition or components for practise possibly, but that has all but disappeared in recent years.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by enfieldspares View Post
    To be a bit of an anorak allow me to put on my "history hat" from when I studied the Versailles Treaty some thirty-five years ago!

    Ironically the cartridge associated with it, the 8x60S, now really survives only in France (where military calibres are prohibited)! Yet it was France that with the other signatories imposed the cartridge on Germany in 1919 when a "cap" was imposed not only on rifles possessed BUT ALSO ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION. But in modern Germany military calibres are, of course, now allowed!

    The "cap" was 84,000 rifles, 18,000 carbines and importantly 40,800,000 rounds of ammunition.

    So, presumably 8x60S came about to stop a "hidden" war reserve of ammunition (that would chamber in German Army weapons) being "disguised" as private ammunition kept by private sportsmen. Or, like the Swiss, each German maintaining a stock of military calibre ammunition in his private house for when he was "called up"!

    So now you know!
    Does the actual wording of the various "decret" not refer to ... Materials designed and intended for war... rather than the popularly quoted, calibre militaire?

    Category 5, seems to me to have been created to distinguish between hunting + sporting arms and "Les matériels de guerre".

    If this is so, would a stalking rifle, clearly not designed or intended for war, even though it be in a military calibre, maybe actually be permissable?

    Indeed, are the exceptions of Category 5, not just exactly why target shooters can take their .308's to France and use them. ?

    In which case the same logic could be extended to hunting use too.

    I only ask if you know because I'm getting a rather confused reaction from the French consul on this very question.... as in, Hmmmm....they're going to get "back" to me on that one..

  7. #7
    Tamus I think the confusion is due to there being two distinctions in France. Please excuse my poor French.
    1. Permis du Tir - target shooting where calibres such as 7.62mm (or .308w) can be held. 2. Permis du chasse - hunting, where military calibres cannot be held.

    This I think is why you can take a 7.62mm rifle to France to shoot in a rifle competition, with the right paperwork and formal invite, but you can't take a .308 rifle for boar hunting.
    Last edited by 8x57; 06-02-2011 at 11:29.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8x57 View Post
    Tamus I think the confusion is due to there being two distinctions in France. Please excuse my poor French.
    1. Permis du Tir - target shooting where calibres such as 7.62mm (or .308w) can be held. 2. Permis du chasse - hunting, where military calibres cannot be held.

    This I think is why you can take a 7.62mm rifle to France to shoot in a rifle competition, with the right paperwork and formal invite, but you can't take a .308 rifle for boar hunting.
    Simple answer here is travel west hunting instead of east. The yanks and Canadians are a real friendly bunch and they have some huge outdoor expanses that are full of wild game. They also have some of the most liberal rules on firearms and cheapest ammunition and they speak english.

    I have been to the states hunting and will keep returning. I have never been to Europe hunting and have no desire to due to the daft firearms laws..

  9. #9
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    TAMUS is indeed right. It is a prohibition, or rather the French equivalent of our s5, on "items designed for war". Very loosely translated!

    But there is a "double whammy" as also prohibited are "items capable of chambering ammunition used in items designed for war".

    So the correct interpretation is not that "military calibres" are prohibited but that rifles capable of chambering military calibres are prohibited.

    So 275 Rigby is OUT yet 8x57JRS and 7x56R and also 307 Winchester aren't!

  10. #10
    The U.S.A. and Canada are an entirely different situation to Europe and you won't experience the rich tradditions and history of hunting as you will in Europe. While their laws are different to ours they certainly aren't as daft or restrictive as ours. Also it's so simple to throw the guns in the back of the car and hop on the ferry or shuttle rather than messing around with airports. I can be in Normandy in half the time it takes me to get to Scotland and about a quarter of the time to get to the states, also with much less stress. I would love to shoot in Canada or the U.S.A. some day but know that it will be a totally different experience to say driven boar in France or Germany.

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