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Thread: Slugs and their legal position

  1. #1

    Slugs and their legal position

    Over the weekend I was discussing with a US colleague of mine about using slugs for taking deer and how some states have compulsory shotgun / smoothbore seasons (where in some cases, you can use sabot slugs through a rifled barred)

    This got me thinking:

    I realise in the UK that rifled or smooth sided slugs come under S1 in the UK.

    Where would a shotgun with a full length rifled barrel come? Would it even be legal in pump or Semi auto?

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts.



  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by scrumbag View Post
    I realise in the UK that rifled or smooth sided slugs come under S1 in the UK.
    By 'rifled' slugs I presume you will mean the Brenneke type? They are not actually rifled - the finning is there so that it can swage down when fired through anything other than cylinder bore tubes and not cause damage.

    Where would a shotgun with a full length rifled barrel come?
    Wouldn't then be classified as a shotgun - it is a S.1 Firearm for which you would need to demonstrate 'good reason' to possess.

    Would it even be legal in pump or Semi auto?
    Same position as other similar S.1 Full-bore firearms post Hungerford. You won't get one.

  3. #3
    Thanks Orion, yes, did mean Breneke type slugs with the finning.

    Interesting to know. I swear the more I find out about UK firearms law the more confused I become....



  4. #4
    Legal issues aside, I suppose it comes down to differences in how we approach the sporting use of slugs on large mammals.

    Generally speaking IMO there are better tools for the job but they can be handy in certain situations. Some constabularies will allow possession/use under the 'Any Other Lawful Quarry' condition, so it then falls to the FAC holder to decide what is suitable or legal for any given situation. A ratty old Mossberg pump with a 24" cylinder barrel and a red dot holo sight can be useful sometimes.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post
    A ratty old Mossberg pump with a 24" cylinder barrel and a red dot holo sight can be useful sometimes.
    I would imagine close in, something like that would be pretty handy. Think I'd prefer a pump and slug for following up a wounded boar than a bolt action hunting rifle...

  6. #6
    Browning make a bolt action rifled 12 bore to shoot sabboted slugs out to 150-200 yards to very good effect!!.I think it has a 2 shot Box magazine on it as well

    I have a sec 1. 5 shot Benelli which i can use with Breneke slugs for wild boar and Deer control here in the UK.

    "a man does good business when he rids himself of a turd"

  7. #7
    As I said, they have their uses and I used to carry a 12 bore pump and a variety of rounds including slugs when doing call outs etc.

    Lately I'm quite taken with a Blaser ES67 Bockbüchsflinte in 12g/.243 I've recently acquired. I'm fast coming to realise how versatile these combination guns can be for general shooting, plus I think they would be a good choice for someone who might do road casualty/humane destruction as well.

    The only thing that might limit them in certain circumstances, compared to a dedicated 12 bore pump with a zero mag red dot sight, is that you would want a decent 'scope on it to take advantage of the rifle barrel for stalking/foxing. I plan to fit a Zeis Duralyt illuminated 2-8x42 when I have the cash available.

  8. #8
    I recently returned from a boar hunt in Poland feeling a bit disapointed.....reason being,i had set up my s1 semi auto with a saddle mount and red dot sight to use slugs... All went well onthe first drive of day one i boled over a large sow, success also on day two,but day three took the wind out of my sails when i emptied my gun into a 100kg+ sow, the well placed slugs knocked her down, but she was soon up and running,i know the animal was mortaly wounded and maybe didnt need 5, but as long as it was standing it was very alive.... will i use slugs again... not sure.... anybody experienced similar......

  9. #9
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    For better or for worse the law governing the use of ANY shot gun to shoot deer in the UK is complicated beacsue it is qualified not only by the calibre and type of ammunition but ALSO by the restrictions imposed by Mrs Thatcher in 1988.

    First you have to be the owner or occupier (or person authorised) of "enclosed land" and the deer have to be "causing damage". Thus you can't just go woodland stalking, in theory, with your shot gun and slug.

    Next that shot gun must be 12 bore gauge. And any slug must weigh, I think, 350 grains minimum. Or some set weight. So the plastci sabot Sellier & Belliot brass slug probably will be too light.

    However the legislation per se does not on the face of it outlaw sabot type slugs.

    You are correct that slugs come under s1 if a "non-expanding" slug but if it has the faintest vestige of a dimple on its nose it is classed as "expanding ammunition"! Daft as that dimple is usually shallow but it is interpreted as making the slug "designed to expand upon impact".*

    So whilst they are s1 you woud also have to have an authority to acquire or possess "expanding ammunition" for certain types. Irrelevant really as if you have an authority for live quarry you'll get an "expanding ammunition" condition automatically.

    Brenneke slugs are classed as non-expanding whilst some of the American slugs have that dimple and so are classed as expanding! But this "expanding" and "non-expanding" argument is really irrelevant if you have an FAC with a shot gun on it for destruction of deer.

    Now we come to the rifled barrel shot guns.

    British law, Mrs Thatcher, banned self-loading and pump action RIFLES in 1988 except in .22" RIMFIRE calibre. So the Remongton 740 and 760 were banned but also such as the old Colt Lightning.

    Now in 1988 these rifled barrels for the Remington 870 were quite rare even in the US. But effectively even though chambered for a SHOT GUN CARTRIDGE the law may hold that a rifled barrel on a pump action of self loading shot gun makes it a prohibited weapon.

    However nothing to stop you using a rifled barrel double gun...a Lancaster OVAL BORE or Holland's PARADOX or a Westley FAUNETA. Indeed the lawyers might say that as it is rifled it now isn't actually a shot gun at all but...a rifle!

    And so the strict regulations on using a shot gun to shoot deer become irrelevant. Except...

    You then *immediately if it is a rifle encounter the legal eagle who will say that in that case requirements for a MINIMUM MUZZLE VELOCITY ON RIFLES are to be considered!

    It is quite a minefield.

    But the simple answer to can I go stalking with a 12 bore SHOT GUN? No! YOu can only use a shot gun if you are the owner or occupier and on enclosed land against deer doing damage.

    But if you ask can I go stalking with a 12 bore rifle? Well as it is a rifle no relevance of being either owner or occupier nor of "enclosed land" nor even or "doing damage". None! The ONLY qualification would be that pump action and self-loading are prohibited AND THE MINIMUM VELOCITY REQUIREMENT. So in my opinion nothing to stop you shooting a deer anywhere with a RIFLED 12 bore side by that velocity figure!

    *Now that's my opinion!
    Last edited by enfieldspares; 19-12-2011 at 21:37.

  10. #10
    Scrummy, the legislation (for those who are interested, in the UK Section 7 of the Deer act 1991 is the relevant document) actually states that the people who can use the "farmers defense are:-

    (a) the occupier of the land on which the action is taken;

    (b) any member of the occupier's household normally resident on the occupiers land, acting with the written authority of the occupier;

    (c) any person in the ordinary service of the occupier on the occupiers land, acting with the written authority of the occupier;

    (d) any person having the right to take or kill deer on the land on which the action is taken or any person acting with the written authority of a person having that right.

    This is, of course, a DEFENCE, not a right.

    The section states a MINIMUM gauge of 12 bore, and a minimum shot size of AAA (.203", 5.16 mm) or a single, non spherical projectile weighing not less than 350 gr.

    The defence applies to "any cultivated land, pasture or enclosed woodland", so it doesn't have to be enclosed unless it's woodland. The person taking deer with a shotgun must have "reasonable grounds to suspect that deer of the same species were causing, or had caused, damage to crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or any other form of property on the land;

    So the answer is yes, if you have the right to take deer on the land, AND YOU MEET ALL THE OTHER REQUIREMENTS, then you can use a slug to shoot deer.

    Is it the best tool for the job? Almost certainly not. But it can, in certain circumstances be legal.

    All the requirements are here:-

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