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Thread: a list of calibers - military v commercial/hunting

  1. #1

    a list of calibers - military v commercial/hunting

    I have read on this site about military calibers not being allowed in France [and I presume some other countries]. How does one tell if a caliber is military or commercial/hunting. I imagine that .338 is totally military but a .300 might be both, and a .303 was military but is it now historic and therefore allowable in France etc.

    Is there a definitive list somewhere that would set out what is what and are there calibers allowed in all countries. I would like in the future to hunt on the continent but would not want to be told my gun is illegal!

    Any advice or pointers to where I can look up a list.

    Thanks

    Matthew

  2. #2
    Ahhh why would .338" only be military?

    Trouble is once again calibre and cartidge is being confused. Whilst .338 is a calibre there are various different cartridges that utilise .338" bullets:-

    .33 Winchester
    .338 Federal
    338-06
    .338 Winchester magnum
    330 Dakota
    340 Wetherby
    338 RUM
    338-378 Weatherby

    Plus of course the .338 Lapua.

    I believe 303 in France is still more tightly restricted.

  3. #3
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    Have read on this site about military calibers not being allowed in France [and I presume some other countries]. How does one tell if a caliber is military or commercial/hunting. I imagine that .338 is totally military but a .300 might be both, and a .303 was military but is it now historic and therefore allowable in France etc.
    Here goes! Military calibres were prohibited in Germany, Belgium, France at various times in history. And Mexico and Italy I understand. So no .45 ACP Colt 1911 pistols in Mexico or Italy at one time!

    Notably after WWI was Germany. So the coming into being of the 8x60S that allowed weapons to be held that could not, in theory, be then given over for military use in time of renewed war. This was because the Versailles Treaty not only restricted the size, manpower, of the German Army after 1920 but also the number of rifles and carbines it could possess. Additionally other clauses spoke on the subject that "sporting clubs" were not to be used as a covert reserve army.

    I don't know when that was repealed...or ignored...or simply got overtaken by subsequent events!

    Belgium also had a "military calibre" ban. I don't know why it had it, but it was repealed about two years ago.

    France has, by the letter of the law, no ban on "military calibres". What it actually has, since 1939 when a military coup was feared, a ban on possession by civilians of "weapons of war". A weapon of war being defined as a military weapon or a weapon "capable of chambering ammunition used in a military weapon"!

    And, amusingly, that ban on "weapons of war" also means that even though converted into another calibre that ex-military rifles have to have any bayonet lug removed!

    Sounds complicated! But what it actually means is that ANY pistol or rifle that can chamber a cartridge used now or in the past by any army of any nation is prohibited. So a Lee-Enfield 303 is banned, as is a Martini-Henry 303, as is a fine side-by-side double rifle in 303, or a falling block Gibbs-Farqharson-Metford in 303.

    In other words if it accepts a military cartridge...it is banned, regardless of it being a military rifle per se or a dedicated sporting rifle in that calibre. So 275 Rigby calibre rifles are banned as, of course, they will happily chamber 7x57 Mauser!

    But it gets more complicated! In theory and in practice civilians can possess sporting rifles in a military calibre...notably 308 Winchester aka 7.62mm NATO...for target shooting in the "Bisley" or "Camp Perry" style.

    But under no circumstances can those also be used for hunting! So no having a 308 "for target shooting" but also using it for popping off a Bambi!

    Now the word is that this French ban will also end, certainly in respect of "obsolete" military calibres like 7x57 but will remain for current military calibres such as .223 aka 5.56mm NATO.

    Others here may no better of then predicted status of 30-06, 303 British and 8x57 Mauser in France and also .308 aka 7.62mm NATO.

    Thus in France the popular sporting military calibre "substitutes" are 7mm-08 for 7.62mm, 280 Remington for 30-06 in Remington 740 and 750 pump and self-loading rifles, and 8x60S for 8x57S.

    You then have a whole series of increasingly weird re-chamberings and associated cartridges to deal with ex-military rifles. So 303 Sporting and 30-06 Short (both short versions by turning the barrel in a turn of the parent) and 7.62x348 Winchester which is the 7.62x54R converted by boring out the chamber to take a 348 Winchester necked down to 7.62mm! I joke not!

    Hope that helps! Bottom line is if you did get into France to hunt with a sporting rifle in a "military calibre" is that you'd find no gun shop stocking ammunition for it! And the French Customs Officers are wised up enough, I know from experience, to know the difference between 8x60S (legal) and 8x57s (illegal)!
    Last edited by enfieldspares; 31-12-2011 at 01:03.

  4. #4
    Enfieldspares I know that you have made several similar postings on this subject before but this one must be the most comprehensive to date. As this very subject re-occurs time and time again I think that it would be a good idea if your last posting was made "a sticky" if that's the correct term for others to refer to in the future.

  5. #5
    Will have to see if I can locate my old Kettners catalogue as it lists the categories of the rifles and the licences required. One can I recall posess a .303 Le Enflied but one requires a certain type of licence in France which has certain restrictions and one of thse I seem to recall is membership to a type of club.

    The catalogue I have somewhere also has M91 Mosins for sale under the lower category licence as they have been rechambed for .308 Norma Magnum. Of course the catalogue is from about 96 so things may have altered a bit since then.

  6. #6
    Is there a 'one size fits all' calibre? I mean, is there a calibre that you could use in England to shoot Roe, Europe to shoot boar and Africa to shoot plains game? I'm thinking of applying for a new calibre on my ticket for the above but don't want to nor can afford to buy a handful of different rifles so is there a suitable calibre for my needs yet still complies with European law?
    Best Regards,
    Adrian.

    Jedward. The reason why there are two barrels on a shotgun.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianC View Post
    Is there a 'one size fits all' calibre? I mean, is there a calibre that you could use in England to shoot Roe, Europe to shoot boar and Africa to shoot plains game? I'm thinking of applying for a new calibre on my ticket for the above but don't want to nor can afford to buy a handful of different rifles so is there a suitable calibre for my needs yet still complies with European law?
    7mm would do it, though perhaps "just"

    i.e. 7x64, .280Rem, .284Win and any of the many 7mm magnums.

    A .300 mag (of some description) may be better or, if you were to consider a break-open rifle of some sort, there's also .30R Blaser.

    Then there are various 8mm, .338's, .358s, .375's and 9.3s

    If I were you I'd think .30 cal and for simplicities sake... not of "materiel de guerre" origin if you ever wish to shoot with it in France.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tamus View Post
    7mm would do it, though perhaps "just"

    i.e. 7x64, .280Rem, .284Win and any of the many 7mm magnums.

    A .300 mag (of some description) may be better or, if you were to consider a break-open rifle of some sort, there's also .30R Blaser.

    Then there are various 8mm, .338's, .358s, .375's and 9.3s

    If I were you I'd think .30 cal and for simplicities sake... not of "materiel de guerre" origin if you ever wish to shoot with it in France.
    Thanks Tamus, I appreciate your reply. So, a 30-06 might suffice?
    Best Regards,
    Adrian.

    Jedward. The reason why there are two barrels on a shotgun.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianC View Post
    Thanks Tamus, I appreciate your reply. So, a 30-06 might suffice?

    Good choice everywhere except France.

  10. #10
    Many thanks for the replies, especially to Enfieldspares for his comprehensive missive. This has gone a long way to clearing up my question.

    So to build on AdrianC's query above, would a .300 h&h be deer legal in the uk [ground permitting] legal on the continent for boar as it is a necked down .375 h&h which I think was a hunting round, and good in Africa for medium game.

    Regards

    Matthew

    p.s the clarificatoin about cartridge and caliber is duly noted.

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