Bringing scope over from USA

pazmino

Well-Known Member
#1
I bought a Nikon ProStaff 3-9x50 on American eBay in the summer for $160, and it's been sitting in a friend's house in New York since then. Now someone I know is going over there for work, and has offered to bring it back in their check-in luggage. Anyone know what's likely to happen if he gets stopped at customs? I assumed he might just have to pay a bit of duty, but I was in a gun shop the other day and they said anything over 4x would be classified as military-grade, and he might therefore get into trouble. I'd always thought anything under 10x was ok. Any advice or similar experiences gladly received!
 

geordieh

Well-Known Member
#2
Scoopes from usa

A Nikon pro staff in any mag is not military grade so no problems I brought a 6.5-20 x 50 back last time and my bag was opened and searched I was even told it might be safer to carry it in hand baggage it would not get damaged.I even had cases and bullets in my bag no probs either.
 

Taff

Well-Known Member
#3
I have brought loads of scopes from the usa, never had a problem, even after having bags searched by homeland security, they left me a apology note sayin I had been searched.
gun shops seem to like spilling this crap, they will even tell you the worldwide warranty is void.
As to the duty, being a honest person I always walk through the nothing to declare channel, only once the airline made me take a bow I had bought to them, they were miffed as they were having coffee.
 

topscots1

Well-Known Member
#4
Military spec has nothing to do with the magnification it is the reticle choice that dictates this. Also if you look at europtic and a fair few other shops you can buy any scope under the legislation as we are a NATO member country.
 

LeftHandGuy

Well-Known Member
#5
I bought a brand new Leupold VX1 3-9x40 this summer for $199. It came back in my luggage without any issue...

Frankly it never occured to me that a budget sporting scope could be considered "military grade" or similar nonsense.

For your own piece of mind, it may be worth confirming from an official source exactly what is and is not covered by such provisions. It would be useful to quite a few of us here.

Guy
 

pazmino

Well-Known Member
#6
Good idea. I've now emailed both the Home Office and the Import Licensing Branch of the Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills. Will let you know if by some miracle I get a reply.
 

pazmino

Well-Known Member
#7
Good grief - I've actually received a reply, within 12 hours! This is what the Import Licensing Branch of the Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills has to say:

"This branch issues import licences for firearms, component parts of firearms, ammunition and any accessory to any such firearm or other weapon designed or adapted to diminish the noise or flash caused by firing the weapon.

"I can therefore confirm that a rifle scope does not require an import licence as it is neither a component part nor a restricted accessory.

"Please contact HM Revenue & Customs regarding any questions that you may have on import duty or VAT."


Seems pretty conclusive, but I'll wait to see if the Home Office reply.
 

Noah

Well-Known Member
#8
I bought a Zeiss 3-15X50 from the USA last year and it was sent here no problem, all I had to pay was a small amount of import duty, approx £24 on a £700 scope.
Noah
 

CharlieT

Well-Known Member
#9
Good grief - I've actually received a reply, within 12 hours! This is what the Import Licensing Branch of the Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills has to say:

"This branch issues import licences for firearms, component parts of firearms, ammunition and any accessory to any such firearm or other weapon designed or adapted to diminish the noise or flash caused by firing the weapon.

"I can therefore confirm that a rifle scope does not require an import licence as it is neither a component part nor a restricted accessory.

"Please contact HM Revenue & Customs regarding any questions that you may have on import duty or VAT."


Seems pretty conclusive, but I'll wait to see if the Home Office reply.
Just remember though that export from the US of some scopes is controled and export requires an export license. To quote the US State Dept., "Riflescopes manufactured to military specifications".
 
#10
Military spec has nothing to do with the magnification it is the reticle choice that dictates this. Also if you look at europtic and a fair few other shops you can buy any scope under the legislation as we are a NATO member country.
Sorry, that's not correct. It is not the reticule that determines the trade controls.

Here is the link from the US Government printing office, which is current as of May 9, 2014: eCFR Code of Federal Regulations

Go to 121.1, Category I, Section (f):

(f) Riflescopes manufactured to military specifications (See category XII(c) for controls on night sighting devices.)
There is no definition of which scopes are "manufactured to military specifications", which is why so many US companies will refuse to export rifle scopes full stop.

If you are buying a scope direct from the US my recommendation is to make sure they the retailer has an export license.

If you import one by putting it into your luggage, checked or otherwise, be prepared.
 

topscots1

Well-Known Member
#11
The explanation is entirely unclear. seen as you will be hard pressed to find any military still using a duplex reticle you should be ok.

If you get in touch with the shop depending up on who it is I have used europtic and sundown coast the later through ebay.They have informed me that seen as we are a NATO member the export restrictions are very small the big one being generation 3 night vision which is still US technology with all the British militaries kit currently on loan from them. As for flying back with it I don't think there will be any issue as whats to say your friend didn't take it with him in the first place.
 

tozzybum

Well-Known Member
#12
bought a leupold vx1 3-9x50 for chrimbo here in days no problem at all.previous purchase redfield revenge rangefinder scope 3-9x42 again no issues.you should have no issues carrying it through customs.my gen 1 night vision also came through from america but that took a 13quid import tax hit
 
#13
The explanation is entirely unclear.
That was exactly my point in posting it; there is no definition of what a scope "built to military specifications" actually means.

Contrary to what some of the previous posts have said, the reticule is immaterial, the magnification is immaterial, the manufacturer is immaterial. When it comes to riflescopes, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) are open to the interpretation of the very regulatory authorities who define and police them.

That's precisely why many US retailers will refuse to ship any riflescopes outside of the US. The fines for violating these regulations can be large; just ask Cabela's as they've fallen foul twice in the recent past. It's daft that there's no defined list of these scopes, but there we are.

For anyone who's read this far, here is my take on "US Riflescope Export Control Regulations 101"

Most normal hunting scopes are fine, as both the UK and the US are signed up to what's known as the Wassenaar Arrangement. It's not really got anything to do with NATO, but that's just a term loosely used because most lay people understand it. Since both parties are subject to the Firearms Convention then no export license or paperwork is necessary to export a "normal" hunting scope from the USA to the UK. So all you need to do is to find a retailer who is willing to do it and who is cognizant of the export regulations. I've done this in the past. Alternatively go over to the US, buy a hunting scope and bring it back. 99.999% of the time you'll be fine - I've done this several times myself with Leupold hunting scopes.

The problem arises because of that lack of definition of a riflescope "built to military specifications". Woe betide you get that wrong. If you do, the regulatory authorities will come down on you from a great height.

Here's an example of a guy in Oregon who sold riflescopes "built to military specifications" on eBay and shipped them to Europe (Europe....as in, part of NATO): http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ore-man-who-illegally-sold-military-grade-equipment-overseas-sentenced He got locked up for 10 months.

I love that response he gave to one of the people who questioned whether what he was doing was legal; "…try worrying about your life, not stupid federal ITAR rules or stolen property". Doesn't that sounds like the typical sort of comment you might read, say, on an Internet forum :-|

Having got your scope to the UK you will still need to pay import duty (4.7%) and tax (20%) assuming, that is, that your riflescopes is subject to the harmonized tariff code of 9013100000 (TARIC Measure Information)

I can't make it much clearer, but I can make it much, much more detailed ;)


P.S. For anyone sad enough to care, the confusion over magnification comes about because of UK export regulations, where riflescopes over 4x magnification fall under ML1 of Schedule 2 of the Export Control Order 2008, see The Export Control Order 2008
 

FISMA

Well-Known Member
#14
Anyone know what's likely to happen if he gets stopped at customs?
Not a whole lot. He may have to pay a few quid, but if it is too much, tell he can tell customs to hold it, take it back to the States and mail it.

The reticle is probably a bdc, correct? Anyone at gun shop that thinks a Prostaff is military grade should find a new line of work.

If the scope was expensive, I would bring it in my carry on and never let it out of my reach. As per TSA, scopes are permitted in carry-on luggage.
 

pazmino

Well-Known Member
#16
Thanks very much for all the above. The reticle's a Nikoplex. The scope cost less than £100, and not easy now to get in touch with the seller, who was a private individual and posted it to a US address. Looks very much to me like my friend can just put it in his suitcase and not worry – and if the worst comes to the worst, may have to pay a bit of duty.
 

pazmino

Well-Known Member
#17
Well, I finally got a reply from the Home Office, who say it's nothing to do with them:

Thank you for your e-mail of 4 January about importing a rifle scope. The importation of a ‘Nikon Pro*Staff 3 9 x 50 scope’ falls outside of firearms legislation. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) website provides information on the requirements for importing goods purchased overseas. Further details can be found on the BIS website at http://www.BIS.Gov.uk

so I think that's pretty conclusive – it seems it's just a matter of tax/ duty, for this scope at any rate.
 

762Scot

Well-Known Member
#18
pazmino,
The complexity of bringing a scope in from the USA has been clearly outlined in previous posts. I would recommend you drop an e mail to Eurooptic in the USA their website is Nightforce, Sako, Schmidt Bender, Benelli, Swarovski, Zeiss

You can ask them if there are export restrictions on that particular scope. They have informed me quickly and clearly in the past whether or not they can ship particular scopes out of the US. It is easy for someone to drop something in a bag but if there is a problem... it is a huge problem and can be a life changing event. I would urge you to check and double check ITAR regulation. You do not want to end up with a weapons violation charge. Be very cautious and do your homework. Thats my opinion.
 

Taff

Well-Known Member
#20
You pays your money and takes your chance, in 15 yrs of traveling to the USA, and having bought everything from e o tec, red dots, various scopes , magazines, from 10 to 50 capacity, mounts , rails, knives of all sorts, multiple amounts of clothing, compound bow and arrow, arrow heads, fishing rods and tackle, moon shine, bbq sauce, canned carp,shotgun chokes,I have travelled with people who have bought guns and returned with them.
I have had my bags checked on numerous occasions by US customs, I have never been challenged by UK customs, and they seemed a bit annoyed when the airline wanted to show them my bow.
 

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