Licencing - muskets etc.

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Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Mike Garrett » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:31 pm

Possibly the wrong area for this.

Should one want to embark on a path involving muskets, black powder pistols, hand gonnes etc. what licences would one require?

I'm imagining Black Powder licence and Shotgun licence. However, regarding such things as flintlock pistols, how does that work? Obviously they are smooth bore, but would have a barrel of less than 24 inches - whilst a weapon held uunder a shotgun licence requires a barrel of 24 inches minimum.
How does that work?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Tod » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:54 pm

Musket you need to get shotgun licence. To fire it you need powder so you need a minimum of an aquire only but its far better to try andf get a keep and acquire licnce. This may allow you to keep up to 15kg.
For pistols you need to prove you have a good reason to have one unlike shotguns where the general rule is ther police have to say why you shouldn't. It's long and complicated process not helped by people who have lied about why they should have a pistol in re-enactment.
You should get as much training as you can with regard how to store, handle and use powder and nay sort of gun.
You will need a gun case.
The best first step is to talk to your local police, or you can ring me and I'll tell you. PM me your number, I'm away for a couple of weeks on and off.



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Botwot » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:02 pm

Many more qualified than me to answer on this forum, but let's get the ball rolling. Most Police Forces licensing sections will have a resume of the rules and the relevant application forms on their websites or give the office a ring. They are usually helpful.

Application for a pistol will have to be as a Section 1 Firearms Certificate and not a shotgun certificate.

Smootbore weapons with an overall length greater than 24 inches will be covered under Shotgun licensing arrangements

Rifled weapons over 24 inches require a section 1 Firearms Certificate

Black powder documentation depends on the form of licence you want. If you intend to use but not keep powder then the basic certificate covers this use. If you intend to keep powder then from memory it requires a "procure and keep" certificate AND a transportation certificate so that you can carry it to home and to the places that you intend to use it.

No doubt more erudite and experienced members will correct and expand the above as necessary,

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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Phil the Grips » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:27 pm

And while the rules are nationwide how individual forces, and individuals within those forces, apply them vary massively (the more rural you are the better generally- my F.O. dissuades you from the idea of powder storage in city centre tenements cos he gets pressure from the Fire Brigade, for example) so any advice you get from pals may be contradictory.

This also comes down to what they consider "safe" storage, bearing in mind that local people who have storage under older guidelines, or passed by officers who have since moved on, get away with things that newer licence holders may not be able to under grandfather rights.

It really is down to how your local Firearms Officer operates and likes to do things that matters and they normally enjoy having a natter over the phone on their favourite topics so anything they say trumps everything else (unless it varies wildly from what you know of the law in which case ask about).


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Dave B » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:38 pm

My advice is to know exactly what you want, why you want it, and which bit of the law says you can have it, before you go to far, and then chat to them, as Phil says. By being well clued up you save them work and show that you are serious.

One problem tends to be that a lot of firearms officers are reluctant to issue a liscence unless you can claim some sort of experience or training which is difficult when you need the liscences before you start. It helps if you can get the opportunity to help crew with an existing blackpowder group, and also the EMA have run blackpowder awareness training for medieval reenactors in the past, and there may be other schemes.

Another is that (for FAC especially) they like you to be a member of a reenactment group that they have heard of, and can be reluctant to accept one that is not affiliated to Nares. this seems to be because of some guidelines that were issued working with the HSE.

What group are you in and what period of weapons are you after?


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Phil the Grips » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Dave B wrote:Another is that (for FAC especially) they like you to be a member of a reenactment group that they have heard of,

That was a huge sticking point for me initially- the F.O. had only head of, and had experience with, the local Sealed Knot regiment and was almost insistent that only by being a member with them could I claim under "reenactment" regs.

They sometimes require gentle education that there is more out there than "500 musketeers in a muddy field" events, especially if you do smaller, more intimate gigs or are an "independent" reenactor.

Bear in mind that anyone you live with will be interviewed and checked too- this may cause a problem if you have lodgers, family/ex-partners with an "iffy" past &c.


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Mike Garrett » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:11 pm

Many thanks for the info so far.
Just a fledgling idea at the moment.
However, no lodgers and very rural, so that should help.
Prior military/TA experience, which may help I guess - at least they'll know I know which end is which, lol.



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby acecat999 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:06 pm

Senilis Pravus wrote:Many thanks for the info so far.
Just a fledgling idea at the moment.
However, no lodgers and very rural, so that should help.
Prior military/TA experience, which may help I guess - at least they'll know I know which end is which, lol.




not being a nutter or criminal, rural and live alone helps


but Ta experience of semi automatic rifles is worth diddlesquat. Join a known group for your period that has blackpowder weapons. (ECW, ACW Medieval Cowboy or Napoloenic) those groups will be able to not only talk you through applying but also if you've known them long enough sign the forms!


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:54 pm

muskets are fairly easy they are shotguns so long as muzzle to touch-hole is over 24 inches and the bore is under 2 inches and the barrel is smoothbore.
shotgun paper work is £50 lasts 5 years and renews at £40 you must have a suitably approved cabinet which must be large enough to store your musket/s and out of sight of someone looking in from outside and not in a place your average visitor would go oh and also not so inaccessible that you can't put your gun/s in it . fixing to the wall 4x 110mm expanding jacket bolts in the back and if the floor is concrete two of the same in the floor,
if its wooden then two 5/16 by 1 1/2 inch coach screws
you can always put more bolts in than the box has holes for by adding new holes in safe places (although it does mess up your warranty but sometimes you have no choice) mine has 4 in the back and 4 in the side as the wall is stronger than the floor.
has to be a brick or concrete wall but in the case of breeze block or low density block walls then you can use chemicaly anchored bolts e.g kemfix 8mm or 10mm preferably put into a left hand corner as it means its harder to pull out.
timber framed buildings then discuss with your local bobby but they usually say again coachscrews with 30-40mm washers
everyone has the right to own a shotgun but they will do medical and criminal checks first and you need someone of standing in the community to endorse you but the paper work tells you all that.

Anything not covered by those parameters e.g short barrels, large bores ect are fire arms unless they are banned by some other legislation such as the Nocks volleygun which is banned under section 5 automatic weapons: as all fire arms not covered by section 2(shotguns) that fires more than one bullet with a single trigger pull is classed as machine guns
this is the most important point you do not have the right to own a firearm!
on your Fire arms certificate application (same price as a shotgun certificate) you must write explicitly every fire arm you intend to buy and how many rounds at any one point you will own for that firearm
the police then look over your reasoning for owning that firearm checking group memberships ect to make sure you actually can use that fire arm for the purpose you claim to want it for then they will give you the :thumbup: or :thumbdown: any time you wish to have a gun added or removed from you FAC then you must pay £26 for a variation and send it you your Rozzers and they do the whole process again
Fire arm cabinets are treated the same as shotgun cabinets and you can use the same cabinet for shotguns and firearms if you hold the proper paperwork but you must have another approved area (can be a locking top in your first cabinet or a small ammo cabinet) with a separate i.e different key to store the ammunition separately even if you intend to only fire blanks you may well have to have that separate lockable space for the potential ammunition you may want in future.

in case anyone is wondering yes I have pulled all the paperwork out from it's various hiding places to read over.



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Dave B » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:10 pm

cloudy-cola-corp wrote:but you must have another approved area (can be a locking top in your first cabinet or a small ammo cabinet) with a separate i.e different key to store the ammunition separately even if you intend to only fire blanks you may well have to have that separate lockable space for the potential ammunition you may want in future.

in case anyone is wondering yes I have pulled all the paperwork out from it's various hiding places to read over.


All that is correct but the Original Poster is talking about black powder guns, so he won't have ammunition, and you certainly can't store black powder in the metal top compartment of a gun cabinet! Different paperwork, different rules, different storage. He wouldn't want to rush off and but a top compartment box which would then be too short for muskets and no use.

I admire your enthusiasm, trying to get the whole of British firearms law down in one post without drawing breath, but better trying to deal slowly with one issue at a time to avoid confusing him. :wink:

Mr Senilis, if you do want a summary of the whole mess of legislation surrounding this, there are some notes on our website that I wrote a few years ago. They are slightly out of date in one respect, as of the last ORDCON the police have clarified that the 'theatrical performance' defence really should not be used in reenactment, DEFINITELY work on the basis that all gunners in battles need certificates. I'll make that clearer when I next update, but the notes as they stand may be some use.

http://www.poorknights.co.uk/blackpowdernotes/

P.S. I see we have a couple of the knowledgeable people posting on this thread, if you see anything else that needs updating or clarifying let me know.


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby acecat999 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:35 pm

however the OP has still not answered the question of what period he intends to do................

cloudy - a fine post which I lost interest in reading somewhere.

Here's a few points that have been forgotten so far.


1. Don't buy a cabinet until the FEO (thats a policeman) has agreed your application.
2. Get a BS standard cabinet, Although in Zumerzet they might let you chain it to a wall if you only have 1 gun.
3. get the biggest cabinet you can fit - you will end up filling it.

Never ask for advice on storage etc on the internet because you get a different story from everyone and all you need to know is what your local plod are like.
The best person to ask about it is your local plod once you have submitted the application.


ONe very important bit of advice is if you forget to put the cheque in with the application they come round a lot quicker.


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Mike Garrett » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:28 am

Okay - I'm currently interested in most periods from WOTR onwards, as far as BP is concerned. However, I am somewhat taken with the idea of a highwayman impression, so pistols would be the thing. However, depending on the intricacies of getting licenced I may just stick with something musket oriented. However, I am also interested in the late Victorian period and 'The Empire', so would possibly be looking at a Martini-Henry as well. Please keep your fingers crossed that I win the lottery and can therefore indulge myself :) Currently I am an independent re-enactor outside of the 11th - 13th century.
No way I was going to buy a cabinet before licence issued, lol! But thanks for reminding me not too. I have a couple of suitable areas for a cabinet. I also have a sturdy wooden Army mortar round box (which could be padlocked). Would I be correct in believing that this is a good start for the storage/transportation of BP?
Also, I have a local shooting club and have a hankering to give clay shooting a try as well, so most of the info folks have provided is useful - thanks.



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Merlon. » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:49 am

Senilis Pravus wrote:I also have a sturdy wooden Army mortar round box (which could be padlocked). Would I be correct in believing that this is a good start for the storage/transportation of BP?

That would not be acceptable under Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 (MSER) you can find a copy of the Accepted Code of Practice at http://www.basc.org.uk/en/utilities/document-summary.cfm/docid/6C47CC1E-0307-44C3-A39B7DD0230E7119 sections 411 - 420 cover suitable means of storage for blackpowder

Senilis Pravus wrote:Currently I am an independent re-enactor outside of the 11th - 13th century.

Under my Police Force that would probably mean you would not get issued with a licences and relevant certificates. You need to be under the coverage of one of the recognised blackpowder societies for training and support. You need to discuss the matter in depth with your local ELO, contact details can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/explosives/elo.htm.
As stated previously, every Force in the UK interprets the requirements slightly differently; any advice given by the ELO applies within that Forces area only and indeed sometimes only within the time of tenure of that particular ELO....



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:56 am

Dave B wrote:All that is correct but the Original Poster is talking about black powder guns, so he won't have ammunition, and you certainly can't store black powder in the metal top compartment of a gun cabinet! Different paperwork, different rules, different storage. He wouldn't want to rush off and but a top compartment box which would then be too short for muskets and no use.


I was just trying to cover as much as I could as a period wasn't specified so a Martini-henry which the poster has shown an interest in has cartridges so if they wanted a rifled version then they would possibly need a separate lock space.
but I agree having a cabinet that's a few inches too short - because muskets are very long -makes it a real pain on having to take them to bits to get them to fit in. although it does show up everywhere that needs cleaning.



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby JC Milwr » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:19 am

Just to add a ray of simplicity; you no longer (from June 2012) need separate RCA documents for moving black powder; as it's all included in the explosives licence. Hurrah!


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Merlon. » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:37 pm

JC Milwr wrote:Just to add a ray of simplicity; you no longer (from June 2012) need separate RCA documents for moving black powder; as it's all included in the explosives licence. Hurrah!

Don't forget that only applies to COER certificates issued after that date, so some people will not have that luxury until 2017.



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby acecat999 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:08 pm

Merlon. wrote:
JC Milwr wrote:Just to add a ray of simplicity; you no longer (from June 2012) need separate RCA documents for moving black powder; as it's all included in the explosives licence. Hurrah!

Don't forget that only applies to COER certificates issued after that date, so some people will not have that luxury until 2017.


but as a RCA is contemporaneous to the COER and anyone with a brain cell gets one immediately its not really a hardship is it?


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby JC Milwr » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:47 pm

Merlon. wrote:
JC Milwr wrote:Just to add a ray of simplicity; you no longer (from June 2012) need separate RCA documents for moving black powder; as it's all included in the explosives licence. Hurrah!

Don't forget that only applies to COER certificates issued after that date, so some people will not have that luxury until 2017.


Sorry, yes, I _meant_ to say if issued after June 2012!


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby acecat999 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:17 pm

You do need though to work out who you are going to gun with.

Having done Medieval gunning for 13 years, and written the book on it, we've just discovered that according to another large society we've been doing everything completely the wrong way.


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Mike Garrett » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:53 pm

I'll be looking around for a group/association to work with.



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Dave B » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:23 am

cloudy-cola-corp wrote:I was just trying to cover as much as I could as a period wasn't specified so a Martini-henry which the poster has shown an interest in has cartridges so if they wanted a rifled version then they would possibly need a separate lock space.


I don't think that there is any realistic possibility that the police would grant a liscence covering live cartridges for a rifle for the purposes of reenactment unless you came up with a cracker of a reason. Most reenactors FAC's (like mine) don't cover the acquisition of live ammo. Like I say it gets complicated, so best to keep it simple.


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Dave B » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:26 am

Senilis Pravus wrote:I'll be looking around for a group/association to work with.


Thats the way to do it, without a doubt. Look for a 2nd group that does at least some of the things you are interested in. You may find a multiperiod group that does blackpowder. Join them for a couple of shows and help out with a bit of cannon dragging or whatever so you can tell the police you at least know what it's about. As a member of a recognized group its all very easy as long as you don't have anything dodgy on your record.


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby acecat999 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:43 am

finding a group.

one thing you are going to learn is that gunnery groups (at least the good ones) don't just recruit anyone who turns up wanting to get a gun. Section 21 firearms act and all that.


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Joolz » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:03 am

Dave B wrote:
"I don't think that there is any realistic possibility that the police would grant a liscence covering live cartridges for a rifle for the purposes of reenactment unless you came up with a cracker of a reason. Most reenactors FAC's (like mine) don't cover the acquisition of live ammo. Like I say it gets complicated, so best to keep it simple."

Absolutely correct - you won't be allowed to buy live rounds for your rifle unless you can show good reason - usually membership of a shooting club which has access to rifle ranges, or access to land and game to hunt, that is approved for the type of rifle you wish to use.

You may, of course, freely buy your Martini-Henry (in an obsolete calibre) to play with beforehand, no licence required. It's not until you want to pop away with it that you need to start worrying about getting it put on your ticket.

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(there's been some good advice given on this topic - it should be a sticky, for future reference....)


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Meh-Lindi » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:03 am

Hmm one further thought - having a weapon listed for target shooting can be a red-herring.
Some F.O.'s will approve one weapon to be used for re-enactment (blank) firing, and not for target shooting, or the opposite, or ay over the one weapon to be used in both capacities, or in extremis could insist on two weapons, one for target, one for re-enactment, under the fear that you could "get confused" and incorrectly load the (one) pistol "the wrong way" at the wrong event.

So don't say target shooting unless that is something you intend to do - as it may make the licencing harder not easier.

(Your local target shooting groups may have no black powder presence, so be of no help getting experience for them.)


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Mike Garrett » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:21 am

Actually hadn't crossed my mind to find out if the local club has a BP presence. Will have to check. Good thinking!



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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Joolz » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:29 pm

Shooting clubs can sometimes be hit or miss - One I belong to hardly has anyone who shoots muzzleloaders, the other has lots (both are MLAGB affiliated indoor clubs). One doesn't allow the use of BP, just substitutes like Pyrodex of Triple7, the other does. Also, what will you use to shoot - few clubs have 'club' muzzleloaders and you can't practice rifled BP musket with a bolt-action .22!! Finding a club nearby to practice muzzleloading shotgun has been difficult - clayshooters tend to be dominated by those who look down their noses at breaking clays with a frontstuffer - although you may eventually be lucky and find likeminded individuals (luckily, there is a MLAGB muzzleloading shotgun group near to me and my local Section 7.3 historical shooting club also does BP shotgun and cannon!!). But you may struggle.....

I think, for someone wanting a BP musket for re-enacting, the best route is to get a shotgun certificate - it's a lot cheaper and easier than going down the firearms certificate route: you get a gun you can use for not much money (I pick up smoothbore muskets for around £70-£120, less if I am prepared to put in a bit of work doing them up). With a shotgun, you can use it in more places (you can practice in a field, if you like - assuming you have the landowner's permission - something you can't do with a firearm). If you have a mate who has one already, they may tutor you in how to use it before getting your ticket (can't do that with a live-firing firearm either, unless it's a club one and you're a member).

The target shooting/firearms route (for rifled BP muskets) is just so much more restrictive and expensive (club membership is not cheap, you will have at least 3 months probation - generally longer - before you can even apply for a licence, rifles are more expensive, and where you can use/practice with them is so much more restricted).

As for cartridge firearms for blank use only - I guess they are just as restrictive as to where they can be used/practiced with? (not my speciality - all my FAC guns are for live shooting primarily).


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Phil the Grips » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:40 pm

Another thing to remember is that if you join a gun club there's also a ton of work expected from you when it comes to range-keeping, operating targets and so on. For a long day's shooting you'll get two or three hours on the trigger at most, the rest of it will be working to help the other shooters get their time in. That's before club requirements at other times (AGMs, fundraisers, socials, lobbying).

Plus there is now the "use it or lose it" restriction on live-fire FACs- if you don't shoot a piece three times a year then your licence privilege may be removed for that piece. If a gun club only does monthly sessions (like my local vintage shooting club does- and that's allowing for good weather) then that's not much range-time at all over a year, and not much opportunity for trigger time for multiple firearms.


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby acecat999 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:31 pm

Some "reenactment" licenses can be just as restrictive. Most of my old WW2 groups had a clause that they could only use their FACs at an event of that particular group, which meant they couldn't even change groups mid licence period easily.

If you are a member of several groups,for different periods, then that restriction gets difficult to explain in the space on the license.


There's a load more little bits of info that you will only know if you are accepted as a member of a group thoug


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Re: Licencing - muskets etc.

Postby Dave B » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:33 pm

acecat999 wrote:Some "reenactment" licenses can be just as restrictive. Most of my old WW2 groups had a clause that they could only use their FACs at an event of that particular group, which meant they couldn't even change groups mid licence period easily.


Yep, I had that, managed to get 'or other groups affiliated to Nares' or similar tacked on, but didn't manage to get away from the named group thing as completely as I would have liked.


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