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Thread: Muzzleloading deer stalking UK [except for Scotland]

  1. #1
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    Muzzleloading deer stalking UK [except for Scotland]

    I'm totally at a loss trying to find the factors that either permit or prohibit the use of a muzzleloading rifle of a suitable calibre, that is to say .50cal or thereabouts, for the taking of deer-sized game in England, Wales or Ireland. As a matter of interest, a .50cal ball weighs in at 200gr and at 1850fps makes just over 2060 ft lbs.

    This is not for me, obviously but for poster on a US-based site trying very hard to understand the strictures under which we operate here in the UK. He knows about the 'good reason's for possession of a Section 1 firearm here.

    Your experience and/or knowledge would be gratefully received and passed on.

    TIA.
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  2. #2
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    Query may be around the need to use expanding ammunition??

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pothunter View Post
    Query may be around the need to use expanding ammunition??
    Good point, notwithstanding the degree to which a soft lead ball expands as a matter of physics.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacfoley View Post
    Good point, notwithstanding the degree to which a soft lead ball expands as a matter of physics.
    But given the strange quirks of our firearms laws, would it be classed as such?
    When hand loading loading cast bullets in metallic reloading the hardness required is much more than pure lead, but with ML the speed isn't up at cartridge velocities, so what reasonable expansion of a .50 cal ball would be expected on thin skinned UK game.
    Scenars and Amax expand but don't do it in a controlled manner, so aren't approved for deer. I guess most deer bullets mushroom to close to 2x calibre diameter, and in a quality bullet the shank stays around the calibre diameter, would a .50 cal ball expand and transfer energy to the same extent at the velocities that can be achieved?
    Sorry Tac, no answers but certainly pertinent points to consider when trying to explain our UK laws.


    I remember years ago someone I know asked for a ML conditioned for deer, can't remember the calibre, and was declined due to the inability to discharge a second shot in a timely manner if required.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pothunter View Post
    But given the strange quirks of our firearms laws, would it be classed as such?
    When hand loading loading cast bullets in metallic reloading the hardness required is much more than pure lead, but with ML the speed isn't up at cartridge velocities, so what reasonable expansion of a .50 cal ball would be expected on thin skinned UK game.
    Scenars and Amax expand but don't do it in a controlled manner, so aren't approved for deer. I guess most deer bullets mushroom to close to 2x calibre diameter, and in a quality bullet the shank stays around the calibre diameter, would a .50 cal ball expand and transfer energy to the same extent at the velocities that can be achieved?
    Sorry Tac, no answers but certainly pertinent points to consider when trying to explain our UK laws.


    I remember years ago someone I know asked for a ML conditioned for deer, can't remember the calibre, and was declined due to the inability to discharge a second shot in a timely manner if required.



    I guess THAT would be the clincher, notwithstanding that upwards of a million Canadian and American sportsmen manage with just the 'one shot that counts' every year on thin-skinned game like whitetail.

    Thanks.
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  6. #6
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    I can't find any definitive legislation but this indicates that you cannot use a muzzloader for deer.

    Paragraph 13.33 :-

    http://library.college.police.uk/doc...ood-reason.pdf

    The blogs also indicate the same :-

    https://www.thestalkingdirectory.co....-the-uk.80070/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pothunter View Post
    Query may be around the need to use expanding ammunition??
    Quote Originally Posted by tacfoley View Post
    Good point, notwithstanding the degree to which a soft lead ball expands as a matter of physics.
    Many ML rifle users actually use bullets not just ball; nothing to stop you firing a recognised expanding bullet in a muzzle loader.

    eg. https://www.hornady.com/muzzleloadin...-xtp-bullet#!/
    https://www.hornady.com/muzzleloadin...85-gr-hb-hp#!/
    https://www.midwayusa.com/bullets-an...s/br?cid=23214
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DedIdick View Post
    Many ML rifle users actually use bullets not just ball; nothing to stop you firing a recognised expanding bullet in a muzzle loader.

    eg. https://www.hornady.com/muzzleloadin...-xtp-bullet#!/
    https://www.hornady.com/muzzleloadin...85-gr-hb-hp#!/
    https://www.midwayusa.com/bullets-an...s/br?cid=23214
    As a frequent BP shooter in the USA I'm well aware of the types and style of projectiles in common use over there and in Canada, but my question is specifically aimed at shooting here in UK. Here we have a large and thriving gun club of well over 400 members, not one of whom shoots a BP rifle at a deer of any kind.

    Given the total lack of interest there, my question was aimed at trying find out what there might be by way of opposition to this kind of shooting. Of course, historically-speaking, prior to the invention of the metallic cartridge, ALL deer-stalking in the UK, and everywhere else, was carried out using a muzzleloading rifle of some kind. All I'm trying to figure out for Andy, who still does his deer hinting - and everything else - with a muzzleloading rifle of one size or another - is why it is not still commonplace here in UK.c v As I mentioned in post #1 - .50cal ball weighs in at 200gr and at 1850fps makes just over 2060 ft lbs. THAT figure comfortably exceeds the 1500 ft lb minimum here in UK, apart from Scotland, where the deer apparently wear some kind of body armour.

    Other civilised nations in Europe allow ML rifles to be used against game. In Hungary there is even a specific short season where, as in USA and Canada, only 'ancient/vintage' firearms of any kind are permitted - see capandball's excellent and evocative movie on that very subject on Youtube.
    Last edited by tacfoley; 19-05-2020 at 08:26 AM.
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  9. #9
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    I know a few people with modern ML rifles and know they also shoot deer but I'll have to ask them if any of them actually have their ML rifles conditioned for deer as well.

    I suppose if your rifle meets the required specifications then legally there's nothing to prevent you using one in Scotland.
    Pistol & Rifle Shooting in the Highlands with Strathpeffer Rifle & Pistol Club. <StrathRPC at yahoo.com> or google it.
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  10. #10
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    On this link it only states you cannot use a bow or crossbow for hunting. It does not mention muzzleloaders.

    https://www.gov.uk/hunting

    I'm sure I have seen it somewhere that you cannot use muzzle loading rifles for small game. This may be be down to the Chief Constable rather than what it states in law.

    Would your FEO allow muzzleloaders?

    Bodies like the Forestry Commission may not allow it so some of this may also be down to whoever has the say over the land where shooting takes place.

    There are far too many grey areas in the UK firearms laws. Something needs to be sorted out!

    I'll keep looking as I would like to know the law on this.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DedIdick View Post
    I know a few people with modern ML rifles and know they also shoot deer but I'll have to ask them if any of them actually have their ML rifles conditioned for deer as well.

    I suppose if your rifle meets the required specifications then legally there's nothing to prevent you using one in Scotland.
    So it seems. Looking into it, the Scottish m/e requirement is 1700 ft lbs. - comfortably exceeded by the .50cal round ball at a tad over 2000 ft lbs, but NOT in the velocity stakes of 2450 fps....

    As ever, I'm guessing that we are beholden to the whim of a chair polisher or three who wouldn't know a foot pound from a trumpet.

    Whinemeal, thanks to all so far who have taken time to respond to my genuine request for information.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacfoley View Post

    .....we are beholden to the whim of a chair polisher or three who wouldn't know a foot pound from a trumpet......
    I intend to make as much use as possible of that statement in my future communications - thank you!
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