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Shooting Rules and Regulations

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 24 Nov 2019 | comments*Discuss
Shooting Rules Shooting Regulations

If you're new to shooting, you'll need to be familiar with the shooting rules and regulations. Shooting in the UK is quite a traditional sport with etiquette guidelines that all participants are expected to follow.

Safety guidelines

Many of the shooting rules and regulations in the UK have emerged as a result of safety considerations. Because of this, the UK has fewer shooting accidents than a lot of other countries (as long as all shooters are aware of them and make a conscious effort to stick to them whenever they're involved in shooting).

One of the most important safety rules centres on loaded guns. It's important that you never point a loaded gun in the direction of another person, even if you don't intend to shoot. The same is true of an unloaded gun as it can still be highly dangerous. Guns should be unloaded for the majority of the time, except for just before you're ready to shoot. Our article on 'Shooting Safety' discusses safety in more detail.

Clay pigeon shooting

The Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPSA) requires you to be a CPSA member to enter registered events and shooting competitions. If you're not a CPSA member, events and competitions are also open to members of shooting clubs that are affiliated with the CPSA or anyone who has purchased a CPSA Day Pass for that particular day.

For shooting competitions, you're allowed to use club facilities for practice purposes in the days leading up to the competition. However, practising prior to a tiebreak isn't allowed and results in disqualification from the competition.

Under CPSA regulations, hearing protection is mandatory. This refers to officials and spectators, as well as shooters. Eye protection is also a requirement for all shooters, officials and spectators.

The CPSA require shotguns to have a bore of no more than twelve, which is the equivalent of a diameter of 0.729 inches. Barrel lengths can be anything from 26 inches to 32 inches.

Target shooting

All guns used to take part in target shooting (particularly in field target shooting) must comply with the regulations set out by the British field target association (BFTA). Ammunition that is made from lead or lead alloy is not allowed under BFTA regulations.

Game shooting

As hunting game is still a significant part of shooting as a rural sport, respecting your quarry (game that you've shot) is a golden rule of shooting and all efforts should be made to make sure that quarries don't suffer when they are being hunted.

As shooting is one of the traditional rural sports in the UK, all shooters are expected to follow a series of rules and regulations, many of which make the sport much safer for everyone involved in it. A lot of these rules are based on etiquette guidelines. Although they may seem incredibly obvious points that experienced shooters will know inside out, they are often overlooked by many, and are not immediately obvious to new shooters. The rules and regulations discussed above are only a small number of the many ones that you need to know. You can do some research on the internet, but it will be far more beneficial if you seek advice from your local shooting club or from other shooters, and get it straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak!).

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[Add a Comment]
I have a neibour who thinks it’s ok to use a shotgun at 9.30 am on a Sunday within 50mts of my house, time the law was changed !
Mr. S - 24-Nov-19 @ 10:25 AM
It's pretty obvious from these comments and my own experience that the law regarding shooting in the countryside needs updating. The noise from shotguns frightens pets, destroys peace and quiet and us generally disconcerting. Shooting on footpaths, near dwellings and at hours when people are traditionally enjoying leisure time is antisocial. The current laws covering disturbance and noise should be extendend to cover shooting.
MrC - 7-May-19 @ 11:38 AM
Pebbles - Your Question:
If a farmer chooses to ignore the code regarding shooting around horse, allowing a gun to shoot in the same field as a horse, allows the gun dogs to run around the horses, and fails to notify liveries on his own property can anything be done? One horse fell over while a girl was trying to catch him and the gun kept shooting in his paddock. No one on the yard was informed about the shoot until it was already taking place.

Our Response:
It could be worth contacting the RSPCA or the local police to see if they can do anything?
RuralSports - 6-Jan-16 @ 2:08 PM
If a farmer chooses to ignore the code regarding shooting around horse, allowing a gun to shoot in the same field as a horse, allows the gun dogs to run around the horses, and fails to notify liveries on his own property can anything be done? One horse fell over while a girl was trying to catch him and the gun kept shooting in his paddock. No one on the yard was informed about the shoot until it was already taking place.
Pebbles - 6-Jan-16 @ 6:07 AM
@POT1. See Section 3 of the Countryside alliance code of good shooting practice
RuralSports - 11-Feb-15 @ 12:51 PM
The Farmer next door holds annual shoots and while in the past have let us know in advance, this year, they shot right next to the field with our horse in, they did not tell us or give us time to get her in and she collapsed and took us 20 mins to catch her, she was sweating terribly and was terrified, when we asked them to stop shooting so near we were told to go away. is it right that they can shoot so close to livestock and not give advance warning ?
pot1 - 8-Feb-15 @ 10:37 AM
@Dom. The most sensible approach would be to try and work on desensitising your dog's fear of gun shots etc. Try the Shooting Times articles for more information...this one inparticular is useful.
RuralSports - 6-Jan-15 @ 12:22 PM
While walking on a public footpath recently pair of shooters discharged firearms at game birds very close to my dog. There is a lot of shooting in the area by my house that the dog can hear even in the garden even though we live in an urban estate in Tyneside. The dog is now so scared she will not go outside. Do you have any advice for dog owners such as myself who are now no longer able to enjoy walking their dog and enjoying the countryside Kind regards and I look forward to hearing from youDominic
Dom - 2-Jan-15 @ 12:36 PM
If I have a current FAC and a member of my local rifle and pistol club, can I visit other rifle and pistol clubs, with a rifle on my FAC, and with my FAC to shoot for the day, or do I have ring them to book a visit, or can I just turn up and ask to shoot ,all the best. Terry
tes - 6-Jul-14 @ 8:58 AM
I live in a rural cottage, no other dwelling near, was very quite, until a game keeper rented the field and lake which we overlook,they shoot all day on Saturdaysand the odd day in the week, they are close to my cottage, my chickens and dog are terrified , and it also worries me, the fall of shot hit my windows three times today, and the noise is unbearable, it seems the people that shoot the birds have all the rights, And the road is full of mud which is very slippery out side our gate. Is there nothing I can do, to stop them being so close to our cottage,
Rita - 21-Dec-13 @ 2:39 PM
On the day after the end of last year's pheasant shooting season people were still shooting pheasants. When I asked why they were doing this I was told it was 'cleanup day' is this legal?
Rod - 30-Jan-13 @ 11:53 AM
We have a keen shooter who at 4am likes to shoot rooks, waking everyone up in the local area . I have no objection to this sport but the time that he chooses to do so is very anti social,he seems to have no respect for the localresidents sleep needs ,he shoots within 500yds of houses,what can i do to stop this behaviour?
smart - 26-Jun-12 @ 6:00 PM
Go to your local stock agent or a hire firm and rent out a gas gun {9kg gas bottle} and let it bang for a while it will scare off the pest that the farmer is going for as well as give him a taste of his own medicine.Loud bang every 15 min or on the hour take your pick, he will get the message!
merlin - 12-May-12 @ 2:30 PM
I own a rural property where my house and garden is surrounded by farming fields.The local farmer runs a commercial shoot each year shooting pheasant that he rears.I am sick and tired of the regular rain of shot on our house and garden when they are out shooting.I am worried about letting my kids and pets outside when they are shooting, as the pellets fall everywhere onto my garden and house like rain.When I talk to the farmer he just says that it is safe and he has the right to shoot where he likes.What can I do to stop this?
Martin1965 - 17-Jan-12 @ 1:04 PM
It appears from information I have seen on the internet that there is no way to prevent a shooting syndicate from disturbing the peace of the neighborhood despite the fact that the shooting takes place very close to dwellings and a public road and the pheasants are a nuisance on land not rented by the syndicate. Is this truly the case??
fedup - 28-Nov-11 @ 7:42 PM
I have just received pigeon shooting rights from my local farmer who has just planted wheat in his field and it is getting hammered by these pests,but my concern is that there is a public right of way that runs straight across the field. It is clearly visible in all directions, but just wondered how far away do you have to be before it is ok to shoot. No matter where I set up my hide this public right of way is in view of the shooting.
robo1969 - 26-Oct-11 @ 2:33 PM
how do you to stop an intended roughshoot programmein a wood near your house, with concerns for the wildlife ie disturbance and biodiversity issues?
Fishface - 30-Jul-11 @ 12:56 PM
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