Swipe to the left

The UK Law On Antique Guns

The UK Law On Antique Guns
By Tom Metcalf-Jackson 5 months ago 1909 Views No comments

The UK Law at present

Until fairly recently, the law in the UK on antique guns has been rather vague, and open to significant interpretation on what constituted ‘antique’. Previously, the Firearms Act 1968 provided an exemption from licensing for antique guns:

‘Nothing in this Act relating to firearms shall apply to an antique firearm which is sold, transferred, purchased, acquired or possessed as a curiosity or ornament’

Fortunately this is pretty simple to interpret and does what it says on the tin, but my definition of ‘antique’ might be different to yours. This vagueness, which is pretty typical of English legislative drafting, is not too much use to us as collectors. This lack of clarity has therefore been addressed in the Police and Crime Act 2017 (effective 21st March 2021).

Antique Propulsion Systems

In order for a firearm to be considered an antique, regardless of its propulsion system, it must first be established that it is made prior to 1 September 1939. Therefore, no guns made after this date are antique and are subject to licensing requirements.

So, assuming a gun is manufactured prior to this date, see this chart below for what is classed as an antique.

Propulsion system

Classed as antique

Flintlock

Percussion

Wheel lock

Matchlock

Centre fire

Yes, see exemptions below

Rim fire

Yes, other than .22 diameter and 9mm Flobert

Pin fire

Needle Fire

Other early breech loading systems (cup fire, teat fire etc.)

For example, you can therefore keep as an antique gun a James Purdey percussion rifle, made circa 1820. If you wanted a modern reproduction percussion rifle, you would need a firearms license in order to acquire.

Obsolete Calibre Centre fire & Rim fire

As mentioned above, all rim fire guns made before 1/9/1939 chambered for cartridges other than .22 and 9mm Flobert are classed as obsolete, therefore antiques.

Centre fire guns are rather more complicated and depends on the calibre of the gun. All centre fire guns made after 1/9/1939 are subject to licensing requirements without exception.

Some centre fire guns made before this date are permitted, depending on the calibre. The full list of calibres exempt from licensing requirements are set out below.

Antique Centrefire Rifles (Imperial designation) Antique Centrefire Rifles (Metric Designation Antique Centrefire Pistols (Imperial Designation) Antique Centrefire Pistols (Metric Designation)
Other Rifles, Shotguns, Punt Guns
.22 Extra Long Maynard 5.2 mm Mondragon .22 CF experimental 2.7 mm Kolibri 7 mm CF Walking Stick
.22-15-60 Stevens 5.2 x 34 mm R Kronprinz .230 CF 3 mm Kolibri 9.1 x 40 mm Walking Stick
.25-20 Single Shot 5.6 x 33 mm Rook .31 Thuer 4.25 mm Liliput 11.15 x 52 mm Walking Stick
.25-21 Stevens 5.6 x 34 R mm Francotte Carbine .32 Protector 5 mm Bergmann No.2 Pistol M.94 (no extractor groove) .360 Shotgun
.25-25 Stevens 6 mm Lee Navy (6 x 60 mm) .32-44 Smith & Wesson 5 mm Bergmann No.2 Pistol M.96 (extractor groove) 32 bore
.250 Rook (or .297/.250 Rook) 6 x 29.5 mm Stahl .340 Long Revolver 5 mm Brun 24 bore
.255 Jeffery Rook 6 x 58 mm Forster (rimmed and rimless) .340 Short Revolver 5 mm Charola y Anitua 14 bore
.26 BSA (.26 Rimless Belted Nitro Express) 6 x 58 mm Gewehrprufungkommission M.1897 .360 Thuer 5 mm Clement 10 bore (2 7/8 inch case length)
.275 Jeffery 6.5 mm Mondragon (6.5 x 53mm) .430 Revolver 5 mm French 10 bore (2 5/8 inch case length)
.276 Enfield P.13 6.5 x 27 mm R .44 Colt Revolver 5 mm Pickert 8 bore
.28-30-120 Stevens 6.5 x 40 mm R .44 Devilliers 5.2 mm Pickert Revolver 4 bore
.297/.230 Sporting 6.5 x 48 mm R Sauer .44 Merwin & Hulbert, Short 5.43 x 26.8 mm Revolver 3 bore
.297/.230 Morris 6.5 x 53mm R Mannlicher (Dutch/Romanian) .44 Merwin & Hulbert, Long 5.5 mm Velo-Dog Revolver 2 bore
.298 Minex 6.6 x 70 mm R .44 Remington Revolver 6 mm Beaumont Revolver 1 1/8 bore
.300 (.295) Rook 7.5 x 53 mm Schmidt Rubin M.1890, Swiss .44 S&W American 6 mm Merveilleux 1 1/4 bore
.300 Sherwood 7.5 x 53.5 mm R Rubin .44 Thuer 6 mm Protector 1 1/2 bore.
.300/.250 Rook 7.5 x 53.5 mm Rimless Rubin .440 Revolver 6.3 x 21 mm rimless
.30/30 Wesson 7.53 x 60 mm R Hebler .440 Long Revolver 6.5 mm Bergmann No.3 M.94 Pistol (no extractor groove)
.30-40 Wesson 7.7 x 60 mm R .440 Nagant (Argentine Model) 6.5 mm Bergmann No.3 M.93 Pistol (extractor groove)
.310 Cadet 8 x 48 mm R .442 Long Revolver 6.5 mm Mannlicher Pistol M.1894
.310 Greener 8 x 48 mm R Sauer .45 Mars Short 6.5 mm Ronezewsky
.310/.300 Rook (.305 or .300 Rook Special), 1 1/16 inch 8 x 55 mm R Petit Gras .45 Mars Long 6.8 mm Schulhof Pistol
.320/.230 Rook 8 x 56 mm Mannlicher Schoenauer .45 MP (Maxim Pistol) 6.8 x 19.6 mm Revolver
.32 CF Long Rifle (Rook) 8 x 57 mm R Petit Gras .450 No.1 Bland 7 mm Bar
.32 Ideal 8 x 57 mm R Experimental, Spanish .50 Remington Army Pistol, M.1871 7 mm Charola y Anitua
.32-35 Stevens 8 x 57.5 mm R Rubin .50 Remington Navy Pistol, M.1867 7 mm Devisme
.32-40 Bullard 8 x 58 mm R Krag .50 Springfield Pistol, M.1869 7 mm Thick Rim, French
.32-40 Remington-Hepburn 8 x 58 mm R Petit Gras .500 Revolver 7 x 20 mm Target Pistol, German (46)
.32-40 Winchester and Ballard 8 x 58 mm R Sauer .577 Pistol. 7 x 22 mm Target Pistol, German (47)
.33 BSA (.33 Belted Rimless Nitro Express) 8 x 60 mm R Guedes & Portuguese Kropatschek 7 x 25 mm Target Pistol, German (48)
.35-30 Maynard 8 x 61 mm R Rubin 7 x 30 mm Target Pistol, German (49)
.35-40 Maynard 8 x 72 mm R 7 mm Galand
.360 No 2 Nitro Express 8 x 75 mm R Pieri 7 mm Revolver
.360 Gibbs No.3 8 mm Murata 7.25 mm Adler
.360 Gibbs No.4 (also known as .380 Gibbs No.4) 8.15 mm Mauser, Experimental 7.65 mm Frommer M.1901
.360 Long Rifle (Rook) 8.15 x 46 mm R (Target) 7.65 mm Roth Sauer
.360 Westley Richards, No.3 Express 8.3 x 53.5 mm R Rubin 7.7 mm Bittner Pistol
.360/.300 Fraser 9 x 51.5 mm R Rubin 7.8 mm Bergmann No.5
.360 - 2 7/16 inch Black Powder 9 x 56 mm Mannlicher Schoenauer 7.8 x 19 mm R Laumann
.360 - 2 ¾ inch Boxer 9 x 57 mm R Mauser 8 mm Bergmann No.1 Pistol
.369 Purdey 9 x 57 mm Rimless Mauser 8 mm Bergmann No.4
.38-35 Stevens Everlasting 9 x 57 mm R Rubin 8 mm Bergmann No.7
.38-40 Ballard Everlasting 9.3 x 58 mm R Koeffler 8 mm Bergmann-Schmeisser
.38-40 Remington-Hepburn 9.3 x 63.5 mm R Koeffler 8 mm Target Pistol, German
.38-45 Bullard 9.3 x 65 mm R Collath 8 mm Gaulois Pistol
.38-56 Winchester 9.3 x 70 mm R 8 mm Protector
.38-70 Winchester 9.3 x 75 mm R Nimrod 8 mm Raphael
.38-90 Winchester 9.3 x 82 mm R Nimrod 8 mm Roth Steyr
.380 – 2 1/4 inch Rigby (Black Powder Express) 9.5 x 42 mm R (for Target or Schutzen rifles) 8 mm Schonberger
.380 Black Powder Express (also known as .360 - 2 1/4 inch) 9.5 x 47 mm R (for Target or Schutzen rifles) 8 mm Schulof
.380 Long Rifle (Rook) 9.5 x 57 mm Mannlicher Schoenauer 8.5 mm Mars
.40 BSA (.40 Belted Rimless Nitro Express) 9.5 x 59 mm R Gras, Experimental 9 mm Nagant, Belgian
.40-40 Maynard 9.5 x 60 mm R Mauser, Turkish 9 mm Devisme
.40-50 Sharps Straight 10 x 47 mm R 9 mm Thick Rim, French
.40-60 Marlin 10.15 x 61 mm R Jarmann 9 mm Mars
.40-60 Maynard 10.15 x 61 mm R 9 mm Moutier Rimless, Grooveless
.40-60 Winchester 10.15 x 63 mm R Mauser, Serbian 10 mm Bergmann
.40-63 Ballard 10.16 x 57 mm R, Berdan, Experimental 10 mm Gaupillat
.40-65 Ballard Everlasting 10.25 x 69 mm R Hunting Express 10 mm Mars
.40-65 Sharps Straight 10.3 x 41 mm R 10 mm Mauser Short
.40-65 Winchester 10.3 x 65 mm R Baenziger 10 mm Mauser Long
.40-70 Ballard 10.35 x 47 mm R Vetterli, Italian 10.4 mm Swiss M.1878
.40-70 Maynard 10.4 x 38 mm R Martini Galland 10.6 mm Mauser
.40-70 Peabody What Cheer 10.4 x 42 mm R Vetterli, Swiss 11 mm Devilliers
.40-70 Sharps Necked 10.4 x 47 mm R Stahl 11 mm Devisme
.40-70 Sharps Straight 10.4 x 56 mm R Swiss 11 mm French Ordnance Revolver M.1870 (Navy)
.40-70 Winchester 10.66 x 48 mm R Berdan Carbine, Russian 11.35 mm Schouboe, Rimmed
.40-72 Winchester 10.66 x 57 mm R Berdan, Russian & Bulgarian 11.35 mm Schouboe, Rimless
.40-75 Bullard 10.7 x 57 mm R Krag Petersson 12 mm Moutier
.40-82 Winchester 10.75 x 55 mm R 12 mm Pidault & Cordier
.40-85 Ballard 10.8 x 47 mm Martini (Target) 12 mm Perrin, Thick Rim
.40-90 Bullard 11 mm Manceaux 12 mm Raphael
.40-90 Sharps Necked 11 x 42 mm R 15 mm Revolver
.40-90 What Cheer 11 x 43 mm R Comblain, Carbine 16.5 x 18 R mm Beringer.
.40-110 Winchester Express 11 x 45 mm R
.40 (.50-70 base) Caliber Reduction, Experimental 11 x 46 mm R
.400 – 2 1/2 inch, Kynoch 11 x 48.5 mm R Gras, ‘Battalion Ecole’
.400 – 2 3/4 inch, Westley Richards 11 x 50 mm R Remington, Egyptian
.400 Purdey (.400 – 3 inch, Straight) 11 x 50.5 mm R Comblain
.400 – 3 1/4 inch, Boxer 11 x 53 mm Gevelot
.400/360 2 3/4 inch, Nitro Express 11 x 57 mm R Remington, Spanish
.402 Enfield-Martini, Experimental 11 x 59 mm R Gras
.42 (.50-70 base) Caliber Reduction, Experimental 11 x 70 mm R Mitrailleuse
.425 Westley Richards Magnum 11.15 x 36 mm R Werndl Carbine, Austrian
.425 Webley (.425 – 1 5/16 Webley) 11.15 x 36 R Fruhwirth
.430 Long Rifle (also known as .430 Long Revolver) 11.15 x 37 mm R Grensaufsehr
.44 Dupee Rimless 11.15 x 42 mm R Werndl, Austrian
.44 Evans (Short) 11.15 x 50 mm R (for Target or Schutzen rifles)
.44 Evans (Long) 11.15 x 58 mm R
.44 Morse Necked 11.15 x 58 mm R Werndl, Austrian, Holub & Mannlicher
.44-50 Meigs 11.15 x 60 mm R Murata, Japanese
.44-60 Creedmore 11.15 x 60 mm R Mauser
.44-77 Remington 11.15 x 65 mm R
.44-90 Sharps (Necked) 2 7/16 inch 11.15 x 71 mm R
.44-90 Sharps (Necked) 2 5/8 inch 11.2 x 39.6 mm R
.44-90 Remington Special (Necked) 11.2 x 51 mm R Kropatschek-Hessig
.44-95 Peabody What Cheer 11.25 x 44.5 mm R
.44-100 Maynard 11.3 x 51 mm R Beaumont, Dutch
.442 - 1.025 inch Carbine 11.4 x 44.5 mm R Gendarmerie Carbine, Dutch
.45 Boxer-Henry, Long Chamber 1869 11.4 x 53 mm R Comblain, Brazilian
.45 Brown Standard Military Target Rifle 11.4 x 57 mm R Remington, Spanish
.45 Gardner, Gatling & Nordenfeldt 11.43 x 41 mm R Peabody-Martini, Carbine
.45 New South Wales Police Carbine 11.43 x 49 mm R Peabody, Romanian
.45 Turkish Peabody (also known as 11.43 x 55 mm R Turkish) 11.43 x 59 mm R Peabody-Martini, Turkish
.45 US Experimental 1869 11.5 x 35 mm R Werder, Carbine
.45-50 Sporting 11.5 x 50 mm R Werder, Austrian
.45-75 Winchester 11.5 x 60 mm R
.45-85 Ward Burton, Experimental 11.53 mm Albini-Braendlin
.45-125 Winchester 11.6 x 50 mm R Comblain, Chilean
.45-200-500 Winchester, Experimental 11.7 x 41.5 mm R Remington, Danish
.45 (.50-70 base) Caliber Reduction, Experimental 11.7 x 45.5 mm R Remington, Danish
.450 No.1, Black Powder Express, Case Length: 1 1/2 inch 11.7 x 51.6 mm R Remington, Danish
.450 Black Powder Express, Case Length: 2 1/2 inch 11.7 x 57 mm R Berdan, Experimental
.450 Black Powder Express, Case Length: 2 6/10 inch 12.2 x 70 mm R Mitrailleuse
.450 Black Powder Express, Case Length: 2 9/16 inch 12.5 x 60 mm R
.450 Black Powder Express, Case length: 3 inch 12.7 x 48 mm R
.450 Black Powder Express, Case Length: 3 1/16 inch 12.7 x 70 mm R Mitrailleuse
.450 Black Powder Express, Case Length: 3 1/4 inch 12.8 x 45 mm R Papal Remington, Vatican Guard (also known as 12.7 x 45 mm R)
.450 Needham 13 mm Rochaz-Lindner
.450 – 2 1/2 inch, Soper 13 x 87 mm R Mitrailleuse
.450/.350 – 2 3/8 inch 13 x 92 mm Mauser, Tankgewehr
.450/.360 – 2 3/8 inch, Purdey 13.2 x 32 R
.450/.400 Black Powder, Case Length: 2 3/8 inch 14.5 x 33 mm R Wanzl, Austrian
.450/.400 Black Powder, Case Length: 2 7/8 inch 14.5 x 41 mm R Berdan, Spanish
.450/.400 Black Powder, Case Length: 2 19/32 inch, T. Turner, No.2 14.66 x 35 mm R Peabody, Serbian
.450/.400 Black Powder, Case Length: 2 3/4 inch, Westley Richards 14.7 x 58 mm R Schneider
.450/.400 Black Powder, Case Length: 3 1/4 inch 15.2 x 28 mm R
.450/.400, Case Length: 3 inch, Jeffery 15.2 x 110 mm R Mitrailleuse
.450 No.1 Carbine, 1 9/16 inch (.500/.450 No.1 Carbine) 15.24 x 40 mm R Krnka, Transformed
.450 No.1 Musket, 2 1/4 inch (.500/.450 No.1 Musket) 17 x 28 mm R Snider, Danish
.450 No.2 Musket, 2 11/32 inch (.500/.450 Westley Richards No.2 Musket) 17.5 x 29 mm R Snider, Dutch
.46 Winchester 18 x 35 mm R Tabatiere
.461 Gibbs No.1, Case length: 2 11/32 inch 18.84 x 38 mm R Tabatiere
.461 Gibbs No.2, Case length: 2 3/4 inch 18.84 x 57 mm R Wanzl-Albini, Wall Gun.
.475 3 1/4 inch Nitro Express
.475 No 2 Jeffery Nitro Express
.475 No 2 Nitro Express
.476 Nitro Express (.476 Westley Richards)
.476 Indian Police
.48 Morse
.490 BSA (Experimental Police)
.50 Boxer 1867
.50 Daw’s Patent 1867
.50 Meigs
.50 Morse
.50 Peabody
.50 Spencer Carbine
.50 Springfield Cadet
.50-50 Maynard
.50-70 Maynard
.50-70 Springfield (US Govt)
.50-90 2.5 inch
.50-95 Winchester (Winchester Express)
.50-100-450 Winchester (Winchester Express)
.50/110 Winchester (Winchester Express)
.50-110 2.4 inch
.50-115 Bullard
.50-140 Sharps
.50-.48 Meigs
.50-.58 Morse, Sleeved
.500 – 1 1/2 inch
.500 – 2 1/4 inch
.500 – 2 1/2 inch
.500 – 3 inch
.500 – 3 1/4 inch
.500/.450 No.1 Express, 2 3/4 inch
.500/.450 Webley Carbine, 1 11/16 inch
.500/.450 – 2 1/2 inch
.500/.450 – 3 3/8 inch
.500/.450 – 3 1/2 inch
.52-70 Sharps
.54 Morse
.55 Gatling
.55 Morse
.55-100 Maynard
.56-56 US, Experimental
.577 Daw’s Patent 1867
.577 Selwyn 1865
.577 Snider
.577 – 2 1/4 inch (Black Powder & Nitro Express)
.577 – 2 1/2 inch (Black Powder & Nitro Express)
.577 – 2 3/4 inch (Black Powder & Nitro Express)
.577 – 3 inch (Black Powder & Nitro Express)
.577 – 3 1/4 inch (Black Powder & Nitro Express)
.577/.450 Martini-Henry
.577/.500 Magnum Express
.577/.500 No.2 Express
.58 Morse
.58 Remington Carbine
.58 Roberts
.58 Tibbals-Roberts 1869
.58 (Short case) US Converted Musket, 1865
.58 Berdan System, Conversion of US muzzle-loading rifles
.60 Jingal Rifle, Chinese
.65 Gatling
.69 Morse
.75 Jingal Rifle, Chinese
.75 Gatling
.80 Gatling
1 inch Nordenfeldt-Palmcranz
20 bore/.577 Alexander Henry.

Recently Banned Calibres

The list above is the current permitted list of calibres specifically exempted from firearms legislation, as found here.

If a calibre doesn't appear on this list, it is subject to licensing requirements. There are a number of antique centrefire calibres that have been removed from any previous obsolete calibre list as of March 2021, this includes previously popular calibres such as .41 Colt and .44 Russian. To view the full list of calibres removed, click here to the Home Office publication.

What to do if you have an antique gun not specifically exempted

Fortunately, there is a grace period until September 21st 2021 for any owners to dispose of their now licensed guns. You can do it any number of ways, such as putting the gun on your firearms license as a curiosity not to be fired, having it deactivated, or selling it or transfering it in some other way. You only have until September to do this, so make sure you read the Home Office guidance here and decide now.

Should you wish, we do offer a full deactivation service if you choose to retain your antique guns as deactivated. Deactivation costs £120, please telephone us on 0113 2569163/ 0113 2565167 or email sales@henrykrank.com to discuss.

The calibres To view our full range of antique guns click here.

Posted in: Antiques