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retromlc

why was the limit on air rifles set at 12lb?

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From http://www.chweston.co.uk/acatalog/Airgun_Laws.html

 

Airguns in the UK are subject to the firearms acts, under the Firearms (Dangerous air weapons) rules 1969 they are classified as low powered Air Weapons and as such they are restricted to a maximum power of 12 foot pounds force for a rifle and 6 foot pounds force for a pistol. Above 12ftlb a rifle is classified as a Section 1 Firearm and requires a licence called a firearms certificate, and a pistol above 6ftlb is again a Section 1 Firearm requiring a firearms certificate in the UK.
The definition of a firearm under the act is "a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged" it further defines "lethal weapon" as "a weapon capable of firing a projectile with sufficient force to inflict more than a trivial injury i.e.. with sufficient force to puncture skin".

 

Whether this is correct or not I don't know. You will find somewhere the US Army report on what constitutes 'lethality', which came out as considerably greater than 12 ft lbs (30 ? maybe, I can't remember, and can't be bothered looking it up)

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perhaps the guy that instigated it could only count to 12. :whistling:

Perhaps he came from Norfolk and that's how many fingers he had

Geordie

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The limit was allegedly set because the imports from Europe and the rest of the world in the 1960s were capable of lobbing pellets down range at power levels approaching 20 ft lb! The British rifles, being rather weedy barely scraped 12. So as was common in those days, the manufacturers lobbied the government, who instead of telling them to do some R&D and make better damned guns, instead set an arbitrary 12 ft lb limit so the British could compete on a level, if somewhat shortened playing field!

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In the eu there is the 1joule rule which under 1 joule is a toy over 1 joule is a gun..... Lets have the same rules across the EU, pistols would be legal etc...

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In the eu there is the 1joule rule which under 1 joule is a toy over 1 joule is a gun..... Lets have the same rules across the EU, pistols would be legal etc...

The Home Office consider the lowest level of muzzle energy capable of inflicting a penetrating wound is one foot pound (1.35 joules) hence guns producing less than 1ft/lb are not covered by the act and therefore not classified as air weapons or subject to any restrictions.

 

From the same link I quoted earlier.

http://www.chweston.co.uk/acatalog/Airgun_Laws.html

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Read somewhere that they used straw boards as a test, it coukdnt go through x amount of them,, when put over a crono as the tech became available it was found to be 12ftlbs hence the limit. Not sure about pistols but I'd imagine they just halved it for simplicity.

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Often wondered my self,,, all I know is that once you go over 12 terminal ballistics seem to change!

 

I always wanted a law that limited velocity instead of ft/lbs (if we have to have a law). If it was capped at 600 or 700 fps a large bore would be real handy!

 

U.

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secretagentmole has it right.

​Our gun industry lobbied for the controls to be put in place when higher power, cheaper foreign imports started to to flood the market.

Also having a different level to Europe meant they have to adjust all guns for the uk (Hull Cartridge spring chopping!) making them more expensive.

 

Thats it!

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secretagentmole has it right.

​Our gun industry lobbied for the controls to be put in place when higher power, cheaper foreign imports started to to flood the market.

Also having a different level to Europe meant they have to adjust all guns for the uk (Hull Cartridge spring chopping!) making them more expensive.

 

Thats it!

yes, 100% right paul :good:

the best british guns at the time were doing 9 - 10 ft/lbs, and some german and american guns were doing around 16 ft/lbs as standard. manufacturers protected their own interest and got the limit imposed.

i'm only 99% sure of this, but the limit was originally 10.5 ft/lbs (which is roughly what british guns were doing) and was later set at 12 ft/lbs to allow some leeway, when they realised that using different pellets affected the power output.

in a court case a few years ago, someone was appealing against a police order for a gun to be destroyed for being just over the limit. he got an ex-world champion, and various other big names in the air rifle world to plea for leniency, and explain that the gun was only marginally over, because of different pellets etc. ( it was under the limit with some pellets they tested)

their plea was rejected and the court ruled that there was in fact a 1.5 ft/lb "margin" in place to allow for this.

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Yes, It is an absolute offense.

0.00001 over and you are done!

The law actually states "capable of over"

There was a case recently where the lab put the gun over and a conviction was made! AFAIK it has gone to appeal though.

 

I set mine to 11.2 with standard pellets to allow plenty of leway..

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From what I was told, the British airgun manufacturers were consulted by the government of the time, who didn't know, as to what they thought would be appropriate for air rifles/pistols, and they decided on the 6/12 limit, which would (a coincidence, I am sure) mean that only their guns would be legal, and they would have a total head start on the US and Euro manufacturers ad far as sales were concerned.

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7 hours ago, markeb said:

so a +1.5ft-lb leeway is in place ?

good to know .

 

No not at all, the legal limit is 12ft/lb you won't be allowed 13.5

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The energy for a gun to be considered a firearm was set out in the Policing and crime Act 2017 Section 125 as below.

In that section, before subsection (2) insert—

(3)

(1B)In subsection (1)(a), “lethal barrelled weapon” means a barrelled weapon of any description from which a shot, bullet or other missile, with kinetic energy of more than one joule at the muzzle of the weapon, can be discharged.

 Also the same Act sets out the  energy levels for  airsoft guns at 2.5 joules for a single shot gun and 1.3 joules for an auto soft air gun. 

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