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Q: As an avid clay shooter I have, over the years, gathered together a bag full of useful kit and accessories, which I take with me to shoots and keep fairly close by when I am shooting.
It might include spare shooting glasses, interchangeable lenses, a couple of small hand towels, cleaning stuff, a small tool set and a knife. Recently, someone told me the law relating to knives is going to change and I am a bit concerned to ensure that I don’t do something illegal.
For me, a knife is an essential part of a shooters’ kit and it can come in handy for all sorts of reasons – for example, dismantling a misfired cartridge or gently removing one which has got stuck in the chamber.
Stuart Farr says: You don’t say much about the sort of knife you carry in your shooting bag, and so I assume it is a modest folding pocket knife rather than something of the size which Crocodile Dundee might have carried around.
Our UK knife laws have been remarkably static compared with, say, firearms law over the years. New rules have tended to deal with banning particular knives that have caused problems.
In essence, it is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18 unless it has a folding blade of three inches or less. It is an offence to carry a knife in public without ‘a good reason’ (unless it has a folding blade of three inches or less – but note, lock knives are not classed as folding knives). It is illegal to carry in public, buy or sell any type of banned knife or to use any knife in a threatening way.
What amounts to a ‘good reason’ can be somewhat vague. Taking knives which you use at work to and from work is a good reason.
Having a knife for the purpose of a teaching demonstration or to using it in theatre, film, TV or an historical re-enactment is also likely to be an acceptable reason as would taking a small folding pocket knife to a private shooting ground or venue and using it as part of your sport.
The law is about to change in the context of knife sales. The Offensive Weapons Bill, which seeks to remove the ability to sell knives online and restrict knife sales to face-to-face transactions, was passed through by the House of Lords on 11 April and will be scheduled to receive Royal Assent shortly.
Letter to the editor
I have been shooting five years and the majority of my early shooting was at Atkin Grant & Lang at Markyate.
I have visited numerous other shooting grounds through shooting CPSA Registered events. During this period AGL has evolved more than the other Grounds.
In today’s society where all too often we moan about this and that and some only ever comment on the negative, I thought it would be nice to give some ‘credit where credit is due!’
AGL Registered events have gone from as few as 50 entries five years ago to anything towards 300 on a nice day more recently. This I put down to the company and its staff’s ambition and the improvements they are making, including new stands and well thought out targets. The ground is maturing all the time and you are always made very welcome when visiting. (Try Mary’s cakes!)
I recently bought a new Sporting shotgun from Tom Crosby in the AGL shop. His Blaser rep Jon Carrington helped make sure I got the right gun to suit my needs and I’d recommend this double act to anyone thinking of buying a new gun. They also offered a very fair part exchange on my old gun.
Keep up the good work AGL.
Q: I have had a friend over from the USA recently. He is a keen clay shooter and told me that he takes care to prevent his cartridges getting too hot when shooting in very hot conditions, as it affects their performance.
If this is so, with UK experiencing some rather hot days at times, could this affect my cartridges and how? Are there precautions I should take?
Richard Atkins says: Yes, indeed, temperature can and does affect cartridge performance. As temperature increases so the burning rate of most propellant powders will increase slightly too.
The effect of this is likely to increase the maximum pressure the cartridge will produce and the amount of unburned residue left in the barrels may be reduced. If temperature is raised sufficiently then velocity can also increase and more recoil could result.
The reverse is also true and, as some may have noticed, if their cartridges have been stored in very cold conditions during winter, some increase in barrel residues and slight loss in performance may be observed, due to less efficient powder burn.
Temperature effects are one reason why the conditions for the testing of shotgun ammunition, under CIP regulations, require very closely controlled temperature and humidity limits.
All ammunition sold in CIP member states must abide by these rules, so that the tests carried out in any one CIP country correlate very closely with those tested in any other CIP state.
Working with propellant powder and cartridge producers, the test conditions agreed as ideal are a temperature of 20 to 22℃ and a humidity of 55 to 65 per cent.
These conditions are achieved by all ammunition to be tested being conditioned for 24 hours prior to testing in a climate-controlled environment. This tells us what the ideal temperature for use is.
Obviously most shooters are unlikely to have climate controlled storage in their vehicles (although those who transport animals or perishable food items may). With normal weather conditions and simple precautions there is no need for undue concern.
Keep your cartridges out of direct sunlight when in a vehicle. A 250-size outer case, a strong bag, the boot or covered area of your vehicle should be fine. In very hot weather, park in the shade where possible. An insulated cool bag can also be used (there should be no need for ice packs though).
Temperatures in parts of the USA, such as Arizona, can be much hotter than we experience in the UK and problems due to excessively hot cartridges producing higher pressure have been recorded there on rare occasions.
However, despite some increased temperatures occasionally experienced in the UK, simple, common sense precautions will avoid problems here in UK.
Longer term cartridge storage should be at temperatures not above the CIP test figures and preferably below them.
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