Diggory Hadoke, of vintageguns.co.uk believes there is no cause for concern when it comes to banning lead guns, and advises you to keep hold of your classics…
Q: I have a pair of best English guns and am increasingly worried about the possibility of a ban on lead shot. Should I sell my guns before a ban comes into force? (Peter Pine, Surrey)
A: Firstly, a lead ban is not a certainty. Norway, Australia and Austria have moved away from lead bans, as evidence, effects and benefits analysis do not appear to make it useful in any meaningful way.
If a ban or partial ban is to be implemented, options exist for minimising the effects on older guns, like exempting guns made before 1939, which represent a small percentage of total output and were made before steel shot proof was introduced.
It is too early to give up on your English guns. Even if a ban is introduced, there are many parts of the world where best English guns will remain attractive to collectors and users. With a ban, initial dumping on the market may depress prices, but I would expect this to right itself in 18 months, so the smart move is to wait and not panic.
It’s also worth noting that the option of non-toxic shot remains, less effective though it is. In the event of a total ban on lead, I would expect ammunition manufacturers to work to plug the gap with a steel load suited to 2½” game guns, as demand will rise massively.