Shooting is an exhilarating, rewarding sport. Fundamentally, it teaches discipline and coordination but if practiced incorrectly, can have some dangerous consequences. We’ve listed our top five tips about air rifle safety to make sure your shooting experience is as enjoyable as possible.
Look after your rifle
Basic precautions, such as carrying your rifle in a gun cover and ensuring it is always unloaded, are the first steps to gun safety. But when you plan on using your air rifle in the field, it needs to be in full working order. Ensuring your rifle is properly maintained is one of the most important aspects of shooting as a sport.
Stripping your gun is the best way to make sure all the compartments are clean and in good, working order. Be sure to strip your gun in a safe area using the correct tools as many guns contain powerful springs that can release and cause some serious damage. Look after your rifle, and it will look after you.
Respect your Environment
As shooters, we know that respecting the environment is just good practice. Tidying away your equipment and metal or paper targets keeps the land clean for other shooters, farmers and future generations.
For those of you who shoot live targets, be sure you understand the rules and restrictions. Under your general license, and with the land owner’s permission, you can shoot mammal pests such as brown rats, grey squirrels, stoats, mink and rabbits. Legally, non-edible mammals should be buried in a deep burial, to prevent potential health hazards and keep the land clean and tidy.
Receiving permission from the land owner is vital. Also be sure to check the area is clear of dog walkers and ramblers before setting up and always be aware of where the pellet from your rifle will land.
You can shoot on your own premises but remember if any pellet goes beyond your land, whether it is an accident or not, you could be prosecuted.
If you are unsure of where is safe to practice shooting, we’d recommend a target shooting club. Clubs are great for beginners as they have experienced shooters who will be able to give advice on safety measures and allow you to practice on safe, legal land.
Know the law
Finally, it is important you know the law inside and out. In the U.K. you will need a licence to carry any firearms, application forms are available from the firearms licensing unit of your local police force. Once approved, you will receive a certificate that usually lasts up to five years, but be sure to remember the expiration date.
Alongside checking your license, why not brush up on your gun offence laws? There are at least 38 different offences relating to firearms, which all carry a heavy penalty. If you are unsure of the laws check out the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, their website has lots of information and advice on all things gun related.
If you have any questions, or want to purchase your own air rifle, head to Keens Tackle and Guns to browse a wide range of fishing and hunting products. Stay safe and happy shooting!