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Sporting Shooter - - Ask The Experts -

Q I have re­cently pur­chased an old side-by­side gun and I would like to find out some more about it. I have in­cluded a photo [be­low]. Can you shed some light on it for me? A

DIGGORY HADOKE replies: The photo shows what ap­pears to be an early 20th cen­tury Bel­gian fold­ing .410 shot­gun. It has been ‘sawn off’ and the stock re­duced and shaped into a pis­tol. The pur­pose of mak­ing these mod­i­fi­ca­tions was to pro­duce a weapon that was easy to hide and ef­fec­tive at close quar­ters. It was a favourite tool of the bank rob­ber, or if we are be­ing char­i­ta­ble, the game­keeper for dis­patch­ing an­i­mals in traps or snares. What­ever the rea­sons for the his­tor­i­cal mod­i­fi­ca­tions, the re­sult is that to­day it falls un­der Sec­tion 5 of the Firearms Act as a ‘Pro­hib­ited Weapon’. Pos­ses­sion is a se­ri­ous of­fence and could lead to a prison sen­tence. Hand this in to the near­est po­lice sta­tion im­me­di­ately, or call your Po­lice Firearms Unit to ar­range a han­dover. If you get caught with it you will be in

se­ri­ous trou­ble.

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