Helston Forensics

Forensic Ballistic Laboratories at Helston Factory


Scenario 1

A suspect has been found in possession of Brocock-type, self-contained air cartridges which fit into an adapted 12 Bore Snap Cap. He uses them for training in his licenced 12 Bore Beretta Over/Under shotgun. He loads them with .22 airgun pellets and fires them at targets. Considering this scenario, what types of offences have been committed (if any)?


Hammer Gun

"The S.C.A.C cartridge when loaded and charged with air is an air cartridge, as long as it doesn’t exceed 12 ft-lb in a shotgun it is ok to use because the shotgun cannot be an airgun."

Mike Roscope

"Ammunition for an airgun is not controlled, it is excluded by the firearms act, and therefore regardless if it is in a shotgun, no licence is required. I.e. whatever it goes in it is airgun ammunition."


"If I remember correctly, Brocock air cartridges themselves aren’t subject to controls or restriction. Only the rifles and pistols are subject to control. Any owner who has one entered onto their FAC has the firearm listed and not the reusable air cartridges. As long as the muzzle energy doesn’t exceed 12 ft-lb no offence has been committed."

Pot Holer

“Hammer Gun is incorrect, when it is assembled it is a shotgun cartridge regardless of power, and with only one projectile it is Section 1 ammunition. (See Section 1 – (4) (a))”

Lee N Field

I would consider the following: 1) The person has a SGC therefore we can assume that he is not subject to S21 of the 1968 act so we are free to consider the other aspects on their own merits. 2) Possession of Self Contained Air Cartridges is not an offence. They are not subject to S1, S2 or S5 of the 1968 or subsequent acts. 3) Possession of snap caps is not an offence. 4) Conversion of the snap cap merely creates a new type of SCAC. 5) There is no restriction on the use of S1 ammunition in a S2 gun, only on the possession of S1 ammunition without an FAC, i.e. in the absence of any condition on the subject’s SGC requiring that he use the SG only with S2 ammunition or for some particular purpose he is free to use it with any ammunition or pyrotechnic that he possesses lawfully.

Helston Forensics Response

We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in this discussion and it has been interesting to hear everybody’s point of view. There is no straight answer to this scenario however we would like to add one final comment:

Points to prove/consider.

1. Is a self-contained air cartridge “ammunition” (when loaded and charged with air?) 2. When put in a 12 bore adaptor is it airgun ammunition adapted to fit a shotgun or shotgun ammunition, if shotgun ammunition what category? 3. If the pellet when fired produces energy of less than say 1 joule of muzzle energy, does this alter anything? 4. If it is airgun ammunition fired in a shotgun is the fact that there is only one projectile relevant? 5. Does the shotgun alter status if/when loaded with a self-contained air cartridge?

When considering the alternative hypothesis you must be able to discount it totally to be able to form a strong positive opinion, otherwise it has to be left for the Court to decide... Is it airgun ammunition? Can airgun ammunition also be shotgun ammunition?


Links: Main Page Services Forensic Shop Range Testing Collection Guns Collection Ammo Library Microscopy Courses


Content © 2000-2019 Helston Gunsmiths - all rights reserved. - Site Engine © 2019 Charterway Services Ltd. (2)