The latest update to the Ministry of Defence’s military range safety manual will include “undertakings” for civilian shooters using handloads, the NRA has said.
In a Facebook post announcing the forthcoming updates to JSP403 Vol I, the handbook of defence land ranges safety, the NRA said that numerous changes had been made that would benefit civilian rifle clubs, including:
- A clause that removes the lower age limit for using MoD ranges, “unless there is a specific reason to impose limits in respect of a particular range”
- Changes to the Club Agreement which make it clear that a change of chairman does not invalidate documents such as Certificates of Competence
- A simplified High Muzzle Energy zeroing procedure, including a reduction in the qualifying group to 3 shots and removal of a separate zeroing procedure when all shooting will be at distances of 200 metres or less
- Qualification of RCOs by discipline or groups of discipline, which the NRA says “will not invalidate existing qualifications”
- “Acceptance of the principle that handloaded ammunition may be used, with a short statement of the undertaking to be given for its use. The undertaking is, we believe, not an onerous requirement and should not inhibit any current safe practice.”
The handloading “undertaking” may be the most important part of these changes. Previously JSP403 said nothing about using handloads, although the MoD as a whole frowns upon them – L81A2 Cadet Target Rifles, for example, are issued to cadet units along with strict instructions that handloads are not to be fired from them.
It is not clear at present what the “undertaking” will be, though the language suggests that it might just be a piece of paper with a waiver or disclaimer to sign. However, the suggestion that it “should not inhibit any current safe practice” suggests it might also set hard-and-fast rules for handloaders to follow.
As ever, this is an unpaid blog and the editor isn’t minded to start ringing up the NRA and the MoD for official comment. We will, however, be looking at the new edition of JSP403 Vol I when it is published.