6 June 2016 – The Ministry of Defence has banned civilian rifle clubs from carrying out fire with movement practices on MoD ranges – and imposed extra restrictions on cadets and civilian clubs.
A policy letter (PDF) issued by the Defence Land Ranges Safety Committee, dated 23rd May, states: “Civilian Gun Clubs – Fire with Movement on MoD Ranges. The practice involving fire with movement for Civilian Gun Clubs is prohibited on MoD ranges.”
The NRA has come out against the move, with a statement on its Facebook page declaring:
The National Rifle Association Civilian Service Rifle and Practical Rifle disciplines are recognised target shooting sports.
Matches consist of rifle shooting practices that are designed to test marksmanship skills in a variety of positions in conditions designed to put mental and physical demands on the ability of the competitor to hit the target.
The sport has an excellent safety record and has been shot on many MoD Ranges since the late 1970s.
The MoD’s Defence Ranges Safety Committee Working Group have decided to formally prohibit the practice of civilian gun clubs firing practices involving ‘fire with movement’ on MoD ranges.
This restriction does not apply to Bisley or other private ranges.
The NRA defines ‘fire with movement’ as: ‘Any movement away from a firing point with a rifle made ready’
Under this definition movement between firing points with a rifle made ready (i.e. loaded, with a round in the chamber and safety catch applied) is prohibited.
Movement between firing points with a rifle not made ready is permitted. This eliminates the risk of a rifle functioning if dropped.
The NRA is incorrect to say the restriction does not apply at Bisley, however. Affiliated clubs and individual NRA members are banned from conducting full-fat rundown practices with rifles loaded or made ready*, as specified in the conditions of many NRA CSR matches. However, the association gives itself a free pass for competitions that it organises and runs directly.
Affected clubs should contact Iain Robertson, the NRA’s head of safety, technical and legal services, for further information.
No 200 mils rule for cadets and civilians
Also in the letter is a formal ban on civilian clubs or cadet units making use of the 200 mils rule, which allows adjacent ranges to be shot over even when the full range safety template falls across the neighbouring range’s butts or firing point. When that happens parts of the range can be closed off and the remainder kept in use if the 200 mils rule (referring to the safety template’s flank angle from the firing point) is applied. See the UK Shooting News Graphics Department’s diagram below:
The red lines show the safety angles to the side of each range. People are not allowed inside these areas when live firing is taking place. However, as the danger areas of some ranges adjacent to each other overlap, the 200 mils rule allows parts of each range to be closed off so firing can safely take place. 200 mils refers to the safety angle that the standard danger area template imposes. It is normally applied from the farthest flank of each firing point in use.
Banning cadets and civilian clubs from applying the 200 mils rule means those organisations will be able to get fewer and fewer range bookings, depriving range operating contractor Landmarc of revenue.
- UKSN’s author has been conducting modest rundown practices on Century at club level for a couple of years. Not once in that time have I ever been given clearance to run practices involving loaded (not even made-ready) rifles – though clearance for unloaded rifles has always been readily forthcoming.
Top picture via the NRA of the UK