Buying/Selling across the pond


Odd Job
December 17, 2006, 05:42 PM
Not sure where to put this. Mods please move it if it belongs elsewhere.

Here is my problem: I am in the UK, and I want to get hold of a .22 rifle from a US vendor (I have narrowed it down to three possible options).
It looks like I am going to have to import this. I want to know what my options are. From our US members I would like to know:

1) Let's say the rifle costs $400. Are there going to be any export taxes or costs other than shipping (which I assume has to go by surface)?
2) Have you had any problems exporting a brand new rifle to the UK? What happened?
3) What paperwork do you expect from the UK buyer?

From our UK members I would like to know:

1) Have you imported a rifle from the US? What were the customs charges on entry (as a percent of the value of the rifle)?
2) How did you pay for the rifle and what papers/notifications did you have to make on the UK side upon placing that order with the US vendor?
3) Who was the agent or what was the nature of the business to whom the rifle was shipped (I am assuming it could not be shipped directly to you). What were the costs payable to that agent?
4) What do you envisage the total cost to be, on a $400 rifle, once I have it in my hands?

I want to find this out while I apply for a Firearms Certificate here in the UK. I don't have UK firearms, just South African handgun licenses (those weapons are in SA).

Finally, any tips from my US and UK friends here on THR about this possible transaction are welcome. I am a bit short of knowledge here, being a South African in London.
(An unarmed South African, which in itself is a pitiful thing)

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December 17, 2006, 06:07 PM
Exporting any firearm from the U.S. is a lot more trobule than a $400 rifle is worth. Can't you find this in Europe?

December 17, 2006, 06:29 PM
Give Litts a call. I believe they will import stuff from the US for you. There's also Edgar Brothers, South Yorkshire Shooting Supplies, Merseyside Armoury, Eurosports etc. You cannot import yourself, you need a registered firearms importer to do it for you. They will not send it to your house - they will send it to your nearest registered firearms dealer (though you can probably choose which one).

For customs charges, you'll need to call HM Customs & Revenue. Be sure to let them know explicitly that you are (or will be) an FAC holder and that you wish to do everything legally.

For most things a good rule of thumb is to just change the $ sign to a sign. However, with the special requirements of importing a firearm, you might find yourself paying another 100-200 or so. I don't know exactly, I'm just guessing.

Also ask around at gun shops - some are also importers who can import from the US. Also try calling British firearms companies such as Imperial Defence. I should think that Litts etc are cheapest and best but no harm in asking.

However, really try and find this gun for sale normally. It will be much much cheaper. There's Remington 552s for sale on Gun Trader for 80-180, and Marlin 60s for 60-150.

Odd Job
December 17, 2006, 06:38 PM
@ Griz

Well, how much trouble will it be? That's what I want to know.
One of my choices is the Remington 552 Speedmaster. I have found one place here in the UK selling that, for 375 second hand.
I think they are not more than $500 new in the US. That's just a touch over 250.
I haven't had a detailed look into the T/C Benchmark and the Marlin 7000, but so far I haven't seen any for sale here.

Odd Job
December 17, 2006, 06:41 PM
@ Fosbery

Thanks for that info, I will check Litts.
According to what you know, how much do you reckon a $500 rifle will set me back here if the guy has to import it? Do you reckon 500 -600? That hurts me just on principle :banghead:

December 17, 2006, 07:46 PM
you will find it very expensive to import a single piece, if you have to pay commercial rates to someone else to do it for you. You might double the cost of that $500 rifle...if you can find anyone who can be arsed to do it at all. How badly do you want this thing?
You will doubtless have to pay import duty, plus VAT @ 17.5% on top of that.

December 18, 2006, 01:55 AM
You know, you should really move to the US. You can get RSA type weather in parts of the US, and in many of the states with that kind of weather, you can get guns without any kind of license or anything besides an instant background check once you are a resident alien.

Plus, you don't have nearly as many blissninnys.

Just a thought.

December 18, 2006, 02:42 AM
Odd Job, all firearms exports are subject to the Arms Export Control Act here. You would have to get the services of a licensed importer/exporter to handle it for you whether it's a 22 or a M16. They would have to acquire an export license for you weapon. They could include it with others that were going to the same dealer in the UK and could charge you less. The cost would be in the area of at least $200 or so, say 100 pounds. In pounds that comes to roughly 250 for the gun, 100 to the exporter, and Fosby said 100-200 so we'll say 150 and that $500 gun is going to cost at least 500 pounds.

I can understand your frustration with the VAT and tax structure in the UK. I can get many parts for my MG made in the UK here cheaper than I see them advertised in England.

Odd Job
December 18, 2006, 07:27 AM
@ Mordechai

Believe me, I would like to move to the US but it would kill my career. I can't do what I'm doing in the UK, in the US. It's a different ball game for radiographers in the US. There are licensing/board registration problems too. I've looked into it and it is a no-go.

@ All

Basically, my intent is to get one rifle and one rifle only, for use at the range. I have a buddy who goes to that same range and we are quite competitive and we will probably end up getting similar rifles. I want to get the best available rifle within that price range. At the moment it looks like I will go for the Thompson Center Benchmark. I have been asking on Rimfire Central and that's the one for me. I really doubt that someone here is selling those, it looks like an import job for me. i just have to try to lose as little cash on taxes as possible.
I don't mind spending good money on a rifle. What kills me is seeing customs and export taxes leeching off my money. I would rather that money went to Thompson Center.

30 cal slob
December 18, 2006, 07:34 AM
with the u.s. dollar at historic lows ...

... you can afford to splurge a little.



Odd Job
December 18, 2006, 07:53 AM
Hehe, I hope it works out for me.

I just got off the phone with the guy at Litt's. I told him I'm looking for an autoloader and I told him the three possible models I want:

1) Marlin 7000 (I originally wanted a model 60)
2) Thompson Center Benchmark
3) Remington 552 Speedmaster

Okay, so after I told him those three models, he told me those were all the wrong rifles for me. He said they were at the bottom of his list of good autoloaders and that the Ruger 10/22 was near the top of his list. I had to spend about 10 minutes convincing this guy that I didn't want a Ruger. And he spent about 10 minutes trying to convince me that I should get the Ruger.
In the end I had to say flatly that I wasn't going to buy a Ruger. He is going to get back to me on the prices for the other three.
He told me at the end that he has a H&K Model 270 there, and that I should consider that rifle. Well I don't know diddly about that rifle, I didn't even know that H&K makes .22 autoloaders.

Odd Job
December 18, 2006, 09:05 AM
Alright gents: quick update.
I found a company (Viking Arms) here in the UK that imports T/C rifles and they have a Benchmark in stock. I phoned them up and they advised me that the price I am likely to pay at the local dealer is in the region of 570.

I guess that solves my problem.
Many thanks for all your advice. UK members can PM me if they want any contact details for Viking Arms.

Thanks to Fosbery for the Edgars Brothers tip: they supplied me with all the contacts I needed for Marlin, Remington and T/C distributors here in the UK.

December 18, 2006, 11:54 AM
There is a T/C Benchmark for just 250 on Gun Trader from Minsterley Ranges.

Telephone number of Minsterley Ranges: 01743-791 858

Go to and go:

Select rifle and click next
Select semi-auto and semi-auto L/H and click next
Select all of the different cartridges and click next
Select Thompson and click next

However, I would seriously urge you to get a Ruger if you intend to compete with it. A lot of people don't want to get the Ruger and say "nah, I won't upgrade it so I just want something that's good out of the box," but I can almost gurarantee you will just end up buying a Ruger and upgrading it. If you just want to plink then a Marlin or something will be fine, but for competition it's Rugers everytime. I have honestly never seen someone compete with anything but a Ruger 10/22 in gallery rifle.

Same thing with a gun cabinet by the way. You say now that you just want one rifle so you'll probably get the smallest cabinet you can. Everyone who does this, a few months down the line, is moaning that they've already filled it and have to buy a bigger one. So, buy the biggest cabinet you can afford :)

Odd Job
December 19, 2006, 08:08 AM
Thanks for the link Fosbery.
As for the cabinet, that is already sorted. I rent a safe at the range. It can take 4 or 5 rifles and one handgun. I have to use that, because the place I live is a rented room and I can't install a safe here.

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