However the HO are now recently (28-05-2015) saying: -
Dear Mr x
Under section 5(1)(ab) of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended), all self-loading or pump-action rifled guns are classified as prohibited other than those which are chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges. You will note that there is no exemption in this provision for air rifles/weapons.
The Home Office Circular (HOC) 68/97 was intended as a guide to cover those persons then (in 1997) in possession of such weapons. In the event, no changes were made to the legislation to accommodate current sales and the situation remains as set out above.
The immediate above contradicts para 10 on page 5 of the HOC 68/97t: -
"We have consulted ACPO and the Crown Prosecution Service about the legal status of these weapons and have agreed, in the absence of a court ruling, that the issue should resolved formally at the next legislative opportunity. In the meantime chief officers are advised that self-loading or pump action rifled airguns should CONTINUE to be regarded as falling outside the certification process provided they are low powered and do not fall within the Firearms (Dangerous Air Weapons) Rules 1969"
The Home Office Circular (HOC) 68/97 was intended as a guide to cover those persons then (in 1997) in possession of such weapons.
This refers to small calibre pistols that were banned effective from 1 February 1998 but FAC holders were given till 1 March 1998 to surrender them. This was to permit a compensation scheme to be put in place.