Proof Procedure

Submission to proof

Any individual may submit arms for proof or reproof direct to either of the two Proof Houses, but it is more usual, and generally more satisfactory for all concerned, that arms be submitted through a gun dealer. Primarily this is because the majority of old guns require attention prior to proof.

Proof Regulations require that shotgun barrels shall be "struck up" and smooth and that insides shall be clean. Pitting should be removed so far as is practicable, bulges knocked down and dents raised. Actions should be in good safe working order and tight on the face to resist the increased strain of proof pressure. Since stocks, and particularly those with unusual "bend" or "cast", are not designed to withstand the heavy recoil of proof, it is customary for the wood to be removed. Indeed, the Proof Houses do not accept responsibility for damage to stocks resulting from proof.

It will be apparent that to fulfil these requirements, the preparation necessary will best be undertaken by a gunmaker who is accustomed to submitting to proof.


In the event of a proof rejection, or failure to withstand the proof test, guns may be repaired and resubmitted. On final rejection, that is when the submitter accepts that further attempts at repair are unlikely to succeed, the existing proof marks upon the barrels and/or action will be defaced or barred out.

It is unlawful for a weapon to be sold with defaced proof marks, except where later reproof marks have been impressed. It is recommended that such guns be deactivated, so as to ensure that it can never be used by some person unaware of its unproved condition.