• Descent 298 publication date

    Our June/July issue will be published on Saturday 8 June

    Now with four extra pages as standard. If you want to receive it as part of your subscription, make sure you sign up or renew by Monday 27 May.

    Click here for more



New member
I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by AndyF and Hughie - best to keep as low key as possible.

I also agree with paul that proper guidance is absolutely essential - find someone who knows what they are doing and benefit from their hardgained experience.


New member
Cartridges must be used only in the approved powder-actuated tools for which they are intended

That's about as binding as the one for my camera which says I should only use branded batteries instead of the much cheaper ones they sell in Jessops. Such a wording does not imply any legal sanction, it merely says "don't blame us" if you do it differently and something goes wrong.

Now, what specific laws does the practice of capping actually breach?


Well - not having the time to go through COER or the 1875 act fully, and not being trained in Law, I cant be certain. I can think of one man who will almost certainly know, and I've PM'd him on the topic.

In the back of my mind though, I feel certain there was a recent amendment to some Act or other to prevent the modification and the likes of fireworks etc. and contained something along the lines of 'not used for its intended purpose' but I admit I could be talking shite on that one.



New member
As others have said, good addition to the Wiki.  (y)

With regards to the legality, I too believe it is unlikely to be illegal. It brings to mind cable spiking (where to ensure that an electrical cable in the ground is not live, a steel spike is fired through it with something like a shotgun cartridge). If I suggested this - hey I know, let's shoot a steel spike through the 33kV cable to check that it is dead -  I'm sure people on here would tell me it's too dangerous, illegal etc. and yet it is done.

Besides it is not illegal to own or transport hilti caps, so short of a copper being down every dig, there is not going to be any evidence. 

And I have to say, NigR, you seem to be pretty keen on free and open access to some things, why not information? Especially where public knowledge may lead to improved safety, better techniques, etc.?

As for the tabloids, there are far too few cavers for them to care other than as a freak accident story. They are certainly not going to start a campaign to stop capping, let's face it, most tabloids are anti "nanny state". If I want to shoot myself in the bollocks, then one tabloid or another would probably happily provide the means for a good story. Of course the other tabloids would be against it for a day, until they got their own bollock shooting volunteer.


New member
Why not put the info behind a password readily available to cavers but not to search engines?

I agree info is good but I can also see the advantages of keeping a low profile. This suggestion would make the info available to interested cavers but not to the whole wide world and the various nutters that are out there.


New member
Well, since it appears that you need a licence for some Hilti nail guns that fire the caps, then it seems likely that any mechanism specifically made for setting the caps off (i.e. the firing pin mechanism on the wiki page) could probably be argued to come under the same legislation.

Anyone got a licence for their capping striker?

It would take a court to decide if it came under that scope, but I wouldn't want to be the "test case" ;)


What sort of license is it?

Isn't it just a certificate of competency so that you can use the nail guns on a building site? From doing a quick google it doesn't appear that you need a firearms / explosives license.

If it was anything hard to obtain I suspect the sale of the caps would be controlled.


cap n chris

Well-known member
You can drive (illegally) without a licence.

You can drive (legally) with one.

You can break the speed limit in either instance and 99% of the time you'll get away with it.


You shouldn't be.


Well-known member
Bubba is right. One is not required to have a licence of any sort to use a nail gun, although building sites often require a certificate of competence.


New member
Khaki Puce, Just for information, A spike is only fired through a 32kv main cable to check that it is not live (The cartridge used is a .45 calibre blank round), After a whole raft of safety procedures have been followed and after the engineer in charge is satisfied  that the cable is isolated and it is safe to work on. He will then issue a permit to work. Because much of the isolation procedure can be carried out by several individuals over a large area, The spike is used merely to ensure that no one is injured if a cock up has been made. Better to find out using a spike, than a jointer holding a saw.