Antique Firearms

Written by Jarad on March 20, 2023

Antique firearms are not required to be recorded into your A&D records as they are not considered firearms. A replica of an antique firearm is also not required to be recorded into your A&D records (See definition below). However, some states like New Jersey do require them to be recorded. So it is best to check with your state regulatory agency to see if they require antique firearms to be recorded into your A&D records. 

Here are some things to consider when dealing with Antique Firearms

When dealing with Antique Firearms it is very important to make sure they are not designed for or redesigned to fire centerfire or rimfire ammunition. Also, be sure the weapon does not incorporate a frame or receiver. If so they are no longer considered Antique Firearms and must be logged into your A&D records. 

When selling and/or shipping black powder, muzzle loader, antique firearms directly (without background checks) to your customers there can be significant risk.

  • Certain states restrict the possession of black powder, muzzle loader, and antique firearms. 

  • Most states require a purchaser to be 18 years old.

  • Many black powder, muzzle loader, and antique firearms are considered to be firearms. 

When selling and/or shipping directly (without background checks) to your customers there are numerous risks for your company 

  1. Civil liability upon injury or use in crime, 

  2. State action against your company, 

  3. ATF violations/revocation for unlawfully transferring a firearm). 

Definition of an Antique Firearm from the ATF Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide (aka. The White Book), 2014, page 8, (16). link

(16) The term “antique firearm”means—

     (A) any firearm (including anyfirearm with a matchlock, flintlock,percussion cap, or similar type ofignition system) manufactured inor before 1898; or
     (B) any replica of any firearmdescribed in subparagraph (A) ifsuch replica–
          (i) is not designed or redesignedfor using rimfire or conventionalcenterfire fixed ammunition,or
          (ii) uses rimfire or conventionalcenterfire fixed ammunitionwhich is no longer manufacturedin the United States andwhich is not readily available inthe ordinary channels of commercialtrade; or
     (C) any muzzle loading rifle,muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzleloading pistol, which is designed touse black powder, or a black powdersubstitute, and which cannotuse fixed ammunition. For purposesof this subparagraph, the term“antique firearm” shall not includeany weapon which incorporatesa firearm frame or receiver,any firearm which is converted intoa muzzle loading weapon, or anymuzzle loading weapon which canbe readily converted to fire fixedammunition by replacing the barrel,bolt, breechblock, or any combinationthereof.

Info from an ATF Q&A dated August 2013, Q2, Page 3 link

The following is a list of weapons that load from the muzzle and are classified as firearms, notantiques, under the GCA, because they incorporate the frame or receiver of a firearm:- 

  • Savage Model 10ML (early, 1st version)

  • Mossberg 500 shotgun with muzzle loading barrel

  • Remington 870 shotgun with muzzle loading barrel

  • Mauser 98 rifle with muzzle loading barrel

  • SKS rifle with muzzle loading barrel

  • PB sM10 pistol with muzzle loading barrel

  • H&R/New England Firearm Huntsman

  • Thompson Center Encore/Contender

  • Rossi .50 muzzle loading rifle

This list is not complete and frequently changes. There may be other muzzle loaders also classified as firearms. As noted, any muzzle loading weapon that is built on a firearm frame or receiver falls within the definition of a firearm provided in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3).

Finally, even though a prohibited person may lawfully possess an antique firearm under Federal law. State or local law may classify such weapons as “firearms” subject to regulation. Any person considering acquiring a black powder weapon should contact his or her State Attorney General’s office to inquire about the laws and possible State or local restrictions. A list of State AttorneyGeneral contact numbers may be found at