Is an FFL Needed for a Muzzleloader?

A muzzleloader, as the name implies, is a gun that is loaded through the muzzle rather than through a chamber. Examples of muzzleloaders include powder guns, Parrot rifles, ordnance rifles, 7-pounder mountain guns, etc. These guns began in the mid-1800’s and required powder, projectile, and primer to fire a single shot. Muzzleloaders, AKA muskets, stopped being used by 1870 and were replaced by the single-shot, bolt-action rifle.

The U.S. Civil War was largely fought with muzzleloader rifles. 

FFL stands for Federal Firearm License. Most muzzleloaders do not require an FFL, but the keyword here is “most.” There are some that do with the basic distinction between a muzzleloader that requires an FFL and one that does not is whether the rifle can receive a cartridge barrel. Some examples of Muzzleloaders that do require an FFL include:

  • Traditions NitroFire Muzzleloader
  • Remington 700

Both can be upgraded to receive a cartridge barrel. The upgrade turns the muzzleloader into a rifle that will accept rounds rather than plugs or balls. 

Modern muzzleloaders may also be subject to the Gun Control Act – A quote from the ATF:

“In-line muzzle-loading rifle using #209 shotgun primers for ignition was not an antique firearm and was subject to all provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA)”

Many in-line muzzleloaders are considered to be antique firearms and fall outside the Gun Control Act.

Further, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) defines what determines if a muzzleloader requires an FFL or whether it falls outside the definition of a firearm. 

Section 921(a)(16) of Title 18, U.S.C. offers the official definition of what “antique firearm” is: Those guidelines include:

“(A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898 “

The key takeaway is the manufacturing date of 1898. Was the muzzleloader manufactured before or after 1898? Does the muzzleloader have an antique ignition system – matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, etc.? 

If the answer to these questions is yes, then the muzzleloader will not require an FFL as the gun is not controlled by the legal power of the Gun Control Act

There is, however, a “but” section that deviates from the above definition. 

“(B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica — 

  • (i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or 
  • (ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States, and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or”

Section B begins to define ammunition and how the change from traditional muzzleloader powder, primer, and cap evolves into modern bullets that feature a rimfire or centerfire ignition making them fixed ammo. 

If the muzzleloader uses rimfire or centerfire ammunition or any other type of fixed ammo, it will require an FFL. Those that do not fall under the following quote from the ATF:

“(C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.”

The key is whether the gun will only accept black powder or a substitute as the propellant – If that is the case, the muzzleloader does not require an FFL unless it can be modified to accept fixed ammunition. That process includes the replacement of the barrel, bolt, or breechblock. If the gun has been modified by replacement of the barrel, bolt, or breechblock it will require an FFL. 

An exception includes modern in-line and antique firearms that can be modified by switching the muzzleloader to a breechblock and are considered to be a firearm and will require an FFL. 

The key is whether the firing mechanism is antiquated and whether the gun can fire modern ammunition, or whether it can be modified to fire modern ammunition. Even the new silencer muzzleloader will not require an FFL. Modern manufactured muzzleloaders that cannot be modified to accept a modern round are outside of the Gun Control Act. 

When you need an FFL for muzzleloaders or other types of firearms, there is help available. 

Trust FastBound for your FFL Bound Book Needs

FastBound began in 2010 as an FFL firearms software platform for A&D and 4473’s. Since 2010, FastBound has facilitated thousands of FFLs for a wide array of firearm sellers and accepters. FastBound works well across the firearm industry and fits into business models such as those offered by: 

  • Manufacturers
  • Retailers
  • Distributors
  • Importers
  • Pawnbrokers

FastBound offers guaranteed compliance, and the platform constantly updates so you have instant access to the latest ATF rulings, and an attorney-backed legal defense. Speaking of attorney-backed, FastBound is the only FFL software platform integrated with attorney-backed support to ensure legal compliance.  

Options Include:

The Creation of Electronic FFL Bound Books

When you add FastBound to your business model you gain the ability to quickly and accurately create unlimited bound books for your business model and especially for:

  • Consignment
  • Transfers
  • Gun Smithing 
  • NFA
  • Pawn
  • And other business types. 

Each Bound Book you create is guaranteed to comply and comes with an attorney-backed legal defense. In short, FastBound has your back. The software is so compliant that issues that arise are easily handled. You no longer have to rely on set it and leave it bound books and the risk they carry. With full electronic automation, your compliance with FFL has never been easier, more secure, and more efficient. 

Turn your 4473 into Electronic Format

You can safely and accurately create 4473s from any computer or smart device including tablets and cell phones. Even electronic signatures are easy to create and all without modifying the computer or smart device. Further, you gain instant 4473s without a transaction fee and the process is free of hardware requirements. 

Compliance that Carries Legal Defense

When you use FastBound you are using a software platform that is easy to use and backed by a guaranteed legal defense that covers the use of the software and the compliance of the forms created. This is a game-changer for anyone who sells in the firearms industry.

What is the Biggest Failure of Selling Firearms?

Revocations of permits to sell or to remain and FFL dealer is non-reporting of multiple sales. FastBound makes it easy to create Bound Books for every sale, every seller, and every buyer that passes through your business. 

FastBound makes reporting multiple sales a snap even for large-volume sales. The software has a manufacturing module that makes the process simple and automated to remain in compliance with A&D record keeping whether you are manufacturing from raw materials or modifying existing stock. 

Handle Multi-State Background Checks with Ease

FastBound automates the entire NICS process across multiple states. Even for those states that require phone-in interviews. The state background process has never been easier. Plus, the process is lightning fast making your FFL and other documents available faster. 

FastBound Makes the Process Easy and Efficient 

FastBound is the leader in FFL electronic transfers making creating, reviewing, and submitting FFL fast and efficient. The entire process is automated, and the software fills out the FFL for you including adding license numbers, addresses, and expirations, and alerts you when a license is expired.  

The modern design of FastBound includes integration components that make it easy to produce, scan, and read barcodes, and improve inventory control processes, all while keeping your business in compliance. More importantly, FastBound is not designed to compete with you. It is a software platform that works with you, supports your business, and enables you to safely ford the murky waters of compliance within the firearms industry. 

The power of FastBound includes compliance warnings, so you never have to worry whether you missed a small detail. The system will alert you. Further, All FFL logbooks are secure and fully in compliance. The software platform goes beyond the standards of ATF and enables you to exceed AFT standards all with an electronic format that is fully secured and kept safe behind multiple layers of security and digital protection. 

Whether you are selling muzzleloaders that do not require an FFL or firearms that do, the support and ease created by FastBound make running an FFL business easy, safe, and efficient. 

If you undergo an ATF inspection you have the legal defense created by the software which is recognized by ATF helping to not only keep you in compliance but to do so easily and with exceptional record keeping. 

If you have questions or would like deeper information, reach out to our team. We are happy to provide you with quality answers that are specific to your business or FFL transaction. 

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