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Antique Firearms

Armoured police land roverWhat is an antique firearm?

The word 'antique' is not defined anywhere in the Firearms Acts or Regulations. To understand what is considered antique it may be useful to know that 'modern' firearms are those which have been manufactured during or since the Second World War.

Some old firearms are capable of firing a modern centre fire cartridge and are therefore not classified as antique. Every firearm will be judged on its own merits but the following may be used as a guideline:


  • All muzzle loading firearms, except replica models of modern manufacture.
  • Breech loading firearms capable of discharging a rim fire cartridge exceeding .23" calibre (or its metric equivalent), but not 9mm.
  • Breech loading firearms using ignition systems other than rim fire or centre fire e.g. pin-fire and needle-fire.
  • Breech loading firearms incapable of firing a centre fire cartridge.

Not antique:

  • Breech loading firearms capable of firing either centre fire cartridges.
  • Rim fire cartridges not exceeding .23" (or its metric equivalent).
  • 9mm rim fire cartridges.
  • All firearms of 'modern' manufacture - even if they are replicas of very old flintlocks etc.
  • All ammunition.

If a firearm is determined as antique, it is no longer subject to the provisions of the Firearms Acts, providing it is kept as an object of curiosity or as an ornament.

No ammunition can be classified as antique and the possession of suitable ammunition, for use with an otherwise antique firearm, may indicate that the firearm is not possessed simply as an ornament.