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Antique Firearms

This fact sheet is intended for individuals who wish to acquire an antique firearm. It presents information about how the Firearms Act applies to firearms that meet the definition of an antique, as set out in the Criminal Code and corresponding regulations.

The Definition of an Antique

The Criminal Code defines an antique firearm as:

  • Any firearm manufactured before 1898 that was not designed to discharge rim-fire or centre-fire ammunition, and that has not been re-designed to discharge such ammunition, or
  • Any firearm prescribed to be an antique firearm.

The following firearms are prescribed to be antique firearms under the Regulations Prescribing Antique Firearms:

Black Powder Reproductions:

  • of flintlock, wheel-lock or matchlock firearms, other than handguns, manufactured after 1897;

(Note that all other reproductions of long guns are considered non-restricted firearms. They don’t need to be registered but a licence to possess them is required. As an example, reproductions of percussion cap muzzle-loading firearms like American Civil War Enfield and Springfield rifles are considered non-restricted firearms and not antiques.)

Rifles:

  • manufactured before 1898 that can discharge only rim-fire cartridges, other than .22 Calibre Short, .22 Calibre Long or .22 Calibre Long Rifle cartridges;
  • manufactured before 1898 that can discharge centre-fire cartridges (whether with a smooth or rifled bore), have a bore diameter of 8.3 mm or greater, measured from land to land in the case of a rifled bore, with the exception of a repeating firearm fed by any type of cartridge magazine;

Shotguns:

  • manufactured before 1898 that can discharge only rim-fire cartridges, other than .22 Calibre Short, .22 Calibre Long or .22 Calibre Long Rifle cartridges;
  • manufactured before 1898 that can discharge centre-fire cartridges, other than 10, 12, 16, 20, 28, or 410 gauge cartridges;

Handguns:

  • manufactured before 1898 that can discharge only rim-fire cartridges, other than .22 Calibre Short, .22 Calibre Long or .22 Calibre Long Rifle cartridges;
  • manufactured before 1898 that can discharge centre-fire cartridges, other than a handgun designed or adapted to discharge .32 Short Colt, .32 Long Colt, .32 Smith and Wesson, .32 Smith and Wesson Long, .32‑20 Winchester, .38 Smith and Wesson; .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt, .38-40 Winchester, .44‑40 Winchester, or .45 Colt cartridges.

Licensing and Registration Requirements

Individuals who own only antique firearms do not need a firearms licence, nor do they need to register any of their antique firearms.

Selling Antique Firearms

There are no restrictions on selling, buying, bartering or giving away antique firearms.

Safety Regulations

Under the Firearms Act and corresponding regulations, antique firearms must be stored, displayed and transported unloaded.

If an individual is transporting antique firearms by vehicle and needs to leave them unattended*, they should be left in the vehicle’s locked trunk or similar compartment. If the vehicle does not have a trunk or compartment, the vehicle must be locked with the antique firearms inside and out of sight.

Antique handguns must be transported in a locked, non-transparent container that cannot readily be broken open or into or accidentally opened during transportation.  

*Unattended means a vehicle that is not under the direct and immediate supervision of an adult (18 years of age or older) or a minor (with a minor’s licence issued under the Firearms Act).

Replicas of Antique Firearms

Although replica firearms are made to look like the original, they are distinct from reproductions or antiques. Replicas look the same, but are different because they cannot discharge projectiles at all, or can discharge only harmless projectiles. (Devices that discharge projectiles that can cause serious bodily injury are not replicas).

Replicas of antiques are not considered firearms.

Information

For more information, contact the CFP.

This fact sheet is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act and their corresponding regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.