During the Massachusetts muzzle-loading season, primitive (muzzle-loading) firearms must be part of the open deer season, muzzle-loading firearms must be primitive firearms of a similar type to those of the mid-1800s and that meet the following criteria: Loaded by the mouth, pulled from the shoulder, has a plug or flintlock ignition system. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney recently signed a bill to create a clear definition of a loaded muzzle charger, and just in time for the muzzle charger season, which runs Dec. 12-31. What about hunting with a primitive firearm? We invite you to read the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife website or your fishing and hunting summaries or call the Fisheries and Wildlife Division to make sure you are following state laws and hunting regulations. Massachusetts` general law uses a standard very similar to that of the federal government. However, this definition never uses the term „primitive firearm“ and simply defines it as a type of weapon to which certain firearms laws do not apply. Here is the definition as found in MGL C.140 §121, the language of this article defines a rifle, shotgun or firearm as a weapon, however, a primitive firearm is excluded from this definition by the following wording in C.140 §121: Muzzle magazine The hunting season is best for low-pressure hunting and abundant wildlife. If you`re new to mouth chargers or would like more information about your state`s mouth-loading hunting regulations, give us a call. Muzzle-Loaders.com focuses on promoting black powder hunting in all 50 states and can help you determine when your state`s hunting season begins. If you have any questions about the mouth feeder hunting season in Massachusetts, please call us at 1-855-236-5000 or email us at sales@muzzle-loaders.com. Since state law prohibits the carrying of loaded rifles and shotguns on public roads, the state has developed a definition of what constitutes a „loaded“ muzzle magazine. However, Chapter 269, which was generally enforced by state and local police, stated that the powder charge and the shot, bullet or bullet must also be removed from a magazine through the muzzle for it to be considered discharged.

Under this definition, lawful firearms owners were required to remove the primer from the firearm and unload the powder and projectile from the barrel of the rifle before crossing a public road or getting into a vehicle. The new legislation eliminates the requirement in Chapter 269 that a hunter remove powder and projectile from the barrel of the rifle. Now only the primer needs to be removed for muzzle chargers to be considered unloaded and, most importantly, legal. The above information is provided by MassWildlife as a public utility. No attempt is made to provide legal advice. MassWildlife is not responsible for errors. Consult legal counsel for current and current Chapter 140 legislation. Updated on 01.04.2020 – „Shoulder shot muzzle magazines .44 to .775; Barrel length 18 inches or more ready to operate with a single barrel. In-line ignition systems that load the firearm from the muzzle are permitted. Single projectile only (no shot).

Hoof cartridges, 209 primers, rupture/hinge muzzle magazines and riflescopes are allowed. Powder limited to black powder or black powder substitute. A muzzle charger is deemed to be discharged when the cap or bowl powder is removed. The laws governing the transportation of a firearm can be confusing. Basically, if you keep the firearm unloaded and locked in a suitcase in the trunk or rear storage compartment of a truck or SUV, follow the applicable law. Firearms with a snap lock (hinged lock) are legal. Primitive firearms used during the shotgun portion of the open deer season or to hunt black bear or wild turkey must meet the above criteria, unless: (a) locking firearms (hinged breech) are legal; 
(b) usable firearms are legal; and (c) for hunting, wild turkeys shall be smooth and shall be used only with a shot of not more than #4 and not less than #6; All other muzzle-loading long guns, regardless of type and design, may be used for other species during the prescribed opening season, provided that only shoulder-mounted smoothbore firearms may be used in areas and at times where shotgun hunting is restricted. Rifled bore muzzle-to-shoulder loading rifles may be used when rifles are legal for hunting, unless rifles are limited to longer .22 calibre rifles. Muzzle-loading shotguns greater than 10 (.775 calibre) cannot be used for hunting.

For information on muzzle-loading pistols, see the Plain Language Summary for Handgun Hunting. 

Some modern muzzle-loading firearms may not be antique firearms under federal or state law and may require certain firearms permits or licenses. Check with the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety or the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives if you`re unsure. The Office of Firearms Records of the Bureau of Public Safety is a government agency for the public and law enforcement agencies that provides information on Commonwealth firearms laws. The Office of Firearms Records provides information, forms and applications for firearms. For years, there have been two competing definitions in mass law books, leaving law-abiding gun owners wondering when their powder guns are considered unloaded, and therefore legally allowed to be transported in vehicles and on public roads. Under the law, no one is permitted to carry a loaded rifle, shotgun or muzzle magazine in or on a motor vehicle or highway. Before Governor Romney signed the new bill, introduced by Senator Stephen Brewer, a shotgun or „loaded“ rifle was defined differently in two chapters of Massachusetts` general statutes.

Chapter 131, which has been enforced by the environmental police, states that a muzzle loader is considered discharged when the primer is removed (either the impact cap of a caplock, the primer powder of a flint or the primer 209 of a caplock). All weapons must be stored in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-evident mechanical lock or other security device. Primitive firearms are exempt from this retention obligation. It is recommended to store unloaded firearms, separated from ammunition, in locked compartments. There are different types of permits depending on the type of firearms you own: Low-capacity rifles and shotguns: Rifles and shotguns without large capacity can be transported under an LTC or FID license and must be unloaded, but do not need to be in a locked suitcase during transport. Muzzle magazines or other black powder arms must also be unloaded during transport. Note: Although sealing cases are recommended, only rifles and high-capacity shotguns are subject to this transport requirement. „This year turned out to be another successful hunt, and the weather was perfect,“ said Trina Moruzzi, Hunt Coordinator. „The success of this hunt would not be possible without the help of the many volunteers, environmental police and Quabbin rangers who help mediate hunters and recover hunted deer.“ A licence is required to possess firearms. All legally resident permanent residents are eligible to apply for an MA licence or a gun pass issued by their local police service. Non-resident foreign nationals should contact Criminal History Systems Council (CSSL) Firearms Support Services (617) 660-4780.

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