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View Full Version : Is is legal to sell/ship a Ruger Old Army cap/ball pistol from Pa. to Ca. ??


CaptainCrossman
05-13-2009, 5:37 PM
ok I've been working on this problem and getting mixed answers now, for the past 12 hours. I have a Ruger Old Army pistol, cap and ball/muzzleloader- percussion cap ignition- 6 shot cylinder- 44 cal- single action

I'm in Pennsylvania, USA

buyer is in California, USA

is it legal under current CA. law, to ship this gun by common carrier, to the buyer's residence ?

or must it go to an FFL, from my FFL ??

or ?

now some background on the gun- these Rugers were basically a copy/replica of a Remington 1858 Civil War era pistol. It is loaded by pouring loose blackpowder or blackpowder equivalent, down each cylinder, then ramming the ball in with a rammer- then capping each cylinder. It is single action. There is no safety other than resting the cylinder on the notches between the caps, which is the original Remington type "safety" procedure from the 1800's.

The actual internal lock parts and grips/grip frame, are similar/identical to the old 3-screw Ruger Blackhawk revolver, which was in turn a copy of the Colt Single Action Army 1873, which was basically a copy of the 1851 Navy Colt cap/ball pistol- that is the lineage.

but overall, we're talking a cap/ball replica revolver here, with adjustable sights, in stainless, made from modern steels- based on vintage 1800's Colt/Remington designs- a hybrid of sorts. The rammer is "improved" to make it stronger, to push the ball in easier when loading.

barrel length is 7.5"

what says you ? I need help and am getting a bit tired of putting hours in looking for this answer- so far I've talked to Ca. gun shops, the NRA, and an NRA lawyer, and got 3 different opinions- one yes it's legal (gun shop), one no it's not (CA. lawyer), one yes it was legal, but may not be anymore and look into it further (NRA).

the laws on the books now, that I can find, fed law says it's not a firearm, being it's a replica muzzleloader- CA law also vaguely states that, but then CA law may call it an "unsafe handgun" instead, making it illegal to ship into CA, because it doesn't have a positive hammer-blocking safety, like a modern double action/single action has

HELP !:rolleyes:

Texas Boy
05-13-2009, 5:49 PM
Black powder guns (long or hand) do not require an FFL in CA. Perhaps someone else here can quote the appropriate CA law, but I can tell you that you can order black powder guns, including improved 1858 revolvers, over the Internet and ship them to CA from a variety of resellers - Cabela's and Midway to name a few. Not that one should take existing commercial activity as proof of legality....

CaptainCrossman
05-13-2009, 6:27 PM
that's what I thought too, but believe it or not, I just had 2 NRA-referred lawyers, tell me I could not- and one was definitely wrong, I found the law that he quoted, the "unsafe handgun" law, and there's a disclaimer for single action pistols with minimum 5 shot cylinder, and longer than 7.5" overall, they aren't considered "unsafe handguns"

WTH is going on with these guys ?

by what I hear, a couple lawyers who were selling guns in Ca. as a side business, got sued when the gun went down the line of ownership a few parties, and was eventually used in a crime, maybe that has something to do with it- so now they are being over-cautious due to word of mouth ?

CHS
05-13-2009, 6:41 PM
These are perfectly legal to ship into California. You would not be violating any California or Federal law by doing so.

Just don't ship caps or black powder without appropriate hazmat fees being paid :)

FS00008
05-13-2009, 6:56 PM
that's what I thought too, but believe it or not, I just had 2 NRA-referred lawyers, tell me I could not- and one was definitely wrong, I found the law that he quoted, the "unsafe handgun" law, and there's a disclaimer for single action pistols with minimum 5 shot cylinder, and longer than 7.5" overall, they aren't considered "unsafe handguns"

WTH is going on with these guys ?

by what I hear, a couple lawyers who were selling guns in Ca. as a side business, got sued when the gun went down the line of ownership a few parties, and was eventually used in a crime, maybe that has something to do with it- so now they are being over-cautious due to word of mouth ?

Those fellas don't know what they're talking about...

Cap and Ball is NOT a firearm under federal and California law and is therefore exempt from the Roster (Unsafe Handgun bs).

Rule .308
05-13-2009, 7:53 PM
Black powder firearms are currently legal to ship to California with no restrictions. Cap and ball, flintlock, percussion muzzle loading rifles, etc, all legal. I cannot quote you the particular law that makes it so but I have had many black powder firearms shipped to my door in California from private citizens, out of state FFLs, and major retailers like Cabela's. The first one I ever had shipped was a stainless Ruger Old Army, great pistols.

gunsmith
05-13-2009, 9:16 PM
hurry and mail it before he finds out Cabela's will!

cousinkix1953
05-13-2009, 10:22 PM
Some websites have a disclaimer about not shipping black powder firearms to Yolo county. This must be some stupid local ordinance. There is no state law against doing this that I know of either. A friend of mine is a Civil War reenactor and he orders whatever he wants right out of the catalogs...

Roadrunner
05-13-2009, 10:48 PM
As I understand the law, a black powder pistol or revolver made before 1898 or a replica of same isn't even considered a firearm until it has a charge of powder, a ball or bullet and is capped or primed. I believe there are some exceptions but in general that's the way it is.

11Z50
05-14-2009, 12:03 AM
Ship it to me, I'll buy it....:o

CaptainCrossman
05-14-2009, 6:06 AM
thanks for replies fellas

Penzanse
05-14-2009, 7:38 AM
the only way that it could not be shipped is if the black powder cylinder was replaced by a cartridge type of cylinder such as the Kirst or R&D aftermarket type. Then just ship them separately since the aftermarket cartridge cylinder is just a part.

Here is the code from California DOJ: (bolding is mine to highlight the actual section)

The general prohibition in this section does not include antique firearms. An antique
firearm is defined as any firearm that was manufactured in or before 1898 and is not designed
or redesigned to use rimfire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition. This
includes any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system or replica
thereof, regardless of the date of manufacture . Firearms manufactured in or before 1898 that use
fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available
in the ordinary channels of commercial trade are also considered antiques. (Penal Code
12020(b)(5).)
This general prohibition also does not include any firearm or ammunition that is a curio or relic as
defined in section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations and is in the possession of
a person permitted to possess such items pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with section 921) of
Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto. (Penal Code
12020(b)(7).)