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Zomgie
04-06-2010, 9:03 AM
From time to time I see old firearms sitting around in antique stores. I've never bought one but had some questions in case I decide to :)

First, is it legal? The store owners I've always talked with swear 'they don't know if it will fire or not', because if they DID know then it would be a firearm sale and that would be illegal for them (they're selling it as 'art' or 'old junk' or something). This seems like fuzzy logic, but if it won't affect me I won't let it get in the way.

Second, and more importantly, what do you check for when inspecting an old firearm? Obviously, I'd like to shoot this gun one day. Is it possible to tell by visual inspection or by a non-gunsmith? If it looks complete and feels solid is there a chance the round will blow up in my face if I take it out to test it?

Thanks in advance!

pullnshoot25
04-06-2010, 9:06 AM
Antique firearms aren't firearms and don't require a DROS.

Lots of the guns you see as antiques are collectors, not really shooters.

Get a Mosin! :)

Zomgie
04-06-2010, 9:09 AM
Already have a Mosin. Might get another ;)

I doubt that all the guns I've seen in Antique Stores actually fit the 'antique' (100+ years) criteria. A lot of them just seem like 'old guns that might not fire'

Nodda Duma
04-06-2010, 10:03 AM
Already have a Mosin. Might get another ;)

I doubt that all the guns I've seen in Antique Stores actually fit the 'antique' (100+ years) criteria. A lot of them just seem like 'old guns that might not fire'

The criteria is not +100 years. A firearm meets the definition of antique if the receiver was made prior to 1898. Note that a gun which only shoots black powder is also not legally considered a firearm.

-Jason

Interloper
04-06-2010, 2:17 PM
Even an old junker that is not safe to fire is still a firearm if was made after 1898. Doesn't matter how ugly or unsafe it is. You have to cut the receiver into three pieces before ATF or the State will let go of that definition.
If the price is right, you could roll the dice and hope to score a restorable non-antique without DROS...but that would obviously be illegal.
Maybe these things have been DEWAT'ed or something? Do the bolts operate? Can you see daylight through the bore? Might still be a good C&R score.

mosinnagantm9130
04-06-2010, 3:14 PM
If you happen to run across an antique shotgun with a Damascus steel barrel (or "twist" steel) don't fire it.

It may explode, and that would be bad. Real bad.

Zomgie
04-06-2010, 3:21 PM
I ran into a nice (looking) bolt-action rifle in a Chico antique store last year. It looked probably 60-80 years old (in my uneducated opinion) and seemed to be intact. The owner gave me a line about him only selling it as an antique, not as a firearm so he couldn't know if it would work or not - but he did not say it wouldn't fire, just that he didn't know.

So... illegal but possibly a good find? If you found something like this, would you take it to a gunsmith first to have them check it out?

orangeusa
04-06-2010, 3:46 PM
Is there a difference between C&R (50 years) and antique (100 years IIRC) wrt guns?

Used to run folks antique shop, and 'antique=100+ years old', but most stuff was 'collectables' :)

And I second that on Damascus - they look like the metal has a grain like wood. Hammered w/ carbon, folded over, hammered again.... Great for swords, bad for anything other than black powder. And even then I wouldn't fire it myself....

.

gun toting monkeyboy
04-06-2010, 4:22 PM
You will occasionally find old guns in stores like that. Some are antiques, some are not. You can do cash and carry with C&Rs if it isn't in a gun store, or at least that was what people have told me. But if you don't know much about old guns, I wouldn't mess around with it. There are too many things that can go wrong and blow up in your face. Literally. And many of those older "flintlocks" that you find out there are just decorations. Not real guns. If you are willing to do the research, and learn what is what, there are occasional good deals to be found. If you are just going to buy any old thing you find, be prepared to get burned.

AJAX22
04-06-2010, 5:12 PM
You have to be carefull with dewats.... many people who have them don't realize they are still guns (especially the machine guns)

22popnsplat
04-06-2010, 7:51 PM
I have often seen what appears to be fire arms in antique stores and on inspection found them to be Blank only guns like the movie props . I have also inspected some blackpowder guns in the antique stores to find them to be replicas , I have come to the conclusion it is probally a pretty bad place to buy guns.

Nodda Duma
04-06-2010, 8:39 PM
Orangeusa: an antique firearm is NOT defined as 100+ years old. It is defined strictly by the receiver being made prior to 1898. This is true at both federal and state level.

Just wanted to make sure you were clear, because your guess could land you in hot water.

-Jason

M. D. Van Norman
04-07-2010, 7:32 AM
Donít forget that rifles and shotguns more than 50 years old donít require a dealer transfer in California. As long as such firearms were sold infrequently, the antique shop would be operating within the law.

Hank Dodge
04-07-2010, 8:22 AM
Donít forget that rifles and shotguns more than 50 years old donít require a dealer transfer in California. As long as such firearms were sold infrequently, the antique shop would be operating within the law.


Can you or someone else provide a link to confirm this statement? I don't think that it is correct from what I have been told. This would mean that anything made before 1960 would be transferable without paperwork? That's great if it is correct.

M. D. Van Norman
04-07-2010, 9:01 AM
(2) Subdivision (d) and paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 12072 shall not apply to the infrequent sale, loan, or transfer of a firearm that is not a handgun, which is a curio or relic manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof, as defined in Section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or its successor.

Subdivision (d) of Section 12072 being the requirement that transfers between unlicensed individuals must be mediated by a licensed dealer.

http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/dwcl/12070.php

choprzrul
04-07-2010, 9:02 AM
The criteria is not +100 years. A firearm meets the definition of antique if the receiver was made prior to 1898. Note that a gun which only shoots black powder is also not legally considered a firearm.

-Jason

So...one of those .31 black powder pistols concealed under your jacket would not get you in trouble since it is not a firearm? Further, a cap and ball carried openly and loaded through a school zone would be ok under this also? NOT trying to be a wise guy, but rather just want clarity as I really like those old cap and ball revolvers.

Zomgie
04-07-2010, 9:22 AM
A black powder rifle is only considered a firearm while it's loaded. Unloaded, no, it is not a firearm.

Thanks to everyone else for the answers!

Mssr. Elegantť
04-07-2010, 9:43 AM
The Feds don't consider "antiques" to be firearms. But under California law they are still considered firearms, except for the purposes of them being transfered. Think of them as firearms that are exempt from California's dealer transfer requirements while they are unloaded.

gun toting monkeyboy
04-07-2010, 11:09 AM
A black powder rifle is only considered a firearm while it's loaded. Unloaded, no, it is not a firearm.

Thanks to everyone else for the answers!

^ What he said. Cap and ball weapons are considered to be loaded when you have a cap on them. If you have a ball and a charge of powder in it, but no cap, it is still considered to be unloaded.

Nodda Duma
04-07-2010, 2:29 PM
^ What he said. Cap and ball weapons are considered to be loaded when you have a cap on them. If you have a ball and a charge of powder in it, but no cap, it is still considered to be unloaded.

Thanks for the clarification guys.

-Jason

IronCobra
04-07-2010, 5:14 PM
About the black powder gun - regardless of firearm status.

It would still be considered a weapon and all concealed weapon/weapon laws would apply
correct?

Mssr. Elegantť
04-07-2010, 10:37 PM
About the black powder gun - regardless of firearm status.

It would still be considered a weapon and all concealed weapon/weapon laws would apply
correct?

Yes. It would still be considered a firearm. We should also clarify that the wording of the law says nothing about "black powder". The "antique" exemption applies to firearms made before 1899 and firearms that use a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system. If you had a modern Colt Single Action Army replica that was only rated for black powder loads it would not be eligible for the "antique" exemtion, even though it was designed to use black powder centerfire cartridges.

People have taken to calling it the "black powder" exemption because most firearms exempted tend to use black powder. But it is really a "matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap" exemption and a pre-1899 no matter what kind of ignition system or powder exemption.