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I was looking up the BATF definition of antique to send to a seller that was hesitant to send an antique Mauser directly to me and noticed that the BATF has conflicting definitions of antique.

The Gun Control Act definition is the one that I have been assuming applies to Mauser rifles. It says that if it was manufactured before 1/1/1889, even if it uses currently available centerfire ammunition.

The NFA definition excludes those using currently available centerfire ammunition, e.g. PPU 7.65x53 or 7x57.

Am I correct in assuming that the GCA definition is the one that applies to our normal 1891 Argentine Mauser or 1893 Spanish Mauser rifles and carbines, and that the NFA definition only comes into play if you want to do something like cut the barrel down to shorter than 16 inches?



Silver Bullet member
15,573 Posts
I believe the GCA date is 1898, you have 1889.
Since neither the 1891 nor 1893 Mauser are NFA firearms( unless the barrel is less than 16"), the NFA rules are irrevelant.
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Platinum Bullet Member and Certified Curmudgeon
14,558 Posts
The definition for antique firearm below from the Gun Control Act [18 U.S.C., § 921(A)(16)] states that any firearm manufactured in or before 1898 is an antique [subparagraph (A)].

Note that is the date of manufacture, NOT the model designation.

The question of ammunition applies only to a REPLICA of any firearm "described in subparagraph (A)".

As Don said above, if the firearm is not an NFA Firearm, NFA rules do not apply.



Gun Control Act Definitions
Antique Firearm

18 U.S.C., § 921(A)(16)

The term “Antique Firearm” means:

A. Any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; and

Image of an illustration of antique firearms ignition systems such as matchlock (serpentine), wheel lock, flintlock, and percussion cap (caplock).

B. Any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica

Image of an illustration showing the differences between convention and unconventional ammunition.

  1. is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or
  2. uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

C. Any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term antique firearm shall not include any weapon which includes a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock or any combination thereof.
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