Muzzleloading Firearms Regulations

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The Massachusetts Primitive Firearms deer season will run from December 10 through 15 statewide. Regulatory changes for the 2001 Primitive season made by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board at their August meeting include allowing the use of sabot rounds regardless of composition as well as jacketed and belted projectiles. The Board also approved the use of telescopic sights, with the exception of laser sights or any other sights which project a beam. Closed, in-line ignitions, including those using shotgun (209) primers were also sanctioned. Firearms must also meet ALL the following criteria to be lawful for use during the Primitive Firearms deer season:

Loaded from the muzzle, fired from the shoulder, a caplock or flintlock ignition system, rifled bore or smoothbore, caliber not less than .44 or greater than .775, barrel length of 18 inches or longer, lacks a break open breech, is used only with black powder or a synthetic substance such as "Pyrodex", contains only one usable barrel and is used with a single lead projectile.

Questions concerning the use of firearms with break open breeches have been raised by the sporting public and brought to the attention of MassWildlife and the Environmental Police. Break open breeches were not lawful prior to the regulatory changes nor did the Board receive any written or oral testimony at the public hearing relative to break open breeches from either license holders or firearms manufacturers. Firearms with break open breeches remain unlawful during the Primitive Firearms season but may be used during the regular Shotgun season.

No FID card or License to Carry (LTC) is required for the possession of muzzleloading black powder rifles, shotguns or their ammunition. An FID or LTC is required to purchase all ammunition, including black powder and Pyrodex.

To make comments or request regulatory changes, write: Fisheries and Wildlife Board, c/o MassWildlife, 251 Causeway Street, Boston, MA, 02114.

For questions regarding FID cards or LTCs, contact your local Police Department or the state Firearms Records Bureau at 617.660.4780.