antique firearms?

hey guys young gun enthusiast here have a massive passion for shooting and gunsmithing but cant hold a license because i cant bolt a safe into a rental house so im looking at antique firearms to start the collection just wondering if i can pick anyones brain on the legalities in nsw the nswpolice has a data page but im sure its intentionally difficult to decipher looking for info on storage and types avaliable cheers for the help -conzilla

Buy a heavy safe, that does not require bolting down.

Like @Wombat said, safes over 150kg are not required to be bolted down. So worth looking into it. Other than that, I am sure someone will assist :slight_smile:

There is no requirement in NSW to bolt a safe down if it weighs >150kgs unless it contains handguns then every safe needs to be bolted down. Refer to

I should add that if you intend to “collect” then you should make sure you have the “C” endorsement on your SSAA Membership unless you are a member of an alternate approved collectors society. When you apply for your license ensure you tick A, B & G on the genuine reasons section. (G = Collecting) and under subsection G, tick A,B,C,D & H so you’re covered for everything that your safe storage covers. H = Handguns which you cant have but possibly in the future you can bolt the safe down so no need to add additional category.


You have to keep in mind antique means the gun was physically made before January 1, 1901. Modern reproductions (as in, anything made after that date) of old muskets and cap and ball pistols are treated the same as a “real” gun and need to be licensed, have a PTA, stored in a gun safe etc.

All pre-1901 muzzleloading/cap & ball firearms are considered antiques in NSW, along with any gun which is chambered for one of the cartridges on this list:

The list includes things like .577 Snider and .577/450 Martini-Henry, of which there are plenty of rifles floating about in decent shape and they’re a good starting point for a collector.

They were also out of production well before 1901, so there’s no danger of inadvertently getting a gun with a technically obsolete calibre but which was made in the 20th century.


Nothing stopping you getting your licence even if you don’t own a firearm; unless there’s some weird NSW law I dont know about.

Another thing to remember is that while you can own antique firearms without a licence you will need one if you want to shoot them, if you wanna buy black powder, etc.
There are also ways you can bolt a safe in in a rental without doing your bond or pissing off the landlord.

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Could always just ask the landlord, they might be OK with it if you put it in a cupboard or somewhere out of sight.

very true i personally dont intend to do any shooting with them more a big fascination with gunsmithing and the few antiques ive seen are very simple bare bone internals and seems like the easiest way to get my head around the mechanisms is studying where they started out

cheers mate i have seen a lot of 20th century reproductions around i have actually been looking at the Martini Henry rifles but wouldn’t have a clue where to start looking are there gun shows for antique firearms the only ones i seem to find are the replica wall pieces

cheers mate yeah im with the ssaa ill have to look into a good heavy safe any reccomendations?

Is someone else intending to do shooting with them?

no wrong phrasing sorry but they are investments after all and the next bloke might

I mean, if you want to understand the internals, shooting would be one of the more interesting parts, but horses for courses. MH is a lot of fun to shoot.

No-one makes replica Martini-Henry rifles; all the ones you see will be original (or at worst, a copy from the Khyber Pass between India and Pakistan and there’s pretty much none of those in Australia that I’ve seen).

There are often antiques for sale at the gun shows, and the Australian Arms Auction guys sell antiques at their auctions too - although I’m told their fees and insurance and postage charges can add quite a lot to the hammer price of items.

There is an “antiques” section on the Oz Gun Sales website too, but a few of the guns there are just old and not legally antiques.

Might also be worth joining the Historic Arms Collectors branch of SSAA too, as that will put you in touch with people who like the old guns and might know where to find suitable examples for your collection.

One of the things to watch out for is modern reproductions of muskets and cap and ball revolvers - they’re legally the same as a modern gun. An easy way to spot them is markings such as BLACK POWDER ONLY on the gun, being from manufacturers like Uberti or Euroarms, and just generally looking like a new gun and not one that’s 120+ years old.

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Built 1866, 44 rim fire but still requires licence ?

Must be because it’s still mad at the cow…

I had a shop insist that a pre 1900 single barrel percussion shotgun had to be registered because wads were available.

A lot of gun shops just register everything, even obviously antique stuff, which is a giant pain in the ass (not the registering guns which should be registered, the registering clearly antique guns thing).

I found a 1860s musket a few years ago that was at an OK price, but the dealer was elsewhere in QLD and had registered it, so it would have to go to another dealer who was going to charge me all the usual fees on top of the postage, then I’d have to apply to Weapons Licensing to get the gun de-registered as being an antique.

The whole thing was going to be a huge amount of fucking around and take weeks (at a minimum) for what was going to be a wallhanger, so I didn’t get it in the end.

.44 Rimfire can technically be converted and chambered to a centrefire.
Also fully contained cartridge firing guns are less likely to be let through as antiques.

“can technically be converted” …pffff