Exempt Firearms in Victoria

Hi everyone,

No idea if anyone here is going to have a solid answer but I have some questions relating to exempt firearms in Victoria.

Victoria Police is very clear that they consider longarms to be exempt if they are made before 1900, don’t use cartridge ammunition OR use cartridge ammunition which is no longer commercially available (https://www.police.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-11/What-is-a-firearm-v-1-1.pdf). In addition to this, they state that “these firearms are ‘exempt’ from the Firearms Act 1996, there is no regulation or licence requirements to purchase, possess, carry and use exempt firearms in Victoria”.

There are two scenarios I currently face where I would like some opinions relating to this.

  1. I own a pre-1900s 12 gauge double-barrel black powder shotgun which is currently registered as a firearm. The firearm is NOT rated for modern ammunition. As far as I am aware, this meets the above-stated requirements to be an exempt firearm as, again, from what I know, you cannot buy commercial black-powder shotgun shells.
    Do people agree that this would be an exempt firearm? If so, how do I get it taken off my licence? For the record, I have no intention of ever firing it. I want to hang it up as it looks cool and is taking up space in the safe.

  2. I have recently been forced to purchase a muzzle-loading musket off @bentaz (forced as in he said he had one and then I said OK). It is pre-1900 and does not use cartridge ammunition so, again, it seems to meet the requirements of an exempt firearm. This one I do intend to shoot.
    Do I need a PTA for it? When I get it, does it need to be stored in the safe?

This seems to be a bit of a black hole and I suspect there is not a lot of information around other than the VicPol website which I’ve quoted from above. I found one other sort of related thread on here from 2018 which featured @juststarting, @Wombat and @no1mk3 discussing handguns but that was all I could find.

Any help, thoughts or advice is appreciated.

There were differing opinions. Mine was that if you are going to fire it it HAS to be registered etc. The 12g is probably going to be a non starter as a wall hanger, it may not be safe but you can get ammo that will fit and go bang (Maybe BOOM).

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Yeah I guessed this was the case after I found an obscure document from the cartridge collectors guild stating something similar.

If i were you i’d be contacting someone like this mob https://armscollectorsguild.com/, i reckon they’d be all over what is or isn’t exempt and how to go about deregistering something if it fits the bill.

Thanks for that. Good idea.

I agree, the 12g would be a no go. Regardless of its rating it can still chamber a modern round.
The front stuffer. I’m pretty sure repros are a no go because of modern manafacturers date.

There are two questions here, I think. First is - do they need to be registered; and second - can I shoot pre-1900 exempt firearms.

The answer is yes, you can shoot pre-1900 exempt firearms, as long as they are truly exempt and you are licenced to poses things that go bang, like powder and primers (will DM you something on that).

Are the guns you have exempt… Percussion caps are available in a lot of stores, so I don’t know about the musket. Maybe, maybe not… Best to email LRD and ask, I find them very helpful.

Shotgun, same, email and ask. However, 12ga is 12ga, I don’t think they care about the powder nuance.

The shotgun is a no go as a wall hanger as sungazer said.
The musket is not exempt because it was made in the 1970s.
All muzzle loader should be exempt, you could have 2 guns made 1 year apart and one can go on the wall, the other can’t, but identical gun.

Well poop. Thanks for the clarification. I’ll get onto PTAs today. Who knows how long they’ll take.

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No worries mate, not like I’m going anywhere to soon.

So if I have an original martini in .577/450 or a 577 snider it dosnt need to be registered but I can shoot it because I have a catogory A&B licence ? Or am I missing something?

Correct. MH are exempt in Vic.

You need a licence to be in possession of primers, powder and end product - cartridge ammunition that MH uses.
You do not need a licence to own a Martini Henry.

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Caveat: as long as there is no commercially available ammunition.

In fact, I am also 95% sure that once it’s in that category, selling ammunition for it is illegal. So for example, QLD (or wherever they are) mob that make obsolete ammo, Unique Munitions or something, it would be illegal for them to sell MH ammo in Vic.

I could be wrong on this one, but I I am fairly certain that I am not.