The Collector of Curios and Relics license, also known as the C&R FFL, is a special license needed by persons who wish to collect antique weapons, categorized by the ATF as artifacts or curio's. This is the most prohibiting and confining license and it varies quite a great deal compared to other FFL licenses.

A licensed collector has the same status under the GCA as a nonlicensee except for transactions in curio or relic firearms. A dealer’s license must be obtained to engage in the business of dealing in any firearms, including curios or relics. Curios and relics licensed collectors are required to keep an acquisition and disposition (A&D) record.

If a collector of curios and relics sells firearms from his private collection, BATF says no NICS check is needed. Holders of BATF collector licenses are exempt from NICS checks for the transfer of curio and relic firearms. However, if any licensed dealer sells a curio or relic to anyone other than a curios and relics license holder in the public, a NICS background check is required.

Firearms automatically attain C&R status when they are 50 years old. Any firearm that is at least 50 years old, and in its original configuration, would qualify as a C&R firearm. It is not necessary for such firearms to be listed in ATF's C&R list. Therefore, ATF does not generally list firearms in the C&R publication by virtue of their age.

Firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA) may be classified as C&R items, but still may be subject to the provisions of the NFA. If your C&R item is an NFA firearm (e.g. Winchester Trappers) and you desire removal from the NFA status, you must submit it to FATD for evaluation and a formal classification.

You cannot ship any handgun or any ammunition through the U.S. Postal Service. A commercial carrier must be used to ship any handgun, including curios and relics. Please check with the specific carrier before shipping to ensure your package meets all of legal requirements.

It is unlawful for any person to transfer a firearm, including a curios and relics (antique) classified firearm, to any person knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe, that such person is a felon or is within any other category of person prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms.

Q: What qualifies as an antique firearm?
As defined in 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; or
B. Any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica

             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 and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or
C. Any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term ‘antique firearm’ shall not include any weapon which incorporates 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.

ATF has previously determined that certain muzzle loading models are firearms and subject to the provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). All of these guns incorporate the frame or receiver of a firearm that is capable of accepting other barrels designed to fire conventional rimfire or centerfire fixed ammunition. Therefore, these muzzle loading models do not meet the definition of “antique firearm” as that term is defined in the above-cited § 921(a)(16) and are “firearms” as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3)

Furthermore, as firearms, the models described above, as well as other similar models, regardless of installed barrel type, are subject to all provisions of the GCA. Persons who purchase these firearms from licensed dealers are required to fill out ATF Form 4473 and are subject to a National Instant Background Check System (NICS) check. Convicted felons and certain other persons are prohibited from receiving and possessing these firearms.

The following is a list of weapons that load from the muzzle and remain classified as firearms, not antiques, under the purview of the GCA since they incorporate the frame or receiver of a firearm:
1. Savage Model 10ML (early, 1st version).
2. Mossberg 500 shotgun with muzzle loading barrel.
3. Remington 870 shotgun with muzzle loading barrel.
4. Mauser 98 rifle with muzzle loading barrel.
5. SKS rifle with muzzle loading barrel
6. RPB sM10 pistol with muzzle loading barrel.
7. H&R/New England Firearm Huntsman.
8. Thompson Center Encore/Contender.
9. Rossi .50 muzzle loading rifle.

Any firearm, regardless of manufacture date, designed to use, OR CAN BE CONVERTED TO USE, center fire fixed ammunition, requires a ATF 4473 and is subject to a National Instant Background Check.