START HERE - Newbie Frequently Asked Questions
"I know nothing!"
START HERE - Newbie Frequently Asked Questions
(this is a work in progress. I will be continually updating this post)
Access to Equipment Exchange and Off Topics can be found here:
Q: I’m new to shooting, never fired a gun before. Can I borrow a gun to try out, before buying my own?
A: Yes, as long as you are UNDER DIRECT SUPERVISION. This means a licenced shooter standing arms length away from you.
Q: OK, sounds good. I would like to try out a few different guns and types of shooting sports. How can I meet more experienced shooters?
A: Look through the Meeting Place For Newbies and Mentors threads in this forum. It is sorted by province and region. With luck, someone will take you out to a range, and allow you to use their guns, UNDER DIRECT SUPERVISION, of course.
Q: I tried shooting and I like it! How do I get my PAL or POL licence?
A: You no longer can get a POL (Possession Only Licence). No problem really, as you do not yet have guns, you will need to get a PAL anyways.
To get a PAL (Possession and Acquisition Licence), you must pass a written and a practical (hands-on) test. Generally, you would take a one or two day/evening course, although, if you feel you are up for it, you may challenge the test without taking the course. Also, the PAL comes in two types, a non-restricted for most long guns, and Restricted, (PAL-R) for some rifles, and all handguns. More info can be found here.
A separate course is required for the Restricted and Non-Restricted Licences.
Q: How do I get my hunting licence?
A: Hunting licences are controlled provincially, so the rules change by province. Expect to take some sort of course, and do a test. A list of instructors can be found here (list to come)
Q: Now I have my PAL, I would like to buy my first gun.
A: I like the attitude! If you are planning on getting a non-restricted gun (most, but not all, long guns), you present your PAL for inspection, the sale takes place quickly, and you can take your rifle or shotgun home that day.
If you buy a restricted gun, you will need to get an ATT (Authorization To Transport) form. This should be a few days only.
More info here. (http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/online-en_...transfer_e.asp)
Q: I will need ammo also. What is required to buy ammo?
A: You must have a PAL (or a POL, for those that have them) to buy loaded ammo. In Ontario, by Provincial legislation, address and PAL numbers are recorded and entered into the store bound book for the purchase of gun powder and ammunition.
Q: Now that I have my PAL, and know how to buy guns and ammo, what is and is not allowed?
A: The never ending question. “Is ______ allowed?” We could start a big list of similar questions.
1) Q: Are “Bullpup” rifles prohibited?
A: NO, they are perfectly legal. However, any STOCK that converts a standard rifle to bullpup design is a prohibited DEVICE.
(Several bullpups were banned by NAME a while back, such as the Steyr AUG and the French FAMAS. It must be understood
that the bullpup design was not banned as a class, only those named guns)
2) EDIT (Need more info)
3) Q: Is Incendiary ammo prohibited?
A: Yes. As it ignites on impact, it is prohibited, as noted in Question 2, above
4) Q: Is FMJ (full metal jacket) ammo prohibited?
A: NO! It is not prohibited to OWN, but it is illegal to use for HUNTING big game. For some reason, a few PAL instructors seem to think that the world of shooting begins and ends with hunting. This is where a lot of the mis-information gets started.
5) Q: Is hollow point ammo prohibited?
A: NO! . It is legal to own and use HP ammo in handguns. In the past, importation of Hollow Point pistol ammunition was an issue with Natural Resources Canada, but the ruling had changed since then.
Restrictions on the importation of hollow-point handgun ammunition no longer apply. Hollow-point ammunition for all types of firearms is now admissible.
6) Q: Is Amour Piercing ammo prohibited?
A: NO, not in rifle calibres. Yes, it is banned in pistol calibres..
EDIT. there is some dispute about this right now
I'll post the final answer when we see how this case turns out
7) Q: Are guns chambered in 50 BMG allowed?
A: YES! A few 50 BMG guns were banned BY NAME in 1993 such as Barett M82 and M95, but many others are allowed, and are still being imported. Be aware though, the US state department will not issue export permit for any 50 BMG guns, ammo, and components. However, other countries are not bound by this export ban, so expect a greater variety in the future, as other manufacturers fill the void.
8) Q: How about calibres OVER 50 calibre?
A: No problem. A few members here own 14.5 mm (approx. .59 cal) PTRD and PTRS Russian anti-tank rifles. They are completely unrestricted.
Q: Is there any maximum number of guns I can own?
A: Not by law, but you will soon find out how many you can afford! There is some part of the recent law (C68 Firearms Law) that states that any residence having over 10 guns MAY be inspected. Although the law is in place, it happens very rarely, if at all.
Q: I have heard of some people having special Prohibited status. How do I get “Prohibited Status” on my PAL?
A: Presumably, you mean how do you get the Orders In Counsel (OIC) (12-2 through to 12-7) “grandfather clause” exemption.
First, let’s clarify what is meant by Prohibited. It does not mean “Frowned Upon”. It means Prohibited. The “grandfather clause” is a special exemption for those that PREVIOUSLY had the type of firearm now deemed prohibited. It allows a person TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT HE HAS DONE BEFORE. If you have not owned a 12-xx type gun, how can you continue to do so?
Q: What are the different classes that I cannot own?
12-2 is Full Auto (Yes, believe it or not, a very few people can still own Full Auto. They cannot fire them, though)
12-3 is Converted Auto. Soon after the Full Auto rules came into effect in 1978, one lucky owner died. His survivors hoped to inherit his collection, but found that because they were not "grandfathered" to own FA, they could not. They asked if the guns could be converted to fire only semi-auto. This was allowed, which opened the door to further imports. About 50,000 CA guns were imported, according to the National Firearms Association. This was stopped in 1991, and those CA guns became Prohibited - Grandfathered.
12-4 is a small group of named guns, including the Steyr AUG, a "bullpup" design. It is prohibited because it is so named, not because it is a bullpup.
12-5 is a large group of semi-automatic named guns, including the FN-FAL series, AK-47 clones, and HK 91 and 93 types.
12-6 is short barreled handguns, and handguns in various .25 and .32 calibres. (An exception is made for a few limited target grade guns in .25 ACP and .32 ACP.)
12-7 is the one class that can you can get in the future, but your parent has to die first. (Technically, you can inherit while your relative is still alive, but dying first seems to be the most popular route.) If a direct relative (parent, grandparent, sibling, or spouse) has short barreled handguns made before 1946, you can inherit them.
This is lifted directly from the CFC site:
Grandfathering Requirements for Prohibited Firearms
As a general rule, to be able to acquire a prohibited firearm, you need “grandfathering privileges” for that particular category of prohibited firearm. In other words, you must have continuously held a valid registration certificate for a firearm in that category since December 1, 1998. A registration certificate is valid only if you already have a valid licence authorizing you to possess that category of firearm.
Exception: You do not need grandfathering privileges to inherit a registered prohibited handgun that discharges .25 or .32 calibre ammunition or that has a barrel length of 105 mm or less if:
* the handgun was manufactured before 1946, and
* you are the spouse, brother, sister, child or grandchild of the registered owner; and
* the handgun is used for a permitted purpose such as target shooting or as part of a collection.
A list and photos can be found here:
Q: What are my options for OIC 13 (12-xx) ?
A: Option One. Nothing, other than whine and complain.
Option Two. Build a time machine.
Option Three. Get politically involved, so that MAYBE, just maybe, we can overturn some of this stuff.
(***Please note, option one is well covered. Option three still needs more people.)
Q: What do all the numbers in a caliber mean? I have a 7mm gun, but the guy at the store says I need to be more specific.
A: It can be confusing at first. There is the European metric system, and there is the North American so-called "system", which is really a hodge-podge of numbers.
The metric system uses the bore diameter (5.56 mm or 8 mm, for example) and also the length of the case. So a 7.62 x 39 mm is obviously different from a 7.62 x 51 mm cartridge. Also, if the cartridge has a rim on it, it will have a capitol R after the size, such as 7.62 x 54R. This allows you to understand the size, even if you are not familiar with that particular round.
The US "system" has all sorts of goofy names and numbers that really don't explain the size, if you do not already know the cartridge.
The old US service round was the .30-06. This is a .30 caliber (30 one hundreds of an inch), adopted in 1906. From that original case size, it was "necked down" to .25 calibre. The round is called 25-06, even though it came much later than 1906.
The .308 Winchester is that dimension in bullet diameter, but gives no indication of cartridge length. When necked down to 7mm, it is called the 7-08, mixing metric and a bit of imperial together to mean nothing.
Also, some rounds go by several names, such as the 7.92 x 57 Mauser. It is usually rounded up to 8 x 57, in WW2 German use it was called the 7.9 x 57, and it can be called simply the 8mm Mauser.
Be patient, one day it will make sense.
Buy a good book on ballistics.
Also, this Wiki article was suggested by another CGN member.
Q: How many rounds can I have in my gun?
A: This is a never ending source of confusion. Pay attention, I'll try to sort it out.
Rimfire rifle magazines - no limits
Magazines designed for centerfire or rimfire pistols - 10 rounds
Magazines designed for centerfire bolt/pump/lever firearms - no limit.
Magazines designed for centerfire semi-automatic rifles - 5 rounds
First thing to understand is that there is FEDERAL FIREARMS LAW, there is FEDERAL HUNTING LAW (Migratory game birds, ducks and geese), and there are different PROVINCIAL HUNTING LAWS.
First up, the federal firearms laws. This is the one we all have to follow, whether we hunt or not.
-For rifles with any type of action other than semi-auto, there is no limit! NONE, ZERO, ZILTCH, NADA.
Same for .22 rimfire, even if it is semi-auto. No Limit. A 50 round mag for a R***r 10-22 is fine.
-For semi-auto centrefire rifles, the limit is 5 rounds.
Note that this is 5 rounds in the mag, and does not include the one in the chamber. 6 rounds total, if the design permits it.
The one exception is for the M1 Garand, as it uses 8 round clips.
Also, any belt/link designed for belt fed machine guns designed before 1945 is exempted from the 5 rounds rule. A .223 belt would not qualify, based on age.
-For handguns, the mag limit is 10 rounds. Again, 10 plus one in the tube, 11 total.
Strangely enough, the wording is such, that the limits are on what the mag was designed for, rather than what it is used in at the moment. So if a rifle and a handgun use the SAME mag, and you switch them around, the mag that came out of the rifle would still be limited to 5, even if used in a handgun, while the 10 round handgun mag would in this case be OK in a rifle.
I don't make the rules, I just report them.
A good part of the confusion rests with the Fed FA laws getting confused with hunting laws, both Federal and provincial.
Migratory bird hunting is subject to federal rules. These laws state that the gun (a shotgun, obviously) be limited to 3 rounds total. That is a total of three, as in one in the chamber and two in the magazine. Most semi-auto shotguns have a removeable plug that allows you have 5 rounds when you are not hunting migratory birds. If you want to hunt crows, starlings, etc. or if you want to do a Tactical shoot, the Migratory rules do not apply. However the Federal Firearms Laws still do, so 5 rounds max for a semi. (No limit for a pump shotty!)
Provincial hunting rules differ across the country. Check in your area.
As with the full metal jacket ammo issue above, some Firearm instructors started by teaching hunting courses, so have the habit of mixing hunting and firearms law together, incorrectly.
Another source of confusion is the bizarre legal language the federal laws use. An example of this is the case of the Lee-Enfield magazine. It is a 10 rounder. As it is used in a bolt action, there are NO size limits. However, during WW2, there was a training gun made from old Lee-Enfields converted to Full-Auto fire (it can be done, but it was a pig-ugly contraption).
Consequently, the laws make a specific exemption for the L-E mag, even though it is not neccesary to do so, as the mag was designed for the bolt action L-E rifle.
Not easy to follow, and I may well be corrected myself. (Twice, so far!)
Q: Now that I have a gun, I want to get into reloading. How do I find out more info?
A: When time allows, I will try to write an article on reloading. For right now, check out these sites:
Q: Help me with all the abbreviations and technical terms, please!
A: Try these sites:
Revision 1 Added info about 12-x classes
Rev. 2 Explanation of ammo terms/sizes
Rev. 3 Removed mention of barrel length. Full explaination to come.
Rev. 4 Mag limits added
Rev. 5 Mag limit revised slightly
Rev. 6 Abbreviations and Tech. terms
Rev. 7 Corrected spelling errors
Rev. 8 Clarified Mag size limits (again!)
Rev. 9 Corrected the "over 50 cal" question, as another Mod had edited into my post incorrectly.
Rev.10 Corrected/clarified 12-7 short barreled handgun inheritance
Rev. 11 Refreshed CFC links. They seem to continually change the pages which changes the URL
Rev.12 &13 Refreshed Can. Border Services Agency link, regarding hollow point handgun ammo
Rev. 14 Refreshed Nat. Reloading Manufacturers Assc. website link. Thanks to the two members that brought this to my attention.
Rev. 15 Clarified PAL test and 12.6 regulations. Thanks Capp!
Rev.16 Refreshed Can. Border Services Agency link, regarding hollow point handgun ammo yet again!
Rev 17 Wiki ammo list link added
Last edited by tootall; 04-02-2013 at 12:43 AM.
"I know nothing!"
If anyone finds a mistake (horrors!) in the above post, please PM me so that I can correct it. Several members already have done so.
I recently completed an Instructor Diploma course. Two of the quotes I recall are:
"To teach is to learn twice"
"When one teaches, two learn":
Last edited by tootall; 06-28-2008 at 03:34 PM.
Reason: changed "two members" to "several members" !
"I know nothing!"
Not a firearms question, but an issue that comes up often on this site, is "hotlinking" to other web sites.
The rules are as follows:
--DO NOT link directly to news outlets conducting online polls. The media (paper, radio, TV, etc.) can see where the most replies are coming from, and we don't want that. There are several ways to break the link. You can leave a space between the "www"
Also, there is usually no need to type in the http://www. part of the URL
Simply type in the
part of the link, and your computer will add the rest of it. Try it!
Or you can click on the Go Advanced button below, and unclick the "Automatically parse links in text" option.
--DO NOT link to non-supporting dealers. Doing so is not fair to those dealers that do support CGN. You can still mention other dealers by name, but no linking.
--Links other than non-supporting dealers, and media polls are allowed. This includes news articles, other forums, gun museums collections, off topic stuff, internal links to other CGN threads , etc.
Thanks for your co-operation.
Last edited by tootall; 02-01-2008 at 04:10 AM.
"I know nothing!"
Several members have asked for a list of Federal MP's, in order to write letters.
And the same site in French
Edit. And this can be used to find your MP, simply enter your own postal code.
Last edited by tootall; 10-25-2006 at 04:01 PM.
"I know nothing!"
To apply for permission to access the Equuipment Exchange ( EE ), Off Topics ( OT), Youth Wing, or any of the other limited access areas, you will need to apply.
Along the top of the screen is:
User CP Forums Gallery FAQ Members List, etc, etc
click on User CP (stands for Control Panel), then at the bottom of the drop down list is:
Buddy / Ignore Lists
click on Group Memberships, and apply there. I do not have the power to give you access right here.
(I just got two separate PMs asking how to do so, so thats a good indication that the Newbie section needs updating!)
EDIT. It may take a few days for someone to do the approval. Please be patient, keep in mind that the Moderators are all volunteers, so we have a real job that must come first. Thanks for your understanding and patience.
Last edited by tootall; 07-23-2007 at 02:25 AM.
"I know nothing!"
Last edited by tootall; 01-12-2008 at 03:54 AM.
Reason: Added huge list of links
"I know nothing!"
Some more info on rules and conduct on CGN.
(CGN General Rules and Guidelines)