ATF: SilencerCo Maxim 50’s Silencer Not A Silencer Because A Muzzleloader Is Not a Gun

As you’d expect, as intended, SilencerCo’s Maxim 50 suppressed muzzleloader caused a kerfuffle this week. A gun with a silencer that doesn’t require ANY paperwork? One that can be MAILED to a buyer’s house, WITHOUT A BACKGROUND CHECK? Yup, pretty much. CNN reports that the Maxim 50 has the ATF’s blessing . . .

Silencers are subject to federal gun control laws that are more restrictive than for most guns. They are treated like machine guns, requiring a more intensive background check that takes months to process, with a $200 tax.

But muzzleloaders are not subject to federal gun control laws because they use antiquated firing mechanisms without modern ammunition, said Max Kingery, chief of the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Criminal Branch of the ATF. “Thus, there would be no federal restriction on the sale or distribution of this item,” he said.

SilencerCo provided CNNMoney with a letter from the ATF that greenlights the Maxim 50, saying that their silencer is not considered a silencer because it’s permanently attached to the muzzleloader, which is not considered a gun.

Nope. A muzzleloader is a ham sandwich. Wait. Then the FDA would get involved.

Anyway, California, Massachusetts and New Jersey balked at “allowing” sales of the Maxim 50, forcing the company to suspend sales in those slave states.

That’s according to SilencerCo. Before trotting out the obligatory Brady Campaign kvetch, CNN cast some doubt on CA, MA and NJ’s anti-ballistic blowback:

A company spokesperson was unable to specify who the claims were from. CNN reached out to the attorneys general for the three states. Massachusetts said it didn’t file any claims and New Jersey and California did not respond to CNN’s inquiry.

Well, if they didn’t take action against Americans exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear a silencer-equipped muzzleloader, that would be news. And odds are they will. Watch this space.


  1. avatar BLoving says:

    Side-hammers FTW!
    I’ve always been more of a traditionalist regarding my muzzle loaders but this beautiful opportunity to give the finger to gun bigots is awfully tempting.
    I’ll think about it.

  2. avatar Noishkel says:

    Yeah I wouldn’t get too comfortable with this ruling. Especially if it can at all be dismounted from the weapon. Not really interested in black ponder, so I’m not all that interested in this. And at the end of the day we shouldn’t forget that the ATF does have a history of changing it’s mind.

    1. avatar Nanashi says:

      But the ATF ignoring the law to change classification because of a covfefe is more points in favor of killing the NFA and the ATF.

      1. avatar Excedrine says:

        It would be for us. It wouldn’t be for the government, which has absolutely zero interest in even reigning in the hyper-abusive, rogue agency. Much less disbanding it. Odds are, neither the NFA nor the BATFE are ever going anywhere.

        1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

          There is currently a bill to disband the BATFE in the House right now. It would send the AT functions to the DEA and the FE functions to the FBI. I doubt the bill will ever make it out of committee, but at least one guy in Congress is somewhat listening.

    2. avatar J.T. says:

      “Especially if it can at all be dismounted from the weapon.”

      It can’t be.

  3. avatar Jon in CO says:

    Now they’re getting national press for the ultimate middle finger troll? Yes. Just awesome.

  4. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    However because all of the reasons it’s not a firearm or suppressor it has the civilian disarmament proponents,aka Commicrats tender panties all knotted up.

  5. avatar thunder9158 says:

    i wonder what illinois thinks of this. They consider muzzle loaders to be firearms

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      They ban silencers but they dont define them, so I assume they take NFA definition. so i think it would be legal

  6. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Yep, now I just need a horse and a cart, then I’ll be set up for doing a drive by. The cops might even blame it on the Amish, cause they do so many drive bys.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      If on foot, mosey-bys?

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Clop. Clop. Clop. Clop.

        Ka-whoosh.( have no idea what sound a suppressed muzzle loader makes. Just go with me on this.)

        Lancaster, Pa!!! Represent!!!

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:



          Is a non-suppressed Amish Drive-By…

    2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Dang, just realized the black powder smoke will give me away. So much for my planned life of crime, shot down silently before it could even begin.

      1. avatar george says:

        The mob always used silencer muzzleloaders for hits in the 30’s

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Yeah, the 1830s.

      2. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        Too bad for you it’s not easy enough to just make a silencer is you have the right tools and are not disabled.

  7. avatar Mr.Savage says:

    hey, a muzzle loader I might be interested in!

  8. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    New Jersey considers an air rifle – even a Daisy Red Rider with a muzzle velocity that’s so low you can shoot the gun and then run out in front of it with a target to catch the BB – to be a firearm. I stay out of New Jersey with my Gamo “Silent Cat” air rifle even though its neither a cat nor silent since they see it as a silenced firearm. A “silenced” muzzle loader would give them fits. Just the thing for robbing 7-11s

    1. avatar Lee says:

      NJ also considers sling shots as weapons. You can’t get much more primitive than that…. Unless it was knives…. oh wait a minute I think they have laws about those too.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    A muzzleloader is not a firearm in MA, so how can a permanent device that’s part of a not-a-firearm be considered a silencer?

    Oh, wait. It’s Massachusetts, where guns are icky but drunken Kennedys are saints.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Drunk or stoned Kennedys…

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Either way, those boys can really swim.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Either way, those boys can really swim.”

          Mary Jo, not so much…

        2. avatar Rob62381 says:

          They take bullets fairly well, too…

  10. avatar Jd says:

    But wait.. I thought the antis say the 2nd amendment only applies to muzzle loaders* anyway?

    oh, I must have missed the asterisk:

    *except where we say it doesn’t

  11. avatar Accur81 says:

    Already banned in CA for nebulous “safety” reasons. I feel so much more safe in these sanctuary cities filled with early-released gang bangers.

  12. avatar FedUp says:

    Just like integral air rifle moderators…so this is not new territory for the ATF.

  13. avatar bobo says:

    Ahhh california ignoring federal laws, the Constitution and the rights of citizens for well over a decade!

    We Republicans sent up a flare in 1994 to stop the DemoRat take over of the state, but the flare called prop 187 was ignored by all the other 49 states…ohh well we tried to advert disaster! But 49 other states were to DUMB!!!! to hear the call of freedom dying!

  14. avatar TruthTellers says:

    Can’t people in Mass and New Jersey just go to New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and buy this muzzleloader? It doesn’t require anything more than a photo ID to buy in order as a proof of age.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      And then they’re carrying a felony home with them.

  15. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    TruthTellers says:
    September 23, 2017 at 17:12
    Can’t people in Mass and New Jersey just go to New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and buy this muzzleloader? It doesn’t require anything more than a photo ID to buy in order as a proof of age.

    Truth Teller

    They should have guarded there Liberty more jealously.

    Although they could always elect their representatives differently,ones that would also guard Freedom and Liberty but wait that will never happen,so they live with what they have created.

  16. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    State laws can vary. For legal purposes, the Commonwealth of Kentucky defines “firearm” as the following: “(2) “Firearm” means any weapon which will expel a projectile by the action of an explosive”

    So under KY law, technically a muzzle loader would be a firearm for concealed carry laws and “felon in possession of” laws.

    But for the most part KY has very little regulations of firearms.

  17. avatar Pete Jones says:

    Isn’t this known to cause cancer in the state of California?

  18. avatar David says:

    “The Second Amendment was only ever intended to protect muskets!”

    Proceeds to outlaw literal muskets.

    At least it’s crystal clear to the average person what they actually stand for.

    1. avatar PistoleroJesse says:

      This is the real genius of SilencerCo. Straight out of Cody Wilson’s play book.

  19. avatar Camper says:

    Judging by the photos I’ve seen of the Maxim, I already have the rifle, I only need the barrel. Please, oh please, Mr. Silencerco sell just the barrel.

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