Germany: Hunting with semi-autos with interchangeable magazine allowed again

It seems that for the first time ever, Germany is going to get a more permissive gun law.

As an Amendment of the Federal Hunting Act comes into force, it is now legal to hunt even with 20 round (perhaps even more?) magazine if you put only 3 rounds in. This is even better than before, where even 5 round mags were forbidden while hunting.

According to this German source (German Hunting Association) it is now legal to hunt with, for instance, an AR10 or AR15. I presume a Saiga or Molot 12 is ok to, with birdshots or slugs depending on the hunt? But you cannot use more than 3 rounds at a time, I guess this means 2+1.

Below: The Benelli MR1 in .223 Remington, which comes with a 5 round magazine but accepts Magpuls etc. Never a hit in the US.


My German is a bit rusty, so here’s the translation with more than a little help from Google.

My highlights from the German Hunting Association’s press release:

Amendment of the Federal Hunting Act comes into force

published an amendment to the Federal Hunting Act in the Federal Law Gazette morning and will come into force a day later. The use of semi-automatic hunting rifles with interchangeable magazine is then allowed again.

08 November 2016 (DJV) Berlin

The amendment to the Federal Hunting Act for use of semi-automatic rifles with interchangeable magazine will be published on November 9, 2016 the Federal Law Gazette and shall enter into force on 10 November 2016th .

The new § 19 paragraph 1 No. 2 Letter c reads: “It is forbidden, with semi-automatic rifles, which are loaded with a total of more than three rounds, and with automatic weapons to shoot at wild”.


JP Enterprises Rifle

The change became necessary after the Federal Administrative Court had declared in two judgments of 7 March 2016, the use of semi-automatic weapons with interchangeable magazine Hunting inadmissible.

The judgment had caused considerable uncertainty among hunters and weapons authorities. The legislature has reacted positively and is now restores legal certainty for owners of semi-automatic rifles with interchangeable magazine.

The Alliance of federated Forum Waffenrecht associations of the Confederation of the military and police shooters (BDMP) Federation of German marksmen (BDS), German Hunting Association (DJV) German Shooting Union (DSU), Association of manufacturers of hunting, sporting weapons and ammunition ( JSM) and the Association of German gunsmiths and arms dealer (VDB) and the German Shooting federation (DSB) welcome the scheme explicitly.”

One company that finds this new legislation positive is Oberland Arms, manufacturer of AR15s and AR10s. Their “news” section can be found here (German).

Another, Schmeisser Germany, posted this picture with the text “Das kleine Schwarze” für Jäger which means “The small black one” for hunters.

The rifle is an AR15 S4F with a 10.5″ barrel. People asked for a version in .308 Win., which they don’t run. At least not yet.


Want to know more about Schmeisser? Please read the recent TFB article.


Hunting with semi-autos: Today and The future?

There’s a debate in many countries, and I presume States, about “military looking” and “high capacity magazines” for hunting (and also sports). The going is that some features on the rifles aren’t motivated for hunting. For instance, Picatinny rails are sometimes considered a big no no by authorities, as it’s mainly for Police and Military use.


The picture below is quite telling. There are 3 rifles, all are on hunting permits.

Ask any random person which rifle looks most intimidating. Try it and see what they say.

I’ve tried this with a few people, and they always go for the top rifle which is a Remington 700 bolt-action (308 Win). I guess it’s the Zeiss 3-12×56 scope that makes people worried?

Middle one is the Benelli MR1 (no, MR does NOT stand for Military Rifle). Currently there are issues getting a hunting license on this rifle in some countries.

The bottom one is a Remington 597 in .22LR (semi-auto).




The top picture is a JP Enterprises LRP-07, most likely in .308 Win and an interesting Duracoat.


I have tried to understand the exact details of what is allowed and not in terms of magazines in Germany, but find contradicting replies. If you know the current legisltation, please let us know in the comments section at the end.

Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with an European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatic firearms, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too.


  • A Fascist Corgi

    Mmm. Arctic camo.

  • MartinWoodhead

    If you need more than 3 rounds what the hell are you hunting?!!

    • Sasquatch

      Hogs, coyotes, hunting deer with dogs, need I go on.

    • Major Tom

      The most dangerous game. :3

    • Marc

      When culling boar in a driven hunt you need a lot of rounds, even if every shot is a kill.

      • Alexandru Ianu

        Not necessary in Europe. Larger invasive species tend to be transplanted from Europe elsewhere.

        • Marc

          What? You do realize that boar are no less of a nuisance in Europe just because they’re native?

    • john huscio

      Don’t be a fudd-y duddy.

    • AC97

      Why not have more than three rounds? Is there a problem with that?

    • TechnoTriticale

      re: If you need more than 3 rounds what the hell are you hunting?!!

      Something that might be hunting you. If I were afoot in griz/kodiak country for any reason, I’d prefer to have a self-loader with more than 3 rounds on tap.

      More is also valid for herd nuisance species like hogs.

      But sure, the last deer I took here in Kansas could have been done with a single-shot rifle. So these laws are to some minor extent intended to hint to neophyte nimrods that no, a 50 round drum is not going to compensate for your clumsy stalking and terrible aim.

  • Major Tom

    They forgot the zero right after the 3.

  • LazyReader

    “OH NO, murder has skyrocketed, mass shootings are up….uh, no…….no?”

  • Exoskeleton

    So are you allowed to store ALL the extra ammo you carry on you as person in a containers that “conveniently” looks and function just like a magazines?

  • Marc

    It wasn’t actually banned before, the law was just poorly worded and some not very bright bureaucrat got it wrong. Before, the law said it’s not allowed to shoot at game with a semi-auto rifle that can accept more than 3 rounds. In practice, this meant you insert a 2 shot magazine plus one in the chamber; everything fine because in that configuration the limitation applies. At the range this limitation doesn’t apply so hunters can use double drum magazines if they so desire. Some pencil pusher thought the law means that any semi-auto rifle that could accept a larger magazine is illegal for hunters to own, but that was never the intention of the law, so it got re-worded.

  • AD

    What is the purpose of only allowing three rounds to be loaded?

    I understand the theory of laws limiting magazine sizes, but I don’t really understand the purpose of this law?

    • Rick O’Shay

      In hunting, typically when the number of rounds that are allowed to be loaded in the firearm at any given time (shotguns and duck hunting immediately come to mind), the intent is to make the hunt more “sporting.”

      • gusto

        it is not about limiting shots fired when hunting.

        driven hunting is huge in Germany, it is not spray and prey but there are times when you shot several animals in a row, and some migth say that you shot until the game is down

        big magazines for bolt actions and straightpulls are the norm, like 10 or so rounds not more because you still have some style with that

        youtube a guy named Franz Albrecht

        those kind of laws were probalby put in place so that people didn’t use a hunting license just to get a cool gun

        ar15/10s won’t all of a sudden become popular either. hunting in germany is very traditional

        • Ax

          Within five years there will be some kind of push to remove this stupid rule. A semi auto rifle with a 10 shot mag is obviously better for a driven hunt than a bolt action with a 10 shot magazine. I hunt 50/50 with a bolt action and a semi auto, and I really appreciate the convenience of the semi auto. If there is a second opportunity then I can go for it without having to concentrate on proper bolt working technique. Also, if I’m shooting from an awkward position, It’s very convenient to never have to discover that the position is even more awkward for working the action than was for shooting.

          I’m also European, by the way.

          • Ax

            Oh, and one disclaimer: even though facts and hard data might point towards semi auto rifles being “objectively better”, picking a rifle is much like picking a guitar. My point about the semi auto rifles being better is just that there will obviously be some people who really want to use their .308 AR:s and such to their full potential. I love practicing with my bolt action rifles, and it is very rewarding to get multiple hits on moving targets with a manually operated rifle. I didn’t want to start a fight over which kind of rifle is the best. Plenty of <3 for all the guns out there.

          • gusto

            I dunno, the semi-auto shotgun or pump hasn’t replaced the SbS or O/U for hunting in any greater numbers

            certainly not when you want to do it with any sort of style (:

            and going by the olympics the o/u IS de facto better

            Only time a semi shotgun is better for hunting is when hunting out of a blind

            Likewise with semi autos
            an equally accurate semi will be heavier then a comparable bolt and mos def expensiver
            Sauer 303s, benelli argos and brownigns bars have been around for a long time and not replaced bolts in numbers

            and for dangerous game in africa? heck people are still using rifles that are 100 years old if not more

            And some might say that pistolgrip is ergonomically bad for shooting moving target.

            with that said I do want to see them legal for everybody and legal for hunting but I will stick with my bolts and and levers

            I don’t think you can say that it is better, faster for those not trained as well yes but not better

            look at Franz Albrecht, that level of shooting him working the bolt doesn’t slow him down one bit

    • Thomas Weißhuhn

      Encouraging hunters to think about every shot before they pull the trigger instead of spray and prey,also germany is dense in population compared to the US and hunting close to build up areas is not uncommon, so a miss might cause damage.

    • iksnilol

      for hunting it makes sense: to prevent people from shooting both cow and calves at once.

      • Günter Groß

        But this is one thing we often do here in Germany if we can. Especially on roe deer. Try to get them all, if the cow is old and/or has weak calves. Here we are required to keep the numbers low.

        • iksnilol

          Here in Norway they’d rather you don’t exterminate the moose.

    • Richard

      So you don’t kill the entire herd of whatever you’re going after

      • TechnoTriticale

        Passenger pigeon, bison. In the US, I suspect a material part of the motivation for hunting magazine restrictions was both to dial down the harvesting a bit and, for the wardens, to create prima-facie evidence of intent to poach or market hunt.

        • Dougscamo

          Not to be contentious….the passenger pigeon was wiped out primarily by single shot and double barrel shotguns when shot….but mostly they were trapped….the bison was pushed close to extinction by single shot rifles….so…..
          Aren’t there limits on reindeer? All game species in the US are governed by numbers set by the Feds or state governments that can be legally taken in a day’s hunt….

          • TechnoTriticale

            re: Not to be contentious…

            What? Facts? Clearly you don’t have the proper regulatory mindset.

          • Dougscamo

            Thanks….I think….

          • L

            Reindeer ain’t a game and mostly semi wild. They are also privately owned so you can’t go hunting them freely. Other game (such as regular deer, moose and birds) is limited by numbers or free of quota depending on the population size.

          • gusto

            Norway and maybe finland and defintly Russia have wild-reindeers aswell

    • Bjørn Vermo

      The reason is mainly to prevent some knucklehead from killing the whole herd.
      Hunting reindeer in Norway is limited to single shot rifles for just that reason.

  • iksnilol

    Man, I like the Benelli, too bad it wasn’t approved for hunting in Norway 🙁

  • Max Müller

    Magazine regulations in germany:
    Sports like IPSC and other competitions: 10 round magazines for semi-automatic rifles. Bolt- and pump-action rifles could use 100 round magazines by law, but most sport rules limit them to 10 rounds too (would be cool with a Troy PAR or Reminton 7615).
    Hunters are limited to 10 rounds while targetshooting and training and 2+1 rounds when hunting live animals with semiautos. No law for pump-or bolt-action rifles so a Troy PAR with 150 round drum for varmint hunting is allowed.
    And when you are just shooting for fun or a training range without practicing any sports you could technically run your 30 round mags, but then you might get in trouble for using guns out of their sporting purpose.

  • Baldr82

    What is allowed in terms of magazines in Germany?:
    Simple answer: everything. But devil is in the detail.
    In general you have to be a licensed hunter or sporting shooter to legally own a gun.
    Everybody is allowed to own every kind of magazine, does not matter which capacity. Even drums are totally ok.
    For handguns that is it .
    For long arms it is a little bit complicated. As a sporting shooter you are still allowed to buy and own everything you want, but while shooting your rifle or shotgun, your mag has to be blocked to 10 rounds. As a hunter it was 2 rounds until this new law.
    Fun Fact: Semi belt feds are forbidden for sporting shooters, but OK for hunters. Of cause limited to 2 rounds.

  • xebat

    I live in Germany. Kill me already. Kill me.