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

Eric B
by Eric B

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
Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6x6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.

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  • Baldr82 Baldr82 on Nov 14, 2016

    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 Xebat on Nov 14, 2016

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