Reenacting on a International Scale.
For as often as our group as traveled back and forth into Canada, there has never been an “incident” of note. Yes, there is the occasional US or Canadian customs officer who is new and may not be as familiar with our reenactments or living history. By and large, they are professional and courteous and sometimes even “understanding”, of what we do.
When taking your black powder firearm across the border the first thing to remember is pay attention to any request by the customs officer and be truthful with what you are transporting. Even in the pre 9/11 world, security situations are changing with each new threat. Your trip across the border is pretty small stuff compared to some of the daily briefings that border agents deal with every day. A “Yes Sir” and a “Thank You”, will go along way to helping you on your way.
As long as they know what reenactment you are attending (print and bring along a registration invite or email announcement), and for how long you are there for, you sould be OK.
Record Your Firearm
Those bananas you forgot to declare are not big thing, but your shiny new flintlock may be another matter. Look along the barrel of your reproduction Springfield or Brown Bess and look for a serial number. Quite often it is along the breach near the stock. It may be that number that the maker used to record the volume manufactured. Print out the form attached to this link following. Fill it out with any and ALL weapons you may plan to take with you.
Plan some time *(20 min) to stop at a US. Customs station before you exit the states, and have a border agent inspect this form (and possibly your firearms) and sign it.
NEVER bring your firearms into the US Customs offices! request that an officer look at your firearms in your vehicle.
It’s not Canadian officials taking note of your firelock, it is often the U.S Customs agent making sure you are not bringing a firelock PURCHASED in Canada. You need PROOF that it is yours. Your record filled out and stamped by U.S. Customs is your insurance against a unnecessary delay when time is important.
Canadian regulations for handguns of any kind are very strict and our unit discourages any attempt to bring a flintlock handgun into Canada. If you go to a reenactment in Canada, you will not see them. In Canada black powder or antique firearms are not considered firearms for licensing and registration purposes. Antique firearms include:
any firearms manufactured before 1898 that are not originally designed or redesigned to discharge rim-fire or centre-fire ammunition; long guns manufactured in 1898 or later that are reproductions of flintlock, wheel-lock, or matchlock firearms; and firearms that are classified as antique by regulations.
Occasionally, a Canadian Customs official MAY assume you are hunting in Canada and try to charge you a $25 assessment. Be polite, and insist that you are “transporting a reproduction Firelock” for a “historical pageant at a Parks Canada event”. You should have not problem.
Black Powder Information
U.S. Customs information
Canadian Customs information