Maxim 50: Not Quite Legal in All 50 States

As it turns out, SilencerCo might have been jumping the gun with the claim that accompanied the release of its new, integrally suppressed muzzleloader.

The Maxim 50 is built on a Traditions Vortek Strikefire .50-caliber muzzleloader and includes an integrated suppressor.
The Maxim 50 is built on a Traditions Vortek Strikefire .50-caliber muzzleloader and includes an integrated suppressor.mfg photo

We reported a couple days ago that SilencerCo introduced a suppressed muzzeloader called the Maxim 50, which it touted as being legal in all 50 states. We wondered about that claim when it comes to states like California and New Jersey, and it turns out, we weren't the only ones.

As soon as the company announced the gun and its legal status, it was challenged by lawyers and authorities in three states with some of the toughest gun laws in the country and where suppressors are banned at a state level: New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts

Here's an official statement from SilencerCo regarding the legal status of the Maxim 50, via recoilweb.com:

“Upon launching the Maxim 50, SilencerCo received several immediate legal challenges from authorities and lawyers in the states of New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts. Since we have no desire to place any consumer in a situation where they may get arrested and charged with a felony because their state defines a firearm differently than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), we have placed orders from those states on hold and are refunding customers pending conversations amongst lawyers. These three states have rules that are not entirely clear with respect to firearms and silencers and antique firearms, and it is relevant to point out that no states contemplated a product of this sort in their laws.

Muzzleloaders are considered "antique firearms" by the ATF, and therefore, the Maxim 50's integral suppressor isn't considered a suppressor.
Muzzleloaders are considered "antique firearms" by the ATF, and therefore, the Maxim 50's integral suppressor isn't considered a suppressor.photo from recoilweb.com

“SilencerCo asked for and received a determination from the BATFE on behalf of the federal government prior to launch but could not do so officially from each state government or risk specific state-level legislation being passed prohibiting the product before it was even launched. We will refund orders to customers from these states and update consumers as soon as feasible as to the ultimate determination in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
 
“We believe that law­ abiding citizens should have the ability to purchase and own silencers, regardless of what state they live in. We will continue our efforts in advocacy and encourage all who share our desire to take action and contact their elected representatives by visiting www.fightthenoise.org.”

Federally, the Maxim 50 is considered legal because, as a muzzleloader, it is defined as an “antique firearm” and not a “firearm” by the ATF, which exempts them from many gun laws. Muzzleloaders are not required to go through an FFL (they are in NJ) and can be shipped right to your door, in most states. Likewise, because the integral suppressor can’t be removed or attached to a “firearm,” it is not considered a suppressor and is not subject to National Firearms Act regulations.

The gun is built on a Traditions Vortek Strikefire .50-caliber muzzleloader.