Ask a CO: Are detachable magazines allowed when shotgun hunting?

by Editorial Staff | January 14, 2021
a shotgun with a detachable magazine

Q: I recently purchased a Remington 870 DM (detachable magazine) 12-gauge shotgun. For hunting, I will use three-shell magazines. The design of this gun makes it impossible to attach a full three-shell magazine if there is a shell in the chamber, therefore it is limited to a total capacity of only three shells. Should I have high confidence that MNRF COs will be familiar with this, and not cause me potential grief?

Rick W, Cobourg

Design key

A: As long as the design of the shotgun prevents loading a full three-shot magazine into the gun while there is a shell in the chamber, it would be legal to hunt with it, when being used with the three-shot magazine. If you could get one shell in the chamber and still attach a fully loaded three-shot magazine, then it would not be legal for hunting.

a firearm with a detachable magazine

Use of the six-shot magazine (available for this model of shotgun) would not be legal for hunting. Save it for the range.

David Critchlow
(Provincial Enforcement Specialist, MNRF)

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Originally published in the Jan.-Feb. 2020 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine. Ask a CO is also a regular feature in the print edition.

Please check the most recent Ontario hunting and fishing regulations summaries, as rules and regulations can change.

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  1. Ken wrote: Would this incorporate all types of hunting or just migratory birds. I hear a lot of different opinions on that one even when discussing center fire hunting rifles (308, 243 etc).
    • Jason Bain wrote: Thank you for the question, Ken. Here is a response from the ministry. "In Ontario, this would apply to all types of hunting, as under provincial regulations shotguns are restricted to three shells in the magazine and chamber combined while hunting, just like the federal rules for migratory bird hunting."