Buying Ammo and Guns in Montana

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece dissects the ammunition and firearms laws that apply in the state of Montana. To do so, the piece starts off with the ammunition laws of MT with an aim to explain the process of having ammunition shipped to a residential address in Montana. Then, the piece delves into the firearms laws, first examining the purchase process, and then the laws that govern the carriage of firearms in the state. To wrap things up, the piece ends with some resources that we think would be useful for people who are interested in buying, owning, and carrying guns and ammo in Montana.

Nothing in this piece should be construed as legal advice. Instead, we hope that the information here helps you to think through and make your own, better-informed decisions.

Montana is one of the many states that have preemption: this means that the state government has declared that localities such as towns, cities, and counties cannot make or enforce firearms laws that are stricter than those at the state level. Preemption makes life as a gun owner in Montana simpler: once you understand the state’s gun laws, that understanding applies everywhere in the state.  Basically, preemption is a legal standard stating that localities have to follow the state’s lead in terms of firearms and ammo laws.

Montana is one of the most permissive states in the country in terms of firearms ownership. There are no major bans on ammunition or types of firearms, and the process to carry a firearm in the state is very simple. These things, combined, make Montana an exceptionally permissive state when it comes to firearms and ammo.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Montana 

First, we will cover the ammo laws in MT.

Montana is extremely permissive in terms of its ammunition laws: there are no major ammunition bans at the state level. Thus, purchasing ammunition in Montana follows the exact procedures that are outlined at the Federal level by the ATF.

To satisfy ATF requirements to purchase ammunition, buyers of ammo have to meet two sets of criteria. The first is an age requirement: buyers have to be eighteen years of age or older to buy ammo for long guns such as rifles and shotguns, and at least twenty-one to buy handgun ammo. Secondly, ammunition buyers cannot be prohibited persons: the ATF defines prohibited persons as people who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, people who have been adjudicated as mentally defective in court, or those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.

Assuming the age and prohibited person requirements are met, Montana is fine with ammunition being shipped to a residential address. Keep in mind that carriers can and do sometimes impose their own requirements. For example, a carrier might ask for an adult with a valid form of ID to be present to sign for any package containing ammunition.

Since Montana does not add many substantial laws of its own to the process of buying and owning ammunition, it is one of the most permissive states in the country in terms of ammo laws: it is totally possible to have ammunition shipped to a residential address in the state as long as the buyer meets federal requirements. 

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Montana 

Next, we will do the same analysis for Montana’s gun laws. 

Montana takes a similar attitude to gun laws when compared to its ammunition laws. The state does not ban magazines of any size, nor does it have an assault weapons ban that would prohibit firearms either by name or by a list of features. Similarly, the state is fine with folks owning NFA items such as machine guns, suppressors, and short-barreled rifles and shotguns.

The process of purchasing a firearm in Montana is governed by the federal guidelines. To purchase a firearm from a gun store in the state, the buyer should take both a valid form of ID and a form of payment to the store. From there, the FFL will ask the buyer to fill out Form 4473 to complete a background check and to make a record of the purchase.

As soon as the background check clears and payment has been processed, the gun owner is free to leave the store with their newly bought firearm. Montana does not have mandatory waiting periods, either. So, people can generally go home the same day with their firearms, unless there is some kind of issue with the information from Form 4473. Also, federal rules apply for things like suppressors, which still come with lengthy paperwork processing wait times directly from the ATF, though this is not a Montana-specific issue.

Montana does not require a permit to purchase firearms, and it does not mandate private sellers of firearms to conduct a background check. With that said, it is always wise to make sure if you are selling a firearm that the buyer is both old enough and not a prohibited person.

Carrying a firearm in Montana is a simple process, legally. As long as the person legally owns the firearm, Montana does not prohibit the carriage of that firearm, either openly or concealed, without a permit.

Like most states that allow permitless open and concealed carry, Montana does still offer its concealed carry permits to state residents. While this permit does not do much good within the state, it does allow Montana residents to legally carry firearms in states that recognize Montana’s permit. The permit is recognized fairly widely, so Montana residents who travel inside of the US would do well to get the Montana permit.

Every state has a list of places where it is generally forbidden to carry a firearm at all, and Montana is no exception. Montana’s list includes:

  • Government offices

  • Bars

  • Mental health facilities

  • Correctional facilities

  • Airport terminals

  • Federal property

  • Military bases

  • Private property with notice

  • Schools depending on policy

  • Court buildings

Such lists are extremely common even in the most permissive of states: Montana’s list is among the most permissive in the country.

Of note, Montana is home to many firearm and ammunition companies, including HSM Ammunition. The business-friendly climate and lack of additional firearm and ammo restrictions make Montana a great place for these companies to set up shop.

Overall, Montana is arguably the most permissive state in the country in terms of its firearms laws: the state does little to restrict buying, owning, and carrying firearms and ammunition within the state. Thus, most of the gun and ammo laws that are practically enforced in Montana come from the Federal level, which, due to the nature of Federalism, is the baseline for gun laws in the entire US.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Montana 

Montana is one of the states that has no state sales tax, and many localities do not have their own additional sales taxes, even though they could legally impose them. It might well be worth shopping FFLs in a few different cities to find one that does not impose its own local taxes, as the 0% state tax rate is a fairly uncommon, and very much welcome, savings.

The state does not impose special taxes on firearms and ammunition: this is one of the most financially friendly states to firearms buyers as well.

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the country, including those in Montana, and it can be used to find gun stores. Typically, gun stores are Type One or Type Two FFLs. 

  • is an excellent tool for finding convenient places to shoot: use the mileage, city, and zip code filters to find a range that works for you. Users can also add new ranges, and the information on the site is regularly checked for accuracy. 

  • There are a number of well-rated gun stores in the state.

  • There is also a somewhat active subreddit for firearms owners in Montana. 

Montana Gun Law FAQ:

Yes: Montana has no laws against having ammo shipped to a residential address. The buyer has to be 18 or older for long gun ammo, and 21 for handgun ammo. The carrier might also ask for an adult with a valid ID to be present to sign for the package.

Montana allows for concealed, and open, carriage of firearms without a permit. Montana does still offer the permit for folks who want to be able to legally concealed carry in many other states.

Because it has so few restrictions, Montana is easily one of the most gun-friendly states in the country.

The state of Montana says nothing about the ownership of NFA items. Thus, it is perfectly legal to possess NFA items in the state, so long as the owners of the items follow all of the relevant federal laws as well.

Nope: the state of Montana does not have a blanket ban on any category of firearms, including so-called assault weapons.