Ammunition Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon New York Hunting

Statewide Ammunition Regulations

It is illegal to hunt or take wildlife:

  • With any semi-automatic firearm with a capacity to hold more than 6 rounds, except:
    1. Firearms using .22 or .17 caliber rimfire ammunition, or
    2. Firearms altered to reduce their capacity to no more than 6 shells at one time in the magazine and chamber combined, or
    3. Autoloading pistols with a barrel length of less than 8 inches

Ammunition Recommendation

Big Game

It is unlawful to hunt big game with:

  • An autoloading firearm with a capacity of more than 6 shells (one which requires that the trigger be pulled separately for each shot), except an autoloading pistol with a barrel length of less than 8 inches.
  • A firearm using rimfire ammunition.
  • A shotgun of less than 20 gauge or any shotgun loaded with shells other than those carrying a single projectile (rifling in the barrel or choke is allowed).

Big Game Ammunition Recommendation

Legal Implements for the Regular Deer Season, Early and Regular Bear Season

Small Game

  • You may not use a rifle or handgun to hunt pheasant or migratory game birds. See Turkey Hunting for more information on turkeys.

Small Game Ammunition Recommendation


  • You may hunt with a shotgun or handgun only when using shot no larger than #2 and no smaller than #8.
  • You may not take a turkey with a rifle or air gun, or with a handgun firing a bullet.
  • You may use a muzzleloading shotgun.

Turkey Ammunition Recommendation

Migratory Game Birds

Non-toxic shot requirement

Non-toxic shot is required for hunting any migratory game bird, except woodcock, everywhere in New York State. Possession or use of shells loaded with shot other than steel, bismuth-tin, iron-tungsten, iron-tungsten-nickel, tungsten-bronze, tungsten-iron-copper-nickel, tungsten-matrix, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-tin-iron, tungsten-tin-bismuth, tungsten-tin-iron-nickel or other shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is strictly prohibited when hunting waterfowl, snipe, rails or gallinules.

Prohibitions on methods of take

No person shall take migratory game birds:

  • With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, crossbow, swivel gun, shotgun larger that 10-gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance.
  • With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler that is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun. This does not apply to the taking of snow geese in any area or zone, or taking of Canada geese during September, when all other waterfowl seasons are closed.

Migratory Game Bird Ammunition Recommendation


  • Mink may only be hunted in the Southern Zone with a firearm not larger than .22 caliber during their open trapping season. Mink may not be hunted with a firearm in the Northern Zone.
  • Muskrat may only be hunted on Lake Champlain during the open trapping season with a firearm not larger than .22 caliber.
  • You may not hunt from any motor vehicle, including an ATV or snowmobile.
  • Except as noted above, you may hunt furbearers using any handgun, shotgun, muzzleloading rifle, bow, crossbow or air gun.

Possession and Use of Rifles for Hunting Furbearers

  1. Is any deer season open in the location you wish to hunt (including archery, muzzleloading, regular, late and Focus Area)?
    1. If NO, you may use any caliber rimfire or centerfire rifle for hunting furbearers.
    2. If YES, can deer be hunted with rifles in that location during the regular season?
    1. If YES, you may use any caliber rimfire or centerfire rifle for hunting furbearers during any open deer season.
    2. If NO, you may only possess afield rimfire rifles .22-caliber or smaller, or centerfire rifles LESS THAN .22 caliber (.204, .17, etc.) during any open deer season. Once all deer seasons are closed, the restriction ends, except:
  2. You may NEVER possess a rifle afield in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties.
  3. In the Northern Zone, it is illegal to carry a rifle larger than .22 caliber rimfire (or .22-caliber or larger centerfire rifles) at any time if accompanied by a dog, except when coyote hunting.

Furbearer Ammunition Recommendation

Ammunition Construction

Ammunition falls into a few general categories. The broadest are rimfire and centerfire. Rimfire loads’ priming mixture is placed around the inside of the case rim where the gun’s firing pin strikes. Rimfire calibers include the 22 Long Rifle, 17 HMR and the 22 WMR, and are used for target shooting and small game hunting.

Most rifle rounds fall into the centerfire category. These cartridges have a separately-made primer placed in the center of the head of the case.

Bullet design is another important distinction in rifle ammunition, as bullets fall into two main groups: expanding and non-expanding. Expanding bullets are used for hunting and home defense, while non-expanding bullets are used for target shooting, military purposes and hunting certain species of dangerous game. The Ammo Insiders explain the differences between bullet types and purposes in the video below.

Federal Premium® Ammunition’s Safety Tips

The following 10 rules for firearm safety are passed along from shooter to shooter and keep us all safe in the field. Please join us in passing this tradition along.

1. Always keep the muzzle pointed In a safe direction.
2. Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
3. Don`t rely on your gun’s “Safety”.
4. Be sure of your target and what`s beyond it.
5. Use correct ammunition.
6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, handle with care!
7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting.
8. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting.
9. Don`t alter or modify your gun, and have guns serviced regularly.
10. Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using.

Federal Premium Ammunition is a proud supporter of the New York Hunting & Trapping Guide.