• Mossberg Owners is in the process of upgrading the software. Please bear with us while we transition to the new look and new upgraded software.

Help me get legal for Canada travel

Sgt Shotgun

Copper BB
(New member) Will be traveling soon through Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon, while camping en route to Alaska, then back again. Bringing my 930 SPX for protection. Canada requires mag plug to limit overall capacity to five rounds. 930 SPX doesn't come with a plug and I haven't been able to find one. Suggestions? (I assume the plug is required even when unloaded, as required while driving. I also assume it's required even if I only have five rounds loaded while outside. Canada -- aaarggh!)
 
(New member) Will be traveling soon through Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon, while camping en route to Alaska, then back again. Bringing my 930 SPX for protection. Canada requires mag plug to limit overall capacity to five rounds. 930 SPX doesn't come with a plug and I haven't been able to find one. Suggestions? (I assume the plug is required even when unloaded, as required while driving. I also assume it's required even if I only have five rounds loaded while outside. Canada -- aaarggh!)
I don’t know anything about 930s but back in the day, my 500 was limited to 3 rounds when “hunting” and was equipped with a simple wooden dowel that stopped the mag tube from taking more than 3 shells. Good luck with your trip and welcome to the site.
 

TheRude1

.270 WIN
I don’t know anything about 930s but back in the day, my 500 was limited to 3 rounds when “hunting” and was equipped with a simple wooden dowel that stopped the mag tube from taking more than 3 shells. Good luck with your trip and welcome to the site.
Yup, you beat me to it. I'd say 1/4 dowel rod and play with the length till you get what they require. As sad as that is!
 

Rob72

.270 WIN
https://www.ezbordercrossing.com/th...ting-firearms/bringing-a-firearm-into-canada/

Here's a place to start. Personally, I would chance a $250 pawn shop Moss 500 before trying to get my 930 through the RCMP's "discretionary" confiscation policy. Maybe not as bad as Mexico, buuuut...

Edit to add: key point here. When in doubt, call the RCMP.
  • When bringing a gun into either country, it is advisable to start the process early (3 months in advance is ideal), as complications and processing times can make this a lengthy procedure.
 
Last edited:

John A.

Unconstitutional laws are not laws.
Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderator
I'm not sure how the 930's are set up, but a wooden dowel has been used for most shotguns. I've seen wooden dowels used in remingtons, winchesters, and mossbergs at least.

It sounds like you have a very long trek planned out. Please take lots of pictures and share with us. You're living the dream.

@cmcdonald can you please weigh in on what is legal in canada?
 

Sgt Shotgun

Copper BB
https://www.ezbordercrossing.com/th...ting-firearms/bringing-a-firearm-into-canada/

Here's a place to start. Personally, I would chance a $250 pawn shop Moss 500 before trying to get my 930 through the RCMP's "discretionary" confiscation policy. Maybe not as bad as Mexico, buuuut...
Yes, I've been working from this webpage as well as the official RCMP websites, from which this page quotes. In general, I find the information on the Canadian sites to be very confusing and ambiguous. For example, this excerpt defining restricted firearms from the page you provided,
  • semi-automatic rifles and shotguns that are capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition, have barrels between 105 mm (4.14 inches) and 470 mm (18.5 inches) long, and are not otherwise prohibited
The 930 SPX has an 18.5" (470mm) barrel. Does this put it in the restricted category? It's NOT "between 4.14 and 18.5". Seems this point can be argued in either direction. To make it all the worse, it is IMPOSSIBLE to reach any Canadian agency at their listed phone numbers. And I'm still waiting, after weeks, for an email response. So I'm thinking I'll just park my vehicle (with the firearm left in it, of course) and walk up to the border guard station and get approval, or not, then either pass through or, if not approved, then turn around, leave the shotgun at my brother's place in Idaho near the border, and return to travel Canada and Alaska unarmed (and hope the grizzlies don't take offense to my bear spray).
 

cmcdonald

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporter
"Philanthropist"
First off...welcome to MO from North of the 49th!

Secondly, welcome (in advance) to the land, of ridiculous and ambiguous firearms language! Nonetheless, your 930 SPX qualifies as a non-restricted firearm with a 18.5" barrel, that said it does indeed have to be limited to 5 rds. And yes, a plug or dowel would be acceptable (that could change in the near future thanks to 'dear leader' and require permanent limiting). As echoed by others above, be sure to have all your paperwork in order well in advance of your trip. As long as you are in compliance and declare what you're carrying upon arrival at the border it shouldn't be a problem.

Also, wouldn't be a bad idea to declare the bear spray as well, just on the off chance they flag you for a vehicle search. At least if it were confiscated for some stupid reason it's easy enough to obtain this side of the border...any outdoor store (and others) carry it. Just has to be marked 'bear spray' with a manufacturers label to be legal. Yeah...stupid we all know. LOL!

Don't forget switchblades or other "assisted' opening blades and brass knuckles are illegal. Standard folders or straight blade hunting knives are fine. If they ask you why you have any weapon you are carrying...for the love of Pete don't say self defense. Just say for camping or bear defense....the less you say the better.

Good luck!!
 

Sgt Shotgun

Copper BB
First off...welcome to MO from North of the 49th!

Secondly, welcome (in advance) to the land, of ridiculous and ambiguous firearms language! Nonetheless, your 930 SPX qualifies as a non-restricted firearm with a 18.5" barrel, that said it does indeed have to be limited to 5 rds. And yes, a plug or dowel would be acceptable (that could change in the near future thanks to 'dear leader' and require permanent limiting). As echoed by others above, be sure to have all your paperwork in order well in advance of your trip. As long as you are in compliance and declare what you're carrying upon arrival at the border it shouldn't be a problem.

Also, wouldn't be a bad idea to declare the bear spray as well, just on the off chance they flag you for a vehicle search. At least if it were confiscated for some stupid reason it's easy enough to obtain this side of the border...any outdoor store (and others) carry it. Just has to be marked 'bear spray' with a manufacturers label to be legal. Yeah...stupid we all know. LOL!

Don't forget switchblades or other "assisted' opening blades and brass knuckles are illegal. Standard folders or straight blade hunting knives are fine. If they ask you why you have any weapon you are carrying...for the love of Pete don't say self defense. Just say for camping or bear defense....the less you say the better.

Good luck!!
Thanks for the welcome and advice! The bear spray is marked (Counter Assault Bear Spray), no switchblades, brass knuckles, etc. The frustrating thing is having to constantly load, unload, load, unload, etc., as I make frequent leisurely stops to maybe walk around or hike a bit, then get back in the vehicle and unload, etc. Is there some way around that?

Based on all my research, I've concluded I'll need to have with me (to sign in their presence) a Non-Resident Firearm Declaration and, for smooth entry back into the US (both at Alaska and Idaho border crossings), the document described below, as quoted in the above discussed "ezbordercrossing.com" webpage:

U.S. Citizens Bringing Weapons Back into the U.S.
When you return to the U.S., you will have to declare that you are “re-importing” your firearm. U.S. Customs may ask to see your Canadian documentation.

If you want to avoid any chance of problems when re-entering the U.S., you should stop at the U.S. Customs office on your way out of the country. Here you can ask for a Certificate of Registration For Personal Effects Taken Abroad, which will record a description of the firearm including the serial number. You need to keep this and have it available on your return to the U.S. in case there is any question about what weapons you left with.
 

cmcdonald

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporter
"Philanthropist"
Sounds like your bear spray will be just fine.

And just to be totally clear on the advice I'm giving you, it is all predicated on the right paperwork and permit. Possessing firearms and ammunition in Canada and not having a proper permit is illegal and if discovered will definitely result in arrest and charges.

As far as loading and unloading...it is illegal to have a loaded firearm in your vehicle. Period. Full stop. No way around that one. When I'm hunting I unload my firearms before getting in the truck but have the ammo strapped to the buttstock. However, I only do this in remote areas and will otherwise lock my firearm and store the ammo separately. It is technically legal to have your firearm unlocked and ammo at the ready as long as it is under your direct control. BUT...and this is a big BUT, I would not want to test that legality out on the highway or otherwise away from where I'm hunting or hiking. The police here have a lot of latitude when it comes to firearms and you could find yourself detained or arrested and gun confiscated if the cop really felt you were out of line or careless.

You must also secure your firearm when not in your possession or under your direct control. Stop for gas and away from the vehicle? That sucker has to be trigger-locked or otherwise secured (locking case or whatever). A locked vehicle is not adequate.

Also, review the page below and be in compliance before you arrive at the border.

https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/firearms/storing-transporting-and-displaying-firearms
 

Rob72

.270 WIN
Again, strong recommendation- use a pawn shop gun. If it looks like gramp's hand me down that kept bar' & wolves away for 20-40 years before you got it, you'll draw less attention.

You may be fine, but it sucks to be the 1%... You're an American. With a TACTICAL stamped 12 gauge. "Wingmaster" and talk of hunting upland grouse "down south" is not a bad idea.

Your trip, just be safe & careful, bro.
 

cmcdonald

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporter
"Philanthropist"
CBSA treats everyone like garbage most of the time....Canadian or American makes no difference. You wouldn't believe the nonsense and attitude I've gotten from them crossing with new big rigs being imported into Canada. You'd think I had pounds of cocaine packed into the fuel tanks or something. Honestly, I say very little to them. "Yes sir, no sir". I do not divulge squat about anything to them that does not pertain to the paperwork in front of them and I'd advise anyone else to do the same.

I find I get treated better by US Customs than CBSA...had more than a few laughs with your guys over the years. Never with CBSA...they're like stone.

Certainly not a bad idea to use a less 'tactical' looking shotgun...but I don't think it would matter much to the cops or CBSA. It's the semi-auto rifles that tend to get attention (anything AR-looking). If the CBSA officer checking you at the border knows anything about firearms (and likely will) they will want to verify that your SPX can't hold more than 5 rds being semi-auto. If you showed up with a pump, they likely wouldn't care.

Tactical firearms might possibly get some looks on the trail and you could get some hysterical "Karen" going off, but I wouldn't sweat it too much. Summer time sees people in those remote parts that you wouldn't usually see the rest of the year. Many city folks are unnecessarily freaked out by firearms. I'd recommend keeping it slung over your shoulder as much as possible while on the trail and not in hand or cradled. What I can guarantee with certainty...if someone you meet more than 250km's north of the border is freaked out by your shotgun, they're not a local. They're a tourist from the city and aren't worth paying a moments attention to. If something like that happened and you get confronted, keep your cool and do not engage. Walk away and keep walking and likely nothing will come of it.
 

Sgt Shotgun

Copper BB
CBSA treats everyone like garbage most of the time....Canadian or American makes no difference. You wouldn't believe the nonsense and attitude I've gotten from them crossing with new big rigs being imported into Canada. You'd think I had pounds of cocaine packed into the fuel tanks or something. Honestly, I say very little to them. "Yes sir, no sir". I do not divulge squat about anything to them that does not pertain to the paperwork in front of them and I'd advise anyone else to do the same.

I find I get treated better by US Customs than CBSA...had more than a few laughs with your guys over the years. Never with CBSA...they're like stone.

Certainly not a bad idea to use a less 'tactical' looking shotgun...but I don't think it would matter much to the cops or CBSA. It's the semi-auto rifles that tend to get attention (anything AR-looking). If the CBSA officer checking you at the border knows anything about firearms (and likely will) they will want to verify that your SPX can't hold more than 5 rds being semi-auto. If you showed up with a pump, they likely wouldn't care.

Tactical firearms might possibly get some looks on the trail and you could get some hysterical "Karen" going off, but I wouldn't sweat it too much. Summer time sees people in those remote parts that you wouldn't usually see the rest of the year. Many city folks are unnecessarily freaked out by firearms. I'd recommend keeping it slung over your shoulder as much as possible while on the trail and not in hand or cradled. What I can guarantee with certainty...if someone you meet more than 250km's north of the border is freaked out by your shotgun, they're not a local. They're a tourist from the city and aren't worth paying a moments attention to. If something like that happened and you get confronted, keep your cool and do not engage. Walk away and keep walking and likely nothing will come of it.
Now something else just occurred to me (and a short story to go with it). What are the odds the guards I encounter crossing back into Canada from Alaska find it in their judgment that I'm in violation of something the Idaho to Canada guards had no problem with? Would I have a leg to stand on? To wit: I recently flew round-trip from Denver to Washington D.C. In my carry-on bag (my only luggage) was a standard kitchen butter knife, with about 3" of the end VERY LIGHTLY serrated (for really tough butter!). No mention of any kind was made to me on the outgoing TSA check (but they spent a LONG time looking at the x-ray of my bag, holding up the line!). Then on the return flight, they confiscated the butter knife! I politely protested, reasoning that the outgoing TSA people obviously didn't see it being in violation. They said sorry, it should have been stopped in Denver and couldn't explain why it wasn't, but it's not going onboard here! Am I being paranoid or prescient as I recall this looking ahead to my Canada trip?
 

Scoop

.30-06
Sgt S, welcome to Mossberg owners from E TN.
I have nothing to offer about border crossings, but I am following your trip with interest.
When you get back, please write us a summary of how your encounters w/ the authorities went.
That would be a help for others... and me, too. I'm just nosey.

Thanx.
 

Sgt Shotgun

Copper BB
Sgt S, welcome to Mossberg owners from E TN.
I have nothing to offer about border crossings, but I am following your trip with interest.
When you get back, please write us a summary of how your encounters w/ the authorities went.
That would be a help for others... and me, too. I'm just nosey.

Thanx.
Sure Scoop, I'd be happy to do that! We're looking at around the end of September when I'll be able to report any results.
 

Rob72

.270 WIN
Would I have a leg to stand on? To wit: I recently flew round-trip from Denver to Washington D.C. In my carry-on bag (my only luggage) was a standard kitchen butter knife, with about 3" of the end VERY LIGHTLY serrated (for really tough butter!). No mention of any kind was made to me on the outgoing TSA check (but they spent a LONG time looking at the x-ray of my bag, holding up the line!). Then on the return flight, they confiscated the butter knife...

Don't try to be clever. If you aren't sure how to transport hardware legally (or illegally, if that's your ballpark), stay with safe & simple.

When flying out of the country, or into very NPE locations, I generally go with a small, relatively cheap (Spyderco Delica) folder in checked luggage, that I pocket in the restroom of the destination airport.

The only time I've travelled (flying)with a firearm, it was a used Taurus .38. Not a Glock, not a Sig.

Statistically, you're probably going to be fine, but the butter knife was ill considered. Stakes go up crossing borders.
 

Sgt Shotgun

Copper BB
Another question: In consideration of all the valuable and much appreciated comments here, I'd like to add that my plan in crossing the border from Idaho to Canada is to park my vehicle somewhere just this side of the crossing, then walk to the checkpoint with all relevant paperwork and advance notice of what's in the vehicle, and explain that if anything doesn't meet their requirements, I'd just turn around and return later without the shotgun. Is this a practical plan? And looking ahead to the return trip at the Alaska-to-Canada checkpoint, I'm hoping the Idaho-Canada station officials can reasonably assure me that I'll be okay at that northern one on the return.
 

cmcdonald

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporter
"Philanthropist"
Another question: In consideration of all the valuable and much appreciated comments here, I'd like to add that my plan in crossing the border from Idaho to Canada is to park my vehicle somewhere just this side of the crossing, then walk to the checkpoint with all relevant paperwork and advance notice of what's in the vehicle, and explain that if anything doesn't meet their requirements, I'd just turn around and return later without the shotgun. Is this a practical plan? And looking ahead to the return trip at the Alaska-to-Canada checkpoint, I'm hoping the Idaho-Canada station officials can reasonably assure me that I'll be okay at that northern one on the return.
Can't say if that's a good or bad plan. Unusual? Yeah. It may raise suspicions that otherwise wouldn't be. I'd lean to the "nope" side of that idea myself.

As far as what happens crossing from Alaska back into Canada...as said above, statistically you're likely to be just fine. Indeed, one officer says one thing and another could say something else. There's always a risk of that. Given that you'll be traveling with the very documents that will make your possession of the firearm legal in Canada, I'd say you'll be fine. You could expect extra scrutiny at the border crossings, but I doubt more than that.

You don't sound like this kind of guy and if you were, you probably wouldn't be here asking questions...but I'm gonna say it anyway, so please don't take offense.

If you are not confident that any narcotics of any kind (even marijuana...though it is legal here, it is not legal where you're coming from, so really bad idea) have ever been in your vehicle or your personal effects (luggage, etc) then don't bother with this trip, especially trying to import a firearm with you. That could go very wrong for you if a drug sniffing dog indicated a scent. And even if they found nothing, they could leave you sitting at the inspection area trying to figure out how to put your vehicle interior back together and you have zero recourse...none. This could be a problem going north or south bound.

Not trying to scare you off your trip, but these are things that can happen. Many folks wouldn't give a second thought about crossing the border in a used vehicle and many years ago I wouldn't have either. Now, it's not even option for me. I'm getting too old for that $h1t. When we were kids, crossing the border was about as hard as falling off a log. Ever since 9/11 that's been a very, very different story.
 

Sgt Shotgun

Copper BB
Can't say if that's a good or bad plan. Unusual? Yeah. It may raise suspicions that otherwise wouldn't be. I'd lean to the "nope" side of that idea myself.

As far as what happens crossing from Alaska back into Canada...as said above, statistically you're likely to be just fine. Indeed, one officer says one thing and another could say something else. There's always a risk of that. Given that you'll be traveling with the very documents that will make your possession of the firearm legal in Canada, I'd say you'll be fine. You could expect extra scrutiny at the border crossings, but I doubt more than that.

You don't sound like this kind of guy and if you were, you probably wouldn't be here asking questions...but I'm gonna say it anyway, so please don't take offense.

If you are not confident that any narcotics of any kind (even marijuana...though it is legal here, it is not legal where you're coming from, so really bad idea) have ever been in your vehicle or your personal effects (luggage, etc) then don't bother with this trip, especially trying to import a firearm with you. That could go very wrong for you if a drug sniffing dog indicated a scent. And even if they found nothing, they could leave you sitting at the inspection area trying to figure out how to put your vehicle interior back together and you have zero recourse...none. This could be a problem going north or south bound.

Not trying to scare you off your trip, but these are things that can happen. Many folks wouldn't give a second thought about crossing the border in a used vehicle and many years ago I wouldn't have either. Now, it's not even option for me. I'm getting too old for that $h1t. When we were kids, crossing the border was about as hard as falling off a log. Ever since 9/11 that's been a very, very different story.
Okay, I think I've seen enough. The shotgun's staying home. I'll take my chances with the bears. Too many variables and unknowns. When I drove into Canada at the Kingsgate checkpoint (from Idaho on Hwy 95) both in 1986 and 2017, it was a breeze. Sounds like things are too uptight and risky now. I've got a strong sense now of Moore's law looming over it all: If I go unarmed, I'll breeze right through; if I take the shotgun, it'll all go south. Thanks again for the tips! Will let y'all know how it goes.
 

Bobster

.30-06
I wonder if you could "rent" or borrow a gun from someone while in Alaska? Unfortunately there are interstate issues to deal with (ie: you are from out of state so legally, the gun would have to ship to your FFL in your home state).
 

cmcdonald

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Supporter
"Philanthropist"
Okay, I think I've seen enough. The shotgun's staying home. I'll take my chances with the bears. Too many variables and unknowns. When I drove into Canada at the Kingsgate checkpoint (from Idaho on Hwy 95) both in 1986 and 2017, it was a breeze. Sounds like things are too uptight and risky now. I've got a strong sense now of Moore's law looming over it all: If I go unarmed, I'll breeze right through; if I take the shotgun, it'll all go south. Thanks again for the tips! Will let y'all know how it goes.
Bear spray and a small co2 air horn are great for getting you out of an animal confrontation on the trail.

I dunno if you'd find the border crossing any tougher than 2017, but crossing international boundaries can be problematic any time. Border agents have far more powers of detention, search and seizure than any regular cop...they can make your life miserable and there is little to no recourse for us plebs. That said, they don't always exercise their full powers and unnecessary detention, search and seizure is not common.

If it was me...this is what I'd do and have done for years (except the firearm part...never crossed a border with one)

- Make sure I had all my documentation in order.

- Make as many calls to the appropriate people as possible to make sure I'd covered my bases.

- Ensure the firearm is legal for import and abide by the rules for storage and transport in Canada.

- Travel in a vehicle and use luggage that has been purchased new by me to avoid the possible taint of past illegal narcotics.

- Have no criminal record or no criminal history of any kind.

- Immediately disclose the presence of the firearm upon pulling up to the border agent.

I have NEVER been pulled into 'secondary' for extra inspections by US Customs or CBSA. I have been delayed for hours while border agents give me the big, hairy eyeball or stare at paper or vehicles and talk in short, abrupt and mumbled sentences and generally make me feel uncomfortable. I have witnessed more than a few people having a really bad day at the border too. I gotta say though, that most of those folks were likely dumb as stumps and did something really stupid to get the attention of the officers. Like say having a vehicle reeking of pot or having some kind of criminal past and trying to hide sh#t from the officers...just fantastically dumb.

Forewarned is forearmed, but it doesn't necessarily mean don't do it. Just be aware and understand that none of us knows the day when we will pull up to the border and things might go sideways for us.

To my understanding and backed up by experience...proactive disclosure of anything that could be considered an offensive weapon is a good idea. Other than border agents finding illegal substances in your possession or sussing out that you're not going to be doing what you say you are...it should all be smooth sailing for you.
 
Last edited:
Top