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Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

As many know, I am from St. Mary's County born and raised, but I didn't grow up around firearms nor hunting. I am constantly learning more about the sport of hunting itself as well as the government imposed restrictions, fees, regulations, ect.

Sometimes it can be confusing and vague, but I want to help break these things down is simple-man terms. So today we look at new regulations to many Marylanders- straight wall cartridge pistol and rifle hunting.

This is whole new territory for many, and with the strong arm of DNR with their no-bullshit enforcement- you want to make sure you are playing by the rules unless you want to be made an example of for simply feeding the family.

So generally speaking- what is the change and who does it affect? Long story short- areas where you couldn't hunt with rifles in years past- you now can, but they have to use straight walled cartridges (as opposed to bottle neck cartridges).

Exhibit A (Below)

Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

So, big take aways:

-now in orange zone (See Exhibit E, Green/Orange Map) , you may now hunt with rifles and/or handguns during firearms season and Junior Deer Hunt Days.

-in such cases, those firearms must use a 'straight walled cartridge' rather than a 'bottle neck cartridge' or tapered cartridge (See Exhibits F & G).

-the firearm may not be hunted with while it is loaded with more than eight cartridges.

-you can use an unblocked 30rd magazine (for example) just as long as the magazine and chamber combined are not loaded with more than 8 cartridges (7 in the magazine, 1 in the chamber).

Exhibit B1 (Below)

Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

-If using a handgun, it can be semi-auto or a revolver

-Handgun barrel length must be a minimum of 6 inches and must produce 700ft pounds of muzzle energy (Check with ammunition manufacturer).

Exhibit B2 (Below)

Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

-Yes you can carry a handgun while hunting during archery season. The barrel of such handgun does not need to be 6in or more as it will not be used for hunting. Subsequently, the barrel must actual be 6in or less. In this case, you are carrying the handgun for personal protection against bear while hunting. You need not explain or even state that. DNR can speak with your lawyer should they have questions.

Exhibit C (Below)

Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

Exhibit D (See map below)

Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

Exhibit E (Below)

Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

Exhibit G & H, depicting the difference between bottleneck cartridges and "straight-walled cartridges".

Exhibit F

Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

Exhibit G (Below)

Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

I myself have chosen to go with an AR-15 chambered in 350 Legend, with a detailed article on that build and how it treats me this hunting season.

Exhibit H (Below)

A 5.56 NATO Green tip standing on the left (loaded in the magazine laying on the right) and a 350 Legend 145gr standing on the right (loaded magazine laying on the left).

Maryland Straight Wall Cartridge Hunting

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