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Found a crease in ATF Regs? Is this guy right?

2441 Views 46 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  ChicagoMike
This Is NOT a Firearm - YouTube

This guy shows a standsrd Walker Colt replica and explains that it is not regulated as a firearm because it is a black powder cap-and-ball gun. /Then he shows the sam,e gun with a cartridge conversion cylinder. He says that both may be ordered online and delivered to one's door without restriction.

So he is shooting a centerfire cartridge gun that may not be regulated as a firearm.

Can this be right?
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18 U.S. Code § 921
Seems you just cited against your prior post wherein you state "...the conversion cylinder into the cap-and-ball pistol, you have "manufactured" a firearm...."

However, 18 U.S.C. §921 specifically defines who and who is not a "manufacturer"....
(10) The term “manufacturer” means any person engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms or ammunition for purposes of sale or distribution; and the term “licensed manufacturer” means any such person licensed under the provisions of this chapter.
 

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Seems you just cited against your prior post wherein you state "...the conversion cylinder into the cap-and-ball pistol, you have "manufactured" a firearm...."

However, 18 U.S.C. §921 specifically defines who and who is not a "manufacturer"....
You cannot just pull a single paragraph out of legal code, it all has to be read as a single object.

(21) The term “engaged in the business” means—

(A) as applied to a manufacturer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms manufactured;

(B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;

(C) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(A), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business to predominantly earn a profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms;

(D) as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921(a)(11)(B), a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in such activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms, or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms;

(E) as applied to an importer of firearms, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the firearms imported; and

(F) as applied to an importer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported.


If you are not "engaged in the business," (none of A through F apply to you) you are not a "manufacturer," as defined in this statute.

However, the verb 'manufacture,' is not being specifically defined here, and therefore, retains its common definition of: "to create or construct."

Laws state what is ILLEGAL, not what is legal. It is perfectly legal to manufacture your own firearms, as long as you are not "engaged in the business." Because nowhere in the U.S. Code, Chapter 44, does it state that it is ILLEGAL to do so. However, this particular section does define a "firearm", and explains that cap-and-ball reproductions do not fall under the definition of "firearm", and why.

So, if by magic, or some other action, a cylinder capable of expelling a projectile by the action of an explosive appears on your otherwise "antique" pistol (and is not a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system, or does not use rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade), it ceases to be an "antique", and starts to be a "firearm"...
 

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...
So, if by magic, or some other action, a cylinder capable of expelling a projectile by the action of an explosive appears on your otherwise "antique" pistol (and is not a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system, or does not use rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade), it ceases to be an "antique", and starts to be a "firearm"...
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All of those "is not"s and "does not"s makes it difficult to understand whether the transition from antique to firearm applies.
 

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Lawyer-speak.

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All of those "is not"s and "does not"s makes it difficult to understand whether the transition from antique to firearm applies.
In plain English, if the cylinder is fired by a percussion cap, flintlock, matchlock, or similar antiquated system, or is chambered is a cartridge no longer produced or available through ordinary commercial channels, it is still an "antique." Otherwise, no matter how it started life, it is a "firearm" as far as the law is concerned.
 

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But you are allowed to manufacture your own AR from scratch, or an 80% receiver, so there is some logic that if you take an antique pistol and manufacture your own modern pistol, that should be legal. Not arguing it, but it is scary that the only way to know for sure on some of these things is to get caught and fight it out in court. Which isn't so fun if you lose, and expensive even if you win.
 

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n my un-informed opinion . . .it seems to me that in a jurisdiction where it is still legal to assemble or create a firearm at home for one's own use, that swapping the cylinders should be considered the same.
Nope...
Look at it this way...

You take a 'pistol' with an 8" barrel and a brace. Its classified as a pistol.
Now if you replace the brace with a collapsing stock... you have just created an SBR.

The Feds frown upon that and while the pistol is legal in IL, the SBR is not. IL doesn't allow any NFA regulated stuff. (No select fire, no suppressors...)
 

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18 U.S. Code § 921
This is correct.
Here's the relevant section...


(3)
The term “firearm” means (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

Now... you're about to jump up and say ... but wait, this is an antique firearm... even though its a replica!

And if you actually follow the link...

(16) The term “antique firearm” means— (A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or (B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica— (i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or (ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or (C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

And if you missed it:
(A) if such replica— (i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition,

That's what is going to get you in trouble.
You've just taken an antique and 'redesigned' it to take centerfire fixed ammo.

So when you put that conversion kit into the pistol... you now have a firearm. No loophole.
 

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But you are allowed to manufacture your own AR from scratch, or an 80% receiver, so there is some logic that if you take an antique pistol and manufacture your own modern pistol, that should be legal. Not arguing it, but it is scary that the only way to know for sure on some of these things is to get caught and fight it out in court. Which isn't so fun if you lose, and expensive even if you win.
Ok ...
Take an 80% complete receiver/pistol.
You now have to take time to complete the pistol in order to get a gun.

How much time did you take replacing the cylinder w one that can take centerfire ammo?

Not the same thing.
Nor did you build your own gun.
 

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Ok ...
Take an 80% complete receiver/pistol.
You now have to take time to complete the pistol in order to get a gun.

How much time did you take replacing the cylinder w one that can take centerfire ammo?

Not the same thing.
Nor did you build your own gun.
I'm sure there are fitting and timing issues with these conversions. So I don't know how the amount of time could be used as a qualifier. I could do a 80 percent Glock based frame in a few minutes but a AR or AK completion is gonna be hours.

A friend had a obsolete caliber rifle with no availability of ammunition but it single shot rolling block and the barrel twist and diameter worked out to where it could be quickly re-chambered in 223 Remington. So obsolete to very functional in under a hour.
 

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Ok ...
Take an 80% complete receiver/pistol.
You now have to take time to complete the pistol in order to get a gun.

How much time did you take replacing the cylinder w one that can take centerfire ammo?

Not the same thing.
Nor did you build your own gun.
It is the same thing. Building is building, there is no time limit. You can build your own SBR in the time it takes to torque a barrel nut. (So, you better have your tax stamp first.)

And it won't get you in trouble (barring local restrictions), building your own firearms is not illegal.
 

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Ok ...
Take an 80% complete receiver/pistol.
You now have to take time to complete the pistol in order to get a gun.

How much time did you take replacing the cylinder w one that can take centerfire ammo?

Not the same thing.
Nor did you build your own gun.
Oh, and by the way, remember the definition of "firearm", a complete receiver is a "firearm" as far as the law is concerned.

And there is no legal difference, firearms law wise, between a steel frame casting and a cap and ball pistol. Both are not "firearms". And both can be made into "firearms."
 

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If I recall, there used to be a requirement that it took at least 12 hours of machining to finish a firearm to meet the 80% rule, but then came CNC machines, where you could make a receiver from a block in less than 12 hours, so that test sort of went out the window, and I don't think the ATF ever really published a definition of what constitutes 80% - they just sort of let that sleeping dog lie.
 

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Lawyer-speak.


In plain English, if the cylinder is fired by a percussion cap, flintlock, matchlock, or similar antiquated system, or is chambered is a cartridge no longer produced or available through ordinary commercial channels, it is still an "antique." Otherwise, no matter how it started life, it is a "firearm" as far as the law is concerned.
So, if I understand your thinking even though a firearm BEGAN life many years ago as would otherwise be now considered an antique, if it has been modified to fire a modern cartridge, it is no longer considered an antique.

That appears to be the exact opposite of the ATFs position on "once a full-auto firearm, always a full-auto firearm" even if it has been modified to semi-auto.

That's the ATFs version of "heads I win, tails you lose"!
 

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So, if I understand your thinking even though a firearm BEGAN life many years ago as would otherwise be now considered an antique, if it has been modified to fire a modern cartridge, it is no longer considered an antique.

That appears to be the exact opposite of the ATFs position on "once a full-auto firearm, always a full-auto firearm" even if it has been modified to semi-auto.

That's the ATFs version of "heads I win, tails you lose"!
Not quite.

[*QUOTE*] Firearms [*UNQUOTE*] only date back to 1934 when the term was legally defined in the 1934 National Firearms Act. Almost everything that is now defined as an antique, was defined as an antique back then with one or two cases of stuff that the ammunition for has disappeared entirely.

The reason for the "once-a-full-automatic-always-a-full-automatic" is simple because the ATF now has all of the registration records (who owns it and where it lives, etc), and they are not going to give that up.[/QUOTE]
 

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It is the same thing. Building is building, there is no time limit. You can build your own SBR in the time it takes to torque a barrel nut. (So, you better have your tax stamp first.)

And it won't get you in trouble (barring local restrictions), building your own firearms is not illegal.
You have two thing to think about in terms of compliance.
The NFA (National Firearms Act) and the local & state laws.

Yes, if you have an SBR, you will need the requisite paperwork.
If you live in IL... no SBR, no select fire, no suppressors... period.

So that's the issue. Compliance.

The time limit issue is more of a test.
Can you easily convert something? If so... its a no.. no.

For those who say... but I can use CNC to build a weapon within an hour... that's kinda like shooting sub MOA day in and day out. ;)

Can you take a block of Aluminum and cut out an AR upper/lower? Sure. Under an hour? Maybe. It depends.
But then again... remind me how expensive that CNC machine is? How long did it take to set up?

Heck, why cut when you can print. But then again... how much is the machine (metal printer) and how expensive that gun would be?

Not the same as a .410 gauge zip gun that fires a slug.
 

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I'm sure there are fitting and timing issues with these conversions. So I don't know how the amount of time could be used as a qualifier. I could do a 80 percent Glock based frame in a few minutes but a AR or AK completion is gonna be hours.

A friend had a obsolete caliber rifle with no availability of ammunition but it single shot rolling block and the barrel twist and diameter worked out to where it could be quickly re-chambered in 223 Remington. So obsolete to very functional in under a hour.
Hi,

Look, IANAL.
I just looked at the law as written.

This is something anyone can do.
Yes the 80/20 rule was 'arbitrary'. But it was more of a test to show that there was a bit of effort to obtain the parts and then machine to complete.
Its not like taking a drop in part and instantly having a select fire weapon.

And I have to question you on your time to complete an 80% Glock in a 'few minutes'.
Not the same as removing the barrel nut and putting an 8" or 12" barrel on a rifle for an SBR.
And then there's the issue of skill.

Any knuckle dragger can change a barrel.
It takes some skill to run tools in a machine shop.
 

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It is the same thing. Building is building, there is no time limit. You can build your own SBR in the time it takes to torque a barrel nut. (So, you better have your tax stamp first.)

And it won't get you in trouble (barring local restrictions), building your own firearms is not illegal.
Really?
Look at what you just wrote.
"So, you better have your tax stamp first."

That's the point.
Converting a rifle to an SBR. You will get into trouble if you are not doing it within the confines of the law.
So to say, don't worry, you can build your own guns... you have to do it within the confines of the law.

They can make the 80% kits illegal, but if you were to build the gun, for personal use, from scratch... they can't arrest you for that.
If you live in a state like IL or CA, buying the 80% kits will get you into trouble. (Your 'local/state' laws)

You could also easily engrave your name and serial number into the frame... and I think you could be ok. (Although you'd want to speak to a lawyer about that. )
 

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So, if I understand your thinking even though a firearm BEGAN life many years ago as would otherwise be now considered an antique, if it has been modified to fire a modern cartridge, it is no longer considered an antique.

That appears to be the exact opposite of the ATFs position on "once a full-auto firearm, always a full-auto firearm" even if it has been modified to semi-auto.

That's the ATFs version of "heads I win, tails you lose"!
Sorry, to be clear... that's not the ATF, but the actual law as written. Using this guy's gun as an example... removing the cylinder and replacing it with one which can take cartridges... that's no longer considered an antique or replica firearm.

The interesting thing is that you could still buy both mail order... but then you need to figure out how what happens when you do what he did. That's the question that will take a lawyer to answer.
 

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And I have to question you on your time to complete an 80% Glock in a 'few minutes'
I'll qualify my skill level. I have spent 30 years R&D prototype and production development. I would also qualify as what is now known as Mechatronics technician (basically every from a bare floor to running equipment). Therefore I can analyze what's being done and prioritize what's needed and what's not.

First one followed the instructions to the letter and did it their way and super fastidious about the cuts and hole location. First one probably took 1 1/2 hours. Last one (without the time cleaning up the molding flash and parting lines took 10 minutes. That's the machining portion and another 15 minutes fitting parts and polishing the "trigger" parts.

I painfully sat with someone that wanted the experience but didn't want to ruin the part. It was 2 1/2 hours of hell telling g them to look over the instructions again over and over (and I didn't lay a finger on their project as hard as that was). They wanted to do a AR, I told them that would be a multi day project and it would probably get ruined.

Yes I get that all of this is kinda subjective and no way to really quantify "80%". Completing a AR or AK, is a real chore and more often that not ends up trash unless you are a very mechanically apt person
 
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