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Old September 2, 2007, 12:22 AM   #1
KyleH
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Legal issues with home made silencers?

Legality of machining your own suppressor. Say I had the means to manufacture a quickly disassemble-able silencer. What are the legal issues involved with this if any? When shooting with suppressed weapons at the range do you have to show some kind of BATF proof that you paid the stamp and are able to use it?
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Old September 2, 2007, 02:29 AM   #2
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Not a lawyer....

And my advice is worth what you pay for it, but here it is. As I understand it, the Feds consider the "intent" to silence a firearm, without their prior approval, to be a crime.

This view covers alot, even homemade "silencers", even ones that don't actually work are prosecutible, because "intent" is a crime, along with posession.

Then there is the whole "creative posession" or "constructive posession" thing. The legal idea that since you have the parts (and tools) to make something illegal that it is the same thing as having the illegal thing. Sometimes this gets shot down in court, but other times it flys. Why risk it?

And finally, your tax stamp and paperwork is your proof that you have complied with the law. You would have to produce them for any LEO who asks, or face arrest. You might have to show them to the range officer/range managment in order to be allowed on their range, but that would be a private matter between you and the range.

If you want actual valid legal advice, find (and pay) an attorney who understands Fed/state gun laws. That way if you get bad advice, at least you have the benefit of knowing you were lied to by a professional.
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Old September 2, 2007, 03:34 AM   #3
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The legal issues are exactly the same as though you were going to purchase one.

You still need the $200 stamp and the whole 9 yards, assuming it is even legal to own one in your state.
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Old September 2, 2007, 03:59 AM   #4
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Legality of machining your own suppressor.
Fill out ATF FORM 1 and pay $200 -> Totally legal.


Just go ahead and make one -> 10 years in Federal Prison for each.
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Old September 2, 2007, 11:27 AM   #5
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If you can make one that works well, I would say $200 stamp + materials beats the heck out of the 700+stamp I paid for my AAC. Just be sure you go the legal route - life is too short to spend a significant chunk in prison . As far as range use goes, I've never been questioned or had to show anything (you're doing them a favor by keeping the noise down), but my was obviously manufactured. A home brewed setup may arouse more suspicion, but that's why you always carry a very good copy or the original tax stamp when you leave the house with your can. If you do cook one up (the legal route, of course), be sure to show us your handywork!
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Old September 2, 2007, 01:09 PM   #6
KyleH
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Machining one will be very easy, I have gotten rather handy on the lathe and have a decent amount of time to work on one. Figuring out what to do that will work best is going to be tricky. I was thinking wood and metal washers/spacers with maybe two chambers hollowed out to allow the expanding gas (and the sound that its carrying) to expand into. That combined with subsonic ammo. I also have access to an array of material from 4340, to chromoly, stainless, mild and 6160-T6511 aluminum all cheap or free.

I am just now starting to actually look up how they are constructed and what not so maybe my ideas suck. I have to manufacture the components separately as to have an assembled firearm piece where I am going to be machining the parts would be rather illegal.
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Old September 2, 2007, 01:32 PM   #7
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I have to manufacture the components separately as to have an assembled firearm piece where I am going to be machining the parts would be rather illegal.
According to written law, to have even one component that is part of a suppressor, and not already registered with ATF is illegal. The law sees even one baffle as a complete suppressor. You really need to submit the Form1 and get approval before doing any machining.
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Old September 2, 2007, 01:49 PM   #8
KyleH
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I will make sure to not machine any piece that could anyway attach to the gun or resemble a suppressor until the very end when I most certainly will get the BATF stamp. I am too short for federal prison.
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Old September 2, 2007, 02:11 PM   #9
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I will make sure to not machine any piece that could anyway attach to the gun or resemble a suppressor until the very end when I most certainly will get the BATF stamp. I am too short for federal prison.
I'd still be careful if I were you. It doesn't matter if it can attach to a gun or not, and it doesn't matter what it looks like. What matters is what it's intended use is. If any part you make is intended to be used as part of a suppressor, then it is an illegal suppressor in and of itself in the eyes of ATF. Owning several replacement 'wipes' for the older suppressors that require them has been seen as a no-no in the past. I wouldn't want to be the one with the precedent-setting case in that situation. It wouldn't work out in your favor. You would be better served to go ahead and get the stamp, and then start the machining work.
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Old September 2, 2007, 04:51 PM   #10
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I will heed your advice. Any advice on the construction of this or is it basically a straight through car muffler with some wood inserts?
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Old September 2, 2007, 08:12 PM   #11
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Advice?

Don't use wood.
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Old September 2, 2007, 10:29 PM   #12
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Nope to getting the Form 1 approval last. You have to have the approved Form 1 BEFORE starting work; otherwise you are attempting to manufacture a suppressor without a license, a violation of the law. And you MUST do all the work YOURSELF. If you farm out the work, the person doing the work MUST have a Class 2 SOT plus a Type 7 or 10 FFL. But then you don't need the Form 1, since a manufacturer is making the suppressor for you, but you need to pay the $200 anyway on the transfer. I don't know about having an unlicensed person make the parts, but I suspect that could result in a double tax or a violation.

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Old September 3, 2007, 12:19 AM   #13
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Any advice on the construction of this or is it basically a straight through car muffler with some wood inserts?
You're going to hurt yourself or someone else very badly.
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Old September 3, 2007, 12:26 AM   #14
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^^^^^^^+10000^^^^^^^^


You can search the net for blue prints, but as the others have said, get the form1 approved first. That will allow you to T&E your idea and make any tweaks you will need without legal trouble.
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Old September 3, 2007, 05:39 AM   #15
p99guy
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Kyle, I suspect you are just screwing with us....its hard to believe that you would actually be that ill informed if you allready knew about the 200.00 tax
-Wood lol
(paaaleeeese)
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Old September 3, 2007, 08:51 AM   #16
KyleH
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I figured it was illegal, but it never hurts to ask. A lot of the places on the net suggest using wood inserts (obvious not actually lining the barrel, on the outside of the barrel to absorb expanding gas and vibration.)

Was that what you were saying when you said you're going to hurt yourself or someone else?

Of course the part the bullet actually travels through will probably be 4340 or 4140 drilled to let the gas expand into chambers, some of which potentially containing wood inserts. This will all be held in a wood (just kidding) aluminum or steel casing.
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Old September 3, 2007, 10:13 AM   #17
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You're going to hurt yourself or someone else very badly.
He may be correct. What is likely to happen, is that the wood is not going to be rigid enough for use in a suppressor. I suspect what you have read elsewhere is somehow related to survivalist tactics and other garbage about 'improvised' suppressors. Wood would not make an ideal (or even logical IMHO) baffle. You can't get the tolerances close enough, and wood will expand and contract with temperature, not to mention come flying apart or catching on fire when it gets hot enough. Wood baffles would lend themselves to baffle strikes and viciously unstable bullets. You could, and probably would, hurt yourself or someone else badly. Don't be an idiot. If ya' want to machine a suppressor go ahead. If you want one that works, call Gemtech.
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Old September 3, 2007, 01:10 PM   #18
KyleH
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I mostly just want to build one to use. Buying one would not be fun or interesting to me. Not to mention the cost involved, I am in college and run a small eBay business to fund that, I do not wish to spend the money for the suppressor and the tax stamp. I am not sure I even want to build it if its going to cost me $200, this is a lot of money to someone like myself who could use that towards my business.

Keep in mind I know little to nothing of suppressor construction, so the idea I am trying to convey may make no sense or go against known working designs.

Let me know what you think of this build plan and maybe it will better illustrate what I want to do. I would also have some chambers potentially containing water/grease easily addable through set screws.
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Old September 3, 2007, 01:20 PM   #19
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hmmmm...I would use styrofoam( at least the shrapnal wont hurt as much and it will fly apart just as good as wood)
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Old September 3, 2007, 01:55 PM   #20
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That design is not very efficient. Baffles/spacers will have to be added, but in and of itself it is an outdated, inefficient design that would require "wipes" to make it much quieter than an un-suppressed report. Your idea of adding reservoirs that are fillable via a set-screw is flawed in that once filled, it will empty out into the bullet chamber when threaded-on. You can't completely contain the coolant if you want it to work. The gas has to contact the coolant for it to be acted upon. Modern suppressors use a stack of baffles that are drilled in the center. When stacked, the center hole creates the space for the bullet to travel. Your design with the drilled, or ported, center tube wouldnt direct enough gas into your baffles to be effectively cooled and expanded, thus the need for wipes.

It sounds to me like you really want to learn, don't let all the others get you down. Do a search for suppressor design patents. You can virtually get blueprints for the most modern designs online. That would aid you in machining.
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Old September 3, 2007, 11:30 PM   #21
KyleH
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Thats it really I like learning new stuff. Thanks for the tip I will try my best to find some and reinvent it based on what I can gather.
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Old September 4, 2007, 01:21 PM   #22
James K
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Can you make a silencer (suppressor) without paying the $200 and filling out forms? Sure. Absolutely. It has been done many times.

Of course if you try it out and someone decides you are a naughty boy and tells on you, the cost just to arrange bail will run maybe $10k, non-refundable. Not to mention lawyer's fees and the possibility of a big fine and jail time. Makes that $200 seem pretty small potatoes, at least to me.

Jim
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Old September 4, 2007, 01:48 PM   #23
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If you can't afford the tax, then just tell yoursel you can't afford to build it. You certainly can't afford prison, right?
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Old September 4, 2007, 05:52 PM   #24
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I am not sure I even want to build it if its going to cost me $200, this is a lot of money to someone like myself who could use that towards my business.

The flip side to this is, there won't be a business if you don't pay the $200 and you get busted. Kind of a catch22.
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Old September 16, 2007, 04:36 PM   #25
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Check-out http://www.silencertalk.com for a lot of great information.
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