The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > NFA Guns and Gear

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 31, 2009, 02:57 PM   #1
KLRANGL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2008
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Posts: 958
Constructing a suppressor for a non-firarm application

Not strictly firearms related, but NFA related. And all the airgun forums I frequent have a strict "no suppressor" talk policy.

So I want to build a functional suppressor for an air rifle (rudimentary baffles), and I do not want to go through the pains and money to have it NFA registered. From my understanding of the games of airsoft and paintball, functional suppressors can legally be used as long as they are permanently affixed to the barrel, and henceforth cannot be mounted to any real firearms.
My plan, therefore, is to build a suppressor with the body permanently affixed to a barrel, with removable baffles for cleaning and modification as necessary.
I just wanted to get your legal opinion on all of this, since I will effectively be "constructing a suppressor." If there is that big a legal gray area here, I will probably go spend the 15min with a firearms lawyer, but I wanted some advice from the educated among you first And bear in mind that I have no intention of doing anything that would be considered illegal, so try not to get worked up if you think this is a bad ideal...
__________________
And it's Killer Angel... as in the book
KLRANGL is offline  
Old August 31, 2009, 04:46 PM   #2
Don H
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 8, 2000
Location: SLC,Utah
Posts: 2,705
This is what BATF has to say about it:
Quote:
(M30) Are Paintball and/or Airgun Sound Suppressers NFA firearms? [Back]

The terms "firearm silencer" and "firearm muffler" mean any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.

Numerous paintball and airgun silencers tested by ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch have been determined to be, by nature of their design and function, firearm silencers. Because silencers are NFA weapons, an individual wishing to manufacture or transfer such a silencer must receive prior approval from ATF and pay the required tax. See Questions M15 and 16 for application details.

If I have any further questions as to the classification of a paintball or airgun silencer, who should I contact?

Please send a written request to ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch.

[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(24), 26 U.S.C. 5845(a), 27 CFR 479.11]
http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#m30
Don H is offline  
Old August 31, 2009, 05:00 PM   #3
PTK
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 20, 2008
Posts: 442
Plainly, you can't, not without registering it as a silencer on a form 1. Unfortunately, there really isn't a legal way around this.

Even permanently attached, a hacksaw over at the tech branch and it's a firearms silencer by design.
PTK is offline  
Old August 31, 2009, 06:02 PM   #4
KLRANGL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2008
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Posts: 958
Don H, I have seen that quote before, but as it was explained to me, it was regarding the original functional suppressors that were imported from Japan (they had sound deadening foam in them). That is why current airgun suppressors are imported as "mock suppressors" with no foam. I have heard of people creating functional airgun suppressors that were permanently attached.

Quote:
The terms "firearm silencer" and "firearm muffler" mean any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.
With added emphasis.
With no intent (I know I know, my word verse theirs) I think I should be okay. Especially with it being permanently attached, it cannot be mounted to a firearm even if it was hack sawed off. If this were the case, then you could make an argument for straight through car mufflers being considered suppressors, no?

Trying to play devils advocate as best as possible here, but it seems the ATF has done a swimmingly good job at tightening the noose....
__________________
And it's Killer Angel... as in the book
KLRANGL is offline  
Old September 1, 2009, 09:03 AM   #5
jmorris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 22, 2006
Posts: 1,576
304-616-4500 is the number to the NFA branch. If for some reason someone there tells you it's ok, make sure you get it in writing.
jmorris is offline  
Old September 1, 2009, 02:51 PM   #6
Don H
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 8, 2000
Location: SLC,Utah
Posts: 2,705
KLRANGL,

I'd think that the thing to do would be as the BATF suggested: contact their Firearms Technology Branch with the same question you posed here and get a written interpretation from them on your proposed use.
Don H is offline  
Old September 1, 2009, 03:02 PM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,494
Gamo sells "suppressed" air guns.... and I doubt you're paying a $200 ATF tax every time you buy one.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old September 1, 2009, 03:08 PM   #8
THEZACHARIAS
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 26, 2009
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 537
I think those particular "supressed" models have more to do with higher efficiency and lower pressure internal mechanisms than an actual silencer in the legal sense of the word.
Same deal with paintball guns; lower pressure plus a ported barrel equals less sound (You wanna hear a truly silenced gun, pop over to PBnation or youtube and check out some of the new high end paintball markers, especially the poppit-valve designs; none of which are equipped with silencers).
THEZACHARIAS is offline  
Old September 1, 2009, 03:13 PM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,494
Quote:
Originally Posted by THEZACHARIAS
I think those particular "supressed" models have more to do with higher efficiency and lower pressure internal mechanisms than an actual silencer in the legal sense of the word.

That's not what they're website shows and says...

__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old September 1, 2009, 03:26 PM   #10
THEZACHARIAS
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 26, 2009
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 537
Hmmm, youre right. Interesting. Im curious how they can market that without legal issues...

Maybe since its designed only for lower pressures? I bet if you tried to fire a real bullet through that, the plastic would never hold up against the higher air pressure.
THEZACHARIAS is offline  
Old September 1, 2009, 04:07 PM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,494
Entirely possible. I've wondered how they get away with it ever since I saw their first commercial. I suspect that it has to do with the loophole suggested by KLRANGL.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old September 1, 2009, 05:21 PM   #12
Hkmp5sd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2001
Location: Winter Haven, Florida
Posts: 4,303
They get away with it because it is permanently attached to the gun.

Per ATF:

Quote:
Noteworthy, the definition of “firearm silencer” and “firearm muffler” requires that the device be one for diminishing the report of a portable firearm. The device under consideration is permanently attached to and an integral part of a paintball gun, which is not a firearm as defined in the GCA or NFA. The device cannot be removed from the paintball gun without destroying the barrel and rendering the paintball gun unusable. Under these circumstances, the integral device is not a firearm muffler or firearm silencer.

However, once the device is cut from the paintball gun, it can be used to diminish the report of a firearm. As stated previously, the design characteristics of the device are consistent with those of commercial silencers, and testing indicates that the device functions to reduce the report of the firearm. Moreover, removal of the device from the paintball gun indicates some intention to utilize the device for something other than reducing the report of the paintball gun. Because the device will no longer be permanently attached to an unregulated item, and because of its silencer design characteristics, removal will result in the making of a silencer under the NFA and GCA. This is consistent with the definition of “make” in the NFA, as removal of the device results in production of a silencer.
ATF RULING 2005-4
__________________
NRA Certified Instructor: Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Home Safety, Personal Protection, Range Safety Officer

NRA Life Member
Hkmp5sd is offline  
Old September 1, 2009, 06:54 PM   #13
KLRANGL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2008
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Posts: 958
HK, thats more like what I was looking for... But it doesn't specifically mention anything about constructing a suppressor for the purpose of permanently affixing it to an airgun (I'm worried about getting caught with a tube and baffles before it is permanently affixed to an air rifle). I suspect I will have to call the ATF about that one, but thank you for proving my point that a permanently affixed suppressor on an airgun does not need a tax stamp and ATF approval.

Quote:
Maybe since its designed only for lower pressures? I bet if you tried to fire a real bullet through that, the plastic would never hold up against the higher air pressure.
Unfortunately that logic doesn't hold up to ATF scrutiny. The previously mentioned airsoft suppressors would be completely destroyed after one shot, but since they suppressed the weapon for one shot, they were considered suppressors by the ATF and therefore needed registration.

Thanks all for your help. When I get around to contacting the ATF, I'll try and remember to post what I get back here.
__________________
And it's Killer Angel... as in the book
KLRANGL is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09346 seconds with 7 queries