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Old December 26, 2010, 11:25 PM   #1
ohen cepel
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Removing Import Markings?

If you refinish an imported surplus weapon and don't care for the import markings can you legally remove them? Or, move them?

I think you can move a serial number so maybe these can also be moved?

Not looking to defraud anyone or break any laws.

Been wondering about it and another thread reminded me of my question.
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Old December 27, 2010, 01:12 AM   #2
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Seriously doubt it. I wouldn't chance it!
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Old December 27, 2010, 01:15 AM   #3
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You'd better write the ATF a letter and ask them. Be specific. The answers that I've seen here and elsewhere range from "Yes" to "No" with a few "Maybes" thrown in for good measure.

The ATF must interpret the rule and I have not seen any letters that specifically address the question. That's not to say that there aren't any - I just haven't seen one.
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Old December 27, 2010, 02:28 AM   #4
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Hi. I seriously doubt any U.S. government agency would check or care if an import stamp was removed after a rifle cleared Customs. Import stamps are usually too deep to remove without damaging the rifle anyway.
Proof stamps found on milsurp rifles that were sold through England, the BNP, etc., aren't there because of U.S. laws. English law only.
The ATF doesn't make the importing rules. Department of State, I think.
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Old December 27, 2010, 02:44 PM   #5
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Most "new" import markings contain a different serial number than the one originally on the rifle. This new S/N is the the number of record as far as the ATF is concerned. Do not alter or remove that number. You may knock down the shine with a dab of cold blue.


Last edited by Tidewater_Kid; December 27, 2010 at 09:28 PM.
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Old December 27, 2010, 04:07 PM   #6
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i removed the importer marks on my very first garand. the barrel was shot out so i put a new one but didnt bother sending the entire thing to Blue Sky and have them remark the rifle...
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Old December 27, 2010, 04:40 PM   #7
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I would only rely on the specific government agency for an answer about legality of changing identifying marks!
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Old December 27, 2010, 07:58 PM   #8
ohen cepel
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If one put a new barrel on it then what?

Or, if you wanted to cut down the current barrel?
Is it to be treated the same as a serial number?

Is it an import issue or required for it to be on the weapon for it's lifetime?

I don't want to get into trouble and am not looking for any!
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Old December 27, 2010, 08:16 PM   #9
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Call the ATF. Ask.
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Old December 27, 2010, 08:25 PM   #10
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That marking is for tracing purposes. It was mandated under GCA 68 because of the difficulty in tracing Oswald's Carcano in 1963. No one knew who had imported it and it took days for the several importers to go through their books. The law replaced the previous Country of Origin (COO) mark, which is still required on other products.

The law specifically mentions only serial numbers in banning removal, but it could be argued that the serial number is useless without the name of the manufacturer or importer. Better ask BATFE the question in a letter to their HQ (not a regional office) and get a letter reply. Do NOT rely on a phone call or e-mail, both of which the government considers informal communications and not binding on it.

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Old December 28, 2010, 08:14 AM   #11
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I think several people have already given you the smart advice, contact the ATF for facts rather than opinions from the net. My opinion, which may or may not be correct, is that import marks can be removed just as you could grind "Remington" off your 700 if you so chose. It's serial numbers that can't be removed.
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Old December 28, 2010, 11:58 AM   #12
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There is no prohibition to removing import marks. I've seen countless hundreds of sporterize dimported rifles from shortened to new barrels with the markings obviously gone. Have seen some where the mark is obscured or machined off when scopes are mounted ( those that have receivers marked ). It's the serial number that must be left alone.
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Old December 29, 2010, 12:21 AM   #13
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It's not illegal. Go ahead but you'll probably do more damage than good.

Asking the ATF questions gives you a 70% chance of making something newly illegal or a 30% chance of them telling you it's already illegal.
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Old December 29, 2010, 08:56 AM   #14
ohen cepel
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I'll ask the agents at the next show I see them at. They usually have a table at the one I go to. I know I'll need a letter but prefer to talk with someone to explain the variables.
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Old December 29, 2010, 11:50 AM   #15
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I have a letter from BATF Hq (See attachment) stating that it is legal for the end user to remove the import mark.

Before you do so, be sure and check your State laws. They may have a prohibition about removing "identification" markings.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Import Mark Ltr.pdf (60.1 KB, 173 views)
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Old December 30, 2010, 03:50 AM   #16
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I have a letter from BATF Hq (See attachment) stating that it is legal for the end user to remove the import mark.
Be careful with that: If you notice, it says "manufacturer's or importer's" serial number. In some cases, guns that have non-Roman letter serial number prefixes or suffixes, or, in the case of some guns from Arabic countries, numerals in Arabic script, the guns are required to have a new "unique" serial number applied by the importer. According to that letter, it would be a no-no to remove that "unique" number, in spite of the fact that the original manufacturer's serial is still on the gun.

So, while it may be OK to remove the importer's name and address, you're still stick with the importer's "unique" serial number.


Has anyone ever noticed that Spell Check suggests replacing "BATF" with "BARF?"
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