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Old July 17, 2012, 06:21 PM   #1
Nickel Plated
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When does a firearm stop being a firearm?

Let's say I were to take a 100% AR-15 lower and mill out the internals so that they no longer take AR-15 FCG parts, does it cease to be a firearm? At least for transfer purposes.

What if I were to take an 80% lower and mill the whole FCG pocket out of spec (too wide, too short, too deep). Is it not considered a firearm? Especially since it did not start as one.
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Old July 17, 2012, 06:24 PM   #2
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ATF considers the frame, where the serial number is stamped, to the gun. if you destroy it, it's still considered a gun. an 80% frame is not a gun yet, as it has no serial number.
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Old July 17, 2012, 06:56 PM   #3
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You can buy 80% lowers in some places. Somewhere I have a block of aluminum called a 0% lower that is a great desk conversation piece. As above, if you removed the "serialized" firearm part (the lower receiver on an AR, the receiver on an AK) then the rest is just machine parts.
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Old July 17, 2012, 08:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Let's say I were to take a 100% AR-15 lower and mill out the internals so that they no longer take AR-15 FCG parts, does it cease to be a firearm? At least for transfer purposes.
Nope. It's still a firearm, just one that doesn't work. Once the serial number goes on, its a firearm. Unfinished, broken,etc. doesn't matter under the law. Its a firearm.

Now, if you have rendered it inoperable, and not returnable to operable condition, AND get the BATFE to inspect it and declare it as such,THEN (and only then) it is no longer a firearm.

It becomes a deactivated firearm, and goes into a different legal class. DEWAT guns (Deactivated War Trophy) are inspected and approved as such by the Fed. Until then, even if you welded them shut, they are still legal firearms.
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Old July 17, 2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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^^^ What 44 AMP said.

A few years ago, Sarco was selling some deactivated Hi-Power pistols that had been altered to make the inoperable in order to use them for classroom props. In addition to having been painted red, the cam bar (or something -- don't recall exactly how Sarco described it and I'm not a Hi-Power armorer) had been removed or altered, the firing pin hole in the breech face had been welded shut, and a rod/pin had been inserted through the chamber. They could not have been made to fire a live round without some serious work by a knowledgeable individual.

But they required an FFL for purchase (or transfer).
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Old July 19, 2012, 08:57 PM   #6
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Ok, thank's for the replies. Reason I was asking was because i wanted to use a real AR lower for a gas airsoft rifle I have. The rifle uses a self contained "trigger pack", similar to an HK rifle, that drops into the lower. So the whole FCG cavity in the lower has to be machined out larger. Since i live in NYC where getting a real functioning AR lower is next to impossible, I figured I could have a smith in another state purchase the lower, mill it out and then send it to me.

But since that won't fly then I guess I will have to take an 80% and do it myself. Just to be clear it will not function as a firearm once I'm done with it.
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Old July 21, 2012, 12:28 PM   #7
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function or not, if that 80% finished lower has a serial number on it, it is legally a firearm. Don't take chances, especially in NYC!!!!!

Their rules on what is legal and what is not are different from virtually everyone else's. Would be a real shame to wind up in jail (or not and still spend thousands in legal fees) for a simple gas gun.
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Old July 22, 2012, 11:08 PM   #8
Willie Sutton
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"function or not, if that 80% finished lower has a serial number on it, it is legally a firearm"



Uh.... <sigh>... no.

If it's an unfinished forging, requiring 20% more machining, it never was a firearm, is legally just a lump of aluminum, and can have any sort of gibberish the owner wants engraved on it, including numbers that are placed as to *simulate* a serial number, but which are, in fact, just gibberish engraved on a lump of aluminum that is a non-firearm.


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Old July 23, 2012, 12:04 AM   #9
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In the ATF's eyes, a 20% incomplete ANYTHING is a hunk of metal. I have read someone's opine elsewhere online that there is a "no trigger" rule, as in it must be impossible to install a trigger without further completion.

http://www.tacticalmachining.com/80-...-receiver.html

This is a company that sells them, one of many I'm sure, and it seems that the price is affordable. I only own old wood and steel rifles so I have no idea the cost, but this should help put you on the path.

Godspeed, brother!
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Old July 25, 2012, 06:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
"function or not, if that 80% finished lower has a serial number on it, it is legally a firearm"



Uh.... <sigh>... no.
actually, Uh..<sigh>...yes.
Depending on specific circumstances. If the manufacturer puts a serial number on it, and lists it as a firearm, whether 80% finished or 0% finished, it is legally, from that point on, a firearm.

If the manufacturer stamps "anything it wants" on it, and does not list is as a firearm, then it is not a firearm, its a lump of aluminium, steel, etc. Once the maker registers it with the ATF as a firearm, (finished or not) it is a firearm.

Prior to May 19th 1986, the makers of full auto firearms registered as many recievers with the ATF as they could, before the cut off date. Many, if not most of these new "firearms" were at the time unfinished. They became legal firearms, "manufactured" before the cut off date, and therefore able to be sold to civilians under the law. The fact that it was days, weeks, or months before the firearms were fully finished was irrelevant. Under the law, they became "pre-ban" because they were registered before the effective date of the ban.

Those people selling partially finished recievers, are not selling "firearms" in the legal sense, because they have not been registered with the ATF as such.

My point is that, if you have a partially finished, or even unfinished reciever, with a serial number on it, it could legally be a firearm. I'm sorry I wasn't as clear as I meant to be. Yes, you can have a partially finished lower, with numbers on it, and it is nothing more than a lump of aluminium. BUT, you can also have a partially finished lower with numbers on it that is legally a firearm.

And without a statement from the maker/or the ATF, for your specific "lump of aluminium" I don't see any way to tell the difference.

One would assume that if the maker sells it mail order, without going through an FFL that it is not a legal firearm. But without some documentation stating such, one can only go on the assumption the seller is complying with the law.

I prefer to assume that if it has a serial number on it, that it is a firearm, legally. Doing so, (and following ALL applicable laws) keeps one out of trouble. After all, if its not legally a firearm, why bother putting a number on it?

As to those partial finished recievers that are not legally firearms when sold, the buyer becomes the manufacturer when the reciever is finished, and assumes the legal responsibility to register the gun with the govt in the approved manner. And yes, there are separate rules for how/when to do this, too.
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Old July 25, 2012, 09:56 PM   #11
Willie Sutton
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"Depending on specific circumstances. If the manufacturer puts a serial number on it, and lists it as a firearm, whether 80% finished or 0% finished, it is legally, from that point on, a firearm"


From a practical standpoint, and germane to the OP's question, NOBODY is selling 80% machined lowers that have been listed by a Type 7 FFL as a manuctured firearm and then sold as a firearm. AFAIK nobody ever has. 80% lowers are made and sold to be finished (and serialized) by the manufacturer of a firearm, either a Type 7 FFL or an Individual. If you want to machine out the pocket to accept an airsoft drop in mechanism and to "serialize" it so that it looks authentic, it's perfectly legal.


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Old July 26, 2012, 01:58 PM   #12
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44 Amp explained it well.

Once a firearm is OFFICIALLY de-milled, it's no longer a firearm. Hence the guys that take de-milled guns, and build them back into functional weapons, are making their own firearms. Perfectly legal.

I've also seen bolt actions- like a PH M85, non-serialized and incomplete. It's not a firearm. One could heat-treat it, complete it, and build their own firearm using it.

I do find it interesting that anyone that can legally own a gun, can build one for himself. Fascinating hobby for those with the machinery and the knowledge.
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:58 PM   #13
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So to get this clear. If I:

1) Order an 80% lower, shipped directly to my house.
2) Stamp some logos and a fake serial number on it (to make it look nice)
3) Send it directly by mail to a shop to be anodized (no FFL transfer)
4) They send it directly back to me (since it's still an 80%)
5) I then mill out the FCG pocket to airsoft specs

Am I doing anything wrong?

Also, would I be able to send a marked and milled out airsoft lower to a shop for anodizing and then have it sent back to me directly or would that have to go through an FFL?

The part that kind of confuses me is there are many gas guns out there with lowers built to these specs that are sold openly in shops throughout the country and can be mailed with 0 restrictions or hassles and the ATF couldn't care less.
Yet if I make the same exact lower from an 80% forging, it's some kind of gray area. I mean the one I want to make and the one that's already on my gun are essentially the same exact thing except that one is cast (aluminum I think?) whereas this one would be forged.
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Old August 4, 2012, 09:09 PM   #14
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In NYC that would be even more illegal. There are exemptions and licensing for long arms in NYC... However the outright ban on airguns / airsoft has been upheld in court... See People v. Nivar (2011). Your propsal would leave him with even fewer viable legal defenses.
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Old August 8, 2012, 11:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Ok, thank's for the replies. Reason I was asking was because i wanted to use a real AR lower for a gas airsoft rifle I have. The rifle uses a self contained "trigger pack", similar to an HK rifle, that drops into the lower. So the whole FCG cavity in the lower has to be machined out larger. Since i live in NYC where getting a real functioning AR lower is next to impossible, I figured I could have a smith in another state purchase the lower, mill it out and then send it to me.
Nooooo!!! Don't use a completed lower receiver to build the airsoft gun. Use it to build a full AR-rifle where it is legal to do so

For the airsoft, just get one of these 80% receivers that are available at various build shops and work on it a bit. The airsoft gun doesnt have to be perfect. The real rifle must be!

You live in NYC though so be really careful about your laws. AR parts, especially lowers, even unfinished ones, are like peanut butter to an allergic person.
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