View Full Version : Antique shotgun marked "John Buckingham"

December 9, 2006, 03:00 PM
Someone I know recently purchased a lot of guns from the estate of someone he knew who passed on. One of them is a very old double barreled shotgun with no markings other then the name "John Buckingham" on the lock. It has a very short barrel and a pistol grip. Is this gun legal considering its age?

Jim Watson
December 9, 2006, 03:47 PM
Illegal to own or sell.
Age doesn't matter. It takes standard ammunition and is Too Short. As I understand it, if it doesn't HAVE papers, you cannot GET papers after the fact of manufacture of a NFA weapon.
I guess you could make arrangements to surrender it to the Feds without getting prosecuted. It would end up in a display somewhere to prove Guns Are Bad.
Or scrap it very thoroughly.

December 9, 2006, 05:55 PM
Thanks Jim. Original post edited for obvious reasons. I'll advise to destroy.

4V50 Gary
December 9, 2006, 06:59 PM
Jim, is it possible to register guns that were pre-NFA made?

James K
December 9, 2006, 08:30 PM
At one time, BATFE (and their predecessors) took a lenient view and allowed registration of NFA firearms when they came into a person's hands innocently (inheritance, for example). But under the Clinton administration, they tightened things up and now will consider any such gun (machinegun, sawed off shotgun, suppressor, etc.) to be contraband. They have been pretty decent about innocent possession, though, just accepting the turn-in.

I won't advise destroying the gun, for the reason that even that would be technically illegal. Of course, if your area boasts a deep lake or you have a boat that can go to sea....

If it is any consolation, "Buckingham" was a name used on very inexpensive shotguns that today are almost worthless, if not positively dangerous, so whatever happens it would be no great loss.


December 9, 2006, 08:32 PM
Not possible to register any already made NFA weapon. You're supposed to get permission before possessing it.

I do wonder if it would be feasible to disassemble a shotgun that was too short (say), attach longer barrels to make it legal, apply for a form 1, then reassemble the shotgun as an NFA item after the making was approved.

I'm guessing that wouldn't work if the ATF adopted a once a Title II always a Title II view of the world and the shotgun was shipped from the manufacturer as a short barreled shotgun.

James K
December 9, 2006, 09:03 PM
FWIW, and not pointing fingers at anyone, but I doubt very much that the gun was made as a sawed off. It is a lot more likely that someone, at some time, wanted a short barrel gun and used a hacksaw, not a Form 1, to get it.

I can't think of any reason why, if a set of legal length barrels was available (so unlikely as to be impossible) one would not just put them on and scrap the short barrels. In any case, short barrel or long barrel, that gun is not really worth bothering with, and not worth a quarter of the $200 tax even if it could be somehow made legal.


Jim Watson
December 9, 2006, 09:26 PM
There was a short registration amnesty holiday after passage of GCA 1968. If you happened to have a sawn off shotgun or machine gun "around the house" you could register it. They didn't even charge the $200 transfer tax, because it wasn't being transferred. But they made it clear that if you sold it, two taxes would be owed; from when/where/however you got it and when you sold it. I had a college dorm neighbor who registered a DEWAT Maxim gun in the hopes that he could find the parts to REWAT it. The maid didn't seem nervous about sweeping around it.

I have never heard of another opportunity to register a NFA Firearm after the fact. Certainly not after the 1986 ripoff.

December 9, 2006, 09:44 PM
For legal reasons I would do the following.
1) REMOVE the barrel from the gun and take it to another house YESTERDAY. That way you have nothing illegal.
2) Fill out a form 1 and register the receiver as a AOW 5 bucks.
3) AFTER and ONLY AFTER you get the approval reunite the two parts.

It is illegal to own a AOW without being registered. It is also not legal to own a SHORT barrel for a gun you have without having it registered. However a person MAY own a short barrel if they do not own the gun it goes on.

Bill DeShivs
December 9, 2006, 11:01 PM
You can not register an existing shotgun receiver as an AOW. Also, I think the tax for making an AOW is still $200-transfer is $5.

December 10, 2006, 02:22 PM
You can not register an existing shotgun receiver as an AOW. Also, I think the tax for making an AOW is still $200-transfer is $5.

Funny I did two this summer. Bill my friend you need to learn the law before you preach it. It is legal to make any shotgun into a SBS ( under 18 inch barrel). If you have the stock on it then it is a short barreled shotgun this is a 200 dollar stamp. If you do not have a stock but a pistol grip then it is a AOW and then it is a 5 dollar tax stamp.

Bill DeShivs
December 10, 2006, 05:52 PM
It is my understanding that a shotgun receiver that was originally sold as a stocked shotgun can only be registered as a "firearm made from a shotgun," or SBS, not an AOW. Only receivers that have never had a stock (such as the pistol-gripped Mossbergs), or new receivers that have not been sold as shotguns can be registered as an AOW. Not so sure about the tax, I heard that AOW manufacture was upped to $200. Glad to hear it has not.
Unless laws have changed recently, I still say that a stocked shotgun can not be registered as an AOW. Please show me where I am wrong, as I have several that I would convert.

James K
December 10, 2006, 08:44 PM
The guns/items registered under the 1968 amnesty are fully transferrable and only a single tax of $200 is charged. I have no idea how that "double tax" story was started, but it is not true. There is an exception. IF the gun was registered in 1968 as "unserviceable", and later the owner wanted to make it serviceable (this can still be done) there is a $200 tax on the "making" of a serviceable weapon; once that is done, though, any transfer is at the normal $200 rate.

The Form 1 is used to make a short-barrel rifle/shotgun, that is, to make an NFA firearm from a non-NFA firearm. But this is a case where the SBS is already made and already illegal. To go to a lot of trouble and expense over an old junk shotgun that is worth about nothing, and whose possession can only mean trouble if the owner keeps publicizing it and asking about it, seems to me to be a bit silly.


Bill DeShivs
December 10, 2006, 09:11 PM
Perhaps I am not making myself clear. Travis suggested registering it as an AOW. I understand it's already illegal, as no form 1 has been done.
My argument was that you can not register (on a form 1) or make an AOW from an existing shotgun. I was also under the impression that the fee to manufacture an AOW had been raised to $200 for manufacture, $5 for subsequent transfer.
I understand you can make a SBS from an existing shotgun.
Correct me if I'm wrong.

February 20, 2008, 04:10 PM
Is there any information, history, or values for this make shotgun? I have recently acquired one in about 80%-85% condition.