View Full Version : Hooking an electric drill up to a gatling trigger...legal?

Elite Doberman
December 14, 2008, 02:39 AM
Someone told me about a guy who hooked up an electric drill to the gat trigger accessory, which meant he just held down the drill switch for auto fire. Is this legal? even though the trigger is still being pressed multiple times by the mechanism, would the drill button be considered to be the "trigger" in this case?

December 14, 2008, 02:53 AM
The trigger is what the shooter operates to fire the gun.
If the gun is designed so that the shooter can operate the trigger a single time and get more than one shot then the gun is a machinegun.
Unless it was manufactured and registered as a machinegun before 1986 then it's an illegal machinegun in the United States which means that the person posessing it is a felon unless he has an FFL that permits him to sell machineguns to LE/Military and the person who made it is a felon unless he has federal licensing that allows him to manufacture machineguns for LE/Military/research purposes.

December 14, 2008, 11:57 AM
how do those Hellfire type trigger manipulaters get around this definition?

December 14, 2008, 12:54 PM
I am in process of building a gatling gun. In preparation of this project I spoke to the ATF technical branch and was told that while a Gatling gun was a title 1 firearm, adding a motor would turn it into a regulated item (the term used was "GE minigun type" firearm).


December 14, 2008, 01:47 PM
If I am understanding correctly, that makes the gun operated by a machine, which is a no-no?

December 14, 2008, 03:32 PM
how do those Hellfire type trigger manipulaters get around this definition?
For the same reason that crank operated Gatling guns are legal. You need continuous action from the shooter, in the form of cranking, to keep the gun firing.

To put it more simply. It's the government, it doesn't have to make sense.

December 14, 2008, 05:50 PM
If I am understanding correctly, that makes the gun operated by a machine, which is a no-no?

It isn't the being attached to a machine that is illegal. It is the more than one round fired per trigger pull that is illegal. You can attach an electro-mechanical device to your gun as long as whatever you use for a switch only fires one round each time you actuate it.

December 15, 2008, 02:11 AM

December 16, 2008, 07:37 PM
how do those Hellfire type trigger manipulaters get around this definition?

The simple answer is that they don’t work or at least don’t work very well. For example the Akins Accelerator was a stock designed to simplify bump firing, however, it worked so after 3years of production, with approval by the ATF, it was ruled a machinegun and everyone that had one was now in violation of the law. Here is a link if you are not familiar. http://good-times.webshots.com/album/562229300LYFlmJ

Also declared a machinegun by the ATF is a key ring and a shoelace (see photo below). Before you ask, I don’t know who took the photo and I don’t even own a rifle of that type.

December 16, 2008, 08:51 PM
Didn't the BATFE came to their senses a couple years ago and rule that "upon further consideration" the string was no longer to be considered a machine gun?

December 16, 2008, 10:52 PM
Didn't the BATFE came to their senses a couple years ago and rule that "upon further consideration" the string was no longer to be considered a machine gun?
No they didn't.

If there is one thing I have learned, you NEVER as the ATF for clarification on ANYTHING. "Gem-TAX" really screwed over every suppressor owner when they asked the ATF to clarify a regulation. It's no joke when people say they make it up as they go.

December 17, 2008, 10:45 AM
Another point to consider, I’ve actually made a Gatling type trigger mine was for a semi 1919. In order to obtain proper function (not skip firing) I had to make the actuator “float” about 62 degrees on the crank spindle so as soon as the hammer dropped the trigger was in the proper position for reset. The crank I built fires 6 times per revolution so you have to slow down not to exceed the rifles capabilities (just over 1 revolution per second and it’s around the same speed as the auto version 400-500rpm). Even if you only had one cam most electric drills would be too fast. Here is a video and some photos are in the same album.


December 17, 2008, 04:37 PM
No they didn't.

Yes, they did.


December 17, 2008, 06:51 PM
Don't worry, the ATF will reverse that "ruling" if it suits their fancy.

December 17, 2008, 10:09 PM
The important part of that letter is “However, when the string is added to a semiautomatic firearm as you proposed in order to increase the cycling rate of that rifle, the result is a firearm that fires automatically and consequently would be classified as a machinegun.”

So, the string it self is not a machinegun, however; when implemented as in the photo above the result is a machinegun and remains illegal.

December 18, 2008, 10:30 AM
How many times do you have to pull the trigger on the drill to get the gun to fire multiple shots? One pull - multiple shots, you go to jail.

December 18, 2008, 10:31 AM
Basically if it goes Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam rappidly and your finger doesn't get progressively tired, you go to jail.

January 8, 2009, 01:56 AM
what about the clamp on hand crank?

January 8, 2009, 08:50 AM
As long as it is you operating a mechanical device, it is fine. You are technically still pulling the trigger on the gun. With an electrical device, the "trigger" moves from the gun to the "on" button and you only need press the on button once to get multiple shots.

January 8, 2009, 09:30 AM
what about the clamp on hand crank?

I’m not sure what the question is; however, the only clamps on the crank I built are two double split set collars and two regular set collars. One of the double split set collars clamps the device to the grip the other clamps the handle to the spindle (it’s not permanent, so it can be configured for a lefty). The one piece set collars allow fine tuning of the trigger link.

Oh, if you are asking if it’s legal, it is, as are regular Gatling guns. You have to do something for each shot fired, so pushing a button to run a motor continuously is out.


January 14, 2009, 10:28 AM
FUNNY NOT HA HA.how the courts change.before WW2 the courts ruled a machine gun had to fire to be a machine gun.if it was broke or welded it was not a machine gun,thats where DEWAT came frome.now a part is a machine gun.thank goodness I wont live to see the country go down the tubes.the gun owners won't stand to gether and vote look at this election many GO voted for obama "for change" then they will bitch at the NRA fornot doing enuf.:rolleyes: :eek::mad:

January 15, 2009, 08:22 AM
Could he worse then Obama. Could be the clinto admin all over again. And the Assault weapons ban would be back with no doubts.

January 15, 2009, 09:02 AM
Could be the clinto admin all over again.

Did you even LOOK at Obama's cabinet? It IS the Clinton administration all over again.

Johnny Guest
January 15, 2009, 09:57 AM
A thread started with a fairly simple technical question becomes a soapbox for shrill political ranting.

Folks, can't we PLEASE stick to the subject? Take your politicizing and mudslinging elsewhere. This is NOT the forum for that stuff.