View Full Version : Noob question regarding NFA receivers

October 22, 2009, 02:49 PM
Hey guys...

I was talking with someone the other day and explaining the process one must go through to own a pre-ban NFA firearm to a friend and this question came up: What if the receiver breaks? This got me thinking...

Please note that I'm not asking for advice nor am I planning on rebuilding one, I'm simply curious as to the laws themselves.

Say that you're firing a full-auto M16 and it, for sake of argument, explodes (or egg-holes irreparably, for you a-types). Your receiver is basically worthless and you no longer have a pre-ban NFA rifle. Can you rebuild the receiver? For instance, say it split PERFECTLY in two... can you forge it back into a full receiver using a mated piece? In other words, what extent can it be repaired to before it truly no longer qualifies as a pre-86 receiver.

Again, understand that I'm not asking if it's practical, or if it's cost-effective - I'm asking about the legal ramifications. I think questions like this will start arising once NFA guns start wearing out and the remaining supply wears even thinner.

Thanks =)

October 22, 2009, 03:20 PM
M16 receivers can be repaired pretty easily. As long as the original serial number is not damaged, you can take an M16 that was cut in half and have it repaired.

Now taking the general premise of your question: If it is damaged irreparably, then you are SOL. :(

You cannot take the original and "replace" it with a new one.

In the past Olympic would replace damaged M16s with a new one that had the same serial number. ATF has stopped that practice.

October 22, 2009, 03:48 PM
So basically, you're saying that as long as the portion of the receiver with the original serial number survived whatever destroyed it, as long as you could incorporate that into the "repaired" area (even if the repaired area constituted 90% of the receiver), then it's legal?

October 22, 2009, 04:36 PM
As far as I know, ATF does not have any written guidelines about how much can be done in a repair.

Having 90% of the receiver be new manufacture probably would not pass muster.

But if you have a receiver that was broken into several pieces, you could have them welded back together.

Sasquatch in MN
October 31, 2009, 12:29 AM
you need to ask the NFA branch or an experienced NFA smith that one.

David Hineline
October 31, 2009, 11:01 PM
This fear of yours is why people often prefer conversion sears. There is nothing to blow up or to break. Worst case after a kaboom you buy a new host weapon and put the sear into it.


Sasquatch in MN
November 1, 2009, 10:44 AM
Not everyone can go the conversion route. Here in MN FA guns are allowed, but were a C&R state. Gun must be in it's original configuration And manufactured in or before 1945 and on the NFA registry.


David Hineline
November 2, 2009, 01:41 AM
There are C+R qualified guns that are not as old as the 1940s. While the guns must be original manuf. I have never heard that they had to stay in original configuartion.

November 2, 2009, 09:06 AM
My guess is that if someone had their $14,000 M16 go KABOOM, it will be repaired even if the serial number is the only part of the receiver that survived. I've never seen this happen and this is just a guess. But, I don't think someone is going to walk away from $14,000 without trying everything possible to get it repaired.

As the years go by I think you are going to see more and more machinegun owners trying to do anything they can to fix their aging and very limited supply machieguns.

Willie Lowman
November 2, 2009, 10:10 AM
A machinegun can last for millions of rounds!

This is the 3,000,000 round Uzi. It has had multiple kabooms, new bolts, top covers, been welded back together.


November 2, 2009, 10:17 AM
UZI would be my choice for a subgun if I wanted to buy a subgun, for the very reason posted above.