View Full Version : Full auto AR-15 question

Ben Towe
January 17, 2013, 08:44 AM
No, I'm not trying to build one!:eek:

Here's the story:

Was at a gun shop the other day, checking out ARs. This is just as the last frenzy was getting into high gear. Anyway, I pick up one to look it over and note that it's a brand I'm unfamiliar with (can't remember it now). The next thing I notice is that the receiver is stamped with a three position safety. In the normal "Fire" position it is stamped with the image of a single bullet and in what would normally be the burst or full auto position on an M16 is the image of three bullets. I know it did not have a full auto fire control group in it (at least not a complete one) as the safety would not move past the stardard semi auto position. At the time I did not know enough to look for an auto sear pin or pin hole, nor to break it open and check the components. This rifle popped back into mind last night and I have done some research so I will be able to tell what's going on next time.

My question is this:
Is this a legal rifle? (I didn't buy it so no problem for me) I have never seen a non NFA/military/LE rifle stamped this way. I have heard the ATF likes to file charge people with "constructive possession" for owning even one full auto part in conjunction with owning an AR. If I were to run across something like it in the future, should I walk away, or simply check it for other NFA criteria? This own this or that but not both at the same time law makes a greenhorn's head spin...

Thanks in advance for educating the ignorant!

Willie Lowman
January 17, 2013, 09:22 AM
There is no law prohibiting the full auto mark. Just the function. Some folks think its cool.

January 17, 2013, 10:13 AM
Willie is right, many lower designers mark their lowers with the roll auto or burst roll mark. It is perfectly legal. I have seen quite a few of these, but never owned one. Hey, to each, their own..

Ben Towe
January 17, 2013, 02:59 PM
Thanks guys, I guess I just haven't noticed one marked that way before.

James K
January 17, 2013, 03:57 PM
I think BATFE has tried to scare people away from trying to convert AR-15s to full auto by claiming that possession of even one part for an FA gun is illegal even if that one part could not, by itself, make the conversion.

I would be interested in hearing about any real case in which someone was arrested, charged, and prosecuted for simply owning, say, an auto bolt carrier or an FA hammer, whether or not they also owned a semi-auto AR-15.

While BATFE has declared some single parts to be machineguns, like the bolt carrier of the AK-47), AFAIK that has not been done with any AR-16 parts. (Please don't tell me about the shoestring! I mean actual parts.)


January 18, 2013, 05:01 PM
While BATFE has declared some single parts to be machineguns, like the bolt carrier of the AK-47

I have never heard of this - in fact, I believe a number of the European AK's came with full-auto bolt carriers. If you have a BATFE ruling on this, I'd be interested in reading it.

Willie Lowman
January 18, 2013, 07:48 PM
James, for a long time a FA bolt carrier in a AR was said to be vorbotten. The ATF sent a letter a few years back saying this is not so. Many high end ARs come with FA carriers these days.

I don't know about a FA hammer. Write them a letter and ask.

January 18, 2013, 08:03 PM
My Hk MR556 came from the factory with a F/A hammer and trigger group, just the S/A selector. So I suppose it is legal. They have the BCG designed just a tad different and that is why the BATF let it slide...

James K
January 18, 2013, 08:56 PM
Hi, Willie,

You are correct in that the "wisdom" was that any FA part in an AR-15 was illegal. BATFE contributed to that idea by circulating a poster that was displayed in many gun shops seeming to say that those parts were illegal or if any one was installed in a rifle, the gun would be illegal. But careful reading showed that they used some vary careful wording to imply, but not actually state, that idea.


January 19, 2013, 12:43 AM
You can legally own every single component of a FA AK-47. A lot of them even still use FA bolts and carriers in semi guns.

As soon as you decide to drill the hole to mount the auto sear pin - you'll win a complimentary trip to Club Fed if they find out (correct me if I'm wrong)

January 19, 2013, 02:49 AM
Yep, its ok to have the full-auto marking on the receiver, because it just that, a roll mark. Until you install a full-auto sear does it become fully automatic; even a FA/M16 BCG is ok because that is not the part that makes the rifle FA.

Ben Towe
January 19, 2013, 05:10 PM
Thanks again guys, I knew I could get some accurate info here. I know very little about the laws on NFA/full auto. I have considered building an AR (semi-auto of course) at some point in the future and I sure don't want to get in hot water with the Federals over some small part that could be construed as constructive possession.

January 19, 2013, 07:46 PM
Spikes Tactical makes the "Zombie" lower, and its marked, Live,Dead and Undead.

January 20, 2013, 12:19 AM
Just an FYI to those that are trying to distinguish between FA bolt carriers and semi auto carriers on AK. There ain't no difference in the bolt/carrier group. It's all done with the sear, disconnect, and that "magic" third hole. Constructive possession/intent don't mean anything, but that third hole is hard to cover up, so don't do it.

David Hineline
January 20, 2013, 02:11 AM
Okie Farmer is incorrect, AK rifles bolt carriers have a trip surface on them this is usually milled off on semi auto bolt carriers.

January 20, 2013, 08:15 AM
Palmetto has there's with the thick M-16 bolt carriers.

January 24, 2013, 06:17 PM
Also note that the rear of an M16 receiver has an obvious sear cut milled in. AR15 receivers do not have this cut. Installing an M16 autosear into an AR15 receiver requires significant machining. That's why Lightning links and DIASs were invented in the 70s.

January 24, 2013, 07:14 PM
Speaking of "Lightning Links", they can't work with an M16 style bolt carrier, so a "full-auto" bolt carrier from a lightning link standpoint is an AR15 style carrier. In fact, a lightning link uses a standard AR15 fire control group for full auto fire. The controlled part in question is the Lightning Link itself.

March 22, 2013, 02:32 AM
I always add the Full auto option on receivers I make even if it's for civilian use. It adds value to the lower. I also give my customers an option of a custom serial number, logo on the magwell, or any engravings they wish. Most of them always ask for "For Military or Law Enforcement Use Only"

In other words, it's 100% legal