View Full Version : Question: Registered Receiver vs. Sear guns...

Justin Moore
September 1, 2001, 03:39 AM
1. What the difference between a 'registered receiver' and a 'sear gun'.

2. Which one is more desirable?

3. What are the legal differences between both types of NFA weapon, if any?

Thanks :D

Robert the41MagFan
September 1, 2001, 12:55 PM
Receiver gun is more valuable, because the internal parts can be altered or maintained. Once a registered sear wears out, it cannot be replaced and is gone forever. Only advantage of the sear is that it can be moved from gun to gun. But I believe that ATF has to be informed what gun it is in and no sear is a drop in fit. So the sear has to be worked a bit to get it right.


Justin Moore
September 2, 2001, 01:24 AM
What happens when/if the sear in your registered receiver gun croaks? Not that is likely to happen, if its well made and heat treated properly. Can you just replace the sear without doing another Form 4 transfer?

September 2, 2001, 12:04 PM
From all the posts and comments I've read in the DIAS vs. RR debate here's what I've learned :

- a RR is more expensive because all the component parts to fire full auto are contained in that one package. Nothing needs to be swapped or changed, just pick up the rifle and go. With a DIAS you have to supply the upper and lower, component F/A parts and insure all fit and work together.

- some RRs are more valuable than others because they are considered more collectible, e.g. a Colt RR is more expensive than a Sendra, though both may in fact shoot the same. There is no collector status for DIASs.

- with a DIAS there may be some fitting needed to make it work in a specific gun, issues regarding fit and timing. However, you DO NOT want to make any changes to the DIAS - any changes should be made to the host gun only. If you alter the DIAS, you may alter it to fit one gun but it may not work in others, hence you lose any "swapping" advantage.

- if you move the DIAS from one gun to another, the gun that no longer has the DIAS must also no longer have any F/A parts; if the gun is a post-ban then any pre-ban features installed while the DIAS was in use must be removed. Also,there is no provision in BATF regulations to notify them that you are moving the DIAS from one gun to another.

- DIASs are generally considered pretty indestructible. And if it breaks, fixes by reputable Class 2 manufacturers are both cheap and simple, as it is a cheap and simple device. If you run a lot of rounds through a RR and it shows stress, it may need to be sent to a Class 2 manufacturer to attempt repair. With a DIAS, if a lower starts to show stress, you just buy a new lower.

I probably forgot a good point or two, but those are the highlights I recall.

If you already own an AR-15 and could care less whether you possess a RR or not, then a DIAS may be your best bet, as long as you remember there may be a degree of fitting involved. But if you want the je ne se qua that owning a RR brings, that may be your best choice.

Robert the41MagFan
September 2, 2001, 03:08 PM

The definition of "machinegun" in the NFA (26 USC sec.
5845(b) includes parts to convert a gun into a machine gun. Note
that conversion parts are not included in the definition of
"firearm" under the Gun Control Act, one of the few things I know
of that is a firearm under the NFA, but not the GCA. Thus the
purchaser of a conversion part from an FFL need not do a 4473
form, unlike other NFA weapons. Of course the host gun, if
purchased from an FFL, will require the 4473. This reading of
the law is based on numerous statements from ATF, and the
definition of "firearm" under the GCA, which requires it be able
to expel a shot. However, at least one very slow judge has
decided that somehow the definition of "firearm" in the GCA
"incorporates" the definition of "machine gun" under the GCA
(even though the law doesn't say that) and that a machine gun
conversion part is a "firearm" under the GCA as well as the NFA.
I think the judge is clearly wrong, even ATF reads the law better
than that, but the point is to be careful. The case is U.S. v.
Hunter, 843 F.Supp 235 (E.D. Mich. 1994), and see also the same
judge's second opinion in the same case, at 863 F.Supp. 462 (E.D.
Mich. 1994). These parts are called registered sears, as well as
other parts or sets of parts to convert a gun into a machine gun.

In every case, the part(s) are installed into a
semi-automatic gun, and without any alteration to the semi-auto
gun's receiver, the new part(s) will allow the gun to fire as a
machine gun. As a general rule a sear conversion is less
desirable than an original gun, or a registered receiver
conversion. This is because if the registered part breaks or
wears out it cannot be replaced, only repaired, if possible.
BATF considers replacing it with a new part to be the new
manufacture of a machine gun, and a civilian could not own it, as
it would have been made after the 1986 ban. This wear/breakage
thing is also true of the receiver on a gun where that is the
registered part, but in general the receiver is less subject to
wear or breakage than a small part, like a sear. Being larger,
a receiver may also be easier to repair. The sear conversion
will most likely not be just like the factory machine gun
version; it will be working in the semi-auto version of the gun.
A registered receiver conversion can (and should, but isn't
always) be mechanically identical to the original full auto
version of the gun, and factory spare parts may be used. Some
sear conversions require altered parts, in addition to the
registered sear.


You can't repair a broken or fractured sear.


September 2, 2001, 05:06 PM
"(DIAS)... if it breaks, fixes by reputable Class 2 manufacturers are both cheap and simple... a RR... may need to be sent to a Class 2 manufacturer to attempt repair." - chetchat

"... the registered part breaks or wears out it cannot be replaced, only repaired, if possible." - ATF Rulings on subguns.com

"You can't repair a broken or fractured sear. " - Robert

Robert what are you saying, that the ATF is wrong to say that a registered part may be repaired if possible?

Or are you saying that it's impossible to repair a broken or fractured sear?

Robert the41MagFan
September 2, 2001, 06:46 PM
I'm saying that due to the hardness of the material, a stress fractured or broken sear can't be fixed. A gun smith can Pep Boy the thing, but not properly repair it.

And we are talking very hypothetical here. I've never seen a auto sear break or wear out.

BTW our store just got .40 S&W and .45 ACP UMP samples. I'll post pics as soon as we shoot them. Got to test them before giving them to the PD. :D Don't know if they will come back intact from the demo.


Justin Moore
September 2, 2001, 07:57 PM
Okay, I'm still a bit confused ;)

On a registered RECEIVER gun, if you break just the sear for whatever reason, it can be REPLACED with a factory part?

If the answer is no, I don't really see what the advantage is to owning a registered receiver.

The Rock
September 3, 2001, 03:44 PM
Yes, on a RR gun, if the sear goes, you just replace it. The receiver is the 'machine gun' according to ATF.


September 3, 2001, 04:49 PM
Thought I'd mention that some guns, like the UZI have a registered receiver versus registered bolt option. For them the registered receiver is much more flexible, 'cause you can change caliber from 9 mm to 45 or 22 without having to pay any more tax. RR caliber change kits are much cheaper, like in the $250 range instead of over $1700 for the various sized registered bolts.

My 2 cents worth. :)