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Old June 22, 2014, 04:27 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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Can I buy a milsurp rifle receiver?

I'm 18 and know you have to be 21 to buy a blank receiver because it's an "other" firearm, correct? I was told I can buy a barrelled rifle receiver since it's been made into a rifle legally. Can I do the same with a stripped receiver that used to be on a rifle, like a 1903 original receiver? Is there a way to legally prove it was a rifle?
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:40 AM   #2
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I'm not a lawyer and I do not know all the laws that may apply to you.

A 1903 Springfield receiver,barreled or not,carries the serial number and legally is "the gun"

Which means if you can legally buy a rifle,such as a 1903 Springfield,you can buy a receiver.If you cannot legally buy the rifle,you cannot buy the receiver.

Assuming you are talking about ordering it from someone,you will need a friendly local gun store to fax a copy of their FFL to the dealer who has the receiver.

That done,depending on the dealer,you may be able to pay for the receiever and have it sent to the local gun store.

You will still have to fill out a form 4473 just like buying a gun,and a background check will have to be done.That will be at the local gun store.They may charge a fee.

Be aware that most of the Springfield receivers available today are salvaged from drill rifles.I have bought a couple that worked out well,but at about 6 oclock on the underside of the receiver ring,the barrels were tack welded in.That was cut to pull the old barrel out.There is a little sink right there,and squaring the receiver face is necessary.
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:46 AM   #3
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Thanks for your input. My biggest confusion is whether these milsurp receivers are considered "rifle" or "other" on the form 4473. I can legally buy a rifle but not an "other". For instance, I can't buy an AR-15 lower receiver even though I can buy the rifle (and strip it down and sell it until I have the same receiver ).

On the other hand, when my mom and I got my dad an M44 for Father's Day (I picked out a barreled action to drop in an aftermarket stock), our FFL told us either one could have done the transfer because it had already been made into a rifle rather than an "other".

That one was a little clearer because the barrel was still attached. I'm murky on the other stuff though. A receiver once in rifle formation is considered always a rifle, correct? So any receiver that's been attached to a rifle is still considered the rifle, but any virgin receiver is an "other" because it could technically become a pistol? That's my understanding.
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Old June 23, 2014, 12:59 PM   #4
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I'm not qualifiedto give you a definitive answer,I'm not a lawyer.

My understanding,which could be wrong:

The 1903 example you suggest,was always a rifle receiver.No handguns were made with 1903 receievers.If you made an 8 in barreled 1903 handgun,it would be an NFA firearm that would require the sort of registration sawed off shotguns,etc require.

I'm not real clear on this,but some 7 in AR handguns have been made commercially.I believe the lowers on these are marked "multi-caliber" or something.I think if its marked "5.56,or .223" it is manufactured as a rifle receiver ,and as such you must have a 16 in plus barrel on it.It may be that you can buy an AR lower at 18 if it is correctly marked.

But,once again,I might be wrong.
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:16 PM   #5
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The 1903 example you suggest,was always a rifle receiver.No handguns were made with 1903 receievers
I can go one step further in that my understanding is if a receiver is turned into a rifle, it will always be a rifle. As far as I understand, one cannot take an AR-15 Rifle lower, for example, remove the stock and the upper, add in a pistol upper and call it a pistol. Or vice versa. I may be wrong of course, as I have no interest in an AR pistol, just a friend who explained it to me as such.
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Old June 23, 2014, 02:16 PM   #6
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My understanding- IANAL disclaimers apply!- is that the catchphrase "Once A Rifle, Always A Rifle" is correct. Here's what the ATF said in 2011.

https://www.atf.gov/files/regulation...ing-2011-4.pdf

Disregard the verbiage about the Thompson/Center kit; it's not relevant here. These are the key sections, quoting from the letter, with my notes [enclosed in brackets] and my emphasis shown in boldfaced text:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATF Rul. 2011-4
...a firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(4) [a "weapon made from a rifle"], is made when a handgun or other weapon with an overall length of less than 26 inches, or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length, is assembled or produced from a weapon originally assembled or produced only as a rifle. Such weapons must be registered and are subject to all requirements of the NFA.
Since the Sp'fld 1903 never existed in a factory-built pistol configuration, a serial-numbered stripped 1903 receiver is considered to be a rifle by default, regardless of the presence or absence of other 1903 rifle parts.

A pistol or SBR made with a 1903 receiver requires NFA registration, but according to the 2011 ruling, such a firearm is NOT created unless...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATF Rul. 2011-4
...[the] unassembled parts are placed in close proximity in such a way that they:

(a) Serve no useful purpose other than to make a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length (e.g., a receiver, an attachable shoulder stock, and barrel of less than 16 inches in length); or

(b) Convert a complete weapon into such an NFA firearm, including –

(1) A pistol and attachable shoulder stock; and

(2) A rifle with a barrel of 16 inches or more in length, and an attachable barrel of less than 16 inches in length.
IOW a stripped 1903 receiver does not become a "weapon made from a rifle" unless such parts are attached to it or placed suspiciously close to it.

Mandatory disclaimer: I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. This is not legal advice. Caveat emptor and YMMV.
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Old June 23, 2014, 04:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
dakota.potts I'm 18 and know you have to be 21 to buy a blank receiver because it's an "other" firearm, correct?
If buying from a licensed dealer, yes.



Quote:
Can I do the same with a stripped receiver that used to be on a rifle, like a 1903 original receiver?
No. A receiver is not a rifle, it's an "Other Firearm".....requiring the buyer to be 21.


Quote:
Is there a way to legally prove it was a rifle?
Doesn't matter.......it's not a rifle unless it has both shoulder stock and a barrel attached.




A firearm frame or receiver is recorded as an "Other Firearm" on the 4473.
The dealer does not have the option to guestimate what it was originally.
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Old June 23, 2014, 07:42 PM   #8
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OK, my bad.

At any rate, it's NOT a pistol.
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Old June 24, 2014, 08:51 AM   #9
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Dogtown tom is correct.

And yes, it is not a handgun.
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Old June 24, 2014, 12:40 PM   #10
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This is why this stuff gives me headaches...

Point of order:

if it was a rifle (1903 Springfield ser # xxxxxxxxx) for example, and you strip it to the receiver, then, its not a rifle (receiver) anymore? despite being registered as a rife, prior to it becoming a stripped receiver?

doesn't this contradict "once a rifle, always a rifle" (and therefore a crime if you build it into something that "isn't" a rifle - without prior ATF approval?)

Or is it a case of the 1903, being made well before manufacturers registered receivers, that makes it a specific exception? OR because it came originally from a govt. arsenal?

My point is, if I order a receiver from RemChester, although it has never been built as a rifle, isn't it registered as a rifle with the govt. when the maker puts on the serial #?

What, if anything, turns that "rifle" receiver into an "other" receiver? OR does it?
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Old June 24, 2014, 04:44 PM   #11
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My point is, if I order a receiver from RemChester, although it has never been built as a rifle, isn't it registered as a rifle with the govt. when the maker puts on the serial #?
No.

A receiver is a receiver until attached to both a shoulder stock and barrel.......then it meets the definition of "rifle".
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Old June 24, 2014, 07:53 PM   #12
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Slightly off topic, but what would a complete lower half of an AR-15 be? Is that still an "other" even with let's say an A2 stock?
I mean, it has a stock, so therefore can't be a pistol, correct?

Would an M1 Garand receiver be an "other" if the barrel and stock were not sold with it?
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Old June 25, 2014, 08:53 AM   #13
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isn't it registered as a rifle with the govt. when the maker puts on the serial #?
Unless it's an SBR or machine gun, it's not "registered with the government." The manufacturer just reports the number of rifles/handguns/shotguns/other it manufactures each year, not their S/N or who they sold them to.

Quote:
Slightly off topic, but what would a complete lower half of an AR-15 be? Is that still an "other" even with let's say an A2 stock?
I mean, it has a stock, so therefore can't be a pistol, correct?
It's a receiver or "other." It is neither a pistol nor a rifle (not a shotgun), so it's an "other."
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Old June 25, 2014, 01:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
raimius Slightly off topic, but what would a complete lower half of an AR-15 be? Is that still an "other" even with let's say an A2 stock?
I mean, it has a stock, so therefore can't be a pistol, correct?
It's just a "firearm", recorded on the 4473 as an "Other firearm".

Having a shoulder stock doesn't make it a rifle, because rifles have barrels.
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Old June 25, 2014, 01:45 PM   #15
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Sometimes these stupid rationales can work in your favor.

I wanted to buy an Encore Pro Hunter handgun. None were for sale in NY State because the state requires a fired cartridge be supplied with new handguns. Any new handgun coming into the state must either be supplied with a fired cartridge or be sent (by the receiving FFL) to the state police lab to be fired.

However, the Pro Hunter frame is an "other" and is not subject to the (stupid) NY State law.

Unfortunately, T/C doesn't help the cause any. The Pro Hunter boxes are marked (or were then) "Not For Sale in NY or MD". Only the Pro Hunter boxes. Not the other Encore frames.

I even talked to the head of the state police lab that does the testing. He agreed with me and even agreed that the whole thing is stupid.

None of the suppliers understood this nuance. They would not ship the frame to NY. I actually convinced EABCo to call the police lab and talk to the guy, that did the trick.... I ordered the frame and the barrel as separate components from EABCo and they were delivered in the same box, unattached, as they should be because they weren't purchased as a handgun. I actually got a message from a lady at EABCo thanking me for helping them correct their policy and be able to supply Pro Hunter frames to NY customers.

The 4473 was marked "other" by the FFL and I was on my way.
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Old June 25, 2014, 02:04 PM   #16
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Dogtown, I was told by my FFL that a receiver attached to a rifle length barrel was considered a rifle, not an "other". In this case it was an M44 barreled action. Not having the stock didn't change that.

I know if you build a receiver into a rifle, it can't become a pistol without an NFA stamp. That's why you have to use a virgin receiver for those AR-15 "pistols". You're saying that, even with this being true, it's considered an "other" for 4473 purposes even though it's a rifle in any other way legally?

I can buy an AK-47 or G3 and walk out the same day with it, but God forbid I want to build a Krag Jorgensen or Mauser from a surplus receiver. I might turn it into a "concealable" firearm

Does this question not come up often enough that we have trouble coming to a consensus about it? Dogtown_tom is the only one so far who seems sure of his answer.

EDIT: Maybe I'm not making the question clear enough. I'm asking about a receiver that was part of a rifle, not a new unissued receiver. My corollary question is, if a receiver that is legally still a rifle (since it's been built into a rifle) is considered such and not an "other" on the 4473, is there a way I can prove that?
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Old June 25, 2014, 03:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
dakota.potts Dogtown, I was told by my FFL that a receiver attached to a rifle length barrel was considered a rifle, not an "other". In this case it was an M44 barreled action. Not having the stock didn't change that.
The definition of "rifle" in the ATF regulations:
Quote:
§478.11 Meaning of terms.
Rifle. A weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder, and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.
You have to have both shoulder stock and barrel to be a rifle. There are plenty of handguns and other firearms that consist of a receiver, rifle length barrel and pistol grip.........that are not rifles.

In a similar vein, firearms that expel a shotgun shell are not alays shotguns.....such as the Mossberg Persuader that has a pistol grip and no shoulder stock. ATF does not consider it a shotgun, but an "Other Firearm". Replace the pistol grip with a shoulder stock and you now have a shotgun.

As a PGO (pistol grip only) it's only transferrable to buyers 21 or older.
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Old June 25, 2014, 03:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
dakota.potts

EDIT: Maybe I'm not making the question clear enough. I'm asking about a receiver that was part of a rifle, not a new unissued receiver. My corollary question is, if a receiver that is legally still a rifle (since it's been built into a rifle) is considered such and not an "other" on the 4473, is there a way I can prove that?
ATF is very clear...........licensees must record firearm frames and receivers as "Other Firearms" on the 4473 and in our bound books.
Says so right in the instructions on the 4473.

Quote:
Dogtown_tom is the only one so far who seems sure of his answer.
I'm only reading what's in the instructions on the 4473.......it's ATF's answer.
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Old June 25, 2014, 05:25 PM   #19
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All I read is that it must be a weapon designed to be fired from the shoulder, not that it must have a stock attached. I know about the Mossberg Persuader (tried to buy one as a gift for somebody and was told I had to be 21) so I guess the Mosin Nagant could be an "other" without the stock, but it just plain doesn't make sense. My FFL told me it would be considered a rifle.

I feel so protected by these laws
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Old June 25, 2014, 06:25 PM   #20
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I don't know if the problem is actual inconsistency in the laws, the regulations, or just how they get explained to us. probably the latter...

OK, if it was made as a rifle, and you take off the things that made it a rifle, I can see it becoming an "other" for the sake of classification.

What I don't get is, if its now an "other" then its not a rifle, right? so how can it be a crime to make it a pistol? The law says you can't make a pistol from a rifle, but you can from an "other".

How is this not a double standard?

What am I missing?
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Old June 25, 2014, 07:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
All I read is that it must be a weapon designed to be fired from the shoulder, not that it must have a stock attached.
If it doesn't have a stock attached, it's not designed to be fired from the shoulder. Don't make it say things it doesn't say. The receiver is not a rifle or a handgun. It does not meet the qualifications of either. In fact, it can not be "designed to be fired" at all, since it has no barrel.

Here is the ATFs 2011 decision on firearms and parts kits.

Here are their definitions for:

Pistol
Pistol. A weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having (a) a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s); and (b) a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).

Revolver
A projectile weapon, of the pistol type, having a breechloading chambered cylinder so arranged that the cocking of the hammer or movement of the trigger rotates it and brings the next cartridge in line with the barrel for firing

Rifle
A weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire a fixed cartridge.

Shotgun
A weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of projectiles (ball shot) or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire a fixed shotgun shell.

A receiver clearly does not fit any of those definitions.

Further, on the 4473, the instructions for Question 18 say:
Question 18. Type of Firearm(s): Check all boxes that apply. “Other” refers to frames, receivers and other firearms that are not either handguns or long guns (rifles or shotguns), such as firearms having a pistol grip that expel a shotgun shell, or National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms.

ATF regulations can be confusing and stupid, but this one is at least not confusing. It's crystal clear.
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Old June 25, 2014, 08:39 PM   #22
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Brian, is an M44 barrelled action still not a rifle though? I'm talking the entire working mechanism of the gun - receiver, barrel, bolt, trigger group. Just the whole rifle pulled out of the stock. My FFL told me that a bare receiver is an "other" but that my barrelled action was a rifle because the barrel was attached.

I hope that's the case, because I don't want to live in a country where I can buy a rifle but I can't buy that same rifle without the stock attached...

I'm still curious about the point that 44AMP And I touched on. According to ATF, a receiver made into a rifle is always a rifle, isn't it? That's why you can lengthen an AR pistol barrel and add a stock but not do the opposite. If so, the " once a rifle, always a rifle" test is highly convenient when they want it to be. Unless I'm understanding that wrong.
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Old June 25, 2014, 09:32 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogtown Tom
You have to have both shoulder stock and barrel to be a rifle.
Correct. But (disclaimer: I am neither an attorney nor an FFL) I believe that definition applies to the original firearm. Thus the rule: "Once a rifle, always a rifle," and the need to use a virgin receiver when constructing an AR-15 pistol.

In the case of a 1903 Springfield action (or a Mauser 98, or a Mosin-Nagant M44 action), the actions were never originally assembled as pistols. Any used action you buy was originally a rifle, and thus "always a rifle."

JMHO. Don't cite it to become a test case.
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Old June 26, 2014, 08:21 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogtown Tom
You have to have both shoulder stock and barrel to be a rifle.
Correct. But (disclaimer: I am neither an attorney nor an FFL) I believe that definition applies to the original firearm. Thus the rule: "Once a rifle, always a rifle," and the need to use a virgin receiver when constructing an AR-15 pistol.

In the case of a 1903 Springfield action (or a Mauser 98, or a Mosin-Nagant M44 action), the actions were never originally assembled as pistols. Any used action you buy was originally a rifle, and thus "always a rifle."

JMHO. Don't cite it to become a test case.
I agree with what Aguila Blanca said. I am an FFL and a lawyer (but not your lawyer), but this is NOT legal advice.
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Old June 26, 2014, 09:07 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota.potts
Brian, is an M44 barrelled action still not a rifle though?
My understanding is that there are two different questions, or situations.

One, the current status. No, it is not a rifle, as it does not meet the definition of a rifle. It is an "Other"

Two, what "can it be" in the future. It can only be a rifle. It was originally assembled or produced only as a rifle and therefore can never be legally made into anything but a rifle (filing forms not withstanding).

What it "could be" is different than what it currently is.
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