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Old April 30, 2019, 07:48 PM   #1
Famas
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Question about the PIAT

I went to a small reenactment/display over the past weekend. One group had an interesting assortment of weapons....included a cardboard tube replica of a British antitank device called a PIAT (and very decent replica at that).

The owner of the display said he couldn't get a real PIAT because it is listed as a Class III Destructive Device. This came as a surprise to me. The PIAT is basically a spring loaded thingy....it requires a Class III permit?? Can anyone confirm this? How odd! I once saw one for sale at a gun show several years ago, what a weird thing.
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Old April 30, 2019, 10:55 PM   #2
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Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank PIAT

is a spring powered launcher that essentially lobs a hollow charge "bomb", to do the same job as a bazooka, but without the rocket motor of the bazooka round's back blast giving away the launcher's position. The hollow charge projectile does not rely on velocity to penetrate armor.

Short range, reportedly brutal recoil, very British.
And a real bear to cock, so I've heard.

I do not know if (or why) the ATF would list the launcher as a destructive device. Its possible the guy who told you that was misinformed. Ask the ATF, they are the only definitive source for what they do, and don't do.

Each live round for the PIAT would absolutely be a destructive device. The launcher? I don't know, they might if they use simple bore size as the determining factor, you'll have to ask the ATF. sorry
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Old May 1, 2019, 12:04 AM   #3
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I would think that being spring powered, it would not fall under the NFA...but I might be wrong. After all, certain shoe laces are machine guns.
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Old May 1, 2019, 06:58 AM   #4
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I looked at the ATF website and did find the PIAT specifically listed under this provision:

Quote:
Section IV — NFA firearms classified as curios or relics, still subject to the
provisions of 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53, the National Firearms Act, and 18 U.S.C.
Chapter 44, the Gun Control Act of 1968



So...it seems it IS a Class 3 device. So bizarre that a giant spring loaded caulk gun would be listed as such.
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Old May 1, 2019, 09:51 AM   #5
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"...a giant spring loaded caulk gun..." Isn't remotely like a caulking gun. No spring in one of those.
"...reportedly brutal recoil..." That recoil was used to recock the big spring. In any case, how the thing is/was powered has nothing to do with it's Classification.
Your unelected ATF is allowed, by your elected representatives, to make law by regulation. They have made a lot of odd regulations. Like 7.62 x 51 NATO AP ammo being too evil to possess, but .30-06 AP ammo is not. Supposedly due to there being a handgun that uses .308Win ammo. Worst of it is that they've exported the idea of unelected civil servants being allowed to make law by regulation.
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Old May 1, 2019, 09:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
I would think that being spring powered, it would not fall under the NFA...
Why would that be surprising?
M79s are spring powered.
Grenades are spring powered.
Striker 12s are spring powered.


Look at "launching" devices this way, as a very broad generalization:
Does it have an intact firing mechanism? Probably a DD.
Does it lack a firing mechanism? Probably not a DD.
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Old May 1, 2019, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
The owner of the display said he couldn't get a real PIAT because it is listed as a Class III Destructive Device.
A $200 tax stamp fixes that problem.




Quote:
Destructive device. (a) Any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas (1) bomb, (2) grenade, (3) rocket having a propellent charge of more than 4 ounces, (4) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, (5) mine, or (6) similar device; (b) any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Director finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes; and (c) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device as described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this definition and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled. The term shall not include any device which is neither designed or redesigned for use as a weapon; any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device; surplus ordnance sold, loaned, or given by the Secretary of the Army under 10 U.S.C. 4684(2), 4685, or 4686, or any device which the Director finds is not likely to be used as a weapon, or is an antique or is a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes.


Quote:
T. O'Heir "...a giant spring loaded caulk gun..." Isn't remotely like a caulking gun. No spring in one of those.
1. He didn't write "caulking gun", but "giant spring loaded caulk gun".
2. You've never looked at a PIAT, otherwise you would understand the comparison.
3. True, a caulking gun doesn't have a spring, but a "spring loaded caulk gun" DOES.




Quote:
Your unelected ATF is allowed, by your elected representatives, to make law by regulation. They have made a lot of odd regulations.
It's called administrative law and is governed by Federal law that enables government agencies to enact regulations. It's nothing new and is used by EVERY federal agency. ATF cannot create a regulation without following the federal law that enables it. That's why there is a court challenge to the bump stock ruling.


Quote:
Like 7.62 x 51 NATO AP ammo being too evil to possess, but .30-06 AP ammo is not.
No such Federal law or ATF regulation.
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Old May 1, 2019, 01:40 PM   #8
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The thing has peaked my curiosity so I looked ATF website to see what they say. Oddly, I found somewhat conflicting answers.

One PDF I found (from 2007) states the PIAT is a non DD and removed from NFA, but still subject to the normal firearms laws (meaning it is still considered a firearm).

Then I found a PDF for regs dating as of last year...and THERE, I found PIAT was listed as a Section IV — NFA firearms classified as curios or relics, still subject to the
provisions of 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53, the National Firearms Act, and 18 U.S.C.
Chapter 44, the Gun Control Act of 1968
(April 2018).

So which is it? Was it "promoted" to Class 3 or am I reading it incorrectly?
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Old May 1, 2019, 02:03 PM   #9
Jim Watson
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I don't know the status of the launcher for sure, but a live shell would be a Destructive Device.
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Old May 1, 2019, 03:53 PM   #10
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It wasn't spring lunched as such, it was basically a spigot mortar.
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Old May 1, 2019, 07:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Famas ….Then I found a PDF for regs dating as of last year...and THERE, I found PIAT was listed as a Section IV — NFA firearms classified as curios or relics, still subject to the
provisions of 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53, the National Firearms Act, and 18 U.S.C.
Chapter 44, the Gun Control Act of 1968 (April 2018).

So which is it? Was it "promoted" to Class 3 or am I reading it incorrectly?
It just means the PIAT is C&R and NFA.
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Old May 2, 2019, 12:49 AM   #12
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I was under the impression that the PIAT used the spring to launch the round. It appears I may be mistaken and that the round did fire a propellant charge...?
If so, the PIAT would "expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant" and fall under the NFA definitions.
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Old May 2, 2019, 06:11 AM   #13
Famas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raimius View Post
I was under the impression that the PIAT used the spring to launch the round. It appears I may be mistaken and that the round did fire a propellant charge...?
If so, the PIAT would "expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant" and fall under the NFA definitions.

From what I can tell, there was a small little capsule charge which is inserted into the projectile tube, I think with the power of a short shotgun shell. When the piston was released, the piston struck the charge which did two things at once: it sent the projectile on it's trajectory and blew the piston back into cocked position. Without the charge, the projectile goes no more than 15-20 feet and the piston does not recock itself. These charge capsules were carried in a tin.

There is no propellant within the projectile. I suppose the piston within the launcher is considered a "firing pin".

So, the PIAT is considered a firearm but is it still classified as a DD? It seems that as recent as 2008 it was taken OFF the DD classification, but then put back on?

Last edited by Famas; May 2, 2019 at 06:34 AM.
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Old May 5, 2019, 09:40 AM   #14
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk_vS-VdYas&t=422s

A short informative video about the PIAT
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Old May 6, 2019, 08:37 PM   #15
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Well, if Ian McCollum says it is classified as an NFA item, I'd probably trust that, haha.
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Old May 7, 2019, 07:43 AM   #16
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As someone who has actually fired one several times I tend to disagree with a lot of the guesses . They are not that hard to cock for a normal strength guy , I can see where gun Jesus would have a problem as he is kind of girly [ see ponytail ] . As usual he is a poor source of info , he does not know that the Piat he is showing has the mortar bomb adapter in it . The piat shoots an anti-tank shaped charge bomb OR a 2 inch mortar bomb . The spring does most of the launching , the charge spends most of its power recocking the spring with the Piat bomb , it only adds a little distance . The mortar bomb does not use a charge at all .
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Old May 7, 2019, 10:56 AM   #17
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Quote:
ernie8 As someone who has actually fired one several times I tend to disagree with a lot of the guesses . They are not that hard to cock for a normal strength guy , I can see where gun Jesus would have a problem as he is kind of girly [ see ponytail ] . As usual he is a poor source of info , he does not know that the Piat he is showing has the mortar bomb adapter in it .
Yet nearly every description of the PIAT from day one describes the cocking as difficult......difficult enough that the Brits dictated that the PIAT be carried cocked but unloaded.


Quote:
The piat shoots an anti-tank shaped charge bomb OR a 2 inch mortar bomb . The spring does most of the launching , the charge spends most of its power recocking the spring with the Piat bomb , it only adds a little distance . The mortar bomb does not use a charge at all .
So what exactly is the "mortar bomb"?
Is it a post WWII round?

According to the Brits, only four types of ammunition were used in the PIAT:
Quote:
The following ammunition types were available in 1943.[3]
Service Bomb - "Bomb, HE/AT" Manual says green, but museum examples seem to be brown.
AT shaped charge warhead design. Supplied with the propellant cartridge fitted and the fuse separate.
Versions: Mark I, 1942, Nobels 808 plastic explosive filling, green band
Mark IA, Reinforced central tube
Mark II, Revised nose fuse
Mark III, Revised nose fuse, TNT filling, blue band
Mark IV, July 1944, Revised contruction to reduce rearward fragmentation/"back blast" of warhead explosion.

Also useful as a general purpose HE blast type round.

Drill -"Bomb, Drill/AT" Black, marked "Drill"
Same shape as a live round, for dry loading practice. Cannot be fired or dry fired.

Practice Bomb - "Shot, Practice/AT" White
Cylindrical thick steel construction, effectively a sub-calibre practice round. The PIAT requires a trough-like adapter to use it. Economical as it may be fired many times with new propellant cartridges. Trajectory slightly different to service bomb.

Inert - "Bomb, Practice Inert/AT" Black, yellow ring, marked "Inert"
Same size and weight as a live round, no warhead, but has a live propellant cartridge. It can be fired once from a standard PIAT, it is not re-usable.
I can't imagine the range of a "mortar bomb" powered only by the spring action of the PIAT. The range must be measured in feet, not yards.
















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Old May 7, 2019, 02:38 PM   #18
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It is a the round normally fired from a mortar . You know the tube with a base plate .
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Old May 7, 2019, 05:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
ernie8 It is a the round normally fired from a mortar . You know the tube with a base plate .
So now the same "mortar bomb" used in the PIAT is used in other British mortars? WELL WHICH ONE IS IT?

And this mortar round does not have propellant?
And is propelled solely by a spring in the "tube with a base plate"?

You denigrate previous posts yet seem to know not nearly as much as you claim.The more you post the less you tell.
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Old May 7, 2019, 06:17 PM   #20
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As I understand it,the PIAT gun was originally classified as a DD, but removed from the list upon review. Of course, a live 'bomb' would be a DD.
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