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Old March 10, 2001, 01:50 AM   #1
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I was reading Guns magazine ang read an advertisment for Paladin press. In the add there is a video for building a .50cal at home. On the web site this is the description of the video...
by with Bill Holmes
In this video, Bill Holmes teaches you how to make a .50-caliber bolt-action sniper rifle in your home workshop. Bill takes you step by step through the fabrication process and shows you the secrets of transforming a surplus M-2 heavy machine gun barrel and some readily available raw materials into an awesome long-range precision rifle. Covers the exact methods of fabricating the upper and lower receivers, trigger group, bolt and bolt locking lugs, firing pin, striker and even the mounts for a telescopicsight. Because the proof is in the shooting, this video also includes dramatic footage of the test-firing of the finished gun. For information purposes only. Color, approx. 60 minutes.
ISBN: 1581600143

Have you seen this video, and is it legal or likly that I could actually build the beast?
I have always loved the Barret .50cal and if I could afford one I would buy one in a nanosecond. Also, where could I get a "surplus M-2 heavy mgb"?
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Old March 11, 2001, 07:50 PM   #2
James K
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I am not sure about any legal rigamarole, but a check on the ATF site FAQ section should help. As to the work itself, I have not seen the video but it seems to me that this may not be for the average DIY unless he has a background in machine work and metal working. The .50 BMG does not have any much more working pressure in pounds per square inch than a .30, but there are a lot more square inches, so the pressure concern is nothing to sneeze at. .50 barrels can be bought; I saw some a while back for $110, but whether that is a good price I don't know. I assume the barrel used is that for the Caliber .50, Heavy Barrel, M2, or HBM2 or "Ma Deuce". Note that they don't call the barrel "heavy" without reason.

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Old March 12, 2001, 12:28 AM   #3
Doc Hudson
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Please correct me if I am wrong, but...

To manufacture a cartridge firing firearm requires a
Class 7 FFL to be legal. At least I think that is the lisense level needed.

You even mentioned the video is for "informational purposes only". Those are legal weasel words meaning "You can do it like this, but if you do it at all the BATF will knock down your door, stomp your cat, shoot you, burn down your house, and beat heck out of your wife and children."

Save your money and buy a ready made rifle from a reputable dealer. You can not save enough money building it yourself to pay your lawyer and doctors.

Doc Hudson

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Old March 9, 2009, 10:05 AM   #4
Rick S.
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that's what I thought, too. now I'm confused. I always thought you needed a manufacturing license to build a gun from scratch. But over ar RG-G Gatling guns, they said I could build and own their gun without permits and without a serial number (for myself, anyway. if you build them and sell them it might be different.).

Anybody know for sure?
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Old March 9, 2009, 10:35 AM   #5
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You don't need the manufactures lic. to build your own 50 as long as it is legal to own in your State you just can't build for resale. You must put a serial number on the receiver. Search the attached site and you will find others that have built the Holmes 50.;t=000080;p=0
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Old March 9, 2009, 12:05 PM   #6
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I've seen the video and text, it's not going to be easy for someone just starting out on machining. There is extensive use of a metal lathe and mill, neither of which is the small sort.
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Old March 9, 2009, 01:19 PM   #7
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I have both the Home built 50 video and book. It is not a beginner's machining project. You can build it legally (according to ATF) IF it is legal in your state as long as you are building it for your own use.

The following is from ATF Online - Firearms FAQs

(A6) Does the GCA prohibit anyone from making a handgun, shotgun or rifle? [Back]

With certain exceptions a firearm may be made by a non-licensee provided it is not for sale and the maker is not prohibited from possessing firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a non-sporting semi-automatic rifle or non-sporting shotgun from imported parts. In addition, the making of an NFA firearm requires a tax payment and approval by ATF. An application to make a machine gun will not be approved unless documentation is submitted showing that the firearm is being made for a Federal or State agency.

[18 U.S.C. 922(o) and (r), 26 U.S.C. 5822, 27 CFR 478.39, 479.62 and 479.105]

The cited references at the bottom of the FAQ should be looked at.

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Old March 14, 2009, 03:49 PM   #8
Rick S.
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Do I need to contact BATF for a serial number?
Do I need to be approved before building?
Or can I build first tnen get a number?


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Old March 14, 2009, 08:25 PM   #9
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[You don't need the manufactures lic. to build your own 50 as long as it is legal to own in your State you just can't build for resale. You must put a serial number on the receiver.]

Essentially correct.

No license is required for anyone to scratch-build, from raw materials, any type gun/firearm - provided that the resultant firearm is within the limitations for it's class (barrel length, etc) - i.e., 18" minimun for smoothbores & 16" minimum for rifled long guns - as long as it's for their own use, and not for resale.

No prior approval is needed, for manufacture or numbering.

The maker can stamp their own initials on the receiver for a serial number - as in: GWB1 .

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Old April 14, 2009, 09:05 PM   #10
Rick S.
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does this include pistols, too?

I have one of those booklets titled "The .22 Silenced Pistol".

The silencer is a no-no, and the smoothbore barrel, too. But what if I put a rifled liner in the barrel? Is it a legal project or like the book says,"for academic use only"?
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Old April 14, 2009, 10:38 PM   #11
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The silencer is legal. You just need to live in AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MO, MS, MT, NE, ND, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, or WY to own one without a license. It is a routine matter to send in the ATF form 1 to make, or the ATF form 4 to buy. While you also have to pay a $200 tax, get the sheriff to sign the ATF form, finger print cards, your photos and send in form 5330.20, approval is routine and never denied as long as they are filled out properly.

Smooth bore pistols are classified as "any other weapon", requiring a $5 tax and the same paperwork. If it is over 0.500" bore, then it is a destructive device requiring another $200 tax. Have a ball. I do by making my own silencers in my garage. $30 for materials, $200 tax. Check out and for more info.

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