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Old March 24, 2013, 05:32 PM   #1
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Join Date: March 24, 2013
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Need advice. Wife and I want to arm up

My wife and I have decided to take up firing at the local range on the weekends. I have been talking about owning firearms for some time and are ready to take the plunge. We are considering his and hers hand guns and one fun to shoot rifle. I'm active duty military and personally love the colt M4, however most of the ones that I have seen all have a 16" barrel. How do I go about owning one that is 14.5" we live in the state of Georgia. Any help will be most welcome. Thanks.
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Old March 24, 2013, 07:15 PM   #2
Tom Servo
Join Date: September 27, 2008
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You can order a short-barreled upper. In and of itself, the upper is just an accessory. It becomes an NFA weapon when you attach it to a lower. At that point, you're manufacturing an NFA item, for which you need approval.

Basically, it comes down to this:
  1. Download and print out two copies of the ATF Form 1 [pdf]
  2. Download and print two copies of the Certificate of Compliance [pdf]
  3. Fill out the relevant parts
  4. Get two passport photos
  5. Take the paperwork and a $200 check to your local sheriff.
  6. Have them take fingerprints and send it all off.
  7. Wait. Then wait some more.

In the meantime, you'll need to get the lower receiver engraved with your name, city and state. Once the Form 1 comes back approved, you can assemble the rifle.

Now, there's some question as to whether it's wise to have the short-barreled upper before you get approval. If you're found to be in possession of it at the same time you have a lower, constructive possession could be implied, and that could lead to trouble.

As such, it's a good idea to get approval before buying the upper, or to store the upper in a different location than the lower.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
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Old March 24, 2013, 07:23 PM   #3
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Posts: 221
To add to what Tom said...

A flash hider can be pinned to a 14.5" upper to make it 16". That's a very common thing to do. That keeps you out of NFA territory.

Once you spend the money on a good FH or muzzle brake (why pin an A2 when you could have something better) and the pin/weld work, you'll probably be close to the cost of a $200 tax stamp. However there's no wait, no forms, and no worries about where you can take the rifle in the future.
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Old March 24, 2013, 10:14 PM   #4
Join Date: February 12, 2001
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A flash hider can be pinned to a 14.5" upper to make it 16".
If you take this approach, be sure that the attachment method is sufficiently permanent to keep the BATF happy. I don't believe that simply pinning it to the barrel is adequate.
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
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Old March 24, 2013, 10:56 PM   #5
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Yep must be permanently attached, as in weld or at least silver solder with high temp solder.
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Old March 25, 2013, 08:03 AM   #6
Jim Watson
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Location: Alabama
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It would be a lot simpler just to get a 16" barrel on your "M-Forgery" and bypass the trouble and expense of either jumping through BATF hoops or scabbing on an extension.
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Old March 25, 2013, 10:05 AM   #7
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I agree, for a couple of inches, it doesn't seem worthwhile to go NFA rout. If saving a few inches really matters, then go with an Aug/MSAR - still 16 inches, significantly shorter platform, but no NFA issues.
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Old March 26, 2013, 07:21 PM   #8
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Personally, I'm very happy with a 14.5" I have. The benefit for me was (at the time) being able to cut down a little bit of overall length when shooting suppressed. A 16" rifle with a can gets pretty long and the difference is noticeable. Eventually I just broke down and sent in a Form 1 though.
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