M-16 bolt carrier in an AR-15


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natedog
January 8, 2005, 11:57 PM
Instead of wading through the poor search system, name calling, and elitism on AR15.com, I decided to ask here- is it legal to use an M-16 bolt carrier in an AR-15, specifically without any other M-16 fire control parts?

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Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 12:01 AM
Yes

PMDW
January 9, 2005, 12:13 AM
From what I understand, having any parts necessary for an auto conversion in an AR15 makes tha gun a machinegun in the eyes of the ATF.

It's really one of those things they can only get you for if you do something else illegal, and for some reason or another they decide to open up your AR.

Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 12:22 AM
False.

If you possess enough parts to make your AR15 fire F/A, then you possess a machinegun. This is why they (the ATF) recommends against stockpiling M16 parts and AR15 parts -- you just might end up with enough that could be assembled to fire F/A and not know it.

A M16 bolt carrier alone along with normal AR15 parts cannot fire full auto.

A M16 bolt carrier alone along with normal AR15 parts cannot fire full auto.

http://ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=6&t=147440

PMDW
January 9, 2005, 12:26 AM
Eh, whatever.

g56
January 9, 2005, 12:28 AM
The parts that make it a full auto are in the trigger group, inside the lower, so an M16 carrier in the upper doesn't even begin to fall into that area.

Like Zak said: A M16 bolt carrier alone along with normal AR15 parts cannot fire full auto.

albanian
January 9, 2005, 12:32 AM
I was under the impression that any M-16 part was illegal for use in an AR-15. I never really understood these laws because some parts are no different between the two. For example, the charging handle is the same for either gun.

I am pretty sure a M-16 bolt carrier is illegal in an AR-15.

Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 12:34 AM
"There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about."
-- John von Neumann

Anybody who claims it's illegal, feel free to post US Code sections or ATF letters backing up your position.

Third_Rail
January 9, 2005, 01:03 AM
In order to avoid violations of the NFA, M16 hammers, triggers, disconnectors, selectors and bolt carriers must not be used in assembly of AR-15 type semiautomatic rifles, unless the M16 parts have been modified to AR-15 Model SP1 configuration. Any AR-15 type rifles which have been assembled with M16 internal components should have those parts removed and replaced with AR-15 Model SP1 type parts which are available commercially. The M16 components also may be modified to AR-15 Model SP1 configuration.

Link (http://www.atf.treas.gov/pub/fire-explo_pub/complete.htm)


There you go, Zak. :)

Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 01:25 AM
Damn, that's a HUGE page! The context is a list of advice from the ATF.

It actually supports my position:

Any weapon which shoots automatically, more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger, is a machinegun as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5845(b), the National Firearms Act (NFA). In addition, the definition of a machinegun also includes any combination of parts from which a machinegun may be assembled, if such parts are in possession or under the control of a person. An AR-15 type assault rifle which fires more than one shot by a single function of the trigger is a machinegun under the NFA. Any machinegun is subject to the NFA and the possession of an unregistered machinegun could subject the possessor to criminal prosecution.

Additionally, these rifles could pose a safety hazard in that they may fire automatically without the user being aware that the weapon will fire more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger.

In order to avoid violations of the NFA, M16 hammers, triggers, disconnectors, selectors and bolt carriers must not be used in assembly of AR-15 type semiautomatic rifles, unless the M16 parts have been modified to AR-15 Model SP1 configuration. Any AR-15 type rifles which have been assembled with M16 internal components should have those parts removed and replaced with AR-15 Model SP1 type parts which are available commercially. The M16 components also may be modified to AR-15 Model SP1 configuration.

The first and second paragraphs define what a machinegun is. More than one shot per trigger pull = machinegun. They say nothing about any specific part making an AR15 a MG.

The last paragraph says that IF you have none of those parts, THEN you do not have a machinegun.

Third_Rail
January 9, 2005, 01:29 AM
In order to avoid violations of the NFA, M16 hammers, triggers, disconnectors, selectors and bolt carriers must not be used in assembly of AR-15 type semiautomatic rifles


;)

Steve Smith
January 9, 2005, 01:31 AM
I agree with Zak, AND PMDW, 1 it's not illegal, and 2 it is only going to cause you grief if you have other parts that will insinuate that you are conspiring to build a full auto gun.

FWIW, I have seen MANY M16 carriers used as a way to add some weight to the system and therefore delay cycling...mainly for hot loads.

Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 01:35 AM
I understand what it says. That sentence means that if you do not have any of those things, then it is impossible for you to have a MG. It does not logically imply that that is the only way to not have a MG. It does not say that a bolt carrier makes it a MG. The first paragraph clearly defines what a MG is.

-z

Third_Rail
January 9, 2005, 01:49 AM
Ok, not specifically forbidden.






When the ATF recommend I don't do something, I don't, though.

Steve Smith
January 9, 2005, 01:50 AM
Agreed. The way I read it, it does not specifically say that those parts make a MG, in fact, the only way to have an MG is for the gun to fit the description if the first sentence.

Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 01:58 AM
Rereading my last post, I clearly have spent too many hours on the phone with patent lawyers!

With the recent thread "ATF abuses that affect YOU", it's clear that if the ATF is motivated to do so, they will take hammers, files, and other tools to your gun to make to fire multiple times with one trigger pull, even if it destroys the gun and/or kabooms in the process. I've heard they've done things like Epoxy cut receiver halves back together to prove FAL kits were improperly demilled.

That said, an M16 bolt carrier cannot make anything resembling an AR15 trigger group fire full auto.

Third_Rail
January 9, 2005, 02:01 AM
Sure it can! Remove the disconnector, use SOFT primers.

It'll slamfire eventually.

Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 02:04 AM
In those cases, it's no more true for the FA carrier than it is for the SA carrier.

Third_Rail
January 9, 2005, 02:34 AM
But it would be easier to convince a jury that it was an evil mg if it had the M16 BC in it....


In any case, if I ever get an AR15, no M16 parts for me!!

odysseus
January 9, 2005, 04:23 AM
Why do you want to put a m16 bolt carrier in when there are so many good ar15 ones out there...even chromed? Is there something about it special than the normal market ones out there that won't bring any questions to air?

Why do it?

c_yeager
January 9, 2005, 05:33 AM
Why do it?

Some people like them because they are "mil-spec". IIRC all military carriers are chrome lined. Sometimes they come up cheap as surplus parts (CDNN had a run of complete bolt/carrier assemblies for $99 some time ago). beyond that i can't see much point to it.

Wildalaska
January 9, 2005, 05:53 AM
Dont do it

WildnuffsaidAlaska

PAC 762
January 9, 2005, 10:47 AM
The ATFE has jailed people over a paper clip and a shoe string. If they say not to use M16 carriers, I won't use them. Even if it is legal, the attorney fees will be much more than spending a little more on an AR15 carrier.

Gewehr98
January 9, 2005, 12:23 PM
Somewhere in my stack of FFL regs, there's a questions and answers pamphlet. Some of the recommendations were not to have a complete AR-15 and any M16 parts in the same residence, it would give the appearance of intent to construct a machine gun.

Likewise, when I started my NFA Krinkov project, and ordered my Krinkov parts kit from K-Var, they initially asked me if I had any AK rifles in my residence. When I replied "yes", then they were adament that the Krinkov kit be sent direct from K-Var to the NFA manufacturer of my Krinkov rifle, bypassing my residence. Again, they were afraid that co-location of NFA parts with a non-NFA rifle would constitute intent to manufacture an illegal weapon in the eyes of the ATF.

I used to hate the steel receiver block in my Colt Competition HBAR. Then I realized it would be that much more difficult to have evidence manufactured against me in a crime lab somewhere with that receiver block in place. Scary, when we have to think about such things... :(

Now, an M16 bolt carrier properly ground to a flat bottom, ala' the AR-15, ain't no big deal. ;)

Onmilo
January 9, 2005, 01:05 PM
Here in the god and gun fearing state of Illinois the use of just one M-16 part in your AR15 can result in the seizure of your rifle.
Most states that allow their citizens to legally posess full automatic weapons nor the law ebforcement officers working in those states are not going to get stupid about one single part.
Here in Illinois that one part can get a person in a whole heap of trouble.
Location and interpetation has everything to do with the enforcement of the law.

kaferhaus
January 9, 2005, 02:19 PM
It's NOT illegal. Those are ATF guidelines for company's manufacturing ARs. If you don't have enough parts to make the gun go bang more than once with one pull of the trigger, or in a condition that it can be readily adapted to do so, you are not in violation of the law.

Auto-sears are considered "machine guns" in and of themselves, so obviously that part would be a no-no.

If you possess an AR15 and the M16 fire control parts, you're breaking the law.

Many DCM shooters use the M16 carrier, including me. There's a simple reason for it. It is heavier.... it keeps the bolt locked for a tiny fraction of a second longer which reduces primer set-back and blown primers. It has nothng to do with making the gun full auto.... all the 16 carrier does in that capacity is trip the auto-sear.... which releases the disconnector....without the sear, 16 disconnector, 16 hammer, selector and trigger.... you're not gonna get more that one round off with one pull of the trgger.

The only 16 parts I own are carriers, Many many thousands of early ARs were manufactured with M16 bolt carriers.

Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 04:37 PM
Oh wait, I think I have an M16 barrel and upper receiver around here somewhere. :banghead:

Get a grip.

We might as well pretend the AWB is still in effect 'cause the ATF might try to convict you for possessing your LEO mags or threading your barrel before it sunsetted.

-z

socomcen
January 9, 2005, 09:08 PM
I don't see the ATF going around ceasing the Colt SP1s and 9mms that were sold with full auto carriers, I would say thats because they're legal. :banghead:

But using one does put you that much closer to having a machinegun. Just make sure your rifle doesn't double and you're okay.

Onmilo
January 9, 2005, 09:14 PM
Come to Illinois and tell everybody how legal your M16 carriers are.
I love when people from states that allow civilian possession of class 3 weapons tell the rest of us how "Legal" machine gun parts are in a semi automatic firearm.
Count your blessings that you live where you live.

Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 11:02 PM
I love when people from states that allow civilian possession of class 3 weapons tell the rest of us how "Legal" machine gun parts are in a semi automatic firearm.
Rhetorical question: Is an M16 barrel a machine gun part?

ether
January 9, 2005, 11:39 PM
I don't know if one MG part is illegal or not, but I was under the impression that any M16 part that is related to fire control cannot be used in an AR15. I think the ATF is only concerned with "M16" parts that are involved in fire control. The AR15 bolt carrier has nothing to do with fire control other than cocking the hammer, but the M16 bolt carrier does. In M16 full auto mode, the underside of the bolt carrier trips the sear as it goes into battery and releases the hammer for the next shot. I won't use M16 bolt carriers because it just seems to me there are legal reasons for manufacturers going out of their way to make a different bolt carrier specifically for the AR15.

Zak Smith
January 9, 2005, 11:43 PM
In M16 full auto mode, the underside of the bolt carrier trips the sear as it goes into battery and releases the hammer for the next shot.
It trips the M16 autosear which is not present in a semi lower assembled with AR15 parts.

ether
January 9, 2005, 11:52 PM
Exactly, it's just one of several required parts, which is why I don't know for sure if just one part is illegal, but then we get back to the question of why manufacturers feel compelled to make a different carrier for the AR15 when most people agree the heavier M16 carrier would be preferable.

Jeff White
January 10, 2005, 02:32 AM
ether,
The manufacturers feel compelled to make different carriers for the AR15 type rifles because the Feds make them. The BATF has to approve any design. The following is from Black Rifle II The M16 into the 21st Century by Christopher R Bartocci pp 233-235:

Colt's began the process of seeking approval to produce a semi-automatic only variation of their AR-15 rifle for commercial sale by submitting a prototype semi-automatic only version, serial no. GX4968 (Gun Experimental no. 4968) to the Treasury Department on October 23, 1963. A selective-fire rifle was also provided for comparison purposes.

Colt listed the following nine changes which they had made to the semi-auto version to prevent its re-conversion to full-automatic fire:
1. Removal of the automatic sear.
2. Elimination of the automatic sear hole in the lower receiver.
3. Elimination of the automatic sear well in the lower receiver.
4. Removal of the automatic sear hook on the hammer.
5. Removal of the automatic sear trip notch from the bottom rear portion of the bolt carrier.
6. Modification of the selector to eliminate the automatic setting.
7. Elimination of the "AUTO" position identification marking on the lower receiver.
8.Mechanical restriction of selector lever movement to two positions only: SAFE and FIRE.
9. Enlargement of the front pivot pin holes in both upper and lower receivers, and use of a larger-diameter front pivot pin.

On October 25, 1963 the Treasury Department advised Colt that in addition to these nine changes, they wanted the upper and lower receiver pin lugs relocated, in order to further prevent the interchangeability between semi-auto-only and selective-fire receivers. This was done by moving the enlarged pivot pin holes in the upper and lower receivers down and rearward.

Colt's made some additional changes on their own that the BATF didn't require. In 1969, Colt's wanted to use a modified M16A1 carrier to ease production costs. The original changes weren't enough for the BATF then from page 305:

On April 14, 1969, Colt updated their semi-automatic-only bolt carrier to the M16A1 configuration. Both the bolts and bolt carriers were manganese phosphate finished, with the inside of the carriers and keys chrome plated. Even though the SP1 did not have a forward assist assembly, the "Later Issue" bolt carrier came with the forward assist notches.

More modifictions were made by request of the BATF, who wanted to make the rifles more difficult to convert to full automatic. Modifications were accordingly made to the bolt carrier, firing pin, and hammer, to prevent the rifle from slam-firing should the disconnector be removed or damaged, either by intent or through malfunction. In a safety mechanism package designed and patented by Colt's Ralph Kennedy, metal was removed from the bottom of the carrier, exposing the second head of the firing pin. This functioned in conjuction with the semi-auto-only hammer with the notch cut in the front. If the disconnector should fail or be removed or disabled, the hammer would ride the bolt carrier forward, the notch in the hammer engaging the second (larger) head on the firing pin to catch the bolt carrier group and stop the rifle from firing the second shot.

Later Colt removed all the metal at the bottom rear of the carrier, but they did that on their own.

Jeff

artherd
January 10, 2005, 03:10 AM
The ATFE has jailed people over a paper clip and a shoe string. If they say not to use M16 carriers, I won't use them. Even if it is legal, the attorney fees will be much more than spending a little more on an AR15 carrier.

You know what? To heck with the ATF threatening malicious prosecution of legal acts! And to heck with that stoping me from living my life! I have both the attorneys and the time to fight them if need be.

I am also sick of threads asking for help in clarification in a lega matter being littered with subjective judgements on the matter "WELL! Harump! **I** wouldn't do it! Not that I know anything else relivant on the legality of the matter."

artherd
January 10, 2005, 03:17 AM
ATF has however opined (not sure if any courts have upheld this) that enough fire control parts to make ANY one AR-15 into a full machine gun, and posession of any other AR-15, constitutes posession of an unregistered machine gun.

Ie, you have one registered Colt AR-15 with a DIAS to make it a legal full-auto.

And then you have one unregistered unmodified Colt AR-15. And you have a spare DIAS on a shelf.

Oops, you've actually got 2 'machine guns' (ish) and one isn't registered!!!

Looking for the opinion letter now.


Not sure what ATF's position on:
1 AR-15 with one DIAS, and:
1 stock AR-15 (only, no spare DIAS on a shelf.)

c_yeager
January 10, 2005, 03:29 AM
And then you have one unregistered unmodified Colt AR-15. And you have a spare DIAS on a shelf.

IIRC an unregistered "drop in auto sear" is illegal all by itself.

The ATFE has jailed people over a paper clip and a shoe string. If they say not to use M16 carriers, I won't use them. Even if it is legal, the attorney fees will be much more than spending a little more on an AR15 carrier.

The difference is that the paper-clip and shoe string were actually used to make a rifle fire full auto, the M16 carrier doesnt. In fact the example could lend one to believe that the M16 carrier is legal. Clearly the parts themselves don't matter, it's the end function of the rifle that matters (i.e. is it a machinegun or not).

shoobe01
January 10, 2005, 01:38 PM
One of the more recent SARs had their legal guy go into this. He said everything I had previously heard and explained it pretty well, so -- without looking at the issue -- here is the issue:

Used to be, right after the NFA was passed, that an MG was an MG. Only counted if it went full-auto. So separating the gun in half or other simple things made it not, legally, an MG. And all was good. However, people used this as a loophole specifically to have an auto gun but not get it registered, so they closed that, and lots of guns with no intent got outlawed just due to some.

This sort of tinkering and loophole searching continued up to the mid 80s or so. Remember when you could go to a gun show and one guy had a table of AK auto-capable sears, BUT NOT HAMMERS. The next table over an entirely different guy just happens to have a table of AK auto-capable hammers, plus some more robust springs and such, BUT NO SEARS. Only in combination were they illegal, so it was up to individuals to make that choice.

So instead of more tinkering with specifics the ATF just finally interpreted the law as banning the ownership of /anything/ that functionally contributes to the automaticness (usually, sears, hammers, and other tripping devices to include some carriers). I am pretty sure that they still need to be combined with something, but a semi-auto receiver counts. So since I own no ARs of any sort, I could theoretically safely purchase an M16 auto group. If I had an AR-15, even one configured to not accept the parts, it would be illegal.

See, this way they generally don't have to tinker and fiddle and make the gun go auto. They can just look it up in a book and if this is a functional AR-15 and that's an auto carrier, "you have the right to remain..."

I also think they started prosecuting the dealers of these parts so that's why you see no more conversion-kit Ar-15, trigger bits, and all the notices about how to use parts kits in the ads.


All ATF guys I have spoken with are very nice and helpful. I am sure some are dicks, but so are many people at my office. Just note that it took them like 50 years to get this restrictive with MGs. They seem to -- in general, over the long view -- intepret the law only as much as needed, and change interpretation to cover loopholes. I'd say blame the law instead, but you could also blame other parts of individual administrations for not advising the bureau to be less restrictive till futher notice. Never seems to happen, though.

And I live in a functionally no-NFA state as well. So sad. Think of all the money I could contribute to the economy with just ammo purchases.

ether
January 10, 2005, 07:20 PM
Jeff White - thanks a bundle for the hard documentation....very informative.

saltydog
January 11, 2005, 11:28 AM
We''ll from what I see, ATF can pretty much get a conviction on anyone in this thread that owns any type of semi auto if they wanted to. No parts needed. From what I read in the regulations and what ATF does to get a weapon to fire full auto (even in an unsafe condition) should be of concern to anybody here. With little or no effort from your part "or" the govt's part, your firing pin can be jammed into its "forward position" The weapon will be unsafe, down right dangerous to fire, but it will be enough modification to your weapon to land you in jail, "under the law". It only needs to fire "once out of battery" and byby.....Have a nice day. :eek:

BTW, its called a fixed firing pin.

The real intent of that law was to keep people from dropping in auto sears or modifying their receivers (factory sear) -->to the real thing. Anything more than that was considered "out of line" but in this day and age?

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