Letter to the BATF in ref: Yugo SKS


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bjbarron
May 4, 2005, 05:45 PM
I sent this letter to the BATF on April 11, 2005

I have recently purchased a Yugoslavian SKS for the purpose of target shooting. To that end, I would like to remove and replace most of the original parts. I am contacting you to verify the legality of this plan.

Remove bayonet
Remove bayonet lug permanently
Remove night sights permanently
Remove grenade launcher permanently
Remove grenade launcher sights permanently
Remove cleaning rod permanently
Cover threaded barrel permanently with US made muzzle break (solder)
Replace Yugo bolt carrier with Albanian bolt carrier
Replace single firing pin with a two-part US made Ben Murray firing pin safety system
Replace Yugo stock with composite US made Ramline stock of like configuration including gas tube.
Replace all springs with US made Wolff springs
Install a Weaver US made telescopic sight base permanently on receiver frame
Replace fixed 10 round magazine with fixed 5 round magazine
Replace fixed sights with US made Williams sights

Please be aware that I live in NJ and the requirement of this state requires a fixed magazine of less than 15 rounds on this weapon. Past that, the state does not specify much about these rifles. I do not want to be in violation of any of the thousands of federal laws when it comes to refurbishing this 40 year old rifle.

18 U.S.C. 922(r), imposed in 1990, prohibits "assembling from imported parts any semi-automatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation. I am not aware of any 5 shot rifle without bayonet, grenade launcher, night sights, or exotic stock that falls under this restriction but I just want to be safe.

Be aware also, that New Jersey does not recognize the C&R FFL III statutes, and this rifle was obtained legally thru an FFL dealer and complied with all Federal and New Jersey laws as received.

Today I received a letter back....

You describe a semiautomatic sks type rifle with no bayonet, no bayonet lug, no night sights, no grenade launcher, no threaded muzzle, with a composite fixed stock, with telescopic sights, and with a 5 round fixed magazine. From the discription provided, it appears that a semiautomatic SKS style rifle in the above configuration would not be prohibited from importation as a sporting firearm under section 925(d)(3). Therefore, assembly of the rifle would not be prohibited under section 922(r) and 4789.39.

WooHoo. I did the work already, and have shot it out at Fort Dix without attracting undue attention, but it's nice to have a letter.

Here (http://68.39.204.200:8080/blogfiles/batfletter.jpg) is a scan of the meat of the letter....

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Control Group
May 4, 2005, 06:12 PM
Quite the contrast to some of the horror stories we routinely see regarding the BATF. Their response was concise and informative - even prompt, if one takes into account the time-dilation effect inherent to government organizations. Assuming that the proverbial JBTs don't show up at your door to make sure you're compliant, this is exactly the sort of behavior I'd like to think the BATF exhibited all the time.

DontBurnMyFlag
May 4, 2005, 06:49 PM
From what I heard about NJ law, all you need is a fixed 10rd mag. Thats it. Ive seen a yugo sks at the range I go to with the bayonet and grenade launcher. Basically what Im asking, is did you do all this to be safe, or is it required?

jefnvk
May 4, 2005, 07:02 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but you would have to change out enough parts to US parts (hence all the US manufactured notes)? Or, would just removing all offending characteristics have been enough (I am guesing not, since a Yugo is a C&R, but again, if I am wrong).

Alex45ACP
May 4, 2005, 07:11 PM
I'd like to see the BATFE abolished.

Preacherman
May 4, 2005, 07:12 PM
Congratulations! You did exactly the right thing, and have a great reply letter. Now, keep the original somewhere safe, just in case, and also post it (and your original letter) on the Web forums associated with SKS's, so that others can benefit from it.

bjbarron
May 4, 2005, 07:27 PM
Preacherman:

I have posted both letters on SKS specific forums.

Dontburnmyflag:

I made the changes because I wanted to 'bubba' up the rifle...not because of any arcane NJ rules. The NJ AWB only speaks to the 10 round mag...strangely enough.

jefnvk:

Good question. That's why I sent the letter. I did not want to play the 10 or less game. I figured that removing the 'offending' parts would make it easier. The letter I got back from the ATF was very reasonable...as the rifle was no different than any other basic hunting type automatic, it was legal.

alex45acp:

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a store.

Note: NJ does not allow hunting with rifles...period. Most states however require semi-auto hunting rifles to be no more than 5 shots. That's why I threw that in.

Nothing was destroyed in 'permanently' removing parts. I could put the rifle back together as original in a couple of hours. Here is a picture of the rifle just before I put the brake on. It shoots much tighter with all the crapola off the barrel and a better stock. Bedding is next. This is just for fun, bye the by, I know this isn't a tack-driver.

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/bjbarron/blogfiles/KIF_0194a.jpg

Alex45ACP
May 4, 2005, 08:13 PM
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a store.

Hahaha. I like that :D

jnojr
May 4, 2005, 09:34 PM
Quite the contrast to some of the horror stories we routinely see regarding the BATF. Their response was concise and informative - even prompt, if one takes into account the time-dilation effect inherent to government organizations.

Unless that letter is a legal opinion from a ranking lawyer in the ATF, it's worth somewhat less than the piece of paper it's written on. If you get popped for an "illegal" SKS and wave that letter at them, they can just say "So? Some clerk doesn't know what they're talking about. Isn't going to save you from 10 years in the pen!"

secamp32
May 4, 2005, 10:13 PM
its an Evil sniper rifle! :evil:

Deavis
May 4, 2005, 11:03 PM
No, it is an intermediate sniper rifle, remember?

jefnvk
May 4, 2005, 11:33 PM
jnojr - what he got was an interpretation from the ATF. If he did exactly as his letter said, and got popped for it, I would hope that the jury and judge would have enough sense to see that he had a letter from the offical agency telling him he was legal.

Good question. That's why I sent the letter. I did not want to play the 10 or less game. I figured that removing the 'offending' parts would make it easier. The letter I got back from the ATF was very reasonable...as the rifle was no different than any other basic hunting type automatic, it was legal.

Fair enough. I was just wondering if you were playing the parts game by specifically mentioning swapping out for American parts.

BTW, why an Albanian bolt carrier?

DMF
May 4, 2005, 11:39 PM
You might want to send a letter to the state AG, since the ATF is only commenting on federal law.

bjbarron
May 5, 2005, 12:32 AM
jefnvk:

I'm WAY short of the ten parts...I just wanted to notate all changes I made to the rifle. In the dozen or so posted BATF letters I had read on the various forums, none of them really made much sense to me. Most of the letters had to do with thumbhole (probably illegal) stocks, 50 round banana clips, and the like...in other words, making the rifles more exotic, not less. I wanted something specific to what I was doing. It was signed by the Chief of Division, so that has to mean something...clerk or not.

New Jersey does not recognize C&R, so changing that status wasn't a problem. The letter made sense to me as the rifle is no different function wise than any Browning semi-auto you might import from Belgium.

My patience with understanding BATF rules is worn thin by now, and I'll live with what I have done. If I talked to 6 more clerks and 7 lawyers, I'd have 13 different opinions.

As for the Albanian bolt carrier...2 reasons.

(1)They are machined to much tighter tol's than the Yugo, and I had to machine it a bit to get it to work smoothly, and
(2) I like the hook.

As for that form and function,

Out at Range 14 at Fort Dix - 5 shots at 100 yards. I think if I bed it (and stop shaking), I'll have a sweet little intermediate range carbine.
http://mywebpages.comcast.net/bjbarron/blogfiles/KIF_0180.JPGhttp://mywebpages.comcast.net/bjbarron/blogfiles/KIF_0186.JPG

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