minimum legal overall length of a rifle?


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john l
October 20, 2005, 11:43 AM
What is the minimum overall legal length of a rifle?
......would like to cut down a 22 stock for a child shooter and still be within the law.

thanks,
john l

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Third_Rail
October 20, 2005, 11:56 AM
Overall is 26", barrel is 16".

Kharn
October 20, 2005, 12:17 PM
Overall is 26", barrel is 16".26", with all folding/telescoping stocks fully extended. Kids love telestocks on ARs.

Kharn

Kurush
October 20, 2005, 01:32 PM
Here's what the law says:
(8) The term ''short-barreled rifle'' means a rifle having one or
more barrels less than sixteen inches in length and any weapon made
from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if
such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than
twenty-six inches.
ATF says that means that all rifles have to have an overall length at least 26".

mr_dove
October 20, 2005, 04:51 PM
This is a tad off topic but i wonder what the size is on those little tiny childrens rifles. The only maker I can think of right now is chipmunk although there are a few others out there. They sure seem tiny.

Hkmp5sd
October 20, 2005, 06:17 PM
As Kharn recommended, make the stock extendable. The overall length is measured with the stock fully extended, so you can adjust it down to whatever length you need to fit the child.

Flatfender
October 20, 2005, 07:21 PM
This is a tad off topic but i wonder what the size is on those little tiny childrens rifles. The only maker I can think of right now is chipmunk although there are a few others out there. They sure seem tiny.

Chipmunks are 30" long.
http://www.roguerifle.com/Rifles.htm

john l
October 21, 2005, 12:33 AM
Thanks, guys.
26" for legal minimum length, and so I am well within the bounds.
john l

Wild Deuce
September 20, 2008, 03:13 PM
Have these rules changed at all and can anyone provide a link to the current rules? I'm having trouble bringing anything relevant up on a search.

This rifle (http://www.para-usa.com/new/product_rifle.php#specs) would be barely legal if you DID NOT apply the requirement that the stock be fully extended and unfolded

rcmodel
September 20, 2008, 03:18 PM
Further, if the rifle can still be fired with the stock folded, the 26" length still applies.

rcmodel

Wild Deuce
September 20, 2008, 03:51 PM
Ahhhh ... that is good to know and a very important caveat to the previous information!

Thanks RCModel.

nalioth
September 20, 2008, 05:30 PM
These are only federal guidelines.

Be sure you know your state laws as well.

Wild Deuce
September 20, 2008, 06:23 PM
Indiana ... I think I'm good.

Is there another state where this would be illegal based on length alone ... as opposed to simply being illegal because of an AWB?

TexasRifleman
September 20, 2008, 06:27 PM
This rifle would be barely legal if you DID NOT apply the requirement that the stock be fully extended and unfolded

But it is legal. That the overall length is 26.25" is not a coincidence :)

rcmodel
September 20, 2008, 06:43 PM
There are exceptions, that I don't fully understand.

The M1-A1 carbine is one. (25.4" folded) The BATF excepted it years ago.

Another is the Kel-Tec SU-16C (25.5" folded)

Both can be fired folded.

rcmodel

Wild Deuce
September 20, 2008, 06:50 PM
You have that right TexasRifleman!

I suppose my initial inquiry was about whether or not the measurement had to be done with the stock extended and unfolded. Like you said, it's a moot point since it is still over 26" at it's shortest.

The question now for me is finding a definitive link to the rule/regulation/law that establishes 26" as the minimum. This comes pretty close (http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#m24). I was asking since this online reviewer (http://firearmsandtraining.blogspot.com/2008/09/z-m-weapons-lr300-becomes-parausa-ttr.html) feels that 30" is the minimum. Nalioth raised a good point that I failed to take into account; the reviewer might be referencing his own state or local ordinances.

RCModel ... those little exceptions and nuances by the ATF are what would drive me nuts. How did you know that those two weapons are exempted? That is why I am still looking for chapter and verse (still reading the ATF PDF files at this time).

rcmodel
September 20, 2008, 07:01 PM
Well, I know because I have had an M1-A1 for about 45 years, and at the time I got it, I found out there was an exception to the rule made for them back in the 1950's.
Don't remember how I found that out.

Kel-Tec lists the OAL folded length of the SU-16C on their website. They wouldn't be selling it if it didn't comply.

rcmodel

TexasRifleman
September 20, 2008, 07:18 PM
A short barreled rifle is defined in the US Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter, Sec. 921.



(8) The term ''short-barreled rifle'' means a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen
inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or
otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.


Notice this doesn't say anything about whether or not it can fire while folded. That is an ATF interpretation that, even from them, gets fuzzy.

Whether or not you'll hang in court remains to be seen I suppose, like many other ATF "rulings".

Here is an interesting opinion from the Michigan Attorney General as it regards those rifles that have at least a 16 inch barrel but are less than 26 inches when folded AND are still operable.

http://www.ag.state.mi.us/opinion/datafiles/1980s/op06280.htm

As in the case of the Kel Tec above, the interpretation here takes into account the portion of US Code that says "whether by alteration, modification, or
otherwise". Since the Kel Tec is manufactured that way, it is not "altered or modified" so it's not an SBR. It appears from all of this that if the manufacturer made it that way it's fine but if you modify something to end up that way it's an SBR.

The firearms which are referred to in the second question will fall within the definition of a short-barreled rifle or a short-barreled shotgun only if they are considered to have been made from a rifle or shotgun 'by alteration, modification, or otherwise' and are capable of being folded or contracted to less than 26 inches in length.

So, you could have 2 identical rifles, one from the factory and one modified from a longer version, and one would be perfectly legal and one would not.

Now, that's just Michigan AG's interpretation but it makes as much sense as any other I've seen written down and would explain some of these things, like the Kel Tec, that appear to not meet some definitions ATF has "ruled" over the years. That it meets word for word the US Code and is approved by ATF I think is telling that they are not sure they have a leg to stand on regarding factory made Title I firearms.

Have I mentioned this week that gun laws are stupid?

rcmodel
September 20, 2008, 07:36 PM
I believe that pretty much matches the ATF rule also.

The "Modified from" is the kicker.

The "Manufactured that way" is the other kicker.

But you notice nobody pushes it very much under the 26" folded rule!

You don't see anyone making 24" or 22" folded & getting away with it do you?

There must be a 1/2" fudge-factor they can get away with, or something.

rcmodel

Loomis
September 20, 2008, 07:45 PM
Any rifle with a 16" barrel and a stock is going to have a hard time getting under 26" overall length. It would have to be a bullpup configuration. I am a little curious about the walther bullpup 22 rimfire rifle. It seems to me it might be under 26" overall length. I'll get back to this thread after I research it.

yokel
September 20, 2008, 07:49 PM
Well I feel safer; how about you?

Ya gotta love it!

Quiet
September 20, 2008, 07:55 PM
26" is the min. OAL.

The feds measure OAL with the stock in the extended/open position.

Some states measure OAL with the stock in the collapsed/closed position.

Check with your state's laws.

Hkmp5sd
September 20, 2008, 09:04 PM
You don't see anyone making 24" or 22" folded & getting away with it do you?


IIRC, the Uzi Carbine is under 26" overall length with the stock folded. Doesn't matter anyway. ATF measures with the stock extended. Here's one of many letters from them stating that fact.

Dear __________________:

This is in reply to your correspondence which was received by the Firearms Technology Branch, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), on January 30, 2008. In your letter you inquire about the attachment of a folding stock to a pistol having a barrel length of 16 inches or greater.

As background, 27 CFR Sec. 479.11 (Meaning of Terms) states, in part:

The overall length of a weapon made from a shotgun or rifle is the distance between the extreme ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to the center line of the bore.

Based on this description of overall length and its correct measurement, ATF has taken the position that firearms having folding or collapsible stocks are properly measured for overall length with the stock fully extended.

In the situation you present, the attachment of a folding shoulder stock to a pistol having a barrel length of 16 inches or greater would be lawful as long as the overall length of the resulting firearm is at least 26 inches with the stock fully extended. We caution that, because the configuration you have specified results in the manufacture of a rifle, a subsequent reconfiguration of the firearm to a pistol configuration would result in a weapon made from a rifle, which is a weapon controlled by the National Firearms Act (NFA).

We thank you for your inquiry and trust that the foregoing has been responsive.

Sincerely yours,

John R. Spencer
Chief, Firearms Technology Branch


http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=347669





The question now for me is finding a definitive link to the rule/regulation/law that establishes 26" as the minimum.


921 Definitions.
(a) As used in this chapter—

(8) The term "short-barreled rifle" means a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.



http://www.atf.treas.gov/pub/fire-explo_pub/2005/p53004/index.htm

Kharn
September 20, 2008, 09:34 PM
Hkmp5sd points out an interesting change in position, it used to be you could convert a pistol to rifle and back to pistol as many times as you wanted. Now anyone with a carbine kit for their 1911 or Glock is automatically guilty of a felony when they remove the carbine conversion kit and revert their weapon back to its original pistol configuration. :rolleyes:

Kharn

TexasRifleman
September 20, 2008, 09:37 PM
Now anyone with a carbine kit for their 1911 or Glock is automatically guilty of a felony when they remove the carbine conversion kit and revert their weapon back to its original pistol configuration.

Yep, after they lost the Contender case the ATF seems to have gotten their feelings hurt so they are gripping tighter to that "alteration, modification, or otherwise" clause.

Kharn
September 20, 2008, 09:56 PM
TexasRifleman:
US v TC was decided by the Supreme Court in 1992, the ATF's only changed their pistol -> rifle -> pistol stance relatively recently (within the past two years, IIRC).

Kharn

TexasRifleman
September 20, 2008, 10:00 PM
I understand, but they have made it clear that they believe that case to ONLY apply to Thompsons.

There was a relatively quiet period where SBRs didn't come up often, mainly due to the Klinton Krime Bill. Once that went away folks were SBR'ing right and left and all of a sudden ATF decides to change their interpretations. With the change regarding pistol to rifle back to pistol they force folks down the NFA path. How convenient.

Loomis
September 20, 2008, 11:56 PM
"...they force folks down the NFA path"

I wonder, are they just dirtbag scum thugs, or are they simply looking for more funds?

TEDDY
September 21, 2008, 10:16 AM
m1 carbines=erly ones had a 15.5"barrel so that is why the carbine has exemption.based on muzzel blast I wouldnot want one too short.I have a stevens crack shot it has 32 in over all.but seem like it is shorter.my carcano
7.35 is a horror to shoot with the muzzel blast.:uhoh::confused:;)

rcmodel
September 21, 2008, 06:11 PM
The M1 Carbine has, and always has had, a nomimal 18" barrel.
They actually measure about 17.9".

My M1-A1 measures 25 1/8" folded, standing on the pistol grip with the barrel exactly vertical.

It measures 35 1/2" unfolded.

rcmodel

Clermont
September 21, 2008, 10:45 PM
The Uzi Model A/B carbine measures 24" with stock folded and 31.5" with stock extended. This information comes from the owner's manual.

Zoogster
September 22, 2008, 10:56 PM
Is there another state where this would be illegal based on length alone ... as opposed to simply being illegal because of an AWB?

Yes in CA a rifle is automaticly an 'assault weapon' (ever changing term that reinvents itself to ban new things) if under 30" long.
Since legaly all "assault weapons" had to be registered years ago (in a special AW registration, not just a standard registration) that means making any rifle under 30" is a serious offense. It puts you in possession of an illegal unregistered assault weapon (and you cannot register them anymore.)

So it has nothing to do with the type of rifle, just by being under 30" long it automaticly becomes an "assault weapon".
So if you traveled out to CA with your 28" long rifle that was the most pro fudd hunting rifle, the kind loved by Zumbos across the world, and came into contact with law enforcement you could find yourself with a felony charge for having an illegal unregistered 'assault weapon'.

Quiet
September 23, 2008, 03:41 AM
The CA assault weapon definition for 30" OAL applies to centerfire semi-auto rifles.

Centerfire/rimfire bolt-action, centerfire/rimfire pump-action, centerfire/rimfire lever-action, centerfire/rimfire single-shot & rimfire semi-auto rifles abide by 26" OAL.

However, unlike the feds (which measure OAL with the firearm's stock extended/open), CA measures OAL with the firearm's stock collapsed/closed.



CA Penal Code 12276.1
(a) Notwithstanding Section 12276, "assault weapon" shall also mean any of the following:
(3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.

Art Eatman
September 23, 2008, 01:03 PM
ATF regs are stickied at the top of this forum's page.

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