Most affordable way to have Class III gun?


Classical Liberal
May 9, 2006, 10:32 AM
It seems to me the most affordable option is to buy an easily convertable firearm, pay the $200 ATF tax and then just put in a new sear (or whatever is necessary to perform the conversion).

What is the catch to this scheme, though? Seems legal to my Swedish mind but I'm sure there is one.

BTW, would be thankful for tips on rifles (and carbines) that are easily made to fire full auto.

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May 9, 2006, 10:38 AM
There is no cheap way to do it. In most cases, what you are talking about is illegal. In the cases where it is legal, the full auto sears are themselves registered and will cost many thousands of dollars (for example, Flemming H&K sears go for over 10 grand).

There is currently a set number of non-LE machine guns in the U.S. It is illegal to make another one, no matter how you do it.

Classical Liberal
May 9, 2006, 10:44 AM
I was aware that sears count as machine-guns but I wasn't aware that they were under the '86 restriction. Thanks for straightening it out!

May 9, 2006, 11:02 AM
The cheapest Class III you could probably find would be a Mac, right? 3000-ish?

Classical Liberal
May 9, 2006, 11:20 AM
I think I saw a Mac-10 once for $1000, but take that with more than a little salt...

May 9, 2006, 11:27 AM
Auto sears are themselves serialized, and on the NFA registry. As was pointed out, they cost a lot.

Macs are currently the cheapest full autos.

You didn't see a transferable for $1,000. :p If you did, I'll take it.

$3,000 is pushing it. You are probably closer to $5,000. Check the classifieds at Subguns to see what transferables are going for. Prices constantly change, usually upwards, and a rate that blows my 401K out of the water. If you look at the trends, full auto is one of the best investments that there is.

The cheapest way to get into the NFA game is a suppresor. Since they can still be manufactured, you are only into it $200-$1000 + $200 tax. Plus suppresors are a whole lot of fun, and easier on the wallet than ripping off long bursts of expensive ammo. :)

As for the $200 tax, when you do your taxes at the end of the year, you can deduct it as a tax already paid.

Classical Liberal
May 9, 2006, 11:32 AM
Good point about suppressors. But won't I have to fire a subsonic round for it to be of any use?

In Finland, suppressors are sold over the counter. Maybe I will take a trip there soon ;)

May 9, 2006, 12:04 PM
... to do is purchase and register a short barrelled rifle. The best and most fun way to do this is to register an AR-15 lower. As it was explained to me was, you can get the lower registered and then you can put on any upper length you please, a 10" etc. There is a box on the form that asks what barrell length, and I have been told that you only need to put in one short barrell length and another person said you have to put in any length you want to use. We are getting this checked out before I finish this.

Im still trying to figure that one out. I am about to start the process for this as there is a LM&T 11.5" upper out there just waiting to be built into one of my guns.

I am currently in the process for purchasing a Suppressor. You should find a store that deals with these items. I went up to ours, found the suppressor I wanted, got the serial number and they helped me fill out the form 4 and then i got the Fingerprints, a note from my local sheriff and away we go. In about 90 days, I should be able to go up and pick up my suppressor. Total cost will be about $750; $499 for the suppressor, $200 tax, and $50 paperwork fee.

All the fun im going to have with a suppressor... Priceless

May 9, 2006, 01:48 PM
the bushmaster catalog has M16 trigger parts, and they cost about the same as AR parts. Do you just need a Class III license, or are those prices for law inforcement/ military? How does that stuf work?

May 9, 2006, 02:00 PM
You can only (legally) buy the M-16 parts if you have an LEO/Gov letterhead and it is an official purtchase (IE, lots of legal red tape) or you personally have a registered pre-86 class III weapon that can accept these parts (no lightning link or replacement sear if that is your registered part, IIRC).

Full auto is no more expensive than semi auto parts, in many cases it actually makes the weapon MORE expensive to be semi, as ridiculous measures must be done to prevent the weapon from being converted to full auto (Colts different pin sizes comes to mind).

If the AFT was a true tax collection agency interested in generating revenue for the government, they would open the registry to newly manufactured machineguns. I bet they would make a few hundred million in the first 6 months alone! I would personally get at least 5 (M-16, MP-5, AK-47, Thompson SMG, and a P90) right off the bat.

May 9, 2006, 02:02 PM
Classical Liberal: You live in Sweeden ? If so, I have no idea what the laws are there regarding full auto weapons. For all I know, you can go to your local gun dealer and buy one new ? Even if this is the case, I don't know what kind of stuff they sell there, so I have no idea which one is the cheapest.

May 9, 2006, 02:09 PM
There needs to be a push to repeal not only the worthless 1989 semiauto ban but the ridiculous 1986 law too. I think only one legally owned machine gun has ever been used in a crime.....hardly justification for this unconsitutional ban.:fire:

May 9, 2006, 02:22 PM
As for the $200 tax, when you do your taxes at the end of the year, you can deduct it as a tax already paid.

Is this an income deduction or is this actually off of the tax I owe?

Classical Liberal
May 9, 2006, 04:43 PM
444: nah, there is no way here, short of joining the Hemvärnet (National Guard)...

May 9, 2006, 05:04 PM
So you are asking the question in terms of what you can do in the USA ?

Classical Liberal
May 9, 2006, 05:15 PM
Yeah, just out of curiosity. I like to stay informed on your laws and such.

May 9, 2006, 05:50 PM
Can you get Swedish AK5 parts? There is a huge market for them here in the US. Everything from AK5 stocks to handguards, and scope mounts and mags and slings.

The FNC owners here really want AK5 parts bad, if you can get them legally you could probably make a fine chunk of cash exporting them.

As for cheapest Class 3, I'm going with Any-Other-Weapon. Only $5 transfer tax on those and there is no 1986 ban on those to drive the price up.

May 9, 2006, 09:10 PM
Just a thought, but you can buy a trigger group for a m2 carbine sear disconector, select lever etc. and drop it onto an m1 for really cheep, (like 200 bucks)

haven't done it myself, but I've found the parts for sale online if you know what your looking for.

don't know what the legalities are for it, or what it would take to register it as a class III and do it all legit.

if anyone knows I would love to find out what it takes. If you cant do it legit, don't do it at all, its not worth loosing all your rights over.

May 9, 2006, 09:11 PM
You can't do it legit unless you are a manufacturer producing the weapon for law enforcement or as a dealer sample.
As a private citizen, you haven't been able to do that since 1986.

May 9, 2006, 09:21 PM
is there any way to get a manufacturer to actually perform the parts instalation (it doesn't take any permanent modification to the receiver or components)?

can you buy a registered auto sear for the m2 carbine? and install it yourself?

baring that, are there any civilian jobs which can qualify you for a LE rating? I've heard of sherifs deputising people who contribute to there campaign fund, would that qualify you for class III ownership?

not trying to be dificult or argumentitive, but someday I'd like to own a full blown auto gun, and I'd like to do it cheep and legal.

May 9, 2006, 09:36 PM
"Class III" is more than machineguns - it includes short barreled rifles/shotguns, silencers, and other guns that don't fit other standard categories ("AOW" - any other weapon - like "pen guns", legal "sawed-off shotguns", etc.).

The cheapest Class III guns are likely AOWs - no supply limit, often built on non-restricted platforms, and a mere $5 transfer tax. New and legal "sawed-off shotguns" (actually a deliberately manufactured smoothbore pistol) can run around $400.

May 9, 2006, 09:50 PM
AJAX22: you can buy a legally registered M2. That is your one and only option.
I don't know what you consider to be cheap but I doubt if any legally registered full auto weapon will qualify.
I realize how easy it is to do, just a parts swap, but it aint legal for you to own a machine gun that was manufactured post-1986.
You either pony up the money for a pre-86, legally registered gun, or you can't play. Those are your options, unfortuneately.

Dave R
May 10, 2006, 12:29 AM
But won't I have to fire a subsonic round for it to be of any use?Nope. It will still quiet down a supersonic round quite a bit. There will still be the 'crack' when the bullet passes someone downrange, but YOU won't hear it.

I hunted varmits last Saturday with a buddy who has a (legal) suppressor on his AR-15. It was a bit louder, but not much louder, than a .22lr (which we had on hand for comparison.) I suppose the amount of supression would vary by how good the suppressor is.

May 10, 2006, 12:46 AM

Police Officers can not buy full auto guns in the manor that you are thinking of. The gun has to be purchased by the agency following some red tape paperwork.

May 10, 2006, 03:32 AM
Thanks, I didn't know it was registered to the agency, I thought it was to the individual.

May 10, 2006, 09:05 AM
As for the SBR question:

I registered my AR-15 lower the following way:

For barrel length I put 2"-14" - that way you cover yourself all the way down to the lowest possible length. Also do the overall length in a similar fashion.

For caliber, I choose all I could think of that I would ever use - .22LR, 9mm, .45, .40, .357 SIG, .223, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8, 7.62x39, 10mm

Carl N. Brown
May 10, 2006, 09:57 AM
If I Recall Correctly, there no Class III guns: there are Class III
Dealers who are licensed and taxed to deal in NFA Title II guns.
I am sure someone more knowledgable will correct me if I have
any of this wrong:

US machinegun laws are very restrictive and complicated.
That is, restrictive and complicated for the law-abiding.

Machineguns are controlled under the US 1934 National
Firearms Act. Legally, machinegun includes not only firearms
designed as full automatic, but also any conversion parts
designed and intended for use in converting a semi automatic
firearm into a full automatic firearm.

Machine guns available to civilian collectors must be on
the federal NFA registry. The NFA registry was closed to
new civilian collectors machinegun registrations 19 May 1986
by the last-minute "poison pill" Hughes Amendment to the
Firearms Owners Protection Act.

If a machinegun was not entered in the registry before the
cut-off date, it is not eligible for transfer to a civilian
owner. An NFA transfer of registration requires completion
of a Form 4, with fingerprints, federal background check,
passport quality photos, CLEO Chief Law Enforcement Official
sign-off (one of: chief of police, county sheriff or district
attorney), payment of a $200 registration tax. Expect 90 day
to six months for approval.

Between 1934 and 1986 there was one criminal homicide with
a legally registered machinegun, by a police officer. The
law enforcement value of the Hughes Amemndment cut-off is
questionable, and has convinced many America gun owners
that gun control is arbitrary and capricious. NFA registrants
were perhaps the most law abiding population in Ameriica,
but were singled out for "special treatment" because the
government cannot control criminals.

Other NFA firearms: short barrel shotgun (SBS under 18"),
short barrel rifle (SBR under 16"), silencer or muffler,
modern shoulder stocked pistol, and any other weapon
(AOW: shotgun pistols, cane guns, pen guns, etc) were NOT
affected by the Hughes Amendment, only full auto
machineguns. NFA firearms are also known as Title II.
In the wording of 1934 National Firearms Act, the term
"firearm" refers only to firearms subject to the NFA.
A silencer is an NFA "firearm" but can be attached to a
gun that is not an NFA firearm.

Possession of new post-19 May 1986 machineguns is limited
to Federal Firearms Licensees who have paid the appropriate
Special Occupational Tax (SOT) required of those
manufacturing, importing, or dealing in National Firearms
Act (NFA) firearms. These are Class III dealers licenses.

A Class III dealer handles NFA weapons for collectors,
police or military. A Class III dealer may have what are
called "dealer samples" of post-19 May 1986 machineguns
for demonstration to law enforcement. Class III dealers
stay up-to-date on NFA regulations, and transfers of NFA
firearms between private collectors are often handled by
Class III dealers. Again, machineguns eligible for transfer
to private collectors must have been entered on the NFA
registry by 19 May 1986. Of course, machineguns eligible
for transfer to law enforcement or military have no cut-off

If you are willing to become licensed as a Class III dealer
or Title II manufacturer SOT taxpayer, you could own a new
machinegun, but only as part of doing business and not as
a private collector. Becoming a law enforcement agency or
a military organization is out of the question.

CHEAP? The Reising Model 50 WWII submachinegun I could have
bought in 1985 for 150.00 plus the 200.000 NFA tax, would now
cost me 3,000.00 plus 200.00. Registered machineguns are not
cheap; collecting has become a rich man's hobby since the
Hughes amendment.

By The Way, curiosity of a Swedish high school student about
US restricted guns is a curiosity in itself. Do not be surprised if
someone tries to trace your IP to see if it originates from .gov!

May 10, 2006, 11:44 AM
I see advertised in shotgun news?, are they full auto?
I see them at gun shows, they say it's full auto but I find it hard to believe.

Carl N. Brown
May 10, 2006, 12:06 PM
Legally, machinegun includes not only firearms
designed as full automatic, but also any conversion parts
designed and intended for use in converting a semi automatic
firearm into a full automatic firearm.

To be legal for civilian ownership, the drop-in sear must have
been registered by 19 May 1986 and would require an NFA
transfer of registration.

Yes, they are advertised and all NFA rules apply. A legal
drop in sear would cost more than the AR you drop it in.

Classical Liberal
May 10, 2006, 12:11 PM
I don't it's that simple with the AR-15. You need to enlarge the housing for the parts IIRC.

Carl N. Brown
May 10, 2006, 12:39 PM
Installing an M16 fire control group requires altering an AR15 lower.

That would only be civilian legal if done and registered as a MG before
18 May 1986; of course, it is legal if done for a government entity
and a lot of advertisement is directed at that market, not for
civilian sales.

The "beauty" of the drop-in auto sear was it was the registered item,
and the frame of the guns it was used in were not altered, did not need
to be registered seperately, and reverted to legal semi-auto status
by removing the drop-in auto sear, which itself was the registered

Like the silencer, the auto-sear is an NFA "firearm" even without
being attached to a gun, (unless I am totally off base which
has happened before and may occur in the future as well:)).

Classical Liberal
May 10, 2006, 12:43 PM
But some weapons are easier to convert than others, correct?

May 10, 2006, 12:54 PM
There is another complexity involving DIAS, I believe, in that some of them were from pre November, 1981. These are not registered as machineguns themselves and have no serial numbers. They are often advertised in SGN for about $200, and I think they are legal to own so long as you don't also own an AR-15 (Don't quote me on that, and please don't buy one based on that.) Obviously there is a catch . . .if you don't own an AR-15, there is no point in buying one, and if you do own one it is illegal to buy one.

I don't know the complexities of the laws on them, I just know that I plan on staying away from them.

May 10, 2006, 01:03 PM
I don't it's that simple with the AR-15. You need to enlarge the housing for the parts IIRC.

Lightning Link (

Carl N. Brown
May 10, 2006, 01:06 PM
But some weapons are easier to convert than others, correct?
Correct. Some are easier to convert than others.

In WWII, New Zealand converted bolt action Lee Enfields to make
Charlton light machine guns by adding a gas piston, bolt cam,
full auto fire control group, Bren magazine, pistol grip stock, etc.

That was a lot harder than an AR15 to M16 conversion to put it mildly.

Both John Moses Browning and Hiram Maxim converted Winchester
leveraction guns to gas or recoil operated full-autos.

With sufficient ingenuity, one could probably convert a hinge action
double barrel shotgun to operate full-automatic.

Others have described a cap'n'ball revolver that would blow the
hammer back far enough to rotate the cylinder then fall to fire
the next chamber, doing two or three shots as a fully auto revolver.
spelling erroe on charlton no 'e'

Carl N. Brown
May 10, 2006, 01:14 PM
If ATF decides a design is TOO easy to convert, it does not
get approved for civilian sales.
Also, there have been a few designs disapproved after being
approved making the ones sold contraband.

One was a tommy-gun look-alike carbine that could be
made to fire full auto by pressing the safety and trigger

May 10, 2006, 02:02 PM
I've heard of the SMLE conversion before, but I've never actually found any info on it or seen a picture of one that was converted.

has anyone ever seen a picture of one? or know of a link to a site with some info?

It doesn't seem like a good canidate for retrofit.

I'm not looking to convert my SMLE to auto, but getting it to work with bren mags would be interesting

Carl N. Brown
May 10, 2006, 03:05 PM
About 500 Lee-Metford rifles were converted by Electrolux in 1942
into Charlton Automatic Rifles. The Australians made a version that
used lee-enfield mags. Very stop gap measure. I can't find photos.
Idea was dropped as Owen SMGs and Bren LMGs were more readily

A search Found:
THR > Tools and Technologies > Rifle Country > Mosin Nagant semi-auto conversion?
threeseven had more detailed spex.

May 10, 2006, 06:36 PM
"I don't it's that simple with the AR-15. You need to enlarge the housing for the parts IIRC. "

A drop in auto sear (DIAS), or a registered lightning link (RLL) can not be dropped into just any AR15. Colt, for example, makes their lower receivers with a shelf where the DIAS or RLL would go to convert the gun to full auto. This area of the lower receiver is right about where the rear pin goes through the receiver. I don't know which AR15s do not have this shelf, but Bushmaster is one that doesn't. Colt has always worked overtime to ensure that only the police and military can have full auto. This is the reason they had the odd sized pivot pin and this is the reason they manufacture their receivers with that shelf to prevent the intallation of a RLL or a DIAS. Colt doesn't care that it is perfectly legal to do so, we are peons that don't have the same rights or equipment as the ruling class.

Obviously, there are three different configurations for an M16/select fire AR15. Registered receiver (RR), a drop in auto sear (DIAS) and a registered lightning link (RLL). All three are legal as long as you buy a legally registered reciever/link/sear and file the appropriate form 4 with ATF. There are pros and cons of each. Here is a discussion on that subject: As a civilian in the US, none of the three are inexpensive. Just as a rough estimate (I don't follow the market most of the time), a lightning link might be anywhere from 8k and up. A registered receiver will be anywhere from 12k up. A host semi-auto AR15 will be less than 1k ($700-800 new) as a point of reference.

May 10, 2006, 07:28 PM
For barrel length I put 2"-14" - that way you cover yourself all the way down to the lowest possible length. Also do the overall length in a similar fashion.

While the ATF may have approved your form 1, apparently they're not approving form 1's that use ranges of lengths and calibers anymore. They want you to put one caliber in box 4c, one barrel length in 4e and one overall length in 4f. If you want to put more info, they want you to put that in box 4h. There's nothing stopping you from, for example, putting down that you're building a 9mm SBR with a 5" barrel and then using a 5.56 upper with a 14.5" barrel. The BATF does want you to notify them if it's a permanent change though (IE, you sell the 9mm upper).

May 10, 2006, 07:29 PM
This is the reason they had the odd sized pivot pin

Thanks for posting that, I had always wondered why they used a different size pin.

May 11, 2006, 12:16 AM
AJAX22 - there were multiple versions of automatic Lee-Enfields, the Charlton was the most famous/common. They were rather unwieldy looking, photos are available (the best ones I know of are in The Lee Enfield Story, by Ian Skennerton, not a book you are likely to find in a library or bookstore!), I'm sure there are some online but I'm not sure where offhand.

Charltons themselves are very, very rare now, as most were destroyed in a warehouse fire after the war.

May 11, 2006, 02:19 AM
Take a vacation to a 3rd world country, buy an AK-47 at a market for $35 US and a few cases of ammo for a song/dance. Shoot it all up, enjoy, then give away to lucky stranger before returning. Tell them, "courtesy of the USA" :neener:


May 11, 2006, 03:36 PM
in general classIII shotguns are the cheapest to obtain due to the price of the stamp. for rifles or auto hanguns it is about 40% higher. The best thing to do is get the auto sear so it can be used on one gun to another. The sear itselkf has to be registered and it is best to check on your local laws before doing such. One little mistake and you can be doing some serious pokey time.
Fully auto sears are not cheap no matter what you are talking about. usually around 10,000.00.
By the way H&k fully auto sears will work on the new ptr-91's by JLD Enteprises
the reciever has very little change from the original and this piece is very fun fully auto. visit and register

May 11, 2006, 05:40 PM
If I Recall Correctly, there no Class III guns: there are Class III
Dealers who are licensed and taxed to deal in NFA Title II guns.

Carl, a Class 3 dealer is not even necessary all the time. I bought my FA Uzi from another Vegas resident and we did not have to go through a dealer, but we did anyway. Even though he never held the gun or money we both felt better about the deal. If I dealt with that seller again though I'd just deal with the ATF.

Carl N. Brown
May 12, 2006, 10:18 AM
Registered owner can transfer registration through ATF to a
qualified buyer without going through a Class III deaker,
by both parties, buyer and seller, working directly through
the ATF NFA registry. form 4 and all that..

A Class III dealer is more likely to be up-to-date on current
ATF regulations and sometimes saves time for all involved.

May 12, 2006, 04:52 PM
classIII shotguns are the cheapest to obtain due to the price of the stamp.Nope, they still need the $200 stamp. Shotguns are defined as (among other things) having a shoulder stock.

AOWs (Any Other Weapon) have a $5 stamp. That includes smoothbore pistols, commonly (and wrongly) called sawed-off shotguns.

May 12, 2006, 10:33 PM
You are forgetting one important part of the equation.
Before you file any of that paperwork, you have to buy the gun.
If you already have a shotgun or rifle, you can trim the barrel down and file a form 1 with $200. If you have to buy an AOW, you can then pay for the AOW AND the stamp.

May 12, 2006, 10:47 PM
If you're just looking for full auto legally, There's and atachment called HellStorm 2000, it's what the Cult in Waco Texas had on thier AR-15's, sells for $19.95 on It's not legal in CA, which shouldn't supprise anyone.

It's kind of fun, bit funner than bump fireing, unless you have access to lots of surplus ammo for free, fireing on full auto gets expensive and attracts alot of attention. Plus it'll help burn your barrel out a bit faster.

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