Springfield SAR-8 thumbhole stock question


August 19, 2007, 10:34 AM
Can you legally change the thumbhole stock to either a standard stock or a collapsible stock? I am not sure what the requirements are for this rifle, given that it is an import.

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August 19, 2007, 04:38 PM
I am gonna bump this question... certainly someone somewhere knows.

August 19, 2007, 05:02 PM
I'm pretty sure you can as long as you have the 922r compliance parts. If no one else knows, call the ATF?

August 19, 2007, 05:08 PM
what are 922r compliance parts?

August 19, 2007, 05:43 PM
You have to have 10 US made parts on an "assault rifle" to make it a US made gun. Search "922r compliance" and "saiga conversion." The latter won't apply to your rifle, but it will give you an idea of what people have to do to be 922r compliant.

August 19, 2007, 06:27 PM

In April, 1998, importation of 58 semiautomatic rifles was banned
due to their ability to accept large capacity military magazines.
The SAR8 rifle was one of the firearms included in this ban.

Installation of a contoured handgrip and/or an adjustable buttstock
such as those found on the PSG-1 rifles on to a Springfield Armory
SAR8 semiautomatic rifle would constitute assembly of a non-
importable semiautomatic rifle, hence that assembly would be a
violation of section 922(r) cited above.

We regret that our response could not be more favorable. If we can
be of any further assistance, please contact us.

Sincerely yours,

Edward M. Owen, Jr.
Chief, Firearms Technology Branch

(Land of the free, baby...)

August 19, 2007, 07:20 PM
Ok, this gets a little confusing, but here's the deal.

If you replaced your thumbhold stock with a regular stock or a collapsable stock you'd be "manufacturing" a "imported assault weapon." It has been illegal to import "asault weapons" since 1989. That's why they installed the thumbhold stock on the SAR in the first place. With that stock in place, it doesn't meet the defination of an "imported assault weapon."

The only way you can legally replace the stock with a non-thumbhole stock is if you ALSO replace enough of the OTHER parts so there are fewer then 10 imported parts on the rifle. That's is what people are talking about when they talk about 922 (r) compliance.

(Btw, only certain major components count as "parts" for this. The ATF has a specific list but it's things like stock, pistol grip, handguards, hammer, trigger, sear, flash hider, and op rod. Other parts, such as the sights or selector or mag relase, etc, don't count so it doesn't matter if they are foreign made or U.S. made and replacing those with U.S. made parts does you no good).

I'm not familiar with HK style rifles as much so I don't know how many U.S. parts you need to install to make sure you don't have more then 9 foreign parts.

For most rifle styles though typically people start by replacing the furniture with U.S. made furniture. If you install a U.S. made stock, handguard and pistol grip, those are three U.S. made parts. After that the next thing people usually replace are the fire control parts. A U.S. made hammer, trigger, and sear set will give you three more U.S. parts. That's six so far.

After that it gets a little harder. If you have a flash hider, either install a U.S. made flash hider or just remove the original FH and have a bare muzzle. If the cocking handle counts as a foreign part on a HK pattern rifle, install a U.S. made cocking handle to get one more U.S. part.

The magazine body, follower, and floorplate also count. So if you replace your followers and floorpates on your imported mags you'll get two more parts. Of course, if you do that, you ALWAYS have to use those mags and as soon as you insert a foreign made mag into the gun you'll have too many imported parts and you'll be violating the law by manufacturing a "imported assault weapon."

Hope this helps. I don't even know if anyone *makes* U.S. compliance parts for most of those HK parts. Check over at www.thefalfiles.com and ask there. Those guys are up on the whole parts count issue and someone there will know.

August 19, 2007, 08:10 PM
If the ban went into effect in 1998 and the rifle was imported in 1994, does that make a difference in terms of need for compliance parts?

Since the rifle was supposedly imported before the 98 ban, does it still need the compliance parts?

Father Knows Best
August 19, 2007, 08:25 PM
The import ban went into effect in 1989, not 1998.

August 19, 2007, 09:08 PM
The ATF letter posted above says 1998.... Is that just a typo?

The current owner says this gun was pre-ban, and imported in 1994. What ban is he talking about?

Father Knows Best
August 19, 2007, 09:23 PM
There have been so many "bans" that things get confusing.

The 1989 ban applied to importation of non-sporting semiauto weapons. Usually, however, someone who refers to a semiauto rifle as being "pre-ban" means it was made or imported prior to the Clinton "Assault Weapons Ban" of 1994. The Clinton ban expired in 2004, however, meaning firearms may now be "pre-ban", "ban era" or "post-ban."

The 1989 ban refers to a decision by the ATF to prohibit importation of "assault type rifles." This meant: (1) military appearance; (2) large magazine capacity; and (3) semiautomatic version of a machinegun.

The "Unsoeld Amendment" of 1990 created 18 U.S.C. 922(r). It prohibits "assembling from imported parts any semi-automatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation." BATF regulation 178.39 prohibits using more than 10 "imported parts," from a list of 20 parts, such as trigger, hammer, barrel, etc. The provision was adopted to prohibit restoring modified rifles to pre-law configuration after importation.

I don't know what the "1998" refers to. It may be a typo.

August 19, 2007, 09:28 PM
So Father, would you agree that you would have to increase the 922r compliance parts to a total of 10 in order to replace the thumbhole stock of an SAR-8 with a normal stock?

Father Knows Best
August 19, 2007, 09:31 PM

August 19, 2007, 09:32 PM
If your firearm was brought in before the [whatever] ban, and it's sat in the box under your bed for [however] many years, forgotten. You find it yesterday and find the thumbhole stock doesn't appeal to you. With the thumbhole stock, it's grandfathered. If you change the thumbhole to a fancy futuristic plastic job, you'll have to bring the whole rifle into compliance with the 922r (you are assembling a rifle when you change the stock).

August 20, 2007, 01:22 AM
If the ban went into effect in 1998 and the rifle was imported in 1994, does that make a difference in terms of need for compliance parts?

You'll need to add the correct compliance parts to stay within the law. The import ban started in 1989. The addition of the thumbhole stock by Springfield made the rifle legal to import. It is *still* legal in that configuration today. If you change the stock thought, you have to make sure you add enough U.S. parts to keep the rifle legal. If you don't, you're assembling an "imported assault weapon."

Thin Black Line
August 20, 2007, 07:17 AM
It would be hard to "convert" the SAR8 thumbhole back to a "banned"
configuration considering the fake flash-hider (no slots) that has been
welded as a solid sleeve over the end of the barrel and is in fact flush with
the muzzle. It would be hard to have a converted SAR8 that matches up
with the banned HK91 types without milling this off, re-threading, and
putting a new flash-hider on the end of the muzzle.

That said, there are plenty of US-made replacement parts out there including
furniture, trigger packs, cocking handle, and USA-made thermold mags (but
these last require some serious looking since they haven't been around for
a while).

Father Knows Best
August 20, 2007, 10:27 AM
I'm not so sure about that, TBL. Is it possible you are mixing up your bans? as I understand it, rifles banned from importation under the 1989 ruling only have to be military in appearance, capable of accepting large capacity magazines, and semiauto versions of machine guns. Whether or not a flash hider is functional or not is irrelevant.

"Fake" flash hiders were used on many semiauto rifles from 1994 to 2004 to comply with the Clinton "Assault Weapons Ban" that prohibited certain combinations of elements, such as flash hiders, bayonet lugs, pistol grips, etc. Thus, my Arsenal SAM-7 (semiauto AK-47) made just before the Clinton ban ended lacks a bayonet lug and has a pinned-on muzzle brake instead of a flash hider.

What happens these days is that rifles banned from importation are manufactured in the U.S. To be manufactured in the U.S., they must not have more than 10 non-U.S. parts. Since the receivers can't be imported, the received is always made in the U.S. Other common non-U.S. parts are the stocks, fire control group, etc. -- basically the parts that are cheapest to manufacture. Since the ban on importation of barrels, those are now U.S.-sourced, too.

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