rifle without a shoulder stock, legal question


PDA






cpileri
July 21, 2009, 08:43 AM
If I were to take a rifle, a normal rifle, and cut off the shoulder stock down to a pistol grip; (or, similarly, to install a pistol grip stock- same idea) and leave the barrel length >16 inches, and the AOL >26 inches; will I have a legal rifle?

or, have i now made a really long pistol, similar to a Thompson Contender pistol?

Thanks,
C-

p.s. of course, if it is now a pistol, then since it was not built as one from the ground up but rather cut back from rifle configuration, it is now a SBR; yes?

If you enjoyed reading about "rifle without a shoulder stock, legal question" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
TiredOleMan
July 21, 2009, 09:05 AM
Not sure if this answers your question but while I was in Dick's Sporting Goods buying some ammo I asked the clerk if they ever carried the Mossberg shotgun (unsure of the actual model #) that came with the optional pistol grip, he said that was classified as a handgun and they didnt stock handguns.

cratti
July 21, 2009, 09:08 AM
I'm not 100% certain, but I think it'd still be legally a rifle as long as the length requirements are met. Think of all the folding-stock rifles on the market; are they considered pistols, unless they're especially short?

cratti
July 21, 2009, 09:09 AM
Also, a PGO shotgun is NOT a pistol. That's absolutely ridiculous.

TexasRifleman
July 21, 2009, 09:13 AM
Not sure if this answers your question but while I was in Dick's Sporting Goods buying some ammo I asked the clerk if they ever carried the Mossberg shotgun (unsure of the actual model #) that came with the optional pistol grip, he said that was classified as a handgun and they didnt stock handguns.

Nope. Pistol Gripped shotguns are NOT handguns. They are firearms.


The Mossberg 500 has an 18.5 inch barrel and is 28 inches overall.

It is NOT a handgun.

deadin
July 21, 2009, 10:25 AM
You might run into a problem here:
Rifle. A weapon designed or redesigned,
made or remade, and intended to
be fired from the shoulder, and designed
or redesigned and made or remade to use
the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic
cartridge to fire only a single projectile
through a rifled bore for each single
pull of the trigger.

Rifles with folding or extendable stocks can be said that they are still "intended" to be shoulder fired. If no shoulder stock exists, it doesn't meet the definition of a rifle. I'm not quite sure what it would be under the law. Possibly a rifle illegally converted to a very large pistol??
However shotguns have the same "fired from the shoulder" definition and PGO shotguns seem to be OK as long as the dimension requirements are met.

Maybe an opinion from the BATFE would be in order??

herohog
July 21, 2009, 10:36 AM
Perfect, if not comical, example of what you are talking about albeit with a folding stock:
http://herohog.com/images/guns/glenfield.jpg

http://herohog.com/images/guns/glenfield-folded.jpg

cpileri
July 21, 2009, 10:49 AM
its the "intended to be fired from the shoulder" clause I was thinking of.

I could see a 'current administration leaning' officer of the law taking the stance that it is no longer a rifle since it has no shoulder stock(*) and asking for Tax Stamp papers.

C-

(*) how PG-only shotguns get away with it, I don't know.

TexasRifleman
July 21, 2009, 10:53 AM
Rifles with folding or extendable stocks can be said that they are still "intended" to be shoulder fired. If no shoulder stock exists, it doesn't meet the definition of a rifle. I'm not quite sure what it would be under the law. Possibly a rifle illegally converted to a very large pistol??

It would still not meet the definition of "pistol".

We did this a while back in reference to the M2 semi automatic belt fed.

It's not a rifle since it was not intended to be fired from the shoulder, but it's not a handgun because of the length.

It's simply a "firearm".

I'm unable to find where it is illegal to convert a rifle to a "firearm".

It's illegal to make one into a pistol, or an SBR, (without tax stamps) but I can't see anywhere that it's illegal to simply make a "firearm".


(*) how PG-only shotguns get away with it, I don't know.

Same thing, it's a "firearm" but not a "handgun".

Definition of "firearm":

Firearm. Any weapon, including a
starter gun, which will or is designed to or
may readily be converted to expel a projectile
by the action of an explosive; the
frame or receiver of any such weapon; any
firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or any
destructive device; but the term shall not
include an antique firearm. In the case of a
licensed collector, the term shall mean
only curios and relics.



So, there are rifles, shotguns, handguns, and firearms.

On the NFA side there are SBS and SBR which have specific length definitions.

A rifle or shotgun without a shoulder stock, but longer than the NFA lengths, don't seem to fit into any definition other than "firearm".

Like this, a "firearm". Can't be a rifle, too long to be an NFA weapon. So, merely a "firearm".

http://www.marstar.ca/images/Automatics/1919A4/1919A4-On-Tripod.jpg


So the question is then, is it legal to convert a "rifle" to a "firearm" or does it even matter?

I have never seen anything prohibiting that. You can't make a pistol, you can't make an SBR, but not a word about making a "firearm" out of a rifle.

HKUSP45C
July 21, 2009, 11:03 AM
First, you can't make a rifle a pistol. The designation of Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun are given to the firearm at "birth" in the manufacturers facility. You can, however, make a new NFA item without knowing it, if you're not careful.

If you buy a rifle and cut it down so as to have a barrel length >16" and an overall length >26" it's still a rifle. If you take a pistol and affix a butt stock to it and install a barrel >16" it's still a pistol.

Things get hinky when you start changing configurations in certain ways though.

If you affix a Tango Down foregrip to a pistol, you've made an AOW. If you install a buttstock on a pistol and leave the barrel <16" you've made an SBR. If you saw the barrel of a rifle, or shotgun to <16" or 18" repectively you also manufactured a SBR or SBS, respectively. If you saw a buttstock on a rifle or shotgun in such a way as to make the OAL <26" I think it's considered an AOW (I know it's illegal).

The rule of thumb is that all long guns must be over the federally defined lengths and all handguns must be devoid of buttstocks unless the barrel is above the defined lengths.

"Constructive Possesion" also plays a part in the law. If you have a pistol length upper for you AR pistol AND an AR rifle that will accept it, even if they aren't installed on each other you can be found to be in "constructive possesion" of an SBR, for what that's worth.

So, a rifle with a barrel cut down to 16.1 inches (from the bolt face to the barrel's end) with an overall length that is >than 26" is perfectly legal. Same goes for a shotgun with 18" and 26" OAL.

BTW all rifles and SGs with folding stocks are measured with stocks folded, and all rifles with barrel attachments that aren't permanent are measured without them. All barrel lengths are measured with the bolt closed from the bolt face to the barrels end.

ETA: As usual TRM has a good explanation. The term "firearm" as it's defined in the law is what I was missing in my explanation.

NavyLCDR
July 21, 2009, 11:09 AM
Also, a PGO shotgun is NOT a pistol. That's absolutely ridiculous.

The BATFE classifies a PGO shotgun as "not a shotgun" and, therefore, can only be sold to persons 21+ and also cannot be purchased under the 18 USC 922 (b)(3) exceptions for out of state purchase from FFLs.

See the August 1998 BATFE newsletter to FFLs:
http://www.atf.gov/pub/fflnews_pub/ffl0898.pdf

The same is true for shotguns with removable stocks and optional pistol grips. If the pistol grip is installed, it is not a shotgun and therefore must be sold to 21+ persons. If the shoulder stock is installed, now it is a shotgun. An FFL can sell a shotgun with a shoulder stock installed to a 19 year old. They can also sell the pistol grip only to a 19 year old. They cannot sell the shotgun with the pistol grip only installed to a 19 year old, however.

TexasRifleman
July 21, 2009, 11:14 AM
The specific part NavyLT references.

Licensees are reminded that certain commercially
produced “shotguns” do not fall within the
definition of shotgun under the GCA. Firearms
such as the Mossberg Model 500 Camper,
Persuader 500 and all other makes and models,
which come equipped with a pistol grip in place
of the butt stock, are not shotguns under the GCA.
Therefore, they cannot be sold or delivered by a
licensee to any person less than 21 years of age.

So, a "firearm" only.

It appears legal to convert a shotgun to a PGO "firearm" so I can't figure out why it wouldn't be legal to do the same to a rifle.

Can't find a single mention of it anywhere.

Supertac45
July 21, 2009, 11:26 AM
If it's OAL is between 26 and 30 inches in Michigan, it is a handgun. A shotgun under 26 inches is illegal.

TexasRifleman
July 21, 2009, 11:30 AM
If it's OAL is between 26 and 30 inches in Michigan, it is a handgun. A shotgun under 26 inches is illegal.

Correct. Just to have a reference:

Michigan code 750.222

(e) “Pistol” means a loaded or unloaded firearm that is 30 inches or less in length, or a loaded or unloaded firearm that by its
construction and appearance conceals itself as a firearm.

Zoogster
July 21, 2009, 11:52 AM
If it's OAL is between 26 and 30 inches in Michigan, it is a handgun. A shotgun under 26 inches is illegal.
So if you move to Michigan with one of the standard 18" barrel HD marketed shotguns you need to legaly have a pistol permit even though the average person would think they were breaking no laws? The overall length of most standard defensive models is under 30".


While citing state laws that differ I will include California.
Under 30 inches on a semi-auto rifle in California is an illegal unregistered "assault weapon" (unless it was of course registered before the close of the registry or within a window of a grandfathering exemption of a newly classified assault weapon.)
Shotgun length on the other hand is the same as federal law.


Shotguns are also in a strange area legaly at the federal level. Since most are over .50 inches bore diameter they are at the discretion of the BATFE. If determined "unsporting" they are destructive devices, another NFA item created by the 1968 GCA Amending the definition of the 1934 NFA items.
For example they threatened to consider the Saiga a destructive device just as they had the Amsel striker or "street sweeper", if someone made a drum for it. Now several 20 round drums exist and that has yet to hapen.
Once declared a destructive device, with no passing of any new laws, merely at the whim of a federal agency the item is legaly little different from a 30MM cannon or an RPG launcher.

deadin
July 21, 2009, 01:00 PM
Ah yes, the great foggy gray area of Federal and State regulations. All I know is I don't want to be the one that establishes "Case Law" in respect to the gun under discussion.

Any volunteers??:evil:

TexasRifleman
July 21, 2009, 01:09 PM
Ah yes, the great foggy gray area of Federal and State regulations. All I know is I don't want to be the one that establishes "Case Law" in respect to the gun under discussion.

For their to ever be "case law" established a law has to be broken.

I can't find a single law that would be broken by this.

Anyone?

deadin
July 21, 2009, 02:31 PM
The BATFE might just decide to enforce the "intended to be fired from the shoulder" bit. (Wouldn't be the first time they decided to re-interpret the regs.)

Then it would be a matter of going to court for a judgment and establishing "case law".

TexasRifleman
July 21, 2009, 02:59 PM
The BATFE might just decide to enforce the "intended to be fired from the shoulder" bit.

But we have already established that they can't necessarily use that for all long arms, since the M2 semi auto was clearly never intended to be shoulder fired.

So though the law says rifles and shotguns have to be shoulder fired, "firearms" do not.

So we know there exists a class of guns called simply "firearms" that don't meet the definition of either rifle or handgun, again the belt feds.

The question is then, can you convert a "rifle" to a "firearm" and that's where I cannot find a reference.

You can convert a "firearm" to a rifle at least temporarily since you can attach a stock to an M1919 semi auto Browning. Not originally intended to be shoulder fired, but shoulder stocks are sold for it. Does it then become a "rifle" or does it stay a "firearm" but with a shoulder stock?

And then, if that's OK, can you go the other way, removing a stock from a rifle and making it into a firearm?

The shoulder fired thing just defines a rifle and cutting the stock off a rifle clearly breaks that definition, but does it matter since as long as the overall length stays long enough you're making a "firearm".

It's an odd situation but I can't see where it would violate any laws.

Would have to get tech branch to weigh in on it to be sure I suspect.

BTR
July 23, 2009, 01:53 PM
I am pretty sure the feds measure the length of a rifle or shotgun with the stock extended, not folded or collapsed.

Guns and more
July 23, 2009, 06:38 PM
Rifle. A weapon designed or redesigned,
made or remade, and intended to
be fired from the shoulder, and designed
or redesigned and made or remade to use
the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic
cartridge to fire only a single projectile
through a rifled bore for each single
pull of the trigger.
Where did this quote come from?
Is it a dictionary definition or a BATF definition?

shotgunjoel
July 23, 2009, 06:56 PM
If you buy a rifle and cut it down so as to have a barrel length >16" and an overall length >26" it's still a rifle. If you take a pistol and affix a butt stock to it and install a barrel >16" it's still a pistol.

Wrong, you can make a pistol into a rifle, just not a rifle into a pistol.

I am pretty sure the feds measure the length of a rifle or shotgun with the stock extended, not folded or collapsed.

I thought that it was shortest length (folded). As long as the overall length is ok, it not a problem. The real problem here is if it needs a stock to be a rifle or not.

TexasRifleman
July 23, 2009, 07:00 PM
Where did this quote come from?
Is it a dictionary definition or a BATF definition?

That is the legal definition. 27 CFR 478.11

http://www.atf.gov/pub/fire-explo_pub/2005/p53004/27cfr_part478.pdf

If you enjoyed reading about "rifle without a shoulder stock, legal question" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!