C&R Modification Question


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jalso
January 29, 2011, 03:15 PM
I have a question regarding modifications to a C&R weapon. The BATFE FAQ (http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/curios-relics.html#modifications) states that a weapon loses it's C&R status if it is modified from it's original configuration.

I know that this ruling applies to the import of C&R weapons, and probably applies when an FFL transfers a C&R weapon. My question is whether making a temporary modification, say replacing a wood stock with a polymer one, would change the status of the weapon from being a C&R while it is simply in my possession, absent any transfers. I have heard from several sources that if a weapon is "readily restorable" to it's original configuration (meaning no permanent alterations were made, and original parts retained) that the weapon does not lose it's C&R status - but I have been unable to find any ruling or ATF publication that states this.

My reason for asking is that I live in a State where State law restricts the ownership of machine guns to only those that appear on the Federal C&R list. If I owned such a weapon, and temporarily changed out the furniture or barrel when shooting it, would I have temporarily changed the status of the weapon to not being a C&R, which may put me in violation of State law?

Everyone I've talked to (class 3 dealers, etc) is of the opinion that making "readily restorable" changes to a C&R doesn't change it's status, but I would really like a reference to a ruling or published decision of some kind from BATFE. Can anyone provide me a source for info on this?

Thanks much!

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Hkmp5sd
January 29, 2011, 05:52 PM
As you may know ATF changes their minds quite frequently. Here is their current take on modifying C&R firearms:

Q: What modifications can be made on C&R firearms without changing their C&R classification?
The definition for curio or relic (“C & R”) firearms found in 27 CFR § 478.11 does not specifically state that a firearm must be in its original condition to be classified as a C&R firearm. However, ATF Ruling 85-10, which discusses the importation of military C&R firearms, notes that they must be in original configuration and adds that a receiver is not a C&R item. Combining this ruling and the definition of C&R firearms, the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) has concluded that a firearm must be in its original condition to be considered a C&R weapon.

It is also the opinion of FTB, however, that a minor change such as the addition of scope mounts, non-original sights, or sling swivels would not remove a firearm from its original condition. Moreover, we have determined that replacing particular firearms parts with new parts that are made to the original design would also be acceptable-for example, replacing a cracked M1 Grand stock with a new wooden stock of the same design, but replacing the original firearm stock with a plastic stock would change its classification as a C&R item.

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/curios-relics.html



Their present opinion is that " Combining this ruling and the definition of C&R firearms, the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) has concluded that a firearm must be in its original condition to be considered a C&R weapon."

However, a firearm may become a C&R by virtue of its AGE. A machinegun on the C&R list because of age, in my opinion, would still be a C&R machinegun even with modifications such the replacement of an upper on an Armalite AR/M16 style weapon specifically listed on ATF's C&R list by name.

jalso
January 29, 2011, 09:07 PM
OK, let me get a bit more specific-

I'm considering purchasing an Armalite Colt AR15 model 601. I'm not sure what year it was manufactured in, but it would have been between 12/1959 and 7/1963. Based on the serial number of the weapon, I suspect it was an early manufactured one. I may be able to get more specific info from Colt.

My intention would be to swap out the fire control parts with recently manufactured parts from Colt. Doing this would not change the C&R status of the weapon, as they would be equivalent to the original parts. I would also change out the stock, pistol grip, and upper receiver with modern parts. The reason for doing this is so that I could fire the weapon without causing any wear or damage to the original parts that are easily damaged, or subject to stress when fired.

So far everyone I spoke to (including a local firearms attorney) seems to be in agreement that doing the above would not change the C&R status of the weapon, as I can readily restore it back to it's original, historic condition.

It's also quite possible none of this matters, as State law simply states:

"Approved machine gun or short-barrelled shotgun" means a machine gun or short-barrelled shotgun that, although designed as a weapon, has been determined by the superintendent as not likely to be used as a weapon and that has been determined by the superintendent to appear on the National Firearms Act Curios and Relics List, as provided by United States Code, title 18, chapter 44, and as issued by the Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

It doesn't say the machine gun has to be a C&R according to ATF Ruling 85-10, or conform to the current FAQ on authorized C&R modifications. It simply says that the machine gun (which is the lower receiver) be on the C&R list. Which the Colt 601 is.

I know I'm probably being paranoid on this, but I want to make sure I stay on the right side of right. Thoughts on this?

Zundfolge
January 29, 2011, 10:21 PM
EDIT: Ooops ... misread the OP


Nevermind :D

Hkmp5sd
January 30, 2011, 03:56 PM
In my opinion, there is no problem. If you want to be absolutely sure, write to ATF and get an official opinion back in writing. Then you are covered.

WardenWolf
January 30, 2011, 04:37 PM
It must be in its original condition when SOLD. If you can put it back in original condition, it remains C&R.

jalso
February 2, 2011, 12:28 AM
Thanks, I've checked a few other sources, and everyone is in agreement that this is both legal, and in fact is common in C&R states.

My paranoia has been satisfied. Thanks much for the replies :)

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