Buying suppressed upper for my lower


June 14, 2011, 10:10 AM
I want to purchase or build a 300 Whisper upper with 10 inch barrel and a suppressor. I have a lower. Would the lower be permanently tied to the upper by serial number? Would the short barrel and suppressor require $200 each? I'm sure it's easier to buy a complete rifle but would like to build my own. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

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Aaron Baker
June 14, 2011, 10:22 AM
The suppressor requires one $200 tax stamp. The short barreled rifle also requires a $200 tax stamp.

If you're talking AR15, though, the rifle IS the lower, so your lower will be registered as an SBR and you can swap out different caliber and length short-barreled uppers on it. The lower is what requires the tax stamp. The uppers do not. Which is why you can buy short barreled uppers online with no FFL, no tax stamp, etc. You could theoretically put one on either an SBR'ed AR15 lower or on a pistol lower.

If the suppressor is integral to the upper, that changes things a bit. Then the upper requires the tax stamp as well, but only because it IS the suppressor. As long as the suppressor is detachable, you'll only need a tax stamp for the suppressor.

Here's the breakdown:

suppressor - needs a tax stamp
upper - just parts, does not require a tax stamp, regardless of barrel length
upper with integral suppessor - requires a tax stamp
lower - requires a tax stamp before you can put a short barrel upper on it

I hope that answers your questions. If you want to build your own suppressor, you can do that on a Form 1. If you want to buy one, you'll do it on a Form 4 from a dealer. You can build your own SBR by registering your current lower on a Form 1, and you can then put any short barrel upper on it you want, including a 300 Whisper upper than you buy or build.


June 14, 2011, 11:04 AM
Thank you for the easily understood reply.

June 14, 2011, 04:45 PM
You can buy a 10" barreled upper and have your gunsmith permanately attach your suppreser, most likely TIG welded. Assuming the total length is over 16" with the suppresor then you would need only one stamp for the suppresor.....if it is permanently attached to the short barreled upper.

June 14, 2011, 06:25 PM
Do not buy an upper of less than 16 inches barrel length until you have your stamp for the SBR'd lower. You don't want to get into a "constructive possession" situation.

June 15, 2011, 01:09 PM
The lower, once registered as a SBR, is NOT "permanently tied to the upper" by any means. You are permitted to remove the short-barreled upper at any time and sell the lower as a Class I firearm with or without a 16" (or longer) upper on it. You should drop a note to the ATF NFA branch if that occurs notifying them of the change and they are 'supposed' to remove it from the registry at that point. Keep in mind that if you 'build' the SBR yourself, your name and city will have to be engraved on the lower. Once that is done, you are not allowed to remove those additional markings. Not a big deal, but something to consider. Given that I can buy stripper receivers for $59, my inclination would be to sell off all the parts and destroy the lower in that case. But my paranoia has been honed over the years. YMMV.

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