Home brew BP firearms


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USAF_Vet
September 9, 2011, 02:14 PM
I have been kicking around the idea of a home brew BP gun for sometime, and didn't want to hijack someone elses thread. If this would be better suited in Legal, Mods, please move it.

Federally speaking, black powder guns are not regulated as guns at all, but Michigan considers BP guns as firearms. BP pistols require a purchase permit and registration.

I already have a BP rifle, and have given consideration to cutting down the barrel and crafting a new stock for it. Since, federally speaking, it isn't a gun, I'd be bypassing the Short Barrel Rifle restrictions, but what about state? I haven't found anything that covers a cut down BP rifle in any of the state firearms laws. MI doesn't yet allow SBR firearms, but would a chopped down muzzle loader be considered an SBR per state statutes, or would it be a hand gun, or something else entirely? As I said, I haven't found anything covering this. I assume I'd still have to register the pistol :barf: with the state after it's construction (or before?)


If chopping down the BP rifle would put me in potential legal hot water, what would I need to do to create a home brew BP pistol? I've got the lockworks for a percission cap firearm in a spare parts bin. My woodworking skills are good enough to craft a stock, my main concern is a homebrew smoothbore barrel.

Steel would be the ideal choice, but for something of a twist, what about brass? I know way back in the day, brass and bronze were used heavily for gun and cannon barrels. I'm not planning to run to the hardware store and buy brass tubing, before anyone asks :)

Depending on the material of choice, what wall thickness should I be considering? I've got quick a bit of .45 (round ball) and .50 (sabot) BP ammo, so I'd like to keep those two caliber options.

Grabbing anything off the shelf at the hardware store would be a disater waiting to happen, and I'd like to continue to open bottles all by myself.

Also, before anyone throws out the BP kit idea, I'm not looking to spend much money on this project, and I've already got everything I need except the barrel. Buying just the barrel is a possibility, depending on cost. But cutting down the existing barrel is the most cost effective option I've got right now.

Ideas? Opinions?

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damoc
September 9, 2011, 02:52 PM
I always thought that as long as you were only building it for your own usage
that it was perfectly legal to build your own.somebody else here probably
knows more and for certain.

trouble comes when you get into the business of selling to others

makos_goods
September 9, 2011, 04:08 PM
I always thought that as long as you were only building it for your own usage
that it was perfectly legal to build your own.somebody else here probably
knows more and for certain.

trouble comes when you get into the business of selling to others

Damoc,
Federally speaking that is correct. You can manufacture for your own use. You can't sell it and in some cases (read on) not even transfer it. This is subjective when it comes to inheriting it. I have seen it ruled both ways. The majority just transfer and who would know?

One case where it came into contention was where the owner died and also had some class 2 Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs) and some suppressors which have to be transferred via an application unless it is going to a dealer who can deal in class 2 devices. The question came up about who owned the class 2 devices until the class two paperwork (and a new $200 tax on each class 2 device) the inheriting son had to fill out was approved.

It came to the BATFEs attention that there were also non NFA (just normal 16 inch barreled) M4 carbines that had been built from 80% finished receiver kits. These didn't have to be marked or required a manufacturing license by the private builder. The BATFE maintained the guns could not be transferred because the "manufacturer" was deceased and there was no way to apply for even an individual approval by weapon. Those receivers never would have come to their attention except the executor of the estate called the BATFE about the class 2 devices.

You can actually apply on a weapon by weapon basis for "registration" by a non licensed "manufacturer," which is an oxymoron, because if you are not licensed you are by their definition NOT a manufacturer (this is where you just nod a lot when they are making up the rules on the fly). In this case the BATFE wanted them to use the same form used for manufacturing an NFA weapon which required the even higher $200 tax on each receiver. In most cases the BATFE would have allowed transfer to a licensed FFL holder and once logged they could be transferred to anyone who could fill out a form 4473 and pass the instant checks. The BATFE contended that the receivers were unmarked and "un-serialized" and thus they had to be registered with the form. Their own rules actually state they "encourage" serialization, it is not mandated.

$200 each is way too much for 80% home built receivers, so the son stripped the receiver and kept the parts. Then he asked the BATFE what to do with the receivers. They didn't know what to do since they had not been confiscated for a violation and had no mechanism to take them from a law abiding citizen (that's news to me, I thought they would take them). It seems they rely upon local law enforcement to accept any "surrendered" firearms and they actually turn them over to the locals unless they were evidence or seized weapons. The local BATFE office told him to either surrender them to local Law Enforcement or take it to a gun shop.

Now this is where it gets weird...They had told him he couldn't transfer them through an FFL holder and now they were telling him to take them to one. He took them to a shop where I know the owner and the owner suggested he just fill out a 4473 for each and pay a very small charge for their work on the forms, logging them into the bound records and the phone background check and simply keep them. By this time the son was so freaked out he told them he was afraid to keep them. So the shop paid him $20 each for 6 receivers. They just hand stamped them with a unique Serial Number, logged them in and put them in the case for sale.

That's the story... The son never bought new receivers and later sold the parts to the same shop. I know all of this because I bought two of the parts kits at a very good price less the receivers.

The rules and the law (don't confuse the two) say you can make them, they even grudgingly say you can transfer them, that is where it get's muddy. If you are a gunsmith making a cartridge pistol out of a C&B revolver you may or may not have to have a type 7 or type 10 manufacturing license. That is very GREY and they say it depends on the number you do a year and whether or not the conversion parts were provided by the person who is getting the conversion. If it is "commissioned" you can do a "limited" number per year. If you ask what limited is you get a glare and they say, "not too many..." But, in any case a gunsmith will have to log it and have the original owner or transferee fill out a 4473. But if you are an indiviual they "recommend" you serialize and mark the weapon before transfer. If you ask them if it can be transferred to an individual they start this routine of it can only be transferred to someone who can legally obtain a firearm. Then if you ask if that includes individuals, they will say it is "preferable" that ALL transfers be only through a licensed dealer. And by all they mean ALL, they don't want anyone selling to others, but the law allows it.

Regards,
Mako

Busyhands94
September 9, 2011, 04:12 PM
i don't think a smoothbore would be a problem. they sell smoothbore pistol kits at Dixie Gun Works, and pretty much all the Classic Arms kits are smoothbores. and also look at the Howdah Hunter pistol, that's a double barrel sawnoff shotgun that is muzzleloading. it's essentially a leopard gun. you can also get it with one barrel a .50 and one a 20 gauge shotty, and you can also get a shoulder stock for it. that's not illegal, even in Kaliphornia, the "you can't have it" state where Forrest Gump writes the laws. you can probably even get it shipped to your door. i think you will be fine to do that, i mean Kali has some of the worst un-sensible, stupid, and harsh gun laws in the U.S. and that's probably fine to own because it's still a muzzleloader. i wouldn't be worried if i were you. oh, and you can also also get it as a kit and build it yourself too!

~Levi

WALKERs210
September 9, 2011, 04:23 PM
I purchased a New barrel for a Winchester in-line 45cal rifle. Had the same idea as to what your looking at doing. Had too many irons in the fire for last several months and it will most likely just go no where. Would like to see what your finished project looks like

zimmerstutzen
September 9, 2011, 07:05 PM
Your own state (Mich) is the problem. Here in the Keystone republik, the only state folks we can call are the state police and they will lie and tell you something is illegal 85% of the time. Stupid twits told me even possession of my my 1.25 inch bore cannon, (moved here from Va, with me) was a felony unless I first applied for and recieved a Pyrotechnics manufacturing license.

It was total compost!

You will have to check with somebody in your state, either a lawyer or the state firearms regulators. I can't imagine that with all the thousands of black powder fans in Mich. there aren't accomodations in the rules to build pistols.

Caliper_RWVA
September 9, 2011, 10:21 PM
Federally speaking, black powder guns are not regulated as guns at all, but Michigan considers BP guns as firearms. BP pistols require a purchase permit and registration.



Not so. See #2: http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1586_27094-10953--,00.html#Pistol_Registration__Purchase____Transfer

Some gun dealers will still make you fill out the paperwork for a BP gun, but it is not required in the slightest. I recently bought my 1858 Remington from Cabellas in Dundee. They didn't ask to see anything more than my credit card :)

Good question about a SBR/SBS though. Dunno how that would fall. Outside of NFA considerations, it is legal to build your own firearm, whether it is BP or smokeless, metallic cartridge.

Jaymo
September 9, 2011, 11:28 PM
Federal law precludes any local, state, or federal agency from considering black powder guns, archery equipment, airguns, etc as firearms, yet many states feel that they don't have to comply with the law of the land.

makos_goods
September 10, 2011, 02:55 AM
...Good question about a SBR/SBS though. Dunno how that would fall. Outside of NFA considerations, it is legal to build your own firearm, whether it is BP or smokeless, metallic cartridge.

It's actually quite simple...If you can legally own a firearm you can legally make an NFA firearm. First you fill out an ATF Form 1 (5320.1), get 2 finger print cards done by a law enforcement agency, two passport photos and the hardest part is getting the chief law enforcement officer where you live to sign it. You send in your $200 and wait for approval and your stamp. Then you make it and mark it as follows: As the 'maker' of the NFA firearm, you must mark the newly made NFA firearm with the Serial Number, Model Name or Number (if it has one), *your* Name, City, State and the caliber or gauge. That is for a new one. If you just chopped a barrel you already have most of the info on the firearm.

You don't have to be a "manufacturer" or even have an FFL to make or convert a firearm to an SBR or SBS, you can do the same with suppressors.

~Mako

USAF_Vet
September 10, 2011, 06:09 PM
Not so. See #2: http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1586_27094-10953--,00.html#Pistol_Registration__Purchase____Transfer

Some gun dealers will still make you fill out the paperwork for a BP gun, but it is not required in the slightest. I recently bought my 1858 Remington from Cabellas in Dundee. They didn't ask to see anything more than my credit card :)

Good question about a SBR/SBS though. Dunno how that would fall. Outside of NFA considerations, it is legal to build your own firearm, whether it is BP or smokeless, metallic cartridge.
That's what I get for trusting info on the interwebz and the local LEO's. I should know better.

Well then, I'll get to work!

Caliper_RWVA
September 11, 2011, 07:32 AM
It's actually quite simple...If you can legally own a firearm you can legally make an NFA firearm. First you fill out an ATF Form 1 (5320.1)...

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I know that generally anyone can make their NFA item and go though the usual process to "make it legal".

I was referring to what would MI do about a BP SBR, being as Mi does not allow a regular SBR at the state law level.

Jaymo
September 11, 2011, 06:48 PM
Why would someone go to the ATF and want to transfer a non NFA firearm that he had inherited? This makes no sense. That's called registration.

makos_goods
September 11, 2011, 11:35 PM
Why would someone go to the ATF and want to transfer a non NFA firearm that he had inherited? This makes no sense. That's called registration.
Jaymo,
If you are referring to the account I gave then you need to reread it. He (and the executor) did not go to the BATFE about non NFA firearms. They were Required to inform the BATFE about the need to transfer the class 2 devices that were part of the estate.

The BATFE after being contacted sent an agent, (or agents) who went through a safe that held a couple of short barreled rifles, one of which had a supressor and a supressor for a pistol. They also went through the other semi-automatic rifles in the safe of which there were AR Carbines that had receivers completed from 80% kits. Yes, I know the executor and the son never should have let the agent(s) look through the safe, all they had to do was produce the approved Form 1 paperwork, they are not legally allowed to compel you to produce the weapons if you are not a dealer or manufacturer according to 26 USC section 5841(e), but they didn't know that. Plus, if they had refused the agent would have probably warned them he would cite them a $500 penalty for each refusal to examine even though it doesn't apply.

The agent found the unmarked carbines and told them they had to be registered via a Form 1 as I related because the individual that manufactured them was deceased and they couldn't be transferred otherwise.

Yes, I know it is illegal registration, and yes I know that it is not some wild eyed libertarian position, they are simply misapplying their own regulations because the fact is they don't know the laws and the application very well. They normally just go about their merry way wreaking havoc on citizens and expect citizens to be made whole again by the court system.

I can't blame the son for not wanting to pay a $250 per hour attorney (who know how many billed hours) for 4 or 5 receivers you can buy 100% completed from a dealer for about $100 a piece.

If you have ever, or now own class 2 or class 3 weapons you will know the pleasure of dealing with poorly informed bureaucrats.

Regards,
Mako

USAF_Vet
September 21, 2011, 01:38 PM
Had a couple days at home with nothing to do.... so I finished my home brew BP pistol. Pics to come when I get home.

Stock was the lock/ stock half of a Kentucky rifle kit that got chopped down. Lock works and trigger came from the same kit.

Barrell was constructed from 316 stainless steel heavy wall tubing. It's about 5.5" in length, so it's a belly gun at best. It's a smoothbore, measured at a hair under .50, so my .45 roundball patched works well.

At the moment, the barrel is attached to the stock with nothing more than a couple hose clamps, so it looks like crap. Barrel is bedded down on 2mm thick cork pad.

Touchhole is a drill out 90 degree zirk fitting. I had to file down a lot of the zirk fitting to get a #11 cap on there, but it survived the first few test fires.

It need some cosmetic work, but it is a fully functional home made black powder pistol.

Now I'm thinking of fixing a blade to it, like some crazy pirate boarding pistol. :evil:

USAF_Vet
September 21, 2011, 06:05 PM
http://i1086.photobucket.com/albums/j452/bensmith995/DSCN3882.jpg

http://i1086.photobucket.com/albums/j452/bensmith995/DSCN3882.jpg

http://i1086.photobucket.com/albums/j452/bensmith995/DSCN3879.jpg

Deltaboy
September 21, 2011, 11:00 PM
Nice I like it !!! Well done.

scrat
September 21, 2011, 11:32 PM
It looks cool just need to clean up the weld and figure out the strap part. maybe machine some type of U bolts that go around the barrel If you made them to go around the barrel then came out and long. you could drill two holes on each side of the stock going through. then on the underside a little larger about 1/4 of an inch in then screw on some nutts. The stock looks wide enough for maybe 5/16. Or if you can fabricate some barrel bands that would go around the barrel and stock and slide up. ORRRRRR weld a nut on the bottom of the barrel then cut out a knotch in the stock and put a bolt to go through the bottom without any straps.

scrat
September 21, 2011, 11:37 PM
2 questions is the barrel smooth bore or rifled then is the end of the barrel crowned. doesnt look like it from the angle

USAF_Vet
September 22, 2011, 08:54 AM
The barrel is smooth bore, and it isn't yet crowned. Still working on that.

The U-bolt idea would probably work. I've got a couple barrel bands from a Mosin I might be able to fit on there, too.

I thought about welding a nut and bolting it through the stock, if I take that route, I'd be more comfortable with two nuts and bolts keeping the barrel secure.

Thanks for the feedback.

col.lemat
September 22, 2011, 11:59 AM
Whats wrong with the hose clamps? looks like they should work better than ductape

USAF_Vet
September 22, 2011, 12:51 PM
Nothing wrong with them, other than cosmetics. This thing ain't taking first place in the beauty contest at the county fair, but I don't want it to look like I made it in my garage, even though thats exactly where it was made.

Hose clamps were a quick fix to secure the barrel, and were never designed as a permanent fixture.

I still need to fab a ramrod.


down the barrel view
http://i1086.photobucket.com/albums/j452/bensmith995/DSCN3880.jpg

scrat
September 22, 2011, 01:07 PM
I would go with the two nuts under the barrel. Only problem is it looks like you already drilled for the ram rod. the Ram rod i would mount to the side or even at top right of the barrel. it would be different but might be pretty cool. The two nuts on the bottom would really work good.

USAF_Vet
September 22, 2011, 01:12 PM
Yeah, I didn't think that the ramrod was seated underneath the barrel. Still, I could do the two nuts but angle them to each side rather than straight down.

BCRider
September 22, 2011, 09:55 PM
Given the thickness of most barrel walls I'm not sure I'd feel all that safe with this thin "tubing" style barrel. And what you've got on there looks just way too much like a bit of tubing. Is it even seamless or is it welded seam?

I'd like to see it about twice as thick and know that it's not a seamed tube before I'd trust it.

Jaymo
September 22, 2011, 10:00 PM
Mako-no, I don't own anything full auto, short-barreled, suppressed, or AOW.
There are plenty I'd like to own, but the requisite governmental intrusion has killed any interest I may have ever had in owning any.

USAF Vet, you're not Fuzzbean from the homegunsmith forum, are you? He's made good use of hose clamps on some of his builds.
You could always wrap the barrel/forend with rawhide. It would be more period correct than hose clamps

USAF_Vet
September 23, 2011, 10:06 AM
BCRider, it is seamless with a wall thickness of 0.095"
I may end up swapping it out with a thicker wall, but it's held up nicely so far. The .45 ball will roll out without a wad, so the pressures aren't getting substantially high.

It's not going to be a daily shooter, either. It was a project to see if I could do it, versus making something reliable enough to plink with. For that, I'd be more apt to buy a kit. This was cobbled together with leftovers and spare parts I've acquired over the years.

On my first test fire, about 15-20 gr of Pyrodex, it chucked the unwadded ball about 10 feet in front of me. Next shot was with about 40 gr of Pyrodex with a wadded ball, it hit the target about 20 feet away and I was unable to recover the ball. Next test fire will be somewhere in between, about 25 gr. Pyrodex and a wadded ball.



Jaymo,
LOL, nope, not Fuzzbean. I've seen his stuff though. I lurk over there a lot, but haven't registered. His stuff is a lot better than my own. I'll look into the Rawhide option, too.

BCRider
September 24, 2011, 12:09 AM
Well, at least you're using lighter charges other than that one 40 grain shot. Still, I'd suggest checking it for swelling by measuring the diameter near the back now and then each time it's brought home. At the first signs of any actual "growth" I'd retire it.

If you've got the tooling it would be fun to make some octagonal stock from a square rod of some decent machining but still fairly strong alloy of steel. Then drill and ream out the barrel for a nice smoothbore finish. I understand that 4140 is a popular alloy for barrels.

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