NFA Barrel Length Restriction


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eng30312
March 14, 2012, 12:20 PM
I have always wondered how the barrel length restriction in the NFA was determined. Did they look at laws in other countries or states, or did was 18 the shortest barrel length offered commercially at the time? I know Winchester made 1894 carbines with 14 inch barrels. How was it decided that 18 should be the standard?

I once heard that originally it was 18 for both rifles and shotguns but was changed sometime in the 60s. How did that whole thing go down, and if that was successful could we maybe push it down to 14?

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Midwest
March 14, 2012, 01:06 PM
I have always wondered how the barrel length restriction in the NFA was determined. Did they look at laws in other countries or states, or did was 18” the shortest barrel length offered commercially at the time? I know Winchester made 1894 carbines with 14 inch barrels. How was it decided that 18” should be the standard?

I once heard that originally it was 18” for both rifles and shotguns but was changed sometime in the 60’s. How did that whole thing go down, and if that was successful could we maybe push it down to 14”?
I thought it had to do with the ability to conceal the weapon. I assume 18" barrel was considered the maximum length (they determined) that a rifle could be concealed. Remember when the NFA was passed in 1934, they were trying to include concealable weapons including handguns under NFA.

dprice3844444
March 14, 2012, 01:22 PM
rifle 16 inch
shotgun 18 inch
the winchesters were grandfathered in i think by the gca of 68 as were mauser 96 pistols and high powers with shoulder stocks

230RN
March 14, 2012, 02:33 PM
Purely an arbitrary number.

I understand that it was indeed changed from 18" to 16" at some point to accomodate the length of the M1 Carbine so the DCM (Director of Civilian Marksmandship, now the Civilian Marksmanship Program, CMP) could sell the millions of surplus carbines, the most-produced small arm of the Second World War.

The government's selling of firearms to the public was supposed to be "to provide for the common defense," as noted in the Preamble to the Constitution. (This was an ancient document supposedly written to guarantee freedom and limit the functions of government, but which is now obsolete.)

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