Creating a NFA "Short Barreled Rifle" from a Commercially Avalable "Mare's Leg"?


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Kynoch
June 17, 2013, 10:43 PM
Let's say someone went out and bought a "mare's leg" that was legally manufactured and sold as a handgun such as the one from Rossi below:

http://cdn.firearmstalk.com/forums/attachments/f18/22425d1291478384-new-rossi-ranch-hand-mares-leg-must-have-pistol-rh92-51121_357mag.jpg

The buyer brings the mare's leg home and exchanges the stock grip with one that he handmade which is identical to the stock grip except for its longer length. No other changes are made to the firearm.

Because the NFA does not (to my knowledge) specify a maximum overall handgun length nor does it prohibit exchanging parts, I contend that exchanging one grip for another does not make the handgun an NFA "short barreled rifle."

Can anyone here add some insight to this matter? Thanks.

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Domino
June 17, 2013, 10:53 PM
Yes adding a rifle stock to the Mare's Leg will turn it into a SBR subject to all registration and regulations that go along with it. Putting a stock on a handgun automatically makes the weapon a SBR...

EDIT: in order for the "addition" to be not considered a stock it MUST have some other explicit purpose. Example....


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsqy73wE5Eo

wally
June 17, 2013, 10:59 PM
I contend that exchanging one grip for another does not make the handgun an NFA "short barreled rifle."

Unless you have a letter from the BATFE saying they have no problem with your modification you risk persecution, large fines and jail time.

The devil is in the details, people are pushing the limits with things like AR pistol "braces" which IMHO is probably a good thing if they've got the resources to fight some of the stupidity in current gun laws.

That Rossi sure looks like it'd fire just fine from the shoulder, but I guess the seeming lack of a cheek weld makes it not really a shoulder fired rifle in BATFE's opinion.

I bet it'd work great as a rifle if you were wearing NFL shoulder pads, would this be considered "constructive possession of an illeagal SBR if you owned both? :)

rcmodel
June 17, 2013, 11:05 PM
I contend that exchanging one grip for another does not make the handgun an NFA "short barreled rifle."You might have to 'contend' that in front of a Federal Judge if you do it.

Are you really that sure you are really right??

rc

gunnutery
June 17, 2013, 11:08 PM
Ever since they came out with that Mare's Leg I thought it'd be a cool SBR. Unfortunately my state doesn't allow such pleasures.

I think the issue is that with a longer stock, it makes it easier to shoulder it, which gives you another point of contact with the firearm that better stabilizes it for aiming. IIRC handguns are declared to be designed to fired one handed (one point of contact), which would also explain why the ATF also frowns on putting foreward grips on pistols, which would also be another point of contact.

Kynoch
June 17, 2013, 11:33 PM
Still, no one can offer anything (other than their personal opinions) that putting a longer grip on a mare's leg converts it from a handgun to an SBR.

* No prohibition on exchanging parts on mare's legs per the NFA.

* No maximum (nor minimum) overall length of handguns per the NFA.

I suppose a gov't lawyer might possibly make a point if they could prove that the replacement grip was originally commercially sold as a butt-stock if it had a stamping or other mark on it. That would be impossible in the case I outlined.

Googling different commercially available mare's legs it's clear that some grips are longer (2-3-4+" longer) than others. Clearly there is no spec from the NFA.

Kynoch
June 17, 2013, 11:36 PM
Ever since they came out with that Mare's Leg I thought it'd be a cool SBR. Unfortunately my state doesn't allow such pleasures.

I think the issue is that with a longer stock, it makes it easier to shoulder it, which gives you another point of contact with the firearm that better stabilizes it for aiming. IIRC handguns are declared to be designed to fired one handed (one point of contact), which would also explain why the ATF also frowns on putting foreward grips on pistols, which would also be another point of contact.

Yes, it would be easier to shoulder (for most people) with a longer grip but the NFA does not say how long the replacement grip can be. If the NFA specified a maximum overall length for handguns and a grip change made the mare's leg fall outside of that spec, I could see how it would then be classed as an SBR.

The mare's leg could easily be fired one-handed in either configuration.

Jackal
June 18, 2013, 12:01 AM
If you add anything to a handgun of any type that is intended to be used to fired from the shoulder then it is an SBR, period. Same reason you cant ad a stock to a AR pistol. Even adding a thick recoil pad to the butt end would be a nono.

Kynoch
June 18, 2013, 12:26 AM
If you add anything to a handgun of any type that is intended to be used to fired from the shoulder then it is an SBR, period. Same reason you cant ad a stock to a AR pistol. Even adding a thick recoil pad to the butt end would be a nono.

As it is, the stock grip can be shouldered. You couldn't prove that swapping one grip for another, longer version was done in order to shoot it from one's shoulder. That's simply not possible.

I didn't mention recoil pads but I'll bite. The "thick" recoil pad is a non starter. While a lawyer might be able to use the existence of ANY recoil pad as evidence the gun was intended to be shouldered, its thickness would be a non-issue. As it is now, there are commercially available, legal mare's legs manufactured and sold as handguns with grips that appear to differ by at least 1-5" in length depending on the maker.

I had hoped this would be a technical discussion. I had hoped that someone would make me aware of something I missed in the NFA rules or perhaps another BATFE bulletin that set maximum handguns lengths or prohibited grip changes on mare's leg handguns.

All I seem to be getting are defensive opinions about what is allowed and what is not allowed sans any back-up whatsoever.

Telekinesis
June 18, 2013, 01:19 AM
I had hoped this would be a technical discussion. I had hoped that someone would make me aware of something I missed in the NFA rules or perhaps another BATFE bulletin that set maximum handguns lengths or prohibited grip changes on mare's leg handguns.

All I seem to be getting are defensive opinions about what is allowed and what is not allowed sans any back-up whatsoever.

That's because there really aren't any hard and fast rules regarding this specific topic. Unlike most laws where you are held to the exact letter of the law, the ATF seems to enforce the spirit of the NFA. To do this, the ATF relies on their regulatory authority, as well as the discretion of agents and the prosecutors they work with. If you do some research, you will find several examples of the ATF making one ruling, and then later reversing the decision and requiring registration or surrender of previously legal weapons.

The real question you should ask yourself is whether or not this project is worth the risk of arrest and prosecution, up to 10 years in federal prison, a felony record for yourself (a MUCH more difficult time of finding a job as a felon when you get out) and all the monetary and psychological damage it will cause you and your family; just to save $200.
Personally I think you'd have to be an idiot to risk your freedom for a toy, especially when you can just send off a form 1 to the ATF and do it all legally, with practically no issues assuming you aren't barred from possessing weapons in the first place.

Now I'm right there with you in the fact that the NFA is a pointless law and shouldn't be on the books in the first place (especially the SBR/SBS restrictions that are a vestige of a part of the legislation that didn't even make it into the final text of the law), but they are the rules we have to play by.

Kynoch
June 18, 2013, 01:46 AM
That's because there really aren't any hard and fast rules regarding this specific topic. Unlike most laws where you are held to the exact letter of the law, the ATF seems to enforce the spirit of the NFA. To do this, the ATF relies on their regulatory authority, as well as the discretion of agents and the prosecutors they work with. If you do some research, you will find several examples of the ATF making one ruling, and then later reversing the decision and requiring registration or surrender of previously legal weapons.

The real question you should ask yourself is whether or not this project is worth the risk of arrest and prosecution, up to 10 years in federal prison, a felony record for yourself (a MUCH more difficult time of finding a job as a felon when you get out) and all the monetary and psychological damage it will cause you and your family; just to save $200.
Personally I think you'd have to be an idiot to risk your freedom for a toy, especially when you can just send off a form 1 to the ATF and do it all legally, with practically no issues assuming you aren't barred from possessing weapons in the first place.

Now I'm right there with you in the fact that the NFA is a pointless law and shouldn't be on the books in the first place (especially the SBR/SBS restrictions that are a vestige of a part of the legislation that didn't even make it into the final text of the law), but they are the rules we have to play by.

I appreciate your comment -- it's honest. The main reason I asked is that if you look at different mare's legs, some have far longer or shorter grips. Some of those grips also look far better (or worse) than others. I simply wanted to know if there was a tolerance for the min/max length of the grip.

The canned (and often defensive) comments weren't helpful. I suspect in the end it boils down to what the individual owner is comfortable with owning.

As it stands now, unless I find other facts, as long as the grip did not have a recoil pad on it, as long as it couldn't be proven (via a stamp, mark, etc.) that the grip was originally sold as a butt-stock and as long as it didn't precisely replicate the dimensions of the historic Winchester butt-stocks, I would feel comfortable fitting it to a mare's leg. Thanks again.

gunnutery
June 18, 2013, 01:57 AM
I think there are two issues still at hand here.

1) if you are seen placing the stock on your shoulder (no matter what length it is) you stand the risk of being reported as having an SBR.

2) does California state law allow for SBR at all even if you wanted to go the Federal Form 1 route?

wally
June 18, 2013, 10:35 AM
I had hoped this would be a technical discussion. I had hoped that someone would make me aware of something I missed in the NFA rules or perhaps another BATFE bulletin that set maximum handguns lengths or prohibited grip changes on mare's leg handguns.


There are no technical issues involved, its strictly the BATFE's opinion of if you 've made an SBR or not that decides if you walk or spend a lot of time and money in Federal Court should you come to their attention.

That is why a letter to BATFE technical branch describing what you propose to do to get their opinion of it beforehand is the best course of action. Things like the Slide-Fire stock ship with a copy of their letter.

Sam1911
June 18, 2013, 10:43 AM
Title II of the National Firearms Act defines "rifle" as a firearm with rifling that is "designed or redesigned to be fired from the shoulder." The shorter stock provided by Rossi has been given special approval by the BATFE that it is too short to be specifically designed to fire from the shoulder. Adding anything that could be seen as "redesigned" to make it effectively fireable from the shoulder will be seen as a violation of the law.

And here's the thing, cases are DECIDED, not necessarily proved in black and white terms. Evidence is weighed and a jury is asked to make their opinion about how well you met or violated the terms of the law. Now every single one of us here KNOWS why you'd add a longer stock, so if we're at all honest, we'd have to convict you. A bunch of non-gunnies can be expected to cut you even less slack.

I suspect in the end it boils down to what the individual owner is comfortable with owning.
LOL.

Not really. In the end it boils down to the BATFE's attorney saying, "This is clearly 'designed or re-designed to be fired from the shoulder,' and directly matches our published examples of what constitutes a regulated firearm," followed directly by someone standing up in a box and saying, "We, the jury, find the defendant GUILTY of the charge of..."

You can claim anything you care to claim and say to anyone who'll listen that it sorta kinda should be like you think it is, but truly your opinion matters not at all in this.

But the world needs test cases. Go for it!

JShirley
June 18, 2013, 11:28 AM
Sam is being sarcastic with the "go for it". You would be committing a felony, and the law is clear that you would be changing your handgun into a SBR, even if somehow you're the only person in the world that can't understand said law.

The only recent points of contention I'm aware of revolve around a specific barrel and overall length AR pistol that received an ATF letter saying adding a foregrip would not make it an AOW.

John

Arizona_Mike
June 18, 2013, 11:53 AM
BATFE will say you are redesigning it to be fired from the shoulder and thus are making a rifle.

Mike

JShirley
June 18, 2013, 11:58 AM
It would be exactly like taking a sub-16" barrel AR15, and adding a stock. Instant SBR.

SharpsDressedMan
June 18, 2013, 12:54 PM
As soon as you intend to put what might be considered a "shoulder stock" on it, in place of the issue "grip", you are creating either a shoulder stocked pistol, or SBR. If that is your intention, register it as one or the other first. If your grip replacement CAN be used as a shoulder stock, it IS a shoulder stock.

Carl N. Brown
June 18, 2013, 01:13 PM
ATF Federal Firearms Regulations definitions (daffynitions to some, but they are the law):

(7) The term "rifle" means 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 an explosive to fire only a single
projectile through a rifled bore for
each single pull of the trigger.

(8) The term "short-barreled rifle"
means a rifle having one or more barrels
less than sixteen inches in length
and any weapon made from a rifle
(whether by alteration, modification, or
otherwise) if such weapon, as modified,
has an overall length of less than
twenty-six inches.

IANAL, but I get the impression that adding a longer shoulder stock to a Mares Leg pistol would be making a weapon redesigned to be fired from the shoulder and the barrel would have to be 16" or longer and the overall 26" or longer to avoid having to file an ATF Form 1 to make and register a short barrel rifle.

JShirley
June 18, 2013, 01:29 PM
Yep. Carl is understanding it correctly.

If we could automagically decide the law meant whatever we individually decided, there wouldn't be much point to the NFA.

Kynoch
June 18, 2013, 06:00 PM
Title II of the National Firearms Act defines "rifle" as a firearm with rifling that is "designed or redesigned to be fired from the shoulder." The shorter stock provided by Rossi has been given special approval by the BATFE that it is too short to be specifically designed to fire from the shoulder. Adding anything that could be seen as "redesigned" to make it effectively fireable from the shoulder will be seen as a violation of the law.

I seriously doubt the grip was "given special approval by the BATFE." Does the mare's leg come with documentation warning the owner not to replace the grip with one that does not come with this "special approval?" I suspect not.

In any event the mare's leg as shown can indeed be "fired from the shoulder" so there goes that argument in a court of law. "Could" is indeed right.

And here's the thing, cases are DECIDED, not necessarily proved in black and white terms. Evidence is weighed and a jury is asked to make their opinion about how well you met or violated the terms of the law. Now every single one of us here KNOWS why you'd add a longer stock, so if we're at all honest, we'd have to convict you. A bunch of non-gunnies can be expected to cut you even less slack.

"And?"

LOL.

Not really. In the end it boils down to the BATFE's attorney saying, "This is clearly 'designed or re-designed to be fired from the shoulder,' and directly matches our published examples of what constitutes a regulated firearm," followed directly by someone standing up in a box and saying, "We, the jury, find the defendant GUILTY of the charge of..."

You can claim anything you care to claim and say to anyone who'll listen that it sorta kinda should be like you think it is, but truly your opinion matters not at all in this.

But the world needs test cases. Go for it!

"LOL"

As you say this is not a black and white issue. I would feel very comfortable being in court justifying a grip that was an inch longer. Maybe two inches longer. Possibly three, etc. What I won't buy is some of the reactionary, canned bunkum that some felt the need to spew out in response to my question.

You can claim anything you like too. The aggressive/negative/ignorant tenor of some comments to my question (as if there was a B&W answer) where not helpful.

I will say that you came the closest to actually answering my question.

Sam1911
June 18, 2013, 06:03 PM
I seriously doubt the grip was "given special approval by the BATFE." Does the mare's leg come with documentation warning the owner not to replace the grip with one that does not come with this "special approval?"Seriously? You doubt that? Look, a manufacturer does NOT put something like this on the market without getting the BATFE's specific approval that their product won't violate US law.

(Look at the situation surrounding the Taurus Raging Judge XXVIII a few years back. They did not bring it to market because the BATFE determined it would be an NFA item.)

I have no idea whether Rossi includes a warning not to swap out a different stock, but they certainly could.

Sam1911
June 18, 2013, 06:08 PM
And here's the thing, cases are DECIDED, not necessarily proved in black and white terms. Evidence is weighed and a jury is asked to make their opinion about how well you met or violated the terms of the law. Now every single one of us here KNOWS why you'd add a longer stock, so if we're at all honest, we'd have to convict you. A bunch of non-gunnies can be expected to cut you even less slack.

"And?"
AND? And this: You trying to require that the law say just how many inches long the stock would have to be before you're in violation is faulty logic. That black and white definition is not given and is not required. You will be held up in court as having "redesigned" your rifled weapon to be fired from the shoulder. The jury will absolutely agree because that's clearly and unambiguously what you have done.

If we here aren't swayed by your legalistic wriggling, a jury certainly won't be either.

Sam1911
June 18, 2013, 06:23 PM
As you say this is not a black and white issue. I would feel very comfortable being in court justifying a grip that was an inch longer. Maybe two inches longer. Possibly three, etc. You would? Well, 'Bully for you!' as they say. May ye have the very smartest and slipperyest of lawyers!

Two inches? Maybe three? If you come to the attention of law enforcement and they're aware of what you're doing, you'll be tried. If this goes to trial, you'll be convicted. If convicted, you can appeal until the money runs out. I was halfway serious about test cases. If you really feel this is worth fighting, you really could spend about the next decade fighting the battle of trial and appeal to prove just how many inches longer you could make the "nada-stock" before you've "redesigned" it to be fired from the shoulder according to a fair and impartial jury.

Once more, laws don't have to spell things out in fractions of an inch. In fact, they rarely do. They have to speak to actions and intent, and a jury will be asked to find fact -- did you or did you not, IN THEIR OPINION, a) redesign this weapon, and b) do so in such a way that it could be fired from the shoulder? They will form an opinion on those two points and you'll go to jail (or go free) based on their decision.

What I won't buy is some of the reactionary bunkum that some felt the need to spew out at my question.Look, you don't like the answer. You're reacting badly to the answer. You want to be smart enough to out-think the BATFE and find your very own loophole. But the things you're founding this theory on don't hold up. The factors you think are critical (exact length and what you say you'll claim to be shoulder-able) aren't critical at all. And you're deriding the clearer view of others who understand why this would indeed make you a felon if you proceed.

You can claim anything you like too. The aggressive/negative/ignorant tenor of some comments on my question where not helpful.No need for aggression, but there's no need for such an assertive and aggressive defense of your clearly, plainly, flawed idea, either. You've asked for insights. You've been given VERY knowledgeable insights and have rejected them, then claimed that everyone ELSE is being ignorant! Surely the irony is not lost on you?

I will say that you came the closest to actually answering my question.Yes. That's because I HAVE answered your question, as completely as you're likely to get outside of 1) paying a gun law attorney to explain it to you (and trying not to argue with them when they tell you you're wrong) or 2) an up close and personal trip through the justice system.

dogtown tom
June 18, 2013, 06:49 PM
Kynoch ....I seriously doubt the grip was "given special approval by the BATFE."

Then go right ahead a put a full size stock on it.
You've been given excellent advice and choose to denigrate those who posted it.

Since you refuse to take the advice of anyone in this thread why do you not read the ATF regs yourself?:scrutiny:

Or better yet, put a full length stock on that gun, take a picture and send it in to ATF and ask for a determination letter.:rolleyes:

Coltdriver
June 18, 2013, 07:47 PM
Kynoch why don't you drop the BATFE a note and tell them what you are proposing and see if they will give you an opinion?

Carl N. Brown
June 27, 2013, 08:47 PM
$200 for a tax stamp for a Form 1 and the bother of fingerprints, passport quality photos, CLEO sign-off, are a lot cheaper than a lawyer who handles federal cases.

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