Full Auto Conversions Are Easy Myth Please Help Debunk


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Trunk Monkey
December 2, 2013, 10:37 AM
I was reading on another forum and I read a post that stated that it was cheap and easy to convert a semiautomatic AR to a fully automatic M16.
I know that it is neither cheap nor easy and in fact Iím not even sure it can be done but I donít have enough information to explain why itís not easy to do.

So I am asking for an explanation of why it isnít easy to convert a semi automatic gun into a fully automatic gun.

What I am specifically not asking for is a how to response outlining an illegal activity.

I have no interest in illegally converting a firearm, I would just like to be able to refute the statement when I hear it again.

Mods, if this topic is too close to the edge please feel free to lock

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1911Tuner
December 2, 2013, 10:52 AM
Some are easy. Too easy. The earlier SP-1 AR15 was one of them. It was a matter of swapping out five parts and adding an ingenious little trick called the "Drop-In Auto Sear." 10 minutes.

Later models became increasingly difficult, but still doable.

The Uzi carbine was almost as easy.

The open bolt Mac 10s and 11s were ridiculously easy to make full auto...not so much for selective fire.

Details won't be provided.

Medusa
December 2, 2013, 10:57 AM
It may be easy, or may be not. But does it matter? Those abiding the law would not do it, and those who do not care could do it anyway. Mindset, skillset, toolset.

MtnCreek
December 2, 2013, 10:57 AM
So I am asking for an explanation of why it isn’t easy to convert a semi automatic gun into a fully automatic gun.

$200,000 isn't cheap and 10 yrs Federal time isn't easy. I would use it as an opportunity to show how regulations cannot stop someone from breaking the law. I would love to have a $1,200 M16, but I don't because it's illigal. A criminal that doesn't follow the law could have a $1,200 M16, because they don't follow the law.

ugaarguy
December 2, 2013, 11:12 AM
Conversions are not easy for two reasons:
1. With the exception of early AR-15 rifles, the guns that could be easily converted to full auto are mostly in collectors' hands, and they command a premium when they hit the open market. Even the early AR-15 rifles are becoming collectible now.

2. Even if you did get an early AR-15 very few places will sell you the full auto parts unless you're buying them to repair a registered machine gun and send them a copy of your tax stamp.

hatt
December 2, 2013, 11:19 AM
Easy if you have decent mechanical ability. Guns are simple machines.

jerkface11
December 2, 2013, 11:22 AM
So I am asking for an explanation of why it isn’t easy to convert a semi automatic gun into a fully automatic gun.

Maybe you should ask the person claiming that it's easy to do.

50 Shooter
December 2, 2013, 11:32 AM
There used to be a book on the market to make AK's full auto. As stated above, if you had the knowledge you could do it. Then there's the flip side, getting busted with one and doing time for it.

Yes full auto is fun and if you want to do it, go to a range that rents them. It's not worth doing the time and ruining your life for. Plus, you'll never get to play with firearms ever again once you're busted. Don't forget that people love to BRAG about what they did. That's how they usually get busted, run your mouth stupid!

ATLDave
December 2, 2013, 11:34 AM
This fits in with a larger pattern regarding guns. It's fairly easy to build a gun, build a longer magazine, make many types of guns full auto. It's hard to do those things well and make them super reliable.

Criminals don't care much about fit, finish, reliability, etc. Non-violent users do. So to the extent something is banned, the non-violent people lose their ability to get the thing, while low-quality lash-ups can keep supplying the criminals.

AR's can be converted by anyone with access to a machine shop and a willingness to risk 10 years in the pen. Of course, even if AR's were banned, the same would be true for AR's themselves.

Telekinesis
December 2, 2013, 11:58 AM
So I am asking for an explanation of why it isnít easy to convert a semi automatic gun into a fully automatic gun.

It really depends on your definition of easy. Could you do it on your kitchen table? No. But with a little bit of knowledge and access to a mill you could easily modify the receiver to accept the FA specific parts. It's just a little milling and a pin hole away for most any AR receiver.

Parts aren't easy to come by but they're not exactly difficult to find either. Some places want a copy of the form 4, some don't.

Now I've never actually done this myself, but I have spent a decent bit of time around registered M16s and it's pretty easy to see the differences if you look for them. Guns are just simple machines. A little bit of knowledge and a lot of the mysticism behind machine guns goes away.

Carl N. Brown
December 2, 2013, 12:09 PM
ATF reviews semi-auto designs and rejects any that it finds are too easy to convert to full auto. This goes all the way back to the days of the Spitfire carbine a late 1960s, early 1970s sort-of tommy gun look-alike. ATF has actually pulled approved models off the market after their labs discovered a way to convert.

Back in the 1960s I would say there were semi-auto models that were "easy" to convert, but not today. But ever so often some anti-gunner will rant about the old mail-order DEWAT Thompson Submachinegun "perfect father's day gift" only $49.95 plus postage (that was about 1957-1959, and that was ended after Saturday Evening Post bought one, unscrewed the tack welded plugged barrel and screwed in a replacement barrel). Open bolt semi-auto MAC10s were also easy to convert, but they were pulled off the market by BATF; that does not stop gun control advocates from claiming they are still being sold.

ngnrd
December 2, 2013, 12:10 PM
The right to keep and bear arms isn't limited to semi-auto's any more than it's limited to muskets. Whether or not a semi-auto can be converted to full-auto is an irrelevant red herring. Don't take the bait.

ngnrd
December 2, 2013, 12:51 PM
Just curious... why did this topic get moved to the NFA forum? It is very clearly NOT about NFA weapons, but rather, it's about how to rebut proponents of gun control.

45_auto
December 2, 2013, 01:15 PM
So I am asking for an explanation of why it isn’t easy to convert a semi automatic gun into a fully automatic gun.

Good luck with that. All it takes is a method to pull the trigger or release the sear as the bolt goes home. Timing isn't real critical.

You can do it with a piece of string on anything with a reciprocating bolt handle. The ATF ruled that a shoestring was a machinegun a while back:

http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/2010/01/25/shoestring-machine-gun/

A couple of cheap, readily available parts and a piece of sheet metal will allow you to make an illegal "lightening link" for an AR15:

http://www.quarterbore.com/nfa/lightninglink.html

Guns are simple mechanisms. Nothing at all difficult about coming up with a method to automatically pull the trigger. No way you're going to refute anyone with any mechanical knowledge at all by trying to deny that it's not simple.

Kind of like growing pot or making moonshine. It's not hard, it's just illegal and not worth the time in prison for most people.

jrdolall
December 2, 2013, 01:51 PM
I believe that a competent mechanic or gunsmith could convert some guns to full auto. I have been around guns my entire life and I wouldn't even know where to begin nor would I care to get started for a couple of reasons. 1. I don't look good in prison garb. B. I am not fond of guys named "Bubba"(no offense to any actual Bubbas) 3. I have fired plenty of legal full autos and, while "cool" I don't have any desire to won one.
A competent mechanic can build a car that will do 200 MPH if he has the money(see NASCAR).
A competent locksmith can break into just about any house or car (see "locksmith" in the phone book).
Fortunately there aren't all that many of either and even fewer with the inclination to do things that are against the law. No doubt there are some that are capable AND willing but they don't advertise that willingness.

Carl N. Brown
December 2, 2013, 02:08 PM
Kind of like growing pot or making moonshine. It's not hard...
All of that is actually hard to be done right, and when it is done easily it usually done badly or unsafely. I was told the local sheriff department confiscated a kitchen table conversion of an Uzi semi-auto; they tested it; it lasted three magazines. Real full auto Uzi depends on advanced primer ignition (primer fires before the bolt has stopped in its forward motion). Kitchen table conversion would not stand up to prolonged use.


ADDED: The news from Australia often features busts of "bikies" (motorcycle clubs) building MAC10s in garage or basement workshops. If you have the tools and skills to build and repair motorcycles, you may have the tools and skills to fabricate firearms. But doing it right aint easy.

Trunk Monkey
December 2, 2013, 04:13 PM
Well this is an eduacation for me I have always been told conversions require a machine shop. My understanding is that a kitchen table conversion can and often does result in a weapon that fires out of time and can blow up in your face.

HighExpert
December 2, 2013, 05:01 PM
I had a 1911 that converted itself. The disconnecter chipped off and the gun went full auto. Scared the daylights out of me. A little trip to Clark fixed the problem.

AlexanderA
December 2, 2013, 05:05 PM
So people on other forums are commenting that it's "cheap and easy to convert a semiautomatic AR to a fully automatic M16." The unspoken subtext of this is that full automatics are monstrous things that shouldn't be in the hands of ordinary individuals. I would turn around and question that assumption. In most cases, for civilians (and even criminals) they aren't that useful. Perhaps they're even counterproductive, given their ammunition consumption. Mainly, they're expensive toys.

So the ease of conversion (or not, as the case may be) isn't really the relevant question. The question is, why should we ban them in the first place?

Obviously, the fact that they are already highly regulated is something that we have to live with. If you want to play in this game, you have to have lots of disposable money, or else have lots of disposable time that you are willing to spend in prison. That's enough to deter the vast majority of people from tinkering with them.

jmorris
December 2, 2013, 06:24 PM
I am with 45auto. It is cheap and easy, buying one that was converted and on the books before 5/19/86 is not cheap but that does not make the job any more difficult.

PBR Streetgang
December 2, 2013, 06:53 PM
"Browning converted a Winchester 1873 lever-action to an autoloader by using the action of the gases at the muzzle. A machine gun using this same operating principle was built in 1890 and 1891. From this work evolved a machine gun design ultimately built and sold by Colt as the Model 1895 machine gun, popularly called the "Browning Potato Digger" because of its downward arcing, gas-operating piston system."


Just takes some imagination and mechanical ability............

Jim K
December 2, 2013, 06:56 PM
It really doesn't matter. The antis will tell any lie, make any claim, carry out any action, that will promote their agenda, which is simply a total and complete ban on all privately owned firearms, with the most severe possible penalties for any violations. If any anti claims differently, or claims to support the Second Amendment, or claims not to want to ban "sporting guns", he or she is lying. The goal is not to eliminate the Second Amendment, it is to make it irrelevant by eliminating all guns not in the hands of the Federal government and under the direct control of the president.

Jim

stressed
December 2, 2013, 07:08 PM
It's not worth it. Honestly, I actually dislike full auto unless it's a belt fed MG or subgun platform. The first for suppressive fire to get your squad into position, the later for it's controllability and lower rate of fire.

There are all kinds of manuals for converting weapons, and it generally would require expertise in machining.

Every AK (Type 56) that was used in a crime that was illegally converted full auto, failed/jammed - ended with the weapon being abandoned/tossed for another weapon after multiple attempts to clear it. Hollywood bank robbers, McDonald's shooting, etc. Doing so reliably is a whole different game.

It's not worth the charge of something that is mainly novelty. Get a tax stamp and save. And those who claim it's easy, it's not.

However, I did read about a famous rapper he was already acquitted of murdering someone in 2005, caught with an illegally converted automatic, and instead of "10 years" he got like a month and probation - not to mention he was charged with "felon in possession" "concealed without permit" and a host of other charges, and still got a month.

If it was you or me, we'd be hit with the max.

RetiredUSNChief
December 2, 2013, 07:15 PM
Many things are "cheap and easy" with the knowledge, experience, and the tooling to impliment.

However, if people in general are just discussing how "cheap and easy" something is in general terms, it's my experience that they most likely don't have any of the actual details about how and what's involved in the process.

Which means it's NOT so cheap and easy as they would have you believe.

As for the actual details to intelligently discuss this with someone on a technical basis...I don't have any. However, my understanding as to WHY this isn't so cheap and easy is based on the following:

1. Guns, like the AR-15 commercially available today, cannot be made fully automatic easily because thy're not built using the same components/specifications as those made for the military. Therefore it's not something where you can just drop in the parts you need because they simply will not fit.

2. Since drop-in components cannot be used, you are left with either machining those you need and altering some of the existing ones to suit OR buying specialized after-market items specifically made for this purpose. We're not talking about hacksaw/file machining, either. And legal sources aren't available for illegal uses. Both of which add up to "not cheap" and "not easy".

Carl N. Brown
December 2, 2013, 07:26 PM
@Post #21: I'll see your Browning gas-operated lever action rifle and trump that with a Lee-Enfield bolt action converted to a light machinegun by the Kiwis:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/Charlton_Automatic_Rifle.jpg
New Zealand's Charlton Automatic Rifle, a WWII emergency jury rig.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlton_Automatic_Rifle
Still required a well equiped machine shop and metal working skill set. Easy to convert it is not, but the New Zealanders ("Kiwis") were facing the possibility of a Japanese invasion, and nothing stimulates imagination like desperation and a shortage of squad level automatic weapons.

justashooter in pa
December 2, 2013, 08:36 PM
Certain designs are easily converted, and some are not. AK, AR, Macs, Tec 9 and it's clones, and 30 carbines are among the easiest to convert. There are also a multitude of de-milled subgun parts kits that can easily be rebuilt. Parts are out there for commercial sale, and a shop with a welder, a grinder, and a drill press can do the rest. The real question, at today's ammo prices, is who can afford to shoot them?

jrdolall
December 2, 2013, 08:46 PM
What would it cost to shoot a .50 cal machine gun for a minute?

justashooter in pa
December 2, 2013, 08:52 PM
about $1500 at current bulk ammo pricing. $2500-3000 if you are buying it by the box of 20 at cabellas.

medalguy
December 2, 2013, 10:18 PM
Disclosure: I am NOT encouraging anyone to do anything illegal.

The most difficult part of converting a legal semi AR to FA would be the required milling out of the rear section of the lower receiver to accommodate the auto sear and disconnector. That can be done with the proper dimensioned drawings and a simple mill. Other than that, it's pretty much switching out a few parts: sear, disconnector, hammer, bolt carrier. Not difficult but the machining must be done correctly. There's a slight bit more, but that's the biggest part. Oh yeah, and the fact that it's illegal and will most probably net you ten years on each charge of manufacturing a machine gun, failure to register a machine gun, failure to pay the NFA tax, and maybe a couple more I can't think of right now. Those seem like good reasons there. Since most gun owners are law-abiding, that seems to be a good reason why NOT to convert one.

Tejicano Loco
December 3, 2013, 04:13 AM
I am a degreed mechanical engineer who has had a deep interest in firearms design for over 40 years. I have built FAL's, AK's, AR's, and 1911's, from parts - as well as a 1919-A4 on an NFA registered right side plate. I have fabricated my own parts for guns and for cars which I coverted in various ways.

With this background I know exactly how to convert just about any semi-auto firearm into a machinegun - not just the theory but the exact details of how to measure, locate, and drill/grind/cut the parts that would have to be modified.

In my humble opinion the question of "cheap and easy" depends heavily on how much one knows about the design of both the semi-auto gun being used and the machinegun which is the desired result (starting and ending points) in addition to having enough hands-on experience working with fabricating metal parts. Sometimes just drilling a hole in the right location within the tolerances allowed by the design can be a machinist's problem requiring a suprising amount of creativity to execute.

I think the best answer - as pointed out before in this thread - are the real world examples of criminals who have tried this. In every case I know of the resulting "machinegun" did not function reliably. In the case of the North Hollywood shoot out the lack of reliability was probably a contributing factor in the deaths of those criminals.

One more point which is rarely brought up in discussion about this topic : effective use of full auto fire. Very few people outside the military (and even many inside it) have little appreciation for the amount of skill needed to use full-auto fire effectively. Magazine fed machineguns go through a 30 round magazine faster than a novice will anticipate. It usually seems to be just enough ammunition during a shootout to get you over-extended with an empty magazine.

AlexanderA
December 3, 2013, 07:09 AM
The antigunners like to talk about "reasonable" and "sensible" gun laws. Well, if there's anything that's not reasonable and not sensible, it's the NFA, as it has come down to us with all its permutations and bureaucratic interpretations. "Reasonable" legislators would just repeal it, or alter it radically. But I'm not holding my breath.

scythefwd
December 3, 2013, 07:20 AM
Its very easy to convert to FA.. its extremely difficult to convert to select fire.

Davek1977
December 3, 2013, 07:24 AM
Meth can be easily made from by putting certain items in a pop bottle and shaking it up. Some guns can easily be made into full-autos. Neither is recommended unless you are fond of tight cramped places, bad food, and neighbors ranging from child molesters to drug dealers to murderers.

coach z
December 3, 2013, 08:28 AM
I've run into this a few times as well and have wanted to ask the same question but couldn't find a good way to phrase it myself without it seeming like I was asking for a "how to"

Thanks for posing the question better then I could myself and I second the above.

jrdolall
December 3, 2013, 09:00 AM
I have to agree that you will never convince an anti about this.

It is certainly possible but "easy" is a big stretch. Just being possible works for their agenda.

zxcvbob
December 3, 2013, 09:07 AM
Just curious... why did this topic get moved to the NFA forum? It is very clearly NOT about NFA weapons, but rather, it's about how to rebut proponents of gun control.


Because this forum is where the experts on machineguns hang out?

mboylan
December 3, 2013, 12:06 PM
Well this is an eduacation for me I have always been told conversions require a machine shop. My understanding is that a kitchen table conversion can and often does result in a weapon that fires out of time and can blow up in your face.
..and you are correct. However, some guns are easily converted with a small mill, a drill press and a little knowledge.

jmorris
December 3, 2013, 01:41 PM
And those who claim it's easy, it's not.

It is actually MORE complicated to make some firearms semiauto vs FA.

Take open bolt designs for example, FA just let's it keep going until empty or you let off the trigger. Semi takes more parts to stop it after just one cycle.

jmorris
December 3, 2013, 01:50 PM
This is a photo of the already mentioned FA "conversion" of a mini 14. Just as illegal as a "real" conversion without the right paperwork.

http://imageshack.com/a/img77/3777/stringtrick1ev.jpg

dprice3844444
December 3, 2013, 02:47 PM
http://249development.us/johnsann/Tactical_Fire_Control_wp/

Schwing
December 3, 2013, 03:37 PM
This is a photo of the already mentioned FA "conversion" of a mini 14. Just as illegal as a "real" conversion without the right paperwork.

http://imageshack.com/a/img77/3777/stringtrick1ev.jpg
The other method similar to this is replace that piece of string with a rubber band and, instead of attaching it to the bolt, attach it to the stock... it is now completely legal and a complete waste of ammo. A bump fire type setup like this would not be illegal since the trigger is being pysically depressed by your finger for each shot. The rubber band under tension pulls the trigger back forward again into your finger.

You can also do a search for bump fire stocks. These have springs in them that basically push the trigger back forward after each shot and your finger just needs to be in the way enough to pull the trigger again. These are completely legal, a lot of fun, and as I alread said above, good for nothing but wasting a lot of ammo.

stressed
December 3, 2013, 04:08 PM
http://249development.us/johnsann/Tactical_Fire_Control_wp/
I can't see this lasting too long until the BATFE withdrawals their consent, or new legislation is enacted to ban said method.

kimberkid
December 3, 2013, 04:38 PM
Besides the fact that there are thousands of early AR receivers that do not require modification to add full auto parts and a drop-in-auto-sear, there are still several manufacturers that make receivers with the shelf low enough to accomidate a DIAS, such as Bushmaster (pre Remington) and some DPMS's.

HK's 9x serise rifles are pretty easy too ... Most clones come with a full auto bolt carrier, then all you need is a full auto trigger pack and about 3 minutes on a grinding wheel, and to know where to grind.

If someone doesn't care about the law it wouldn't be a problem for much of anyone with a little time, knowledge and minimal tools.

jmorris
December 3, 2013, 06:45 PM
You can also do a search for bump fire stocks. These have springs in them that basically push the trigger back forward after each shot and your finger just needs to be in the way enough to pull the trigger again. These are completely legal, a lot of fun, and as I alread said above, good for nothing but wasting a lot of ammo.

Anything with a spring is not completely legal. They reversed that decision and that stopped the original Akins accelerator and AW sim devices. The new Akins accelerator and the slide fire stocks have no springs.

hq
December 5, 2013, 05:01 AM
Legalities make this a touchy subject, but mechanically, FA conversion is often quite easy. As far as AR:s are concerned, lightning link is straightforward even though not the most reliable way to do it, properly timed DIAS is much better and with some effort, installing a proper auto sear isn't difficult for anyone with a drill press. AK:s need only minimal work (one hole + notching a rail) to accept an auto sear. In my experience, parts are very easy to source and every time I find particularly cheap FA parts, I stock up. Mind you, I do everything legally.

The big question is, however, why would anyone want full auto, except to have fun? All practical uses for full auto require a military-grade supply chain for ammo, usually at least a squad-strength unit to take advantage of suppressive fire and carefully planned tactic to use it in a particular situation. That's a far cry from how criminals (who get their illegal full autos anyway) operate and IMO the whole hysteria about full auto has gone way out of proportions. It has become a buzzword for antis when all other arguments have miserably failed and they still don't have the dignity to accept their so-called arguments have been debunked.

Personally, I like mine either belt-fed or in .22, and for personal recreational purposes only. :)

scythefwd
December 5, 2013, 05:15 AM
There have been many a shade tree gunsmiths that have accidentially made a weapon run away after a trigger job.. Like I said earlier, FA is the easy part.. making one that select fire.. aka it does what you want it to do is a considerably more difficult task.

hentown
December 5, 2013, 08:20 AM
Glocks are easy. ARs with certain aftermarket fire-control systems that permit the adjusting of engagement are also pretty easy.

I innocently converted my G17 to f.a. by radiusing the engagement surface of the cruciform. Fired f.a. for about five-hundred rounds, then just stopped resetting. I disposed of the offending part.

beatledog7
December 5, 2013, 08:31 AM
When I was in uniform, I fired three different full-autos, two of them belt fed and bipod or tripod mounted. While it was "fun" to do pump 30 rounds through an M16 in the blink of an eye, I didn't score many hits in the limited time I was afforded. I cannot imagine owning one.

NFA needs to be done away with as a matter of Constitutional principle, but even if it ever is (I won't be turning blue over this), I won't be in line for a full auto or any other firearm I can't shoot well and could never afford to feed.

Walkalong
December 6, 2013, 05:14 PM
Easy is a matter of opinion of course, and a skilled armorer would be better equipped than the average Joe, but that said:

It really doesn't matter. The antis will tell any lie, make any claim, carry out any action, that will promote their agenda, which is simply a total and complete ban on all privately owned firearms, with the most severe possible penalties for any violations.

Exactly, the answer is some are and some are not, but that isn't the point, the point is.........and go from there. Read up, study our side of the facts. Facts they don't handle well.

justice06rr
December 10, 2013, 01:17 AM
The easiest way to (legally) convert your semi-auto AR15 to select fire/Full auto is with a DIAS (Drop-In Auto Sear). Although it costs upwards of $15,000 for the DIAS. You will also need a full auto BCG, FCG(fire control group), and Your lower receiver also needs to have a "Low Shelf" for the DIAS.

I'm not advocating any illegal activity, but just posting what I know about how to convert it. If you want to do this, please follow all the laws with NFA.

you would also need a lot of patience and money....

Here is a good video explaining the DIAS. Its a pretty simple device if you look at it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdR7rEuLrvE&feature=share&list=PL9g5AxyPN5MEpcCh9eWVNguj5PQANmP0b&index=1

jdR7rEuLrvE

Nickel Plated
January 18, 2014, 09:01 PM
I'm afraid you're gonna have a very hard time debunking that "myth" with anyone who has a decent knowledge of how guns work. It really is neither difficult nor expensive to convert an AR, or AK (those are the ones I know how to do atleast) to select-fire. And by select fire, I don't mean ghetto rigging a string to the trigger. I mean proper, safe select-fire the way it was designed. You don't need a mill, you don't need to be a master gunsmith, and you don't need to go looking for the parts off some shady guy in an alley.

The AR15 as an example; All the parts you need for this (hammer, selector, auto sear, bolt carrier) can be easily bought and shipped to your house from Brownell's. No paperwork, no questions. Because they sell them as replacements for legal MGs or FFL builds. They are parts just like any other AR-15 part. Brownell's doesn't care what you do with them. It's up to you whether you do something illegal or not.
The actual work can be done with a cheapo router from Home Depot, and endmill bit in it, and a jig screwed together from some wood. There's a video on YouTube of a guy finishing an 80% lower with a router. Taking an 80% from a semi-only to a select-fire lower is just an extra machining step. Doing so from a factory semi-only lower is even easier since most of the machining is already done for you.

*All this is not to say I actually have done any of this. I HAVE finished an 80% lower with a router. and I HAVE ordered a full auto selector from Brownell's with no problem for a different project that didn't involve building a machinegun. It was simply a lack of need for a machinegun that kept me from making one.

Arizona_Mike
January 21, 2014, 12:19 PM
I had an accidental machine gun in the early 90s when I was a Ramen-poor grad student.

It was an unusually well built SKS with almost no milling marks that when clean and well lubricated would fire 3-5rd bursts with soft Remington primers (and once dumped half a 30rd mag). It functioned normally with military, Federal or Winchester primers.

Making careful measurements of fired cases showed that it was not firing out of battery. The free-floating firing pin was causing slamfires as the bolt was closing and not before.

There was absolutely nothing wrong mechanically with the gun. I ended up selling it. Came to the conclusion that you can put a nice dress, high heels, and lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig. :D

Mike

Oleson
February 3, 2014, 04:58 AM
As Nickel Plated said, those of us who know how don't see it as difficult.
Cheap? Well, do do the job right, you need equipment. And that's not cheap. Maybe for AR/AK, but for mini-14/Marlin Camp you will need some machinery.
Just to be clear, I am now talking about a proper gun job, not the kitchen table stuff.

And another thing, I might know how, but I've never done it and will never do it.
I'm in Norway, so unless you're an arms collector, and has been for years, you'll never get anything FA legally.

JRWhit
February 3, 2014, 07:21 AM
So I am asking for an explanation of why it isn’t easy to convert a semi automatic gun into a fully automatic gun.
I would think that the easy part would be the boom out of battery, when they find out the hard way that the timing is way off. It may work for several mags, but how many booms does it take? Tool shed engineering rarely considers longevity. Just because it works one or two times, doesn't mean it'll hold up to repeated use.
Considering that and the chance of prison time, I think the pros are heavily outweighed by the cons on this one.

WestKentucky
February 5, 2014, 12:04 AM
Many modern weapons would be easy to convert. Many of them concert themselves in the event of a breakage. As others have said there is plenty reason not to. Multiple weapons are storied to be easy conversions which aren't...most notably the military guns...the ATF knows people will try so before they allow those to hit the shelves they demand changes to make it much more difficult. Other weapons are terribly easy, such as auto shotguns, but who wants to take a 5 shot hunting shotgun and turn it to auto...ATF understands that too. Some handguns are easy if you truly understand how they work.

AR would be very tough without experience.
AK easy but not reliably
Sks about like an AK
10-22 very tough.
Glock pistols, not hard if you understand the breakage that causes accidental full auto.

AlexanderA
February 5, 2014, 11:16 AM
The "How easy is it to convert?" question is really one that only the ATF Technical Branch can answer, and their rulings are notorious for their inconsistency.

There's a supposed "rule of thumb" (mentioned, I believe, in one or two court cases) that says that a gun is easily convertible if the job can be done within 8 hours in a fully equipped machine shop. But by that standard, practically all military-styled semiautomatics would be considered machine guns! Therefore, this "rule" is not useful.

If you apply a consistent logic, the original civilian Colt AR-15 should have been ruled a machine gun due to its degree of convertibility. But Colt had a lot of influence with the government and they got it approved. That set the benchmark and now a lot of things are legal as ordinary Title I firearms that, strictly speaking, should probably have come under the purview of the NFA. (Not that that's a bad thing.)

zignal_zero
February 5, 2014, 11:22 PM
"Cheap and easy"? For some of us, YES and reliable too. However, NOT "cheap and easy" the way they mean. Lemme clarify - sum1 who has never BUILT an AKM is not going to be able to buy the semi auto version and convert it with a $15 book and 30 minutes. Require a machine shop? Nope. Require some machining? Most def!

The list of guns I COULD convert is nice. The list of guns I WILL is non existent (in the absence of laws prohibiting SEMI auto).

So..... "cheap and easy"? YES..... for someone who already builds their own guns :)

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