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how to start ar pistol build

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by handgunner308, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. handgunner308

    handgunner308 Well-Known Member

    Id like to start a ar pistol build but i need to know length legality. Im looking to get a 15 inch barrel but will it make the oal illegal for minnesota? Another thing is finding the barrel and the perfect caliber for accuracy in a short barrel but enough to take down a deer. My cousin made his in 243 wsm 15 1/2 inch barrel he says the cal is perfect for a short barrel but i was thinking maybe a 270wsm will be better.
  2. rjrivero

    rjrivero Well-Known Member

    This really doesn't belong in the NFA section. If you're building a pistol, then it's not an NFA firearm.

    There are no federal regulations in regards to the length of either the barrel or the overall length of a pistol. You can make the barrel any length you want to.

    I don't know if there are length requirements for pistols in Minnesota or not, so I'll leave that for someone who knows for sure.
  3. handgunner308

    handgunner308 Well-Known Member

    all Thompson center encore and contenders have a max barrel length of 15 inches all manufature barrels except custom barrels can be whatever length this is for the reasoning that the rule is any LEGAL pistol has a barrel length of 15 and under. I have no idea about the OAL tho and either way were to even get a AR upper in my chambering I choose and barrel length
  4. backbencher

    backbencher Well-Known Member


    I always presumed T/C sold 15" bbls so if you wanted to add a stock to your pistol receiver, you'd have to buy a 2nd bbl from them - if all they sold were 16" bbls, all you'd need would be a stock.

    I recently converted my 16" bbl AR pistol w/ full length buffer tube to a 16" carbine w/ collapsible stock - so the OAL of my rifle is now shorter than it was as a pistol. God bless our Congress.

    If you're looking for a supersonic deer round in the AR, the .30" AAC Blackout is quite popular @ the moment. Also, 7.62x39, 6.5mm Grendel, & 6.8 Remington SPC are all contenders. Subsonic, you have .30" AAC Blackout & the .45"-.50" thumpers.

    Are you sure Minnesota has a max OAL for pistols?
  5. Nikdfish

    Nikdfish Well-Known Member

    300BLK is becoming popular for SBR/pistol upper builds. It doesn't lose that much in short barrel vs long barrel since it uses less powder than the 5.56 and tends towards faster powders (like H110). Example: a given 110 grain load that does 2390 fps out of a 16" barrel will probably do about 2170 fps from a 10" barrrel (per AAC briefing paper).

    I'm doing one currently with a SS 10.5" barrel assembly from Alpha Shooting Sports. A discount code let me get barrel/gas block/gas tube for < $200 (regular price is still not bad @ $235).

    My understanding is that there is no specific maximum length for a pistol barrel, at least in federal statutes. Can't say that is the case for all state statutes, but I've never heard of any. Some states may not permit AR pistols because of "assault pistol" statutes.

    The main thing on an AR pistol build is to use a lower receiver that has never previously had a shoulder stock attached - i.e. use a "virgin" stripped lower (transferred as "other") or one that was sold configured as a pistol. To do otherwise is to make a pistol from a rifle, which is a big no-no.

  6. backbencher

    backbencher Well-Known Member


    Er, the trick is to use a receiver never assembled as a complete rifle or shotgun. IE, the receiver may have had a stock on it prior to your assembling it as a pistol, but not @ the same time a complete upper was installed. But best to buy a stripped receiver anyway, & get the factory certificate of virginity.
  7. handgunner308

    handgunner308 Well-Known Member

    Either its a minnesota thing or laws must have changed everywere I heard all handguns cannot exceed past a barrel length of 15 inches if so you will need to change it over to a rifle. I understand the virgin lowers and all the main issue Im having is finding a upper in a 243wsm or 270 wsm being 15 inches barrel length with the barrel being rifled for the correct twist rate for the load. you cannot take a 308 full length barrel and chop it down to 15 inches and expect it to shoot well thats why our custom thompson center encore chambered in 308 when ordered asked for a specified twist and already had a norm for twist rate if you did not reload yourself, that gun has bullets touching at 100 yards so yes short barrels can be accurate.
    Id like to get a flatter shooting round that at the same time loses little velocity in a shorter barrel while still holding accuracy and knocking down game, our 308 coming out a 15 inch barrel gets about 2300 fps so were losing at least 400-500 fps i think, at least thats what the calculator said.
    my cousin has already completed his and used it when deer season opened but on his terms he was pushing it with a 15 1/2 inch barrel.
    overall I just need to know what cal is best for my needs and what is the legal OAL of the handgun if any law says so in minnesota, and were to get the barrels with the right chambering and twist rates.
    I understand it would need to be on a AR 10 rather a 15 for the higher powered rounds
  8. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

  9. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    Maybe a MN thing, but definitely not federal. There is no minimum or maximum barrel length or OAL for handguns under federal law.

    Why on earth not? You can't hacksaw it an expect good results, but that has nothing to do with the length and everything to do with the muzzle. A cut down and properly crowned barrel will shoot just fine.

    Barrel length has nothing to do with accuracy, provided it's long enough to stabilize the bullet (happens very quickly, generally within a couple inches for rifles).

    Incorrect. The most recent ATF ruling is that as long as the receiver was originally a handgun or other, you can convert back and forth between rifle and pistol, so long as the assembled unit is never configured as an SBR or AOW.

    However, if the receiver was catalogued as a rifle receiver, you cannot turn it into a handgun without SBR stamp.

    In short, a handgun or virgin lower can be either a rifle or handgun, and can be converted back and forth into legal title I configurations

    A rifle lower can only be a rifle lower, unless you go the form 1 route with it (in which case it's still a rifle, but not constrained to title I regs for barrel and OAL). It does not matter if an upper or barrel was ever installed or not. A rifle receiver is a rifle receiver, period.
  10. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

    Also incorrect. The receiver will not be transferred as a 'rifle' or 'handgun', but merely a 'receiver'. Even with a stock already mounted, if it has no upper, it is ONLY a receiver. If you remove the stock and put a short upper on it after you buy it, you have made a handgun...which can be reconfigured as a rifle if you wish and back to pistol configuration...as many times as you like. You cannot do the same thing if you build it first as a rifle. There is no longer such a thing as a "rifle receiver". Check the 4473 for details.


    And I have included the ATF ruling as well.

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  11. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    There is if it's transferred that way, which some FFLs will do for their 18-20 YO customers, since one has to be 21 to buy anything other than a long gun from a licensed dealer.

    (b) It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed
    manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or
    deliver -
    (1) any firearm or ammunition to any individual who the
    licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is less than
    eighteen years of age, and, if the firearm, or ammunition is
    other than a shotgun or rifle, or ammunition for a shotgun or
    rifle, to any individual who the licensee knows or has reasonable
    cause to believe is less than twenty-one years of age;
  12. Bubbles

    Bubbles Well-Known Member

    If they're transferring receivers as "long guns" (there is no option for "rifle receiver") to get around the 21 year old and over law, then ATF will eventually figure it out and slap the stuffing out of them.

    Now if the FFL had an 07 he could take that receiver, put on the stock and upper, run it through his manufacturing log (FAET due and all that), and transfer the rifle.
  13. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Well-Known Member

    Which FFL's are doing this?:scrutiny:
    Do you have first hand kknowledge or is this another internet tale?

    Any licensed dealer who is transferring a receiver as "long gun" to get around Federal law is committing a felony.......as are those 18-20 year olds who are receiving that firearm.

    I have no tolerance for cheats, thieves, liars and crooks..........and neither should anyone else. Dealers who are transferring receivers as "long guns" are in serious violation of Federal law.
  14. handgunner308

    handgunner308 Well-Known Member

    I will just have to contact the ATF about this seems like before the big rule was15 inch and shorter barrels for handguns now you guys are telling me I could of had a 20 inch barrel on our TC encore handgun..... and no you cannot chop down barrels and expect same accuracy at least in alot of calibers theres a specific length and twist rate for a reason chopping down the barrel gives less time to stabilize the bullet enough if the twist rate is too slow. atleast this was what I was told by custom barrel manufatures
  15. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

    Pistol barrels can legally be of any length. It has always been this way.

    Benchrest pistol anyone?

    Shorter barrels are more accurate since they are stiffer.

    Loosing velocity will have a negative effect on practical long range accuracy since the bullet will drop out of supersonic flight earlier.
  16. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    We're talking fully assembled lowers, complete with stock, as they came from the manufacturer. These are not stripped receivers.

    I dunno. I'm not a dealer, just an 03 collector, so I don't deal with 4473 transfers. I can only go off of what I was told by a particular 01, which was that these completed, stocked lowers were in his A&D books as rifles. As such, they could not be configured into pistols but could be sold to 18 year olds.

    I never researched this particular matter, because it doesn't affect me one way or the other. I'm well past 21, and I don't buy completed lowers because I hate A2 grips and I'm not real big on standard M4 stocks.
  17. handgunner308

    handgunner308 Well-Known Member

    I am still in disbelief when you guys tell me I can go longer than a 15 inch barrel... its baffling why I been told by everyone that It had to be 15 inches and under to be a legal handgun so really I can build a AR handgun with a full length barrel? its all too risky I will just personaly ask the ATF about this one
  18. rjrivero

    rjrivero Well-Known Member

    He's wrong. They CAN be configured as pistols. You just have to remove the stock first. They are complete lowers but they are NOT rifles. They are LOWER RECEIVERS.

    A lower receiver has no "rifled bore" therefore is NOT a rifle. They are transferred on a 4473 as "other" and are only transferable to a person 21 and older. LINK HERE.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  19. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    For the last time, YES. A handgun can have a barrel of ANY length. Make it .2" for fun, or 25 feet to set some record. It'd be legal either way

    Go ahead and pester them. After all, we're paying their wages. But you will get the same answer you've been getting.
  20. rjrivero

    rjrivero Well-Known Member

    Again I quote you title 27 § 479.11:
    There is NO mention of length requirements for pistol. It seems that the length restrictions are a Minnesota thing. Not federal.

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