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If I sell the UPPER half of my AR15 SBR...

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by Lindy7443, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Lindy7443

    Lindy7443 Active Member

    and keep the LOWER half in my safe...

    Do I need to contact ATF for any reason?

    Is this legal to do?

    Down the road, could I buy the same length upper of another style and put it on my registered / stamped lower?

  2. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    No. Uppers aren't registered.

    Yes. As long as you (or an SOT) maintain possession of the registered lower.

    You can put any upper you want on it. You're not limited to the one described on your form 1/4.
  3. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Well-Known Member

    I believe ATF wants notification if there's a permanent change to a registered firearm- you've sold the upper with the barrel length/caliber that they have on file, meaning the rifle can't currently be put back into the configuration you submitted.
  4. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member


    FYI, your lower might be registered with a specific caliber and overall length, i.e. if you change from a .223/5.56mm upper to a .300BLK, 9mm, or any round not registered to that lower. Some people will list a number of lengths and/or calibers on the F1 so that they have more flexibility.
  5. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    I did this on my first two, on my last two BATFE kicked them back saying I had to but a line through all but one caliber, barrel, length, and OAL. Wasted a week in getting my stamps :(
  6. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    Do they have a form to use to notify them, or do you just write a letter "to whom it may concern" and tell them what you've changed?
  7. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Well-Known Member

    So one lower can't be registered as a 9mm/5.56mm SBR?

    I know that they started rejecting forms where the owner wrote 'multiple' in any of those fields, but I thought that they were accepting them when you at least narrow it down to the uppers that you'll actually be using on the lower.

    Otherwise, I suppose you could register it with one length/caliber and then send them 'notification' letters that you've acquired a 9mm upper that will ride that lower as well.
  8. Aaron Baker

    Aaron Baker Well-Known Member

    The ATF wants to be notified if you make a permanent change to a registered SBR. If you keep the original spec upper, you can swap to any other upper, short or regular length, without notifying the ATF. But if you get rid of the original upper and put on a different upper as a permanent change, the ATF asks that you pretty-please let them know. As far as I know, there's no law that requires that. They just want to keep the registry accurate.

    So if you're keeping the lower, but not the upper, and aren't putting on a different upper, I don't see any reason to send them a letter. But if you change calibers or lengths by getting a new upper, it doesn't hurt to send them a letter saying so.

  9. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    My gut instinct: if it's not required by the law, F 'em.

    I think you need to perhaps be more worried about selling the buyer into a "constructive possession" prosecution if he has another AR rifle and no AR pistol without having a tax stamp for a lower.
  10. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    That's not his problem, though.

    And constructive possession with SBR's isn't the same as machine guns. They'd have to prove that you took two perfectly legal-to-own components and assembled an illegal one. With machine guns, simply having all the parts and a receiver to accept them constitutes possession, whether they were ever assembled or not. But having a short barrel that could go on a rifle or a hacksaw that could shorten your rifle below 16" is not illegal unless you actually put that short barrel on or cut the existing one below 16".

    I'm not saying I think it's a good idea to have a pistol upper and only a rifle lower hanging around, but I've also never heard of anyone being prosecuted over it, except those that actually assembled them and were dumb enough to post pictures and/or brag about their unregistered SBR.
  11. rwschill

    rwschill member


    I have talked to NFA and they talked about "reconstruct". As long I can reconstruct the rifle as on the form 4 I can use any short or long upper including changing cal like 300 blackout on it without contacting them. I am keeping the original upper to avoid any issues. Problem is every source you talk to you get a different answer.
  12. 12131

    12131 Well-Known Member

    This makes no sense to me. Say I sold my 10.5 inch Noveske 5.56 upper, and bought a 10.5 inch LMT 5.56 upper, how is it that you have to notify anyone? It's the same caliber, same barrel length, just a different handguard.:confused:
  13. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Well-Known Member

    Do any of their regulations or interpretations? :neener:
  14. Flyincedar

    Flyincedar Well-Known Member

    You dont have to notify anyone. They would like to be notified if you remove the rifle from NFA status, by taking it out of SBR configuration. That is all. Its not required.

    Oh, and just keep in mind, talking to ATF means jack squat. Doesnt matter what they tell you. If its not in writing, it never happened.
  15. 12131

    12131 Well-Known Member

    Got a point there.:banghead:
  16. Aaron Baker

    Aaron Baker Well-Known Member

    No one said (or at least meant to imply) that you need to notify them if the caliber and length stay the same.

    In fact, you don't have to notify them, period. But the ATF likes you to notify them if you make a change that affects one of the entries on the Form 1/4. Such as overall length, caliber, etc. But there's not actually any law that requires you to do so, as far as I know.

    Case in point: I registered an SBR AR15 on a Form 1 with an 11.25" .223 barrel. Overall length and caliber were listed on the Form 1. I bought a 10.5" .458 SOCOM barrel (and put it on an upper). For a while, I switched back and forth without notifying the ATF, and that complied with their wishes. But then I sold the .223 upper and kept the .458 SOCOM upper. So I wrote them a letter telling them that it was now a different overall length and caliber. I wasn't required to, but the ATF asks that you do that so that the registry is current. They sent me a nice little letter back saying thanks. (And apologizing for the delay in responding.)

    That's it.

    Technically, once you register your SBR, it's a registered SBR under the law, regardless of caliber or length. But there's no real headache in playing nice with the ATF on this one issue, so let them know if you make a permanent change that affects any of the entries that are on file because of what you put on the Form 1/4. Otherwise, swap things around as much as you want.

  17. 12131

    12131 Well-Known Member

    Which brings me to this, which I think is true: You can have several uppers simulatneously for one registered lower.
  18. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's correct. As many as you want, in whatever barrel lengths or cartridges you want.
  19. jmorris

    jmorris Well-Known Member

    Read it again. In your example you didn't change configuration so you don't need to do anything.
    Brand of upper is not listed on a form 1 or 4 and that's the only difference I can see.?

    You can put any upper on it anytime you want but if you don't want to have to change any information on your form 1 or 4 you are going to want to keep an upper set up in the configuration listed on your paper work.
  20. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    I much prefer they be concerned and apologize about the 6+ months it takes to get a form approved!

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