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NFA Barrel Length Restriction

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by eng30312, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. eng30312

    eng30312 member

    Feb 29, 2012
    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”?
  2. Midwest

    Midwest Senior Member

    Sep 13, 2011
    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.
  3. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

    Feb 26, 2011
    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
    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
  4. 230RN
    • Contributing Member

    230RN Marines raising the Pisa tower.

    May 27, 2006
    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.)
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012

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