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Plainfield M2 carbine NFA or not?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by MasterSergeantA, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

    Is a Plainfield M2 carbine that was re-imported from Central America which has no sear or other full auto parts in it still subject to the NFA? It has the correct stock and appears to be capable of accepting the proper parts, but it was sold as a M1 carbine on a 4473 by a pawn shop that has its FFL 01. I didn't know if, as is the case with some guns, the sear itself might be the registered part or if the receiver is the "machinegun". And maybe it WON'T take the parts; is there an easy way to tell?

    The gun in question belongs to one of my students who is a B-52 flight officer. (I teach a counter-IED course for the Army.) He purchased it in Florida back a few years ago. I will refer the question to the ATF for final adjudication, but I was trying to see if there was a simpler (and less official) way to get some info first. He is willing to forfeit the gun if it is illegal, but I am reluctant to send him to the ATF before trying other sources as they seem to have a tendency to think forfeiture first and getting something back that isn't actually illegal can be a chore. (I have specific experience in that area.)

    Anyone know anything about these? Any dealers on the board ever dealt with this issue?
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Any M1 carbine ever made will take the M2 "kit", so as you don't have the kit?

    They handed the kits out during Vietnam in OD green sealed foil bags to anyone with an M1 Carbine who wanted them.

    But, I am not sure where a Plainfield with M2 stamped on the receiver falls into the pot?

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  3. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure the ATF's stance is once a machinegun, always a machinegun.
  4. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

  5. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    I know that with USGI M2 Carbines the BATF considers *any* M2 Carbine that was factory marked "M2" or arsenal remarked as "M2" to have been "manufactaured as a MG" and thus must have been registered prior to May 1986 in order to be legally owned.

    This is true whether or not the M2 Carbine is capable of full-auto fire in it's current configuration. The "M2" stamp alone tells the ATF it was made as a MG.

    For Planfield carbines, the link that Deprice posted seems to indicate that Planfield made full-auto carbines and marked their full-auto carbines as "M2." I would therefore believe that the ATF would also view any Planfield carbine with marking of "M2" to be evidence that that particular carbine was originally manufactured as a MG.

    I believe the ATF would consider that Planfield M2 to be a MG, even if it doesn't have the parts needed for full auto installed now. Since it was NOT transfered on a Form 4, I'd figure out a way to legally dispose of it.

    I don't think the fact that it was transfered on a regular 4473 will help. He could bring that up as a defense in trial, if it got that far, but I'm sure the ATF will hold that "once a MG, always a MG" even if it was incorrectly transfered on a 4473 in the past.

    Considering the low price of the gun, I'd get rid of to avoid the high price of legal headahces. (And by get rid of it, I mean have his attorney turn it into the ATF).
  6. I would think that close inspection would show that any particular carbine had had the M2 parts installed, as it would show wear on the mounting and contact areas, much like an AR-15 aftermarket "auto sear" marks the lower receiver. A good BATF agent can tell if an AR has been modified at some point with an auto sear. If a Plainfield M@ marked carbine never had M2 parts installed, it may be evidentary to conclude that it was NOT manufactured as a machinegun, by the same means that BATF DOES qualify a gun as a machinegun.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    In the face of statements by Plainfield that it made "M2" carbines in a selective fire configuration for export, and that State approved those sales, I doubt it could be claimed that a Plainfield carbine marked "M2" is not a machinegun, no matter if it has or ever has had the selective fire parts installed.

    I agree that the value is low and certainly not worth risking real trouble for. A Plainfield carbine is worth less than $500, and I can pretty well guarantee that legal fees alone would exceed that, in about, oh, ten minutes.

  8. Swing

    Swing Well-Known Member

    That's always been my understanding too; if its marked M2, regardless if it has a happy switch or not, its an MG as far as the Federales are concerned.
  9. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Plainfield, as a manufacturer, could have called its carbines by any model number they wanted, M1, M2, or M5678889. Doesn't matter, but they kept to the Army designation, I guess for convenience or to show some connection, and they said a Plainfield M2 was a selective fire weapon. BATFE essentially says a gun is what it is marked.

  10. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    That's definately true as far as USGI M2 Carbines are concerned.

    The question is whether that applies to Planfield M2 Carbines because, technically, Planfield could have made semi-auto only Carbines and marked them M2 if they wanted.

    So, the question is, did Planfield ONLY use the M2 marking on their full-auto capable Carbines? If so, then I'm sure the ATF would consider the presence of the M2 mark evidence that any particular Carbine was originally manufactured as a MG.

    If someone could prove that Planfield marked semi-auto only Carbines as M2 (in addition to the ones they marked M1) that would complicated the issue.

    Personally, considering the low value of the carbine, and the face that Planfield apperantely made full-auto carbines *and* marked them M2, I'd just assume that any Planfield M2 Carbine started out life as a full auto and I wouldn't own one for that reason.

    I'd hate to try to have to prove that Planfield also made semi-auto only Carbines that were marked M2 and then have to also prove that my particular M2 Carbine was one of those NOT manufactured as a MG. Seems like a lot of risk and work for a low value gun.
  11. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Well-Known Member

    If the receiver is marked "M2" it is a machinegun forever to ATF, regardless of the fire control group being M1 semi-auto or the M2 (T17 or T18 kit).

    If the receiver is M1, just make sure the internals are M1. ATF has a list of M2 fire control parts not kosher for an M1.

    It is often repeated that some M1 carbines sold by the DCM in the 1960s had every component of the M2 fire control group except the internal rocker lever and external switch. A few M2 parts were acceptable replacement parts on the M1.

    ADDED: You also should know that carbines with the T17 or T18 kits installed were referred to as M2 carbines regardless of the receiver marking. If the receiver is marked "M1" you simply swap in M1 fire control components and don't retain the M2 fire control parts, and you are legal.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012

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