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Takedown rifle = accidental NFA weapon?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by jamesbeat, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. jamesbeat

    jamesbeat Well-Known Member

    I have been hankering after one of those little Crickett single shot .22's.

    I like the idea of replacing the takedown screw with a thumb screw so the stock could be detached for storage and transport.
    With the stock and barrelled action separated, the rifle would make a great backpack gun. I actually saw a post on another forum by a guy who did this; replaced the takedown screw with a large thumb screw, well more like a thumb wheel really, so that he could break it down.

    Thing is, because the barrel would remain in the action, and the gun could theoretically be discharged, would this technically be converting the rifle into a pistol?

    I love the idea of doing this, but not if it's iffy from a legal standpoint.
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    According to the definitions of the National Firearms Act, it couldn't become a pistol. If it did become a "NFA Title II Regulated Firearm" of some kind, it would be a "Firearm Made from A Rifle."

    The issues here are that it must not have a barrel shorter than 16" and it must not have an overall length of less than 26". In the case of guns with folding stocks, that 26" is measured with the stock extended. I don't know of any take-down rifles that are still fireable when broken down, so I don't know precisely how the law here would be applied.

    Did the fellow on that other forum happen to have a letter from the BATFE Technology Branch stating what their opinion was on his configuration?
  3. jamesbeat

    jamesbeat Well-Known Member

    No he didn't, I don't think it had occurred to him.

    It's not illegal to take the stock off your rifle, but maybe you'd run into problems if it could be done without tools, and was done for the purpose of making it smaller for transport?

    It's a thinker for sure...
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Well, no, taking the stock off the rifle (even without tools -- remember many military rifles can be field stripped without tools) doesn't make it a short barreled rifle. And take-down rifles have been around a very long time. (Browning, Winchester).

    The only question for me would be that of having the rifle in firing condition in a configuration where the stock was remove and the total length was then less than 26".
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I do not think it is a legal issue.

    I had a couple of old .22 single shots when I was a boy that had thumbscrew takedown, and 'could' still be fired with the stock off.

    But a cop or ATF agent would be hard pressed to make a case it was a NFA firearm unless you robbed a 7-11 without your stock and killed somebody by accident when the exposed trigger got caught in your baggy pants or something.

    In which case, they wouldn't even bother with proving an NFA violation anyway if you shot somebody during a robbery.

  6. RJTravel

    RJTravel Well-Known Member

    An AR-7 is fully functional with the stock removed and is much shorter than 26". Great to have ready accessible in a backpack, but I've often wondered if legal. Anyone know for sure?
  7. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Well-Known Member

    A lot of rifles, particularly bolt action Youth model single shots .22s, have a barreled action less than 26" overall length when removed from the stock.

    My first rifle was a Springfield (Stevens) bolt action with a coin-slotted stock screw which I transported disassembled. Out of the stock, the action was shorter than 26" and could be fired without a stock. I still have a single shot Savage that can be taken down with a coin to two components stock and barreled action less than 26" long with a 20" barrel at that. The screw is captive and stays in the stock so it was intended for takedown.

    More to the point: I have an AR-7 semi-auto that takes down into seperate action, magazine, barrel and stock. The longest component is 16". When the barrel is assembled to the action, the barreled action is 21.25" and it could be fired in that configuration, just as Cricket could be fired without a stock: awkwardly and not very effectively. ATF assumes we are going to put the stock on the the gun before using it. AR-7s are still legal after all these years. A barreled action with improvised rear grip and overall less than 26" would require a Form I to be legal.

    However, if you were caught using a barreled action shorter than 26" as a weapon in a crime, I assume it could be regarded as making a concealable weapon from a rifle without a Form I under federal law and probably some state laws cover that as well.

    Thousand of rifles have been made with barrel actions shorter than than 26" out of the stock, but since such firearms are only practical with stock installed, ATF has not been busting folks for illegal short rifles just because the stock was removed from a otherwise conventional rifle.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    They made them, and still do don't they??

    If they were illegal, they would have been stopped 50+ years ago when Armalite was making them the first time.

    AR-7 production:
    1959-1973: ArmaLite
    1973-1990: Charter Arms
    1990-1997: Survival Arms, Cocoa, FL
    1997–Present: Henry Repeating Arms Co., Brooklyn, NY
    1998-2004: AR-7 Industries, LLC, Meriden, CT (bought by ArmaLite in 2004)

  9. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Well-Known Member

    I would not worry about it, just as I would not worry about taking the stock off of a 10/22.
  10. jamesbeat

    jamesbeat Well-Known Member

    I suppose it might also be troublesome if the gun was transported as a barelled action without the stock present, which would obviously never happen with an innocent person merely breaking the rifle down for transport.
  11. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

    That sounds like a well-thought-out and logical answer. The law gets into a lot of verbiage over the original "design" of the firearm. As long as that has not inherently changed, it makes sense that one would not be in the wrong.
  12. tnelson31

    tnelson31 Well-Known Member

    From various sources, ARFCOM, Firing Line--stock is measured extended:

    Quote taken from From:
    ATF E-Publication 5320.8
    Revised: April 2009
    Page 9

    "NOTE: One version of the Marble’s Game Getter was produced with 18-inch barrels and a folding shoulder stock. This model of the Game Getter, as manufactured, is not subject to the provisions of the NFA because it has barrels that are 18 inches in length and the overall length of the firearm, with stock extended, is more than 26 inches. However, if the shoulder stock has been removed from the 18-inch barrel version of the Game Getter, the firearm has an overall length of less than 26 inches and is an NFA weapon. Specifically, the firearm is classified as a weapon made from a rifle/shotgun."

  13. backbencher

    backbencher Well-Known Member

    Well that just muddies the waters, don't it. If you need to carry a rifle in a backpack, get a KelTec Sub 2000.

    So, if we have an AR-7, we have to remove the barrel before we take the action out of the stock? Otherwise we've produced an unregistered SBR?
  14. RJTravel

    RJTravel Well-Known Member

    Backbencher addresses the question I have. I won't remove the barrel of my AR-7 b/c it disturbs sights, however when I detach the stock for carry in my backpack I would be in violation? I have done this very thing therefore would really like to know.
  15. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Well-Known Member

    How would removing the barrel create a short barrel anything? It's removed. Does removing the barrel on my shotgun somehow create a short barrel shotgun? No.

    I don't need to remove the stock from a 12 gauge prior to removing the barrel. Why would a rifle be any different?

    As far as the OP, if taking the action out of the stock for transport is causing issues, pull the bolt from the rifle as well. That way, the barreled action sans stock can not function as a firearm.
  16. backbencher

    backbencher Well-Known Member

    AF Vet, no, you are quite right. Removing the barrel from an AR-7 solves the problem. Leaving the 16" barrel on the AR-7 action while removing the stock creates a weapon made from a rifle that is less than 26" long, yet still functions as a firearm. Or, because there is no grip whatsoever, it is an "Other Firearm", like a tripod mounted semi-auto M1919 or a Franklin Armory XM-26? Maybe if we put a forward vertical grip or a tripod on it first? What other actions will fire w/ the grips removed? A T/C Contender? (That would hurt...)
  17. MaineNE

    MaineNE New Member

    It is not making a NFA item to remove the stock from a rifle. IT HAS TO HAVE A PISTOL GRIP replacing the stock to be a NFA item.
  18. Centurian22

    Centurian22 Well-Known Member

    I'll throw another possible 'violation' in this mix. Two bolt guns I have (a savage axis and 91/30 mosin nagant) could both be fired while removed from the stock (though I don't know anyone who would willing do this with a mosin). Not sure if the mosin would still be under 26" but I think my axis would be. If this were illegal in any way by any stretch, current manufactures would have to have a method to disable functionality when removed from the stock to avoid legal liability issues. (Right?)
  19. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Well-Known Member

    It needs a rear grip to be an issue. Like a saw-ed off shotgun.
    Having just a trigger guard to hold on to is not "functional".
  20. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Well-Known Member

    It's not illegal on an AR-7 because despite 5 different manufacturers, none have been able to make that gun fire in a reliable manner. ;)

    (Please, it's a joke, don't get all huffy and tell me how great your particular one is.)

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