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Gunsmith Shipping Rebuilt Rifle

Discussion in 'Legal' started by MoscowMike, Nov 8, 2016.

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  1. MoscowMike

    MoscowMike Member

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    Last fall I purchased one of the Bren L4A3 kits from Sarco. They are supposed to be providing 7.62x51 caliber barrels one of these days, and I'm starting to look for someone to re-build it as a semi-auto.

    http://www.e-sarcoinc.com/bren-308-lmg-model-l4a3.aspx

    Normally when you ship a firearm to a gunsmith for repair or customization, they can ship it back to you without going through a dealer, if I understand it correctly. In this case, as the receiver is being re-built from torch cut parts, is this handled the same way? Under Federal law, is it handled as a new firearm transfer, (NICS check, 4473 form) or a repair/customization?
     
  2. HankB

    HankB Member

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    Under Federal law, a firearm that has been customized or repaired can be sent back to you without difficulty. The problem is - will the gun your 'smith puts together be merely a gun you have customized, or an entirely new rifle?

    Now IANAL, but I see 2 possibilities in your situation.

    1. The cut up receiver is legally no longer a firearm in any way, shape or form - it's just steel scrap. If a gunsmith welds it back together to make a functional firearm receiver, I think he's just manufactured a new firearm from scrap. New firearm, all transfer requirements are in play. Moreover, the receiver may need to be modified so that FA parts don't fit - you don't want an "accidental" machine gun, or something that the BATmen consider as such.

    2. Cut up receiver is still considered a demilled firearm - in this case, a demilled machine gun. Once a machine gun, always a machine gun, the BATmen say. Reactivating a demilled machine gun seems like a recipe for trouble.

    Hopefully, one of our legal eagles can weigh in with a definitive cite or case law result, but I think you're going to have to jump through some hoops to do everything up legal. AND - I suspect you're going to have trouble finding a 'smith willing to put the receiver back together for you.
     
  3. boom boom
    • Contributing Member

    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Shotgun news in their Gunsmithing Projects Special edition collection of past articles had rebuilding a Bren Gun (albeit in .303) from welding up a cut receiver in a safe and legal fashion. I believe Steve Mathews was the author. The article might help you discuss the project with a gunsmith to do it. You can also find on some of the milsurps gun boards, gunsmiths that do such projects, either as a sponsor, or describing a legal build.
     
  4. boom boom
    • Contributing Member

    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Oh, up late last night for some reason, you might also ask the folks that you are buying the kit from what gunsmiths that they would recommend to handle the project. Under the circumstances, they probably would have to have a manufacturing license and you would certainly want a very skilled machinist/gunsmith/mfg. to handle it as the welds on the receiver can cause warping unless done properly and the machining to render it semi requires skills, and you will probably want the receiver re-heat treated after welding and machining. If not done properly, it can warp the receiver. This is a pretty advance type project to make everything work together and probably will not come cheap. For tweaking the project or asking about it, milsurps board has a master armorer by the name of Peter Laidler (former British military) who can probably answer any questions that you might have in the British Firearms section. Another guy, in S.C., who is a gunsmith on the board might also be able to help--Brian ?(can't remember his last name). Be sure to read the stickies and search for past postings on the issues before asking for their time and trouble--it is good etiquette on that board.

    Hank B, it is my understanding that BATF approved cut receivers for selectfire weapons under BATF regulations are scrap metal, until of course that they are remanufactured in such a way to be fully auto again which would include welding them back up. From what I remember of Steve Mathew's article is that the sequence in which things are done are important and you never (unless properly licensed) want all of the components to a full selectfire weapon in your possession. Thus, you have to modify the bolt where it cannot fire in a certain way, you have to modify the receiver so it cannot fire, can't remember but believe sear alterations are also necessary in this build, and so on. His articles explain it far better than I can.
     
  5. rule303

    rule303 Member

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    Unless you are supplying a serial numbered receiver to the "gunsmith", he will be manufacturing a firearm in the eyes of the law. As such, it will need to be transferred on a 4473 form.
     
  6. MoscowMike

    MoscowMike Member

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    It makes sense we would be manufacturing a rifle once the receiver is , so the smith will need to have the appropriate license. Thanks for the suggestions on finding one. SARCO is - not really helpful in those sorts of areas. It reminds me, though, I should call and find out if they have made any progress on getting some .308 barrels made. After all, next week it will have been a year!
     
  7. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    The demilling is done upon importation to render the receiver legally 'inert.' It is indistinguishable from casting slag at a foundry (sometimes literally). Whether it is rebuilt into a proper semi-auto by you, a licensed manufacturer, or as a post-sample by an SOT, or as an illegal MG by a biker gang or idiot, the act is the same as doing this from a solid billet of steel. The reason for 'denial' features when rewelding the shreds is so you a) don't unintentionally make something the exact same shape & therefore function as a machine gun, and b) don't make a semi-auto that can easily accept original machinegun parts and go happy with little or no additional work.

    If you aren't building it yourself, it'll need to go through an FFL manufacturer. Not simply a dealer, since dealers don't manufacture, and manufacture is what's happening when these shreds are stitched back together.

    There's also 922r stuff to worry about, and if involving a licensed manufacturer, they're more likely to hold you to this loosely (un)enforced law to cover themselves. But BREN's have been popular builds for a while so there should be sufficient US parts around to get you by for just a little more money. Good luck finding a good builder (Midwest Gunworks I believe does/has done these in addition to a zillion other projects), but be prepared to wait a long time and pay mucho dinero for any kind of decent conversion. This is a true labor of love thing, like restoring an old Camaro; it will not be cheap, nor easy, nor fast, and the finished product will not compete well with any modern offering assuming it ever runs right.

    But it will be awesome, and no one else that you'll ever meet will have one

    That said, the L4A3 is a super cool BREN variant, which is not only in 308 NATO, but uses the 30rnd FAL mags (and therefore also 20rnd FAL mags). Just be sure when you get your kit that it's a true L4A3 with the magwell button-spacer holes; Sarco tried to send me a MK II kit (which although identical to the L4A3 minus the 308 conversion, doesn't cost nearly as much ;) )

    TCB
     
  8. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    "SARCO is - not really helpful in those sorts of areas"
    *snicker* Soiled And Rusty COmpany ;). Just be happy if they send you the right parts in a timely manner, in a box that doesn't contain Africanized termites that destroy your house (seriously though; check for bugs/vermin before taking their boxes inside, especially in summer months)

    Weaponsguild, weaponeer, and to a lesser extent Gunco, Militaryfirearm, AKfiles, Falfiles, and AR15.com (last resort) will have all the info you need to get a handle on the project. THR doesn't have a proper gunbuilding sub-forum inside gunsmithing because it's never been that big of a feature here (getting more substantial in recent years, though)

    TCB
     
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