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legality of building replica medieval siege weaponry

Discussion in 'Legal' started by WestKentucky, Feb 6, 2016.

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  1. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    This one is odd, even for me. I have a huge desire to build some siege machines just for target practice with something quite different. I'm thinking of items along the lines of trebuchet, ballista, catapult, and/or variations thereof such as a Roman Scorpion.

    I know these are not guns, but being powerful destructive tools they may have their own sets of laws. I don't intend to build anything massive either, everything I build will have a footprint small enough to fit in my pickup truck.
     
  2. vamo

    vamo Member

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    I don't see how that could be even remotely illegal so long as its you don't lay siege to your neighbor's garage or something.
     
  3. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    You would need to research state laws. No federal laws against it I'm aware of. You can even build siege weapons in NJ so I'm pretty sure it would be legal everywhere else.
     
  4. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    They hold the annual Pumpkin Chunkin contest in Delaware each year. Delaware isn't the worst when it comes to weapons laws, but they aren't the pinnacle of freedom, either.

    Trebuchets, catapults, even giant air cannons that will send a pumpkin through a mobile home. If I had the time and money, I'd love to build one, even if I was slinging nothing but the occasional gourd.
     
  5. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Geared toward kids, but check out the book "Backyard Ballistics". Got my 11 year old son a copy for Christmas last year and have built a few. The only comment I've gotten from any law enforcement was "cool" when he drove past and saw potatoes lofting through our little patch of airspace.
     
  6. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    Don't give Nanny Statists ideas.
     
  7. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    As happened to the Punkin Chunkin contest, it is not the law that gets you, but the tort liability
     
  8. Schutzen

    Schutzen Member

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    KY Laws

    I know of no laws against them in KY. That being said, I would not take them to Louisville or Lexington.
     
  9. Jeepergeo

    Jeepergeo Member

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    Hmmmm...never even considered the legality aspect.
    Our Scout Troop built trebuchets and we hurled grapefruit out at least 300 feet. The kids got pretty good at getting to the targets.

    Mind you, those things are wicked and one needs to take the utmost caution when winding it up and loading.
     
  10. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

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    Good one, vamo. LOL
     
  11. Traffer

    Traffer Member

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    If there are ANY laws against building your own trebuchet. I am going to move to Russia. I have just about had it with this godless, law crazy government.
     
  12. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    Pumpkin Chunkin' aside(lots of how to sites for that and non-gourd launchers), it's done regularly in the Society for Creative Anachronism.
    A Scorpion is just a big crew served crossbow. One SCA guy built a Chinese version that is literally a mag fed, bolt action, repeater. And it was about "a footprint small enough to fit in my pickup..."
    A full sized Treb will require an entire tree and a whole bunch of advanced engineering. One was built and fired for some TV show in England, years ago. Thing launched a big 80 pound incendiary projectile roughly 200 yards. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thiTa8wfZsc
     
  13. rodregier

    rodregier Member

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  14. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    Slingshots are illegal there. Fourth Degree Felony with 18 months in jail and $10,000 fine.

    http://www.njassemblyrepublicans.com/?tag=slingshots

    So IF the siege weapon does not have some sort of slingshot device, you might be ok. Who knows? Maybe they require a "Trebuchet Permit" there.
    .
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Kansas law prohibits Slungshots too.
    And it has been misunderstood on occasion for years.

    A Slungshot is more like a Flail, black jack, or Sap.

    It has nothing to do with elastic band powered Slingshots.

    rc
     
  16. zorro45

    zorro45 Member

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    nanny warning

    Remember that TV show that had the family of "little people" ?
    They built one of these to throw pumpkins (which it did) but one of the
    kids broke his arm somehow with it. These do store a lot of energy.
     
  17. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Federally, there are really no prohibitions on artillery type weapons so long as:

    -They are muzzle loading; do not use fixed ammunition (fixed cartridges make them DDs)

    -The projectiles are inert (Explosive projectiles are NFA regulated, chemical or biological are illegal "terror" weapons)

    You could, if you had the means and inclination, legally make a muzzle loading version of Gustav under federal law, and fire it with inert rounds. The cost and logistics of ramming a van load of propellant and a 3 ton projectile down a 30 meter barrel may be ridiculous, but it would be legal.
     
  18. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    At that scale, the $200 tax stamp to build a destructive device is miniscule. What's the legality of registering a 16" naval gun as a DD? :D
     
  19. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    I was bummed about missing Punkin Chunkin on Thanksgiving. Didn't find out til later the event was cancelled because they couldn't get an insurer.

    They're looking to leave Delaware for freer pastures this year.

    Like a scaled up Chu-ko-nu? Awesome. Would love to see that in action.
     
  20. Kaeto

    Kaeto Member

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    Mythbusters also created a magazine fed scorpion.
     
  21. HankB

    HankB Member

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    Do the projectiles have to be totally inert? I was under the impression that DD restrictions came in if the bursting charge in the projectile exceeded 1/4 ounce of explosive . . .

    (Please, no comments about the silliness of including a charge that small in a large muzzle loading cannon projectile. )
     
  22. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Regarding post #16:

    I've never watched the show, but agree with the caution. These are mechanically inefficient (usually), so there is a LOT of potential energy stored in the device, even one that simply slings a potato across my 200 foot deep back yard. One of the lessons I teach my son while we're making these is to be aware of moving parts, parts that store energy and keeping body parts clear of them. Also, have a good bit of "window" for the desired impact area. They are often very repeatable, but not exactly precise. Many variables between every shot.

    Couple all this with the fact that the neighbor whose back yard adjoins my back yard has an all glass patio, we decided early on to be VERY judicious. Well, I did. My son wants to go all in every time! Granted, his patio is a few hundred yards away, but I don't want a freak accident to cost me increased insurance rates.
     
  23. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Forgot about something in my last post. NJ has a law forbidding slingshots. However they are sold in a lot of places. A catapult or ballista would probably gain their attention.
     
  24. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Same as any other DD. Of course, procurement and cost are an issue, and you'd likely violate noise ordinances 3 counties away. Also, any neighbors who don't have Lexan windows ain't gonna be happy.

    Incendiary devices are DD, too.

    (1) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas, (A) bomb, (B) grenade, (C) rocket having a propellant charge of more than 4 ounces, (D) missile having an explosive charge of more than 1/4 ounce, (E) mine or (F) similar device.
     
  25. morcey2

    morcey2 Member

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    Isn't "trebuchet" French for "That cow went a lot farther than I thought it would!"
     
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