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Legality of building your own gun from scratch?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Reno, Aug 1, 2004.

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  1. Reno

    Reno Member

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    I'm an engineering student with a year-long design project coming up, and access to a CNC machine, and have been considering building a gun from raw materials (excluding springs and fasteners). I know that manufacturers need a type 07 FFL, but does building one for purely personal use require that license?
     
  2. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    It's legal as long as the firearm meets all federal laws (ie not a machinegun or an "assault weapon") and there are no local laws prohibiting it. There is the problem of having a firearm on "school" property.
     
  3. The Undertoad

    The Undertoad Member

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    DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR THIS- but I was discussing this with an old friend just a few days ago. He said it was legal to build a small number of firearms per year for personal use only and illegal to sell them.

    I'm sure someone with more experience can chime in. :)
     
  4. Reno

    Reno Member

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    Well, it definately would not be a machine gun, probably not an "assault weapon" but with any luck the ban would be long gone by the time any construction begins.

    I'd have to check on rules for school but something might be able to worked out if it otherwise would not be allowed.

    I'm thinking of something obscenely ridiculous like a 7.62x39 or 30-06 autoloading handgun.
     
  5. DMF

    DMF Member

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    Well there are a couple of issues here.

    1- Contact the ATF and see if they can provide guidance on the federal issues.

    2- Contact the state Attorney General's office to guidance on restrictions in your state. Such as any state restrictions regarding firearms manufacturing, and any restrictions against firearms on campus.

    3- Contact the county prosecutor's office to guidance about any local laws that may affect your project.

    4- Discuss this with your academic advisor to get his input into whether the college may have any problems with the idea of making a firearm on campus.
     
  6. trapperjohn

    trapperjohn Member

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    Reno;
    as I understand it from a legal standpoint you can make one for yourself, one thing to make sure and do is to put a serial number on it, any serial number, It is a federal offence to have a reciever without one.

    about the engineering project though...
    I am an engineering professor and supervise/advise senior designs. ARe you designing a new mechanism, or are you copying a design such as a 1911?
    as an engineering prof I would not give you credit on simply manufacturing something that has already been engineered.
    is this a project that you already have an advisor for that has or will approve it?
     
  7. deej

    deej Member

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    From the horse's a...um...mouth:

    IANAL, YMMV, TANSTAAFL.
     
  8. Reno

    Reno Member

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    trapperjohn, right not I'm still just kicking the idea around, but I wouldn't be copying anything.

    Thanks for the link deej. That just leaves the local authorities to check with now.

    I'm not terribly optimistic about getting the project approved, since the university implimented an illegal CCW ban, but I can always try.
     
  9. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    I wrote the ATF for written clarification of FAQ A7 and the legality of building a postban AR15 from raw materials, here are the three pages of their response:
    Page 1
    Page 2
    Page 3

    Kharn
     
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    If you catch too much flak from the school or whoever, you might consider making a "concept gun" that wasn't chambered, and couldn't be loaded or fired. Then later you could chamber the barrel and proceed on from there.
     
  11. TimRB

    TimRB Member

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    "I'm thinking of something obscenely ridiculous like a 7.62x39 or 30-06 autoloading handgun."

    30-06???

    That would be quite a handgun. Because of its recoil I doubt that you could build one that a human could hang onto, but that notwithstanding I would check to see if BATF would consider it a short-barreled (and therefore possibly illegal) rifle.

    Tim
     
  12. Harry Tuttle

    Harry Tuttle Member

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    heck, the magnum research Lone Eagle breach block was a 30-06 handgun
     
  13. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    Not as long as it doesn't have a shoulder stock.
     
  14. TimRB

    TimRB Member

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  15. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    If you make a 30-06 handgun, make it semi-auto and able to accept a factory magazine, whether it be a BAR mag or a Remington 700, just accept a factory mag.


    If you do that, you may gain quite a bit of interest.

    If you can make it work, I'd like to see the plans.

    I've always wanted a 30 caliber handgun but not wanted to go the chopped FAL AOW route.
     
  16. Brett Bellmore

    Brett Bellmore Member

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    Heck, I seem to recall that Barrett once built a .50 BMG handgun, whose muzzle brake was so effective that it yanked you forward. With enouigh muzzle brake, you can shoot just about anything out of a handgun.

    As long as you're wearing REALLY good ear protection, and don't care what happens to people standing next to you... :what:
     
  17. hvengel

    hvengel Member

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    I used to live n Susanville Ca. At the local JC they have a gunsmithing program (2 years of study). When I was living there one of the students rebarreled a TC Contendor for a 458 Win Mag. It had no conpensator and the recoil was severe to the point of causing injuries. So hand guns that shoot big powerful cartridges do exist and I sustect that if he had put a good conpensator on his 458 Contendor it would not have been bad to shoot.
     
  18. Bubbles

    Bubbles Member

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    Do you have a cite for this? There are still a lot of pre-'68 guns out there that were never numbered. AFAIK it's illegal to tamper with a serial number, but not illegal to have a "sterile" receiver that was never numbered.
     
  19. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Member

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    How about a .50 six-shooter?

    [​IMG]

    The requirement for a serial number applies licensed importers, licensed manufacturers and anyone making NFA firearms (excluding DDs).
     
  20. Kharn

    Kharn Member

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    Bubbles is right, read the letter I linked to above. The ATF only strongly recommends a private builder place identifying marks on the firearm, there is no legal requirement.

    Kharn
     
  21. Reno

    Reno Member

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    Thanks to all for the replies and information.

    I definately would like to go the route of pre-existing mag, having to design that would be even more of a pain. I imagine with a handgun I'd need a pretty strong recoil spring setup, does something in the 40-50lb range sound about right?

    I'll have to run through a lot of calculations if this materializes but does anyone think ordinary steel would be workable for something like this, keeping in mind that I would like to keep it within a reasonable size?

    I think even if it's not accepted, I'd like to work on it as a personal, side project, just for kicks.
     
  22. Logan5

    Logan5 Member

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    Maybe you could think about going black powder/non-cartridge, and avoid a whole lot of headaches? Turn out, say, a stainless percussion take on a webly-fosberry automatic revolver... or design something prettier.
    Since it'd be percussion, you could make one for me too, and I could buy it by mail! ;)
     
  23. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    Something about that thing looks........well.......PORNOGRAPHIC :uhoh:

    It would be way cool to build your own firearm. Would the barrel be the most difficult? How would you cut the rifling?
     
  24. wintermute76

    wintermute76 Member

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    I recently built a copy of a ruger 10/22 Magnum. To avoid rather impractical work, I bought the stock, barrel and trigger group. Machined the bolt and receiver.

    It doesn't need to be serial numbered, but according to the FFL/SOT I talked to, it'll save you lots of headaches if for some reason you get stopped about it or whatever. they get kinda funny about a firearm with no numbers. Just serial it with the date of completion or something similar.

    Also, he said it a bit of a gray area, but you can sell it in the future, say you get tired of it in a year or two. As long as it wasn't made for resale and you aren't in the business of making them for sale it's legal. But there isn't a set number that makes it illegal, so that's why it's a bit fuzzy.

    But, check all the laws for yourself just to be on the safe side.
     
  25. mpmillen

    mpmillen Member

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    Check out KTORDNANCE.com

    http://www.ktordnance.com/kto/products.php

    I am not a tool belt kinda guy. I am lucky to hammer to 2x4's together.

    The idea of completing a project like this is just a dream for me. However, if you have the skills and access to the tools, I don;t think this would be that hard.

    Mark
     
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