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Need info for class: How easy to convert a gun to full auto?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by TargetTerror, Sep 9, 2007.

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  1. TargetTerror

    TargetTerror Member

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    First, I am NOT looking to convert a semi-auto gun to full auto, and I do NOT want detailed information on how to do that.

    I am reading a case for law school involving a the possession of an unregistered automatic ar-15 (Staples v. US, 114 SCT 1793). BATF and local police executed a search warrant on Mr. Staples (the case didn't say what the warrant was for, as that is not the point of law we are studying right now - it is understood to be valid). They discovered an AR-15 that had apparently been converted to fire under full auto. (The Defendant insisted that the gune had operated only semiautomatically, "and even then imperfectly, often requireing manual ejection of the spent casing and chambering of the next round" :evil:)

    The editor noted that AR-15s have a metal stop on the receiver that prevents the selector switch from a full auto M-16 from being rotated into the full auto position if installed. The editor notes that "the metal stop ... had been filed away, and the rifle had been assembled with an M-16 selector switch and several other M-16 internal parts, including a hammer, disconnector, and trigger."

    From that language, it would seem that you simply file something down, replace a few parts, and voila! full auto mayhem everywhere! :what: I'm at law school in Boston, and I bet my fellow classmates will be shocked and up in arms that it is even possible to own a full auto firearm, let alone how "easy" it is to convert a semi-auto gun into full auto. I doubt the issue of full auto conversions will come up, but, if it does, I'd like to have some facts to throw into the discussion.

    So, just how easy is it to convert to full auto?

    (In case you are curious, the case revolved around whether there is strict liability for owning a machine gun. Staples argued that the gov't had to prove that he new it was capable of full auto, rather than that he merely possessed a full auto gun. The Supreme Court ruled that there did have to be knowledge, given the severity of the punishment for the crime.

    I don't know of this precedent has been overturned since it was set in 1994, so don't go try anything rash based on this post ;) )
     
  2. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    Just in case you're wondering, discussions of the nature you are requesting could be construed to be a conspiracy or something eeevil by those who like to prosecute such things.
    You might want to ask the ATF their procedures for converting such things to do as you describe (for your school homework assignment of course) and see what kernals of wisdom they can provide. Also ask them about prosecution for conspiracy to do the same while you're at it.

    Just trying to keep you and Oleg and Derek out of any hot water
     
  3. SigfanUSAF

    SigfanUSAF Member

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    Yeah, I would advise against discussing that one

    :)
     
  4. desert_fox

    desert_fox Member

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    what has the world come to when we cant even talk about something...
    if I knew I would tell you...
     
  5. TargetTerror

    TargetTerror Member

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    Fair enough. Mods, if you feel this is over the line or something that should not be discussed, feel free to close and/or delete this thread.
     
  6. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    Hmmm... well, here's an illustration.

    This is the FN FNC.
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=79879749
    In that configuration, it is a semi-automatic-only weapon. Cannot fire full auto. Price is because the few guns that were brought into the US (as far as I know).

    This is the highly intricate, super-complicated piece that is needed to make the FNC above fully automatic.
    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=79842318

    No criminal could ever figure out how to make that piece of metal in a machine show. Far too complex. :p
     
  7. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    I will say that it is NOT easy by most standards to modify a firearm to make it shoot in full auto.

    Besides having the know how, there are a number of parts involved, as well as modification to the receiver itself on most firearms. Anything can be done with the proper knowledge, tools, etc. That doesn't make it easy, and in this case, makes it illegal to do as well.
     
  8. TargetTerror

    TargetTerror Member

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    Agreed, but this is a fight I don't want to have with the ATF.
     
  9. desert_fox

    desert_fox Member

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    Almost $4,000 for a little piece of metal just because of this garbage NFA registry
     
  10. TargetTerror

    TargetTerror Member

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    This was my general understanding, and is the depth of the replies I was looking for (for any BATF agents reading this, note how I am NOT interested in the specifics, since I don't plan to do any illegal conversions :) )

    From the case I read, a full auto conversion sounds as simple as changing your sparkplugs, which didn't seem right to me.
     
  11. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

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    It really depends on the gun. Some are relatively easy to convert others are not. When I say convert I mean converting to shoot full auto INSTEAD of semi. Converting to a select fire configuration would be much more difficult.

    Some guns convert themselves for some reason. My cousin had a Ruger 10/22 that would randomly decide to shoot several round bursts from time to time. He had it fixed.
     
  12. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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  13. brentn

    brentn Member

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    I would think a modification to any disconnector could turn a semi-auto into a full auto. All you have to do is allow the sear to not 'disconnect' from the trigger after a cycle. It would not be a select fire mod though, and all you would have is full auto.

    Anyone who understands how that particular semi auto trigger group works, could indeed make it full auto.
     
  14. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    Where can I get one?
     
  15. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    I'll be happy to answer this one, as you are all being pretty paranoid. A casual search of the internet will tell you all you need to know.

    All semi-automatic versions of the M-16 (AR-15) are manufactured so that an autosear cannot be easily installed. The difference between and M16 and an AR-15 is the bolt carrier, trigger, hammer and selector. In addition, the M-16 has an autosear situated behind the hammer, and retained by a thirs cross pin through the receiver. in order to convert an AR-15, you must have all the requisite parts. You also have to mill out the area for the auto-sear (not file) adn drill the hole for the sear pin. It's not something you can 'accidentally' do, and there is no reason to mill out the receiver of an AR in that manner except to convert it to a select fire or automatic weapon.

    Other weapons are easier or harder to convert. Almost all require modifications to the receiver, and not just a sinple drop in part. There are so called 'drop in autosears' which will convert a weapon to auttomatic fire, but these in themselves are classed as machineguns and require a tax stamp to own.

    At one time, there were a number of siple open bolt gubns that were notortiously easy to conver to full auto fire. Mosty of these are now classed as machineguns, and the designs have been altered so that they are much harder to convert. An example of this is the MAC-10. Eary versions were open bolt, and could be modified to full auto by simply breaking a single part in the gun with a pair of pliers.
     
  16. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    Geronimo45,

    I actually got that picture from a sight that was selling one a few years ago, but I think it was overseas and you probably couldn't have imported it since it was not registered here before 1984.
    It is called the Charlton light machine gun and it is what New Zealand used (converted in Australia) in WWII for home defense until they got shipments of Brens.
    There was also a prototype model in WWI, but I am not sure if it was issued. The Charlton was issued WWII though and I think a few thousand SMLE were converted to LMGs. They did the conversions in a vacuum cleaner factory or repair facility IIRC.
     
  17. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    This usually workd badly, that is makes for a poor auto. The hammer will followo the slide or bolt forward (in a closed bolt gun). You ideally want the hammer to fall after the bolt or slide is closed, which is why a 'trip' is typically used. In an open bolt gun, removing the disconnectoer is all it takes.
     
  18. brentn

    brentn Member

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    Yep :D I never said it would be a good full auto, but full auto non-theless.

    I have a feeling that if you did it the way I explained, you would have random FTF's would you not?
     
  19. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    I think an auto sear is required (and is the part with the serial # and it's own little entry in the NFA registry as that little hunk of metal is considered a machinegun). The other parts or filing down the selector stop, etc. don't make it fire full auto.
    *However*, I think posession of those parts (minus the sear) or putting them in the rifle can be considered "constructive posession" and land you in hot water. Considering the penalties, it's SOOO not worth it!
    This page shows you the difference between M-16 and AR-15 internals as well as noting those parts don't make it full auto but can get you in trouble just the same: http://www.ar15.com/content/legal/AR15-M16Parts/
     
  20. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    Gun designs have been scrutinized, and approved (or not) by the ATF for decades, specifically on the point of determining whether semi-autos are "easily" convertible to full-auto.

    The long story short, it's fairly difficult for an unskilled person to safely and effectively convert a semi. The level of skill required approaches that needed to make a gun at all in the first place.

    If you happen to be such a skilled person, you also know that it is easier and safer to make a full auto gun from scratch than to covert an existing semi.

    And that's simply the way it is.
     
  21. CleverNickname

    CleverNickname Member

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    You need to specify whether you mean "convert a semi-auto gun so it's functionally identical to the equivalent factory full-auto gun", or whether you mean "modify something on the gun so that it may or may not fire in full-auto, but will get the BAFTE on your case".

    Referring to the aforementioned AR15 conversion, correctly milling the lower receiver so there was space for the auto sear, and drilling the autosear pin hole in exactly the right location so that the autosear would trip at the correct time is more difficult than removing the disconnector. Of course, the correct method of conversion has much less chance of the gun blowing up in the shooter's face because the bolt wasn't locked before the round went off.

    Also, this is incorrect. The AR15's selector doesn't rotate to the third position like an M16 because the lower receivers are different. The M16 selector rotates further because the AR15 and M16 selectors are different. Of course, the lower receivers are different, just not in any area that would affect how the selector functions.
     
  22. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    AFAIK, if you did that, the result would be a nonfunctioning firearm, not a full auto, because the hammer would merely ride the bolt down. To fire a cartridge, you have to hold the hammer back until the bolt is locked, then trip the firing mechanism independent of the trigger.

    As I understand it, the Title 2/Class III provisions of the National Firearms Act of 1934 as amended by the McClure-Volkmer Act of 1986 specifies that any gun that is easily converted to full auto IS a full auto in the eyes of the law, even if not actually converted. That's why there are no civilian semiautomatic pistols or rifles that fire from an open bolt, because such guns are easily modified to full auto, and are therefore considered machineguns even if not actually converted.

    AFAIK, any post-early-'80s AR-15 is no easier to convert to full auto than any other civilian semiautomatic firearm; it is designed to make it difficult. A skilled machinist with a well-equipped machine shop could do it, but he/she could also make a machinegun from scratch. And no, it's not something you could "accidentally" do, any more than you could "accidentally" put a nitrous kit on your car.

    It IS possible for someone with skills and a machine shop to design a mechanism that will drop into a particular semiautomatic firearm and trip the firing mechanism, but such "drop in auto sears" are generally complicated and would require a skilled machinist and specialized equipment to produce. Such mechanisms are themselves classified as machineguns under Federal law, and are as tightly controlled as machineguns themselves.

    Some info on the National Firearms Act here:

    http://www.titleii.com/BardwellOLD/nfa_faq.txt
    http://www.titleii.com/BardwellOLD/
     
  23. CNYCacher

    CNYCacher Member

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    :rolleyes:
     
  24. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    And there is the big difference. It would be real easy to jam up a SKS firing pin, making it full auto with no way of stoping it until the ammo ran out, from the time you let the charging handle go forward. BUT, in no way would that be a good or safe idea, and even if completely legal, would still be such a horribly bad idea I would never attempt it.
     
  25. Glockfan.45

    Glockfan.45 member

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    AR15 to M16 conversions are not difficult at all (as long as its not a Colt being converted). Really it takes little more than the swapping of a few parts that can be had with a little looking around (I will not go into detail here). AK47 conversions are rather simple as well with a basic understanding of how the gun operates. The really easy conversions are on the few semi guns out there that fire from an open bolt. Some of these conversions can be dangerous and unreliable (open bolt conversions). Others are just as safe and reliable as factory auto guns (AR and AK conversions). All of them are illegal if not a SOT.

    Sometimes semi guns can become autos due to a malfunction without the owner being aware of it. For instance if the disconector in a AR were to become worn down enough it could allow for random burst or even full auto fire. I have seen 1911s with broken sears that went full auto as well.
     
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