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SBS, AOW or other?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by USAF_Vet, Nov 29, 2012.

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  1. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    Not sure where to put this, so I'll post it here.

    I went to a piece of public land this morning that has an abandoned DNR firing range. I like it is because it is out of the way and not used by too many people. On this occasion, there is another gentleman there, and based on the pile of shells at his feet, he has been there for some time.

    I set up to do a quick sight in for the scope I mounted on my AR, and was kinda surprised to see what this guy was shooting.

    At first glace, it looked like a PGO Short barrel shotgun, like a Serbu Super Shorty. But this is Michigan, and AOWs, SBSs and SBRs are still outlawed.

    So I asked his what it was he was shooting, just to satisfy my curiosity and to see if I was shooting next to a guy who was in possession of a ticket to Club Fed.


    TL;DR
    It was a factory PGO Mossberg 500 in .410. He added a rifled barrel and cut it down to something near 8", cut down the mag tube, fore end and action rails to match. He claimed it was legal because a PGO shotgun is not a shotgun at all, but an 'Other Weapon' so therefore it could not be designated a Short Barrel Shotgun. Because it had the rifled barrel, it was not a smooth bore pistol, and therefore not an AOW. He said legally, it meets the criteria for a pistol, and never met the criteria for a shotgun or an AOW. Seems legit, but part of me still wonders about the legality of such a thing. I am pretty sure one of the criteria for a pistol is that it fires fixed ammunition other than shotgun shells, and the reason the Judge gets away with shooting .410 is because it's chambered for .45LC and also happens, by default, to fire .410 shells.

    So, I ask my fellow High Roaders, legal or not legal?
     
  2. Liberty1776

    Liberty1776 Member

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    dunno, but when the guys with badges and sunglasses show up, I don't even want to be seen talking to him...
     
  3. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    As described it might be OK; the key would be that it was a factory PGO to start with. Not sure though; a fun thing to consider. Starts as a pistol that is also a shotgun and becomes a rifled pistol. It would be nifty if it came from the factory with the rifled barrel. Someone will happen along who knows for sure and can quote chapter and verse-that's why THR is great.
     
  4. Swing

    Swing Member

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    The closest I can come up with to read is the NFA Handbook (page 21) which describes modifying a smoothbore handygun to a rifled bore and thus removing it from the scope of NFA. The key factor, I'd imagine, is that it started out life without a shoulder stock.

    As to the state-level laws, no idea whatsoever.
     
  5. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    He was pretty adamant that it started as a PGO. It looked like a ton if fun, even though it only held 2 in the tube. If it is legal, I'll be keeping an eye out for a factory PGO .410.
     
  6. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    Apart from the legal, I'd like to see how it handled the .45LC. That could be a nifty little pack gun/trail gun. Throw something akin to a mare's leg grip on it and look out.
     
  7. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Almost correct. A factory PGO shotgun is classified as a 'firearm'.

    See this thread and read the two ATF letters that are linked within: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=554257
    The PGO 'firearm' must however, remain 26"+ in length.
    When he did that, the PGO 'firearm' must certainly have fallen below the 26" overall length threshold, thus making it an unregistered (illegal) AOW. Had it technically originated as a 'shotgun' it would now be an unregistered (illegal) SBS. Illegal either way.
    He was referring to the Taurus Judge, not the chopped Mossberg.
    Not exactly.
    The object moves out of the handgun definition and into the AOW definition when the barrel is a smooth bore.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  8. jon86

    jon86 Member

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    It wouldn't.
     
  9. smalls

    smalls Member

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    I just saw something similar at Gander last week.

    Are you sure AOW's are still illegal? I keep getting conflicting data every time I search it.
     
  10. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Precisely so.
     
  11. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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    Why limit yourself to only two in the tube?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. il_10

    il_10 Member

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    CoRoMo and Sam1911: he mentioned in the OP that the guy in question had added a rifled barrel to it before the chop. Wouldn't that bring it outside of the scope of AOW? If not, why not?
     
  13. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    Navy,
    If the gun this gentleman had was legal, I would want one for the sole purpose of a range toy. I wouldn't use it as a defensive firearm, but it would make a great conversation piece. It sure piqued my interest when I saw it. It would be the .410 equivalent to the Serbu Super Shorty, which isn't a great defensive firearm either, but they sure are cool. I'd throw a birds head grip on it rather than the standard pistol grip they have from the factory.

    Smalls,
    I also get conflicting reports when I try to find out if AOWs are il/legal in MI. I could go directly to the AG's office and ask, but I'm not really in the market for an AOW. Until I find out otherwise, I figure it's safer to assume they are not legal and keep my distance.

    Coromo,
    Under what law does it state a PGO 'firearm' as this started out as must be no less than 26"? At one point here in MI, a PGO shotgun (for lack of a better term) in 12 gauge with an 18" barrel required a pistol purchase permit because it was less than 26" OAL. They have since done away with that nonsense, and it was a state level thing, but it was perfectly legal to own as it was. Cutting the barrel down to a pistol length (below 18") would have resulted in a smooth bore pistol, which would be an AOW (unregistered). However, the gun I saw had a rifled barrel, which brought it out of the AOW definition.

    Why would this factory PGO masterpiece of garage gunsmithing be any different than a Thompson Center Contender pistol? The Contender can wear rifle length barrels (making it an 'other firearm') or pistol length barrels as long as the pistol length barrels are rifled. Legally, a T/C Contender pistol frame may wear a smooth bore barrel provided the barrel is greater than 18". A T/C Contender pistol with an 18" smooth bore shotgun barrel is less than 26" OAL, but still perfectly legal. Not the most practical thing in the world, but we're not talking about a practical firearm in any case.
     
  14. PBR Streetgang

    PBR Streetgang Member

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    you can turn a pistol into a rifle legally and back again but to turn a rifle or shotgun into a pistol it becomes a SR or SBS requiring a tax stamp.
    as it was said before you can shorten the barrel of a documented PGO shotgun but it's overall length still has to be 26+ inches overall as "other weapon"
     
  15. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    But we were not dealing with a shotgun to begin with. A PGO 'shotgun' does not meet the definition of a shotgun, so it could never be turned into a SBS.

    Where are we getting the information that it must be greater than 26" OAL? And why does the Contender get a pass?
     
  16. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    The 26" rule has to do with one of the other requirements for NFA Title II SBRs, SBSs, and AOWs. You're required to keep a Title I rifle at a 16"+ barrel AND at least a 26" OAL. A Title I shotgun must have an 18"+ barrel AND be at least 26" OAL. The crux of that seems to be the concept of "concealability" which was pegged at 26".

    Here (http://www.franklinarmory.com/XO-26_Letter__c_.pdf) is a copy of an ATF letter stating that a rifled weapon not designed or redesigned to be fired from the shoulder would be an "Other Firearm" only as long as it retains at least 26" of overall length. If made shorter -- OR IF CONCEALED ON THE PERSON (eek) -- it would become a Title II AOW.

    Now that example involves a forward vertical grip which seems to factor in, as the weapon cannot then be a "handgun." So there's still uncertainty here. I suppose if the weapon could be built to meet all definitions of a handgun, then perhaps the ATF would accept that it remains a Title I firearm -- but I'd for sure want to have a letter saying so.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  17. PBR Streetgang

    PBR Streetgang Member

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    Once you place a shoulder stock on a PGO shotgun it becomes a shotgun under law. You can still put the pistol grip back on and use it that way, BUT the original PGO shotgun is now and forever considered a shotgun under Federal law. You can make a SBS from this .

    As far as the Contender, BATFE made a ruling that a firearm that started out as a pistol can be converted to a rifle configuration and returned to a pistol if certain rules are followed. IE placing a 16+" barrel being placed on the receiver before installing the stock.
     
  18. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    Sam,
    Thanks. I'm still not sure if this is legal or not, though. I suppose if a PGO .410 ever falls in my lap, I'll consult the ATF before making any changes.

    PBR,
    I'm fully aware of the definition of a shotgun, and a short barrel shotgun. A factory PGO that never had a shoulder stock is not a shotgun. It has been said repeatedly throughout the thread that this was a factory PGO that never had a shoulder stock installed. It started as a PGO, and has stayed that way. It seems like you are pushing a factual issue that has not been in contention.

    The Contender does not have a shoulder stock, and again, no one has mention putting a shoulder stock on anything. We have been talking about barrel length, not shoulder stocks. A Contender with a 16"+ rifled grip is not a rifle, nor is it a pistol. A Contender with an 18"+ smooth bore barrel is not a shotgun, nor is is a pistol. The only difference I see is that the Contender started as a pistol, and can be turned into any other title I firearm, and canto back to a pistol at any time. The PGO .410 is a title I firearm, but it is not a pistol. What I'm looking for is legal reasons that a PGO firearm can not be made into a title I pistol. I am aware of the SBS, SBR, and AOW laws. Those are also not in contention. I'm curious if this gun I saw was in fact an AOW, and why it is considered an AOW when it never met the definition of a shotgun and meets all the definitions of a handgun.
     
  19. PBR Streetgang

    PBR Streetgang Member

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    go to shockwavetechnologies.com and read the article on "The 14" Mossberg 500 that isn't NFA" I think this might clear up this discussion.
     
  20. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    Very interesting. We know w/ ARs we can go:

    Other > Pistol > PG shotgun

    The Contender, not sold as an "Other" can go:

    Pistol > PG shotgun

    A PG shotgun can go:

    PG shotgun > sub 18" bbl (OAL =>26") > 18" bbl shotgun w/ stock

    Our Mossy friend did not go:

    Shotgun > Pistol but did:

    PG shotgun > Pistol

    One hopes he got a letter from the BATFE before affixing the rifled bbl. I'll bet 50 rnds of 9mm Winnie White box that BATFE has never ruled on this.
     
  21. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Yes, that's another of the BATFE rulings that so intriguingly inform this discussion.

    In that case the crux is that a PGO shotshell-firing "other firearm" can be fitted with any length barrel so long as the total OAL does not fall below 26". (Whereas if it was a shotgun, the barrel length couldn't drop below 18", of course.) Dropping below the 26" OAL would make it a Title II Any Other Weapon, because it would be, essentially, a smooth bore pistol designed to fire shot shells.

    But AFAIK, this ruling has only been applied to smooth-bore firearms. I do start to wonder what exactly they'd say if asked to make the same ruling about a rifled barrel on that same weapon.

    I THINK that the answer would be something along the lines of the gun still being a shot weapon rather than a bullet-firing weapon, in it's basic form -- just as adding a rifled barrel to a full-stocked Rem 870 doesn't allow you to cut it down to 16". It's still a shotgun, just with a rifled barrel. But that's a guess.

    This is one of those areas that really point out the absurdity of the NFA.
     
  22. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    I just read a website of a lawyer in MI That does NFA trusts, and apparently AOWs and DDs are legal here. I did not know that. If only SBR and SBS were legal.

    The more I think about this thing, the more I think it falls into AOW territory, or the ATF would rule it as such if it ever came to that. It might not have a ruling on it just yet, but I don't want to be the guy who causes the ruling.
     
  23. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    I would have asked him if he had a letter from the ATF Firearms Technology Branch.

    If it is a burning question, how about one of us posing a question to the ATF Firearms Technology Branch? It would have to be properly worded.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Can the receiver of an "other firearm"* such as a Pistol Grip Only shotgun be used to make a handgun with a rifled barrel shorter than 16 inches?

    *Form 4473 Section D. 29. Type (Instructions for question 29: "... other firearms that are neither handguns nor long guns (rifles or shotguns) such as firearms having a pistol grip that expel a shotgun shell ..."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now remember, when you install a buttstock on a PGO it becomes "redesigned to be fired from the shoulder" is is henceforth an ordinary shotgun if the barrel is 18" or greater, a short barrel shotgun if the barrel is less than 18". The receiver IS fer shure a shotgun receiver after that (I think).
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  24. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    Not being a LEO, asking him the legality if what he was shooting is moot. It's really none of my business if he is (knowingly or unknowingly) committing a federal felony. I am not going to put myself into a position to upset a man who is wielding an illegal firearm.

    I'd wager that a great many 'gun nuts' are completely unaware of many obscure gun laws.
     
  25. backbencher

    backbencher Member

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    Mr Brown, I submit we might want to tweak the wording a bit:

    Can the receiver of an "other firearm"* such as a Pistol Grip Only shotgun be used to make a rifled barreled pistol with an OAL of under 26"?
     
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