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zip gun laws and building your own

Discussion in 'Legal' started by John E., Aug 5, 2009.

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  1. John E.

    John E. Member

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    Hey all,

    The build-your-own-AK thread got me wondering - in States like Texas which prohibit the manufacture of 'zip guns', how does that apply to building your own gun for personal use?

    According to Texas statute:

     
  2. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    I'm not sure where the confusion is.

    A zip gun is where you make a mortar out of an old water heater.

    A zip gun is where you make a 'gun' out of water pipe.

    If you're "building your own gun", obviously it will "originally be a firearm".
     
  3. John E.

    John E. Member

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    I guess what I'm asking is if you take raw materials and machine out a gun from scratch, is it a zip gun or a legal firearm and what makes the difference?
     
  4. bobotech

    bobotech Member

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    A zip gun is a slang term. Kind of refers to making a 22 out of a pen and a rubber band which would be illegal under NFA definitions. It would be considered an AOW I believe.

    If you build a gun that adheres to all proper rules and regulations such as a receiver that has an 18 inch barrel, a stock, and so on, then that would be legal. But you can't build a gun that doesn't look like a gun (AOW) or would be considered something like a SBR.

    That is how I understand it.
     
  5. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    If you make your own barrel, your own receiver, and all the parts, you "intend it to be a firearm", ergo not a "zip gun" by definition.

    If you go buy a Paladin Press manual off the news stand and make a 12 gauge shotgun out of water pipe and 2x4, you've built a zip gun.
     
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    If it shoots a projectile it’s going to need rifling it can only be smooth bore if it shoots shot. If you intend to cobble up something from crap lying around you might garner a little more scrutiny than one who spends hours with machine equipment making a first class firearm. I contact the ATF and or the NFA branch before starting a build if it’s outside the norm. You can build what some might call “zip guns” if you send in a Form 1 for an AOW along with specifications and $200. You can call the NFA branch at 304-616-4500 for more details.
     
  7. bobotech

    bobotech Member

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    Ahh!! Good point, forgot about the smoothbore vs rifling angle. 18 inches vs 16 inches barrel. No pistol shotguns unless its a SBS.
     
  8. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    -So if I cast, bore, and sleeve up a 9-pounder Napoleon cannon then it's a zip gun... unless I rifle the sleeve.

    Then it's no longer a historical reproduction.

    Now I'm confused.
     
  9. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    No, of course not! No pistol shotguns unless it's an AOW (Any Other Weapon)!

    SBSs have butt-stocks.

    Isn't this simple? ;)

    -Sam
     
  10. John E.

    John E. Member

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    "A zip gun is a slang term."

    With respect, bobotech, 'zip gun' is (ambiguously) defined by the Texas Legislature in the statute I quoted in the original post.

    Along the lines of what nalioth suggested, a water pipe is a device that was not originally a firearm, so building a shotgun from a water pipe would be illegal.

    But would raw pipe tube stock not be a device in the same way that a finished pipe would be?

    Is it the threading on the ends of the tube stock that make the tube into a pipe?
     
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    No, that's a muzzle-loader and generally exempt from most of the rules. (Though others will have to fill in the specifics.)

    Make a "9-pounder" breech-loading rifle using smokeless powder and you've made a Title-II "Large Bore Destructive Device." Which you can do if you file a Form 1 and pay the tax.

    -Sam
     
  12. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    That's why I like building smoke poles. Much less red tape to fuss over.
     
  13. Birdmang

    Birdmang Member

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    whats a smoke pole?
     
  14. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    smoke pole = muzzleloader in my neck of the woods
     
  15. bobotech

    bobotech Member

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    I have always heard "zip gun" in respect to people making guns out of pens or whatever. Crude homemade guns that use cartridges. My dad used that term when referring to guns made by gang members in the 50s and 60s in the Bronx where he grew up. A zip gun isn't a particular type of home made gun, its just a generic/slang term that some states have felt the need to define. I'm not sure why they felt the need to define the term but that really isn't important. The important fact is that you can build a gun of your own purely by scratch provided its not illegal by ATF standards (less than 18 inch smoothbore barrel, etc). If it has a rifled barrel, then it can't be no less than 16 inches unless there is no provisions for a rear stock since the receiver would be a virgin and could be made into a pistol.

    The Texas definition goes into detail about a zipgun being a smoothbore which makes sense. How many gang members do you know would take the time to get a rifled barrel for their zip gun?
     
  16. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    -You'd be surprised. Every time that you cut down a .22 rifle you're left with a chunk of rifled barrel... .
     
  17. 2nd 41

    2nd 41 Member

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    Have not heard the term Zip Gun in years (I'm so old)
    Tie a pipe to a board, secure a door bolt with a heavy rubber band to the pipe/board set up....launch a large nail or bolt.
     
  18. deadin

    deadin Member

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    Where would this fit in the great scheme of things?

    http://www.modelgatlinggunplans.com/#
    I know a regular Gatling is "legal" (not considered a full-auto), but what about a 1/3 replica?
    Barrels are too short, overall length too short, etc.
    I was thinking of taking this on as a machining project, but if I have to get a Form 1 (or whatever) I don't know if it's worth it as I probably will find it beyond my tools capacity. (and mine.:D)
     
  19. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    I think you'll need to do some deep research.

    It's not a rifle.
    It''s not a pistol.
    It's not fully automatic.
     
  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Its a gatling gun and allowed by the BATFE as long as you have to crank it by hand by some degree for each shot. You would want to keep it on a carriage as a stock might put you into a gray area with the short barrels.
     
  21. bobotech

    bobotech Member

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    I'm curious, so are gatling guns somewhat exempt from the NFA strict definitions along the same lines as how you are allowed to put a stock on some old Mauser pistols without a SBR stamp? Do you have any more info on that. I'm intrigued!
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Gatling guns that are entirely mechanically cranked are considered to only fire once per operation of the firing mechanism by the shooter. That singular operation may be only 1/60th of a revolution, but as long as your hand is moving the crank (and NOT an electric motor moving the crank) it's not a machine gun.

    Old Mauser pistols have been specifically exempted from the SBR rules if they use an ORIGINAL stock/holster. Same, I believe with some of the Hi-Powers. Use a reproduction (modern manufactured) butt stock and it will need a SBR registration.

    There are also certain Marlin and Winchester lever-action rifles that were produced with 14" barrels. Some of these are specifically called out, by individual serial number, as being Curio and Relics and are exempt from the NFA rules. Identical rifles which are not listed, including any modern reproduction of the same rifle, have to be registered SBRs.

    Makes sense, right? No? Oh well, rules is rules...

    -Sam
     
  23. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Wow. Now that's a permutation I'd never considered! It would almost be worth asking the BATFE tech branch for a letter on a build like that ... assuming that there would be any practical way to wield such a thing.

    -Sam
     
  24. tju1973

    tju1973 Member

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    How do manufacturers get away with making smoothbore .22s? I gues if they say they are intended for shotshells only..

    NM, I may have answered my own question..

    8*)
     
  25. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Member

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    I think there are some "zip guns" considered C&R. There are a couple of single-shot shotguns that were dropped into the Philippines during WW2 that work on a "slam-fire" principle that I have seen for sale for a couple hundred to thousand dollars in gun shops.

    For the most part, a "zip gun" is probably going to be an AOW or and SBS.
     
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