AR15.Com Archives
 Barrel Length question, legality for a civilian
toddlerp  [Member]
2/4/2006 5:01:39 PM
I have 2 basic questions (DPMS specifically if it matters)

1) what is the shortest barrel length legal to have on an AR for a civilian?

2) Is the screwed on flash hider from the factory considered part of the barrel length?
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M4Madness  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 5:04:44 PM
1. 16" if it is not registered with the BATF as a short-barrelled rifle (SBR)

2. Only if it is permanently attached.
Bushwacker85  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 5:05:22 PM

Originally Posted By M4Madness:
1. 16"

2. Only if it is permanently attached.



+1
Matt_B  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 5:05:31 PM

Originally Posted By toddlerp:
I have 2 basic questions (DPMS specifically if it matters)

It doesn't.


1) what is the shortest barrel length legal to have on an AR for a civilian?
Without getting into a registered ($200 tax stamp) SBR (short bbl rifle), the minium legal bbl length, including a permanently attached muzzle device, is 16.1".

2) Is the screwed on flash hider from the factory considered part of the barrel length?
In order for a muzzle device or muzzle brake to be a factor in the total bbl length, it must be permanently attached as in pinned and welded on the muzzle. If you can easily remove the muzzle device, it is not considered part of the bbl length.
LattimerII  [Member]
2/4/2006 5:05:38 PM
16 inches unless you have it registered as a short barreled rifle. Flash hider counts if it is permanently attached (pinned and welded).

ETA- wow some people type a lot faster than I do!
Matt_B  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 5:13:10 PM
Remember folks, the precise legal length as defined by the BATFE is 16.1", not just 16.0" .
toddlerp  [Member]
2/4/2006 5:19:01 PM
So if the flash hider was TIG in place (tacked welded) it is okay?



M4Madness  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 5:24:13 PM

Originally Posted By toddlerp:
So if the flash hider was TIG in place (tacked welded) it is okay?






Yeah.

Remember, it only needs to be permanently attached if the barrel length without it is less than 16".
toddlerp  [Member]
2/4/2006 5:40:24 PM
Last Question. I may be spltting hairs here but I want to be sure. I am a newbie to this AR stuff as you can tell.

Is it legal to own an upper with a 14.5" barrel attached to it if the upper is not assembled to a lower?
M4Madness  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 5:49:51 PM

Originally Posted By toddlerp:
Is it legal to own an upper with a 14.5" barrel attached to it if the upper is not assembled to a lower?



No. The BATF considers this to be constructive possession.

If you have such a set-up, keep the upper at someone else's house until you get a flash suppressor permanently attached.
Matt_B  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 5:50:05 PM

Originally Posted By toddlerp:
Last Question. I may be spltting hairs here but I want to be sure. I am a newbie to this AR stuff as you can tell. Is it legal to own an upper with a 14.5" barrel attached to it if the upper is not assembled to a lower?

It could be legal and it could not be. It's all a matter of whether or not you get caught and the other charges you're facing. Seriously, there aren't many if any people who have been busted for just NFA violations.

The ATF could consider such an upper illegal if you have another lower in your residence without a matching upper. It's called "constructive possession". However, if you have a complete rifle and said upper, it may not be. The fact is you're taking a chance, albeit a small one, so why risk it. The price of getting caught would mean no more firearms for the rest of your life.
ProfGAB101  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 6:35:15 PM

Originally Posted By Matt_B:
Remember folks, the precise legal length as defined by the BATFE is 16.1", not just 16.0" .



You have any specific reference as to when this was changed ?

I was a Type 07 FFL ( Manufacture of Firerms other than Destructive Devices ) for 12 years (ending in 2002) and it has always been 16.0 or greater.

Meaning a rod put down a barrel to the bolt face (no firing pin) is measured... 15.9995" (not legal) 16.0000" (legal)
Gunzilla  [Member]
2/4/2006 6:51:17 PM

Originally Posted By Matt_B:
Remember folks, the precise legal length as defined by the BATFE is 16.1", not just 16.0" .



Did you make that up or what?

According to 26USC 53, an NFA *firearm* is a rifle that has a barrel or barrels less than 16 inches in length... amoung other things of course.

eta: not sure about your ideas on constructive possession either... mere presence of an item in the same house of the defendant does not constitute constructive possession, without establishing dominion and control -- but even at that, with control, the ability to readily assemble an NFA firearm would most likely (read: has been in the past) considered enough to prove possession of the restricted firearm. Also people do get busted for NFA violations, this in not at all uncommon.

Seems M4Madness offered pretty sound advice on this... plus he has a great sig line, one of the best movie lines in many years.
Matt_B  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 7:46:12 PM
.
Matt_B  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 7:48:45 PM

Originally Posted By ProfGAB101:

Originally Posted By Matt_B:
Remember folks, the precise legal length as defined by the BATFE is 16.1", not just 16.0" .

You have any specific reference as to when this was changed ?

As I recall, I did read on the ATF site. If I am mistaken, then I apologize.
Phil_A_Steen  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 7:52:22 PM

Originally Posted By Matt_B:

Originally Posted By ProfGAB101:

Originally Posted By Matt_B:
Remember folks, the precise legal length as defined by the BATFE is 16.1", not just 16.0" .

You have any specific reference as to when this was changed ?

As I recall, I did read on the ATF site. If I am mistaken, then I apologize. I appreciate you challenging my information in a civil manner which some people (<cough>gunzilla<cough>) seems to incapable of doing.




The correct answer is that it must be 16.0 inches or greater.

26 USC 5846(a) is the definition of a NFA firearm, which is:



. . . (3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (4) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length . . .



BATF says nothing to the contrary.

That being said, it's a good idea to make your barrels just over 16", in case measurements differ. Bushmaster 16" barrels are actually 16.1" long for this reason.
Matt_B  [Team Member]
2/4/2006 8:01:41 PM

Originally Posted By Phil_A_Steen:
That being said, it's a good idea to make your barrels just over 16", in case measurements differ. Bushmaster 16" barrels are actually 16.1" long for this reason.

Thank you for adding that Phil.
Gunzilla  [Member]
2/4/2006 8:42:10 PM
ooops...

Did you make that up or what? = is that something that your were told, an interpretation or misunderstanding vice a change to statute law or ruleing?

As taken from the "Limited Social Skills Dictionary, 'Fact Before Tact' Edition 06"

peace
JosephR  [Team Member]
2/5/2006 1:51:28 AM
Matt_B- I was going to ask where you got 16.1 from but I think now we are all clear. I figured you were saying it had to be greater than 16.0 and you chose the 1/10 of an inch to be a safe number.

16.07" would be just as legit', right?
Gunzilla  [Member]
2/5/2006 2:28:58 AM

Originally Posted By JosephR:
Matt_B- I was going to ask where you got 16.1 from but I think now we are all clear. I figured you were saying it had to be greater than 16.0 and you chose the 1/10 of an inch to be a safe number.

16.07" would be just as legit', right?



The law says the "less than 16 inches" is an NFA firearm... so technically 16.0 is gtg

But I would like to have a little wiggle room on that
FMJ  [Member]
2/5/2006 8:54:32 AM
Man its a stupid rule!

A person with a Permit can carry a Handguns of as many as you want

But cant carry a Rifle that has a barrel under 16 inch

Unless you pay.
Phil_A_Steen  [Team Member]
2/5/2006 9:06:20 AM
Think of it as even stupider. If you have a double rifle, with a 50" barrel on one side and a 75" overall length, but the other barrel is 15.999999", it's still a short barrel rifle.
Edbert  [Member]
2/5/2006 9:28:40 AM

Originally Posted By M4Madness:

Originally Posted By toddlerp:
Is it legal to own an upper with a 14.5" barrel attached to it if the upper is not assembled to a lower?



No. The BATF considers this to be constructive possession.

If you have such a set-up, keep the upper at someone else's house until you get a flash suppressor permanently attached.


I don't mean to hijack but on a related subject (BATF techicalities)...

I know it is illegal to be in possesion of an uninstalled sear pin for full auto, but what about a lower that has the 3rd position on the safety/fire markings. If I buy one that says safe/full/semi am I in violation of the law if I do now own or install internal full auto parts?
M4Madness  [Team Member]
2/5/2006 10:09:27 AM

Originally Posted By Edbert:
I know it is illegal to be in possesion of an uninstalled sear pin for full auto, but what about a lower that has the 3rd position on the safety/fire markings. If I buy one that says safe/full/semi am I in violation of the law if I do now own or install internal full auto parts?



No, it is perfectly legal.
BushmasterGuy77  [Member]
2/5/2006 10:50:22 AM

Originally Posted By FMJ:
Man its a stupid rule!

A person with a Permit can carry a Handguns of as many as you want

But cant carry a Rifle that has a barrel under 16 inch

Unless you pay.



Hmm, isn't that what the Libs call "Common sense" laws, but none of them never make sense? All the shitty Anti-Gun laws suck! We need to get rid of them, but with all the ignorant people in congress, we won't unless there is a miracle or something.

Nathan
ProfGAB101  [Team Member]
2/5/2006 2:12:44 PM
I have a drill rod cut to 16" I drop down the bore to check bbl OAL.

This was a habbit (CYA) of checking any guns that came in for service. I also did alot of NFA work but required the owner to be present at all times since I was not SOT.

One day a cop I knew came in with a upper that he had done a basement (WESCOG) conversion of an M16 soda straw bbl to a CAR config. His issue was the shoulder the flashhider seated on was not perfectly square and using a die to cut the 1/2-28 threads he could not get the threads up to the shoulder.

Before putting the bbl in the lathe I grabbed my test rod to see if there was room to re-crown the bbl. - Oops!

This cop could not read a ruler and had measured the OAL of bbl and the bbl extension. Then when he marked the cut length he ended up cutting on the WRONG side of the mark...

Needless to say I just handed it back to him. I offered to buy it as a trade in once he had removed the upper receiver and I would order him a real CAR bbl.

Matt - I think most MFG do tend to not get too close to the absolute minimum just so a customer does not get the cuffs slapped on because some cop in the fields tape measure says its too short.
JosephR  [Team Member]
2/5/2006 6:13:00 PM

Originally Posted By M4Madness:

Originally Posted By Edbert:
I know it is illegal to be in possesion of an uninstalled sear pin for full auto, but what about a lower that has the 3rd position on the safety/fire markings. If I buy one that says safe/full/semi am I in violation of the law if I do now own or install internal full auto parts?



No, it is perfectly legal.



Just don't drill a third hole to make it look even more authentic!
Getnlwr  [Member]
2/6/2006 1:49:53 AM

Originally Posted By ProfGAB101:
I have a drill rod cut to 16" I drop down the bore to check bbl OAL.

This was a habbit (CYA) of checking any guns that came in for service. I also did alot of NFA work but required the owner to be present at all times since I was not SOT.

One day a cop I knew came in with a upper that he had done a basement (WESCOG) conversion of an M16 soda straw bbl to a CAR config. His issue was the shoulder the flashhider seated on was not perfectly square and using a die to cut the 1/2-28 threads he could not get the threads up to the shoulder.

Before putting the bbl in the lathe I grabbed my test rod to see if there was room to re-crown the bbl. - Oops!

This cop could not read a ruler and had measured the OAL of bbl and the bbl extension. Then when he marked the cut length he ended up cutting on the WRONG side of the mark...

Needless to say I just handed it back to him. I offered to buy it as a trade in once he had removed the upper receiver and I would order him a real CAR bbl.

Matt - I think most MFG do tend to not get too close to the absolute minimum just so a customer does not get the cuffs slapped on because some cop in the fields tape measure says its too short.



did you offer to permantly attach the flash hider? that should have put it over 16..... no need to buy a new barrel......
thedoctors308  [Member]
2/6/2006 2:09:26 AM

Originally Posted By Gunzilla:

Originally Posted By JosephR:
Matt_B- I was going to ask where you got 16.1 from but I think now we are all clear. I figured you were saying it had to be greater than 16.0 and you chose the 1/10 of an inch to be a safe number.

16.07" would be just as legit', right?



The law says the "less than 16 inches" is an NFA firearm... so technically 16.0 is gtg

But I would like to have a little wiggle room on that



Yea.
The ATF got Randy Weaver on "wiggle room"
If they want you, they'll getcha.
ProfGAB101  [Team Member]
2/6/2006 4:09:50 AM

Originally Posted By Getnlwr:
Did you offer to permantly attach the flash hider? that should have put it over 16..... no need to buy a new barrel......



Actually No - I knew he had a "Moderator" that he intended to use from time to time.

Like I said - I knew this guy. I had engraved several of his Glocks, and had worked on a bunch of other stuff for him. He is normally a very sharp person. This little chop job was done at like 2am one night when he couldn't sleep and just got a wild idea and ran with it. He really was alot more tired than he actually felt and as such made several stupid mistakes.

When I showed him it was short - he was at a total loss as to how that could of happened.
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