AR15.Com Archives
 Caliber Marked Lower vs Multi Caliber Lower
01grander2  [Member]
7/17/2013 9:39:49 AM EST
I bought a lower at a REALLY good price considering the climate nowadays. I realized after I purchased it I might have a problem down the road.

First, I would like to apologize if this has been covered before but I'm getting misinformation everywhere about NFA items.

I bought a stripped lower that has 223/556 engraved. My plan is to register it as a sbr and buy a 300 upper. I will still want to use other calibers as well and I may have a 223 upper on it from time to time but I will mostly be using it with specialty uppers.

Do I need to get a multi cal marked lower instead of my 223 lower? I know you can not put "cal multi" on the paperwork anymore but I don't want to be fenced into one caliber and one that I don't even want.


Thanks!
Paid Advertisement
--
Circuits  [Team Member]
7/17/2013 9:46:02 AM EST
You are not restricted to using the caliber marked on the lower. You can no longer list "multi" on a Form 1, because that is documenting the caliber in which you will first build it, but that doesn't mean you can't change calibers later.
01grander2  [Member]
7/17/2013 9:50:07 AM EST
I've also been told that you have to keep the upper that was originally registered with the rifle. Any truth? If I send in the paperwork with the lower saying 223 would I not have to have a 223 upper for it?

Thanks. I know this gets old but the amount of misinformation out there on this subject makes it very hard.
eracer  [Team Member]
7/17/2013 10:06:50 AM EST
Right. You must list a single caliber, but can put any caliber upper on it. An issue arises when you put a 16"+ barrel on the registered lower, and intend to keep it permanently in that configuration. You are allowed to do that, and doing so essentially removes it from the NFA database. However, you must dispose of the short-barreled upper in that case. (Perhaps by owning a lower in a pistol configuration.)

Citation: BATFE FAQ's
While a receiver alone may be classified as a "firearm” under the Gun Control Act (GCA), SBRs and SBSs are classified in totality under the National Firearms Act (NFA)
Homeinvader  [Team Member]
7/17/2013 10:09:51 AM EST
[quote]Originally Posted By 01grander2:
I've also been told that you have to keep the upper that was originally registered with the rifle. Any truth? If I send in the paperwork with the lower saying 223 would I not have to have a 223 upper for it?

Thanks. I know this gets old but the amount of misinformation out there on this subject makes it very hard.[/quote]

There is no truth to that, it's more misinformation. You may change calibers and barrel lengths at will after its initial assembly per the approved Form 1.

There are anecdotal stories of subsequent transfers of the firearm being held up by NFA Branch because the firearm listed on the Form 4 does not match the original Form 1 configuration listed in the registry, but there is no legal or regulatory requirement that the original configuration needs to be maintained. This is where the oft repeated condition you mention originates.

If you want to avoid such hold-ups, you can always send in a change letter to NFA Branch, but its usually more efficient for everyone to wait until there is a problem, then call them to clear it up.

ETA: This was the subject of another thread a few months ago. Tony K called NFA Branch and it was explained to him there is a internal movement within NFA Branch to improve the accuracy of the Registry, but it is not to be implemented at the expense of efficiency. Some examiners were or maybe continue to take it too far by placing into problem status such Form 4s that show a discrepancy. I've experienced this a couple times and a phone call is all it takes to clear it up and get the paperwork moving again. While it might seem proactive, a change letter is wholly unnecessary and a waste of everyone's time.
01grander2  [Member]
7/17/2013 10:23:19 AM EST
[quote]Originally Posted By eracer:
Right. You must list a single caliber, but can put any caliber upper on it. An issue arises when you put a 16"+ barrel on the registered lower, and intend to keep it permanently in that configuration. You are allowed to do that, and doing so essentially removes it from the NFA database. However, you must dispose of the short-barreled upper in that case. (Perhaps by owning a lower in a pistol configuration.)

Citation: BATFE FAQ's
While a receiver alone may be classified as a "firearm” under the Gun Control Act (GCA), SBRs and SBSs are classified in totality under the National Firearms Act (NFA)[/quote]

But can that single caliber be different initially from what is marked on the lower?

Thanks for the replies. Just trying to avoid hangups in the process.
eracer  [Team Member]
7/17/2013 10:38:45 AM EST

[quote]Originally Posted By 01grander2:
But can that single caliber be different initially from what is marked on the lower?

Thanks for the replies. Just trying to avoid hangups in the process.[/quote]Yes it can be different. You registered the firearm. Putting a different caliber upper on it does not change the registration.

That's how I read it.
RenegadeX  [Team Member]
7/17/2013 12:31:28 PM EST

[quote]Originally Posted By 01grander2:
But can that single caliber be different initially from what is marked on the lower?

Thanks for the replies. Just trying to avoid hangups in the process.[/quote]

This opens up a can of worms.

Keep in mind NFA firearms have to have certain markings, name/address, caliber, make/model. Removing them is a felony. So if your lower is "multi" you are not in compliance. No issue though as BBL probably has 556 on it. So you are GTG. But take off the 556 BBL and put on a 300BLK on it and you have removed markings you are not legally allowed to remove. Has anyone ever been arrested for this? Not that I know of. But the best practice is to use a lower that has caliber marked on it that matches form and then you change uppers without issue.
GTBJW  [Team Member]
7/17/2013 2:04:25 PM EST
The lower receiver does not fire the rounds, so it really doesn't matter.

Seriously though, mark the form with the caliber that is on the lower, unless it is a "MULTI", then pick the initial caliber.
RNB32  [Team Member]
7/17/2013 6:42:33 PM EST
[quote]Originally Posted By RenegadeX:

[quote]Originally Posted By 01grander2:
But can that single caliber be different initially from what is marked on the lower?

Thanks for the replies. Just trying to avoid hangups in the process.[/quote]

This opens up a can of worms.

Keep in mind NFA firearms have to have certain markings, name/address, caliber, make/model. Removing them is a felony. So if your lower is "multi" you are not in compliance. No issue though as BBL probably has 556 on it. So you are GTG. But take off the 556 BBL and put on a 300BLK on it and you have removed markings you are not legally allowed to remove. Has anyone ever been arrested for this? Not that I know of. But the best practice is to use a lower that has caliber marked on it that matches form and then you change uppers without issue.
[/quote]

It is my understanding that NFA firearms (at least SBR/SBS) only exist in totality. It is similar to how you can remove a short upper and sell a lower without NFA paperwork.
Circuits  [Team Member]
7/17/2013 7:58:30 PM EST
[quote]Originally Posted By RNB32:
It is my understanding that NFA firearms (at least SBR/SBS) only exist in totality. It is similar to how you can remove a short upper and sell a lower without NFA paperwork.
[/quote]

SBR and SBS, specifically, only exist in totality. An "SBR" lower isn't - it's only an SBR while paired with a short upper.

The definitions for machineguns include the receivers for the same, or conversion devices, so they are considered differently.
RenegadeX  [Team Member]
7/18/2013 4:11:29 AM EST
[quote]Originally Posted By RNB32:
[quote]Originally Posted By RenegadeX:

[quote]Originally Posted By 01grander2:
But can that single caliber be different initially from what is marked on the lower?

Thanks for the replies. Just trying to avoid hangups in the process.[/quote]

This opens up a can of worms.

Keep in mind NFA firearms have to have certain markings, name/address, caliber, make/model. Removing them is a felony. So if your lower is "multi" you are not in compliance. No issue though as BBL probably has 556 on it. So you are GTG. But take off the 556 BBL and put on a 300BLK on it and you have removed markings you are not legally allowed to remove. Has anyone ever been arrested for this? Not that I know of. But the best practice is to use a lower that has caliber marked on it that matches form and then you change uppers without issue.
[/quote]

It is my understanding that NFA firearms (at least SBR/SBS) only exist in totality. It is similar to how you can remove a short upper and sell a lower without NFA paperwork.
[/quote]

Correct if the 300 BLK upper results in a firearm that is not an SBR, then removing the caliber marking is OK.
cyborg543  [Team Member]
7/18/2013 5:53:19 AM EST
[quote]Originally Posted By eracer:
Right. You must list a single caliber, but can put any caliber upper on it. An issue arises when you put a 16"+ barrel on the registered lower, and intend to keep it permanently in that configuration. You are allowed to do that, and doing so essentially removes it from the NFA database. However, you must dispose of the short-barreled upper in that case. (Perhaps by owning a lower in a pistol configuration.)

Citation: BATFE FAQ's
While a receiver alone may be classified as a "firearm” under the Gun Control Act (GCA), SBRs and SBSs are classified in totality under the National Firearms Act (NFA)[/quote]


this sounds like nonsense

no offense

swapping uppers is just about the opposite of "permanent"

having a spare shorty upper lying around isn't illegal either

the extra shorty upper is just a spare part, it doesn't become an illegal SBR when you take it off the M16 and throw it into a drawer


and how about if you take the upper off your M16 and sell the bare lower by itself on gunbroker? Does it become a "no caliber" gun because it has no upper?


I have actually talked to atf about this, they do not care if you change calibers on an MG

If the change is permanent, like involving welding and cutting, you need to write them a letter and they'll send back a reply that says, "thanks for helping us keep the database accurate."


I would not own a shorty M16 upper if i did not also own the registered lower, because having the short upper and semi-auto AR might be considered "constructive possession"

There have been some various gunbroker seller type guys that got stung that way, had all the fancy ingredients but no NFA stamps.


WholeBunches  [Member]
7/18/2013 11:42:30 AM EST
Read the NFA Handbook from BATF. It will tell you the required markings. The caliber is a required marking...no problem as normally the bbl has the caliber marked on it. When I made my last SBR, the bbl I was to use had no caliber marked on it and the company that made it was out of business. When my lower was engraved, I also had the caliber engraved on it...looks real nice.
cyborg543  [Team Member]
7/18/2013 2:23:33 PM EST
[quote]Originally Posted By WholeBunches:
Read the NFA Handbook from BATF. It will tell you the required markings. The caliber is a required marking...no problem as normally the bbl has the caliber marked on it. When I made my last SBR, the bbl I was to use had no caliber marked on it and the company that made it was out of business. When my lower was engraved, I also had the caliber engraved on it...looks real nice.[/quote]


are you saying that if I weld an sten grip on a 45 caliber MAC10 then i have to engrave the lower with the 9mm caliber?

that's the first I ever heard of that

also, swapping uppers from 223 to 300 blackout isnt a permanent change anyway

it's actually not any change at all to the MG, which is the registered lower


ETA -

I just noticed the OP is asking about an SBR and not an MG

duh

never mind
Paid Advertisement
--