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Posted: 4/27/2003 3:33:32 PM EST
Ok a while back I posted a question regarding a non-standard thread pitch threaded muzzle on a post ban weapon. After checking with JP rifles and AR15.com I assumed if I thread the muzzle with a 9/16 28 pitch and used a JP rifles "9/16 28 postban Bennie Cooley Brake" I do not have to pin and weld the brake on. I called the ATF Technology Center in DC and the ATF agent told me verbally that this was completely incorrect. ATF quote: "Parts vendors,- especially the AR guys will sell you anything and could care less if you goto jail." So I was about to scrap my current build and start over when I called my friendly Dallas area AR vendor. I told him what happened and that I would not need the barrel threaded after all. He said that it was common for the ATF to give conflicting info and that he took the time to write the same question to the ATF legal department.(I should have..) Returned to him was a letter stating that this modification was allowed as the letter of the law says "Flash suppressor or a threaded barrel designed to accept a flash suppressor". He offered to make a copy of the letter if wanted to go ahead and purchase the threaded barrel. I am not trying to circumvent the law- I just want to build a legal rifle that I can service. If I weld the brake on with the current configuation I will not be able to remove my gas block or handguard. So my question is.. Am I asking for trouble or do I have a legal leg to stand on with my copied "okey-dokie" letter?

Link Posted: 4/27/2003 4:01:45 PM EST
As legally binding 'advice', the letter only applies to the person/entity to whom it was written, so would not necessarily shield you, personally, if ATF decided to come after you.

The question which needs to be asked of ATF is if there are any flash suppressors available in the 9/16x28 threading.  Provided there are no flash suppressors made in that threading, then a post-ban compliant brake in that threading can be installed to a threaded barrel, and does not need to be permanent, since the threaded barrel does not constitute a 'threaded barrel designed to accept a flash suppressor'.

To be well and truly covered, write your own tech branch letter, referencing the letter provided to JP rifles, asking specifically if attaching a non-flash suppressing post-ban legal brake to your barrel in that threading does not constitute "flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accept a flash suppressor".  With an ATF tech letter addressed to you, you're effectively shielded from knowingly violating the AW ban, even if ATF later changes their mind, since they will have provided you the advice stating it would be legal.
Link Posted: 4/28/2003 2:17:04 AM EST
 Fulton Armory makes a brake called "the Look" which is precision fitted to your particular barrel ( or you can buy a barrel from them with the "look" option installed or you can buy the "look" kit have this done by your smith.  Looks pretty darn good AND it is removable ( it is pinned on )
Link Posted: 4/28/2003 4:22:59 AM EST
This is the Bardwell letter most often referenced when this issues pops up.  As noted above, it would be best to write them yourself.  I'm not sure how much standing these have in any case, as it is only the ATF's opinion of the law, and it is the courts that really matter.  However, their opinion would likely carry a good bit of weight.


OCT 19 2000


Dear Mr. Bardwell:

This refers to your letter of June 29, 2000, asking if the externally threaded front sight base of Romanian manufactured AK-74 rifles would be considered to be a "threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor." You state in your letter that the threading on the Romanian front sight base is unlike that of AK-74 rifles manufactured in other countries. You further state that, to the best of your knowledge, the Romanian producers did not
manufacture a flash suppressor for their AK-74 rifles.

If there are no flash suppressors manufactured having a threading compatible with the Romanian AK-74 muzzle threading, then it follows that the described rifle would not have a "threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor." However, should a flash suppressor become available in the future that has a
threading compatible with the Romanian front sight base threading, then the rifle would be considered to have a threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor.

We trust that the foregoing has been responsive to your inquiry. If we can be of any further assistance, please contact us.

Sincerely yours,

Curtis H.A. Bartlett
Acting Chief, Firearms Technology Branch

My worry is this part:

"should a flash suppressor become available in the future that has a
threading compatible with the Romanian front sight base threading, then the rifle would be considered to have a threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor."

What exactly is "available".  Does it need to be commercially available, widely available, etc?  If someone taps a single f/s for that thread pattern in their basement, is your rifle now illegal?  I can picture an ATF agent grinning over his lathe as he taps a f/s for 9/16x28 immediately after he finishes writing up your response letter similar to the one above...

Link Posted: 4/28/2003 4:32:38 AM EST
... This is the exact crap the lawmakers need to see to understand just how stupid the AWB laws are structured.
Link Posted: 4/28/2003 5:49:48 AM EST
Ask yourself this question. Is this muzzle brake really with all this hassle? There are many other solutions out there.
Link Posted: 4/28/2003 6:50:33 AM EST
Thanks for the additional  ATF letter and all the advice. Frankly, the muzzle brake is not a deal braker for me. I have to have one on my other rifles like my 7mm ultra mag as it affects accuracy if you you shoot more than 3 or 4 times in a sitting. It just sucks that I can't build the rifle I want because someone else's interpratation of a vaugely written law. I do not need a MB or an AR for that matter, I want one. One with a removable MB like 3 other "hunting" rifles I own but the BATF can't even give me a straight answer regarding the law. To tell you the truth, I see people walking around the gun show with obviously illegal SKS's with folding stocks regularly- thats asking for it. I would doubt that I would ever have to defend my position in court for this situation and with the thumbs up letters I feel I would win.. I am afraid that the AWB is here to stay like other do but we should be working to at least improve/clarify the legislation if its not going to sunset.

Well, I guess I am going get out the phonebook and call every machine shop in the US and Asia to see if they have ever made a 9/16 28 TPI flash suppressor. If they haven't I am going to ask them please not to in the future. Its the law.      

Link Posted: 4/30/2003 7:25:06 AM EST
What are the chances that the threaded barrel police are ever going to even check your barrel?  Even if they do, and even if they question it, you've made a reasonable effort based on available information to comply with the law.
Link Posted: 5/8/2003 7:16:36 PM EST
Have you looked into having JP put a different  thread on the brake?  Change the pitch to something you haven't seen on any website.  Or maybe they could send you an unthreaded brake and your machinist could put one on for you.

It seems to me that an obscure thread size plus the letter should keep you for a long time.  Of course, hopefully you won't have to worry in a couple of months.
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