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Posted: 12/13/2013 1:04:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/13/2013 1:04:38 PM EST by Lancelot]
I know that it is ok to buy and ship 80% lowers through the mail without needing an FFL. At what point do you need an FFL, anything more than 80%, or can you go up to 99% and not require an FFL? Just wondering.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:53:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/12/2013 9:59:25 PM EST by mr2ndamendment]
Disclaimer: Don't take anything in my post or on this forum as actual legal advice or legal doctrine, these are solely opinions expressed. This is marginal legal advice: for advice you can stay legal on, contact your local ATF department/branch and always ensure you're in compliance with any additional state/local laws in effect.

With that said, here's my legal understanding of 80 percenters:

From 0% to 80%, in the eyes of the Federal Government, it is not a firearm, it is a paperweight. It can be sent in the mail with no special provisions or services and can be transferred freely, just like buying a gallon of milk or transferring a pack of gum to somebody else. When the part in question goes from any place above 80%, it is now considered a "firearm" by the Feds. That means the second some machining or processing (or anything) is done to the part to make it at 81% or closer to final design, it is now deemed a firearm. If this weren't the case, you'd have companies selling "99 percenters" rather than 80 percenters.

Furthermore, you may buy a part that is 80% or less of the way there, but only you and you alone can take it from 81% and onward to the full 100%. So long as you are the only person taking it from 81% to 100% and you intend to keep the gun, you may make one of each type/model of gun per year for your own personal ownership and use so long as you're not building it with the intent to sell. There is no requirement (at least on a Federal level) to put a serial number or any markings on the gun at this point, so long as it's for you to own and use and it's not being sold.

Now if you've built an 80 percenter and someday down the road decide you want to get rid of it by selling it, it is required that you serialize the firearm and do the private transfer through a FFL dealer (with the buyer getting a background check, doing the 4473, and the gun's serial number getting recorded on the third page) -that way Uncle Sam now has a way to trace the origins of the gun that has now "entered circulation." Along with adding a serial number, Uncle Sam requires that you also add what all gun makers must put on their firearms -place of manufacture, manufacturer, model, and serial number.

End notes:
Keep in mind that the laws that allow private individuals to manufacture their own firearms for their own uses and ownership were written in a time before CAD programs and CNC machining technology. In the ATF's eyes, this provision existed for that old timer that wanted to make his own single-shot breach-loader. Nowadays with gun designs like the AR15 and the machining technology making it easier, it has allowed for us to take the provisions in this law to heights and levels that had never been dreamed of before. I love that we can do this and I hope it never becomes illegal, but just know that you are doing something that was never really intended to happen and that when you get pulled over with a gun without a serial number, it'll make the cop wonder who you are and what you're doing as they've been trained to look for guns without serial numbers. This shouldn't stop you in exercising your rights, but just know the extra "bonuses" you take on when you make/own 80 percenters. It's kind of like NFA items. Back in 1934, having to shell out $200 for a NFA item/gun was a LOT of money for the average American, and they did it that way on purpose to intentionally limit how many people were out there with NFA items/guns. With the passing of the decades, $200 is still a hefty hit, but it's nothing compared to what it meant back in 1934, so again, we're taking advantage of something that was really never intended to be a common option.

Lastly, make sure you are the one finishing up the build. By the letter of the law, if you receive any help taking it from 80% to 100% (or anywhere therein) you are doing something illegal on a Federal level, and of course that's not a good thing at all. Consult your local ATF office for questions and good luck!



Link Posted: 12/13/2013 2:04:08 AM EST
81% = Gun.
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 3:23:35 AM EST
80%, 81%, 90%,99% they all mean very little. After all how do you measure any of those percentages?
Measure by pounds of material left?
Measure by hours of work left?
Measure by how many machining steps left to do??
I think you can see that to accurately assign a percentage finished number to this is difficult.

In reference to an AR type weapon. NO work can be done on the fire control group area.
As soon as you do any one of the following you have a gun and it must be treated as such.
1. Drill a trigger pin hole.
2. Drill a hammer pin hole.
3. Drill a selector hole.
4. Machine to any depth any part of the fire control group area. (yes just outline in and machine down 0.001 and you have a gun)

You cannot build to sell but down the road you can change your mind and decide to sell it.
You sell it like any other firearm and your State Laws will be used as guidance. In many States a face-to-face without FFL can still be done.
At this point it is just a gun like any other. Get over that you built it. Colt, S&W, homemade are all the same at this point - Just a gun - nothing special.

If selling you need to have Model/Serial number, who made it and place of building engraved. Engraving must be at least 0.003 deep so most laser engraving is not acceptable.
Where do you get the serial number/Model number? You make it up! Any number is fine as long and if you end up building more than one the numbers are unique.
The following numbers all would be fine Model XY-17b Ser 1725364, Model AB-44 Ser 1 etc.

If you never sell it and continue to use it yourself there is NO need for any Serial number. Although no need, I would advise to put a serial number on it. You would be legal but if stopped by LEO you would probably have serious trouble until your case got to someone who understands the laws.
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 6:47:33 AM EST
I don't generally get into threads like this, but there's some bad info here.

The term "80%." is a marketing thing. BATFE does not use that designation. Something either is a gun or is not. No such thing as a little bit of one. The basis for determination is whether a sample submitted to the technology branch requires substantial machining effort to make a functional gun. Just a guess, but I believe that a solid magazine well, and a fully finished fire control pocket would also qualify as not a gun. Four or five years ago "80%" lowers were sold with the selector, hammer, and trigger pin holes already completed. I still have one laying around.

If you are legally able to own a gun in your state, then you can make as many guns as you want for your own use. There is no numerical or time limit in 18 USC. Without the proper license you may not make a gun with the intent to sell it.

Serialization only applies to licensed manufacturers. An individual never needs to apply any identifying marks at any time. Guns did not even need serial numbers until GCA1968, and one you make today still doesn't need such a number. BATFE SUGGESTS that you identify you work in some way so that if it is ever stolen, and later recovered, you can get it back. But a serial is not a legal requirement.

You may sell a home made gun. If, after making a gun for your self, you decide to sell it, there is still no Federal requirement to serialize the receiver. Your state laws may require it, but BATFE doesn't.

Federal law does not require that a home made gun be sold through a licensed dealer. It can be sold in any manner consistent with your state laws.

I know there will be a bunch of flamers disputing this, so if anyone wants to weigh in on that, please provide citations. If I am incorrect in any of the above points, I will happily, and abjectly, offer my apology.
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 7:06:21 AM EST
in my opinon, get a real AR lower. you can spend $100 for a 80% plus another $100 for the jig. or you can just wait for the background check to be complete and spend $115 for a real one
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 7:44:25 AM EST
Anyone can buy a lower receiver and assemble parts into a functional firearm less expensively, and with far less work, than completing a partially finished frame.

For me it's not about money. I get a real satisfaction from milling a lower that looks good and works well.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:11:13 PM EST
80% is not a gun. no ffl needed.
Link Posted: 12/12/2013 9:13:52 PM EST
So is 80% the limit? If someone is shipping a 90% receiver they need to ship to an FFL?
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 8:28:44 AM EST
Alot of good info here. Your right, anyone can by a lower and just put it together. But there is something about doing it yourself, almost from scratch, that is very satisfying. Also, you can have the 80% lowers engraved to to look like the original military roll marks which you can't buy from a dealer. I did see a guy on Youtube mill an 80% and it looked like he did it with a claw hammer. If mine were to turn out like that I would just assume buy a finished lower from a dealer. I did not know that you could sell a home build firearm if you wanted to down the road. I thought that home builds could never be sold. Thanks for helping me out on this!
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 10:06:33 AM EST
80% is not a legal term AFAIK, it's just what the industry adopted. In the case of ARs, none of the FCG pocket or holes can be completed or it becomes a "gun".
Originally Posted By sergtjim:
Anyone can buy a lower receiver and assemble parts into a functional firearm less expensively, and with far less work, than completing a partially finished frame.

For me it's not about money. I get a real satisfaction from milling a lower that looks good and works well.
View Quote

Yup, and not everyone needs to buy a jig to mill a lower

I like not dealing with transfers or the fees or ugly roll marks. YMMV.
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 10:19:33 AM EST
Know what you mean about some of the ugly roll marks on a lot of the finished receivers. But I have always liked the Colt roll marks, particularly on the military weapons.
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 10:32:34 AM EST
Originally Posted By gopedxr7:
in my opinon, get a real AR lower. you can spend $100 for a 80% plus another $100 for the jig. or you can just wait for the background check to be complete and spend $115 for a real one
View Quote
People who go the 80% route don't do it to save money. My last couple lowers were $57 each and a $20 transfer for both with no wait.

I want to do 80%'s because they're the next step in my hobby. First I need a mill though
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 12:53:44 PM EST
I thought most people did 80% to get a truly custom lower without the goofy roll marks and caliber designations.
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 1:07:42 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By LongEZ85:
80%, 81%, 90%,99% they all mean very little. After all how do you measure any of those percentages?
Measure by pounds of material left?
Measure by hours of work left?
Measure by how many machining steps left to do??
I think you can see that to accurately assign a percentage finished number to this is difficult.

In reference to an AR type weapon. NO work can be done on the fire control group area.
As soon as you do any one of the following you have a gun and it must be treated as such.
1. Drill a trigger pin hole.
2. Drill a hammer pin hole.
3. Drill a selector hole.
4. Machine to any depth any part of the fire control group area. (yes just outline in and machine down 0.001 and you have a gun)

You cannot build to sell but down the road you can change your mind and decide to sell it.
You sell it like any other firearm and your State Laws will be used as guidance. In many States a face-to-face without FFL can still be done.
At this point it is just a gun like any other. Get over that you built it. Colt, S&W, homemade are all the same at this point - Just a gun - nothing special.

If selling you need to have Model/Serial number, who made it and place of building engraved. Engraving must be at least 0.003 deep so most laser engraving is not acceptable.
Where do you get the serial number/Model number? You make it up! Any number is fine as long and if you end up building more than one the numbers are unique.
The following numbers all would be fine Model XY-17b Ser 1725364, Model AB-44 Ser 1 etc.

If you never sell it and continue to use it yourself there is NO need for any Serial number. Although no need, I would advise to put a serial number on it. You would be legal but if stopped by LEO you would probably have serious trouble until your case got to someone who understands the laws.
View Quote


This is my understanding as well.
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 1:22:26 PM EST
I had the original military Colt roll marks put on the magwell. Looks sweet! I have a lower with military M16A1 roll marks and M4 roll marks. Used my phone number for the serial numbers.
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 1:30:55 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 1:33:18 PM EST
Can you ship a lower (beyond 80%) to yourself? Or is it that not legal since it's not yet a long gun?
Link Posted: 12/13/2013 2:10:02 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By sergtjim:
I don't generally get into threads like this, but there's some bad info here.

The term "80%." is a marketing thing. BATFE does not use that designation. Something either is a gun or is not. No such thing as a little bit of one. The basis for determination is whether a sample submitted to the technology branch requires substantial machining effort to make a functional gun. Just a guess, but I believe that a solid magazine well, and a fully finished fire control pocket would also qualify as not a gun. Four or five years ago "80%" lowers were sold with the selector, hammer, and trigger pin holes already completed. I still have one laying around.

If you are legally able to own a gun in your state, then you can make as many guns as you want for your own use. There is no numerical or time limit in 18 USC. Without the proper license you may not make a gun with the intent to sell it.

Serialization only applies to licensed manufacturers. An individual never needs to apply any identifying marks at any time. Guns did not even need serial numbers until GCA1968, and one you make today still doesn't need such a number. BATFE SUGGESTS that you identify you work in some way so that if it is ever stolen, and later recovered, you can get it back. But a serial is not a legal requirement.

You may sell a home made gun. If, after making a gun for your self, you decide to sell it, there is still no Federal requirement to serialize the receiver. Your state laws may require it, but BATFE doesn't.

Federal law does not require that a home made gun be sold through a licensed dealer. It can be sold in any manner consistent with your state laws.

I know there will be a bunch of flamers disputing this, so if anyone wants to weigh in on that, please provide citations. If I am incorrect in any of the above points, I will happily, and abjectly, offer my apology.
View Quote


This is correct.

MAHA
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