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Posted: 1/23/2002 3:34:00 PM EDT
It's my understanding that the actual definition of a 'grenade launcher' as applied to an assault rifle is that it is not the same as an M79 or M203 mounted on your AR, but instead it is any muzzle brake or flash hider or other item that can be used to launch rifle grenades, and that the military type flash hiders as found on M16's and preban configured AR's is in fact such a grenade launcher, to be used in conjunction with a blank cartridge for propulsion. So, if this is the case, what specifically is the significant attribute that differentiates between a muzzle brake that is NOT a grenade launcher, and one that IS a grenade launcher? Might it be, first, the diameter? I'm wondering if I could trim down the outer diameter of an issue flash hider and also cut out its inner vanes so that it no longer functions as a flash hider, and no longer meets the specifications of a grenade launcher, too? Then weld or silver solder it on to meet that requirement for permanent attachment. Any opinions? Seems like this may be a good letter to send off to the BATF. CJ
Link Posted: 1/23/2002 4:44:55 PM EDT
A NATO standard 22mm muzzle device is considered a grenade launcher (for slipover rifle grenades). Any muzzle device which could function as such a launcher is therefore a prohibited feature on a post-ban semi auto with a detachable magazine. What this means is that any muzzle device for post-ban use must be enough larger or smaller than the NATO 22mm standard that it cannot functions as a rifle grenade launcher. Most of the post-ban legal brakes/compensators are larger around than the restricted 22mm, although it should be legal to produce a muzzle device of significantly smaller diameter, as well, and have it be legal.
Link Posted: 1/23/2002 4:51:08 PM EDT
Thanks for the info. I figure that knocking off 2 mm off the diameter would result in this not being serviceable as a launcher since the amount of slop that would result would result in highly inaccurate and unsafe operation. I'd also like to find out if cutting the fins out of a brake would disable its flash hider capabilities. CJ
Link Posted: 1/23/2002 10:05:48 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/24/2002 4:50:56 PM EDT
I've occasionally wondered what the ATF's classification of a 22mm bull barrel - otherwise bare and postban legal... [:)]
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 3:38:05 AM EDT
I have not researched this so I'll leave it to Circuits and Troy in the short term. However, my Wilson brake does appear to be the same diameter as the A2 f/h. I'll measure tonight (might also call Wilson), however, their look-a-likes are ATF approved.
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 4:30:00 AM EDT
FWIW, Wilson brakes are larger than an A2 FS.
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 4:41:03 AM EDT
(18 U.S.C. sec. 921 (a) (30): The term "semiautomatic assault weapon" means-- (A) any of the firearms, or copies or duplicates of the firearms in any caliber, known as-- (i) Norinco, Mitchell, and Poly Technologies Avtomat Kalashnikovs (all models); (ii) Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and Galil; (iii) Beretta Ar70 (SC-70); (iv) Colt AR-15; (v) Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, and FNC; (vi) SWD M-10, M-11, M-11/9, and M-12; (vii) Steyr AUG; (viii) INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9 and TEC-22; and (ix) revolving cylinder shotguns, such as (or similar to) the Street Sweeper and Striker 12; (B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of-- (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon; (iii) a bayonet mount; (iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and (v) a grenade launcher; Note carefully the wording of B iv/v. It seems to me the "and" ties the two together. What do you think Steve-in-Va?
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 4:50:16 AM EDT
I think the conjuctive "and" is simply proper syntax. All of those items in "B" are inclusive. They all can be part of the "at least two" qualifier. I don't think it matters that the "and" is placed between "f/h" and "grenade launcher" since it would be there for any of the others if the order was switched. IMO, and I could be wrong, I think the "and" is only significant in that it means that all items are inclusive. It does not tie the two together, it ties them all together. If the qualifier was "only if one of the following is present", then you would see an "or" between the last two items; again, regardless of order. You might be right on the Wilson break, I need to measure it (might be able to do it at lunch depending on when I get out of court).
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 6:23:01 AM EDT
Interesting point. The "and" makes it a little harder to determine what's allowed and what's not. If the word "and" had been left out, it would be beyond doubt that the mere presence of threads on the barrel would constitute an illegal configuration, but the word IS in there, which begs the question, is it legal simply to install a threaded muzzle brake on the barrel? I'm not inclined to be the test case, though. But this seems like a good question to put in writing and send to the BATF. CJ
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 6:27:49 AM EDT
I found it. The relevant text from an ATF letter as posted at Bardwell's site, letter no. 11: " DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS WASHINGTON, DC 20226 JUL 11 1996 E:CE:F:TE:RDC 3311 Name Address Dear: This refers to your letter of May 19, 1996 in which you ask numerous questions regarding The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (18 U.S.C., Chapter 44, as amended by Public Law 103-322). A semiautomatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine and having a threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor would be an assault weapon as defined in the above statute. A rifle would not be considered to have a threaded barrel if threads were covered by a muzzle brake which was permanently attached to the barrel by welding or high temperature (1,100 degrees Fahrenheit) silver solder. The muzzle brake must not additionally function as a flash hider or grenade launcher. " There's the ruling. NO THREADS UNLESS SILVER SOLDERED OR WELDED. Nuts. CJ
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 6:46:53 AM EDT
What if you were to thread it differently so all current flash suppressors would not fit? Only your specially threaded muzzle breaks would fit the barrel. Would this make it legal since the threaded statement is tied to the flash suppressor statement.
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 6:54:08 AM EDT
Nope. No threads unless welded or silver soldered over, regardless of the thread specification. The ban says threaded barrel, it does not specify WHICH threads. Plus, you can get flash hiders and suppressors made with custom threads without any real problem. CJ
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 7:35:06 AM EDT
Tom, Relax. Take a deep breath. All they would have to do is slip a NATO-standard or old US rifle grenade over the muzzle device and fire the appropriate grenade launching cartridge. If the grenade is launched, you have a grenade launcher. Any device the same outside diameter as the A2 compensator is a grenade launcher. They don't have to specify 22mm or any other measurement. They just have to use the two magic words, "Grenade Launcher," and pop one downrange for you to be SOL. CJ, It says "threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor." BATF has opined that non-standard threads for which no flash suppressor exists are OK. As soon as someone offers one with those threads it does become illegal.
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 9:24:03 AM EDT
The Wilson break is 1/32" greater in diameter than the A2 f/h, for what it's worth.
Link Posted: 2/14/2002 4:01:59 PM EDT
Dave G., you are welcome to believe what you wish. I base my decisions ONLY on written content of ATF letters and other relevant data as written in law, and other relevant technical data. A NATO standard grenade launcher attachment has a diameter of 22 millimeters. This is a 'magic size' that any reasonable man would AVOID in the making of any muzzle device. I would not want such a device on my rifle if it was within 1 mm of that spec. I see no rational reason to tweak the dragon's tail. I further refer any interested parties to the ATF letters, and the letter of the law, regarding threaded muzzles. If anyone chooses to think that 'other threads' are OK, they're willing to take a chance that I will not. The writing of the law and the ATF letters on the subject are EXCRUCIATINGLY clear on the issue, and they say that a THREADED MUZZLE on a rifle with one other 'assault feature' makes the rifle an assault rifle. Whether or not muzzle-launched rifle grenades are readily available or not does NOT change the meaning and intent of the law. It would be highly inadvisable to pursue a variation of this scheme unless you intend to become a test case, and if you were to do so, be advised that the law as written, and the opinion of the relevant authority, is against you. I take this seriously. So seriously that both of my post-ban AR's (both Frankenguns, one has a homebuilt receiver I milled from a forging) have barrels that have had the threads turned completely off and had plain fillers installed in their place, giving plain muzzles. I'm not comfortable with the idea of having a heat treated steel barrel welded or soldered with silver solder at at least 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. That's bad for the temper. No one could even QUESTION the configuration of my post-ban rifles, and they shoot just fine without bayonet lugs or flash hiders, though I admit I'd like to have them there if it were allowable. CJ
Link Posted: 2/15/2002 3:50:53 AM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson: Interesting point. The "and" makes it a little harder to determine what's allowed and what's not. If the word "and" had been left out, it would be beyond doubt that the mere presence of threads on the barrel would constitute an illegal configuration, but the word IS in there, which begs the question, is it legal simply to install a threaded muzzle brake on the barrel? CJ
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I think you are missing the point; it's not as complicated as you make it. The "and" is merely there to indicate that all of the items listed are inclusive. In otherwords, they are all part of the groups that can make up "at least two" of the items that make the weapon an AW. Nothing more. If it had indicated that "one of the following . . ." you would see an "or" in between the last two items. It's just syntax, nothing more.
Link Posted: 2/15/2002 5:56:04 AM EDT
No, I'm not missing the point, but instead I was trying to MAKE the point, in a subtle way, that the syntax DOES affect the interpretation of the meaning. Wars have been fought over the position of a punctuation mark. Witness the numerous interpretations, re-interpretations, and misinterpretations of the uncomplicated text of the 2nd Amendment. Some claim it supports a militia's RKBA, others claim it supports an individuals'a right, and others claim it means nothing because it's old and not relevant to our society. One simple sentence, several different interpretations, and each of them has been supported in one court decision or another. Yes, the position of that 'and' might be important to someone, someday. Although established rulings from the BATF have already well defined what constitutes a grenade launcher. CJ
Link Posted: 2/15/2002 7:51:03 AM EDT
CJ, My info is also derived from the various BATF letters, FAQs and other documentation. I apparently have seen some things from them that you haven't.
Link Posted: 2/15/2002 10:47:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson: No, I'm not missing the point, but instead I was trying to MAKE the point, in a subtle way, that the syntax DOES affect the interpretation of the meaning. Wars have been fought over the position of a punctuation mark. Witness the numerous interpretations, re-interpretations, and misinterpretations of the uncomplicated text of the 2nd Amendment. Some claim it supports a militia's RKBA, others claim it supports an individuals'a right, and others claim it means nothing because it's old and not relevant to our society. One simple sentence, several different interpretations, and each of them has been supported in one court decision or another. Yes, the position of that 'and' might be important to someone, someday. Although established rulings from the BATF have already well defined what constitutes a grenade launcher. CJ
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Again, you are making this waaaay too complicated. It is only there for one purpose, not some nebulous, ever-growing sub-meaning that may evolve over time. It's unambigous and, even though I don't like the law, it is an example of good statutory construction.
Link Posted: 2/15/2002 12:32:11 PM EDT
Tom, Why not just write a letter to the BATF Firearms Technology Branch and ask them a detailed question, asking for a detailed answer about what a grenade launcher is. You should specifically ask if a 22mm diameter barrel constitutes a grenade launcher. Their answers are very specific and narrow, so make sure your question asks for the information you want.
Link Posted: 2/15/2002 3:22:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2002 3:25:21 PM EDT by cmjohnson]
Steve-In-Va, be assured, I do not think the 2nd amendment is particularly complicated. I believe that it means that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is absolute, as individuals, and that to 'keep' is to have them outside of a militia/military context, while to 'bear' arms is to bear them WITHIN that context, and BOTH are covered as individual rights. I also believe that the 2nd also guarantees the people the right to participate in a militia if they choose to, and this was a rather important issue in the early days of our country. It still COULD be. While I don't think the 2nd is particularly complicated, there's no doubt that some people have chosen to interpret it differently so as to support their own biases. Ask the Brady Campaign Bunch what it means, and you WON'T get the same answer as you will get from me or many of us. Just know that. Not everybody interprets it the same way, though I believe that anti-gunners deliberately distort the meaning in order to support their socialist, un-American agenda. I'm for freedom. They're not. Dave G, I WOULD like to see those ATF letters you are referring to. Can you link to them? I have found no such letter in the Bardwell collection as of yet, at least not on the site I visit that has them. CJ
Link Posted: 2/15/2002 4:10:59 PM EDT
CJ, Fair enough. I get where you are coming from and the point you were making. Thanx for the discussion.
Link Posted: 2/15/2002 8:04:03 PM EDT
Welding a 24mm ring onto the brake is probably an EXCELLENT idea. Nice thinking. On my latest rifle, which I test-fired just today, I had the threads turned off (Bushmaster NM heavy barrel, pre-ban) and had a filler made for it that duplicates a plain muzzle. No flash hider, no brake, no problem! Good, accurate rifle, too. I'm quite pleased, particularly since this is the one that has the lower receiver I machined out of a solid forging. CJ
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