Skip to comments.Are .50 BMG upper conversions going to be reclassified as firearms?
Posted on 08/02/2011 5:37:46 AM PDT by marktwain
An open letter to ATF
John R. Spencer, Chief
Firearms Technology Branch
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Dear Chief Spencer,
For some time, Ive been hearing rumblings from sources in the firearms industry that your branch is going to classify .50 BMG upper conversions for AR-15 rifles as firearms, a departure from the past practice established by your office of considering them parts. I have since been informed this was confirmed by your office in a telephone conversation with a national firearms publication. Because this could have such profound and far-reaching effects, not only within the firearms industry, but also among private owners who have been in compliance with currently written regulations, Im seeking to document if this is true.
If not, Im sorry to bother you and take you away from your busy and demanding schedule. My intent is either to confirm what Ive been hearing or put it to bed. Please let me know so that I can share a denial with interested gun owners.
If it is true, here are some additional questions Id like to get for-the-record answers to:
As per Federal Firearms Act. 15 U.S.C. Chapter 18, a firearm for intents and purposes of this inquiry is Any weapon, including a starter gun, which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon, and a firearm frame or receiver is That part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.
(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...
I’m certain the author is referring to .50 AE rather than .50 BMG.
The Republicans need to make amends with the Tea Party and they can do that by defunding the ATF&E.They are a useless agency in search of a mission.
Though lately it seems their mission is black-marketing weapons to drug dealers and causing the deaths of American citizens.
How can the upper and lower be classified as separate firearms?
I was wondering about that. Having a .50 BMG upper and a standard lower would effectively make the weapon single shot. Who wants to spend all the money on a .50 cal upper for that?
No there are uppers that well turn your lower to a single shot 50BMG at the shot show there was one with a side mounted mag.
The lower is just used as a holder for the upper and to set the primer off. Ie hammer and trigger.
No. He means .50BMG. .50AE is a handgun round. .50BMG is a rifle or crew served weapon round. .50BMG upper halves have been available for AR-15 rifles for years, so this is a major change in how they’d be classified.
Barret and others make 50 cal single shots, the AR upper is just a bit cheaper to make and buy.
I was informed that the thread adapter for my Walther P-22 pistol was a machine gun by the BATFE when they showed up at my house to confiscate it!
Want to elaborate?
Nope. .50 BMG uppers come in a variety of flavors for the AR platform. Everything from single shot to mag fed semi-autos. Much better prices than buying a full-on bolt gun chambered in .50 BMG. $2000 instead of $7000 for about the same accuracy.
There is also a .50 Beowulf upper for AR-15’s...
Here’s a link to a Military Channnel documentary on YouTube:
Very cool... I want one....
No, I think he is correct. A simple google search reveals this:
Tactilite T1 Complete Upper Receiver .50 BMG for AR-15 Style Low $1,781 online
Zel Customs makes .50 BMG uppers for ARs.
Several years ago, I bought a Walther P-22 thread adapter on eBay for my P-22 pistol. This part, just like a thread adapter in the plumbing world, threads on the the internal barrel threads of the P-22 and provided external threads for a silencer, should you choose to purchase one.
Note that I DID NOT purchase, own or fabricate a silencer!
A few months later, I got a call from my wife at home that 2 BATFE agents were at my door to confiscate my “illegal machine gun”.
I made arrangements to meet another BATFE agent at my house that evening. He informed me that a supervisor had ruled that the part i possessed was an illegal Class III modification which was considered a silencer. I went upstairs, retrieved the firearm and brought it down. In his presence, I unscrewed the thread adapter and protective cap, put on the regular berrel nut and gave it to him.
His only response was “Thats IT???”
I said that it was what I had purchased. Since it only cost around $30.00, I wasn’t going to argue. Besides, the external threading was 1/2 x 20 (European silencer) and I really wanted 1/2 x 28 (American silencer).
I also informed him that several websites were selling the same item. I can go down to my favorite gun store and buy one now, should I choose. They have them in stock!
IIRC, the adapter they were interested in was specifically made to thread onto a standard water/soda bottle. The manufacturer, a German, claimed that the adapter was for cleaning purposes; the user would thread the adapter to a bottle of cleaning solution and then install the barrel. You could run a brush through the chamber and down into the solution, back and forth.
Of course, such bottles can also make a slightly-reduced single-shot suppressor, so the BATFE didn’t care for it.
I think that they will have a tougher time with this than the streetsweeper shotgun reclassification. The law (GCA68) specifies that firearms have with a bore greater than .50 are DDs unless exempted by administrative whim or decree as suitable for sporting purposes which was simply revoked in the case of streetsweepers.
Actually its the top end to replace the AR standard barrel and its a .50 BMG bolt action. Costs about $2,200.00. They are a single round feed bolt action. The AR is a modular system and many different uppers can be placed on the lower. 5.7 H&K with the rotary top mount fifty round clip is one of them. Or you can put a .22 LR upper and number of pistol rounds.
If you want one get one now. There’s no paperwork. You just walk in pay your money and walk out with it.
I thought that I wanted one until I saw the price of the ammo; 46 bucks for 20 rounds.
Wow! I need to purchase an AWC .22 threaded barrel for my suppressor and TPH, I wonder if this sort of thinking will prevent them from selling those barrels??
The SHTF50 is Safety Harbor Firearms, Inc. Upper Conversion Kit.
Receiver: Machined from 4130 Chromemoly Steel
Magazine: 5 Round, Single Stack Magazine. 1 Included
Muzzle Brake: 8 port steel. Threaded to muzzle.
Bolt Head: 2 lug, machined from 4340 Chromemoly Steel
Barrel: 4140 Chromemoly - 18, 22, and 29 inches long
1-15 Twist (Barrel Fluting Optional)
Scope Mount: Aluminum with Picatinney rail profile mounted on the receiver.
Bolt Body: Machined from 4130 Chromemoly tubing.
Hammer: 1 Supplied (to replace AR-15/M16 Hammer)
NO FFL is required for purchase
Shipping Weight: 18lbs
Manufactured by: Safety Harbor Firearms, Inc.
Personally, I want one in the .50x77mm cartridge, not for the M2 .50 BMG, but rather intended for use in the M8c spotter rifle for the M40A1 recoilless rifle. You are invited to guess why I prefer the lighter cartridge.
One word for you......
Who wants to spend all the money on a .50 cal upper for that?
The SHTF50 is Safety Harbor Firearms, Inc. Upper Conversion Kit.
I also love the “SHTF” brand name, which PERFECTLY describes it’s purpose!
Thanks to everyone for the information. I have got to get me on of those!
ATF is notorious for getting ideas for administrative rulings by receiving bizarre questions from idiots who don't realize that if something hasn't been banned one way or another, asking if it will be all too often leads the ban-happy agency to answer "yes" and proceed to do so.
Nope, it’s the .50 BMG upper.
I would love to know more about how the BATFE claims a thread adapter is a machine gun. Can you give some more details?
BTW, I believe that the ATF has already declared an upper receiver for the AR-15 that was special built to convert the rifle to a belt fed weapon to be a “firearm”. Yes, it was semi-auto only.
>>You are invited to guess why I prefer the lighter cartridge. <<
Higher muzzle velocity?
The thread adapter exaggeration by a couple of field agents is one thing; another is the BATFE written declaration of 2004 that the possession of a 14-inch- long shoestring constites the possession of an unregistered machinegun.:
There was enough publicity and embarassment at the BATFE that a second, overriding ruling had to be made, lest the nation be plagued with overzealous cops raiding shoestores as dealers of deadly machinegunstrings:
And that was pretty well that, until an overly officious cop at one of our neighborhood watch meetings described was describing his *zero tolerance* policy on citizen misconduct, and I happily pointed out that he was in fact an armed felon, in posession of not one but two deadly and illegal shoestrings, as well as his department-issued semiautomatic weapon. placing him in violation of federal law, since while local cops may in some instances obtain and use full-auto weapons, they cannot possess unregistered ones, particularly shoestrings which have had their serial numbers removed or never applied. Making it worse for him, we have a state law making a violation of law in the performance of his duty a state felony. And there was a reporter in the room.
He had a quick defense: I was probably making the whole thing up. Unfortunately for him, I had copies of the two letters shown above with me, which a local gun shop owner had asked for. He really didn't want to see those, and I was agreeable.
So I gave them to the reporter instead.
Higher muzzle velocity?
Nope. Lower, with the smaller cartridge. And there's a reason why, in this case, that's desirable.
I won’t ask anymore questions.