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View Full Version : .50 BMG AR upper CA legality?


ImpliedConsent
06-03-2009, 11:36 AM
Offhand, I would presume that putting a .50 BMG upper on an AR lower would qualify as illegal in CA... but I don't know the ins and outs of CA's crazy laws, so I thought it best to ask.

Is it legal to import a .50 BMG AR upper assembly into CA? If yes, is it then legal to attach that to an AR lower?

Thanks, and my apologies if this has come up before - I searched for a variety of keywords, but I didn't find my answer.

ke6guj
06-03-2009, 11:42 AM
It is legal to use a .50BMG upper on a Registered Assualt Weapon AR lower, or an AR lower that was registered as a .50BMG rifle. If you have a non-RAW/non-.50BMG-registerd AR lower, you can not attach a .50MG upper to it while in CA.

There is no constructive possession regulations against having the parts to make a .50BMG rifle, so some people do own .50BMG uppers along with non-Registered lowers. They either use them on a friends registered lower, or use it only while out of state.

bwiese
06-03-2009, 12:23 PM
Offhand, I would presume that putting a .50 BMG upper on an AR lower would qualify as illegal in CA...

A true 50BMG upper on a lower receiver woud be considered an (unregistered) 50BMG rifle.

If it didn't have a buttstock and were over 26" long one might argue that it 'was not intended to be shoulder-fired' and thus not a rifle, and use the BATF 'pistol grip-only Mossberg 500s are not GCA shotguns", etc. logic - plus depositions of Iggy statments that Ma Deuce semiauto 50BMGs are not "50BMG rifles" and are thus legal. However that's an argument and not in any way recommended conduct.



Is it legal to import a .50 BMG AR upper assembly into CA?

Yes:
- 50BMG uppers themselves are not controlled parts;
- 'constructive possession' does not apply even if in possession of
a matching lower receiver as long as not assembled.


If yes, is it then legal to attach that to an AR lower?


Not within California - see my first response above.

It could be transported as separated parts to, say, an NV or AZ shoot and disassembled before return to CA.

For sanity's sake for such a situation I'd recommend that the 50BMG upper and any lower be locked separately. Hell, might even make sense to put a 223 upper on the lower and make it a legal 223 non-AW rifle.

CSACANNONEER
06-03-2009, 12:32 PM
A true 50BMG upper on a lower receiver woud be considered an (unregistered) 50BMG rifle.

If it didn't have a buttstock and were over 26" long one might argue that it 'was not intended to be shoulder-fired' and thus not a rifle, and use the BATF 'pistol grip-only Mossberg 500s are not GCA shotguns", etc. logic - plus depositions of Iggy statments that Ma Deuce semiauto 50BMGs are not "50BMG rifles" and are thus legal. However that's an argument and not in any way recommended conduct.




Yes:
- 50BMG uppers themselves are not controlled parts;
- 'constructive possession' does not apply even if in possession of
a matching lower receiver as long as not assembled.



Not within California - see my first response above.

It could be transported as separated parts to, say, an NV or AZ shoot and disassembled before return to CA.

For sanity's sake for such a situation I'd recommend that the 50BMG upper and any lower be locked separately. Hell, might even make sense to put a 223 upper on the lower and make it a legal 223 non-AW rifle.

If you registered your lower as a CA AW or 50BMG rifle, then it's perfectly legal to put a 50BMG upper on it. If you have a OLL that is not a registered AW or 50BMG rifle, DON'T put them together in CA unless you have a CA DD permit!

Bigugly
06-03-2009, 12:35 PM
What about a .510 DTC?

bwiese
06-03-2009, 12:44 PM
If you registered your lower as a CA AW or 50BMG rifle, then it's perfectly legal to put a 50BMG upper on it.


Correct. The PC allows registered AWs having a 50BMG attribute to not have to be separately reg'd as a 50BMG. (Unclear if PC allows *permitted* AWs (which are different) from being 50BMGs as well, will look up as that's interesting.)

If you have a OLL that is not a registered AW or 50BMG rifle, DON'T put them together in CA unless you have a CA DD permit!

A true 'DD' permit may not cover it. The gun would need its own permitting as a 50BMG.

What about a .510 DTC?

The law only bans 50BMG, as specified by cartridge dimensions.

Any other "50" caliber that can't chamber/run a 50BMG cartridge is fine - 50Beowulf, 50GI 510DTC, etc.

CSACANNONEER
06-03-2009, 1:04 PM
Correct. The PC allows registered AWs having a 50BMG attribute to not have to be separately reg'd as a 50BMG. (Unclear if PC allows *permitted* AWs (which are different) from being 50BMGs as well, will look up as that's interesting.)



A true 'DD' permit may not cover it. The gun would need its own permitting as a 50BMG..

Ok, when it came time to register 50BMG rifles, the DOJ made it very clear that if your 50BMG rifle had previously been registered as an AW you COULD NOT re-register it as a 50BMG rifle.

Also, I'm not 100% clear on the logistics involved but, a fellow CGer approached me via PMs last year to use one of my 50s for testing. His company ended up getting a Gov. contract which required him to buy his own 50BMG to use for R&D purposes. When he asked for my advise on which 50 to get, I dirrected him to a few different top-notch manufacturers and let him know that they all might be sceptical of sending a complete rifle to Ca. He said that he had a Ca DD permit and it is legal for him to import, buy or manufacture a 50BMG in Ca. I'm sure that both he and his company would not risk doing anything to jeperdize their DoD contract. BTW, before I met him, I did check one of his references (because he contacted me out of the blue) and the CEO of a premium firearm optics company vouched for him so, I knew he wasn't some wacko full of BS. Anyway, maybe due to the fact that he has a Ca DD permit, he is able to import and manufacture 50BMG rifles and still register them? I'm not sure exactly how it works but, I know there is a way if you are able to jump through the right hoops.

bwiese
06-03-2009, 1:16 PM
Ok, when it came time to register 50BMG rifles, the DOJ made it very clear that if your 50BMG rifle had previously been registered as an AW you COULD NOT re-register it as a 50BMG rifle.

Yup, no need as there was exemption in the PC.


Also, I'm not 100% clear on the logistics involved but, a fellow CGer approached me via PMs last year to use one of my 50s for testing. His company ended up getting a Gov. contract which required him to buy his own 50BMG to use for R&D purposes. When he asked for my advise on which 50 to get, I dirrected him to a few different top-notch manufacturers and let him know that they all might be sceptical of sending a complete rifle to Ca. He said that he had a Ca DD permit and it is legal for him to import, buy or manufacture a 50BMG in Ca. I'm sure that both he and his company would not risk doing anything to jeperdize their DoD contract. BTW, before I met him, I did check one of his references (because he contacted me out of the blue) and the CEO of a premium firearm optics company vouched for him so, I knew he wasn't some wacko full of BS. Anyway, maybe due to the fact that he has a Ca DD permit, he is able to import and manufacture 50BMG rifles and still register them? I'm not sure exactly how it works but, I know there is a way if you are able to jump through the right hoops.[/quote]

Maybe that's a "DW" (dangerous weapons) permit that includes coverage of 50BMG and AWs too.

Those are discretionary and DOJ can kinaa make it "do what has to be done".

ImpliedConsent
06-03-2009, 4:00 PM
Thank you very much for answering my question. I'm glad to see it at least isn't quite as obvious as it could have been, so I don't feel dense for having been confused. ;)

It sounds like there are weapons which fire .50 BMG which are legal to newly purchase/transfer in CA, such as a semi-only M2. If I'm not misreading the above, what other .50 BMG firing "non-rifles" are there which could be legally purchased?

I know there are other .50 options than .50 BMG, but I have a desire to stick with common military cartridges, so any recommendations in that scope would be helpful.

CSACANNONEER
06-03-2009, 4:16 PM
Except for M2s and M3s, I don't know of any other possible options for you. Even those are options that I would not recommend unless you have $100,000 laying around to defend yourself should you need to go to court and prove that it's legal. What are you doing this weekend? Thanks to 50BMGBOB, we are having a FCSA match at the Coalinga Rifle Club this Fri-Sun. If you can make it out there, you'll be able to see a variety of 50BMGs and .510DTCs. If you can make it out there on Friday, you might even get a chance to shoot a few of them. Personally, I'd go with a .510 DTC now. It uses all the same componants as a 50BMG round. The only difference is that the brass has to be modified a little bit.

bwiese
06-03-2009, 4:18 PM
It sounds like there are weapons which fire .50 BMG which are legal to newly purchase/transfer in CA, such as a semi-only M2. If I'm not misreading the above, what other .50 BMG firing "non-rifles" are there which could be legally purchased?[/quote]

Unsure of others - but the "not intended to be fired from the shoulder" concept is the key (tripod/pintle mount, etc.) But
do understand this is an aggressive position if you encounter an LEO so you'd better be of presentable appearance, verbally agile, nicely dressed and not in a lowered Honda with a cracked windshield. We are dealing with drama around this matter right now - it'll be resolved favorably but may take time.

Some Calgunners are involved in a special effort revolving certain 50BMG rifles that should bear legal fruit in a reasonable time.

CSACANNONEER
06-03-2009, 4:21 PM
WAIT! I just thought of another perfectly legal way to buy a 50BMG RIFLE in California, TODAY! All C&R 50BMGs are exempt for registration. This means that all you have to do is find a rifle chambered in 50BMG that is using a receiver over 50 years old! It is not an impossible feat. I have a friend who has had a Boys Rifle since the 60's. When ammo became impossible to find and the feds decided to make it a DD, he had it rebarrelled and chambered in 50BMG. So, I know they are out there but, you will be limiting your choices.

Tankhatch
06-03-2009, 4:47 PM
Note: The .510 DTC, is European in design. Over there, calibers are measured not only the bore size, but also include the depth of the lands.

In US rifles, the caliber measure is by bore size only, and does not include the depth of the lands. (Goes back to smooth bore days)

The 50 BMG barrel in the US, has a bore diameter of .50, thats why its called a .50 caliber round.

Its confusing to some, to use European terms of caliber, .510 DTC, only because an over .50 BORE rifle is a no no in CA. ( C & R ok)

The .50 DTC is the correct way to call out this cartridge, as its a modified from a .50 BMG, only by case length,,,, not by change of bullet.

CSACANNONEER
06-03-2009, 4:55 PM
Its confusing to some, to use European terms of caliber, .510 DTC, only because an over .50 BORE rifle is a no no in CA. ( C & R ok)

The .50 DTC is the correct way to call out this cartridge, as its a modified from a .50 BMG, only by case length,,,, not by change of bullet.

WRONG! Ca considers anything over .60 a DD not .50! Also, the DTC round is a little shorter, like you said, but, it's also blown out to be a straight walled cartridge with the same case capacity as a 50BMG.

bwiese
06-03-2009, 5:44 PM
WAIT! I just thought of another perfectly legal way to buy a 50BMG RIFLE in California, TODAY! All C&R 50BMGs are exempt for registration. This means that all you have to do is find a rifle chambered in 50BMG that is using a receiver over 50 years old! It is not an impossible feat. I have a friend who has had a Boys Rifle since the 60's. When ammo became impossible to find and the feds decided to make it a DD, he had it rebarrelled and chambered in 50BMG. So, I know they are out there but, you will be limiting your choices.

I worry about a C&R gun that's been modified to be a bit different than issued status (other than replacement parts for things like worn bbls).

So this may be a case where sometimes legit receiver is not equal to legit gun.

CSACANNONEER
06-03-2009, 5:46 PM
I worry about a C&R gun that's been modified to be a bit different than issued status (other than replacement parts for things like worn bbls).

So this may be a case where sometimes legit receiver is not equal to legit gun.

Bill,

I agree that a newer gun would fall out of C&R statues if it was altered but, since ANY gun over 50 years old is a C&R, I don't see how there could be any question as to the legality of this.

sierratangofoxtrotunion
06-03-2009, 5:49 PM
I wouldn't think a 50 BMG upper would be anything but single shot even with an AR-10 size lower. Unless we're getting really tricky with how it feeds.

Tankhatch
06-03-2009, 5:56 PM
I stand corrected on California bore size. Its the other National group, that makes an above the .50 (bore) a problem for its owners. (shotguns & C & R are ok)

CSACANNONEER
06-03-2009, 7:48 PM
I wouldn't think a 50 BMG upper would be anything but single shot even with an AR-10 size lower. Unless we're getting really tricky with how it feeds.

There are mag fed uppers for AR15 50BMG uppers. I'm not aware of nor would I suggest buying or making a 50BMG upper for an AR10 platform. There just isn't any reason to. The lower just holds the FCG in place and both AR15 lowers and parts are cheaper and more readily available than AR10 parts. So, I sure don't see any reason to even think of an AR10 platform.

jas000
06-03-2009, 8:17 PM
Here's a nice write up about 50 BMG uppers being legal on registered AW lowers.

http://fiftycal.org/newletters/070822/

(Lowers registered as either assault weapon, machine gun, or 50 BMG Rifle can have a 50BMG upper).

Auto-5
06-03-2009, 8:21 PM
KNS has a solution!

http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/7/21/139281/Spade%20Grip.jpg

CSACANNONEER
06-04-2009, 7:22 AM
KNS has a solution!

http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/7/21/139281/Spade%20Grip.jpg

I'm a bit leary of this type of solution to our problem. The receiver (the actual gun) was still originally DESIGNED to be fired from the shoulder and this type of configuration could be seen as a temporary modification. An actual M2 or M3 would be much easier to argue that it was NEVER designed or intended to be fired from the shoulder.

AaronHorrocks
06-04-2009, 7:44 AM
WAIT! I just thought of another perfectly legal way to buy a 50BMG RIFLE in California, TODAY! All C&R 50BMGs are exempt for registration. This means that all you have to do is find a rifle chambered in 50BMG that is using a receiver over 50 years old! It is not an impossible feat. I have a friend who has had a Boys Rifle since the 60's. When ammo became impossible to find and the feds decided to make it a DD, he had it rebarrelled and chambered in 50BMG. So, I know they are out there but, you will be limiting your choices.

SSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! That was MY plan!

So are you going to help me buy one now? :p

Beelzy
06-04-2009, 10:08 AM
KNS has a solution!

http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/7/21/139281/Spade%20Grip.jpg

That is the perfect answer to the question nobody asked.

If you need it that bad, buy the Real McCoy. :thumbsup:

ke6guj
06-04-2009, 12:09 PM
WAIT! I just thought of another perfectly legal way to buy a 50BMG RIFLE in California, TODAY! All C&R 50BMGs are exempt for registration. This means that all you have to do is find a rifle chambered in 50BMG that is using a receiver over 50 years old! It is not an impossible feat. I have a friend who has had a Boys Rifle since the 60's. When ammo became impossible to find and the feds decided to make it a DD, he had it rebarrelled and chambered in 50BMG. So, I know they are out there but, you will be limiting your choices.

Regarding .50BMG Boys rifles being C&R, I've seen them advertised for sale as C&R and transferable as C&R (yes, I know that doesn't mean its legal to do so). IIRC, a calgunner called BATFE about that and was told verbally that it would still be C&R. He was also working on getting written documentation on that as well.

ke6guj
06-04-2009, 12:12 PM
There are mag fed uppers for AR15 50BMG uppers. I'm not aware of nor would I suggest buying or making a 50BMG upper for an AR10 platform. There just isn't any reason to. The lower just holds the FCG in place and both AR15 lowers and parts are cheaper and more readily available than AR10 parts. So, I sure don't see any reason to even think of an AR10 platform.They offer the Ferret50 on the AR10 platform.

Why would someone want one, maybe they have a RAW AR10 and don't have a RAW AR15?