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View Full Version : .22lr AR-15, AK, etc.


jumbopanda
08-30-2006, 12:38 AM
Ok I'm pretty confused right now. Up until recently I was always under the assumption that ALL AR-15s and AKs were illegal in California (except those special fixed mag ones), but now I hear people talking about the .22lr versions, namely ARs with .22 uppers and Romanian AK trainers, being legal. So...are they? :confused:

socalguns
08-30-2006, 12:47 AM
Only centerfire is subject to SB23.

blkA4alb
08-30-2006, 12:52 AM
The law that pertains to these legal ARs is SB23. It reads that a semiautomatic, centerfire rifle, with a detachable magazine cannot have anyone of the following (insert evil features here.)

If the rifle is not centerfire than it is not subject to SB23. Rimfires can have all the evil features you want.

However it gets more complicated, lets get back to the AR platform specifically. If you put a rimfire upper on to the AR lower and use an open magwell and pistol grip it is a relative grey area. Since the upper is fairly easy to change (push 2 pins out.) If you were to take the upper off the rifle would could possibly be illegal because it has an open magwell and a pistol grip. I say it is grey because there has not been a test case to decide whether it is the lower or the upper that determines the caliber. Common sence would tell us that the upper would, but some DA may decide differently.

The resident legal mind (bwiese) will say that you should not do a rimfire build with detachable magazine and pistol grip unless the lower is marked 22LR. On the contrary, the member grammaton76 feels confident without his lower being marked 22LR and having a rimfire upper, open magwell and pistol grip.

I personally would feel safe enough with a dedicated rimfire upper (such as the V-22) without having the lower be marked rimfire but the choice is yours.

ETA: You should also steer clear of the bolt conversion kits however, go with a dedicated rimfire upper.

grammaton76
08-30-2006, 12:59 AM
The resident legal mind (bwiese) will say that you should not do a rimfire build with detachable magazine and pistol grip unless the lower is marked 22LR. On the contrary, the member grammaton76 feels confident without his lower being marked 22LR and having a rimfire upper, open magwell and pistol grip.

I personally would feel safe enough with a dedicated rimfire upper (such as the V-22) without having the lower be marked rimfire but the choice is yours.

True, however I do have one factor with the V-22 upper, that doesn't apply to other uppers, that makes me feel safe.

Namely, the thing's so blasted tight on there that it's impossible to remove it without a hammer and polymer punch. It's technically a removable upper, but I don't think even Aanold himself could push those pins through using only his fingers.

Were it a Bushmaster, or other 22 that doesn't fit as tightly, I'd feel safe IF using the JP rear tensioning pins, which (again) require tools to remove from the lower, and can't be pushed out.

leelaw
08-30-2006, 1:20 AM
SB23 doesn't apply to rimfire rifles, so technically ARs with .22lr caliber conversions or dedicated .22lr uppers on them should fall within that exemption, however it could be argued that they are in too much of a grey area since the uppers could be changed out to centerfire with relative ease, and nothing prevents the part that designates it as rimfire (upper) from being separated from the firearm (receiver).

AKs in .22lr are another story, since the dedicated rimfire barrel is riveted to the receiver, and you would need to be an utter moron (or a DOJ Firearms Division phone jockey - same diff.) to say that it is illegal because it could be readily converted.

(I understand that ability to convert is not part of the law, however it is my personal opinion that AR-based .22lr rifles are in too grey an area for my tastes, but .22lr AKs are much more clearly within the law)

Having said that, I hope to get one of those Romanian trainer AKs eventually.

ETA: maybe one possibility for the AR situation would be to spot weld the pivot pin head on the left side of the receiver, so it can not be pushed back in. The DOJ seems to have a hardon for welding to make things "permanent.

NeoWeird
08-30-2006, 2:05 AM
Please read my ENTIRE post before taking ANYTHING away from it or replying.

The real problem here is that there is no really clear cut line where an AR receiver becomes a 'firearm'. Yes, it is REGULATED as one, but only because a specific part has to be, and it is the most vital. My thinking behind it, which is probably FAR too logical to be legally correct, is that even a completed AR lower could have a bolt action upper on it, so even that COULD be legal and as such it wouldn't be illegal to own. It would be my interpretation, since a firearm is defined as something designed, redesigned, etc to fire a projectile, that if it is incapable to fire a projectile, like an AR without an upper or an AK without a front trunion, then it couldn't be considered a firearm and if it's not a firearm it can't be semi-auto. So under THAT interpretation of the law, which I believe MANY people agree with and build their 22 riles on, an AR can't be illegal until it is made up to fit the definition of what is defined as an AW.

HOWEVER, there are the more cautious types who would agrue that IF a semi-auto upper could be put onto it and make it into an AW, then it is in an illegal configuration. The DOJ has taken this stance time and time again, which is why originally ARs weren't allowed even if not named (they claimed if you could use AR parts to assemble an AR on the reciever, then it was an AR irregardless of what it was called). This is MOST likely the approach the DAs will take as well. Honestly, I would imagine that IF you had NO other uppers it would be hard for them to prove their case, but if you had other OLLs then it might be wise to just stay away (California doesn't have an intent law, but that won't stop the jury from believeing them if they claim that the lower itself was illegal and they can prove you had the means to make it that way).

So there is no "yes"/"no" answer to it. Is it legal? Possibly. Are they breaking the law? Possibly. Will we know until someone is busted and charged? Probably not. Remember, it's your ****** on the line if you decide to do something in the grey zone, because you can't cry and say "so and so said I could do it." and get off the hook. If you think it's wrong, don't do it; if you think it's ok, go ahead. Just read the laws first and make your own decision. People will do stupid things, and sometimes it takes someone who pushes the boundries before things change. So just choose which side you are on, and be safe with what you have and don't do anything stupid.

jumbopanda
08-30-2006, 2:06 AM
Well I have two things I'd like to mention. First of all, I've seen closeup pictures of the DPMS .22s and the lower receiver is marked as a .22

Second, I emailed Bushmaster about their .22s, and they said that it is illegal because the lower receiver can accept .223 uppers.

Just emailed DPMS, awaiting their response...



Neo: It's not like I can just buy it first and ask questions about legality later, because if it is illegal I would not be able to buy it to begin with. And yes, Kali laws are quite ambiguous, but even so, there has to be a yes or no answer to this...

grammaton76
08-30-2006, 12:54 PM
HOWEVER, there are the more cautious types who would agrue that IF a semi-auto upper could be put onto it and make it into an AW, then it is in an illegal configuration.

I fall in between the more and less cautious camps. Again, I feel uncomfortable with readily removable 22 uppers, but I'm totally cool with the one I've got. You CAN make it require a tool (JP pins), which to me should be adequate DA insurance. Make sure you're doing it in a friendly county, though - I've had a couple LEOs in San Diego county ask about my 22, and their questions were basically "that's a neat way to stay legal - how do I get one?"

I feel that if I were to be a test case with my rifle, I'd win, and I feel anyone else using a barely-detachable-upper configuration would also win as long as they don't have extra centerfire uppers just lying around, not installed on rifles. However, the main reason to be cautious with the 22's, is that you don't want to be subject to harrassment.

jumbopanda
08-30-2006, 1:57 PM
Alright well Bushmaster and DPMS both told me that the guns are illegal...so I'm just gonna drop it.

leelaw
08-30-2006, 2:34 PM
Alright well Bushmaster and DPMS both told me that the guns are illegal...so I'm just gonna drop it.

They're playing the CYA game.

They most likely are legal, but are far enough into the grey area that it makes many people (and manufacturers, FFLs and distributors) leery about it.

NeoWeird
08-30-2006, 5:22 PM
They're playing the CYA game.

They most likely are legal, but are far enough into the grey area that it makes many people (and manufacturers, FFLs and distributors) leery about it.


Yeah, just like 95% of the people when the OLL thing started. Remember when people would ask you "So you're not a government agent or an LEO and you want to purchase a stripped AR-15 lower?..." and it took you about 15 phone calls to find a seller, and another 15 to find an FFL? Then like two months later everyone realizes "holy crap, we can make a lot of money of this" and the CYA game went out the window. I bet if someone presented the case legally before Bushmaster and proved there was a legitimate market, they would do something about it and make a 22 rifle and submit it to DOJ. I've always wondered why no one makes a lower without the step in the rear of the magazine well where the rear follower leg goes. Since the 22 mags don't use that step, it would allow ONLY 22 mags to be put into it...of course I bet you could easily modify (some probably not at all) of those pistol conversion blocks and it would still be illegal, but then again that is on our head.

jumbopanda
08-30-2006, 9:10 PM
thanks for the input guys, personally i think it probably isnt worth the hassle to pursue the AR issue any farther. however, if convertability is the problem, i still might look into getting an .22 AK. after all, those things are riveted together...

jumbopanda
08-31-2006, 1:29 AM
Well after doing some research, i found out that there is a very good chance of legally obtaining a .22 AK, but if the DOJ makes an issue of it, the process could be very time consuming. According to the California Supreme Court's decision in Harrott v. County of Kings, AK/AR guns not listed on the assault weapons roster must be specifically identified as an AK/AR series gun by the DOJ, and that identification is challegable on the grounds that the differences between the gun in question and AK/AR series rifles are more than "minor".

One could easily argue that .22lr AK rifles should not be banned as an AR/AK type "assault weapon", because they are obviously dedicated .22 rimfire rifles! Unfortunately I'm afraid that many gun retailers and ffl holders may not be willing to go through the hassle of dealing with this state's laws, which could make purchasing the gun very difficult. :( What do you guys think?

grammaton76
08-31-2006, 1:55 AM
One could easily argue that .22lr AK rifles should not be banned as an AR/AK type "assault weapon", because they are obviously dedicated .22 rimfire rifles! Unfortunately I'm afraid that many gun retailers and ffl holders may not be willing to go through the hassle of dealing with this state's laws, which could make purchasing the gun very difficult. :( What do you guys think?

I think as long as you have an AK-friendly FFL, you're fine. These guys are perfectly fine with transferring centerfire AKs and AK receivers, as long as they aren't on the ban list.

The 22lr AK rifle you're looking at is not only not listed, but it's rimfire too! Twice as safe as an off-list AK receiver.

I say as long as you're approaching a gun shop that already transfers AK's, you're a total shoo-in as far as getting a local transfer dealer.

As far as getting the rifle, if the guy won't sell you the gun, then get Spreadfire or Cold War Shooters to buy it and then sell it to you. I think the handling fee either of them charges is like $30 + S&H.

Beatone
08-31-2006, 1:55 AM
Where you at. I'll let you shoot mine. :D

jumbopanda
08-31-2006, 1:57 AM
thanks guys, my hopes have been renewed. :D

kAnJii
08-31-2006, 10:24 AM
Is the mechanisms inside a .22lr lower different than those of a .223? If so, then you couldn't just slap on a .223 upper and make it work, correct? Would there be a problem if you had a OLL and had it stamped "dedicated .22lr" and use .22lr lower parts?

I have 2 PO Carbon-15 .22lr so I am not worried, but just curious.

grammaton76
08-31-2006, 12:41 PM
Is the mechanisms inside a .22lr lower different than those of a .223? If so, then you couldn't just slap on a .223 upper and make it work, correct? Would there be a problem if you had a OLL and had it stamped "dedicated .22lr" and use .22lr lower parts?

I have 2 PO Carbon-15 .22lr so I am not worried, but just curious.

I can't speak for all of them, but every 22 kit I've dealt with or heard of is the same mechanism. If you were to swap uppers (or in the case of Ceiner conversions, swap bolt carriers) you'd have a functional 223 rifle.

NeoWeird
09-01-2006, 1:17 AM
Doesn't the bushy carbon 22 use a synthetic buffer and lighter spring as well? I beleve just swapping uppers would more or less kill you or at least jack your shoulder up when the casing, and anything else in it's way, shoots out the carbon buffer tube.