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View Full Version : Legality: Manufacturing Your Own Pistol, not for sale.


meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 2:24 PM
Lets say you have a strong engineering and design background and have access to the needed materials and a CnC Machine.

What would be the legality under california law to make your own pistol. Initially I would clone a current all metal design. Reverse engineering them wouldn't be that hard. Maybe to save time and effort just buy a barrel for the gun we are cloning. This would be more an exercise just for fun because I like reverse engineering stuff and I have yet to make a firearm.

I would stamp it clearly with Not For Resale, For Personal Use Only By: My Name Here.

I would of course test out the weapon for saftey before use but I am intrigued by the possible difficulties in making one.

What stops me is legality. I thought it was legal as long as it was not for resale, personal use only, not an SBR, SBS, AW, or "zipgun", or other prohibited weapon (grenade launcher, Destructive Device, etc.) but this is commifornia.

CSACANNONEER
02-13-2011, 2:33 PM
Nothing illegal about manufacturing an otherwise legal firearm for personal use. I would advise against stamping it "not for resale". There's just no reason to put that on it. As the manufacturer, you can put any markings you want on it but, if someday, you tire of it and decide to sell it, there are specific marking (including size and depth) that it must have at time of transfer.

Remeber that since it won't be on the "not unsafe" handgun roster, you'll need to make it in such a way that it can be imported into this state. That means first, it can not be an AW. Second, it will need to comply with one of the exceptions to the roster such as starting life as a single shot with a 6" or greater barrel and an overall length of 10" or a single action revolver with a 4" (?) or greater barrel length. Once it's built in a way that it complies with the importation to the state stuff, it can be changed to semi auto or double action and the barrel can be shortened or replaced with a shorter barrel. You'll still need to keep it from AW status though.

meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 2:38 PM
I was thinking of manufacturing a Beretta Clone at the start, mostly because I am most familiar with the designs and workings. Could do a 1911 clone too. I thought the law stated that it had to not be for resale to manufacture a firearm without a license. I was thinking along the lines of the current court challenges being fielded by Montana towards BATF regulations in the stamping idea.

I was unaware that it would have to "pass through" the single shot exemption stage. That is interesting as it would seem to indicate that one could not import parts for, say a 1911 and make it here without it first passing through the single shot exemption stage during assembly.

Later on some day I would like to make a billet AK Reciever for giggles. Who knows, but after all the effort to make an auto-pistol I might just say to hell with it.. or I might get addicted to making firearms for my own enjoyment.

I have access to a full machineshop with all the bells and whistles.

Laser Sailor
02-13-2011, 2:43 PM
I was unaware that it would have to "pass through" the single shot exemption stage. That is interesting as it would seem to indicate that one could not import parts for, say a 1911 and make it here without it first passing through the single shot exemption stage during assembly.


I think most people build their 1911s with the 6" barrel and block the magwell/leave out the mag catch. Otherwise stock 1911 is now single shot with a 6" barrel, meeting the letter of the law. Once it has been built to this configuation the builder would do a few test rounds to prove it was single shot, then unblock the magwell and put in the mag catch parts. Gun will now function as normal.

nick
02-13-2011, 2:44 PM
You'll get addicted :)

meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 2:48 PM
Here is another question, do I have to register it.. if so how? No make, no model, no serial no. unless I give it one, no FFL, etc.

nick
02-13-2011, 2:52 PM
No, you don't. You CAN register it via voluntary registration form, but there's no requirement for you to do so. The registration is only mandated to occur during the transfer of a handgun.

meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 2:54 PM
well this is looking more and more attractive!

TKM
02-13-2011, 3:06 PM
We will expect pictures and range reports of course.

Then we can start the "build your own" parties.

T-shirts, reality tv, the sky's the limit.

Just think, you can actually build yourself the shoulder thing that goes up.

nick
02-13-2011, 3:07 PM
Now, the big question is, where is this full machineshop with all the bells and whistles of yours?

Oh, and by the way, you're better off sticking by the existing designs, or else you'd be manufacturing a "zip gun" in CA. It's stupid, but so are most, if not all of our other firearms laws.

BTW, there're 60-80% finished frames/receivers for guns out there. Mind you, it sounds like you're going to build it from the scratch, so check out this site: http://www.cncguns.com/

Since I don't have the access to a full machine shop and don't have that much experience building things, I'll stick to 60% frames. Just found a SIG P228 one, and I already have a few 1911 frames.

choprzrul
02-13-2011, 3:08 PM
No, you don't. You CAN register it via voluntary registration form, but there's no requirement for you to do so. The registration is only mandated to occur during the transfer of a handgun.

So, even though I had to register my handguns when I moved to CA, I wouldn't have to register a handgun that I manufacture myself? Would this include not having to register an AK pistol that I make from a bare flat?

.

gunsmith
02-13-2011, 3:11 PM
I would do the voluntary registration thing if I were you, more protection legally if you somehow transport it and forget some rule.

nick
02-13-2011, 3:11 PM
So, even though I had to register my handguns when I moved to CA, I wouldn't have to register a handgun that I manufacture myself? Would this include not having to register an AK pistol that I make from a bare flat?

.

That's correct.

nick
02-13-2011, 3:13 PM
I would do the voluntary registration thing if I were you, more protection legally if you somehow transport it and forget some rule.

The issue here is carrying the handgun concealed without a permit. If it's registered, it's a misdemeanor, if it's not registered, it can be a felony. Transport it in a locked case regardless of whether it's in the trunk or not, and you should be fine. For that matter, the same applies to registered handguns. Who needs even a misdemeanor, anyway?

Another issue is with your handgun being returned to you if it were ever confiscated for whatever reason. But that's the risk of owning any guns in CA - can't expect the LE or the government to abide by the law.

In most (if not all, I'm not sure) counties they also wouldn't let you put an unregistered/non-serialized handgun on your CCW permit.

That being said, there're lots of firearms without serial numbers out there. Many companies didn't bother to put serial numbers on cheaper guns they manufactured until it became mandatory for them to do so. For example, I have a Mossberg 41-K with no serial number that I bought a couple of years ago and had transferred through an FFL. It just says that there's no serial number in the serial number box of the 4473 form.

Apocalypsenerd
02-13-2011, 3:38 PM
I'm wondering if there should be a "how to" thread/guide to legally building your own weapon in CA.

meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 3:51 PM
Well I don't think it would be common thing to do. You would need a good machine shop and a CnC would make it a breeze and a knowledge of how to not just use them (my wife and I both have machine shop experience, I used to be a metal fabricator) and how mechanisms work and how to "fit" parts. Machining is the first step, in hand making things fitting becomes the next stage. There is a certain amount of finess I have had to use in the past. You cant just "knock down .0001" here or there. Do you know how to run interference fitting, use of blueing to show contact high and low points. Etc.

There is a difference between knowing HOW to do a thing and DOING said thing. I have experience DOING other kinds of precision machine work. Never done a gun. I got the HOW, now for the DOING. I anticipate I would need to make at least 2 to get a reliable firearm. First one is bound to some issue or another, knowing past experience.

nick
02-13-2011, 4:00 PM
Very true. That being said, there're many people on this and other forums who've already done what you're planning to do, and they can share the things you'd otherwise have to learn the hard way. Unless you leave way out in the boonies (and likely even then), there's a few of those people in your area.

Have you played with building ARs? Those are probably the easiest to start with.

meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 4:10 PM
true but rather than a build I am looking more at the machining aspect than "build" party style build. That link to CNCGUNSMITHING .... I was just drooling. I laughed and pointed out to my wife that he did the exact thing I was planning on doing, modifying the grip for a slightly smaller hand. My wife loves the Beretta but it is just a little to big for her hands. I was planning on doing a little finess work on the grip size as well. Also, I loved how he showed all the fixtures he needed to make. I was thinking of asking him for the designs for his fixtures because that is what every average joe fogets about: Tooling and Fixtures. There is more to it than just getting your solid model right, you need to design tooling and fixtures correctly or you are outa luck.

Also, he has his solidworks models available for free!! *drooooooool* I am giddy as a kid in a candy store (something I've seen first hand!).

CSACANNONEER
02-13-2011, 4:23 PM
We will expect pictures and range reports of course.

Then we can start the "build your own" parties.

T-shirts, reality tv, the sky's the limit.

Just think, you can actually build yourself the shoulder thing that goes up.

Been there, done that. Well, everything but the reality TV unless those black helicopters film as they circle us. Many of us have Canyon Country Build Party T shirts though.

So, even though I had to register my handguns when I moved to CA, I wouldn't have to register a handgun that I manufacture myself? Would this include not having to register an AK pistol that I make from a bare flat?

.

Yep, no registration, serial number or any marking are mandatory unless you decide to transfer it someday.
I'm wondering if there should be a "how to" thread/guide to legally building your own weapon in CA.
There are a lot of build party threads already. If you want to start a generic home build thread, go right ahead but, please do research and make the first post an informative one instead of one which just asks for others to research it for you.

true but rather than a build I am looking more at the machining aspect than "build" party style build.

For a 1911 or a 92 style gun, a large build party would be next to impossible to do.

There's nothing wrong with building a handgun using all imported parts. 922(r) does not apply to handguns.

You can buy cast 80% 92 frames and just finish them. That's what I'd recommend for a first build.

The registration thing is completely up to you. Personally, I'm not a fan of it and have not registered my homebuilt AK pistols and won't register any other homebuilt handguns that I may make. But, it's your choice.

meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 4:31 PM
Seriously, I can buy 80% frames fir a 92 series? Woah. IN addition being able to use unlimited imported parts. Wow you are right I could just assemble one from pieces.

Dunno about Cast Alum longevity but it would be good for a first go round. I would use forged billits for later builds.

Thanks guys, I am getting more excited with each bit of info. I would of course make a thread and take pictures and describe all my failures because those are as important as successes. Help others avoid pitfalls, etc.

editus.. hmmmm looks like finding an 80% frame is going to take some work. Found some places listing them forsale but then clicking through couldn't find. Might require some phone calls.

glockwise2000
02-13-2011, 4:37 PM
Is there a limit of how much BYO (build-your-own) firearms in a year?

nick
02-13-2011, 4:51 PM
Is there a limit of how much BYO (build-your-own) firearms in a year?

Yep, it's called your wallet.

Apocalypsenerd
02-13-2011, 4:54 PM
Probably too specialized an activity for what I was thinking. It just seemed a how to guide with the actual how to knowledge as well as legalities involved would make a nice sticky somewhere.

gunsmith
02-13-2011, 5:03 PM
it would be nice if there was some place that would rent cnc's by the hour for us that don't have them

CSACANNONEER
02-13-2011, 5:08 PM
Is there a limit of how much BYO (build-your-own) firearms in a year?

I hope not! At least I hope there's no limit on how many homebuilt guns can be made at a single address. I have a feeling that I'd be slightly over the limit.

Cokebottle
02-13-2011, 5:08 PM
Here is another question, do I have to register it.. if so how? No make, no model, no serial no. unless I give it one, no FFL, etc.
No, you don't. You CAN register it via voluntary registration form, but there's no requirement for you to do so. The registration is only mandated to occur during the transfer of a handgun.
+1

If you decide to register it, then all marking must be in place, same as if you were to decide to dispose of it by selling it at some future time.

The drawback on this? Markings required are, model number, serial number, city and state of manufacture, and manufacturer's name.

In the case of a home-build, "manufacturer's name" would be your first and last name.
Model number and serial number, you can make up, but it is strongly recommended that the model number not match that of any listed assault weapon.

Cokebottle
02-13-2011, 5:10 PM
Oh, and by the way, you're better off sticking by the existing designs, or else you'd be manufacturing a "zip gun" in CA. It's stupid, but so are most, if not all of our other firearms laws.
We were looking into this earlier today.
The law states that a zip gun must meet ALL of a set of four conditions.
One of the conditions is that tax was not paid unless exempted... which a home builder making fewer than 50 guns in a year is indeed exempt.

meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 5:11 PM
CnCs are ghastly expensive and very easy to break/damage if you don't know what you are doing. I understand why most people do not rent the CnC. Before the current CnC owner agree to allow me free access I had to show I knew how to use it.

I was looking at the CNCGUNSMITHING Beretta Frame and I noted he was very wasteful in his design. The block of aluminum could have been expanded 2" in length and program a 2nd flipped pistol into the space that he wasted. You should be able to use a slightly larger block (he used a 5" x 1" x 7.760" block) perhaps 7.760" x 1 1/2" x 7" block would allow you to use a single block to machine 2 frames at once. Initial machining in Operation 1 would be to cut the basic shape in and then you would seperate the two frames at Operation 2 or 3. Saves a ton of metal waste but puts more tool time in and doubles your complexity of operation.

CSACANNONEER
02-13-2011, 5:13 PM
+1

If you decide to register it, then all marking must be in place, same as if you were to decide to dispose of it by selling it at some future time.

The drawback on this? Markings required are, model number, serial number, city and state of manufacture, and manufacturer's name.

In the case of a home-build, "manufacturer's name" would be your first and last name.
Model number and serial number, you can make up, but it is strongly recommended that the model number not match that of any listed assault weapon.

Have you seen any law stating this? I know that there are millions of legal firearms out there without SNs on them. They get DROSed everyday. Of course, most are not handguns. But, what's to keep someone from registering their homebuild without a SN? I'd love to hear from someone who has experience trying to do this.

Cokebottle
02-13-2011, 5:15 PM
I'm wondering if there should be a "how to" thread/guide to legally building your own weapon in CA.
There is an entire Gunsmithing folder full of good information.

Cokebottle
02-13-2011, 5:16 PM
Yep, it's called your wallet.
50

More that that and you are no longer considered a "small manufacturer" and your home builds would be due Federal tax.

bjl333
02-13-2011, 5:18 PM
I don't have the experience to build from scratch, but I expect step by step pictures!!! :thumbsup: :D

I was just laughing at you drawing out all the LIFErs from the forum!!

CSACANNONEER
02-13-2011, 5:36 PM
50

More that that and you are no longer considered a "small manufacturer" and your home builds would be due Federal tax.

That's if you are manufacturing for resale. Since a homebuilt gun is not being manufactured for resale, I don't think this applies.

meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 5:37 PM
lol, well :) its a good thread. In the planning stages right now. Which way I go, full from billit or from an 80% frame will really be dictated by if I can find a reasonably priced 80% frame. Thing about an 80% frame is I have to trust that the maker got it right. Doing it yourself ensures it. Doing it from a billit block would require me to convince CNCGUNSMITHING to hand over the designs for his fixtures. It would expand my work immensly if I had to design my own fixtures from scratch.

Jasonaspears
02-13-2011, 5:42 PM
Definitely am interested in pictures of the progress and finished product!

CSACANNONEER
02-13-2011, 6:04 PM
These links are old but, some still work.

http://www.survivalmonkey.com/forum/firearms/9839-80%25-receiver-sources.html

meaty-btz
02-13-2011, 7:02 PM
These links are old but, some still work.

http://www.survivalmonkey.com/forum/firearms/9839-80%25-receiver-sources.html

checked those links out, its 1911 or AR. All the Sig and 92 Series stuff seems to be no longer listed at the manufacturers site.

nick
02-13-2011, 11:04 PM
50

More that that and you are no longer considered a "small manufacturer" and your home builds would be due Federal tax.

Do you have the law/regulation stating this handy? While I don't expect to go beyond 50 builds this year, I might get close, so knowing the potential pitfalls would be very useful :)

nick
02-13-2011, 11:09 PM
checked those links out, its 1911 or AR. All the Sig and 92 Series stuff seems to be no longer listed at the manufacturers site.

Alas, yes. I found that page a few months ago while looking for an 80% Vz-58 and FAL receivers. Alas, no luck. Does anyone know of a place that still makes them, or someone selling them?

CSS makes the stamped Vz-58 ones, but I'm still trying to figure out how they work. They probably have the trunnions designed, since Vz-58 comes with a milled receiver.

Oh, and you WILL get addicted. I was just curious about making an AK at CSA's build party, and I now troll the forums, gunbroker, and various sites for parts kits as a daily routine. By the way, there's a builders anonymous thread going on. You might want to check it out to see what your future is going to be like :p

Lostsheep
02-14-2011, 10:29 AM
lol, well its a good thread. In the planning stages right now. Which way I go, full from billit or from an 80% frame will really be dictated by if I can find a reasonably priced 80% frame. Thing about an 80% frame is I have to trust that the maker got it right. Doing it yourself ensures it. Doing it from a billit block would require me to convince CNCGUNSMITHING to hand over the designs for his fixtures. It would expand my work immensly if I had to design my own fixtures from scratch.

At $75 a piece for an 80% AR lower, starting from billet is not worth it unless you REALLY want to do the whole thing yourself, just for the satisfaction. You should be able to finish an 80 with a CNC in a couple of hours, from programming to deburring. I have my program done and I am milling conservatively; I can finish one (including setup) in less than an hour. If doing multiples, my cycle time is about 20 minutes.

All that being said, I too, would like to make on from scratch.......

dreamerof1
02-14-2011, 2:11 PM
Do you have the law/regulation stating this handy? While I don't expect to go beyond 50 builds this year, I might get close, so knowing the potential pitfalls would be very useful :)

Enjoy (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=5807605&postcount=21)

dreamerof1
02-14-2011, 2:16 PM
That's if you are manufacturing for resale. Since a homebuilt gun is not being manufactured for resale, I don't think this applies.

Common sense would say yes, however, US Code disagrees:


Use by manufacturer or importer considered sale

(a) General rule
If any person manufactures, produces, or imports an article (other than a tire taxable under section 4071) and uses it (otherwise than as material in the manufacture or production of, or as a component part of, another article taxable under this chapter to be manufactured or produced by him), then he shall be liable for tax under this chapter in the same manner as if such article were sold by him. This subsection shall not apply in the case of gasoline used by any person, for nonfuel purposes, as a material in the manufacture or production of another article to be manufactured or produced by him. For the purpose of applying the first sentence of this subsection to coal taxable under section 4121, the words (otherwise than as material in the manufacture or production of, or as a component part of, another article taxable under this chapter to be manufactured or produced by him) shall be disregarded.

TangoCharlie
02-14-2011, 3:54 PM
Common sense would say yes, however, US Code disagrees:

In general, the term "manufacturer" as used in most USC and CFR implies a licensed (where appropriate) entity creating goods for purposes of commercial resale. An unlicensed individual who makes a homebuilt firearm for personal use is not a "manufacturer" and no excise tax is due on such a build. This is true across a wide array of manufacturing sectors, not just firearms.

Separately, making a firearm for personal use does not mean you can never sell it. There is no reason to ruin an otherwise desirable firearm by stamping "not for resale" on it. The "Personal use" threshold is one's intent at the time the action takes place, not that it remains limited in a practical sense for "personal use only" for eternity. Legitimately, if you make a homebuilt firearm truly because you simply want one, then someone sees your finished work and offers you $10k for it, you are free to to accept that offer since your intent to make was not resale. Your legal intent remains intact and there is no violation of law.

"Personal use" is also used to describe buying a firearm as an individual. As an unlicensed individual, you are free to buy firearms only for personal use, not for resale. You are not allowed to, for example, buy that severely underpriced rifle at a gun show because you plan to sell it immediately afterward for profit. This is a felony, you are acting as an "unlicensed dealer". This is very common behavior for many of us who see a good deal because of limited LE resources and the difficulty in prosecution, but it's a felony-level violation nonetheless.

TangoCharlie
02-14-2011, 4:09 PM
Remeber that since it won't be on the "not unsafe" handgun roster, you'll need to make it in such a way that it can be imported into this state. That means first, it can not be an AW. Second, it will need to comply with one of the exceptions to the roster such as starting life as a single shot with a 6" or greater barrel and an overall length of 10" or a single action revolver with a 4" (?) or greater barrel length. Once it's built in a way that it complies with the importation to the state stuff, it can be changed to semi auto or double action and the barrel can be shortened or replaced with a shorter barrel. You'll still need to keep it from AW status though.

What is the source of this info?

Not really a challenge since I've never looked it up myself, but it seems suspect that the "Handgun Safety Law" would or could extend to an intrastate homebuild situation where neither commercial resale nor a licensed firearms transaction nor handgun importation is taking place. There's nothing for this legislation to grab hold of here.

meaty-btz
02-14-2011, 5:17 PM
At $75 a piece for an 80% AR lower, starting from billet is not worth it unless you REALLY want to do the whole thing yourself, just for the satisfaction. You should be able to finish an 80 with a CNC in a couple of hours, from programming to deburring. I have my program done and I am milling conservatively; I can finish one (including setup) in less than an hour. If doing multiples, my cycle time is about 20 minutes.

All that being said, I too, would like to make on from scratch.......

except we are not looking for an AR, trying to find a Pistol 80% frame. Some people made them for a little while but have now stopped it would seem (probably lack of interest in general vs AR/AK lowers, flats)

bwiese
02-14-2011, 5:31 PM
The worry I have about "80% lowers" is that there is no such thing or BATF acknowledged percent threshold.

One man's 80% is a stupid dude's 50%, or a machinist genius' 95%. Skill and available tools effectively determine that percentage.

While plain AK flats seem to be OK, I do worry about "80% AR lowers". If the ATF all of a sudden says "that's close enough to be a gun", you've just imported a firearm without using an FFL - illegal under both Fed and CA law.
Vendors making these 80% lowers are taking a wild stab in the dark at the threshold and I don't believe they have any ATF Tech Branch letter stating a given lower is in fact sufficiently "not yet there" to be a non gun.

TangoCharlie
02-14-2011, 5:39 PM
The worry I have about "80% lowers" is that there is no such thing or BATF acknowledged percent threshold.

One man's 80% is a stupid dude's 50%, or a machinist genius' 95%. Skill and available tools effectively determine that percentage.

While plain AK flats seem to be OK, I do worry about "80% AR lowers". If the ATF all of a sudden says "that's close enough to be a gun", you've just imported a firearm without using an FFL - illegal under both Fed and CA law.
Vendors making these 80% lowers are taking a wild stab in the dark at the threshold and I don't believe they have any ATF Tech Branch letter stating a given lower is in fact sufficiently "not yet there" to be a non gun.

This is very true. And you'll notice that one vendor's 80% frame or lower can be quite different in overall completeness than another vendor's. This should tell you something...

bwiese
02-14-2011, 5:52 PM
This is very true. And you'll notice that one vendor's 80% frame or lower can be quite different in overall completeness than another vendor's. This should tell you something...

That's why I think a homebrew kit should be from near-scratch as far as teh receiver is concerned. This works very well for AK flat builders, but far less so for AR folks.

BTW, relating to your prior commentary... if you build a handgun in CA you do not want to build an 'unsafe handgun' regulated by 12125PC et seq. You first build a 12133PC-exempt dimensionally compliant single-shot pistol / single-action revolver. Once the gun is complete, you may then configure it into any other legal form.

stix213
02-14-2011, 6:42 PM
No, you don't. You CAN register it via voluntary registration form, but there's no requirement for you to do so. The registration is only mandated to occur during the transfer of a handgun.

jumping back in the discussion a bit. The only real reason you would want to register it is if you get busted for illegal concealed weapon (like you forgot to lock your bag it was stored in, or you illegally CCW it). If it is not registered to you it is a felony, if it is registered to you it is a misdemeanor.

ke6guj
02-14-2011, 7:23 PM
The worry I have about "80% lowers" is that there is no such thing or BATF acknowledged percent threshold.

One man's 80% is a stupid dude's 50%, or a machinist genius' 95%. Skill and available tools effectively determine that percentage.

While plain AK flats seem to be OK, I do worry about "80% AR lowers". If the ATF all of a sudden says "that's close enough to be a gun", you've just imported a firearm without using an FFL - illegal under both Fed and CA law.
Vendors making these 80% lowers are taking a wild stab in the dark at the threshold and I don't believe they have any ATF Tech Branch letter stating a given lower is in fact sufficiently "not yet there" to be a non gun.actually, most, if not all, of the vendors currently selling 80% AR lowers do have Tech Branch determination letters stating that their 80% products are, in fact, not considered firearms.

Here is one from Tactical Machining, and I've seen letters from most of the other major 80% vendors,
http://i649.photobucket.com/albums/uu212/ke6guj/80-determination.jpg




This is very true. And you'll notice that one vendor's 80% frame or lower can be quite different in overall completeness than another vendor's. This should tell you something...part of that is that ATF has moved the goalposts on what they consider to be a firearm or not. Tactical Machining used to machine their lowers to a further level of completeness than other vendors did, but they did have a Tech Branch letter that confirmed that what they were selling wasnt an firearm. ATF later contacted TM and told them to do less maching on their 80% lowers, http://www.tacticalmachining.com/?p=160 , but the bottom line is that most of your 80% AR vendors are not flying under ATF's radar, but are doing it right, with Tech Branch determination letters in hand.

bwiese
02-14-2011, 7:55 PM
apart of that is that ATF has moved the goalposts on what they consider to be a firearm or not. Tactical Machining used to machine their lowers to a further level of completeness than other vendors did, but they did have a Tech Branch letter that confirmed that what they were selling wasnt an firearm. ATF later contacted TM and told them to do less maching on their 80% lowers, http://www.tacticalmachining.com/?p=160 , but the bottom line is that most of your 80% AR vendors are not flying under ATF's radar, but are doing it right, with Tech Branch determination letters in hand.

That's good to know.

But it seems there are a buncha new shops that pop up every now & then and I'm sure they don't get a letter.

bwiese
02-14-2011, 7:55 PM
apart of that is that ATF has moved the goalposts on what they consider to be a firearm or not. Tactical Machining used to machine their lowers to a further level of completeness than other vendors did, but they did have a Tech Branch letter that confirmed that what they were selling wasnt an firearm. ATF later contacted TM and told them to do less maching on their 80% lowers, http://www.tacticalmachining.com/?p=160 , but the bottom line is that most of your 80% AR vendors are not flying under ATF's radar, but are doing it right, with Tech Branch determination letters in hand.

That's good to know.

But it seems there are a buncha new shops that pop up every now & then and I'm sure they don't get a letter or even understand the issue...

ke6guj
02-14-2011, 8:01 PM
it may be that some small vendors don't have a tech branch letter written directly to them, but are "piggybacking" on someone's letter and machining to the same level of completeness, but most of the vendors have letters, and have posted them online for people to see.

nick
02-14-2011, 8:08 PM
The worry I have about "80% lowers" is that there is no such thing or BATF acknowledged percent threshold.

One man's 80% is a stupid dude's 50%, or a machinist genius' 95%. Skill and available tools effectively determine that percentage.

While plain AK flats seem to be OK, I do worry about "80% AR lowers". If the ATF all of a sudden says "that's close enough to be a gun", you've just imported a firearm without using an FFL - illegal under both Fed and CA law.
Vendors making these 80% lowers are taking a wild stab in the dark at the threshold and I don't believe they have any ATF Tech Branch letter stating a given lower is in fact sufficiently "not yet there" to be a non gun.

Tactical machining and Quentin Laser (not sure about Cofax Tactical) have ATF approval letters for their 80% lowers. In fact, Quentin Laser stopped drilling the selector switch hole in their 80% lowers precisely because ATF has changed its opinion on the 80% lowers and stated that it's only an 80% if it doesn't have that hole (aside from other thigns). They also stated that selling off the leftover inventory with that hole was ok, as it was manufactured before the rules have changed and with prior approval.

ETA: My bad, it was Tactical Machining, not Quentin Laser that changed their 80% receivers after the ATF changed its mind.

meaty-btz
02-14-2011, 8:56 PM
This thread certainly has become very interesting.

kryan
02-18-2011, 10:18 PM
But was I was also looking for the current rules for me to build an 80% lower and puting a pistol upper and buffer tube out the back. What are the current Ca laws on this. Links would be great.
Kevin

IllTemperedCur
02-18-2011, 10:49 PM
You know what would be a really interesting project is a homebuild Ruger MkII. The receiver itself looks to be relatively simple, compared to say a 1911, and drawings of the receiver are floating around online (bit torrent!).

But the hard part is the grip frame. Even though it isn't the serialized part, it's almost impossible to find separately. If you could work out a machined version of the original stamped/welded frame.....you'd be quite the popular dude.

ke6guj
02-19-2011, 1:29 AM
Found a "parts kit" for a MKI a couple years ago and have been trying to work on some MKI receivers over the last couple years.

There was guy that was working on an injection molded ruger grip frame on another forum. rumor has it that BATFE told him to forget about it :eek:

gunsmith
02-20-2011, 8:18 PM
1st: How long until you can buy a computer program to attach to your CnC that will design/machine a lower for you from a block of metal?

2nd: "AK flats" what are they and any direction anywhere on how to build a homemade AK?

It would have to be in easy to read format, I have zero gunsmithing/building experience.

oaklander
02-20-2011, 8:29 PM
That's sig material there.

I have zero gunsmithing/building experience.

Google is your friend!

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=how+to+build+an+AK+from+a+flat

(37 million results)

Re: the serial number issue - you NEVER want to have a gun that does not have a serial number on it - unless it is well documented that the particular firearm didn't have one (like a Winchester Model 67 rifle).

The reason why -- is that a sharp (but evil) DA will try and charge you with "obliterating" the serial number - a felony.

Re: marking the gun - you can electro-pencil it - just make sure you do it deep - there are federal regs on how deep the engraving has to be. I forget - maybe 2mm or something - but check first.

Lostsheep
02-20-2011, 8:32 PM
1st: How long until you can buy a computer program to attach to your CnC that will design/machine a lower for you from a block of metal?

2nd: "AK flats" what are they and any direction anywhere on how to build a homemade AK?

It would have to be in easy to read format, I have zero gunsmithing/building experience.

There isn't really a cad/cam system that can just "design/machine" for you. Mastercam for solidworks is the closest thing to what you describe but it is a long ways from doing completely for you. It may function well for single operation parts but multiple ops with tricky work holding......no way.

ETA: It could work for an ak flat

ke6guj
02-20-2011, 9:15 PM
That's sig material there.



Google is your friend!

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=how+to+build+an+AK+from+a+flat

(37 million results)

Re: the serial number issue - you NEVER want to have a gun that does not have a serial number on it - unless it is well documented that the particular firearm didn't have one (like a Winchester Model 67 rifle).

The reason why -- is that a sharp (but evil) DA will try and charge you with "obliterating" the serial number - a felony..


If you want to put a serial number on something you don't need to, in order to try to stop a DA from prosecuting you for a crime that didn't occur, just because he is ignorant of the fact that your firearm never had a serial number that could be defaced, and that no serial number was required, that would be up to you.

Re: marking the gun - you can electro-pencil it - just make sure you do it deep - there are federal regs on how deep the engraving has to be. I forget - maybe 2mm or something - but check first.federal regs say .003" which would be 0.0762mm

ke6guj
02-20-2011, 9:19 PM
1st: How long until you can buy a computer program to attach to your CnC that will design/machine a lower for you from a block of metal?
.you don't even need to buy a program. http://www.cncguns.com/downloads.html

oaklander
02-20-2011, 9:48 PM
I'm not good with the Metric System - I just realized that most AK receiver flats are like 1.5 mm. A 2mm engraving would be a LITTLE DEEP!

:D

With respect to the markings - mine are always funny or significant. For the AMD-65 AOW that my wife will be building, we are going to use our wedding date as the serial number. It's her Valentine's Day present, after all!!!!

Yes - being a lawyer - I'm probably a little more cautious than some people. For a long time, I was the first point of "CGF contact" for folks arrested for alleged firearms crimes. I can't repeat anything here - BUT I can tell you that DA's just love to figure out any and all possible things to charge people with. It's like a hobby for some for them, in my personal opinion.


.


If you want to put a serial number on something you don't need to, in order to try to stop a DA from prosecuting you for a crime that didn't occur, just because he is ignorant of the fact that your firearm never had a serial number that could be defaced, and that no serial number was required, that would be up to you.

federal regs say .003" which would be 0.0762mm

Cokebottle
02-20-2011, 9:59 PM
federal regs say .003" which would be 0.0762mm
So a set of Harbor Freight 1/8" stamps would be adequate for an AK flat or an 80% AR lower.

BTW: Don't try it on a pre-anodized AR lower... it's a fruitless endeavor, those stamps can't make it through the coating even with my gorilla arm ;)

bakokid
02-27-2011, 9:53 AM
Great thread!
Just a side note as I looked into this subject months ago the term "manufacture" while makes sense to use is legally the same as built for sale, so us garage-gun junkies would just say build, as u are building for personal use and not sale.

bakokid
02-27-2011, 10:04 AM
Originally Posted by nick
No, you don't. You CAN register it via voluntary registration form, but there's no requirement for you to do so. The registration is only mandated to occur during the transfer of a handgun.
jumping back in the discussion a bit. The only real reason you would want to register it is if you get busted for illegal concealed weapon (like you forgot to lock your bag it was stored in, or you illegally CCW it). If it is not registered to you it is a felony, if it is registered to you it is a misdemeanor."



Has anyone built thier own safe handgun then modified it and ccw it(legally)

DisgruntledReaper
02-27-2011, 10:29 AM
Bottom line to doing this also is that is is always nice to have something you built....I am eyeing a project or 20 myself....

Cali-V
02-27-2011, 10:39 AM
This thread certainly has become very interesting.

I should have tagged it a while back....
Where are you now in the process?

HazeyWolf
02-27-2011, 11:49 PM
Forgive me if its already been mentioned, but public access machine shops are starting to pop up: http://techshop.ws/

There's one in the Menlo Park area, another just opened in SF. It ain't cheap - but finishing an 80% lower might be worthwhile for some.

ALSystems
02-28-2011, 7:02 AM
This thread certainly has become very interesting.
:iagree:

meaty-btz
02-28-2011, 7:34 AM
I should have tagged it a while back....
Where are you now in the process?

Stalled, in negotiations over shop use. The shop pulled out its support and gave me a shrug.

The issue at hand is that they are concerned about legality, specificly. They are not satisfied that it actually is "self manufacture" if I use their tools, which is a buisness, to construct the frame (the firearm acording to state/federal? law). In other words they are worried that they might be found to be a company manufacturing a firearm due to the fact it is their shop and their machines and hell, they want to join in the process too.

When it comes to guns today, everyone is afraid of violating the law in some minor way. I suppose in that way our Lawmakers have done what they intended, instilled fear in all those who do legal things due to badly written and convoluted laws. So on a personal level they are chomping at the bit to go forward, but as it is their livelyhood they are holding back.

dreamerof1
02-28-2011, 8:54 AM
There isn't really a cad/cam system that can just "design/machine" for you. Mastercam for solidworks is the closest thing to what you describe but it is a long ways from doing completely for you. It may function well for single operation parts but multiple ops with tricky work holding......no way.

ETA: It could work for an ak flat

It won't "Design" if for you, but if you've got a solid model, SLM (http://www.mtt-group.com/selective-laser-melting.html) will make the most intricate structures you can dream of with a single shot.

http://youtu.be/4odUhDjKHzo (http://youtu.be/4odUhDjKHzo)

dreamerof1
02-28-2011, 8:55 AM
In general, the term "manufacturer" as used in most USC and CFR implies a licensed (where appropriate) entity creating goods for purposes of commercial resale. An unlicensed individual who makes a homebuilt firearm for personal use is not a "manufacturer" and no excise tax is due on such a build. This is true across a wide array of manufacturing sectors, not just firearms.

Separately, making a firearm for personal use does not mean you can never sell it. There is no reason to ruin an otherwise desirable firearm by stamping "not for resale" on it. The "Personal use" threshold is one's intent at the time the action takes place, not that it remains limited in a practical sense for "personal use only" for eternity. Legitimately, if you make a homebuilt firearm truly because you simply want one, then someone sees your finished work and offers you $10k for it, you are free to to accept that offer since your intent to make was not resale. Your legal intent remains intact and there is no violation of law.

"Personal use" is also used to describe buying a firearm as an individual. As an unlicensed individual, you are free to buy firearms only for personal use, not for resale. You are not allowed to, for example, buy that severely underpriced rifle at a gun show because you plan to sell it immediately afterward for profit. This is a felony, you are acting as an "unlicensed dealer". This is very common behavior for many of us who see a good deal because of limited LE resources and the difficulty in prosecution, but it's a felony-level violation nonetheless.

Interesting distinction. I hadn't thought of it that way. I'm certainly no tax expert.

meaty-btz
02-28-2011, 9:09 AM
It won't "Design" if for you, but if you've got a solid model, SLM (http://www.mtt-group.com/selective-laser-melting.html) will make the most intricate structures you can dream of with a single shot.

http://youtu.be/4odUhDjKHzo (http://youtu.be/4odUhDjKHzo)

I don't think he was arguing that one cannot use Mastercam for complex machining without an understanding of the process. AKA its not just plug and chug but requires an understanding of the fabrication process such that you can use Mastercam to express it. We use Mastercam all the time for multi-process ultra complex parts, but it requires a good deal of thought in advance as well as understanding of the tools involved, how they work and how and what order to apply them in.

dreamerof1
02-28-2011, 9:35 AM
I don't think he was arguing that one cannot use Mastercam for complex machining without an understanding of the process. AKA its not just plug and chug but requires an understanding of the fabrication process such that you can use Mastercam to express it. We use Mastercam all the time for multi-process ultra complex parts, but it requires a good deal of thought in advance as well as understanding of the tools involved, how they work and how and what order to apply them in.

I don't think he was arguing that either. I wasn't actually referring to MasterCam, but to the broader question of "Point-and-Shoot (pardon the pun) manufacturing. SLM (Selective Laser Melting) is pretty much what the earlier poster was alluding to (probably should have quoted him directly). As long as you have a solid model, you can make it with little to no setup. It's similar in concept to more widely known Rapid Prototyping processes (SLA, 3DP...etc) , but it works in metals and produces structural properties that rival those of traditionally machined/fabbed components. It's really pretty amazing.

BTW, where are you located? If you are in the Bay Area and still want to pursue your project, I may know of a couple of options for you.

meaty-btz
02-28-2011, 9:58 AM
I am in the North State.

I am with you on the SLM Technology. It is pretty revolutionary, having leaned on rapid prototyping for ages myself, the idea that I can produce a true prototype (in metal) is awesome. With an SLM Proto I could test the part in practice for stress, wear, etc quickly and adapt changes just as quickly.

Anyone got a spare few mil so I can grab one of those SLMs?

Lostsheep
02-28-2011, 10:03 AM
you don't even need to buy a program. http://www.cncguns.com/downloads.html

Okay, what do you see there that I don't? I see E-drawings, Iges, and pdf files. Even if there was a .ncc code available for download, what makes you think it would work for your mill? I have two machines from the same manufacturer, both with fanuc controls, but a different year and our post processors for each machine are slightly different. You can guess how we learned that slight tweaks were necessary (I'll give you a hint, it was loud and expensive).

I am not 100% sure what you are implying but there is nothing on cncguns that I can download and automatically run in my cnc's. Even if there was g-code, I would not just load it and run it.


Stalled, in negotiations over shop use. The shop pulled out its support and gave me a shrug.

The issue at hand is that they are concerned about legality, specificly. They are not satisfied that it actually is "self manufacture" if I use their tools, which is a buisness, to construct the frame (the firearm acording to state/federal? law). In other words they are worried that they might be found to be a company manufacturing a firearm due to the fact it is their shop and their machines and hell, they want to join in the process too.

When it comes to guns today, everyone is afraid of violating the law in some minor way. I suppose in that way our Lawmakers have done what they intended, instilled fear in all those who do legal things due to badly written and convoluted laws. So on a personal level they are chomping at the bit to go forward, but as it is their livelyhood they are holding back.

I am having similiar issues with my shop. I would love to host build parties but I have to have approval. The lawyer I spoke with brought up a good point and that was "when the atf gets involved they come in guns drawn and in numbers. Even if you haven't broken any laws, do you have $50,000 to fight it in court?". I won't mention him by name, but you all know him by his exploits.

It won't "Design" if for you, but if you've got a solid model, SLM will make the most intricate structures you can dream of with a single shot.

Yeah, I've been watching those machines for the last couple of years. As I understand it, the cost is still astronomical for a small volume even though part complexity is a non-issue. Does anybody know what tolerances they are capable of holding? Does anybody know a rough cost for something the size of a lower? (according to SW, V= 5.53in^3)

Those machines scare me because when the cost comes down, I am out of a job!

Tox
02-28-2011, 10:47 AM
it would be nice if there was some place that would rent cnc's by the hour for us that don't have them

techshop.ws has locations in San Francisco, Menlo Park CA, Raleigh NC, and had or will have locations in San Jose CA, SoCal, and Portland if I recall correctly.

I think a Tormach is becoming part of their standard tool set. I used to teach the laser cutter safety classes for them when they first started - fun folks, neat toys.

Lostsheep
02-28-2011, 5:20 PM
I found a company that does 3d printing in stainless at $10/cm^3. Unfortunately, the minimum detail size (unclear exactly what that entails) is 1mm (.039"). At $10/cm^3 that would be $900 for an AR lower. They are claiming a yield strength of 455MPa; for a reference point, 304 SS yields at 215MPa (according to matweb).

That's cheaper and stronger than I thought.