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View Full Version : AR-15: converting semi-auto to manual - legal question


RP1911
10-01-2011, 9:15 AM
Question is about how to do a specific function not about why you want to do that. Bear with me.

Let's take an AR-15, leave everything operable (gas forces bolt back) except somehow figure out how the bolt stays open even with a round in the magazine. To load next round, bolt needs to be released manually.

Is this possible?

SocomM4
10-01-2011, 9:51 AM
A spring under the bolt catch holding it in an "up" position?And a bad lever.

SanPedroShooter
10-01-2011, 9:51 AM
You would have to get the bolt catch to pop up after every shot. Maybe spring load it or something.

SanPedroShooter
10-01-2011, 9:51 AM
A spring under the bolt catch holding it in an "up" position?

JINX!

SocomM4
10-01-2011, 9:54 AM
Haha.

RP1911
10-01-2011, 9:56 AM
ok, suppose it can be done. It is now a manual operation and not a semi-auto, one can have all the features and have more than a 10-round magazine without BB.

Is this a correct analysis?

jaymz
10-01-2011, 1:27 PM
If it's no longer semi-auto, I'd imagine you could add all the evil features you want. Probably still get grief for it though.

CalNRA
10-01-2011, 1:27 PM
problem is if one uses the bolt hold back route, then if one keep pressing on the bolt release lever as he shoots, the gun is semi auto again. To be honest I don't know the subtleties of what constitutes "semi auto".

Big D
10-01-2011, 2:32 PM
Seems to me it would just be easier to remove the gas tube so you have to cycle the gun manually or make it pump action like the PAR-1.

What you are describing would probably still be considered semi auto.

RP1911
10-01-2011, 2:48 PM
I know you can remove the gas tube and manually cycle it. I am trying to think out of the box and see if what I am thinking is legal.

elSquid
10-01-2011, 2:53 PM
tsDqE9j3bzI

http://calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=436884

-- Michael

RP1911
10-01-2011, 3:14 PM
Thanks Michael for the video and the thread link. Missed that thread.

It would be nice if the design Diesel was working on was tested.

Quiet
10-02-2011, 6:28 AM
Remove the gas tube & gas block, cycle it manually.

There's a CA court case that resulted in a "broken" semi-auto centerfire rifle with restricted features equating to "assault weapon". The "broken" part had something to do with the bolt being rendered temporarily inoperatable by the owner.

IMO...
Completely remove the gas system, so that it can't be argued that it's a "broken" semi-auto firearm instead of a manually operated firearm.

RandyD
10-02-2011, 11:10 AM
I doubt that having the bolt stay open would be a basis to reclassify the rifle from being semi-auto, but removing the gas tube would clearly remove it from being considered a semi-auto. As a word of caution, removing the gas tube will still cause the gas to be propelled into the shooter's face, you will need to place a block in the gas block to prevent this.

dieselpower
10-02-2011, 11:29 AM
I have a working device that does that. Your thumb releases the Bolt Catch via a long arm.

two issues pop up.
1) On a short stroke the CH also gets snagged and you end up causing another jam if you are not careful.
2) The Bolt Catch is held up by spring pressure, but doesn't always catch the Bolt, so you will go semi-auto sometimes.

dieselpower
10-02-2011, 11:31 AM
I doubt that having the bolt stay open would be a basis to reclassify the rifle from being semi-auto, but removing the gas tube would clearly remove it from being considered a semi-auto. As a word of caution, removing the gas tube will still cause the gas to be propelled into the shooter's face, you will need to place a block in the gas block to prevent this.

I agree, but many don't. They say a semi-auto without a gas tube is a broken semi-auto. To go 100% single action the barrel must not have a gas port.

bohoki
10-02-2011, 11:58 AM
I agree, but many don't. They say a semi-auto without a gas tube is a broken semi-auto. To go 100% single action the barrel must not have a gas port.

what if you remove the rings from the bolt and also grind the bolt piston down

dieselpower
10-02-2011, 12:04 PM
what if you remove the rings from the bolt and also grind the bolt piston down

if the barrel has a gas port the firearm has the ability to be semi-auto and therefore is a semi-auto even if its can not fire semi-auto.

now if the State passed some weird law defining semi-auto and a firearm NOT operating as a semi-auto then it would be ok. Just as they defined what isnt a detachable magazine... but didnt define a Fixed Magazine. As it stands, the law only defines what is a semi-auto, not what it NOT a semi-auto. Big difference in a court room.

then again... I don't agree with that... I am just passing this info along as a Devils Advocate.

bohoki
10-02-2011, 12:11 PM
if the barrel has a gas port the firearm has the ability to be semi-auto and therefore is a semi-auto even if its can not fire semi-auto.

now if the State passed some weird law defining semi-auto and a firearm NOT operating as a semi-auto then it would be ok. Just as they defined what isnt a detachable magazine... but didnt define a Fixed Magazine. As it stands, the law only defines what is a semi-auto, not what it NOT a semi-auto. Big difference in a court room.

then again... I don't agree with that... I am just passing this info along as a Devils Advocate.

if something can do something but doesnt then it isn't

especially if you do the work of modifying a part (a weapon redesign)

unlike just removing one which would be simply disabling

an springfield 03 can be semi auto but only if you add the peterson kit

the modified bolt ar-15 can become semi auto only if you replace the bolt

dieselpower
10-02-2011, 12:29 PM
if something can do something but doesn't then it isn't

especially if you do the work of modifying a part (a weapon redesign)

unlike just removing one which would be simply disabling

an springfield 03 can be semi auto but only if you add the peterson kit

the modified bolt ar-15 can become semi auto only if you replace the bolt

not disagreeing... just saying the written law doesn't support our way of thinking.

bwiese
10-02-2011, 12:44 PM
Remove the gas tube & gas block, cycle it manually.

There's a CA court case that resulted in a "broken" semi-auto centerfire rifle with restricted features equating to "assault weapon". The "broken" part had something to do with the bolt being rendered temporarily inoperatable by the owner.

IMO...
Completely remove the gas system, so that it can't be argued that it's a "broken" semi-auto firearm instead of a manually operated firearm.

Thank you, Quiet for getting good info out there early.

[I seem to recall the OP (someone else??) also asked this on ARFcom in the last 2+ weeks, and it was properly answered well there - maybe I'm wrong, or two people had the same idea at the same time.]

Firstly, there is the risk that if there's some 'bounce' in the action or spring tension reduction over time such that the bolt returns to battery, you have semiauto operation which means instant felony.


PC 12026(e) - As used in this section, a "semiautomatic pistol" means a
pistol, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 12001, the operating mode of
which uses the energy of the explosive in a fixed cartridge to extract a fired cartridge and chamber a fresh cartridge with each single pull of the trigger.

Now this primarily applies to unsafe handgun section but likely informs all other usages of term 'semiautomatic' throughout the DWCL since I don't recall it being defined elsewhere - and in any case, the definition is solid.


If you want a manually cycled AR D.I. rifle, have it cleanly and clearly *not* a semiauto. Remove the gas tube, and install a ~1/2" stub of gas tube in the gas port of the FS/GB to block gas flow. [This latter step is not a real legal requirement, but you really, really, really don't want hot gas flowing on your forward hand!] You should NOT try to put a valve in the gas tube and shut it on & off - there's a good chance that's regarded as "just a semiauto rifle that has been turned off for awhile".

On a piston rifle like a FAL, the gas piston can be removed and the G/L valve closed. Do not just shut off the gas; it will still most likely be regarded as a "semiauto rifle with gas shut off" [and not that far away from the Chacker case's 'broken FAL' issues.]


[Now, we can get away with not doing this on 'single shot Roster exemption' stuff because the zero round capacity fixed dummy non-magazine outside the chamber disallows ability to rechamber ammo (feed blocked) - and will not risk failure, unlike a mag catch thingy. Also a maglock+fixed 0-rd mag precludes any possible AW status anyway.]

bwiese
10-02-2011, 12:46 PM
what if you remove the rings from the bolt and also grind the bolt piston down

Too close/too cute.

Shut down the semiauto action by clearly removing major parts.

Having readily visible (well, 'missing') key parts may help in a traffic stop scenario.

RP1911
10-03-2011, 2:35 PM
I'm not on ARF. Seems two people had the same idea two weeks apart.