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Bolt_Action
12-03-2012, 10:03 PM
Like the question says, how can anyone know for sure which part of a firearm is actually considered "the firearm" (i.e. which part is the receiver)?

From what I've been able to tell, the receiver is the part that's required to have the serial number, but as I'm sure many of you know, several gun makers use matching serial numbers on many components. For example, Glock puts matching serial numbers on the "lower", the "upper" (slide), and even the barrel. Now obviously the barrel is not the receiver, but how are you supposed to know if the "upper" or "lower" part of the pistol is the part that's regulated?

It seems that with the Ruger Mk ii/iii, somehow the "upper" part of the gun is the receiver, but how is someone supposed to know that's the case? I assume this to be true since replacement lowers are available for mail order. However, with AR-type pistols, the "lower" part is the receiver. Just what's the difference? Both the Ruger Mk iii and the AR-15 have the barrel attached to the upper, and the trigger and magazine attached to the lower, but the "receivers" can be either part?

So what about a handgun like the HK P7 or USP? Is the upper/slide part the receiver, or the lower part the receiver? Many USP's and P7's have serial numbers on both the slide and the lower, so how could somebody tell which part is legally defined as the receiver?

This is of legal interest to me, since there are all sorts of legal controls that apply only to the legally controlled "receiver". For example, if you replaced the receiver with an aftermarket part ordered through the mail, that would be illegal. Likewise, loans and gifts of certain gun parts are affected, not to mention any refinishing or custom engraving, which might obscure, eliminate, or replace a serial number would be illegal if applied to the "receiver", but not illegal if applied to other serial numbered pieces, correct?

ar15barrels
12-03-2012, 10:07 PM
The part with the serial number is the receiver.

On Glocks and most other pistols, the frame is the receiver.
You can buy aftermarket slides and barrels without serial numbers.
You can't buy a glock frame without a serial number.

On the ruger pistols, the frame does not have a serial number.
The receiver on the ruger pistols is the steel tube with the barrel screwed into it.


So what about a handgun like the HK P7 or USP? Is the upper/slide part the receiver, or the lower part the receiver? Many USP's and P7's have serial numbers on both the slide and the lower, so how could somebody tell which part is legally defined as the receiver?

Write a letter to the batfe asking the question about the specific gun in question and they will tell you what part they consider the receiver.

Bolt_Action
12-03-2012, 10:10 PM
The part with the serial number is the receiver.

On the ruger pistols. The hand grip part is the grip frame.
The receiver on the ruger pistols is the steel tube with the barrel screwed into it.

Yes, I know the serial number has to be engraved on the receiver. But what I'm asking is, how do you know which part is the receiver when a manufacturer stamps a serial number on more than one part? Some handguns have matching serial numbers stamped onto the upper and lower part, but some consider the upper to be the receiver, others consider the lower part to be the receiver.

ar15barrels
12-03-2012, 10:13 PM
But what I'm asking is, how do you know which part is the receiver when a manufacturer stamps a serial number on more than one part?

answered above.

Bolt_Action
12-03-2012, 10:18 PM
answered above.

Wait, you're telling me that the only way to know which part of a gun is considered the receiver is to ask the BATFE, and they just choose based on whatever they feel like? There's no strict definition as to which part must be considered the receiver based on function?

ke6guj
12-03-2012, 10:29 PM
Wait, you're telling me that the only way to know which part of a gun is considered the receiver is to ask the BATFE, and they just choose based on whatever they feel like? There's no strict definition as to which part must be considered the receiver based on function?there is basic definition that says that the item that holds the FCG, contains the bolt/slide, and the barrel is attached to is the receiver. And that works for many firearms. But some firearms are designed in such a manner that no one item contains all 3 parts. Such as the AR15 and Ruger MkI/II/III. IN that case, ATF has to make a ruling on which part will be considered the firearm.

Bolt_Action
12-03-2012, 10:34 PM
there is basic definition that says that the item that holds the FCG, contains the bolt/slide, and the barrel is attached to is the receiver. And that works for many firearms. But some firearms are designed in such a manner that no one item contains all 3 parts. Such as the AR15 and Ruger MkI/II/III. IN that case, ATF has to make a ruling on which part will be considered the firearm.

I see. So in the case of guns like the Ruger/AR-15, they chose the upper part to be the receiver for the Mk iii, but the lower part to be the receiver with the AR. Perhaps that is why on those guns you don't see matching serials, since it's questionable which part is legally defined as the receiver? But on a traditional handgun design, the "lower" part (frame with mag and trigger) is always considered the receiver, yes?

Does this mean that for other parts (such as the slide) you could replace them or refinish them without worrying about removing or obscuring the additional serial number (so long as the original serial number on the frame is not affected)?

ar15barrels
12-03-2012, 11:05 PM
Does this mean that for other parts (such as the slide) you could replace them or refinish them without worrying about removing or obscuring the additional serial number (so long as the original serial number on the frame is not affected)?

yes.

As long as you do not obscure or deface the serial number on the receiver, none of the other serial numbers should matter.