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View Full Version : Can a rifle be re-registered as a handgun?


SVRider
04-05-2008, 3:03 PM
I have a hankering to build a silhouette pistol. I would like to use a left-handed bolt action rifle action as a starting point.

Can a rifle action be re-registered as a handgun?

(like how is a Contender/Encore if first registered as a long gun registered to be used as a hangun?)

TIA!

ke6guj
04-05-2008, 3:10 PM
I have a hankering to build a silhouette pistol. I would like to use a left-handed bolt action rifle action as a starting point.

Can a rifle action be re-registered as a handgun?

(like how is a Contender/Encore if first registered as a long gun registered to be used as a hangun?)

TIA!
If it started as a completed rifle, the rifle action can't be rebuilt into a pistol. If would be a short barreled rifle. What they do is use a virgin receiver that has never been built up as a rifle and use that as a pistol receiver.

the COntender/Encores need to be built first as a pistol in order to be convertable to a rifle and back. If you started with a Contender rifle, you can't later conver to a pistol. The ability to go from pistol to rifle and back is due to the Thompson Contender Supreme Court case that said that that was legal and was not creating an SBR. The ATF recently put out an opinion stating that you couldn't go back to pistol after having converted to rifle, but how that relates to the TC Supreme court case, I dunno.

bohoki
04-05-2008, 4:26 PM
If it started as a completed rifle, the rifle action can't be rebuilt into a pistol. If would be a short barreled rifle. What they do is use a virgin receiver that has never been built up as a rifle and use that as a pistol receiver.

the COntender/Encores need to be built first as a pistol in order to be convertable to a rifle and back. If you started with a Contender rifle, you can't later conver to a pistol. The ability to go from pistol to rifle and back is due to the Thompson Contender Supreme Court case that said that that was legal and was not creating an SBR. The ATF recently put out an opinion stating that you couldn't go back to pistol after having converted to rifle, but how that relates to the TC Supreme court case, I dunno.

yea that one is confusing about the thompson contender/encore

say you buy it as a pistol then put a stock and rifle lengthe barrel on it and private party transfer it to someone

did it just become a rifle?

SVRider
04-05-2008, 4:44 PM
Thanks for the explaination. I appreciate your help....

M. Sage
04-05-2008, 7:05 PM
yea that one is confusing about the thompson contender/encore

say you buy it as a pistol then put a stock and rifle lengthe barrel on it and private party transfer it to someone

did it just become a rifle?

No, the receiver is still a handgun.

bohoki
04-05-2008, 7:21 PM
No, the receiver is still a handgun.

so the person might have an unregistered pistol?

Matt C
04-05-2008, 7:23 PM
so the person might have an unregistered pistol?

Which is not illegal... (in itself)

dfletcher
04-05-2008, 8:00 PM
"The ATF recently put out an opinion stating that you couldn't go back to pistol after having converted to rifle, but how that relates to the TC Supreme court case, I dunno."

The ATF - T/C case (1992 I believe) actually involved a kit that T/C distibuted in which one of the items that could be built was a short barreled rifle. I believe the kit included a receiver, a fewer than 16" barrel with a handgun stock, a rifle stock and a rifle barrel. ATF asserted that although the kit was sold as a handgun, attaching the rifle stock resulted in an SBR. The court decided that since a legally configured handgun or legally configured rifle could be assembled (and not the SBR only) that the kit was not illegal. I believe there were also questions regarding what constituted manufacture. So I don't believe the case was strictly about the ability to convert a rifle to a handgun.

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/wbardwel/public/nfalist/thompson.txt

ATF at the time (and from the above post seems to have not abandoned the position?) asserted that once a firearm becomes a rifle it can not be converted back to a handgun. This may not be of great importance to most - I don't think folks are going to take XP 100 handguns, convert them to Remington 7 rifles (which they certainly could do legally) and subsequently return them to XP 100 handgun configuration. But if ATF still takes the "once a rifle always a rifle", they would certainly assert this applies to T/C also. That attaching a greater than 16" barrel and rifle stock to a handgun frame legally prohibits a person from returning that firearm back to handgun status. So far as I know, the ease of which the conversion can be accomplished is not a mitigating factor according to ATF. I think - again, if ATF is still taking the same position - this would apply to an AR handgun, converting it to a legally configured rifle and returning it to handgun configuration.

I have quite a few Encores and Contenders and barrels. I am careful about not putting a handgun barrel on a rifle receiver, that's about as far as I go.

mymonkeyman
04-05-2008, 8:02 PM
The ATF likes taking positions directly contrary to court cases. They basically just ignores it when courts rule against them (which happens often).