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Thread: 3D Printing & CNC machining, as it relates to DIY GUNS.

  1. #1
    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    3D Printing & CNC machining, as it relates to DIY GUNS.

    Since we know that we can legally build our own firearms without government "permission."

    So, would it still count as a build it yourself if you rented time on someone's CNC machine or 3D metal printer to build it?

    So if someone has the files and/or program written already and you were to rent the time on the machine to make the firearm, would it still be a DYI if you push the start button during the time you were renting time on the machine?

    Any weigh in on this topic?

    I, personally, believe that it would still be a personally built firearm exempt from the government rules.

    This would, in MY opinion, also apply to finishing 80% kits.

    So, what are your thoughts?
    What, if any, legal ramifications are there on the book now?
    What would you pay to rent use of such a machine?

    Sent from my SM-G386T using Tapatalk
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Like RYO tobacco , a company that rents out its equipment can be seen as a manufacturer.

    So I doubt you could bring a file to a place and make a lower.

    If you took it [machine] home, then I think you would be OK.

    But you can make a gun easily enough via home milling or casting.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    3D builds or DIY manufacturing

    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    Since we know that we can legally build our own firearms without government "permission."

    So, would it still count as a build it yourself if you rented time on someone's CNC machine or 3D metal printer to build it?

    So if someone has the files and/or program written already and you were to rent the time on the machine to make the firearm, would it still be a DYI if you push the start button during the time you were renting time on the machine?

    Any weigh in on this topic?

    I, personally, believe that it would still be a personally built firearm exempt from the government rules.

    This would, in MY opinion, also apply to finishing 80% kits.

    So, what are your thoughts?
    What, if any, legal ramifications are there on the book now?
    What would you pay to rent use of such a machine?

    Sent from my SM-G386T using Tapatalk
    Simple Short answer:
    Do your own work without help or assist from someone else and you should be safe.


    Convoluted long answer:
    I have been playing around with 3D printing and investment casting process. It seems to me this is the best way to DIY your own frame legally. 3D printing has very good resolution now and with the tweaks you can make in Arduino hardware / software interface it is possible to make custom one off productions from a single G-code file.

    Lets say for arguments sake you have or can draw a 1911 frame in a free software program and output that to a G-code file for printing in PLA plastic. There are several online printing services now that will print plastic shapes for you. I think renting or paying for a plastic printing service for the manufacture of firearms is on shaky ground. I can only qualify that as my opinion based on the fallout from Ares Armor selling plastic %80 receivers and getting unlawfully whacked by ATF.

    What if on the other hand a group of friends forms a club centered around 3D engineered printing and rapid prototyping. There is quite a bit to be learned from drawing and rendering a 3D object to printing and subsequently casting a finished product in metal.

    This is not an inexpensive endeavor but can be spread out over some time making it more affordable and easier to learn as you go. I started with casting aluminum in a charcoal furnace and have progressed to melting brass and bronze in a DIY heat treat oven. Silicon Bronze is as strong as steel and really pretties up nicely. I figure I have a few hundred dollars in material and a couple years in time.

    The idea of scratch building a printer was not too hard to overcome after I broke it down into manageable blocks. I started with the mechanical pieces as this was my area of expertise. The electronics and software programing is NOT my forte but I can read as good as anyone else and a little trial and error makes for a good teacher. (EVERYTHING is on the internet) !!!


    I believe the catch here is doing your own work.

    So.....let me qualify the "own work" part. You can use my machine for free to do your own work but if I "assist" or "help" all parties are in danger. There have been many "build parties" that involved exactly what you describe but no payment was offered or expected. This can be an intentionally "gray area" of the law and invite potentially unwanted attention.


    Not a lawyer, blah, blah, blah...

    ~Whitney
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

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    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Short 3D / Casting video

    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    Since we know that we can legally build our own firearms without government "permission."

    So, would it still count as a build it yourself if you rented time on someone's CNC machine or 3D metal printer to build it?

    So if someone has the files and/or program written already and you were to rent the time on the machine to make the firearm, would it still be a DYI if you push the start button during the time you were renting time on the machine?

    Any weigh in on this topic?

    I, personally, believe that it would still be a personally built firearm exempt from the government rules.

    This would, in MY opinion, also apply to finishing 80% kits.

    So, what are your thoughts?
    What, if any, legal ramifications are there on the book now?
    What would you pay to rent use of such a machine?

    Sent from my SM-G386T using Tapatalk





    Easy Peasy
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

  5. #5
    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    So, maybe if the machine was rented out without anyone helping them (accept payment and then walk away) then it might be 100% legal so long as they do not tell you what they are making.

    Offering a machine for "after hours" rental to home hobbyists might br legal if you do not control what they make.

    Offering operating lessons should be 100% legal if the lessons do not involve making a firearm. .. I know that it is reasonable to charge for machine time and/or material used.

    Not asking for legal advice, just looking for creative and constructive feedback from some intelligent individuals.

    Thanks for the feedback thus far.
    Sent from my SM-G386T using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Freedom1Man; 05-16-2016 at 09:17 PM.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    So, maybe if the machine was rented out without anyone helping them (accept payment and then walk away) then it might be 100% legal so long as they do not tell you what they are making.

    Offering a machine for "after hours" rental to home hobbyists might br legal if you do not control what they make.

    Offering operating lessons should be 100% legal if the lessons do not involve making a firearm. .. I know that it is reasonable to charge for machine time and/or material used.

    Not asking for legal advice, just looking for creative and constructive feedback from some intelligent individuals.

    Thanks for the feedback thus far.
    Sent from my SM-G386T using Tapatalk
    I agree with your analysis.

    My spouse however, might disagree on intelligent feedback.

    ~Whitney
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

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    Regular Member Rusty Young Man's Avatar
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    Just a quick question:
    Why 3-D print in order to make a casting? Doesn't this increase the cost? Just trying to understand here before I get into casting (3-D is on my to-do list as well, once time and funds allow).
    I carry to defend my loved ones; Desensitizing and educating are secondary & tertiary reasons. Anything else is unintended.

    “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” - Frederic Bastiat

    "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." - Edmund Burke

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    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Cost is inconsequential

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Young Man View Post
    Just a quick question:
    Why 3-D print in order to make a casting? Doesn't this increase the cost? Just trying to understand here before I get into casting (3-D is on my to-do list as well, once time and funds allow).

    The plastic print is your mold core, it can be reproduces an unlimited number of times and complex shapes are easily duplicated. The CNC machining process can make these shapes but in the case of an Armalite receiver you will have a very difficult time creating the mag well. Most magazine wells in this receiver are broached in a separate manufacturing step. The 3D print is effectively the inverse of CNC machining where we add material as opposed to removing it.





    Attachment 13094 This dome is a good example of basic geometric shapes that is easier to print than it is to machine. Imagine creating this dome starting off with a solid block of material, as opposed to the lost PLA cast method.

    Plastic is cheap and the additional cost is mostly in the form of time it takes to create your drawing and create the G-code required to create the print scheme. An additional cost in time, BUT once you have a drawing you can easily modify it to create desirable effects not otherwise possible from simple machine operations. Imagine if you will creating custom graphics or filigree in detail that is able to be created in one casting.

    Do an interweb search for complex 3D print shapes and look at all the images that can be created in plastic and subsequently cast in metal using the lost PLA method; then imagine creating these same shapes using CNC machining processes. The cost of CNC tooling must also be considered this alone make the 3D print method cheaper than CNC unless you can find cheap time on a machine as Freedom Man has suggested.

    ~Whitney
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

  9. #9
    Regular Member Rusty Young Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitney View Post
    The plastic print is your mold core, it can be reproduces an unlimited number of times and complex shapes are easily duplicated. The CNC machining process can make these shapes but in the case of an Armalite receiver you will have a very difficult time creating the mag well. Most magazine wells in this receiver are broached in a separate manufacturing step. The 3D print is effectively the inverse of CNC machining where we add material as opposed to removing it.





    Attachment 13094 This dome is a good example of basic geometric shapes that is easier to print than it is to machine. Imagine creating this dome starting off with a solid block of material, as opposed to the lost PLA cast method.

    Plastic is cheap and the additional cost is mostly in the form of time it takes to create your drawing and create the G-code required to create the print scheme. An additional cost in time, BUT once you have a drawing you can easily modify it to create desirable effects not otherwise possible from simple machine operations. Imagine if you will creating custom graphics or filigree in detail that is able to be created in one casting.

    Do an interweb search for complex 3D print shapes and look at all the images that can be created in plastic and subsequently cast in metal using the lost PLA method; then imagine creating these same shapes using CNC machining processes. The cost of CNC tooling must also be considered this alone make the 3D print method cheaper than CNC unless you can find cheap time on a machine as Freedom Man has suggested.

    ~Whitney
    Ok, I think I get this now.

    One more question:

    In your personal experience, is there an economical/reproducible way to have existing metal parts be used to make a (reusable) reverse mold to fill with plastic, which could then be used to PLA cast in metal?

    I say this only because the use and learning of CAD is not likely to be a possibility for me, at least in the near future. So maybe I'm asking from a mechanically-inclined, code-shy perspective.
    I carry to defend my loved ones; Desensitizing and educating are secondary & tertiary reasons. Anything else is unintended.

    “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” - Frederic Bastiat

    "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." - Edmund Burke

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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitney View Post
    Simple Short answer:
    Do your own work without help or assist from someone else and you should be safe.

    I think renting or paying for a plastic printing service for the manufacture of firearms is on shaky ground.

    I can only qualify that as my opinion based on the fallout from Ares Armor selling plastic %80 receivers and getting unlawfully whacked by ATF.

    if I "assist" or "help" all parties are in danger.
    I build guns. I build lots of guns. Pistols, rifles, shotguns. 100% legal. BUT then you add the petulant children of the batf. I have seen "build partys" where someone sets up the machine and others, one by one, use it to punch out a lower. This gets you arrested.
    Set up the machine yourself, do the cut, render the machine blank again and reset for the next cutter, legal.
    When Ares Armor had the fight with batf, it started with his sign. "80% and No serial numbers" and it hissed off the city. They called batf on him and he was harassed until he lost his business. Dimitri was a good guy who was one of the pioneers in the 80% market. He drew fire and it cost him his business.

    Build parties?? Not a good idea if others know about it. Use your own shop. Do not brag about "BPs". Maintain a low profile as they may not raid you right away.

    https://youtu.be/nkexneHJ3vY

    https://youtu.be/_MG-Qhw7K6s

    in the second video of the raid, note the atf agent taking the photographs of everyone in the area to include "bystanders". The batf is NOT your friend.

    That said.......build more guns....No numbers.....no records.....no .gov involvement.



    Wolverines!
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Young Man View Post
    Ok, I think I get this now.

    One more question:

    In your personal experience, is there an economical/reproducible way to have existing metal parts be used to make a (reusable) reverse mold to fill with plastic, which could then be used to PLA cast in metal?

    I say this only because the use and learning of CAD is not likely to be a possibility for me, at least in the near future. So maybe I'm asking from a mechanically-inclined, code-shy perspective.

    Economical ? NO !!

    Reproducible ? yes. There are methods to create rubber and silicone molds for existing parts but the complete process will cost more than a retail purchase. This method would also result in loss of detail (copy of a copy of a copy) and complex internal voids are almost impossible to duplicate.

    ~Whitney
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

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    A couple of things:

    1) The issue with Ares Armor is that the alphabet soup clowns were claiming that a specific brand of 80% were first drilled out before being filled back in with a different color material. While this wasn't how these were manufactured (or so the manufacturer said), by claiming it they are claiming that the "gun" was taken beyond 80% and thus should have had an SN even if it was later returned to an 80% state.

    2) Build parties technically aren't illegal and you can use someone else's equipment. The issue is that you can't receive ANY physical help. Thus in a sting the jack wagon will ask for help and so much as putting a finger on anything gets you in trouble. Not to mention that depending on the people involved they might decide to just "let the courts sort it out."

    3) IANAL but that was what was in the news about Ares Armor ages ago and what I found on build parties when looking into one when I lived in California.

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    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    ... Dimitri was a good guy who was one of the pioneers in the 80% market. He drew fire and it cost him his business. ...
    I didn't realize that he was no longer the owner of Ares Armor.

    1) What do you think of the new owners, and 2) is there any other similar retailer you hold in high regard?
    Last edited by BB62; 05-28-2016 at 09:22 PM.

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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BB62 View Post
    Part one. I didn't realize that he was no longer the owner of Ares Armor.

    Part 2. 1) What do you think of the new owners, and 2) is there any other similar retailer you hold in high regard?
    Part one. You may beat the rap but you won't.............. Yes, the deal was bad, he beat them, the cost him his business.

    Part two. I have purchase a bit from 80% Arms ( http://www.80percentarms.com/ ) and Polymer 80 ( http://www.polymer80.com/ ).

    Poly80 has a pistol I am working on. Looks like a glock and takes glock 17 slides. I am a big fan of ghost guns.
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    Part one. You may beat the rap but you won't.............. Yes, the deal was bad, he beat them, the cost him his business.

    Part two. I have purchase a bit from 80% Arms ( http://www.80percentarms.com/ ) and Polymer 80 ( http://www.polymer80.com/ ).

    Poly80 has a pistol I am working on. Looks like a glock and takes glock 17 slides. I am a big fan of ghost guns.
    Thanks very much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aknazer View Post
    A couple of things:

    1) The issue with Ares Armor is that the alphabet soup clowns were claiming that a specific brand of 80% were first drilled out before being filled back in with a different color material. While this wasn't how these were manufactured (or so the manufacturer said), by claiming it they are claiming that the "gun" was taken beyond 80% and thus should have had an SN even if it was later returned to an 80% state.

    2) Build parties technically aren't illegal and you can use someone else's equipment. The issue is that you can't receive ANY physical help. Thus in a sting the jack wagon will ask for help and so much as putting a finger on anything gets you in trouble. Not to mention that depending on the people involved they might decide to just "let the courts sort it out."

    3) IANAL but that was what was in the news about Ares Armor ages ago and what I found on build parties when looking into one when I lived in California.
    Sounds mostly right to me.

    And why would you need to drill out a molded product? You would just mold the full finished receiver then fill in the FCG etc. But even if they did make a 80%, drill out the FCG (fire control group) and then fill it in, I still don't see where they needed to S/N the product. You would need to classify it ... is it a pistol? a rifle? a crossbow lower ? Impossible to say.

    Here's when one should be required to S/N a thing: never

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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    Sounds mostly right to me.

    1. And why would you need to drill out a molded product?

    2. You would just mold the full finished receiver then fill in the FCG etc.

    3. But even if they did make a 80%, drill out the FCG (fire control group) and then fill it in,

    4. I still don't see where they needed to S/N the product. You would need to classify it ... is it a pistol? a rifle? a crossbow lower ? Impossible to say.

    Here's when one should be required to S/N a thing: never
    1. You need to "drill it out" because it is not a firearm, it is only an 80% mold

    2. This is NOT what was done, but what they were accused of by batf

    3. This is what they were accused of. Making a firearm and then rendering it an 80% by filling the fcp and then marketing it as such

    4. You do not need to number an 80% to sell it. You do need to number a fully cut AR lower, even if you fill it in and render it an 80% in order to sell it.

    classification? Once a virgin receiver is cut it is a firearm. If you first build it as a pistol you can later build it as a rifle. You can then change back to pistol without worries. If you first build a virgin receiver as a rifle, it will always be a rifle. Put a pistol upper on a rifle and you get jail time.

    Moral of the story? Build more AR pistols
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Any one can do this/Everyone should.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Young Man View Post
    Just a quick question:
    Why 3-D print in order to make a casting? Doesn't this increase the cost? Just trying to understand here before I get into casting (3-D is on my to-do list as well, once time and funds allow).
    I wanted to come back to you regarding your apprehension with the technical aspects of CAD. Here is a quick drawing I did tonight after work. I will tell you I use FreeCad and Slic3r to do all my drawing and printing.
    No I won't generate G-code or share my drawings.

    The AR-7 is probably one of the simplest to make as it is just building and cutting basic geometric shapes.

    Download FreeCad and play around with it (it's free). Stay with it and you can print just about anything you want. There is a learning curve but as I said previously everything is on the internet and you will find helpful video tutorials if you seek them out.

    https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/gefyj...RHhoJ4vTA&sm=1


    ~Whitney
    Last edited by Whitney; 06-17-2016 at 11:53 PM.
    The problem with America is stupidity.
    I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    1. You need to "drill it out" because it is not a firearm, it is only an 80% mold

    2. This is NOT what was done, but what they were accused of by batf

    3. This is what they were accused of. Making a firearm and then rendering it an 80% by filling the fcp and then marketing it as such

    4. You do not need to number an 80% to sell it. You do need to number a fully cut AR lower, even if you fill it in and render it an 80% in order to sell it.

    classification? Once a virgin receiver is cut it is a firearm. If you first build it as a pistol you can later build it as a rifle. You can then change back to pistol without worries. If you first build a virgin receiver as a rifle, it will always be a rifle. Put a pistol upper on a rifle and you get jail time.

    Moral of the story? Build more AR pistols
    this is not entirely true, at least, NOT according to the BATF, when the lower is made and you purchase it you can request it be listed as a pistol, however fi you EVER put a rifle upper on it, the BATF says it is now a rifle and can only be a rifle from that point on.

  20. #20
    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezek View Post
    this is not entirely true, at least, NOT according to the BATF, when the lower is made and you purchase it you can request it be listed as a pistol, however fi you EVER put a rifle upper on it, the BATF says it is now a rifle and can only be a rifle from that point on.
    In this case, an 80% cut, YOU make the lower. You do not purchase it, you make it. YOU decide what it is, not the .gov.

    This is why I build and not buy. Nobodys business how many and what type of firearms I have
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    In this case, an 80% cut, YOU make the lower. You do not purchase it, you make it. YOU decide what it is, not the .gov.

    This is why I build and not buy. Nobodys business how many and what type of firearms I have
    What if you built one that have both a pistol and rifle and crossbow on the same mulit-level frame? What is it then? (other than sweet)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezek View Post
    this is not entirely true, at least, NOT according to the BATF, when the lower is made and you purchase it you can request it be listed as a pistol, however fi you EVER put a rifle upper on it, the BATF says it is now a rifle and can only be a rifle from that point on.
    The pistol to rifle and the back to pistol was settled law in 1992 with the TC contender the courts ruled one could turn a pistol into a rifle then back into a pistol with out violating the law. But one could not turn a rifle into a pistol.

    United States v. Thompson/Center Arms Co. (91-0164), 504 U.S. 505 (1992).
    Last edited by Firearms Iinstuctor; 06-28-2016 at 07:07 AM.
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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firearms Iinstuctor View Post
    The pistol to rifle and the back to pistol was settled law in 1992 with the TC contender the courts ruled one could turn a pistol into a rifle then back into a pistol with out violating the law. But one could not turn a rifle into a pistol.

    United States v. Thompson/Center Arms Co. (91-0164), 504 U.S. 505 (1992).
    Exactly
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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