England’s ‘Sort of’ Semi-Auto AR-15-type Rifle, the Answer to CA’s New Gun Ban

Lever Release Rifle from Southern Gun Company in England
Lever Release Rifle from Southern Gun Company in England

DeNiro Marketing Group

USA-(Ammoland.com)- You probably have heard the bad news that Governor Jerry Brown signed more anti-2nd Amendment firearms laws to take effect in “Commiefornia” and that these laws included an elimination of almost all semi-auto rifles with detachable magazines.

Even before these new laws and regulations take effect, people currently have more firearms freedom, in regard to what they can own, in: Italy, Slovenia, Ukraine (with the exception of handguns), Poland, Germany, Canada (with the exception of some small handguns), Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, New Zealand, as well as other countries, than citizens of California do.

The answer for those still living behind enemy lines may be the Lever Release Rifle from Southern Gun Company in England. Since semi-auto centerfire rifles are not legal to own in England, the folks at this company have developed what I call “sort of Semi-auto” which are available in calibers 9mm, .45, and .223.

The way these AR-15 type rifles work is that every time you pull the trigger, a round is fired and the shell is ejected but then the bolt is held open even with a loaded magazine.

You then press your bolt catch release and another round is loaded and you are ready to fire again. It’s not technically semi-auto by our regulation definitions either and may be a legal alternative for gun owners in California (New York state too). I imagine that if a modification kit were available, it would be a quick fix for exiting AR-15 type rifles. Other MSR models could be pursued as well.

Possibly, the good folks at Southern Gun Company can license a U.S. manufacturer to make these. The differences between a California variant Lever Release Rifle and an English Lever Release Rifle is that the English don’t have a “high-capacity” magazine ban and can own standard capacity magazines but the California model should be able to have a standard magazine release as this is not technically a semi-auto.

I’ve been to England on firearms & defense industry business and there is a small but strong gun culture there. Southern Gun Company is a perfect example of it and I applaud them for their efforts and creativity. You can reach Southern Gun Company through their website and they have a nice video demo here:

About Vincent DeNiro

With a nine-page resume, Vincent DeNiro has more than 33 years of experience working in the firearm and defense industries, at the management and executive levels, for some of the largest companies in the areas of marketing, advertising, business development, import, export, product development/management as well as having top industry sales. He has also been credited with leading the defeat of the first city “assault weapons” ban in the U.S. back in 1989, has worked in the film industry as a theatrical armorer since 1991, is a former deputy sheriff, a 1992 Eastern USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee, was the Editor-In-Chief of Prepper & Shooter Magazine, and has been shooting and gun collecting since 1974. He can be reached through his website at DeNiroMarketingGroup.com .

  • 34 thoughts on “England’s ‘Sort of’ Semi-Auto AR-15-type Rifle, the Answer to CA’s New Gun Ban

    1. Regarding the rifle discussed above,might the California version of this piece require a “time delay” between pressing the button and the action closing,possibly 60 or so seconds? One wonders.

    2. To support Vincent’s comments,I’m a Brit and have held a firearms licence for over 25 years, I’ve not only owned one of SGC lever release rifles, but also: Benelli M3, SX3, AI AW, Tika T3, Winchester 94, Sako 85, 2 Armalon PC rifles a Marlin and 2 Ruger 1022 and as I’m in Northern Ireland: Sig P226, Taurus 66, S&W 586, AMT Javalina and Hardballer, CZ 75, P229,
      So not only are you allowed firearms in the UK and the use of moderators for use in target shooting is encouraged on the grounds of health and safety, in some parts handguns are still legal.

      1. Are you currently allowed to own such firearms? Many years ago, when I worked for a while in London, I got out to Bisley a couple of times, and exercised with the 303 Lee Enfield. To my surprise, a couple of fellows at the office were competitive target shooters. The officials I had contact with were polite to a fault, much more than were people I had contact with at the New York City Police Dept. I grew up in NYC and lived there for many years. Additionally, when I inquired about purchasing a particular rifle while in London, I would have taken it back to the U.S., I received most polite and courteous treatment from the London police I had contact with. NEver found the rifle I was looking for, but I was surprised as the number of rifles and shotguns available at several gun shops I visited in London. The above goes back to 1970, and I understand that, things have changed, said ot being in the direction of improvement, re the law abiding individual and their acquisition of firearms. Of course, what I’ve heard could be incorrect. Last but not least, the beer at most any pub was far superior to what one usually encountered in the U.S.

    3. Thanks for the welcome…..

      Yes, the European Union were on their way there trying ban semi auto .22 rimfire, and MARS action fullbore rifles, thank god we are getting out.

    4. @Jc and DeNiro, If no one has welcomed you to this site, yet, then let me be the first.

    5. @Jc, So the British government could outlaw all firearms immediately, and commence confiscation at a moment’s notice. That is a dismal situation. Come to Texas.

    6. Well we have no firearm civil rights, you can own a section 1 firearm by having good reason, hunting and target shooting, and being vetted by the Police.
      We can not carry only to and from shooting grounds, no semi auto fullbore

      Owning a firearm is privilege nit a right.

      The rifle I was referring to is a WW2 Mauser K98.
      I belong to a target shooting club which has access to military ranges where we can use up to 50cal

    7. Well we can not carry, only to and from shooting grounds, they are not for home defence,there are separate licences for shot guns and rifles, hand guns are not allowed unless they are powder and ball. there are some exceptions fro historic reasons, say I had my granddads service pistol from ww2 I could own it but it would have to be kept at the range, no semi auto full-bore although the MARS action assault rifle is pretty close.

    8. @Vince DeNiro, You say, ” While England does not have anything near to what we have in regard to firearm rights…” What are the differences? What can’t the English do, firearms-wise? What firearms civil rights don’t they have that we do? And JC don’t be afraid to jump in any time?

    9. Hey I’m Just a working class English guy i have just got my firearms licence, my first rifle is a 7.92×57 Mauser, shoot at a local indoor range and twice a month i can go the military ranges to have a go on the sniper to 1500mtr 100mtr 300mtr ranges so yes the laws are very strict but we can still have fun.

      Not sure where Mike was living but its not here unless you have a record of course for bad s**t then youve had it.

    10. The best answer to the California ban is Thordsen Customs http://www.thordsencustoms.com, not only your not going to need to register you ar15 in 2017, also going to allow you to use a regular mag release, also the flash hider will need to be replaced by a compensator.

    11. Years ago, late 1960’s, I lived in Berkley, later in Oakland. Used to shoot informal rifle matches at Chabot Park, in the hills above Oakland, and also on the Marine Corps base at Vallejo. Oakland was pretty nice back then, I used to walk to work downtown, we lived just up from Lake Merit. Of course, SanFrancsco was lovely back then, without the idiot political types that abound these days. As for this British rifle, sounds interesting, I wonder how long it might be before British Anti Gun Nuts screw that ..up. Strange to note, when I worked in London, much to my surprise, there were a couple of competitive rifle shooters in the office, they competed at Bisley. Interestingly, there were a number of very well stocked gun shops in London, rifles and shotguns galore, not much in the way of handguns. Interestingly, when I inquired of the police about purchasing a rifle to take back to the U.S., Never found the thing I was thinking about, I was treated with the utmost courtesy, a very far cry from what I experienced speaking with the NYPD, when I lived in NYC.

    12. Wouldn’t it be possible to simply hold the bolt release button down and thus have a fully fledged semi-auto? Regardless, we’re detailing with vague ‘technicalities’ and the same folks who have a problem with ‘bullet buttons’ will surely find fault with this ‘gimmick’ too.

    13. So-called “featureless” semi-auto rifles/carbines are still legal (for the nonce) in CA. The writer either hasn’t bothered to check his facts or is deliberately being misleading by saying “these laws included an elimination of almost all semi-auto rifles with detachable magazines” , a trend I find rather prevalent in Ammoland articles. The kicker for me is that 10+ round capacity magazines are now illegal to possess, meaning the likely millions that were previously grandfathered in are now required to be surrendered to The State w/o compensation. (Not that a few bucks would make it alright.)

      Also, the banned list is not open to additions, they tried that way back when and were shot down in court, which is what led to guns being banned by evil features.

      1. Dear “Code Name” Dave,

        I am very familiar with CA laws and was not trying to be misleading. Featureless rifles are still legal as you stated as I am very well aware of BUT when more and more features of a Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) get eliminated, through un-Constitutional laws, – AT SOME POINT ITS NOT AN MSR ANYMORE. The fact that something is grandfathered means that it cannot be purchased in the future by “new” buyers therefore it IS banned. Maybe I should have stated: ” these laws included an elimination of MSR-type semi-auto rifles with detachable magazines.” The article’s main focus is to show another option for California gun owners who would like something as close as possible to a standard MSR without having to drastically change the configuration of their rifles with featureless parts like; Monsterman grip-less stocks , etc. as well as removing other parts/features- I have nothing against Monsterman, Bullet Button, or any other company that has found ways around the laws as it gives gun owners a choice as to what is best for them.

      1. it has the “shoulder thing that goes up”, therefor must be banned…. and AtG Harris will assure that it is enforced.

    14. Typographical error noted. Search for ‘exiting’, correct with ‘existing’. Feel free to leave this comment out, whether you fix the typo or not.

    15. This will probably be characterized as evading the law, rather than obeying the law. It is a manufacturer obeying the law.

      Unfortunately, California has a list of banned guns. Guess how long it will take for this firearm to be added.

    16. Isn’t it amazing that in a country where all guns are ban (yes you can keep a shotgun at the range ONLY) can produce a kind of semi-automatic gun. Maybe Brown should go to London and see if he can get along with their mayor!!!! Both seem to be POS SOB’s!

      1. “in a country where all guns are ban[ned] (yes you can keep a shotgun at the range ONLY)”

        Your statement is not correct. While England does not have anything near to what we have in regard to firearm rights, they can own:

        – all types of center-fire rifles (bolt-action, lever action, pump, lever-release) except semi-auto
        – shotguns of almost all types are legal with “standard-length” barrels (although no longer in production, even the SPAS-15 with detachable magazine was legal there the last time I checked)
        – suppressors aka silencers are legal AND they are encouraged to own for deer hunting as the government does not want farm animals, especially cows, being disturbed during hunting season as they will not give milk if they are startled by gunfire.
        – a handgun (modern revolver) CAN be owned for the purpose of killing deer which has not been killed by rifle fire as they do not want hunters firing a shot at close range with a high powered rifle to finish off the animal.
        – semi-auto .22s are legal .
        – “high capacity” magazines are not banned and owned either for legal firearms or for use in deactivated firearms; the way they deactivate machine guns for collecting would be a felony if owned in that form here in the U.S.
        – antique revolvers in “obsolete” calibers can be owned (with license) without having to be deactivated. Many English then take the antique revolvers to Ireland where they can fire them at a range as the laws relating to handguns are a bit more relaxed there. NOTE: Englishmen can only fire a handgun legally on one range and that is at the Royal Defense Academy in Swindon (been there) with the exception of the revolvers used for “finishing shot” hunting purposes.

        If you are approved to own all of the above, you can keep them at home not locked up at a range (in Singapore, you have to keep your guns locked up at a shooting range). England is VERY far from true gun rights BUT to state that England has absolutely no gun ownership (as many politicians & radio talk show hosts do) is incorrect.

        1. Don’t know where you got your info, but I lived there for three years and you are dead wrong!

          Just the first statement. Yes you can keep your bolt action rifle, AS LONG AS THE BARREL IS LEAD FILLED to make it non-functional. And so on down the line!

          1. Hmmm, let me see where I got my information.

            1) I ran International Sales for Beretta USA for over 6 years (Beretta, have you heard of them???) I also founded the division.
            2) I traveled to England on firearm industry and defense industry business participating in high level small arms related events and demonstrations
            3) I handled this company’s account in England for sales in England (as well as others) – https://www.gmk.co.uk/ . Take a look at all of the bolt action SAKO rifles they have for sale (lead in barrels not included).
            4) I imported and exported firearms from/to England for years.
            5) I worked with prominent leaders in the hunting community in England
            6) Did you go to this link which was in the article??? http://www.southern-gun.co.uk/ – ALL OF THOSE GUNS ARE FOR SALE TO CITIZENS IN ENGLAND! I just corresponded with the owner. I had better write him back and tell him that a firearms law expert named Mike Mcallister says that what he is doing is not allowed in England and that he had better shut his AR-15 type firearms business down before the authorities arrest him!
            7) I have been in the firearms industry since 1982.
            8) Oh wait, I found another “illegal” gun business in England for Mike Mcallister to give legal advice to: http://www.sportsmanguncentre.co.uk/guns-and-moderators/rifles , oh no another http://www.gunpricing.co.uk/ , and another http://www.kirklees-guns.co.uk/new-centrefires.html , oh my gosh a live Taurus .357 revolver for sale in England ! https://www.guntrader.uk/Guns-For-Sale/Taurus_Pistol-Long-Barrel_For-Sale_160613222135133 , Go get ’em Mike! Tell them all you know!

            But you know better??? What did you do for three years in England, attend Troll School?

            1. So suppressors are called “moderators” in England? Maybe manufacturers here should all agree to a name change overnight and never refer to them as silencers or suppressors again. Moderators sounds so much less intimidating and fearful. Maybe then we could get some favorable federal legislation passed doing away with the NFA restriction on them. Of manufacturers wouldn’t be able to charge a premium for them just because you wouldn’t have to jump through hoops and wait an eternity to get one. Competition would spring up……

            2. There’s seems to be a significant difference of opinion, fact too here. It has been a long time since I lived in London, I was there is 1970, I have visited there since then too, however I have no current experience with British law as it impacts or addresses firearms. THe differences in the story are interesting, to say the very least.

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