USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Welcome back to The Legal Brief, the show where we CRUSH the various legal myths and misinformation surrounding various areas of the gun world. I’m your host Adam Kraut and today we’re talking determining your barrel length and your guns overall length.
Some of you watching may be asking, why would I ever need to determine my barrel length or overall length? As you may remember from the recent videos on Short Barrel Rifles and Short Barrel Shotguns, barrel length and overall length are the criteria for being classified as a SBR or SBS.. If you missed those episodes or are not sure what I am talking about, be sure to check out the rest of The Legal Brief episodes here on The Gun Collective.
So how does one measure the length of a barrel? The ATF procedure to measure the length of a barrel is to measure from the closed bolt or breech face to the furthest end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device. But Adam, you said we were talking about measuring the barrel, why does ATF’s procedure include measuring a permanently attached muzzle device?
ATF considers a muzzle device that has been permanently attached to be part of the barrel and therefore counts towards the length. Ways to permanently attach a muzzle device include full fusion gas or electric steel-seam welding, high temperature silver solder (1100 degrees) or blind pinning and welding over the pin head. If your muzzle device is not permanently attached using one of those methods, you must remove it in order to properly determine the length of the barrel.
After you’ve determined whether your muzzle device is permanently attached or removed it from the barrel, the next step is to locate some sort of dowel or rod. A wooden one works just fine. Drop the dowel or rod into the barrel until it touches the bolt or breech face, which has to be closed. Mark the outside of the rod at the end of the muzzle crown (if you don’t have a permanently attached muzzle device) or at the end of the muzzle device if it is permanently attached. Remove the rod and measure from the mark to the end of the rod. That is your barrel length, remember this is very techincal stuff we’re talking about here.
Remember, if the barrel length is less than 16 inches, it is possible that the firearm could be a short barrel rifle (if you are building a rifle or it is already on a rifle) and if the barrel length is less than 18 inches, it is possible the firearm could be a short barrel shotgun (again if you are building a shotgun or it is already a shotgun). Both of these firearms would be subject to the purview of the National Firearms Act and would require the firearm to be registered accordingly. Keep your eyes peeled for a video on how to fill out a Form 1 in the future.
The overall length of your rifle or shotgun may also classify it as a Short Barrel Rifle or Short Barrel Shotgun. So how is the overall length determined? Once again we turn to ATF’s procedure on measuring overall length. The overall length of a firearm is the distance between the muzzle of the barrel and the rearmost portion of the weapon measured on a line parallel to the axis of the bore. Seems simple enough right? Two things to bear in mind when determining the overall length of your rifle or shotgun. First, if the rifle has a permanently attached muzzle device, that is part of the overall length. Second, if the rifle or shotgun has a collapsable stock, the overall length is measured with the stock extended. The stock extended is a departure from how some states require individuals to measure the overall length of the firearm. That said, we are discussing federal law, but be aware of the difference if you happen to reside in one of those states.
Don’t forget, if you determine the overall length of either your shotgun or rifle to be less than 26 inches it is either a short barrel shotgun or short barrel rifle under federal law. Once again, as with the barrel length, if this is the case, the firearm is a NFA firearm and must be registered.
If in either instance you have a gun that falls under the NFA but is not registered you are violating federal law and the penalties associated with violations are only about $10,000 and 10 years of imprisonment or both, if the maximum penalties are levied against you along with the firearm being subject to forfeiture. In other words, don’t have possession of unregistered short barrel shotguns or short barrel rifles.
Hopefully that explains the proper way to determine your barrel length and firearms overall length. If you guys liked this episode, you know what to do, hit that like button and share it around with your friends. Have a question you want answered on this show, head over to The Legal Brief section on theguncollective.com. Be sure to check out my website adamkraut.com for more information on my quest to serve YOU on the NRA Board of Directors. Don’t forget to like The Gun Collective on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Full 30, Snap Chat and wherever else you can catch us on social media.
And as always thanks for watching!
Links for this episode:
- ATF Method for Measuring Barrel Length and Overall Length – Pages 5, 6 and 7 : https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/atf-national-firearms-act-handbook-chapter-2/download
- Firearm – 26 USC § 5845 : https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/5845
- Firearm – 27 CFR § 479.11 : https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/479.11
- Short Barrel Rifle – 18 USC § 921(a)(8) : https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
- Short Barrel Rifle – 27 CFR § 478.11 : https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11
- Short Barrel Shotgun – 18 USC § 921(a)(6) : https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
- Short Barrel Shotgun – 27 CFR § 478.11 : https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11
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