A handy primer

“How to get in trouble with BATFE” was the alternate title, but that was a little long.  However, it’s pretty easy to run afoul of ATF regs without realizing it.  So, here’s how to get in serious hot water with BATFE, and not even realize it.

Step 1: Buy one of these.

Step 2: Buy this attachable stock and attach it.

Step 3: Decide that reloading all that loose ball and powder business is a pain, and fit your little (legal) BP carbine with an R&D Conversion Cylinder.

Congratulations, you’ve just created an unregistered NFA weapon, a Short Barrelled Rifle.  In the eyes of BATFE, your home made carbine is no different semi-auto SBR.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m advocating breaking the law; what I wanted to do was demonstrate how easy it could be to run afoul of BATFE regulations on certain issues.  In this case, by installing the conversion cylinder, you’ve created a firearm, and since it’s got a shoulder stock and short barrel, it would qualify as an NFA gun and thusly be subject to all the accompying laws.

This is especially true for the home gunsmith – always be aware of the law.  I may not agree with the BATFE rules on all the issues, but they are the law.  Which is oddly enough how I found out about the above example, since I was planning on doing that as a project gun.  I may still do it and leave it in its BP configuration, which would still be legal.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, even if the law is dumb.


  1. The fascinating thing is, a felon can mail order the blackpowder cap-and-ball revolver (not a firearm) and mail order the cartridge conversion cylinder (also not a firearm) and put together a firearm – which said felon is not legally entitled to possess.

    No background check, no Form 4473. And six shots of .45LC or .38Spl.

    Gun laws make such sense, don’t they?

  2. Yeah, I was thinking that same thing myself. I try to not talk about that too much, because the last thing I want is some stupid hippy screaming about “closing the blackpowder revolver” loophole.

  3. In my case, the post would be entitled “How being a cheap b*stard kept me out of jail”
    Got the 1860.
    Got the stock.
    Fitted #2 to #1.
    Won’t spend the money on the conversion cylinder, as it costs more than I spent on the revolver and stock combined.
    I’m not one of those anarchist/nihilist lunatics, but I can’t help thinking sometimes that we should tear the whole thing up and start over….

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: