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Author Topic: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?  (Read 235 times)

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Offline Tinker Pearce

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Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« on: March 15, 2019, 10:25:36 AM »
When is a cartridge conversion a regulated firearm?  Simply putting a cartridge-conversion cylinder does not magically make the gun a regulated firearm.  But if you make a permanent modification to the frame to accomodate a cartridge conversion, such as cutting a loading port, the gun becomes a firearm.  This is because such a modification adds new functionality to the weapon in a way that doesn't enhance it's original, intended operation.  Even if you put the original percussion cylinder back in the gun it will remain a firearm at that point.

This is based on someone else's recent communication with the BATF. No, I do not have access to the letter, but if I obtain access and permission to, I will post it.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2019, 11:03:25 AM »
Hi Tinker, that's my understanding too. However, if there is a C&B cylinder in the revolver, the opening of the loading port could be considered an enhanced cap loading opening? I'm not sure I would want to argue that in court.

Some of my conversions:





Regards,
Richard
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Offline Omnivore

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2019, 11:12:59 AM »
In a free country of course, we wouldn't have to waste our time and energy trying to "make sense" of such tomfoolery masquerading as "law".  As it is, we spend so much time, effort and resources in attempting compliance that there's significantly less time remaining in the day.  In a business of any significant size we have full time accountants and lawyers to handle this for us, otherwise we couldn't get anything done at all.  And still, it has been estimated that the average, active American commits up to three felonies PER DAY without ill intent and without necessarily even knowing it.

"The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."  --  Ayn Rand

So "is it legal"?  At some point you either shut down in fear, go on the dole, smoke a lot of dope and/or drink your life away, or stop asking the question and live a proper life come what may.

This leads to the issue of Man's law verses God's law.  The former is a confusing web designed to ensnare and enslave you, and the latter is simple and just and designed to free you.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Yolla Bolly Brad

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 12:11:39 PM »
My only solution to the world of legal confusion we live in is to keep a low profile to stay under the radar. From what I've seen any entanglement with the legal industry for people like us only results in a loss of time, money and maybe even freedom. I have such contempt for it that I won't even do jury duty.
Brad Potter, hardware junky.

Offline Tinker Pearce

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2019, 12:19:10 PM »
Hi Tinker, that's my understanding too. However, if there is a C&B cylinder in the revolver, the opening of the loading port could be considered an enhanced cap loading opening? I'm not sure I would want to argue that in court.

Some of my conversions:





Regards,
Richard

Very nice guns- thanks for sharing them!

Offline AntiqueSledMan

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2019, 12:34:40 PM »
Hello Tinker,

We've had this discussion on the Colt Country Forum,

Many people claim, "If you modify the frame, it's now a regulated firearm".
I can find nothing about this on the ATF webpage.

What I did find on the ATF site was,

Federal definition (from GCA'68) of an antique firearm:
(16) The term “antique firearm” means—
(A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; or
(B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica—
(i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or
(ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade; or
(C) any muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, or muzzle loading pistol, which is designed to use black powder, or a black powder substitute, and which cannot use fixed ammunition. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “antique firearm” shall not include any weapon which incorporates a firearm frame or receiver, any firearm which is converted into a muzzle loading weapon, or any muzzle loading weapon which can be readily converted to fire fixed ammunition by replacing the barrel, bolt, breechblock, or any combination thereof.

I'm not a lawyer, but would take this as meaning if a Conversion Cylinder is installed on a Percussion Revolver, the said Revolver would be classified as an FFL Regulated Firearm. It makes no statement about cutting a port in the frame, is does say "designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition", or "readily converted to fire fixed ammunition". Putting a conversion cylinder into a percussion revolver would be re-designing the revolver. But doesn't taking the conversion cylinder out make it a non-regulated firearm again? But the statement "readily converted to fire fixed ammunition" could mean anyone in a group possessing a conversion cylinder would make all group members liable to readily convert their percussion revolvers to fire fixed ammunition.
Maybe somebody down the street, or within 1/2 mile?

It's crazy, AntiqueSledMan.


Offline frontloader

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2019, 12:58:24 PM »
ive read the ATF crap over and over, its worded where their lawyers { who also work for the american people} can interpret  the laws as they see fit.. but i own converted BP revolvers.....i  don't worry to much about it because i will never resale one.

Offline Hawg

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2019, 01:05:57 PM »
The simple act of putting a conversion cylinder in a cap and ball revolver immediately makes it a firearm. You can't ship a revolver with a conversion cylinder installed or in the same package without going thru an FFL. You have to ship them separately. I have heard putting a gate in one makes it a firearm whether it has a conversion cylinder or a cap and ball cylinder. I don't understand this because of the 1873 cap and ball revolvers on the market. Maybe it's because it's not just a simple cylinder swap to convert them.  (^h
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2019, 03:25:53 PM »
"My understanding" is that any permanent modification to a firearm that allows it to shoot cartridge ammunition (i.e. the aforementioned cutout in the recoil shield) now reclassifies the gun and makes the it fall under the FFL rules.
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2019, 03:27:29 PM »
This leads to the issue of Man's law verses God's law.  The former is a confusing web designed to ensnare and enslave you, and the latter is simple and just and designed to free you.
Amen to that! That's about the simplest, most direct explanation I've even heard. ;)
"You gonna pull those pistols, or whistle Dixie?"

Offline drobs

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2019, 01:59:52 AM »
With the fact that anyone with a credit card can currently assemble a Glock pistol using parts bought from Ebay or websites on the internet - to include an 80% frame.

I have 2 of these kits I plan to build next month.
Examples:

https://80pbuilder.com/diplomat20
https://80pbuilder.com/kiss-c

I doubt the ATF cares all that much about percussion revolver conversions.
NRA Life Member

Offline AntiqueSledMan

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2019, 05:16:29 AM »
Gentlemen,

I just re-read my post again. Line ii,

(ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade;

Does this mean that "38 Long Colt" or "44 Colt" loaded with a healed bullets would not be included in the FFL Regulated Firearms List?

I know here in Minnesota, you can not use a Cap & Ball Revolver for the taking Deer, but with a Conversion Cylinder installed your Revolver is now legal. Even though you can have a stronger load with the Percussion Cylinder, it has to be center fire to be legal in Minnesota. I guess the Lawmakers know something the rest of us don't.

AntiqueSledMan.

Offline Hawg

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2019, 07:55:09 AM »
Gentlemen,

I just re-read my post again. Line ii,

(ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade;

Does this mean that "38 Long Colt" or "44 Colt" loaded with a healed bullets would not be included in the FFL Regulated Firearms List?

I'm sure the ATF doesn't care whether a bullet is heeled or not. .38 Long Colt as well as .38 Short Colt and .44 Colt are all readily available.

As far as handgun hunting goes, in MS it's not legal with a handgun of any type tho some do do it. As far as state law goes a bp handgun whether a single shot or a revolver is the same thing as a modern cartridge gun.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.

Offline AntiqueSledMan

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2019, 09:13:36 AM »
Hello Hawg,

Thanks for the reply, but I only posted the Minnesota fact to show how ridicules some of our laws (or lawmakers) are.
I have no intention to try and shoot a deer with my 44 Colt.

Just to set the record straight, there is no list of "rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade", at least not in the United States. So what is considered "readily available"? I have seen 44 Colt for sale at our local gun shop (I can't recall the brand), but only with .430 dia. bullets. I wouldn't want to try & hit anything with them through my 1858. Again, just shows how ridicules some of our laws are.

Bottom line, Shoot Straight & Enjoy Your Freedom before someone takes it away.

AntiqueSledMan.

Offline BOOMSTICK BRUCE

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Re: Cartridge conversions- firearm or not?
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2019, 12:20:48 PM »
Gentlemen,

I just re-read my post again. Line ii,

(ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade;

Does this mean that "38 Long Colt" or "44 Colt" loaded with a healed bullets would not be included in the FFL Regulated Firearms List?

I'm sure the ATF doesn't care whether a bullet is heeled or not. .38 Long Colt as well as .38 Short Colt and .44 Colt are all readily available.

As far as handgun hunting goes, in MS it's not legal with a handgun of any type tho some do do it. As far as state law goes a bp handgun whether a single shot or a revolver is the same thing as a modern cartridge gun.

but remember, these guns are for "black powder loads" only, who makes .38 Long Colt as well as .38 Short Colt and .44 Colt with black powder? are they "readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade"? i.e. i can go into ANY gun store and buy said ammo? say, walmart? no.

we were having the same discussion over the post 1899 Iver Johnson second models at the LGS when the ATF agent was there... Iver Johnson second models are made for black powder .32 & .38 s&w NOT smokeless, so therefore the post 99 second model IJ's ARE in fact antiques due to the lack of black powder ammo...

that being said, if everyone stopped making 7.62x39 and there was no more ammo "readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade" for anything chambered in that round, it would make every ak47 "antique"...

lets go further, suppose i made a pistol based on the ruger OMV but in .454 cal "boomstick" (500S&W case necked to 454 but using a 209 primer) and produced a couple thousand of them but no one ever made any ammo, by LEGAL definition, it would be an "antique" even if i made the guns just yesterday...
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