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Blackpowder SBS Subject to NFA?

Ahab asks a good question about whether a black powder shotgun would be subject to the National Firearms Act if you were to saw off the barrel to under 18 inches.  I don’t know the answer to that.

I’d suggest calling the ATF, but even if the answer they give you is yes, doesn’t mean they won’t decide to arrest you later.

11 Responses to “Blackpowder SBS Subject to NFA?”

  1. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    I think they are legal/not-regulated, mainly because all those large caliber, flintlock pistols could fire shot as well as ball.

    I’d think it would be cool to fire some buck and ball out of one.

  2. Chris Byrne says:

    Nope. Only weapons which fired “fixed” ammunition, meaning cartridges, are considered firearms.

    Weapons that do not fire cartridges are not considered firearms, and are not regulated under the NFA.

    This also applies to cannons by the way.

  3. emdfl says:

    Chris – As we all know what you just said is only good for as long as the batfe decides it is. Time will come(and I expect it will be shortly after the hilldibeast is elected) when that will change.

  4. Ahab says:

    I had some really good responses, and I’m (relatively) certain that my plans to create a BP sawed-off are perfectly legal.

    I figure it’s one of those things where I should just do it now before the fed decides that “due to their ability to circumvent traditional background checks, muzzleloading, and all blackpowder weapons previously not classified as firearms will be viewed; for all legal purposes, the same as cartridge firearms”.

    Of course, the government would never write a law that was that easy to read.

  5. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    What about a hypothetical firearm that fires using some sort of gas or liquid (maybe like propane*)? That wouldn’t count as fixed ammo…

    *I do not know if propane can be used in such a way, but some potato guns work on the principle.

  6. Sebastian says:

    Potato guns are not firearms federally, but New Jersey considers them firearms. They aren’t firearms federally because they don’t use fixed ammunition. It is the same designation as a black powder cannon.

  7. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    I was thinking more of the lines of a propane-powered shotgun or rifle, though cannons are cool too.

    I already knew of those stupid NJ laws, I was just dreaming.

  8. gattsuru says:

    Well, the law isn’t so much about propellant type as it is about whether the “fixed cartridge” or “fixed shotgun shell” attribute, at least for destructive device (if of an older design), any other weapon, or barrel length requirements.

    Note that machine guns are excluded from this exemption : the law states that any weapon capable of firing more than one shot, without manual reloading, per pull of the trigger, regardless of ammunition — this could even include a lot of automatic electric airsoft or bb guns if the judge finds them to be a weapon.

    As for propane, it wouldn’t work too well. The stuff requires oxygen to burn, and tends to get a little unpleasant once it’s mixed right. You could do it, but once you finish it’d be closer to an engine than a muzzleloader, and there wouldn’t be many advantages compared to simply purchasing Pyrodex pellets and setting up a feeder system with that.
    It’s unfortunately the case for most liquid and gaseous energy sources. They either don’t ignite without further mixing, tend to be incredibly unstable (see nitroglycerin), and/or just plain unstable.

  9. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    I know propane wouldn’t work well, I was just BS-ing. It’s much the same as building a rail gun for home defense.

    Anyway, I wasn’t even talking about machine guns. (Though, I’d like to think a full-auto airgun* might still make it through, since it is not a traditional gun.)

    There’s still hope for that home defense laser system, though. Unless a continuous laser beam counts as a machine gun…

    *Well there is this, but it is too weak in comparison to a firearm.

  10. Kevin says:

    I think clones (like the Airsoft Guns) should be subjected to the National Firearms Act. It is too real for comfort, sometimes it is really tough to disguise what’s real and what’s not.

  11. Sebastian says:

    Except air guns are not firearms. I mean, you could mold something out of clay that looked a lot like a gun from more than a few yards away. If you start severely regulating (which is what the provisions of the National Firearms Act which regulate machine guns, sawed off shotguns, and short barreled rifles do) items that might look like firearms, but aren’t, it can get pretty ridiculous pretty fast.

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