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14.5" SBR?

Discussion in 'NFA Weapon Discussion' started by raverm, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. raverm

    raverm Bellevue, WA Member

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    Hi Northwest Firearms! I've researched this topic on multiple forums, but would just like to hear directly from people in WA State as I know laws vary...

    I've been mostly hanging out in the handgun world, but would love to finally branch out to the rifle world. I'm thinking of making my own build by purchasing a complete BCM upper/lower assembly for my first rifle; either a 14.5" or 16" middy. I'm slightly confused as to what the law is regarding 14.5" barrels. Please be kind to my lack of knowledge on this subject, hence, I would love to clarify some topics with some of you experts on this forum. Also, please correct me at anytime if what I understand is incorrect.

    From what I understand and what I've been reading, 14.5" is considered a SBR. Well, anything less than 16" for that matter. Due to the bill that was signed (SB 5956), it was previous illegal but now is legal to purchase SBR in Washington State - though, it is still considered a NFA item if the flash hider is not permanently pinned to the barrel? As previously mentioned, I'm thinking of building either a 14.5" or 16" and will first be purchasing a complete upper from BCM.

    And here comes the questions:
    1. Is it legal to purchase and ship a 14.5" upper to my home address?
    2. Is it legal to own a 14.5" WITHOUT a pinned flash hider BEFORE I purchase a put it on a lower?
    3. If I were to decide not to pin my flash hider, would it be considered a SBR. If so, would need to fill out correct forms for having a SBR and purchase a tax stamp for the rifle?
    4. Should I just purchase a 16" upper for peace of mind?

    Thanks for all your help in advance, definitely appreciate it.
     
  2. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    #4. It's 1.5".
     
  3. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Or, you could get a "pistol" (AR or AK) with a SIG shooting arm brace and essentially have a SBR that you don't have to wait for a tax stamp/etc. for and don't have all the other NFA hassle.

    For ARs this is a pretty good option as you can go ahead and put a 16+" barrel on it to convert it to a rifle and as long as you never have the short barrel on it with a rifle stock, you are fine. The courts have decided that such a "pistol" can be converted to a "rifle" and back to a "pistol" again as long as it was originally manufactured and sold as a "Pistol". You can't do this with a firearm that was originally manufactured and sold as a "rifle". It is all kind of stupid, but there it is.
     
    ZA_Survivalist likes this.
  4. Reno911

    Reno911 Hillsboro Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Yes you can buy any rifle part and have it shipped to your house. A complete upper with a 7" barrel is a part. Therefore legal to own.

    Yes it is legal to own any part of a rifle prior to configuring said parts into a rifle.

    Number three is the grey area. If you own and have all parts to make a regulated firearm in your house you can be charged with intent. However in theory as long as your going through the paces to legally assemble and do not do so until you get your stamp. Your legal.

    Buy a 14.5, get a muzzle device of your liking pinned. Call it a day.

    Edit:

    Thoughts on matter.

    If a person is in possession of an ar15 as well as an ar15 pistol. Can he be charged for intent to make a SBR?
     
  5. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Asked and answered in other threads.

    You can be charged with anything, just like you can be sued for anything.

    But it won't hold up in court because you can argue your intent is to use the pistol barrel on the pistol, not the rifle.

    Unless someone catches you with the pistol barrel on the rifle - which if you are not stupid you would not do. Now if you did not own an AR pistol, showed no intention of owning or constructing one, showed no intention of going through the legal steps to follow the law/regs to construct an SBR, then the gov could argue intent in court and possibly get a conviction.

    Example: you have a registered AR-15 full auto lower. You have the stamp/etc. You also own a separate semi auto AR15. The gov would have a tough time coming in and arguing that you intended to use the full auto parts in your semi-auto lower.

    Another: You have a legal registered suppressor. You also have a bunch of aluminum conduit out in your shop for electrical wiring. The gov would have a difficult time proving intent to build a separate non-registered suppressor with the other conduit.
     
  6. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Id go the pistol route or standard 16" rifle route.

    Pistol with an arm brace is a GREAT option.

    I have an SBR, while neat.. It really wasn't worth the hassle.
     
    Nickb likes this.
  7. Reno911

    Reno911 Hillsboro Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I wasn't really asking a question. More of giving a thought to ponder.

    Most folks overthink the little things thinking the eyes in the sky will arrest you for buying something remotely possibly illegal.

    Owning an AR15 with a pinned and welded 14.5 inch barrel is perfectly legal so long as the muzzle device makes the total length over 16"s.

    Back to what I was saying, the Feds aren't so hell bent on regulating everything. If they were, than you could have your balls in a ringer for owning pretty much anything.

    On a side note.

    OP mentions wanting to go with a mid length gas system. A 14.5 inch barrel runs pretty well with carbine length. Middys are good for 16-18" barrels.
     
  8. PDXSparky

    PDXSparky Keizer / Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    There is no gray area. If you have a rifle lower and buy a 14.5" upper, you would be breaking the law. Pinning any kind of barrel extension on it that brings the overall length to 16" makes it a legal rifle. Will you would get charged with having an illegal SBR? I think that would be remote, but still not worth the risk consider the consequences.
     
  9. raverm

    raverm Bellevue, WA Member

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    Everyone, thank you so very much for all the information! With all this information, I decided to pull the trigger on a complete BCM 16" upper. Hard to pass on a deal with a free BCG from them right now. ;) Maybe I'll purchase a 14.5" later as I become more knowledgable about rifle laws. Though...I really should be saving my money...
     
  10. Reno911

    Reno911 Hillsboro Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Not true. Only if you assemble it into a rifle.

    Perfectly legal to own a 14.5 inch upper.

    Not legal to assemble into a rifle without stamp or pinned/welded muzzle device.

    Another topic to ponder.

    How many here are felons for owning a full auto BCG? Or have been arrested for a full auto upper?

    Isn't it illegal to own full auto parts? Must not be a grey area there either.

    Again just thoughts to ponder for ya, considering almost every ar15 upper is milled for full auto. Likewise for just about all BCGs on the market.
     
  11. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    Having a pistol upper in proximity to the only lower they possess and that lower is a rifle registered part, constructive intent or some such mumbo-jumbo could be asserted by enthusiastic prosecutors... Much the same way a short barrel and a carbine UZI, these are pretty gray to me.

    Empty pipes with end-caps and initiators all lacking explosive charge could reasonably be called pipe bombs, particularly if the powder were in the vicinity.

    Who wants to be the test case for something like that?

    Not me thanks.

    ETA: If it were me, I'd get my stamp for the rifle lower to turn it into a SBR before obtaining the SBR upper. YMMV, via con Dios, count your change before leaving.
     
  12. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    See, this is why I would go with a pistol lower. I can never be prosecuted for having a short barrel upper near it because it is a pistol. I can put a rifle upper on it and a rifle stock as long as when the rifle stock is on it I never put the pistol barrel on it while the rifle stock is on it.

    If I want an SBR, then I put the SIG arm brace on it.

    No stamp, no restrictions about where I can go with it (as long as I stay out of places like calif. or NY).
     
  13. PDXSparky

    PDXSparky Keizer / Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    I respectfully disagree. Just having a rifle lower and a less than 16" upper (and no pistol lower) could too easily be see as constructive intent.

    True, but you enter into a gray area if you if you also own a rifle lower without the upper on it.

    agreed

    That in itself isn't illegal. I have a full auto BCG in my AR15. It came from the manufacturer that way.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  14. misplacedtexan

    misplacedtexan Beaverton, OR Active Member

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    --too lazy to find SCOTUS ruling again--

    Constructive Intent from the SCOTUS wasn't on whether you could, or had the parts readily available. It was more of a is it possible that the loose stock in the corner can be used on a rifle currently in the possession of the owner of the pistol.

    If you have an extra stock, and an M4 buffer tube on a pistol AR, and a complete RIFLE AR then there is not constructive intent. The stock merely becomes an extra part or accessory to the RIFLE AR and has no bearing on the pistol AR. Now if you do not have a rifle AR and have a pistol AR with M4 buffer tube, and a loose stock hanging around you fall under constructive intent.

    I spent weeks digging around for that one while I was building my SBR and waiting on my stamp.

    Buy the 14.5, the manufacturer will probably pin a flash hider/muzzle brake for next to nothing if you ask. It's not illegal to own a 14.5, 12, 10, 9, or 3 inch upper as long as you don't have an un-matched lower to mount it to.
     
  15. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I somewhat disagree.

    It is legal to convert an AR pistol to a rifle without any NFA paperwork - as long as you put a 16"+ barrel on it, but not the other way around. So you can have a short barrel upper if you have a pistol lower. And you can have a rifle stock if you have a rifle upper with a 16+" barrel - because you can convert a pistol to a rifle, but you can't convert a rifle to a pistol.

    You just never want to have the rifle stock on the pistol lower while the pistol upper is on it.
     
  16. misplacedtexan

    misplacedtexan Beaverton, OR Active Member

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    That was what I was trying to get at, more or less. It wasn't so much "does have have a pistol AR and a stock?" as it was "can the stock be used on a rifle that is in his possession?"