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Question on Receivers for AR Pistol vs Rifle

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by etrain16, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Okay, so I've got a receiver I want to build out for my first AR. I'm not exactly sure yet what I want to build, but I've considered doing an AR pistol as a starting point.

    Now, in doing my diligence with online research, I've learned the following:

    * On the ATF form, receivers are transferred now as "receivers", not "rifle" or "pistol", which should allow you to use any new receiver to build either - so long as it didn't start it's life attached/manufactured as an actual rifle.
    * If you build a receiver into a pistol first, you can later build it into a rifle or SBR (with the proper tax stamp, of course), and can even convert it back to a pistol again if you like.
    * However, if you build the receiver into a rifle first you can never build it into a pistol.
    * What I haven't found yet - barrel length has nothing to do with a pistol build, only rifle builds? As long as it's a pistol, with no stock, it can be short or long?

    One blog I read suggested turning any receiver into a pistol first, so you have the flexibility later to have a rifle or a pistol (so long as you never, ever have the pistol upper attached to the lower while you have a stock installed). That seems like a good suggestion to me.

    But here's the real question - aside from someone posting photos of their build, honestly, how they heck would the ATF know if you built a receiver first as a pistol, but later converted to a rifle and vice-versa? It seems almost like an unenforceable or unprovable offence. Though it's not one I would dare to attempt to flaunt - a federal firearms offense isn't worth the risk.

    Anyway, I'd just like to get some input from you experienced AR builder folks and see what you think about this. Just makes me think I should start with a shorter pistol upper so I can start the receiver's life as a pistol, then move on to a rifle if I decide not to keep it that way.

    And don't worry, I won't treat your answer as anything more than opinion :)
     
    Stomper and MilitantBEEMER like this.
  2. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Sounds to me like you correctly answered your own question(s). ;)
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  3. B5Ben

    B5Ben Boise Well-Known Member

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    Honestly I don't know but have had one dealer that made me choose when I filled out the 4473 that it needed to be either a pistol or rifle even though they were just receivers. I pointed out the options on question 10 but he wouldn't go for the receiver answer, leaving me the option at a later time. Also I think there is a lower limit on pistol transfers on a 4473 than rifle (5) but I could be mistaken on that as well.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  4. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'm hoping I've got it, but like many things internet, I am having hard time finding a truly authoritative opinion on the matter. That's not surprising considering how clunky government regulations can be. That said, in the absence of clear and authoritative, I'll take the consensus of experienced builders as a good close 2nd, at least to be as well informed as I can before I start a build.

    When I got this receiver, that question didn't come up, so I don't even know how he recorded it. As I understand from what I read online though, apparently that is no longer a question the FFL is required to ask and they can just mark "receiver", rather than specifically for rifle or pistol.

    Now it has me wondering what the FFL marked on my receiver?
     
  5. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

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    One blog I read suggested turning any receiver into a pistol first, so you have the flexibility later to have a rifle or a pistol (so long as you never, ever have the pistol upper attached to the lower while you have a stock installed). That seems like a good suggestion to me.
    ^^This

    But here's the real question - aside from someone posting photos of their build, honestly, how they heck would the ATF know if you built a receiver first as a pistol, but later converted to a rifle and vice-versa? It seems almost like an unenforceable or unprovable offence. Though it's not one I would dare to attempt to flaunt - a federal firearms offense isn't worth the risk.
    They can't, unless you or someone else provides them with proof. It is one of the stupid laws AR owners/builders deal with. Further, it's configuration isn't fully completed until you attach an upper to it.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  6. oli700

    oli700 Rogue Valley Well-Known Member

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    Oregon FFL's can mark what they want. I have only bought one receiver that was marked as a rifle. All the others have been receiver
    Last one I asked about it and they said they always mark as receiver but some FFL's might mark rifle or ask what the intentions are and mark it accordingly.
    That's my experience with it anyway
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  7. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Good to know, looks like I need to call the FFL I used on that transfer a few months back and see if they can tell me what they marked it. I'm hoping it was just "receiver".
     
  8. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

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    That has also been my experience, and the only reason that it was marked "rifle" was that it was an impulse buy on a Plum Crazy Firearms, complete lower with a stock already on it, and I really did not have any real plans for the thing, other than to try it out. Every other one, (erm I mean the 1) was marked receiver.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  9. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    All I will say is IF the gun/receiver,after the first paper work is done,never enters any ffl's books for repairs or to sell (ie consignment) or never in pictures on the webbernetternet,showing the SN,there is no way to tell what is done with what AR lower.
    :D:rolleyes::cool:
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  10. Deebow

    Deebow Portland Well-Known Member

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    If it is never leaving your collection, then you have nothing to fret over. Do what you want.

    If you ever plan to sell it and the ATF won't let you "convert" it from a pistol to a rifle, then just be prepared to turn it into a rifle from the get go. Changing the barrel/upper receiver/stock takes minutes anyway.
     
    etrain16 likes this.