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Thread: is it legal to make a "howdah Pistol" from an antique breech loader?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    is it legal to make a "howdah Pistol" from an antique breech loader?

    is it legal to make a "howdah Pistol" from an antique breech loader?
    https://www.atf.gov/firearms/firearm...itions-antique

    the definition of antique guns:

    26 U.S.C. 5845(G)

    For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “Antique Firearms” means any firearm not intended or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or similar type of ignition system or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1898) and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1898, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

    suppose you had a Werndl or Albini action and a smoothbore barrel for it. could you rebuild the barreled action into a howdah pistol?

    suppose you had a smoothbored snider chambered for 577 snider?

    buffalo arms offers it on an occasionally available specialty basis:
    https://www.buffaloarms.com/577-snid...-amo577sniderb

    577 has been produced by 10X:
    https://www.ima-usa.com/products/sni...nt=26170451525

    the action would be manufactured pre '98. could the occasional specialty production be construed as "no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.?

    for reference we have short barreled shotguns being made from pinfire euro shotguns which are exempted from SBS rules because of their antique status.

    even so, suppose a custom cartridge is created for and chambered in said action which has never been commercially made? this surely mets the definition of manufactured before 1898 and ammo is not readily available. yes?
    -

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    I think that you're entering a sticky area of the firearms laws. Were I you, before I embarked on such a project, I'd phone BATF and chat with them about it. They're usually very willing to help with opinions and definitions. I'm not saying that it can't be done, or shouldn't be done, but you might save yourself some grief by checking before the fact, and also check with your State authorities. Some of the potential pitfalls I see are that, antique or not, you're making a pistol from a rifle, and could then be construed to have manufactured something new and losing the antique status.
    And, of course, the carrying, storage, and transportation of such a firearm would then be subject to all of the State laws pertaining to a modern pistol. Good luck with this, and I for one would like to hear what you find out and how your project turns out.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    For what it's worth, here's a page from the ATF website:

    https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/does...m-personal-use

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    I wonder if straight rifling like in a slug gun would make a short barrel "shotgun" qualify as a pistol. You could shoot shot and not sling pellets everywhere.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    making your own firearms is a bit different from assembling a new firearm from an old firearm.

    i realize an antique is an antique but the last time i asked, manufacturing a firearm is considered fabricating from "scratch".
    like the difference between making an AR from an 80% lower that is considered a chunk of material, or from a serialized "firearm" lower.

    so, i SURE DON'T KNOW

    good luck
    'monkey
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Then there's something about the ammo being available through normal commerce. I was told by the atf that the internet is normal commerce now. Sort of telling me not to make anymore 58 Remington in 44 Colt. So you might be able to make a wildcat where the ammo can't be bought.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Not in California. All cartridge firearms that ammo can be made for, are considered the same as modern.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walks View Post
    Not in California. All cartridge firearms that ammo can be made for, are considered the same as modern.
    What you've said there is extremely wrong and we need to correct it now. Its disheartening that in the last 5 days since you posted that nobody has corrected it.

    Where your mistake is in mis-reading the definitions. For an original pre-1899 firearm the date itself defines it's antique status NO MATTER WHAT IT SHOOTS. The cite for that is where it references U.S. Code. You need to stop reading after (A).

    The rest of it has to do with REPLICA and REPRODUCTION firearms. Not originals.

    This first part is California Penal Code:

    (a) As used in Sections 30515 and 30530 , “antique firearm” means any firearm manufactured before January 1, 1899.

    (b) As used in Section 16520 , Section 16650, subdivision (a) of Section 23630 , paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 27505 , and subdivision (a) of Section 31615 , “antique firearm” has the same meaning as in Section 921(a)(16) of Title 18 of the United States Code .

    (c) As used in Section 17700 , “antique firearm” means either of the following:

    (1) Any firearm not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898.  This includes any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1898.

    (2) Any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1898, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Section 921(a)(16) of Title 18 of the United States Code:

    (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.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

    http://www.easylawlookup.com/Califor...z=50#par_23283

    16590. As used in this part, "generally prohibited weapon" means any of the following: (does not deal with antiques)


    http://www.easylawlookup.com/Califor...xact=OFF&spon=

    DIVISION 2. GENERALLY PROHIBITED WEAPONS (23735)(1-click HTML)
    CHAPTER 1. EXEMPTIONS (17700-17745) (23736)(1-click HTML)
    17700. The provisions listed in Section 16590 do not apply to any antique firearm.

    (does not deal with antiques)

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    (16) The term “antique firearm” means—
    (A) any firearm............... manufactured in or before 1898;

    /end

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by justashooter View Post
    is it legal to make a "howdah Pistol" from an antique breech loader?
    https://www.atf.gov/firearms/firearm...itions-antique

    the definition of antique guns:

    26 U.S.C. 5845(G)

    For the purposes of the National Firearms Act,
    Controlling case law is the Gun Control Act of 1968:

    https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUT...2-Pg1213-2.pdf

    Dutch

  11. #11
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    I have asked this very question in writing to the ATF and the responce I got was that it even if you started with an antique shotgun, when you cut it down to pistol size, it will be classified as a sawed off shotgun.
    I think that their answer is wrong and the person responding didn't take the time to read the actual law.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    My best understanding is that if it's firing a fixed cartridge, it's still NFA unless specifically exempted. Cutting it down would prevent it being classified as a C&R, and so you still end up with a short barreled shotgun either way. For example, there are pre-1899 (antique, per the GCA) Winchester rifles with 15" barrels that are still SBR, but are C&R eligible in their original configuration.

    Paladin Armory makes several variants of AoW and SBS that would suit your fancy, and with a stronger action to boot.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    If you take an 'Antique Status' rifle or shotgun (pre 1899 mfg) and cut it down to make a handgun,,you have manufactured a new NFA firearm.

    The fact that the raw material for your 'manufacture' was from an Antique' firearm makes no difference. That Antique Status does not hold & transfer over from the Title I firearm (the orig pre 1899 mfg rifle or shotgun) to your now newly manufactured NFA firearm.

    Within the NFA, with in the deffinition of a 'firearm',,
    A 'Rifle' is something w/a bbl less than 16" , but still shoulder stocked & 26" OAL
    A 'Firearm made from a rifle' is the same but OAL less than 26" and the shoulder stock provision removed.

    You would be making a 'Firearm made from a rifle'.

    An NFA 'Antique Firearm' is an **NFA type** firearm 'made in or before 1899'.

    You cannot mfg/make an Antique Status NFA firearm, it's long since past 1899.


    Lots of info here:

    https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/gu...ok-atf-p-53208
    download the handbook
    Last edited by 2152hq; 06-24-2018 at 10:57 AM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    You don't know problems until you have had the AFT crawl up your behind! As you can see from the above, folks don't agree on the legality of your project, so best take a cold shower and lay down for a spell, until this notion passes.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  15. #15
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    I know I'm not helping, but here are some pics of my 70 Cal Howdah.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  16. #16
    Boolit Master





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    File a form 1 on the gun ,pay the tax [$200] when it comes back approved with the stamp Make it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Char-Gar View Post
    You don't know problems until you have had the AFT crawl up your behind! As you can see from the above, folks don't agree on the legality of your project, so best take a cold shower and lay down for a spell, until this notion passes.
    Nailed it.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    T.J.'s has liners for the 577, just a thought.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    A few years ago I had a beautiful Colt SxS 12g. I got it off a Deputy Sheriff who saved it from years ago from being junked. The barrels were ruined by a Bubba and were between 16" & 17".
    A horrible cut job. I have saved a lot of pumps & autos Bubba whacked off by putting a Cutts or
    Poly on them. The SxS had me stumped. I decided just to cut it off square and fill in the barrel
    rib. I had ask a ATF guy if this would be legal. He told me even though gun was antique status
    it would come under Sawed of Shotgun Laws. Whether he was right or wrong made no difference
    to me. I took his words to the bank. And traded it minus barrels to a SxS nut. I hated to do it
    because it was a Club Gun and had beautiful wood and engraving on lock plates. I'm not going to
    mess with a gun that may be in a grey area, it's not worth the hassle or risk.

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