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Thread: Maximum Legal Caliber

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Maximum Legal Caliber

    I have always thought that the max caliber for a rifle was .50. Iíve seen 12ga shotguns shooting pumpkin balls then slugs, then rifled slugs and finally rifled sabot slugs. All that I understand can fall within the regs of a shotgun. However, I donít understand how we can now have rifled shotgun barrels, that are more than .50 inch in diameter.

    I have nothing against them. I am just wondering how they are not considered rifles.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Rick Hodges's Avatar
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    It is just the rules.....they make silly rules about center fire rifles and exempt shotguns....I know of no place that limits rifle sizes for muzzle loaders either. They make the rules but they are not responsible for making sense out of them.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I believe the argument was/is they use standard SAAMI shotgun pressures approx. 12,000 psi. The rifling doesn't make the "slug" shoot any further it just makes it more accurate.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I live in a no center fire rifles for hunting county , but I can use a smokeless inline - with a scope , and jacket bullets + primer fired . Or a scope mounted slug rifle capable of driving a slug up around 1800 FPS . Oh yeah a cross bow also .
    I suppose you need to draw the line somewhere . A single shot handy rifle is just to dangerous ?????
    I'm sorry for the drift , I relies your talking about federal regulations not county , town , or state .

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    So a 600 Nitro Express is illegal? No wonder we are being overrun by coyotes.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    It has been my understanding that the .50" size was the determinant size for the maximum bore diameters of rifles which may be possessed by persons, as in the NFA of 1934 ( https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regula...l-firearms-act ). As are machine guns, bazookas , and similar -- which cannot be possessed, period, in some states (from their never permitting possession), while in others one needs pay a $$$ tax $$$, and then may be entitled to possess a NFA-class device. I've never heard of a license for a rifle with a >.50" bore -- thinking this may be the governing place to make inquiry. Story was that -- mostly from Prohibition booze-runners's possession and too regular use of these -- remember the St. Valentine Day's Massacre in 1929? -- one of many widely published events directing our elected government persons to enact necessary legislation to get dangerous weapons off our streets.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Skipper's Avatar
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    I have always thought that the max caliber for a rifle was .50
    The ATF has exemptions for "sporting purposes"
    The strongest reason for the people to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government.
    -- Thomas Jefferson

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2011-title18/pdf/USCODE-2011-title18-partI-chap44.pdf is where the rule is written. It is Chapter 44, section 921, sub-section B, where it is written:
    (B) any type of weapon (other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell which the Attorney General finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes) by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter; and
    (C) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into any destructive device described in subparagraph (A) or (B) and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    When they make a special hunting season for those who want additional challenge (muzzle loader, archery, etc.) the manufacturers will come up with rule beating equipment to make those less enthusiastic about the challenge able to partake.

    Don't get me wrong, I bought a crossbow to archery hunt when Kansas made it legal, just don't seem to have the time it takes to maintain the practice regimen with a long bow or recurve anymore. I also have a cheap inline I use now and then, though my best bucks to date are with a more traditional side lock.

    Hunt with what you like as long as it's legal and you know its limitations.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    The way I understand it, the limit for cartridge handguns is .500". For cartridge rifles it is 1.00". Therefore a .999 Express is legal(but fictional); a 50-70 or .50 BMG Handgun(.510")- is not. The .500 S&W is .500" for a reason.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    Rifled shotguns are to my understanding illegal. The exception granted can be taken away. You have to watch the exact wording of a law. Just because it is not enforced to day doesn't mean it wount be enforced tomorrow. When they ban a shotgun that holds a certain amount of shells in most cases if you make the shells short enough all shotguns could be illegal. And if you don't think liberals know this then you are sadly mistaken.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    The way I understand it, the limit for cartridge handguns is .500". For cartridge rifles it is 1.00". Therefore a .999 Express is legal(but fictional); a 50-70 or .50 BMG Handgun(.510")- is not. The .500 S&W is .500" for a reason.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    500 linebaugh is .510"

  13. #13
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    The regulations state a bore diameter of 1/2", which is the inner measurement. The groove diameter would be .510".
    The larger than 50 Cal has a sporting exemption, it has nothing to do with pressure limits.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    The way I understand it, the limit for cartridge handguns is .500". For cartridge rifles it is 1.00". Therefore a .999 Express is legal(but fictional); a 50-70 or .50 BMG Handgun(.510")- is not. The .500 S&W is .500" for a reason.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    I’d like to see some regs that state that you can have a rifled cartridge up to one inch. Does that mean you can use a 20mm on prairie dogs if you want to?

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

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    This has come up a few times and it seems to me that the "manufactured for sporting purpose" is the determining factor.

    The .73 caliber "rifle" thing for 12 ga. shotguns was made an exception, as are some rifles apparently, if produced for sporting purposes:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destructive_device
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act
    https://www.atf.gov/file/55446/download

    There are people who have posted on this site about making both cartridges and guns of larger than 1/2" bore diameter (and it does say "bore" diameter not groove diameter from what I read) like Ed Hubel and the 700 *** posted several years ago. The answer then was "designed for sporting purposes".

    Of course bureaucrats are bureaucrats and their rules don't necessarily make sense nor are they permanent. They can change their minds any time they want.

    While the exceptions for cartridge sporting rifles or handgun over 1/2" bore diameter may be repealed or amended at some point I doubt the rifled shotgun issue will be because by definition they are considered shotgun shells used in a shotguns, rifled or not. My opinion anyway.

    It appears that the US has some similar laws regarding barrel length as we do in Canada. It is illegal to possess a firearm with barrel length shorter than 457mm (18") if it has been altered after manufacture but it is perfectly legal to buy a shotgun manufactured with a 14" barrel! Pretty silly rule if you ask me. However, that's bureaucrats using your money and my money to make rules we have to live by.

    What can you do?

    Longbow

    Link to 700 ***: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...*-from-scratch
    Last edited by longbow; 05-12-2019 at 12:55 PM. Reason: Added link

  16. #16
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    I can find no difference between a rifle and a shotgun with a rifled barrel shooting slugs. The sporting exemptions could be withdrawn at any time on a wim. Someone explain the difference in a rifle and a slug gun with brass shells.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    This doesn't do it for you?

    "Any firearm with a bore over 0.50 inch except for shotguns or shotgun shells which have been found to be generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes. (Many firearms with bores over 0.50" inch, such as 10-gauge or 12-gauge shotguns, are exempted from the law because they have been determined to have a "legitimate sporting use".)"

  18. #18
    Boolit Master RED BEAR's Avatar
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    Yes i understand but what makes a shotgun a shotgun. Both can have rifled barrels both can use brass cases and lead bullets. But legally what does it take to be a shotgun. I have read articles on custom made shotguns that were designed along the lines of a rifle just for hunting large game . As far as the sporting exemptions they are open to interpretation and can be changed. I can easily see rifles over .5 having a legitimate sporting purpose for large game. But i doubt they will get an exemption.

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgerkahn View Post
    It has been my understanding that the .50" size was the determinant size for the maximum bore diameters of rifles which may be possessed by persons, as in the NFA of 1934 ( https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regula...l-firearms-act ). As are machine guns, bazookas , and similar -- which cannot be possessed, period, in some states (from their never permitting possession), while in others one needs pay a $$$ tax $$$, and then may be entitled to possess a NFA-class device. I've never heard of a license for a rifle with a >.50" bore -- thinking this may be the governing place to make inquiry. Story was that -- mostly from Prohibition booze-runners's possession and too regular use of these -- remember the St. Valentine Day's Massacre in 1929? -- one of many widely published events directing our elected government persons to enact necessary legislation to get dangerous weapons off our streets.
    Not the '34 NFA...........rather the '68 incursion into NFA territory did it..............prior to the latter one could own ANY caliber.......surplus field guns from WW2 were commonly advertised..........one of my great regrets is in not taking a 20MM Lhati with case and all accessories for a lousy 300 bucks...........oh hell.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    A shotgun shoots shotgun shells, a rifle shoots rifle cartirdiges. If you were to develop a 12 gauge brass shotgun shell with a PSI limit of 35,000 2 intelligent enough people could reasonably argue either way, that itís a shotgun, or conversly that youíve created a rifle. Do you want to get into that arguement with the ATF? If you ask for an exemption you are then on their radar.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
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BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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