Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Default Minimum rifle barrel length question...

    So a rifle must have a 16" or greater barrel length, measured from bolt face to muzzle, to remain NFA compliant. A <16" barrel can be used if a flash suppressor is permanently attached that brings the length up to 16". My question: is this "added length" limited to flash suppressors only, or can anything be permanently attached to the barrel that would bring it's length to 16" and still be compliant? For example, a bayonet fitted over the muzzle and welded in place.

    Thanks for any help on this. For anyone curious, it's to settle an argument, not a planned project.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Bucks, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Minimum rifle barrel length question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Signmaker View Post
    So a rifle must have a 16" or greater barrel length, measured from bolt face to muzzle, to remain NFA compliant. A <16" barrel can be used if a flash suppressor is permanently attached that brings the length up to 16". My question: is this "added length" limited to flash suppressors only, or can anything be permanently attached to the barrel that would bring it's length to 16" and still be compliant? For example, a bayonet fitted over the muzzle and welded in place.

    Thanks for any help on this. For anyone curious, it's to settle an argument, not a planned project.
    Bayonets don't count toward "barrel length", although it would fit in with the original NFA purpose of prohibiting all guns that could be concealed in the 26" of estimated space within a man's overcoat.

    Welded flashhiders count, so do welded silencers and muzzle brakes.
    Attorney Phil Kline, AKA gunlawyer001@gmail.com
    Thanks to all who attended my Firearms Law Workshops this year!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    West Chester, Pennsylvania
    (Chester County)
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    Default Re: Minimum rifle barrel length question...

    The ATF clarified or defined somewhere, but it measures to the 'open end' at the end of the barrel. So a bird-cage style flash hider is fine. A threaded tube is fine. A single pole extended to make the length longer does not, as it does not pass their test.

    There test = Dowel down the barrel to the breach-face, and then measure the length past the end of the tube/barrel/extension. so a bayonet or pole do not extend the barrel in their eyes. Something like that.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Minimum rifle barrel length question...

    Can you guys cite any kind of source on this? This is what I have from ATF:

    The ATF procedure for measuring barrel length is to measure from the closed bolt (or breech-face) to the furthermost end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device. Permanent methods of attachment include full-fusion gas or electric steel-seam welding, high-temperature (1100F) silver soldering, or blind pinning with the pin head welded over. Barrels are measured by inserting a dowel rod into the barrel until the rod stops against the bolt or breech-face. The rod is then marked at the furthermost end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device, withdrawn from the barrel, and measured.
    I can find nothing defining what is or is not a "muzzle device". Also, to my knowledge, using a slant style muzzle brake to make up the balance of barrel length, the length is measured from the longest edge of the slant brake, not the shortest. A bayonet attached directly to the barrel is just an extremely slanted muzzle brake in this case.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Altoona, Pennsylvania
    (Blair County)
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    Default Re: Minimum rifle barrel length question...

    There is a NFA handbook in PDF file format. I don't have a link to it right now, but I'm sure its on the ATF website. I know becuase I asked these same questions recently in another forum and the people here straightened me out.

    http://www.atf.gov/publications/down...f-p-5320-8.pdf
    Status: Inactive User.

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