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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Saw a thread where someone stated that the frame needed to be a handgun frame to be legal as a handgun..... meaning that if I purchased a 300WinMag Encore it could not be legal as a 10" .44RemMag(my interpretation here).

Could someone please explain(provide a link) this law to me? A link would be outstanding....been looking all over the "Online Law Books". As I understand this, the frame wasn't listed as "handgun only" or "rifle only" on the 4473.....so why would I be breaking the law?



Scott (please, before I'm arrested or something) B
 

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No one knows for certain because it has never ended up in court as a test case before. As far as I'm concerned no one will ever be able to tell how your Encore was originally sold as unless you do some thing really stupid with it an get arrested. I have a bunch of TC's and couldn't tell you which was bought as what if I wanted to. Since this has never made it to court as long as TC's have been produced I see it as question that will no doubt never be answered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks KN!

I have a few Contender frames that I'm really not sure as to there original status also....wasn't planning on doing anything stupid. Just didn't want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, for whatever reason.


Scott (thanks) B
 

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I wrote to TC about this a few years back. In a nutshell, as long as the end result is legal (pistol grips with pistol barrels and visa versa) the gun is legal. The case went to the US Supreme Court and the court agreed with TC. Their opinions are cited as United States vs Thompsoc/Center Arms Co, 504 U.S 505 (1992), affirming 924 F.2d 1041 (Fed Cir. 1991) - I have no idea what all that legal stuff means, but it was in their letter.

I'll see if I can get the letter scanned and I'll post it.
 

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NO NO NO NO NO.

That case had absolutely NOTHING to do with the issue being discussed in this thread.
 

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The case was if T/c was selling a Stock for a pistol barrel. It was said that t/c provided a stock for the frame and that someone could put it on a pistol barrel. This would be a short barreled rifle. T/c's case was that they sold the barrel, stock, and forearm as a upgrade kit as a rifle. They also claimed the final assembly of the frame was done buy who was buying the gun. That if it was a short barreled rifle that t/c had nothing to do with it and that it was made that way by the owner of the gun. So if someone got arrested with a stock on a 10inch barrel then t/c would not be held liable and they couldn't get sued. It would be the owners fault. IF you buy it from t/c as a pistol it can be changed to a rifle with a 16inch or longer barrel. shotgun or muzzle loader and if you buy a Rifle from t/c it had to remain a rifle , shotgun, or muzzleloader.. no pistol. If you buy it as a muzzleloader from them it is a rifle because its parts are interchangeable. So it must be a pistol frame to be a pistol and a rifle frame to be rifle but pistol frames can be changed to a rifle or a shotgun or muzzle loader. I don't know what happens when you buy it as a frame and it not setup as anything. If you want to know what it left t/c as call their cs dept. I imagine as a frame its classified as a action and is like any other action and can be made as either but don't hold me to that. It may be sold as a rife frame or as a pistol frame just without barrels. To be on the safe side just get a pistol frame. The contenders were sold as pistols first them you could buy the upgrade kit. It was much simpler that way. Now they can leave as a pistol or rifle. Also a bare frame. Contact t/c and find out more on your local laws.
 

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I was curious about this very thing and wrote to the BATF and this is their reply to me!

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Thank you for visiting ATF's Website. As stated on our site, generally, we do not answer technical questions via e-mail, but I contacted our Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) and was advised the following:

"If you have a new Thompson Center Contender frame that has never been made into a rifle, then the frame is neither a pistol nor a rifle frame. At that point, the frame may be legally manufactured into either a pistol or a rifle. If at any time the frame was made into a rifle, the following procedures must be followed:

As you may be aware, the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. § 5845(a), defines the term "firearm" to include the following:

...(1) a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (2) a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (4) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (5) any other weapon, as defined in subsection (e); (6) a machinegun; (7) any silencer (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921); and (8) a destructive device. The term "firearm" shall not include an antique firearm or any device (other than a machinegun or destructive device) which, although designed as a weapon, the...[U.S. Attorney General]...finds by reason of the date of its manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics is primarily a collector's item and is not likely to be used as a weapon.

Certain categories of firearms are subject to registration and tax provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53. As defined in the NFA, Section 5845(a)(4), the term "firearm" means, "a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length." It is unlawful for a person to make or possess such a firearm that is not registered to such person in accordance with the provisions of the NFA.

Making a Thompson Contender rifle into a handgun having an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length would constitute the making of a weapon from a rifle and, therefore, production of a "firearm" as defined in the NFA. In order for you to make a single shot handgun from a Thompson Contender rifle frame, you need to submit a completed ATF Form 1 - Application to Make and Register a Firearm with the National Firearms Act Branch (NFA), 244 Needy Road, Martinsburg, WV 25405. The application must include a set of your fingerprints, your photograph, $200.00, and you must have the local chief law enforcement official certify that he/she has no information that you will use the firearm for unlawful purposes and that the making and possession of the firearm is not in violation of State law. You must also answer the questions on the form about being a prohibited person. Upon confirmation of registration of the weapon with NFA, you may then make a single shot handgun using a Thompson Center Contender rifle receiver.

Also, we advise that you contact local authorities to determine if there are any State laws or local ordinances affecting this conversion.

We thank you for your inquiry and trust the foregoing has been responsive."

If you have any further questions, please call them on 304-260-1700. Regards,

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I hope this clears it up for you folks!
 

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Not sure I buy that as the "final word" on it either but is interesting for sure.

Me thinks the person responding to you showed his ignorance a wee bit in the discussion of a TC frame that has never been assembled as either handgun or rifle. All firearms manufacturers must report production of firearms to BATFE periodically. I'm unsure of the report frequency. When they report them they must report them as HANDGUN, RIFLE OR SHOTGUN. The report is I think but am NOT SURE by serial number. If it's by serial number then that initially establishes every frame made by TC as one of the three. Which is the $64 question.

TC seems reluctant to release that information to the public. Tim who used to be their face to the public once said ALL FRAMES are reported as handguns. If that's correct information and if that's still factual then any frame should it seems to me as a non lawyer to make any frame legal to make into either.

Now it seems logical to me (whoever said laws were logical????) that ONLY if a frame left the factory reported as a rifle and then was sold and reported on the federal forum (4473?) as a rifle would what the BATFE guy told you apply.

But as I've said I'm not a lawyer and do not give legal advice. Unless I KNOW beyond all shadow of a doubt a frame came as a handgun and was first sold as a handgun on the fed form I'm not making a handgun from it. Some day there is bound to be a case goes before the courts on this matter. The one thing I'm sure of is it's NOT gonna be me that's the test case.

Still I think following the rule as stated here by the BATFE reply is a safe one to use as your guideline to keep you from being that test case also.
 

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GB I gave t/c a call about the frame. They said when your buying a bare frame with nothing on it you should be buying a handgun or a rifle frame. I was reading the case over the Internet and t/c claimed that the final assembly of the rifle or pistol was done by the owner. It said that the frame was assembled but the barrel was put on which was already use but the owner put it on which is assembly, then the owner put on the stock and forearm which is assembling. So if the owner was putting a Stock onto a frame with a pistol barrel they were assembling a short barreled rifle. I see I messed up where I typed the final assembly of the frame was done by the owner. Its suppose to be rifle, pistol, or shotgun's final assembly was done by the owner thus putting on the barrel, stock and forearm. IF you by a bare frame according to the lady on the phone at t/c it is a handgun frame only. The frame's are sent out with either a rifle stock or pistol grips. If you buy a bare frame you are buying a frame with grips or a stock. If you buy a frame without a stock lets just say the gunshop sells them separately it still means you have either a pistol frame or a rifle frame. I have never bought just a bare frame. I have only bought them as a pistol setup as a hunter package and a rifle setup. I filled out a rifle form for the rifle and pistol a pisol form. I am not too sure on the form numbers or all the info I filled out since it has been such a long time. Point and case I belive what t/c said. I don't own a t/c pistol anymore because of this. I don't want to be the one in jail for such a stupid thing on t/c's part and out governments part. I haven't bought a frame just as a frame and never will. I do belive if t/c is going to sell them as this great interchangble gun then they should all be registered as pistols and you can buy and upgrade kit to make it a rifle 26inches or longer.
 

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I called TC today to find out if my 209x50 was a pistol or rifle frame. Nice lady there said that she couldn't tell me for sure , but that it most likely was sold as a combo, and therefore a rifle frame. I shoot as much with my Encore as a pistol (.243 and .44) as I do as a 209x50. Looks like I, to be safe, need to buy a pistol frame.
That's $300 I really don't want to spend as I will be getting little for it, except maybe peace of mind.

alan
 

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I look at it as cheaper than bail. I can't predict when or where (or for that matter how) this law may be enforced. I don't want to have any of the hassle that would occur.
 

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Keith said:
I look at it as cheaper than bail. I can't predict when or where (or for that matter how) this law may be enforced. I don't want to have any of the hassle that would occur.
I pretty much agree. I deal with the FEDs, including BATF, on a weekly basis and dang sure can't predict what they will do enforcement wise.

alan
 

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IF (GREAT BIG IF) TC was being responsible they'd take the bull by the horns and end this foolishness. They should come out and announce that ALL TC Frames are assembled as handguns and reported as such to BATFE and then do it. That way there would be no question as to the legality of those after that date at least. In my opinion they are being irresponsible to leave their customers in a lurge about the legality of this matter.

BATFE could also resolve it but then that's NOT in their nature and not the way they operate. They operate in "gotcha" mode all the time so I really expect nothing more from them. But I really think we should from TC. If nothing else add a character to the serial number to define the frame as H handgun, R rifle or S shotgun.
 

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NOW that would be the way to do things that's the the best idea yet i totally agree it would leave no questions to be asked !
 

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I look at it like this, why not allow us to build anything that fits the legal definition of either a pistol or a rifle with a TC frame? Why can't I build a nice 15 inch barreled handgun out of say a Model 700 Remington action? As long as it fits the legal definition of a handgun then why not?It would seem to me that this would be a valid defense in court, that the weapon is of legal configuration in the first place where is the issue? An action is just that, this is a free country supposedly. Why can't I build something similar to what I can buy over the counter, where's the beef?
 

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That's fine as far as it goes. BUT the ONLY thing the lawsuit did was establish that it is legal for TC to make and sell rifle barrels and rifle buttstocks to fit the TC frames.

It does NOT address the issue here which is NFA1939 which made it illegal to make a handgun from a rifle. Which is the answer to your question rickt300 as to why you can't make a legal handgun from a bolt action rifle. NFA1939 says you cannot.

IF (and that is the question we can't seem to get an answer to) the frame is a rifle it then cannot legally become a handgun without going thru the provisions of NFA as outlined in the note above from BATFE. Why we can't get a simple answer from TC and/or BATFE as to whether all Contender and Encore frames are handguns or if some are rifle and some are handgun and perhaps even some are shotgun is what I cannot understand. Why all the beating around the bush? Just come out and tell us but no they will not every communication from either is fuzzy and never really addresses the issue but goes off on some other tangent that has no bearing on the matter.

EVERY FIREARM FRAME/RECEIVER made is either a handgun, rifle or shotgun. All we need to know is which way TC is reporting and classifying them as to BATFE in their reports and how BATFE considers them.
 

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T/c needs to step up. The BATFE doesn't make the frame... so their not at fault.
 

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Most likely if there is a trial it will be in Federal court since we are discussing a violation of Federal law. It doesn't really make much difference what part of the country that is in. And all it would take is someone deciding to make a name for himself to give you the hassle of a lifetime. Knock yourself out. I choose to take the safe route and start with pistol frames.
 
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