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Old 12-24-2011, 12:34 PM   #1
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Default legal question about full autos, black powder, and manufacturing

This is something I have been wondering for awhile. I know that the ATF does not concider black powder guns to be firearms (at least not enought to regulate them), I also know that full auto guns are heavily regulated. So the question is, what does the ATF concider to be full auto? Would a hand cranked gatling gun be concidered a full auto? If it used black powder paper cartridges, would it even be concidered a firearm? Would there be any regulations you would have to follow if you wanted to make one for yourself? No, I don't plan on making one. I am just curious about this and thought it would be an interesting conversation.

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Old 12-24-2011, 12:51 PM   #2
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i was kind of wondering the same thing. Rick on Pawn Stars was trying to buy a Gatling gun on an episode, and on another one he said he didn't handle modern firearms because they didn't have an FFL. might be the same legality that you can use the hand crank device on semi-auto fireams and they are legal to own. on a Gatling gun, it only fires as fast as you turn the crank on it. i have also seen kits for DIY 22lr Gatling guns that said no FFL needed to make them.

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Old 12-24-2011, 03:17 PM   #3
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If it fires more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger it's full
auto in the eyes of the BATFE.

(Yes---if you have a double barrel shotgun that
fires both barrels with one pull of the trigger, you are technically
in violation.)

Gatling guns---if MANUALLY operated, are not considered machine guns.
If you hook a motor to it, then it's a machine gun.

SO---this is OK ----http://www.mgewholesale.com/colt/

This, not so much--at least not without a bit of paperwork and
a tax stamp:Dillon Aero: M134 Gatling Gun, Miniguns, M134 Gun Systems, Naval Mounts, Helicopter Mounts, Vehicle Mounts

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Old 12-24-2011, 10:19 PM   #4
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Bill nailed it. Hand cranked Gatling is NOT a full auto.

The measure of an antique firearm is not defined by whether it uses a BP cartridge. It is measured by (1) Age- made before 1899, OR (1) uses LOOSE powder and bullet.

A newly made cartridge arm that is a repro of an antique will not be considered an antique unless it shoots ONLY a "no longer available" cartridge. Say, 12mm PINFIRE.

C&P from 18 US Code section 921

(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.

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Old 12-24-2011, 10:34 PM   #5
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So just to be really clear here c3, a gatling gun that uses a hand crank system, but ALSO shoots modern ammo, is legal? Depending on local restrictions of course? In the eyes of BATFE?

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Old 12-24-2011, 11:58 PM   #6
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Clarke Bros. gun shop outside of Warrenton VA had a hand cranked Gatling in .38 Special for sale for several years (finally sold it) As Bill said, it is an ordinary firearm at law. Now, IF you add an electric motor, so that one push of the switch caused the barrels to spin, and shoot until you took finger off da button, NOW you have a full auto.

The Gatling that John Wayne used in Rooster Cogburn- not a full auto.

The Gatling used by Jesse Ventura in Predator- full auto.

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Old 12-25-2011, 01:00 AM   #7
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Cool, so a hand ranked gatling gun is legal regardless of what it fires, and is concidered an antique if it fires pinfire, loose black powder, or any other obsolete/commercially unavailable ammo? I kind of want one now.

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Old 12-25-2011, 01:41 AM   #8
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Close. Antique requires AGE, or repro of AGED gun that does not use modern ammo,or uses loose powder.

Want yerself a gat, huh? Well, belly up to the counter, whip out yer checkbook, and start filling out that 4473, podner. Here is a good one in .45 Colt for a measly $6.499, plus shipping. Hey- when you have to say "Get off my lawn!", let them know you mean it.

Gatling Gun For Sale

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Old 12-25-2011, 02:45 AM   #9
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I don't consider that to be a bad price for such a gun! Too bad the wife needs a new car.

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Old 12-25-2011, 03:05 AM   #10
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Not a bad price, but still too high for me. I guess if I want people to stay off my lawn, I have to stick to loading up the ol 30-06

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