Finally getting my first AR-15

LtDave32

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With all due respect, it doesn't sound like you know that much about firearms, just from the wording in your comment. I don't mean that to be a put-down, I just think it's interesting that people who seem to be against guns (even a particular type of gun), tend to be the people who know the least about them. I'm guessing that turning an AR-15 into a fully automatic rifle isn't quite as easy as you think it is. First, you'd need to drill another hole in your lower receiver (in the right place), for the auto-sear pivot. You'd need a completely new trigger group with an auto-sear and a different hammer, because the hammer is actually different. You'd need a new safety switch, because most AR safety switches don't have the correct lobes to run full auto. You'd need to make sure your bolt carrier group has the auto-sear trip face, which some do, but many don't. Not to mention that even owning a drop-in auto sear is illegal without the proper licensing (see ATF Ruling 81-4). I have no doubt that there are people out there who can mill/make their own and actually get them to work... but saying an AR can be "easily converted" to full auto, simply isn't true. Please don't spread fear propaganda, unless you at least know what you're talking about. I've been a gun guy for a long time, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't convert an AR to full-auto "easily", and even if I did, it would be highly illegal. Since the vast majority of the gun community are law abiding citizens, there is no reason to think that there's a mass-conversion going on. I'd dare say either your friend is full of shit... or he's an extremely rare exception to the rule. Just my two cents, of course.

This, and you have to machine out an area for the auto sear pivot as well, as the rear area of the lower receiver on semi-auto ARs isn't cut for it.

I know of no one who can convert an AR 15 into a selective-fire weapon in 15 minutes. That's silly.

And I own one of the old "legal to convert if you live in the right state and pay the tax" "EA" AR15's. Because it's old and before the 1990's ban. It is my understanding that no one can legally own or purchase weapons that can be converted to such (after a helluva lot of work) that were made after that ban.

I've heard I can get some good money for it from those who own/run full-auto shooting ranges in Nevada and such. But I'm not getting rid of it.

Excellent post, BAC. And thanks for that truth.
 
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Dun Ringill

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You guys are not helping the GAS! It is likely that I won't be buying a guitar this year!!
 

Deus Vult

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This, and you have to machine out an area for the auto sear pivot as well, as the rear area of the lower receiver on semi-auto ARs isn't cut for it.

I know of no one who can convert an AR 15 into a selective-fire weapon in 15 minutes. That's silly.

And I own one of the old "legal to convert if you live in the right state and pay the tax" "EA" AR15's. Because it's old and before the 1990's ban. It is my understanding that no one can legally own or purchase weapons that can be converted to such (after a helluva lot of work) that were made after that ban.

I've heard I can get some good money for it from those who own/run full-auto shooting ranges in Nevada and such. But I'm not getting rid of it.

Excellent post, BAC. And thanks for that truth.
I can. All I need is a bump stock or a shoe string and presto! Instant machine gun! At least, the bumpstock will be a machinegun starting tomorrow
 

Bill Hicklin

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If full-auto conversions were so easy, one would think that crooks, mass murderers and terrorists would be doing it all the time. But the reality is that since 1934 and the Machine Gun Act, only two crimes have ever been committed in the US with full-auto weapons- the North Hollywood bank robbery in 1997, and the Symbionese Liberation Army's shootout with LAPD in 1974.
 
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bad565ss

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The fact is most people aren't engineers or machinists. I ain't worried.
 

LtDave32

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The fact is most people aren't engineers or machinists. I ain't worried.

And those that are, are fairly well-educated and gainfully employed.

Full auto is a frggin' joke if you're not faced with a military problem that requires it as a solution, suppressive fire being the most common usage for fire and maneuver tactics, interlocking fields of fire for perimeter defense, or your extra-fun house-to-house clearing in a hostile zone.

It's a huge waste of expensive ammo, and if it's a shoulder-fired weapon, you're nowhere near accurate after the first shot.

What I'd be more concerned about is a well-trained rifleman firing single shot semi with good optics and and an agenda.

Because that guy's going to hit WTF he's aiming at, and he and his weapon are in total control.


Put me up against some goofy f*ck who's on full auto and give me a semi-auto, and I'll drag him out of his hidey by the friggin' heels.
 
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45WinMag

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This, and you have to machine out an area for the auto sear pivot as well, as the rear area of the lower receiver on semi-auto ARs isn't cut for it.

I know of no one who can convert an AR 15 into a selective-fire weapon in 15 minutes. That's silly.

And I own one of the old "legal to convert if you live in the right state and pay the tax" "EA" AR15's. Because it's old and before the 1990's ban. It is my understanding that no one can legally own or purchase weapons that can be converted to such (after a helluva lot of work) that were made after that ban.

I've heard I can get some good money for it from those who own/run full-auto shooting ranges in Nevada and such. But I'm not getting rid of it.

Excellent post, BAC. And thanks for that truth.
You have to mill out the hump on the right inside of the receiver above the selector hole, and depending on the height of the shelf under the takedown pin you might have to mill that down as well. Then you have to drill a 1/8" hole centered above the selector hole, .123" from the top edge of the receiver (all the way through both sides). Then you have to install a full-auto fire-control-group. The trigger, disconnector, selector, and hammer are different from a semi-auto, and the full-auto fire-control-group also includes an additional part - the auto sear (installation requires the milling and drilling mentioned above). Possession of an auto-sear in conjunction with an AR-15 is considered possession of a machinegun, regardless of whether you have altered the lower receiver for installation. I've never done this conversion, but I know how and I estimate it would take me about an hour. Keep in mind, I'm not a regular Joe with a dremel and a drill press - I have a small CNC machine and I mill out my own 80% AR-15 lowers.

As for the conversion of a "pre-ban" AR-15, it cannot legally be done (if it could I would have already done it). A legally transferable machinegun had to have been in the National Firearms Act registry before 1986. A ban on new registration of machineguns for individuals was inserted as a "poison pill" amendment to the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act. Legal machineguns are extremely expensive due to the artificially limited supply created by this law. The term "pre-ban" was used during the ten year Crime Bill ban that sunset in 2004. During those years, all of the "banned" firearms continued to be produced and sold with various cosmetic features, such as bayonet lugs and telescoping/folding stocks, stripped in order to comply with the limit on number of "bad" features under the law. A rifle produced before 1994 was subject to none of these restrictions and was therefore more desirable - they came to be referred to as "pre-ban". The term is still used in a few of our more restrictive jurisdictions that retained similar restrictions at a state or local level when the Federal law went away in 2004.
 
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LtDave32

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45, I was told my AR was worth something to some owners who reside in states where they can converted and used on full-auto ranges such as are in the Las Vegas area.

But then again, If I had a nickel for every vowel of misinformation I've heard over years about firearms and legalities...


And yes, you're precisely right about the lower receiver milling. My mid-1980's EA does not have the clearance area there, being manufactured for semi-auto operation. And originally, it came with the semi-auto bolt carrier.

-Which didn't work well at all, but you and I have had that conversation.. <wink>

Surprisingly, it works beautifully in a PSA 20" barreled-upper that I bought. Go figure..
 

45WinMag

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This is a good illustration of the difference (AR-15 on the left and M4 on the right). You can see that the "hump" is not present in the M4 on the right. You an also see differences in the rear shelf height. The auto sear is the tab sticking up in the M4 that is noticeably absent in the AR-15. Takes quite a bit of milling to turn the AR into an M4/M16. I've seen several different profiles of internal milling for the AR-15 (different companies), but a common factor is the pronounced hump you can see on the inside wall that would prevent installation of an auto sear. This AR-15 lower would need the hump removed, material removed from the opposite inside wall, and shelf lowered - in addition to the hole for the auto sear pivot pin. You don't have to remove as much material as seen in the M4 - just back to the indention you see behind the hump on the AR-15.

 

45WinMag

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45, I was told my AR was worth something to some owners who reside in states where they can converted and used on full-auto ranges such as are in the Las Vegas area.

But then again, If I had a nickel for every vowel of misinformation I've heard over years about firearms and legalities...


And yes, you're precisely right about the lower receiver milling. My mid-1980's EA does not have the clearance area there, being manufactured for semi-auto operation. And originally, it came with the semi-auto bolt carrier.

-Which didn't work well at all, but you and I have had that conversation.. <wink>

Surprisingly, it works beautifully in a PSA 20" barreled-upper that I bought. Go figure..
Most full-auto ranges are owned by dealers with a Class III license. They can own machineguns made after 1986 as "dealer samples" for use in sales to government entities. In order to possess these machineguns, they must have a "demo letter" (which outlines a sales relationship with a qualified entity) in addition to their Class III dealer's license. In friendly locales, it's usually easy to get a demo letter from your local sheriff. The machineguns you see at these ranges for rent on the premises are usually all "dealer samples". Consider this, would you prefer to rent out a $25,000 transferable M16 or an $800 dealer sample to some yahoo who wants to play with a machinegun on the range for an afternoon? The additional value of a "pre-ban" AR-15 is found only in sales into restrictive jurisdictions, in a firearm friendly location like Nevada there is no additional value.

As for the difference between a semi- and full-auto bolt carrier group, there is no difference in legality between the two for use in a semi-auto AR-15. In fact, the semi-auto only BCG has almost completely fallen out of use. Most new AR-15 rifles have the full-auto compatible part as standard equipment, and most new BCGs sold as parts are full-auto compatible. This part makes no difference in the function of the rifle (other than the advantage of a little added weight in some setups) unless used in conjunction with a full-auto fire control group.
 

Bigfoot410

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You guys truly make me feel dumb....and I love it!! :)
 

45WinMag

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If you mill your own AR-15 lowers, there is no legal requirement for any internal dimensions. You do not need to leave any humps or a high shelf. The sole determining factor for whether a lower is a machinegun is the presence or absence of the auto sear hole. However, I don't know of any commercial manufacturers that do not put these additional obstacles in their lowers. I don't know that it is specifically to make conversion more difficult, since any additional machining operations equals money. Regardless of the reason, you probably aren't going to see any commercial AR-15 lowers with an M4 internal cut - even without the sear hole.

This is not a commercial lower:

 
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Apache Crumb

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You just answered a big queston for me. We may be relocating to Oregon in a few years and I was wondering about gun laws and such. Cool. You'll learn a lot about the AR accessories addiction. Most brands are good enough for home protection. Mill spec is mill spec. Just look at the metals carefully. 7075 Aluminum is 7075 aluminum, so an $800.00 lower receiver is just as good as $200.00 if both are the same metal & mill spec. LaRue Tactical & Daniel Defense are way over priced.
 

45WinMag

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You just answered a big queston for me. We may be relocating to Oregon in a few years and I was wondering about gun laws and such. Cool. You'll learn a lot about the AR accessories addiction. Most brands are good enough for home protection. Mill spec is mill spec. Just look at the metals carefully. 7075 Aluminum is 7075 aluminum, so an $800.00 lower receiver is just as good as $200.00 if both are the same metal & mill spec. LaRue Tactical & Daniel Defense are way over priced.
There are only a handful of lower receiver manufacturers in the US, and they produce most of the lowers under license and variance for nearly every commercial brand. This information is old, but little has changed other than some shuffling around of who is contracting with which manufacturer (and the addition of Aero to the list):

AR Lower Receiver FAQ

If you want to spend money on your AR build, put your money in your barrel, trigger, and (within reason) BCG. For BCG, on a non-replica build, I usually use Toolcraft, BCM, or DD (depending on which I can get the best deal). While there is little difference between receivers, a crappy BCG can cause problems. For my replica builds, I usually use original Colt BCGs, but those are not being built for the same reason as my "new" builds. It's more like a guy who finds an old original part when restoring a car.
 
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