The idiocy of the BATFE

The idiocy of the BATFE;

(BATFE=Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives)
(BATFE should be a convenience store, not a governmental agency :wink: )

I recently picked up a Yugoslavian made mil-surp. SKS rifle, the predecessor to the Soviet AK-47, both shoot the Soviet 7.62x39 cartridge, both are semiautomatic battle rifles (often called “assault” rifles by the clueless mainstream media)

The x39 cartridge is considered an intermediate cartridge, and has similar ballistics to the 30-30, but there are a few critical differences between an AK and an SKS;

The AK takes detachable mags, 10 to 30 round capacity, the SKS has a fixed, non removable 10 round mag loaded by stripper clips

The SKS has a conventional wood stock like on a hunting rifle, the AK has a separate pistol grip and buttstock arrangement

The Yugo SKS receiver is made from milled ordinance steel, AK receiver is made out of stamped sheetmetal

The only things I lose out on with the SKS is a removable magazine, and access to a slew of Tacti-Foolish accessories, but since I think the “Tacti-cool” thing is intensely stupid anyway, it’s no loss to me at all, simple is better, and more reliable

The “Yugo” SKS has a couple features unique to it not found on other SKS type rifles;
Underslung folding blade style bayonet
Flip-up night sights (mine are luminescent, glow paint)
Grenade launcher tip, folding grenade sights, gas system shutoff valve

Yet even with the bayo, and grenade launcher hardware, the rifle is not considered an “assault” rifle, yet if you had an AK with these items, it could be classified as an “assault” rifle, and could be considered “illegal” in certain repressive nannystates…

So, why are these things okay to have on the SKS?

It’s because the SKS is considered a “Curio and Relic”, basically an “antique”, even though it’s a completely functional and reliable rifle, heck, I bought mine used, but it’s in unfired condition, it has never seen a single round through it, it’s completely pristine, technically it’s a new gun, a 65+ year old brand new gun

Now, here’s where the idiocy of the BATFE comes in…

As long as the SKS stays in it’s original “as issued” design (with bayo and launcher hardware) it is legal to own and use, if, however, I take off the launcher, launcher sights, or bayo, that same perfectly legal to own and use rifle suddenly becomes a potentially ILLEGAL “assault” rifle, just because I removed some useless parts…

IOW, if I remove some parts that are nothing more than dead weight, and in removing them, actually make the gun LESS “scary looking” it suddenly becomes more dangerous and “scary”…

Unbelievable… trimming the dead weight from the gun makes it “more dangerous” somehow :rolleyes: …

In fact, if I do want to ditch the launcher hardware, I can, BUT to keep it legal, I have to replace the removed Yugoslavian launcher hardware with an equivalent amount of American manufactured parts to retain BATFE 922 compliance, I can’t simply remove the launcher, I’d have to replace it with an American made muzzle brake or flash hider, if I wanted to retrofit/modify the magazine to allow usage of AK mags, I’d have to install US made magwell adapter parts and use US manufactured mags, the bayo would stay, because a rifle also can make a nice pointy stick as well

I can kinda’ understand the BATFE wanting to have stock parts replaced with US parts if a SKS owner wants to swap the launcher for a muzzle brake or flash hider, but for those of us that just want useless parts like the grenade launcher kit removed to save on weight and balance, we should be able to just remove them, removing the launcher kit does not make the gun any more dangerous or “scary” in fact, it makes it less so

Oh well, I’ll live with the launcher hardware, come to think of it, it does make an excellent, if overbuilt, muzzle protector…

Still, shows how stupid and illogical the BATFE are

That IS bizarre, but I’ve learned to expect no less from BATFE.

I love my SKS. Fun shooter.

This is a truly wonderful bit of bureaucratic trivia. I look forward to going up to someone and saying “Try to name an object that is legal if it has a grenade launcher and bayonet attached to it but illegal otherwise.”

“Give up? MacTech’s SKS. Duh.”

Just wanted to add an aside (because I agree with the thrust of your post) that the bayo might not be so useless on your rifle. A buddy of mine has a similar one and he’s found if he shoots with the bayo folded, it consistently shoots to the left. If he shoots with it deployed, it shoots straight on. He even took it off just to see if that made a difference, and it still shot to the left.

Agreed, the bayo is not useless, far from it, the launcher stuff, however is nothing more than dead weight and IS useless

The “Yugo” SKS has a couple features unique to it not found on other SKS type rifles; Underslung folding blade style bayonet

Romanian SKS’s have bayonets.

It’s because the SKS is considered a “Curio and Relic”, basically an “antique”, even though it’s a completely functional and reliable rifle, heck, I bought mine used, but it’s in unfired condition, it has never seen a single round through it, it’s completely pristine, technically it’s a new gun, a 65+ year old brand new gun

The Yugo 59/66 was made between 1967 and 1970.

I guess my rifle is younger than I thought, it’s a “K” prefix rifle, which dates it around 1974, so it’s actully only 34ish years young

Do you have a cite that your gun falls under the curio and antique category. Because the BATF says:

So if yours was manufactured in the last 50 years, it is not a curio or relic.

You think a lighter, more easily handled gun is less dangerous than a heavier one overloaded with extraneous crud? Really? :rolleyes:

But yeah, that is pretty odd.

I guess the thinking is that the sort of person who keeps everything on is more likely a collector, whereas anyone planning foul play will find a stripped-down one easier to handle. Taking the stuff off implies you’re going to use it, & then you’re not a peaceable collector, you’re a potential criminal.

BATFE are idiots, who think they can issue edicts and have them obeyed without question.

10 years ago, they tried to severely regulate model rockets, which would have led to the demise of the hobby. What they did not count on was a hoard of guys who had flown rockets as young lads, and who were now in pretty good positions (ie lawyers and real rocket scientists). The good news is the result of the 10 year fight was a win for the good guys. Indeed, the BATFE regulation was found by the judge to be

and that

and further that "

Just recently, the plaintiffs in the case settled costs, and were awarded $70,000. I think it is pretty rare that costs are awarded when one sues the government for stupid regulations. Part of the reasoning was that BATFE drew the case out for as long as possible in order to wear the plaintiffs down - they were hoping to win by attrition.

Wiki link on the SKS
interesting story on the history of the SKS and it’s coming to America

It only has to fall into one of those three categories. Being older than 5 decades is only one category. It can also be a certified museum piece. Or it could also be “Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.” (Bolding Mine, of course) The SKS is associated with the great Patriotic War (or WWII) which was a historical and significant event.

However, it is only the full military version that qualifies. Removing those military components makes it lose it’s C/R status.

Alcohol (check) Tobacco (check) Firearms (check) Explosives (check).

We have a “Men’s day” camping trip each summer and that looks like our checklist. Goodtimes!

What I find unacceptable is the continuing lengthening of the agency’s acronym. I first remember it as the ATF. Suddenly, I started hearing about the BATF. Now it’s BATFE?! What’s next? Adding prostitution? Poisons? Depleted Uranium? Laser weapons? BATFEPPDULW?! Where will it all end? WHERE?! weep

I’m not sure what your outrage is about. Do you not think there should be an exception for museum pieces in regulations for semiautomatic battle rifles? (I’m sure the BATFE won’t stop you from voluntarily complying with regulations). Are you just outraged that there is any regulation at all for semiautomatic battle rifles?

Or are you outraged that the BATFE hasn’t spend more taxpayer dollars rewriting their regulations to be even longer and more complex in order to eliminate this mildly bemusing result in this one particular narrow case, where the result doesn’t really cause much harm to anyone?

I mean, how would you write regulations to
a) ensure that semiautomatic battle rifles are regulated; and
b) allow true museum pieces are exempted; while
c) not giving a loophole for someone to get around a) by buying a putative museum piece, replacing all parts with modern ones, and then claiming the resulting functionally modern weapon is still a museum piece?
By the way, aren’t AK-47s switchable from semiautomatic to fully automatic? (I thought the fully automatic part is why they’re considered more dangerous). And what’s the technical definition of ‘assault rifle’, and what’s an example of one?

There was no outrage in my OP, more a sort of bemused bewilderment at the sheer illogic of making it illegal to remove parts that first of all serve no purpose (rifle grenades are not even available to civilians in the USA), and secondly, if installed on a modern battle rifle, could possibly change it’s status to that of an illegal “assault” rifle

A; I don’t see any purpose in regulating any weapon, it’s not the weapon that is good or bad, it’s an inanimate object, nothing more, do we regulate hammers, electric drills, crowbars, saws, or any other dangerous tools?
B; not necessary if firearms are not regulated, are antique swords or bows or platemail armor regulated? Again, why single out firearms?
C; irrelavent if guns are not regulated

What is an assault rifle?

You’d have to be a damn good lawyer to convince me that the SKS derives a substantial portion of its value because it is associated with WWII.

Note: IANAL, what follows is based on my, self educated, lay understanding of Federal laws. Local laws may be more strict. They defiantly are in CA, MI, NY, MA, and probably a few others.

Just to be clear, the mess with SKS is really seperate from the (expired) assault weapon ban (AWB). It is/was the victim of another couple of pieces of legisltation:

The 1989 law which banned IMPORTED “non-sporting” semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and the 1990 law which made it illegal to assemble such a rifle from imported parts. (you can use up to 10 “countable” imported parts, google “922r” for details.)

When the OP changes his “war relic” SKS, he (in the eyes of the idiots at BATFE) is assembling a rifle from imported parts.

The OP might, without too much trouble, get the “countable” parts down to 10 or fewer for 922r compliance, and then he would have a “US made” rifle he could modify (without adding imported parts) to his heart’s content. Because the rules were mainly aimed at AK-47s in particular, the Simonov already lacks many “countable” parts like a pistol grip, muzzle device, fore-stock. I’d have to work up a parts count, but I think if the hammer, sear, and trigger were replaced with US parts, the SKS would be 922r compliant.

Also, to clarify the OP: The SKS was not really the fore-runner of the AK-47. The AK was designed slightly earlier, but had teething pains, so the SKS was issued in large numbers while the kinks got worked out of the Kalashnikov design. Basically, the trademark sheetmetal receiver of the AK wasn’t made precisely enough at first, so early AKs had milled receivers. These were more difficult (expensive) to make than the simpler SKS ( also milled) receiver. Also, the SKS gained some favor, as TPTB were still unconvinced that fully-automatic arms for the grunts had advantages that outweighed the higher use of ammo.

<Kevbo checks that forum is not GQ>

Basically the SKS got itself banned for being too inexpensive. In the mid-late 1980s you could pick one up for $120 and in some cases well under $100. Gun haters were horrified, and much of the firearms lobby hated the low price competition…so a Republican President (the same one who very publically resigned his lifetime NRA membership) did the deed. True, it was a Democratic congress that provided the bill he signed, but there was no way a veto would have been overridden. Please keep this in mind if you have ever thought that voting Republican will help preserve second amendment rights.