Jump to content


BATF Letter

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Dave


    Site Admin

  • Administrators
  • 791 posts
  • LocationIllinois

Posted 13 March 2011 - 06:04 PM

Here is a copy of the ATF letter on Gat style guns..... Witch I just wrote them again, before I found this letter. Open with wordpad....

#2 Dave


    Site Admin

  • Administrators
  • 791 posts
  • LocationIllinois

Posted 13 March 2011 - 07:47 PM

January 5, 1997

Edward M. Owen, Jr.
Chief, Firearms Technology Branch
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Technology Branch
Washington, DC 20226

Dear Sir:

I am writing to inquire what the status of Gatling Guns are, with
regard to the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act
of 1968.

Would a Gatling Gun manufactured today be classified as an NFA
firearm? If not, what are the distinguishing characteristics that
separate a Gatling Gun from its modern offspring, the Mini Gun?
Would a Gatling Gun using a motor to assist firing the weapon at an
adjustable rate be viewed any different as one without a motor?

Also, what type of ammunition feeding device would be acceptable on
a modern Gatling Gun reproduction? Magazine, links or belt,
attached feeding device?

Thank you very much for any information you could provide.




JAN 28 1997

Dear Mr. :

This refers to your letter of January 5, 1997, requesting
information on the status of Gatling guns under the Gun Control Act
(GCA) of 1968 and/or the National Firearms Act (NFA).

Generally, a Gatling type hand crank operated firearm, having a
bore diameter of 1/2-inch or less, as produced under the patents of
1862-1893, employing a cam action to accomplish the functions of
repeat cocking, firing, and ejecting, in a caliber for which
ammunition is commercially available, and manufactured after 1898,
would be classified as a "firearm" as defined in Title 18 United
States Code (U.S.C.), Chapter 44, section 921(a)(3), Title I of the

A Gatling gun as described in the preceding paragraph and using an
electric motor to fire the weapon instead of hand cranking, would
be classified as a "firearm" and a "machinegun" as defined in Title
26 U.S.C., Chapter 53, section 5845(B), the NFA.

Electrically driven machineguns such as the M-134 Minigun are
firearms and machineguns subject to the provisions of the NFA.
Frames or receivers of such weapons are also machineguns regardless
of whether or not other components are present.

With reference to acceptable ammunition feeding device(s) for a
Gatling type gun, 18 U.S.C., Chapter 44, section 921(a)(31) defines
the term "large capacity ammunition feeding device" as;


(A)... a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device
manufactured after the date of enactment of the Violent Crime
Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 that has a capacity of, or
that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10
rounds of ammunition; but

(B) does not include an attached tubular device designed to
accept, and capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire
ammunition." The date of enactment of the Violent Crime Control
and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 referred to above is September 13,

Further, Title 18 U.S.C., Chapter 44, section 922(w)(1) provides
that "Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for
a person to transfer or possess a large capacity ammunition feeding
device" and "(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the possession or
transfer of any large capacity ammunition feeding device otherwise
lawfully possessed on or before the date of the enactment of this

Based on the above provisions, it would not be legal for you to
manufacture any ammunition feeding device that fell within the
above definition. You would be limited to manufacturing any type
device that had a capacity of ten rounds or less.

We have previously determined that hopper type feed mechanisms as
used on certain original gatling guns or feed chutes such as the
Bruce feed mechanism are not restricted under Section 922(w)(1).

We trust that the foregoing has been responsive to your inquiry.
If we can be of any further assistance, please contact us.

Sincerely yours,

Edward M. Owen, Jr.
Chief, Firearms Technology Branch

#3 bruski


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 524 posts
  • LocationARIZONA

Posted 13 March 2011 - 08:51 PM

So if I understand this correctly, a belt fed gatling manufactured before the 1994 act would be legal to own as just a firearm? bruski

#4 Dave


    Site Admin

  • Administrators
  • 791 posts
  • LocationIllinois

Posted 22 March 2011 - 10:44 PM

Probably so, but it may have to have been registered?




  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:49 PM

Actually since the sunset of the AWB you can build a belt fed Gatling.....
the Gatling has NO features of an assault weapon therefore it could have been built during the AWB
the problem would have been finding an existing belt to use with it.....
right now though you could manufacture a belt fed and the belts to go with it until
the Government brings in the new laws they wish to jam down everyones...... I'll say no more......

Even during the Assault weapons ban there were many people building Semi-auto versions of belt fed machineguns
like the 1919A4 browning to date I have built three.... all belts were pre ban so no problem.... these guns did not
have assault weapon features and even some forigen guns could be built by manufacturing U.S. made parts....
if they fell into the parts count of the AWB....

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users