Bill Ruger Designed A Machine Gun?

Years before he co-founded Sturm, Ruger & Co., Bill Ruger worked for Auto-Ordnance. When the Army’s Ordnance Department was seeking a replacement for the M1919A4 light machine gun, he designed and submitted a prototype. Unfortunately for Ruger, it failed the endurance test as did the other submissions. Ultimately, the Army went with an updated version of the Browning design.

Ian McCollum goes on to add this about the prototype which now is part of the Cody Firearms Museum’s collection.

As it turns out – and as Ruger would later write – it could be quite hard to create a ground-up new design to beat John Browning’s work in just 4 or 5 months (shocking!). When Ruger’s gun was tested, it was found to have a few good aspects, but was generally unreliable and failed to complete the scheduled 10,000-round endurance test. All of the other guns in that trial failed for various reasons, though, and a second trial was scheduled, giving the manufacturers time to improve their designs. Ruger and Auto-Ordnance were unable to substantially correct the problems with the gun, however, and it did as badly in the second trial as it had in the first. Ultimately, a separate procurement process by the Infantry Department would result in the M1919A6 Browning, which was adopted for the role of light machine gun.


This experience would serve Ruger well, as he would go on to do quite a lot more work with Auto-Ordnance before forming his own tremendously successful company.

Video – Open Versus Closed Bolt Systems

Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons has produced this nice short video explaining the differences in operation between open and closed bolt actions. While we tend to think that open bolt is for machine guns and closed bolt is for semi-automatic is the rule that isn’t always the case. Ian has examples of both closed bolt full auto submachine guns and open bolt semi-automatic rifles. The confusion may stem from a ruling by BATFE back in the 1980s which said no new open bolt semi-autos could be manufactured as they thought these would be easier to convert to full auto.

Bumpstock Ban, Part II

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in response to the announcement by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker that the final rule banning bump fire stocks has more detail as well as “instructions” for owners of these firearms accessories. You have to wonder if the release of this final rule was delayed until after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was fired and a more compliant acting AG was in place.

First, the final 157 page rule can be found here. It will officially become final when it is published in the Federal Register. The rule goes into effect 90 days from when it is published in the Federal Register.

Second, the BATFE has published instructions on how to destroy your bump fire stock. They also have links to diagrams for a number of named bump fire stocks which are below.

Third, the other opinion is turn in your bump fire stock at your local BATFE office. They “advise” to call ahead. Also, while they don’t mention it, make sure you have your dog in a safe, undisclosed location.

Fourth, and this is not mentioned by BATFE, you can support the lawsuits that have or will be filed seeking to have this overturned. I will cover some of them in the next post.

Bumpstock Ban, Part I

When I wrote a blog post yesterday entitled BOHICA I didn’t think it would come first from what ostensibly is our own side. I was wrong. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker announced today that the final rule declaring that bump fire stocks are “machine guns”. Below is his announcement:

Today, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker announced that the Department of Justice has amended the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), clarifying that bump stocks fall within the definition of “machinegun” under federal law, as such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.

Acting Attorney General Whitaker made the following statement:

“President Donald Trump is a law and order president, who has signed into law millions of dollars in funding for law enforcement officers in our schools, and under his strong leadership, the Department of Justice has prosecuted more gun criminals than ever before as we target violent criminals. We are faithfully following President Trump’s leadership by making clear that bump stocks, which turn semiautomatics into machine guns, are illegal, and we will continue to take illegal guns off of our streets.”

On February 20, 2018, President Trump issued a memorandum instructing the Attorney General “to dedicate all available resources to… propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.” In response to that direction the Department reviewed more than 186,000 public comments and made the decision to make clear that the term “machinegun” as used in the National Firearms Act (NFA), as amended, and Gun Control Act (GCA), as amended, includes all bump-stock-type devices that harness recoil energy to facilitate the continuous operation of a semiautomatic firearm after a single pull of the trigger.

This final rule amends the regulatory definition of “machinegun” in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), sections 447.11, 478.11, and 479.11. The final rule amends the regulatory text by adding the following language: “The term ‘machine gun’ includes bump-stock devices, i.e., devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semi-automatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.” Furthermore, the final rule defines “automatically” and “single function of the trigger” as those terms are used in the statutory definition of machinegun. Specifically,

  • “automatically” as it modifies “shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot,” means functioning as a result of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through the single function of the trigger;
  • “single function of the trigger” means single pull of the trigger and analogous motions.


Because the final rule clarifies that bump-stock-type devices are machineguns, the devices fall within the purview of the NFA and are subject to the restrictions of 18 U.S.C. 922(o). As a result, persons in possession of bump-stock-type devices must divest themselves of the devices before the effective date of the final rule. A current possessor may destroy the device or abandon it at the nearest ATF office, but no compensation will be provided for the device. Any method of destruction must render the device incapable of being readily restored to its intended function.

I don’t own a bumpstock nor do I know anyone personally that does. However, the danger in this rule is the precedent it sets. This can and probably will be expanded in the future to include any item that accelerates or makes a semi-automatic firearm easier to shoot. Things like enhanced triggers, JP Enterprise springs, or even a trigger job. This final rule perverts the black letter law of the National Firearms Act as well as the Congressional intent.

Comment Period Opens On Proposed Bump Stock Ban

Adam Kraut gives a good thumbnail overview of how to respond to the BATFE proposed rulemaking in the video below. He suggests taking a shotgun approach as the more objections you can raise, the more the BATFE has to work to respond to them. Moreover, if it isn’t brought up now, it can’t be brought up in court later.

Here is the document released by the lawyers of the Department of Justice with their legal rationale (or bullshit, to be more honest about it) saying why they can now define bump fire stocks as machine guns. It is important to note that if this rule is enacted then all existing bump fire stocks become contraband unregistered machine guns and must be destroyed or turned into BATFE. Why? That little amendment to FOPA 1986 called the Hughes Amendment comes into play as bump fire stocks were developed, manufactured, and sold after 1986.

Here is the correct link to the comments page.

I say correct link because www.regulations.gov has two links to the proposed regulations. One is the correct link and the other says comments are closed. Remember, never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence or stupidity.

So scan through the DOJ document to find areas on which to make comments. There is nothing to say you can’t make multiple comments on different things. The comment period closes on June 27, 2018 at 11:59pm. So do it now while it is still fresh in your mind.

And In Your Morning News From The DOJ…

The Beltway method of releasing news that you don’t want to get a lot of attention is to release it on a Friday afternoon. I’m guessing the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking it a step further with this release regarding bump fire stocks.

From the DOJ:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Saturday, March 10, 2018


Department of Justice Submits Notice of Proposed Regulation Banning Bump Stocks

Today the Department of Justice submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the definition of “machinegun” in the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act includes bump stock type devices, and that federal law accordingly prohibits the possession, sale, or manufacture of such devices.

“President Trump is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of every American and he has directed us to propose a regulation addressing bump stocks,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “To that end, the Department of Justice has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the National Firearms and Gun Control Act defines ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock type devices.”

This submission is a formal requirement of the regulatory review process. Once approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice will seek to publish this notice as expeditiously as possible.

I don’t have a need, want, desire, or love for bump fire stocks. I do, however, believe in the rule of law. 26 USC Chapter 53 § 5845 (b) defines a machinegun as:

Machinegun. The term ‘machinegun’ means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can
be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single
function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part
designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in
converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be
assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

Arbitrarily saying that a bump fire stock is the same as a machinegun flies in the face of both the black letter law and in the face of numerous BATFE regulatory rulings. It makes a mockery of the rule of law and should be condemned as such. If the DOJ and the Trump Administration want to ban bump fire stocks, they should, as I suggested in my own comment on the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, submit a bill to Congress to add them to the NFA and GCA 68.

In the meantime, I plan to send a few buck to the Firearms Policy Coalition as they have already hired attorneys Adam Kraut and Joshua Prince to submit their comments and fight this in court. By the way, donations to fight this are tax-deductible.

If I Had The Money….

I like to look over the firearms auctions on Proxibid.com on a regular basis. This week I came across an estate auction that would set the heart aflutter of most any collector.

It is from the collection of Richard Wray of Cincinnati, Ohio. I don’t know who Mr. Wray is or was other than he owned Wray Electric Company. I do know he had more Class III NFA firearms than most museums!

In addition to the more common items like a M-16, a Browning M-2, and the M-60 machine gun, the collection has stuff like a Carl Gustafs Model 1921/1924 Browning Automatic Rifle in 6.5 Swedish Mauser with Finnish Army proofs.

OK, that is a bit too pedestrian for your tastes, how about a Vickers Mark I Water-Cooled Machine Gun in .303 and retaining most of its original finish?

Nah, you say, Vickers made a lot of machine guns.  Then try a U.S. Model 1909 Benet Mercie Light Machine Gun made by Springfield Armory.

You need to check this auction out if only to see all the unusual US and foreign machine guns Mr. Wray had.

As for me, what I’d really want to bid on is the Smith and Wesson Model 76 Submachine gun which is the US copy of the Swedish K-gun. I got to shoot one a couple of years ago at the LuckyGunner Blogshoot and really liked it. It was easy to shoot and you might even still be able to get spare parts for it from Numrichs. It is also expected to sell in the 4-digit range and not the 5-digit range. Now all I would have to do is clear the NFA background check and wait…and wait.

One Heck Of A Mag Pouch

Actually, it isn’t a mag pouch. It is a backpack that integrates with a machine gun so that the machine gunner can carry up to 925 rounds of 5.56×45 or 575 rounds of 7.62×51 ammunition.

I seem to remember reading a story somewhere that some soldiers in either Afghanistan or Iraq made a prototype using scavenged parts and an old Alice pack frame.

“So What Are You Waiting For?”

American-born Muslim jihadist Adam Yahiye Gadahn (born Adam Pearlman) released a video the other day that is making the rounds of the Internet. In the video, Gadahn calls on Muslims in the United States to attack Zionists and Crusaders. He says that “America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms” He goes on to say that the jihadis can just go to any American gun show at the local convention center and come away with “fully automatic assault weapons with no background check” and no request for ID.

As one would come to expect, the gun prohibitionists have jumped on this video and are playing it on their websites. Below is a screen shot from Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors “Fix Gun Checks” site.

Of course both Adam Gadahn and those gun prohibitionists who believe this live in La-La Land. The going cost of a fully automatic M-16A1 eligible for transfer under the National Firearms Act sells for approximately $16,000 – and includes a background check that can take up to 6 months, fingerprints, photos, a $200 tax stamp, and the approval of the local chief law enforcement official before the transfer takes place.

Those of us in the gun culture know this is a farce. Unfortunately, there will be some that are taken in by this sham.