BOWJUNKIE E-11 WARNING!!!

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Art Andrews, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. Art Andrews

    Art Andrews Community Owner Community Staff

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    I know this is a long read, but please bear with meÂ…

    About a year ago, a friend of mine got me an E-11 build by bowjunkie. As you can imagine, I was elated. However, there were a couple of issues right off the bat with it. First, the front of the scope rail was not attached in any way, and only resting inside a air-vent hole. Even though the gun was packaged well, the scope rail came out during shipping and put a nasty scrape, through the paint, down the side of the gun. I know we all like weathering, but this just looked bad. Secondly, the stock was out of alignment and snagged on the safety switch when opening it, and then would not lock into place when fully open. Honestly, both of these were minor gripes. The silver solder lines were absolutely immaculate, and not only thatÂ… the bolt worked, which added a cool dimension to the gun.

    Shortly after getting this gun, I was working the bolt one night (nothing extreme, just cycling the bolt) when the back of the gun popped off. For any of you that know anything about a Sterling, I know what you are thinkingÂ… the end cap just came off. Well, unfortunately, it was not that simple. Literally, the back of the gun came off. As mentioned, the Sterling has a butt cap. This buttcap, locks onto a thin metal locking sleeve that it welded to the receiver of the gun. Originally, the receiver tube extends all the way to the rear of the gun and then the sleeve was slid over the rear of the receiver and welded into place. However, on bowjunkie rebuilt Sterling, the receiver ends just before the locking sleeve. It appears as if he cuts, the locking sleeve, receiver and all, off the parts kit and then uses an inner sleeve to tack on the old part to the new receiver tube. While, I donÂ’t want to be overly critical, this seems like a somewhat cheap and easy way to do things, instead of correctly removing the original locking sleeve from the original receiver tube and attaching the locking sleeve to the new receiver. BowjunkieÂ’s method results in a pieced together receiver instead of a one-piece receiver. This joint is where my gun broke.

    I contacted Steve about it and he agreed to “reweld” the rear of the gun and assured me when it was done it would never come off again. Well, it took forever to get back but he did get it back to me and did not charge me for the work. However, within a few weeks…. The back was off again. L

    With the gun out of commission again and seeing what a hard time people were having getting their items from Steve, I decided to just let things lie. However, as I got to thinking about it, I saw an opportunity in this tragedy. One of the things I really didnÂ’t like about my bowjunkie E-11 was the finish. The gun is a flat black with a powdery grey highlightsÂ… kind of like a drybrushed weathering style finish, which I always thought was a bit silly because this is an ALL METAL gun. Why would you drybrush on weathering? Anyway, I thought since the gun was in pieces, now would be a good time to strip it and have it properly finished, with the original style Sterling finish.

    I stripped the paint from the gun a huge and very disheartening discovery. All those “perfect solders” weren’t so perfect after all. Steve had made his solders then cleaned them up and where they weren’t so nice, he simply smoothed them out with putty. Virtually every solder point had putty around it as well as a number of dings and machining gouges in the gun. The paint hid this nicely but the problem is that the original coating for a Sterling will not adhere to putty well. I know some probably wouldn’t care that the solder points were puttied but for someone who is a metal worker, this seems like an extreme shoddy effort to cover up poor craftsmanship.

    The next thing that was discovered, thanks to Dean O, was that the joints were not high-temp silver-soldered as they should have been, but instead were SOFT SOLDERED. That is rightÂ… regular old soft-solder, similar to what would be used for electronics. No wonder the back endcap wouldnÂ’t stay on. Not only did Steve not clean up the areas where the weld would be, but he used the wrong solder..

    Dean O was kind enough to look at the gun and send pics to darkside72 for evaluation. Sadly, Jamie found even more issues with the build in terms of accuracy and at this point, the only real option is to completely break this gun back apart and redo it, which will be MORE work than if Jamie started from scratch with a demilled Sterling. The worst part is that I now have to pay TWICE for a gun (once, for my friend who paid Steve, and once for me paying Jamie to fix this mess) that SHOULD have been made right the first time.

    Up until now, you might be saying “so what, you bought a finished E-11, you shouldn’t care how it was assembled as long as the finished product looks good.” If you feel that way, you are entitled to that opinion. However, this next little bit is VERY IMPORTANT FOR ANY BOWJUNKIE E-11 OWNER. In disassembling the gun, which required only basic hand tools (no power tools, no special machinery), I discovered that the way in which this gun is assembled is potentially ILLEGAL. That is right. If you own a bowjunkie E-11 you MAY own an ILLEGAL FIREARM that could be “readily restored” to a class 3 fully firing smg. Owning such is a FELONY offense.

    According to the ATF:
    “An unserviceable firearm is defined as one which is incapable of discharging a shot by means of an explosive and which is incapable of being readily restored to a firing condition. An acceptable method of rendering most firearms unserviceable is to fusion weld the chamber closed and fusion weld the barrel solidly to the frame. Certain unusual firearms require other methods to render the firearms unserviceable.”

    The penalty for breaking the law? Again, according to the ATF:
    “Violators may be fined not more than $250,000, and imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.”

    The key term in the above information is “readily restored.” The ATF makes this a loose term on purpose so they have a wider range of opportunity. They can be as stringent or as lax as they see fit. However, they do suggest “acceptable methods” for making a firearm unserviceable: “fusion weld the chamber closed and fusion weld the barrel solidly to the frame.” Most people also say it is wise to rebuild the gun in such a way as to not allow the original, working internal components from being installed/working properly.

    Bowjunkie fills the barrel of his Sterlings so a bullet cannot be made to pass through it but he does NOT weld the barrel in place. You can remove the inert barrel in less than 5 minutes and replace it with a fully functional barrel. I think even under the most lax view, this would be considered “readily restorable.” Additionally, from what I can see, the bowjunkie Sterling uses all original parts, including the original bolt. From what I can see, all that needs to be replaced is the barrel, which is held in place by two screws…

    I canÂ’t even begin to describe how * I am about this. I know some have not even received what they paid for but at this point, if I didnÂ’t have my item, I would not want it, but a refund instead as you would be receiving an extremely shoddy and ILLEGAL item... For whatever it is worth, you have been warned.

    IÂ’d like to thank both Dean O and Jamie for their professional assistance in this. They have been very helpful and patient. Hopefully, they will add to this with any details I left off or got wrong.

    Please note in the pics below, Dean O had already bead-blasted the gun to clean it up, taking off some of the putty, but you can still see it in numerous places. There was even putty in the rust pitting on the stock...

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  2. JHVanOphem

    JHVanOphem Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a gun person, but I did have a question regarding the potentially illegal bit.

    Could it be argued that because the gun was re-assembled using soft welds, and as noted is easy to break, that that aspect would render the weapon still unusable?

    Sure the barrel could be replaced but wouldn't the act of firing cause the entire thing to fall apart?

    Again, I'm not any kind of expert, and I'm not trying to defend Bowjunkie or anything, I just wanted to get that part clear for myself so I can better understand the seriousness of the message.
     
  3. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    You pretty much covered it Art.

    The major issue here is the receiver. A jig, some adjustments ,some good welding and brazing and this thing is firing again.


    Dean sent me a ton of photographs asking my opinion. At first the whole receiver threw me off as an original receiver until I paid attention to the joints it became obvious what bowjunkie had done. One way of knowing whether or not a gun has been brazed is the color of the welds. Dean spotted this right off the back. A true braze is gold in color, the bowjunkie is silvery (soft solder). Dean called me, we discussed the gun at great length and Arts options. The results were not in Arts favor unfortunatly. It will take a lot of work to bring the gun up to par and make it legal.

    Mods please stick... a serious legal issue is within our midst.
     
  4. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    Again some welding and it's up and running. Unseviceable means nothing can be done to it to make it fire. Take a bowjunkie gun (and 4-6 hours of work), realign a couple of parts, replace all the solder with welds and braze, drop in a new barrel and what do you have? :confused
     
  5. Tatooine_Todd

    Tatooine_Todd Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That's not how the BATF looks at it. They look to see if the receiver can be easily made to fire again (it appears it can in this case) then it may be a violation. The operative words are MAY BE, that said the BATF is very unforgiving and humorless in these situations. You are playing with serious fire if you don't have a professional smith de-mill the gun correctly. A FFL gunsmith may have problems if an unregistered receiver is brought to him to de-mill, by the way.

    This is a very problematic, and alarming subject.

    Todd
     
  6. Wakal

    Wakal Well-Known Member

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    Readily convertable? That is a rather high bar to attempt to reach.

    Hmmm....

    Give me my big mill, my favorite lathe, and an hour...I can build a fully functional open-bolt subgun out of scrap metal. Don't ask me how I know.

    Hand tools and the contents of my friend's service (plumbing) truck, and six hours. Same thing. Not pretty and not accurate, but functional. Don't ask.

    You guys spend too much time worrying (and causing others to worry). But what do I know, I'm just a professional gunsmith and instructor. If you want to talk to the head of the Firearms Tech Branch, I have him on speed dial ;)






    Alex

    (edited at R25's request)
     
  7. Art Andrews

    Art Andrews Community Owner Community Staff

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    You can say that again. I finally had to tell Dean to just stop telling me stuff because it was just too unsetting.

    I am still grateful that my friend got this for me, but man... what a headache. This level of poor work is simply inexcusable.
     
  8. Art Andrews

    Art Andrews Community Owner Community Staff

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    Not to be a smartass, but actually, I would. I have seen before where some people say things of this nature are no big deal while others think it is a VERY big deal. I am not trying to be an alarmist but I would rather be safe than sorry and would love to get something IN WRITING about this so it could be done once and for all.

    It may seem silly, but before I sent my MG-15 out to you, I wrote the ATF about having the barrel cut out and asked if they had a problem with that. I got a written letter back saying it was not an issue since my demilled MG-15 was already considered a "non-gun." It may seem like overkill, but if anyone ever asks about it, I have the paper to back it up. I would LOVE to have something similar for the Sterling.
     
  9. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    Alex sorry Bro but WTF does any of this have to do with the issue?
    Who is worried? Well I'd say if you own an illegal SMG receiver, you should be.
     
  10. RKW

    RKW Sr Member

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    What's the point of saying this? It's like me saying that I can build a bomb using just the ingedients found in almost any kitchen. But the difference here is that it requires knowledge and intent on my part. Bowjunkie's improper deactivation of firearms could cause innocent people to be breaking serious laws.
     
  11. Wakal

    Wakal Well-Known Member

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    You and your comment about "Again some welding and it's up and running", actually...that is what drove my comments. The standard to which you are trying to hold these conversion is not based on any fact or actual standard whatsoever, and seems to be fearmongering of the worst sort. The BATFE are not to be trifled with, but neither are they the evil Boogerman of legend.

    You and I have gone down this path before.

    Anything said by any BATFE agent is not worth the air (or ink) used to issue same.

    Follow the court cases. Reference Bob Stewart's recent case of selling "illegal gun kits"; the goverment gave up on the "functional" charge after initially testifying that they made a functional rifle out of one of Bob's kits after "six hours" of work (by the so-called master gunsmith of the BATF). Bob ended up in jail for being a felon in possession, not for selling kits that were "readily convertable" to being functional firearms.

    The problem is, yes, that the BATFE does not clearly and consistantly define what "readily convertable" actually is. They continually change their definition, and when challenged in court back off on the specific charges. I spent quite a bit of time talking to the head of the BATFE Tech Branch, asking him very detailed questions. He gave answers different that I received, in writing, from his subordinates...and in some cases, answers different than he gave under oath in various cases.

    If the gun cannot be made to fire, as this crappy conversions are, without professional intervention, then they (using the Stewart case as established case law; I hope one of the real lawyers around here will have a minute or two to make sure that I and my associates have read it correctly) are fine. Using junk welds as referenced in your otherwise entertaining post means that even if the E11 is completely dissassembled, reassembled with a funcational bolt and barrel, and fired...it would desintegrate with possible damage to the shooter, if not the shootee.

    My earlier post, as I have posted the last dozen times this fearmongering issue came up, stated that any reasonably proficient person with some tools and a bit of time can make a firearm...usually in far less time than it was necessary to try to "convert" an existing POS. Trusting the BATFE or any of their little agents is pointless; there is settled case law to play with vice any junior G-man's "opinion."





    Alex

    (edited at R25's request)
     
  12. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    I wouldn't jump on the color of the solder so quick, many of the "real" Sterlings have nothing short of silver soldered/brazed joints... Silver soldering/brazing the joints is an acceptable method when a Class II rebuilder is assembling a real one from a parts kit...

    Anyway it's a little disturbing that at least the barrel was not welded in place...

    And would the head of the Firearms Tech Branch let you sell the above as a dummy gun as is with only solder joints and in intact receiver?
     
  13. Art Andrews

    Art Andrews Community Owner Community Staff

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    Yikes. This is not at all where I was intending this thread to go. It seems Alex and Jamie have some differences of opinion on the legality issue (although to me, it seems this gun is far too readily convertable) but what neither seem to argue is that the workmanship on this gun is terribly inferior. As I said in my initial post, take what you will from the legality side, but if you want to have your gun accurized, as I do, the methods bowjunkie uses to assemble he gun simply will not allow for it. :(
     
  14. rocketeer25

    rocketeer25 Sr Member

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    I've pulled a couple of posts out of this thread that were OT. I think we all appreciate it when SMEs (subject matter experts) come into a thread and shed some light on a subject like this.

    Wakal and Darkside72 both seem to know their stuff, but apparently have a difference of opinion on how it applies here. No problem. But I think we would all appreciate it if we kept the conversation about the sterlings, and not about personal differences.

    I think Wakal understands this... he PMd me a few minutes ago saying that he went a bit too far in his posts. Thanks for recognizing that, Alex.

    You guys both have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in this area... thanks for being willing to share your viewpoints. I hope that anyone who has one of bowjunkie's build-ups would do what it takes is necessary to feel comfortable that they are within the guidelines of the law.

    Lonnie
     
  15. Wakal

    Wakal Well-Known Member

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    There are many types, as referenced above, of solder. Hell, I think I had five or six kinds of just so-called "silver" solder on the back of my workbench before I fled the States for this inhospitable climate. I took the original poster at their word, and from the look of the rather nice pictures (mine never turn out that well; I blame the camera...cameras... ;) ), tend to agree.

    Some nice high-temperature solder is nearly as strong as a proper weld; whilst the low-end lead solder is not quite as strong as JB Weld.

    And...that is not an intact Sterling receiver. I've blueprinted and built quite a few; I'm no expert on them like I am with the AR15 or STI patterns, but I have built some (rather nifty, IMO, closed bolt semi-auto) Sterlings of my own conversion as well as inert Sterlings for toy use.

    The debate is if that...not intact...Sterling receiver is able to meet the standard of "convertable" as shown; my point is that under the Stewart case...no it isn't. Little junior G-Men; hell, Sterling Nixon himself. tend to give erroneous information. They are not, much like the IRS, held to any standard of accuracy at all. However, case law is something different; at least it provides a solid benchmark vice any Jr. G-Man's opinion.

    Quality of the conversion? Well, I'd have expected better for that kind of money. But I don't think there needs to be a mad rush to one of Bowjunkie's competitors to hand over a stack of cash to be "safe" vice "happy with my toy." Jamie does a beautiful E11 conversion for a fair price, but I see no reason to throw money around on a toy that the owner is already perfectly happy about due to fearmongering.




    Alex
     
  16. Durasteel Corporation

    Durasteel Corporation Well-Known Member

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    If I can shed some light here as well



    MY understanding from Bowjunkie per conversations when I was beginning to rebuild my own sterling was that his parts were brazed on, not welded.

    This makes a huge difference simply because brazing, typically being a topical 'glue' on incongruent materials (ie metals arent the same), is a fundametnally different process --nor nearly as strong as a true homogenous weld, which effectively fuses the metal together. With brazing we are often talking about non-ferrous vs. ferrous "glueing". One would never expect a brazed copper-alloy metal or a tin/silver/lead alloy to bond iron based metals like steel with other steel parts. A true MIG, TIG, or ARC or stick weld molecularly bonds the steel gun parts...it does not glue them as a soldering or brazing approach does.

    I would be less concerned about legality issues (though I have no doubt they are very important) but with safety issues....ie, a warning to NEVER shoot a gun that has been piece together with soldering/ brazing.---you are more likely to kill yourself than someone else.

    Hope this helps.
     
  17. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    With the exception that about 3/4" was cut off the back, for the bastardized end cap what is not intact? It is well past any 85% or even 90% receiver blank...
     
  18. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    :rolleyes Brazing is what Sterlings were welded together with for 40+ years...
     
  19. DL 44 Blaster

    DL 44 Blaster Sr Member

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    While owning a "REALSTERLING" it seems to me that this side of what is non-functional is really open for constant debate. Considering even paperwork isn't worth the ink it's used on is kind of alarming and how so many agents, so many opinions leaves me with no comfort either. I guess it boils down to if one doesn't plan on having a BATFE agent knocking at ones door the weapon is best kept in the confides of ones home. It's the stance I had to take long ago when I bought mine....and I still LOVE IT...

    The IMA-USA solid reciever Sterlings apear to be the ONLY absolute,no questions, legal thing to own since you'd have to build a SMG out of scrap before you could get one of those to fire without killing yourself first.

    Question: CAN one LEGALLY own an operable SMG in the US???? Granted if there is paperwork and background checks to properly submit. I've got a friend who owns a belt fed .50 machine gun and he says it's all legal.....I don't know enough to question it, but my MG-34 has a solid reciever so I know I'm cool.....even still I'd love to crank out a few rounds on a real one :love

    Art, I'd consider getting some MAP gas and brazing rods and doing the attachments myself. Add some minor filling to the gouges and surely your Sterling will look good as new after you get a Real Sterling finish on it. It'll be a heck of a lot cheaper in the long run.

    Just a thought from a fellow do-it-yourselfer ;) I know you must be * to say the least and the thought of having so much into a Sterling is disheartening. I hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel for you on this one bud.

    Steve
     
  20. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    Huh? The sterling is a brazed gun right from the factory every one of them (except for the Canadian knock off, C1) and is regarded as one of the most reliable SMG every made... And probably 80% of all "real" Sterling rebuilds are brazed/soldered as well, the welded ones are just ugly...
     
  21. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    Sure as long as your State and local laws permit it... It's not cheap, takes time and requires a little jumping through the hoops but you can legally own a full auto weapon, even with a silencer ;)

    Once you jump through the hoops and follow all the rules you will be legal...
     
  22. Wakal

    Wakal Well-Known Member

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    Yes, an American citizen can own a machine gun, provided that they live in American and not one of the Socialist states ;) It takes a $200 check, some fingerprints, two passport photos, and the signature ofa "offical" (I use my local Police Chief; there is a list of approved folks)...you will get a neat "tax stamp" from the BATFE to go with your toy.

    Keep in mind, when thinking "80%" or "50%" (or any number at all) that there is no ruling on a percent completion. Read the Stewart case; that came out in court too. Incomplete is incomplete.

    Brazing? Soldering? There are many different kinds; I would not expect a tyro to know that but ask a machinist sometime; bring a sack lunch as the dissertation will take some time. I know; I did just that about twenty years ago :)



    Alex
     
  23. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    I understand there is not real % rule, but then I ask you where would you draw the line between a piece of pipe and an unregistered Sterling (or Sten) receiver?

    In your opinion does cutting off 3/4" off the back of a complete receiver render it back to pipe status, even with every other machining aspect complete on the tube?

    From the looks of the reference pictures, * in a new barrel, dropping in a functional bolt and fabricating a new end cap (or rigging the existing one) would result in a fully functional unregistered (agreed, probably not safe) Class III firearm, in under 30 minutes with hardly any more then an allen key and propane torch... I find it ironic that you as a FFL holder would not agree that this at the VERY best is boarderline legal...
     
  24. Treadwell

    Treadwell Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The receivers on his rebuilds (as of the time I ordered, Sept 2004) were supposedly newly machined (out of aluminum?), not pieced and patched from the original Sterling receiver.

    Does that make any difference? To my mind that would make it no longer even a rebuilt gun, but a new inert item with Sterling outer parts tacked on cosmetically. But the BATF doesn't do things according to "my mind", of course.
     
  25. lonepigeon

    lonepigeon Sr Member

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    Doesn't Bowjunkie just piece together US legal parts kits?
    Is he adding other parts? How can you argue that one of his conversions is readily convertible to use as an SMG when it's made from a legal parts kit?
    That would imply the parts kit is readily convertible and illegal which it is not.
    What am I missing here?
    Is he making new receivers?

    Edit (I was typing before Jay responded).
    Isn't Art's Sterling which started this thread made from a receiver in pieces? Hence all the putty and crap under the paint. Sounds like the conversions Cheaper Than Dirt sells but put together nicer.
     
  26. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    That's the fine line... Assembling gun parts into an unregisted gun is the illegal act, the parts kit is just a bunch of gun parts... The parts kit lacks an intact receiver, and that is the part that would fall under the "readily convertible" clause...

    Another fine line, yes he assembled the gun on a new piece of tube... Is that tube he made a receiver? That is the big question...
     
  27. DL 44 Blaster

    DL 44 Blaster Sr Member

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    I would only go so far as to assume that the solid reciever is an only exception as I previously mentioned, however welding a new tube reciever to the parts kit making, in essence, a potential weapon the illegal part.

    Funny thing is how many times the Sterling legality issue has been debated over the years.....second only to Trooper lids :D

    Steve
     
  28. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    No one has said this receiver is patched together... It's a new WHOLE receiver, which is the problem. Add some welds,drop in a new barrel and you have a functional gun. I feel like a god damned parrot here. :unsure
     
  29. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    A solid receiver is generally the best option, but it doesn't lend itself well to a sterling rebuild...

    Welding a plugged barrel in place and welding the receiver closed (ie welding the end cap on) with a destroyed bolt (machine the whole front section off) inside the tube... Possibly doing some modification to the trigger group, and even not cutting the openning in the tube for the mag well, thus the use of modified clips because of the lack of the openning would not allow the clip to fully seat... This would IMO be the best way to rebuild one for display or dummy with an outward "right" appearence... Also notice I said weld not solder or braze...
     
  30. Gytheran

    Gytheran Sr Member

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    Want a cracker? ;)

    Seriously, though... does the material of the receiver(aluminum/steel) make any difference?
     
  31. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    I don't think it's aluminum. You can't weld,braze/solder aluminum.

    If it were strong enough to hold together while firing it doesn't matter what it's made out of.
     
  32. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    Huh? You can weld, braze/solder aluminum just fine...

    Although it doesn't appear to be aluminum at all...
     
  33. Megatron

    Megatron Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    yes you can weld and solder aluminum....

    now here are some of the problems..
    soldering ,brazing and welding are not defined by what metal or alloys used but by the temperatures at which they happen.

    The real SMG were silver soldered (oven soldered ) as silver solder is very strong and was even used to hold ship plates together. At the welding supply store they call the wire "silver brazing wire" but its really solder. This solder is made of real silver and some other metals it uses a flux the shields the metal and helps the solder flow. Electric solder, plumbers solder or "low temp solder" is a Tin based alloy and also uses flux cored wire or liquid flux that etches the metal to be soldered.

    Brazing is a higher temp them soldering and also uses flux to shield the metal area being joined. Some Brazing wire or rods are much like Welding Rods with flux on the outside of them. Brazing is used a lot in casting to fill holes in statues and such.


    Soldering and Brazing are much like a type of "hot glue". They sit on top of the surface.

    In Welding the metals become one and a new alloy. There are many ways and types of welding now out there. But the temperature is far getter as the metal physical changes with the rod or wire and area being welded.
    Welding can weaken metal and is why it is not used in some applications.
     
  34. Jedirick

    Jedirick Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    RPF membership should look at it this way. If two guys with working knowledge of firearm conversion differ over legit conversion, then no amount of rationalization should allow an owner of a Bowjunkie conversion to feel safe and secure from the random - like opinions of the BATF.
     
  35. Sumatra

    Sumatra Sr Member

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    When I got my rebuild the endcap ring was busted off as well. To me this didn't seem like much of a problem since I just needed to JB Weld it back on. But it should have been a hint at the quality. It looks great right now, but aparently beauty is only skin deep.

    What disturbs me more is the legal corners that were cut. I was told that what he did to this kit made it legal. I can't remember everything he said he did, but I do remember him saying the magazine was welded into place and even if it wasn't, he had made it so it could not chamber a round.

    The big question for those of us who currently own one is, what can we do to make it legal? I don't have the equipment or ability to do any welding. I dare not send it to anyone. Am I stuck with an illegal weapon that I can't unload or make legal?
     
  36. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    If it's like Arts then yea you have an illegal weapon.
     
  37. Slave1

    Slave1 Sr Member

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    I certainly have thought the same thing. It seems like anything legal could be made illegal, given enough time.

    What's the definition of "readily" converted into a firing weapon? Are we talking one hour, six, ten? That seems to be the real question.

    If the regulations aren't clearly defined, and a person hasn't "acted" or have any intensions of trying to convert something into a firing weapon, I should think they would be clear.

    Interesting topic.
     
  38. Jimbo890

    Jimbo890 Well-Known Member

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    I got one of the IMAs, and it is a solid chunk from the endcap to the back of the ejection port. Weights a ton. The barrel is plugged with steel rod, and is welded to the receiver. No working bolt. I suspect this is to ensure that it can not be 'readily converted'. The thing makes a great club, though.

    I suspect, that a lot of the parts kits that were converted, unless the ID of the tube is much smaller than the 'real' ones, so much that a custom bolt would have to be made, the ATF would consider it a MG. Better safe than sorry. In the UK, to the deactivated Sterlings have only minor demils done and this does not pass US ATF muster, and are considered MGs.

    Ah, PVC blasters. No worries there.
     
  39. Wakal

    Wakal Well-Known Member

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    That is the question that caused the BATFE to completely drop the whole line of charges in the "readily convertable" part of Bob Stewart's case. The short story: Bob ran a company that sold rifle kits; the receiver was a tube with minimal work done to it. The instructions specified machine work, welding, and heat treating prior to functional firing. Since the '68 GCA allows an individual to build themselves one non-NFA (no full auto, no short barrel rifle/shotgun, no bore over .500) weapon for personal use per year, there was no problem. Until Bob's anti-BATFE stance (and books, and websites, and personal appearances/lectures) * off the Powers That Be (BATFE) :) So they rolled his house and business, confiscating everything gun, book, computer, and generally "Bob" related. They locked Bob up and recommended that he be refused bail, as a (IIRC) 67-year-old "flight risk."

    The government's case hinged on the "readily convertable" portion of the law, which has not been defined. Ever. The BATFE testified that their expert was able to make one of the part's kits go "bang" with a blank after six hours in a full machine shop run by the BATFE's best and brightest (LOL). However, under cross, the expert admitted that he had not heat treated the new receiver, nor was he willing to fire the conversion with live ammo, nor was he able to specify how long it would take (and with what tools) to make a kit fully functional.

    So the government dropped the entire line of charges, and nailed Bob for being a "felon in possession" (when they tossed his bedroom, they found a pistol on the top shelf of Bob's closet...Bob's wife said "whose gun is that?" D'oh.).

    Be careful in this thread. On one hand, you have a man who thinks he knows what he is doing yet stands to make a sizeable chunk of change off the fear his comments in this thread generates. Altruistic motives? Not when cash is involved, most days.

    On the other hand, you have a man who talks about case law and points out that "readily convertable" is not defined, and is generally about as clear as mud. But doesn't stand to make a dime, even though he himself does E11 conversions (as well as building real guns, prototyping new guns for major manufacturers, and generally keeping busy in the industry).

    Should you panic? IMO, and for what that is worth, no. The amount of machine time to make one of these Bowjunkie conversions functional, as noted in my first (rather flippant) post in this thread, is more than it would take to build a subgun out of steel stock. Assuming the receiver is in one piece, and is steel vice aluminum, and is dimensionally correct (beyond the missing back section)...it is possible. Probable is another thing.

    Speakign of probable...I'd be willing to wager that with my manual mills, CNC five and six axis mills, and lathes, stock of barrel reamers, and the rest of my shop...I could make one of Jamie's conversions go "bang," too. But I've made guns out of two by fours, nails, and inner tubes "just because"...

    As the Good Book says, Don't Panic






    IMO, of course.



    Alex
     
  40. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    I suggest point blank from the above images that there is NO machine work necessary to make that "dummy" gun chamber and fire live rounds... The tube is not aluminum as you suggest (and even if it was I would guess it would fire just fine), the orginal bolt fits inside so the ID is at least close... Like I said above an allen key and propane torch and under 30 minutes, is all that is nessary to make that dummy gun an active (although probably not safe) firearm no machining and only basic hand tools...

    And by the way I stand to make no money off of this so you can toss that whole twist...

    Alex your whole argument revolves around this "readily convertable" clause which is actually "readiliy restored" but interesting if you read the law as it is written and go back to my previous post in this threas back at the start... I have cleary stated that the an intact reciever is the problem, you say it's not intact (that is your opinion), but I argue that as the last 3/4" is insignificant to the overall function of the firearm and only requires a slight modification to the end cap to funcion as normal, thus it's an intact receiver, maybe not up to specs but intact non the less...

    The law is clear that in the second sentence that a machine gun is simply the "frame or receiver" the rest of the parts are not necessary... If you posses a frame or reciever of a machinegun you posses a machinegun... And I believe that is the issue here as there was nothing done to that receiver to make is non-funtional, you simply need to drop in a new barrel, bolt, and secure the end cap...

    Also note that in your "case law" the government dropped the charges and went for the easy out, dropping charges does not set a precedent in case law nor does it clarify the law... Charges are dropped every day in court for an easier conviction so to base your whole argument on a dropped charges as the facts, is a leap of faith...
     
  41. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    Alex you need to retract this bull$hit man. I stated before I wasn't looking to do squat. I gave my opinion as I was asked to do, on the ease of readily activating a bowjunkie build. And in my opinion it's disturbingly easy. You sir apear to have the ulterior motives. The drivel you're spewing forth directed at me is irrelevant,baseless nonsense.

    The ease at which dismiss the ease of activation is most disturbing. Not everyone lives in a "free" state. In many States owning a complete/uncut receiver along with a parts kit is considered a SMG in the States eyes. Someone could get into serious trouble.

    Grow up man...
     
  42. TMP

    TMP Sr Member

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    Its almost like ... :angel ... Well i want to buy one.. :love
     
  43. Durasteel Corporation

    Durasteel Corporation Well-Known Member

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    Well, lets clarify that a bit more too because I think my original post per welding vs. brazing etc should have been a bit more clear.

    Im not gun expert but the barrel itself is a whole piece, ie a barrel into/onto which various pieces are attached.

    Now, as for the soldering vs. welding vs. what appear to be machining, what evidence is there to substantiate that they were soldered?....Im serious, I dont know. My initial impression was that some parts looked like they were machined as part of the barrel or welded and machined/cleaned up.

    ....and the reason this seems logical is the amount of vibration and shock a machine gun would have to endure.

    What I was driving at was that the barrel itself should not be returned to true state through soldering. ...only a weld fuses the steel as a more homongenous ferrous piece. Not steel, silver, steel. Either way, a weld is invariably stronger and superior to brazing or soldiering.....soldering effectively welding in a sense, per its use on similar metals, not on ferrous metals.

    And in any case, maybe its my gun, but the sights, etc look machined to me. There is a continuity to the metal with ground parts that struck me as a machined piece....or welded and machined.

    Either way I appreciate the experts chiming in. I know my steels but gun history and manufacturing is something Im still learning.
     
  44. Dymerski

    Dymerski Well-Known Member

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    This might sound silly and paranoid...are not some legal eagles on the hunt for the RPF to be shut down??
    Soooo....posting about prop makers making full auto firearms just a little...well...silly.
    One more reason to come after the board.
    I think this thread should be nuked.
    Dean
     
  45. Durasteel Corporation

    Durasteel Corporation Well-Known Member

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    Nah, if anything it serves to help people.

    And if I might add some two cents in here..... 95% if not more of what goes on here is just small run stuff.....and often one-offs. Drop of a drop in the bucket.

    I am frankly more concerned about someone getting hurt, though Ive got a feeling the injury and death statistics are more heavily stacked against untrained dueling lightsaber fools than someone really trying to fire a stormtrooper sterling. They shot lasers anyway, :p
     
  46. Boba Debt

    Boba Debt Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Lets see, you can heat up the area of attachment and the part will fall off

    Further more very little of a Sterling is machined, most of the parts are stamped and other are drop forged.
     
  47. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    Take it as fact that there are no welds used in the assembly of a real Sterling simply brazes/solders and a few screws holding the individual parts onto the tube...

    A quickie on how the Sterling SMG is built, take a tube machine out all the holes and cut outs, braze/solder in the front end cap (barrel tip), barrel drops in from the open (back) end and attaches to the front cap with two allen screws, thats it it's pretty much free floating in the tube, less the two screws upfront...

    Slide the bolt in the open back end with the misc other parts and there is a twist lock ring brazed/soldered onto the back end of the tube so the endcap can be twist locked in place... The mag well, trigger group and a few other parts are simply brazed/soldered onto the tube as well with the only "fancy" application being the front sight that is set in a machined dove tail in the tube so it has left/right adjustment... Simplicity at it's best...

    And it isn't the barrel in a parts kit is complete with no modifiction done, it's one solid part that is screwed in place... On a dummy gun it should have a solid plug welded in it, IMO even considering trying to return a (properly) plugged barrel to working is just foolish...
     
  48. TD5422

    TD5422 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not an FFL expert, I have a C&R. But I believe it's legal to make a semi-automatic weapon. Might be splitting hairs, but unless you can make it full auto it's probably not a problem. also if your really worried, put some weld on the front of the bolt so the firing pin doesn't work and tack (weld) the bolt in place.
     
  49. exoray

    exoray Master Member

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    Yes it's legal to build your own semi-auto gun if you file the right paperwork and follow the rules... But a Sterling like this would still be a Class III firearm even in semi-auto as it has the short barrel...
     
  50. OdiWan72

    OdiWan72 Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Hi all

    Steve contacted me and asked me to post some informations reg. this issue.
    He can´t post by himself since he´s banned.

    "...in regards to my "illegal" Sterling rebuilds:

    ...let them know that I not only plug the barell but also grind the firing pin in the bolt off so that it can't be made to fire. And as far as the brazing part goes, I use 50/50 silver bearing solder for that. Sumatras and Braks were 2 of the earlier ones that I did. I now also weld the barell to the receiver via the front. And as far as putty goes, why would I not cover up machine marks on the original pieces in order to make the gun look prettier than 40 year old parts? The idea being that it is a display piece and wouldn't have to be repainted. I never hid the fact that I use putty to make my rebuilds look nicer....

    ... I honestly thought that by plugging the barell and grinding off the firing pin that it would be enough at the time.

    Thanks, Steve"

    One word reg. the adressed quality issues of Steves buildup.
    I checked this thread and totally understand the complaints reg. this special blaster. Anyway...I always heard nothing but praise about Steves work in the past. That´s why so many people wanted to have their sterling rebuild by him, right? So with all given respect, could the quality problem (and I´m not talking about the legal/illegal issue) be single cases only?

    I´m off now, Markus
     

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