View Full Version : Form 1 SBR app' question

25 February 2013, 16:40
Good evening,

Edited my original post after I thought about what I was asking.............. I have two questions:

1. When I have a lower that I'd like to use as an SBR is it customary to wait for the stamp to be approved and returned before having the lower engraved? If for any reason the stamp isn't approved then I would rather not have the lower engraved I'm thinking.

2. Am I able to use an SBR-approved lower with a non-SBR upper without any problems or is it relegated for some reason to SBR use only once approved?

Thank you.


25 February 2013, 21:35
1) You can wait till you have stamp in hand or you can engrave before hand, as long as when you put the NFA length upper on, the lower has been engraved with your Form 1 markings. Until you have actually put the NFA upper on, you haven't yet manufactured an SBR, so prior to that moment and whenever there is no upper on it, it is technically the same as any other AR-15 style lower in a legal sense. If you want to take the "safe" route, you could wait. Then you would have your form 1 in hand, and you can hand a copy to the engravers so there is no mistaking exactly what needs to appear on the receiver. I just recently got my form 1 back and did this, though I only waited because the engraver was a bit backlogged during the holidays.

2) Yes, you can use a non-sbr upper on the SBR stamped lower. It is only an SBR when a sub 16" upper is attached. Because AR's are so easily swappable, putting a longer or shorter upper on is not a permanent modification, thus you can do it at your discretion as long as you eventually put the SBR upper back on. You are only technically supposed to inform the ATF if you make a permanent modification, like say you submitted a rifle with a 10.5" barrel, but you sold that upper and decided you'd rather have an 11.5". You would simply write a letter stating you made a permanent modification, and state you changed barrel length to X and overall length to Y. From what I've read/heard, this is more to cover your butt and you can do it after the fact. This also lets you take the SBR lower wherever you legally can, as long as it has a non-NFA upper on it. Otherwise you have to go through the notification process to the NFA branch for approval before crossing state lines with an SBR.

I'm new to the NFA arena, so I am sure some would have other opinions but being "safe" or "cautious" probably wouldn't hurt, especially with the ATF's history of A-Holery... and the current political climate.

26 February 2013, 04:03
Thank you LanceCriminal for the reply and information.

26 February 2013, 07:48
The engraving consists of your name, city, state, so other than that it doesn't really matter what the Form 1 says. You could send it or take it in to get engraved anytime. Currently, it appears that NFA Branch wants the engraving to be your name with no initials ("Joe Blow" instead of "J Blow"). City likewise fully spelled out, state can use recognized postal abbreviation.

Once you have the stamp in hand, you can put any upper on the lower that you want. While the lower has a non-SBR upper on it, it's no longer an SBR. You can switch back and forth between uppers as you wish. If you make a permanent change in barrel length, ATF would like you to notify them by sending them a letter.

26 February 2013, 10:58
Thank you Hmac for the reply. A follow up question- I've read that Orion Arms is a well-known engraver for the lower. Do you have any other suggestions?

26 February 2013, 11:36
I have used both Orion Arms (they're only about an hour away from me) and Ident Marking in Texas. Both have done excellent work for me and they were easy to work with. Turnaround time was the same. Ident Marking was significantly cheaper.



26 February 2013, 11:58
I'm pretty sure once the lower is registered with the NFA, it becomes a regulated item under the law regardless of which upper you have on it. If it leaves your possession, it must be transferred via Form 3. You could bring it to an engraver and sit there while he does the work, but shipping it would be more complicated. This is why many people have the engraving done first. Before it's an SBR, you can ship it to any FFL just like any other standard weapon.

Once you have your tax stamp, you can replace the upper with anything you want. If it is a "permanent" change, the ATF would like you to notify them. I am not aware of any court cases that involve prosecution for using a different upper on an SBR.

Ident Marking did a couple for me and I am very pleased with the results. I had them do a fairly complex logo, not just text, and it came out very clean.

26 February 2013, 13:16
From the BATFE FAQ http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/national-firearms-act-short-barreled-rifles-shotguns.html#receiver-nfa-transfer

Q: Does the installation of a barrel over 16 inches in length (SBR) or 18 inches in length (SBS) remove the firearm from the purview of the NFA? If so, is this considered a permanent change?

Installation of a barrel greater than 16 inches in length (SBR) or 18 inches in length (SBS) will remove the firearm from the purview of the NFA provided the registrant does not maintain control over the parts necessary to reconfigure the firearm as a SBR or SBS.

Q: Is it necessary to send notification to ATF and receive acknowledgement that the SBR or SBS has been removed from the purview of the NFA before it may be sold as a GCA firearm?

There is no requirement for the possessor of a registered NFA firearm to notify ATF that the firearm has been removed from the purview of the NFA. However, ATF recommends the possessor notify the NFA Branch of such changes in writing so that the possessor is not mistakenly identified as the owner if the firearm is later used in a crime. If, at the time of transfer, the firearm does not meet the definition of a SBR, it should be transferred without filing the NFA transfer application and without payment of the transfer tax.

Q: If I remove the short barrel from my SBR or SBS, may I move the firearm across state lines without the submission of ATF Form 5320.20, Application to Transport or to Temporarily Export Certain Firearms?

If the registrant retains control over the parts required to assemble the SBR or SBS, the firearm is still be subject to all requirements of the NFA. ATF recommends contacting law enforcement officials in the destination state to ensure compliance with state and local law.

Q: May the short barrel on an SBR or SBS be replaced with a long barrel for hunting or other purposes, with the intent of replacing the short barrel?

Yes, and you will not be required to again register the firearm before replacing the short barrel. ATF recommends written notification to the NFA Branch when a firearm’s configuration is permanently changed or removed from the purview of the NFA.

Q: May I transfer the receiver of a short-barrel rifle or shotgun to an FFL or to an individual as I would any GCA firearm?

Yes. A weapon that does not meet the definition of a NFA “firearm” is not subject to the NFA and a possessor or transferor needn’t comply with NFA requirements. The firearm is considered a GCA firearm and may be transferred under the provisions of that law.

"Retain control of the parts" tends to be the contentious part. Generally, that's appears to be interpreted as having them available to convert back. Time frame is never mentioned. You can put a 16 inch barrel upper on your SBR and loan it to a friend. If he takes along the SBR upper, that could be a problem. Same is true for taking it out of state. Leave the SBR upper at home, you won't have a problem (assuming the 16 inch rifle is legal in the state you're going to). When you put a 16 inch barrel on a registered SBR receiver, it's not a Title II weapon anymore unless you can readily convert it back right there on the spot.

You can register an SBR with whatever length barrel you want, but you can put as many different length barrels you want on it as long as you have the parts necessary to convert it to its registered configuration. If you want to change it permanently ATF would like you to write them and notify them. You don't need permission, just to notify them. You'll get an acknowledgement of that change anywhere from 1 to 3 years later.

Furthermore, if you remove the SBR from the purview of the NFA by putting a 16 inch barrel on it, you can even sell it as a Title I firearm. If you want to be extra safe about it, you can write the NFA Branch and ask them to remove it from the data base. BATFE recommends that because the firearm is in that database under your name. It's nice that the ATF want's to keep us from being identified as the owner in case that firearm is later used in a crime. They're from the government. They're there to help you.

It is true that a) interpretation is a bitch...there's very little, if any, case law precedent and b) it is extremely unlikely that anyone would ever run into an ATF agent out at the range or on NFA enforcement patrol.

9 March 2013, 08:00
I'm pretty sure once the lower is registered with the NFA, it becomes a regulated item under the law regardless of which upper you have on it

No. It's only an SBR if it's got a short barrel on it. If you put a 16 inch or longer barrel on it, it' s not an SBR until you put it back on.

10 January 2014, 15:39
Can the form 1 be printed off a home computer on normal paper and everything. Just needing all the appropriate signatures and notarized?

10 January 2014, 15:43
Also the muzzle device doesn't have to be pinned or anything once i have the stamp? And how do I know the over all length before I purchase the items?

10 January 2014, 16:26
Can the form 1 be printed off a home computer on normal paper and everything. Just needing all the appropriate signatures and notarized?

Yes, but make sure you print both pages on one sheet of paper.

Also the muzzle device doesn't have to be pinned or anything once i have the stamp? And how do I know the over all length before I purchase the items?

No. Measure a lower, add the length of your barrel, add an inch or two if your muzzle device is pinned. Don't pin it unless your state requires it. As to OAL, make your best guess. Your next question will be stock extended or collapsed? I've sent them in both ways. I believe that OAL with stock extended is currently in vogue.

10 January 2014, 18:26
Thank you much h Mac. Do they refund your money if you don't get approved? Not that I see any reason that I shouldn't. Tho I have to military or police training. I am clear for background checks buying fire arms.

I still have a little bit to figure out before I start this build just wanna get moving on this stamp because I've heard how long it takes. Just want to do it right the first time.