Question to the FFL's here or anybody knowledgeable about the antique firearm class
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Thread: Question to the FFL's here or anybody knowledgeable about the antique firearm class

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    Question to the FFL's here or anybody knowledgeable about the antique firearm class

    I recently decided that I need to add an original 1873 Springfield trapdoor rifle (2 band musket) to my eclectic herd. I owned a carbine and a musket many years ago, but got them for nothing in a car trade while in college and sold them for a good profit about 6 months later. Besides they were a buck for a boxcar load back in the early 60's when this took place.

    I looked a bit at the Tulsa show, but didn't start doing so until a bit too late on Sunday, and I got pressed for time. So, yesterday I started browsing the on line sites like Gunbroker. I found quite a few good candidates, but probably will wait until the reference book I ordered on Amazon arrives tomorrow just to give me a little more of an edge on what to look for.

    However, in searching I noticed that around one out of every three sellers required that their item be sent through an FFL. From what I've read, the Springfield trapdoors were only produced from 1873 to 1893, so they are all legally antiques or in effect non-firearms by law since they stopped production well before the 1898 cut off. The only exceptions would of course be modern (post 1898) reproductions of such firearms.

    It seemed to make no difference if the seller was an FFL themselves or not---because I would note both types of sellers from the same states--one requiring an FFL and the other not doing so. I realize that some states have different laws concerning what constitutes an FFL regulated firearm versus an antique, but most do not.

    I also realize that the section of the GCA of 1968 pertaining to the antique classification reads like a small print crap created by a lawyer to totally obfuscate what it really means . I had to read a Wikipedia explanation of it before I was able to parse it out. However, I would assume that anyone who decides to apply for an FFL is going to work all of that out before they start selling.

    I'm seeing listings from Texas, Alabama, and Kentucky to name a few, where some sellers list the gun as requiring an FFL transfer and others from the same state do not. To the best of my knowledge none of those states define an antique firearm any differently than the federal law.

    Are these sellers just ignorant of the law or too lazy and full of hubris to bother try to understand it---or are they so gun-shy (pun intended) of possible legal issues that they just take a shotgun approach (pun again intended) and require an FFL transfer on any cartridge firearm they sell.

    For me the decision is easy---there are more than enough sellers not requiring an FFL to allow me to simply ignore the sellers who do require one. However, if such a good deal appeared that I wouldn't mind the extra bit of bureaucracy and fees, I would in effect bite the bullet (the absolute last pun) and bid on, or buy, it.

    Opinions appreciated.
    ei8ht likes this.
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    I think some choose to ship to an FFL merely for the sake of knowing it is going to a legitimate destination versus a copy of some unknown guys driver's license

    Go to Dixie Gun Works online gun list. I think they have a few.
    Amat Victoria Curam

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    Quote Originally Posted by 29aholic View Post
    I think some choose to ship to an FFL merely for the sake of knowing it is going to a legitimate destination versus a copy of some unknown guys driver's license

    Go to Dixie Gun Works online gun list. I think they have a few.
    I had called them this morning because their computer system is on the fritz. They have zero presently. At one time back in the 1970's through the early 1990's when I lived in Memphis and would drive up to Union City about once a month, they always had a healthy inventory of trapdoors and their catalog had scads of original parts for just about all configurations. Of course that was when Turner Kirkland was still alive and it was a different store from what it is now.

    Thanks, anyway
    Last edited by forward_observer; 04-10-2019 at 02:13 PM.
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    People in general don't know all the ins and outs of gun transactions, so many require FFL transfers for antiques just to be on the safe side. On the same token, many FFLs don't recognize the 03 license simply because they don't know the regulations regarding C&Rs. I can't say that I blame them for playing it safe, but it's not good for business.
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    I LOVE LOVE trapdoors!!! Which reference book did you buy?
    And here is a post I started a few years ago about some sellers requiring antiques to be shipped to FFLs.

    https://www.coltforum.com/forums/col...iring-ffl.html
    Last edited by dandak; 04-10-2019 at 02:56 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandak View Post
    I LOVE LOVE trapdoors!!! Which reference book did you buy?
    This is the one I bought from Amazon. It seemed to be comprehensive enough for my purposes and cheap to boot. It also had good reviews

    The 45-70 Springfield by Joe Poyer and Craig Riecsh



    It was just delivered a couple of hours ago.

    I saw a two volume leather bound set at the Tulsa show that I was told was the Trapdoor bible, but they were priced at $120. Since I only intend to purchase one modest example, I thought the paper back from Amazon would do just fine.

    Cheers
    Last edited by forward_observer; 04-10-2019 at 05:58 PM.
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    As you know, legally, a FFL is not required for shipping antiques. However, a FFL dealer can require FFL-to-FFL shipping in accordance with their comfort level.
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    Besides Poyer's book, I have 'The .45-70 Springfield' Trade edition by Frasca and Hill and Waite's 'Trapdoor Springfield'. I used to have quite a few Trapdoors but now am reduced to 3 that I know of.
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    Recently I sent an 1892 gun to a smith that only accepted transfers from a ffl. So I wnet to my ffl whose comment was "one of those guys." He took the gun to the USPS and shipped, no paperwork required. At least when the gun is returned there will not be a background check, so no transfer fee.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaffee View Post
    Besides Poyer's book, I have 'The .45-70 Springfield' Trade edition by Frasca and Hill and Waite's 'Trapdoor Springfield'. I used to have quite a few Trapdoors but now am reduced to 3 that I know of.
    I think the leather bound books I saw at the Tulsa show were by Frasca and Hill.

    If you find a Trapdoor that you didn't know you had then just send it to me. I'll pay the shipping and then you won't have to spend time worrying about how you overlooked it. I know--it would be an extreme inconvenience for me, but then what are forum friends for.
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