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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 
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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
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
 

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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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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
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
 

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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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Discussion Starter #10
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.:rolleyes:
 

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You need a Curio and Relic license thru the ATF. Easy to get and cheap. I got mine have had many old guns shipped to me directly.
 

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Just email the seller and ask if they really require an FFL to Arkansas . I seriously doubt it. They add that wording for those living in restrictive states.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just email the seller and ask if they really require an FFL to Arkansas . I seriously doubt it. They add that wording for those living in restrictive states.
Just for grins, I may try that---if I find something I really want from one of those dealers. However, most haven't had anything worth the prices they were asking. Also from checking out the other thread on this general subject that Dandak linked, it appears that hardly anybody has had any luck changing the minds of any sellers contacted.

Cheers
 

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Several years back one of the local shops was going through an ATF inspection, and he had an original Springfield Trapdoor in the back that the agent found wasn't on the books. The owner explained that it was an antique and by regulations didn't have to be on his books. The agent whipped out a copy from the ATF regulations (see, he was ready and had done this before) which actually covered modern copies of antique weapons that fired readily available ammunition. The shop owner simply put it on his books rather than show the agent why he was wrong, but would end up getting cited for some made up infraction in retaliation.
 

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It's also possible that the more prolific GB seller(s) use their "cookie-cutter" ad listings and standard templates, and don't change for an antique (or a C$R).
The GB listing tools aren't the easiest to use for an inexperienced seller either.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Just email the seller and ask if they really require an FFL to Arkansas . I seriously doubt it. They add that wording for those living in restrictive states.
Just thought I would add an update to what I already figured out. I emailed one vendor in Texas and phoned another in Mississippi--both states that share a border with Arkansas. Both responded pretty much the same way--saying that it was standard policy for them on all cartridge firearms.

Of course since I had called one of them, I could then counter by asking why--when all of the subject trapdoor rifles produced qualify as antiques by the federal law and both stated involved. The guy then tried to tell me that it wasn't an antique, but then quickly added that it made no difference because that's what their lawyers told them to do. I know B.S. when I hear it, but I knew I was up against a brick wall at that point---or at least an employee with the intelligence of a brick wall, so I politely thanked him and ended the call.

Both of these experiences just confirmed what others have said. Most of these dealers who require shipment to an FFL, do it as a shotgun approach to being safe. Basically they are simply to lazy to try to understand the laws and too full of hubris to admit it. Besides, they mostly deal with new firearms, so antiques get treated the same way. Of course, I'm sure there are a few who have just forgot to change the requirement when listing an antique, but not that many.

I'm always reminded of one of my favorite quotes from the late great comedian-- George Carlin:

"Think of how stupid the average person is and realize that half are even stupider than that"

Cheers
 

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Sounds to me like you have identified a soft spot in the extremely profitable gun selling business. I suggest you get your own FFL license, and bank your profits. Plus, you too can then enjoy working with knowledgeable gun buyers.
 

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It's easy to see why a seller would err on the side of caution and require an FFL. Just like the story I recounted, when people who are suppose to be enforcing the law don't even know the law your chances of being falsely charged are quite good.
 

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Springfield Arms

Go here. This is Frasca as in the author of the two volume reference you discuss above. He'll ship non-FFL. More importantly, he only sells solid pieces with honest descriptions. Take a look at what he has and the pictures vs. what some of the GB sellers have.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Springfield Arms

Go here. This is Frasca as in the author of the two volume reference you discuss above. He'll ship non-FFL. More importantly, he only sells solid pieces with honest descriptions. Take a look at what he has and the pictures vs. what some of the GB sellers have.
Thanks. However, after discussing those books previously, I found his website earlier in the week and have had it book marked since then. There's a wealth of info there and quite a bit for sale. He has mostly 1884 or later dated rifles for sale presently and only two 1873's (non cadet) However, I am considering one of them. I'm trying to snag an 1873 made prior to 1880 in decent shape with a shootable bore. However, I have found a couple others that are comparable although I would tend to trust Mr. Frasca's evaluation on a trapdoor more than any other for the obvious reason that he co-wrote the book. His photographs of what he is selling are certainly better than just about any others I have come across.

I also haven't mentioned why I am not looking at carbines. First is the higher price versus condition due to the desirability and second is that I have a nice H & R repro that I took in trade a few years back. Some previous owner went to the trouble of putting an original rear sight on it, which H & R oddly never did. Of course the front is still not authentic, but since it's dove tailed in about all I could do is the reshape the front blade to look more authentic. An added benefit is that it's safe to shoot modern jacketed ammo although the recoil is pretty stiff in a carbine. I'm aware that original carbine ammo was issued with a light powder charge. The McKeever cartridge box is an original that I've had for so long that I probably paid no more than $10 for it.

I reload and happen to have .45-70 dies, so I should be able to come up with a more suitable load-especially for
an original.



Cheers
 
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