CFR 478.39 U.S. Parts Count Explained

Since 1968 U.S. law has prohibited importation of firearms that the government considers "not particularly suitable for, or readily adaptable for sporting purposes" Amendments and administrative actions over the years have expanded the ban. Current Federal regulations (27 CFR 478.39 Assembly of semiautomatic rifles or shotguns) provide that "No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed below, IF the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under the "sporting purposes" test.
  • (1) Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings or stampings
  • (2) Barrels
  • (3) Barrel extensions
  • (4) Mounting blocks (trunnions)
  • (5) Muzzle attachments
  • (6) Bolts
  • (7) Bolt carriers
  • (8) Operating rods
  • (9) Gas pistons
  • (10) Trigger housings
  • (11) Triggers
  • (12) Hammers
  • (13) Sears
  • (14) Disconnectors
  • (15) Buttstocks
  • (16) Pistol grips
  • (17) Forearms, handguards
  • (18) Magazine bodies
  • (19) Followers
  • (20) Floorplates

As long as the semi automatic rifle or "non sporting" shotgun has no more than 10 foreign parts from the accompanying list, it is legal to assemble in the United States even if it might no be importable under the "sporting purposes" test.
A good example is the AK-47 parts kit that sells. The breakdown of the ten foreign parts of this particular rifle is as follows: barrel, trunnion, bolt, bolt carrier buttstock, pistol grip, handgaurds, magazine body, follower and floorplate. The remaining U.S. parts are: receiver, gas piston, trigger hammer, sear and muzzle attachment. Although this particular example uses the AK-47, the same rules apply to other imports, such as: the G3 Rifles, FAL's and so on. 10 is the magic number for all "non sporting" shotguns and semi automatic rifles.

How this information applies to the Average gun owner.
Example, if you wanted to put an original muzzle brake on your AK-47 you would need to swap out a different foreign part, from the above parts list. Also, it is legal to own all the foreign parts for an AK-47 (or any semi auto or non sporting shotgun) but it is illegal to have them assembled with over 10 foreign parts. Much of the information for this post was taken from the Aug 06 Rifleman Magazine article by - Michael Humphries


Anonymous said...

Looks like you have a typo or other error in this post. At the end of the article, it says "it is illegal to have them assembled without at least 10 U.S. parts". You might want to double check, because I believe it should say "it is illegal to have them assembled with more than 10 foreign made parts."

AdamVC said...

You are right! I fixed the post, Thanks!