Reversing its original position [pdf of 23AU05 ATF letter], the ATF has ruled a firearm equipped with the Akins Accelerator (based on a 2000 patent by Bill Akins) is a machine gun, even though, technically speaking, it's accelerated semi-auto fire and doesn't comply with the ATF's technical definition of a machine gun [at least not before the ATF modified the definition].
When you see the video of a modified Ruger 10/22 firing, you'll understand why. (Note the slight barrel movement, which is key to its operation.)
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Watching the recoiling mechanism of the Browning 1917 and 1919 belt-fed automatic weapon, Akins released this recoil action could be utilized as a motivating force for a new type of firearm accessory, one that could mimic full-automatic rates of fire, yet remain a greatly accelerated rate of semiautomatic operation, thus avoiding federal restrictions on automatic weapons.
It operates like this: "You pull the trigger, and leave the finger where it was, the gun fires, ejects the empty, recoils back, loads a new round while coming forward, the trigger resets, and just as it comes forward your finger pulls the trigger again, firing the round just loaded. This cycling continues until the mag is empty, or you move your finger forward."
The trigger is being reset and pulled again on each cycle, which technically is semi-auto fire.
The AA stock for the Ruger 10/22 sold for $1K. A maximum rate of fire of 650 rpm was claimed.
The company is encouraging firearm enthusiasts to write letters to the ATF, but it will probably be to no avail. The ATF doesn't want to see this same modification made to larger caliber "assault" rifles.
On 18JAN07, the company attorney advised all current owners to remove the spring (see image below) and send it (along with their name and address) to the ATF, as the ATF "requested" (or, presumably, get hunted down and disarmed). [pdf of letter]
Hundreds of people who bought the product based on the ATF's initial ruling now have a firearm they cannot legally possess, except by removing parts. Akins and his associates are denied a profit on a clever innovation, and will probably take a significant loss.
Read more about the beta test firearms at bigboomstick.com.
Those who bought the firearms during the
time the ATF certified they were not machine guns should be
grandfathered. They made a legal purchase of a legal product at the
The ATF can rule firearms so modified illegal, but the genie is out of the bottle in terms of how to do it. Making it function properly is not trivial, but it can be done with some engineering and/or trial and error.
The ATF did say a single function of trigger makes a machine gun. To redefine firearms with the Atkins Accelerator as automatic, the ATF has changed that to single function of trigger finger.
Perhaps what should be restricted is anything which can be fired at greater than X rounds/second (by 98% of users*), regardless of the mechanism.
*A small % of users (outside the 3 sigma bell curve) can fire revolvers and semis at amazingly rapid rates (as a commenter has illustrated with a link).
On 28AUG06, Bill Akins sent this e-mail out to the PSUBS-MAILIST:
Hi group. Just thought I'd show you what I've been so busy doing. A bit
off topic but I hope you will forgive me.
Just paste this into your browser http://firefaster.com/
and also http://www.acceleratorfan.com/home.htm
After inventing it 10 years ago and getting my patent in 2000 I'm
finally marketing it.