What's this conversion, and who makes it?
Answer in the continuation
Complete WTF series [large DL] - what percent can you ID?
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It's the Carbine Conversion Unit (CCU) sold by Mech Tech Systems, Inc. It coverts some Glock or 1911 pistols into short rifles.
Here's how a1911 conversion looks:
Dave Douglas wrote postively about it in the Jan-Feb 2004 issue of American Handgunner. Every reference this blogger can find is positive.
Dontto's Firearms Systems lists pricing.
The Mech Tech site does not address the legality, beyond stating the CCU is "not a firearm."
This legal notice is at the site of AKJ Concealco, which sells the unit:
The CCU is classified as a handgun accessory-not a firearm, and is exempt from Federal regulation. This means that it can be sold and shipped directly to the customer without any of the hassle usually associated with purchasing a firearm. However, it is the buyer's responsibility to ensure that he is within the bounds of state and/or local statutes.
We cannot ship the CCU internationally or to California.
As DEW notes in a comment, with the stock attached to a 16" (actually 16.25") barrel, it becomes a legal rifle when assembled, in most states. California has its own special laws.
To be on the safe side, you should check your state, county, and local laws before buying a CCU.
BATF Logic: Handgun to Rifle OK, Rifle to Handgun not OK
In an article for the May-Jun 2004 issue of American Handgunner, John Taffin explains the curious BATF interpretation of the law:
Normally a rifle cannot legally be made into a pistol. In the early days of Guns Magazine one Col. Ward Betz got into difficulty because of the article he had written about converting a Remington single-shot rifle into a .257 Roberts single-shot pistol. When Remington introduced the action used in their Model 600 rifle, they first brought it out on the .221 Fireball XP-I00 pistol as it is generally OK to go from pistol to rifle but not from rifle to pistol. Don't confuse me with logic; it is simply government regulations. Even Thompson/Center had to go to court over the issue of whether or not someone could have a rifle butt stock for one of their single shot rifles when they also had a pistol barrel. T/C won this one, however it is still illegal to mate a TIC rifle butt stock with a T/C barrel under 16" in length.
On the Mare's Leg, which is build using previously unused pre-safety Winchester Model 94 actions, the ruling is since these actions have never been used to build a rifle it is OK to use them to build a pistol. This does not mean one can legally shorten the butt stock and barrel of any existing rifle. This still remains illegal with harsh penalties attached. However, Buchanan now has the legal right to produce Mare's Legs through his company, J. B. Custom.
To quote from the ATF letter: "A weapon made from a rifle having a barrel less than 16" in length or an overall length of less than 26" is a firearm subject to the provisions of the National Firearms Act. It is unlawful for a person to make or transfer a firearm of this type without first having an approved application from ATF and paying the $200 tax. However, a lever action pistol made from a new, unused receiver, which had never been assembled or barreled as a rifle, would not be a weapon made from a rifle as defined above and it would not be subject to the provisions of the National Firearms Act."
Describing the J.B. Custom Mare's Leg, Taffin said:
Some recent concerns about a new buttstock for an 1886 I have led me to Jim Buchanan, who happened to have a large assortment of Winchester parts. In the course of our conversation, he related the fact he was going to introduce a Mare's Leg.
Many shooters, especially those who spent their formative years watching such programs as Wanted, have had a desire to have such a sixgun/rifle as their very own. The problem is federal regulation normally prohibits a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16". Anything else requires special licensing and permits. Buchanan told me he had discussed it with the proper authorities and had been given the OK. "Do you have it in writing?" I asked. The answer was negative and I counseled him the wise thing to do was to do nothing until he had it in writing. It took six months but he now has the official okay in writing to produce the custom Mare's Leg with a shortened butt stock and a 12" barrel.
This pistol is a true sixgun with a magazine capacity of six rounds. The barrel is 12" in length, the butt stock is shortened to just behind the back of the lever and fitted with a brass buttplate, and the chambering is neither .45-70 nor .44-40, but rather .45 Colt. "LEVER ACTION PISTOL JB CUSTOM" is found on the barrel: the workmanship is excellent with well-finished and fitted wood and deep bluing, and sights are typical levergun sights with both front and rear set into a dovetail. Using those sights is something else again. This lever action pistol doesn't work from the shoulder nor does it fit in the hand like a normal sixgun. Josh Randall always fired it one-handed or from the hip and that seems to be the best way to go. Practical? Nope. But it sure is an attention-getter and fun-shootin' sixgun.
For more information, contact J.B. Custom, 3700 E. Pontiac St., Fort Wayne IN 46803; (260) 417 2099. It won't be cheap!
If ACE understands this correctly, a "Mare's Leg" like the character Josh Randall carried in "Wanted, Dead or alive," built from new parts as a pistol, can have a barrel shorter than 16 inches. But, you cannot legally "chop" a carbine to make a Mare's Leg, even though the end product is the same. Go figure.
If this is incorrect in any way, hopefully one of our visiting experts like Daniel E. Watters will comment with a correction or clarification.