Dan Shea of Long Mountain Outfitters / Phoenix Defence:
"There is ONE fully transferable factory original M249.
M16s that magically turned into M249s don't count. Dealer sample M249s that some examiner forgot to stamp don't count. The M249 and the Minimi were designed and made after 1968, so none from Belgium could have come in the country before then and been legit, original transferable guns.
I have the factory records on this. There is one transferable. The rest were destroyed. I had that gun, I had a letter from ATF declaring it to be transferable, and I sold that gun a long time ago. It is presently for sale by the owner for $550,000.
Every rumored transferable M249 that I have heard of has been a dead end- either a non-stamped dealer sample- at least one a year that someone calls and says is transferable, they pay 100grand for it after I tell them it's not transferable, they call later when it comes back with "Needs a demo letter" and the guy has already blown the 100grand and can't refund. Once a year that happens.
Factory serial numbers that are a good guideline on M249s:
FN00xxxx means Belgian made, pre-86 dealer sample that was imported by either Guns South in the 16 or 19 they brought in or one of the approx 100 that FNMI imported,
Cxxxxx means commercial US Factory made at FNMI- all after 1986 and all are post 86 dealer samples.....
E000xx is either one of a couple pre samples imported for Engineering at FNMI in 1984, or is the ONE transferable M249 made at FNMI in 1984 - that is the only one that remains."