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Colt M16-A2 Keosayian collection


Rex Tyson
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I am brokering this M16A2 for a great friend and customer. I transferred this rifle to him in 2016. At that time it was unfired in the box. The lower was disassembled and a different fire control installed along with the LMT stock you see attached in the pictures. The original fire control has been reinstalled and has never been used.  Original stock assembly is included and unused. The upper was removed and sold. Original box is included. This is one of the most desireable registered receivers there is. This one is also marked in the more preferred "AUTO" as opposed to "BURST".  It was fired 100 rounds in one day and put away. Pretty low mileage as far as machineguns go.  It is on a form 4 in Kentucky. I will handle all the paperwork and shipping and guarantee this transaction. I will pay the transfer and shipping to your FFL.  I will do half down to submit the form and the other half when it ships. As one of the last transferrable Colt M16s made, this one will be guaranteed to to appreciate in the future. Contact me at rext269@aol.com or 859-361-9444. Thanks for looking.

Rex Tyson

Kentucky Firearms

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Edited by Rex Tyson
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Smoking deal! This is one of the Keosayian collection guns being that all of 15ish that were offered in 2015-2016 we serial numbers 80300XX. This group of guns were known as the "black rifles" because they came in the latest black finish factory from Colt. All of them auto stamped, about half in M4 R0977 config, and half in 20" R0901. They transferred out of Colt for the first time in 25yrs in 2012 to Johns Keosayian's own FFL/SOT in 2012ish and were brokered by David Spiwak and Chestercounty in 2015-16. I tracked and recorded all of them, and specifically remember this serial number 80. I ended up buying two of them one in both configs in 2015. I would of bought every one of them if I had the money. Bought a 3rd one a 4yrs ago. The last one from this batch I have seen for sale was on SN 72 listed on GB for 150K last month. Check GB completed auctions for M16A2 and you will see it.  I have a lot more information on these guns I'd rather not disclose, but these are 6 figure guns. Whoever got this one for 47K got an incredible deal. Kudos to them. I don't need a 4th one, but if the deal falls through for whatever reason, I'll take it off your hands for 47K.   

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I don't know who you robbed to get one for 30K haha, but that is what everyone paid when they were initially available in 2015. I paid 28K and 29K for the two I bought in 2015. All of the 80300XX guns were NIB. I have an archived folder where I saved the pictures of all what I call 300XX guns. Dealers refer to them as the "Black Rifles". I recorded a dozen of them, but I believe there are about 15 of them and maybe as high as 18-19. Half in R0901 (M16A4)  and the other half in R0977 (M4A1)  Personally I think they are worth around 90K-110K. The one currently on GB for 150K might be a little far fetched, but who knows. Ruben is a good market forefront value indicator/predictor. If a NIB 300XX gun fell in his lap, I predict he would price it at around 80-90K. Maybe he'll see this and chime in.  

The reason they are expensive is because they are the newest and most current M16/M4 civilian transferable guns in existence. They were "manufactured" in 2008.  If you want what the military currently has, then this is your only factory assembled/manufactured option. ATF let is slide as the SN's/Guns never transferred out from Colt until 2015. There is no way to definitively prove what year the recievers were manufactured. Who is to say they are not prototype designs from the 80s. The receivers, which have post 2003-04 features, who is to say Colt did not prototype the exact features 20yrs in advance? Incredibly unlikely, yes, but prove it. After many calls and discussions with Colt employees over the years, I found that the guns have TWO manufacture dates in Colt's data base. One in December 1985, and one in June 2008 when those 1985 SN's/Receiver were "assembled" along with government export contract orders. They were probably told to keep the info out of the system but some of the 20" R0901s slipped through. I got no hits on the M4A1's but I would bet they were "assembled" or "reconfigured" in or around 2008 as well. One of mine, a 20" was in their "new" data base (They have two databases one "old one" that they archived but have access to) as having two manufactured dates which they (not me) found strange. It is inputted in their database as R0901 M16A4. Essentially what these 300XX guns are, are modern day military weapons with M16A2 die stamped magwells. Though let me reiterate, to prove if, what & when post 1986 changes were made, would be impossible. These were all done at the factory with factory tooling and never transferred out from Colt's possession until 30yrs later.

Everyone want's what the military currently has. There are A LOT of people with much deeper pockets then myself who would love to have a factory made transferable version of what the military currently has. THAT is why I feel these are 6 figure guns. These 15ish guns are the only ones in existence that I know of. I have others with 2 MFG dates, one 1985/2004, but it is a 9mm Colt SMG. The newest possible ones were these 2008 black rifles.

You can see that even the factory serialize (hid last two numbers) tag on my 20" shows the model as a R0901. An R0901 is a M16A4 made for international sales. 

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Edited by TheSnail
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Ok, call me obsessive on these 80300XX guns, but I found OP's serial number 80 within my archiving of the Black Rifles. First listed by David Spiwak (As mentioned earlier) in September 2015 and purchased by OP's friend in December 2015. 

Looks like this SN80 was a R0901 when first purchased, exactly the same as my first 80300XX gun shown above. 

 

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AAAAND Sold (December 7th, 2015)

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Thank you for the information on this weapon. We are merely custodians along the way.  This will be searchable for a long time so the information will be relevant down the road.  This one did indeed come from David Spiwak and was new in the box.  It was intended as a lifetime purchase and things change and interests fade. The upper was removed in favor of a Knights and sold. This one would have an A4 upper? Certainly a collectible, but I wonder about the appraisal? I have not had anyone reach out to offer a premium above asking price yet which would make an interesting decision for the new buyer. That would almost certainly be a record amount for an M16 where you would have a choice of M60’s as well.  Please keep the information coming or if you prefer to use my email above or PM I would appreciate it. 
Rex Tyson. 

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Thanks Rex! Yeah I completely agree, I think it is important we keep the history alive. A lot of these MGs have a rich history, and losing that information and history is easy as they switch hands over the years. I try to archive and pass on the information when I can, so it does not get lost. Some of my guns I wish I had more information on, such as a 1985 Billistic double pushpin MP5 I have, with a form4 listing that HK Germany as the manufacturer and nothing about Billistic. It transferred three times like that, so I don't know how that is possible. I don't think I'll ever learn the full history of that one which is a shame, so I make it a point to transfer the knowledge of the ones I do know, on to new owners and enthusiast where I can.  

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I’m going to take some of the guessing out of here for you guys. There are 80 of these guns. 8030001-8030080

8030001 through 0020 all built in commando shorty config. 
8030021 through 49 all in m4 carbine config.

The remaining units all in 20” rifle configuration through 8030080

All were originally papered as 20” rifles when originally formed in 85

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Wow! Thanks for the info! Those SN ranges per M4 vs A4 match perfectly with my data. 80 huh, that is way more than I had envisioned but fantastic to know. I know you and David got these on the market. I think Ed Holtz from Urban Armory was also involved. You got a bunch of variants from john, many more variants than just these 80300XX guns. I remember buying a Colt SMG from you and when I told David, he told me just to pay for it through him which caught me by surprise. You guys teamed up to broker them. You had experimental ones and single digit ones. There were three single digit SMGs that I saw you had, SN 9, 5 and 2. I went for SN 2, but someone beat me to it. I chose 9 over 5 as it had 9mm Nato right above it, so I thought that was cooler than 5. These SMGs were in Colt's "old" data base as being manufactured in 2004. I really wanted one of the 80300XX guns you had with the factory M203s attached. Unfortunately those all sold faster than I could gather the cash.

Anyways, it would be great to chat one day on that whole John brokering deal during the 2015 era. From what I heard, it was like a 1980's Miami like event/story. Wish I could of bought more of them, but at the time, I literally sold my month old BMW M3 for the 60K needed to buy the 20" 80300XX gun and the SN9 SMG. Drove a beater truck to work for two years following, but man am I glad I did. Anyways, thanks again for sharing this valuable info. Very much appreciated Sir.

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  • Rex Tyson changed the title to Colt M16-A2 Keosayian collection

Hey Rex. We can look at it in two ways: They ARE the last known M16s and SMG's to transfer out of Colt's possession. They are NOT the highest SN's to transfer out from Colt. Ruben just posted an M16A2 with serial number 8113601. His is a period correct M16A2. The Black Rifle guns (80300XX) from the John Keosayian collection are earlier/older serial numbers than Rubens but the guns are "physically" 25 years newer. The black rifle M16A2s (80300XX) were "physically" updated/refreshed at Colt in 2008 with factory Colt tooling prior to transferring out from Colts possession. The single digit serial number SMGs like my HT000009 were "physically" updated/refreshed" in 2004. 

They were the last guns to my knowledge to transfer out of Colt on a Form-3 to John's personal SOT02. I know that because it is recorded in the Colt database. I did not ask when they transferred out but sometime between 2008 when they were manufactured, I mean "Physically" updated/refreshed at Colt, and 2015 when they were brokered by David, Chad and Ed. I'm guessing around 2012 is when they transferred out from Colt. 

You can make a movie on the Keosayian collection and the whole brokered deal, whole story is super interesting. John was not a CEO, I don't think he was even an formal executive at Colt. From what I gathered John was/is a very wealthy individual that got his wealth outside of Colt. It was told to me that John bailed Colt out of bankruptcy in the late 70s early 80s with his own money. For that, he basically had the keys to the place. Actually, not figuratively speaking, he DID have the keys to the place.

So from what I was told, he would stay in the loop on all R&D and prototypes. If he saw a prototype gun that he though was interesting, he would take it with no questions asked. One offs, unique variants, he would have them for himself. I could not imagine what kind of crazy guns he has in his personal collection that he did not part with. These black rifles were from Keosayian but not really from his "collection" per say. I'm sure he kept a couple of examples of the black rifles for himself, but the bulk of it was to get a return on his investment back in 1985.

He was/is a visionary or at least an incredible businessman. In 1985 he registered many dozens of MG serial numbers. M16A2, A1, X-prefix protos, SMGs. Whether these SN's were on physical guns in 1985 is up for speculation. They are sometimes considered greyarea guns. Some of them might be legit 1985 guns, but the most were "physically" updated/assembled in 2004 and 2008 using old M16A1. A2 and SMG die stamps. Which is why earlier I said these guns are modern day military weapons' with retro diestamps. Proving they are post bans would be impossible. The ATF turned a blind eye to it as they never transferred out from manufacturer. Nor does the ATF have the will, drive or resources to investigate Colt. Design wise, they might have post 2000 M4 receiver features, but who is to say they aren't 1985 prototypes with those exact features? Like I said before, the chances of that are very unprobeable, but prove it...

Secondly, we're talking about Colt here. You think the ATF/Gov is going to investigate the US military's main supplier of small arms for making ~100 "counterfit" preban machineguns? Thirdly, Colt's 400 lawyers would squash any sort of investigation. I know my M16A2 receivers were born in 2008 (It was manufactured in December 1985 AND manufactured in June 2008), but even if they were born in 1985, I could not prove they were born in 1985. They never left Colt in 30 years. It could be a 1985, 1989, 1996 or maybe even a 2005. Mine in the eyes of the court is a 1985 with prototyped M4 features unless definitively proven otherwise. John had the ability to hand over a list of SN's and retro diestamps to the production line manager at anytime. Who knows how many he did over the years. I started off mentioning Rubens legit M16A2 he listed. It looks 1985 and period correct but has a newer serial number then the black rifles. Seems like a no questions asked 1985 gun... However, with Johns history, who is to say it was not put through the line in 1987, manufactured to the still period correct finish and features then transferred out from Colt in 1991? It is very possible. Unless you personally bought your Colt before 86 who knows how many were counterfeit pre-86 guns. A1s, A2s SMGs, examples of all of them were made at the factory post 86 and transferred out. Could be 100, 500, 1000+. Only John would know, but I would imagine he lost count. I think the Black Rifles are just an example of the many years old scheme getting lazy, were previous guns were done more period correct, believable forgeries. By 2008 it was: "Slap M16A2 on this black painted M4A1 and ship it!" 

The forth reason I have no concern when the receivers were made, is the IF, somehow, the ATF willingly, with resources wanted to purse Colt, got past their 400 lawyers and convinced the courts with proof that dozens or hundred of receivers were manufactured after 1986 and sold as pre86 guns, that would be like a Watergate type event. Call it the "Colt Pre-86 MG Scandal". Terrible publicity for Colt, which would cost them tens of millions of dollars. After all, these are guns that have retro die stamped receivers. The receivers you can not definitively prove what year they came from, but you definitely can trace a diestamp back to the physical die as you would a bullet to a barrel. Add on top of that was that the first time these "pre86" guns were form-4'ed was 2015 onward. The short form3 papertrail, just goes right back to Colt. So IF, (it would never happen) but IF the ATF won the court case and deemed the current owners purchased postbans and had to turn them over, there would be a Class action lawsuit by morning, form owners an against Colt. It would be for hundreds of thousands of dollars PER gun for damages to the plaintiff for defrauding them by selling them what the ATF deamed a counterfeit pre86 transferable. As I was telling someone earlier today: I lover my three M16A2s, I never want to part with them, they are precious to me. Buuuuttt.. I love 1.5 million dollars more... Hand them over, collect the money, buy 3 M16a2s like the one from Ruben I mentioned, 1million dollar house, Porsche GT3rs, hookers & blow. 

Anyways I got a little sidetracked. But it would be interesting to make a documentary of the whole brokering of the Keosayian collection. Hearing from the horses mouth, I heard he was very secretive on lowkey with the whole transfer of guns. They had to earn his trust. Started off with a couple of guns, then build his confidence in brokering more. Then he would give them another, bigger batch, sell that then get a bigger batch of guns and so on. For the brokers this kind of client is life changing. Kudos to them for being selected to move these guns. If I was john, I too would of picked the same group of dealers. (With a client like that, these dealers are probably going to be tight lipped on the events, so I would not go nagging them for more details). I would love to meet John one day. Could you imagine how interesting it would be to talk to him? God forbid see his personal "collection"? I don't know if he has a daughter, but even if she was a balding fat chick with four eyes, I'd date her just to get access to speak and hangout with her dad. "Sorry honey, I'd love to go out to dinner for Valentines, but your dad and I are going to the range". 

So there you have it folks, about as much details that I know of for the Keosayian collection, specifically the Black Rifle group of guns 80300XX. Hope you enjoyed the read.

-Snail    

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Nobody said Colt would be "fighting for someone else's machineguns".

Colt would be fighting the accusation of them making post ban machineguns and pawning them off to the public as pre-86 machineguns. As the repercussions would be severe. 

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9 hours ago, secondofangle said:

This whole thread is ill-advised for somebody who owns these guns and I'm not sure it's in the appropriate place anyway in the NFA market board for a sold item.

You are in the NFA / Semi forum. It was moved.

Not sure why you say its ill advised? This is all interesting information at least partially collaborated by the broker and the guns themselves. These guns having A4 uppers in itself is an interesting tell in my opinion aside from the serial number range and improvements over the rest. Why werent guns after these the same configurations?  Keyosian would be an interesting guy to talk to. There have always been interesting people in this business throughout history. Thats kind of what makes it fun. Especially if you have ever met any of them. Its all good stuff and good information even if some of it leaves it open for speculation and lore.

 Thanks again for the read Snail.

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10 hours ago, secondofangle said:

This whole thread is ill-advised for somebody who owns these guns and I'm not sure it's in the appropriate place anyway in the NFA market board for a sold item.

since a wealth of history about these guns starting to accumulate on this post …. I contacted Rex and suggested he change the title … and I would move his post …. he did … changing his Sales post to a Discussion post ….. then I moved it over to this Semi / NFA Discussion board ….

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I considered buying one or more of these guns when they were on the market. However, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the legitimacy of these rifles and chose to pass. My pier group consists of several advanced collectors, they too were uncomfortable. All it takes is a couple of the owners writing letters to the ATF and the party is over. 

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^^*this. It is decidedly unwise to challenge the ATF or thump on your chest like the Rare Breed folks are doing. Posting this stuff publicly is asking for trouble and documenting that you knew you had something they may declare contraband if just one field agent goes sniffing around is likewise pure folly. 
 

“From my cold dead hands” is a great slogan for the revolution but not for your $1 million machine gun collection. 

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Since we're speaking openly about it, there are 3 incontrovertible tells for a remanufactured Colt gun: 

  1. manufacture mark says "Colt's MFG Co INC", the post-1989 restructuring designation rather than "Colt's Firearms Division" - Keosayian and his graveyard shift collaborators obviously had a brain flatus on this one, and used the wrong roll die on dozens of their remakes. It is as obvious as one marked "Colt Defense" or "9/11/2001 Never Forget"
  2. A4 receiver reinforcements 
  3. Model designation rollmarks such as "M4 Carbine" and "Commando Enhanced" which were not known to exist until a later date

I had send Spiwak a deposit on one marked "M4 Carbine" that also had the #1 tell above before I figured it out. The cognitive dissonance was almost unbearable, cuz I wanted that gun intensely. But I came to my senses and retained the services of a well-known Pennsylvania law firm that specializes in NFA matters and I was advised to "steer clear."

YMMV

Edited by secondofangle
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48 minutes ago, secondofangle said:

Since we're speaking openly about it, there are 3 incontrovertible tells for a remanufactured Colt gun: 

  1. manufacture mark says "Colt's MFG Co INC", the post-1989 restructuring designation rather than "Colt's Firearms Division" - Keosayian and his graveyard shift collaborators obviously had a brain flatus on this one, and used the wrong roll die on dozens of their remakes. It is as obvious as one marked "Colt Defense" or "9/11/2001 Never Forget"
  2. A4 receiver reinforcements 
  3. Model designation rollmarks such as "M4 Carbine" and "Commando Enhanced" which were not known to exist until a later date

I had send Spiwak a deposit on one marked "M4 Carbine" that also had the #1 tell above before I figured it out. The cognitive dissonance was almost unbearable, cuz I wanted that gun. But I came to my senses and retained the services of a well-known Pennsylvania law firm that specializes in NFA matters and I was advised to "steer clear."

YMMV

This is my exact situation. I too made a verbal commitment to Spiwak, but backed away as I looked a little closer. There is little doubt these unicorns will eventually be confiscated.   

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^The other interesting thing about this, is that the dealers know these things are radioactive, but they're tight-lipped about that. You ain't going to successfully sue any dealer for knowingly selling you worthless contraband; it's about as likely as Colt winning a showdown with the ATF.

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I highly doubt anything would ever become of these if that were the case. It would be extremely hard for someone to prove as Snail said. The fact that apparently many others exist that were made after these would make it impossible. If these were registered before the cutoff, which obviously they were because they are transferrable, the manufacturer could do anything they wanted with them and remanufacture them in any way and its legit. Just the same as anyone else with an 07.

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I don't think it would be very difficult for the ATF to prove these are post-86 manufacture as other have pointed out clear forensic evidence in terms of forgings and rollmarks to the contrary to allow the ATF to proceed with forfeiture proceedings, especially if backed up by records and/or testimony of current/former Colt employees.

Now you can argue that manufacturers can destroy a transferable and replace it with another one or manufacture a serial number registered prior to the cutoff a decade later but the verbiage of 922(o) is pretty straight forward that the gun in question had to be lawfully "possessed" prior to enactment.  I think its an uphill battel to claim lawful possession of something that didn't physically exist prior to the legal cutoff but it is a legal strategy option.  Even today a suppressor manufacturer cannot "replace" a lawfully owned silencer with the same serial number and legitimate warranty replacements are a new serial, new transfer and tax event and silencers are not restricted by 922(o) either and it still can't be "replaced".

If the ATF decides to care about these one day (and I agree that is a big if) they will come to your doorstep with a seizure notice.  If will be up to you to fight them at your doorstep and have them come back with a warrant, lie to them and make the situation worse, or most likely reluctantly hand over the machinegun and sign the surrender notice.

It will then be up to you to post bond for your gun should you choose to challenge the ATF on this enforcement action and then hire competent legal counsel to fight them in court.  Then the question will become is it worth spending more in legal fees than the gun is probably worth to "maybe" get the gun back.   You will also have fight the same agency over an administrative or civil forfeiture action where if you push them they could come back with criminal proceedings against you for illegal possession.

In terms of proving this, I would bet there is a  paper trail at Colt on these guns and worst case the ATF will subpoena John and/or the workers at Colt who made these guns and put them under oath and under penalty of federal perjury and ask them when they were made.  None of them are going to perjure themselves in Federal court for a current owner.

Colt may get written up or pay some sort of fine but the current Colt management will just blame the previous management that made and transferred these guns a decade+ ago, the folks who physically made them will just blame their management and claim they didn't know , and John and any other complicit execs at Colt at the time will testify in exchange for a reduced penalty/fine/or immunity from prosecution.  

Hopefully it never comes to this but but most likely if the BATFE changes their mind and shows up on your doorstep with a forfeiture notice that Keosayian M16 realistically has probably very low odds of ever coming back to you at that point.

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My understanding is that that is something that the ATF at one time allowed but then  put the Kabash on it. It is presumed that that is what Colt was doing too, with or without permission, a while after ATF put the Kabosh on Oly  

the question here is whether the ATF will ever go back and reverse themselves. 
 

oh, nevermind. The ATF would *never* reverse itself…
 

 

Edited by secondofangle
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This reminds me of when Ruger was doing warranty work on some AC556 guns and replaced them with the new guns with the same serial under warranty.  Apparently the atf was unhappy hearing of this and since then Ruger won’t touch an AC556 for warranty work.  I don’t recall the exact details but there were a few ac556 guns replaced that people still have.  Loose lips sink ships 

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59 minutes ago, Dean said:

What about the olympic arms m16's that were "remade"?  Olympic never even made them.  They were conversions made by class II manufacturers.

Those Oly reman M16s are in my opinion in an even worse legal pedigree position than these Colt M16s.   At least the Colts were remade by "Colt" and never left the factory so you have that argument to defend them with.

The Oly guns are no different in my opinion than any  transferable M16 that was replaced by a random FFL07 using an 80% lower.  Oly legally didn't manufacture the machinegun and was in no legal position to destroy and legally replace those receivers.

Honestly the Oly thing was IMHO just a money grab by Oly to get people to effectively pay a bunch of money for a cheap stripped Oly lower. 

I had an SGW M16 and was interested I in the replacement program and communicated with Tom Spithaler about the legality of these machinegun receiver replacements and he provided a letter that showed it was legal for Oly to replace a pre-94 "pre-ban" semi-auto receiver with a new one and for the replacement to still still be considered "pre-ban" from a 94 crime bill perspective.  I decided at the time that Oly's "evidence" this process was legal was suspect at best and illegal at worst and there was going to be an ATF paper trail as Oly required an actual approved Form 5 to accept the gun for replacement,  so I passed on sending my gun in.

They got away with that for maybe 2ish years at best before the ATF came in and halted them from doing any more. (probably due to legality inquiry letters from prospective owners)

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1 hour ago, CB76 said:

This reminds me of when Ruger was doing warranty work on some AC556 guns and replaced them with the new guns with the same serial under warranty.  ...

When was this?  I sent a Ruger damaged AC556 for warranty work.  They replaced it for a new AC556 having a different serial number.

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To the best of my knowledge Ruger always replaced pre-86 receiver guns with a different serial numbered receiver, however the process/program to replace those guns/receivers did appear to change over time so I guess anything is possible and somebody may have received a replacement receiver back with the same serial number.

From my memory, it was reported that Ruger had a cache of pre-86 manufactured receivers they used for warranty work and did have some odd agreement with the ATF where they could get the NFRTR registry amended to show AC556 serial abc was replaced with serial xyz and they could return that updated gun direct to the owner with an amended/updated form 4.   I feel like I recall folks posting pictures online of amended Form 4s in the late 90s or early 2000's.

At some point  the ATF started making the owners pay a transfer tax on the new receiver and go through a full Form 4 tax paid approval process.

The rumor was that Ruger eventually ran out of new pre-86 receivers so the warranty replacements stopped around 2008 to 2009ish timeframe.  There were reports toward the tail end of the warranty program that owners got used (but in spec) guns as warranty replacements.  I even recall folks who were offered a new semi-auto Mini-14 as a replacement for their transferable MG that they sent in and having to argue/fight with Ruger to return their "out of spec/damaged" machinegun.

It would be interesting to hear from anybody who actually went through the Ruger AC556 receiver replacement process, how it worked in their instance, and if anybody actually got a cloned serial numbered gun in return.

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7 minutes ago, pstidan said:

When was this?  I sent a Ruger damaged AC556 for warranty work.  They replaced it for a new AC556 having a different serial number.

Very cool, I always considered sending my gun in to see if I got lucky and got a new gun.

How did it work, did you have to do a full tax paid Form 4 or did you get some sort of amended Form 4 with the updated gun/serial?

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I sent a SS KAC556 to Ruger back in late 90s.  Included form 4 and a note requesting it be checked out and replace anything needed.  They completely replaced a few parts and refinished the gun for $245.  Took maybe a month.  I contacted them again directly to the CEO about working on another in 2016 and they said absolutely not.

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For quite a long time mfrs. were allowed to "replace" things that were serial numbered and they did so for many years, until one day they were no longer allowed to.  This went for MG's as well as suppressor tubes.  Once it was done it was done, but it did happen with some frequency.  Olympic arms, Ruger, Colts, etc. are all known to have done it with no issues....until one day when it was no longer allowed.  I'm thinking sometime in the early 2000's from memory?

I don't see any jeopardy in owning one of these guns.  A long time has passed and I don't foresee any issues in the future.  I also would never ask a lawyer since I can't think of any with near enough NFA experience that I would trust.  Even current atf attorneys don't understand the NFA after sending them letters and reading the responses,  and I think they'd struggle in court on a good day. 

AFAIK no one ever paid a transfer tax on Rugers, since it was a replacement, not a "new" gun technically.  Back when it was happening the guns were $2000 or less and you'd have heard bitching about another $200. 

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10 minutes ago, jbntex said:

Very cool, I always considered sending my gun in to see if I got lucky and got a new gun.

How did it work, did you have to do a full tax paid Form 4 or did you get some sort of amended Form 4 with the updated gun/serial?

My AC566 warranty work transfer to/from Ruger was back in 2002/2003.  Ruger did a "paid for" Form 4 transfer to me.  The original, and damaged, AC was transferred to Ruger by a Form 4 paid for by Ruger.  The new AC was NIB and so beautiful, I never fired it.  It even had a trigger lock.  You gotta love it.  Years later, I sent to Ruger for a factory letter of authenticity.

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2 minutes ago, secondofangle said:

What’s going on with all these damaged AC556s?  What goes bad on them?

I got mine very cheap from a prison in Kentucky.  I got it on a Form 5.  It was beat to $hit, but the price was right.

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13 minutes ago, johnsonlmg41 said:

For quite a long time mfrs. were allowed to "replace" things that were serial numbered and they did so for many years, until one day they were no longer allowed to.  This went for MG's as well as suppressor tubes.  Once it was done it was done, but it did happen with some frequency.  Olympic arms, Ruger, Colts, etc. are all known to have done it with no issues....until one day when it was no longer allowed.  I'm thinking sometime in the early 2000's from memory?

I don't see any jeopardy in owning one of these guns.  A long time has passed and I don't foresee any issues in the future.  I also would never ask a lawyer since I can't think of any with near enough NFA experience that I would trust.  Even current atf attorneys don't understand the NFA after sending them letters and reading the responses,  and I think they'd struggle in court on a good day. 

AFAIK no one ever paid a transfer tax on Rugers, since it was a replacement, not a "new" gun technically.  Back when it was happening the guns were $2000 or less and you'd have heard bitching about another $200. 

The real nail in the coffin on the suppressor tube replacement was the spat between Philip Dater of Gemtech and Kevin Brittingham of AAC (at the time) where Kevin would "repair" Gemtech suppressors into AAC suppressors and it was clear that the "repaired" M496D was completely replaced by a new M42000 and the markings moved over.

The rumor was Gemtech complained to the BATFE who then came out with the current repair/replacement guidance we have today and the whole debacle got branded at the "GemTax" and shade was thrown at Gemtech for years because everybody had to pay a transfer tax on a replacement main tube going forward and repairs were significantly curtailed.

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16 minutes ago, pstidan said:

My AC566 warranty work transfer to/from Ruger was back in 2002/2003.  Ruger did a "paid for" Form 4 transfer to me.  The original, and damaged, AC was transferred to Ruger by a Form 4 paid for by Ruger.  The new AC was NIB and so beautiful, I never fired it.  It even had a trigger lock.  You gotta love it.  Years later, I sent to Ruger for a factory letter of authenticity.

 

Sounds like it was all fully legit tax paid warranty replacement using a pre-86 transferable receiver and graciously Ruger paid the transfer tax both ways. You really cant beat that deal.

 

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This was kind of dumb of Ruger to effectively take a registered MG off the market to replace it with another MG. I could understand if it was circa 1980 but not into this century.  Bill Ruger caught grief on several issues through the years.  
 I was going to mention the “Gemtax” as well.  

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That is pretty fascinating with Ruger replacing the serial numbers and updating the form-4. In 2009-10 I bought my first KAC556F and wanted it factory refurbished. On the forums I heard of people sending their AC556 to get completely restored (which it took as them remanufacturing the receiver and everything). When I called them in 2010ish, I was too late to the game and they no longer offered the service. I was told they ran out of the original spare parts, but who knows if the ATF started bending their arm. Many manufactures restored/remanufactured registered guns and the ATF initially turned a blind eye to it. Vector Arms is another one that was doing it up until at least 2007. Send in your Uzi and get a new one back. Plenty of manufactures that "restored" transferable guns back to new, but I never heard of them being replaced with new serial numbers and updated F4s. Fascinating. 

One day, someone should make a complete 2-3hr long documentary of SOT07s in and around 1986, showcasing all of the interesting characters, personalities, companies, acquisitions, bankruptcies, MFG processes, conspiracies, quality of work, bribes, deaths, foreign military contracts (IE: LaFance & South America), 1980s Miami drug-deal style business dealings... There is aaaaa lot of things that went on. It would be a 2-3hr jam pack documentary/movie and I think everyone one in this forum would be fascinated and glued to the screen.

 

 

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Lots of strange things were allowed and disallowed over the years.  Registered (factory, not drop-in) AK and M16 sears were married to receivers post 86.  Stens were transformed into Sterlings.  There were changes needed if the original manufacturer didn't do the conversion, however original manufacturers were allowed to transform them into true Sterlings.  Charlie Erb was one of them doing it up until the mid 2000's.  Oh and I have an M16A1 I picked up in 1998 that left Colt in 1995 to John Keosayian then to Dennis Todd, then to a non-sot, then to me.  I have a Colt letter from when they were still doing them for machineguns.  What ruined it for everyone was the DBs taking MAC serial numbers and welding a cut out of the number to all kinds of things such as M60's, 1919's and GE mini-guns.   Gemtech had a righteous bitch as AAC was essentially passing off their cans with Gemtech markings.  Kinda like putting  ford VIN on a Chevy I guess.  Manufacturers found clever ways around some things like the Vollmer 21's where they folded the receiver up and welded the serial numbered portion above the feed mechanism.   This was allowed because the original number was not altered and never left the receiver.  Strange times.

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Am I reading this right, Colt had a bunch of transferable MGs SN’s on the books for guns that didn’t exist for 10-13 years. 

I’m assuming they didn’t get audited like we do… 

I’ve read about him and heard his name, is there a cool factor to these - yes. I heard stories about the liquidation of this collection and it is just wild. 

 So John K. is still alive? 

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I sold one of the R0901’s (20” A2 fixed stock) about a year ago.  Brand new in the box for $55,000.  There is currently a John Keosayian R0977 (14.5” M4 collapsible stock) brand new in the box for sale on Gunbroker.  Not sure if posting links is allowed, but I’m sure we’re all savvy enough to find it.  Pricey…but purdy.

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7 hours ago, INTLMILCO said:

Am I reading this right, Colt had a bunch of transferable MGs SN’s on the books for guns that didn’t exist for 10-13 years. 

I’m assuming they didn’t get audited like we do… 

I’ve read about him and heard his name, is there a cool factor to these - yes. I heard stories about the liquidation of this collection and it is just wild. 

 So John K. is still alive? 

Colt most likely had the receivers produced and in their possession.  They then destroyed the originals and remarked new receivers.  A practice that is completely legal and logical but hasn't been allowed in almost 20 years I believe.  Colt may have done this on their own or with BATFE approval, who knows?  Manufacturers routinely do this with non-nfa items such as pistols.  You can send your non-nfa firearm to the manufacturer for repair and they can send you a new pistol with the same or different serial number right to your house without going through a dealer.  Kel-Tec is doing this right now to upgrade their sub-2000 rifles.  You get a completely new rifle with your old serial number sent to your house.  They may add a digit to identify the rifle as a replacement but that is not required.  They frequently just issue a completely new serial number because it is cheaper than re-serializing.  Serial numbers were not even required on long guns up until the 1968 gun control act or somewhere thereabouts.

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10 hours ago, Rex Tyson said:

This was kind of dumb of Ruger to effectively take a registered MG off the market to replace it with another MG. I could understand if it was circa 1980 but not into this century.  Bill Ruger caught grief on several issues through the years.  
 I was going to mention the “Gemtax” as well.  

Bill Ruger didn't catch grief, he was the source of it.   They never wanted AC-556's out in the general population and he was a supporter of many bans.  The refurbish policy was more of a liability catch all then them "helping" out.  As busted up stuff hit the market they saw potential product liability.  Some of the requests stopped when guys got back guns with the long barrels because Ruger didn't want to return any guns with the shorter barrels and bayonet lugs as I recall?  Bill being a big supporter of the AWB along with his NRA buddies.

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12 hours ago, Rex Tyson said:

This was kind of dumb of Ruger to effectively take a registered MG off the market to replace it with another MG. I could understand if it was circa 1980 but not into this century. ...

In my case above, the damaged AC556 receiver was cracked and not repairable.  A piece of the receiver actually fell off.  It appeared that this AC556 was run over by a car or truck.  That was the real cause of the receiver's damage.  Interestingly, when I initially called Ruger about my problem, they took my information and said that someone would call me back within a few minutes.  Sure as hell, within ten minutes a Ruger lawyer called me back.  He wanted to know if anyone was injured and the actions we took when the problem occurred.  He also wanted to know what ammo we were firing and if we were using any hand loads.  Luckily, we stopped shooting immediately when we saw the receiver crack.  We were using commercial .223 ammo we just got at Acadamy Sports.

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5 hours ago, clc3251 said:

Colt most likely had the receivers produced and in their possession. 

That makes sense, the fact that they never left the factory probably helps the situation too. They were the original mfr. I’m sure he didn’t do this to make them more valuable, I’m sure there was a reason. Maybe he did. 

I’ve had to remake some title 1 receivers & destroy the originals. I know suppressor companies do it. I’ve often wondered about post 86 guns. If a PD or LEO outfit destroyed a post 86 MG or it has issues - can the original mfr put a new receiver on the gun like described above? I would assume yes since it doesn’t change the status of the gun (it started and ended as post 86 & you properly destroy the original etc etc) 

Regarding these guns, 
This is all interesting information, I knew this was the case with many of those guns by looking at the forgings & some mfr info rollmarks. 

If I owned one of these I probably wouldn’t be thrilled with this thread. I don’t mean any offense, I think the history is very cool. The internet is so permanent though, you never know what the political climate will be in the future. I haven’t been around as long as you guys so I may be a little paranoid. 

Wasn’t there some M4A1 or m4 pre may or post samples in that collection too? Those were super cool in my opinion. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/24/2023 at 8:12 PM, jbntex said:

Sounds like it was all fully legit tax paid warranty replacement using a pre-86 transferable receiver and graciously Ruger paid the transfer tax both ways. You really cant beat that deal.

 

Ruger replaced receivers with a new serial numbered transferable receiver. They had a bunch of transferable receivers squirreled away for warranty replacement. I don’t remember exactly when they ran out, but I think it was mid 2000s.

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