An Interpretation by Phil Martel (August 14, 2006)
" Replacing a minimum of the 6 "imported parts" with U.S. made parts, that are designed for strength, comfort, increased accuracy, safety and performance, should be retrofitted as soon as possible and without delay! "
I am attempting to do this to possibly end the confusion as to how the CFR actually applies to those
of us who are involved, concerned, and have the greatest need to understand and follow the law
concerning SKS rifles.
I have listed the CFR in it's full text as printed by the Government Printing Office (GPO), and have used
a black and red font for the CFR so as no mistake should be made reading what is CFR and what are
comments I have made. (The most relevant parts of the CFR are highlighted in red)
I have highlighted my comments in blue.
I have also listed the Internet source from which I acquired the CFR.
Sec. 178.39 Assembly of semiautomatic rifles or shotguns.
(a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun
using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this
section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under
section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily
adaptable to sporting purposes.
In part, if one attempts to interpret Section 178.39 (a) correctly, this would mean that it is perfectly legal to "assemble" a SKS rifle with "10 or less imported parts" that are listed in paragraph (c).
The SKS rifle, in it's standard configuration, has 16 imported parts and thus, it is legally considered to be an "imported" rifle. ( The Yugoslavian M59/66 with grenade launcher is the only exception with a total of 17 imported parts.)
If you replace 6 of these imported parts with U.S. made parts, it is then legally considered to be a U.S. made rifle,
and not an "imported" rifle. ( Replace 7 imported parts on the Yugoslavian M59/66 with grenade launcher.)
On issues of importation, and suitability to sporting purposes see footnote # 1
(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
(1) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution
by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or
agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political
subdivision thereof; or
(2) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of
testing or experimentation authorized by the Director under the
provisions of Sec. 178.151; or
(3) The repair of any rifle or shotgun which had been imported into
or assembled in the United States prior to November 30, 1990, or the
replacement of any part of such firearm.
If one attempts to interpret Section 178.39 (b) (3) correctly, this would mean that if the SKS rifle was imported into the United States before November 30, 1990, any person, prior to this time could have assemble or repaired any SKS rifle or proceeded to replace "any part of such firearm" with imported parts listed in paragraph (C). Although doing so would not have made it a U.S. assembled rifle with U.S. made parts.
Replacing 6 of the 16 imported parts on a SKS rifle with U.S. made parts at any time, would make the SKS a non "imported" rifle. Thus, the SKS rifle would be a rifle assembled in the U.S., and assembled with U.S. made parts.
(Replace one more part if your rifle has a grenade launcher for a total of 7 imported parts replaced.)
(c) For purposes of this section, the term imported parts are:
(1) Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings or stampings
(3) Barrel extensions
(4) Mounting blocks (trunions)
(5) Muzzle attachments
(7) Bolt carriers
(8) Operating rods
(9) Gas pistons
(10) Trigger housings
(16) Pistol grips
(17) Forearms, handguards
(18) Magazine bodies
If one attempts to interpret Section 178.39 (a) correctly, this would mean that an SKS rifle is no longer legally
considered an imported rifle if no more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) are used in it's assembly.
Thus, the following would be true and applies to any SKS rifle that does not have a grenade launcher attached to the muzzle:
SKS rifle in it's standard importable configuration has a total of ..............................................
16 imported parts.
If the SKS magazine assembly (Magazine bodies) (Followers) ( Floorplates)
is replaced with a U.S made magazine the SKS rifle would have a total of ..................................... 13 imported parts.
If the SKS riflestock (Buttstocks) is replaced with a
U.S. made riflestock (any style), the SKS rifle would have a total of .............................................. 12 imported parts.
If the SKS handguard (Forearms, handguards) is replaced with a
U.S. made handguard (any style American made), the SKS rifle would have a total of .................... 11 imported parts.
If the SKS operating rod (Operating rods) is replaced with a
U.S. made operating rod, the SKS rifle would have a total of ........................................................10 imported parts.
If the SKS gas piston (Gas pistons) is replaced with a
U.S. made gas piston, the SKS rifle would have a total of ............................................................. 9 imported parts.
If the SKS trigger assembly (Trigger housings) (Triggers) (Hammers) (Sears)
(Disconncetors) is replaced with a U.S. made trigger group, the SKS rifle would have a total of ........ 4 imported parts.
If the SKS rifle is a Yugoslavian M59/66 with grenade launcher on the muzzle, add one more imported part to each
of the totals listed above until you either remove the grenade launcher (Muzzle attachment) or replace it with a U.S. made muzzle brake . Then the imported parts count would be the same as above.
Until you replace at least 6 of the parts listed above in any combination necessary to bring the imported parts count down to 10, your SKS rifle for all practical purposes could be in violation of The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA),
18 U.S.C. Sec. 922 (r), and the implementing Federal Regulation which is 27 CFR Sec.178.39, which is printed
If you remove your bayonet and replace it with a bipod, then technically, as interpreted by this author, you have a bipod mount and not a bayonet mount. It may not be legally possible to install either a bayonet or bipod on your SKS rifle
until such time you replace at least 6 of the imported parts as outlined above.
increased accuracy, safety and performance, should be retrofitted as soon as possible and without delay!
Footnote # 1:
In part, if one attempts to interpret Section 178.39 (a) correctly concerning importation, this means that the SKS rifle is not prohibited from importation under section 925 (d) (3). (Logically, If SKS rifles were not importable, then the millions of SKS rifles that are here in the United States now simply would be illegal in their standard configuration). Thus, if one attempts to interpret Section 178.39 (a) correctly concerning suitability, all SKS rifles that have been imported into the United States are "particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes".
There are millions of SKS rifles in the United States imported legally into the country before 1990 mostly from China.
There are millions of SKS rifles legally imported into the country after 1990 from many different countries, including
China, Russia, and Yugoslavia. There are several million SKS rifles in private hands in the United States because
the SKS rifle is not prohibited from importation, and because the SKS rifle is particularly suitable for and readily
adaptable to sporting purposes. The SKS rifle is used daily by millions of U.S. Citizens in the United States for
competitive shooting, and licensed hunting.
Other Internet links on this subject: