By January 26, 2007

Playing the parts game: 922R and “assault weapons”

I recently bought a Tapco T6 adjustable stock for my fair condition Yugoslavian SKS. The stock on my Yugo was beat up pretty bad; cracked in two places with a mighty ding in the left shoulder. I wanted a replacement stock, and not just another wood one — maybe one of those newfangled plastic stocks with a pistol grip! I put in my order for the Tapco. Tapco makes all sorts of products for the AR-15, AK-47, and SKS market, and I trusted their name and product more than a nameless generic stock from eBay. I placed my order from eBay seller ultimatearms, having purchased some paracord from them before. Ultimatearms shipped quickly, and my stock arrived yesterday via UPS. This is where the fun ends.

First off, the Tapco stock doesn’t fit very well. There was about 1/8″ where my Yugo frame didn’t fit properly. This caused a few problems, the biggest being that the trigger assembly release button would prematurely engage itself when the stock was under pressure. When the trigger assembly is released, the fixed magazine swings open and the trigger pivots down. Very bad.

I went upstairs to search some of my favorite forums about fitting issues (previous research turned up nothing), but I did stumble across something that made me nervous. Section 922r compliance. Basically, the 922r is a federal code stating that a gun cannot be altered in such a way as to qualify it as an “assault weapon.” My SKS was legal to purchase, but adding “evil features” such as a pistol grip was a legal no-no. The only way to get my weapon back into compliance was to replace enough foreign-made parts with American-made parts.

I had some trouble explaining this to Lady Jaye last night, and that’s because the law is fucking stupid. Here’s my best analogy. Right now, my Yugo SKS is 100% foreign parts, but it’s legal. Think of it as a foreign-made weapon. If I put some American parts on it (such as the stock, hand guard, and pistol grip) then the rifle is altered, and a foreign-made weapon with a few American parts. That’s a legal no-no. If I put enough American-made parts on it (the previous three plus a gas piston, operating rod, extractor, or a non-historically accurate detachable magazine) so that the foreign-made parts are less than ten in number the rifle is now an American-made weapon with foreign-made parts. It’s the assault weapon version of a glass half-empty or half-full. I consider it 100% bullshit.

The biggest problem with playing the parts game on this particular weapon is that I bought it because it was cheap, even among SKSes, which are budget to begin with. Worse yet, I’m not even sure if this gun is a decent shooter, making the prospect of buying aftermarket parts even more iffy. Bringing my SKS into compliance would require a staggering $114 more, without shipping. The stock was about $90 to begin with. I could almost buy two very good condition SKSes for this amount. I’ve put the Tapco stock up on eBay.

I could have put all the pieces back into the original stock, but I sent that away to a fellow Arsian so he could try his hand at refinishing. I have an email out to AIM Surplus asking them if their wood stock kit will fit my Yugo. Keep your fingers crossed, it’s only $9.99 before shipping.

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