Short Barreled Rifles


Short Barreled Rifles (SBR’s) are classified as rifles with a barrel shorter than 16” and/or an overall length shorter than 26”.  Lilja Rifle Barrels, Inc. does not make or sell SBR’s but we do make sub-16” long barrels for AR type rifles. A look at the BATF’s website answers many of the questions about short barreled rifles and shotguns. A FAQ section on their site can be found here:

Short Barreled Rifles (SBR’s) are an NFA type weapon and can be possessed only by persons who have completed a BATF Form 1 or 4 and paid the $200 SOT tax (Special Occupational Tax) required of NFA weapons. More information may be found on this BATF link:

ATF Form-1 is an application to make and register a new NFA firearm. This could be done by an individual or manufacturer. $200 tax fee

ATF Form-4 is for transfers of existing NFA’s by non-FFLs/SOTs (Special Occupational Tax) to FFLs/SOTs and transfer by FFLs/SOTs to non-FFLs/SOTs. $200 tax fee

(FFL is short for Federal Firearm Licensee and SOT is short for Special Occupational Tax)

Disclaimer: The above is our understanding of the laws regarding NFA SBR’s but it should not be considered as a definition or explanation of the laws. We would encourage anyone unfamiliar with NFA firearms to look at the BATF’s website and contact their local BATF office with questions.

Solid model of a 14.5" mid-length gas system .308 Win.
Solid model of a 14.5″ mid-length gas system .308 Win.

We also contacted the Helena, Montana office of the BATF and asked specifically if we, as a manufacturer of rifle barrels, could make and sell sub-16” long rifle barrels without being subject to the Special Occupational Tax (SOT) required of makers of SBR’s. (see last FAQ in link above). This short answer to the question was that we are free to make and sell short rifle barrels just like long barrels.


As defined on the NFA Handbook (§479.11 Meaning of terms), the term firearm is defined as:

(a) A shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (b) a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (c) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (d) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (e) any other weapon, as defined in this subpart; (f) a machine gun; (g) a muffler or a silencer for any firearm whether or not such firearm is included within this definition; and (h) a destructive device. The term shall not include an antique firearm or any device (other than a machine gun or destructive device) which, although designed as a weapon, the Director finds by reason of the date of its manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics is primarily a collector’s item and is not likely to be used as a weapon. For purposes of this definition, the length of the barrel having an integral chamber(s) on a shotgun or rifle shall be determined by measuring the distance between the muzzle and the face of the bolt, breech, or breech
block when closed and when the shotgun or rifle is cocked. The overall length of a weapon made from a shotgun or rifle is the distance between the extreme ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to the center line of the bore.

Barrels fall under the category of firearms parts which are not regulated by the Gun Control Act. Please see questions and answers below:

Question: Does the GCA control the sale of firearms parts?

Answer: No, except that frames or receivers of firearms are “firearms” as defined in the law and subject to the same controls as complete firearms. Silencer parts are also firearms under the GCA, as well as under the National Firearms Act (NFA). Certain machine gun parts, such as conversion parts or kits, are also subject to the NFA.
[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3) and (24), 26 U.S.C. 5845, 27 CFR 478.11 and 479.11]

Question: A company produces barrels for firearms and sells the barrels to another company that assembles and sells complete firearms.

Answer: Because barrels are not firearms, the company that manufactures the barrels is not a manufacturer of firearms. The company that assembles and sells the firearms should be licensed as a manufacturer of firearms.