No serial number?!

No serial number?!

This is a discussion on No serial number?! within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was offered to purchase a Charter 2000 .357 pug magnum at a gun show. The gun did not have a serial number anywhere! Is ...

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  1. #1
    New Member Array The_Ikon's Avatar
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    Exclamation No serial number?!

    I was offered to purchase a Charter 2000 .357 pug magnum at a gun show. The gun did not have a serial number anywhere! Is this possible? Where it should've been it was as smooth as the rest of the gun.

    I was reluctant and passed. Isn't that illegal to posses a gun without a number? I'm in MS.

    Ikon
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  2. #2
    Member Array lordofwyr's Avatar
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    Yes. Modern firearms must have a serial number. I am not sure if the serial number has to be visible. It could have been inside the mechanism. However, it could also have been a set up for arrest if they told you it had no serial number, or you caught it, and they still wanted to sell it to you, since the law says "knowingly."

    I think this is up to date:

    E. PROHIBITED FIREARMS & AMMO

    1. National Firearms Act – A person who intends to make, receive or possess any of the following NFA firearms must first pay a tax and have the firearm registered with the Federal government (ATF): 26 U.S.C. §§ 5801- 5872, 10 years for each violation.

    Short Barrel Shotgun, barrel length less than 18 inches or overall length less than 26 inches, § 5845

    Short Barrel Rifle, barrel length less than 16 inches or overall length less than 26 inches, § 5845

    Silencer, 18 U.S.C. § 921 (a)(3)(C)

    Destructive device, (bomb, IED, Molotov cocktail)18 U.S.C. § 921 (a)(3), (a)(4); 26 U.S.C. § 5845

    Machine Gun, § 5845

    (Since 1986 a person may not legally make a machine gun for himself but may legally acquire one already registered with ATF: § 922 (o), 10 years).

    “Any other Weapon”, weapon capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged via an explosive (e.g., ring gun, club gun, belt buckle gun, handlebar gun, pen gun) etc., § 5845

    2. Stolen Firearms & Ammo- Illegal to steal, possess, or receive a stolen firearm or ammo, §§ 922 (i), 922(j), 922 (u), 924 (l), 924 (m), 10 years.

    3. Hand Gun Armor Piercing Ammo, definition: § 921 (a)(17)(B)&(C) violations: § 922 (a)(7), (a)(8), 923(e), 929, 924 (c)(5), different penalties.

    4. Undetectable Firearm - Illegal to import, make or possess – § 922 (p), 5 years.

    5. Body Armor – Illegal for person previously convicted of a felony crime of violence to purchase, own or possess body armor – §§ 921 (a)(35), 931, 3 years.

    6. Firearms with serial numbers removed/obliterated/altered – Illegal to knowingly possess a firearm with the serial number removed, changed, etc., § 922 (k), 5 years.
    Fortune Favors the Bold!

  3. #3
    Ex Member Array ArmyMan's Avatar
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    You were right to pass on it. I would have pulled out my droid and made a video of the piece and then got law enforcement involved.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Ikon View Post
    I was offered to purchase a Charter 2000 .357 pug magnum at a gun show. The gun did not have a serial number anywhere! Is this possible? Where it should've been it was as smooth as the rest of the gun.

    I was reluctant and passed. Isn't that illegal to posses a gun without a number? I'm in MS.

    Ikon
    It all depends on when the gun was made, firearms made prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968 were not required by law to have serial numbers, and are legal to own.
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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmyMan View Post
    ...I would have pulled out my droid and made a video of the piece and then got law enforcement involved.
    If I had a droid in my pocket, I would have used it to find out where the serial number is actually located on a Charter Arms Pug. It pretty rare to see an illegally altered gun...at a gun show.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

  6. #6
    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    If I had a droid in my pocket, I would have used it to find out where the serial number is actually located on a Charter Arms Pug. It pretty rare to see an illegally altered gun...at a gun show.
    And if the serial number was not removed/obliterated/altered, there's nothing illegal about it.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Terrorists: They hated you yesterday, they hate you today, and they will hate you tomorrow. End the cycle of hatred, don’t give them a tomorrow."

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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    It all depends on when the gun was made, firearms made prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968 were not required by law to have serial numbers, and are legal to own.
    Charter Arms started out in 1964 but the Charter 2000 .357 pug magnum was not offered until after 2000 thus must have a serial number. You did right to pass on it.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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  8. #8
    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    Charter Arms started out in 1964 but the Charter 2000 .357 pug magnum was not offered until after 2000 thus must have a serial number. You did right to pass on it.
    You are absolutely correct sir, I overlooked the "Charter 2000." McClennahan's first snubby was called The Undercover.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Terrorists: They hated you yesterday, they hate you today, and they will hate you tomorrow. End the cycle of hatred, don’t give them a tomorrow."

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    Folks should be aware of the fact that firearm electro-platers, firearm customizers, and engravers sometimes need to remove an original factory stamped serial number and then relocate or re-stamp that firearm serial number.

    Such as in cases where Nickel plating would render a faint or very lightly stamped factory serial number invisible.

    Or when heavy pitting exists on a firearm and major metal removal to eliminate pits, scratches, dents and gouges would also compromise the factory stamped number.

    Or say if a handgun needs a custom optics mount machined into the frame and that needs to be in in a location where the factory stamped serial number would be obliterated.

    If the firearm has an existing serial number that exact same serial number can be re-stamped in a different location on the firearm receiver.

    There are very specific height and depth requirements for stamping the replaced identical serial number on the ATF website...or at least the info used to be there years ago.

    I remember also that if you were completing an 80% firearm frame.

    Normally that could never be legally sold if it had no serial number.

    But, you could stamp it with a custom serial number and have that serial number registered with the ATF and then it could be treated like a normal firearm. I am not certain what the exact procedure is (or was) or even if completing an 80% is still legal.

    All of this may have have changed in recent years so call your nearest ATF office and verify if you ever need to re-locate a firearm serial number.

    Just be aware of the fact that a serial number identical to the factory stamped serial number needs to be ON the part of the firearm that is considered to be the receiver.

  10. #10
    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    But, you could stamp it with a custom serial number and have that serial number registered with the ATF and then it could be treated like a normal firearm.
    I have an M1911 that had it's serial number defaced, it was given a new serial by the ATF.

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  11. #11
    Member Array Harvester's Avatar
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    Couldn't this have been resolved by asking the dealer where the serial number was located?
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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    I was in my LGS when a regular brought in an nice (old) Colt Woodsman that didn't have a serial number. We COMBED that pistol looking for one! The owner got in touch with Colt and apparently in 1919 it wasn't necessary! Very nice.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

  13. #13
    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    I was in my LGS when a regular brought in an nice (old) Colt Woodsman that didn't have a serial number. We COMBED that pistol looking for one! The owner got in touch with Colt and apparently in 1919 it wasn't necessary! Very nice.
    That's interesting, Colt has always used serial numbers, but if the Woodsman was never stamped with a serial number, meaning it was not removed/obliterated/altered, and made before 1968, it would be legal to possess. The key is if it never had one and made it out of the factory, and proving it. 1919 Woodsman serial number ranges are 6500-11999.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Terrorists: They hated you yesterday, they hate you today, and they will hate you tomorrow. End the cycle of hatred, don’t give them a tomorrow."

  14. #14
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    The laws required for the ATF sometimes border on ridiculous.

    For instance...you can make a firearm for yourself legally. It is not required by the ATF to have one, but highly reccomended if you built it so that if lost or stolen it can be traced.

    You can build one for yourself,but you can not build it for the sole purpose of selling it. You can sell it at a later date.

    The numbers that you use must be at least 1/16 of an inch tall and at least .003 deep. Most lasers or chemical etches will not go that deep.

    As already mentioned, many older guns do not have serial numbers.
    I have a single barrel 12 gage made around 1900 that does not have one and it is legal to own.

    It may be that the number of the Charter Arms is stamped underneath the part that opens the cylinder. On some revolvers, no number is evident until you pop open the cylinder. I dont know if this is true for the Charter Arms, but it would be worth it to check.
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  15. #15
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    That's interesting, Colt has always used serial numbers, but if the Woodsman was never stamped with a serial number, meaning it was not removed/obliterated/altered, and made before 1968, it would be legal to possess. The key is if it never had one and made it out of the factory. 1919 Woodsman serial number ranges are 6500-11999.
    That is correct, it SHOULD HAVE had a SN from Colt but wasn't LEGALLY required to have one. Guesses were that it might have been pulled from the line prior to SN stamping for a project, or a engineering study or...snuck-out in a lunchbox.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

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