Originally Posted by Jim K
Watch out, folks.
The big problem here is that the definition of "antique firearm" differs between Title I (the FFA) and Title II (the NFA). Regular firearms are covered by the FFA and its definition applies, but MG's, SBR's, SBS's are covered by the NFA and its definitions apply.
In brief, under the FFA, ANY firearm covered by it and made before 1 Jan 1899 is an antique. (So are muzzle loaders, etc, but that is not the issue here.) No matter what ammunition it uses. So a Winchester 1873 made in 1890 is an antique as long as it falls under the FFA.
But if the gun is shoulder fired and has a short barrel (under 16" for rifles, 18" for shotguns), it is covered by the NFA, which uses the 1 Jan 1899 date also, but ONLY for guns that don't use fixed ammunition or for which ammo is not available in the normal course of trade. (That 1873 Winchester, if it has a 15" barrel, does not fall under the FFA, it falls under the NFA because it has a short barrel.)
So it matters very much, when discussing what is an antique firearm, to first know what kind of firearm it is, and which section of the law it falls under. A shotgun with a 28" barrel is an FFA firearm, and if made before 1 Jan 1899, is an antique. But another shotgun, with a 15" barrel but otherwise identical, is an NFA firearm, and its date of manufacture is not relevant as long as it can fire readily available ammunition. (Whether it can do so safely is irrelevant - if it can fire readily available ammunition, it is an NFA firearm.)