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C&R Guns – Not Just Bolt Action Rifles

When I talk about Curio and Relic guns and getting a C&R license, lots of people think it’s only about old bolt action rifles and revolvers.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  From the BATFE website’s C&R FAQ page, we read:

Q: What is a firearm curio or relic?

Firearm curios or relics include firearms which have special value to collectors because they possess some qualities not ordinarily associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons. To be recognized as curios or relics, firearms must fall within one of the following categories:

1. Have been manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas thereof; or
2. Be certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; or
3. Derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or from the fact of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.

Reading the rules (very generalized above), you can see that the field of what can be a curio and relic firearm is rather wide.  Did you know that there are curio and relic machine guns :wink: ?

C&R submachine gun - M3 Grease Gun

C&R submachine gun - M3 Grease Gun

C&R submachine gun - M3 Grease Gun

C&R submachine gun - M3 Grease Gun

Here’s an example of a Curio and Relic qualified machine gun.  This is an M3 “Grease Gun” from WWII.  Some of these were in use all the way up until Vietnam and they are still in use with other countries today.  The M3 was made to be simple and inexpensive and it’s mostly made out of stamped metal.  There wasn’t a whole lot of machining that went into this sub gun.  It fires .45 ACP ammo just like the Thompson submachine gun which packs quite a punch!  I’ve seen M3’s fired, but never fired one myself.  I have a feeling that might change in the not so distant future :wink:

This M3 is curio and relic eligible which means it’s a real, 100% historic, government surplus firearm.  There are reproductions on the market that look and work just like it and which are transferable between civilians.  Those aren’t C&R eligible.  The difference when a gun like this is C&R eligible really comes down to collectiblity and if you’re a C&R licensee it comes down to cutting a step and some cost out of the acquisition process.  Being collectible means it’s going to be more expensive.  This gun is currently for sale with an asking price of $13,000.  Yes, it’s a lot of money but remember these guns are only going to become more rare and the demand is only going to go up.  If you’re a C&R licensee, you still have to fill out the paperwork and send in your $200 for your tax stamp, but you can have the gun shipped directly to you from outside your state rather than having to have it transferred through a dealer in your state.  That saves time and money.  Of course, check with your own legal counsel before taking any of my advice on something like this :wink:

Here’s the actual copy from the ad on

Got a really nice Guide Lamp M3 grease gun. Runs perfect. Will come with one mag and mag loader.

Email me for any questions.

Gun will transfer out on a tax free form 3 to your dealer and price will include shipping.


Midland Arms

So there you have it.  If you like machine guns, a C&R license is still a good idea for you – especially at $30 for 3 years :)

Special thanks go out to JD from Midland Arms for the use of his photos in this post :mrgreen:



3 comments to C&R Guns – Not Just Bolt Action Rifles

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