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When the Browning Arms Company first began importing semiautomatic FAL rifles from FN in 1959, the submitted an example for evaluation, and ATF determined that it was not a machine gun. The rifle was made with a selector that could not be moved to the fully automatic position, and did not have the automatic sear required for full auto firing. This was acceptable at the time, and Browning would import 1,836 of these rifles (mostly standard configuration, but some heavy barrel and paratrooper patterns) by January 10,1963. On that date, ATF changed its standard, and ruled the FAL as currently being imported now *would* be considered a machine gun subject to the NFA. In order to be acceptable now, the rifle must not be able to accept an automatic sear at all, not merely be made without one. However, ATF ruled that the previously imported guns would be grandfathered in, and remain legally owned as semiautomatic rifles. They were listed by serial number (an additional 12 guns were added in 1974 which were imported by “administrative error”), and remain exempted from the NFA to this day. For the FAL collector, these G-series rifles are desirable because they are completely authentic and original early FN production guns, without any of the design changes that would be required later for importation.
Exempt serial number list: http://www.gseriesfal.com/docpages/91174atf.html
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