Rolling Stone Magazine Shows You The Right Way to Destroy an AR-15 Rifle

courtesy ATF

As gun owners, we can always count on the editors at Rolling Stone magazine to keep us in compliance with the myriad laws pertaining to firearms. So with the news that Dick’s Sporting Goods will be destroying their inventory of AR-pattern rifles that they’re now too responsible and virtuous to sell, the Rolling Stoners did a little research to find out how to do it legally.

It’s no small question. As you may remember, a few days after the Parkland shooting, one know-nothing educator who’s running for Congress in Virginia displayed her lack of knowledge for all the world to see when she converted her husband’s AR into an illegal short-barrel rifle.

Maybe that’s what prompted Rolling Stone to seek advice on the proper way to do the job.

Apparently, lots of people need help.

And what did they learn? Well, they dug up the ATF’s instructions for how to destroy a machine gun…as if anyone would ever want to do something so insane.

The federal guidelines that outline the destruction of an assault-style or “modern sporting” rifle like the AR-15, are derived from two laws: the National Firearms Act of 1934, drafted in response to prohibition-era mafia violence, and the Gun Control Act of 1968, prompted by the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

OK then.

To meet the requirements under the NFA and GCA, the firearm frame or receiver “must be destroyed by completely shredding, melting, or crushing.” Alternatively, the ATF also offers the option of “destroying firearms through torch cuts.”

And how does Rolling Stone suggest you go about cutting up your AR receiver?

First, you’ll need a blowtorch. According to the bureau’s official guidelines, “cutting by means of a band saw or cut-off wheel does not ensure destruction.”

Really? We’d think a chop saw would do a more than sufficient job of bisecting you average AR lower.

Next, you’ll need to disassemble the rifle, separating the firearm frame or receiver from the rest of the gun. In order to be rendered fully inoperable, the receiver – the part of the gun that holds the hammer, bolt or breechblock and firing mechanism in place – needs to be completely severed in three specific places.

For some reason, the experts at RS don’t specify separating the AR upper form the lower. It’s almost as if they don’t know much about how an AR is designed.

Where you make the cuts depends on which model of gun you’re torching – ATF provides diagrams for a Browning M1919 type firearm, a Heckler & Koch G3 type firearm and Sten type firearm – and to destroy an AR-15, the ATF recommends following its guidelines for the FN/FAL rifle.

We’d guess the poor saps Dick’s designates to destroy all of their AR’s know enough about firearms to pop the upper off the lower before attempting to cut the thing up. Or is that too optimistic?

In any case, we’d pay money to watch them try to make those cuts in hundreds of rifles using a Home Depot blow torch. Good times.



  1. avatar Ed says:

    It’s a lot easier to destroy copies of Rolling Stone.

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      “Burn/chop up all you want… we’ll print/manufacture more” – the real lesson here.

    2. avatar JTWinR says:

      The same Rolling Stones that snubbed Black Sabbath to only have their karma returned years later publicly during the HOF induction? They know as much about music as they do firearms. Good times!

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

        -martin mull

    3. avatar Hunter427 says:

      I can give detailed instructions on how to wipe your ass with that magizine.

    4. avatar ROBERT says:

      Hey. Just realized. ….. PLEASE, everybody go destroy your AR’s. THEN mine will become REALLY VALUABLE as a collector’s item!!!!!

      Definitely no shortage of “stupids” out there………..

    5. avatar ROBERT says:

      Let’s all contact the publisher of Rolling Stone, and tell them that we are going to boycott them. BUT THAT’S NOT ENOUGH. At the same time, let’s tell them that we are going to “pirate” some music in protest.

  2. avatar Anon in Ct says:

    Not an expert here – but any chance that the blowtorch causes the aluminium to catch fire?

    1. avatar Mister Furious says:

      No, just makes a melted, slaggy mess

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        One of the magnesium ARs would be fun to watch.

        1. avatar Euronam says:

          Hold my beer

    2. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      Except HK93 receivers are made out of steel.

    3. avatar barnbwt says:

      Any idiot willing to do this to his own property stands a very solid risk of burning down the rest of his property through similar idiocy involving the cutting torch.

      As mentioned by others, failure to ensure the gun is clear before cutting is high on that list of idiocy

      1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        Burning down their own property is a feature, not a bug.

    4. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

      A saw would produce aluminum dust, which is explosive.

  3. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    For the life of me I don’t why those 2 weren’t at least charged with tax evasion. Make me think if anyone can just create an SBR then it’s time to call in and have our representatives start repealing the NFA!

  4. avatar Joe R. says:

    “Rolling Stone Magazine Shows You The Right Way to Destroy an AR-15 Rifle”

    Rolling Stone Magazine Shows You The Most Aggressive Way to Shit on the 1st Amendment and General Magazine Publication Standards.

    Fic’d it.

    Rolling Stone’s got staples and pages too glossy to even be good for puppy paper or the parrot cage.

  5. avatar DrewR says:

    So, Rolling Stone is virtue signalling by teaching the legal way to virtue signal. Never mind that none of this will have any effect on anything.

  6. avatar RA-15 says:

    I say don’t buy from dick’s and don’t buy rolling stone rag. Have no part in any leftwing puppets making foolish attempts to take our constitutional rights .and destroy them , and our freedoms.

  7. avatar rocketscientist says:

    These instructions would be funny as hell, if it weren’t for the fact that a tax-funded government agency, whose job is to be knowledgeable about firearms, has codified the most labor intensive and difficult way to do something relatively simple. multiple cuts? blowtorch? GOOD GOD.

    1. avatar Mr Lizard says:

      It was probably a stealth pro-gun guy on the staff that wrote a procedure that no one else wanted to deal with. Then he submitted for a approval and the managers just rubber-stamped cuz they were like “ya whatever I’m not gonna read this, not like anyone is going to use it and I’m sure whatever is depicted is sufficient”

    2. avatar Andrew says:

      The intent is to destroy the receiver in such a fashion as to make repairs difficult/impossible. Something like a band saw has such a narrow kerf that you could conceivably jig the pieces up and weld them back together with just a bit of filler rod. In contrast, a torch will take a solid quarter inch swath out of the receiver which would be much more difficult to reweld. It would also knacker the temper of the surrounding metal. Wouldn’t want to stick my face near a rewelded receiver myself, but some people don’t have those same qualms.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        “Something like a band saw has such a narrow kerf that you could conceivably jig the pieces up and weld them back together with just a bit of filler rod. In contrast, a torch will take a solid quarter inch swath out of the receiver which would be much more difficult to reweld.”

        The first part of this statement is correct. In fact, if the person using the saw is half-way competent and the welder is as well you could probably refinish the receiver in a manner that the damage to the weapon would be practically undetectable so long as the cuts didn’t pass through text. Time was I was good enough to TIG aluminum well enough to do that. It would be time consuming and expensive but very doable. There are guys who bring “deactivated” MG’s back to life.

        The second part isn’t true. A cutting torch’s cutting width is dependent on the cutting torch tip used. Some will make very small cuts while others will not. Using the standard tip that comes with something like a Lincoln Port-A-Torch will make cuts, in the hands of a compentent user (read: Not a Rolling Stone reader in most cases) less than 1/8th of an inch thick. That’s still a gap that can be welded across with a TIG torch. Combined with the proper electrode, and enough time to do the job right it can be made perfectly safe. Since the receiver is likely aluminum the temper of the metal isn’t a big deal because the re-welding process will take care of the situation for you provided the welder knows what they’re doing and the aluminum is allowed to cool properly when work is completed.

  8. avatar Antoua says:

    To avoid violence please destroy your baseball bats too, and don’t forget that your pepper spray might permanently injure your robbers, pls downgrade the pepper spray to a lukewarm water-gun…and kiss your pathetic sorry ass goodbye…

    1. avatar TheUnspoken says:

      Rape alarms are the only allowed self defense…er… Vain attempt at self preservation? Whatever, that’s all you get in the UK, basically a car alarm for your body. I assume karate, fighting back, etc is also forbidden, you might hurt the criminal!

    2. avatar Red in CO says:

      These morons should also get rid of their cars and houses. After all, their car could one day be used by a murderer to flee the scene of a homicide, and their house could be owned by a friend of his who gives him sanctuary!

  9. avatar GunTotinDem says:

    If its paid for im pretty sure (insert manufacturer here) would give them the torch.

    I’ve still got your money, so by all means borrow my lighter.- J.K. Rowling

  10. avatar burley says:

    The real irony here is the mention of prohibition-era violence. Hmmm, free men, defending their freedoms resist government goons by using machine guns. Freedoms infringed by prohibition of alcohol restored when alcohol ban repealed. Next step, prohibit machine guns. Lesson: not learned.

    (I realize it was not all about alcohol prohibition, but you’d never heard of Al Capone if prohibition never happened. You’d also never heard of Pablo Escobar if we hadn’t doubled down on drugs).

  11. avatar Keltex78 says:

    Using an oxy acetylene rig to cut aluminum?
    It don’t work that way…

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Why not?

      Flame temp is just fine, aluminum melts at a relatively low temp.

      It probably won’t behave like cutting steel, where once the temp is reached you can go to O2 only and literally ‘burn’ the metal…

  12. avatar Rick says:

    The idea is that once destroyed by a torch or other approved means, you cannot reconstruct the firearm. However, many M-1’s and M-1 Carbines have been resurrected.

  13. avatar DrewR55 says:

    In my brief perusal of the article I may have missed their suggestion on ensuring the firearm is unloaded…

  14. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Actually I’m glad they published this. Maybe some lib will get an idea of how stupid the regulations around something like destruction are and that these laws are a waste of time and effort.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA just kidding

  15. avatar JS says:

    Could someone tell Rolling Stone the best way to deal with your leftover ammo is to use that torch on it and melt it down at the same time?

  16. avatar J- says:

    Torch cutting was a requirement for steel sheet metal receivers which can be welded back together.

    It is not applicable to aluminum receivers.

  17. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    what a bunch of cut ups.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      …and cut downs…

  18. avatar Shane says:

    I’ve never taken the upper of an AR apart, but am I wrong in thinking that in these two videos they haven’t destroyed their guns? Seems to me all they did was cut through the gas block and the barrel. The upper receiver hasn’t been touched. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    1. avatar Brian says:

      No, they made SBR’s.

    2. avatar Lefty jason says:

      The upper receiver of an ar15 isn’t the “firearm”. It’s the lower.

  19. avatar former water walker says:

    Rolling Stoned is still a thing?!? This’ll help circulation😄😎😋

  20. avatar barnbwt says:

    Fraction of readers with an AR15
    Fraction of readers with a cutting torch (not a blow torch, lol)
    Fraction of readers with the above and antigun

    I’m thinking the needle is pegged on zero.

  21. avatar Squiggy81 says:

    Just send them to me and I’ll make sure they’re dealt with properly. Free of charge!

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      That was my comment. With all this discussion of legalities and dangers and difficulties, just tell those Dicks to send them all to me, I’ll take care of it. Probably just exactly how the people the Dicks select to do the job will take care of it, except I won’t charge the Dicks.

  22. avatar James says:

    You guys are big fucking whiners. Even when Rolling Stone gets it exactly right, you bitch bitch bitch about it. What they sourced was the wording of the guidance laid out by the ATF. Got a problem with that? Take it up with the feds they got the information from. What a bunch of babies.

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Yeah, but its fun to see how ridiculous Rolling Stone Magazine is. I mean really, how many of the readers have an AR-15 and a blow torch? This the opiate to entertain the Progtard zombie audience.

  23. avatar JK says:

    Blow torch through an AR receiver?… Like the ones used to solder copper pipe? Yea right…

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      You probably could haggle through the aluminum, at least, or make a mess of the poor thing for sure.

  24. If the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions, virtue-signalling surely points the way.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      I’m pretty sure eternal virtue-signaling *is* hell. I don’t know how these people don’t get exhausted one-upping each other constantly like this, or maintain any healthy relationships while doing so.

  25. avatar JoeVK says:

    I’ve only ever read one Rolling Stone article. I picked it up at a doctor’s office while waiting on my wife to get done with her appointment. I only read it because it was an article where they followed Kid Rock around for a day at his home in Alabama, which, by the way, is just a double wide trailer with a huge barn and a pond back in the woods, which is awesome to me, for some reason. At one point, he took the reporter over to the edge of a nearby field ravaged by wild hogs to kill a couple he had caught in a trap. They mostly hung out with a bunch of his friends in the barn, which he pretty much turned into a bar, and talked about random stuff.

  26. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Rolling Stone needs to have an article on how to destroy Rolling Stone.

  27. avatar Jonah Kyle says:

    The Liberal’s Guide to Properly Destroying an AR-15

    1. Insert fully-loaded 30-cartridge mag.
    2. Jack up acetylene torch to maximum heat.
    3. Starting from the mag, start to melt everything in half.
    4. Be very caref—


  28. avatar John Thayer says:

    Will they be publishing tutorials on book burning and lynching too?

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Yes, they will have videos with a computer generated Adolf Hitler showing you how to get errrr…. done!

  29. avatar ironicatbest says:

    So Dicks is running a sale on acetylene torches now?

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Dicks is for dicks.

  30. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    The only acceptable way to destroy an AR-15 is to have it overheat to uselessness while you are standing on a mountain of your enemies’ corpses. Even then, they better damn well find you with bayonet fixed.

  31. avatar IdahoPete says:

    I have a much better solution: send every AR-15 (or whatever fiream) you want to destroy to ME, and I will be sure to dispose of it in a safe and lawful manner. I promise. Really.

  32. avatar strych9 says:

    Ignoring the fact that a bunch of our own readership doesn’t know much about cutting torches either…

    This has gotta be one of the dumber things RS has published. A cutting torch is not a toy and it’s not as easy to use as they seem to think. Regardless of what gas you choose to run the thing you still need to know how to run the thing properly and safely.

    Decided that acetylene is your cutting gas of choice? OK, real quick RS reader, what’s the max safe pressure to run your acetylene line at? Do you know what happens if you fuck that up? Just by running the gas regulator too wide open? Any idea? What’s the best mix of oxygen to acetylene? How do you clean a torch tip? What tip would you choose for this job? How do you pre-heat your cuts? Where do you run your lines for safety? What sort of eye-pro should you wear? Gloves? Other PPE? How do you position the gun to safely cut it? What other considerations do you have for this kind of hot work? Can you just do it by laying the gun on your driveway or garage floor?

    What if you pick propane as your cutting gas? How does that change things? Do you have a clue?

    You know, what are the general basics to do this safely? Oh, you have no fucking clue? Yeah, RS is begging to get sued on this one when some idiot goes and buys something like a Port-A-Torch to cut up his neighbor’s AR that the guy just has to get rid of after reading this article. Hopefully the local weld/gas shop takes one look at the RS reader and tells them to fuck right the hell off instead of, you know, selling them a bottle of gas.

    I wonder what they’ll do when they find out what acetylene costs…

  33. avatar GS650G says:

    An article like this is a dying gasp of a publication no one buys any longer.

  34. avatar Alan says:

    The magazine, and perhaps that vaunted government agency, the ATF, aka BATFE seem to be mixing metafores respecting tools pictured and or described in text. Pictured is a cutting torch, alternatively an oxy- acetylene cutting torch, very handy for flame cutting metal, but careful which metal you torch cut. A blow torch will simple heat metal, except for those metals with relatively low melting points. Interestingly, such basic facts seem beyond the ken of Rolling Stone.

  35. avatar Alan says:

    By the way, did the small arms ordinance specialists at Rolling Stone trouble to mention the importance of making certain the rifle was unloaded before applying heat?

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