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What ammo is illegal and what is not?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Dannix, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. Dannix

    Dannix Well-Known Member

    I used to think AP was defined by material used, but of course some 5.56mm rounds have a steal penetrator. So what exactly are the laws? Isn't some minute level of explosive unrestricted as well (maybe I'm thinking incendiary)?
  2. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Well-Known Member

    That definition is unique to handgun ammunition. Armor piercing handgun ammo is considered illegal.
  3. BacSi67

    BacSi67 Well-Known Member

    Carrying hollow points in NJ except to the range and back and when purchasing same is illegal.
  4. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Well here's the whole legal definition (Federal).

  5. TJ AK-74

    TJ AK-74 Well-Known Member

    It depends on your state. In some states HP, AP, API, Tracer, etc. are not allowed.
  6. Superlite27

    Superlite27 Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I guess you're only supposed to shoot people with those harmless bullets in these states. The one's listed might hurt someone.
  7. ChronoCube

    ChronoCube Well-Known Member

    What is the definition of rifle vs handgun ammo anyway? There are pistol caliber carbines as well as 7.62x39/.223/.308 pistols....
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    The whole thing is a gray area of the law.
    "Handgun" ammo is whatever the ATF says it is.

    They stopped the importation of cheap Chinese 7.62x39 AP ammo because Olympic Arms made a couple of AK based pistols. But that had more to do with international politics then cop killer bullets.

    On the otherhand, Thompson/Center and others make single-shot pistols that can and do fire 30-06 & .308 surplus AP ammo.
    And they and others make 5.56 AR-15 pistols, although 5.56 AP ammo is not commonly available. However, any 5.56 FMJ or .223 hunting ammo will shoot through a typical bulletproof vest worn by cops.
    And that is apparently not a problem!?

    It seems the intent of the "cop-killer" law, if not the logic, pertained to typical handgun calibers likely to be used by gang-bangers and outlaws.

    But again, the whole ban was more political then logical.

  9. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    Generally for most states, armour piercing ammo is illegal although you can find it for sale from time to time. Shooting steel plates of various thickness is kind of interesting with AP ammo. It is quite amazing the thickness of steel a 30-06 round will penetrate. Not something most people need for day to day use.

    Full metal jacketed (FMJ) ammo is often illegal for hunting.
  10. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    The definition in post #4 does not mean it is illegal to possess. Here is info on the federal AP law

    In particular,
    The link also goes into detail on what is and is not considered AP.

    This is only in regards to the federal AP law. As mentioned, some states have their own funny ammo laws.

  11. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Well-Known Member

    The funny thing is that most of the 7.62x39 Wolf/Brown Bear/Golden Tiger ammo from Russia has a steel core, but is not considered AP. It sure does penetrate though.
  12. Mainsail

    Mainsail Well-Known Member

    Stealing ammunition is illegal.
  13. fatelk

    fatelk Well-Known Member

    Steel jacket, not steel core. The reason a magnet sticks to the bullet is because the jacket itself is copper-plated steel. The core is lead.
  14. Dannix

    Dannix Well-Known Member

    Sounds rather convoluted. Apparently you could have a pistol round with a small lead core, depleted uranium otherwise, with a thin copper jacket over that?

    Got to love laws like this. At least they aren't completely 2ndA infringing.
  15. inSight-NEO

    inSight-NEO Well-Known Member

    To the OP- I would just check with your local ATF (and endure drudging through the legal babble).

    This is a shame.

    Interesting. Im not up on specs, so tell me, would .45 ACP FMJ fall within this category I wonder?

    Ive heard that some even consider JHP ammo to be "armor piercing" in nature! Bah...

    I think the term "armor piercing" is almost as subjective as the term "assault rifle."

    Either way, the "armor piercing" definition (by todays standards) is somewhat ridiculous as any current, high quality ballistic vest (used by LE) seems capable of absorbing/repelling most "typically" used loads - JHP or FMJ (specialty loads + various high power rifle loads notwithstanding). Also, unless Im wrong, certain "state of the art"/ "bleeding edge" military vests take this protection even further.

    In essence, it seems as if the various "powers that be" need to begin adopting a mindset/set of "definitions" based on todays standards...not yesterdays.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  16. Zoogster

    Zoogster Well-Known Member

    It is another one of those ATF discretion areas.
    It is illegal if they say it is illegal and it contains one of the mentioned materials.

    Most traditional handgun calibers cannot have the listed materials. What would be thought of as rifle calibers are "handgun" calibers if the ATF decides they are. So it is up to them which rounds are legal that contain those materials, and which ones are illegal.
    They can change thier mind, add or subtract calibers or specific rounds, and otherwise do as they wish.
    Currently they exempt some rounds of certain calibers even though they may meet the legal definition, and the caliber is chambered in numerous handguns (such as 5.56x45). Yet another rifle caliber with far fewer handguns chambered in it will not be exempt.

    So what it legal is what the ATF says is legal at the moment. You can usually find thier exemptions at any given time online.
  17. Dannix

    Dannix Well-Known Member

    What got me curious was a statement here that in a bear attack a headshot with a pistol was futile due to the hard skull. My first thought was why not just load some AP rounds after a few initial HPs or FMJs.

    It appears the "restricted" EBR rounds are restricted based on company policy and not federal policy?
  18. chevyforlife21

    chevyforlife21 Well-Known Member

    most rifle ammo will pass through steel.
  19. inSight-NEO

    inSight-NEO Well-Known Member

    So will .357 Magnum FMJ (to a degree). And your (subjective) point is?

    I mean..."passing through steel"...Is that the gauge upon which "armor piercing capability" is measured these days? Im dubious about this.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  20. Zoogster

    Zoogster Well-Known Member

    If EBR is in reference to "evil black RIFLE" then no. EBR ammunition limitations are due to the ATF considering the calibers "handgun ammunition" once a handgun is produced that chambers those rounds. They have exceptions, like some 5.56x45 ammo for example, but if they declare it is handgun ammo then the rifle ammunition is subject to the federal handgun ammo limitations.
    Handguns have been produced chambered in most intermediate EBR calibers. Making those calibers "handgun" calibers because the ATF says so. Except for specific rounds they give exemptions.

    Any cartridge is a "handgun" cartridge once the ATF says so. Including .50 BMG if someone produces a commercial handgun in that cartridge.
    Which is a big reason pistols like this have not been put into production:
    Notice the cool recoil reduction technology on that. I would like to see such technology on other firearms.

    In fact an anti could make all cartridges handgun ammunition just by creating a handgun in every caliber for sale.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009

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