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What ammo is illegal and what is not?

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

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  1. Dannix

    Dannix Member

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    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 Member

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

    BacSi67 Member

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

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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

     
  5. TJ AK-74

    TJ AK-74 Member

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

    Superlite27 Member

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    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 Member

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    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

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    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.

    rc
     
  9. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    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 Emeritus

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    The definition in post #4 does not mean it is illegal to possess. Here is info on the federal AP law
    http://www.recguns.com/Sources/IIG1.html

    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.

    -z
     
  11. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    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 Member

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    Stealing ammunition is illegal.
     
  13. fatelk

    fatelk Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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

    inSight-NEO Member

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    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 Member

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    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:
    [​IMG]
    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
  21. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    It sure will. It depends on the thickness. How about 1/2" steel plate? or 3/4" steel plate? Not much will penetrate those kinds of things except AP ammo. As I recall, a 30-06 AP round just barely does not penetrate 3/4" steel plate.
     
  22. Dannix

    Dannix Member

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  23. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Sort of:

     
  24. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    They most certainly do.

    As listed by Texas Rifleman all
    rounds are considered subject to the handgun ammo law.

    Keep in mind Texas Rifleman's list is far from complete, those are merely what is automatically considered AP. Any projectile which meets the definition of the law can also be subject to the federal ban.

    So there is not really a specific list that encompasses everything. Generally if it is what you would likely consider a rifle caliber, they specifically mention it is included, otherwise it is not. However if it is what you would normally think of as a handgun caliber, then it is prohibited even without thier declaration of inclusion.


    The law is not really addressing armor in the military sense, but instead refers to soft body armor. Which makes it even more absurd, especially the inclusion of rifle rounds.
    The law was passed in response to the hyped danger posed to police by KTW rounds. Rounds which were created for, and primarily marketed to and used by police. The media learned about them and dubbed them "cop killer bullets" even though they were not being used against LEO.

    In fact most LEO at the time were not even known by the general public to be wearing body armor. So they were annoyed by the hype just as much because it educated the public of that fact, reducing the effectiveness of the body armor because criminals knew it was there.


    Of course movies like the lethal weapon one that mentions them and shows the hero shooting through a bulldozer blade with the "cop killer bullets" doesn't help.
     
  25. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Considering the purpose of the 2nd Amendment, laws that intentionally limit rounds that would be effective against enemy soldiers or agents of tyranny specifically go against the intent of the right.
    When the Nazis conquered France, it was actually the French police that did most of thier dirty work. The same police that were in place before the Nazis, they simply had new leaders and new orders.They followed orders or they suffered the consequences from thier superiors.
    French records of firearm ownership among other police records were also greatly utilized after the Nazi conquest.


    However there is a very great potential in rounds made from such prohibited materials. You could even have expensive mechanical bullets, that start out small, and open up. For example a steel round with moving parts that has high penetration, but deploys razor sharp blades once inside the target in a diameter several times that of the bullet. Sorta like extending fins once inside the target. Such a round can be designed to maintain penetration (like sharp bladed fins), or create maximum resistance and wounding (like jagged shapes which mechanically extend).
    I could design such a round easily using say a plunger or even a primer to provide the mechanical energy upon impact. Leave the front pointed and sharp for penetration, and have the round open from the back or sides rather than expand from the front like current rounds.
    Giving both FMJ (or even AP if so designed) like penetration, and a wound profile greater than a JHP.

    The complexity of the rounds would make them very expensive. Perhaps a couple dollars each projectile. With quality control increasing it further. But the effectiveness would far exceed any JHP. You could make 20-30 caliber handgun rounds perform like 50-70 caliber handgun rounds, while retaining the barrier penetration and capacity of the smaller round.

    You could also design exact penetration into the round, by designing the round to deploy the razor blades or extend spikes after a specific period of elapsed time from impact. If you want 4 inches of pure penetration, and then 4 inches further of devastating wound channel after mechanical deployment, then that is what you get. Once there is mechanical deployment the drag will greatly increase slowing the round within the target (and increasing tissue damage), so it can be mathematically designed to give exact penetration and desired wounding.


    You could create rounds that were many times more effective than anything in current use. Could punch through things like a small fast pointed round, and damage internals like a big fat expanding round. However you need to use hard materials in the construction of such a design because soft materials will deform too easily, freezing up the intricate mechanics during impact too readily.
    Yet hard materials, such as common steel, are banned as "armor piercing."

    Of course far less complex rounds like poison rounds using nerve toxins that effect the central nervous system of the target quickly, and explosive rounds that explode in the target, delivering far more energy than any expanding projectile are simple and even more effective at stopping the threat.
    Capable of being produced far cheaper than a mechanical round like I described above.
    In fact a projectile with the recoil of a 9mm can do damage like a rifle with an explosive payload.
    Mainstream manufacturers could design such rounds to reliably detonate on impact. For example having a penetrating rod that acts like a firing pin in the front, and when the bullets begins to deform forces the rod into a primer like anvil, detonating the explosive payload. Creating reliable performance even against soft tissue.
    Ammunition would become several times more effective overnight. A .22 would have the lethality and stopping power of a .50 projectile. A little old lady with severe arthritis that can only shoot a small round would have greater stopping power than any handgun round used today.
    You could even combine the explosive and poison payloads, with the explosive payload distributing the poison throughout a portion of the torso instantly. Very incapacitating, stopping threats far quicker and far more reliably with lesser calibers. Of course as a side effect being almost impossible to survive. Even a negligent discharge into a leg would likely result in death.
    However such technology in small arms rounds is also prohibited by law.

    The laws keep ammunition using extremely outdated technology. To think people still rely on the expanding of a soft metal using only the energy imparted to the projectile to generate wounds from small projectiles in the 21st century.
    Technology is far beyond that.
    (Of course people wouldn't survive even gunshots from handguns much anymore, but they also wouldn't shoot back after getting shot much anymore either.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
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