Barnes Banded solids - possible ban


I had posted a while back about how a domestic company called Elite Ammunition (loaders of custom 5.7x28 ammo) had been in some BATF trouble over some solid brass alloy type bullets they were loading for the 5.7 and how they were calling the Barnes banded solid .223 bullets into question as to why that was legal if not their own 5.7 projectiles (virtually the same thing)…

Well, I have also noticed recently that the .223 and .308 Barnes solids which are spitzer tip have recently run out of stock on almost all the big websites like Wideners, Natchez, MidwayUSA, and Grafs, so I called Barnes and asked about it. The tech guy there was very open about it and he explained that they are in litigation with the BATFE on those .223 & .30 cal solids as to whether they will be considered in violation of the pistol caliber AP ban. At the moment, I don’t think that they technically violate the metallurgy definition of the rule since they are copper/zinc, but they are borderline apparently. The pistol calibers that these could be fielded in (aside from .223 which isn’t really pistol…) are 5.7x28 and saboted in 7.62x25 if modified. .308 & .223 cartridges with these bullets are usable in the “pistols” made for those calibers which are just big cut-down carbines without stocks. It seems a silly pursuit since there’s tons & tons of SS-109 available in .223 and SS190 is fairly easy to buy on the auction sites in 5.7. The tech guy at Barnes actually blamed it on the failed “Fast & Furious” campaign and linked this as to why the BATF is now stepping up other more obscure enforcement so as to make up for that debacle (that was his opinion).

So if you want any Barnes solids in .223 and/or .30 cal - buy them up now wherever you can find them since they might be gone!


Or any other caliber, for that matter. Shortly after this all started, I checked the Barnes website. At that time there were spitzer solids in only two calibers that weren’t listed as out of stock.


I just checked the Barnes site again. None of the solids are currently shown as out of stock. … -solidstm/


Stan, if you click on most of those links for each caliber, then it says “sold out” for most of them. Some of the smaller online sellers do have some stock left, and some can be found on the auction sites though.


Apparently the Barnes banded solids in .223 and .308 spitzer or round nose are now restricted by the BATFE and are on the pistol-caliber AP list. I had heard this from a dealer I know, and after checking I found this link showing a September, 2011 dated letter from BATFE:

This whole thing came about basically due to 5.7x28 loaders tinkering with the Barnes banded solids 223 bullets and loading them into 5.7. To be banned in this way is silly since you can legally purchase volumes of 5.7 SS190 (at online auctions) which is actually better at penetrating steel, and perfectly adequate at penetrating Kevlar. The level of enforcement on this will no doubt be virtually nil, but this ruling will be enough to force Barnes to stop selling such projectiles to dealers anyway, so this stuff will become rare.


I thought the big draw for the solid copper bullets was to comply with California and some other local restrictions in other states. Projectiles that are made to penetrate steel or to penetrate body armor are not made of solid copper. This is as stupid as labeling Soviet com bloc 7.62x54r or 7.62x39 with soft steel cores as being AP. I don’t want to make the wrong point but AP bullets in a handgun is kinda silly. A .41mag or larger with a heavy hardcast bullets with a wide met plate won’t penetrate soft body armor but will cause more than enough internal damage to cause death. They also a very good at going through car doors, glass, etc.When was the last time a criminal used a contender, xp-100, striker, etc. in .223 or .308 to commit a crime or even used used AP projectiles? I’m not by any means an expert but I thought solid brass bullets were a draw for very long distance shooting. Being solid brass they would be very balanced not having multiple metals joined together and enhancing accuracy at long range. I’ve had a couple of dealings with the BATFE and they seem to operate with no rime or reason.


It’s true - most of the BATFE agents are really nice and honest, but I think in terms of the executive decision stuff it depends on the administration in charge, and there’s a bit of chance involved as well. These bullets are technically a type of brass, and so they fall under the technical definition apparently.

There’s other things out there though that the BATFE just doesn’t know or care to know about; like Alexander Arms makes a .50 Beowulf load with a solid spitzer brass bullet (that is harder than the Barnes solid), and those can be pulled and loaded into 2 pistol calibers: .500 S&W magnum & .500 S&W special, but they aren’t restricted. That sounds absurd, but it’s no more absurd than this whole .223 issue which can only be loaded into one pistol caliber (which Barnes never intended or advertised it to do).

And then there’s Belt Mountain who makes the Brass Punch bullets and gets around the law by having a bit of lead in the partially hollow base of the bullet and drilling a tiny hole through from the flat tip to that core, but this does not affect the performance of the bullet at all.


Copper bullets like Barnes TSX are not affected. Those are still available. It’s brass bullets like Barnes banded solids that are covered.

Irrelevant. The law is the law, even if it’s a stupid law.