BATFE Rules 5.56x45mm, 6.5 Grendel & 6.8SPC as Handgun Ammo?


#1

ar15armory.com/forums/BATF-C … try1496482

From the above thread on AR15Armory.com, it appears that the ammo company Elite Ammunition was raided sometime last week by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) and inventory and computers were confiscated under the premise that .223/5.56x45mm, 6.5Grendel and 6.8SPC are now classified as handgun calibers and that some of the bullets/ammunition that the company produces is now considered Armor Piercing.

I have no idea if this is 100% accurate information, but if it is even half true, many shooters and cartridge collectors may be caught up in BATFE’s web.

(Edited to correct ATFE to BATFE)


#2

In fact, there are handguns in 5.56X45. I don’t know about the Grendel or the 6.8. I wouldn’t be surprised that the T/C Contender pistol has been chambered in about every caliber imaginable, so most any round could be considered a pistol round by that measure. As the Grendel and 6.8 are used in M16 designs, I assume there are short M16-type pistols in those calibers out there also.

The official definition of AP ammo is at 18 USC sec. 921(a)(17), which you can Google.

Below is something from Elite:

BATF Classifies .223, 6.5 Grendel and 6.8SPC as Pistol and handgun ammunition

July 11, 2011

BATF and EA Recent Finding.

EA has had to remove our Trident bullets in .223, 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC. The BATF has ruled that all of these cartridges are now pistol cartridges. Since they are now pistol cartridges their construction now falls under the content and construction limitations of the 68 GAC and pistol cartridges.

Currently from other bullet makers like Barnes, solid .223 caliber bullets are still being manufactured and sold . We are working with our BATF IOI person to find out the following,

A) Is Barnes bullets and all other maker that constructs solid bullets in .223 going to have to stop.
B) If not then why do we have to stop since out basic shape and metallurgical content of our PFP bullets are the same as theirs?
C) Since they are now handgun caliber limited how does Magtech solid copper pistol bullets not fall under the 68 GAC as AP?
D) If Solid copper is not considered a violation of the 68 GAC in handgun bullets then it should also be not a violation of the 68 GAC to make EA’s PFP bullets from solid copper as Magtech does.

Those who have T6 ammunition and PFP bullets will be contacted by the BATF to recover any bullets or ammunition that have not been FIRED yet.

I apologize for this inconvenience and hopefully we can get this matter straightened out one way or another.

Jay Wolf
Pr. Elite Ammunition


#3

So they change a law, and immediately raid a business who, as far as they knew, were operating legally? If this is true, this is an example of government having too much power.


#4

LWRC and others do make a 6.8mm SPC pistol…the cartridge excels from barrels so short as to make the 5.56x45mm questionable. A 6.5 Grendel pistol is an answer in search of a question and I’m not aware that they are offered by anyone.

With regards to the mention of Magtech’s solid copper HPs…I do know that Magtech and PMC (early Taurus/PMC .45acp solid copper HP) both received exemptions for ‘sporting purpose’ as spelled out in the BATFE AP regs. When the PMC Barnes load first came out, the AP reg was one of the first things that passed through my head. The boxes were labeled “99% copper” or some such thing–I wonder if that was significant. I would assume that Barnes has been given equal or other passes for their bullets.

Federal, Black Hills and CorBon load Barnes copper HPs in service pistol ammo; t’would suck to think that BATFE is so shortsighted as to recant this.

I have no experience and only a passing familiarity with Elite; their souped-up 10mm and 5.7x28 ammo has gotten good reviews from folks.


#5

[quote=“LeonGeisler”]…it appears that the ammo company Elite Ammunition was raided sometime last week by Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATFE) and inventory and computers were confiscated under the premise that .223/5.56x45mm, 6.5Grendel and 6.8SPC are now classified as handgun calibers and that some of the bullets/ammunition that the company produces is no considered Armor Piercing.

I have no idea if this is 100% accurate information, but if it is even half true, many shooters and cartridge collectors may be caught up in ATFE’s web.[/quote]
AFAIK, it is not illegal for individuals to possess loaded AP ammo or bullets, so I see no need for concern about that.


#6

It may not be true. During the years I was associated with the firearms industry, I learned of a few similar cases where the company or individual complained about unfair treatment, but it later turned out that they were knowingly doing things that they should not have.

EA may have brought this on themselves by posting exactly how many layers of ballistic material their ammo would pass through on their website, pretty much proving they knew the pistol ammo they made is armor piercing. (Their web site has since removed mention of Kevlar defeat, except to note that some loads have not been tested.)


#7

18 USC classifies “beryllium copper” bullets as AP. Presumably, the softer, almost pure copper used in Barnes’ expanding bullets is permissible under that law.


#8

I would think so, as Beryllium Copper is far harder than copper, and would probably make a good AP bullet. In the explosives manufacturing industry, BC hand tools (hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.) are used because it is non-sparking and about as durable as steel. Those tools are also very expensive. Maybe someone at ATFE does not know the difference between copper and BC.

Obviously, none of us (probably) knows the whole story and it will take a while to emerge.


#9

Oh for god’s sake. That sounds ridiculous! There are several sellers on Gunbroker selling dozens of boxes of 5.7x28 in SS-190 which is intended as a penetrator, and intended for use in one of two guns chambered for it which is a handgun and nothing is done about that (the bullets are not entirely of a hardened metal), and meanwhile the BATF gets all cross about 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel and 5.56?!?! It must be pretty slow for them to worry about that stuff. And yeah, what about Barnes solids in .223!


#10

It is however illegal for “manufacturers” (of which Elite is) in most instances to transfer “pistol-caliber armor piercing projectiles” to non government, or non law enforcement or testing entities. Still, I assume the BATF might just want them as evidence and then never return them. Maybe they’ll find my book there that I sent to Jay Wolf and they can read up on everything.


#11

[quote=“stanc”][quote=“LeonGeisler”]…it appears that the ammo company Elite Ammunition was raided sometime last week by Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATFE) and inventory and computers were confiscated under the premise that .223/5.56x45mm, 6.5Grendel and 6.8SPC are now classified as handgun calibers and that some of the bullets/ammunition that the company produces is no considered Armor Piercing.

I have no idea if this is 100% accurate information, but if it is even half true, many shooters and cartridge collectors may be caught up in ATFE’s web.[/quote]
AFAIK, it is not illegal for individuals to possess loaded AP ammo or bullets, so I see no need for concern about that.[/quote]

In some states it is illegal to possess handgun and/or rifle AP ammo. California is one of them. Since the 5.56x45mm “Green Tip” M855 ammo (SS109 bullet design) is not (was not) classified as AP by the BATFE, it could be legally possessed, sold and shot here in CA. If the 5.56x45 is deemed a handgun round, the M855, because of the penetrator, will probably be outlawed in CA and other states.

Just last week I saw brand new ammo cans of Federal (Lake City) M855 for sale at a local sporting goods/gun shop. Anyone who picked up that ammo can be facing a felony crime for possessing ammo that one day was legal to have and today it may be illegal.


#12

Luckily, it would be much harder for anyone to be in trouble for possessing any 5.56 SS-109 even if it is added to the list, since they would have acquired it before the fact. The same way that 7.62x39 and .308 steel core is legal for people to possess & sell in most states. It sounds like perhaps an administration end-around on gun control in general might be afoot, and that ammunition is the target de jour. Watch out for pistol “shotguns” like the Taurus Judge, 37mm launchers, flash hiders, and transfer of pistol-caliber AP at all to be next. In any case, Elite might be found to be in violation of no law anyway, and as far as I can tell, they have broken no law. .223 is specifically not on the list, and the BATF guide (Federal firearms regulation reference guide) which is still shown on their website has not been updated since 2005:
http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5300-4.pdf

They do however mention that any pistol cartridge with a jacket comprising more than 25% of overall weight can be restricted (meant for M/39B), but this should not count a solid bullet (with no jacket). And how they think 6.8 and 6.5 qualify is beyond me, unless they are trying to say that solids are a “jacket” unto themselves. What a mess! Jay at E.A. is a nice and honest guy who was specifically trying to abide by the law, and I had told him previously that he seemed to be doing just that.


#13

The bullets marketed by EA were not soft copper, they were made of brass, which is also prohibited by 18 USC.

True. That’s why I’ve been cautioning people to not get excited over these early reports (which, AFAIK, have been made only by EA, and are clearly self-serving).


#14

Jay may be a nice guy, but solid brass “handgun” bullets are classified as AP, under Federal law.


#15

Try telling that to a CA collector who has AP or Tracers that he acquired years ago.

Ray


#16

Right you are Ray, but state laws (especially California) are another matter, they are usually more restrictive than the 1986 federal law.

Although Jay was loading solid brass projectiles into 5.7x28 loads, the ATF had never dictated that 5.7x28 were pistol caliber, and they make no mention of it anywhere. Obviously the “FiveseveN” is a pistol that fires it, but there’s also the P90, PS90, and the modified uppers for AR’s (AR 57’s). So there’s a few rifle, and one pistol. They should have made a more clear ruling, or updated their out of date guide and sent out letters to FFL holders.

For anyone who isn’t familiar, these are some of the penetrator type projectiles that Elite makes / made:


#17

I also wonder if there’s anything on a personal level going on, and even though it should not matter, it’s easy to understand how something like this image from E.A’s website might garner a reaction from the administration:

The subliminal message is pretty clear, and it’s obviously just a bit of fun probably poking at the anti-gun anti-ammo nature of Obama. The Exterminator is just a varmint HP load


#18

No offense, DK – but I don’t see why a ruling would be necessary. The Five-seveN is a widely advertised, semiautomatic pistol, not some obscure single-shot handgun. When FN developed the 5.7x28 cartridge, they made it clear that it was intended for use in both SMG and pistol.


#19

It’s just strange that according to Jay, the BATF are saying that it’s all about 6.5, 6.8, and .223 projectiles with no mention of the 5.7x28. The ironic thing is that E.A.'s solid brass projectiles are no better than the legal SS-190, of which there are volumes available. His brass bullets are about the same ability as SS-190’s


#20

[quote=“DKConfiguration”]I also wonder if there’s anything on a personal level going on, and even though it should not matter, it’s easy to understand how something like this image from E.A’s website might garner a reaction from the administration:

The subliminal message is pretty clear, and it’s obviously just a bit of fun probably poking at the anti-gun anti-ammo nature of Obama. The Exterminator is just a varmint HP load[/quote]
I can’t help but think that if you did that with any of our “dear leaders” here in the UK you would also get your door kicked in. “Free” countries indeed.