Legality of API cartridges


#1

In the U.S. there are no federal restrictions (that I know of) regarding the private ownership of Armor Percing Incendiary (API) cartridges. Can someone tell me what the regulations are in other countries? I’m not referring to handgun cartridges, only to rifle cartridges.

Ray


#2

In Belgium, this kind of ammunition is forbidden for private use and ownership.


#3

dugjans

It’s interesting that you were the first to answer and I appreciate your comment.

The reason I asked the question - on another forum there is a frenzy of members buying API ammunition. Prices are reaching obscene levels. But, I’ve noticed that it seems to be limited to the U.S. I wondered why. And it occured to me that maybe it’s because API cartridges are not permitted in many other countries.

It’s ironic that you answered because most of the cartridges they are buying are FN, which I assume were manufactured in Belgium.

Is API restricted in other countries as well?

Ray


#4

Ray,
Here in the UK armour piercing, incendiary and expanding projectiles are all prohibited. This would obviously include your API.
Having said that, these ‘prohibited’ projectiles can be held if you have a Section 5 endorsement on your firearms certificate (FAC).
This endorsement is basically to allow bona fida collectors to possess cartridges with projectiles which would otherwise be prohibited.
The brief answer is that they are not allowed but in practice they can be held by a legitimate collector who has the correct certification.


#5

Thanks Jim. I was fairly sure of your restrictions because of the times, not long ago, when I was trading with all of you guys over there.

Ray


#6

Norway here;

You have to be a certified cartridge collector with an explicit permission to buy and own both armour piercing and incendiary (loosely and vaguely defined as “cartridges with an easily combustible component meant to ignite on impact”, which for some reason also includes tracer ammunition in some cases…) ammunition. Some people get licenses that let them buy as much AP/I/API as they want to, other have to apply for each single round they want to buy.

As a note, there are still heaps of old 7,62x63mm AP rounds laying around in private homes from after our military stopped using SLGs (M1 Garands) and K98kF1 (Mausers converted to 7,62x63mm by Kongsberg). Wouldn’t take you that much time to find some old hunter with a box of FN manufactured APs in his gun cabinet :-)

Ole


#7

There are two things possibly going on with API. One is something I have wondered about for a while which has to do with .50BMG, and that is a law dating back to 2000 which dictated that the US government could no longer surplus out any ammunition or ammunition components which had “AP” or “API” in its designation. I was wondering when this might eventually create a shortage, and as of late I have not noticed any perceivable price jump in .50 cal AP, API, or APIT, except that APIT seems to be more scarce.

The other issue is how .30 cal API seems to have taken off, but I can tell you that 99% of the .308 API offered on gunbroker is phony and is actually Russian projos that are resized (or maybe not even resized) which are loaded on .308 brass and given a phony silver tip. The bullets might be API, but they are Russian with a boat tail, steel jacket, and are possibly resized incorrectly. These can be potentially bad for a .308 barrel, and may have the wrong bearing surface for the twist rate in a .308 / 7.62x51 barrel. This is usually all lost on the hyper AP / API buyers who think a shortage or government crackdown is always just around the corner.


#8

The CMP program announced a few days ago that they were selling .30-06 API M14 ammunition (made by FN). Prices seemed to be high for shooters, but may be bargains in the mind of some. Why a shooter would want any is sort of a mystery to me, but I support their right to own and use it (in an area where it is safe to use).


#9

CMP ran a trial auction for 3 clips (24 rounds) of FN to get a sense of the market. They sold for $371 or $15.45 per round. Only a few days ago they offered more for direct sale but it was all gone before the end of the day. I don’t know what it sold for.

One guy is selling clips (8 rounds) of Frankford Arsenal made in 1953 for $100 per clip. I don’t know if he has sold any.

I think Webster describes what is going on as:

Frenzy - intense usually wild and often disorderly compulsive or agitated activity

Ray


#10

If the bullets are API or AP it would be against federal law for a dealer to sell them. I’m not sure how many an individual would have to sell before running into trouble with the feds.

Ray


#11

[quote=“DKConfiguration”]

The other issue is how .30 cal API seems to have taken off, but I can tell you that 99% of the .308 API offered on gunbroker is phony and is actually Russian projos that are resized (or maybe not even resized) which are loaded on .308 brass and given a phony silver tip. The bullets might be API, but they are Russian with a boat tail, steel jacket, and are possibly resized incorrectly. These can be potentially bad for a .308 barrel, and may have the wrong bearing surface for the twist rate in a .308 / 7.62x51 barrel. This is usually all lost on the hyper AP / API buyers who think a shortage or government crackdown is always just around the corner.[/quote]

The russian API bullets (Type B-32 black/red tip with removed colors) are easy to identify, if you pull the bullet. The Type 1 (10 +/- 0,2Grams) has the steelcore at the base visible (no lead) and the Type 2 (since about 1956 with 10,4Gramm +/- 0,2) has a small copper Cup in the base -to hold the second incendiary element at the base new to the B-32 design-. This is easy to see…
But mostly People fooling others taking PS-Bullets (9,7-9,8Grams) which have already a silver tip . This have also the iron core visible at the base, but this one is flush and smooth, whereas the old API Type 1 has mostly rather crude base views.
Unfortunatelly I cannot post Pictures…
Sincerely
Forensic

Addition for Ray:
AP, API, Tracer, Explosive, Incediary-rounds are completely forbidden in Germany for private People, if the rounds (Handgun or Rifle/MG) are MILITARY.
For civilian rounds (lets say 357 Magnum, or a 338 Winchester Magnum -not 338 LM!!-, or similar) there is the possibilty, to obtain a license from the federal Bundeskriminalamt, to obtain and posess such ammo. This license is given on a 3 years timeframe to buy, and indefinatelly for Possession of this rounds.
But for warmaterial (as mentioned above…no Chance at all for Privates (Exception OLD STOCK registered before 1966 with the Ministery of Economy and mentioned with numbers and calibers a.s.o. in a written paper to the owner)…But this stock cannot be given as heritage…
Otherwise all this BULLETS alone, are not forbidden to posess or to buy, if they are not regulated by other laws (Explosive bullets for example)…The only Thing forbidden is than, to MAKE a live round from it…


#12

Absolutely forbidden for private citizens in Italy. They are considered “for war use only” both loaded cartridges and loose bullets ( and their parts)

Unfortunately no “special license” can be obtained to buy and own these cartridges and bullets


#13

That’s interesting about the CMP selling that FN stuff. The reason the prices are so high is that they have a very limited item in that buyers know the ammo is the real deal, and not spurious reloads done with re-sized bullets. I would bet that more than a couple interested parties presume they could pull the bullets and reload them for the more tactical-edge .308 use, but again - the bearing surface is not exactly correct, and accuracy can suffer a little, or a lot depending on twist.

I bought a 100rd box of that FN API ammo 5 or 6 years ago for about $90 because the seller listed them merely as “30-06 box silver tip” (without words like AP or API to excite the frenzied tactical crowd). I knew I got a deal, but those realized CMP auction prices for the 8rd clips are ridiculous.


#14

[quote=“RayMeketa”]
If the bullets are API or AP it would be against federal law for a dealer to sell them. I’m not sure how many an individual would have to sell before running into trouble with the feds.
Ray[/quote]
Not exactly, none of the sellers I see selling this stuff on Gunbroker are dealers (you only see it on Gunbroker and some other forums as classified sales), they are just individuals. It’s not illegal to reload projectiles like this for sale, but it is fraudulent the way they are being listed and sold. The sellers are usually vague in that they say simply “.30 cal API”, which they are, but this implies .308 use. Some other sellers are over the top and list this reloaded stuff as “Lake City” original USGI API etc… It gets pretty bad.

In terms of licensed dealers selling AP or API - it’s not illegal in rifle calibers, but you usually don’t see it other than .50BMG because .308, .30-06, and 7.62x39 aren’t in quite enough supply to make for much dealer-offered stock. As of 1986 it was illegal to commercially import or commercially manufacture pistol calibers in AP without an FFL 10 or FFL 11 which very few people have. In rifle calibers, the government (BATFE) made a horrible rule in 1994 (Clinton era) that said cartridges in 7.62x39 and .308 with steel cores were no longer eligible for import without an FFL 10/11. This was trumped up based on the notion that “pistols” like the Olympic Arms OA-93 and other Krinkov style AK pistols were supposedly becoming popular and this made the targeted cartridges qualify as AP under the existing 1986 pistol cal AP law.

You do still see a relatively good amount of 30-06 black tip AP from Greece, FN, etc… but this caliber is not in as high demand since there isn’t really any rifle for this caliber with a high-cap magazine, or in any tactical style making it cool enough for the frenzied buyer crowd.


#15

With a cartridge collector license in Holland you can collect any loaded cartridge up to .50
Above .50 they must be inert.

451kr.


#16

Forensics

how did germany apply EU directive # 91/477 ?

According to that document even loose AP & API bullets are considered A class weapons prohibited for the civilians


#17

Matt

I realize those GB and gun show 7.62MM API cartridges are legal for individuals to sell or trade, but the question becomes, at what point will BATF&E say that the guy is no longer an individual but a dealer? How many does he have to sell and how often does he have to do it? BATF&E does monitor GB and the shows. I certainly would not try it. Even if you are perfectly within the law, you’re still faced with having your stuff confiscated and defending yourself.

Remember the guy who got run over by a semi while crossing the street in a crosswalk. He was in the right, but he was still dead.

Ray


#18

Thanks to all of you who answered. It’s interesting to learn of the ammunition restrictions in different parts of the world and makes me appreciate that I can still collect most cartridges here in Arizona.

Ray


#19

[quote=“Pivi”]Forensics

how did germany apply EU directive # 91/477 ?

According to that document even loose AP & API bullets are considered A class weapons prohibited for the civilians[/quote]

Pivi, the EU 91/477 regulates only, whats a class A,. B, or C or D-Gun or ammo, and it gives only binding regulations for TRANSFERS between EU-Countries. But what happens inside of a Country still belongs to the Regulation of the different countries. For example, Luxemburg allows every citizen also to collect Full-Auto guns ( a class A weapon, forbidden for Normalos), but ist allowed inside of Luxemburg, but not here. But even here, you can own fullauto guns under certain restrictions, if they are made or introduced into an Army BEFORE 1.9.1945…So with a BKA-license you can buy a MP44, or an MP40, 38, or Thompson or similar. Only if it Comes to the question to Import it…that is NOT allowed in Germany. only the Fullautos already registered in Germany like in the US) can be transfered INTO the Country. To get them out to an other EU-Country certain Regulars has to be obied, but are possible. I sold several MP44 to Luxembuourg with license from the BKA and the Luxemburg Ministry of Justice. The Buying Country has only to state, that they have obied the regularium of the EU Directive 91/477 and are still willing to give the license to Import…or Export.
So Germany has stated only, that it classified this type of Bullets as class A (for Import and Export), but has not regulated or forbidden this stuff inside of Germany. There is a Special letter from the federal Police, which states, that a Deko-Cartridge with such a bullet on top is NOT FORBIDDEN by german gun law. But if someone has hundreds of this (all the same!!) bullets, he may com in conflict with the Explosive law in case of Incendiary, Explosive bullet or a Tracer bullet. And that is funny, as Tracer bullets are explicit not mentioned in the EU-regulations…but in the German ones…
So, you see, every Country makes his own nonsense…because the law was made by Burocrats…and they are all the same in the whole world…
PP


#20

[quote=“RayMeketa”]Matt
I realize those GB and gun show 7.62MM API cartridges are legal for individuals to sell or trade, but the question becomes, at what point will BATF&E say that the guy is no longer an individual but a dealer? How many does he have to sell and how often does he have to do it? BATF&E does monitor GB and the shows. I certainly would not try it. Even if you are perfectly within the law, you’re still faced with having your stuff confiscated and defending yourself.
Remember the guy who got run over by a semi while crossing the street in a crosswalk. He was in the right, but he was still dead.
Ray[/quote]
They actually spell it out in the law with definitions for “manufacturing”, “importation”, “distribution”, and “dealer sales”. This is basically how they determine when one should be required to have an FFL license of some sort. The definitions (buried in various complex federal laws) all sound the same actually, and they all read like this:
a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to importing ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition imported"

That one is specific to importation, but you can substitute in “manufacturing”, or “dealer-level sales” for that as well. The key differentiation is where it says principal objective being livelihood & profit through sale and most Gunbroker sellers don’t make the majority of their income via resale of ammo. The other way would be if one had a retail location of some sort and was selling any quantity of ammo and charging state sales tax for it as a regular business - that would dictate the need for a license to sell as a dealer. I agree that one way to get attention is to be constantly selling AP ammo, but in 10 years of Gunbroker I have never had any problem, and I have never heard of or seen any other seller having any problem since what they are doing on a sale by sale basis is perfectly legal. That goes for artillery shells, grenades, cartridges over .50cal which seem live, detonator devices, 40mm munitions, short barrel weapons, tear gas, and various questionably de-milled destructive devices. Heck, they used to sell 80% complete full auto machine gun receivers on Ebay before Ebay itself, not law enforcement, got concerned about it. In terms of earnings per year by selling ammo - that is more of a potential IRS issue for the seller, and could go towards defining whether they had ought to be classed as a “dealer”. [color=#BF0000](Please don’t take this as concrete legal affrirmation or a position by the IAA, it is just my personal interpretation)[/color]

One thing I do see however is near constant violation of various states laws on Gunbroker with people selling things in certain states which are restricted per those specific state’s laws (felony level stuff). I sometimes email the seller and advise them, but again - in ten years I have never seen or heard of anyone ever getting in trouble or even noticed, and this leaves me to assume that the enforcement out there simply isn’t looking because they either have more important things to do, don’t know about it, or don’t care. It’s never anything nefarious, usually just sellers who don’t know that 1950’s Czech 9x19 or German wartime 9x19 has an iron core, etc… Example: i just bought a lot of 9mm Czech ammo from a guy who had it listed as Israeli surplus 9mm because it had a “Star of David” on the headstamp. He wasn’t in a ban state for that ammo, but you can see how people would be oblivious to the violation.