BATFE moves to ban SS109/M855 .223 ammo
M855 is the current military issue, and so comprises the "surplus" ammo market in 5.56 NATO. BATFE originally classed it as suitable for "sporting purposes" and thus exempt from the AP ban. It now proposes to reverse this and ban production for the civilian market. The official reasons given largely hinge on the development of AR-15 platform handguns.
Comments are open until March 15. They can be emailed to APAComments@atf.govor faxed to (202) 648-9741.
I have some trouble understanding how the M855 fits the statutory definition of AP ammo. It has a two-part core, with a steel penetrator in front and a lead core behind it, under the standard copper-alloy jacket. The statute provides:
"(B) The term "armor piercing ammunition" means--
(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or
(ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile."
(i) doesn't seem to fit: the neither the projectile nor its core are "constructed entirely" of any of the metals named. The M855 core is lead and steel, not just steel.
(ii) doesn't fit either: the M855 isn't designed or intended for use in a handgun, its jacket is less than 25% of the weight of the projectile, and it's debatable whether .223 can be called "larger than .22 caliber." (if the bore is expressed in hundredth of an inch, as here, the larger next step would be .23 caliber).