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View Full Version : Are steel core bullets considered armor piercing?


Whitesmoke
08-24-2006, 3:44 AM
I'm looking at some component bullets to reload for .223.....

some of them are steel core.....are these legally considered armor piercing (and therefore illegal in ca?)? or is that something different? and can someone explain the difference?

Thanks....

chiefcrash
08-24-2006, 7:11 AM
first off: i'm not a lawyer

i know for a fact that the SS-109 bullet, the kind on M855 ammo, is not armor piercing legally (and in practice). The steel core gives it enhanced long-range penetration, but it's not really an AP round. AP rounds are usually made of stuff harder than steel, like tungsten-carbide

http://www.ammo-oracle.com/images/m855.jpg

so i know the SS-109 bullet you're good to go. As for other, i refer you to the ATF:

"Armor piercing ammunition" is defined in federal law [18 U.S.C. 921(17)(B)] as "a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed" of various metals harder than lead, or "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."

there's some gray area, such as "intended" for use in a handgun. The fact that there ARE 5.56mm handguns doesn't help. But if the steel tip is under the jacket, not part of the jacket, AND you have a mostly lead core, you should be good.

once again, i'm no lawyer

SemiAutoSam
08-24-2006, 7:29 AM
Not illegal in rifle calibers but if its a caliber that is used in a Handgun massive NO NO from what I understand.

Guess those that would wear body armor don't think anyone will be gunning for them with a rifle IE 30/06, .308, 8mm. ect even a FMJ would slice thru a Kevlar vest like a hot knife thru butter.

AP would go thru even easier or at least penetrate more.

I suppose handgun slaps would be even more deadly huh?

Stanze
08-24-2006, 8:11 AM
Speaking of armor piercing, this website has great info on "real world" tests.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/

chiefcrash
08-24-2006, 10:09 AM
Not illegal in rifle calibers but if its a caliber that is used in a Handgun massive NO NO from what I understand.

Guess those that would wear body armor don't think anyone will be gunning for them with a rifle IE 30/06, .308, 8mm. ect even a FMJ would slice thru a Kevlar vest like a hot knife thru butter.

AP would go thru even easier or at least penetrate more.

I suppose handgun slaps would be even more deadly huh?

yea, steal core in a handgun would probably be a bad thing.

as for the body armor: a class IIIA vest (the strongest soft armor) will not stop 5.56. But a class III with rifle plates will stop M855 (steel core) ammo

monkey
08-24-2006, 11:44 AM
"Armor-Piercing" means 2 different things in this conversation. Handgun ammo that pierces soft personal body armor is illegal all across the country, not just in CA. You cannot make or possess it, but it has to be so declared by ATF, not your own tests.

Almost all centerfire rifle ammo will pierce this same body armor and consequently it's not something that is regulated as "armor piercing" (because all hunting ammo would be regulated in this way). "AP" ammo obviously means it's Armor Piercing, but not the same type of armor. When you refer to ammo as being "AP," you inherently mean that it's rifle caliber or greater that has the ability to some degree to pierce structural or vehicular armor. "AP" does not mean it pierces body armor.

You may buy, reload or otherwise possess AP rifle ammo as much as you want.

Whitesmoke
08-24-2006, 3:00 PM
Thanks guys....and thanks Monkey...I see you are right after reading the DOJ's website. I never realized that it was only handgun ammo that was affected.

This is on the DOJ website:

Armor-Piercing Bullets
It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, sell, or knowingly possess or transport
handgun ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor. (Penal Code
12320, 12321.)
Handgun ammunition means ammunition principally for use in pistols, revolvers, and other
California Firearms Laws 2006 19
firearms capable of being concealed upon the person, as defined in subdivision (a) of
section 12001, notwithstanding that the ammunition may also be used in some rifles.
(Penal Code 12323(a).)
Handgun ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor means any
ammunition, except a shotgun shell or ammunition primarily designed for use in rifles, that
is designed primarily to penetrate a body vest or body shield. (Penal Code 12323(b).)
Body vest or shield means any bullet-resistant material intended to provide ballistic and
trauma protection for the wearer or holder. (Penal Code 12323(c).)
Exceptions
The prohibition against possessing, manufacturing, etc., armor piercing ammunition does
not apply to the following (Penal Code 12322):
Specified members of the military while on duty and engaged within the scope of
their duties.
Any police agency or forensic laboratory.
Persons who hold valid permits issued pursuant to Penal Code section 12305.
The possession of handgun ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or
armor by a person who found the ammunition, if he or she is not prohibited from
possessing firearms or ammunition pursuant to section 12021, 12021.1 or paragraph
(1) of subdivision (b) of section 12316 of this code or section 8100 or 8103 of the
Welfare and Institutions Code and is transporting the ammunition to a law
enforcement agency for disposition according to law.

Whitesmoke
08-24-2006, 3:02 PM
Speaking of armor piercing, this website has great info on "real world" tests.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/


Hey...thats a cool website....thanks for the link!

Rumpled
08-25-2006, 12:12 AM
Good old F troop, that's right the Fed (B)ATF(e) has a definition of AP.
It is VERY specific as to the bullet's construction (tungsten core maybe?) and normal steel core ammo just does not fit the bill.

In CA AP pistol ammo is totally verboten, rifle AP ammo is OK - but since most ranges won't even let you shoot steel core, let alone true AP. there's little use for it.

M. Sage
08-25-2006, 5:26 PM
True AP has tungsten or hardened steel at the core, and the core is usually pointed. Most steel core out there has a mild-steel core that's blunt-shaped.