If you are a Mini-14 or SR-556 owner, odds are you are constantly on the lookout for good deals on ammo and one of the best in recent years has been various versions of the military standard 'green tip' 5.56mm. Well, it looks like the Obama administration is pulling at a few threads here to try to do away with this common load and now is your chance to do something about it.
What is Green Tip anyway?
When Eugene Stoner came out with his AR-15 rifle in the 1960s, it was a civilian sporting rifle that was later adopted, in a select-fire version, by the U.S. Air Force Security Forces in Vietnam, then by the Army and the entire U.S. military proper soon after. By the 1970s, other countries were jumping on board with rifles of the same caliber, as of course, if the Americans were using it, it had to be good stuff. This is where the Belgian FNC, the Austrian Steyr AUG, and French FAMAS came in at, following soon by the South Korean Daewoo rifles, and those from HK and Enfield.
However the round used by the U.S. military, the 55-grain M193, which was known for its fragmentation upon impact, was considered too inhumane to use in warfare by our more cosmopolitan Western European allies and a Belgian-designed cartridge with a 62-grain bullet that used a steel tip over a lead core to help hold it together was adopted as NATO standard in 1977. This "humane" round, known in Europe as the NATO SS109, is more commonly called M855 in U.S. military use and is known by its green-painted tip.
ATF Gets involved
Now, some 38 years after this standardized loading was adopted by the U.S. and her Allies, and has been in widespread manufacture worldwide, making it a common import sporting round, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wants to rule it "armor-piercing" although, technically, its not.
As reported by the NRA Friday :
It isn't even the third week of February, and the BATFE has already taken three major executive actions on gun control. First, it was a major change to what activities constitute regulated "manufacturing" of firearms. Next, BATFE reversed a less than year old position on firing a shouldered "pistol." Now, BATFE has released a "Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles are 'Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes' Within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(c)", which would eliminate M855's exemption to the armor piercing ammunition prohibition and make future exemptions nearly impossible.
How is this now an issue?
You see, armor-piercing rifle rounds are not illegal in the U.S. In fact, you can buy them online just like any other round. What the ATF does try to regulate are armor piercing handgun rounds. Now, seeing that 5.56-caliber AR-pattern pistols are very popular, the feds are saying that the green tip is armor piercing. The logic they use is that a projectile has to be made entirely of steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper or depleted uranium--, which the M855 is not, only the tip is steel.
Various blogs have decried that green tip is not true AP ammo for years (2011 blog) so this is not really news that it is just a normal round. In fact, most 5.56 or .223 ammo (with exceptions for gallery and less lethal training loads) can penetrate Level II body armor because-- news flash-- its 5.56/.223.
So now, you see the ruse...
What can you do?
The ATF has a comment period on this ammo decision where you can make your views known. Please be considerate, respectful, and educated. No rhetoric or "Obummer" stuff please.
ATF email: APAComments@atf.gov
Fax: (202) 648-9741.
Mail: Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Denise Brown, Enforcement Programs and Services, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226; telephone: (202) 648-7070.
Be safe. Moreover, try not to go crazy stocking up on green tip which will just artificially drive up the prices.