You may find below the what I believe is the answer on what is legal to "make" vs what is legal to "assemble". As we normal (some less normal) people are not so much making AP bullets, but assembling AP rounds the laws are quite different!
You may see this FAQ ae the site below. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/user/wb...ublic/nfalist/
Copyright by James O. Bardwell, 1995, 1996. Permission is given to
reproduce this document or portions thereof with attribution, for
non-commercial, or non-governmental use only. No claim to U.S.
statutes or regulations quoted herein.
This is accurate, to the best of my knowledge, as of 2/09/96.
Nothing written here should be taken as legal advice. If you have
a legal problem, talk to a lawyer.
WHAT IS AP AMMO, BY FEDERAL LAW?
The definition of AP ammo is at 18 USC sec. 921(a)(17):
"(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.
(C) The term `armor piercing ammunition' does not include shotgun shot
required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting
purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile
which the Secretary finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting
purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Secretary
finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge
used in an oil and gas well perforating device."
[Secretary means Secretary of the Treasury, in reality determinations
are delegated to the Technology Branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms (ATF)]
Note the following things from the definition:
1) The definition was changed as part of the 1994 Crime Bill (9/14/94),
primarily by the addition of "full jacketed" bullets intended to be used
in a handgun whose jacket is more than 25% of their weight. The previous
language is at the end of this article, for comparison purposes.
2) AP ammo is the bullets ONLY, not the loaded ammo, although ATF has
identified some AP ammo by the loaded ammo, not projectiles, for the
information of FFL dealers, who are not supposed to "willfully"
transfer AP ammo.
From this it follows that loading the bullets identified above into
completed rounds does not constitute "making" AP ammo; making the
bullets themselves does.
3) USE - The bullet must be able to be used in a handgun. Rather than
construing this to mean regular handgun calibers, ATF construes this to
mean any caliber for which a handgun has been made, including handguns
in rifle calibers, like .308 Winchester, and 7.62x39, for purposes of
bullets covered by (B)(i). Thus bullets suitable for these calibers,
as well as other rifle calibers for which handguns have been made (at
least commercially made) which are constructed as described below would
or should be AP ammo.
However bullets that fall into the AP definition under (B)(ii), because
their jackets comprise more than 25% of their weight (solid copper bullets?)
must be intended for use in a handgun, not just be able to be used in a
4) CONSTRUCTION - The bullet must either have a core made ENTIRELY out
of one or more of the listed metals, or be a full jacketed type bullet
with a jacket comprising more that 25% of its weight. Thus SS109/M855
.223 (5.56mm) bullets would not be covered, because their core is only partly
steel, and partly lead. Lead is not a listed metal, and bullets with
cores made partly out of lead are OK. ATF has expressly ruled that
SS109/M855 bullets are not covered.
5) Hardness of the bullet is irrelevant.
6) Ability to actually penetrate any kind of soft body armor is irrelevant.
ATF has listed the following rounds as AP ammo:
All KTW, ARCANE, and THV ammo.
Czech made 9mm Para. with steel core.
German made 9mm Para with steel core.
MSC .25 ACP with brass bullet.
BLACK STEEL armor and metal piercing ammunition.
7.62mm NATO AP and SLAP.
PMC ULTRAMAG with brass bullet.
OMNISHOCK .38 Special with steel core.
7.62x39 ammo with steel core bullets.
ATF has specifically exempted the following rounds:
5.56 SS109 and M855 NATO rounds, with a steel penetrator tip.
.30-06 M2 AP ammo.
WHAT FEDERAL RESTRICTIONS ARE PLACED ON AP AMMO?
If you are NOT a (FFL) licensee under the Gun Control Act (an individual):
It is: ok to OWN AP ammo
ok to SELL AP ammo
ok to BUY AP ammo
ok to SHOOT AP ammo
NOT ok to MAKE AP ammo (18 USC sec. 922(a)(7))
NOT ok to IMPORT AP ammo (18 USC sec. 922(a)(7))
The only persons who can make AP ammo are holders of a type 10
FFL, also needed to make destructive devices, and ammunition for
destructive devices. The only persons who can import AP ammo
are holders of a type 11 FFL, who can also import DD's and ammo
for DD's. The FFL's cost $1000 a year.
If you are a licensed manufacturer or importer:
NOT ok to SELL or DELIVER AP ammo (18 USC sec. 922(a)(8)
(with exceptions for making/importing for law enforcement, export, or R&D).
No additional restrictions, except as listed below. This applies
not only to holders of type 10 and 11 FFL's, but also type 7 and 8
FFL's (makers and importers of guns other than DD's), as well as
holders of a type 06 FFL (maker of ammo other than for DD's).
If you are a licensed dealer, manufacturer, importer or collector:
NOT ok to SELL or DELIVER AP ammo without keeping a record of the sale, similar
to the bound book record for firearm sales. (18 USC sec. 922(b)(5)).
No additional restriction, except on dealers as noted below.
The records required to kept on sale or delivery of AP ammo need only
be kept for two years, not twenty years, like firearm records. See
27 CFR sec. 178.121, and 27 CFR sec. 178.125.
18 USC sec. 923(e) allows the revocation of a dealer's FFL
for willfully transferring AP ammo, with exceptions for sales to law
enforcement and so on. This is dealers only; holders of a collector
FFL (type 03) may willfully transfer AP ammo if they wish, but must comply
with the record keeping noted above.
Some states also regulate or prohibit armor piercing ammo, and these
laws may bear no relation to how the federal law works. For state
laws, check locally. The following states regulate AP ammo,
to my knowledge, but the definition of AP ammo and sort of
regulation may (and likely does) deviate widely from the federal
approach. NV, OK, RI, VA, AL, NY, NJ, IL, IN, KS, LA, MN, FL, PA, TX, NC.
The former statute: 18 USC 921(a)(17)(B) - "The term 'armor
piercing ammunition' means 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. Such term does not include shotgun shot required
by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes,
a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile
which the Secretary finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting
purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the
Secretary finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes,
including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device."