March 11th, 2015

ATF Shelves Plan to Ban M855 Ammo — For Now at Least

NSSF ATF m855
Photo courtesy NSSF.

Count this as a small victory for gun owners — the ATF’s proposed ban on “Green Tip” M855 ammo has been taken off the table — for now at least. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm and Explosives (ATF) announced that it will rethink its proposed ban on commonplace 5.56x45mm M855 “green tip” ammunition. ATF has shelved the M855 ban for the time being while it reviews the 80,000+ comments it has received on the issue. The Shooting Wire noted that: “In addition to those 80,000 comments from average citizens, letters from both houses of Congress warned the ATF [that its] proposal was…a violation of law as Congress had exempted M855 from armor piercing classification because of its widespread use for recreational and competition shooting.” Though the matter is “off the table” for now, ATF will continue to accept comments through March 16, 2015.

ATF Statement Regard Proposed M855 Ban

“Thank you for your interest in ATF’s proposed framework for determining whether certain projectiles are ‘primarily intended for sporting purposes’ within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C). The informal comment period will close on Monday, March 16, 2015. ATF has already received more than 80,000 comments, which will be made publicly available as soon as practicable. Although ATF endeavored to create a proposal that reflected a good faith interpretation of the law and balanced the interests of law enforcement, industry, and sportsmen, the vast majority of the comments received to date are critical of the framework, and include issues that deserve further study. Accordingly, ATF will not at this time seek to issue a final framework. After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework.”

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March 5th, 2015

Creedmoor Sports Has Lake City (Federal) XM855 Ammo

You probably know by now that the ATF is seeking comments on a proposed regulation that would ban the importation and sale of M855 steel-core 5.56x45mm ammunition. The ATF has proposed banning this “green-tip” ammo (and similar products) on the grounds that it is “armor piercing”.

Nobody knows whether the proposed ban will actually go into effect. The ATF is solicting comments through March 16, 2015. The mere possibility of a ban has spurred a feeding frenzy of ammo sales. If you are looking for genuine M855-type Green Tip ammo, suitable for use in AR-platform rifles, Creedmoor Sports recently obtained a large supply. Creedmoor just located quantities of Lake City-produced, American Eagle-brand XM855 in cardboard boxes: “Our team found another source for 5.56 mm XM855F Federal Lake City Green Tip Ammo. This ammo is becoming almost impossible to source the closer we get to the [March 16th end] of the ATF comment period.”

CLICK HERE to ORDER XM855F from Creedmoor Sports ($210.00 for 300 rounds).

Lake City M855 5.56 62gr Green Tip Ammunition (300 Rounds)
M855 Green Tip Ammunition Ammo Creedmoor

M855 Green Tip Ammunition Ammo Creedmoor

Product Description
High-quality 5.56x45mm ammo made in the USA by Lake City. This is “XM855″ ball ammo with a steel penetrator in the core, surrounded by a copper jacket. The projectile is color-coded with a green-painted tip as is traditional with US-made M855.

Product Specifications:
* Manufacturer: Federal / Lake City
* Model: XM855
* Caliber: 5.56 NATO (5.56x45mm)
* Grain Weight: 62 Grains
* Type: Full Metal Jacket with Penetrator
* Units per Case: 300 (in two 150ct boxes)

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February 24th, 2015

NSSF Urges Public to Oppose ATF Ban on 5.56 M855 Ammo

BATFE ATF logoThe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is seeking to ban commonly-used 5.56 M855 “green tip” ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition” and is seeking public comment on the proposal. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) urges target shooters and gun owners to contact ATF to oppose this proposed ban.

For decades, under the “sporting purposes” doctrine, commonly-available “green tip” M855 and SS109 rifle ammunition has been exempt from federal law banning armor-piercing ammunition. There is no question that this 5.56 ball ammo has been widely used by law-abiding American citizens for sporting purposes.

Winchester-brand 5.56X45 62gr NATO M855 FMJ Ammunition
m855 Olin winchester ball SS109 Brownells accurateshooter.com

NSSF SS109 M855 .223 Rem 5.56x45mm ammo ammunition penetratorThe NSSF has an online form that makes it easy to voice your opinion on the proposed ban on 5.56 ball ammo. This form will direct your comments to Congress and/or the ATF. Click the button at right to navigate to the NSSF online form.

Commentary by Jim Shepherd, The Shooting Wire
Should the ATF reclassify surplus (and widely used) M855 and SS109 ammunition as armor-piercing, it would then be illegal for consumer consumption. This weekend, we received word that apparently many gun owners didn’t find this to be a compelling reason to record their objections with the federal government. With only a few days remaining in the ATF’s solicitation of comments, fewer than 6,000 shooters have registered their displeasure with the proposal.That, as one of my least-favorite instructors used to say, is simply unacceptable.”

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May 21st, 2014

Fun by the Barrel — 12,500 Rounds in One Big Steel Drum

Barrel Federal drum 5.56 roundsWhat’s more fun that a barrel of monkeys? Well a barrel of ammo of course. Here’s an item for the man who has everything, or maybe the prepper who needs enough 5.56x45mm ammo to defeat a horde of zombies, plus their undead friends and relatives. For a mere $5999.99 you can get a barrel containing 12,500 rounds of Federal 5.56x45mm 62gr “Green Tip” ammunition. No joke — this is a real item offered for sale by Grafs.com. When you’re not shooting, your ammo barrel can do double duty as a handy side-table in your living room or man-cave. Just the thing to hold a plate of snacks and your favorite beverage.

In all seriousness, this is impressive Mil-Spec FMJ ammunition right off the production line. The 62-grain green-tipped bullets feature a hardened steel penetrator core. The boxer-primed cases are fully reloadable (though the miltary primer crimps would have to be removed). The ammo is delivered in a heavy-duty steel drum, with steel clamp-on lid with rubber seal. Each container is plastic-lined and packed (from the factory) with dessicant pouches for long term storage.

Barrel Federal drum 5.56 rounds

NOTE: In some jurisdictions there may be restrictions on this product (based on the quantity of rounds or other factors). Check your local laws and regulations.

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February 9th, 2013

Winchester Recalls Lot of 5.56x45mm M855 Ammunition

Olin’s Winchester Division has issued a Recall Notice for one (1) lot of its 5.56x45mm M855 62 grain PENE centerfire rifle ammunition. This notice applies only to Symbol Number ZGQ3308 with Lot Number WCC10M106-004. Other Symbol Numbers or Lot Numbers are not subject to this recall.

Symbol Number: ZGQ3308
Lot Number: WCC10M106-004

Winchester 5.56 .223 recall ammoWinchester states: “Through extensive evaluation Winchester has determined the above lot of 5.56mm M855 ammunition may contain incorrect propellant. Incorrect propellant in this ammunition may cause firearm damage, rendering the firearm inoperable, and subject the shooter or bystanders to a risk of serious personal injury when fired.”

The ammunition Symbol Number and Lot Number are ink stamped on the outside of the 900-round shipping container, and on the outside of the 30-round carton as shown at right:

If you have Winchester Ammo with Symbol Number ZGQ3308 and Lot Number WCC10M106-004 immediately discontinue use and contact Winchester toll-free at 866-423-5224 for free UPS pick-up of the recalled ammunition. Upon receipt of your recalled ammunition, Winchester will ship replacement ammunition directly to you.

If you have any questions concerning this 5.56mm M855 ammunition recall please call toll-free 866-423-5224, write to Winchester (600 Powder Mill Road, East Alton, IL 62024 Attn: 5.56mm M855 Recall), or visit www.winchester.com.

Notice tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 29th, 2010

U.S. Army Issues New M855A1 Ammo to Troops in Afghanistan

The U.S. Army has begun shipping its new, improved 5.56×45 cartridge, the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The Army will procure over 200 million rounds of the new M855A1 ammo in the next 12-15 months, and soldiers in Afghanistan will begin using M855A1 ammo in the summer of 2010. The new round replaces the current M855 cartridge used by U.S. troops since the early 1980s.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPR

The military sought to replace current M855 ammo because M855 has not performed adequately in the Afghan theater. Specific complaints include: 1) inability to effectively penetrate vehicle windshields; 2) poor long-range performance; and 3) failure to fragment even in short-range anti-personnel use. The Army’s Picatinny Arsenal claims that the new M855A1 has improved hard target capability, more consistent performance at all distances, improved accuracy, reduced muzzle flash, and higher velocity. M855A1 ammo is tailored for use in M4 carbines but should also give enhanced performance in M16s and M249s.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPRNew Steel-Tip Bullet Design
The 62-grain bullet for the new M855A1 ammo is a completely new design. While it may appear to have a plastic “ballistic tip”, that’s deceiving. The new bullet created for M855A1 ammo has a bismuth-tin alloy core with a steel “stacked-cone” penetrating tip. The photo at right shows the version from last year; the final production version may be slightly different (e.g. the final version tip is a different color). Apparently the latest bullet design is a winner. During testing, M855A1 ammo performed better than current 7.62mm ball ammunition against certain types of targets. According to Lt. Col. Jeffrey K. Woods, the program’s product manager, the new M855A1 ammo is “the best general purpose 5.56mm round ever produced. A true general purpose round, the M855A1 exceeds the performance of the current M855 against the many different types of targets likely to be encountered in combat.” The chart below illustrates how M855A1 ammo performs on hard targets compared to M855.

M855A1 hard target

Over One Million Rounds Fired in Army Tests
Prior to initial production, the new M855A1 round underwent vigorous testing. Official qualification of the round consisted of a series of side-by-side tests with the current M855. Overall, the Army fired more than one million rounds to ensure the new cartridge met all expectations. The new M855A1 round is the “most thoroughly tested small caliber round ever fielded” according to Lt. Col. Woods. The new M855A1 is sometimes called “Green Ammo” because it uses a lead-free projectile. Woods said the M855A1’s bullet design shows how “greening” a previously hazardous material can also provide extremely beneficial performance improvements.

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February 17th, 2010

USMC Adopts New Open-tip 'SOST' 5.56 Ammo

After learning that M855 NATO ammo does not perform well from short-barreled rifles such as the M4 carbine, the U.S. Marine Corps has started issuing a new type of 5.56×45 ammo to its troops in Afghanistan. The new SOST (Special Operations Science and Technology) ammo, officially designated MK 318 MOD 0 “Cartridge, Caliber 5.56mm Ball, Carbine, Barrier”, features a different open-tip 62mm bullet. The new bullet, with a lead core (in the top half) and solid copper bottom half, is similar to hunting bullets such as Federal’s Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. The SOST bullet was designed by Federal/ATK, which will produce the loaded ammunition.

SOST 5.56 ammo

The new SOST ammo was first developed for use by SOCOM (Special Operations) in the SCAR rifle, which has a short, 13.8″ barrel. Even in short-barreled rifles, the SOST provides impressive ballistics — achieving 2925 fps in a 14″ barrel. Compared to M855 ball ammo, SOST rounds are more lethal when shot from short-barreled rifles. According to the Marine Times, SOST ammunition delivers “consistent, rapid fragmentation which shortens the time required to cause incapacitation of enemy combatants”. Using an open-tip design common with some sniper ammunition, SOST rounds are designed to be “barrier blind”, meaning they stay on target better than existing M855 rounds after penetrating windshields, car doors and other objects. This is important to troops in the Middle Eastern theater who must engage insurgents inside vehicles or hiding behind barriers.

In Afghanistan, the USMC will issue SOST ammo for both the short-barreled M4 carbine as well as the original, full-length M16A4. The Corps purchased a “couple million” SOST rounds as part of a joint $6 million, 10.4-million-round buy in September — enough to last the service several months in Afghanistan.

M855 Criticized by Ground Troops and Pentagon Testers
The standard Marine 5.56 round, the M855, was developed in the 1970s and approved as an official NATO round in 1980. In recent years, however, it has been the subject of widespread criticism from troops, who question whether it has enough punch to stop oncoming enemies.

In 2002, shortcomings in the M855’s performance were detailed in a report by Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Ind., according to Navy Department documents. Additional testing in 2005 showed shortcomings. The Pentagon issued a request to industry for improved ammunition the following year.

CLICK HERE for Full Report on New SOST MK 318 Ammunition.

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