18 U.S.C., 921(a)(17)(A)
Ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.
the main body of a round of ammunition into which other components are inserted to form a cartridge
a cartridge component consisting of a cup, priming mixture, and anvil, which fires the cartridge when struck by the firing mechanism
a non-spherical projectile for use in a rifled barrel
the chemical composition which when ignited by the primer generates the gas to propel the projectile
27 CFR 478.11
- unloaded, non-metallic shotgun hull without primer
- shotgun shells or pellets
- cartridges for industrial tools (i.e., nail guns)
- projectile for matchlock, wheellock, flintlock or percussion type firearms.
- shotgun wads
is the approximate measurement of the diameter of the bore or the diameter of the projectile and may be designated in either inches or millimeters.
inch and millimeter conversions
a complete description includes two parts: the caliber followed by an identifier.
a. inventor - caliber followed by inventor’s name: .38 S&W, .223 Remington, .357 SIG, .300 Winchester, .40 S7W, .45 ACP
b. propellant powder - caliber and grains of propellant powder, .45-70, 44-40, .38-55
c. year of adoption - caliber and year of adoption by the U.S. military: .30-06
d. case length - caliber and the length of the cartridge case in millimeters: 7.62 X 39, 9x19, 5.56x45, 762x54R
e. combination - 30-30 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield, .30-40 Krag
a round of ammunition that may contain multiple projectiles (pellets) or a single projectile, designed to be fired from a shotgun. May be made of plastic, paper, brass or aluminum.
in shotshells, how is bore diameter determined
bore diameter is determined by gauge not caliber (except .410)
12 gauge, 16, gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge
the number of lead balls equal to the diameter of a given bore that can be made from one pound of pure lead.
is a caliber (in inches) and not a gauge.
d. propellant powder
e. projectiles - shot-pellets (multiple pellets per shell), slug (single projectile per shell)
rimmed rimless semi-rimless belted rebated
shapes of cartridge cases
the ignition component of a cartridge
a. solid - bullet made of solid metal
b. jacketed - bullet having a core covered by a metallic cover.
full metal jacket jacketed soft point semi-wadcutter boattail flat nosed jacketed hollow point wadcutter
smokeless powder (most typically used in modern ammunition).
markings in ammunition
headstamp - marking stamped on head (base) of the cartridge casing.
on commercial ammunition may indicate name of manufacturer, cartridge designation
on military cartridge may indicate coder for manufacturer or country of manufacture, year of manufacture
ammunition color coding
BEWARE OF AMMUNITION THAT IS COLOR CODED - may be special purpose ammunition such as armor piercing or tracer or even proof ammunition.
- ammunition loaded to higher pressures than normal.
- used to test the ability of a firearm to withstand the excessive pressures and forces when fired with high pressure proof ammunition.
- constructed of nickel cartridge case and marked with red coloring on the bullet nose and on base of cartridge.
ammunition assembled using cartridge cases that have been previously fired.
armor piercing ammunition
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.
a full-jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket weighs more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.
armor piercing ammo marking requirements
applies to licensed manufacturer or licensed importer.
staining or dying the exterior of the projectile with an opaque black coloring.
box marked “armor piercing”
box marked also “FOR GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES OR EXPORTATION ONLY” on contrasting background
armor piercing unlawful acts
Title 18. U.S.C., Section 922(a)(7) manufacture prohibited
for any person to manufacture or import armor piercing ammunition, unless: for use by GOVT or for exportation.
Title 18 U.S.C. Section 922(a)(8) sell prohibited
possession of armor piercing ammo by non-prohibited individuals is not prohibited under Fed Law.
any weapon (including a starter gun), which will, or is designed to, or may be converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive
the frame or receiver of any such weapon
any firearm silencer or firearm muffler
any destructive device
does not include antique firearm.
Antique fire arm
any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, wheellock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898.
any replica of any firearm of a pre-1899 firearm if such replica is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammo.
ignition system for a muzzle loading firearm in which the trigger moves an arm containing a lit match down into the priming powder located in an pan attached to the side of the barrel discharging the firearm.
muzzle loading firearm ignition system in which a piece of lint is attached to the hammer to ignite the priming powder.
a muzzle loading firearm ignition system that uses a metallic cup containing a priming compound that is placed on a nipple that when struck by a hammer explodes and ignites the propellant charge in the firearm.
term used by the firearm industry to indicate an unfinished receiver has not reached the point in the manufacturing process where it should be classified as a firearm as defined GCA or NFA.
ATF uses the term unfinished receiver.
castings, forgings, flats and channels
refer to unfinished firearm receivers, meaning they have not reached a stage of manufacturing in which they would be classified as a firearm.
curious or relics
- manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date.
- certified by a curator
- derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre.
Firearm markings - Licensed Manufacturer - 18 U.S.C. 923(i) and 27CFR 478.92(a)(1). effective with the passage of the Gun Control Act.
- serial number on the frame or receiver (cannot duplicate a serial #)
- manufacturer’s name, city and state.
- caliber or gauge
- model (if designated)
Firearm markings - Licensed Importer” effective with the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968
- serial # on frame or receiver
- cannot duplicate serial #’s
- manufacturer’s name and country of origin
- caliber or gauge
- model (if designated)
- importer’s name, city and state
- ATF ruling prohibits foreign character in any serial #.