19 February 2015
About a week ago, on 13 Feb 2015, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced that it will be banning the M855 5.56 ammunition, commonly known as “Green Tip” ammo. There has been a lot of discussion about this, why it isn’t valid, and how this is basically the ATF “getting even” with the gun industry over the explosion of AR Pistols with a Sig forearm brace attached. The last point I will touch on in another article, but for now, I want to clear something up for all of our customers and the shooter community.
This ban WILL affect you!!
I feel this point needs to be hammered down. Personally, I’m a comment junkie, and on any article or blog post I like to read the comments to get a general feel of the people receiving the information. The responses seem to be split between 2 opinions:
- The ATF is the worst government agency in the country and we need to fight this tooth and nail. OR
- I don’t shoot M855/I don’t shoot 5.56/There’s other manufacturers out there etc.
If you are of the 2nd opinion, and you think that you won’t feel the effects of this, let me explain to you why you are wrong.
We are just beginning to climb out of a 2 year drought in ammunition, particularly bad for .22 LR and common handgun calibers. While this drought was bad, it was even worse if you tried to reload your ammunition (as A&A does) because there was zero powder to be found anywhere. Many speculated this was due to increased demand from government agencies and your standard consumer, but I believe 2 largely overlooked events were the main culprits:
- In 2013 ADI Powder and Ammunition, a major producer of gun powder worldwide, located in Australia, had a “production issue” that resulted in a work stoppage on the AP70N powder, redistributed in the US as Hodgdon Clays shotgun/handgun powder. Once this was solved, they had a fire on the same line, shutting it down for several more months. ADI was not back into full production until June 2014.
- In early 2014, PB Clermont, another worldwide player for gun powder, located in Belgium, also had a plant fire. Unfortunately PB Clermont had customers sign confidentiality agreements and never revealed what powder line was damaged, or what brands for powder and ammunition would be affected.
Since I lack details on the PB Clermont fire, I will focus on the ADI fire, and the results it had. AP70N, or Clays, is primarily a shotgun powder, but it is also very popular in heavy handgun loads, such as .45 ACP, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, etc. When the supply for Clays dried up (without an explanation at the time) the market that would typically use Clays began using other powders, including both commercial loaders and hobbyists. This increased demand for other brands resulted in those brands drying up, and so on. This also caused a shortage on ammunition for the certain calibers that would use Clays and other similar powders. The shortages on those calibers of ammunition will push shooters to shooting other calibers, driving up demand, etc. This didn’t just hit the shotgun and pistol ammunition markets, it even hit the rifle ammunition market. On top of all of this, when powder/ammo shortages occur people begin buying more than they need or want in order to either hoard or resell for a huge markup.
At the end of it all, you have a giant, recurring feedback loop. The only way to solve it is by lowering demand, which should have happened due to increased prices (but didn’t happen due to hoarders/resellers) or by increasing supply. Now that ADI and PB Clermont are back up, we’re beginning to come out of the crunch.
This exact same thing WILL happen when M855 comes off of the shelves. Yes, there are other brands, but M855 is a huge supply for .223/5.56 that will go away practically overnight. The market it was previously serving will begin buying other brands, and those brands will become rare and overpriced. Shooters will begin shooting their other caliber firearms instead of their 5.56/.223 since they can’t get their hands on it. Now they are shooting 7.62, .308, 9mm, .45 ACP, etc. Supply for those calibers won’t keep up, and we’re back into another feedback loop.
All shooters, whether you reload or not, whether you shoot .223 or not, even if you’re just a pistol shooter, will be affected by this ban.
You are not immune.
A&A Ammunition, CEO
To sign the petitions to stop the M855 ban:
For reading regarding the ADI and PB Clermont fires: