Rumors have been circulating that last two days that the BATF has stopped the importation of steel core 5.45×39 ammo. After reading this news on social media, I’m sure many of you fired up your browser and gave Google a thorough workout trying to find a copy of the official BATF letter that gives the smack down to cheap 7N6 ammo… and like me you were probably unable to find such a letter.
That’s probably because such a letter doesn’t currently exist.
The rumor stems from an importer who had filed a Form 6 to bring in a shipment of 7N6 surplus ammo from Russia. The form approval went well past 2 weeks, which is the normal time frame for a Form 6 to be approved by the BATF. The importer emailed the BATF to find out what was going on with this particular import request and received this email response back.
The importer wishes to remain anonymous because of the backlash that’s certain to come from the darkest corners of the internet. Can you blame them? After all, no good deed goes unpunished online.
What’s interesting is that the Form 6 hasn’t been rejected yet, which would be the normal procedure. It appears the ATF is simply sitting on Form 6’s for steel core 5.45×39 ammo for some reason. I suspect they’re waiting for a formal ruling to come down from the BATF brass before the official denial letters are sent out.
So, has the ATF definitively shut off all steel core 7N6 5.45×39 imports? Not officially, but it looks as though there is something afoot, and that “something” doesn’t look pretty.
This wouldn’t be the first time the BATF had shutoff imports of steel core rifle ammo because someone made a pistol that chambered it. Back in 1994 Olympic Arms screwed over American gun owners by manufacturing a 7.62×39 AR15 pistol. The moment they ran ads for the new pistol the BATF came down like a hammer and shutoff all 7.62×39 ammo imports that featured steel cores. The Gun Zone has the full story on that debacle.
The ATF isn’t speaking publicly about who made the 5.45×39 handgun in question, at least not yet. I’m sure the firearms community will be curious to find out who the culprit is that created such an abomination so they can receive the ridicule they so aptly deserve. Meanwhile, the waiting game continues to see if steel core 5.45×39 is shut off from future import.
Copes Distributing has confirmed that the ATF has in fact shut off the import of 5.45×39 surplus ammo. From a post they made on AR15.com at 3pm today:
Confirmed from the IMPORT BRANCH of the BATFE…Just got off the phone with them….Exact words No more Imports of 5.45×39 Ammo……. Don’t hate me as we are OUT OF STOCK ALREADY….. Just delivering the message…