What's new
British Ordnance Collectors Network

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

What's the score with AP projectiles???


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Hello All
Although I've been concerned recently about the possibility of being offered unidentifiable projectiles of an incendiary nature.If I'm reading the available info correctly,AP of any calibre is also prohibited under Section 5.If,this is indeed the case,then there must be a lot of prohibited missiles in the hands of collectors,and also freely available from any number of dealers.

I guess,like many others,I feel that the only potential danger posed by an AP shot of any substantial calibre is dropping it on your foot!!! The Home Office perhaps takes a different view on this,so a little advice on this issue would be welcome.I like bacon and eggs sometimes in the morning and porage every single day might be a bit tedious!!!!

Hello All
I guess,like many others,I feel that the only potential danger posed by an AP shot of any substantial calibre is dropping it on your foot!!! ...

Standard safety precautions for AP rounds, as taught in EOD school...
  • DDOT (Don't Drop On Toe)
  • Do not eat
:tinysmile_shy_t::tinysmile_shy_t: (sorry, couldn't help myself)

(e)any ammunition for military use which consists in or incorporates a missile designed, on account of its having a JACKETAND hard-core, to penetrate armour plating, armour screening or body armour.

The legislation was really intended to deal with the criminal possession and use of AP ammunition. This, by and large, is going to be small arms ammunition. Off hand, I can't think of any AP rounds sub 20mm that aren't jacketed.

Thanks Tim, that's how I understand it too. I'm no expert on small arms rounds but am fairly sure there's some apds (SLAP) and apfsds rounds of less than 20mm. Presumably these aren't section 5.
Service sub-20mm APDS come in 14.5x114, 12.7x99, 12.7x108 and 7.62x51 (for Swedish sniper rifle). There are various other experimental rounds using APDS and a few have used APFSDS, but none of those has made it into service. The most interesting current one is the Swedish 6.5x25 CBJ (intended for use in rebarrelled 9x19 weapons) which as standard has a saboted 4mm tungsten projectile.

Would the definition of AP bullets include the standard NATO 5.56x45 ball round (SS109/M855) as this has a hardened steel element in the tip?

As it stands at the moment the law is quiet explicit and states jacket. To those with an interest in ammunition a jacket and a sabot are two entirely different articles. However, it would be childs play for a barrister to convince a jury that jacket includes sabot.


With respect to the SS109/M855 (Green tip) is it actually a tip or a core? The Eco friendly red tip SS109/M855 I would say, with its Tungsten core definitely falls within the scope of Section 5.


AP projectiles

Hello All,I'm afraid that I'm none the wiser regarding my original query,I've re read Tony E's summary of the Collector and the Law,and the difficulty seems to stem mostly from Section 5(1A)(g) which seemingly relates to the projectiles themselves irrespective of their calibre.So it would appear that in the eyes of the law there is no difference between a 25pdr AP shot
and a rifle/mg calibre AP bullet,and empty cases and struck primers don't come into it.

It does seem as if any projectile without a readily removeable fuze/nosecap and demonstrably empty interior is a bit iffy unless you wish to be the subject of a test case.Sadly I feel that the general public and magistrates in particular might well regard any collector of arms and ammunition as very suspect!!!


The law does differentiate between calibres, 25 Pr AP shot is not jacketed, with possibly a few rare exceptions, all small arms AP ammunition is. Thus 25 Pr AP is not covered by the legislation.

Lastly, before any prosecution can commence the article has to be examined by the Forensic Science Service, who have a very common sense approach to such matters.


Thanks for the advice Tim, as with so many things its not quite as clear as one may think.

With respect to the SS109/M855 (Green tip) is it actually a tip or a core? The Eco friendly red tip SS109/M855 I would say, with its Tungsten core definitely falls within the scope of Section 5.

The hard steel element of M855 forms the front part of the core; it is entirely within the jacket.

I've not come across red tip M855 (I thought red meant tracer!) but I assume you're referring to the tungsten/polymer mix practice round? In that case, I'd say it wouldn't count because it's not there to increase penetration, just to match the weight.

The tungsten-cored M996 AP round would definitely be caught by the legislation, though.
What's the score


There are two ways of going about this,

1) let sleeping dogs lay, just do it (collect) not disturbing anyone.
2) Finding out exactly what it all is supposed to mean from the people who pull the strings.

When firearm/ammunition laws changed in Australia in 1996 the emphasis was on small arms ammunition, but the way the legislation read, it basically covered all ammunition irrespective of size.

Until a collector brought large cal ammo (inert collector ammo) into the country and got a clarification on definitoin of what was supposed to be controlled, it was all up to the individual to interprate.

Now that there has been a determination & the air has been cleared, we now know what we can & can't own.

A simple solution is to ask what is & isn't, then you will all know.

Why wait for the heartache of getting your toys confiscated then spending thousands trying to legally get it back.

Bite the bullet (excuse the pun) & send a representative to put your case to the string pullers to make a determination.

Good luck.

Regards Ozzi.
This morning I spoke to a very unhelpful person and a very helpful person. The helpful person explained that notwithstanding the hardened tip within the NATO 5.56 x 45 SS109/M855 it is regarded as a ball round - the reason being it is designated as a ball round.

The same applies to Eastern Bloc 7.62 x 39 Ball, the majority of which has a steel core. It is regarded as a Ball round because it is designated as a Ball round.

APDS are not covered by the legislation because a Sabot is a Sabot and not a jacket.

All in all a common sense approach by those in authority.


With respect to the 'Red Tip' SS109/M855 I didnt realise it was a Tungsten/polymer core, not that it makes any difference as it is designated as a Ball round therefore it is a Ball round.

Thanks for that, an interesting response. The difference between the M855 and the 7.62x39 is of course that the former has a hardened steel element to increase penetration, the latter has a mild steel core to save money. I can understand that they'd rather stick to military definitions though, it would be a nightmare trying to make these decisions for themselves.
AP projectiles

Hello All,
It seems all is well with my AP projectiles,common sense prevails in the relevant Home Office departments and I can slumber peacefully at last.

Modern developments in SAA with sabots and tungsten cores etc are unlikely to come my way,but I seem to recall there was some use of the latter during WW2.There was also I believe much use of conventional
AP bullets in rifle/mg calibres,so these are probably best avoided assuming that one can tell the difference!!!

Ozzi's mention of bringing things into the country reminded me of the guy waiting to come through the Channel Tunnel who was found to have a Stokes Mortar bomb in his boot.The report on this incident that I read didn't make clear whether he had bought this in France quite openly
or dug it up somewhere.Either way I'm quite sure he wound up wishing he hadn't done it,and if it was the latter I'm glad I wasn't anywhere near him!!

AP projectiles

Well done guys,

All's well that ends well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Onward & upward:tinysmile_grin_t::tinysmile_grin_t::tinysmile_grin_t: