Primary Arms

Biden Regime Moving To Limit Commercial Sales Of M855

M855 (XM855) 5.56mm ammunition from Winchester.

It’s no secret the regime of Joseph Robinette Biden, Junior has it out for Second Amendment Radicals and armed citizens. Those calling the shots and taking advantage of that befuddled old man don’t like the thought of armed citizens who can say no. To be fair, the government has almost never been friendly to those who choose to take responsibility for their own lives, but the current regime has seemingly made it an action item on their agenda.

With even the current “deal” of a gun control framework looking like weak sauce amd potentially DOA, the regime is hitting all the angles to ram through some sort of anti-2A move to help bolster their dismal poll numbers. The latest angle is to attack the ammunition supply, by restricting the sale of excess production from the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, aka LCAAP

As first reported by the fine folk over at The Truth About Guns, the government may already have informed Winchester, who currently operates LCAAP, that they will not be able to sell excess and “factory seconds” of 5.56mm M855 ammunition to the general public.

In case you’re new to this thing of ours, M855, aka “Green Tip” ammunition, is probably the most common type of 5.56mm ammunition for the AR-15. Coming so soon after the tragic incident in Texas, this move stinks of sneaky progressive politics. Unable to fight and challenge people directly, the progressives of course have resorted to behind-the-scenes manipulations.

This is a bad thing, but of course the devil is in the details. But first, let’s go over some background data.

LCAAP M855 May Constitute 30 Percent Of 5.56mm Sold

There’s a whole universe of 5.56mm ammunition manufactured for the AR-15 platform. From dedicated defensive loads such as the amazing Mk262 clone by Black Hills Ammunition, to hunting and target rounds, there’s guaranteed to be a bullet suitable for your use case. The most common use case is training and range use, which usually means full-metal jacket rounds, the most ubiquitous of which is the M855.

Originally developed in the 1970s and 80s, the M855 satisfied a military requirement for a more effective 5.56mm cartridge for the M16. The original M193 round, while mostly adequate for training and combat use, had performance issues in scenarios such as dense foliage, i.e. Vietnam. M855, with it’s heavier 62 grain projectile and mild steel core, proved more effective at longer ranges and through foliage. Since it was still an FMJ round, it also proved cost-effective for training use.

For government purposes, the ammunition is traditionally produced in a regime-owned plant, these days usually the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, aka LCAAP. Founded in 1941 to produce munitions for World War 2, the plant is a public-private partnership and produces a lot of small arms ammunition for military use. These days, Winchester is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the plant.

Since it’s a government-owned plant, the bulk of the output goes to government users. Due to the vagaries of the procurement process, there is surplus ammo produced.

For example, (to keep the math easy) the military orders 1 million rounds of M855. Each run is of 100,000 rounds. The first 9 batches pass inspection, where a sample of the batch is examined to check if it meets the military specification. The specification not only sets benchmarks for performance, but also for minor things like the appearance of the ammunition.

This is where the surplus factor comes in. Say in our hypothetical 1 million round order of M855, the 10th batch of 100,000 has some rounds in it where the green paint isn’t applied correctly. If enough vary, the whole batch is deemed defective, and is pulled from the inventory.

Now, those rounds may not be physically defective. They’ll go bang just as effectively as an M855 round with the green paint properly applied. But, due to regulations, they cannot be placed in the inventory. So, they are given the “X” designation (M855 Winchester sells to us is technically called XM855) and set aside for commercial sale.

By some metrics, up to 30 percent of the 5.56mm ammunition consumed by citizen users in the US is XM855 from the LCAAP.

With the entire industry just now catching up from the mad rushes of 2020 and 2021, this isn’t exactly a good thing.

It Isn’t Winchester’s Fault, Really

To be fair, the LCAAP is a government-owned facility. Founded in wartime, for wartime production, the management has been outsourced to various firms over the years, including Winchester, who currently has the operating contract until 2027.

The contract may or may not have a stipulation that guarantees Winchester’s ability to sell excess/factory seconds ammunition to the citizens of the United States. If so, Winchester has some leverage against the government. If not, Winchester has no choice but to abide and at that point, any ammo marked “X” would either be destroyed or sold to foreign entities.

Fortunately, it seems Winchester strongly opposes this action. In a statement issued by the National Sports Shooting Foundation, both Winchester and the NSSF stated:

This restrictive action would immediately jeopardize 400-500 jobs, significantly reduce the availability of ammunition in the marketplace, and put the nation’s warfighting readiness at risk. Both NSSF and Winchester strongly oppose this action.

Those jobs handling the excess capacity are often tasked for surges in demand, usually when the government is choosing to get involved in (yet another) conflict. By and large, the single largest bulk buyer of ammo in the US is the military. And when they need ammo, they need ammo. And having trained personnel on hand to handle the demand is essential. Lay off those workers handling the “X” ammo and the company just has to train up new workers when the demand hits. Ammo manufacturing isn’t unskilled labor - training will take time.

Ironically leveraging our nation’s propensity to stick it’s military nose where it doesn’t belong could make the regime reconsider this action.

The Situation Isn’t Ideal, But Can Be Dealt With

This isn’t the first time the regime has done an arbitrary and capricious action against Second Amendment Radicals and armed citizens with regards to ammunition. Already, Russian ammo imports are banned for at least two years. This includes steel-cased 7.62x39mm rounds favored by AK shooters, and bargain .223 rounds favored by AR shooters who do a lot of volume.

Because of that, the ball was already rolling on increasing domestic capacity of ammunition production.

Already, the fine folk at Palmetto State Armory are building a new ammunition plant in South Carolina. Scheduled to open in 2023, the plant supposedly has imported Eastern European machinery and personnel to output steel-cased ammo for both AR and AK platforms domestically. I’m going to guess that traditional brass-cased ammo will be part of the offerings as well.

Within 24 hours of the concerning news from LCAAP, Ammo Inc announced they were ramping up production of .223 and 5.56mm at their existing facilities, and they too have a new plant in Wisconsin coming online in 2023.

Presumably, big manufacturers like Hornady, Federal, and Remington are following this story with interest.

Worth noting as well is that steady imports from PMC of Korea, IMI of Israel, PPU of Serbia, Norma of Sweden, and other overseas manufacturers continue relatively unabated.

The initial jab from the loss of LCAAP may suck, if it happens, but we the people can deal with it and keep moving on. Should it happen? No, on principle the government actually shouldn’t own any manufacturing capacity at all, but if they do and farm out the work to a private company, they shouldn’t have the privilege to dictate the sale of excess.

But if it happens, we’ll power through it and be fine.

The Silver Lining

Right now, in response to the tragic incident in Texas, the regime is debating the details of a so-called gun control framework. As it appears right now, it’s a funding grift, providing states that have snitch lines red flag laws with additional financing, ostensibly for mental health services and the like. In addition there’s a provision to have “enhanced” background checks for those under 21 who are acquiring firearms at retail. All Senate Democrats and 10 Republicans have expressed support for the bill.

Even before the LCAAP situation, Republicans who signed on to getting the bill done have said it was being bogged down in discussions, potentially causing some of the support from the RINO contingent to falter.

The LCAAP situation ironically makes the situation for this bill worse. The Republicans who signed on to support it ostensibly said they were doing so that the regime would act in “good faith”. The backdoor move by the regime is a futher example that government never acts in good faith, so therein lies the possibility that some RINOs will back out and the effort will fail.

Never Get Complacent

Surely, the bill in the Senate is a weak effort by the enemy. The bulk of the pro-2A forces were and are committed to fighting it, and in this fight, the government chose to conveniently sneak in another attack in a manner that can’t easily be countered. It’s another example of why those of us on the side of freedom, liberty, and fun can never be complacent. There’s always going to someone of influence out there looking to curtail things to promote their own insidious agenda.

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