Its Official: ATF Bans Russian 7n6 5.45×39 Imports

The ATF has officially banned “Russian-made 7n6 5.45×39 ammunition” after a request for review from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

As Bearing Arms points out, the Special Advisory specifically calls out “Russian-made”. It is possible (but highly unlikely) that surplus from other locales may allowed. We will continue to investigate.

Full announcement below (click the picture to be taken to ATF website):



My personal take? This sucks.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Tyler M.

    Well there went the AK74 market right out the window. Let’s hope they don’t ban 7.62x54R surplus too, since it has a mix metal core and some have steel cores.

    • CrankyFool

      It’s worth noting that apparently the issue here is the fact that you can get a commercially-available handgun for these rounds. To the best of my knowledge, nobody’s stupid enough to create 7.62x54R handguns (yet).

      • Giolli Joker
        • gunslinger

          they forgot to add throwing arm out of socket.

        • J.T.

          Obrez is classified as an SBR. What we need to worry about is somebody making a PSL pistol.

          • gunslinger

            it’s classified as an SBR why?

          • J.T.

            Because it is made from a rifle. Even if you cut the stock off, it is still considered an SBR by the ATF and needs a tax stamp.

        • Guest

          I can only imagine the flamethrower blast coming out from that thing.

          Ah what the hell, photoshop is for fun.

      • matt RRC
        • Cymond

          From reading that, it seems that pistol was never manufactured (the picture is a photoshop). Also, the company has a bad rep for taking people’s money and never delivering, so it’s probable that none will ever be made.

      • Geodkyt

        And that’s the key — “commercially available”.
        ATF went through this with Chinese steel-core 7.62x39mm. Not only did others in the gun industry say, “MANUFACTURERS, PLEASE DON’T BUILD AN AK PISTOL! They’ll shut off teh cheap Chinese ammo supply if you do!”, but the frigging ATF went to the manufacturer who was announcing he would be introducing an AK pistol and told him, “The instant you offer one commericially, we’re classifying 7.62x39mm as a caliber useable in a handgun, and that will force us to ban import or sale of the Cheap Chinese ammo.”
        For all I rail about many of ATF’s boneheaded (and often, IMNSHO, flat out wrong) “determinations” and interpretations, in THIIS case (both 7.62x39mm and 5.45x39mm AP classifications), they are merely interpreting the law EXACTLY as Congress wrote it.

    • Robert Thorne

      Really man, quit feeding the fire, wolf and tula are still importing/making ammo. If you think Russia is the only country importing com bloc ammo, you are woefully uninformed.

      • Tyler M

        And what good is an AK74 when the ammunition is just as expensive as .223/5.56?

        • Robert Thorne

          By that logic, as good as an AR15. Just because the cheapest ammo is gone doesn’t mean the market for a rifle will drop. All I’m saying is you should be more careful with what you say before you start another panic buy. Lose lips sink ships and what not.

        • F-k Taylor

          Tyler M. Doesn’t know what the fuck it’s talking about!

          • Use your real name—– and that language/insult may work on Facebook but please don’t use it here.
            Besides it takes my time to edit it out.

        • Justice

          Commercial ammo is stil available in many places, just not 7N6. Everyone knows about AK’s reliability, and not being picky with ammo, unlike some AR15’s so people will still buy AK74’s. Cheap Milsurp ammo is just not available anymore which was the big draw for the platform.
          5.45 ammo is still a bit cheaper than 5.56 FYI.

    • They did say Russian ammo so that caliber from other countries will most likely still be imported.

    • gunslinger

      remember, the Obrez. it’s a handgun… ? right?

      • Cymond

        No, read the comments above, a cut-down rifle is a SBR in the US.

  • guest

    Pity, but that “handgun” they refer to is no handgun in any logical sense of the word.

    • Anonymoose

      Laws aren’t logical. Also, 7.62×39 has better armor penetration capabilities,and more handguns are chambered for it than 5.45.

      • guest

        Nope on the 7,62, and the second statement – that is not a “handgun” either.

        Calling a chopped rifle without a proper buttstock a handgun is like calling a semi-auto AR-15 an assault rifle. You can… but you’ll be incorrect. I have stopped listening to the US classifications of various things after pizza was classified as a vegetable.

        • windexsunday

          I hate to go off topic but the government never classified pizza as a vegetable. What it did do was … “Allow USDA to count two tablespoons of tomato paste as a vegetable, as it does now. The department had attempted to require that only a half-cup of tomato paste could be considered a vegetable – too much to put on a pizza. Federally subsidized lunches must have a certain number of vegetables to be served.”

          Certainly not great from a health standpoint to be sure but a far cry from classifying pizza as a vegetable.

          “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

          • guest

            You can explain it any way you want, but it’s a classic stars and stripes red white and blue made in US judicial screwup. Feeding kids pizza at school is like having candy dispensing machines… oh wayt!

            Queue the “fat american” jokes.

          • noguncontrol

            you should take your own advice, trying to defend and justify govt classifications is as foolish as it gets.

          • sma

            who cares what it is called as long as it is edible and the atf does not ban it as an explosive gas producer.

      • Andrew

        And milsurp steel core 7.62×39 is banned from import too…so, what’s your point?

    • Raven

      That’s the worst possible way to fight this ruling, however. For legal purposes, that has to be a handgun, because it doesn’t fit the definition of an AOW, and they can’t be reclassified as SBRs.

    • verymiddleeuropean

      Well the ATF sure could come up with something like this :

      I can only almost hear some Ukrainian Jedi saying “at last we will have revenge”. In Amerikka, and thanks to the ATF. Evil Empire is sure screwed. Now we only have to determine which one.

  • Doopington

    Well, who’s ready for yet another good, old-fashioned gun panic?
    Like the fifth or sixth in as many years! What fun, for the entire family, as they line up at gun stores to buy up all the remaining stock!

    • Risky

      Unfortunately those lining up will only be those with the intent to resale for ungodly prices. I’m gonna dry heave every time I see “ULTRA RARE 7N6 UBER ARMERR PEARCING 5.45MM RURSSERN AMMERR ONLY $2 A ROUND” throughout the gun-o-sphere in the next ten years.

      • Andrew

        Hey, if it makes them leave the damn .22lr ammo alone, that’s fine by me.

      • Brian Diffenderfer

        it’s probably illegal to sell it in any form now, let alone keep what you have of it.

        • Justice

          You can re-sell any 7N6 you currently own. Its just not allowed to be imported to the US anymore, so no more 7N6 will be brought into the country for future use. I’m sure those with current stock of it will raise the prices like its gold (or 22lr).

    • I sure hope not—it’s really getting old!

    • Andrew

      It’s too soon for another one. All the idiots are still trying to pay off all the credit cards they maxed out buying $1,500 DPMS Sporticals during the last one.

  • Ken

    So who’s going to charter a ship to grab all the Bulgarian 7N6?

  • guest

    Americans, correct me if I am wrong – unlawful to import because of de-facto AP, but AP is still legal to buy in USA if US made?

    • Gabe

      Correct and if there was no ‘handgun’ made for this round it wouldn’t be considered AP.

    • Geodkyt

      No, Gabe the law prohibits manufacturing, importing, OR SELLING ammunition that has been classified as “armor piercing”.
      However, it does not prohibit possession of armor piercing ammunition, nor does it prohibit someone who has a can of the bullets from reloading them into cases as loaded rounds.

      • Gabe

        Hey buddy, I don’t see what that has to do with what I said. This ammo was being imported and sold for many years. Until this so called ‘handgun’ this ammo was perfectly legal to import and sell.

        • Rick Randall

          Gabe, you agreed with the statement that US-made ammunition is still legal, even if it is identical to ammo banned under the armor piercing ammunition rules.
          That is false. Ammunition ruled to be AP ammo under this section may not be imported into nor manufactured in the US, except for use by military or police agencies.
          The fact that 5.45x39mm (all bullet constructions) was legally imported as long as it was ONLY a “rifle” round is irrelevant to the truth or falsity of the idea that US-made ammo is exempt.
          Remember, the primary reason for this law in the first place was a US designed and manufactured round, and the irrational and unreasonable panic over the “teflon coated cop killers” created by professional fear-mongers.

  • Lance

    Strange that the 5.45 pistol was never imported and some say it was a Arizona company at fault for this. Sad day last cheap ammo banned now have to put up with rip off jerks for ammo.

  • matt RRC

    Slow clap ATF. I guess Thompson Contenders have made all ammo illegal then. A – Its a pistol. B – AP, REAL AP is made in almost all major calibers that this firearm uses. Does this mean all ammunition is now banned?

    • Cymond

      First, AP handgun ammo is defined by it’s construction not it’s performance. So yes, arguably, steel core .30-06 could be banned. Second, the ban only applies to importation.

      • matt RRC

        You are proving my point. Its a ridiculous clause and banning importation does nothing but hurt gun owners.

        • Cymond

          I agree that it’s ridiculous and hurts gun owners, but it has not “made all ammo illegal then”.

  • Pete

    I smell economic retaliation. The ATF should worry about the exportation of weaponry to Al Qaeda-Salafists-Wahhabis.

    • Pete Sheppard

      IMO, what you’re smelling is another manufactured opportunity to chip away at firearms and ammo availability in the US, using the Ukraine/Crimea crisis as an excuse.

      • sma

        if they cant control the weapons,they get you via ammo…I own one of the 5.45×39 “pistols”…as well as a full grone 74,and 47…I like all three,tons of fun to shoot. good job atf…you #&+?**^@#

  • CynicOwl

    “designed and intended for use in a handgun”.

    Someone please tell me how in the Hell 7N6 qualifies. It is a round that was designed specifically for the AK-74. So what if an obscure handgun I’ve never seen nor heard of is chambered for it?

    • J.T.

      “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 has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.”

      Falls under the first part, not the second. Projectile core constructed of steel and may be used in a “handgun”.

      • Havok

        The top part still doesn’t qualify as 7N6 does have lead between the steel core and the air pocket. Hence it is not ENTIRELY made up of one or a combination of the metals listed. And the amount of lead that is used in the round is more than “trace” amounts.

        • J.T.

          It has a core made of steel. It doesn’t matter that there is lead between the steel core and the jacket or that there is an air pocket in the front. The bullet has a steel core.

          • Cymond

            Why bother with the word “entirely” if “core” can be interpreted as any piece of steel, regardless of what’s around it?

            If the ATF’s logic is taken to it’s natural conclusion, then any spec of steel in an all-lead bullet could be called a “core”.

      • CynicOwl

        Ahhh, okay, I missed the word “core” in section 1; focused too heavily on “entirely”. Thanks, J.T..

  • Seth Martin

    It’s a good thing the federal government is keeping all that dangerous armor piercing ammo off the streets (/sarcasm). I was looking into the AK-74 platform instead of an Ar-15 too. I guess no more cheap 5.56-ish ammo anymore. Back to the Mosin…

  • Michael

    With all that is happening with Ukraine I doubt there will be any surplus ammo coming from Russia. Do all Russian troops use 5.45×39 or 7.62×39? I just want to know so that if the Russians or Chinese invade I know what I will find on the battlefield.

    • Squishy

      Michael: 5.45×39

    • bill

      7n6 is the 2nd gen 5.45 rd. 7n10 & 7n22 are what they use now. It’s kinda like how NATO went from m193 to m855 to m855a1.

      It’s interesting that Russia considers 7n6 an obsolete design, and ditched it because of LACK of penetration, but it’s being banned as AP here.

  • j


  • bill

    In my state we have a large chain retailer that has videos continuously playing promoting their ar chambered in 5.45, highlighting the cost effective 7n6. They also stock tantals and ak 74. Despite all the exposure, when the ammo scare peaked in the months following sandy hook 5.45 was the lone caliber on the shelf. It remained fully stocked in wolf(military&poly),red army, bear, hornady and half of an aisles bottom shelf stacked 2 high, 3 deep of 7n6 tins. If there is not enough demand for the round at big retailer at reasonable prices during a panic, then ammo flippers have little chance of profit with such a small margin. Great round, bad investment for a profiteer.

    • Brian Diffenderfer

      mind telling me this retailer ? a PM is fine. Always looking for 5.45 for my ARs

  • noguncontrol

    the time to abolish the BATF is long overdue. waaay long overdue. the NRA should fight this to the end, even if it means the end of the BATF and the armor piercing laws.

    • bill

      Find it interesting that we have a bureau that regulates all the items we revolted over the government regulation of nearly two and a half centuries ago. We have went full circle as our founding fathers predicted, which is why we have the 2nd amendment. Article 46 of the federalist papers clearly states this.

  • Franco

    Its a 22 and should be exempt according to the rules

  • MySpin1776

    Is this part of the O-Administration’s “Sanctions” against Russia??

  • Brian Diffenderfer

    it would not surprise me if the Russians make more without steel-cores in them.

  • EhlerDave

    May I ask what they call all the “non lead” ammo that is the go to green bullet?

  • Gregory Allard

    “The made efforts to confiscate our arms and powder supplies”

    Stop repeating 1776 obama even canadians see that is what your trying to do. It ended badly for the british born king

  • fran

    Why dont they just make it illegal to import the one “handgun” model chambered in that caliber

  • Common Man

    Seems like Obama can get two with the price of one sanction. The Evil Russian “Vladimir Putin,” because he is selling that ammunition at a profit out of his flat in Moscow. And second, the Evil American Firearm Owner, who has the nerve to use this ammunition recreationally. Hum, and Dear Leader said “I’m not going to take your guns…” What a bunch of Liars!