There’s been a rumor going around for several days claiming that the ATF has stopped the importation of 5.45×39 military surplus ammunition with a mild steel core. The video below does a pretty good job of summing up what we presently know.
It might be worth clarifying that we’re talking steel bullet cores, not steel cartridge cases.
Why is the ATF stopping the importation of this ammunition now? Who do we “blame” for it? Frankly, the answers to both questions are irrelevant unless you’re the kind who simply needs to get your two-minute hate on, and I suspect that there are few of that kind here.
The good news is that there are plenty of foreign (and a few domestic) manufacturers that make 5.45×39 ammunition that doesn’t use a mild steel core. These cartridges will not affected by this importation hold in any way, shape, or form. If you shoot an AK-74, you will be able to find ammunition. 5.45×39 ammunition will simply rise in price to be on parity (roughly) with imported lead 7.62×39 and 5.56 NATO ammunition made by these same manufacturers.
Supplies of mild-steel core military surplus ammunition was already starting to dry up, and a switch to lead-core was inevitable anyway. If the ATF importation hold becomes a formal ban the way it did for 7.62×39 a decade ago, it will simply be another adjustment, and ten years from now, is one that few are even likely going to remember.