U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Just when ammo prices were beginning to come down, the totally legitimately-elected Biden administration’s State Department manages to conveniently ban all future imports of the only thing that kept shooters from financial ruin during the pandemic – Russian ammo. Which has lead many to speculate that the Avtomat’s days are numbered; but thankfully, this isn’t the case.
Before we get into it, make no mistake, this turn of events both objectively sucks, and is simply unhanded gun control. The fact that the State Department is allegedly enacting this ban as a punitive measure against Russia (Using the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991) over the country’s assassination of a political opponent using a biological agent should raise some eyebrows.
Not because such action shouldn’t be condemned – it totally should. But the motion doesn’t really make sense and fails to actually punish the individuals involved. Think of it this way, you had a neighbor whose teenage son always revs his crotch rocket bike at ungodly hours. So in order to get revenge, you sneak over at night and smash all the garden gnomes in his yard you’ve always hated.
Did you get revenge?
Sure, in a sense. But truthfully, you were just using the incident as an excuse to do what you really wanted – destroy those damn lawn ornaments.
And this latest piece of underhanded gun-control is much the same way. The Biden administration ironically hates the idea of a well-armed populace in the United States. I say ironically because they just allowed over $100 million worth of arms and ammo to fall into the hands of the Taliban after the disastrous decision to withdraw nearly all US forces from Afghanistan. So while an enemy we just spent 20 years trying to annihilate, 2,361 American lives, and reportedly $2 Trillion now has access to cutting edge weapons, at least American’s can’t buy cheap AK ammo anymore.
I know I sure feel safer now.
The Bright Side?
Honestly, there really isn’t one. But at least there are enough alternatives to Russian steel-cased ammo to keep shooters invested in the AK from selling their collections wholesale. So without further ado, let’s jump into the reasons this BS ban won’t kill my favorite rifle.
If you know anything about Yugoslavian AKs or SKS, you know the communist regime under Marshal Tito was never content to do things by the book. This is why Yugo-pattern AKs and SKS (M59/66) don’t have full parts commonality with standard AKM or SKS rifles. And so it came as no surprise to anyone when they decided to do their own take on standard military 7.62x39mm ammo.
While the Soviet Union was churning out M43 steel-cased, mild-steel-core rounds, Yugoslavia instead chose to produce brass-cased, lead-core ammo that is more accurate has better terminal ballistics, and travels about 100 fps faster.
The downside? Yugoslavian M67 is corrosive – so shooters will have to clean their rifles after each shooting session. And while I’ve heard dozens of people suggest using Windex to clean their guns, I personally prefer using boiling water and if it’s really dirty, I’ll add dish soap. If you choose to add soap, be sure to pick one without hand-softeners or added scents.
Red Army Standard
Full disclosure, Red Army ammo is some of the least consistent – at least in terms of velocity – ammo for the AK on the market. The good news is that it’s good enough to run flawlessly in your favorite AK or SKS. That said, despite all the Soviet-style packaging, Red Army Standard ammo is actually new production ammo from Romania – or sometimes Russia or even the Ukraine. Basically, it’s a blanket product name Century Arms uses when importing ammunition from former Soviet Bloc countries.
The bad news is that the last batches of this ammo that Century brought in were from Russia. So they’re going to have to shift importation contracts to other countries. The good news is that Century is very experienced at doing just that, and has the capital to bring in millions of rounds of ammo from overseas despite having to sit on them for months waiting for customs to clear them.
Russian Ammo Isn’t Actually Banned
OK, this might seem confusing but hear me out. The ammo itself wasn’t banned, simply the approval of any new ATF Form 6s. AKA, “Application and Permit for Importation of Firearms, Ammunition and Defense Articles”.
What’s the difference? The difference is that new importation requests aren’t going to be allowed from Russia. And that existing Form 6s are still valid until they expire – which is 1 year from the date of issue. Meaning, for the next few months the supply of Russian ammo is essentially unchanged – and if the previous ban on Russian firearms and thus the availability of Veprs is any indication, we’ll still have access to this ammo for the next couple of years.
But more importantly, this block of time allows importers to line up new sources of ammo overseas and potentially, some Russian businessmen to establish companies outside of their country to produce the same affordable ammo.
Yes, the fact that the current administration is forcing backdoor gun control on us sucks. And hopefully, the legislative action purportedly brewing to challenge this ruling leads somewhere. But even if it doesn’t, you don’t need to go and max out your credit cards stacking pallets of Russian ammo. The price will likely drop down to pre-panic levels after a few months. Sure, if you’re all out, buy a case or two. But I wouldn’t waste my paycheck on a pallet just yet. Especially when the current prices aren’t good enough to warrant it.
About Jim Grant
Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.
When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.