Availability of Military .50 Caliber Ammunition

OSI-99-14R: Published: Jun 30, 1999. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1999.

Additional Materials:


Robert H. Hast
(202) 512-3000


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on how military .50 caliber ammunition, including armor-piercing and armor-piercing incendiary ammunition, becomes available for civilian purchase, focusing on the: (1) process by which the Department of Defense (DOD) disposed of the .50 caliber ammunition; (2) initial process used by the contractor that demilitarized the ammunition; and (3) contractor's manufacturing and marketing practices for the demilitarized ammunition.

GAO noted that: (1) Talon Manufacturing Company, headquartered in Paw Paw, West Virginia, holds an exclusive contract with DOD to demilitarize small arms ammunition, defined as .50 caliber and below; (2) ammunition leaving the DOD account is classified in three categories: unserviceable, excess, or obsolete; (3) no small arms ammunition goes directly from DOD to the civilian market; (4) the ammunition is shipped in bulk to Talon from various military storage depots; (5) DOD pays Talon $1 per ton for the ammunition that it will demilitarize; (6) in the case of .50 caliber ammunition, Talon separates the round and discards the primer; (7) the remaining components can then be: (a) sold for scrap; (b) used to manufacture reconditioned ammunition; and (c) sold on the civilian market for customers who reload their own ammunition using the brass casing, projectile, and propellant components; (8) the reconditioned ammunition sold by Talon for purchase by civilians has essentially the same ballistic characteristics as the original military round; (9) it is widely referred to as military surplus ammunition; (10) DOD provides Talon with five types of .50 caliber ammunition: ball, armor-piercing, armor-piercing incendiary, armor-piercing incendiary tracer, and ball tracer; and (11) these rounds are all sold on the civilian market.

Mar 13, 2018

Mar 12, 2018

Feb 15, 2018

Feb 8, 2018

Feb 2, 2018

Jan 8, 2018

Dec 21, 2017

Dec 13, 2017

Nov 6, 2017

Oct 25, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here