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Thread: Selling Cast Boolits - FFL Needed?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy

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    Selling Cast Boolits - FFL Needed?

    In another thread, a view was expressed that selling a few cast boolits to another member could require an FFL. It caused a thread to go off course. So I thought I’d start the discussion in a new thread.

    This specific section of the Federal Law cited, 18 USC 923(a), states in part:

    (a) No person shall engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or importing or manufacturing ammunition, until he has filed an application with and received a license to do so from the Attorney General.

    Here we have (at least) two terms/phrases that will require understanding: “engage in the business” and “ammunition”. We also have a grammatical issue, does “engage in the business” modify just the firearms part, or does it also modify “manufacturing ammunition.” Without any research, one might argue that it modifies both. Reading further down, the same section states: “Each applicant shall pay a fee for obtaining such a license, a separate fee being required for each place in which the applicant is to do business, as follows:”. Without a court case to the contrary, and there may be one, the “is to do business” would suggest it modifies both. But it’s an issue that would require research.

    On to the definitions, sometimes the law defines words contrary to their common sense meaning. Here, we see a definition of ammunition that some may find counter to common sense, section 921(a)(17):

    (A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.

    Circular, if nothing else. There is also a definition for “engage in business” in section 921(a)(21)(B):

    (B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;

    Assuming the “engage in business” applies to manufacturing ammunition, then one should ask. Is this a bullet? Then, ask did I make is as part of a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit? I suspect of one was doing that, one “would know”.

    There may also be other laws that impact the answer - I don’t know. But this is a good place to start discussion.

    None of this is meant to provide legal advice, or create an attorney client relationship. It’s a point of preliminary discussion for discussion purposes only.

  2. #2
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    Not knowing the laws in the US, I really can't comment.

    However; in Canada, manufacturing COMPONENTS (bullets or brass cases), one does not need a license.
    Same with importing, anyone can import up to 5000 pieces of brass, bullets or primers without any paperwork.

    RRR
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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Not a lawyer.

    My reading of that is if you're regularly making guns, ammunition, or parts for either, and selling them for profit such that you should claim it as income, then you're "doing business," as opposed to doing it for yourself as a hobby and offloading some unused parts.

    Similar to "doing business" as a firearms dealer. If I buy and sells guns more or less regularly, but I buy them to shoot and then sell them because I decide I don't want them, I'm not "doing business." I'm buying something for personal use, and selling it when I don't want it anymore. It's not for profit, and I'm not doing it for income. Sometimes I might make a profit, depending on current prices, but it's not part of my income, it's simply liquidating assets.



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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    It’d be a lot easier to deal with a specific set of facts rather than a bunch of hypothetical situations, or is this just academic curiosity?

    If the facts are “selling a few spare cast bullets to another member” the response is that no reasonable person would describe such a small and irregular transaction as being “in the business” so no ffl would be required.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    It’d be a lot easier to deal with a specific set of facts rather than a bunch of hypothetical situations, or is this just academic curiosity?

    If the facts are “selling a few spare cast bullets to another member” the response is that no reasonable person would describe such a small and irregular transaction as being “in the business” so no ffl would be required.
    Here ya go:
    A fellow in another thread was asking about a specific mold/bullet and he asked if there was someone out there who could sell him a few cast bullets to see if they would work for him before going out and buying the mold. The very first response was a member reminding everyone that selling this guy bullets would be illegal. The quoted request was:
    Anyone have the Arsenal 225-61 Grain "Elvis" and 225-77 "Elvis" Molds?
    I curious about them but do not want to buy the molds without knowing my gun will like them.
    Anyone have them and are willing to sell me a few?
    A word of caution. It’s illegal to sell bullets you cast. Requires an FFL
    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...vis-quot-Molds
    “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.” Ronald Reagan


  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by oley55 View Post
    Here ya go:
    A fellow in another thread was asking about a specific mold/bullet and he asked if there was someone out there who could sell him a few cast bullets to see if they would work for him before going out and buying the mold. The very first response was a member reminding everyone that selling this guy bullets would be illegal. The quoted request was:

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...vis-quot-Molds
    I should have done that. Duh. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

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    "doing business" is the big issue. It is so broad that a prosecutor can try to make it anything he wants. That is the risk you run. If you do it once I don't see how anyone can make it an issue - but if you have an unusual mold that someone wants boolits regularly you are probably pushing the limits.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  8. #8

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by oley55 View Post
    Here ya go:
    A fellow in another thread was asking about a specific mold/bullet and he asked if there was someone out there who could sell him a few cast bullets to see if they would work for him before going out and buying the mold. The very first response was a member reminding everyone that selling this guy bullets would be illegal. The quoted request was:

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...vis-quot-Molds
    Whoever was responding to the question was wrong. No question about it. There is no way to interpret “in the business” to mean a hobbyist selling a handful of bullets to another hobbyist. Internet fear mongering, just ignore it.

    Quote Originally Posted by 243winxb View Post
    I’m sure that you mean well, but you either didn’t read the posts in this thread or you didn’t read the article you linked to. In the first few lines of the article the attorney says “ He wanted to start a business manufacturing cast bullets which he would then sell online and at flea markets.” obviously this is a very different set of facts than the ones in this thread, and not surprisingly the legal requirements are different.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    is it true that in California dealing in lead is considered hazardous material regulated by the state

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master


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    If someone wanted 100-150 bullets to try them out, I would just give them for free. Why would I take any risk for a few dollars?

    And the FFL is the least of your concerns....ITAR may kick in too.

    I looked into doing stuff like selling cast billers, selling primed brass, etc....and decided it was not worth doing. BTW, I contacted the government agency to get my answer.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Stopsign32v's Avatar
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    You guys are way too scared of the boogeyman.

    Look at it from the other angle guys...Someone, anyone, find a single (just one) case of a law abiding citizen going to jail over selling brass, molded boolits, primers, or powder.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    In the business/using a Magma Mark 8 Bullet Master machine.

    Not in the business / using a 20 lb pot & a couple 6 cavity mold.. Better to get a part time Burger King job, instead of selling bullets

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rfeustel View Post
    (B) as applied to a manufacturer of ammunition, a person who devotes time, attention, and labor to manufacturing ammunition as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the sale or distribution of the ammunition manufactured;
    IMHO this is the key point of the situation at hand.

    Kinda like arguing over whether you need a business license or not. Plenty of people have cash only businesses and no license to operate. They can go for years/decades without being 'caught'.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Last I looked, if you don't do $10,000 a year it's not a business as far as taxes go.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim147 View Post
    Last I looked, if you don't do $10,000 a year it's not a business as far as taxes go.
    Let me guess, you looked on some internet forum. Just to clear things up, the info you got is entirely wrong. Not misunderstood, not a gray area, 100% wrong.

    Business vs hobby for income taxes has to do with intent, specifically the intent to make money. For a hobby you report your income and your expenses, but you can only deduct hobby expenses up to your hobby income, and to do that you need to itemize deductions which has other costs. For a business you can deduct all expenses, although some not in the current period depending upon a number of factors.

    IRS regs on this are not too difficult to read, but here is an faq https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/hobby-o...tips-to-decide

    For sales tax each jurisdiction is a little different, but generally you’re either selling an item that is taxable or an item that is not. It doesn’t matter how much you sell, the state, county, city want their cut every time.

    Business licensing fees also vary by jurisdiction, but again of you are in business they don’t care if you only have a dollar in revenue, they want their fees.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Don't forget federal excise tax. For fishing tackle it is 10% off the top for manufacturers and it may be the same for ammunition. The form is IRS Form 720 if you want to check. Nevermind - FET for firearms and ammo is not on that form. It must be a separate form.
    Last edited by quilbilly; 09-13-2021 at 11:14 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    Let me guess, you looked on some internet forum. Just to clear things up, the info you got is entirely wrong. Not misunderstood, not a gray area, 100% wrong.

    Business vs hobby for income taxes has to do with intent, specifically the intent to make money. For a hobby you report your income and your expenses, but you can only deduct hobby expenses up to your hobby income, and to do that you need to itemize deductions which has other costs. For a business you can deduct all expenses, although some not in the current period depending upon a number of factors.

    IRS regs on this are not too difficult to read, but here is an faq https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/hobby-o...tips-to-decide

    For sales tax each jurisdiction is a little different, but generally you’re either selling an item that is taxable or an item that is not. It doesn’t matter how much you sell, the state, county, city want their cut every time.

    Business licensing fees also vary by jurisdiction, but again of you are in business they don’t care if you only have a dollar in revenue, they want their fees.
    It was a website. It might have been a few years ago but it was the IRS site. I believe it was for your total income under $10,000 you do not have to report it. I never said a thing about state, county, city or anything else.

    I ran a business for years. I payed all the taxes including city. I don't live in a city. They all want their share.

    Like everything else, the less they know the better.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim147 View Post
    It was a website. It might have been a few years ago but it was the IRS site. I believe it was for your total income under $10,000 you do not have to report it. I never said a thing about state, county, city or anything else.

    I ran a business for years. I payed all the taxes including city. I don't live in a city. They all want their share.

    Like everything else, the less they know the better.
    Thats a different thing. If you have total income below $10,000 then you often don’t have to report. If you have a job that pays $25,000 and a side hustle that pay’s another $2,000 then everything is supposed to be reported. If all you make in a year is the $2,000 then you can probably skip filing a return.

    You said taxes, I didn’t want to assume that you meant just income.

    Agree with your last statement!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    If I had the mold that the OP wanted to buy the bullets to try , I would simply give them a few to try.
    I have had a few generous members on this site give me bullets to try before I bought a mold.
    I would find it hard to believe that giving away a few cast bullets as breaking any laws.

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