BREAKING: ATF Reclassifies Federal Explosives Laws With Rule Change

Don’t forget that the ammunition manufactures can’t sue. They can choose to either go out of business or raise prices to cover the increased expenses. But sense there is no ramp up period, as of right now all ammo manufactures are in violation of this new rule (can’t say law because it’s not).

In an Explosives Industry Newsletter issued in June 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) reclassified wetted nitrocellulose containing greater than 12.6 percent nitrogen as a high explosive under the federal explosives laws.

As explained below, this is a dramatic and sudden change in agency policy with a significant impact on the ammunition industry. The new policy was announced in a newsletter without any opportunity for industry input.

I. Background

The federal explosives laws, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40, regulate commerce in “explosive materials.” The term “explosive materials” is defined as explosives, blasting agents, and detonators. The term “explosives” is defined as any chemical compound mixture or device the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion. The definition requires ATF to publish an annual list of explosives that fit within the statutory definition. The 2015 List of Explosives is available at

Exemptions from the requirements of the federal explosives laws are provided, in pertinent part, for: (1) the transportation, shipment, receipt, or importation of explosive materials for delivery to any federal or State agency; (2) for small arms ammunition and components thereof; and (3) for the manufacture under the regulation of the U.S. military of explosive materials for their official use.

The term “ammunition” is defined in 27 C.F.R. § 555.11 as follows:

“Small arms ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or smokeless propellants designed for use in small arms, including percussion caps, and 3/32 inch and other external burning pyrotechnic hobby fuses. The term does not include black powder.”

ATF’s longstanding position is that the small arms ammunition exemption applies only to .50 caliber or smaller rifle or handgun ammunition as well as certain shotgun ammunition. This position is clear in a June 2013 Explosive Industry Newsletter addressing exploding ammunition.

ATF also exempts other components of small arms ammunition from the requirements of the law and regulations, but only if such components are listed in the definition of “ammunition” in 27 C.F.R. § 555.11. This means that smokeless powder and primers are exempt from record keeping and storage requirements. However, other explosive materials used to manufacture ammunition will not be exempt until incorporated into one of the components of ammunition listed in the regulation, including smokeless powder or a complete round of small arms ammunition. Thus, wetted nitrocellulose containing greater than 12.6 percent nitrogen may be lawfully shipped, transported, or received only by persons holding federal explosives licenses or permits. Nitrocellulose must be recorded in records of acquisition in accordance with 27 C.F.R. § 555.123(b). The wetted nitrocellulose must also be recorded in the daily summary of magazine transactions required by 27 C.F.R. 555.127 and stored in storage magazines meeting the construction, tables of distance, and other requirements of storage regulations in 27 C.F.R. Part 555. At the point the nitrocellulose is incorporated into smokeless powder or a complete round of ammunition, it is exempt from the requirements of the record keeping, storage, and other requirements of federal law and regulations.

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.22LR On The Horizon

Dean Weingarten reports:

I talked to Dan Compton at the Shot Show about what was going on with .22 production. Everyone is interested in the situation with the ongoing .22 ammunition bubble for the last three years. Store shelves have been empty more often than not. Dan is a Senior Product Line Specialist for Vista Outdoors, which includes CCI and Federal brands. I also talked with other people at the Vista booths and in the industry.

Over the last year, the decision was made to increase .22 rimfire production. Now it will take about a year to implement that decision. Part of that decision is based on the belief that the overall market has expanded to include more new shooters, young shooters, women and urban shooters.

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Gorilla Ammunition Releasing New Line of Self Defense Ammunition


Gorilla Ammunition introduces the new Silverback product line, featuring solid copper machined projectiles in 380 ACP, 9mm, 45 ACP, and 300 BLK. These technologically advanced projectiles create insane temporary and permanent wound cavities with controlled expansion to optimum depths.

“The growth of Gorilla Ammunition has been tremendous over the past year. We are very excited to release our new Silverback Line at SHOT Show. These lead free, CNC lathe turned copper projectiles are engineered and tuned for maximum expansion with penetration depths dictated by user requirements. Our proprietary heat treating and CNC machining process provides the unique ability to tweak projectile performance in soft tissue. This technology is groundbreaking for the ammunition industry and self defense ammunition consumers” said Lanse Padgett, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

“The entire Gorilla Ammunition team has worked tremendously hard over the past few months developing and refining this product line. It’s been our mission to be on the leading edge of 300 Blackout and now with the Silverback line we offer a 300 Blackout subsonic cartridge that expands and creates terminal performance on game that is tremendous. I am really excited to see how the consumers respond to the introduction of this new ammunition technology.” said Gorilla Ammunition’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Jay Duncan

About Gorilla Ammunition:
Gorilla Ammunition is a manufacturer of high quality modern firearm ammunition and dominates the 300 Blackout ammunition category. Also Gorilla Ammunition offers the Silverback product line of self defense ammunition, featuring solid copper machined projectiles in 380 ACP, 9mm, 45 ACP, and 300 BLK. These technologically advanced projectiles create insane temporary and permanent wound cavities with controlled expansion to optimum depths. Gorilla Ammunition’s industry leading quality and performance is helping this young manufacturing company grow very rapidly.