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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #00-0155 ([Frank's Gun & Pawn] [Mr. Frank Chamberlin])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Frank's Gun & Pawn

Individual Name: Mr. Frank Chamberlin

Location State: NC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

August 11, 2000

Mr. Frank Chamberlin                Ref No. 00-0155
Frank's Gun & Pawn
Post Office Box 2053
Asheboro, North Carolina 27203

Dear Mr. Chamberlin:

This is in response to your letter dated May 12, 2000, requesting clarification of the requirements concerning smokeless powder for small arms in §173.171, under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171-180).  Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Ql.                 Can "Smokeless powder for small arms, 4.1, NA 3178, PG I" be shipped in combination packagings with inner packagings not exceeding 16 pounds net mass?

Al.                  The answer is yes.  Smokeless powder is approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in a specific inner container (typically a static-resistant plastic bottle with a metal or plastic screw cap), having a specific liquid capacity (typically 1 pint, 1 quart, 1 gallon, etc.) and a specified net weight of smokeless powder in each container (typically 1 pound, 4 or 5 pounds, up to but not exceeding 8 pounds for the largest size container.  The approval also specifies the number of different size containers (typically from 1 to 16) that may be contained in any one outer packaging (typically a specification 4G, Packing Group I (PG 1) fiberboard box).  Section 173.171 (d) authorizes inside packages that have been examined and approved by the Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety provided: (1) a 4G fiberboard packaging meeting the Packing Group I performance level is used; (2) all inside containers are packed to prevent movement; and (3) the total net weight of the material (i.e., smokeless powder) in one package does not exceed 16 pounds.  The 16 pound weight limitation in §173.171 (d) applies only to those packagings authorized under §173.171 (d) and does not apply to those packagings authorized under §173.171 (a), (b) or (c).  In addition, several packages meeting the conditions of §173.171 (d) may be overpacked together if the 100 pound net mass limitation in §173.171 (b) is not exceeded.

Q2.                  Can different types of smokeless powder (i.e., extruded powder, ball powder, etc.) be shipped in the same packagings?

         A2.         The answer is yes.  If your smokeless powder (i.e., extruded powder, hall powder etc.) were classed in Division 1.3 before being reclassed in Division 4.1, there are no restrictions in loading, transporting or storing these materials together.  Under &SE173.171 (d), sporting store distributors have an option to take one or more brands and types of smokeless powder in the same DOT approved inner containers that they were received in and combine them in a NEW specification 4G PG I fiberboard box, which must be purchased for this purpose.  Sporting store distributors CANNOT re-use a specification 4G box from any of the manufacturers to put together a mixed brand shipment see §173.28 (b)(3).  In addition, the inner DOT approved packaging must be packaged to prevent movement with (dunnage, cushioning, dividers, etc.) and must NEVER be changed or replaced.  Finally, no more than 16 pounds net weight of smokeless powder may be included in each outer fiberboard box.  For example, one could ship one 8 - pound container of one brand and up to eight I - pound containers of other brands in the same box; or one 4 - pound container of one brand, one 8-pound container of a second brand and up to four 1- pound containers of the same or different brands.

Q3.                  Is smokeless powder required to be shipped in case lots only with each case of powder in a different box?

A3.                  The answer is no. As stated earlier, several packages meeting the conditions of §173.171  A (d) may be overpacked together if the 100 pound net mass limitation in §173.171 (b) is not exceeded (i.e., the total quantity of smokeless powder may not exceed 45.4 kg (100 pounds) net mass in: (1) One rail car, motor vehicle, or cargo only aircraft; or (2) One freight container on a vessel, not to exceed four freight containers per vessel.

I hope this information is helpful.  Should you have any questions, please contact Mr. Charles Betts of my staff on 1-800-HMR49-22,


Hattie L. Mitchell, Chief
Regulatory Review and Reinvention
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.171 Smokeless powder for small arms