USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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

Interpretation Response #03-0197 ([Olin Corporation] [Mr. G. W. Kovarik])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Olin Corporation

Individual Name: Mr. G. W. Kovarik

Location State: IL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Oct 9, 2003


Mr. G. W. Kovarik               Reference No. 03-0197
Transportation Manager
Olin Corporation
Winchester Ammunition Division
427 North Shamrock Street
EastAlton, IL 62024-1197

Dear Mr. Kovarik:

This is in response to your July 31, 2003 letter, requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the classification of explosives. Specifically you request a definition for a rifle, and if a machine gun or submachine gun is considered a rifle. Yon ask if small arms ammunition that can be used for rifles, machine guns or submachine guns can be classified as I.4S explosives. Finally, you ask if the classification of small arms ammunition is dependent upon its ultimate use in. rifles, machine guns or submachine guns.

The definition of a rifle, machine gun, or submachine gun is not found in the HMR. However, as found in conventional resources such as Webster's Dictionary, a rifle is defined as a shoulder weapon with a rifled bore; a machine gun is defined as a gun for sustained rapid fire that uses bullets; and a submachine gun is defined as a portable automatic firearm that uses pistol-type ammunition and is fired from the shoulder or hip.

The Research and Special Programs Administration regulates ammunition only, not weapons. Weapons are regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The classification of explosives under the HMR is not based upon the potential use of the explosives, but rather the definitions and criteria specified in § 173.50 'Of the HMR. Ammunition for a rifle or pistol that is less than 50 caliber may be classified by its manufacturer as I.4S explosives provided all the requirements of § 173.56 have been met.

I hope this satisfies your inquiry.



Susan Gorsky
Senior Transportation Regulations Specialist
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.36 Hazardous materials in Large Packagings