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 #14-0182 ([Reagent Chemical] [Mr. Robert Dritschel])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Reagent Chemical

Individual Name: Mr. Robert Dritschel

Location State: NJ Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 2, 2015

Mr. Robert Dritschel
Reagent Chemical
115 U.S. Highway 202
Ringoes, NJ 08551

Reference No. 14-0182

Dear Mr. Dritschel:

This is in response to your recent e-mail requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the requirements for transporting "NA 3178, Smokeless powder for small arms (100 pounds or less), 4.1 (flammable solid), Packing Group (PG) I." We have paraphrased your questions and answered them in the order provided.

Q1. Can any quantity of smokeless powder be classified under the "Consumer commodity, ORM-D" designation?

A1. The answer is no. The "None" in Column 8A (Packaging Exceptions) of the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT; § 172.101) for the entry "NA 3178, Smokeless powder for small arms, 4.1, PG I," denotes that the HMR does not permit this material to use the limited quantity and consumer commodity exceptions prescribed for PG II and PG III, Division 4.1 materials in § 173.151.

Q2. Is there any quantity of smokeless powder that can be transported without a hazardous materials bill of lading?

A2. Division 1.3C or 1.4C smokeless powder for small arms may be reclassed as Division 4.1 provided all the conditions in § 173.171 are met. Division 4.1, PG I material may be transported by motor vehicle under the Materials of Trade (MOTs) exception in § 173.6. To retain its classification as a Division 4.1 material when transported as MOTs, smokeless powder must meet the conditions of both §§ 173.171 and 173.6. These sections together require that smokeless powder:

  • must be transported domestically by motor vehicle;
  • must be reclassed in conformance with §§ 173.56 and 173.58;
  • may not exceed 45.5 kg (100 pounds) net mass in one motor vehicle;
  • must be placed only in combination packages —
    • in amounts up to 0.5 kg (1 pound) gross mass per inner packaging,
    • where inner packagings are arranged and protected to prevent simultaneous ignition of the contents,
    • where the outer packaging is a UN 4G fiberboard box that meets the PG I performance standard, and
    • where the completed package must be the manufacturer's original packaging, or one of equal or greater strength and integrity, and must be the same type that was examined for the material as required in § 173.56;
  • must not exceed a net weight of 7.3 kg (16 pounds) in one completed package;
  • must be placed in packagings that are sift proof for solids, securely closed, secured against shifting, and protected against damage; and
  • must be marked with common name or proper shipping name to identify the material it contains, including the letters "RQ" if it contains a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance.

In addition, the operator of the motor vehicle must be informed of the presence of smokeless powder on board the vehicle and the requirements of § 173.6.

Q3. Does the driver of any quantity of smokeless powder have to be hazmat trained and/or certified?

A3. Unless otherwise excepted, the answer is yes. Each hazmat employee affecting the safe commercial transportation of a hazardous material, such as smokeless powder for small arms, must be certified by a hazmat employer as being trained in accordance with 49 CFR Part 172, Subpart H. The hazmat employer must create and retain a record of the employee's training and provide the employee with recurrent hazmat training every three years (see § 172.704 (c) and (d)). In addition, operators of motor vehicles, including personal vehicles, transporting hazardous materials must fulfill the driver training requirements prescribed in §§ 177.800(c) and 177.816. Drivers of smokeless powder reclassified as a Division 4.1 material and transported under the MOTs exception must be trained in the provisions of §§ 173.6 and 173.171, as applicable, to ensure that the smokeless powder is eligible to be reclassed as a Division 4.1 and complies with all applicable conditions in § 173.6 and 173.171 to retain this eligibility. Further, in conformance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's regulations, only drivers transporting hazardous materials in vehicles that are required to be placarded under Subpart F of Part 172 of the HMR must have a hazardous materials endorsement on their Commercial Driver's License (see § 383.93).

Q4. Smokeless powder can be reclassified from Division 1.3 or 1.4 (explosive) to 4.1 for domestic shipments by following the conditions required to qualify for this exception in § 173.171 of the HMR. Does adherence to these noted conditions provide relief from any other HMR requirements?

A4. Other than as referenced earlier in this letter, the answer is no.

Q5. What are the HMR's requirements that permit several 8 pound containers weighing less than 100 pounds total to be transported domestically by vessel?

A5. Smokeless powder for small arms that has been approved and classed as Division 1.3C or 1.4C (explosive) may be reclassed as a Division 4.1 material when transported domestically by motor vehicle, rail car, vessel, or cargo-only aircraft, provided the applicable provisions in § 173.171 are met. Section 173.171 requires that:

  • These powders must be reclassed in conformance with the provisions prescribed in §§ 173.56 and 173.58 (see § 173.171(a));
  • The total quantity of smokeless powder may not exceed 45.5 kg (100 pounds) net mass in one rail car, motor vehicle, or cargo-only aircraft, or in one freight container on a vessel where the vessel contains up to four of these freight containers (see § 173.171(b));
  • Only combination packagings with inner packagings not exceeding 3.6 kg (8 pounds) net mass are authorized, where inner packagings must be arranged and protected so as to prevent simultaneous ignition of the contents, and the complete package must be of the same type which has been examined as required in § 173.56 (see § 173.171(c)); and
  • Inside packages that have been examined and approved by the Associate Administrator may be packaged in UN 4G fiberboard boxes meeting the PG I performance level, provided all inside containers are packed to prevent shifting and the net weight of smokeless powder in any one completed package does not exceed 7.3 kg (16 pounds) (see § 173.171(d)).

Please note that, in addition to these conditions, all other applicable HMR requirements to the transportation of these materials must be met.

I hope this satisfies your request.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

173.151, 173.171, 173.6, 173.56, 173.58, 172.704 (c) and (d), 177.800(c), 177.816, 173.171(a), 173.171(b), 173.171(d)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.704 Training requirements
173.151 Exceptions for Class 4
173.171 Smokeless powder for small arms
173.56 New explosives-definition and procedures for classification and approval
173.58 Assignment of class and division for new explosives