The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is making some changes that are really raising some eyebrows. They have decided to reclassify wetted nitrocellulose as a high explosive under the federal explosives laws.

Nitrocellulose is a component of smokeless powder that is used in small-arms ammunition and artillery fire. Smokeless powder allowed for the development of modern semi- and fully automatic firearms. In times before smokeless powder, burnt black powder produced a thick, heavy residue that caused autoloading firearms to jam. Smokeless powder containing nitrocellulose exhibits none of these properties.

Explained in the ATF Newsletter is the change that came as a surprise to most, without any chance for the industry to have any input. Did the ATF really think that a newsletter was the best way to go about a policy change with such heavy exemptions attached?

ATFexplosives ATFNewsletter

A lot of people would agree that this is an irresponsible policy change, and the fact that it came in the form of a newsletter is frustrating for many. It sounds like the legal battle is just beginning on this one, but hopefully they get to the bottom of why this change was made so drastically.

It’s worth noting that nothing major is likely to be affected by this policy change, since no major manufacturer has been contacted or notified of any such information. In addition, the ATF has granted waivers to ammunition manufactures in the past.

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6 thoughts on “ATF Reclassifies Nitrocellulose Without Shooting/Hunting Industry Input

  1. I read this on another site as well. I am trying to figure out how this affects a reloader. Can anyone clarify? The other article that I read implied that we will not be able to purchase without a license. Has anyone seen this as being true?
    Thanks for the input.

    1. The ATF raised the bill up and once it hits the house and senate that is when we know what will happen.
      If the bill goes through smokeless powder will be labeled a high explosive and will be nearly impossible to buy. You will have to have federal permission to buy your standard gun powder.

      Most powders for muzzle loaders are 11% and under.
      Most metallic loads are 18% and up.
      Reason to buy as much powder as possible asap.
      If this bill goes through it will most likely take effect either the end of the month it’s voted in or Jan 1st 2017.

      This could go through. Since it’s not a “Direct” threat to the 2nd amendment as law makers put it, it’s only to reduce “easily” accessible explosive powder.

  2. The first sentence is the most telling – ” ATF was recently asked about the status of nitrocellulose…”. Who exactly was it that “asked” about the status of nitrocellulose, such that it results in a “memo” like this? The gun banners know they can’t win a full frontal assault on the 2nd amendment, so they have turned to the termite strategy to try to bring the house down. Stuff like this fits perfectly into that strategy.

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