Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

FY- 06-12
Contact: Andrew L. Lluberes/Sheree L. Mixell


For Immediate Release

Aug. 11, 2006



Rule Would Clarify Status of Hobby Rocket Motors

            WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register today to clarify that hobby rocket motors are not propellant actuated devices, due to the nature of their design and function. Therefore, hobby rocket motors are not covered by the exemption such devices have from the requirements of Federal explosives law and regulations.

            Propellant actuated devices (PADs) are exempt from the statutory definition of explosives. As defined in the regulations, the term "propellant actuated device" means any tool or special mechanized device or gas generator system that is actuated by a propellant or which releases and directs work through a propellant charge. In applying the regulatory definition, ATF has classified certain products as PADs: aircraft slide inflation cartridges, inflatable automobile occupant restraint systems, nail guns and diesel and jet engine starter cartridges.

            The proposed rule clarifies that the term "propellant actuated device" does not include hobby rocket motors or rocket-motor reload kits consisting of or containing ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP), black powder, or other similar low explosives. Such motors and reload kits would be subject to all applicable federal explosives controls pursuant to federal explosives law, the regulations, and applicable ATF policy.

            The proposed rule would not affect ATF’s longstanding policy exempting from regulation rocket motors containing no more than 62.5 grams of explosive propellant.

            The proposed rule may be viewed at, and the public may submit comments for 30 days from today. Comments may be submitted:

  • Electronically to ATF at or by using the electronic comment form provided at

  • In writing to: James P. Ficaretta; Program Manager; Room 5250; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; POB 50221; Washington, D.C. 20091-0221; ATTN: ATF9P.

  • By facsimile transmission to 202-927-0506 (maximum five pages).

            ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for regulating the explosives industry, enforcing the Safe Explosives Act and investigating explosives incidents. More information on ATF and its programs is at