ATF Issues Notice Concerning Binary Exploding Target Products
For those who enjoy reactive targets that explode with a big bang and a cloud of smoke, binary compounds are available from a variety of vendors, including Midsouth Shooters Supply.
These binary compounds, when mixed together, will explode when hit by a projectile of sufficient velocity. When used with proper safety precautions, binary target compounds such as Tannerite and Shockwave can create crowd-pleasing “special effects” at fun shoots. (But be sure to place the target at safe distances and never encase the exploding targets inside boxes, cans or other containers which can create flying shrapnel.) The video below shows the inventor of Tannerite, Daniel J. Tanner, hitting a 1-pound Tannerite target at 500 meters. Projectile was a .308 caliber 180gr Hornady HPS.
Federal Laws Apply Once You Mix the Binary Elements!
While separated binary explosives are currently legal to own and use (with minimal restrictions), there are some important legal considerations involved in the storage, distribution, and use of MIXED binary explosives. Individuals, shooting club directors, and range operators must ensure binary explosives are used in compliance with all local, state, and Federal Regulations. These issues are covered in a recent notice from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Anyone who plans to use Binary Exploding target compounds should read this notice carefully:
ATF Notice Re Binary Exploding Target Compounds
ATF has recently received inquiries about the applicability of the Federal explosives law to binary exploding targets.
The components of these binary targets (typically an oxidizer like ammonium nitrate and a fuel such as aluminum or another metal-based powder) are not separately listed on the List of Explosive Materials and do not meet the definition of “Explosives” in 27 CFR 555.11. Therefore, ATF does not regulate the sale and distribution of these component chemicals, even when sold together in binary target “kits.”
However, when the binary components are combined, the resulting mixture is an explosive material subject to all requirements of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40 and 27 CFR Part 555. Accordingly, all such exploding targets must be stored in an explosives storage magazine as prescribed in the regulations found in 27 CFR, Part 555, Subpart K — Storage, unless they are in the process of being used.
Further, mixing the binary components together constitutes manufacturing explosives. Persons manufacturing explosives for their own personal, non-business use only (e.g., personal target practice) are not required to have a Federal explosives license or permit. However, individuals or companies must obtain a Federal explosives manufacturing license if they intend to engage in the business of manufacturing explosives for sale or distribution, or for their own business use. Such business uses include manufacturing binary targets for demonstration or product testing purposes.
Licensed manufacturers of exploding targets are subject to Federal recordkeeping requirements and must comply with regulations concerning records of manufacture or acquisition, distribution, exportation, use, inventory and daily summaries of magazine transactions found in 27 CFR, Part 555, Subpart G—Records and Reports.
In addition, a Federal explosives license or permit is required for the transport of explosive materials. Therefore, a person must obtain a Federal explosives license or permit if they mix binary exploding targets and subsequently transport them to a shooting range or to any other location. For further information, please contact the Explosives Industry Programs Branch at eipb [at] atf.gov or (202) 648-7120.
Tannerite Informational Video — Shooting Demos Start at 6:34 Mark
- Firebird Exploding Targets from the UK Are Fun, Easy to Use
- ATF Notice Regarding Private Online FFL Application Services
- BATFE Posts Instructional Videos on YouTube
- OSHA Withdraws Controversial Proposed Regulations
- BATFE Ruling Covers Manufacturing Work by Dealer-Gunsmiths