How You Can (Legally) Ship Ammunition

How You Can (Legally) Ship Ammunition

How You Can (Legally) Ship Ammunition

Let’s say you’ve traveled somewhere to take a rifle or a pistol course. At the end of the course you have some ammunition left over and you need to get it back home.

What are your options?

First, you can fly home with it. You are allowed to have 11 pounds of ammunition per checked bag. Whenever I fly with ammunition I simply keep it in the carton that the ammo came in when I purchased it.

Don’t forget, if you’re flying with ammunition you must declare it when you are checking the baggage. (I just say, “I need to declare a firearm and ammunition.”)
Flying with ammo in your checked luggage is a piece of cake and I’ve never had a problem doing it.

But, what if you’ve got more than 11 pounds of ammo? Or what if you don’t want to put it in your checked bag?

The second option you have is to ship the ammo via Fed-Ex or UPS. You cannot ship ammunition through the US Postal Service so don’t even try or you could get in serious trouble.

Whenever I need to ship ammo I always use UPS since there’s a facility right near my house. Shipping ammo via UPS is very easy and here’s how it works:

1. Your package must weigh 66 pounds or less

2. They will only ship it ground service

3. You must attach their special shipping label to the outside of the box. The label must be larger than the size of a credit card. (I’ve attached the label below so you can use it in the future.)

UPS Ammunition Shipping Label

UPS Ammunition Shipping Label

4. You must take the ammunition to a shipping center, not a regular UPS store, where they’ll check your package in and get it where you need it to be.

That’s all you have to do to ship ammunition via UPS. And, from what I’ve been told, those are the same regulations for shipping ammo via Fed-Ex. (But remember, I’ve personally only shipped ammo via UPS.)

So, the next time you end up with ammo in one location and you need to ship it home, don’t worry… it’s an easier process than most people realize.

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  • Caribou

    Check with your air carrier as each one make their own rules on transporting ammo. Alaska Airlines, for example, allows up to fifty pounds per passenger. It can be in one bag.

    • Slade7

      Be careful at airports in gun averse jurisdictions. Recently, a European friend of a business associate declared a few boxes of .270 Winchester in his checked baggage at JFK Airport (New York City) while transferring to a flight home. He had legally bought the ammo out west since it was much cheaper than in his own country. The airline employee called over the Port Authority police who issued him a desk appearance ticket for unlawful possession of rifle ammunition. The New York City Administrative Code prohibits the possession not only of rifles and shotguns without a permit, but also their ammunition. In fact, even a permit holder cannot possess ammunition unless it is the same caliber as his registered weapons. Although he was issued a ticket and not incarcerated, it is still a misdemeanor charge that requires him to return for his court date. He was charged despite the fact that he was clearly in transit AND presented his own nation’s firearms license. A conviction could affect his ability to re-enter the U.S.

      Everyone needs to understand that many of those who claim to want “reasonable” gun control” hate gun owners; no matter how licensed and “registered” they are; and will pull any dirty trick they can to persecute them.

      • tionico

        this sort of tyrannical insanity is precisely WHY I refuse to enter New York City, Chicago, or Newark. They don’t admit that the Constitution works inside their jurisdictions. I won’t even accept a continuing flight that goes through any of these places, let alone a plane change. Tyrants can keep their little feifdoms without my help.

        • Wizzardly

          We escaped from NJ last year and have no plans to go back or through for any reason. Now NJ even has an “exit tax” for those selling their NJ home and moving out of state.

      • All the Raindrops

        A year later, and this rings more true than ever

      • DD788Snipe

        That’s what Commifornia is trying to do, copy NYC gun rules for the whole state.

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    The label mentioned is being replaced with a new white & black diamond shape, like other DOT HAZMAT labels shippers use. The DOT has set a new date for the changeover to the new label (it had been 2014), I confirmed that at the DOT website and this is from the UPS website: (until December 31, 2020) packages that meet the definition of Cartridges, small arms must be marked with the proper shipping name “Cartridges, small arms”, and designated as “ORM-D”. Materials marked “ORM-D” and shipped by UPS Ground within the 48 contiguous states. This marking may either be in the form of an ORM-D sticker, or written by hand. If written by hand the letters “ORM-D” must be enclosed by a rectangle that is ¼” larger on each side than the designation “ORM-D”.

  • I was in compliance with the airline’s stated rules, but was hosed once when the airline counter agent “had never seen this before” even though it was in the original unopened box from the manufacturer. It cost me an additional $26 to have $36 of goods shipped home. Fortunately, there was a stand just outside of TSA where one could ship stuff. Thanks to the Las Vegas PD for guiding me to it. I offered to give the rounds to the PD, but they declined.

  • OngoingFreedom

    The eleven pound limit came from a five kg international flight reg that national carriers seem to have adopted. It isn’t a TSA reg.

    Also, you can travel with mags loaded on Southwest and Frontier. If you do so be sure you check their websites for what is acceptable. The TSA is fine with that, they just want it declared.

    I airline so often my original ammo boxes don’t last very long, so I picked up some plastic ammo carriers from a local sporting goods store. A few weeks ago I was checking my luggage and told the agent I was declaring unloaded firearms and a small quantity of ammunition. Before I had even finished my “declaration” the agent asked if the ammo was in the original boxes. I said no, but they were in “acceptable” containers. She disagreed and while she fetched a TSA agent I pulled out printouts from that airline’s and the TSA’s website. The TSA agent looked at my packing and told the airline agent it was fine. I then pointed out to the airline agent from the printout that while her airline PREFERRED original packaging that wood/fiber/metal or other containers specifically designed to transport ammo was acceptable. To her credit she read the printout and accepted it, saying that as long as she had been at that company nobody had ever pointed that out to her.

    It helps to have the rules printed out!

    • Julia Gerald

      no matter how licensed and “registered” they are; and will pull any dirty trick they can to persecute them.

      • OngoingFreedom

        I’m sorry, but are you replying to something/someone else? Your comments do not make sense to me.

    • Steven

      As you point out, it never hurts to have printouts of the actual rules. Sometimes it may not help, but is can’t hurt.

  • wayne warf

    FedEx refuses to handle ammo around here (Indianapolis), I have to use UPS.

  • Wizzardly

    When shipping anything by UPS, it is a good idea to pack your box within another box with crumpled newspaper in between the two boxes. Nearly every UPS shipment I’ve received has a hole poked in the box so UPS package handlers can see if there is anything inside worth stealing. I had a P-85 9mm stolen by UPS years ago and friends have had a number of valuable items stolen while in UPS hands.

  • Bruce A. Frank

    My own experience is slightly different. All ammunition that I order on-line arrives via UPS with NO external information as to what is in the package. I have been advised by UPS agents to not have external information as to what is in the package to reduce likelihood of theft.

    Federal regulation says that while traveling via airline, ammo must be checked and “in the original containers *or* containers designed to hold ammo.” That includes the plastic boxes we use for reloading, which are much more rugged than the cardboard manufacturer’s boxes. On many occasions when I travel with ammo, I transfer factory ammo to the plastic snap lid reloads boxes. Also, the Federal regs designate detached magazines (not installed the the firearm) as suitable ammo containers.

    When asked by airline counter people if the ammo is in original containers say “yes.” When the cases containing the ammo gets inspected by the TSA agent, he knows the regs and does not blink an eye at magazines and plastic MTM(or any other brand) ammo boxes.

    I have been stopped at the check-in line, by un-knowledgeable airline employees who actually don’t know the regulations, for having tools and clothing inside the gun case (along with the guns and ammo), claiming it was “against airline policy.” My copy of Federal regs I handed to her made no difference. I had to insist she call her supervisor.

    The supervisor said that she saw no problems, but had me follow her to the TSA inspector’s door; give her the case and the keys and then wait. She returned in a few minutes and said when the inspection agent opened the the case, he laughed and rolled his eyes over the “clothing and tools red flag” raised by the ticket counter agent. My family and I made out flight, but the incident delayed us, and many of the people behind us in line, almost 45 minutes.

  • Darin

    How would you ship more than say 20llbs of ammo to honolulu hawaii

  • GREASYNICK

    Folks check Your shippers, I use USPS flat rate boxes, If It Fits, It Ships. NO INTERNATIONAL shipping of AMMO.

    • 2ThinkN_Do2

      USPS says: Firearms are capable of being mailed following proper procedures, ammo no:
      Small Arms Ammunition. Ammunition is classified as a Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, or 1.4 explosive, depending on the degree of hazard. Ammunition that is regulated as a Class 1 explosive and designed to be fired from a pistol, revolver, rifle, or shotgun, as well as associated primers and blank cartridges (including those designed for tools) and propellant powder for use in any firearm, is prohibited from mailing.

  • Old Blue

    I’ve shipped ammo several times via UPS. Fed Ex will not ship ammo or a fire arm unless the shipper (you) are an FFL. I fly several times a year with a declared fire arm (a west or south destination; never the east coast). I’ve never had a problem with the baggage clerk or TSA. I did have one nice grandmother (a part time worker) at a small commercial airport in North Dakota who got a startled expression on her face when I declared a fire arm coming back home from a class. I was the only one checking in. She said she had never checked anyone in before with a gun. I showed her the tag from my incoming flight a few days previous and told her what she needed to check. None of my other air line check in experiences were memorable but this one was.

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