How to Ship Ammunition

Ammo is considered an explosive, so shipping it comes with its fair shares of regulations and restrictions
how to ship ammunition
Grab these resources for this guide
Ship Ammo with UPS
UPS' regulations and restrictions for shipping ammo

Whenever people ask about how to ship firearms, they also often ask how to ship ammunition. It makes sense if you think about it—without one, the other loses its function. Interestingly enough, even though guns and ammo go hand and hand, the shipping process is different for each. Let’s bite the bullet and get down to it!

Which Carrier Should I Use to Ship Ammunition?

If you want to ship ammo, you unfortunately won’t have as many carriers to choose from. Ammunition is actually on the list of items the US Postal Service prohibits for shipment. USPS prohibits the shipment of ammo both domestically and internationally. Therefore, you’ll need to use another carrier such as UPS or FedEx if you wish to ship ammunition.

Our Recommendation: UPS

Guns and ammo enthusiasts tend to choose UPS for shipping ammunition. FedEx also allows you to ship ammo and has similar policies, but sometimes they have been known to deny shippers who want to send out ammo. UPS simply has more experience with firearms and ammo, and the ease of their shipping process proves it.

In order to ship ammo with UPS, the ammunition must not exceed 12.7 mm (50 caliber or 0.5 inch) for rifle or pistol cartridges. Ammo cannot be more than 8 gauge for shotgun shells. UPS also allows for the shipment of blank ammunition or ammo with inert projectiles.

Properly Packaging Ammunition

As is the case with shipping any hazardous materials, it’s crucial that you properly package the ammunition before you send your package off to be shipped. We’ve outlined out a short checklist for you below.

Use the Right Packing Material

You’ll need to pack your ammo within smaller inside boxes, partitioned within a snugly fitting outside box or in metal clips. The inside boxes, partitions or metal clips must be placed in securely closed outside packaging that won’t open during transit. The idea here is to properly cushion all the cartridges and protect them from any possible initiation (aka explosion). We suggest separating the smaller inside boxes with plenty of bubble wrap, dividers, and foam. Air pillows are also a great way to fill out the empty space inside your package.

Pack the ammo as snugly as possible! Remember: there should be NO room for the cartridges to shift during transit. A good way to test if you packed your ammo properly is to pick up your box and see if you notice any rattling or movement coming from inside.

Heed the Maximum Weight Restrictions

Most carriers will impose a maximum weight for your packages that contain ammunition. For example, even though UPS’ typical maximum package weight is 150 pounds, they restrict ammunition parcels to a maximum of 66 pounds. Maximum weight for ammo parcels varies across different shipping companies, so as always, be sure to check with your carrier.

Apply an ORM-D Label

Obviously potentially dangerous if they explode, bullets fall into the category of ORM-D Materials. Therefore, the outside of your package should contain clear, proper markings signifying that your package contains ORM-D Materials. This alerts any package handlers how to properly handle your package, and ensures your ammunition is kept safe and benign during transit. It’s important to note that your ORM-D label must be at least the size of a standard credit card.

Note: As of January 1, 2021, UPS changed the guidelines for how to label the outside of your package. You now only need to display a 4-inch hazardous label on the outside of the box. Still, it couldn’t hurt to include the ORM-D label, as well!

Can You Ship Ammo Internationally?

You CANNOT ship ammo internationally, since it’s considered an explosive. No matter which shipping carrier you use, you’ll be restricted to Ground services such as UPS Ground or FedEx Ground. As a result, you can only ship ammo within the 48 continental states, Alaska, and Hawaii.


Post a Comment
  1. Rachel Anderson

    I’m confused, I am shipping to Hawaii. I follow the same rules as the other 48 states right?

    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Rachel – you can still ship your ammo, but from what I understand, Alaska and Hawaii are a bit different than the other 48 states. I believe ammo cannot be sent via air transport to Alaska and Hawaii, so you’ll need to use UPS ground service (so your shipment will be traveling by boat). Your local UPS store should be able to provide more info if you ask them!

  2. Greg Olson

    As of January 1, 2021, the labeling of the package for UPS shipping has changed. You now only need the 4″ Hazardous triangle shown on the outside of the box.

    • Rockwell Sands

      Thanks, Greg! I just made that change in the guide – appreciate you pointing it out.

    • Gary

      I was told as of January 1, 2021 That shipping ammunition with ups as ORM-D, Is now a violation and can no longer be done. Is this true? Do you know 100% if ammo can still be shipped or not with ups ORM-D? If not how can I have ammo shipped to me now? All advice would be great. Thanks much

      • Rockwell Sands

        Hi Gary & Greg, I haven’t heard anything about UPS prohibiting ammo shipments! That said, I’m not really involved with the inner workings over there 😉 Were you told this by a UPS employee? I’m happy to do some more research on my end, but this is news to me, as well.

        Their site specifically says: “UPS accepts for transportation such ammunition as constitutes “cartridges, small arms,” as defined in 49 C.F.R. § 173.59. All other allowable ammunition shipments are accepted only on a contractual basis, and must be prepared under the rules for a fully regulated hazardous material.” You can read that here, if you like.

        Hope this helps!

  3. Matt

    As James said, the NRA does not sell guns and never have, that I know of. At no time has anyone been able to order a gun from their website.

  4. Craig

    Just tried to ship ammo via FedEx and they said they could not ship ammunition so you might need to modify your post.

  5. James

    You wrote, “ In fact, they handle all the shipments for guns ordered off the National Rifle Association’s website.” I am not sure where you got the idea that the NRA sells guns or that guns can be ordered from their website, but that is totally untrue. The NRA does not sell guns. Further just so it is clear Federal Firearms Licensees (gun dealers) who do transaction sales online do not ship to individuals, they ship to a local FFL who will transfer to the customer after a federal background check and they almost all use USPS which they are allowed to do.

  6. Tim Briggs

    There is no discussion about how to get the shipment to UPS. UPS stores or third party retailers will not accept ammunition shipments. It’s my understanding that you can deliver to a UPS Customer Center (not very many) or request UPS to pick up at my residence (which I have done).

    • Rockwell Sands

      Thanks for the comment Tim – that’s super helpful information to have on hand!

    • Paul

      Yes, you will have to deliver the ammo shipment, in person, to the UPS Customer Center.


Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Shipping Guides