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: Use UPS to Ship Ammo
Guns and ammo enthusiasts tend to choose UPS for shipping ammunition legally. 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 legally 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.
Pro Tip: Consult your local UPS Store before buying your label! They’ll be able to walk you through the necessary guidelines, so that you can ship your ammunition following the proper legal processes.
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, as well as Alaska and Hawaii.