How to Ship Ammunition

Ammo is considered an explosive material, so shipping ammunition legally comes with its fair shares of regulations and restrictions
how to ship ammunition
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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: 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.

32 Comments

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  1. Wayne
    Reply  
  2. whit

    Do Not even Try FEDEX use UPS
    Ok this past week I went thru the Hassel of shipping several hundred rounds of 9mm to my brother From Texas to New Hampshire, You must contact UPS Hazardous Materiels and ask for shipping details, (800-554-9964) , Your box only needs to be marked with the Dangerous Goods Diamond, you need to do all packing yourself and shipping labels and pay for online do not say ammo , you must say ( Cartridges Small Arms ) or you will be denied. Once done properly wrapped and packaged you must take pkg to the main Hub to drop off No one there is supposed to ask what you are shipping if they do (again do not say Ammo) if necessary keep the Hazardous Materiels phone number in case they still deny you call them right there and hand them the phone. For an extra fee, you can have them come pick up the pkg at your home.

    Reply  
    • Richard Wood

      What if you just wrap ammo yourself securely and take it to UPS and ship it not saying it’s ammo ? Just don’t say anything and if they ask, say it’s something else… metal parts or ball bearings ?

      Reply  
  3. Christina F.

    I found out from our main UPS hub that you an only ship through UPS here at the main hub through Customer Service. The UPS Stores here are all franchises and are not licensed to ship firearms or ammunition. They will not package the ammo for you at Customer Service, but they will affix the proper sticker. They also asked what type of ammo and how many rounds. They said they ask this because some shipments have been tampered with and had some of the original contents missing. The sticker they affix does not tell someone that it is ammo. It could be something else as the sticker is used for other types of contents as well.

    Reply  
  4. It’s odd I receive Ammunition from both UPS and FedEx almost monthly, yet if I try to ship the same ammo in the same Box I am denied.
    and I live In Texas,

    Reply  
  5. Michael

    Just tried this and got denied. UPS is trash.

    Reply  
  6. M

    UPS sucks!

    My local shop (Kingwood TX) will not ship anything firearm related. They will not even return a broken optic to the mfg if it goes on a gun. Forget parts, etc. The leftists that run it are so paranoid they completely freak out if you ask.

    Reply  
    • Chris

      I had my brother send me 500rds of factory .45 Auto along with 100rds of 9mm. Package weight was 26.75lbs? or approximate. Upon receiving the package, only the 100rds of 9mm and a pocket knife were inside the mangled box. UPS investigation claims my brother improperly packaged the ammo. What a complete CROCK! How can a package be damaged, and be resealed, yet only be missing the complete, and precise amount of 500rds!!?
      If it were lost, damaged, or anything short of THEFT, there would be some/any of the .45 Auto ammo remaining inside the package… common sense dictates that!!

      Reply  
  7. Hargis Miller jr

    i took 6 box’s of 9mm (small arms) properly wrapped and UPS would not ship it..they need to update Google then!!!

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Hargis – I’m sorry UPS refused your shipment! Did they say why? Their website clearly states they accept ammo shipments as long it’s in compliance with their regulations. You can see that here: https://www.ups.com/us/en/help-center/packaging-and-supplies/special-care-shipments/hazardous-materials/shipping-ammunition.page

      Reply  
      • Hargis Miller jr

        they said i had to take it to the main hub in Dallas Tx and have a FFL also. so i called another store a few miles away and he said same thing.NO!

        Reply  
        • Christina F.

          I believe after reading on the UPS website, the best course of action is to take it to a UPS shipping center unpackaged and have them do the whole shipment for you. I am going to try this at our local UPS Store tomorrow.

          Reply  
          • edward

            wake up people ups store = franchise = we dont like you and your liable. ups main hubs and ups only. texass boo – Montana Yaye

          • darryl

            anybody have something against fedex?I went to local ups and feel the day of a 4th world commie country is coming,

  8. Hargis Miller jr

    i took it there with all the correct things done and they said NO!

    Reply  
  9. Rachel Anderson

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

    Reply  
    • 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!

      Reply  
      • Joe foglia

        Does anyone know who is able to ship ammo to Hawaii? I found only one place, but recently they have stopped do to regulations they said. Ammo is impossible to get from local stores and is so expensive as well. Plz plz plz anyone that can help lmk.
        7.62×39 cost 34$ for 20rd box.
        Or an arm and a leg.

        Reply  
      • Richard Germiller

        If yo can’t ship it by air, then how come I was able to bring some from AZ to AK in my checked bags? Has to be in the original packaging and no more than 50lbs. (not sure if it’s 50lbs total or per bag) I think that’s FAA guidelines not Alaska Airlines

        Reply  
        • Navybat

          Because you didn’t SHIP it. You TRANSPORTED it. It didn’t change owners, it didn’t use a registered “mail” carrier, and it wasn’t a commercial SALE.

          Reply  
  10. 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.

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

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

      Reply  
    • 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

      Reply  
      • 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!

        Reply  
  11. 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.

    Reply  
  12. Craig

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

    Reply  
  13. 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.

    Reply  
  14. 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).

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

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

      Reply  
    • Paul

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

      Reply  
      • Jeff

        I have always had to take ammo to the actual UPS hub. And even then it seems to depend on if it is a liberal at the counter who gives me a lot of grief or a normal person who simply knows and does their job. I have never actually been denied shipmate of ammo at the hub. (Where all the ups delivery truck are) Problem is our UPS hub is a 30 minute drive. There aren’t many hub. UPS stores and drop off locations absolutely will not except ammo for shipments.
        Now fed ex… I have never been able to ship ammo through FedEx. The FedEx ground hub tells me it has to have a pre printed FedEx shipping label for them to accept it. They won’t print one. The FEDEX drop off locations can’t ship ammo so they won’t print a label. I have spent several days of my life screwing with that and FedEx and finally just gave up. But the funny thing is I order ammo online from places like midway and occasionally from individuals on gunbroker and it shipped to me via FedEx. Any info would be appreciated.

        Reply  
        • David Giesen

          Jeff, FedEx will ship ammo but you must have an account and that account must be certified to ship Dangerous Goods. I work for a company that manufactures and ships a product that is Flammable and thus considered a Dangerous Goods item, and so I have taken the courses to be a DG certified shipper (and our account was certified after I sent them a copy of my certification).

          Our company doesn’t have a UPS account, but we have customers that want to use their UPS account to pay for their shipments and we’ve taken DG shipments directly to the UPS hub and they won’t accept the shipment, even though the UPS Dangerous Goods Hotline personnel have told us we can do exactly that. I suspect the people at the UPS hub are either lazy or ignorant of their own company rules.

          And I suspect that if you’re taking ammo to a FedEx hub you’re running into the same problem; either lazy or ignorant people … or liberals.

          You’re lucky the people at your UPS hub accept your ammo shipments!

          Reply  

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