Ammo air transport within USA

I’ll be flying to San Diego in January. I’d like to know if I am allowed to put ammo in the airline checked-in luggage. Also, any pointers especially about ammo and gun shows in the San Diego-LA-Las Vegas route would be gladly accepted. My 1st trip to the land of John Moss.

You may carry, legally, up to 5 kilos of loaded ammunition. It should be packed in boxes designed for ammunition. The regs used to say it only needed to be packed in a “wood, fiber or metal box,” but TPA virtually everywhere is requiring “original” ammunition boxes. I would use the plastic ones that separate every cartridge from each other. Bear in mind that many airlines are now charging their customers to check a bag, even when regulations make you check it because of things in it. Another little delight of air travel in the “modern age.” If it is not a cartridge trip, I wouldn’t bother with the hassle of carrying ammunition. Tell the absolute truth about what you are carrying - just be careful of your terminology. Lying to TPA is silly and a crime. Just my own opinion.

If you do, do not declare it as “Ammunition.” Under the regs they operate under, that word has a whole different connotation - bombs, land mines, explosives. You are carry "safety cartridges, small arms. Classification is “ORM-D” were you shipping it by ground. If they need an explanation, keep using the word “cartridges” and it is “cartridges for small arms, you know, hunting rifles and target pistols and the like.”

Bear in mind, there are airlines that won’t carry guns and ammo. They are entitled under the law to discriminate against the gun owning passenger. Interesting, isn’t it. Further, as the “Captain of the Ship” any airline pilot, regardless of his airline’s policy, can refuse to carry anything in the hold of his plane. Most do not but rather go with the policies of the airline.

San Diego is a nice town. Cleaner than most California cities, with lots of cultural activities going on all the time, many of the free to the public. Were I ever to move and stay in California (NOT LIKELY!!!), I would move to the San Diego environ. It is a much nicer place than the San Francisco Bay Area. Being a native son of San Francisco, it pains me to say that, but it is simply the truth, as I see it.

John Moss

Thanks. It is not (unfortunately) an ammo trip, there is a biosymposium at Hotel del Coronado Most increadible hotel looks I know. But if I were to walk into a local shop and find some old loose military ammo out of the original box, how would I package it?

Vlad, and anyone else with similar questions on shipping, flying with or importing ammo, check the IAA home page.

The key is to select the right airline and make sure they know that you are carrying ammo. I always have it put on my ticket record when I make the reservation. There is a limit on how much small arms ammunition may be carried on a given flight and a plane with a number of hunters or shooters on it can fill up the limit. Check first to avoid being sorry later.


Why not avoid the airline hastle and uncertainty and send it home by UPS. If you have a UPS account, you could probably drop the labeled package off for pickup at the hotel desk on your way out when you go the the airport to depart.

While I believe the Hotel Del Coronado is living a little bit off its past glory (seemed a little run down last time I was over there on the Island), it is a famous place and interesting. Very Victorian. Definitely a place to see. They probably have a UPS service at the counter, although some hotels not used to it may balk at taking anything with an ORM-D Small Arms Cartridges sticker on it. None of the UPS Stores that I know of will even take it, which is utterly ridiculous, since they have a direct connection to UPS.

Remember Vlad, anything over .50 is illegal in California, sporting or not, as are, basically, any cartridge with a chemical substance in the bullet (trace, incendiary, explosive, etc.) and any pistol or revolver cartridge designated “Metal Penetrating” or “Armor Piercing” by the manufacturer, especially KTW. It is not a joke, either. Each cartridge is a felony count - five cartridges, a five-count felony if they wish to charge it that way, and they WILL prosecute.

Even our local UPS Depot will not take a shipment with any cartridge over .50 (the clerks think it is any cartridge .50 or over, but they are not correct, unless that is UPS policy for California), and even have a special ORM-D sticker with an extra place to write in "No .50 caliber or over>"
It is the only question they ask me every time I take a package to them.

John Moss