Flying Internationally with Ammunition

Returning from the ECRA meeting in Germany, one of those attending tried to carry back about 0.3Kg (0.66 lbs) over his 5Kg weight limit. Remember, the weight limit includes the weight of the boxes. He was flying Lufthansa with a connection in Frankfurt. His bag got on the first flight, but when it was scanned again in Frankfurt (as most bags are at international connections both in Europe and the US) it was found to weigh 5.3Kg and was seized. He had some great items from the meeting, and his cartridges were very nearly destroyed. He got lucky and made the correct cconnects to have the ammunition stored for a few weeks and is flying back to Frankfurt to pick up 5Kg of his treasurers.

I once had a similar problem, my fault for guessing at the weight instead of precisely weighing my ammo. They checked the weight at check-in. To reduce the weight I had to open some sealed boxes and dump about half of the cartridges for destruction. Broke my heart but no choice.

Now I carry a digital scale to weigh what I have found at the end of each day, and temper my appetite to stay in the limit, or make arrangements to pick up my overage at a future meeting. I never leave for the area of the meeting with more than my 5Kg.

International meetings are a great way to add super items to your collection, and meet some great people, but be careful to follow the rules or real problems can occur.


Ouch. That would be heartbreaking. -Ger

[quote=“hkusp40”]Ouch. That would be heartbreaking.[/quote] I couldn’t agree more with hkusp40.

Lew makes a very good point about bringing a digital scale along for the trip. Scales are relatively cheaper now than they were in the past, and would save a giant headache at the airport.

I will definitely remember this for my first international show (or even cross border show for that matter). Thanks Lew!


In the time I visit Saint Louis, my wife must bake cakes without the scale in the kitchen.

It is in my luggage. -:)


I’m not understanding this. If your baggage is over weight, they confiscate everything? I’ve only ever seen an airline charge additional fees for over weight, either carry on or checked. Seems pretty draconian to confiscate goods because you have ‘too much’.

Edit: I thought that said “…to pick up 5kg of his trousers”. Still, seems very wrong to have anything taken away by the airline for being over the weight limit.

[quote]I’m not understanding this. If your baggage is over weight, they confiscate everything? I’ve only ever seen an airline charge additional fees for over weight

The problem here has nothing to do with the weight of the bag. The problem is the weight of the loaded ammunition a person has in checked baggage.

A person is limited to 5Kg of live ammunition, and there are restrictions on how it must be packed, but basically it must be in packets specifically designed to carry ammunition. Often this is interpreted as ammo boxes which separate the individual rounds. The ammunition, in the packets cannot weigh over 5Kg. This individual had about a third of a kilo too much ammo in his checked baggage.


Ah, so. Thanks for clearing that up.

Greetings All,

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David Andrew

5 kg limit for LIVE ammo. Is there any limit or regulation for fired ammo, ammo without any projectile whatsoever?

No there is no limit, HOWEVER, the TSA and police in various countries often can’t tell the difference between what is live and what is inert, and if there is any question either it won’t fly or you won’t fly.

I always pack inert or dummy items just like it is live ammo, usually in plastic ammo boxes, and then I tape a label on the top that identifies it as totally inert, no live primer, no powder, no non-inert material in the bullet, etc, and that if there is any question, contact me and I provide my cell phone number.

I have had brass cases dummies filled with colored plastic which fills the primer pocket and forms the bullet shape seized, and been questioned over dummies with no primer.

No limit on inert weight, but you have to make sure it is inert. An individual had a very nice 20mm dummy taken because it was only wrapped and taped, and tucked in the suitcase, but not packed in an ammo box.

You can’t treat inert ammo items like dirty underwear. A dummy or inert grenade will almost always be seized.

Be Careful and think it through from the perspective of the guy or girl sitting at the scanner. Don’t assume they will know ANYTHING about ammunition.