Inert components to/from Canada

Can I send an empty/inert cartridge case, or three, to Canada using USPS and Canada Post? And vice-versa.

3, 2, 1 . . .


Nobody. Is it really that hard a question?

Ray, I think it probably is that hard a question. Everybody is frightened of their own shadow on the subject of cross border shipments. Terrified of inadvertently ending up on the wrong side of some obscure anti terrorist legislation. Didn’t some guy get years for a battery?

Ray- You are asking the right question, but to the wrong people.

No one here makes, or enforces the rules of the USPS or Canada Post. If we did, it would be “Sure, no problem.”

But, you are dealing with faceless bureaucrats enforcing vague regulations, not just at the local post office counter, but all along the delivery chain, with officious inspectors needing to justify their employment, and hordes of lawyers (not to mention well armed SWAT team types) who might see “taking down a terrorist operation shipping explosive stuff” as a neat promotion opportunity. Few, if any of these folks have a clue about what “inert” might mean, or if that is or is not included in the term “ammunition.” And, getting anyone to commit to an interpretation in writing is difficult in a bureaucracy, or even a verbal answer that could be denied later.

Write the guy in charge of the Post Office, and see what they say. By the way, his operation lost $15.9 BILLION dollars last year, so their management skills and receptiveness to good ideas might not be what you would hope for, or his interest in responding to a question from someone wanting to spend money to use his service.

All of which reminds me of two famous quotes:
Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, a computer pioneer- "It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."
And, Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry”- "You’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?

But, I NEVER attempt to ship any type of “ammunition” by mail. Just not worth the risk of all the hassles.

I am in Canada. There are two thginbgs one has to know. As long as the person in Canada has their FAC or PAL to buy ammunition, there is no issue with the ammunition itself.
As far as mailing, if there is no proimer or gunpowder the case can be mailed Canada Post. Gunpowder and primers are prohibited as hey are in the USA. USPS is much tougher so the question should be will USPS allow it to begin with?

added: I by no means am the legal expert but what I have read from Canada post and from using them for mailing ammunition.

My question does not concern loaded ammunition. Only cases and bullets. I have mailed them all over the world with no problems except having to watch the regulations on certain types of bullets in certain countries.

Curtis - have you mailed cases and/or bullets to the U.S.? Have you received any from the U.S.?

John - I know that it is perfectly legal to mail cases and/or bullets using USPS. I have done it many times and I don’t try to lie or invent names for the content of the package. The USPS clerks don’t blink an eye when they see the Customs Declaration.

But, everyone says, don’t try it with Canada. I used to do it in the past so what is different now?


Between the two countries I have not mailed anything for the past ten years. I have had empty casings sent up from quality brass and others with no issues what s ever. I just ask them to put my FAC number on the docs.

Uncertainty is a much more effective deterrent than clearly set out rules. We have learned that to our cost here in Britain.

I went to Canada post today and discussed. Apparetly their new regulations state no ammunition even inert, See clipping below:

3.1 Replica or Inert Munitions
Replica or inert munitions are non-mailable, as well as other devices that simulate explosive devices or munitions, including replica or inert grenades or other simulated military munitions, whether or not such items are for display purposes. These products are not permitted in the mail under any circumstances.

Federal Express:
(within Canada or from Canada to the USA) PROHIBITED
•Dangerous goods or hazardous materials: corrosives, explosives, toxics, or other substances including Other Regulated Materials (ORM-Ds) controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and/or Transport Canada and Environment Canada.
•Explosives, fireworks, flares, matches.
•Firearms of any kind, ammunition, and gun parts.

will ship ammunition within Canada, but will NOT export or Import ammunition to/from Canada.


DHL (updated Aug 6)
Their sister company Loomis Courier can transport ammunition and firearms/firearms parts within Canada. No import/Export


Thanks for that information. It seems clear except for one thing. When the Canada Post regulations were changed several years ago the question arose - what is meant by “munitions”? A friend of mine in Canada inquired and he was told that the new regs did not have a definition. The idea was that some people can always find a loophole in any definition so “munitions” was left undefined to give bureaucrats the broad authority needed to cover any circumstance.

Vince hit the nail on the head. Uncertainty is better than clear rules.


Ray, The ATF has defined ammunition to include bullets and cases, even fired cases. This is, or was when I last checked, in the portion of their regulation on who can legally own ammo, and it intent is that they can arrest a felon for even having a fired case.

There have been instances where TSA agents and some USPS postmasters/etc have used this definition to seize inert ammo and components. I had that problem myself when TSA seized a number hundred rounds of dummy cartridges with no primers and plastic bullets, that were packed in their original plastic bags because they were not properly packed (in ammo boxes).

Two or three years ago, I was told by other shooters that Canadians couldn’t order components for reloading from US sellers. The reasons given were confusing because some quoted the US ATF regs above but some said that it was Canadian rules.

In any case, I have found carrying inert ammo internationally is always a dice role. A Brit friend tried to carry back about 30 pounds of dummy ammo in his checked baggage and was refused by TSA because he was exceeding his 5kg limit. I have been told by a fairly senior TSA agent that I couldn’t carry a 25mm TP projectile that was marked inert because it exceeded the .50 limit on ammo that could be carried in checked baggage.

The US rules and those in other countries are inconsistent and confusing, even for people who understand ammunition and that does not include many, perhaps the great majority of the people we deal with when we try to ship or carry ammo. One individual was only transiting the US and his baggage, with legal ammo was being checked through, but still TSA tore open a paper wrapped packet (packed in a metal ammo can) of rather old rifle ammo that was worth over $100 in it’s original sealed condition!

It is always a role of the dice, but I generally have no problem.


Thats why section 3.1 was added by Canada Posat. Basically Inert or anything that can even Look like ammunition or any part is not allowed for security purposes with Canaad Post. Glad I found out as I was using.

Its not just about ammo, there is a much bigger picture than simply ammo. On another UK forum somebody is asking where he can get a new extractor for his Remington 1100. A broken extractor is fairly run of the mill part in the scheme of things. He contacted a couple of usual sources in the US who are pretty well known suppliers of spares and they declined to supply him. Even a year ago they wouldn’t have given it a second thought I’m sure.

This sort of thing is corrosive, it seeps through the whole fabric of what we do. In this case probably a few hundred UK shooters will have read that and subconsciously made a mental note that you can’t get spares for Remingtons. Then you will get it rehashed again and again on different forums until it becomes the perceived wisdom. People stop buying new ones so the importer stops importing them and its then all over for Remingtons in this country.

You move one pebble on a beach and several miles down the coast the sea wall gets washed away.


The example you gave is very likely tied to the U.S. State Department regulation of “war materials” (or whatever the official term is). Are the regulations intended to prohibit the import or export of Remington extractors, Leopold rifle scopes, or a couple of empty collectable cartridge cases? No, no, and no (probably). But if you are a person who has his entire life invested in his business, are you going to risk it over a $5 part?

On a smaller scale, many individuals will not sell certain gun and shooting related items to residents of certain States. Why? Because they are uncertain what is legal and what is not, and it simply is not worth the risk. Better safe than sorry.

I call it gun and ammunition control, by default.


Ray you are so absolutely and so totally right. Who is going to risk his business and perhaps his liberty for a $5 extractor? Nail on the head

Would you now ship a hundred year old .450/577 inert round to Canada now after reading this post? Probably not. The world is a safer place as a result!

This is how the real world works, control by fear locks up the whole system with uncertainty. You can’t do anything. That’s what “they” feed on. Politics of the graveyard.

You call it control by default, I call it by stealth. We have numerous examples in the UK where unofficial limitations applied by stealth have evolved into guidelines and thereby by default have become “law” although show me where it says so?

In our case the dealers afraid of losing their RFD (City permit) have rolled over and complied with things they never had to. No need for detail, I’m sure we all can relate.