Seized Cartridges


I thought this may be of interest to some. Came home today to a Fedex box on my porch with cartridges taken by Customs from a box sent to me in October of last year. I can’t remember how many forms and phone calls it has taken to get these, but it was a lot. They were always nice and polite. The box was sent from Europe and the customs form was marked “gift”. There was a note inside listing the contents and a statement that they were inert. Cases with no bullets and unrelated items were not taken. The box had green Department of Homeland Security Tape on it when it arrived.

The “ammo molds” were my personal favorite.

In the end, these were the ones they had a problem with. I filled out paperwork giving permission to drill holes in the cases. It looks like most of the bullets were pulled with pliers and shoved back in the cases. Not as bad as you may think I guess. You can’t tell from the photo, but the chrome 9mm is a fluted dummy with dented primer. The 7.62 Tok has a dented primer. Not sure of the original condition of the 243.

Not sure what lessons to be learned from here. I don’t know if they would have done it anyway if they would have been declared on the customs form. DON"T SHIP “ammo molds” from overseas!!!


So the US have established a GESTAPO as well. Welcome to the club.


Could you have had these sent to you in their original state if you had done some paperwork with CPB or a Form 6 with ATF?


Very unusual. I would like to know more about the size of the box,how it was addressed and wrapped and how it was addressed. Air or sea mail ? Box markings.


The GESTAPO was an official POLITICAL police agency NOT a customs agency. The Homeland Security Department is also not a political agency. Political police are ILLEGAL in the U.S. It requires law breaking to use US police agencies for political purposes.

Every country has customs laws and controls. I have had many items seized and /or destroyed (inert items) in shipment to Germany,Italy,France and other European countries. Germany and Italy were the worst during the 80s and 90s.


And they are even worse today.


Only by investing a huge amount in having them shipped by a specialized import / export firm . . . typically the fees begin at $500 and escalate rapidly from there.

The Form 6 works best when someone is carrying the 5 kg (or lesser amount) permitted under the law in their luggage.

I’ve shipped a good deal of inert material overseas in the past few years and the customs declaration has reflected the actual contents plus a description of actions taken (“propellant removed, primers chemically deactivated - 100% INERT!”). I’ve had one envelope opened for inspection (to my knowledge) and there was no problem with it beyond this. Factory dummies are segregated with the notation “Factory dummies - totally inert as manufactured.” Otherwise, the specimens are either separate or drilled, sometimes both, to satisfy the requirements of the recipient’s country.

Given the subject knowledge and bureaucratic mind set of the average HSA employee, this sort of hysterical over-reaction is a virtual given in the post 9-11 environment . . . to say nothing of the fact it is infinitely easier to flip out over inert specimens or GI Joe dolls than identify and address real threats.

+1 Sadly, this is indeed the current state of affairs.



How about we “can” ALL the amateur analysis of law enforcement and get back to the technical and professional stuff?

In the US we can and do own all sorts of items which would put others in the world in jail.

Law enforcement is not the problem here.

It is very UNCOMMON for small parcels of ammo to be opened and or/ confiscated coming into the USA. Given that these were apparently not described fully they could have all easily been confiscated and not returned.

It is always best to describe the contents of any shipment correctly. Trying to trick customs is not a good idea. They do not usually react well to it.

I would like some real information about how the box looked and was addressed to try to understand WHY they even looked at it.


I agree wholeheartedly with the last two responses - be honest on the Customs form about what is in the package. My standard description is ‘Inert cartridges for research and display’ and indicate in parentheses the number of cartridges in the package. I include an explanation of how the cartridges have been deactivated on the inside of the package in case Customs decides to open it. I have sent many packages of ammo to foreign buyers over the last twenty years, and have had only one opened that I’m aware of; in that case nothing was taken. I always send the packages by registered mail - I don’t know if this makes a difference or not as far as Customs is concerned, but it does ensure that they are handled securely enroute, and I have not had a package go astray.




Hi Guys. I meant to steer clear of any opinions on this and stick with the facts of what can happen. Well, I do think the the “ammunition molds” designation is funny but anyway…
The package was an unremarkable cardboard box shipped airmail to my post office box. Once again, the customs declaration said “gift”. No special markings. There was a note inside stating in detail what the items were and how they were inerted. For what it’s worth, my Brother in law is a policeman in a large southern US city. He once told me that he on more than one occasion had been farmed out to a Federal agency (I don’t remember which one) for the day to randomly open and check mail from other countries. He said that he didn’t have set rules to follow other than they seemed to be more interested in packages from certain countries on certain days and they looked for cash or anything that seemed unusual. He said that he would not have hesitated to report the cartridges regardless what the note said. He told me that he didn’t pay attention to the customs form.
My point of bringing this up is to say that it MIGHT not matter how you mark the box.
I’m very happy to get the stuff back and I consider myself lucky. Once again, all of the officials that I talked with were very nice to deal with.