Shipping ammo home from SLICS-or carrying on airliner

A little different suggestion from a SLIC first-timer (actually first cartridge show period!). Not having a lot of extra vacation time I flew to St Louis. It was very easy to get to the hotel and nice having everything in one place. Great way to meet all the people I have corresponded with via email. The cartridges were simply OVERWHELMING! It is an event and I recommend it to all collectors. The only concern I had was how would I get my stuff home. There are of course several options. Mine was come prepared with packing materials and the name of a friend who drove out and would ship back my new treasures.

Perhaps a packaging/shipping option could be offered/coordinated and advertised for the show. It would definitely be a convenience for those of us who fly in. Perhaps it may encourage more fence-sitters to come out and take a look.

As for me, I am hooked and will be there again next year!

Pat S
US Military Cartridge Collector
30-06 Preferred


As indicated on the IAA website you can carry 5kg (11lbs) of ammo in your checked baggage, properly packed. I have flown to the show with a cardboard box and a prepaid shipping label with sufficient weight that I printed off the UPS website. I have left this at the desk and they have passed it to UPS. Alternatively, someone driving may be willing to drop off a prepaid, UPS package to UPS.



'not uncommon for a new found SLICS driving friend to haul a stash back home and ship it out
But…I too have been to the office supply store to buy emergency shipping material, but the biggest hassle is finding a ground shipping depot as most/all shipping store front shops won’t ship ammo
glad the hook is set, I took the bait on a treble hook long ago


I’ve done the same as Lew regarding UPS. They have a business office right next to the show room, and for a small fee you can print your UPS label there. Like Lew, I leave my package at the front desk for UPS pickup, and I’ve not had any problems the 4 times I have done this (I just checked the tracking info on my box of goodies from this year and it should be home tomorrow!).

If you do print a UPS label at the hotel’s business office, be aware that they close Friday afternoon and they are not open on Saturday. Thus you’ll need to print your label sometime Friday. I usually take my box of stuff to the workout room and weigh it on Friday, and then I add a couple of pounds to cover anything I get at the auction Friday night or last-minute deals Saturday morning.

I’ve also never had a problem taking ammunition in my luggage (under the 5 kg limit). I have to send a package home for the cartridges larger than .50 BMG since it is my understanding that TSA does not allow large-caliber stuff in checked luggage, even if it is inert.

Chip–You are right about TSA not allowing anything larger than .49 caliber. Ask Falcon. He lost a real nice British .50 BMG and a .55 Boys to TSA on the way home to England.

Ahhh - I thought they allowed .50 BMG. Since I always send a package home I put the .50’s in there just in case. Hearing about Falcon, I’m glad I do that.

As far as I can tell, .50 caliber is still acceptable. CFR 49 Part 173.63 indicates ORD-M which includes small arms ammunition lists “Ammunition not exceeding 12.7 mm (50 caliber or 0.5 inch) for rifle or pistol, cartridges or 8 gauge for shotshells”. I have been told repeatedly by TSA that up to .50" is OK. Clearly the 55 Boys was not going to make the cut.

My recommendation would be that is asked on this point you request they show you the requirement that 12.7mm cannot be carried. Their web information []makes no mention of caliber. Quote CFR 49 Part 173.63 []. I have searched pretty hard on the internet and cannot find anything to indicate that .50 is not considered Small Arms Ammunition.



PS: I have shipped ammo from hotels often. I usually use the UPS website to prepay a 10 or 15 pound shippment. I put my home as the “ship to” address, my son’s home as the return address and the hotel as the ship from address. I flatten the box and carry it and a roll of tape. Then before I leave I fill it and leave it for the hotel to ship UPS. It has worked fine. It avoids the problem with looking for a box or getting the label printed. Really very simple.

Once on a business trip I bought a collection. I packed the 10 lbs of the best stuff for my checked baggage and the remaining 60+ pounts I divided between 5 boxes I had brought with me in my baggage. I stayed in the airport hotel and used an airline ticket counter scale late at night to weigh the boxes to make sure they were not overweight.

Falcon told me that his two rounds were seized because they were not in “cartridge packaging.”


John, Thanks!!! That makes more sense. I no longer carry .50BMG because I can’t find a proper box. In fact, the different airlines have different requirements for packaging. Some apparently require original manufacturer boxes I’m told but have not confirmed. Others require “cardboard, fiber or metal” Best to check the packing requirement of your airline before you fly.

I’ve been told “informally” by TSA that they do not have requirements, but rather enforce the airline requirements. Bottom line, if the airline says it is OK then it is OK with TSA. Of course the opposite is true, but if TSA has passed it then it is unlikely that the airline will pay any attention or even open the bag.

For example, I understand that Alaskian Airlines allows 50 lbs of ammunition per person, on domestic flights. Their website states:

This is a lot better than what most airlines allow. The 11/16" projectile diameter strongly implies that TSA has no .50 caliber rule.


ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR AIRLINE!!! All the ones that I have checked have the requirements posted on their website.

Cheers, Lew

First, let me make one point clear, Falcon did not lose anything himself, it was me. I was carrying it back to the UK for him, and it was me who had to argue with the TSA. He was not there.

My ammo was packed in original cardboard packaging in a metal container and weighed less than 5kg. Although the United check-in desk was reluctant to accept it we took it to the TSA for checking. TSA were happy with it except for the .50 BMG and a .55 Boys which were wrapped in tissue and in a plastic bag inside my metal container. At no time did the TSA question the calibre, merely the fact that they were not in original packaging. To quote the TSA agent “…our protocol states that all ammunition should be in original packaging.”

They were courteous but adamant and in the end agreed that the easiest way out was for United to decline to carry the ammo and dump it in their “hazmat” bin.

I had warned Falcon that this was a likely occurance before I even set off.


Tony, Thanks for clearing up the “3rd party” info, some of which was on the way to becoming urban myth!

For all, the United requirement for ammo, from their web site, is:

Always a good idea to have a copy at the desk or TSA to clarify what the real requirement is. Not clear enough for all situations, but a good point to start the discussion. In fact, this provides more latitude than some airlines.