Shipping ammunition in the lower 48 - what is legal?


I have both a FedEx and UPS account and I am about to begin listing several thousand loose rounds for sale in small lots of 10-20 cartridges.

What is the legal method of shipping/labeling for live ammunition?


Must be sent UPS or Fedex Ground. The blue ORM-D SMALL ARMS CARTRIDGES label is still current. Most UPS and Fedex personnel seem to have never heard of the new black diamond marking.

Is there an extra fee for this?
Do you have to declare anything when making up a shipping label, or just put the blue sticker on the box?
How many stickers are required?

Only one ORM-D sticker is required, but I usually put on a couple on different sides in case one falls off. Whether or not you have to declare anything seems to depend on where you live (the UPS Office you are using) or simply the disgression of the clerk taking the package. In California, at our local office, I am asked each time whether or not there is any “.50 caliber or over” ammunition, since they won’t take the package if there is. The question should be “is there any ammunition over .50 caliber,” but there is great misunderstanding of California law. While .50 BMG-caliber rifles are now illegal, .50 ammunition is not. Over .50 is. Once I was asked if there was any incendiary ammunition in the package - also illegal in California, but perhaps also illegal in some other states. It is very wise, in my view, not to break UPS shipping rules. It could lead to loss of your package and perhaps other penalties if laws, not just policies, are involved. By the way, at our office of UPS, the gals there are very nice and very helpful. The ask what they are told to, but don’t try to “wing it” with a lot of stuff meant to harass or discourage the “gun person.” Dealing with them at our office is a pleasure.

There should be no added fee, or even “Signature Required”. My local UPS wants the markings on all sides, but they really don’t have a clue.

Tom–Be sure you go to a UPS hub and not a UPS Contract Pack-and-Ship place. Many (Most) of these contract places will NOT handle ammunition. Also, if asked, you are shipping “Safety Cartridges” not “Ammunition”. If the clerk looks up the two terms, ammunition, to the UPS, means bombs, large artillery rounds, grenades, etc, all of which are not shippable. If any clerks at a UPS hub give you a hassle (most won’t), ask for the Hazmat Supervisor. While “Safety Cartridges” are not hazmat classed, these supervisors are generally more knowledgeable than many counter clerks.

If you have an on-line account you simply fill in the appropriate spaces, print out the label, tape it on as required, and drop it in the UPS box at the hub. Or, have your driver pick it up.

The new “diamond” stickers will not go into effect until 1/1/14 for Ground shipments. They keep pushing the date. I use both stickers on my packages just to be sure. But, as Jon says, many clerks are not even aware of the new ones.

On my on-line account, it does not ask for the contents so I don’t list it. If you use a hub you are required to disclose the contents. So tell them, honestly, it is Small Arms Cartridges. That’s what the rules say so there is no reason to make up names. That can only cause problems, especially if the package is lost and you want to file an insurance claim.

An on-line account is your best bet if you are going to have a lot of shipments. You should have some sort of cheap scale to weigh them (I use a baby scale) although you can usually make a pretty good estimate. I set up my account so they simply bill me at the end of the month and I pay it just like any other bill.

Ron - Small Arms Cartridges are Hazmat, contrary to what most people believe. They are simply a lesser category of HazMat (Other Restricted Materials - Domestic), so they do not require HazMat handling.

So Tom, are you going to give us IAA and Forum members first crack??



From the UPS HazMat information site:

UPS Ground service is available for shipping hazardous materials, including ORM-D and Limited Quantity shipments (prepared under HM-215K), within the contiguous U.S. However, Ground service is not available for hazardous materials (including ORM-D, Ltd Qty (215K), Combustibles, or any materials where the air required packaging, marking, labeling, etc. differ from ground requirements), being shipped to or from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Catalina Island. Ground Service for Hazardous Materials, including ORM-D, Limited Quantity, and combustible materials, is not available for shipments to or from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Catalina Island

Just in case you get an order from any of the listed locations.


I would either give your packages to a driver, or take them to a place that has regular UPS pickup, or to a hub. IF you check the box on your label that you want a pickup at your residence the charge is $11 PER PACKAGE !!.

Yeah, Randy is right. There is a hefty charge if you call for a pickup, especially if you live in a rural area. What I meant by “have your driver pick it up” was, give it to you driver. It helps if you know the driver personally. A cold drink on a hot day helps to grease the deal. :-)