Shipping outside US


It’s been a long time since I received a package of inert stuff sent directly from the US. What are the actual laws about shipping inert components (umprimed cases and/or bullets) outside US?


Hello Pivi

It looks like everyone is afraid to answer this. But, not me. I’m not afraid of anything. ;-)

It’s been a long time since you’ve received anything and it’s been a long time since I’ve sent anything overseas (or Canada). But, as far as I know, the laws on this side haven’t changed. What is different now is that many of us are reluctant to mail inert ammunition and/or components because there have been instances of some US Govt bureaucrats implying that mailing inert ammunition is not legal and never has been. When asked for documentation, they are vague or quote some very general rules and regulations that could make everything illegal if stretched far enough. So, we take the easy route and stop mailing things. There are other ways, as we all know, but they have their limitations.

I believe the bureaucrats, in all countries, are being deliberately vague in order to discourage traffic in inert ammo/components. Their goal, if you could get them to talk honestly, is to eventually ban everything related to guns, ammunition, shooting, hunting, etc.

That’s just my own ignorant opinion. Others may differ.



Sellers willing to ship to Canada, lets talk.



I have my tin-foil hat on. You’re being very vague. Talk about what? You start.


It’s generally always been legal to ship most all small quantities of inert components (brass without primers, projectiles) out of country, but the customs & homeland security laws leave a great deal of breadth in terms of enforcement for anything which any of them might consider “military technology”, “ordnance”, “explosive”, etc… And all of the agents, particularly new ones, are trained that when in doubt - impound it. This leads to a very inconsistent array of enforcement, but the odds of anyone having a problem shipping empty cases or projectiles only are very, very slim. Even if things are seized, the shipper might just receive them back without consequence, or the item might just be in impound limbo forever if not labeled & tracked properly. Case in point, the odds of anyone getting caught shipping anything that is genuinely illegal are somewhat slim, such as drugs or guns.

As far as the recipient, that is totally a matter of their country’s laws. Some countries only have problems with “military calibers”, such as Italy might not allow 9x19 brass to be imported, but 9x21 is fine? The UK & Russia can be a toss-up, and most of Asia is a total ban.


Like Ray, I haven’t mailed anything in a while. I think I understand at least part of the problem. I was waiting someone who is qualified to answer this question but I think Ray is on the right track.

First, the ATF definition of ammunition includes both live ammunition and components. I think this is from some thoughtless legislation from congress but don’t really know. The ATF only requires a Form 6 import permit to bring in loaded ammunition so it is pretty confusing to me.

Some Postal officers follow the definition of ammunition that postal regulations restrict the shipment of live ammunition and components. Also restricted are any items (like a replica grenade) which looks like a restricted item.

Some Postal officers follow the logical definition and only restrict items that are live ammunition or in some cases look like live ammunition.

A number of years ago, I tried to get this straight, and it turns out that the Post Office doesn’t issue guidance on this or a lot of other things, and probably won’t.

I understand that many Canadians use to buy reloading components from the US, but now the US companies won’t ship them because quite a few have been seized.

I would still consider mailing components but nothing i could not replace easily or afford to have seized.

Most of this is old info so it would be good if someone who really knows the story provided som insights.



since 9 Para rifles are now legal in Italy, civilian cases in this caliber can be imported (…if sender CAN send them to Italy) and exported without any problem.
This is what the law says… custom clerks usually are not very trained and could consider an empty case as a dangerous live cartridge.
So “using” IAA forum members to take stuff oversea is the best choice… :)

PS: Lew, don’t be excited, 9 mm Para rifles are still so rare in Italy that ammo with strange headstamps is still almost impossibile to find…


Thanks Pivi. That’s life.



I’m a beginning cartridge collector, located in Canada. I’m interested in buying inert cartridges if people are willing.

The hurdle is US export law, not Canada import law. Cannot mail live cartridges or inert as Canada Post is ruled by fear. Can ship via courier (although not UPS please! Bunch of thieves…) but sender must have an export license to go from USA to CAN for ammunition of any quantity, some components and even reloading tools.

At least, this is how I understand the relevant regulations.

I miss the days of eBay buying.


I have my tin-foil hat on. You’re being very vague. Talk about what? You start.[/quote]


IMHO there’s enough blame on both sides of the line. Between the US State Dept and Canada Post, buying and trading of otherwise innocuous components has been effectively shut down.

There are several Canadian collectors belonging to IAA who are also regulars on the Forum. They seem to have no problem in snatching out the good stuff from right under my nose. ;-) Maybe they can help?

On another note - I find that UPS is the only sure way to send and/or receive live ammunition or components. Any problems you may have with them are probably local in nature.



Ray, I have also had a problem with good stuff being snatched out from under my nose. I think my problem is having a big nose!