UPS and UN Numbers?


Had my son try to send some ammo via a UPS hub today and he was unable to do so. He was given some double-talk about recent changes that require a “UN Number” to send small arms ammo. My call to UPS got a corporate CS person to tell me that it was true and that she would send me the relevant info. What I got was a small paragraph on ammo with no change mentioned and a further page on sending firearms. I replied to that refuting her limited information and am waiting to get a response.
Has anyone recently heard of any UPS changes? I believe it is false info that they’re working with, but I haven’t had any problems here in PA before.
More if/when I get it.

OK, found out what “UN Numbers” are: … ntable=yes



Was that a domestic or international shipment? Kinda creepy if we need to use a number assigned by the United Nations for domestic activities in the U.S…



Domestic. Well…to California.


Well, the UN numbers (danger classes) became international standard long ago. Welcome to the rest of the world.


When I have had UPS problems, (once)…I learned to call their Hazmat folks, they seem to know ALOT more about this sort of thing…Try this and see what happens…When this happened to me, I had the number of the Hazmat and told the counter person to call them, and all was cleared up instantly…



There are very few Numbers/Codes one requires for all ammo Shipments.

Firstly, in the US, “ORM-D”

Then, Class 1,4S ( Hazmat Class 1,( Explosives) Subclass 4S (Safety Cartridges, not liable to explode in Bulk.)
Followed by “UN 0012” ( Ball cartridges for Firearms) or “UN 0014” (Blank cartridges for Firearms)
or “UN 0044” ( Primers).

Some countries use the Term “Dangerous Goods” rather than “Hazmat”

All these labels must be accompanied by an Orange and Black “Explosives” diamond sticker, with “Explosives 1,4S” in two lines, with or without the “Exploding Bomb” sign. Every Parcel shall have at least one sticker, on the side or end, or if it is a slab, on the top. The Stickers can be 40mmx40mm, or 100mm x100mm ( 1-5/8 inch sq, or 4 inch sq.)

Except for the “ORM-D” marking, which is limited to the USA, all the others are International Markings, recognised everywhere in the World, including USA.

One other thing, Factory cartons, Tins, etc, also have to have another UN code denoting the Company that made the Contents, Country of manufacture of the Outer Box, the type of box, the Year the box was made, and several other details, country by country.

This is required for Air Iransport (IATA) and Sea Transport of Hazmat Goods, to show that the outer container meets International container standards for Hazmat.

If one looks at the outer carton of a 5,000 ( 5x1000 packs) primer sleeve from CBC/Magtech Brazil, there are all these details on them.

The Only UN numbers one needs to remember is UN0012 for Loaded Cartridge ammo, and Maybe UN0014 if Blank (ie, no projectile or a Wooden projectile). I doubt many people ship primers by UPS…if one does, then UN0044 is appropriate for cap type cartridge Primers. ( all SR,LR, SP and LP and Berdan and SG primers, up to .50 cal ( 8mm diam. size).

Whilst Propellant Powders have different DG/Hazmat codes (1,3C for Smokeless. and 1,1D for Black Powder and clones), Cartridges remain 1,4S…so BP cartridges loaded with BP, are still 1,4S. For example, Manufactured Fireworks of all types are 1,1F.

The different codes indicate the relative “Explosiveness” of the item, and the acceptable storage with other classes of DG. ( There is a Compatibility chart and a non-compatibility chart for Transport Purposes.)

Hope these bits of info are helpfull.

If shipping ammo, try to pack it in original style cartridge boxes (Never “Loose”) and these in a .50 cal US Ammo tin, or a suitably double thickness carton of the right size for your shipment.

IN our Business, we ship Blank ammo all over Australia, by Road, in either .50 cal tins, with an inner Cardboard sheet liner, to fill out the Cartridge boxes, or even (US Ord) M26 Grenade Crates ( Wood) or in Double Corrugated Board cartons made, interestingly enough, from US origin Shipping cartons for Dried Onions from the W.Coast of the USA ( Cut in half, and the top sleeved into the bottom, glued together, to give a double heavy layer of corrugated board, plus a bottom plate and a top plate inside to equalise the strength all around. These have been shipped by Air internationally to India etc for Films. ( with all the right Labelling).

Factory made DG Shipper- DG/Hazmat Air Cartons are usually of similar construction ( double layer corrugated) with added Wheat puff filling ( biodegradable)for the inner contents. Sometimes they are “made to fit”, so no dunnage is necessary.

Sea transport ( 20 ft. Container) of Military surplus admits the use of original Crates or Tins, but with added UN labelling; Crates and Tins for Air-shipment have to be repacked into standard approved containers ( again, many 50 cal tins also carry the Right UN markings from their country of origin for Air transport, in addition to the normal contents labelling.)

I would say go to the HAZMAT website, and download all the relevant codes regarding Ammunition…and also do the UN Dangerous Goods Classification codes, for the “UN Numbers”.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics Film Ordnance Services


Jon - the problem is in terminology. I think your son used the term “ammunition.” The clerk was probably new or not the brightest bulb in the lamp and took it literally. “Ammunition” in this kind of Tariffs is most exploding or fire-setting stuff - bombs, grenades, incendiary items, explosive items, etc. You can see that on the list of “UN” numbers. It is the same for shipping ammo by air, whether commercailly or taking it with you.

I never use the word ammunition, and I never have a problem with our UPS. I already have ORM-D labels on my boxes when I go to UPS. The orange and black “Explosive” label does not seem to be required, at least in the US, for ORM-D. ORM-D stickers are marked “Cartridges for Small Arms,” or something to that effect. The terminology factor there is the word "cartridges"
rather than “ammunition.” I tell them the shipment is “safety cartridges, small arms,” which is correct.

The first time I ever tried to check a bag at an airport with ammo in it, years ago, I used the word “ammunition” at the desk, and the lady looked it up and said that I couldn’t, under any circumstances, put that on a passenger plane, and that I needed DOT permits and license to even ship it. I told her she was wrong, and that hunters checked ammo aboard all the time in America. She called a supervisor who asked me the question “Do you have ammunition, or sall arms cartridges?” When I told him both are ammunition, he told me that it was not under their regulations. He was correct - I was wrong.


I suspect John is correct. UN Codes are not a new thing. The following is from a Google search.

[quote]September 27, 2000, 04:54 PM
I won’t go into deep detail, but Fedex is turning into a real pain to deal with. The short version of the story is I need to ship some handgun ammo to Texas. Never have I been jerked around in all my life like I have these past two days. First my wife was told that Fedex doesn’t ship ammo. Then when the Mrs. corrected the clerk, they said they didn’t ship ammo from the location she was at. I called the 800 number to find out what’s up and I was told that Fedex doesn’t ship ammo. I told the moron on the other end, that her company most certainly does and I have receipts to prove it. I was then switched to the “Dangerous Materials Desk”. Okay, ammo is HazMat, I can deal with that.

The “person” at the bad things desk told me that I needed a UN number to ship the ammo. I said that the DOT HAZMAT number for ammo is 1.4S. Nope, I needed a UN number. What might UN stand for…you got it United Nations. I explained that the ammo is heading to Texas and not out of the country, so why do I need the IOT (International Organization for Transportation)certification. Yes, Texas is sort of an unusual place, but it is still part of America the last time I looked. I was told by the Fedex clerk, that all American commercial carriers will eventually be under the UN system and Fedex is following this directive. “From whom” I asked, and was told the government.

I hung up, called the manufacturer and asked for for the UN number of the ammo. The person on the other end gave a long groan and got me the UN number. I then called Fedex back…again. Gave the bad thing desk person the UN number. Was asked what type of ammo it is. She started reading froma list that ranged from rim fire to artillary shells. I stopped her just short of the tactical and theater level nuclear weapons and repeated HANDGUN CENTER FIRE RELOADED AMMUNITION.
I was then told that I had to ship the ammunition next day air. WHATTTT??? I want ground transport. No ammunition must be shipped air express. …You know folks, I really am a patient man, but this was starting to wear thin. I WANT TO SHIP THIS STUFF GROUND TRANSIT. Clerk “Oh, then you want the ground desk”. ARRRRGGGGHHHH![/quote]

From the date on this post, you can see this issue goes back at least 10 years. In the last month or so I have received a number of ammo shipments from large dealers in the US. I just went out and checked the boxes and none had UN codes, only the ORM-D sticker.

Bottom line: No new rules that I can find! “Ammunition” appears to be the flag word! Like John, I only use the word “cartridges”.




I’ll give it a try today, armed with a UN number and the “C” word.


Yes John and Lew, it is the “term” or “word” that is said at the shipping counter that makes the big deal.

But what is funny to me is in Prescott Az. the company J&G sales gets in and ships out tons of “ammo” a week, yes tons I have loaded and unloaded it myself over the years. My point here is at Prescott Center its not “small arms cartridges” even though the stickers say so, its “ammo” and tons of it.
And there is tons of primers that go through the system every day and they are also ORM-D but not “small arms cartridges”

ORM-D sticker is “other regulated material” is all it means, or at least while I was still working for the company.
If someone puts a orange and black diamond label anywhere on the box, or if that label was on the box from previous shipment, it then “IS A HAZ MAT” package and whats called a 5 part haz maz label also has to be on the box.
With that orange and black sticker it is no longer a ORM-D, its a HAZ MAT. And as a HAZ MAT package if it does not have all of the other required labeling on it, that package stops in the movement in shipment, and someone is called, either the shipper or consenee and one of those two has to pick it up there at the building and remove it, no UPS person is allowed to send it back or send it on.


All this nonsense will just encourage more and more people to ship ammo and label the contents as something else, and even send it via US Mail which is much less expensive. I am not advocating it, but I have received hundreds of packages from UPS and I would say that at least a full third of them were not marked ORM-D, or “small arms ammunition”. Then of course there’s the US Mail packages I receive fairly regularly from sellers who don’t mention that is how they will ship, but I receive it that way anyway. For all the trouble and inconsistency that FedEX and UPS shipping locations can generate, you’ll just see more and more unmarked packages or US Mail shipments with no return address, or an ambiguous return address from more individuals in the future.

On another note; I have received some packages from major online retailers in recent months which came via UPS, and they had no such UN codes, just the usual blue sticker which said “ORM-D small arms cartridges”.


Steve Summersd is right on - some UPS offices, especially those in areas were guns are more part of everyday (legal) life than in urban areas in Califonria, where it is only the criminals who have lots of guns and use them illegally regularly, they are not confused by the term “ammunition.” Also, I was speaking in terms of only loaded cartridges, since that is what we usually deal with as cartridge collectors. Some components are HAZMAT and require much more paper work and stickers than loaded ammunition. Primers are a good example of this.


I’ve always generated my shipments online and just dropped them off at the hub. Never had a problem using this method. Once I tell the clerk that it is “pre-paid”, they hardly take a second look at the parcel, even with "ORM-D on the top and each side… This is a good way to circumvent the uninformed or biased clerks…

I thought I heard recently of a new regulation that all UPS shipments have to go “face-to-face” or have a signature now. Anyone run into this recently?



OK, just back from UPS. They took my package and my head did not explode, so I guess it was a successful trip. After going up through 5 layers of supervision we were able to discover the company confusion and they accepted my package for shipment. Here is what I discovered:

  1. Small arms cartridges are not HazMat and they still only need the “ORM-D Small Arms Cartridges” label.
  2. Small arms ammo (and they said that AMMO or AMMUNITION was OK) does not need a UN Number.
  3. Packages for cartridges must be 66 lbs. or less.
  4. The above can only go via Ground.
  5. No ammo at all (and this is what the lower 3 layers of employees were totally confused about) can be sent via Air or Ground to Hawaii, Alaska, or Catalina Island. Sorry guys.
  6. Adult signature is required. I don’t believe this one, but after an hour+ I was in no mood to argue any further.
  7. All the above seems to only pertain to individuals, bigger shippers apparently have different rules.
    Bottom line…if the clerk at your local UPS hub says it can’t go, ask for a supervisor, and keep on going 'til they shut the lights out.
    I need a nap.

AKMS, I will have to investigate that route.


AKMS - you are confusing the UPS" thread with the “New California Law” thread [where “face to face” is mentioned - webmaster edit]. Read the “New California Law thread” started by Mel again and I think it will clarify itself for you.

I know that all these new regulations make everything about as clear as mud. I live my own life now in almost total confusion most of the time.


The adult signature is required,
because I was told from a very high level management when I worked for UPS that a few years back some kid came home from school and was old enough to be at home by himself until mom or dad got home (what ever age that is) and found a package at the front door and kids will be kids and he opened it and I don’t remember the details now but it was a HAZMAT package and it either caused a lot of injuries or killed the boy.
Anyway anything that even “may” fall into this catagory the shipper is required to put on the “adult” signature required sticker. And UPS trys to inforce this as far as they can, some shippers just will not put the stickers on. (and some shippers don’t even know they have too, its crazy)

And this is off subject but even wine shipments are “adult signature” required with a second line below that states “if the adult shows signs of being drunk” the driver is not to leave the package even if the drunk is over 21 years old and signs for it, and that is a Federal law not a UPS rule. Its enough to drive you crazy as a driver, you just can’t keep up with all of the rules and changes and thats someone that works in it everyday of the week, throw in someone that runs the shipping counter that takes in one of these packages every once in a while and and then run the compliant to management and they have’nt even touched a package in years let alone tried to deliver one and anything goes.

And to reply to the other comment about "this will make people just alter return addresses or what not"
The last five years of employment with UPS I worked inside the Center, and every time there was something out of place or not right on the address either to or from it almost always was an illegal shipment. And they all have to get turned over the the police, the last one I caught before I retired was “black tar heroin” the cops got real goofy on that one, but a shipment of ammo not declared falls into the same problem.
Its just not worth it!!


Part of the problem may be the UPS 'Stores" which are not allowed to take any ORM-D marked pkg, due to insurance limitations (as I understand it)

The UPS hub, = a location where the drivers load trucks & such. Should take it with a pre-paid label & proper sticker as noted by Jon “ORM D Cartridges for Small Arms” without a problem.

We put a credit card in to our UPS account, log in, generate a label from the web-site & just give the pkg. to any driver, (even sometimes in other states when we are on the road) & never a problem, we always have the ORM-D Ctgs & etc. sticker right on top next to the name so the driver knows what he is taking.


The ladies at our hub in South San Francisco are very friendly and helpful, and seem to know the regulations. Even with the ORM-D sticker I put on, they ask me what is in the box, and when I tell them Small-Arms Cartridges, they ask if there is anything 50 caliber or over (I am sure the reg is “over 50 caliber,” but I say nothing since I never have anything that big to ship).


3. Packages for cartridges must be 66 lbs. or less.[/quote]
I guess I have come very close on that one. About 4 years ago I received a full original crate of 1060rds S&B .308 ammo and it would have been about 62 lbs. A UPS label was just slapped on the side of the crate. I remember that the driver didn’t have much love for that box.


John Moss,

NO confusion here. There was a news blurb before Christmas that UPS was going to start requiring a face to face transaction or signature from the sender due to increased security concerns. I have not shipped any ammunition for some time now, so was wondering if this was effecting online generated shipments that do not require a face to face transaction at the UPS hub.