Shipping firearms. I need HELP!


semi-auto six-string
January 20, 2013, 11:42 AM
I need to know some in's and out's of how to ship firearms. I know there are three classes of arms Current, C & R "after fifty years old, correct?", and antique, before 1895? PLEASE correct that if I'm wrong.

I spoke with UPS corporate office and inquired how to ship the different classes. They've never heard of C&R and claimed that ALL FIREARMS must be shipped next-day air. So, the Colt Python I need to ship would cost $116.00!!!!

I spoke with FedEx and they state that any firearms can go by any method, including ground, but have to be shipped "license to license" I'm not an FFL holder yet, so this creates a problem.

I understand that the US post office won't ship handguns at all. Apparently I can ship rifles and shotguns through them. Is this correct? What method do I have to use?

I see auctions on all the gun sites, gunbroker, guns america, armslist etc. and the shipping cost for a new handgun is almost always 35-40 dollars. How are they doing this??

I have three pieces I need to ship on Tuesday, 2 handguns and a rifle. Any help is GREATLY appreciated. I thought I'd done some pretty good research, making some calls and reading about shipping on some different sites. Then all of a sudden I'm getting some seriously contradictory info. I'm very confused.

Help me out , Brethren. PLEASE.

Thanks in advance.

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January 20, 2013, 12:00 PM
First of all, who are you shipping the the two handguns and rifle to? Are you shipping them out of state to yourself at a different address (forwarding them because you are moving or are going to use them out of state for hunting)? Are you shipping them to an FFL out of state? If so, for what purpose? Just a little more information and I think we can get you a concrete answer.

January 20, 2013, 12:02 PM
Oh, and why do you bring up the issue of antiques? A colt python isn't an antique obviously. Are you shipping a rifle which is clearly an antique?

Birch Knoll
January 20, 2013, 12:03 PM
Take your Python to a friendly FFL. He can ship it to another FFL via Priority Mail, probably for less than $25.

semi-auto six-string
January 20, 2013, 12:15 PM
I have been put in charge of liquidating my late Father-in-laws extensive gun collection. I've already shipped some black powder pieces through USPS with no issues. The current items to ship are two current handguns and a vintage M1 carbine. I'm shipping these pieces out of state. I'm shipping to FFL holders. I insist on shipping to FFL holders. I also insist on insuring all shipments. There will be many more to come.

Thank you, thank you, for any info.

murdoc rose
January 20, 2013, 12:29 PM
FFL to FFL is always the best option. If you do ship individual to FFL make sure to include a photo copy of your photo id as well as customer information.

January 20, 2013, 12:31 PM
Sounds like a large connection. Why not just have an auction?

January 20, 2013, 12:32 PM
I've shipped quite a few firearms via UPS but it's been a while. Apparently they have changed their policy. First of all, I don't know who you are shipping to, but make sure you comply with Federal law. There is more information on the ATF web site here:

With that said, the UPS Conditions of Service can be found here:

Look at section 3.6 and you'll see that a non-licencee can ship firearms per the following: and (b) where not otherwise prohibited by
federal, state, or local law from (i) an individual to a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer,
licensed dealer or licensed collector;

That is, as long as you are shipping to a licensee, UPS will accept your firearm. This pretty much mirrors federal law in that both buyer and seller must not be prohibited persons and the recipient must be a licensee. It appears UPS no longer allows a non-licensee to ship a firearm to himself (for use at on an out of state hunting trip, for example).

If you look elsewhere in UPS's policies, you'll see that you can't go to a third-party shipper like the UPS Store. You have to make your shipment from an actual UPS terminal. Bring a copy of these policies with you to show the UPS folks. That's what I've had to do. On occasion, they gave me some additional grief saying that despite what they policies said, they only allowed firearms to be shipped by licensees. That is, they ignored their own policies. I told them I was a licensee (which is not a lie as I have a C&R) even though the license has nothing to do with the non C&R firearms which I was shipping at the time. They did not ask for a copy of my license and allowed the shipments.

If you look in 3.6 you'll also see that handguns must be shipped Next Day Air and UPS MAY REQUIRE than any firearm shipment be sent via Next Day Air. The latter requirement must me new as I've only had to ship handguns via Next Day Air in the past -- not long guns.

Regarding your question about C&R firearms vs non C&R vs antiques, I don't believe the first two classifications make any impact on UPS shipping policies -- only whether the transfer is legal (see the ATF FAQ). As far as I know, if a 'firearm' is an antique, it is not considered a firearm by the ATF and can be shipped however you want. Someone please correct me on this point if I'm wrong. I've not been in this situation myself.

January 20, 2013, 12:45 PM
Gotcha. Thanks for the clarification. That the M1 is C&R doesn't matter from UPS's standpoint. They only care that the transfer is legal and that you ship to an FFL (which in this case could be an 03 collector. According to their policies, they MAY require you to ship it Next Day Air.

Regarding the hand guns, they (probably) can't be sent to a C&R holder, only an 01 FFL. UPS will require they are shipped Next Day Air.

As you likely know, because you are shipping out of state, your only choice is to ship to an FFL for ALL firearm transactions. That's federal law. There are some exceptions in federal law for executors disposing of an estate, however this isn't anything I've dealt with before and I doubt they have anything to do with out of state shipping.

I've not done the FFL to FFL thing as my transfer needs are small. While you are disposing of a collection, however, you might see if you can get to know a good local dealer who can handle the transfers for you. I've heard over and over that this is really the way to go in terms of price. UPS discounts volume shippers. It's shocking how affordable shipping is for the big boys compared to us occasional users.

Sorry to hear your father in law passed. Hope this information has helped a little bit and feel free to ask for clarifications. Shipping is a topic which comes up regularly and there are some real experts here.

semi-auto six-string
January 20, 2013, 12:55 PM
So far, all the responses here have referred to UPS policies. I appreciate the information greatly.

Can anyone tell me about any personal dealings with FedEx policies?

There is absolutely NO WAY I can ship handguns at $100+ each. The buyer won't pay that, and I can't either.

January 20, 2013, 02:50 PM
Get yourself to a friendly local FFL and have him ship them for you. HE can use the post office to ship a handgun, which is MUCH cheaper. He will charge you to do this service, but you'll pay 1/3 to 1/2 of what you would pay doing it via UPS or FedEx.

January 20, 2013, 04:51 PM
No problems shipping the long guns through USPS.Just not allowed to have any markings on the outside of the box stating what is inside. I suggest adding insurance.

January 20, 2013, 05:48 PM
I shipped a handgun back to taurus for repair ups ground for 8 bucks. Of course if it had gotten lost I would be sol but that was a risk I was willing to take. I wasnt going to pay $100 for something I paid $250 for. Im not recomm nding it, just saying.

January 20, 2013, 05:55 PM
Sounds like the $25 ffl fee to have a ffl ship it will be well worth it. It will be insured. Etc.

January 20, 2013, 05:58 PM
I'm on 03 FFL and my recommendation is for all long guns to go through USPS. Send em USPS Priority Mail, with insurance and tracking. Carefully box up the rifle, but do not seal the box. Inside the box include a bill of sale and copy of the FFL the rifle is going to. Be sure to include in the bill of sale the contact information for the buyer. Take the rifle to the counter along with a second copy of the bill of sale and copy of FFL to the post office and when they ask if there is anything hazardous, dangerous, etc... state that you are shipping an unloaded rifle/shotgun to a Federal Firearms Licensee. They will usually ask to see a copy of the FFL and make sure that it matches the address on the box. Be sure to write the address on the box with a magic marker (ive had a label on boxes containing a rifle "fall off" mid-shipment). They may make you verify its unloaded, they might not. Seal the box at that point and send it on its way.

I've only shipped one handgun and I had to go through UPS and it had to go 2nd day air and was $50+. My advice, go through a local 01 FFL to ship to the buyer's FFL. They will probably charge you $20-$30 for a transfer + shipping. They can ship handguns by USPS. Again, same goes with a copy of the bill of sale, buyers FFL, etc...

*EDIT* Don't even bother with FedEx...

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