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Shipping a firearm of part of one?


roadie3

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As I get more into shooting, I am starting to send equipment to gunsmiths to have work done. But, where I live right now, there are few gunsmiths able to do the work I'm looking for. That means shipping a complete rifle/pistol or at least the part that needs work.

This brings up the question, what is the best method? I recently took in an AR-15 upper already boxed to have it shipped via FedEx. He experience was okay, I'm not sure how many firearm related items the guy working has dealt with but he was very concerned that I was shipping anything more than what I said.

Please chime in with your advice on the best carrier you have used and any specific details that have helped or hurt you in the past. Really any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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If shipping just an upper, I would use FedEx or ups and not mention firearms. Just insure for the value and give a description that alludes to value but doesn't say ar15 or gun.

Counter clerks are trained to ask a million questions. If you drop off, they don't tend to ask any.

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That's good to know. I think I'm going to look into a UPS account. I have heard that is a good idea if needing to ship ammo to yourself when traveling for a match. I haven't done that yet, but probably will someday.

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don't take to a private pac&mail storefront, you will just get into an argument with the clerk...

having an account with FedEx or UPS helps a lot. last upper I shipped I did with a UPS account, and the driver showed up at my door looking for the package I had to ship. He signed the hi value paper work that printed out when I did the shipping form online, ripped off his copy and handed mine to me, grabbed the package and headed back to his truck...easy peasy.

I believe the same can happen at a fedex shipping store like the fedex/kinkos. just do all the paperwork online, and drop it off at the store. the driver that stops at the store will take it along with the pile of other packages going out.

jj

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As long as it isn't the serialized portion (which is the firearm legally), I make no mention of what I'm shipping.

Ammunition is shipped through the local UPS hub, with all the correct ORM-D labeling as required.

Not too big of deal really, but a little confusing until you sort through the ins and outs.

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Technically, I THINK you can even ship the serialized part to the manufacturer or a gunsmith, and receive it back from the same, even without you having an FFL...somebody correct me if I am wrong plz...

jj

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Technically, I THINK you can even ship the serialized part to the manufacturer or a gunsmith, and receive it back from the same, even without you having an FFL...somebody correct me if I am wrong plz...

jj

That is correct. Here is the regulation from UPS on it:

Special Procedures for Shipping Firearms UPS accepts packages containing firearms (as defined by Title 18, Chapter 44, and Title 26, Chapter 53 of the United States Code) for transportation only (a) between licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, and licensed collectors (as defined in Title 18, Chapter 44 of the United States Code), and government agencies and (B) where not otherwise prohibited by federal, state or local law (i) from an individual to a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector; and (ii) from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to an individual. Packing and Labeling Requirements for Firearms All firearms must be shipped in new corrugated packaging which meets the UPS Single Wall Box Strength Guidelines.

All firearms are to be packaged in accordance with UPS Packaging Guideline Specifications. Ammunition must be shipped separately from packages that contain firearms (including handguns).

Packages containing handguns must be separated from other packages tendered to UPS for delivery.

The shipper must use Delivery Confirmation Adult Signature Required service for each package containing a firearm, including a handgun, and affix a UPS label requesting an adult signature upon delivery.

The labeling and outer box markings on all firearms shipments should not identify the contents as containing a firearm. Labeling, including the shipper's and consignee's abbreviated names on the shipping label or air shipping document, must be non-descriptive.

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Technically, I THINK you can even ship the serialized part to the manufacturer or a gunsmith, and receive it back from the same, even without you having an FFL...somebody correct me if I am wrong plz...

jj

Correct, but its dang expensive as you have to ship by air. You also have to go directly to the shipper you can't use an agent. If you have an FFL that is willing to work with you, they have access to less expensive shipping options through they will likely charge for their involvement.

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You can use UPS for handguns and long guns as an individual.... and long guns can go ground. You can even ship long guns as an individual through USPS (but not handguns unless you are an FFL).

Brownells seems to ship a lot of pistol frames, etc UPS ground, fwiw.

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Handguns may only be shipped through USPS by FFL holders. If you have a local FFL who does transfers, you can sometimes find one of them willing to ship on your behalf for a small fee; that lets you pay Post Office prices for shipping, which is fairly inexpensive.

Your other choice for handguns is common carrier—FedEx or UPS. Since they know they have you by the short hairs for shipping, their company policy requires that firearms be shipped using priority overnight—the most expensive level of service. I know people who choose to ship by UPS or FedEx without declaring the item as a firearm so they can use a cheaper level of service (Ground, for example), though I presume the downside to that is not being able to get insurance or collect if the item is lost. Also, through UPS and FedEX, a non-FFL holder may only ship a handgun to an FFL holder, so make sure the 'smith receiving it has an FFL. (Everyone I have ever tried to deal with does, but you want to make sure.)

Realize that shipping priority overnight with $2k in insurance via FedEx or UPS can cost upwards of a hundred bucks. That's why I mentioned getting an FFL to ship through the Post Office on your behalf.

You have more options for long guns. You can use USPS to send these to an FFL holder, and you can also use USPS to ship them to yourself. So, you could literally mail ahead a rifle or shotgun you planned to use on a trip, or mail it back to your home from a distant location.

In any case, the above definitions only apply to the serialized part, of course. An upper assembly is not a firearm. A pistol slide is not a handgun—I have shipped several slide only assemblies by cheap UPS Ground in order to have sights worked on, for example.

The last thing is that not all UPS and FedEx locations are created equally. Not all counter agents know their own policies. Drop off is good, but when I have tried to drop off at the actual UPS sub-station, I have been interrogated about the contents of my package and they will not accept "machine parts" as a sufficient answer (when, for example, shipping a slide so I am not required to declare that I am shipping a firearm). I now go to a particular UPS Store that doesn't give me crap when I ship stuff. I also figure that the next time I get the third degree about package contents, I am going to say "modern sculpture" made of "steel, aluminum, plastic, and/or carbon fiber." :-) After all, a 1911 or an AR upper is a piece of art, isn't it…?

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In addition to knowing the regs so you stay legal find the method (USPS, UPS, FedEx) that is most cooperative and reliable in YOUR area - because they all seem to vary in each town.

I use USPS exclusively (I have a FFL) and use the local PO in a small town vs. the larger PO in the county seat because the small town PO is much more workable (the large town PO made up their own rules on the fly). Doesn’t hurt that my local mailman is a gun guy and FFL dealer too!

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Technically, I THINK you can even ship the serialized part to the manufacturer or a gunsmith, and receive it back from the same, even without you having an FFL...somebody correct me if I am wrong plz...

jj

Yes, that is correct. A few weeks ago I purchased an Armalite M-15 3GN rifle. Something was wrong with the lower. Armalite sent a label and it was picked up at my house and shipped using UPS Ground. In addition, it was returned to me using UPS Ground. No FFL involved. No questions asked. Signature was required though for delivery.

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don't take to a private pac&mail storefront, you will just get into an argument with the clerk...

having an account with FedEx or UPS helps a lot. last upper I shipped I did with a UPS account, and the driver showed up at my door looking for the package I had to ship. He signed the hi value paper work that printed out when I did the shipping form online, ripped off his copy and handed mine to me, grabbed the package and headed back to his truck...easy peasy.

I believe the same can happen at a fedex shipping store like the fedex/kinkos. just do all the paperwork online, and drop it off at the store. the driver that stops at the store will take it along with the pile of other packages going out.

jj

About a year ago I had a terrible experience shipping an upper from the local UPS store. I had packaged the upper and labeled it at home. All I was doing was dropping it off at the UPS store to be picked up by a driver. The clerk noticed the box was shaped like a rifle box so she lit into me with a million questions and accusations. I explained multiple times that it wasn't a firearm, but she didn't believe me. She was even threatening to open the box to check the contents. She even raised her voice and made some anti 2nd amendment comments. Luckily, there was an older gentlemen in the back that came out to investigate the commotion. He asked me what it was and then told her to settle down. He accepted the upper. That UPS store permanently lost my business after that negative experience, though.

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