June 11th, 2020

Smart Advice on Shipping Gun Parts and Firearms Accessories

Shipping information news Fedex UPS USPS postal service

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEXGun guys are always shipping stuff around the country — whether it’s a barrel to be chambered, or a scope that needs to go back for warranty repair. Or maybe you’ve sold some bullets or reloading dies you no longer need. To ensure your precious packages get to their destination in one piece, it’s important to take precautions when boxing up your items. And by all means insure packages for full value — even if your packaging is perfect, there is always the possibility that your shipment might be lost altogether. Sadly, that can happen, no matter which carrier you choose: Fedex, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Here are some tips for shipping gun stuff — we explain how to pack items properly and how to minimize the risk of loss.

Tips for Shippers
Dennis Haffner from McGowen Precision Barrels offers some advice on how to avoid damage when shipping gun parts or other valuable or heavy items. Dennis explains:

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX“First, I started double-packing the contents and in many cases double-boxing. I spend a fortune on heavy-reinforced shipping tape. If the contents are loosely packed, the package is going to get crushed. On real important items or delicate items, wrap the content in plastic and spray the inside void areas with non-expanding foam. They make shipping foam just for this. This method really works. Since I started paying more attention to packaging, I have just about wiped out my issues with all three companies (Fedex, UPS, USPS). Yes, I hate doing it, but in the long run for us, it’s cheaper.

Bullet shipments are the worst — a shipment of 500+ bullets can destroy a cardboard box. I have ordered bullets from individuals who put them in baggies and filled the remainder of the box with foam peanuts. That is not going to work. Any piece of metal, including a die, will puncture a cardboard box, or destroy a padded envelope. Just look at the tracking information and imagine your package bouncing around in the back of the shipping truck, probably under many other packages. My advice is to NEVER use padded envelopes. Barrel nuts or recoil lugs will most likely never make it.

ORM-D items are required to be shipped in heavily-reinforced, double-walled containers. The packages still get a little damage, but the contents usually survive.

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEXHow do shipments get damaged? Consider this — one of the shipping companies this year flipped (overturned) one of our new CNC machines (which rendered it useless). Maybe your small packages were in the same delivery truck as my CNC machine. I wonder how many little boxes were crushed underneath it.

As for USPS flat rate boxes — you would not believe what people try to stuff in these boxes. USPS finally put a weight limit on the boxes — they had to. I sometimes take my delicate items packed in an envelope or small box. I spray foam in a larger flat rate box and insert the smaller package, then fill the remainder of the void with foam. It works, and part usually arrives undamaged.”

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX
Shipping Rifle Barrels (PVC Tube and Tennis Ball Method)
A new match-grade barrel can cost $350 or more, and it might take six months (or more) to replace it, given the current wait time with top barrel-makers. So, you don’t want your nice new tube to get damaged in transit. Forum Member Chuck L. (aka “M-61″) offers these tips for shipping rifle barrels:

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX“Packing a barrel can be a problem. Here’s a shipping method that won’t stop lost shipments but so far has stopped damage. Get a PVC pipe (of size appropriate to your barrel) with fitted caps for each end. Attach a cap to one end. Tape the barrel threads and tape over the muzzle. Then drop one standard tennis ball into the pipe. Place barrel in pipe. Next add whatever peanuts or foam you can jam in to support the barrel on the sides. Then place a second tennis ball into the opposite end of the PVC pipe. (So now you have a tennis ball on either end of your barrel.) With everything secure inside, attach the upper cap and tape it down securely. With this packing procedure, when the carrier launches the pipe like a javelin, at least the barrel will not come through like a spear and be gone. Label the pipe with very large address labels so no one suspects it’s just garbage laying around. This procedure may seem ridiculous but it has worked for me. Oh and definitely get insurance. If your item is insured, the shippers will look harder to find it.”

Editor’s Note: Fedex also makes a triangular-profile cardboard shipping box. This 38″ x 6″ x 6″ x 6″ Fedex Tube (designed for blueprints and posters) is free for the asking. For most barrels, there should be enough clearance to hold your PVC tube (with barrel packed inside tube). However, don’t ship the barrel inside the cardboard box by itself. Cap and pad the ends and bubble wrap it heavily, or better yet, use the PVC tube method described above, with the PVC tube inside the box.

For More Packing and Shipping Advice, Read this Forum Thread.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
October 15th, 2015

How to Ship Gun Stuff Without Getting Burned

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEXGun guys are always shipping stuff around the country — whether it’s a barrel to be chambered, or a scope that needs to go back for warranty repair. Or maybe you’ve sold some bullets or reloading dies you no longer need. To ensure your precious packages get to their destination in one piece, it’s important to take precautions when boxing up your items. And by all means insure packages for full value — even if your packaging is perfect, there is always the possibility that your shipment might be lost altogether. Sadly, that can happen, no matter which carrier you choose: Fedex, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Here are some tips for shipping gun stuff — we explain how to pack items properly and how to minimize the risk of loss.

Tips for Shippers
Dennis Haffner from McGowen Precision Barrels offers some advice on how to avoid damage when shipping gun parts or other valuable or heavy items. Dennis explains:

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX“First, I started double-packing the contents and in many cases double-boxing. I spend a fortune on heavy-reinforced shipping tape. If the contents are loosely packed, the package is going to get crushed. On real important items or delicate items, wrap the content in plastic and spray the inside void areas with non-expanding foam. They make shipping foam just for this. This method really works. Since I started paying more attention to packaging, I have just about wiped out my issues with all three companies (Fedex, UPS, USPS). Yes, I hate doing it, but in the long run for us, it’s cheaper.

Bullet shipments are the worst — a shipment of 500+ bullets can destroy a cardboard box. I have ordered bullets from individuals who put them in baggies and filled the remainder of the box with foam peanuts. That is not going to work. Any piece of metal, including a die, will puncture a cardboard box, or destroy a padded envelope. Just look at the tracking information and imagine your package bouncing around in the back of the shipping truck, probably under many other packages. My advice is to NEVER use padded envelopes. Barrel nuts or recoil lugs will most likely never make it.

ORM-D items are required to be shipped in heavily-reinforced, double-walled containers. The packages still get a little damage, but the contents usually survive.

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEXHow do shipments get damaged? Consider this — one of the shipping companies this year flipped (overturned) one of our new CNC machines (which rendered it useless). Maybe your small packages were in the same delivery truck as my CNC machine. I wonder how many little boxes were crushed underneath it.

As for USPS flat rate boxes — you would not believe what people try to stuff in these boxes. USPS finally put a weight limit on the boxes — they had to. I sometimes take my delicate items packed in an envelope or small box. I spray foam in a larger flat rate box and insert the smaller package, then fill the remainder of the void with foam. It works, and part usually arrives undamaged.”

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX
Shipping Rifle Barrels (PVC Tube and Tennis Ball Method)
A new match-grade barrel can cost $350 or more, and it might take six months (or more) to replace it, given the current wait time with top barrel-makers. So, you don’t want your nice new tube to get damaged in transit. Forum Member Chuck L. (aka “M-61″) offers these tips for shipping rifle barrels:

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX“Packing a barrel can be a problem. Here’s a shipping method that won’t stop lost shipments but so far has stopped damage. Get a PVC pipe (of size appropriate to your barrel) with fitted caps for each end. Attach a cap to one end. Tape the barrel threads and tape over the muzzle. Then drop one standard tennis ball into the pipe. Place barrel in pipe. Next add whatever peanuts or foam you can jam in to support the barrel on the sides. Then place a second tennis ball into the opposite end of the PVC pipe. (So now you have a tennis ball on either end of your barrel.) With everything secure inside, attach the upper cap and tape it down securely. With this packing procedure, when the carrier launches the pipe like a javelin, at least the barrel will not come through like a spear and be gone. Label the pipe with very large address labels so no one suspects it’s just garbage laying around. This procedure may seem ridiculous but it has worked for me. Oh and definitely get insurance. If your item is insured, the shippers will look harder to find it.”

Editor’s Note: Fedex also makes a triangular-profile cardboard shipping box. This 38″ x 6″ x 6″ x 6″ Fedex Tube (designed for blueprints and posters) is free for the asking. For most barrels, there should be enough clearance to hold your PVC tube (with barrel packed inside tube). However, don’t ship the barrel inside the cardboard box by itself. Cap and pad the ends and bubble wrap it heavily, or better yet, use the PVC tube method described above, with the PVC tube inside the box.

For More Packing and Shipping Advice, Read this Forum Thread.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
May 15th, 2015

Helpful Hints for Shipping Your Guns and Gear Safely

Gunsmith Nat Lambeth (“RustyStud” on our Shooters’ Forum) offers the following advice for readers who need to ship rifles or major gun components (actions, barrels etc.) to gunsmiths or repair facilities.

You have several options when shipping your guns to and from a gunsmith. Nat Lambeth has tried them all and had problems with them all. Here are some pointers:

1. Always package your unloaded firearm so that it is not loose and can’t work itself loose during transport. I recommend, at minimum, you use a hardcase inside a cardboard box. You can order a hard case from any of the major gun gear web vendors or get one at Walmart. It will come in a nice cardboard box. Just open the end and slide it out. Put your gun in the plastic hard case (after oiling the metal parts) and slide it back into the box. Then tape and relabel the box. Make sure marking on the box does NOT identify the contents as a gun. (You may be required to identify the contents to the shipping company or U.S. Postal Service clerk however.) For a very expensive gun, consider using a wood shipping crate. I will be making some shipping cases from plywood and foam line them. I will have to charge my customer a deposit and when they return the shipping crate I will return their deposit.

2. Pack individual components carefully, and enclose them in separate bubble wrap (or styrofoam) if there is any chance the parts can contact one another. Your editor had an experience where the finish of a fine, blued handgun was ruined because the repair facility had placed old, replaced trigger parts loosely in a foam-lined case with the handgun. During shipping these spare parts worked back and forth, gouging and scratching the pistol.

3. Confirm the recipient’s address BEFORE you ship. Individuals and businesses change locations all the time. Don’t assume an address you used a few months ago is still valid. It’s tempting to use old addresses that are pre-configured in the UPS or Fedex web-based shipping programs, but you should always confirm address validity prior to shipping.

(more…)

Permalink Tech Tip 5 Comments »
July 15th, 2014

Midsouth Waives Haz-Mat Fees on Primers (5 Box Minimum)

primers CCI Midsouth Shooters SupplyNeed Primers? Midsouth Shooters Supply (Midsouth) has a large selection of primers in stock right now. Yes Midsouth has the hard-to-find CCI BR-4 Small Rifle Benchrest primers, CCI 450s (small rifle magnum APS), Remington 6 1/2 small rifle, and Federal Large Rifle Magnum. Midsouth also has large quantities of Winchester primers. And if you need pistol or shotshell primers, Midsouth has plenty of those right now as well.

If you need an extra incentive to grab some primers, get this — for a limited time, Midsouth is offering FREE Haz-mat on Primer purchases. That’s right, Haz-Mat is FREE when you purchase five or more boxes of primers (mix and match qualifies). This offer is for ground shipping only, and regular shipping fees still apply. This offer ends July 20, 2014.

Hot Deal — FREE Haz-Mat with Purchase of Five or More Boxes of Primers.
primers CCI Midsouth Shooters Supply

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
June 25th, 2014

MidwayUSA Announces New Reduced-Cost Nitro Express Shipping

midwayusa midway shipping charges nitro expressMidwayUSA has completely revamped its shipping system, putting in a new billing structure that should result in significant savings for customers, particularly for small orders. The new “Nitro Express” shipping program at MidwayUSA will offer $3.99 shipping for orders under one pound (non-DOT regulated products). Packages 1 to 10 pounds can ship for $5.99 (USPS) plus $0.60 per pound. DOT-regulated products cost more to ship, but the rates are still reasonable. Here are the new Nitro Express Shipping Rates from the MidwayUSA website:

midwayusa midway shipping charges nitro express

midwayusa midway shipping charges nitro express

midwayusa midway shipping charges nitro express

Nitro Express Shipping Basics
MidwayUSA founder Larry Potterfield explains: “I’m very pleased to announce… our new Nitro Express Shipping® system. We discovered that if MidwayUSA re-engineered our system for shipping packages… we could save our customers a lot of money on shipping costs.

We’ve spent several years and millions of dollars to develop one of the best, most efficient shipping systems in the country; and we’ve negotiated very hard with our freight partners — all to save our customers money on shipping costs.

Right off the bat you’ll notice that most shipping costs went down substantially — and it’s really easy to understand. There are no order minimums or small order fees and shipping costs are calculated ‘real-time’ as you add products to your shopping cart. The complete details are available by clicking on Shipping Charges & Options on our website.

News Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink News 12 Comments »
June 6th, 2014

Hazmat Fee Now Just $20.00 at Bullets.com

Hazmat Fee Bullets.com Bullets.com is reducing hazmat fees to make powder and primer orders more affordable for our Forum members and other customers. We commend this move — anything that makes reloading components more affordable is a good thing. Here’s the announcement by Shiraz Balolia, head honcho of Bullets.com:

Effective June 5, 2014, Bullets.com will only be charging $20.00 for the Hazmat fee when you order Powder/Primers. We are taking a loss on the fee, but we feel it’s a good service to offer since powders and primers have risen in cost.

$20.00 Hazmat Fee at Bullets.com
Hazmat Fee Bullets.com

You’ll find that most other companies charge substantially more for the Hazmat fee — in some cases up to $40.00 per shipment. Also be aware that there is a limited shipment weight that can go out with one Hazmat fee — this is typically a maximum of 48 or 50 pounds. Check with each vendor to determine the current Hazmat policy. Most vendors, including Bullets.com, allow both powder and primers to be combined in one box for a single shipment with a single hazmat fee.

Permalink Hot Deals 2 Comments »
June 3rd, 2014

Brownells Offers 75¢ Shipping on Orders Over $75.00

Here’s a special promotion that could save you $10 – $20 or more when purchasing products from Brownells.com. To celebrate its 75th Anniversary, Brownells is offer a seventy-five cent shipping special. Now through Friday, June 6th, orders over $75.00 ship for just $0.75 (seventy-five cents). To get this special price on standard shipping, use code FB6 during the online check-out process.

This 75/75 shipping promotion ends at 11:59 pm CDT on June 6, 2014. This is valid for standard domestic shipping only, and does NOT include hazmat fees or other special handling charges.

Permalink Hot Deals No Comments »
March 9th, 2012

Diamond Labels Will Replace ORM-D Labels on Ammo Shipments

The days of the “ORM-D: Small Arms Cartridges” labels for ammo shipments are numbered. The Dept. of Transportation (DOT) is phasing out the current ORM-D ammo labels, replacing them with a larger striped diamond label that does not mention “Small Arms Cartridges”. This change is designed to harmonize U.S. shipping rules with United Nations standards. You can start using the new “Limited Quantity” diamond labels for ammo shipments immediately, but they are not mandatory — yet. You can continue to use the old ORM-D “Cartridges, Small Arms” labels until December 31, 2013. As of January 1, 2014 you MUST use the Striped Diamonds.

OFFICIAL UPS RULES — Elimination of ORM-D Classification
In an attempt to harmonize and align with international standards, the DOT has amended the 49CFR regulations regarding the ORM-D classification. Effective January 19, 2011, with the publication of the HM-215K final rule, the hazard class of ORM-D is being eliminated. Those materials may still be shipped classified as a limited quantity (“Ltd Qty”). In conjunction with ORM-D hazard class elimination in HM-215K, limited quantity ground shipments will no longer require shipping papers when prepared under the new rule. This includes those materials previously classed as Ltd Qty that required shipping papers via ground transport.

Ground Ltd Qty Marking
Air Ltd Qty Marking
NOTE: These illustrations are not true to scale. The actual default Ltd Qty Diamond label to be used for ammo shipments is much larger, about 5″ per side. A smaller 2″ per side version of the Ltd Qty striped diamond can be used on smaller packages.

There is a transition period for shippers to comply with the new classification, marking and labeling requirements. Until December 31, 2013 a limited quantity package containing a consumer commodity as defined in 171.8 may be reclassed as ORM-D, or until December 31, 2012 for ORM-D-Air material. UPS began accepting materials with the new markings effective April 1, 2011. Note: To be in compliance with TDG, Standard (ground) Ltd Qty shipments to Canada prepared under HM-215K require the verbiage ‘Limited quantity’ or ‘Ltd qty’ to also be marked on the carton.

Download OLD and NEW Label Formats
On the Parallax Curio and Relic Forum, a thread includes PDF samples of both the new Diamond Ltd Qty Labels and the current ORM-D Labels. The thread explains: “The good news is the new label doesn’t have any indicator that the package contains ammunition. The bad news is the new label is gigantic compared to the old ORM-D label. You are required to use one of the larger labels on one side of any package containing ammunition. If the package is too small for one of the larger labels then you are permitted to use one of the smaller labels instead. Because of the size requirement in the regulations, you only get two of each label on standard piece of printer paper.”

CLICK HERE for PDF Template with Large and Small Striped Diamond Ground Shipping Labels

If you want to still use the ORM-D Small Arm Cartridges Labels until the new Diamond Labels are mandatory, here are links to PDF sheets of ORM-D labels. These PDFs have many rows of labels per page so you can save printer paper. The black version and blue version will use up more printer ink, so you might want to use the white version to be more economical.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo No Comments »
December 27th, 2010

DOT Plans New Ammo Shipping Regulations

Story by Larry Keane, NSSF
DOT ORM-D AmmunitionSince the early 1970s, ammunition being shipped in the United States has been classified under “Other Regulated Materials” — class D (ORM-D) regulations. This precludes the need for hazardous material (HazMat) shipping charges and other expensive handling requirements. The savings to the industry has been estimated at more than $300 million per year.

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI) recognized a potential risk of losing ORM-D status due to the emerging “global harmonization” of shipping regulations. Simply put, the U.S. was likely to adopt United Nations (UN) regulations in an attempt to help ease the global shipping process by adhering to one uniform policy. The problem with shifting to UN regulations is that there is no “ORM-D” status, so if/when this happened, ammunition would have to be shipped under the UN 1.4s category — a category that includes HazMat fees.

DOT ORM-D AmmunitionSAAMI petitioned the world body to change its shipping regulations to allow for a Limited Quantity (LQ) exemption for class 1.4s products that meet certain testing criteria. Then, SAAMI proved that ammunition meets these criteria. The LQ exemption for loaded ammunition would allow countries to adopt regulations very similar to the current U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) ORM-D classification, yet still be in alignment with global shipping regulations.

‘LQ’ Ammo Shipping Class Will Replace ‘ORM-D’
The UN has adopted SAAMI’s petition and the new international regulation have become final. In the meantime, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) has announced sweeping changes to U.S. regulations that will harmonize them with the international regulations. Included in these upcoming changes are the elimination of ORM-D status and the addition of the LQ exemption for ammunition . The net result is that while the regulations will change, shipment of ammunition in the U.S will continue without additional fees and handling requirements. So you will still be able to ship loaded ammo with NO Haz-Mat Fees, but in the future, the ORM-D status will change to LQ exempt status.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 4 Comments »
November 9th, 2010

$30 Off Promo and Free Shipping Offer at Cabelas.com

Money’s tight for everyone this year, so it’s nice to find some money-saving promotions as you start your holiday shopping. Cabela’s is running two current promotions offering significant savings.

FREE Shipping with Order over $125.00 (Expires Tonight)
First, Cabela’s is offering FREE shipping with orders over $125.00. Enter code XHOLIDAY during checkout. This expires midnight tonight 11/9/2010. There are some limitations. For example, additional shipping charges for large or heavy items may apply, the offer does not include shipping of firearms, and the offer covers Standard Express shipping to U.S. Deliverable Addresses ONLY.

$30 Off Order of $150.00 or More (Expires 11/16/2010)
Here’s a great deal that commences on 11/10/2010 and runs through 11/16/2010. If the total cost of you order is $150.00 or more (gift cards don’t count), Cabelas.com knocks $30.00 off the top. You do need to enter your email address to get the PROMO CODE. Click the banner below to get started.

This Editor personally took advantage of a similar $30.00 Off deal from Cabela’s last year, and the whole process went smoothly. There are some restrictions, explained below.

* Not valid on Gift Certificates, Gift Cards, or licenses
* Offer may be used only once and cannot be used on prior purchases.
* Offer cannot be used in combination with any other promo or previous offers.
* Offer is valid for purchases made at Cabelas.com, Catalog or Retail Store.

Permalink Hot Deals No Comments »
April 28th, 2010

New Jersey Now Requires CMP Rifles to Ship to NJ-Licensed FFLs

CMP M1 GarandOne of the great things about ordering an M1 Garand or rimfire Target Rifle from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is that, if you satisfy all the purchaser requirements, the gun can be shipped directly to your home (in most states). You are NOT required to receive a CMP surplus rifle through an FFL, at least in most jurisdictions.

Unfortunately, that situation has changed in New Jersey. The State of New Jersey is now requiring that CMP guns be first shipped to Federal Firearms License-holders who also have a current New Jersey State License.

New Jersey Now Restricts CMP Firearms Transfers
Orest Michaels, CMP Chief Operating Officer, reports: “On April 12th, CMP representatives met with representatives of the NJ State Police and the NJ Attorney General’s office. At issue was the fact that CMP customers were receiving rifles at their home and not from a firearms dealer licensed by the state. It was the opinion… of both the NJ State Police and the AG’s office that NJ requires all firearm transactions be face to face and the transfer of a rifle be made to the customer by a NJ licensed dealer. Therefore, NJ residents cannot certify paragraph K on the CMP order form that reads: ‘I further certify that I will not be in violation, by reason of my receipt or possession of a rifle, of any state law or published ordinance applicable where I reside’.”

Effective immediately, rifles sold and shipped to NJ residents must be shipped to NJ licensed firearms dealers. Customers should provide the CMP with copies of the dealer’s FFL and NJ State license, along with the CMP order form. This applies to all rifle orders the CMP has already received and not yet shipped. [However], New Jersey residents who visit either CMP store may purchase and pick up rifles without the necessity of going through a NJ licensed dealer.

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
January 25th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: New Lapua Brass Containers Transform into 50-Round Ammo Boxes

Lapua arguably has the best line of match-grade cartridge brass you can buy in the USA. And now Lapua has made its brass even better. Starting this month, when you purchase 100 pieces of Lapua brass, your cases will arrive in a handsome blue plastic box. Snapped in place under the box lid is a rectangular plastic grid that fits in the bottom of the box. Pop the grid loose and slide it into the box. Side supports molded into the lower section hold the grid in place.

Lapua brass Ammo box

Voila, instant Ammo Box! Each grid contains holes for fifty (50) loaded rounds or empty cases. The convertible plastic container/ammo box is a great idea that Lapua executed very nicely. Now you have even more motivation to purchase your cartridge brass from Lapua.

Lapua brass Ammo box

Brass delivered in the blue convertible blue plastic boxes has already started to arrive. We confirmed with Powder Valley that its most recent shipments of Lapua brass have arrived in the blue plastic boxes. Note, however, that pre-existing inventories of Lapua brass, from Powder Valley and other vendors, will continue to ship in cardboard boxes until the older supplies are exhausted.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 7 Comments »
August 31st, 2008

Shipping Guns and Gun Parts

Gunsmith Nat Lambeth (“RustyStud” on our Shooters’ Forum) offers the following advice for readers who need to ship rifles or major gun components (actions, barrels etc.) to gunsmiths or repair facilities.

“You have several options when shipping your guns to and from a Gunsmith. I’ve tried them all and had problems with them all. Here are some pointers:

1. Always package your unloaded firearm so that it is not loose and can’t work itself loose during transport. I recommend, at minimum, you use a hardcase inside a cardboard box. You can order a hard case from any of the 6mmBR.com website catalog advertisers. It will come in a nice cardboard box. Just open the end and slide it out. Put your gun in the plastic hard case (after oiling the metal parts) and slide it back into the box. Then tape and relabel the box. Make sure marking on the box does NOT identify the contents as a gun. (You may be required to identify the contents to the shipping company or U.S. Postal Service clerk however.) For a very expensive gun, consider using a wood shipping crate. I will be making some shipping cases from plywood and foam line them. I will have to charge my customer a deposit and when they return the shipping crate I will return their deposit.

2. Pack individual components carefully, and enclose them in separate bubble wrap (or styrofoam) if there is any chance the parts can contact one another. Your editor had an experience where the finish of a fine, blued handgun was ruined because the repair facility had placed old, replaced trigger parts loosely in a foam-lined case with the handgun. During shipping these spare parts worked back and forth, gouging and scratching the pistol.

3. Confirm the recipient’s address BEFORE you ship. Individuals and businesses change locations all the time. Don’t assume an address you used a few months ago is still valid. It’s tempting to use old addresses that are pre-configured in the UPS or Fedex web-based shipping programs, but you should always confirm address validity prior to shipping.

4. Always put the sender’s and recipient’s telephone number on the outside of the box with the address. I have neighbors call me all the time saying I have a box that was delivered to them by mistake. If there is any way the label could be torn off or ripped, write the number on the cardboard with a felt pen.

5. Always send your packages insured for full replacement value. Take time-dated pictures of the contents before you ship. (This is yet one more reason to get an inexpensive digital camera, such as the Canon A590IS.) If you’re shipping a firearm with special collectors’ value, deluxe wood, or engraving, be sure you have detailed, high-quality photos of the item so you can prove its worth.

6. Always send firearms and expensive components “Adult Signature Required” if by FedEx, UPS, or DHL. If they are sent via U.S. Postal Service, send them restricted delivery. This insures a tracking number and verification they got to their destination. If you ship USPS, it’s not a bad idea to pay a little extra for the green return receipt. That’s one more piece of evidence that works in your favor if the recipient claims non-delivery. The green card also reminds the carrier to confirm the address.

7. Keep all your shipping documentation for a year after the package has been received. There could be a unseen damage that turns up several months down the road. This illustrates the importance of carefully inspecting items you receive immediately. Don’t let a box sit around for days before you open it.

8. Handguns are by law required to be sent by common carrier (unless you are an FFL holder). Most of the common carriers have their own rules requiring overnight or next day delivery. Long guns can be sent by ground and you can use the U.S. Postal Service. Companies such as FEDEX and UPS may try to stick you with a higher cost shipping bill by claiming that rifles and shotguns must go next day or air. That is not true. Long guns can be shipped via ground. Do check local laws however–California has special rules regarding ARs and registered “assault weapons”.

9. Keep an eye on your gun by monitoring the tracking number. You can do this online with FEDEX, UPS, and USPS. If your package does not reach its intended destination, when it is supposed to be there, then initiate a traceright away. Don’t wait.

When Something Goes Wrong–Filing Claims
In my experience it takes from 7 days to 10 months to get a settlement on a claim. Don’t hesitate to take a shipper to small claims court if necessary. If the shipper gives you the run-around, filing a small claims action may be the best $40.00 you can spend. It only costs $40.00 to start a small claims action and the subpoena is another $5 bucks. Usually sending a subpoena to an officer will result in a rapid settlement. It is cheaper for the carrier to settle than have their corporate bigwig stuck in some small claims action. Realize the carrier usually is not the insurer.

I have had two claims within the last 10 weeks and neither has been settled yet. In both cases the barelled action was double-boxed ,and in one case it was also inside a piece of schedule 80 PVC pipe and was broken. The other was in a double-walled cardboard box. The action was bent at the action barrel juncture, it now looks like a boomerang. The muzzle was pushed through six layers of double wall corrugated box.

I quit using UPS over a year ago. Depending on how FEDEX settles these last two claims, I’ll decide whether I use their services again. Your editor prefers FEDEX as he has found that they paid non-delivery claims swiftly and at full value. One thing for sure, if you use USPS you have the Postal Inspectors and the BATF looking for your gun if it is lost.”

Permalink Tech Tip 3 Comments »
May 19th, 2008

U.S. Postal Service Increases Rates

You may already know this, but just in case you missed the announcement, here’s the bad news.

The United States Post Office raised the price of first class postage one penny to forty-two cents ($0.42), effective May 12th. The USPS is now allowed to adjust stamp prices independently, based on inflation. Under new rules, the Postal Service can increase the price of a stamp by a penny without any oversight as long as it gives 45 days notice. You may recall that the USPS already increased the price of a first-class stamp to 41 cents in 2007, a two-cent hike at the time.

Other USPS Price Hikes, effective May 12:

Postcard rate is up 1 cent to 27 cents
Large Envelope rate is up 3 cents to $1.00
Certified Mail is up 5 cents to $2.70

Penny Wise Advice:
With postal rates going up a couple times a year, and stagflation looming on the horizon for the U.S. economy, it may be wise to buy a bunch of “Forever Stamps” next time you’re at the Post Office. These special non-denominated stamps, now priced at $0.42 each, are “immune” to price hikes. “The stamp will be good for mailing one-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future — regardless of price changes,” the USPS has promised.

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