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Old August 30, 2010, 11:37 AM   #1
lukewepy
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Shipping black powder guns?

What is the deal with shipping black powder firearms? I'm under the assumption that they can be shipped anywhere through USPS as the federal gov't does not consider black powder weapons to be firearms. Am I correct in my assumption?
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Old August 30, 2010, 12:08 PM   #2
arcticap
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That's essentially correct. Antique black powder guns, muzzle loaders and replicas are all classified as antique firearms by USPS regulations so they can be shipped through the mail.
However several states and cities do have their own regulations regarding buying and receiving them.


Quote:
Title 18, Section 921(a)(16) then defines "antique firearm" as follows:

"The term 'antique firearm' means -
(A) any firearm (including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898; and
(B) any replica of any firearm described in subparagraph (A) if such replica -
(i) is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition, or
(ii) uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade."

http://usgovinfo.about.com/bloldguns.htm

Last edited by arcticap; August 30, 2010 at 12:20 PM.
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Old August 30, 2010, 11:14 PM   #3
tripe1917
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Two weeks ago, I wanted to ship two 1851 Navy's and the clerk at my local USPS office stated they were firearms and would not ship them. i went to another nearby USPS office and the manager told me to declare "merchandise" on the shipping insurance form. I had to ship them this way to get around the clerks who don't know what the regulations state.
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Old August 31, 2010, 05:16 AM   #4
Doc Hoy
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Tripe

There is simply no protection from ignorance.
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Old August 31, 2010, 06:57 AM   #5
mykeal
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Yes, there is. Ask to speak to the Postmaster. Ask him (or her) for a complaint form, then state that the offending clerk failed to follow Postal Regulations which require that the clerk must refer a refusal to accept materials for mailing to the Postmaster for a decision, and that the USPS must accept unloaded antique firearms for shipping as restricted material. The Postmaster should know the regulations.
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Old August 31, 2010, 08:08 AM   #6
lukewepy
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So is there anything I will have to do specifically in order to ship something to Georgia? I will have to insure it so not sure what I have to tell them and not tell them.
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Old August 31, 2010, 08:48 AM   #7
madcratebuilder
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Quote:
So is there anything I will have to do specifically in order to ship something to Georgia? I will have to insure it so not sure what I have to tell them and not tell them.
I would use USPS priority mail, declare the item as a antique tool and insure it for it's value. Delivery conformation is good too.
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Old August 31, 2010, 08:59 AM   #8
denster
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I ship black powder guns by priority mail insured with delivery confirmation. I tell the clerk that is what I want, how much insurance and there is nothing liquid, fragile, perishable or hazzerdous. They put the stickers on tell me how much and give me the receipt with tracking number. I've never had them ask what was in the package when done at the post office.
If you go to Pac-Mail they will always ask, even though it is none of their business, and hit you with a nasty surecharge just to print the postage and will always give you bad info on shipping any type of gun. I only use them for UPS or Fed-Ex drop offs where I printed the shipping on line.

If you are still worried what the clerk may ask. Get priority flat rate boxes free from the post office or online and print your postage and insurance and delivery confirmation online. Slap it on the box and hand it to your mail carrier or drop it off at the post office. No questions asked.

Last edited by denster; August 31, 2010 at 09:21 AM. Reason: additional info
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Old August 31, 2010, 09:33 AM   #9
denster
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For what it is worth. There are only four questions on the insurance form. Is the item liquid, perishable, fragile or hazzerdous. There is no space to declare the identity of the item. The answer to the four questions if you didn't tell them before hand is a simple "no". If you don't volunteer what the item is you won't get anymore questions. If you do you may run into the clerk who, through ignorance, believes a gun is a gun is a gun. Then you will need the postal regs that Arcticap posted, but why start a controversy where none need exist.
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Old August 31, 2010, 10:07 AM   #10
ClemBert
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I see the above definition of an "antique firearm" but where do we find the regulation that specifies that the USPS must accept unloaded antique firearms for shipment? Link anyone....or cut-n-paste of the regulation?
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Old August 31, 2010, 10:50 AM   #11
Model-P
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Quote:
I will have to insure it so not sure what I have to tell them and not tell them.
Well, if the subject comes up, "sporting goods" would be more than sufficient.
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Old August 31, 2010, 10:54 AM   #12
mykeal
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The definition of an antique firearm is in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 601 Section 12 paragraph 12.1.1 g:
Quote:
Antique firearm means any firearm (including those with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898, or any replica thereof, if such replica:

1. Is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition.

2. Uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition that is no longer manufactured in the United States and that is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.
The mailability of antique firearms is proscribed in DMM 601 Section 12 paragraph 12.2:
Quote:
Antique Firearms

Antique firearms sent as curios or museum pieces may be accepted for mailing without regard to 12.1.3 through 12.1.6.
(The referenced paragraphs 12.1.3 through 12.1.6 describe conditions under which certain authorized persons may mail otherwise prohibited guns).

Postal Service employees may not ask a customer what is in the package. The only question they are allowed to ask is whether the package contains anything that is hazardous, perishable or restricted. An antique firearm is considered a restricted item, so if asked that question you must answer yes. However, that's all you need to do. They still cannot ask specifically what the restricted material is. Your answer to the question tells them how to route the item (air transportation, for instance, is not allowed for restricted items) but that's all they need to know.
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