Based on what we see come in on a daily basis, we thought it would be a good idea to post a tutorial on how we package firearms for shipment. As a seller, we have a responsibility to ensure that the firearm is packed in a manner to protect it in transit and insure it for it's full purchase price to protect against the unlikely event of in-transit damage or loss. We also ship in accordance with the laws and require a physical signature upon delivery. This is especially important for C&R FFL holders so that the $1000 rifle that we ship to your C&R FFL address is not left propped against your front door while you are at work. We have shipped thousands of firearms all across the United States and have had no lost articles and have had only two damaged in transit which we recovered insurance payment on and fully reimbursed the buyer.
Outlined below are the steps we take on every firearm we ship. While it may appear to be overkill, we feel that we'd rather spend a little extra time and money in packaging to prevent a long and drawn out insurance claim.
STEP 1: Wrap the Rifle.
Use generous amounts of bubble wrap and completely wrap the rifle in multiple layers. Our rule of thumb is at least 1 inch of bubble wrap is a minimum amount. It is not possible to use too much. This helps protect the rifle from damage and also helps fill the void area in the shipping carton.
Notice the invoice ATTACHED to the bubble wrapped rifle. This contains the invoice, FFL Copy, and safety notice. It also ensures that if, for some reason, the shipping carton is destroyed, the carrier will still have the shipping address on the rifle. Also note that the accessories are wrapped as well in bubble wrap.
Important Note: It is NOT required to disassemble the rifle for shipping with any carrier. In fact, firearms are stronger when fully assembled. This also means that there are less small parts in the carton to get lost or get pushed into the rifle from in-transit bumps that could damage the rifle.
STEP 2: Select the Carton
The carton should be appropriate to the item shipped. A 10 pound rifle requires a strong 200 lb minimum crush weight carton and be of large enough size to allow the wrapped rifle to be further protected by the buffering material around the rifle and at the ends of the carton. We also take the additional step to use pallet edge protectors inside the shipping carton to add rigidity to the carton. These are relatively inexpensive and easy to trim to appropriate length.
STEP 3: Bottom Buffering
Install the pallet edge protectors as shown and push a wadded roll of bubble wrap or packaging paper at least 8 inches thick into the bottom of the box.
STEP 4: Place Rifle and any accessories into the box.
Use packing paper to fill the void created by the buttstock.
STEP 5: Void Fill
This is a critical step that is often overlooked. Use packaging paper or bubble wrap to fill the void in the carton. This locks the rifle in place inside the carton and will not allow it to shift inside the box. A shifting 9 lb rifle stands a good chance of puncturing the carton wall or even worse, punching the bottom out and becoming a lost article. The void fill needs to be compressed during packing so it cannot compress further in transit and lose it's protective qualities. This void fill also helps the carton retain it's shape as it's handled in transit.
STEP 6: Top Buffer
Install another buffer of bubble wrap or packing paper on top of the rifle and void fill that is at least 6-8 inches deep.
STEP 7: Inner Flap Tape
Tape the inner flap first. Again, overkill, but if the outer flap is torn off, this taped inner flap will keep the rifle in the box and on the way to the recipient.
STEP 8: Outer Flap
Tape the outer flap. Use tape in both directions and then around the circumference of the carton end.
STEP 9: UPS / USPS Shipping services
We use UPS, but the same holds true when using any shipping service.
ALWAYS ship with adult signature required and ALWAYS ship with full value insurance. If you ship UPS, use UPS.com to arrange for a UPS DRIVER to pick it up from you or bring it to the local hub personally. DO NOT USE The UPS Store. They cannot ship firearms and if you do declare it as a non-fiream and it's damaged, UPS will not pay the claim and neither will the UPS Store.
If you use USPS (long guns ony), ship PRIORITY MAIL and bring it to the post office yourself. Adult signature and insurance. Handguns may only be shipped USPS by Licensed Firearm Dealers.
STEP 10: Ready to ship
Tape around the circumference at least three times to reinforce the carton even further. Make sure the shipping label is securely attached to the carton and that there is no outside reference that would indicate that a firearm is inside the box.
FINAL NOTE: Remember, it is the SHIPPER'S responsibilty to package and ship the article in accordance with the laws as well as the standards and policies of the carrier. If you received payment from a buyer, your responsibility ends only when the article sold is safely delvered in AS-SOLD condition to the buyer or their agent (Receiving FFL). Some additional care in packaging and a few extra dollars in materials can save you a huge headache later.
We've always operated that we're not satisfied until our customer is satisfied. Taking the time to offer a first rate packaging job goes a long way towards this goal.