How To Ship A Rifle
17 July, 2015 by
How To Ship A Rifle
Gunwerks LLC

Everyday our warehouse is filled with rifle cases. Some small, some large, and some make you wonder what you will find inside. They arrive in wood, plastic, and metal boxes. Nothing is a surprise anymore. On one particular day, I was preparing to open a metal rifle case that was sent to us from a customer. The packaging was intact and latches, secure. As the lid came open, I was horrified at the sight inside. There, lying on the foam interior was a beautiful wood stocked rifle, broken into two pieces. What a shame. This treasured firearm was destroyed.

On another occasion, I received a very heavy and very sturdy, well-built wooden box. Screws holding the lid in place, handles on either end. I could tell that this case had been meticulously planned out. As I removed the lid, the construction of the interior made me smile. Brilliant!! This customer hand-made his case to hold his rifle in a cradle. Elastic straps pulled tight across the top of the firearm, ensuring that it wouldn’t move or be damaged. Foam inserts padded the stock and scope and filled any voids that may cause a shift in position. This guy had done this a time or two before.    

So, why would a person want or need to ship a rifle? Why would you want to send one of your weapons into the great unknown? Perhaps you purchase a new gun, need something repaired or upgraded, or maybe you are travelling and want your firearm to meet you at your destination. Shipping a rifle is not a hard task, but if done improperly, can have costly consequences. The following suggestions will ensure that your property stays safe and you have a pleasant shipping experience.

A question that Gunwerks is asked quite often is, “what do I need to do to ship a rifle?” There are several ways to achieve success, but we have learned by trial and error and have established the following for our customers.

Rifle Preparation

Before you start to pack your equipment, get in touch with the company you will be doing business with. By visiting with their customer service or sales team, they can determine what work needs to be done to your rifle and what accessories you will need to send. Being prepared and taking the initial steps to do things correctly will help ensure you get exactly what you are looking for. Paperwork may need to be generated, RMAs requested or special instructions created depending on your requested work. Here at Gunwerks, a Scope Mount Agreement or sales order will then be emailed to you. Here, you can provide us with the information we require about your firearm. We require that this is printed out, completed and included in the rifle case with the rifle. We also ask that you strip down your firearm, removing any accessories that are not needed for the work we are going to do. This could include an old scope, rings and bases, ammunition sleeve, sling or bipod. By removing these items, we won’t have anything restricting the movement of the rifle while it is being shot. It will also ensure that nothing is lost in the transition of your weapon. Lastly, make sure your firearm is clean. Take the time to give it a good once-over. The people handling your rifle will appreciate the fact that you took the time to prepare for the work that is going to be done.

Packing your Rifle

Make sure you always ship your rifle in a good rifle case. Keep in mind that this package will be tossed around while in transit. Filling any voids with packing material will decrease any shifting. Also, consider what your rifle is going to look like when it is sent back to you. At Gunwerks, we have a scope mounting service where we set your rifle up with one of our Nightforce G7 scopes. When choosing this service, make sure your case is big enough to accommodate the new scope on the way back. Take a minute to wrap your bolt in something soft. An old sock, rag or bubble wrap is a few good option for this. If you throw your bolt in the case haphazardly, I can guarantee that damage will occur to your rifle. I see this all the time. Finish rubbed off your barrel or big scratches to your stock because the bolt floats around in the case. You can also place it under the foam to eliminate unwanted contact.

Another good question is whether you should put a gun case into a box or not. The simple answer is if you have a box that fits your case then use it. This will eliminate wear and tear on your case as well as add an extra measure of security, deterring people from recognizing a rifle case.

If you do not have a box, you will need to secure your latches. There are three ways you can do this.

1. Run a few zip-ties through your lock holes.

2. Run tape over your latches and go all the way around the case a couple of times.

3. Use combination or keyed locks. If you choose this option, make sure you send the keys in a separate package and/or provide your receiver with the lock number.

Run some tape over the handles as well. It will keep them from getting caught or hung up along the way. Without a box, the exterior of your case will get nicked and dinged, so package accordingly.

The ATF regulates interstate shipments of ammunition and it is PROHIBITED to ship in the same container as a firearm. If you are going to provide the ammunition for your rifle, send it in a separate package. The postal service does not knowingly ship ammunition so you will need to ship with UPS or FedEx. Lastly, make sure you include all of your contact information with any package you send. At Gunwerks we are constantly receiving rifles that have incomplete information or no customer information at all! Jot down your name, address, phone number and email and put it in the case with the rifle. This will ensure prompt service and care.

Shipping your Rifle

When shipping a rifle, you do not always have to ship through an FFL. FFL stands for Federal Firearms License. This license is used when a company transfers, manufactures or sells firearms or actions. If you already own your rifle or action (you have done the 4473 background check to own the rifle or it is your possession) you do not need to worry about shipping with an FFL. You can send your package directly to the address of your choice using the carrier you prefer.

Let me give you a couple of examples. If you purchase a rifle from your friend, you would not have done a background check. You took possession of the firearm and it is not registered to you anywhere. However, it is yours. Or, you purchase a firearm from your local sports store. You completed and passed your 4473 background check and now the firearm is in your possession. You could ship your rifle for any reason, and not need to ship through an FFL.

Above all else, if you have any questions about how you need to ship your rifle, ask your receiver to help you choose the best method. The staff at Gunwerks is always available to guide you in the right direction. Now, rifles can be shipped with many different carriers. UPS, FedEx and USPS are the main businesses. Gunwerks likes to use UPS in our transactions. Every package that leaves our facility is insured to its full value. You have the ability to choose your insured amount when you ship your packages as well. Check with the company you are doing business with to see if they insure your packages before they ship. Usually, this can be added for an additional cost if it is not a part of their policy. This is not mandatory, but can give you a peace of mind knowing that everything is covered should something happen. Some of these carriers will insist that they need an FFL to ship your rifle. By law, they do not need it, but if that is their store policy, it very easy to obtain and give to them. Once you have your rifle packaged and ready to ship, take it, along with any other packages to your carrier. Provide them with your ship-to address and they will generate the shipping label. That’s it!

Shipping a rifle is not a difficult task, but being mindful of the steps will ensure that your package arrives safe and sound. As always, the Gunwerks staff is happy and available to help you with any questions. We are thrilled that you are choosing us and look forward to seeing your rifle soon. Happy shipping!


  • Did I talk to a Gunwerks Sales Associate?
  • Did I obtain and fill out the Scope Mount Agreement, Sales Order or RMA Document?
  • Did I take all accessories off of my firearm?
  • Is my rifle clean?
  • Do I have an appropriate case? Is it big enough and safe enough?
  • Is my bolt wrapped or separated from my rifle?
  • Do I have a box? Is my case closed securely?
  • If I have ammunition, is it packaged separately from my rifle?
  • Is my contact information accompanying my rifle, accessories and ammunition?
  • Do I need to ship with an FFL?
  • Which carrier do I want to use and am I following their guidelines?
  • Is my label made out to the Gunwerks address below?
  • Do I have any other questions? Do I need to call Gunwerks for clarification?