COMMODITY:  Small arms ammunition (shotshell, rimfire and centerfire)

SPECIAL: Limited Quantity of Division 1.4S – 50 caliber or less, inert bullets or tracer only

MODE OF TRANSPORTATION: Domestic Air. USA regulations may be used when shipping via UPS. FedEx only uses international air regulations. For other carriers, ask them if you can use 49 CFR, the USA Hazardous Materials Regulations of the DOT.


PROPER SHIPPING NAME:Cartridges, small armsLABEL:No


(1)Sym-bols(2)Hazardous materials descriptions and proper shipping names(3)Hazard class or Division(4)Identifi-cation Numbers(5)PG(6)Label Codes(7)Special provisions(§172.102)(8)Packaging (§173.***)(9)Quantity Limitations(see §§173.27 and 175.75)(10)Vesselstowage
BulkPassenger aircraft/ rail
Cargo aircraft onlyLoca-
   Cartridges, small arms 1.4S UN0012     none  63 62 None 25kg 100kg 01 25


The reasons behind the methods for marking and documenting LQ for domestic air are complex, but the solution is simple. The complex instructions are:

  1. Never use the LQ-Y (air) mark on ammo for any reason, always use the surface LQ mark, even for 1.4S air transport (to get out of 175.75 accessibility requirements).
  2. Prepare the physical packaging identically to domestic road & rail.
  3. Mark and label the package identically to international air, except the net weight marking is not required (this is an IATA requirement, not a regulation).
  4. Prepare the document identically to international vessel.

 XUN 0012, Cartridges, Small Arms, 1.4S, LTD QTY
(Insert net weight or net explosives weight)

A simple solution for marking and labeling the package is just to apply one sticker to a normal domestic LQ ground package.

LQ is of little value by international air, for reasons explained on the LQ-air sheet. However, LQ is of great value for domestic air because it eliminates the accessibility requirements of 175.75 which exist only in the USA.


Cartridges, small arms 50 cal or less with inert bullets (including tracers but no incendiary or exploding bullets) may be self-classified by the manufacturer as UN 0012, Cartridges, small arms, Division 1.4S explosive. No EX approval is required.

Citation: 49 CFR §173.56(h)


The USA (and no other country) has a special 25 kg net limitation on the amount of hazardous materials allowed on an aircraft. The requirement is applied into international air shipments by US Variation 13 for shipments to, from, or transiting the US.

The requirement is triggered when the hazmat is not accessible to the crew, e.g. the compartments in the belly of a passenger aircraft. Theoretically it is helpful if a crew member could access the freight during flight to mitigate a burning or leaking package, e.g. use a fire extinguisher.

While the accessibility requirement applies to all aircraft, the requirement is only difficult or impossible to meet for  passenger aircraft, while pallet shipments on cargo aircraft are not impeded. The USA has a strong cargo aircraft network, but this is not true of the world in general. Passenger aircraft is normally the only way to get to commercially remote destinations, via the national passenger airline, e.g. Malaysia Airlines to get to Malaysia, or Turkish Airlines to get to Turkey. It is often difficult to switch airlines once outside the USA due to chain-of-custody requirements of the USA export regulations. Therefore the accessibility requirement prohibits significant trade with remote locations.

Certain hazardous materials are excepted from this requirement, including LQ shipments of ammo (UN 0012), blank ammo (UN 0014) and empty primed cartridges (UN 0055). To qualify, the packages must have the LQ mark in accordance with 173.63(b)(1)(i), even if the shipment is being sent as 1.4S. Packages not meeting 173.63(b)(2) packaging requirements are not eligible and should not have the LQ mark.


The LQ-Y mark is prohibited for international air shipments of ammo, because ammo is not allowed as LQ by air outside the USA. The LQ surface mark is allowed for air transport in the USA, and is allowed and ignored for international air. Therefore, the surface LQ mark should always appear on LQ ammo, and the LQ-Y mark should never appear for any reason. This also allows the ammo to be shipped by ground as LQ before and after the air leg of multi-modal journeys. For these ground legs, enforcement in some jurisdictions may not allow voluntary application of the 1.4S label on LQ packages, so text was introduced into the UN and ADR specifically allowing LQ transport of packages marked with both the LQ mark and the 1.4S label (UN Model Regulations, ADR

Citations: 173.63(b)(1)(i)173.63(b)(2)49 CFR §175.75(c)49 CFR §175.75(d)(1)49 CFR §175.75(e)(1)49 CFR §175.75(f)(Note 1)(e)


As of this writing:

a) FedEx

  1. FedEx only uses the IATA/ICAO international air regulations, not the US regulations and exceptions in 49 CFR. Therefore, use the international air TDS for domestic shipments, and not this TDS.
  2. FedEx charges a hazmat fee. They don’t make allowances for US Variation 13, and charge twice as much as UPS.

b) UPS

  1. UPS allows the use of 49 CFR for domestic air shipments.
  2. UPS charges one lower fee regardless whether the ammunition is offered as LQ or not.


Cartridges, small arms that have been classed as Division 1.4S explosive may be transported as limited quantities when packaged as follows:

  • Ammunition must be packed in inside boxes, or in partitions that fit snugly in the    outside packaging, or in metal clips; no single packages allowed i.e. inner packages are required.
  • Except for 22 rimfire, primers must be protected against packaging or another cartridge base.
  • Inside boxes, partitions or metal clips must be packed in securely-closed strong outside packagings; no specification testing is required.
  • The maximum gross weight is limited to 30 kg (66 pounds) per package.

Citation: 49 CFR 173.63 (b)(2)


Like domestic vessel, domestic air shipments require documentation. The documentation is similar to 1.4S domestic ground, except that “LTD QTY” is added to the end of the shipping description. Domestic rules still apply so the net weight is an acceptable alternative for the net explosives weight.

 XUN 0012, Cartridges, Small Arms, 1.4S, LTD QTY
(Insert net weight or net explosives weight)

Citation: 49 CFR 173.63(b)(1)(i)


Carton marking requirements are the same as domestic ground, but with the proper shipping name added.

Limited quantity packages containing cartridges, small arms (ammunition) must display the  limited quantity marking on one side. Unlike for domestic road, the proper shipping name is required for LQ domestic air. The 1.4S hazard label is not required, but in this example we use a sticker that combines the 1.4S label, “Cartridges, small arms” and “UN 0012”.

In addition, per 49 CFR §172.301(d), each package must be marked with the consignor or consignee’s name and address unless the package is:

(1) Transported by highway only and will not be transferred from one carrier to the other;

(2) Part of a carload lot, truckload lot or freight container load, and the entire contents of the rail car, truck or freight container are shipped from one consignor to one consignee.

LQ Box

Citation: 49 CFR §173.63(b)(1)(i)49 CFR §172.301(d) & §172.315 (a)


The “OVERPACK” marking is only required if the limited quantity marking is not visible, in which case the “Limited Quantity” and “overpack” stickers are required on only one side of the pallet or overpack box.

Citation: 49 CFR §173.25(a)(6)