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How do ya ship a percussion firearm?

1781 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Iver
What's best? UPS? Fed-Ex? USPS? Isn't insurance exorbitant, at least with USPS? Do the tracking numbers and signature pads of UPS take the place of insurance? What y'all know?
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Is any service better than the other???????? I ship using USPS because their office is more convenient for me to get to than the other two services. I believe insurance cost is about the same no matter what service you use.

Using USPS to ship a standard 1860 Army in original box with an insured value of $800 cost me $26.50. That is $16.50 to use the Large Priority Mail flat pack and $10 for insurance (about $1.25 per $100). You'll see a lot of sellers on asking $35 for shipping - that is about right.

Now, Rock Island Auction is shipping me a package through FEDEX. I understand that the shipping is free, but they are charging me $260 - so it must be the insurance. Based on the purchase price, that comes out to approximately $1 per $100. So it seems that the cost of insurance between USPS and FEDEX is comparable.

There are others on this site who may have a better feel of the costs and 'best' service. I am just going with my experiences.

USPS flat rate priority boxes are a good deal IF the contents are heavy. In the case of a percussion revolver, the large flat rate priority box is a good price on shipping. Be sure to insure for the full value (or more) and require a signature on delivery. If it gets lost in transit and you file a claim for the insurance, you will need some proof of what was in the box. Photos of the gun and it's serial number will help.
In another thread, a member suggested using registered mail. Shipping is slower and the cost would be more, but it is much more secure.

- - - Buckspen
I have had the best results using UPS Ground. It is far more reliable than USPS, which, here in NYC is absolutely, lousey in terms of service.
When I order a percussion revolver on-line, I always ask the seller to ship UPS or FEDEX because if they ship by USPS, it means I have to spend at least $5.00 in bus fare to go to the Post Office and at least a 1 1/2 hour wait in line to get the package. The PO does not even try to deliver pkgs to apartment houses in Manhatten that do not have a door man.
good info everyone
Does UPS insure?
As for USPS: while I won't rule it out, I have all too often found other people's mail in my home mailbox, because the carrier forgot their ABC's. Kinda leary of USPS.
Don't know much about Fed Ex.

So, 2 questions:

does that USPS large flat rate priority box hold one of those black Colt Blackpowder boxes? Well enough to protect it? To stuff some bubble wrap in?

and, does UPS offer economical insurance?

Any info will be appreciated. Thanks.
I always stuff some of the smaller bubble wrap in those USPS boxes - around the Colt box and at each end. In some cases I have also cut some 1/8'" sheeting for the two large sides of the box for extra protection. It is tight, but seems about perfect for an 1860 Army box. I can't remember if the Walker or Dragoon boxes are larger. If so, may, or may not fit.

Go to the UPS website, or call them up concerning the insurance. I think all three services are fairly close on their rates.

Why don't you drop by the Post Office and pick up a stack of different sizes of the Priority Mail boxes and see if they fit your needs. If not, you'll have to find your own boxes. By the way, I am not endorsing USPS, but those boxes and standard rates are so convenient.
I ship a lot of small, valuable antiques, dozens a year, internationally. I only use USPS Priority, or if really valuable, Registered Mail, signed for, insured. UPS is a joke nowadays. Totally risky to use them.
I have a recent experience I can relate. About two weeks ago, I sold a box of Browning rifle parts to a person in Houston. I shipped the parts in a small USPS flat rate box. The priority flat rate box is supposed to be automatically insured for fifty bucks. A couple days ago, the purchaser contacted me by e-mail and said he had never received the parts. According to the USPS on-line tracking site, the package was delivered on December 2. I took my receipt for the mailing to the local post office and got absolutely no satisfaction from them. It was insured for $50 so I thought I could get that much back on the deal. Nope. USPS said the package had been delivered and that ended their responsibility. They said the buyer was a crook and was trying to get something for nothing. That may have been the case (I don't personally know the buyer), but it seems harsh to make that assumption without any investigation. This was an eBay deal and the buyer doesn't have a lot of feedback (only 16) but what he has is all positive. I guarantee everything I sell, no matter what, so I refunded the buyer's money.
To be fair, I have been buying and selling stuff through the mail for 30 years and have had very few problems. I guess if you do enough of this, sooner or later something is going to go wrong.

- - - - Buckspen
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It was insured for $50 so I thought I could get that much back on the deal. Nope. USPS said the package had been delivered and that ended their responsibility.

- - - - Buckspen
I believe if it's insured for at least $200 they must sign for it, small price to pay.
Well, the parts were only worth about $60, so I didn't bother to get additional insurance. I could have paid for the "signature required on delivery" service, but I've shipped a hundred or so packages in the last couple of months and this is the only one I have had a problem with. Just part of the cost of doing business.

- - - Buckspen
Good info again. If I ship USPS I will insure, just to have that required signature.

BTW, an antique dealer told me he once sold a lamp. For some reason, the buyer decided to exercise their right to return the lamp and get a refund. When the antique dealer opened the box holding the returned lamp, he found that the lamp had a new shade! What the buyer had done was to have purchased the lamp because he, or she, already had one just like it, but with a bum shade. The whole "buy" was a scam to get a better shade. The antique dealer told me he knew he'd never be able to prove it, so just lived with it.

Poor guy.
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