According to the TSA, you are allowed to bring shell casings on a plane in both your carry-on and checked bags, though if packed in your carry-on, the projectile should no longer be intact.

Shell Casings in Your Carry-On vs. Checked Bags

To go into more detail, shell casings are only allowed in your carry-on if the projectile is no longer intact, and if the primer has been removed or has been discharged.

As the TSA see it, if the bullet still has the projectile attached yet has no gunpowder, then it is considered a replica and therefore not allowed in your carry-on.

If the bullets have been disabled, they can’t be fired, so they are fine to pack in your carry-on.

When it comes to packing shell casings in your checked bags, no such restrictions apply. None of the above make any difference to whether shell casings will be allowed in your checked bags or not.

Airline Regulations

The TSA and airlines generally see eye to eye on what items passengers can bring onboard, though shell casings can be an exception.

A woman wanted to bring three spent shells on an Americans Airlines flight to honor her father after his funeral, but she was forced to throw them away otherwise she would have missed her flight.

So, if you want to bring shell casings on a plane, it would be best to contact the airline you’re flying with to get a definitive answer.

Shell Casings on International Flights

There doesn’t seem to be a universal guideline for whether you can bring shell casings on international flights or not.

The IATA (International Air Transport Association (IATA) that consists of over 300 airlines in over 100 countries simply state that restrictions apply to “items [that] may endanger the safety of an aircraft or persons on board”.

While spent casings don’t sound like they meet this criteria, it would be best to contact your airline in advance to confirm.

In Canada, for example, the CATSA state that bullet casings aren’t allowed in your carry-on bags under any circumstances, and you should check with your airline if you want to pack them in your checked bag.

Considering that firearms are illegal in most countries around the world, it’s likely that you won’t be able to bring shell casings, even if they pose no danger.

Most airport security staff around the world won’t be too familiar with guns, so will see a bullet and immediately assume the worst.

What About Bullet Keychains and Necklaces?

When it comes to bullet keychains and necklaces, generally the bullet has no gunpowder, yet the projectile is still attached.

This means that you will have to pack your bullet keychain or necklace in your checked bag if you don’t want it confiscated.

How to Pack Shell Casings for Flying

If you have an upcoming flight, and you want to bring your shell casings with you, we recommend that you pack them in your checked bag to eliminate the risk of them being confiscated.

We would then recommend that you roll up your casings in an item of clothing or towel to prevent damage.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).