How to Pack Markers for Shipment.

Over the years, I have received and shipped a LOT of paintball guns.   In all of those years, I have never had a gun arrive to the customer damaged. 
Am I really that lucky?  Nope.
I pack every gun with the full expectation that it’s going to be thrown like a bowling ball, kicked like a soccer ball, and tossed like a Frisbee during the shipping process.
Expect it, plan for it, and pack accordingly.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are packing up a gun or other items for shipment:

Use a box.
Those cute little padded envelopes are great for pictures, and soft goods, but that’s all they are good for.  If you ship something hard in a flexible package, the item inside is going to rip your package when they pile a truck load of stuff on top of it.  If you want them to receive the item, and no an envelope with a hole in it, use a damn box.

Use a big enough box.  You want at least 2 inches of packing material between the box and anything in side of it.
 Yup, sad to say, that eliminated the Flat Rate boxes from USPS for shipping guns in.  Yes, they are easy to use, and free, but there just isn’t enough room in them for adequate packing material. 
For a full bodied cocker, that means AT LEAST 16”x12”x5”.  If you want to keep the beaver tail and bottom line on, get a bigger box.  I use 20”x14”x6” most of the time.  A little extra room for padding is a good thing.  The 2” space on a side is the least you should use.  2.5” is just that much better.

Pack the box correctly.
If you are shipping something with any kind of thin parts on it, pack them separately, in the same box.  Remove the beaver tail from the gun.  If you’re shipping a pump kit, remove the pump arm from the pump handle.  The more careful you are at packing the small items, the less likely they are to be damaged.

Pack the parts correctly.
When shipping a complete gun, take the time to wrap a layer of bubble wrap, or something to help protect the finish just in case.  If some small parts come loose, that bubble wrap is the only thing that’s going to protect the guns finish during the long haul to its destination.  With small parts, wrap each one in something to protect them from the other small parts.  At the very least, put each small part into its own zip lock bag.  That will prevent damage to the small parts, and prevent a headache later when dealing with someone who is pissed off because you trashed the parts they bought because you were being lazy in packaging them.

Use plenty of filler packing.
If you can shake the box, and feel the contents shift around at all, you did it wrong.  This is very important.  If the items you are shipping can shift inside the box, then they will end up blowing through the side of the box during handling.  You can use foam peanuts, newspaper, corrugated paper, whatever, but use enough of it, and pack it carefully around the items.  You want to put down a 2” thick layer of packing, and then put your items in, and then fill in around them.  Don’t just half-heartedly tuck it in; fill all the voids around the items with packing material.  Then put more than 2-3” of packing on top of the items, and stuff that into all the crevices.  Now, when you try to close the box, it should require a good push to get the box sides to touch over the top.  If you can just fold the flaps down, and it doesn’t fight you, then you need more packing.  That extra little bit of padding is what is going to keep the contents under gentle pressure, and keep it in place inside the box.

Use enough tape.
And use it correctly.  Slapping a layer of tape over the seam on a box isn’t going to cut it.  You want at least one stipe of tape on each, and every exposed edge of the box, plus extra to hold it in place.
Start by running a strip of tape perpendicular to the flaps while holding them so the edges are flush together.  Having the edges of the flaps flush will prevent the box from twisting when it’s getting kicked around, and gives a better surface for the rest of the tape to seal against.
Now run a strip of tape parallel to the flaps, covering the entire joint.  You want it to overlap onto the sides of the box by at least 3”.  Now do it twice more, one half a tape width to the right, and one half a tape thickness to the left, again, overlapping the sides by at least 3”
Now run a strip of tape along each end of the flap, sealing the sides of the flaps to the sides of the box.  If there’s a gap there at all, it will be used as a hand hold, and you’re box will rip open.
Now take a close look at the ends of the tape strips.  If any of them are loose, or split, slap another layer of tape over the end to prevent it from coming undone in shipping.

In the near future, I’ll get pictures of all of this, but until then, just think about the fact that you are handing your package to gorillas in brown or blue uniforms, and pack them to survive the trip.

 

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