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Many states allow face-to-face transfers if both parties are residences of that state. Some states allow transfers from adjoining states without FFL interference. Some like California require an FFL for any transfer.

It is against federal law to ship a firearm to anyone but an FFL, unless it is an FFL returning a rifle to the original shipper. The only exception that I know of is that the CMP will sell you a Garand and mail it to you via FedEx.

So the general way to handle interstate gun sales is that you conact a local FFL who will handle the transfer for you. He mails a signed copy of his FFL to the seller. The seller (after taking your money, I assume) will mail the gun to your FFL, where you pick it up.
 

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B. UNLICENSED PERSONS

(B1) To whom may an unlicensed person transfer firearms under the GCA? [Back]

A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his or her state, if the buyer is not prohibited by law from receiving or possessing a firearm, or to a licensee in any state. A firearm other than a curio or relic may not be transferred interstate to a licensed collector. [18 U. S. C 922( a)( 3) and (5), 922( B)( 3), 27 CFR 178.29]

(B8) May a nonlicensee ship a firearm through the U. S. Postal Service? [Back]

A nonlicensee may mail a shotgun or rifle to a resident of his or her own state or to a licensee in any state. Handguns are not mailable. A common or contract carrier must be used to ship a handgun. A nonlicensee may not transfer any firearm to a nonlicensed resident of another state. The Postal Service recommends that longguns be sent by registered mail and that no marking of any kind which would indicate the nature of the contents be placed on the outside of any parcel containing firearms.

D2) Is an ATF Form 4473 needed in the transfer of a firearm by a nonlicensee? [Back]

No. ATF Form 4473 is required only for transfers by a licensee. [27 CFR 178.124]

All of the above came from the ATF web page.

www.atf.treas.gov
 

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Actually, it is not specifically dealer to dealer.

Anyone can ship a rifle to an FFL. So the seller (in any state that otherwise doesn't prevent this) ships to his FFL, who handles the transfer on CA and Federal forms, and handles the waiting period.

I've shipped a few firearms, in all cases direct to an FFL to handle the transfer.
 
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