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Thread: guns and airlines

  1. #1
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    Default guns and airlines

    I'll be traveling to the lower 48 in a couple of weeks and want to bring back a couple of rifles with me and was wondering if anyone has ever had a probolem with their guns come up "missing" while they are flying.Also if anyone has any pointers on traveling with guns,like what type of hard case or things I should check into first etc.,would be much appriciated.Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default guns and flying

    I teach log building courses Outside and overseas every winter and put on alot of air miles and have had real headaches hauling tools and guns . Remove your bolt and disassemble your lever before you hit check in . Don't carry ammo unless you have to but no matter what keep in seperate luggage if you do . Make sure of all regs with different airlines if you're flying with more than one to get where your going . Nothing can be locked so be sure you have foolproof latches on your gun cases , there are some real idiots these days inspecting luggage , I've had tool boxes and gun cases show up unlatched hanging open and have had tools disappear . I don't use gun cases because they're a tip off . Good luck

  3. #3
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Actually when I fly with rifles (several times a year), my rifle case is locked. TSA has to ask me for the key and I watch while they inspect
    (which they don't always do). When finished I watch them relock the case before they return the key to me. I don't think you can check a rifle case unless it is locked - not just lockable, but actually locked.

  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Traveling with Guns

    Firearms theft within the airlines is rare. Airline employees don't take rifle cases to work; imagine how it would look to co-workers if they left work with one! I believe the problem is way overstated.

    As to cases arriving unlatched, with tools missing and such, it has been my experience that most of the time this happens it is because of faulty designs, improper latch mechanisms, or latches that are not secured (nothing through the lock holes). If it's a tool box, put a carabiner or something through the lock holes. You have to understand that most larger airports automate much of their baggage handling process. This means your bag goes up and down through various conveyor systems before it is sorted and loaded. In the process sometimes latches come undone.

    The best case I know of for traveling with long guns is the TuffPak. It holds multiple firearms and does not look like a gun case. Most airline workers think it's a display case or golf clubs. Check it out.

    All gun cases must be locked.

    -Mike
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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    I've been sliding my gun case inside of a snowboard bag, I go through the same TSA search but in case the gun case does not hold up the snowboard bag is very tough. Bought it off Craigs List for $20 but you can find decent prices on sales in a few months.

    This bag case set up gives me a large strap to carry the bag over my shoulder too.

  6. #6
    Member ripnlip's Avatar
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    Default locking and ammo

    Quote Originally Posted by logman View Post
    I teach log building courses Outside and overseas every winter and put on alot of air miles and have had real headaches hauling tools and guns . Remove your bolt and disassemble your lever before you hit check in . Don't carry ammo unless you have to but no matter what keep in seperate luggage if you do . Make sure of all regs with different airlines if you're flying with more than one to get where your going . Nothing can be locked so be sure you have foolproof latches on your gun cases , there are some real idiots these days inspecting luggage , I've had tool boxes and gun cases show up unlatched hanging open and have had tools disappear . I don't use gun cases because they're a tip off . Good luck

    Be sure your case IS locked and the rifle bolt is out or open. They will call you or let you know if they want in the case.

    I always fly with ammo in my checked bags..just keep it under their specified amount (11lbs a month ago)

  7. #7

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    I haven't traveled with a firearm yet, but did recently fly with a bow case. When I arrived back in Anchorage, my bow case didn't show up on the luggage conveyor belt. I was pretty nervous. I went to the baggage claim counter and they had my case sitting behind the counter. I don't know if they do that for all gun cases, but in hindsight I'm glad they did that instead of putting in on the conveyor belt for everyone to see.

    Here's some info I copied from Alaska Airlines' website (interesting they allow you to place ammo in the same case as the firearm):

    Transporting Firearms

    Firearms Definition

    The term "firearm" describes any weapon that will or is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, or the frame or receiver of any such weapon. This includes:
    • Sporting rifles, shotguns, and handguns
    • Handguns of authorized law enforcement officers while traveling on official duty
    • Starter pistols, compressed air or BB guns, and flare pistols
    • Antique firearms
    Handguns must be unloaded and packed in a hard-sided container locked with a key or lock combination only in the traveler's possession. The locked hard-sided case can be placed in a soft-sided case.
    Rifles, shotguns, and other firearms must be unloaded and carried in a locked hard-sided container where only the customer retains the key. We also recommend that the bolt be removed and the slide locked open. All parts of the firearm must be packed in the same container as the firearm itself.
    Alaska Airlines does not allow customers under age 18 to carry on or check a firearm.
    Firearms / Shooting Equipment

    The following items may be included in your normal baggage allowance. Excess charges will apply for additional pieces of baggage. All items must be suitably packaged for transport.
    • Shooting Equipment
      1. One rifle case with rifles, scopes, one shooting mat, noise suppressors and small tools, or
      2. One shotgun case with shotguns, or
      3. One pistol case with pistols, noise suppressors, one pistol telescope and small pistol tools
    • Ammunition—up to 50 lbs.(domestic) and 11 lbs. (international - where permitted) may be checked, if securely packed in the original manufacturer's package or in a container designed for ammunition and of sufficient strength to protect it from accidental crushing or discharge (i.e. wood, fiber, plastic, or metal). The projectile must be no larger than 11/16" in diameter, the size of a dime. Ammunition may be checked with or separately from the firearm. Spent ammunition shells will be accepted in checked baggage provided they meet the same acceptance procedures as live ammunition (e.g. packed in a crush-proof case).
    Firearm Declaration

    Identify all bags containing firearms when you check in. Firearms must be unloaded. You will be asked to read and sign a special tag for each bag/container holding a firearm(s). This serves as your declaration that each weapon is unloaded and both weapons and ammunition are properly packaged. It is your responsibility to obtain all the necessary permits for any firearm checked between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
    International Transport

    Canada - Handguns cannot be transported to or through Canada. Non-restricted hunting rifles or competition firearms do not require specialized documentation. Please call 800-731-4000 for additional information on firearms to or from Canada. A U.S. Customs declaration issued before departing the U.S. is required before bringing your firearms back to the United States. We cannot accept rifles, shotguns and other firearms between the United States and Canada without the required documentation.
    Mexico - Handguns cannot be transported to or through Mexico. Before any firearm can be accepted for travel to Mexico, a consulate issued permit is required. Contact the Mexican consulate nearest you for additional information on firearms to or from Mexico. A U.S. Customs declaration issued before departing the U.S. is required before bringing your firearms back to the United States. We cannot accept rifles or shotguns and other firearms between the United States and Mexico without the required documentation.

  8. #8
    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    Default Traveling with Guns

    There is NO rule now that states you have to have your bolt out of the rifle or have it open!! When you sign you decleration at the ticket counter, if you have ever read it states, it is UNLOADED and I am the only one in POSSESION of the key to unlock it. You can still have ammo in with the gun as long as it is properly packaged, ie factory boxes or plastic MTM style hard cases. The primers have to be covered. If you have rounds in a clip the clip has to be taped so if it is bumped ammo cannot come out.

    Plastic gun cases from Walmart are unacceptabe if you want you firearm to be in good shape on the other end. The only plastic cases i have seen be ok are SKB, the TuffPAk, Pellican like the type the military use and 4 wheelers boots. All others are useless. The alluminum ones with 4 latches and the rod through them are also very good.

    Michael Strahan had it right about the theft from airline employees and others it is grosely overstated!! There are always rotten apples any where you work in any capacity that pull @#$% and get away with it. He also is correct about latches and inferior cases. In some airports in Alaska you have to present you bag tag or ID to the airline to get you gun back to prevent theft from passengers, which I'm sure happens at bigger airports!

    You can use ANY type of lock you want, it does not necessarily need to be a TSA lock! The case DOES have to be secured though. It cannot be able to be opened by opening a latch and easily prying the case open and pulling out the gun. This is not secure. If it takes 2 or 3 locks to secure it then that is what is necessary.

    I know in ANC you have to present you gun case to the TSA in the oversize department to the left of the Alaska airline ticket counter. Watch them and make sure they secured it the way you want it. Ask them to put tape aroun the latches if you want as well.

    Bottom line use a quality case, quality locks to SECURE you case, properly pack you gun and ammunition in you case, sign you decleration and put bottom copy in case, and secure case and give to TSA. They do not need to get in side every case, the machine tells them if they do or not. If they do have time to watch and make sure they secure it back the way you had/want it. EASY!!

  9. #9
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Here is the deal with Alaska Airlines:
    Ref: http://www.alaskaair.com/as/www2/hel...latedItems.asp
    Firearms: "Rifles, shotguns, and other firearms must be unloaded and carried in a locked hard-sided container where only the customer retains the key. We also recommend that the bolt be removed and the slide locked open. All parts of the firearm must be packed in the same container as the firearm itself."

    Ammo: "Ammunition—up to 50 lbs.(domestic) and 11 lbs. (international - where permitted) may be checked, if securely packed in the original manufacturer's package or in a container designed for ammunition and of sufficient strength to protect it from accidental crushing or discharge (i.e. wood, fiber, plastic, or metal). The projectile must be no larger than 11/16" in diameter, the size of a dime. Ammunition may be checked with or separately from the firearm. Spent ammunition shells will be accepted in checked baggage provided they meet the same acceptance procedures as live ammunition (e.g. packed in a crush-proof case)."

    For Delta:
    Firearms: "When checking a firearm, you must:
    Declare to the Delta representative that you are checking a firearm (If a Security Checkpoint is prior to the Delta ticket counter, you must declare the existence of a firearm to security personnel.).
    Present firearm(s) unloaded and sign a "Firearms Unloaded" declaration.
    Lock the firearm(s) in a hard-sided, crush-proof container and retain the key or combination.
    Maintain entry permits in your possession for the country or countries of destination or transit.
    Ensure small arms ammunition is packed in the manufacturer's original package or securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes.
    Firearms transported to the United Kingdom as checked baggage require a permit from the United Kingdom. The passenger must contact the United Kingdom for more information regarding this permit.

    Ammunition in excess of 11 pounds per passenger or that contains incendiary projectiles is prohibited.

    Rifles
    Delta will accept firearms and shooting equipment packaged as follows:

    One gun case containing up to a total of four rifles or shotguns, plus shooting materials, and tools.
    One gun case containing up to five handguns, one scope, and tools.
    One bow and quiver of arrows and maintenance kit enclosed in a case or container of sufficient strength to protect the bow and quiver from accidental damage.
    An excess baggage fee will apply to cases containing more than two rifles.

    Shotguns
    two shotguns
    two shotgun cases
    11 pounds (approximately 5 kg) of ammunition
    An excess baggage fee will apply to cases containing more than two shotguns.

    Pistols
    One pistol case containing:

    five pistols
    pistol telescopes
    noise suppressers
    a small pistol tool case
    11 pounds (approximately 5 kg) of ammunition"
    An excess baggage fee will apply to cases containing more than five pistols.
    Ref: http://www.delta.com/traveling_check...x.jsp#shooting

    Ammo: "Small arms ammunition, in quantities not exceeding 5 kg (11 lbs.) per person, are allowed as checked-baggage only when securely boxed and intended for that person's own use. More than one passenger may not combine quantities into one package." Ref: http://www.delta.com/traveling_check...oods/index.jsp

    Guess the take away is check all airlines you are going to travel, I've had airlines recommend that the bolt be removed which I do when they ask, but my experiences have all been pleasant with the Air lines.

  10. #10
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    Fly Alaska Airline and you won't have a problem if you follow their rules. I have flown all over with them and think they are the best. J.

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone,all your info. definetly helps.I purchased my tickets a couple months ago through Northwest Airlines so hopefully eveything goes well.The guns i'm bringing back with me were passed down to me from my dad and my grandpa years ago and i'm going to pass them down to my daughter when she's the right age so i'm just trying to be prepared as possible in hopes they make it back with me alright.Thanks again,happy new year.

  12. #12

    Default

    I've used the rifle case in a snowboard bag as mentioned above and love it. Not necessarily to disguise the rifle case, but so that I can fill the rest of the bag with other stuff. As long as the airlines are getting so stingy with baggage allowance I'm always trying to find more ways to get as much gear as I can in each bag.
    Also, check with each airline as to their requirements. Alaska Air allows ammo in the same case as the rifle, other airlines don't, and some make up the rules as they go, one day or airport it's one thing and another day it's another.
    Mark

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    Default checking ahead

    Again , rules and regulations of foreign countries can cause big problems . Don't assume U.S. travel regs are the same as they are in east Euro countries and places like Siberia . Check ahead and write down names and numbers of people that you talk to .

  14. #14

    Exclamation Airline Tards

    They usually have me take the gun out at the checking counter and show them that it is unloaded. They then make sure the case is locked. If it is made of pliable plastic they make you lock all sides or else they will not accept the arm. This is so mr. or mrs. stickyfingers won't pry open the case and do some five fingered discounting. It is always exciting to be able to show off whatever prized arm to the baggage agent & everyone else in the immediate vicinity (however many hundreds of people). Always gives me that sense of pride, particularly when in the company of nervous foreigners who've never seen a gun in person!

    I've shipped guns for competitions in dockosil type gun cases and have had locks, case and all broken on the other end. Not to mention the damage done to the firearms. Lesson: only travel with a metal gun case that the asso wipos cannot easily destroy through their negligent baggage handling habits.

    Don't bring your most prized of possessions...if you're that worried buy a $299 dollar Stevens rifle to bang around for the time you're doing your thing....either in Alaska or down in the lower 48 when you get there. This will ensure you will have the gun for hunting at least while you're there and only risk the return flight.

  15. #15
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I must just have good luck. I've flown all over the country with guns and bows in cases and have never had so much as a hiccup along the way. Maybe it's because I fly 90% of the time on Alaska Airlines.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  16. #16
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    This is a simple thing to do, fly with guns. Most the trouble I have heard of is from people cheaping out on gun cases. Buy this right case for the task you are asking of it. Leave the Walmart crap for carrying close to home. If you are flying with a firearm, get a suiting case. I have flown from NC to Alaska 9 times and never had any issue at all. I got one of Cabelas "bullet proof" cases that fits in the bottom of one of their duffle bags. Perfect for my intended usage. A guide gun with stock removed and my S&W 500. Slick set up. Very nice cases.

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...772&id=0026824
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  17. #17

    Default what he said +

    Quote Originally Posted by shphtr View Post
    Actually when I fly with rifles (several times a year), my rifle case is locked. TSA has to ask me for the key and I watch while they inspect
    (which they don't always do). When finished I watch them relock the case before they return the key to me. I don't think you can check a rifle case unless it is locked - not just lockable, but actually locked.
    I also ask he TSA agent to wrap the latches on the ends with tape. That does two things. 1. Help keep the latches shut. 2. There tape says"TSA" on it. I think that will help keep more people from screwing wih it.

  18. #18
    Member caribouman's Avatar
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    Default Guns sometimes are handled separately

    Usually Alaska Airlines doesn't send my gun/bow case out on the conveyor with all the other baggage. don't freak out when you don't see your guns at first! They bring them off the plane last and I usually have to present my ID and claim check to an agent behind the counter. It's a bit of a hastle but at least they treat them with more concern than other luggage. Typically if they can't fit everything on the plane, in my experience, they will get the guns on but not your duffle. I've only flown Alaska Air with guns though.

    Brian

  19. #19
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Suggestions

    I have never had any problems flying with rifles. However, there is a way around any potential problem - mail the rifle in it's case by USPS. A rifle can be mailed by me to me - anyplace in the US (except PO Boxes). It will sidestep any potential problems.

    I have had really bad luck with "approved" locks. I use a "real" padlock - but that's just a personal opinion.

    Also, if you decide to fly with a rifle, check with the airline because they may have special regulations that go beyond the federal requirements. Different airlines have different requirements.

  20. #20
    Member KRS's Avatar
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    I used a new Pelican double rifle case for my multi-leg trip to AK and back last fall.

    No damage, no problems. TSA will open and inspect.

    As for ammo; I disagree with an earlier poster. All ammo must be in the gun case and the ammo must be in factory boxes (that's what they told me).

    KRS

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