Flying with my guns and ammo on South West
Buddy tells me to have a Aircraft approved gun case. Plus law says I can fly with 100 rnds that is in its factory boxes. But my rnds are wild cat hand loads I don't have any factory packages. What am I to do?
Could you get.........
some factory boxes close(caliber) say, .257 Robts. VS. .257 Imp???? The best bet I think would be to call TSA or the airline & ask questions. As for the first suggestion, 99.9999% of those people wouldn't know the difference once they started looking at the rounds, as long as brass, cartridge, headstamp matched up. Why don't you just ship the ammo by UPS to yourself, C/O wherever you're going????
In addition to TSA, check the airline itself. I am assuming you mean 'rifle'. You must have a dedicated rifle case. It has to be made of a hard material, plastic, fiberglass, metal, can't be cloth, vinyl, leather. It has to be locked in such a manner that you can not get a finger in it. Means you can't just lock one corner and not the other. Use TSA approved locks, the kind that the TSA can open if they have to. You declare at the check in counter that you have a firearm. They ask you to open it. usually they don't want to touch the firearm. I have orange tie wraps that I use, I remove the bolt and put a tie wrap through the magazine well, then lace them together and put down the barrel in a big circle. One look and you can tell there is no round in the rifle. The bright orange wraps just look safe also. The airline limits how many rilfes in one case, usually two and up to five handguns. handguns can go in with the rifles if you want.
Ammo, usually its 5KG not the number of rounds. But follow airline rules. The rules say factory packaging, of some fiberous material that seperates each round. I never tried, but if you have a 50 or 100 round plastic shell holder box, as long as it seperates each round, and completely encapsulates the rounds, I would think this would be okay. They just don't want to see loose rounds. They won't check the actual caliber to that on the box, so if you reload say 6MM Rem AI, but have old 30-06 cardboard 20 round boxes, that would work fine. Ammo by TSA regs can be in the same case as the firearms, but some airlines won't permit this and want a seperate hard sided lockable case. That case can go in you other checked luggage or in with the rifle.
The big thing is to meet both the TSA and the airline rules.
Absolutely, do NOT give up possession of your firearm case until you see the orange safety card go inside. If a bag gets checked without being declared, you can be in big trouble. When you take the bag to TSA, do the same thing, don't just hand it to the guy a walk away. Tell him, there is a firearm inside along with the orange safety card.
Its not really hard, and TSA and the airlines all know how to handle this routinely. The better clerks will usually let you step to a vacant counter to open your case, just to not freak out the people behind you. IF not, position the case so that it opens to the clerk and not the public, they won't pick it up and flash it around. so people behind you won't know what you are doing.
From Southwest's web page.
I pulled this from the Southwest web page.
Guns and Ammunition
"Customers are responsible for knowing and following the firearms laws of the state(s) that they will be traveling to, from, and through."
"Our Customers must declare the gun to the Customer Service Agent at the ticket counter (no firearms will be accepted curbside) and prove that the firearm(s) chambers are free of ammunition and the magazine clip has been removed (when applicable). "
"Firearms must be encased in a hard-sided, LOCKED container that is of sufficient strength to withstand normal handling, as follows:
A firearm in a hard-sided, locked container may be placed inside a soft-sided, unlocked suitcase.
A firearm placed inside a hard-sided, locked suitcase does not have to be encased in a container manufactured for the transportation of firearms.
Only the Customer checking the luggage should retain the key or combination to the lock. No exceptions will be made.
Firearms may be checked and will count as one free piece of checked baggage for each fare-paying passenger. We allow multiple firearms to be transported inside one hard-sided case.
Southwest Airlines assumes no liability for the misalignment of sights on firearms, including those equipped with telescopic sights.
Firearms are never allowed in carryon luggage.
Small arms ammunition for personal use (provided it is properly packed) is permissible in checked baggage only.
The ammunition may be placed in the same container as the firearm and must be securely packed in cardboard (fiber), wood, or metal boxes, or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.
When checking ammunition, Customers are limited to 11 pounds gross weight (ammunition plus container) per person.
Magazines or clips containing ammunition must be securely packaged (placed in another small box or in a secure cutout in the carrying case, in order to protect the primer of the ammunition).
Make sure guns are unloaded and definitely never transport a gun in your carryon baggage!
Gunpowder (black powder) and primers or percussion caps are not allowed in checked or carryon baggage.
Loose ammunition or loose loaded magazines and/or clips are not allowed.
I'd add these few comments....
There are some differences between airlines, and rules can change at the last minute, so check before you leave. Just type "Delta Firearms" or "Southwest Firearms" depending on your carrier to get their particular rules.
A couple of things to look for, some airlines will allow you to transport ammunition in the SAME hardsided locked container as your rifle/shotgun/pistol...(Continental, Delta, US Air for example) (of couse it can't actually be in the "attached" magazine or chamber). I've flown another airline that didn't permit the ammo and firearm to be in the same container - so check to be sure.
About all airlines allow only 11 lbs of ammuntion. Packed in original container is one option. I've travelled a lot with wildcat cartridges to prairie dog shoots... I put the ammo in MTM cases, taped them shut and put them in my locked suitcase. The idea is to protect the primer. Check with your airline's webpage to be sure. I always inform the TSA agent that the checked baggage contains ammunition.
The locks on your gun case do not need to be "TSA" locks. When you hand your guncase to the TSA agent after check-in, he will need to open it to make sure it has the orange decalarations tag inside. If you hand him the locks "loose" when he takes your gun case, he will lock it for you after he inspects it. I travel with an Americase for my O/U shotgun - I have to give them my keys so they can lock the case after inspection - kind of a nuisance, so choose locks that can be locked without needing a key.
Also, on locks - I lost keys during my travel a couple years ago. The big "Gun Guard" case had 2 "Master" brand padlocks keyed alike. I had to find a hardware store on arrival and borrow their bolt cutters to get in - I bought new locks from them, Master brand combination padlocks. No keys to lose.
When you go to the web page to check on the airlines rules - PRINT THEM OUT and take them with you to check in. Often enough, the person behind the counter will have no idea what they're doing - they'll have to verify them, but at least you'll have something in your hand.
Of course, when and where you're travelling can make it a real breeze - If you're checking in to Denver after Elk season opens, or into Omaha, after the South Dakota pheasant season opens - they're used to seeing folks with guns - they know the rules and are accomodating.
Have fun on your trip.
My son flew from Ft.Lauderdale to Pittsburgh (USAir) last August. All previous info is correct. Must have a fully lockable hard case, w/ tags, ammo limited to 11 pounds, packed in the MTM type hard plastic boxes, everything declared, carry a copy of TSA regs. w/ you for the "person" who knows nothing about the law(s). Did have a "delicate" situation when a clerk insisted he open the case at the ticket counter: no provisions to shield contents from view of those close-by: 2 "black rifles", several gasps, snide remarks, typical reactions by those who know nothing about firearms, etc. Airline insurance was limited to around $1200, contents worth many more times than that, so may "pay" to inquire about extra cost for full coverage to cover loss(theft) and/or damage. Basically, he said, except for the "incident" everything was O.K. Not sure I'd have the guts to do it though.
Gold mine of wise information
A big "Thank You" to all have posted on my thread. Very helpful
I hate to put a damper on your trip...........BUT, the sad fact is it's pure luck when shipping your guns & ammo. The luck factor has to do with the agent your working with. Most have no clue to the fine print of their own company rules. Most assume your a terrorist as soon as you tell them your checking in a firearm.
Heres a few reasons that I ship my rifle & ammo to the outfitter I'm hunting with.
Gun cases abused on purpose, to the point of putting a 12" gash in the conveyor belt material covering my metal case. I TRIED to cut it with a quality knife, AUS 8 Japanese razor sharp edge and I could hardly scratch it.
Gun case pulled OFF a flight, even though I checked in 3 hours early, & told the rep my hunt would be ruined if the gun did not arrive with me. I waited at the ticket counter 45 minutes as the very helpful agent waited until the baggage manager called him back and assured him my gun case was the first piece on the plane, tightly secured. I damn near gut arrested when I arrived and the gun had been pulled.
Trying to explain to the idiot agent that it was not possible for the airline to deliver my gun the next day to me was priceless. The concept that I would be several hundred miles away from the airport the next day could not compute in his skull full of mush. It got even better when I told him the 50th time their WAS NO! &%$#@^ ADDRESS at my hunting camp! Telling him the only way he could find my destination would be with a GPS, ATV & a BOAT!
The only thing that saved me from the law was the Airline Manager that just came on duty remembered me well, from the many ACC basketball talks we had every time I flew in. He did fly me back and refunded my money. He had been told that any firearms related problems could not be comped!
As for storing your ammo, the general rules has pretty much been ammo stored in the original case, in a lockable container inside your luggage, NOT in your gun case. I hand load everything, and have always carried my ammo in MTM type ammo boxes, taped shut in a small metal box. I had one jerk with a huge attitude that surfaced as soon as I checked in the gun. He did not like me taking the time to duct tape my hinges, handles & locks, after he approved the gun as unloaded, ready to ship. I was the only one in line, so time was no problem. After I finished securing the case with tape, and explaining to him I was saving OTHER peoples luggage from possible damage, if one of my hinges was yanked loose. I think that made him angrier, so he wanted to see the ammo. He told me no way that was the original box. When I told him it WAS the original box, since the ammo was made by ME, he really got hot. Once again, the Police were called in. Luckily the cop was a gun person, and explained to the bozo that it was indeed an original case, and was MUCH more secure than ammo stored in the card board box supplied by ammo mfgs.
You might have no problems at all. I have taken trips and had clerks thank me for printing out the firearms regulations, because it saved them time, and a few even told me they had no clue what the regs were.
Checking into Canadian Customs stopped me from hunting Canada. Toronto customs were rude, even at 2am and not another person in Customs. They gave me 30 minutes of grief because I did not know the name of the "Town" I was hunting in. I was being picked up by a friend, and the only thing I had been told was we were driving 3 hours north of Toronto, and there were no pubic roads within 50 miles. After a 20 hour day of delayed & missed flights, I finally told them to please let me go or arrest me, you know everything I know. ( I know know I should have obtained the information on where we were hunting. That was my first trip and I had no clue how anti gun the French Canadians were ) The funny part of that trip was dreading the flight back out of Quebec. All I heard from my friends during the hunt was how the Quebec natives hated Americans, and were so bad that the rest of the Canadians hated them! I went right through customs, and the very nice lady in customs noticed I have trouble walking, and summoned a attendant that carried my luggage and gun case to US Customs. She didn't even look in my gun case, telling me that Americans were the best people in the world when it came to taking care of their firearms, and knowing the local laws!
What have I learned from all the above? Cover your butt. Print out ANYTHING that might apply to your gun plans. Be nice, if you can. It usually works. If it doesn't work, and you KNOW your in the right, and have proof in print, don't let them bully you. Demand to see a manager. Slowing down the check in process is the airlines worst nightmare.
But, to be honest, ship your firearms if possible. Let you guide fire your gun as soon as he can in case the scope got knocked out of place. Not having to lug around a heavy gun case makes your travel time so much easier & stress free that it's well worth the effort.
Tsa gun rules
Last year I flew on Northwest to South Dakota for a pheasant hunt. I had a hard (plastic) case with 2 of the 4 clasps that lock with a dinky little key. On the return flight I lost the keys. TSA sold me a lock that went through the case handles and everything was fine. This fall I went to the airport with the same case and lock and TSA wouldn't accept it. The TSA woman had an attitude and was inflexible. I asked for her supervisor. He claimed my lock would allow the gun to come out of the case--but it clearly would not. You can't argue with them. He said I could buy a case from one of the other airlines. I went there but they would not sell me a case unless I was flying with them. So here I am with my flight leaving in 40 minutes with a gun I can't take and can't leave. I went back to Northwest and got an agent to plead with the other airline to sell me a case and finally they did--for $90. Northwest took my old case to lost-and-found and I bailed it out when I got back.
The thing is that anyone with a screw driver could pry the dinky locking latches off the new case in about 10 seconds. My old case had a real lock through the handles that did the job. But TSA has inflexible rules and you have to follow them.
Flying with Guns
I've flown a lot with my rifles and shotguns since 9/11 and really never had problems. The Southwest folks seem pretty friendly about it. Follow the airline policy to a T. My advice is to print the airlines firearms policy and have it on you in case you get a very inexperienced agent. Yes your case will get beaten around. This is no place for a $19.95 case. I use SKB cases and have been pleased with them. Use a little extra foam padding on the muzzle and scope.