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Travel Tips

jwh525

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I've not seen an entire thread dedicated for travel tips. I know most threads have tips here and there. I thought it would be easier to create a thread to help others out with tips and tricks.
I'll be flying with a firearm for the first time this Oct for an elk hunt in Idaho. Hopefully my return flight will be a shell or two lighter. Are there any restrictions on the amount of ammo that you bring back? I know that it needs to be in the original box, but has anyone ever been questioned by customs why the box of ammo isn't full?
I plan on shipping the majority of my gear to my buddies house prior to the hunt. Many guys have written where they've done this. What type of container would you recommend for shipping? I'll use either FedEx or UPS.
Thanks for the input!

John
 

deer_shooter

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Good idea for a thread. I've not flown with a rifle yet but will be next year so I'll be watching this one for sure.
 

Revharvey9576

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Aug 7, 2011
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Definitely make sure you account for all ammo. Some TSA workers are anti's....FOR EXAMPLE, my buddy and I were on line in Denver International Airport with our carryon bags (hunting packs) as we returned from our WY antelope hunt. A particular TSA person kept saying I sure hope you didn't drop a bullet in those packs accidently...we just had someone arrested for that the other day.

What a prick!! It did keep me on edge as I questioned whether I had truly cleaned out my pack ...I was relieved once it cleared the x ray machine
 

glass eye

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Definitely a prick to have someone arrested for that. A friend was delayed when they discovered a single rifle cartridge in his hunting coat pocket while we were going through screening. They went through all their formalities and police were called in but no arrest, just a report. That happened in Phoenix.
This last May I discovered a single 12 ga. shell in my carry-on camera bag. I was coming from NZ and already landed in LAX when I realized it was in there. Made me real nervous as I still had to go through customs and no garbage can in line to toss it.
 
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North Dakota
I use a Pelican Storem 3x00 series “dual" rifle case (with regular foam, no cut outs) and have had no issues with TSA. Here are a few things that I do when taking two rifles in one Pelican case because an empty Pelican weighs more than 20 pounds:

1. Remove one thick layer or two thin layers of foam from the Pelican and separate the rifles using your ammo boxes.

2. Remove rifle slings, bipods, scope covers, etc from your guns, then put those accessories in your checked bag (instead of adding weight to your gun case).

3. All padlockable hasps on the gun case are "suppose to" have some type of lock in them. I use small paddlelocks because the pelican takes four of them and the locks are counted as part of your 50 pounds.

4. Don't have any empty brass in your carry-on bag, the TSA folks don't like this and you'll be the last guy on the plane (although I've always made it on the plane...I don't think they want to pull my checked luggage off the plane due to the additional paperwork or time it takes).

5. I've put partial boxes of ammo in the rifle case several times and they've never once check this or opened the case (let along look in the ammo boxes). I might remove 4-5 bullets to get under 50 pounds if I'm on the ragged edge. I've also put empty brass back in the boxes and it's never been an issue.

6. Don't fully open your rifle case to insert the "my gun doesn't have any bullets in it" signature card. I put two paddlelocks on one end of the rifle case and the other two locks are in my pocket until the signature card is done. I pop open a couple latches on the rifle case (the end that doesn't have the locks on yet) and slide the card into the case, then snap the latches and slap the other two locks on...done deal with no questions asked.

7. Make sure you have a luggage tag inside your rifle case with your contact info (include home and wireless phone numbers) on it just in case your rifle case gets lost. I ended up with an extra rifle case one time; it was strapped to my rifle case on the return trip, the luggage tags were missing from the extra case and there was no way to contact the rightful owner. The chicken scratch on his signature card wasn't doing him any favors. I recognized the case during my initial check in, so it belonged to one of the guys that were behind me in line. I turned the rifle case into airline personnel, but don't know what happened to it after that.

8. I haven't put ammo in a checked bag or carry on bag since 9/11, but I did it all the time prior to then. I just don't want to deal with the potential hassle of a TSA or Airline representative having a bad day and taking their frustration out on me. Nothing worse than showing up for you hunt without bullets!

If you are only taking one rifle, then you shouldn't need to do some of the things mentioned above and you can add a few items to your rifle case instead. I'll put shooting sticks in the rifle case; the trigger sticks I use fit inside the case without removing the V swivel, but V removal is an option if your sticks are too long. I've put my knives and saws in the case (between outer shell and the bottom layer of foam). I've also thrown in a short wooden canoe paddle when headed moose hunting. Be creative as long as you keep it under 50 pounds!

PS - I never dreamed of spening $200+ on a gun case, but it's worth every cent when you pull your rifle out for a test shot and it's still dead on... In the grand scheme of things a Pelican (or equivalent) is probably one of the least expensive items that you're taking on the trip and it's protecting one of your most important items..

Best of luck in your travels.
 
Last edited:

devon deer

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I'm not sure they can be classed as anti's, they are just doing their job to protect us.

But i believe there are 'anti' airlines, British Airways for one, they brought in new rules, carrying a firearm and ammunition, they charge approx $77 for the gun and $77 ammo each way!
Add that to the extra bag charge and it's a good reason why i won't use them.
And, although Delta cocked up my travel last time i would still use them, but i understand they have now stopped flying hunting trophies from Africa.

My friend had an issue at Bozeman flying home to the UK, i went went through no problem, he didn't, they emptied his carry on looking for a cartridge, he insisted there was nothing in there, how wrong was he, they found a spent .270 cartridge in his packed clothing.
But they were fine about it.

Cheers

Richard
 
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1_pointer

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IME, the ammo doesn't have to be in the 'original box'. Most state a cardboard, or plastic box/container. I use the 20 or 50 MTM cases. They work fine.

Just read the TSA rules for flying with a rifle and then read the airlines rules. Take hard copies with you in case you need to refresh someone's memory of their rules. I've yet to have any hassle flying with a firearm. It takes about 2 extra mins when checking your bags.
 

brewdaag

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Jun 21, 2012
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Native of eastern WA, now living in western WA. L
Definitely make sure you account for all ammo. Some TSA workers are anti's....FOR EXAMPLE, my buddy and I were on line in Denver International Airport with our carryon bags (hunting packs) as we returned from our WY antelope hunt. A particular TSA person kept saying I sure hope you didn't drop a bullet in those packs accidently...we just had someone arrested for that the other day.

What a prick!! It did keep me on edge as I questioned whether I had truly cleaned out my pack ...I was relieved once it cleared the x ray machine


I think a lot of it comes down to the personality of the TSA agent in question. I actually had a different experience with accidentally carrying ammo through security.

I travel a lot for business. I also conceal carry when not working. When I conceal carry, I carry a spare magazine for my .45 that I pack. Sometimes, when I'm gathering up my stuff to bring into the house, I would throw my spare magazine in my laptop bag...HUGE MISTAKE. Last year, while flying out of our regional airport, security spotted my magazine in my laptop bag. Total idiotic bonehead move on my part. The TSA lady was very nice and said they'd have to write up a report. She then informed the local Sherrifs deputy of the situation. He ran a quick background check on me while she did the paperwork. He saw that I was a law abiding citizen and nothing like this had ever happened before. He told me to just go put it in my car and go back through security. When I came back through, the TSA agent was still writing up the report, but knew that I would miss my flight if she kept me there until she was done. Thankfully, she told me she could finish it without me there and told me to catch my flight.

Now, maybe they went easy on me because it is a regional airport, and not a lot of people were around. Also, the fact that I had TSA Pre clearance may have helped, but needless to say, they were both very cool and could have made it much more difficult on me. In the end, the only repercussion I received was that I lost my TSA Precheck privelages for a year. Needless to say, I was happy that was all that I lost.
 
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