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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,
I will be traveling in a few weeks to Montana and want to take a few guns with me on the plane. I would like any tips or special things you do to make it easier on you.
I know it has to go in check baggage and must be declared.
What do you with the ammo?
Beside the declared thing, what else?
Thanks in advance for your response!
 

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I have flown twice with guns (allthou no ammo so I can't help you there). Wasn't as big of deal as I thought. When I checked in at the counter I told them that I had a pistol that I need declared. Pistol was in a locked plastic case. They had me open my suitcase (but NOT the pistol case. some folks will ask you to open that as well) and the placed a 'Firearms Tag' laying on top the contents of my suitcase. I closed the case back up and locked it, and went on my merry way, piece of cake. :grin:

Note, this was United out of Denver. As far as ammo goes, I think you are limited to TWO boxes of ammo, in its original factory package. If you have questions I suggest calling the airlines number for baggage handling, and hopefully you won't get some antigun psycho on the fone :lol:
 
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I have spent a lot of time in airports and I have developed a few "tips" if I can pass them on.

For intl. flights call the airline in advance and obtain the specific requirements of your carrier.

It is much easier to ask your questions in advance through customer service as the Airport Security and counter personnel often have little to no idea and will if asked often require you to accompany them to the Security/Police office. I have encountered a number of agents/airline personnel that did not know you can legally fly with firearms, provided they are checked baggage.

I would reccomend that you do not pack the ammuntion in your suitcases or your pistol/rifle case, pack a seperate "sturdy" case as it will get beatup.

I have found that it is much easier to ship the ammo to myself in advance at my destination or pre-arranged shipping agent.
Some carriers will allow up to 4 boxes 200rds and I have also found some that will only allow 25 rounds.
(Be careful as your destination country may have regualtions banning your ammo/caliber)

Make sure they do not stick the "firearms" label on your luggage.

The most useful tip I can give is to check this page constantly leading up to your trip:
http://www.fly.faa.gov/flyFAA/index.html
 

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I do a LOT of traveling commercial and military air with firearms. Some of it overseas which can be real interesting. Being a C-130 Loadmaster, I have a little insight from the other end also. Here is what I have learned over the past 12 years.

No one airline is better or worse than the others.

You must declare that you have an unloaded firearm. You can not curb check luggage containing firearms. After giving them your tickets and ID, calmly state, “I have an unloaded firearm to declare.” Try to avoid using the term gun or pistol with a ticket agent. If they give you a deer in the headlights look, tell them you need an unloaded firearm tag so you can sign and date it. Prior to leaving the house I lock the slide to the rear and leave it like that. It will save you from fiddling with the firearm at the ticket counter, which can make a non-gun person nervous. After all, sometimes they just go off…

Try to block the view of your firearm to those standing behind you in line. Any firearm in an airport can and will make a non-gun person nervous. When showing the ticket agent that it is unloaded, just show them the chamber, and mag well if they ask. Open the case muzzle pointing towards yourself. Don’t even think about uncasing the still locked to the rear firearm with the muzzle covering the agent. I made that mistake once and that woman jumped about a mile. I felt bad for my mistake. My travel cases have an arrow painted on the top just for this. After they have looked at it, slowly close the slide. If you want to, lower the hammer with your finger. A firearm going click can make a non gun person nervous. After all, sometimes they just go off…

After signing the declaration form, put it in the case and lock the case with a big honking combo lock. Keys can, and will, get lost on the way to Camp Perry. Write the combo down in your wallet or shaving kit. Make sure your wife has the combo written down at home because you can also loose your wallet. A phone call home can at least get you in the match or hunt, but not the vendors tent…

Try to avoid being too talkative with the agent. Be friendly, but don’t try to make a date. Being overly talkative is a sign you are nervous and have something to hide.

Ammo is also easy. Put it in a separate bag from the firearm. MTN or Dillon plastic cases work great. When asked if you have ammo, and only when asked, state you have XXX rounds that weigh approximately X lbs in separate bag. This tells the agent you have done this before and you know what you are doing and you know their job also. The airlines really do not care how many rounds you have, just how much it weighs. Actually, the net explosive weight of your ammo, which is the weight of priming compound is what they care about. That is an International Regulation, not an Airline rule. 200 rounds and 7 lbs is about the norm for most domestic airlines. Following Value-Jet and TWA 800 life in the hazardous cargo game has got real strict. Air Angola gives you ammo if you don’t meet the minimum…

I put my mags in the bag with my ammo, not with the gun. If some slob steals my gun, he is at least not going to have any mags to go with it. Don’t try to carry on mags or mag tubes.

If asked why you have a firearm, tell them you are traveling to a competition, not a match or hunting. Some people don’t understand the term match, and there are anti-hunter people out there. If you find one as a ticket agent she might send your 416 Rigby somewhere else so you can’t go kill things.

Lastly, for pistols I recommend a big hard sided suitcase that has good locks. For rifles, use a golf club carrier with the rifle case inside. If you use a soft case, use wire bundle ties to secure the zippers closed.

Prior to getting in line for the metal detector, do a 100% check of your pockets for loose rounds, and ankles for pistols. Don’t forget to toss your Microtech auto-knife in your checked baggage also. Once you are in line, you are 99.9% screwed if you brain dumped it.

Good luck to you. Its real easy, just don’t say gun. Image and impressions are everything.

Tom
AF Shooting Team
 

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I just remembered something. Before I embarked the first time with my 'firearm' I consulted this page. Lots of good info here, and links to the airlines sites as well. I printed the stuff out in case I encountered a ticket agent that wasn't helpful or didn't know the regs. I think your best bet in that case is to ask politely to see a supervisor. Luckily I didn't have to deal with that, I picked a counter staffed with an elderly gentleman and checked in there. The funny thing was, United had a display case of what they consider to be hazardous materials right there in the line. On top the case was a nice little brochure spelling out there firearms policy. Very Handy :smile:

Anwyay here's the link:

http://www.packing.org/airlines/

Tom is right don't say the 'G' word, don't point it at anyone, be cool, and everything
should be hunky dory :smile:



_________________
" I belive in the Ten Commandments and the Constitution of the United States. If you don't, F*c& you." - Ted Nugent

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JLM on 2001-06-26 21:48 ]</font>
 

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I can't offer anything additional. The previous posters seem to have this covered. I only offer a story.

In 1964 I bought a Marlin 336 from a shipmate in New York City. That weekend I carried it from the ship's armory in a soft case, from Bayonne, New Jersey to the Port Authority Building in downtown New York City, on a bus. There I transfered to another bus that took me to Newark Airport. I carried the cased rifle openly up to the American Airlines ticket counter and bought my ticket.
I asked the ticket agent what to do with the rifle and they said to just give it to the Flight Attendant when I got aboard the aircraft. I sat in the waiting area until boarding, entered the plane and asked the attendant what to do with the rifle. She smiled as she took it from me and placed it in a closet (unlocked) and said to remind her to give it back to me when we landed at Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

That's was a long time ago. I'd hate to try that now.

_________________
Neil
"I AM my brothers keeper"

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NeilCasper on 2001-06-26 23:36 ]</font>
 

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Most airlines have the rules for travel with firearms on their homepage. I try to print a copy and have it with me when I check in just in case I run into an agent who knows less about his airline's procedures than I do. By the way, I have had NO problems with the gate agents for Delta. Delta allows the ammunition to be packed in the case with the firearms, and they limit you to 11 pounds of ammo, packed in "original cartons." I used Midway plastic boxes for my reloads, and they were fine with that. I also packed a revolver in its own, locked case and locked that case into the rifle case with my rifle for my last trip to Montana.
 

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I picked up the 'firearm' tags in advance while on a different trip to the airport. That way, when checking in with a pistol, they aren't trying to figure anything out at the counter, you've got the tag all done when you open the case. Keeps things moving, you don't want to give anyone any extra time to think of something silly.

Mark
 
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