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Joined: 06/30/2009
Posts: 11
Flying with a firearm

I'm thinking of expanding my hunting range to other parts of the country but have never flown with a firearm before. I know that people do it all the time but I have heard horror stories. I've checked out different sites on the rules and regulations but can someone give me a heads up on what to watch out for? Your experiences with airlines, which are better than others and what types of cases you use, would be helpful. I don't plan on flying international yet, but any tips would be appreciated.

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Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 365
Flying with a firearm

Contact what ever airline your flying and ask them. Some differ. They WILL check all of them. It MUST be in a hard LOCKED case.

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 06/07/2002
Posts: 506
Flying with a firearm

Absolutely check with the airline, and then get a NAME of whom you talked to; even better if you can get something in writing by email or whatever. I was dropped off at the airport once with a rifle my father gave me, and had previously talked to somebody there at the airline on what I had to do a couple of days before. However, when I got to the check-in counter they wouldn't allow my rifle!!!!!
There I was, stuck at the airport, not my state, no car etc. and not knowing what to do. My ride wouldn't even be home for two hours at least to call up; that's how long it took to get there from the sticks. I stood my ground and insisted to talk to somebody with a tie... a manger! After a bit of an argument the clerk called for a manger. I told him my story about calling ahead etc. etc. but didn't know whom I talked to. He finally went over to a computer nearby and starting looking for something... took a few minutes, but he came back and told me they would allow the rifle, but it wouldn't be insured... arrrgh. Not sure what he looked up on that PC, but maybe they keep records of people calling in about guns? Anyway, by then all I wanted to do was get on the plane so I agreed. What a hassle though... sheesh.
Funny thing is they said if it was a shotgun I would be OK? I told the guy a person could do a hell of a lot more damage with a shotgun in there than a .22-250 bolt gun! Made no sense.
Anyway.... make sure you know the airline rules and get names. I think you may not be able to find any airline that allows ammo either, so be prepared to buy some when you get where you are going.
Take care.

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Joined: 06/30/2009
Posts: 11
Flying with a firearm

That's great advice guys, thanks. Has anyone ever flown internationally? I don't I going to do it this year but my buddy is trying to get me to go down to Argentina next year. Anything I need to know to clear customs in another country?

Critter's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3917
Flying with a firearm

As was said check with your airline for any questions on what to do. I frequently fly Frontier Airlines and their policy is that the fire arm need to be unloaded and in a locked hard case, 11 pounds of ammo can be transported with the firearm inside the hard case. One thing that I learned from another hunters mistake is to take the bolt out of the rifle if it is a bolt action and put it in your other checked baggage. That way if the rifle is stolen the only way for the thief to get a bolt for that rifle is to send it back to the factory to be fitted. If they do you just may get your rifle back. As far as international flights I think that is up to the airline. I know that Frontier will not transport one. If Argentina is anything like Mexico forget about taking your rifle or shotgun with you and borrow one when you get there. To get a long gun into Mexico you need to send it to a local Military outpost and pick it up there and then bring it back to them. The associated problems just are not worth it.

JJD
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Location: Right Side WA state
Joined: 11/07/2008
Posts: 208
Flying with a firearm

I've done a fair amount of travel by air with firearms.
It's true that some of the airlines folks and even some security personel don't know squat about their own regulations, some have been known to try and make their own rules as they go along.
Many air lines have their rules and regulations posted on their web site. May not hurt to double check to make sure the info is current. Print out all info and take it with you when you travel. If confusion occures, handing them their own material on the matter often defuses the situation. In these times, the only constant is regulation change. As irritating as it can be at times, I recommend being direct and polite with all airline and security personel, This is not the time or place for jokes or sacasm, no matter how stupid you think they are being. For Gods sake, make sure the firearm is UNLOADED.

International travel requires that you check your firearms with Customs BEFORE you leave (record of serial numbers) and often requires an appoinment to get that taken care of. I walk in and tell who ever is at the desk that I am bringing cased firearms into the building. With the state of world affairs some people are kinda jumpy. Save yourself a whole lot of head ache if you want to hunt international. Go with a reputable hunting travel company, they keep abreast of the latest rules and regulations and know who's palms have to be greased to expidite getting in and out.. Take my word for it, it will save you $$ in the long run. (I have nothing to do with any travel agency, but I do have experience)

I'm an old guy and still prefer a metal case. The case I have is big (2 full length rifles/shotuns) and is made of stainless diamond plate, it has rollers for easy towing cuz packin it ain't no fun. Pelican makes a great case in plastic if you prefer. Lets just say they are very stout and that's what you want in a case, they are not handled gently. There are many great cases out there, purchase the best you can afford. Carry nothing in your case except the fire arm, no solvents, ammo or cleaning materials. I reccomend a "Boresnake" for cleaning when you travel, light and compact.

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3207
Flying with a firearm

Whatever you do, make ABSOLUTELY SURE you inspect every nook and cranny of your carry on before you travel. My buddy and I went through security on the way back from a brown bear hunt two years ago, and as I walked out on the tarmac to the jet, I noticed he wasn't behind me anymore.

Turns out he had a .325 WSM round that had fallen to the bottom of his carry-on pack during the hunt, and TSA found it with the X-ray machine. Needless to say, that went over like a fur coat at a PETA convention. Luckily, it was a small town that handled a lot of hunters, and they finally let him go after a lot of threats and abuse. He just barely made it to the plane in time -- and this was a one flight a day town.

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Location: Somewhere Up There
Joined: 01/06/2007
Posts: 217
Flying with a firearm

I had the exact same thing happen - not fun even though I had an airline I.D.. I agree with everything here and like has been mentioned don't go with a cheap case. I've seen suitcases dropped from 20 foot high cargo holds believe it or not. Be as polite and patient as you can with the airport people and good luck!

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