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OK, I've never taken a firearm with me when I've travelled by air and don't know any of the regs regarding that. I'm going to visit my uncle who is a LEO in N. Dakota during November, and hopefully we'll get to do some shooting. If anybody knows some of the basic guidelines or has a link to a place with that type info, I'd appreciate it.
 

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Call your chosen airline for specifics. They are usually quite helpful about it.

When I have traveled with a gun, I have placed the gun, unloaded, in a lockable piece of luggage. I then presented myself to the baggage check-in counter and informed the ticket agent that I had packed an unloaded gun in my luggage that I wanted to check. I then have offered to show the firearm to them. In most cases they do not want to see it.

They then usually put a STEAL ME!! tag (unloaded firearm tag) on the bag and send it down the chute.

If you want to ship ammo I would recommend two sturdy, lockable bags. They usually won't let both items fly together in the same bag.

I recommend a sturdy, hard sided bag that can be locked and a roll of duct tape to secure the bag after it is checked. You will also probably want insurance.

Just out of meanness you might also remove some important part so that if the gun is stolen, the jerk that ends up with it won't be able to use it or will get killed trying to. A missing firing pin comes to mind.....
 

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Thanks for the tips. I couldn't remember if I should call the airport in general or my specific airline. I'll call them and that should take care of it.(as long as I talk to somone who knows what they're talking about!)
 

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I think the "steal me" tags went away a few years ago. I haven't seen them use one of these in at least 4 years.

I show up at the airport with the gun in a lockable case - and have it locked. At the check in counter they will ask you to open the case and show them that the gun is unloaded. It's usually OK to have ammo in the same case - but having in it's orginal box is the only way to go. Put the gun back in it's case and lock the case. They will often have special handling for it and when you arrive at your destination you will have been told to go to the baggage office for that airline and get your gun. That should work in a world where people do their jobs - airline baggage people don't. When you get off the plane, run to the baggage carousel and wait there and see if your gun comes off with all the other baggage. Usually it will. Don't worry if it doesn't - that just means it's in the baggage office they told you to go to or it's been ripped off. Go to the baggage office and see if they have your gun. You might have to show ID to get it. My experience is long guns will usually go to the baggage office - my Pelican case I carry pistols in usually just pops out with all the other luggage.

The above is for domestic travel. International travel is a real mess.
 

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Originally posted by WalterMitty:
Call your chosen airline for specifics. They are usually quite helpful about it.

They then usually put a STEAL ME!! tag (unloaded firearm tag) on the bag and send it down the chute.

I recommend a sturdy, hard sided bag that can be locked and a roll of duct tape to secure the bag after it is checked. You will also probably want insurance.
There is nothing in the regs that says the steal me tag has to go on the outside. What a lot of pro shooters do is have a small lockable case for the gun. The steal me tag goes on that, and then the small case goes inside your big suitcase. WalterMitty is correct the ammo must be in a different bag. Some airlines are OK with the hard plastic cases. Some want the ammo in the original boxes. Call ahead as suggested to determine what is best.

Definitely use a hard shell as was mentioned earlier and tape it up after you lock the outer case. A couple of loops around the whole bag making sure to cover the locks is best. A guy I know bought one of those old funky colored Samsonite's at a yard sale. All the hardware was in good shape but the finish was rough. The thing is so sorry looking it would never occur to anyone there is anything in there worth stealing.

Again calling ahead will help. You should take down the name of the person you talked to, and plan on getting to the airport earlier than usual to have plenty of time for all the red tape.

Like anything else experience helps. You may have to talk to a manager and walk them through the process if they have never dealt with it before. This is where having the name of the person you talked to helps. It also doesn't hurt to have a copy of the regs to refer to, but that may be overkill.

Since 9/11 they will be more cautious than ever. Exercise patience and good judgement. Coordinate with the airline through the whole process and you should be fine.


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