Monday, July 23, 2012

Let Me Make My Case...

So, I've more or less decided that I will, in fact, brave the TSA and the perils of air travel with firearms. I've got my list down to the bare essentials - a rifle (more on this later...) and three handguns - and I'm thinking that a single large rifle case might be the way to go. Several folks have recommended the Pelican 1750 as a possibility; I've had excellent luck with the Boyt Harness pistol case and the SKB carbine case for general use as well.

I've heard - from sources I trust - that Pelican is the obvious choice for air travel; that they are the gold standard for (nigh) invulnerable protection for whatever you're transporting. I know I'd be safe transporting my firearms in a Pelican case, but I already own the SKB rifle case, and can't help but wonder if that wouldn't do the trick just as well. I'm wondering if I can make do with the SKB case - the rifle is an AR pattern and should fit in the carbine case with the upper separated from the lower, and the three pistols will have plenty of room in the other level.

What's the general consensus on rifle cases? I certainly know better than to toss several thousand dollars worth of firearms into a $20 case from Walmart, but the Pelican cases are a little rich for my blood right now. If folks have had good experiences with SKB cases and air travel, that'd help put my mind at ease; on the other hand, having a high quality rifle case certainly wouldn't be the worst thing ever.


So, the question is, stick with the SKB case, or buy a Pelican - what say you, internets?

That is all.

16 comments:

Marty said...

Pelican cases with master padlocks keyed the same. When they inspect it at the airport take a quick photo of the contents just before it is closed.

libertyman said...

Your SKB case looks fine. Can you still buy insurance at the airline counter for lost valuables? You are bringing guns that are replaceable anyway and not heirlooms.

I did that with my underwater camera stuff years ago. They may not want to pay replacement value otherwise.

libertyman said...

How about NRA Arms Care Plus? I wonder if that is worthwhile? Plus, your homeowners policy may cover something, but probably with a deductible.

More research needed.

Peter said...

Personally, I reckon Starlight cases are about the best out there, both for strength/durability and in terms of value for money.

http://www.starlightcases.com/

I have two of their big rifle cases. Recommended. (Shop around for the best prices.)

Lissa said...

Mike did a guest post on this - http://lookingforlissa.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/flying-with-firearms-a-guest-post-by-mike/

-which I mostly remember for the terrifying comment from Wally

Anonymous said...

Since it's your money, buy the Pelican case!

Gerry

Robert said...

Just remember, if your flight has problems and for any reason they land at a NYC airport and require a layover, *do not* pick up your guns from luggage claim. Travel on to your destination and once you have reached there, declare that luggage as missing.

skidmark said...

Folks get all panicy about their guns getting stolen by evil baggage handlers - probably because baggage handlers have been convicted of stealing guns. Anything that looks like an obvious gun case is pretty much an open invitation for a baggage handler to become tempted. Cases that are not rifle-shaped could be holding anything and thus some folks say are les tempting to baggage handlers.

You will need proof of contents in order for a damage/loss claim. Go ahead and pay for actual replacement value instead of current value. Be aware that air carriers have a limit on what they must pay - which is why you buy separate insurance. Ask your homeowners' and auto policy agents if your stuff can be covered under their policy while travelling. Sometimes it will.

stay safe.

ExurbanKevin said...

When I flew to a shoot in my previous life as a photographer, it was Pelicans (or similar) for the gear or nuthin'.

Their cases are indestructible and do a fantastic job of protecting your stuff.

Erin Palette said...

Wouldn't it be easier and safer to simply mail the guns to yourself at your destination? No hassles with the TSA or baggage handlers. and since UPS or FedEx are companies in it for money, it's in their best interests to actually deliver your goods to you safely.

No need to mess with an FFL, either, because you are mailing them to yourself, not someone else.

Jay G said...

Erin,

Try telling the MA-based shipping companies that. I had to travel to four different Federal Express locations before I found one that knew the regulations on shipping rifles.

Besides, with a direct flight, I will know within hours whether or not to panic. With shipping, it could be days...

Erin Palette said...

Mail them well ahead of time, insure them out the wazoo, get a tracking number, and check on them daily.

I still think that's better than dealing with TSA and baggage handlers, but they're your guns.

SteveG said...

On one of the Magpul Carbine Videos Costa demonstrates how he travels with his firearms. He used a soft case inside of a hard case. There are two benefits to this method. 1. The soft case looks like a electronic keyboard case so it allows for semi-discreet carry at his destination. 2. On one occasion some one had broken one of the locks on his case but could not remove any of the hardware because it was secured in the soft case.

This is the case I use now, though I have yet to fly with it: http://www.laruetactical.com/combo-pelican-3100-hard-case-and-larue-soft-case-black

Dirt Sailor said...

Pelican all the way. They even some that include a soft case like the Costa type described above.

jetfxr69 said...

I'm going to be contrary...because I own the longer version of that SKB case. Everyone telling you to buy Pelican appears to have never used the SKB. It'll be good. I put my Sav Mod 10 (sound familiar?) in mine for several trips from Dulles, VA to Denver and/or ABQ. Worked like a champ, never a problem. (And I did have a couple pistols and an SKS in there as well...)

Check that you've got NON-TSA locks on the SKB. The default installation came with TSA-openable ones on mine, which are of course, illegal in this one situation...

TheFaz said...

Feel free to spend money on the Pelican if it will make you feel more comfortable, but I've flown with some pretty cheap cases (courtesy of the gov't) and they've been just fine. If you were flying all the time with guns, a Pelican would probably make a good investment. If not, use what you have.

And don't ship FedEx, period. UPS is the only way to go for firearms, or anything for that matter. The FedEx Ground contractor delivery system blows.