Flying with guns and ammo

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Continuation of my thread on guns & ammo and flying.

I was looking for people with experience flying with guns and more to the point with ammo.

TSA regs are easy to find on their web site.
http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/editorial/editorial_1666.xml

The TSA rules are clear, but I was hoping to find people with actual stories to tell about flying, both good and bad.

TSA itself does not limit the amount of ammo, but rather each airline sets this limit. For Southwest Air, which I fly 1-2 times a week, allows up to 11 pounds of ammo including the container. So using the original cardboard boxes would be the best. (and not your surplus ammo can.)

Now, (Len), who knows how many rds of .223 or .45ACP are in 11 pounds? Anyone want to get out a scale?
 

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When I flew Southwest with an M-14 and ammo, they just both need to be in seperate locked containers. At the time it was painless.
 
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Just to know.... 1000 rds of .45ACP is 49.7 pounds (in cardboard)!!
Or about 5 lbs per 100 rds.

I just found target grade .45ACP FMJ for $12 for 100 rds. And .223 was $4.20 per 20 rds. Sounds pretty cheap to me. I am in DC now, and this store was in Maryland. But, I'll still wait until NH next weekend, as I am not willing to go through the "declaring" process just for a couple hundred rds.
 

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I have traveled by air with guns and ammo a couple dozen times. Most domestic airlines restrict each traveller to no more than 11 pounds of ammo. That works out to 300 rounds of 9mm.

No hassles, other than once at Logan Airport. The TSA guy just had to check with a supervisor, who have the OK, and we were all set to fly.

I look the suitcase containing the ammo, but the ammo is not kept inside of another locked container.

The guns travel in a locked Winchester multi-pistol case, locked into a suitcase.

Before I fly, I declare both guns and ammo.

The most guns I have ever flown with is seven handguns. No problems whatsover on that trip.
 

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traveler57 said:
Just to know.... 1000 rds of .45ACP is 49.7 pounds (in cardboard)!!
Well, that explains why that case of .45 I bought last Thanksgiving was so heavy... [lol] [lol] Never did bother to weigh it, but now I know.

Ross
 

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Keep in mind, if anyone else among friends or family is flying with you, you double the maximum amount of guns and ammo you can bring without running afoul of airline policy.

Nice how that works, isn't it?
 

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About a year ago I flew from Logan to Orlando and back on Delta/Song. I checked a Kahr MK9 and ammo. The Kahr MK9 was in a locked hard-sided case (S&W custom shop box) inside a hard-sided suitcase. The 50 rounds of ammo was in an original ammo box (not the ammo box for that ammo, since it was Remington 115 gr +P+ LEO ONLY ammo and I didn't want anyone to have a conniption about the LEO ONLY BS, but another 9mm ammo box) in that same suitcase.

When I checked in at Logan, the airline clerk was quite nice and polite. He asked me to show him that it was unloaded. No big deal.

At Orlando, the clerk was also nice and polite. She didn't ask me to show that it was unloaded. She did escort me over to the TSA baggage screening area. They put it through their scanner machine and had to get the combination from me to open the bag to hand check something -- not the gun or ammo, but the stone cheese board that was a Xmas present from my Mom.

The whole affair was a non-event. Take your gun and ammo, follow the regulations, declare everything, and stop worrying. It's not a big deal.
 
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Flying with guns

Some of my experiences flying with guns thus far:

- Setting off the explosives machine in Bend, OR. No big deal - there were many people leaving a big match in town, and they knew what was up instantly. They still had to fill out a form.

- Sitting in the third cockpit seat of an Airbus 320 while the Canadian pilot described his preference for the S&W 586 (pre-9/11) on a filght to Canada. The pilot was proud of the new airplane and invited passengers up for tours, and let a coupld of us hang out for the flight discussing guns and railroads. I won the coin toss, so the other person had to leave for the landing since there was only one extra seat up front.

- Being told the flight was late, so I had to take my guns to the gate but it would be OK since the ticket agent would escort me and explain it to security (over 10 years ago). I made my flight, but security told the ticket agent she had to stop by security to sign something after getting myself and the person I was travelling with to the gate with our guns. I assume they made her sign for the aircraft of something.

- Being forced to repack ammo I had in a locked Pelican case into a soft suitcase at Logan since the TSA agent mistakenly thought regulations prohibited gun and ammo in the same piece of luggate.

- Having a Providence, RI TSA agent take one look at my gun and remark "SVI - pretty nice gun, but I build on Caspian frames myself."

- Having a different TSA agent in Providence point to the same gun and ask if it is a Glock.

- Retrieving my gun case from an elderly chinese gentlman in Toronto who thought it was part of his group's luggage.

- Explaining to a Toronto customs officer that (a) a compensator is not a silencer, and (b) it is not generally a good idea for a customs officer to examine a red dot scope by point the gun at other customs agents and passengers.

I've had problems with missed flights; cancelled flights; schedule screwups; etc., but travelling wiht guns has only caused me two minor annonyances: Not being able to carry my entire luggage on board, and not being able to use curbside checkin. Other than that, the checkin process has been smooter and easier than the security line to have my helplessness verified.
 

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Jarhead said:
Do they charge you extra for firearms on a flight?
No, so long as you stay within their allowances.

For the airlines I have flown recently, JetBlue, Delta Song, and Southwest, the limit is four handguns or two rifles, and up to eleven pounds of ammo.

If you exceed these limits, there is a small extra charge.
 
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Okay, I'm in Arkansas now, picking up some of my father's guns. I will fly Southwest back on Saturday. Guns will be in an oversized double rifle case.

I'll let you know how my first time goes.....

One is an old Ruger 44 Mag "DearStalker" carbine. I will have to do some research on when my dad bought this one, to see exactly how old it is. I is one of the one made early on, (1962-1988 I think) then they came out with a new model. Then in 1999, (?) they came out with the current version.

On a side note, I asked my friend who owns a gun store here about getting any pre-ban large-cap pistol magazines. Well, when I ask him "Do you ever have any pre-1994 mags?" His answer, "Nope, we sold out of those in 1995!"

Okay, yes, Arkansas and Massachusetts are not on the same planet.
 

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If you get a chance to find hi-cap pre-ban mags down there before you return, do it!

Prices up here still tend to be ~2x what they charge in other states for the pre-ban mags.
 

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Drop in on the gun auction sites regularly -- you might be surprised that people from the "free states" are offering pre-ban hi-caps to those of us in the other states for $20 a mag or less.
 
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Easy flying with Guns

Okay, Back in Mass, and the travel was easy. Checking in was straight forward, TSA guys were professional about checking the guns. And when I arrived in Providence, the gun case was hand carried out to me, and the guy correctly checked for my LTC. But it was clear that the airport at Little Rock sees guns every week, (especially around hunting season) and the Providence folks were a little less accustomed to seeing guns.

But, still overall, a pretty good experience.

But, one lesson I learned was to make full cutouts in the foam liner for each gun, as they did seem to move around a lot. But this was a new case, and was bought only to carry these guns back. But for any regular travel with a particular gun, I can see where cutouts would help. Same for the ammo boxes, they moved around a lot.

Of course, other posters already told me that it would be easy, but now having done it myself, I know for sure.

BTW- As I walked through both terminals, I got only little attention. (Plain black case, with no marking or hunting dogs on it.) And one guy in Providence asked me if I was in a band, and if I was carrying a keyboard. I simply smiled, and said, "Yes" and kept walking.
 
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Flying with Hi-Cap Magazines

Len,

As I said earlier, the Arkansas gun shops looked at me as crazy when I asked if they had any pre-94 mags.

But, I do travel every week, so I will start dropping into shops as I see them. (Next week Texas, week after Florida, then Colorado, and then back to Utah.)

I have seen some on on-line auctions, but most sellers are asking very high prices ($75-100), and I don't need more hi-cap mags that bad. But I do like the idea I saw before, where if I find an out-of-state owner that has a Glock with Pre-bans, then I will offer to buy him "bright, shining new" hi-caps (~US$25 each) for trade for his.

In my travel, I will keep my eyes open, even for non-Glock mags, since I am sure someone will want them.

Ok, legal check----- Can someone reconfirm that I can buy a pre-94 hi-cap mag in another state, and then bring to Mass? And then sell it to my friends?? And, do I have to declare only a mag (no firearm) to TSA/airport staff?

Thanks.
 

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Re: Flying with Hi-Cap Magazines

traveler57 said:
Len,

Ok, legal check----- Can someone reconfirm that I can buy a pre-94 hi-cap mag in another state, and then bring to Mass? And then sell it to my friends?? And, do I have to declare only a mag (no firearm) to TSA/airport staff?

Thanks.

Yes, you can do this, perfectly legally, buying pre-ban large capacity mags out of state, bring them here, and sell them to your friends.

If you are flying home by commercial air, you are only under an obligation to declare firearms or ammunition, but not mags.

It is probably wise to transport your mags inside your checked luggage.

Darius Arbabi
 
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Thanks Darius,

It is always good to hear confirmation from you. Of course, since I tend to find the "little note" from TSA almost every other week in my checked baggage, I wonder what they will think if they find mags. Legally, nothing, but only if they know their own rules.

And I will plan to keep an eye out at every gun shop I visit while traveling. But as was said before for many mags it is not obvious which are pre-ban and which are post. Since new hi-cap mags are only US$25, anyone selling a pre-94 for US$100 is just taking advantage of us dumb, poor MA people. I think the place to look is at used guns, and then check which mags are with it. Then see if the seller will let me swap out the mags for new ones.
 

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traveler57 said:
Thanks Darius,

It is always good to hear confirmation from you. Of course, since I tend to find the "little note" from TSA almost every other week in my checked baggage, I wonder what they will think if they find mags. Legally, nothing, but only if they know their own rules.

If you want to take a conservative approach, just tell the airline ticket agent when you check your luggage that you have pistol mags, but no guns or ammo, in your luggage, and show them what you have if they ask.

By making the declaration, you can rest easy and enjoy your flight without fear of grim faced men pulling you aside as you deplane.
 

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Cross-X said:
traveler57 said:
Thanks Darius,

It is always good to hear confirmation from you. Of course, since I tend to find the "little note" from TSA almost every other week in my checked baggage, I wonder what they will think if they find mags. Legally, nothing, but only if they know their own rules.

If you want to take a conservative approach, just tell the airline ticket agent when you check your luggage that you have pistol mags, but no guns or ammo, in your luggage, and show them what you have if they ask.

By making the declaration, you can rest easy and enjoy your flight without fear of grim faced men pulling you aside as you deplane.
Serious question here . . .

How would anyone at TSA know that you declared mags? Does the ticket agent make a notation in their database?

Very many years ago in FL, a friend gave me 2 S&W 39 mags since his gun was stolen down there and he no longer had a need for them and he knew that I owned a 39. I just packed them in my suitcase, no problem, don't recall if I had them in carry-on or checked. Today I'd be hesitant to carry anything sharp (other than my wit, and even that has to be "checked" when dealing with these turkeys at the airport), even if it is on the TSA "allowed" list . . . they have a caveat that they can declare anything banned at any time, with no notice, confiscate it, and even fine you for it! Catch 22!

Personally, if I had the time and ability to do it, I'd ship any of that stuff back to myself via UPS/FedEx ground and avoid dealing with turkeys.
 

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LenS said:
Cross-X said:
traveler57 said:
Thanks Darius,

It is always good to hear confirmation from you. Of course, since I tend to find the "little note" from TSA almost every other week in my checked baggage, I wonder what they will think if they find mags. Legally, nothing, but only if they know their own rules.

If you want to take a conservative approach, just tell the airline ticket agent when you check your luggage that you have pistol mags, but no guns or ammo, in your luggage, and show them what you have if they ask.

By making the declaration, you can rest easy and enjoy your flight without fear of grim faced men pulling you aside as you deplane.
Serious question here . . .

How would anyone at TSA know that you declared mags? Does the ticket agent make a notation in their database?
Personally, if I had the time and ability to do it, I'd ship any of that stuff back to myself via UPS/FedEx ground and avoid dealing with turkeys.
I don't know if they make a notation, but my comment was more directed toward aiding the comfort of the traveller rather than addressing a live issue.

A mag is not a firearm, so under TSA rules, if it is empty, it need not be declared nor made available for inspection.
 
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TSA bag check

Thanks for the comments. I guess I was just thinking of what happens when my bag goes throught the x-ray and the TSA agent sees a magazine shape. (and can't tell if it is loaded or not.) Heck, these clowns tend to open my bags regularly just because they can't recognize my powerpoint projector inside my bag.

But, I do agree that telling the agent up front is a maybe yes/maybe no type deal. I might consider telling them even if I don't have to legally, just so that I don't ruffle the feathers of the TSA a few minutes later. And then have to explain the law to them.

Note that for firearms themselves, I was told to also declare the firearm to the TSA agent after leaving the ticket agent. (These days after checking your bags, you have to carry them over to TSA's maching on your own.) Of course, in this case I was carrying a double rifle case, so it was a bit obvious.

But, hey, I am like the unofficial tester for the TSA since 9/11, so I will see if I can find some pre-ban mags in Texas next week.
 
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Darius,

Don't worry, I won't be any more aggrevating to them as any other time. [lol] [lol] [lol]

Besides, at least I know that I can always hire the BEST gun-law attorney around. But, NO, I don't think I will be needing to put you on a retainer quite yet..... :D

Plus, after some more range time and my LFI and PSI classes behind me next month, I will be ready to learn from you on the range with IDPA too...... :)

Thanks.
 

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traveler57 said:
Besides, at least I know that I can always hire the BEST gun-law attorney around.
Are you sure, Traveler? Jesse doesn't seem to have much time to hang out on the boards, so he must be pretty busy. ;)

Oh, that felt good. Thanks for the straight line, traveler!
 

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Uh-oh... forgot to put the smiley in there. (I've edited the post to add it) Just teasing, Darius! and it was such a good straight line that I couldn't resist it.
 

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Hey, I don't want to hurt his feelings... I just want to zing him a little!

Besides, Derek... our agreement was at least 5 gratuitous insults per week, right?

Oops... shouldn't have posted this in the open forum, should I?

Ross
 
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