Flying with a Muzzleloader

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timh

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I’m flying across the country and want to take my muzzleloader in checked baggage with me. I recently bought a Pelican hard sided case for transporting. I was wondering if anybody has any experience doing this?
 

AJFedak

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I traveled from Cleveland, OH to Katy, TX with 2 muzzle loaders. I used an aluminum hard case with piano hinges, dual case locks, and a TSA lock. When I checked in at the airline counter I informed them I had a muzzle loader. We were escorted to another area to have the guns and case hand-checked by TSA. I had to sign documents and place them inside the case.and they took the guns from there to be stowed in the plane. I would ask where the guns can be picked up at your destination.

I was flying Delta so at Bush International Airport I had to go to the Delta office to claim my guns. All they need is your luggage pass. There were quite a few guns in there for pickup. Back in Cleveland they just put the guns on the baggage carousel.

All-in-all it is a very easy process.

I should have added 'NO PRIMERS or POWDER"
 

timh

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Thanks about the primer & powder info... also, this trip is from San Francisco to Pittsburgh. I have TSA locks and a master lock for the case
 

fleener

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I have flown with a ML in a Pelican case. No issues with the flying and security. Make sure you have enough locks on your case. One time coming home from Fairbanks the TSA folks interpretation of what you need for locks was very strict. Almost missed my flight.

Pelican makes a great case.

They were nice enough to take me to the gift store and show me 20 locks that were sale. Obviously not the first time this had happened there.

Fleener
 

timh

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Hey Blogman... I bought the "TSA approved" combination locks (4 of 'em) that pelican recommended with three spinning numbered wheels and for the center of the case. And, I bought the old standard steel lock with key opening... Hope those are enough...
 

timh

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I have flown with a ML in a Pelican case. No issues with the flying and security. Make sure you have enough locks on your case. One time coming home from Fairbanks the TSA folks interpretation of what you need for locks was very strict. Almost missed my flight.

Pelican makes a great case.

They were nice enough to take me to the gift store and show me 20 locks that were sale. Obviously not the first time this had happened there.

Fleener

Thanks Fleener! I was hoping it was the right case to fly with...
 

Nyckname

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...with three spinning numbered wheels...
A guy that worked at the Y would save lost locks for me that sat in the bin for too long. It has never taken me more than fifteen minutes to get the combination to a three dial lock by starting at 000 and going through sequentially. You want to look for four or five dial locks.
 

fleener

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The issue I had in Fairbanks was that they did not think that I had enough locks on my case. There is not a requirement for the number of locks, just how effective they are.

I now use Master, 4 number combos, at least 3 of them on the case. All are set the same. That way I dont have to have a key to lose. Just have to remember one set of numbers.

One time I had to be in Indy for 3 days, prior to heading to a match in NC. I did not want to drive 16 hours round trip back to Iowa just to get my rifle and stuff. So, with a big log chain wrapped around my pelican case along with 2 cable locks and 4 other Master locks I locked that Pelican case up so secure in the back seat of my pickup that it would of taken a little bit of time, with the right tools to get it out. I have a lot of faith in Pelican cases.


Fleener
 

hanshi

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To keep a muzzleloader from falling off your broom, don't flap your arms - no feathers, remember. :D:rolleyes:

Sorry, couldn't resist.
 

fleener

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A few years ago flying into ANWR my rifle was in a plastic boot that was strapped to the wing of a super cub. Two bungee cords holding the plastic boot to the wing and one bungee cord hooked to the trigger guard to keep the rifle in the boot.

Fleener
 

waarp8nt

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I had called TSA for a preregistration approval and declared the handgun to be in the luggage when I arrived at each airport respectively. I had no problems going from STL to DEN, however coming back home from vacation, DEN to STL was a problem. While taking my family on a tour of the Western National Parks, TSA received a horrible rating on stopping / recognizing Knives, Weapons and Bombs. Needless to say, Denver TSA employees were motivated to be anal retentive in their search of my luggage. I was motivated to place the handgun in the approved shipping box with combo lock and security cable back down into the framework of the rolling luggage in an attempt to give my handgun the best chance at survival against a careless airline shipping personnel. I provided the following Identification upon arrival to DEN while declaring my check in luggage contained a weapon; Illinois state issued D.L., IL state issued I.D., IL state issued FOID (firearm owners I.D.), Local government employee I.D. During the 45 minute delay I remained professional, the TSA employee remained professional, yet I nearly missed my return home flight. The moral of my story is to make sure TSA can see your sporting arm in the luggage when they run it through the metal detectors and/or X-ray machines. They would have easily been able to see mine if they stood the luggage up, but it was too tall for the X-ray machine. When they scanned from any of the four sides they could not get a definitive picture of the handgun do to the framework of the luggage and the airline approved shipping box. By agreement, I ended up having my own private seek and find session with four TSA officers in a locked room. Again, I remained calm and professional as they were simply doing their job.

I know your shipping a long gun and I shipped a handgun, but you may consider contacting TSA rather than relying on our experiences.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/transporting-firearms-and-ammunition
 

Sean Gadhar

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One problem is TSA is not the same from place to place, when I was a mover I delivered a bunch of the body scanners to different Airports, at one TSA all but gave us the keys. The next airport they had a guy on the door that checked my crews (4 of us in all) ID every time we carried a piece in the door, same TSA guy checking the same 4 IDs of the same four guys again and again and again all day long. The next Airport they put yellow caution tape up and blocked the door open so we could go right in. Zero consistency.
 

bang

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Only time I flew with a muzzleloader was when I accidentally put too much powder in it.
 

Sparkitoff

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What is interesting is that while Federal law does not classify muzzleloaders as 'firearms' the TSA requires 'firearms' to be declared and they don't exempt muzzleloaders. Another odd practice I've experienced is TSA will swab the gun case and then the swab will set off the detection computer for "explosive substance". Yeah, no cow poop. Then they can't figure out what to do about it and there is a long delay....

From these experiences I have a strong suggestion. Have a designated travel case. Only put a perfectly clean muzzleloader in that case. No accessories! Wash your hands before doing so. Never take that case to the range. If you are on a hunt or at a shoot, bring a soft case for short transportation at your destination. Leave the hard case somewhere away from gunfire. Clean the muzzleloader thoroughly before putting it back into your clean case. Wash the outside of the case once it is sealed. Most Pelican cases are waterproof or resistant. I hose it off with a spray of water and then wipe it with paper towels. Follow up with paper towel with surface cleaner like 409 or Clorox spray cleaner. Unlike smokeless powder, black powder will set off the swab reader for explosive substances.
 

brazosland

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The swab year will not detect black powder or its residue. It is looking for other stuff. I instruct military special mission unit soldiers and LE on marksmanship. The holes in TSA would amaze you if you fully knew the truth. It’s security theater, nothing more.

I fly all the time with guns. Just did yesterday coming back from Philly.

ML’s are no different from anything else. The key is to act like you know what you are doing. In most cases you do know more than the agent you are dealing with.

When you get to the counter the first thing you say after “ How are you?” with a smile...no one asks them that, ever...is “I need to check some firearms in this case, they are empty and unloaded and no ammo is in the case.”

Even if ammo is in the case, there always is in mine, I say the same thing. They don’t need to know about the ammo, it’s not an issue for them (TSA packaging and airline weight rules apply. Know those and don’t worry about the agent). In that statement above you answered their two most important questions and you demonstrated you know what you are doing. It sets them at ease and the rest of the process always flows smoothly.

You need to get there early. Like an hour earlier than you would otherwise. Not every TSA facility has a scanner that can scan oversize cases. Austin does not. Manchester does not. Others do. Philly did this weekend. If they don’t have a scanner that can scan your case they will need to open it to inspect the contents. That’s where you come in waiting outside.

It’s not that big a deal if you know the rules and act like you do.
 

THBailey

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I’m flying across the country and want to take my muzzleloader in checked baggage with me. I recently bought a Pelican hard sided case for transporting. I was wondering if anybody has any experience doing this?

We fly with guns a fair bit. A few days before the flight I print off the chosen airlines and TSA's rules for flying with guns pages from their respective web sites and put them in a file folder. Of course, we read and comply with the requirements. In the rare case we run into a counter person who was blissfully ignorant of their rules for guns until we just showed up at their counter, we can politely show them their rules.
 
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