Flying with a Muzzleloader

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oldtrobh

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HI All , travelling once with a flinter and took the lock off which I put in my carry on bag but they took it off me and put in the hold because it was a gun part the two screws that hold the lock in place got the same treatment .. I asked who could hi-jack a plane with a flintlock and two screws but rules are rules don't matter how stupid the rules or the people administering them are ..
 

jrmflintlock

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I have flown with ML before also. As others have said, as soon as you walk into the airport tell the first Security guard or airline employee that you see that you need to check a firearm. I always keep the ammunition separate in my checked bag and declare that to. They will take all your bags at the same time and check you in. They just want to look in the case and fill out the appropriate forms. I put a sturdy lock in every place designed for one on the case and wear the key around my neck and have another key on my car keys. Usually you pick it up where the oversized luggage gets dropped off.

You can Not fly with loose black powder in a horn, flask or can!!!

Yes the residue will set off the machines so go extra early to deal with the delay. You will probably get the full body pat down, but you just need to show them your paperwork. You are not doing anything illegal so don't sweat it. It just takes time sometimes.

Good luck!!!
 

Brent

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Having flown with firearms quite a few times, I do not tell the first person I see that I have a rifle to check. I just get in line to check baggage like anyone else, and then tell the counter worker that I have a firearm and proceed from there. I also, keep all of my ammo or bullets (for muzzleloaders) in the case with the rifle. That way, if the rifle makes it through, I'll be shooting. No sense splitting up rifle and ammo and double the chance of not having a disaster due to lost baggage on the other end. I have never had a problem flying with firearms, though going out of country can be a bit "interesting" at times.
 

GregLaRoche

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If someone has experience and information about traveling internationally with a muzzle loader and or modern rifle, I would like hear what you have to do. I did it fifteen years ago, but I am afraid things might have changed.
 

Woodnbow

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HI All , travelling once with a flinter and took the lock off which I put in my carry on bag but they took it off me and put in the hold because it was a gun part the two screws that hold the lock in place got the same treatment .. I asked who could hi-jack a plane with a flintlock and two screws but rules are rules don't matter how stupid the rules or the people administering them are ..
Well, maybe the agent has a different perspective. The guy or gal enforcing the rules may have an IQ of 130 for all you know and I’m sure they’ve touché on the subject in training or a manual or something along the way. But indeed, the rules are the rules, and it would be really stupid of them to risk their livelihood, even if the passenger knew better than the agent does. Might as well smile, agree and board the plane. Which, in the end is probably what happened anyway.
 

fleener

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I flew to Australia with ML 2 years ago. The country you are flying into will dictate what you have to do. For AU, we had to have a permit to bring a gun into the country, and also had to have another permit to leave AU with it to bring it home. It was a PIA.

Team mates of mine had connecting flight from the States in Canada on their way to AU. They got held up in CN because they did not have permits to bring them into CN.

Fleener
 

vintovka

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Once flew from LA to Sacramento with a full length near 5 foot long Original British 3 band Enfield. I was late and ran thru LAX all the way to the gate with much of it sticking out of a too short soft gun case. The Flight Capt. Saw me and offered to stick it in the cabin. But only after he got a chance to look at it (he was a collector too). Took my seat, took off and was served my complementary champagne and a snack. Western Airlines, circa 1983. (Just saying)
 

GregLaRoche

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I flew with a rifle across the Atlantic a number of times during the 80s. A gun was nothing but another piece of checked baggage back then. Unfortunately, those days are gone for good now.
 

timh

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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.
Great advice and thank you!!
 

Grumpa

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Flew from Pittsburgh to Alaska 5 years ago, took a SA .45. TSA people were so nice I thanked them! No problems the entire roundtrip (about 5 or 6 flights). Go online, their rules are posted. Also, know the requirements for the airline you are flying.

Richard/Grumpa
 

Six-Gun

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I have flown with a hardcased flintlock into Colorado and Canada. The latter was funny, if for no other reason than the poor Canadian girl at customs not knowing what to do with a gun with no serial number. It took her a minute to discuss the protocol with her fellow agents, but in short order, they figured out that I followed the temporary import requirements perfectly, did all of the required permit paperwork and paid the required fees. To her credit, it was pretty painless, but she was definitely confused for a moment.

...the total destruction of the hardcase perpetrated by Delta coming back is a different story. Thankfully, the case did its job despite incredible level of abuse.
 

timh

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I have flown with a hardcased flintlock into Colorado and Canada. The latter was funny, if for no other reason than the poor Canadian girl at customs not knowing what to do with a gun with no serial number. It took her a minute to discuss the protocol with her fellow agents, but in short order, they figured out that I followed the temporary import requirements perfectly, did all of the required permit paperwork and paid the required fees. To her credit, it was pretty painless, but she was definitely confused for a moment.

...the total destruction of the hardcase perpetrated by Delta coming back is a different story. Thankfully, the case did its job despite incredible level of abuse.
Thanks for the info!
 

lou puleff

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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?
I fly my smoke pole often with no problem buy your powder and primers when you get there and leave at a friend's house or with family for subsequent trips I have a cabelas aluminum rifle case.
 

timh

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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.
Update about flying with my muzzleloader.... Flying from San Francisco to Pittsburgh. Check in was a breeze! It took an extra 10 minutes to walk my pelican case to a separate luggage area where TSA opened it, swabbed the outside of the case and relocked it saying have a nice trip in the process...
Thanks for all the advice about this subject though!! It really helped!
A clean Pelican case, VERY clean rifle, NO powder or primers, 4 combination locks & you’ll be on your way.
 
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brazosland

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Just so you all know...gun powder, the smokeless kind, is not considered an explosive. It’s a Propellent. The chemical composition of modern gunpowder is completely different than that of high explosive compounds.

Black powder is simply a combination of natural compounds and nothing more.

Dogs can be trained to alert on just about anything. Some are, some aren’t. But the chemical tests are focused on the chemical foundations of modern high explosives.

I have flown after days of training in shoot houses where I was literally soaked in residue of Semtex and RDX. That will get their attention in a big way. I heard a “story” about a guy that sprinkled RDX in a persons laptop keyboard...after 3 long sessions with TSA they finally had to get rid of the laptop. It was pretty funny.

Anyway...swab tests for “gun powder residue”...ain’t. The TSA monkeys aren’t well enough trained to know the difference anyway, or what they are actually testing for. Same with black powder.

I saw a poster above talking about cleaning his rifle and his case. Don’t waste your time. It’s not what they are looking for. TSA is all Security Theater. Nothing more. A trained pro will walk right past all that...and the enemy are more sophisticated than that now, anyway.
 

timh

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The final analysis regarding flying with my muzzle loader. San Francisco check-in was a breeze and luggage arrived in Pittsburgh just fine. I declared an unloaded, empty rifle, signed an affidavit stating the same, went to TSA with the rifle & case, watched TSA open, tag, close, and lock the case. Easy process.

BUT, I started out with 4 locks on the Pelican case and when I got to Pittsburgh, there was only 1 lock present. I watched the TSA agent unlock my locks, inspect my rifle and case in San Francisco and lock it back up with a red inspection tag placed inside. I had a plane transfer in Minneapolis/St. Paul which is where someone else must have opened the case again. Upon arrival in Pittsburgh, only 1 lock was present. I flew Delta and they're checking out the "process". The locks weren't that expensive, but the point is that someone opened up my rifle case w/o my knowledge somewhere along the line.

Comments are appreciated!!!
 

brazosland

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What kind of locks did you have? You should not use TSA locks.

Locks are easy to pic with a little training. Cheap ones are really easy.

I use cases made by Tuff-Pak. No hinges...they open on the end. The lock is about unpickable without very special training and some tools. Without the key the only way you are getting into it is with a saws-all. They were originally designed for movie camera tripods...they are TSA approved for firearms.
 

DaMitch

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Will be traveling with a ML in December. I appreciate the input regarding moving thru the airport and checking in the rifle. Hopefully I will run into the TSA folks as others have in the past. Best,
 
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