Airline travel: packing ammo?


Tom Servo
October 4, 2005, 05:22 PM
I have to fly from Atlanta to Orlando over Christmas. My permit's reciprocal, and there are no legal restrictions in either place for me. I've checked all the procedures for packing and declaring the gun at the ticket counter, but there's one question I have about packing ammo: Delta's faq says it has to be in a case of some sort, but can it be packed in the magazines (magazines packed in a plastic case, separate from the gun)?

Also, it's been awhile since I've flown, and I've heard some horror stories about random car searches and firearms confiscations in the parking areas of Hartsfield. Anyone here had any problems?

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October 4, 2005, 05:28 PM
website talks about ammo packing here. (

I'm flying Delta in a couple of hours. I'll let you know how it went when I return on next Tuesday (or in the next couple of days if the internet access in my hotel isn't too outrageous.


October 4, 2005, 05:35 PM
I would NOT keep the ammo in magazines. I would keep the ammo in its original container(s) and place those containers in a locking container.

I have flown out of Hartsfield (I will not call it "Hartfield-Jackson") many times and never had an issue with searches in the "airport" parking lots. I do recommend using "The Parking Spot", an off the airport "Park and Ride" on Camp Creek Parkway (take I-75 south to I-285 and exit Camp Creek to the east). They are very good and even offer covered parking. Much less expensive than the airport lots.

If you have a SkyMiles card, I recommend checking in at the kiosks that allow you to check baggage in the South Terminal. Much faster than waiting in line and a lot less people to see what you have in the bag.

October 4, 2005, 05:50 PM

Be very careful in Orlando!

I was screwed out of quite a bit of ammunition at the Orlando Airport by Delta. What they don't tell you in the TSA guidelines is that the person inspecting your firearm and ammunition has practically free reign to deny your bags entry onto the plane.

If you want the best method have the your unloaded guns in a hard lockable gun case on the level of an SKB or Pelican case. Then put the hardside lockable gun case inside a hardshell suitcase and lock it as well. Even though you will have to remove the locks for inspection have them on the case to show how careful you are being. Then put your ammunition in the factory boxes in another hard lockable gun case (e.g., SKB, Pelican) and then put that case in a second SEPARATE hardshell suitcase and lock it as well.

Although the old TSA guidelines were quite clear about the gun and ammo being in separate suitcases, they were very ambiguous about what had to be a hardshell case. The suitcase? The gun case for the gun? The gun case for the ammunition? The Delta desk manager wasn't even 100% sure. With the above method any interpretation of the guidelines are covered.

If possible, just fly with the gun and get some ammo in Orlando. Leave it with your parents and use it when you visit. This would simplify the logistics and your desk encounter greatly.

In my case, I was given incorrect directions by Delta operators when I called and I packed the ammunition incorrectly in their eyes. The desk manager claimed it had to be in a hard case as well, but I did not read it that way and was allowed by their DFW Airport crew to pass through just fine. Although I had a printed copy of their regulations and got into a nasty argument with the manager who looked at me like some neaderthal for having a firearm it did not help. In the end I surrendered the ammo and called their customer service department requesting to be reimbursed for the ammunition. After going up three tiers of managers the last one finally hung up on me it got so nasty. I wrote a letter to their CEO, but never received an answer.

Do I fly Delta now?

No way!

Only Southwest and American Airlines both based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They have both proven much more "gun friendly" in my experience.

Feel free to IM me offline if you have any questions.

Good luck in your travels.

October 4, 2005, 06:05 PM
TSA requires that the Magazines be unloaded and the ammo placed in the original ammo container or in a plastic ammo box.

I know this because the first time I flew I read the same pages and came to the same conclusion that I could leave the ammo in the magazines. Wrong!

Fortunately for me the TSA agent that inspected my gun, was kind enough to locate an ammo box and unloaded the magazine and placed it in the box for me. He didn't have to do that, and I appreciate his kindness. I had the pages from the airline printed out, etc and discussed it politely to no avail. All in all not a bad experience, but ever since then I have unloaded the magazines and put the ammo in the box and haven't had any trouble.

Now I don't agree with unloading the magazines, but that is the current state of affairs. I would suggest visiting has they have considerable info on travel with a gun.

Be Safe! Have fun!

October 4, 2005, 06:33 PM
I unload the mags, put ammo in original box, gun and empty mags locked in pistol case, ammo box and locked pistol case placed inside locking hardsided suitcase. No problems so far. Reloading/unloading the mags in the rental car parking lot is a pain in the rear though.

Tom Servo
October 4, 2005, 07:03 PM
Sounds like a real PITA. I may just buy a box of ammo when I get to Orlando, then dispose of it before leaving.

My main problem isn't Orlando (I'm visiting an elderly relative in a retirement community), it's the drive to/from Hartsfield-"Jackson" that worries me. I'm almost tempted to leave the gun in the car when I park it.

Thanks for the advice, especially about the mags. Just saved me a ton of potential headache!

October 4, 2005, 07:10 PM
Why not drive? It's more convenient and you don't have to deal with the jackboot thugery of the tSA.

October 4, 2005, 08:02 PM
When I flew to Florida from DFW on American, I put a Ruger SP 101 and a Taurus 605 together in a locked hard case. I then put a box of 357 mag. HydraShoks in my locked luggage with my clothes. They said this was OK and I had no problem with either. This was in August of 2001. It may be different now.
Since then, I have only flown Southwest with shotguns to go pheasant hunting. No problems there.
What are your experiences?


October 4, 2005, 09:39 PM
You CAN leave the ammo in the mags. Go read the TSA and airline guidlines. The mags have to be in a case though like a magpouch. I dont reccomend it though. THe only hassle I have ever seen was over this and the person had it stored correctly.

October 4, 2005, 09:46 PM
If you're pissed at someone pack a bullet in his bag where the guard will find it :evil:

October 11, 2005, 01:10 AM
flying from Hawaii to Rhode Island by way of Atlanta on Delta. It was pretty much a non-event.

I packed a Taurus 605 and 20 rounds of ammo in the original box in a small hardsided pistol case inside a locked semi-soft sided piece of luggage.

On this end we approached the e-ticket terminal and informed the person behind the terminal that I had a security item to declare. A ticket agent came over, escorted us to the other side of the line of terminals. The only negative part was her constant use of the word "weapon" in a fairly loud voice, is in "Which bag is the WEAPON in?" The TSA guy opened the case, glanced and the red tag, said "nice pistol", locked everything up and bid us a good day.

On the way back all the folks were a bit more quiet. The delta agent replied, "I would have no idea if is was unloaded. If you signed the unloaded declaration, that's good enough for me." to my offer to show her it was unloaded. The TSA folks never even opened the gun case. After viewing on the xray, they put the bag on the table, opened it, looked at the guncase, asked for the locks, locked it up, locked the suitcase, and bid us a good day.

Overall, except for the first ticket agent's loud voice...not a bad experience.


October 11, 2005, 01:20 PM
The TSA site indicates that the ammo can be placed in the same hard-sided case as the pistol but I've heard people say this doesn't always work. Do they harass you if you do this?

I am also flying to Orlando in the near future. I only have one hard-sided pistol case. I do have a large hard-sided suitcase but it isn't lockable and it has no wheels so I hate using it. If they don't allow me to put the ammo in the same case as the pistol will they allow me to put it in a soft-sided suitcase if that suitcase is locked and the ammo is in its original box?

October 11, 2005, 01:35 PM
I make it a point to carry a handgun on every flight where I know I legally can just to keep the system functioning.

October 11, 2005, 01:36 PM
I've had good luck at Hartsfield with the pistols locked in a hard-side pistol case and the ammo in the standard factory boxw/plastic insert setting in the bottom of the suitcase the locked gun case was in.

October 11, 2005, 04:34 PM
I hate to say it, but you should probably just drive (assuming you don't have a super gas guzzler).

My experience at Hartsfield-Delta airport has been one of long lines and idiots.

Figure that you will have to get there extra early to make sure the check in process with the gun goes smoothly, plus flight time, plus the fact I haven't had an on time flight out of Hartsfield in over a year now, you'll be more than 3/4 of the way there.

I did the drive to Tampa twice this year and managed about 6 hours of driving both times. Not to mention the peace of mind of my Kimber Tac Pro and a Bulgarian Makarov with loaded magazines.

I would venture to say it'll take you 30 minutes to get parked and taken to the airport. You'll probably want to get there at least 2 and a half hours early due to flying with a firearm. The flight will be about 1 and a half hours. Then figure another 30 to 45 minutes to retrive your posessions when you get to Orlando. Total 5 hours.

Atlanta to Orlando - 440 miles according to mapquest. If you average 75 miles per hour . . . 5.86 hours or 5 hours 51 minutes, and no TSA, union idiot headache.

Keep in mind I do enjoy open road driving :D

October 11, 2005, 11:26 PM
and had no problems. I had the gun in a locked pelican case which was in an unlocked soft suitcase. The ammo was in a factory box in the same suitcase. In 7 flights with a gun I've never had them even look at the ammo. I just tell them I have less then 1 pound of ammo in the factory box. They know you can have 11 lbs but they don't know how much 1 box weights so don't say 1 box. I just flew out of Newark, NJ and they made me go in the back with the ticket agent to show her that it was unloaded. It only took a minute. The TSA scanned the bag while I waited then off it went. No problem.

October 12, 2005, 01:27 PM
I flew from Pensacola to Newport News VA and back this weekend, brought a snubnose revolver and a box of ammo with me in my checked luggage.
I had no problems with either the Airtran personnel or the TSA on either end, though none of them were very knowledgeable about transporting firearms.
Out of 2 airline agents and 2 TSA agents, NO one ever asked me to show them that the gun was unloaded. I offered on both ends.
No one asked if I had ammo and I never volunteered the info.
The TSA person in Newport News thought that the luggage needed to be locked, in ADDITION to the hard-sided handgun case, but I told her that it was not required and she took me for my word. I had a copy of their policy in case it was needed.
All in all, pretty painless.

October 12, 2005, 01:37 PM
As I recall other than being in a factory box or plastic case... the only restriction was weight... I think it's like 3-4 pounds per person (which sounds like a lot, but consider what DG ammo for a .470 weighs)

I haven't travelled with a firearm in a while, it's just easier to borrow one when I get where I'm going.

What? Your friends/relative won't give you a 'loaner?' :uhoh: :scrutiny:

October 12, 2005, 02:30 PM
Dr. Rob, I'm pretty sure the ammo weight limitation is 11 lbs per person. In the end I surrendered the ammoAnd some TSA drone got some free ammo. I'll bet you wish you'd handloaded a few "special" rounds with enough of the right powder so as to generate 150,000+ PSI on firing . . . :evil:

Tom Servo
October 27, 2005, 08:28 PM
Thanks for all the good advice!

In the end, I've decided to drive. Why?

Don't want to risk catching airport personnel on a "bad" day and getting a hassle
I have metal in my hip, which leads to problems at the metal detectors (see above)
I don't generally like flying in a pressurized tin-can at 30,000 feet with no control on the process
Leaving my car in that area of Atlanta gives me the willies
Driving won't take much longer (thanks for that, Petrel!)
At no point in my journey will I have to be disarmed

It's been awhile since I've been on a good road-trip, anyhow.

Anything odd I need to know about Florida CCW that isn't listed on

Once again, thanks!

October 28, 2005, 01:47 PM
glad you guys posted this. i'm flying out of the dc area to st. louis over thanksgiving and will be checking my glock. first time having to do this, so definitely watching the rules of the land on this.

October 28, 2005, 03:45 PM
if you get stopped for a motor violation in Fla. tell the LEO you're carrying. The law says you don't have to, but tell them anyway. When you turn over your license , reg, ins card include your ccw and ask how to proceed.
You'll probably get a pass on the ticket. You may spend some time on the side of the road discussing your choice of firearm though.

enjoy Florida. the Gunshine State.
We gotta do something about South Carolina.


Tom Servo
October 28, 2005, 05:14 PM
You'll probably get a pass on the ticket. You may spend some time on the side of the road discussing your choice of firearm though.
So, in other words, nothing different than Georgia :)

I love living in the Free part of the country...

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