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Flying with a rifle out of Dulles Airport - Tips?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by jjduller1946, May 5, 2007.

  1. jjduller1946

    jjduller1946 Well-Known Member

    I am about to fly out to Montana with a varmint rifle and 400 rounds of 223 ammo. I will be flying Northwest. I am wondering if I will run into any bumps that will leave me without a rifle or ammo in Montana. I have my ammo in 50 round plastic ammo boxes.

    Here is what NW says:

    "In addition to one (1) of the above items, Northwest accepts small arms ammunition up to a maximum of 11 pounds (5 kg). Guns and ammunition may be in the same piece of luggage. However, ammunition must be within its own packaging.

    For trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific travel, firearms may be included in the free luggage allowance as described above. However, for international travel you must obtain and comply with regulations governing the transportation of firearms for *ALL* countries you are traveling to, including those where only flight connections occur.

    Northwest accepts firearms, handguns, and ammunition under the following conditions:

    All firearms must be locked in a suitable crush-proof / hard-sided container manufactured specifically for firearms or hard-sided suitcase. Hard-shell gun cases can be purchased at domestic airports.

    Ammunition must be in the manufacturer's original packaging or a container specifically designed for ammunition. Ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles will not be accepted.

    Due to TSA regulations, gun cases must be properly locked. Often gun cases require further TSA inspection.

    To avoid the breaking of passenger's gun case locks, NWA recommends the use of TSA approved locks. TSA approved locks (Searchalert) come with a tool that enables TSA screeners to open the lock without damaging it. Searchalert locks are available for sale at NWA stations in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg."

    Any suggestions? I have the TSA locks. What can go wrong?

  2. musher

    musher Well-Known Member

    49CFR1540.111 says that only the passenger may retain the key or combination to the lock securing the gun case.

    Seems to me that using a TSA lock violates that provision.

    I generally use a regular padlock with no backdoor key.
  3. ripcurlksm

    ripcurlksm Well-Known Member

    I have flown several times without too much trouble so dont sweat it. Here is what you must do:

    1) Declaire your firearm when your check you luggage (I usually wait until my other bags are checked and save the gun for last)

    2) Present your UNLOADED firearm in a HARD-SIDED and LOCKED case. If they request to open your case, you should never give your key or combination WITHOUT BEING PRESENT, to ensure that your firarms are packed back the way you left them AND LOCKED.

    3) Print this TSA sheet out and keep it on your person if they will not let you be present during the inspection: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm
    NOTE: One time they did not want to open it, they wanted to run it through the X-RAY machine while still locked, this IMO is ok. Stay with your weapons until all is ok.

    4) All ammo must be in its original packaging including the box! Also you are limited as to how much ammo you are allowed to bring, so double check!

    5) Call your airline and double-check their firearms policy, they are usually surprised and very nice.

    Last step, RELAX! I have flown several times with my handgun, and long arms and have not had any trouble other than inspection or x-rays.

    Hope that helps!
  4. ripcurlksm

    ripcurlksm Well-Known Member

    Dont use their TSA locks, get your own and be there for all inspections!
  5. waterhouse

    waterhouse Well-Known Member


    Just let the TSA folks know that you have a firearm in the bag and would like them to inspect it while you are there so you can lock it when they are done.

    Get there a little earlier than normal.
  6. Winter Borne

    Winter Borne Well-Known Member

    Flying from Dulles is easy, and I have never had a problem. I would suggest that unless this is a one way flight, find out the procedure of the airport your comming back on. I got to NY with out a hitch, but nearly missed my return from Westchester after a 90 min delay that involved 4 TSA folks and 5 County police officers. The issue wasn't my rifles, but the ammo. I almost had to donate 200 rounds of lakecity 223 to the cops until a supervisor gave me th go ahead.

    All happened with other passengers checking in, so needless to say, noone talked to me on this flight.

    Funny aside; The tsa officer hands my M4gery to this county cop with a look of total disgust as if to say, " look what we got here." The cop grabs my rifle and says, " WOW, I have always wanted one of these but my wife won't let me get one!" He then plays with it for about 4 min before handing it back, the whole time aksing me one question after the other about the modifications I hade made, and the Aimpoint scope and such. Took the wind right out of the TSA's guys sails.

  7. brickeyee

    brickeyee Well-Known Member

    Watch out for weight limits on ammunition.
    The 11 pound limit may be strictly enforced and they will not allow you to even pay excess charges if you are over (it is viewed as a safety issue).
    They can also get picky about packaging, but the rules are usually 'original commercial packaging or equivalent.'
  8. sierrabravo45

    sierrabravo45 Well-Known Member

    PM sent to you.
  9. Rabid Rabbit

    Rabid Rabbit Well-Known Member

    I've flown out of Dulles on Nortwest going to MN. They didn't have to open the case to inspect. They just ran the case through a high energy scanner and could tell if it was loaded or not. Comming back was different they had to hand search, they found the savage rifle on top but complety missed the m4 below the savage.

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