Questions on Air Travel with a Airgun
Could anyone tell me what is the current TSA rules pertaining to carrying pellets on the plane. Are they allowed to be in the case with the rifle or must they be separated. Can the pellets be in my carry on? I have travel two times by air with my air rifle in a approved airline case but the rules seem to change over time. I learned from my trip to AZ in 2017 that I need at least 2 TSA locks on my case which I didn't need when I traveled by air to Oregon in 2012. Also can you carry a GPS on the plane or do you need to check it in with you baggage? Any help is appreciated.
I've flown one time to the Cajuns. On the trip there I had my pellets in with my rifle under the foam. No problems. On the return trip I had them in my carry on. It was a problem. They took me aside. Even though I told them they were pellets, they confused that with airsoft. After they talked to a few different people they let me on my way. Not sure what the correct procedure is but I don't think that I, myself, will carry them on.
They confiscated all our carry on pellets last year going to the EBR. No problem going with air tanks. Coming home just the opposite. They wanted the tops taken off our air tanks. I refused and it became a shit storm of attitude. I showed them how I could push the valve so there was no pressure. They thought they could have drugs inside. It got a little ugly as I tried to explain we followed all TSA guidelines getting there and wanted to know why the return was different. We were about to miss the flight and they handed me my bottles and said take them as carry on. What? So locked in the checked gun case was less safe than over my head??? The only good news was they had confiscated the international travel air bottles and ended up giving me too many back.
So I wouldn't carry on pellets.
It is safest to put pellets in a checked bag. It is best to avoid the hassle with a scope or pellets in your carry on. Ammo is not supposed to be in the rifle case and you can argue that pellets are inert, etc. but again, best to avoid the hassle if you can. Some checkers will tell you no problem, others will call security for a decision. I've been to the basement area of several airports, not my favorite trip memories.
I'll Parrot the suggestion on putting your pellets in with your checked luggage. Another thing not mentioned; when asked if you have any ammunition your answer is NO! Don't mention you have pellets in your other checked bag it doesn't matter as they aren't explosive rounds. So again when asked if you have any ammunition the answer is No.
I used regular brass luggage locks and while I had to pen them for customs going both ways I don't consider it a hassle as it didn't delay me and ensured I was present during inspection. Will I be using TSA locks this year? Yes. I'm flying into England and don't want to hazard the hassle. Having no locks seems a folly as theft would be simpler. As for what's in the regulations and what's law due diligence is your best friend. research and print out whatever laws and sections of them that pertain to your travel items and have them immediately available at any point during your flight.
Concerning locks for firearms/air rifles, the TSA states that the owner should be the only person who has the key to the locks. That voids TSA locks. I have flown out of Raleigh & TSA came back and asked for my keys to check my pelican case. Bill, I know why Phoenix hit you up. When I flew out of Phoenix, they checked my rifle case. The TSA agent swiped it & then flipped the latches open. I asked if she wanted the key to open it. She said no. She was trying to see if she could get inside with the locks on. She told me people use cheap cases, one lock only, etc. & that she had actually been able to get guns out of the cases while they were locked. I use two master locks on my Pelican case & have never had any issues.
As far as pellets, always in my checked bag. Never in the rifle case or carry on. See you next week at the Cajuns !!!
John, Had TSA locks on my Pelican case and duffle bag with my bucket and gun tote inside. When I got to the practice range everything looked great but my rifle accuracy was not even on target. It was shooting about 18" to right and 12" high. It was late Friday afternoon and the targets were very shot up so I started shooting at flowers in the grass. That's how I know how far it was off. Turned my right windage turret about 4 turns clockwise and my elevation nob about 2 turns down. Then I asked the Range official if I could get a new target put up at 10 yards. I was on paper by that time and about 2" low. Once I had a impact reference it was easy to get my marks back in. Next time I travel by air I will be opening up my case for the TSA an not let them screw with it behind the scenes. I would recommend getting there early so they have time to contact you.
If I'm honest with you Bill that's not so terrible a scope shift for air travel. cases are treated like trash cans. You can ask/insist on being there when they inspect your gear though they might not let you. Also expecting excessive abuse and therefore some shift inevitable I left the scope rings loose and made sure everything was packed tight. When I got to Poland I lined up my indexing pieces of tape on the scope rail and was only a few click off my zero. Don't think I got lucky though. I had asked many others who do/have traveled by air about how they packed their guns and what to expect with handling both with the TSA, Customs, and baggage handlers.
Wow, I must have been lucky. Knock on wood, I have not had any scope issues from flying. I did replace the Pelican 1700 case middle foam with a stronger, stiffer piece of foam that I order from Amazon. I cut it out to fit the gun tight & so far no issues. Keeps everything in place. I have seen my case being removed from the plane & thrown on a cart. Made me pucker..
Bill, TSA doesn't open your rifle every time you fly. They have been in mine only one time . Before I left for the gate, they called me over & asked for my key.If they go in there, they will leave a card saying that they opened & inspected it. Also go back & read the TSA rules about firearms/air rifles. TSA locks are not allowed per the rules. You should be the only person with a key. TSA should have to ask you for the key to open up your case.