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View Full Version : Shipping my rifle ahead of me.


Linburger
09-08-2009, 11:01 PM
I'm flying down to LA in about a week and I want to take my rifle with me. I don't want to deal with the hassles of checking in a gun at the airport. I'd rather ship it instead. I have a friend that lives in LA. Can I just ship the rifle to him and pick it up from him when I get there? What are the safety and legal procedures I should follow?

Mssr. Eleganté
09-09-2009, 2:36 AM
I'm flying down to LA in about a week and I want to take my rifle with me. I don't want to deal with the hassles of checking in a gun at the airport. I'd rather ship it instead. I have a friend that lives in LA. Can I just ship the rifle to him and pick it up from him when I get there? What are the safety and legal procedures I should follow?

Yes, you can ship it to him. There are no laws preventing it. You can use the USPS or UPS. FedEx and FedEx Ground both have rules in their tariffs that say you can't ship a gun to yourself, but many of their employees don't know this, so you might have luck with them. I recommend using UPS's "Adult Signature Required" service for a few bucks extra.

All that said, it is much easier to just take the gun with you on the plane.

kingosat
09-09-2009, 7:23 AM
It is more of a hassle to ship it rather than carry it on the plane. I travel with a firearm with me several times a year as I travel frequently for work and, without getting in to particulars, need it for my "job".

The TSA and airlines are very accomidating and really give you no hassle. Just fill out the firearm declaration with the airline, physically walk the case to the TSA agent and open it, then lock it back when the inspection is finished. Check with your airlines website first to see what their requirements are and PRINT THEM OUT and take it with you to the airport.

Just make sure the case is VERY durable! The luggage gorillas seem to take pride in trying to destroy anything that makes any attempt at looking durable!

Also, do not pack you ammo in the same case. Pack it in your regular, not cary on, luggage. No hassle there, either as I bring ammo back with me all the time.

Hope this helps.

paul0660
09-09-2009, 7:31 AM
You can ship it to yourself, even out of state: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#b7

Glock22Fan
09-09-2009, 8:03 AM
I'd say that flying with your rifle would be a lot less hassle than shipping it.

When I travel with (bolt action) rifles, I remove the bolt and pack that and the ammo separately. No need to do this whatsoever, but it gives me a little bit more piece of mind and it's then very easy to demonstrate that it is unloaded. I also tend to field strip my handguns. The airline clerks become visibly less nervous when they see that the gun is in pieces.

Maestro Pistolero
09-09-2009, 8:36 AM
I'd say that flying with your rifle would be a lot less hassle than shipping it.

When I travel with (bolt action) rifles, I remove the bolt and pack that and the ammo separately. No need to do this whatsoever, but it gives me a little bit more piece of mind and it's then very easy to demonstrate that it is unloaded. I also tend to field strip my handguns. The airline clerks become visibly less nervous when they see that the gun is in pieces.

Much easier to fly it than to ship. I've never seen a airline clerk get nervous. They do this all day long. I just pleasantly let them know I have a firearm to declare, and ask them for a firearm tag. They know the drill. Don't use TSA locks. I always put my cell phone number on the tag so TSA could call if they are confused at what they see on the Xray. They never have.

Also, sometimes they will want the tag inside the gun case, sometimes just inside the luggage if it's a pistol container in your checked bag, sometimes they will want you to open it, sometimes not. The procedure is all over the map.

If it's a pistol, you may have the ammo in mags, in the case, but not in the gun. The ammo may also be in the original box, but it's not necessary. The main thing is that the primers are protected from any impact.

If you haven't done it much, it's not a bad idea to review the latest policy of BOTH TSA and your airline, and print out the instructions to have with you. So when the agent tells you something you know to be false, like "TSA needs your keys in case they want to open the case" you can nicely correct them and offer to open it for them yourself (You are the only person who may be in possession of those keys, if TSA wants to open the case, they'll contact you to come and do it)

All of this sounds complicated, but I can tell you that in 20 plus years of flying with firearms, I have never once been detained, questioned or delayed in any way, and the only additional effort has been to fill out the tag, and put it where they tell me they want it that day.

It's WAY more hassle to pack up a gun and take it to UPS and FEDEX, who by the way, will only ship to a manufacturer or and FFL, and you are required by federal law to notify them when shipping a firearm. Although it's not illegal to ship to yourself, it's nearly impossible because the carriers won't do it.

Glock22Fan
09-09-2009, 8:47 AM
Maestro makes good points, although I have seen clerks tense up slightly as the case is opened and relax when they see it in pieces.

One other thing, I guess not of interest to the OP with a rifle, but I always put the handgun case inside a suitcase. That way, it is far less obvious and much less likely that a baggage handler or someone at the carousel will just grab it and make off.

Added: I think one of my first introductions to American gun culture was when I moved over here complete with my rifle, ownership of which in England being treated as if I owned a .50 cal full auto. I had all the right paperwork, but the customs were busy chatting. I eventually managed to get one of the officer's attention and offered him the BATF forms, telling him he was supposed to take one of the copies. He asked what the rifle was, and when I said a .22, he then just waved me away, saying "Aw, that's not a real gun."

bwiese
09-09-2009, 8:53 AM
Adding to the chorus: easier to fly with gun(s) than ship 'em.

If you were going to east coast, it might be different, esp if plane could be routed to NY/NJ.

Linburger
09-09-2009, 10:16 AM
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I'm going down to LA for school. The main reason I cant take the rifle with me is because I already have too many suitcases full of stuff for my dorm room etc.

What kind of case should I get if I want to ship it? Do I have to declare to UPS if it is a firearm?

Glock22Fan
09-09-2009, 10:48 AM
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I'm going down to LA for school. The main reason I cant take the rifle with me is because I already have too many suitcases full of stuff for my dorm room etc.

What kind of case should I get if I want to ship it? Do I have to declare to UPS if it is a firearm?

You are allowed to keep a rifle in your dorm room? Wow! I'm amazed.

However, from a practical viewpoint, it might be easier to ship a suitcase and carry the rifle.

My experience with the plastic cases that have sliding fasteners is that the sliders always come undone and there is no real provision for locking them. They are so long and flexible that they need locking at each end, or the case can be twisted open enough to slide the rifle out. I would prefer, money allowing, one of the aluminum cases with proper locks. THe Cabela's catalog and website has several.

Maestro Pistolero
09-09-2009, 10:54 AM
What kind of case should I get if I want to ship it? Hard case design for a firearms, Pelicans are some of the best, but may be overkill for grandpas .22.
Do I have to declare to UPS if it is a firearm?
Yes
http://www.fedex.com/us/services/terms/index.html?tsid=s1
http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/ship/packaging/guidelines/firearms.html

cmonk518
09-09-2009, 11:52 AM
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I'm going down to LA for school. The main reason I cant take the rifle with me is because I already have too many suitcases full of stuff for my dorm room etc.

What kind of case should I get if I want to ship it? Do I have to declare to UPS if it is a firearm?

WOW, what school are you attending!! I hope it's for security consulting, tactical, or gunfighting school. I don't know of ONE single school in Southern California that allows firearms, let alone rifles, on campus. ALL schools in CA are gun-free zones. Only LEOs are allowed to carry any kind of weapons on public or private campuses.

I would seriously check with the school and local police dept. if I were you. It is a serious felony and offense to carry weapons on school grounds and a charge which can never be expunged from your record since you are dealing with endangering staff, students, and school grounds. It will haunt you for the rest of your life with a weapons charge on school grounds.

Linburger
09-09-2009, 12:16 PM
I'm not going to keep it in my dorm room of course. I'm not that stupid. :D

My friend's house is less than an hour away and he has a safe there. He goes home almost every weekend and the only time I go shooting is with him anyways. I figure I can keep it with him until I find a range that rents out lockers.