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View Full Version : Airline Travel with the OLL AR


ChrisSig
11-22-2006, 6:35 AM
What is the consensus on airline travel with a fixed-mag rifle? I can foresee that there could be a hassle.

Fjold
11-22-2006, 7:03 AM
You would have to lock the bolt open and show them that it is unloaded. There is no requirement to remove the empty magazine.

slick_711
11-22-2006, 7:18 AM
I did it once over summer, the clerk at the check in counter wanted to look in the case but didn't know the difference anyway so I didn't have to clear it; then they wanted my keys for the TSA guys, which I promptly refused.

They actually brought me into the secure area to meet the TSA officer and he took the key and checked the case and then returned it. He was fairly understanding about my unwillingness to supply them with an "assault rifle" (OLL with properly pinned mag but who knows what they'd do to it). When I was coming back home I was late for my flight so it got left, but I'll be bringing it back Sunday and haven't been told of any issues despite explaining the situation to the airline clerks. Oh how I've missed my baby :rolleyes:

high_revs
11-22-2006, 7:25 AM
Question: If I recall correctly, OLL do not have to be registered. Isn't there a risk traveling with them? I used to work in the airport and as long as firearms are declared, it's fine. But with today's security levels...

ChrisSig
11-22-2006, 7:37 AM
My main concern is that a police officer would be looking over the TSA's shoulders, and would ask questions about the legality, or an over achieving TSA agent would think they know something about California law and call the police over. Then I would have to go through the whole rigamarole of explaining the OLL fixed-mag loophole, there would be gnashing of teeth, strip searching, no Thanksgiving turkey for me, etc. etc. :eek:

NorCal MedTac
11-22-2006, 9:23 AM
I have flown quiet a few times now with my OLL. I have had different experiences depending on what airport I left from. I've been shooting gripless so thats the way I travel with the grip sittign next to it in the case. I have never had an issue with flyign with them and have had PD guys looking at it while TSA is doing their thing. I think the most important thing is to not let them separate you from your case without your keys. They tried really hard to do this to me at San Jose and when I refused at first I though there would be an incident but explaining the rules to the check in lady at Southwest was actually pretty easy. No one at TSA cares that its an AR; most seem to drool looking at it. I did have one time when the had me break it open and pull the buffer spring out. I guess they were used to seeing solid stock rifles and the hollow stock with somehting in there caught them. However, once they saw in it they were happy. Take your paperwork about OLL FAQ with you. There is no more risk flying with them then at your local range with who knows who shooting next to you. Just make sure its in a CA legal configuration when you are flying home. I believe MysteryCereal on here works for TSA so PM him any questions.

ChrisSig
11-22-2006, 9:34 AM
I think the most important thing is to not let them separate you from your case without your keys.....Just make sure its in a CA legal configuration when you are flying home. I believe MysteryCereal on here works for TSA so PM him any questions.

Roger that.

Hunter
11-22-2006, 9:36 AM
One thing you can do is put the rifle into a soft gun sleeve and then but it into your hard case. The TSA folks are forbidden from actually touching the rifle and therefore cannot actually look into the soft sleeve. They will just wipe the interior for residue testing, check for any loose ammo and xray. I travel all the time with mine in this packing. It keeps the "looky" factor down, especially at the counter when you have to open the case up to insert your paperwork that they are unloaded. Last weekend I returned from back east with three guns in a case, one in a sleeve, one in a substantial zipper soft case and the other laying ontop of the other two (20ga pump), all in the same hard case. The TSA guy did exactly what I stated above and never once asked me to handle the guns (which you cannot do when the guns are in their posession) nor could he open up the soft cases since he CANNOT touch the guns either.

ChrisSig
11-22-2006, 9:42 AM
One thing you can do is put the rifle into a soft gun sleeve and then but it into your hard case. The TSA folks are forbidden from actually touching the rifle and therefore cannot actually look into the soft sleeve. They will just wipe the interior for residue testing, check for any loose ammo and xray. I travel all the time with mine in this packing. It keeps the "looky" factor down, especially at the counter when you have to open the case up to i nsert your paperwork that they are unloaded. Last weekend I returned from back east with three guns in a case, one in a sleeve, one in a substantial zipper soft case and the other laying ontop of the other two (20ga pump), all in the same hard case. The TSA guy did exactly what I stated above and never once asked me to handle the guns (which you cannot do when the guns are in their posession) nor could he open up the soft cases since he CANNOT touch the guns either.

You don't have to show them the rifle, and demonstrate that it's unloaded? Sounds like your way would be a good solution.

Hunter
11-22-2006, 10:09 AM
You don't have to show them the rifle, and demonstrate that it's unloaded? Sounds like your way would be a good solution.

You sign the paperwork saying that the guns are unloaded and insert it into the case in their presence. Some agents in the past have asked to see that they are unloaded at the counter, but that hasn't happened to me for at least 3 years now and I travel 10-12 times a year with guns on planes .

The bottomline is that the TSA folks do not want you actually handling the guns in the airport . Also I'm not aware of any law that says you have to physically demonstrate that they are unloaded, the xray will confirm that.

I do know that the TSA personnel are forbidden from actually handling the guns.

When you walk up to the counter, just say "I have a firearm to declare". That will trigger the response by the agent to get out the card for you to sign. While they are doing this, just proceed to unlock your case in preparation for inserting the card. They will hand you the card, fill it in with name, address, phone and sign it. Then in the same motion, just reach down and insert it into the semi open case and proceed to lock it up. By not hesitating and just moving thru the motions like you have done it a thousand times, the agents never give it a pause nor say a word once they see that you know what to do.

Also if you are traveling with your OLL, how about just breaking it down into upper /lower and packing each in a separate sleeve? Now doubt that they are unloaded then.


http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm

bwiese
11-22-2006, 12:16 PM
No airline policy to my knowledge asks for 'proof' that a gun is unloaded. Rather, they ask you to sign an attestation ("Firearms Declared") card that the gun is unloaded.

I've had a few counter girls unclear on this ask to see it's unloaded, and I've just said, "Honey, do you really want me to pull this out? It's gonna make a lotta people nervous & panicky. All I'm required to do is swear that it's unloaded, and I sure as hell don't want felony charges for having a loaded gun on a plane."

Works every time.

Can be a help if the upper's visibly separated from the lower, may help speed inspection.

I regularly fly with ARs and FALs (mine are reg'd AW) and handguns to ID/OR/NV and never have a problem. (Alaska/Horizon, as well as Southwest.)
And TSA doesn't give a damn about OLL vs non-OLL issues.

TSA guy in Boise airport: "Wow, nice M4. How much didja pay for your scope?"

MysteryCereal
11-22-2006, 12:36 PM
The TSA folks are forbidden from actually touching the rifle and therefore cannot actually look into the soft sleeve.


Yep. Could not have said it better.

ChrisSig
11-22-2006, 12:42 PM
Yep. Could not have said it better.

So, it's a case of "Pay no attention to the rifle behind the soft sleeve." :D

Thanks guys.

VeryCoolCat
11-22-2006, 12:48 PM
I've had a few counter girls unclear on this ask to see it's unloaded, and I've just said, "Honey, do you really want me to pull this out? It's gonna make a lotta people nervous & panicky. All I'm required to do is swear that it's unloaded, and I sure as hell don't want felony charges for having a loaded gun on a plane."


That'd be interesting though.

If it were a fal, sks or black tacti-shotgun with a louder CLICK-CLACK when you cycle it... that'd be even more funny :D

Everyone would stare at you :D

bwiese
11-22-2006, 1:31 PM
That'd be interesting though.
....
Everyone would stare at you :D

Actually I'd worry about being dropped by an airport or TSA rent-a-cop.

luvtolean
11-22-2006, 1:35 PM
Um, or a real sheriff's deputy who are in my airport all the time.

If I sauntered up into the line and looked up to notice a guy with an M4-gery out in his hands, I'd be REAL nervous. As in, looking for a way to get the hell out nervous.

If you run into a guy out on BLM land, it's expected and appropriate. It doesn't bother me at all, even when I'm not armed.

But it's not right in an airport.