Peace of mind on the road
Sooner or later, many of us will face the less-than-pleasant prospect of traveling with our guns and equipment. Whether it’s a short upstate hop or an around-the-globe flight to exotic lands, taking our guns on commercial airplanes is touchy and requires a bit of preparation.
This article is not designed to cover the ins and outs of travel regulations; that is beyond the scope of this site (and would be difficult to keep current). For this information, I would refer you to your air carrier and/or the TSA. But, knowing the laws is only half the battle: you still need to protect your gear from theft and damage during baggage handling, as well as en route to and from the field. A minor investment in some first-rate protection equipment will greatly reduce the chances of loss or damage.
SKB Cases has protecting expensive and fragile customer equipment for over 30 years. If you have something that needs protection during travel, chances are they make a case for it. (For the right business opportunity, they’ll also make a custom case to your specification.) Their cases protect all kinds of products, from musical instruments, to electronic equipment, to sporting goods. And they are excellent.
SKB cases are molded from high-strength polypropylene copolymer resin. I don’t know exactly what that means, but the result is a strong, relatively light case that just exudes confidence in its ability to withstand abuse. The interior is constructed of a durable egg-crate foam (with a divider for their double cases) that securely holds everything just where you placed it during packing. Metal parts are kept to a minimum to enhance lightness; only the hinge pins and shackle guards are made of steel.
I went cross-country for a whitetail hunt earlier this year, and chose one of their Hunter Series double rifle cases to protect my Sako 75 and Leupold VX-L scope. My full-length rifle easily fit within the case (which accommodates guns up to 48″), as did three boxes of ammunition, my rangefinder, a hunting knife, some other accessories and even a gift-wrapped bottle of wine for my host. The case is securely closed by four oversized locking latches. Thoughtful appointments include swivel handles on two sides of the case and some recessed wheels in case you’d prefer rolling it to carrying it. The case is also watertight and dustproof, if you’re traveling in really extreme conditions.
My trip included a two-leg flight, and an hour drive over some rugged country. When I opened the case, I was delighted to see that everything was not only intact, but in the identical locations (and conditions) as I had packed it. A case simply cannot do better than this. Some deep scratches on the surface of the case, moreover, attested to the rough handling it experienced at the hands of the baggage gorillas. I would not hesitate to use this case to travel anywhere in the world with confidence.
Of course, any case is only as secure as the locks holding it closed. For my trip, I selected padlocks from Abloy Security. I chose a set of four of their model 330 padlocks, as the shackle length works perfectly with the SKB case to hold the cover tightly closed. Once the locks were secured, you couldn’t slip as much as a sheet of paper into or out of the case. The locks were ordered with identical keying for convenience.
Abloy locks feature a boron shackle to make life miserable for anyone trying to cut them. The body of the lock is similarly rugged, and Abloy has gone to great lengths to make their locks difficult to pick. All in all, they were (and are) a perfect companion to the SKB case. I couldn’t have chosen a more suitable lock for securing my case.
Traveling with guns probably never will be fun, but the right equipment can certainly reduce the hassle and worry factor quite a bit. The products in this article are of the utmost quality and should last a lifetime. I would recommend SKB and Abloy to anyone who is serious about protecting their investment while travelling.