Big Bore Ammunition Transport Issue On Airlines

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Oct 1, 2007
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Big Bore Ammunition Transport Issue On Airlines

Some hunters have had difficulty transporting .50 caliber or larger ammunition on commercial airlines. This problem was caused by the Department of Transportation (DOT) misinterpretation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations that allows the transport of ammunition up to 19mm. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has now clarified these rules and the Department of Transportation (DOT) website now contains the corrected rules, which you can find by clicking here or see below.

Hunters traveling with large caliber ammunition are encouraged to print out the ammunition page of off the Department of Transportation (DOT) website to ensure clarification if you are questioned when checking in for a flight.

Ammunition Page From The Department of Transportation (DOT)
Whether you occasionally or regularly transport ammunition aboard a passenger aircraft, you should know how to pack ammunition safely and securely. Properly packaged, small arms ammunition for personal use may be safely transported aboard commercial aircraft in checked baggage only. Additional rules from the airline may apply, so check with your air carrier before you leave for your trip.

What kinds of ammunition can I legally carry?
Small arms ammunition including ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber for a rifle or pistol and shotgun shells of any caliber. Ammunition must be securely packaged, not loose.

What types of boxes are permitted for small arms ammunition?
Ammunition must be securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packages specifically designed to carry ammunition. Original retail packages are fine if the ammunition is held in place and completely covered.

May I pack my ammunition in a clip or a speed loader?
Yes, provided the magazine or clip completely and securely enclose the ammunition (e.g., by securely covering the portions of the magazine where the ammunition is exposed with a metal, plastic or cardboard sleeve)

How much ammunition can I carry?
The US DOT regulations do not limit the total number of packages or the total weight that may be transported in checked baggage. However, the ammunition must be for "personal use." Many air carriers limit the amount of small arms ammunition that may be carried in checked baggage to 11 lbs (5 kg) consistent with international standards. If in doubt, check with your air carrier.

May I carry ammunition components?
You may carry separate non-hazardous components of ammunition such as empty cartridge cases or inert bullets. You may NOT carry separate hazardous components such as black powder, smokeless powder, percussion caps, primers, wrapped charges used in muzzle-loading applications, or similar items.

May I bring a loaded firearm on an aircraft (in checked baggage or carry-on)?
NO, loaded firearms are NOT permitted in carry-on or in your checked baggage.

What else do I need to know?
Airlines may have additional rules or restrictions on carrying ammunition. Always check with your airline before arriving at the airport.

Where can I go for additional information?
The Transportation Security Administration has a document called the TSA Public Education Fact Sheet, Transporting Firearms and Ammunition Aboard Commercial Air Carriers that outlines the rules for securely transporting firearms and ammunition. Other information from TSA on transporting firearms and ammunition can be found from TSA by clicking here. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives is a valuable source of additional information on firearms safety, click here.

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