Crazy "Gun Case" question related to travel to JNB

Bwana'

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After careful consideration and extensive research I ended up purchasing a ticket to Johannesburg using Luthansa (Premium Economy).
Initially I had planned to rent camp rifles. I have heard some tales of Bushnel optics and at 20 dollars a day (12 day hunt) and5 dollars a bullet I could see myself racking up 400 dollars in cost.

So I inquired with Lufthansa, they said there is absolutely no charge for traveling with the firearm as Premium Economy is allowed two checked bags. One for luggage and the other for the gun case...

Here is where it gets all screwed up, in order for it to be free it has to weigh less than 23 KG (50 lbs) and measure in length, width and depth of no more than a total of 158 CM (62.2 in)

I have a Tuff Pack that is 53 x 12.5 x 11 (76.5 total inches) and an old Cabela's metal case that is 52 x 14.5 x 5 (71.5 total inches)

I have a Remington Model Seven in a &mm SA Ultra Mag that I think is right at 39 inches long.
I cannot find anything remotely close to 62 inches (total)
Just guestimating, I would say the bounding box of the gun itself (with scope) would be 39 x 8 x 2 for 49 total inches, leaving me with just 13 divided into the 3 axes (of x, y and z)

Does anyone know of a slimline single rifle case that has external (Length, Width, Depth) dimensions that total no more than 62.2 inches.
 

mdwest

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Quadruple check on the no charge for firearms thing...

I was told the same thing by Lufthansa in 2017... and when boarding in the US, I wasnt charged anything.. they just loaded my rifles, and off I went..

However when trying to check in at JNB to come back home, I was told I had to pay a $200 special handling fee, and was escorted to the Lufthansa customer service desk to make payment before they would check my rifles in...

I dont know if thats a JNB specific thing, or if it even exists anymore..

But Lufty and Frankfurt (where I assume you will be traveling through) are notorious for changing the rules on you and not telling you about it..

Frankfurt has had an off and on policy about getting a transit permit for firearms (I think that finally cleared up a few years back).. Lufty says "no fees" but then hits you with fees, etc...
 

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I do not know for sure about Lufthansa, but the other airlines I have flown on have not measured my gun case. Falls under "sporting goods". Same as skies. In my 5 trips to africa and a few to other places they have yet to charge me for my gun case being over sized. Lori at Travel express likely has the answer to whether they will or not. Might check that out before purchasing a new gun case.
Bruce
 

GuttormG

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Get that in writing... Lufthansa charges $$$ for firearms. And as a bonus you will be charged 100$ when checking in at JNB on your retur (Lufthansa has no staff there so you have to pay the handling agent)
 

One Day...

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Yes, there is a solution :) Pelican 1700

You are dealing with an issue we all have, which is that while it is generally easy, even with 2 rifles, to meet the 50 lbs maximum weight requirement for the rifle case, the typical 2 rifles case exceeds the cumulated 62" maximum size requirement.

One of the most common cases taken to Africa is the Pelican 1750, and it measures 53.00 + 16.00 + 6.12 in = 75.12". While this is clearly over the 62" maximum, a large number of people who have been to Africa have taken such cases and have not been charged for over-sized luggage. For example, I have gone multiple times and while my case has always been weighed, it has (so far) never been measured. Same story for a number of friends.

This seems to be the most common scenario, although some people have reported their case being measured, and being charged for over-size. It seems to be entirely depending on the counter agent processing your check in...

I fully expect the airlines to sooner or later wake up to this missed opportunity to charge extra and it is just a matter of time before every rifle case is measured...

Generally, even 1 rifle cases do not meet the 62" maximum requirement. Pelican has none to begin with, but the Storm 3410 1 rifle case is even "bigger" (because it is longer) than the Pelican 1750 2 rifles case at 57.74 + 12.71 + 6.67 = 77.12". As to the SKB 4909-5 1 rifle case, even its interior dimensions fail the 62" test with 49.00 + 9.00" + 5.00" = 63' so I would expect the exterior dimensions to be likely in the 70" range... There are some 1 rifle cases that meet the requirement, but I did not find one that I would be comfortable to take to Africa

The one solution that works is to use a Pelican 1700 and to take the barreled action out of the stock. This is the case used by Blaser, and it is long enough to accommodate standard stocks and barreled actions with barrels up to 26" long. The Pelican 1700 measures 38.12 + 16.00 + 6.12 = 60.24"

Pelican 1700.JPG

This is not my picture, it belongs to another AH member whom I forgot to identify when I was looking into this issue myself and took a screen shot of his pic, and to whom I apologize for the unattributed pic.

I am able to cram either 1 stock and 2 CZ 550 barreled actions; or 1 CZ 550 rifle and 1 Krieghoff Big 5 double rifle in my 1700 case... In both configurations, the weight comes just under the 50 lbs limit.
 
Last edited:

Hogpatrol

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SKB cases are an option. The only oversize baggage charges I've seen are with those big, bulky, aluminum baggage gorilla hated rectangular cases. Same here on measuring gun cases, never had it happen, only weighed.
 

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With two scoped guns, it gets you to exactly 50lbs:


However, you need to make sure you don't need the magnum to fit with your optics, etc. I always use detachable optics because in my opinion 1.) only a fool lets airlines throw your optics around, 2.) I'd rather not lose the guns+optics if the bag goes missing, 3.) Shaving the weight of optics, and by inference using a smaller rifle case, often gets you under the 2-gun 50lb and 3-gun biz class 70lb fee rules.

I'd be very careful to check with your gun-advisory travel agent as to whether your route and your carrier, Lufthansa, allows travel to your intermediary and final destinations. I've heard nothing but horror stories about Lufthansa, flying through the EU, dealing with German rules, having bags held for inspection, etc, etc., etc. The surprise fees you're going to have are not even in the realm of concern or consideration, assume you're out a $1000 in total for this exercise and you'll probably be under that amount end-to-end on the trip, your bigger concerns are do the guns arrive or not, price be damned.
 

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375Fox

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I do not know for sure about Lufthansa, but the other airlines I have flown on have not measured my gun case. Falls under "sporting goods". Same as skies. In my 5 trips to africa and a few to other places they have yet to charge me for my gun case being over sized. Lori at Travel express likely has the answer to whether they will or not. Might check that out before purchasing a new gun case.
Bruce
This has been my experience as well. A large majority of bags are actually oversized when measured.
 

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After careful consideration and extensive research I ended up purchasing a ticket to Johannesburg using Luthansa (Premium Economy).
Initially I had planned to rent camp rifles. I have heard some tales of Bushnel optics and at 20 dollars a day (12 day hunt) and5 dollars a bullet I could see myself racking up 400 dollars in cost.

So I inquired with Lufthansa, they said there is absolutely no charge for traveling with the firearm as Premium Economy is allowed two checked bags. One for luggage and the other for the gun case...

Here is where it gets all screwed up, in order for it to be free it has to weigh less than 23 KG (50 lbs) and measure in length, width and depth of no more than a total of 158 CM (62.2 in)

I have a Tuff Pack that is 53 x 12.5 x 11 (76.5 total inches) and an old Cabela's metal case that is 52 x 14.5 x 5 (71.5 total inches)

I have a Remington Model Seven in a &mm SA Ultra Mag that I think is right at 39 inches long.
I cannot find anything remotely close to 62 inches (total)
Just guestimating, I would say the bounding box of the gun itself (with scope) would be 39 x 8 x 2 for 49 total inches, leaving me with just 13 divided into the 3 axes (of x, y and z)

Does anyone know of a slimline single rifle case that has external (Length, Width, Depth) dimensions that total no more than 62.2 inches.
Have been through many times if you're adept at begging or sweet talking they will drop the charge likewise if they're busy but what the other reader said is accurate I've been charged 150 165 180 so say 200 in 2020 as I recall once you pay you do not pay again. Some countries are actually levying a rifle import fee now of about $150. Good luck I've always used my own rifles paid a little extra but that was best for me.
 

Bwana'

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With two scoped guns, it gets you to exactly 50lbs:


However, you need to make sure you don't need the magnum to fit with your optics, etc. I always use detachable optics because in my opinion 1.) only a fool lets airlines throw your optics around, 2.) I'd rather not lose the guns+optics if the bag goes missing, 3.) Shaving the weight of optics, and by inference using a smaller rifle case, often gets you under the 2-gun 50lb and 3-gun biz class 70lb fee rules.

I'd be very careful to check with your gun-advisory travel agent as to whether your route and your carrier, Lufthansa, allows travel to your intermediary and final destinations. I've heard nothing but horror stories about Lufthansa, flying through the EU, dealing with German rules, having bags held for inspection, etc, etc., etc. The surprise fees you're going to have are not even in the realm of concern or consideration, assume you're out a $1000 in total for this exercise and you'll probably be under that amount end-to-end on the trip, your bigger concerns are do the guns arrive or not, price be damned.

This will be my 6th trip to Southern Africa, all through a connection in Europe and all with guns. Flown, Delta, KLM, Air France and South African Air and never had a problem, so I am not worried in the least. Can things happen, but I am guessing the only solution is to fly Emirates, but its not feasible for everyone.

The question wasn't about weight, or more correctly mass of the gun case plus firearms, it was about the total of the external dimensions.

I have no issue meeting the 23 KG (mass), but they limit the gun case to 158 CM (62.2 inches) in total for length, width and depth.

The gun case you linked is to big to meet the requirements.

As a nerd engineer, I modeled my rifle plus scope on a CAD system and was able to define the smallest 3 dimensional box that my gun could fit in assuming a 3D rectangular shape.

The internal dimensions have to be no less than 38.5" X 13" X 5.25"
That totals 56.75"

Which using the average of the other gun cases use for the difference between their internal and external dimensions, my ideal gun case to be the smallest it could be to fit my gun would be: external dimensions have to be no less than 41" X 16" X 6.25"
That totals 63.25".

The smallest gun case is already over the size limit.

Grrr...

Two options, not go with a gun and risk a gun I am not comfortable with or take mine in a gun case that is over-sized and hope for the best.
 

C.W. Richter

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I've seen altered tape measures a time or two you might wish to bring one and hand it over to them...
 

sierraone

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My gun case totals 77 inches. Two trips to South Africa and two trips to Alaska and have never been charged for the case. But mdwest is correct. During the seven years I have been on this forum...Luthansa and the Frankfurt Airport seam to change the rules weekly.
 

wesheltonj

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LH does charge a Firearm Handling Fee.

I have used the Pelican 1750 on BA, without oversize charges, just the nasty firearm handing fee. I have never transport a firearm on LH. I have transported skis on LH, they were free leaving the USA, but a fee upon there return was charged in Munich. I had a long discussion at the airport about that they were free leaving the USA, but I did to want to leave them in Munich.
 

rookhawk

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This will be my 6th trip to Southern Africa, all through a connection in Europe and all with guns. Flown, Delta, KLM, Air France and South African Air and never had a problem, so I am not worried in the least. Can things happen, but I am guessing the only solution is to fly Emirates, but its not feasible for everyone.

It's not that Emirates is the only solution, its that it is an easy solution. With the others, all I can shout from the rooftops as a friend is that same warning you get from your stock broker: "Past performance is no indication of future results". Just be really careful with these squirrely airlines and their perpetual reinvention and reinterpretation of policies with guns. Lufthansa and the rest of the EU carriers are totally in the PC worldview and are embargoing guns, safari travel with guns, arms controls against African nations that impact you, killing you with bureaucracy you didn't forsee, and hitting you up with a dozen fees that you weren't prepared to deal with. (oversize bag, plus overweight bag, plus third bag, plus rifle charge = one rifle case can fly...that sort of quadruple taxation)

Since you're a nerd engineer that does CAD (kudos to you, I think thats awesome) I'd ask you to run the math if you had QD rings on that scope. How much smaller can you get it without optics? Also, how much smaller can you get it if you take the stock out of the action? Things can get pretty tiny with these sort of tricks.
 

wesheltonj

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  • 1 weapon in one item of baggage
    1 item of baggage with ammunition
  • Maximum number of baggage items: 2
  • Dimension (height + width + depth): 158 cm
Packaging information:
Charges are only incurred for weapons used for sport shooting or hunting if they are transported in a separate weapons case. There is no charge for small weapons packed in your luggage as part of your free baggage allowance.

Exceptions:

  • An additional charge per firearm is always levied in the following countries: South Africa EUR 50, Italy up to EUR 90 (dependent on the airport), Spain EUR 60, Turkey EUR 30.
  • The transportation of weapons to and from London Heathrow (LHR), Aberdeen (ABZ), Edinburgh (EDI), Inverness (INV) and Glasgow (GLA) is forbidden. Please choose another airport in London or Great Britain if you want to take your licensed sporting or hunting weapon with you.
Information about carriage:

  • Only sporting and hunting weapons, handguns and rifles plus securely boxed ammunition (cartridges for weapons) belonging to Hazard Division 1.4S.
  • Checked baggage: yes (NB: reservation required)
    Carry-on baggage: no
    On the person: no
    Carrier’s permission required: yes (This permission is not given in writing. It is given upon request and confirmed verbally at the Service Center or, at the latest, when checking in at the airport.)
  • Weapons and ammunition must be packed in different bags in accordance with IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. If necessary, a special luggage box must be used to separate both items from each other.
  • Weapons must be unloaded.
  • Ammunition carried in passenger aircraft must be for personal use for sporting and/or hunting purposes only.
  • Only ammunition classified as 1.4S, UN0012 or UN0014 will be accepted.
  • Each passenger may carry a maximum of 5 kg gross of ammunition (must be weighed) for their own personal use.
  • Ammunition must be securely packaged, i.e. in standard commercial packaging.
Prohibited:

  • Ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles.
  • Black powder may not be transported under any circumstances.
 

Bwana'

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It's not that Emirates is the only solution, its that it is an easy solution. With the others, all I can shout from the rooftops as a friend is that same warning you get from your stock broker: "Past performance is no indication of future results". Just be really careful with these squirrely airlines and their perpetual reinvention and reinterpretation of policies with guns. Lufthansa and the rest of the EU carriers are totally in the PC worldview and are embargoing guns, safari travel with guns, arms controls against African nations that impact you, killing you with bureaucracy you didn't forsee, and hitting you up with a dozen fees that you weren't prepared to deal with. (oversize bag, plus overweight bag, plus third bag, plus rifle charge = one rifle case can fly...that sort of quadruple taxation)

Since you're a nerd engineer that does CAD (kudos to you, I think thats awesome) I'd ask you to run the math if you had QD rings on that scope. How much smaller can you get it without optics? Also, how much smaller can you get it if you take the stock out of the action? Things can get pretty tiny with these sort of tricks.

I did some toying with orientations...

With the scope, I got the case size down to 41 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 6 (Total of 58")
Without the scope, I could reduce it further to 41 1/2 X 8 1/4 X 6 (Total of 55 3/4)
 

Bwana'

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  • 1 weapon in one item of baggage
    1 item of baggage with ammunition
  • Maximum number of baggage items: 2
  • Dimension (height + width + depth): 158 cm
Packaging information:
Charges are only incurred for weapons used for sport shooting or hunting if they are transported in a separate weapons case. There is no charge for small weapons packed in your luggage as part of your free baggage allowance.

Exceptions:

  • An additional charge per firearm is always levied in the following countries: South Africa EUR 50, Italy up to EUR 90 (dependent on the airport), Spain EUR 60, Turkey EUR 30.
  • The transportation of weapons to and from London Heathrow (LHR), Aberdeen (ABZ), Edinburgh (EDI), Inverness (INV) and Glasgow (GLA) is forbidden. Please choose another airport in London or Great Britain if you want to take your licensed sporting or hunting weapon with you.
Information about carriage:

  • Only sporting and hunting weapons, handguns and rifles plus securely boxed ammunition (cartridges for weapons) belonging to Hazard Division 1.4S.
  • Checked baggage: yes (NB: reservation required)
    Carry-on baggage: no
    On the person: no
    Carrier’s permission required: yes (This permission is not given in writing. It is given upon request and confirmed verbally at the Service Center or, at the latest, when checking in at the airport.)
  • Weapons and ammunition must be packed in different bags in accordance with IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. If necessary, a special luggage box must be used to separate both items from each other.
  • Weapons must be unloaded.
  • Ammunition carried in passenger aircraft must be for personal use for sporting and/or hunting purposes only.
  • Only ammunition classified as 1.4S, UN0012 or UN0014 will be accepted.
  • Each passenger may carry a maximum of 5 kg gross of ammunition (must be weighed) for their own personal use.
  • Ammunition must be securely packaged, i.e. in standard commercial packaging.
Prohibited:

  • Ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles.
  • Black powder may not be transported under any circumstances.
Thank you!!!!

I called and got another agent that was a bit more "Open" with their policy.

I was told as long as my gun case was under 23 KG and smaller than 158 CM total, there is on a $287 Lufthansa Fee plus a 50 EUR South Africa handling fee for each direction for a total of $692.50 if fees.

If it is heavier than 23 kg (but less than 32 KG) or larger than 158 CM, they said the Lufthansa Fee goes up to $460 each way pulse the S.A. handling fee of 50 EUR South Africa handling fee each way to total $1,038.50 to transport the firearm.

That’s not quite as cheap as I was led to believe, when the first agent said that as long as it met standard baggage weight and size restrictions it was free (plus the SA handling fees).

I bought through United, so there are no change fees and I may look at switching to the non stop from Newark when it goes on sale.

At least I won't be buying a new gun case...

Thanks ALL!!!!
btw, Emirates is sounding better.
 

wesheltonj

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. . . I bought through United, so there are no change fees and I may look at switching to the non stop from Newark when it goes on sale.

At least I won't be buying a new gun case...

Thanks ALL!!!!
btw, Emirates is sounding better.


What route are you taking with United? They have some quirky guns rules too depending on the route.
 

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I’d check again and see if there is a fee for oversized. Maybe they charge you or maybe they dont. At least you could take your gun.
 

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I've never had them measure my pelican single rifle case but its way over 62 linear inches. They always just took it as a second bag and weighed it.
But I have not flown to Africa, only U.S. to Canada.
 
 

 

 

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