Traveling with 2 Rifles to RSA: Gun Cases, Ammo Case, Gear, and Luggage?

NIGHTHAWK

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I know there are many threads on this topic, some are current and some are dated… I’m hoping to get some updated info consolidated. My last trip was 2014 (Its been too long)!

The Topic and Questions are for Safari to RSA.

2 Rifles in 1 case? Done this before and it worked out well; however, I’m on the fence as to wether or not I’ll bring 2 Rifles. .375 and a small Cal - I have 3 to decide on for Tiny 10 and other smaller animals.

-I now have a new custom wheeled case that carry’s my custom rifle and: optics, Kestral, and other gear… Only one rifle.
Can I (without risk) take other items/gear in this new case?
*I haven’t decided if I will absolutely take 2 rifles, but it’s worked out before.

Ammo case: I have a couple (unassuming) wood boxes/cases I’ve made and used over the years that carry 3 boxes or 60 rounds. Up to .375. They are hinged with 1 hasp for 1 lock and painted white with my name and number written on them in Sharpie and I usually tape my business card with email on it. They we worked fine for my last 3 trips to South Africa. I also have a couple Pelican Cases…
-Can I use the wood case? Does it absolutely have to travel alone as a checked bag?
-Pelican case? Can it have more than just Ammo? Say, the gear that may not be allowed to go in my custom case?
Locks?
-Type and style for rifle cases?
-Type and style for Ammo case?
-Does every hasp/lock hole need a lock?
Luggage: I normally travel with one carry on and a small backpack or messenger style bag.
-Now that I may need to shift some gear around, that may change due to the need to use up my carry on allotment on rifle and ammo cases.

**I’m bringing 3 other people with me (First timers to SA) it’s likely that one may not hunt or he may take one or two PG with one of my rifles and Ammo. My other option (Maybe) is to use one or both of his checked bags. Which would work out well.

Thanks in advance for the input!
 
Hi Nighthawk,

See this ongoing thread about lockable ammo boxes, rifle cases, padlocks, traveling, bribes and so on:
 
Hi Nighthawk,

See this ongoing thread about lockable ammo boxes, rifle cases, padlocks, traveling, bribes and so on:
Thanks. I was trying to follow that one as it developed.
 
It’s good thread. I think the challenge that everyone seems to have (myself included) is the lack of consistency with TSA. What’s fine one flight (domestic or international), is suddenly a corporal crime on the next flight, and vice versa. This is what makes things so challenging, just because someone has done things a certain way for a 100 flights to SA doesn’t mean it will guarantee the next person can do it that way.

That’s how I interpret the confusion and the problem.
 
It’s good thread. I think the challenge that everyone seems to have (myself included) is the lack of consistency with TSA. What’s fine one flight (domestic or international), is suddenly a corporal crime on the next flight, and vice versa. This is what makes things so challenging, just because someone has done things a certain way for a 100 flights to SA doesn’t mean it will guarantee the next person can do it that way.

That’s how I interpret the confusion and the problem.
Understood and agreed. That’s why I asked such specific questions, listed the circumstances, and why I’m looking to get clarification…
Although, I have plenty of time to prepare with options.
 
I know there are many threads on this topic, some are current and some are dated… I’m hoping to get some updated info consolidated. My last trip was 2014 (Its been too long)!

The Topic and Questions are for Safari to RSA.

2 Rifles in 1 case? Done this before and it worked out well; however, I’m on the fence as to wether or not I’ll bring 2 Rifles. .375 and a small Cal - I have 3 to decide on for Tiny 10 and other smaller animals.

-I now have a new custom wheeled case that carry’s my custom rifle and: optics, Kestral, and other gear… Only one rifle.
Can I (without risk) take other items/gear in this new case?
*I haven’t decided if I will absolutely take 2 rifles, but it’s worked out before.

Ammo case: I have a couple (unassuming) wood boxes/cases I’ve made and used over the years that carry 3 boxes or 60 rounds. Up to .375. They are hinged with 1 hasp for 1 lock and painted white with my name and number written on them in Sharpie and I usually tape my business card with email on it. They we worked fine for my last 3 trips to South Africa. I also have a couple Pelican Cases…
-Can I use the wood case? Does it absolutely have to travel alone as a checked bag?
-Pelican case? Can it have more than just Ammo? Say, the gear that may not be allowed to go in my custom case?
Locks?
-Type and style for rifle cases?
-Type and style for Ammo case?
-Does every hasp/lock hole need a lock?
Luggage: I normally travel with one carry on and a small backpack or messenger style bag.
-Now that I may need to shift some gear around, that may change due to the need to use up my carry on allotment on rifle and ammo cases.

**I’m bringing 3 other people with me (First timers to SA) it’s likely that one may not hunt or he may take one or two PG with one of my rifles and Ammo. My other option (Maybe) is to use one or both of his checked bags. Which would work out well.

Thanks in advance for the input!
1. Use the .375 with solids for the tiny's. You will see them when you don't have the other rifle.
2. Yes you can put anything you want inside the guncase just don't put a lot of clothes or anything that makes it look like you are trying to hide something.
3. Do not take your wooden ammo case. They will break it. Take a Pelican 1200
4. I would just have ammo and spare locks in the ammo case.
5. Snap Safe TSA locks are heavy duty and will last unlike the others. (do not use key locks)
6. I use Pelican 2 gun protector case whether I take one gun or two. I take out some foam and put rifle in soft case.
7. Every hole must have a lock on the gun case. I cut off the two plastic holes on my Pelican so I only have the two metal reinforced ones!

Keep planning and have a great safari! Check out my safari planning videos here and on my Youtube channel.
Philip
 
Another great "packing for Africa" thread with questions from newbies like me and answers from experts like Philip Glass and many others. Question: I'm planning on bringing a standard carry on with a small daypack (loaded) inside the carry on. I have several backpacks, but I don't think any are small enough for a carry on. I'm also planning on bringing a large standard cloth soft sided suitcase which I have flown with quite a bit with no issues. I see more than a few recommendations for a hard sided checked suitcase, but am not sure why? There won't be anything breakable inside it as the ammo box is hard sided and my binoculars will be in my carry on.
 
Another great "packing for Africa" thread with questions from newbies like me and answers from experts like Philip Glass and many others. Question: I'm planning on bringing a standard carry on with a small daypack (loaded) inside the carry on. I have several backpacks, but I don't think any are small enough for a carry on. I'm also planning on bringing a large standard cloth soft sided suitcase which I have flown with quite a bit with no issues. I see more than a few recommendations for a hard sided checked suitcase, but am not sure why? There won't be anything breakable inside it as the ammo box is hard sided and my binoculars will be in my carry on.
That will all work. There is nothing wrong with a soft side suitcase. There is west and tear on all of them so don’t buy a new one that’s for sure! The carry on is up to you just what ever is comfortable.
 
My day/backpack will hold enough that I really don't need to bring a suitcase, but I'll have ammo with me so I'll have the suitcase.

I started playing around with my rifle case today. I pulled out one piece of foam and can easily get my rifle, gun sleave, heavy jacket, and a pair of boots into it without needing someone to sit on it to get it closed. Total weight loaded it is 40 lbs.

My backpack will have a complete change of clothes, camera case, all necessary paperwork, and because I'm old all of my meds.

The suitcase will have some more clothes a Leatherman, pocket knife, notebook, ammo and a few other things to fill it up.

This trip I am taking about a third of what I took on my first safari.

Packing is interesting. Before I left for my javelina hunt I decided to condense my packing list. I ended up taking a bag that was smaller than a old gym bag but it had all the clothing that I needed for a weeks hunt.
 
@Philip Glass
I've got a Pelican camera case but was thinking that I'd ditch a lens to make room for my ammo in same case. Do you have thoughts on whether that would cause problems?
 
Unless there has been a recent change, NO TSA locks on gun cases. 49 CFR 1540.111 is quite clear regarding locks.
 
... I see more than a few recommendations for a hard sided checked suitcase, but am not sure why? There won't be anything breakable inside it as the ammo box is hard sided and my binoculars will be in my carry on.
Recommendations are not because of stuff being breakable but for thievery. OR Tambo is notorious for this.
 
I go to Africa about every year but still use Gracy Travel. I know most of the rules but if I need my flights changed or if something changes while I’m in Africa, Gracy can change things much more easily than I can from camp.

Use ONLY TSA locks on ammo case in case TSA wants to open it to inspect it after you have checked it in with airlines. I put my small pelican ammo case inside my checked bag to get to South Africa. If you make a connecting flight in SA, the airlines will want you to check it separately but it’s fine inside your other checked bag until rechecked in Joberg.

I use my Badlands 2200 daypack for my carryon with paperwork, shave kit, batteries, snacks and my binoculars inside.

I put as much gear in my rifle case with my rifles as I can to keep my other checked bag under 50 pounds.

Use Master padlocks with keys on rifle case. No one but you is allowed to open it after it is checked at the airport with you present with TSA.
 
1. Please look hard into the kestrel it is an ITAR item, I did not even try it due to that. I just used an app on my phone and avoided any issues. I mean think about it 375h&h your shots are probably going to be inside of 300 yards and atmospheric will not be playing that big of a hand at that distance.

2. Anything in your ammo box counts towards your 11# limit including the box itself.

3. Last year I brought 3 rifles to RSA 2 will not be a problem. The ammo to feed them is a different story, back to the 11#s again. If you fly out of Joburg then ammo flies separately.
 
As @Philip Glass said, take the 375 and you are done. Flat meplat monolithic solids for the T10. Premium expanding bullets like the Swift A-Frame or Barnes TSX for everything else.

If your rifle is properly bedded and can be separated into the barrel/magazine/trigger and the stock without loosing zero...it will fit into a Pelican 1700 (using 2 non-TSA locks) along with the other stuff you want to carry. Much easier to handle than the longer Pelican (or similar) rifle cases. Just make sure you pack the proper screwdriver to put it all back together when you arrive. Pelican 1700 can actually fit 2 rifles in this way if you really wanted to. I believe @One Day... has done it a few times with his CZ550's.

Ammo - Pelican 1200 locked inside your checked luggage. You can use TSA locks, but keep spares because they will cut them off.

Carry-On - Small daypack. I like mine around 10 liter capacity, but up to 25 liters would be fine.

Keep it simple. You will overpack...everyone does their first time. Try not to over think it too much. BTW - Unless you plan on sniping game at over 300+ yards, you can leave the Kestrel at home. Your PH is unlikely to green light you for shots beyond 200.
 
I appreciate all the input. Sounds like difference of opinions/experience between lock types, types of locks used on gun case vs ammo box, ammo box actually checked on as separate checked bag, ammo box put inside a checked bag but with its own lock on the ammo box…

My single rifle case has 6 Hasps for locks; it would be nice to use only two locks. I’ve always used 2 keyed locks for my aluminum rifle case because it was the style that has a rod on each end that also has two hasps. It doesn’t have wheels. I’ve taken it 3 times to SA. I’ll post a picture tomorrow.

My new case has wheels and is really designed for one rifle… It also has lots of extra storage and would be great if I only bring my .375 H&H SAKO. New Case with Wheels.
32017F25-21F0-4099-B6BC-D7AD65F0FDE7.jpeg
25774C1D-FD08-40B1-9B9B-CE092A0338F5.jpeg
406AF10A-6F2E-4ABC-8366-C1A3DF81875D.jpeg
 
Keep it simple. You will overpack...everyone does their first time. Try not to over think it too much. BTW - Unless you plan on sniping game at over 300+ yards, you can leave the Kestrel at home. Your PH is unlikely to green light you for shots beyond 200.
The Kestrel has dope in it for 4 or 5 of my rifles. One of my trips I shot Springbok st 300 yards and a Black Wildebeest at about 350 yards, but this trip my not require as long of a shot. So the Kestrel is not a big deal. However, it is a small item. I also have the dope in my RF Bino’s and RF itself…

I’m more concerned with combining gear with my rifle, types of locks, storing ammo in a checked on gear bag/suitcase, and what types of luggage/bags I should bring.

At this point, I’ll likely to bring two rifles in one case. I’ll have some wheels added to my older aluminum case and use it…
 

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