December 14th, 2019

Great Gun Cases for Long-Distance Transport

firearms gun transport case all weather waterproof airline approved

Now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars on the new benchrest, PRS, ELR, or hunting rifle (and thousands more on optics), how are you going to get it to the range and/or hunting grounds? It’s important to transport your valuable firearms in high-quality gun cases. Good padded soft cases can work, but for long-distance hauling (and all air transport), we recommend hard cases with quality foam inside.

Choosing a Rifle Transport Case

Before he retired, Forum member Ron D. served as a Police Officer at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Ron offers some very important advice for shooters traveling with firearms and expensive optics: “Buy the best [rifle case] that you can afford. Don’t cry when your $3,000+ Benchrest rifle has a cracked stock or broken scope. Think about what it would be like to travel across the country and arrive with a damaged rifle. Remember the Samsonite commercial. (For you younger shooters, it shows a monkey throwing the suitcase around in his cage at the zoo.)

Baggage handling is NOT a fine art. There is no guarantee that your rifle case will be on top of all the other baggage. Then there is shifting of baggage in the belly of the plane. Ponder that for a while. Rifle and pistol cases must be locked. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that a simple pry tool will open most case locks. There is not much that you can do to disguise a rifle case. It is what it is, and opportunists know this. Among thieves, it doesn’t take long for the word to get around about a NEW type of case.”

Customizing the Foam Interiors of Gun Carry Cases

For the best fit of your firearms and accessories in a foam-interior hard case, you should customize the foam to fit. Some cases have “pluckable” foam. With these you remove small squares one an a time until the stored items fit. With other cases with dense foam interiors, you’ll need to cut the foam to fit. Here are two videos that show the process of tailoring foam to a rifle using an electric cutting tool. Watch these videos carefully — they can really help create the best custom-fit for your firearms.


firearms gun transport case all weather waterproof airline approved

Pelican 1750 Waterproof Travel Vault Case

firearms gun transport case all weather waterproof airline approved

Guncases.com, an Optics Planet company, offers a wide selection of quality, durable gun cases. One of the best units offered is Pelican 1750 Waterproof Rifle Case – Travel Vault Protector. If you’re headed to a very rainy/snowy climate, or transporting your rifle on a boat, consider this option. The waterproof Pelican 1750 case measures 53.00″ x 16.00″ x 6.12″ outside and weighs 25.5 pounds unladen. It features an O-Ring Seal, Pressure Relief Valve, and a lifetime warranty. It is offered in three colors, OD Green, Black, and Desert Tan, starting at $284.49. This is pricey, but it is one of the highest-rated cases you can buy.

Pelican Vault Series Rifle Cases

firearms gun transport case all weather waterproof airline approved

Pelican Products, known for premium hard-shell transport cases also offers a more affordable VAULT series of cases. Pelican’s VAULT cases offer durability and security at a lower price point. VAULT cases range in price from $39.99 to $199.99 and are backed by a 1-year guarantee. The VAULT rifle cases all feature wheels, easy-to-use push-button latches, and four stainless steel lock hasps for security. There is also a brightly colored Hi-Viz strip on the front of Pelican’s VAULT cases. This will make it easier to spot your case at airport baggage areas. The model V800 double-rifle case features a 53″ x 16″ x 6″ interior. That’s long enough for F-Class rifles and tactical rigs with brakes. The model V770 single-rifle case is 50″ × 10″ × 6″ inside. That’s still big enough for most hunting, varmint, and benchrest rifles.

SKB Double Rifle Case

firearms gun transport case all weather waterproof airline approved

GunCases.com also offers SKB Gun Cases. The SKB model 2SKB5009 Double Rifle Case is an excellent choice carrying two rifles long distances. This has a very tough exterior with a metal middle frame for extra strength. Priced at $289.99, this case has exterior dimensions: 56″ L x 16.5″ W x 9.5″ H. This photo shows the case carrying both an M1A and an M1 Garand. NOTE: The foam is not really customizable. This is not the best choice if you plan to carry a single rifle and a spotting scope and a second barrel.

Plano Two-Gun Tactical Case

firearms gun transport case all weather waterproof airline approved

This Plano two-gun case is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in wheeled, heavy-duty firearms cases. This is offered in three sizes: 36″, 42″, and 52″. We like the biggest 52″ version, ($96.21 on Amazon), as it is long enough inside to fit most scoped match rifles. Alternatively, if you have a really long F-Class, ELR, or Palma rig, you can detach the barreled action from the stock, and run the two sections in the shorter 42″ case. The big case lets you easily carry TWO scoped hunting rifles. That’s great because this case is strong enough for airline travel, meeting FAA requirements for checked baggage. This Plano case offers a good balance between strength and weight, all for a reasonable cost. Yes a Pelican 1750 is somewhat better, but that will cost about $285.00 — three times as much.

CaseCruzer Handgun Cases

CaseCruzer gun pistol case revolver magnum 6-pack 5-pack 4-pack 3-pack

A California company, CaseCruzer, makes the nicest multi-pistol hard cases we’ve ever seen. With capacities from 3 pistols to 6 pistols, these lockable range cases hold handguns securely in angled “quick-draw” slots. In addition to the molded pistol carriers, there are slots for magazines together with a separate compartment for muffs, ammo, and other accessories. Starting at $240.00 MSRP for the Quick Draw 3-Pack, these boxes are expensive, but they offer great protection with great usability. Water-tight and dust-proof, CaseCruzer cases are airline approved (ATA 300).Now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars on the new benchrest, PRS, ELR, or hunting rifle (and thousands more on optics), how are you going to get it to the range or hunting grounds? It’s important to transport your valuable firearms in very high quality gun cases. Good padded soft cases can work, but for long-distance hauling (and all air transport), we recommend hard cases with quality foam inside.

Video Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 14th, 2019

AR, Garand, M1A — Six Rules for Gas Gun Reloading

Reloading for Service Rifles
SFC Lance Dement as featured in CMP’s First Shot Online.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a great series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post covers key factors to consider when loading ammunition for Match Rifles and Service Rifles, with a particular focus on self-loading “gas guns”. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

We offer some “cardinal rules” to help new gas-gun handloaders with safety and efficiency. These address both Match Rifle and Service Rifle versions of the AR15, M1 Garand, M1A, and M110. However, they can also improve safe reloading for many other auto-loaders such as M1 Carbines, FALs, SIGs, etc. The author distilled these principles many years ago to help focus on the essential aspects of these rifles.

RULE ONE: Service Rifles Are Not Benchrest Rifles
Gas-guns require a relatively loose fit between ammunition and chamber (vs. bolt actions) for safe, smooth operation. Many techniques, such as neck sizing and keeping cartridge headspace quite tight, are popular in the extreme bolt gun accuracy realm. However, they are of little value with Service Rifles, and some could even be hazardous. Before adopting a specialized technique, seriously consider whether it is appropriate and beneficial in a gas-gun.

RULE TWO: Never Compromise Safety to Obtain Accuracy
Example: If choosing a brand of great, but ultra-sensitive match primers offers possibly better accuracy at the risk of slam-fires in your design of rifle, don’t do it! You are issued exactly two eyes and ten fingers (best-case scenario). Risking them trying to squeeze 0.25 MOA better accuracy out of an M1A, etc. simply isn’t worth it.

Reloading for Service Rifles

RULE THREE: Tailor the Precision to Your Individual Skill and Your Rifle’s Potential
This has been addressed here before, but bears repeating for newcomers. If you are struggling to break out of the Marksman Class, or using a CMP M1 “As-Issued,” then laboriously turning the necks of your 600-yard brass is a waste of time. Your scores will improve much faster by practicing or dry-firing. On the other hand, if the reigning champions anxiously check your scores each time you fire an event, a little neck-turning might not be so far-fetched.

Verifying Load Improvements — Accuracy hand-loading involves a wide variety of techniques, ranging from basic to rather precise. Carefully select those which offer a good return on investment for your time and labor. In doubt? Do a classic pilot study. Prepare ammo for at least three or four ten-shot groups with your new technique, vs. the same with your standard ammo. Then, pick a calm day and test the ammo as carefully as possible at its full distance (e.g. 200, 300, or 600 yards) to verify a significant improvement. A little testing can save much labor!

RULE FOUR: Be Your Own Efficiency Expert
Serious Service Rifle shooters generally think of ammunition in terms of thousands of rounds, not “boxes”, or even “hundreds”. Analyze, and WRITE DOWN each step in your reloading process. Count the number of times each case is handled. Then, see if any operations can be dropped or changed without reducing safety or accuracy. Eliminating just two operations saves 2000 steps per 1000 rounds loaded. Conversely, carefully consider any measurable benefits before adding a step to your routine.

RULE FIVE: In Searching for Greater Accuracy with Efficiency, Look for System Changes
For example, instead of marking your 300-yard rounds individually to differentiate them from your 200-yard ammo, would a simple change in primers work? If accuracy is maintained, using brass-colored primers for 200 and silver for 300 provides an indelible indicator and eliminates a step! Similarly, rather than spending hours selecting GI surplus brass for weight and neck uniformity, consider splurging on some known, high-quality imported match brass for your 600-yard loads. Results should be excellent, time is saved, and given limited shooting at 600 yards, brass life should be long.

RULE SIX: Check All Your Primers Before Packaging Your Loaded Ammo
This seems simple and even intuitive. However, many slam-fires (which were much more common when M1s and M1As were the standard) are due, at least in part, to “high” primers. Primers should be seated below flush with the case head. The USAMU has addressed this at length in a previous column, but each round should be checked for properly-seated primers before they are packaged for use.

Reloading for Service Rifles

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
December 14th, 2019

That’s a Gun Collection! $1.9 Million Worth — Elmer Keith

Elmer Keith Gun auction guns & Ammo magazine

Back in 2015, the firearms collection of famed gun writer Elmer Keith went to auction. The Keith Estate auction drew interest from around the globe, and bidding was strong. When the dust settled, and all the individual lots were totaled, Keith’s remarkable collection sold to various bidders for $1,905,458!

High-priced highlights from the auction are shown below. NOTE: You can see more than 60 other Elmer Keith firearms, along with a list of final auction prices. The Guns & Ammo website has a detailed, illustrated report on the Elmer Keith auction with dozens of high-quality photos.

CLICK HERE to see dozens more firearms from the Elmer Keith Estate Auction.


Lot 1038: Colonel Jim Corbett’s .450/.400 “Tiger Rifle” (Sold for $264,500.00)

Elmer Keith Estate Auction Corbett Rifle Tiger boxlock

Dangerous Game Rifles in Collection
The legendary “Corbett Tiger Rifle”, a Jeffery boxlock .450/400 was used by famed hunter Edward James “Jim” Corbett. This rifle was featured in Corbett’s book Man-Eaters of Kumaon. Two of the man-eating tigers Corbett hunted were believed to have killed over 800 humans in the Kumaon Hills of India.

Elmer Keith Estate Gun Collection auction


Lot 1005: Colt SAA No. 5 .44 Special “The Last Word in Sixguns” (Sold for $80,500.00)
This famous revolver started as a Colt SAA, but then was heavily modified. The top strap of the frame was welded up into a flat-top target configuration, with an adjustable rear sight added. The hammer was modified with a Bisley-type target spur. The unique grip of the Number Five was created by marrying a modified Bisley backstrap to a Single Action Army trigger guard. His most famous pistol, Keith called this handgun “The last word in fine six-guns”.

Elmer Keith Estate .357 Magnum bisley elmer keith

(more…)

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Handguns No Comments »