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April 6th, 2008

Gun Transport Tips from an O'Hare Airport Cop

Before he retired, Forum member Ron D. served as a Police Officer assigned to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Ron offers some excellent advice for shooters traveling with firearms and expensive optics.

gun transport caseFirst, Ron explains that airport thieves can spot bags containing firearms no matter how they are packaged: “Don’t think you’re safe if your guns are placed in cases designed for golf clubs or trade show items. Baggage is X-Rayed now and cases are tagged with a special bar code if they contain firearms. It doesn’t take long for bad guys to figure out the bar coding for firearms.”

Carry-On Your Scopes and Expensive Items
Ron advises travelers to avoid placing very expensive items in checked baggage: “When traveling by air, carry on your rangefinder, spotting scope, rifle scope, medications, camera, etc. You would be surprised at the amount of people that carry-on jeans and shirts, but put expensive items in checked baggage. Better to loose three pairs of jeans than some expensive glass.”

Mark Bags to Avoid Confusion
Ron notes that carry-on bags are often lost because so many carry-on cases look the same. Ron reports: “People do accidentally remove the wrong bag repeatedly. I frequently heard the comment, ‘But it looks just like my bag.’ When de-planing, keep an eye on what comes out of the overhead that your bag is in. It’s easy to get distracted by someone that has been sitting next to you the whole flight. I tie two streamers of red surveyors’ tape on my carry-on bag.” You can also use paint or decals to make your carry-on bag more distinctive.

Choosing a Rifle Transport Case
Ron advises: “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 (e.g. to Montana or the Cactus Classic) 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.”

gun transport case

General Advice for Air Travelers
Ron cautions: “Keep your hands on your items before boarding. One of the most often heard comments from theft victims was, ‘I just put my computer down for a minute while I was on the phone.’ Also, get to the baggage claim area quickly. If your family/friends can meet you there, so can the opportunists. Things do get lost in the claim area. Don’t be a Victim. Forewarned is forearmed.”

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April 6th, 2008

RCBS Partner Press

Compact in size, and weighing just 5.3 lbs., the RCBS Partner Press is popular with 100/200 yard benchresters who load at the range between match relays. Made of cast aluminum with a steel compound-leverage linkage, the Partner press is small enough to fit in a toolbox, and light enough that it can easily be moved from truck to loading table. Natchez Shooters Supply has the Partner press on sale currently for $58.20. Elsewhere you’ll see it priced from $60.00-70.00.

While we prefer something beefier for heavy case-forming duties, the Partner is a good portable press that you can take to the range or on a varminting trip. In the shop, it has a small footprint, so it doesn’t take much space on your bench. The Partner handles full-length sizing of smaller cases such as the 22-250 and 6mmBR with ease. The big ball handle is comfortable and there is enough leverage to handle most tasks. This press WILL load accurate ammo — last week we tunnel-tested 220 Russian ammo loaded on a Partner press. (Bullet seating was done with hand dies on an arbor press.) That ammo produced three-shot groups in the ones and zeros.

Negatives? We would NOT use the Partner for heavy case-forming duties, and the Partner is not designed for large magnums or very long cases. The press is less rigid than its RCBS RockChucker Big Brother and the priming system is inefficient. As with most presses we recommend you use a separate tool for priming.

Still, given its price and intended purpose, the Partner performs admirably. The Partner is also a good choice if you’re looking for a small, secondary press to mount on a portable workstand, so you can de-cap cases or seat bullets while watching TV or working indoors.

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