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August 23rd, 2021

Air Travel with Firearms — Smart Advice by Stan Pate

tsa luggage rifle case Stan Pate Airline Travel

Savage Arms offers a series of Shooting Tips in the Savage Blog. Here is a helpful article from Team Savage Shooter Stan Pate. This covers how to ship your rifle safely, and then re-establish zero properly when the gun is reassembled after transport.

Traveling with Firearms — Important Advice

Traveling with firearms can be stressful. You must comply with multiple regulations and then trust your expensive guns to airline baggage handlers. And after arrival you’ll need to put your rifles back together and confirm the zeros. This article offers helpful travel advice from Team Savage shooter Stan Pate. Pate has traveled the globe competing with match rifles. Here he shares his tips for making trips easier on you and your firearms.

Easier Air Travel With Firearms
TSA isn’t nearly as careful with your rifles as you are. Proper storage before sending your firearm up a conveyer belt and into the belly of a plane is critical. Stan Pate spends lots of time each year traveling the skies and has devised a system for keeping his rifle safe when going to and from.

“Never travel with your firearm completely assembled,” Pate cautions. “A fully assembled firearm is much heavier than one that has been broken-down and stored. More weight creates more in-the-case movement, which can result in damage. I learned this the hard way years ago. My rifle was actually broken in half when traveling to an international competition. Record your torque settings, use those settings during reassembly and your return to zero should be no problem.”

“Be sure to check on current TSA rules and regulations before travel to be aware of any changes that may effect how you pack your rifles,” says Pate.

Rifle Reassembly and Resetting Zero
The quicker you can reestablish your zero, the quicker you can relax and stop worrying about if your rounds are going to hit their mark during competition. Pate, over the years, has developed a system for rifle reassembly and getting back to zero as quickly as possible. While his torque settings may not be the same as yours, the process can still be used.

tsa luggage rifle case Stan Pate Airline Travel

“The barreled-action goes back on the stock, and then I tighten all three receiver screws finger tight,” says Pate. “Next, I tighten the front two receiver screws down to 35-inch pounds. The rear receiver screws on this particular rifle likes 15-inch pounds. [Note: Proper torque settings will vary with your action and stock type. Most actions have TWO screws, not three.] Scope attachment comes next, and I follow manufacturer settings when tightening it down. All that’s left to do now is go zero your rifle.”

This video explains an efficient method to Re-Zero your rifles

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May 9th, 2019

How to Ship Guns, Barrels, Scopes, and Ammo Safely

Shipping information news Fedex UPS USPS postal service

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEXGun guys are always shipping stuff around the country — whether it’s a barrel to be chambered, or a scope that needs to go back for warranty repair. Or maybe you’ve sold some bullets or reloading dies you no longer need. To ensure your precious packages get to their destination in one piece, it’s important to take precautions when boxing up your items. And by all means insure packages for full value — even if your packaging is perfect, there is always the possibility that your shipment might be lost altogether. Sadly, that can happen, no matter which carrier you choose: Fedex, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Here are some tips for shipping gun stuff — we explain how to pack items properly and how to minimize the risk of loss.

Tips for Shippers
Dennis Haffner from McGowen Precision Barrels offers some advice on how to avoid damage when shipping gun parts or other valuable or heavy items. Dennis explains:

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX“First, I started double-packing the contents and in many cases double-boxing. I spend a fortune on heavy-reinforced shipping tape. If the contents are loosely packed, the package is going to get crushed. On real important items or delicate items, wrap the content in plastic and spray the inside void areas with non-expanding foam. They make shipping foam just for this. This method really works. Since I started paying more attention to packaging, I have just about wiped out my issues with all three companies (Fedex, UPS, USPS). Yes, I hate doing it, but in the long run for us, it’s cheaper.

Bullet shipments are the worst — a shipment of 500+ bullets can destroy a cardboard box. I have ordered bullets from individuals who put them in baggies and filled the remainder of the box with foam peanuts. That is not going to work. Any piece of metal, including a die, will puncture a cardboard box, or destroy a padded envelope. Just look at the tracking information and imagine your package bouncing around in the back of the shipping truck, probably under many other packages. My advice is to NEVER use padded envelopes. Barrel nuts or recoil lugs will most likely never make it.

ORM-D items are required to be shipped in heavily-reinforced, double-walled containers. The packages still get a little damage, but the contents usually survive.

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEXHow do shipments get damaged? Consider this — one of the shipping companies this year flipped (overturned) one of our new CNC machines (which rendered it useless). Maybe your small packages were in the same delivery truck as my CNC machine. I wonder how many little boxes were crushed underneath it.

As for USPS flat rate boxes — you would not believe what people try to stuff in these boxes. USPS finally put a weight limit on the boxes — they had to. I sometimes take my delicate items packed in an envelope or small box. I spray foam in a larger flat rate box and insert the smaller package, then fill the remainder of the void with foam. It works, and part usually arrives undamaged.”

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX
Shipping Rifle Barrels (PVC Tube and Tennis Ball Method)
A new match-grade barrel can cost $350 or more, and it might take six months (or more) to replace it, given the current wait time with top barrel-makers. So, you don’t want your nice new tube to get damaged in transit. Forum Member Chuck L. (aka “M-61″) offers these tips for shipping rifle barrels:

shipping gun parts UPS FEDEX“Packing a barrel can be a problem. Here’s a shipping method that won’t stop lost shipments but so far has stopped damage. Get a PVC pipe (of size appropriate to your barrel) with fitted caps for each end. Attach a cap to one end. Tape the barrel threads and tape over the muzzle. Then drop one standard tennis ball into the pipe. Place barrel in pipe. Next add whatever peanuts or foam you can jam in to support the barrel on the sides. Then place a second tennis ball into the opposite end of the PVC pipe. (So now you have a tennis ball on either end of your barrel.) With everything secure inside, attach the upper cap and tape it down securely. With this packing procedure, when the carrier launches the pipe like a javelin, at least the barrel will not come through like a spear and be gone. Label the pipe with very large address labels so no one suspects it’s just garbage laying around. This procedure may seem ridiculous but it has worked for me. Oh and definitely get insurance. If your item is insured, the shippers will look harder to find it.”

Editor’s Note: Fedex also makes a triangular-profile cardboard shipping box. This 38″ x 6″ x 6″ x 6″ Fedex Tube (designed for blueprints and posters) is free for the asking. For most barrels, there should be enough clearance to hold your PVC tube (with barrel packed inside tube). However, don’t ship the barrel inside the cardboard box by itself. Cap and pad the ends and bubble wrap it heavily, or better yet, use the PVC tube method described above, with the PVC tube inside the box.

For More Packing and Shipping Advice, Read this Forum Thread.

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