Airline Carry of BP Revolver
Old Willie just airlined out from home in Wisconsin to California, to fly fighters for good old Uncle for a month. I am here 2-3 months a year, and in fact this is where I do most of my BP shootin'. I started BP here years ago because it was a lower hassle factor type of shooting to do due to the laws out here, plus there is "anywhere in the Mojave Desert" to shoot in. Over the years I have stashed a collection of BP revolvers here, and they are waiting for me when I arrive. I buy them here, I leave them here.
This year I was lucky enough to find a really nicely worked over 1860 Army Uberti, that had been set up perfectly for target work. Cap rake, reamed cylinders, arbor length button added, Wolfe springs, etc. Had it delivered to my place in Wisconsin. Wanted to shoot it here. So, I decided to deal with the dreaded "airline flight to a gun hating place" with the 1860 in my baggage.
Now, the law regarding what you do to transport a FIREARM is clear: You put it into a hard sided case, lock the case with a NON-TSA padlock, declare it at check in, and then check it thru. TSA is not supposed to open the hard case, and in fact you cannot legally use one of the TSA openable padlocks for the case.
But... BP replicas are not firearms. You do not need to legally do this with them. So... what to do? Put it into the bag and forget about it? Get tied up explaining to the TSA that an antique or replica arm is not a firearm? I hemmed and hawed... figured that it would be a hassle, thought about not bringing it, mailing it, forgetting the entire thing... visions of being hauled off in handcuffs... well you get the picture.
In the end I decided to treat the 1860 like a "real" firearm. Locked it into a box. Walked up to Southwest Airlines and in my best polite voice I said "I have an item I need to declare". The agent smiled (since there is only ONE item that anyone needs to declare) and without missing a beat handed me a small 4x6 card marked "firearms declaration" and asked me to fill it out. There was nothing asking about type, quantity, serial number, or anything. Just my name, phone number, and flight number. I filled it out, and was asked to put it on top of the box inside my duffle bag. Then I hauled the bag to the X-ray for checked bags, tossed it on, watched it go thru, and the TSA guy watching the X-ray machine never blinked an eye. Zero hassle, zero issues, no problem at all. Collected the bag at LAX and here I am in the desert.
Bottom line is that this form is really a declaration to the TSA that they are not allowed to open the box to which it is attached. It's a "leave this box alone if you are opening the bag for inspection" notice. It's really for the protection of the shipper, and all in all I was VERY pleased and VERY surprised at the ease of doing this.