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Old October 23, 2016, 07:57 PM   #1
2DaMtns
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Moving gun collection across the country while towing a camper

So, I'm moving from VA to OR after the first of the year. I'll be pulling our camper, and we'll probably take a couple weeks and have some fun and see some sights along the way. We're going to sell most of our stuff, but I've spent a fair amount of time and money finding some of these guns, and several of them have sentimental meaning and are not replaceable. I have a safe, but it's a basic model and I'm considering selling it here and buying a larger, better one once I get out there. I'm trying to decide on the best way to move them securely. Here are my thoughts:

1) load them all up in the camper, and hope no one breaks into it.

2) load them all up in the truck, and hope no one breaks into it or steals it. I have contemplated getting a vault put in the truck bed, which would make them more secure from break-in theft, but I still have the same issue if someone steals the whole truck.

3) Ship them.

I feel like shipping them is probably the most secure option, but it's going to be quite expensive, and we'll probably live in the camper for a month or three until we scope the area out and find a place that suits us.

Any body have any other options, or have any thoughts about these three options?
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Old October 23, 2016, 08:35 PM   #2
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I'd suggest putting a safe in the trailer and bolting it to the floor. The only caveat would be not to stop for the night in Illinois, but you can do the I-39 stretch in one afternoon.
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Old October 23, 2016, 08:48 PM   #3
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The camper is brand new, and the safe won't fit in the door. And we'll be avoiding IL. Probably head southwest and then go north, trying to skip most of the potential blizzard territory.
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Old October 23, 2016, 09:02 PM   #4
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Stored in truck make sure you have a tracking module on the truck i.e. Lowjack or on-star, Most campers have a storage area that could be re-enforced and alarmed.
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Old October 23, 2016, 10:57 PM   #5
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Make sure one adult stays in the camper every night. You will be a target at each and every stop, there is an industry preying on the Interstates.

Park in eyeshot of your trailer at mealtimes.

Enjoy the trip.

Laramie-Rawlins-Ogden isn't bad, the wind keeps the road clear. Just slow down.

Amarillo-Gallup-Flagstaff is pretty scenic, then either cut to Winnemucca-Burns or to Las Vegas-Reno and up I-5. but the Interstate is boring.

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Old October 24, 2016, 12:42 AM   #6
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There is the safest method, and then there is the least expensive method.

cheapest would be to simply take them with you. Out of sight, and you don't tell anyone you have them, you wouldn't be targeted because of the guns. You might be targeted being out of state, camping, you might have something worth stealing, but that's a constant, random chance.

For a bit more peace of mind, you might remove major components (cylinder, bolt, slide, etc, and store them separately. Might not help, but a gun that obviously cannot be used isn't worth much to fence, and can't be used, so, might be passed over in favor of something with more immediate and greater returns for the thief.

Safest method, but the most expensive would be to put them in bonded storage, until you have a permanent home location, then have them shipped to you. It costs, but there is also insurance (part of the cost, and if it isn't get it ADDED) in case the worst happens.

if you are going to be living in a camper for a month or three, and there are no trusted friends or family to leave your collection with, it would be your safest option, but not the cheapest.
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Old October 24, 2016, 05:42 AM   #7
peggysue
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Most moving companies do not move firearms. I have moved a lot and had to take the firearms with me in the suto. This has been my experience.
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Old October 24, 2016, 06:08 AM   #8
Texas45
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Moving gun collection across the country while towing a camper

Why over think it.
Sure there is a chance of a random crime ie you get robbed.
Moving company even if they would move um seems every time as a family we used movers (alot as a kid) something usually came up missing. Sure shipping is an option but to where if you have no residence at the destination to ship them to yourself at.
So myself I would securely pack them and go on about my trip/business and not worry.

I likely would render them inop by removing bolt etc and pack those separate. Not so much for theft but so as to avoid any potential hassles (hopefully) from an Nanny states I may be passing through along the way.



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Old October 24, 2016, 07:01 AM   #9
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Are you pulling a enclosed camper or a pop-up? If enclosed I would store them in the camper, padded as needed (maybe a case for each one?) and stored underneath a bed frame or in the back of dressers or cabinets. Just so they are out of sight. Are you going to be parking at good campgrounds? If so, try to get a site that is in the open and easily visible to others, preferably near the office. I don't think I would keep them in the truck if you plan on visiting the sights, trips to the mall or Wal-Mart for groceries. It would be easier for someone to steal the truck as compared to making off with your camper. Be sure to take pictures and record serial numbers just in case the worst should happen. Then relax and enjoy the trip. I did a similar jaunt 35 years ago moving from upstate New York to Virginia in a converted school bus with a wife and two small kids, it can be fun. We wound up staying at a KOA for three months until things started to fall into place, all went well after that. Good luck!
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Old October 24, 2016, 07:27 AM   #10
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You have not put a number on the guns it can make a difference . If less than 10 not a big deal if over 20 it could be. If it was me I would already have a home found to move to . We bought a second home two years ago and did a lot of online and phone time then just did weekend trips to check them out . It was kind of fun to fly down rent a car and spend a weekend .
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Old October 24, 2016, 07:54 AM   #11
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I'm moving to Fl from Ct next week. Plan on just taking mine with me, probably some locked & buried in my cargo trailer, some in my truck inside my travel bag. Total 1 shotgun, 4 handguns. No ammo.
Not going to worry too much about it.
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Old October 24, 2016, 08:31 AM   #12
2DaMtns
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The reason I worry about it so much is that I have a few my dad gave me. He is no longer alive, so every keepsake he gave me is precious and irreplaceable.

I don't feel like I'm overthinking it. I feel like I'm being aware and responsible. I'm not sure how much more I can make myself a target than pulling a camper in a truck, both with out of state plates, and the truck clearly set up for outdoors stuff, making it an easy assumption that there will be firearms in the rig somewhere. Everyone preaches situational awareness and responsibility with concealed carry, but some almost seem to be blowing this off (I posted it on another forum, so I'm not only talking about replies here). And while the guns are important, personal safety is of utmost importance.

I wish I could find a place to live in the new destination before we move, but the time frame is pretty short and there is a lot we have to do before the move, so I don't know if it's doable.

Thanks for all the thoughts and replies.
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Old October 24, 2016, 09:38 AM   #13
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Moving gun collection across the country while towing a camper

i made a shorter move, 500 miles along east coast, so was able to do a premove move, i.e. locked/cased guns and ammo in my car, only stopped for gas etc. i left them properly secured with a relative. i realize that my trip was shorter & easier, but on other hand you can avoid some people's republics that i had to transit. since you are traveling long distance with valuable cargo (including family) i would lawfully keep ready one handgun with ammo close at hand.


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Old October 24, 2016, 10:03 AM   #14
g.willikers
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How about using a hidden kill switch on the truck, in addition to whatever factory theft protection there is.
It could be added to any one of a number of the truck systems - starter, fuel pump, roll over switch, 'etc.
Makes it harder to steal as the thieves would need to tow it away.
While traveling, keep both the trailer and truck connected with some kind of lock between them.
If nothing else, it makes thieves make a lot of effort and noise trying to separate them.
An alarm on the trailer door would help.
Just some thoughts.
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Old October 24, 2016, 10:51 AM   #15
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Yes, size does matter.

The last time I made a nationwide move, (40+years ago) my collection was two rifles and a shotgun, and I just put them in my Desoto with me. Also slept in the car (due to economic necessity) except for the three days I was snowed in at Davenport Iowa....

but that's another story...

Another variation of the store and ship, store them, but don't have them shipped, when you are ready take a trip back and pick them up, then take them home in "one shot", without camping and sightseeing side trips.

It may, or may not make economic sense, you'll have to decide based on your personal factors.

In 2003, I inherited two of my Dad's deer rifles and three pistols. He lived in NY, I live in WA. After the funeral, I took the rifles with me (on the plane, after carefully checking to ensure all rules were complied with.). My brother (who had NY permit for the pistols) and I took them to an FFL, who shipped them to my FFL in WA (again, making sure all rules were followed).

The NY dealer charged me $80 for the shipping and insurance, and said he was giving me a break on the price, I didn't feel that way, but kept quiet about it, and three heirloom pieces arrived safely a couple weeks later. The dealer receiving for me charged me a beer...

Times have changed a bit, but you might consider something like that.
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Old October 24, 2016, 01:01 PM   #16
2DaMtns
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I am moving 17 guns, which are a mixture of handguns and long guns. I have a pelican case that is large enough to store all the pistols in. I think a couple locks on it and a locked cable around the seat in the cab will secure them well enough. I doubt a gang of professional thieves is going to be targeting me, so I really just need to keep the petty thieves at bay.

I like the idea of a kill switch, as well as securing the camper to the truck when it is parked. Those are good thoughts, so thank you. I also use a gun lock from one of my gun locks to keep the thing on the tongue that locks it around the ball from being able to be lifted unless that lock is removed. And we'll mostly be staying in RV parks and such, but may venture out a little more into some wilderness, depending on what we find ourselves relatively close to.
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Old October 24, 2016, 10:50 PM   #17
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I would rather have the firearm with me at all times, than sitting in an RV park or remote campsite while I'm out and about buying groceries, eating lunch, or looking for some hot springs that the locals recommended.

Were I in your position, it would be the truck. ...Assuming that you have an extended cab or crew cab capable of hauling all of the firearms with miscellaneous detritus stacked on top to camouflage them and dissuade criminals from thinking anything valuable was inside.
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Old October 24, 2016, 11:18 PM   #18
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And we'll mostly be staying in RV parks and such, but may venture out a little more into some wilderness, depending on what we find ourselves relatively close to.
a little late in the game to be traveling at leisure over the rockies. When you get to Oregon going over the Blues can be treacherous, easily by thanksgiving.

Put a Hillary2016 bumper sticker on the camper and no one will suspect you have guns. I'd head straight over and beat the winter snows Oregon has plenty of wilderness to explore once you get settled in.
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Old October 25, 2016, 09:57 AM   #19
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Another variation of the store and ship, store them, but don't have them shipped, when you are ready take a trip back and pick them up, then take them home in "one shot", without camping and sightseeing side trips.
I like this one. It's possible you just might have to make another trip back to your original location anyway. I can easily see me developing a list of things I forgot to do, or wish I would have done and another trip could be very useful.

Good luck.
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Old October 25, 2016, 04:01 PM   #20
g.willikers
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Eghads, VA to OR is fur piece to have to do more than once.
Didn't youse guys ever read the "Oregon Trail?"
As far as doing it late in the season, might as well read about the Donner party of pioneers, too.
You know the ones that got trapped in the mountains and turned cannibal.
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Old October 25, 2016, 05:19 PM   #21
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It all depends on "how many guns you're talking about". It is always safer to haul them yourself if it is possible. There is always the potential for someone to break into your trailer or where ever you are storing the firearms. Just keep an eye on it. Leave it hitched to your pickup at night with a lock on the hitch.

Once you get there, you can put them into climate controlled storage if you don't want all of them in the trailer. There are always risks.
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Old October 25, 2016, 05:22 PM   #22
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I84 over Deadman Pass kills travelers every winter, mostly out of state drivers underestimat Oregons snows after the Rockies. By Thanksgiving is pushing it but you might get lucky is my benchmark for first snows.... give or take.
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Old October 25, 2016, 07:11 PM   #23
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Most moving companies do not move firearms.
Sure they will - they aren't a hazardous substance. I have had moving companies move my guns several times - all were listed on the manifest, wrapped/cased securely and placed in one big box, all edges/seams taped and marked to show any tampering. All were insured with the extra insurance (not the standard few cents per pound) and all came through just fine. I have also moved them myself several times, along with all my ammo, reloading components, gasoline, etc. Just had a blue tarp over the load in the pickup. Moved cross country, no issues, no theft, etc.
Some folks seem to think because you guns hidden in a vehicle or camper, that thieves magically know to break in because there are guns - they don't. Use common sense, stay in nice campgrounds on your way and all should be just fine. If you want extra piece of mind, list them on your homeowner's policy, even if it means a rider.
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Old October 25, 2016, 09:54 PM   #24
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I84 over Deadman Pass kills travelers every winter, mostly out of state drivers underestimat Oregons snows after the Rockies. By Thanksgiving is pushing it but you might get lucky is my benchmark for first snows.... give or take.
Stupid drivers die all the time.

Snow can be driven in.

It's up to 2DaMtns to decide whether he has the skill, attention, and patience to take the 'nasty' route, or the easier coastal route. ...If there even IS a snow storm when he rolls through.

It's not like there's 5 months of continuous snow...
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Old October 25, 2016, 11:53 PM   #25
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I spent a cold night in Deadman's pass in Jan of 77. The last couple miles to the rest area were a couple hours at a slow crawl following a semi through the snow in near zero visibility. When he stopped for the night, so did I!

NONE of the mountain passes in the dead of winter is something inexperienced snow drivers should tackle without overwhelming need. The southern and coastal routes are safer, especially when the greatest risk can be from other drivers in the snow.

Check your insurance policy about theft from your vehicle / camper, see what they will cover, and especially what they don't! Get limited time specific insurance for your guns, if the cost is worth it to you.

Personally, I would just pack them well, (guns can, and DO shift inside gun cases, and can bang into each other) Bury them underneath EVERYTHING, and drive on.

Check the state laws of every state on your route, avoid those which require their own paperwork to possess firearms. (FOID cards, permits, etc)

If you must travel through an area where you do not have the needed local paperwork, the FOPA federal law provides you some limited protection from prosecution, BUT you have to meet certain qualifications to be covered under that law.

Essentially, you must be travelling as close to straight through as possible. If you have a "destination" in the restricted area, you are breaking the law if you don't have the legally required local (state) paperwork. Best to avoid the risk completely.
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