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Old December 12, 2011, 12:49 PM   #1
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Settling estate, transporting reloading presses

Sorry if this has been discussed and I'm asking a question that's already been answered.

Long story, shortened: My mother's garage contains my long-since deceased father's reloading equipment. 2 presses, a tumbler, a scale, two powder measures, a case trimmer, and reloading trays. Lucky me, my brothers don't want this equipment. Also lucky me, my family of 5 is flying from Michigan to California to see my mother for Christmas, on Southwest, meaning I can bring 10 bags for no additional cost.

Flying there, I plan to bring several spare suitcases full of bubble wrap, to prepare everything for shipping.

Flying back, this is what I'm thinking:
- Disassemble the presses so they'll fit in a suitcase and wrap very heavily in bubble wrap. Clearly label it "This is a reloading press. It is fragile. It contains no explosives. If you need to remove the packaging, please carefully repackage it before you put it on the plane."
- Carefully package each piece of the scale. Same labeling. Have it calibrated before use.
- Carefully package the dies. Same labeling.
- Carefully package the tumbler. Same labeling.
- Is it a bad idea to wipe down, package up, clearly label the powder measures?

I don't see any reason why this can't be done, since I'm bringing no live ammo, no powder, no primers, no brass. Only equipment. All of it will be checked, no carry-ons.

I tried Googling this, and I found the article about the guy who put loose primers in his luggage a year ago... I fear that makes all who are into reloading look bad in the eyes of the TSA.

Anyone have any advice?

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Old December 12, 2011, 12:59 PM   #2
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Things are not likely to go very smoothly for you.
Peetzakilla will tell everyone that the explosives sniffers are incapable of detecting the chemicals that will be present on the equipment, but my experience says otherwise. Every item I have ever taken through an airport, that has been contaminated by powder, primers, or residue, has caused me to be delayed (sometimes, for as much as an hour ).

Just ship it UPS/FedEx ground or via one of the cheaper USPS options, and avoid the hassle.
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Old December 12, 2011, 01:34 PM   #3
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I agree with Franken. Just send it UPS ground - or whatever the cheapest way you can find is.
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Old December 12, 2011, 01:39 PM   #4
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The press is heavy; pack that in a suitcase that you don't mind if it gets delayed. And maybe the tumbler base. As much really heavy stuff as you can get in one suitcase and keep it under 65 pounds.

Ship everything else FedEx Ground.
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Old December 12, 2011, 01:47 PM   #5
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I wouldn't bother labeling anything, nothing there is illegal, and it is going in checked baggage. I also wouldn't disassemble it completely - only taker off parts that might get damaged in rough handling.

Depending on the type pf presses, you're looking at one, two suitcases max. If you have the old hard-sided Samsonite type - even better - or buy a cheap footlocker while out there and pay for an oversized bag
Good luck
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Old December 12, 2011, 02:03 PM   #6
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Thanks. I will consider cheap shipping options.

I'll also consider putting just the heavy stuff (presses and dies) in the suitcase and shipping the lighter stuff via ground.
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Old December 12, 2011, 02:31 PM   #7
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Ship it usps,fedex,ups, all too often when trying to save money we cause ourselves more grief, strong shipping containers and postage best way out, IMO anything the airlines/TSA come in contact with is always poorly handled.
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Old December 12, 2011, 03:52 PM   #8
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Alternate shipping

I like the alternate shipping. Getting through airports is hassle enough without extra-heavy suitcases.

Last Summer, I mailed my suit, shoes, a few shirts and a bunch of other clothes to my brother's house (for my nieces's wedding) and only carried a small carry-on bag.

I did this mostly to guarantee the suit would be there (not in lost luggage land) so I would not attend the wedding in travelling clothes. A side benefit was that I did not incur the $20 per bag airline fee, Red Cap tips and the inconvenience of just dragging an extra suitcase around.

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Old December 12, 2011, 05:17 PM   #9
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Be careful when putting "FRAGILE" on shipped packages. I have a friend that works for UPS and the fragile sign is just a reason to drop it.
I've also seen many packages with "THIS SIDE UP" being shipped upside down.
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Old December 12, 2011, 06:56 PM   #10
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Unless you are flying Southwest Air, there is NO doubt in my mind that it will be way easier and cheaper to just box it up and UPS it to yourself.
Overweight bags can range from $65 to $90-each.

When you add in the hassle of schlepping them through an airport and the variable of TSA monkeys jacking you around I cannot find an upside for flying them commercial.

As usual, just my opinion and everyone has one.

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Old December 12, 2011, 07:30 PM   #11
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I'd also have mine riding FedEx if it were me.
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Old December 12, 2011, 07:50 PM   #12
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I say use USPS large flat rate boxes. Use a medium one for the scale, and use lots of bubble wrap. For the dies thier boxes protect them prety well, use some old newspaper, or bubble wrap to keep them from rattleing around. The presses in a large one wrap them in a couple of thrift store towels. If you take the handles off they should fit in one of the $20 boxes.

For under $60 you can just ship them and wait a few days without the worry of dealing with the airlines.
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Old December 12, 2011, 09:20 PM   #13
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I say use USPS large flat rate boxes.
I agree with this! If it will fit in a flat rate box (don't modify it or it will cost more) that is by far the cheapest way to ship heavy items. 70 pound limit.
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Old December 12, 2011, 11:02 PM   #14
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Take pictures as you go if you are going to disassemble the presses or anything else containing moving parts.

During my last house move, ~20 years ago, I was in a hurry as we had a baby on the way.
So, after disassembling of all my presses, and my machine shop, I put all big parts in big containers, and all the itty-bitty but important assembly parts in small boxes. No notes, no pictures.
Took me many months to mate the parts. I am still not sure about some of the reassembly jobs.

There's an old saying about good judgment coming from experience...
Don't do as I did.

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Old December 13, 2011, 09:05 AM   #15
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Could package them in the suitcases and ship them that way. UPS will ship it.
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Old December 13, 2011, 03:52 PM   #16
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Luggage fees and overweight luggage fees would prolly be LOTS more than UPS or FedEx. Plus you don't know what some self appointed "expert" airline employee would do after reading the lables you suggested...
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Old December 13, 2011, 08:16 PM   #17
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By all means ship. Every time I traveled my backpack would get sidetracked. When not flying I always had a least 1 pistol and extra ammo in it for day to day use.
Even though no guns or ammo were in it the sniffers picked up on it every time.

Find a big cooler and use two/three layers of cardboard or thin boards to compartmentalize it to separate the heavy items and keep them from rolling around. Use packing peanuts and wadded newspaper to keep smaller stuff in place. Wrap it with duct tape and put a label on it. If you are worried about weight use two smaller coolers.
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Old December 14, 2011, 02:57 AM   #18
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It will, with almost absolute certainty, trip the explosive monitors. In fact, your luggage may never make it through an airport again if you do this. Every pore of that metal and every milligram of the plastic parts are going to be impregnated with DNT, nitroglycerin, and other nitrates. Its the nitrates that it detects.

The cooler as a crate is a good idea. see if you can maybe find a beat up used one on a recycle sight or craigs list, and see about shipping by bus, rather than a parcel service.
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Old December 14, 2011, 06:11 PM   #19
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If it wasn't for the brothers wanting a cut, you could sell the stuff and use the proceeds to buy equipment specifically tailored for your reloading intentions.
I think some folks are missing the Southwest Airline bags fly free part of this deal. I’d worry less about something being broken by the airline than a shipper, but that’s just me. I would think the equipment would fit in one large case or two medium. If you choose to fly, I’d leave off the “It contains no explosives” part of your tag and go to the airport with plenty of time to spare.
A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
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Old December 14, 2011, 11:03 PM   #20
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I'm not saying that shipping it is a bad idea, but I had my rifle case wiped down and tested in their explosive checker (a gas chromatograph, I imagine) ... I was surprised that it didn't trigger an alarm, but it didn't.

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Old December 15, 2011, 03:02 AM   #21
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Because the cost of shipping is not a bank breaker, ship it. You run the risk of lost luggage, and though noone will handle it with kid gloves, the airline will be the worst offender on this. I was boarding a plane once with an extra bag, I watched out the window while they were loading the plane, and saw that my extra bag was to be last, the plane was full so my bag didn't make it, and I saw them throw it 20' to the ground!!! USPS flat rate what you can, and then the other two, just use all that bubble wrap to make sure it cannot move in the box. I shipped a guitar once in a case, and when it got where it was going two of the pickups had come out and scratched the guitar!! Now when I sale one, no matter how good the case, I make sure that it cannot move inside of the case. Just my .02
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Old December 15, 2011, 05:39 PM   #22
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Trying to load that stuff on to a plane is asking for trouble. I like the idea of shipping it in a cooler. Pack it well and it should be fine when it gets home.
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