My experience flying with ammunition in my checked baggage in the USAis that it is easier now that we have TSA than it was before. Once returning from an early SLICS I was told that my ammunition wasn’t in accordance with the airline regulations, but the agent wouldn’t tell me what the regulations were. Another time in Ohio a gate agent just insisted that it was not legal to have guns and/or ammunition in checked baggage (this was a few weeks after 9/11). In both cases a call to the regional supervisor solved the problem, but it was a real pain.
With TSA, the rules are clear and flying with ammunition in checked baggage has been trouble free for me. The KEY is to follow the rules!!!
- Always ask your airline if they accept ammunition in checked baggage.
- Tell the airlines that you will be flying with ammunition and ask them to annotate your record so there are no surprises.
- No ammunition above .50 caliber-Period!!!
- Only 11 pounds (5 Kilos) or less of ammo. Weigh it and I mark the weight on each box so they know I have weighed it.
- Every round packed in the original box, or in a plastic ammo box
- Tell both the gate agent and TSA that you are carrying ammo, give them the weight and tell them it is all properly packed.
If you are in an airport where the TSA screening line is not on the ticketting floor, the agent will normally send you to a location for oversize baggage where you will see a TSA agent face to face.
Always be pleasent!!!
I have found both the gate agents and TSA are easier to deal with now. I have also found Delta to be the easiest airline to deal with on ammo.
Flying from Europe has also proven to be easy. There is no TSA, but the Police have to look at your luggage before it can be checked-so allow extra time because it takes some time to get the police to the counter sometimes. ALWAYS HAVE A VALID PERMIT FOR BOTH THE COUNTRY YOU ARE FLYING FROM AND FLYING TO! I put copies of my permits in the bag with the ammo even this isn’t required. My experience is that once they see the permits, and realize there is no gun, they may or may not be interested in seeing the ammo. They will put a seal on your case and make a note, and when the screening sees your ammo (and it will) the seal tells the scanner that the police have already cleared it.
Bottom line: Always follow the rules, Always be polite, and in Europe, Always have your permits!
Just my experience, but ammo in checked baggage has not been a problem in quite a few years now.