Travel Update on Ammunition over .50 Caliber

Posted on January 8, 2009

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U.S. DOT Clarifies Big-Bore Ammo Rules

Over the past few years, big game hunters and shooters who use large caliber firearms have had problems traveling by air, due to an incorrect interpretation of the laws governing ammo that is permissible to include in checked baggage. (See ILA Report, Sept. 2008.)

A U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) website stated that only ammo .50 caliber or smaller could be transported. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners sometimes cited that information to confiscate ammunition for some big game rifles. In addition, the web page stated that "home made" ammunition was also prohibited, an interpretation that could have prohibited hand loaded ammunition as well.

A careful reading of the laws and regulations revealed that in fact, ammunition up to 19 mm, or .75 caliber, may be transported in checked baggage. NRA-ILA worked with the Bush Administration to correct DOT's error. The DOT website (http://safetravel.dot.gov/index_ammunition.html ) now correctly states that small arms ammunition not exceeding .75 caliber may be transported by air. Additionally, the prohibition on "hand made" ammo has been replaced with specific prohibitions on certain ammunition components such as powder, primers, or percussion caps.

To avoid any confusion at the airport, hunters or shooters traveling with large caliber firearms should print the SafeTravel web page and bring it along for the trip.

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