By Larry B. Schuknecht
In this age of automated package handling and prevalent anti-gun sentiment it is becoming difficult to safely ship a valuable long gun without incurring damage at some point. Following are a few suggestions which may help a package arrive safely at it's destination.
No. 1- The Best Insurance for a valuable gun is careful and thoughtful packaging.
No. 2- Use a hard shell case with foam liners that completely fill the case. Many cases now made have liners that are thinner than the case depth, In this situation it would be wise to add foam carpet padding under the liners so the case is filled completely.
No.3.- If the gun is the type with a removable barrel/barrels and fore-end then by all means ship it broken down with the fore-end re-attached to the barrel/barrels. Wrap each assembly in bubble wrap to prevent each assembly from damaging the other in case they migrate while in transit.
No. 4- Orient the assemblies so that they are facing each other in a way that if the come into contact with each other, damage will be minimal.
No. 5- Do not rely solely on the latches of a case to secure it in a closed situation. If the case has holes that allow their use, cable ties should be used to secure the case closed. If it does not have a provision to incorporate cable ties, then put cable ties around the handles and tape over the case latches.
No. 6- Never ship a case without a cardboard box covering. There are people employed within the shipping industry that would take to opportunity to destroy or damage a gun if they see a gun case.
Remember- The best insurance is careful and thoughtful packing. Just because you insure it does not mean the carriers insurance company will pay for damages. Example- recently I received a double barrel rifle which was insured for $15,000.00 and the wrist of the stock was cracked and broken. While it can be repaired, it's value has been diminished by about 25 to 33% or more and the insurance carrier has denied any payment.
Which company should you ship with- I can not recommend one over another, good and bad experiences are known with all of them. One will leave a package on your door step without letting you know, another has stores that are franchises that have no responsibility to the parent Company and while they take payment for insurance, have been known to pocket that money instead leaving the package un-insured.
If you have questions or would like to discuss a shipment, you can call me at (716) 741-3739 between the hours 8:00am to 4:00pm Eastern Standard Time.