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Gun Cases for Durable Transport - What they don't tell you about building custom rifles. Print
Product Reviews
Written by Russell E. Taylor   

Gun Cases for Durable Transport

(Or, "What they don't tell you about building custom rifles.")

by Russell E. Taylor
©  Sniper's Paradise 1999

I learned a couple of good lessons in building my latest custom rifle.  First, get the case, before you "spec" the gun.  Second, budget for the case and include that cost in the building of your rifle.  Think about it -- if  you're going to build a rifle that is "special" and costs quite a few bucks, it stands to reason that you don't want it trashed while bouncing around in the trunk of your car on the way to the range.   Further, airport baggage handlers have their nasty little ways of destroying perfectly good rifles, so you sure don't want to make things any easier for them than you have to.

In my search for a case that would accommodate The Wrath of God, there were several companies with products in which  the owner of a custom rifle would be interested.  When inquiring about a case to protect that special firearm of yours, make sure you ask about:

1.  The construction materials (aluminum, plastic, plywood, or a combination of these or other materials).
2.  The construction method (welding or riveting).
3.  The number of fasteners.
4.  The type of hinge (full-length is desired).
5.  The price and delivery time.
6.  The warranty.
7.  The type of foam used inside -- if any.  (Some makers do not furnish foam.)

It's also a good idea to ask for a few points of contact -- that is, a list of (hopefully) satisfied customers who would be willing to talk with you about their experiences with the company.  By the way, there's an excellent article on the Internet, written by Philip Bourjaily. that tells you how to go about Selecting the Right Gun Case For Travel.  It is very worthwhile reading.

Pistol Pete's
U.S. Case
Custom Case Company
Case Technology, Inc.
Atlas Case Corporation
Custom Cases Online
New World Case Technology
SKB Cases
Pelican Cases
Cases by Masco
Big Deal Custom Casings
Wild Boar Custom Flight Cases
A & J Cases
Aluminum Cases
Kalispel Case Line
Anvil Cases
NalPak Sales, Inc. (Tuffpak)
Bear Track Cases
The Bristol Case Company
Aluma Sport

In addition to these I've listed, you can also look at cases made by Gun Guard (Doskocil), Kolpin, and others.  However, if you have an exceptionally-long rifle or have more money wrapped up in your firearm than you care to worry about losing, you're probably going to want a "serious" case.  So, do yourself a favor -- make the commitment to put as much time and thought into selecting a custom gun case as you put into building your custom rifle.

Top-quality, well-constructed cases, especially those made to order, don't come cheap.  This begs the question, "How much do I spend on a case for my rifle?"  Ken Marsh supplied a formula of his own creation which, when put into practice, really did provide a useful guideline for pricing gun cases for custom-built rifles.

Ken wrote:

Now think, how much did you pay for the scope, how much did you pay for the gun... now, take that in ratio to how much a "normal" gun case would cost and the cost of a plain-jane gun. That ratio tells you what is "reasonable" to pay for a gun case for your custom gun.

For example:

$75    case            1           $X?
____            =      ___   =  _____
$450  gun              6        $1500

X = $250

Now, plug in your own numbers.

Well, I did "plug in my own numbers," and came up with a case that would run $228.34, which is almost exactly what I ended up paying.  I bought my Kalispel gun case, custom-built to the dimensions of 55"x12"x4", for $225.00 -- $238.25 with shipping and handling.  I ordered my case on a Tuesday and received it on the following Tuesday.  Talk about FAST!

I can tell you, as someone who never before bought anything more substantial than a case from Doskocil, that spending over two hundred dollars on a single gun case was not a light decision on my part.  However, by knowing that "Airport Ivan" is going to have a tougher time of it... trying to break my rifle into tiny pieces... I'm sure I'll have a more enjoyable flight.