Shotgun Cases


Dear Master of Lead Scatter:

Because I’m a trap shooter, I’m a rube for any addition to my shotgun that promises to deliver the gold plated, diamond studded 100 straight. I’ll try anything–porting, lengthened forcing cones, “absolute zero freezing,” a $150 choke tube, day-glo front bead sights, hand rubbed oil finishes, snake oil, and so on (some shooters have said I should pattern my gun, but I don’t see what that would prove).

The problem is I’ve added so much fluff to my gun (e.g., Graco Butt Pad) that I can’t even jam it into my factory provided ABS plastic gun case (the shotgun in question is a Beretta 682 Gold).

Would you give me some suggestions on an aluminum shotgun case with a locks (combination preferred, key lock okay) that would fit a 34″ barreled trap gun–or could be custom made if necessary?

Basically, I’d like something that’s well constructed and rugged enough to survive the “Gorilla Toss” that’s popular with my local airline baggage handlers, yet isn’t so heavy as to mimic a Volkswagen Beetle with carrying handles.

Also, my laziness tends to get the best of me. I don’t like to clean my shotgun, and I usually clean it only when I can’t find anything else to do.

Would you suggest the best material with which to line my shotgun case, so that my gun is not eroded by rust and mildew?

Thank you,

Russ

Dear Russ,

While there are a lot of case makers on the market, two that come to mind are NASCO and Americase (tel: 800-972-2737). Unfortunately, Nasco is now out of business. Another company, BF Cases <www.bfcases.com> makes cases that are similar to the old NASCO cases and might suit you. Having said that, I’ve not seen or used the BF cases and can’t comment on how it compares to the old NASCO cases.

Americase have been around along enough to establish reputations for withstanding the caber-tossing airlines event. I normally see their products as take-down cases with fitted, though not Frenched, compartments. The cases come lined with some sort of velveteen stuff that does not promote rust. That said, I never recommend storing guns in cases any longer than necessary.

Both cases are sturdy aluminum with well made luggage handles. These aren’t the monster bullet-proof solid welded aluminum cases made by Kalispel or Impact Case Company. You know, the kind that are locked with a rod and padlock. The Kalispel and ICC cases are super strong, but weigh an entire ton. They are ideal for a pair of rifles being shipped to Africa for that big hunt, but generally too bulky and heavy to deal with on your own. They are also only fitted with egg crate foam, not partitions.

If your factory Beretta ABS case won’t fit after your stock additions, I don’t think that the Perazzi/Beretta ABS clam shell cases sold by Jeff’s Outfitters <http://www.jeffsoutfitters.com> will do any better. It’s a shame. I love them for use in the under compartment of one of those “upstairs/downstairs” rolling duffels made by Orvis and Boyt.

Of all the cases, I feel that the BF type appears to be the best combination of airport toughness and takedown, compartmented convenience. I like their “pre-dented” surface and reinforced corners. They are heavier than the ABS cases, but very much lighter than the Kalispel welded aluminum stuff. A quick call to BF with your “renovated” stock’s dimensions will tell you if they can compartmentalize one for you. The Americase is OK, but I don’t think it’s corners and edges are as strong as BF’s. Americase is smoother and better looking though.

There are a bunch of other cases on the market. The “nuclear plastic” Pelican or Browning Travel Vault is a real brute. The Pelicans even have air valves that “whoosh” when you open them after a flight. Like Kalispel, no compartments and a real deal to lug or roll (some have wheels- and need them).

Bottom line, by the way, is that NOTHING can withstand the airlines stress test for very long. Before the advent of the really high tech cases of today, I used to just stick my gun, wrapped in towels, in a cheap plastic Doskosil or somesuch case and stick it in an old Army duffel bag with my boots and hunting clothing. It always survived though I had to buy it a new case every year or two. Well, it survived until the time it didn’t arrive.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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2 Responses to Shotgun Cases

  1. Bruce is allowed some freedom of hyperbole, as The Technoid. It is reasonable to say that nothing is indestructible, and nothing will protect against all hazards, but that there are different levels of protection offered by varying cases.

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  2. D. Chinn says:

    I have seen for myself there is no such thing as “nuclear plastic”. I met a couple of folks at the Denver airport last summer who had their “heavy duty” plastic firearm cases folded like deck chairs when the scissor-like luggage elevator caught them. If you can’t handle the weight of a ‘real’ heavy duty aluminum case you have a few options. Do a few push-ups; hire a skycap at the airport; or rent a baggage cart. Then you don’t have to worry about airport surprises.

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