Letter: Relocating to the Redoubt — With Firearms

HJL / JWR

As my family plans for relocation to the Redoubt the biggest question I have is how to move our arms and ammo. I am sure that some Survival Blog readers have made this journey from other states with their collections and any suggestions, guidance, information or experiences from them or yourselves would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for the great resource that you provide at Survival Blog! – T in NC

JWR’s Comment:

Relocating from North Carolina to the Redoubt with guns should be a breeze. Just don’t drive through Illinois!

If you have a moving company handle the move, then carry all of your guns, ammunition, precious metals, and optics in your OWN private vehicle(s), while the movers handle the rest. Movers are notorious for stealing guns. And if one or more disappears, they typically only pay you “by the pound” for what is massing, and that is a pittance.




19 Comments

  1. Common carriers, such as Fedex or UPS should be able to safely handle boxed guns and it is not too expensive. I think even the post office can do so, also. Of course, you have to have a destination address.

  2. As long as your guns are unloaded and in a “locked” area of the vehicle, separate from the ammo, you can legally travel “through” any state.
    When I moved from the east, in a work van, I built a box on the floor of the cargo area to house firearms and screwed it shut for the trip.
    Plan to stay in rural areas overnight to minimise the chance of theft.

    1. I currently live in the South East. When I go home to Northern IL, I will take the Indy to Bloomington route. One it avoids the Windy City, it’s traffic and tolls, but mostly to avoid the local ordinances. Adds Maybe 30-45 minutes on my trip.

  3. I moved all my “important” stuff in my own vehicle. It would have probably cost thousands of dollars to ship FedEx or UPS and they probably would have arrived busted all to pieces. To survive commercial carriers guns must be shipped in a hard case of some sort. I build guns for a living and ship all my guns through USPS in a wood crate that is very well padded on the inside. A gun worth 2K to 3K shipped insured will cost you $60-$90. Shorter guns with less value shipped in a commercial plastic hard case will still run you $30 to $40. AND, anything modern has to be shipped to a Dealer/FFL. Then you’ll have to pay the dealer probably $20 per gun to handle the transfer, they don’t do that sort of stuff for free.
    UPS told me more than 15 years ago they no longer wanted my business shipping custom muzzleloaders, they stated they wouldn’t ship so much as a squirt gun. And this from a Huge main hub…..

  4. I’ve moved around the country with my firearms and ammo, including back and forth to Alaska. Every common carrier I’ve contracted makes a specific manifest of firearms including serial numbers, and any items they’ve ever lost or damaged they have paid replacement value for (fortunately they’ve never lost or damaged any of my guns). In the Continental US, I prefer to haul them POV myself. I case them and I pack them so they aren’t easily accessed. If I feel they need more security, I will pack them into my hotel room for the night. I’ve never had any problem and I’ve moved 8 times in the past 12 years. 5 of those times a shipping company transported my arsenal. They lost or damaged other items, but never any of my arsenal.

    Check with the shipper and make sure they will manifest the firearms individually and they pay replacement value on them, as with any items of value (they ruined my wife’s mink coat once, that cost them dearly). Usually they will manifest things like jewelry, furs, firearms, antiques, and artwork separately if they have a specific value beyond just household goods. This is similar to homeowner’s or renter’s insurance (you do have your firearms collection insured separately, right?).

  5. I had rifles in Bore Store sleeves inside of a gun safe. I added padding so they couldn’t shift. All ammo was removed. I locked the safe and the moving company transported it in that condition. I was driving a rented van since the moving company also moved my small car. I loaded up the van as best I could, and the local CMP group’s young shooter training program got several hundred rounds of M2 ball for their use.

  6. If you are pulling a boat through Montana make sure you stop. My boat had ladders and all kind of tools to work on our family cabin in Idaho. Well, I did not stop at the mandatory boat check stations. I thought, I am not boating in Montana. I am just driving through it. I was pulled over a couple of miles past by the game warden. He made me turn around and get the boat checked for some whatever they are doing. Got a warning. I did stop though at idahos boat check station. Learned my lesson.

  7. @Pig Farmer – the stop for boats is to ensure you are carrying any waterborne hitchhikers on your boat hull. When we fled Commiefornia ( our working retirement/relocation ) in 2013, We had PODS with the rest of house along with my tools. My ammo I buried at back of PODS I packed with help of friends. We kept it in boxes and marked with fake names of stuff no one would possibly look through, like ” kids awards “, moms better homes and gardens ” etc. Lots of boxes. I brought all my weapons in UHaul I drove in which we had our bed, TV, DVD player and one couch and some kitchen stuff. So we could set up house before calling for PODS the next day to be delivered. Keeping things secure and from prying eyes takes some planning and a lot of work ( including middle of night arrival WHEW ! ) My next move will be to graveyard.

  8. Moved from GA to WA state and using large UHaul trucks. Loaded all of my ammo cans into the front end of the truck on the floor and locked gun cases up in the Granny’s attic. Then loaded everything else (furniture, etc) on top of the ammo cans all the way to the back door. Our only worry was a thief trying to steal the truck but we had other security measures in place. The four days of driving went off without a hitch but we were careful to get prime parking spots at hotels by arriving early evening, good quality locks on the cargo doors, and I’ve also seen people chain the steering wheel to the brake pedal and even remove the battery. Also recently moved from WA state to the Deep South (2300 miles) using the same method. If a company is picking up the tab I’d still rent a small box truck and tow a car dolly behind it with my valuables secured. It’s just the cost of being prepared.

  9. Oh, almost forgot. We avoided Illinois at all costs and researched which states make you pull a UHaul in to weigh stations. Even if we were pulled over everything we had was being transported legally. Most troopers and police officers understand you my have firearms in your cargo area. As long as you don’t have them in the cab (assuming you don’t have a concealed carry permit with reciprocity) you should be good to go. Once again make sure the cases are locked.

  10. Having made 2 1000+ mike relocations innthe past 6 years, my best advice is to keep your firearms and ammo with you in your POV that you are driving, locked, and out of your cab. In my case, that meant in locked hard cases secured in the bed of my pickup. Remove your optics (your chance of keeping your zero in this situation is approximately 0) and keep them in your cab (there are no laws in any state regulating detached optics). Drive the speed limit and obey all traffic laws at all times. If staying overnight mid journey (usually unavoidable), avoid the temptation of “landmark hotels” (Days Inn in Louiseville, Howard Johnson in St. Louis etc), and instead choose a hotel approx 50 miles before or 50 miles outside any major urban areas to reduce the risk of overnight larceny.

    Oh, and avoid Illinois like a plague-ridden corpse in a back-alley plastic surgery clinic in Nigeria.

    Congrats on the move.

  11. TX to ID – so easy route through gun-friendly states. Large SUV with third row seats removed, full bottom layer of loaded ammo cans, guns in padded cases on top of those. This was all topped by a large blanket, and then light-weight but large duffel bags with necessities for traveling on the very top. Arranged to stay with friends, family, or when necessary – in hotel in high-traffic area with well-lit parking lot. In roughest stopover area, was prepared to sleep in vehicle with the goods, armed of course. Luckily, that wasn’t required as my dear old grandfather pulled his own car out of his secure garage and let me park in it upon hearing that I was going to sleep out in the vehicle with the “toys”. 😉

  12. There’s a lot of BS out there about going through Illinois with firearms.
    Other than staying overnight in the Crook county area, I stay away from there even during the day and don’t drive like a idiot there won’t be a problem.

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