Flying can be very stressful these days. And if you’re flying with your best air rifle then the stress significantly increases with officials not knowing the current regulations regarding air guns. Plan your arrival at the airport for some hours before the flight, so as to give yourself enough time to reduce possible complications.
It’s important that you declare your air gun at the baggage check-in point because it will definitely be found when your bag is searched or x-rayed which could lead to you being arrested or missing your flight.
While your air gun is technically not a firearm, it is advisable to go by the firearms regulation requiring that firearms be kept in a locked case.
Always have a copy of the guide showing permitted and prohibited items (especially the section that talks about firearms and air guns) handy. Place a copy in your gun case for reference whenever you’re dealing with immigration or airline personnel.
You could also add a letter written to the immigration authorities in your gun case alongside the air gun. The letter should contain details about who you are, your destination, reasons for going (probably for a competition), and a working cell phone number they can reach you on in case they have any questions.
One other source of concern when flying with an air gun is the CO2 or detachable compressed air cylinders. A lot of air guns come with two cylinders, there are a spare one and the main one attached to the gun. The assumption is that you need to take the two cylinders with you when traveling. However, immigration personnel will always question the spare cylinder.
The regulations on cylinders are not quite clear. Obviously, the main one is fine as it’s attached to your best air rifle, which is permitted. The spare cylinder, however, is not. And since cylinder failures are a rarity, a lot of sportspersons rather than go through the hassles with immigration, just leave the spare one at home.