by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
• Description of the case
• Extreme equipment cases
• Back to the Plano case
• Practical considerations
Today, I’m writing about a piece of equipment, rather than an airgun. It’s a rifle case that Edith has been watching for some time. I discovered it in a recent transaction and was so impressed that I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
If you’re like me, you don’t give a lot of thought to gun cases. I have more guns than cases, so the cases I do have are mostly for traveling to the range and occasionally to an airgun show. I buy them on the cheap — mostly. But in the past 20 years, I’ve bought a few good hard cases for those few firearms and airguns that I really want to protect. Today, you’ll see a case that dropped into my lap, so to speak. It may be the best hard case I own. It’s certainly one of the three best. It is the Plano Pro Max Double Scoped Rifle Case.
Omit the words Pro Max, and the title tells you what this is. It’s a hard rifle case designed to carry 2 scoped rifles. Plano says it will carry the 2 rifles scoped with large objective lenses. Well, that’s quite a claim, since air rifles tend to be much bigger than firearms and air rifles scopes do, as well. But we’ll keep an open mind.
This case has 7 internal pillars (one at each corner and 3 down the middle) that keep the case from crushing when it’s run over. That’s one of its claims to fame and the reason Edith bought the case. You see, when Edith bought the Shamal air rifle for me recently, the owner was reluctant to ship it. He was afraid the shipper might mistreat the box since it had that long and narrow rifle-case appearance. So, she looked around for a case that would be strong enough to withstand any foul treatment.
Extreme equipment cases
I own an extreme rifle case already. We bought it years ago when we published The Airgun Letter. It’s a Starlite Gun case that is so tough it can withstand a drop from a 5-story building and being run over by an 11-ton M113A1 armored personnel carrier with only scratches to the outside of the case and no damage to the gun inside. It is completely waterproof and can be submerged to 400 feet without leakage. It has an air-pressure relief valve that allows the case to be opened when the external air pressure changes. Nice gun case, but it costs $190. It’s big and it’s heavy. Comes with wheels as an option that I wish I had bought.
Back to the Plano
I wanted something less expensive, yet still rugged enough to protect that beautiful Shamal. As mentioned Edith was watching this Plano case on the Pyramyd Air website, and we decided to take a chance with it. We had Pyramyd Air ship the case to the man who sent the rifle. I told him to turn the cardboard shipping box inside-out so it wouldn’t be so obvious what was inside, though the length and shape of the box is a pretty big clue.
Bottom line, the rifle arrived in perfect condition, but the case was so impressive that I had to tell you about it. What I saw when I opened the case was the rifle held tightly in place by 2 padded straps. In other large gun cases, the guns can move around inside in spite of the foam; but in this one, the straps make movement impossible. The straps go through raised strap holders in the case lid, and the foam is pierced with several slots that allow you to vary where the straps come through.
Under the foam on either end of the case are two rows of raised strap holders — making four in all. You can thread the straps through as many or as few of the loops as you like, and you can use either row on either side of the gun case. Whatever it takes to secure your rifle.
Each rifle is held tight by two padded straps that come up through the foam — one on either end of the rifle. With the two rows of strap slots, there are many configurations that can be made. Once strapped in, the rifle isn’t going anywhere.
If that isn’t enough, this case has 6 latches, rather than the usual 4. There is an extra one on either end of the case, at the place where other long gun cases get very flexible. You can see them in the photo at the beginning of this report.
There are 2 reinforced holes along the long axis of the case for padlocks. If you travel with guns, these are very important!
While this case isn’t waterproof, it does have tongue-and-groove mating edges to keep out water and dust. The case is also rigid enough that it comes together without a lot of twisting and pressing on your part. This may be as close as you can get to a full-blown mil-spec rifle case at this price.
This is a huge rifle case! That said, the location of the straps means you do have to give some thought to securing a rifle. Those central pillars seem to get in the way at first; but once you correctly position the straps, they can be easily accommodated.
To give you an idea of how large this case is on the inside, I secured an M1 Garand and my Remington model 37 Rangemaster target rifle with its huge Redfield scope. As you can see, the case dwarfs both rifles, though they’re larger than 90 percent of rifles available today. The internal dimensions are 52-1/2 inches by 17-1/4 inches, but there are many spots where the dimensions cut in (the case sides are not straight lines), so those are just the maximum sizes.
Two of the largest rifles I own. The Garand (bottom) isn’t that long, but it is fat and weighs 10.5 lbs. The Remington model 37 Rangemaster and scope dwarfs a Remington 700. Yet, this Plano case swallows them both with room to spare!
This isn’t a rifle case for your Diana 27 or your Crosman 1077. At $70 plus shipping, it’s a large purchase — even for serious shooters. But if you own really special firearms and airguns that have to be protected, this is a good way to do it. It takes some time to adjust the straps for each different rifle, so I think I’ll keep right on using my $20 hard cases. But rifles like the Shamal and my Ballard now have a secure place to ride when we go to the range.