I meant to go into rifle cases in my travel post, but the thing was already as long as Moby-Dick, so I will get to that here.

Prior to leaving, I could have chosen between a Bear Track aluminum single-rifle case, or a Pelican Storm case, which is made of polymer. These were the only two of a whole lot of gun cases that the ramp apes had rendered hors de combat over the years. Most of the dead cases were simply so battered that they would not close properly. Others had bizarre and grotesque damage, like the aluminum Weatherby case that had a perfect, quarter-sized hole punched in it by Delta, or the Americase whose plastic handle appeared to have been cut through by parties unknown.

Bear Track cases were made by Freedom Arms, who are primarily known for their wonderful single-action revolvers. I say “were,” because apparently Freedom Arms has stopped making Bear Tracks, being hard put to keep up with its handgun business. These cases were put together like the proverbial brick s**thouse, with excellent hardware and locks that cammed shut. They were heavy, and not cheap.

Mine survived many airline trips and suffered only a couple of small paint chips knocked off. However, when I went to see how my .416 fit in it, I saw that it would not align when I shut it. The problem was that somehow, some one or thing had put a deep dent in it near one of the hinges. It looked like the work of a big center punch hit with a blacksmith hammer. The dent was so deep that it affected the alignment of the case.

This left the Pelican Storm as the lone survivor*. I took it, and it did fine as it always does. It’s had God knows how much travel and the only damage it shows is some scuffmarks. If you’re not familiar with the brand, Storm is a Pelican case with a much better latch. It’s described as “press-pull” and it works flawlessly. Storms are very strong, have wheels, accommodate four locks in addition to their six latches, and are not heavy considering how robust they are.

Years ago, I used to pass the time in airports watching through my binoculars as ramp apes abused the baggage they handled. If I tried that today I’d be arrested, but I came to believe, and still do, that the only life form with less respect for private property than a ramp ape was the late Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

*I’m given to understand by a source who must remain un-named that candidates for Basic Underwater Demolition School, which is the first step on the road to becoming a SEAL, must now pass a writing-skills test in addition to all the other stuff they have to go through. It seems that there are so many books written by former SEALS that the Department of the Navy finally took note, and made writing ability a part of their criteria for selection. The Navy has also stated that the first woman candidate to pass the screening for BUDS will have to meet the same literary standards as the male candidates.