Finding The Best Gun Case: An Extensive Review and Some Useful Tips You Need To Know
“If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one…”
- Luke 22:36 NIV
Most people cringe at the sight of a gun, rifle or other firearms. Yes, these things were meant to kill (of course not a person for goodness’ sake!) and protect. Shooting is also a recognized sport around the world.
For hunters like us, a rifle is the only way to put a 100-pound beast down. You cannot hunt without a trusted rifle by your side as if you can kill a beast with your bare hands, let alone a dagger.
You cannot hunt without a trusted rifle by your side
Most importantly, hunting (for me) is far less atrocious than commercial farming of animals.
In hunting, we learn to stalk and trace the animal for as long as a month’s time and kill it with one clean, painful shot whereas, in industrial farming, they cram the animals in filthy cages and subject them to torture.
Now I’m not justifying the act, I’m only explaining my side.
Proper security of a gun is essential when storing it a home or while traveling. There’s nothing that can protect your gun than a reliable gun case. However, bear in mind that the mistreatment of a gun case always leads to the eventual damage of the gun itself.
There’s nothing that can protect and cushion your beloved gun than a quality gun case
To encase our prized possession, we have the gun cases. Guns need protection so they can perform at their maximum when hunting. Gun cases are designed to protect guns from dust, debris, moisture, scratching, and other physical damage. Moreover, gun cases provide easier access to the guns.
For my gun cases, I prefer a very sturdy and durable exterior for maximum protection and a soft, cushiony interior to prevent scratches from bumps and unintended actions.
Gun Case Materials
Not all gun cases are the same, especially their looks. The ideal gun case as I said, should have a solid exterior and a soft interior.
An old guitar case for a gun case because why not?
Gun cases are also made from various materials. Some of the most common are:
Leather – gun cases made of an oiled leather exterior are sturdy, quite chunky, water and weather-resistant. They are ideal for a long storage period and on trips.
Nylon – If you’re carrying a nylon gun case, it’s highly unlikely that people will think you’re carrying a gun inside. Most of them look like a typical sports bag. They are soft on the outside and have a padded interior on the inside. Honestly, they won’t offer much protection for a hunting rifle. They are ideal for short trips and such.
Canvas – likewise, a gun case made of canvas is soft and ideal only for short trips. The cloth is also vulnerable to absorbing moisture and dust which will make the gun rusty.
Metal – quite obviously, a metal gun case is hard and very durable. The best gun cases, the Plano and Pelican brands that we will review later both have a metal exterior. A metal gun case is excellent for long term storage and for checking-in on flights. Most cases have a soft foam cushion inside so don’t worry about the bumps and bangs because your gun won’t get any of that.
The Chink In The Armor Of Every Gun Case
The weakness of every gun case is its zippers. If your gun case doesn’t have durable zippers, then you better ditch it for a good one.
Zippers mean everything – it makes sure your gun isn’t visible (a regular person may freak out and get hysterical upon the sight of a gun carried by a non-military), it shields the gun from water, dust, and moisture which causes rusting.
And lastly, if you’re going to store it inside the house with your kids and grandkids running around (my kids are a natural at finding well-hidden things), your gun case should have decent zippers with a padlock option to secure it from the little ones.
A weak zipper is a catastrophe!
A gun is extremely hazardous to kids so don’t be careless when storing it. The gun case’s zippers should always be padlocked and placed in a hidden compartment when you leave it in the house.
Another weakness of gun cases is the wooly interior. Some gun cases have interior linings made of a hard material wrapped in a fuzzy wool cloth. Personally, it’s a bad interior design.
The guns and other gun paraphernalia that you store inside the case tend to get tangled with the cloth when you try to detach them from the case. Moreover, my fellow hunters said that the wool material holds moisture and as we know, moisture is a big no-no for the gun.
Kinds Of Gun Cases
There are a variety of gun cases in the market. Some gun owners look for the most durable cases while some are greatly concerned with waterproofness. The most important thing to bear in mind before buying your gun case is the frequency of the activity where you intend to use the gun.
Personal Gun Cases
Personal gun cases are designed to store and protect small caliber pistols. They are the most affordable and ideal for bringing outside the house or for minimal travel.
Most people utilize personal gun cases for self-protection guns. Nowadays, personal gun cases are so high-tech that they even have combination locks and vault safes.
Soft Gun Cases
Hard Gun Cases
Soft gun cases utilize nylon, canvas, and other fabrics for its primary material.
I have also seen some made of soft leather (they’re very stylish!).
It’s very lightweight, the sides are padded for protection and it also has chunky handles for easy carrying and convenience.
They’re not ideal for storage because of its porous exterior but if you’re bringing your gun with you outside for just a short time, soft gun cases will be ideal.
A notable characteristic of soft gun cases is their buoyancy in water. Most of them can float so if you drop it in water for some unfortunate reason, you can easily retrieve it.
On a lighter note, some fishes can make a home out of the gun case you dropped!
Hard gun cases, as you guessed it, is made from hard metals such as aluminum and fiber-reinforced materials.
I’ve also seen a hard gun case made of wood with leather trimmings which my father used a long time ago.
They have a very durable exterior, varying foam interiors, and metal handles.
You’ll want a dense foam interior to protect your gun from impacts so it’s best to opt for a high-quality one that will definitely cost more.
They are perfect for outdoor use and on trips as they are the solely permitted type for airline travel. They are mostly designed for single rifles.
A modern finish to hard gun cases features a patented lock system (how fancy!)
Sports gun cases
This type of gun case is often the choice of buyers using guns for any kind of shooting sports.
They are slim and elongated, usually designed for single rifles. Most of them are made from sturdy nylon and tough metal. They are also cushioned to protect the gun from shaking.
Hunting Gun Cases
Hunting gun cases are the most frequently transported thus a need for a heavy-duty and sturdy exterior and interior. Doubtlessly, your gun will be saved from bangs, tossing, damage, weather elements, and other harsh conditions.
They are the most durable and fanciest of all gun cases. The Plano and the Pelican hunting gun cases feature customizable foam inserts, water and dustproof exteriors and a lot more. Find out which one is the best hunting gun case in the review below!
What Gun Cases Cannot Do
Unfortunately, a gun case cannot protect a gun from outright abuse by its owner. It cannot stop the owner from mistreating it. If you leave it on the bare ground and a wheeler truck ran over it, don’t expect it to still be fine and dandy.
Likewise, if you left it exposed to the elements for a long time, the gun case will certainly survive but it’s a miracle if it doesn’t have any scratches.
When you abuse your gun case, your gun will eventually be harmed
In like manner, if you use a soft gun case for long-term storage, your gun will probably be prone to rust. Fabrics tend to absorb moisture. Moisture, as I’ve said, is the main culprit for gun rusting.
In a nutshell, don’t blame the damage on the unreliability of your gun case because your mistreatment is the one to blame. Additionally, don’t write hate reviews hastily on the products. Always remember that when you abuse your gun case, you’re also harming your gun.
Why the Pelican and the Plano Gun Cases?
The Pelican and Plano brands are the frontrunners when it comes to hunting gun cases. They around for a couple of years now and they rarely acquire poor reviews.
They are both heavy-duty and you can trust them with even your expensive firearms. Moreover, you cannot doubt these cases when it comes to their durability because they are proven and tested to be 100% durable.
If you’re having a hard time choosing what to purchase between the two, this review will surely help you make your mind up. It’s really hard to select only one because these two hunting gun cases both have unparalleled functionality and design.
A Review Of the Plano, Pelican, and Other Top-Rated Hunting Gun Cases, Some Useful Tips to Care for Them
Has a convenient cubed middle foam layer for fitting the firearm
Has a short length which may be too short for hunting rifles
Doesn’t come with padlocks (padlocks need to have an exact fit or else, not too thin nor thick)
Finding a padlock that fits in the holes will be hard
The exterior of the 42” Pelican 1170 Case is made of high-impact Polypropylene shell. Polypropylene shell is made from a durable plastic material that can withstand the weather elements, dust, heavy shocks and blows, as well as chemical reactions such as rusting.
Furthermore, since it’s made from plastic, it is very malleable – it springs quickly into its initial shape when subjected to a crushing impact.
Moreover, the gun case has a fancy Automatic Pressure Equalization Valve with Double Throw Latches.
Okay, it sounds too technical but I’ll make it simple for you: an airtight case cannot be opened at high altitudes because of the air vacuum inside the case, which has a lower pressure than the outside thereby preventing you from opening the lid of the case.
The Pelican case has an automated pressure valve that releases air pressure inside freely while blocking minute water molecules to enter. This feature is extremely useful when you hunt on higher altitudes as the case provides an airtight seal which preserves the gun’s pristine condition while allowing an easy access when you need to use it.
Moreover, the exterior of the case includes a large foldable handle and padlocked hasps for convenience and security.
Since you need to purchase a separate padlock for the hasps, buy a Masterlock 9140T. Its thin and short shackles fit the hasps perfectly, and allows no room for movement.
I was particularly encouraged to buy this gun case when I watched this case subjected to a case test on a Youtube video. It’s entertaining and it really shows how durable the case is. Watch the video below.
The interior of the Pelican case features a Copolymer 3-piece Foam Set for a sweat-free customization. The 3-piece foam set includes - a base pad layer, a cubed foam layer, and one top lid foam layer.
The base pad provides a cushion to the middle layer which contains the gun equipment. The middle layer may look like your typical intact grey foam cushion like the base but when you run your fingers against it, you’ll notice that the foam is distinctly cut into individual cubes.
The cubed layout is extremely convenient because you won’t have to cut the foam with a knife according to the shape of your firearm. You can just pluck the foam with your fingers!
Lay your firearm, magazines, and ammo down on the foam and mark the shapes using several toothpicks. This way, you can just pluck the cubed foams inside the toothpick perimeter. Very easy to do!
If you really want to assure yourself that your firearms will be protected from bangs and bucks with the Pelican case, doubt not.
I’ve seen eggs fitted inside the case, dropped at varying heights, and the eggs came out intact. Video below!
Has a longer length exterior and interior length than the Pelican – best for hunting rifles and shotguns
Has a useful automated pressure valve
Has an alternative pressure-releasing system
Comes with keys for locks
Has only one layer of cushion
Will definitely fit your hunting firearm but will leave little room for ammos, accessories, etc.
A bit heavy
Will require you to use extra locks because its locks can be opened by using the generic keys that comes with the Plano gun case package
Like the Pelican gun case, Plano’s tactical gun case rugged exterior is made of a high-impact Polypropylene shell. With this exterior, you can rest easy knowing that your firearm is protected from corrosion, moisture, bumping and jarring, and dust.
The Plano gun case bears a lot of similar features with the Pelican gun case. It also has a pressure relief valve, weatherproof seal, heavy-duty handle and padlocked latches to prevent theft, except it comes with keys for the lockable latches.
If the pressure relief valve won’t work, the Plano manufacturer included an alternative air-tight screw feature on the back side of the case. You can use a flat-head screw to turn the screw to tighten or release the pressure inside.
A unique and thoughtful exterior feature of this case is the dual-stage spring-loaded lockable latches. It simply means that it has a two-stage locking system – first, you ramp the spring-loaded lock into the case and the second step is to push the latch down on place.
Even if you missed completely locking the latches for whatever reason you have, the first short pull on the latch will hold the entire case intact. Very thoughtful, isn’t it?
The Plano Tactical Gun Case is very durable that it was laid on a pebbled desert and ran over by an ATV truck. Ha! It still survived! Check out the video below.
Interior Material: Gun Case Foam
The interior of the Plano gun case consists of a high-density foam layer which also features a “Pick n’ Pluck” foam inserts which allow you to fit your firearm, ammo, and accessories effortlessly.
However, I’ve noticed that the interior foam of the case only has one dense layer, compared to the Pelican which has three layers. This will work just fine but if you are really protective of your firearm,
Use a hot knife to carve out the shape of your firearm and its accessories. This will create a cleaner look.
Doesn’t offer much security - no holes for padlocks
Doesn’t have shoulder straps for easy carrying
Not ideal for long-term storage
Padding cannot be detached - will be very hard to clean
There’s nothing fancy about the Bulldog rifle case. It’s just plain simple but functional. The Bulldog rifle case’s exterior is made from very durable nylon. The nylon material is dust and water-resistant but it’s not that heavy-duty. If you plan on just carrying your rifle while hunting, this rifle case will be just fine. You cannot toss it or shove it carelessly as you may damage the gun.
Moreover, the case features durable zippers and a sturdy nylon handle for easy carrying.
The interior of the rifle case consist of a very soft padding that is scratch-resistant and a few straps to hold your rifle, scope, and ammo.
Has thoughtful features like the punched holes for locks and strap insertion
Can stand vertically
Won’t provide much security
Some scoped rifles won’t fit (as they claim it would)
The exterior of the Plano Pillared Single Scope Gun Case is of a durable and flexible plastic. It’s water and weather-resistant. It features molded handles, holes for locking and strap insertion, a broad feet at the bottom of the case so it can stand on its own, and plastic buckles.
The case will do for a long-term storage but it’s not that heavy-duty since the exterior is very flexible. It’s very prone to dents and scratches, so be careful with the case when you go hunting.
Upon opening the case, you’ll see a detachable, egg-tray like padded interior lining. The padded interior is thin and unfortunately, you can’t pluck or cut it to give your gun the perfect fit.
The pads cushion and secure your gun by sandwiching it in between so it will stay in place while carrying. It’s spacious enough to fit a shotgun, ammo, scopes, and other gun accessories.
A Useful Tip For Prolonging Your Gun Case Foam: Use Plasti-Dip
The exterior of your gun case may survive after being thrown from a few feet high or ran over by an ATV truck but sadly, that's not the case for the interior cushion.
The foam in which you fit your firearms is prone to tearing and wearing. To prevent this, I suggest spraying your foam with Plasti-Dip rubber coating before storing your guns.
Plasti-Dip is a multi-purpose aerosol spray that gives a black, matte texture to any surface you spray it on.
It is usually sprayed in automobiles to give it a slick black color finish. When you use it on the foam layer of the gun case, it will give the foam layer a hard texture and a sturdy form.
Not only will your foam layer become sturdier, but it will also be safeguarded from moisture, corrosion, and heat. The matte texture will make the layer easier to grip too.
Anyways, if you don’t like the finished appearance of the foam layer sprayed with Plasti-Dip, you can easily peel the coating off, without causing damage to the foam layer. It’s that easy! It’s pretty cheap too.
To use Plasti-Dip in your foam layer, follow these steps:
1. Before spraying it in the foam, detach the foam from the case.
2. Shake the Plasti-Dip bottle aerosol can.
3. Spray it all over the foam (front, back,sides).
4. Give it a good 15 minutes to dry and you’ll see a big difference.
Get an overview of how to use Plasti Dip in this video
How to Clean Your Gun Case
A usual problem with gun cases that most gun owners ignore is the actual cleaning of the cases. While using my Pelican gun case for quite a long time, I was surprised one day when I pulled the layered foam out and saw dust and debris settling at the corners and sides.
Yes, the cases might be dust-proof but when you go out to hunt and use your rifle and ammo, your gun will really accumulate dirt and powder, and upon putting it the case, the dirt will now settle all over the case.
To solve this problem, I present to you some cleaning tips for your gun cases:
1. After using your gun, wrap it first in a soft towel or cloth to soak in the dirt before putting it in the case.
2. Dab the gun case with dishwashing soap then take it outside and wash it with running water. Then get a soft cloth to dry it off.
3. A popular cleaning solution is a white vinegar. Put some white vinegar in a damp towel then clean the interior and exterior of the case with it. Let it air dry.
4. Another cleaning solution I often use is baking soda mixed with water. To do this, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with one cup of water then get a cleaning cloth to wipe the case.
Well, all four gun cases mentioned in the review worked for me, especially the Plano and the Pelican brands. They’re both offered excellent protection and almost similar features.
But I personally find the Plano gun case to be more superior. Though the Pelican’s features are unparalleled, it won’t fit a long rifle like a hunting gun. The Plano Tactical Gun Case, on the other hand, provided just the perfect space, storage, and cushioning for my gun though it’s a little pricey.
If you won’t be transporting your hunting gun often (which is rarely the case since hunting entails transportation), the Bulldog Rifle Case and Plano Pillared Single Scope Gun Case will do just fine.
How about you? What is the best hunting gun case you’ve tried? Do you have some tips on how to care for your gun cases? Share them below!
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I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.