The Case For a Good Case

If you own a gun and take it anywhere outside your home, a gun case is a necessity.

Whether it's on the way to a shooting range or off to a hunting location, a case will protect and secure that valuable firearm.

One of the first decisions to make when shopping for cases is whether a hard case or a soft case is the best choice. Each type has advantages, but I tend to prefer soft cases for almost all my use, resorting to hard cases only for the longest trips or for airline travel. This preference results from soft cases being lighter to carry, easier to manage and much cheaper to buy.

If a soft case is coming home from the store with me, it better be roomy. Cases that are cut too small for an average- sized rifle and scope are an exercise in frustration. Also, a good case should have enough padding to protect the cargo against bumps and bruises and a sturdy zipper to keep it all secure. I don't want a waterproof case either, because that means it'll trap moisture inside, which leads to a rusted firearm.

When calling predators, I do a lot of my hunting in frigid temperatures, and repeatedly taking a gun in and out of a heated truck cab will quickly result in a coating of frost on all metal surfaces. The solution is to keep the gun cold, which means it rides in the box of the truck all day long. So, the case and zipper must be able to survive -30 degrees without breaking, splitting or cracking. Then, when the day is over, I bring the cased rifle indoors and the case must provide enough insulation for the rifle to warm up slowly over the span of several hours. A cheap case will allow the rifle to warm too quickly and an ice-covered firearm is the result.

Accessory pockets are also a nice feature on soft gun cases. They provide a place to put extra ammo or magazines for rifles, and they’re a handy spot to store choke tubes for shotguns. I don't use them all the time, but they are handy enough that I appreciate having the option.

Overall, that's a fairly simple list of requirements, but it's surprising how many cases fall short. One line of cases that I've been using for almost a year meets all these specifications with ease and it's what I'm pointing toward these days whenever someone asks me for a gun case recommendation.

It's a line of shotgun and rifle cases made by Alps Outdoorz, the same people who make Alps Mountaineering gear. Their line of gun cases is small, with just a few models to cover rifles and a few more for shotguns. However the quality is great and with street prices of $30 to $45 dollars, the prices are reasonable.

If you're in the market for a good gun case, you won't go wrong by looking for the orange "Z" that adorns their cases.