There are basically ONLY TWO ways in which an airgun can be legally imported into India. In both cases import is allowed ONLY FOR PERSONAL use and NO COMMERCIAL IMPORTS ARE CURRENTLY ALLOWED.
SCENARIO 1 - IMPORT VIA COURIER/ POST
The Dept. Of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India vide it's Notification No. 12 (RE-2005)/2004-09 Dated 04 July 2005 ALLOWED the import of .177 calibre airguns/ air-pistols by shooters registered with Rifle Clubs or District/ State/ National Rifle Association(s).
Please note the conditions for importing via this route:
1. The importer MUST be a current member of a Rifle Club/ Shooting Association as mentioned above.
2. The airguns/ air-pistols imported can ONLY be in .177 calibre
3. So far an import duty of ~ 35% was being charged on the CIF (Cost+Insurance+Freight) value of the goods imported. However, this duty has now been reduced to ZERO. However, customs officials are likely to wait for an official notification (maybe sometime early next month), BEFORE they begin to waive of import duties on these items. UPDATE - the zero duty regime is now a reality
4. Needless to say, the imported airguns/ air-pistols must be able to pass the deal wood test mentioned above.
5. Currently there is NO CLARITY on the imports of pellets/ BBs via this route, therefore they are likely to be confiscated. UPDATE - The imports of .177 cal pellets has now been allowed.
SCENARIO 2 - IMPORT AS PERSONAL BAGGAGE
Anyone returning from overseas may carry back an airgun/ air-pistol with him/ her. The following conditions would apply:
1. There is NO RESTRICTION on calibre as such using this route therefore import of .22 calibre airguns should not be a problem.
2. There is NO REQUIREMENT of the returning passenger being a member of a Rifle Club/ Shooting Association.
3. Duty charged should be ~ 35% but this is highly dependant on the interpretation of the customs officer on duty, I have heard of a case wherein someone was charged 100% import duty!
4. Baggage rules leave a lot of room for the discretion/ judgement of the customs officer on duty. Therefore while a club membership is not required, having one may help your case in certain circumstances.
5. How things work out varies widely, in some cases the customs officer charges duty on the airgun and releases the baggage immediately. In others, the airgun is impounded and one must then go to the firearms branch of the local police to have it verified as being an airgun (and not a firearm) before they will release the airgun. Therefore having an immediate onward connection is not a good idea, factor in a day or maybe two towards possible customs hassles. Not saying that it will happen, but it CAN - so best to be prepared.
6. PLEASE check with your airline well in advance to your departure as to their requirements for checking in an airgun in your baggage. Some airlines are helpful, others are not. Airguns are classified as "dangerous goods" as per all airlines and you should contact the airlines "dangerous goods" department for this information. There may be additional requirements (for e.g. packing it in a TSA certified gun case) depending on where you would be boarding. Please arrive at the airport EARLY to take care of any last minute delays due to the hassle of checking in the airgun.
7. One may carry back 2000 pellets per returning passenger, however this is not always enforced to the "T" and the customs officer may confiscate a larger or even lesser quantity than this number. It's entirely on your luck.
8. As per TSA regulations while checking in gas canisters for PCP/ CO2 airguns while boarding a flight, the the pressure vessel MUST be empty AND disassembled so that the TSA official on duty can make a visual inspection of the INSIDE of the container to verify that it is indeed empty. While this is not always strictly enforced, please do keep this in mind if boarding a flight in USA. May be a good idea to ship the (empty) cylinder/ cannister via post/ courier separately.
9. Needless to say, the imported airguns/ air-pistols must be able to pass the deal wood test mentioned above.
While the import of telescopes is allowed, a scope if presented along with a gun whether mounted or not is a restricted item and will most probably be confiscated. Therefore attempting to import a telescope along with your airgun via post/ courier is NOT RECOMMENDED and if you are carrying it back with you as baggage while returning from overseas MAKE SURE you pack it in a separate case and NOT along with the airgun. Most airport security/ airlines WILL NOT allow you to carry a rifle scope as cabin (hand) baggage so you will need to pack it with your check in baggage.