U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- When I finished my “Hellbreaker” AR-15, I was looking for a gun case that would fit the build. Around the same time, my editor contacted me about doing a review on the Cedar Mills Desperado Guitar Gun Case for AmmoLand.
If you are not familiar with the movie “Desperado” starring Antonio Banderas and directed by Robert Rodriguez, then you are missing out on some truly epic action. It is a revenge movie that is the sequel to the Mexican hit “El Mariachi.”
Our hero, known only as El Mariachi, is rampaging through dive bar after dive bar that is run by a Mexican criminal cartel. He carries a guitar case with him, but instead of a guitar in the case, he brings a small arsenal with him that he uses to dispense justice to the Mexican underworld. In one epic scene, after the local thugs discover his hidden firepower, so he has to exterminate all the bad guys with extreme prejudice.
Cedar Mills based the design of the Desperado Guitar Gun Case on that excellent movie. It is a unique case, so I figured it would fit the build of my unique Hellbreaker. I was more than happy to test out the case to see how well it would work at not only holding my rifle but also how discrete it would be for me to carry.
Cedar Mills designed the Desperado Guitar Gun Case specifically to hold a tactical gun. The internal measurements of the case are 42″ L x 13″ W (the narrow part of the main compartment) to 17″ W (the wide part of the main compartment). It is the perfect size for an AR or AK, but it isn't going to work for a long rifle or shotgun.
When I unpacked the case, I noticed the weight of the Desperado Guitar Gun Case. It feels a little heavier than I expected. On the outside, Cedar Mills covered the case in a leather-like material. It does look like leather from a distance, but up close you can tell it isn't leather.
Most guitar cases I have looked at since taking on the review also use the same material as the Desperado Guitar Gun Case. If you want to blend in, then this is the material that you want to use. It is a sturdy material that resists scratching. It is also effortless to clean. I was to get dirt and mud off with just a wet towel.
The case isn't going to survive as much punishment as the Iron Clasp case (lookout for a future review) from the same company, but Cedar Mills built that case to an IP67 rating. The two cases have two different uses. The Desperado Guitar Gun Case is more of a way of carrying a tactical rifle while being the “gray man.”
Cedar Mills included three latches on the outside of the Desperado Guitar Gun Case. These latches are the standard latches that manufacturers use in the design of their guitar cases. One of the fasteners has a built-in lock. The lock works, but it is easy to defeat. The one thing I would like to see Cedar Mills do is to upgrade the lock.
Inside the Desperado Guitar Gun Case is eggshell foam padding on the lid. Cedar Mills included three layers of one-inch grid configuration pick and pluck foam in the interior of the case. It lets the user pick out the cubes of foam to fit their firearm and their firearm accessories. The pick and pluck foam eliminate the need to have a custom foam insert done for their case. It doesn't look as good as a custom foam insert, but a professionally done foam insert can get a bit pricey.
I traced out the outline of my AR-15 with a metallic Sharpie. The Sharpie company designed these markers for people to use it on dark surfaces, which is helpful. Once I had a good outline, I begin removing the cubes from the first layer of foam within the pattern that I traced out. I was able to pull out long strips at a time. It took me about ten minutes to complete the complete shape.
I placed my rifle into the Desperado Guitar Gun Case to make sure it fit. I had to make a few adjustments by removing a couple of extra cubes of foam, but I was able to get the tight fit that I was after.
Once my gun was securely in the Cedar Mills case, I traced out patterns for four MagPul magazines with ranger plates. This time I removed foam cubes from two layers instead of just one. The magazines fit perfectly.
I have used other cases with the pick and pluck foam, but those cases had larger cube sizes. The end results with those cases didn't look at clean as they did with the Cedar Mills Desperado Guitar Gun Case. The difference between the Cedar Mills case and those is in the price.
A mistake with the pick and pluck foam on the Desperado Guitar Gun Case could be costly for the owner of the case. The replacement foam alone costs $149.99. For an additional $40, the buyer could get the new foam and an entirely new Cedar Mills case. This pricing makes sense when you consider the case is an actual guitar case. Most of the money Cedar Mills invested is tied up in the foam. I suggest that the customer err on the side of caution and remove as little foam as possible at first.
I wanted to “hippy up” the Desperado Guitar Gun Case to make it look more like something a musician would carry with them instead of a gun case. My friend Roger suggested I put a bunch of band stickers on the case. I thought this was a great idea, and cheaper than I thought it would cost.
I spent $5 on a pack of 100 rock stickers that I found on Amazon. Before I covered the Cedar Mills Desperado Guitar Gun Case, I put a few gun stickers from my local gun range, Franklin Armory, and a couple supplied from my friend and YouTube personality, Clovertac. I made sure those were on the bottom of all the stickers, so they were not noticeable unless you looked for them.
The “hippy-camo” worked, and it looked like something a hipster would carry around with them around the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. The average person wouldn't be able to tell that there was an AR-15 and 120 rounds in the Desperado Guitar Gun Case. The one exception is that Cedar Mills place a metal plate on the side of the case that reads, “Cedar Mills Fine Firearms,” but other than that, it worked well to conceal my rifle.
I carried the case around with me all day, and no one gave me a second look. Walking around with a rifle case or bag on my shoulder probably would bring me a lot of unwanted attention. I call that a pass in my book, and as the movie that Cedar Mills named the case after, that is the point.
Readers can check out all of Cedar Mills' offerings at https://www.cedarmillfirearms.com/.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.