Keeping HD weapon loaded?


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Hunter125
January 19, 2010, 01:22 AM
I have an 870 by the bed for HD purposes. Here's my question: Is it safe or wise to keep the magazine loaded, or should I just keep shells on hand? Up to this point I have been just keeping a slug on the nightstand, but had a scare the other night which turned out to be a false alarm, but it made me realize that I may not be able to get to my gun and my shell in time to do what I need to. My question has a couple of parts to it: it is safe from an equipment perspective, i.e. will keeping it loaded compromise my magazine spring eventually? And is it safe period. As of right now, we have a baby on the way, but will have no kids in the house for some time and I have taught my wife how to safely handle the gun. Just looking for some opinions and experience. Thanks guys.

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Ed Ames
January 19, 2010, 01:25 AM
The springs will be fine. They wear with cycling, not static loads.

Keeping a loaded gun is as safe as you are.

Personally, I think "cruiser ready" is a reasonable choice for a HD shotgun. Just rack the slide, fire, repeat as needed. Others prefer one in the chamber and the safety becomes key. Either is safe if it's handled in a safe way.

WC145
January 19, 2010, 01:26 AM
Keep the magazine loaded, chamber empty. If you need you're just one pump away from putting it into action. It won't bother the magazine spring any.

mljdeckard
January 19, 2010, 01:27 AM
Keeping it loaded will not hurt the spring. springs wear out from repeated flexing, not long-term compression.

I keep mine with the magazine loaded, chamber empty, slide locked. In my house with my kids, that is the level of readiness I am ok with. When they are older, I will have to decide if they can keep their friends out of trouble in my house or not.

flrfh213
January 19, 2010, 01:33 AM
i have had clips and mags both loaded for years and no ill effects i can see, i keep my 870 wingmaster pump loaded and hot(1 in the tube) as i do with my 9mm, 357, m&p 40 but i keep the hand guns in diffrent safes, and the 40 in pistol safe by bed above the shotgun on floor. first thing i PLAN on doing if i think i hear a BG is roll out of bed to floor away from door and access the 870 and go fron there....

mnrivrat
January 19, 2010, 01:35 AM
An unloaded gun is a stick. While having ammunition nearby allows you to turn it into a proper weapon in a short period of time, the question is how much time will you have if you need it, and why not keep it loaded ?

You do not have to worry about weakening the spring in the magazine , so why not load the magazine . My opinion is that there should be one in the chamber ready to go - with the safety of the gun in the safe position. The only way the gun can discharge in this configuration is by manualy working the safety and then pulling the trigger - to me, that is safe enough.

Others have argued the point, and keep their magazines loaded, and no round in the chamber - I don't do it that way , but have nothing against it.

I do sorta shake my head when the reason for doing it that way is because they want an intruder to hear the pump action working, in the theory that they will crap their pants & run. Frankly, if I was in your house with the intent of doing you harm, or not wanting to get harmed myself, the noise of the pump action working would give me something to shoot at.

MrCleanOK
January 19, 2010, 01:36 AM
I keep bed-side 870 tube loaded one down with 00 buck, empty chamber, cocked, safety off. Butt cuff holds 3x 00 buck and 3x slugs. If it's ever time to rock and roll, a pull of the trigger or actuation of the slide release and pump of the action will have me in business. Loading the mag tube one down gives me the capability to put a slug from the butt cuff first in line if needed.

[EDIT] I keep the pipe empty because I am most used to operating a BPS shotgun with a tang safety, and trust myself to run the slide release and pump more than I trust myself to operate a cross bolt safety under stress, half doped up on sleep.

texas bulldog
January 19, 2010, 02:46 AM
an unloaded HD gun is an expensive rock (or stick)...only less effective than an actual rock (or stick). any of my guns that i expect even might be used for HD are kept loaded.


my 870 is cruiser ready. no shell in the chamber. i trust my ability to rack the pump under stress more than finding the safety (in part because i never practice using the safety).

my primary HD gun is a 1911. it is cocked and locked.

MinnMooney
January 19, 2010, 03:11 AM
I have no kids in the house so my weapon(s) are fully loaded and ready to shoot. If someone kicked in the front/back door at 4 A.M., I'd be groggy and it'll take several seconds to get my bearings. I'll need those few seconds of lead time to shake the cobwebs out. By that time, I need to be pointing the weapon at the BR door and calling 9-1-1.............. NOT trying to load cartridges into the gun.

I second, third and fourth the notion that the magazine springs will keep their 'spring' for decades. Don't worry about them.

[Pb]
January 19, 2010, 03:15 AM
Put as many shells in as will fit and have more if you need them. If you are prepared to end up in an armed conflict, you better be ready to win because someone is probably going to die or get grievously injured before it's over.

General Geoff
January 19, 2010, 03:28 AM
I keep the long guns with a fully loaded magazine inserted, bolt forward, chamber empty (for drop safety on floating firing pin-equipped weapons). Handguns I generally keep with a round in the chamber, as they are designed to be carried safely in that fashion.

GojuBrian
January 19, 2010, 04:20 AM
I keep the short shotgun loaded with one in the chamber, I keep one pistol loaded with one in the chamber. I also have small children in the house, but they are never there alone and have no access to them. When I'm away I lock them up and take one with me. :D

TonyDedo
January 19, 2010, 04:23 AM
An unloaded gun is a useless gun.

Sediment
January 19, 2010, 05:07 AM
Like most people here I keep my Mossy 500 "Cruiser ready" with 5 shells of 3" Magnum 00 buck. Trigger has already been pulled so the slide is unlocked and ready to rack. My house has a lot of twisty turny hallways with no real direct line to my bedroom except from the garage. My 1911 is hot and locked, GLOCK is loaded with 10 rounds in the mag, and empty chamber.

Boba Fett
January 19, 2010, 05:16 AM
The springs will be fine. They wear with cycling, not static loads.

Keeping a loaded gun is as safe as you are.

+1

Now, the safety issues do change when you have a child. My recommendation is to simply keep it well out of reach until they are old enough to do something like drag a foot stool over and reach the top shelf. Be careful, that can be a lot sooner than you'd think and they can be way more creative about getting places than you might give them credit for.

Once they are old enough, show them your firearms (unloaded of course) and start teaching them the four firearms safety rules. But you also have to add another rule: never touch daddy's firearms without his permission.

Get them familiar with the operation of firearms, teach them the responsibilities of firearms...certainly they do not have all the understanding they will when they are older, but get the principals started; do things like have them repeat the FIVE firearm safety rules..., and when you feel comfortable take them out to shoot (preferably something like a 22lr that will be easy for them to handle, but BB guns and such can also be good starters).

If you are concerned about them getting a hold of your loaded HD weapon, it might be time to think about one of those quick release safes and a handgun. Only you are going to be able to tell if you need one. A lot of that decision depends on your child rearing skills, teaching skills, the temperament of your child, and what you are personally comfort with. I personally would have one anyway ready but in a quick release safe and keep all the other firearms and ammo locked up (maybe loaded, but certainly locked up). This isn't because I doubt my child rearing skills, I simply wouldn't be willing to take the chance. Quick release safe and handgun for me.


Congratulations on the new baby! Make a fine firearms owner out of him/her.

Hunter125
January 19, 2010, 10:32 AM
Thanks guys that helps a lot.
Boba Fett, thanks for the congratulations, I surely plan to teach my kids about guns early. I shot my first .357 when I was five and loved them ever since. I'm not sure I'll start them out that big, but they'll be around guns young and learn how to handle them properly.

Sav .250
January 19, 2010, 10:40 AM
If it`s for ...........HD, then keep that puppy loaded. If, as otheres have said, you want a "stick" keep it clean and empty. Your home,your call. :)

flintlock62
January 19, 2010, 10:49 AM
I have no kids in the house, so I keep mine loaded with the chamber empty. The reason I keep the chamber empty is that if someone broke in, the sound of a pump cycling sends a message that is understood in any language!

M2 Carbine
January 19, 2010, 10:50 AM
Keeping a loaded gun is as safe as you are.
That's the answer.

I live alone.
I prefer to keep long guns with a loaded magazine and empty chamber and pistols with a round in the chamber.

But,
one of my most useful pistols is a Ruger bull barrel 22/45, that I've equipped with a Streamlight TLR-2 laser/light. This gun is kept handy as a walking around the place at night gun. Except for night time laser practice the gun is used for a flashlight more than a gun.
Since the gun is handled a lot while doing chores I prefer to not have a round in the chamber. So to prevent the question, at a bad time, "Does this gun have a round in the chamber?", all the HD pistols have a loaded magazine and empty chamber.

KingEdward
January 19, 2010, 11:00 AM
I've had the same debate. I now keep my Mossberg 500 with
the magazine full, chamber empty, safety off. Really do not
want to have to fumble with shells in the dark if something
happens :eek:.

There are 5 in the magazine and 5 more in the cuff.

COgunner
January 19, 2010, 11:39 AM
I keep mine fully loaded with a combination-type trigger lock. I keep the lock set so I have to turn only one tumbler to get it off and I practice it from time to time to make sure I can do it quickly and in the dark. I would hate to walk into my house some evening and have to stare down the barrel of my own shotgun. Plus, it eliminates the remote possibility of a visitor's child getting to it.

I wish someone would come out with a biometric trigger lock.

benEzra
January 19, 2010, 02:05 PM
I don't own a shotgun, but I keep a carbine with a loaded magazine, empty chamber, safety on.

BTW, start stashing a few dollars away each month for an inexpensive safe, or at least a lockable gun cabinet. That way you can leave the gun in the safe when it's unattended, and take it out when you're in the room, which can be a good idea depending on the age and maturity level of your kids.

oneounceload
January 19, 2010, 02:12 PM
My opinion is that there should be one in the chamber ready to go - with the safety of the gun in the safe position. The only way the gun can discharge in this configuration is by manualy working the safety and then pulling the trigger - to me, that is safe enough.

Not necessarily true - shotgun safeties are not exactly the best in bump tests - if the gun gets knocked over or lands wrong, it might become a problem.

Cruiser ready - chamber empty, magazine loaded, trigger pulled on the empty chamber - rack the slide and start shooting - very safe, very quick to get into action if necessary.

rcmodel
January 19, 2010, 02:19 PM
I'd ask you to show me how you can grab a chamber loaded shotgun standing next to the bed without it pointing at your head or body at least briefly?

And shotgun safety's are not 100% drop safe.

Unlike most handguns, a shotgun safety only blocks the trigger from moving.
They have no bearing on the hammer, sear, or firing pin atall.

Loaded mag tube, chamber empty is the only safe way to leave a shotgun setting around.

rc

BP Hunter
January 19, 2010, 02:32 PM
I have my Remington 870 magazine full with an empty chamber. I also have my Sig Sauer 220 carry in. .45 with full magazine with an empty chamber.

I have an emergency HD kit. It includes my Remington 870 and a fanny pack. The fanny packs holds extra rounds for the 870, a flashlight, my cellphone with a bluetooth earpiece (when I can't hold the phone and gun the same time), a holster which holds my Sig Sauer 220 in .45, and an extra magazine for the clip.

ByAnyMeans
January 19, 2010, 02:38 PM
I keep a Winchester 1300 18in loaded with seven OO buck cruiser ready.
I also keep a Glock loaded with one in the chamber.
Which I grab would depend upon the situation.

jakemccoy
January 19, 2010, 03:36 PM
Keeping your HD gun loaded is highly unsafe for an intruder.

Deanimator
January 19, 2010, 03:52 PM
I refuse to CARRY a handgun with a LOADED magazine and an empty chamber. Is loading an unloaded shotgun while fending off an attacker EASIER to do than chambering a round into an M1911?

I certainly wouldn't put myself in the position of having to load shotgun shells into my firearm ONE BY ONE while an intruder is trying to choke, beat, stab or shoot me to death.

Arkansas Paul
January 19, 2010, 04:04 PM
I have a six year old daughter, so I've pondered very much the same questions. I have two loaded firearms within reach from the bed. One is a Sigma .40VE and the other a 20 gauge pump. Both are loaded but do not have one in the chamber. It's safe and it doesn't take long and I'm ready.

RainDodger
January 19, 2010, 04:36 PM
Any firearm in my safe (or cased) can be considered unloaded. Any firearm outside of the safe is considered loaded, which includes the Rem 870 by my bed. It has a loaded mag, empty chamber, slide is forward, and I've got a sock over the muzzle to keep stuff out of it. :)

joe_security
January 19, 2010, 05:43 PM
All good advice but i dont agree with the use of slugs. Way too much penetration, unless you are in a very rural area with no chance of hitting a neighbor. I like my 870 but you will not find slugs in it except for extreme situations, like dangerous animals such as bears.

BaltimoreBoy
January 19, 2010, 06:58 PM
Children are as variable as adults. Some you can trust implicitly - others not. And that's not an imputation of good versus evil either.

I never worried about my two girls - they were both extremely bidable and paid close attention to what ever they were told.

Some more free spirits may require more caution.

Taking them to the range from an early age (as I and grand pappy did) pays large dividends.

wishin
January 19, 2010, 07:28 PM
Loaded with one in the chamber, safety on. I'm one who doesn't believe that jacking a round scares an intruder. It might...but, I'm not willing to take the chance.

I'd ask you to show me how you can grab a chamber loaded shotgun standing next to the bed without it pointing at your head or body at least briefly?

RC, you could stand it on the barrel.:uhoh:

Victor1Echo
January 19, 2010, 09:14 PM
My buddy is afraid of shooting his roommate when he stumbles home drunk, so he keeps the first round loaded with a beanbag shot, then some kind of buckshot.

Manco
January 19, 2010, 09:16 PM
My HD handgun always has a full magazine loaded, another full magazine next to it, a round in the chamber, and is always ready to fire. All of the rounds are identical JHPs.

peetee32
January 19, 2010, 09:43 PM
My buddy is afraid of shooting his roommate when he stumbles home drunk, so he keeps the first round loaded with a beanbag shot, then some kind of buckshot.

your 'buddy' is an idiot.

killing someone accidently with beanbag shot is much better then killing someone accidently with "regular" ammo...right?

:banghead:

Boba Fett
January 19, 2010, 10:11 PM
My buddy is afraid of shooting his roommate when he stumbles home drunk, so he keeps the first round loaded with a beanbag shot, then some kind of buckshot.
1) Your "buddy" needs a new roommate.

2) Less/Non-lethal ammo can be just a deadly.

3) Other such Less/Non-lethal ammo threads on THR have generally discussed the legal problems such ammo can cause you.

4) :banghead:

jakemccoy
January 19, 2010, 10:39 PM
I'd ask you to show me how you can grab a chamber loaded shotgun standing next to the bed without it pointing at your head or body at least briefly?

Prop up the shotgun on its muzzle. I'm not really sure why most people go the other way. Is it because they don't have carpet floors?

Boba Fett
January 19, 2010, 10:46 PM
Originally Posted by rcmodel
I'd ask you to show me how you can grab a chamber loaded shotgun standing next to the bed without it pointing at your head or body at least briefly?
Prop up the shotgun on its muzzle. I'm not really sure why most people go the other way. Is it because they don't have carpet floors?

It's probably a weight and surface area thing.

The muzzle has very little surface area and the weight tends to be more toward the back making it top heavy. So by placing it muzzle down on the floor, you run a higher risk of it falling over.

slabuda
January 20, 2010, 02:33 AM
Not too useful unless it goes bang, unless its a shotgun and you swing like Hank Aaron.

Yes you can 'Try" to load it when needed and its doable probably when your awake. But if you wake with a sudden crash of a window not only will you be not fully lucid making it difficult the adrenaline will be going like mad and that makes it that much harder. I prefer to take any variable out that I can.

But then I live on my own with no children in the house. But even with kids it can be done. Keep it out of reach while you are home and locked up while you are gone to prevent the curious cat playing with the mouse.


BTW way to me unloaded means NOTHING in it. Loaded means at the VERY least a magazine full. But for me it really means on in the chamber safety on.

slabuda
January 20, 2010, 02:42 AM
The fanny packs holds extra rounds for the 870, a flashlight, my cellphone with a bluetooth earpiece (when I can't hold the phone and gun the same time)

Not a bad idea there. I wouldnt want to try and clip the pack on, but slung across the shoulder would work very fast. Just wonder how hard it would be to use the bluetooth when the adrenaline has ramped up?

One downside is will the cell phone transmit your address to the police like a house phone would? What if the device fell out and you couldnt talk then?

Dokkalfar
January 20, 2010, 03:04 AM
Well I'm not yet 21, so no FFL handgun for me. And I just haven't had a chance yet to buy a revolver from a friend, so the limits to my HD is a Mossberg 500A :)

I usually keep my rounds in the magazine, and have it ready to rack. I have too much experience at the range with getting my sights set an pulling the trigger, only to realize I left the safety on (Im good at setting it when I set the firearm down, but before I shoot I forget to take it off :p )

carbuncle
January 20, 2010, 03:16 AM
For an HD shotgun I keep the magazine loaded, chamber empty. I'm sufficiently confident in my ability to rack the slide quickly to be comfortable with this, plus (and I may be wrong on this) I believe most shotguns don't have drop safeties so I'm not thrilled with the idea of my 12 gauge firing if knocked over or bumped.

MovedWest
January 20, 2010, 03:28 AM
Seriously... pointing an unloaded gun at someone is like pointing a Q-tip at someone. If a gun is unloaded, it's a hammer or a club. If you're in a confrontation, you WILL LOSE if they call your bluff - and it will be called. If you have to fend for your life SPLIT SECONDS determine the survivor.

EVERY gun I have in my home that isn't locked up is loaded and ready to fire. My 12ga filled with 00 buck requires the safety to be flicked off and the trigger pulled, followed by the next round getting racked. If I can reach it, it goes bang when I pull the trigger. I grew up like this. I have 4 siblings that lived through it. If you have kids, raise them with this being the norm.

How much safety will cost you your life?

-MW

Hunter125
January 20, 2010, 10:31 AM
For those of you with kids, how do you keep your HD weapons? I grew up in a house with guns and my dad is 6'7" so he just kept his .357 way up on a shelf that we kids couldn't get to, but my wife grew up without guns so she is nervous about having loaded guns in the house, but I'm nervous not having them. I'd like to find something that's somewhat comfortable for my wife, but I'm not willing to compromise having guns ready to go. Seems like a trigger lock is just as cumbersome in the dark when you're groggy as what I was doing before, just keeping shell nearby, but I don't have any place really high to put a gun either. Any suggestions?

Boba Fett
January 20, 2010, 12:43 PM
My suggestion if you are in Hunter's position is a quick access safe:

http://www.advancedlocktech.com/images/mini_safepic_md.jpg


I feel the same as Hunter125 that trigger locks would be slow and difficult in the middle of the night.

As for having an empty gun and keeping the shells nearby, that seems like it would be dangerous for the kiddos. And probably just as slow as trying to get a trigger lock off if not slower.


Another option is something along these lines

http://www.maxarmory.com/images/products/epsn0156.jpg
http://www.maxarmory.com/images/products/EPSN0166.jpg


That is just one example, but there are several versions of such hidden storage places and you could make your own (like a picture with a hidden compartment behind it). The great thing is that so long as your kids don't see you "opening" the clock, it should stay out of reach and within easy quick access for you and your wife.

foghornl
January 20, 2010, 03:36 PM
Try this:

Have Spouse/Significant Other/room-mate go into the easiest-to-break-into room, etc, and Shout "CRASH!", then begin walking to your location.

Meanwhile, you see if you can get your weapon, locate ammo, and get it ready to go BEFORE 'intruder' walks though the doorway and says "Bang! Bang! Bang! You are TOAST!"

Only try this with dummy ammo or 'snap caps' DO NOT USE REAL LIVE AMMO FOR THIS TEST.

You probably can be ready if you try this while fully awake. But add in the factors of having to wake up, determine that there is a real threat, and the clumsiness/lower alertness of sleep.....

Ala Dan
January 20, 2010, 03:39 PM
Several of my HD weapons are loaded, and ready too rock~! ;) :D

FYI: A practice I teach when introducing a newbie too firearms is this:

"All firearms are loaded, all of the time"

When handing or receving firearms, ALWAYS check the chamber(s) yourself;
for everyone's safety~!

A good rule of the thumb, NEVER too forget~!

BURN
January 20, 2010, 03:42 PM
if it is safe for you to do so...i do not know your home life...keep it loaded

zombieoutfitters
January 20, 2010, 03:56 PM
In my opinion...and probably in the minority. I always keep a gun intended for quick access, whether its by the bed or in my holster, loaded but not chambered.

It's a personal choice - and tactically has as many disadvantages as it has safety advantages. Many would say I should not carry w/o one in the pipe. And if I was going somewhere "suspect" I would charge a round.

For those times when danger creeps up unexpectedly I accept the chance I am taking and hell...I AM armed which is better than most people w/o guns could hope for.

But for your bedside...loaded, accessible...but not too close and preferably not visible. I wouldn't wanna have a sleepwalking incident or wake up to find someone standing over me with my loaded gun. But if it's accessible to you, and loaded...it will serve it's purpose for you.

Kids in the house...once they can toddle around...180 degree different opinion until they are old enough to "know better". And even then the "you never know" factor quadruples.

I have kept 3 guns with full mags for 3 years now...no mag problems. Cycle mags once in a while, but they are made for it.

Just my opinion. Good luck!

Lou McGopher
January 20, 2010, 04:22 PM
The reason I keep the chamber empty is that if someone broke in, the sound of a pump cycling sends a message that is understood in any language!Maybe it will, if they hear it. Maybe you won't be so lucky.

I keep my shotty chamber empty, but only because I don't want to have a ND due to grogginess. If I can depress the slide-lock and rack the slide, I know I'm awake enough to be wielding a shotgun.

I keep my pistol near the bed with one in the chamber. But it's in a holster and the trigger pull on the pistol is a lot heavier and longer than it is for the shotgun.

Erik M
January 20, 2010, 07:10 PM
A very talkative older gentelman approached myself and my ladyfriend at the gun shop and told us how he kept 2 empty chambers in his revolver so that he could prove to an intruder that he ment business by pulling the hammer on a empty chamber twice before actually shooting them.

Whatever is on the nightstand has one in the pipe with the safety on.

Boba Fett
January 20, 2010, 08:31 PM
A very talkative older gentelman approached myself and my ladyfriend at the gun shop and told us how he kept 2 empty chambers in his revolver so that he could prove to an intruder that he ment business by pulling the hammer on a empty chamber twice before actually shooting them.

LOL :rolleyes: Good grief.

I can see how that will end:


Home owner: "I mean business!" *click* *click*

Bad Guy: *BANG* *BANG* So do I!


Hours later, cops: "We think Mr. Grover did not fully load his revolver. We found two empty chambers. Maybe he was loading his gun and didn't have time to finish, maybe he figured he only needed three shots. We don't really know."

Reporter, "You say you found two empty chambers...doesn't that mean he got two shots off?"


All of us on THR "HA HA HA! Stupid reporter!" followed by "I feel sorry for that poor guy...I wonder what really happened..."

wishin
January 20, 2010, 09:03 PM
You unwittingly solved a mystery. Knowing I'm a gun nut, my neighbors wife recently told me a story about her father coming home late one night. As she tells it, she thought it was an intruder and got their HD revolver and when her not so sober father heard the second click, he quickly identified himself. Now, I understand why there were two clicks. This older guy must have been her father!:uhoh:

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