All guns are always loaded, even if they're not legally guns


March 9, 2010, 12:40 PM

BILLINGS, Mont. -- The superintendent of a rural Montana school district says he was showing students his black powder muzzleloader when he accidentally fired the weapon into a classroom wall during a history lesson.

Dwain Haggard, who used to be a Civil War re-enactor, was showing the gun to five students in Reed Point High School's American history class Friday when it fired.

No one was injured, and Haggard says he can't explain how the weapon was loaded.

He says he usually fires a cap during the demonstration, but this time there was a loud bang and the room filled with smoke.

A student who was in the class said the firing of the gun caught everyone off gaurd.

"Holy criminy, you just shot the map," the student said.

The ball shot through the "o" in the word "North" on a wall map.

According to Haggard, the gun was never pointed at the students once he inserted the cap. The Superintendent was facing away from the students, pointing the gun toward the ceiling when he pulled the trigger.

One father told Haggard he laughed until he cried after his son explained what happened.

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General Geoff
March 9, 2010, 12:43 PM
At least he exercised proper muzzle discipline, and nobody was hurt. To err is human; that's why the four rules were designed to be redundant. You can't possibly hurt anyone unless you're violating at least three of them.

March 9, 2010, 12:48 PM
I took a class at the local competition pistol range the other day, given by a couple of guys who have had a lot of competitive success. One of them is also the head firearms instructor at the local police academy, where they still qualify at 50 yards, with Glock .40s.

When he went over the 4 Rules, he said something that he tells new cops, and it stuck in my head. If you handle enough firearms over enough years, you will eventually have an AD. It's your responsibility to make sure that, no matter when it happens, nobody gets hurt.

March 9, 2010, 02:19 PM
^^ Good, that.

March 9, 2010, 03:35 PM
I have heard ( could be just urban legend stuff ) that when people take old muzzle loaders to antique fairs and such that quite a few of them turn out to have been left loaded for well over a hundred years!

There used to be a British television series called Lovejoy. Lovejoy was an antiques dealer who got into a lot interesting situations like murder and such in his quest to ply his trade. One time they had an episode dealing with old muzzle loading cannons. A female artillery expert on that episode always carried around with her the tools to unload old cannons because she sometimes found some that had been loaded for a very long time!!!

To check if a muzzle long arm is loaded or not, take a ramrod or similar and put it down the barrel of the weapon. Then mark somehow how far into the barrel the rod goes. Then take the rod out and lay it along side the barrel with the mark at the muzzle. If the end of the rod does not go all the way back to the flash hole or beyond then it is loaded.

March 9, 2010, 03:43 PM
I believe that many old muzzle loaders have been found loaded. There's no point in keeping a gun over the door or in a nightstand, if it takes a few minutes to round up the ammunition and load it. Consider that loading a muzzleloader is about like handloading a cartridge, except that you also have to grease a patch and ram the bullet down the barrel.

March 9, 2010, 03:51 PM
I aways, without question, check any firearm I handle. In the case of my regular carry, which has a chambered round, every time I place it back in the holster as I leave the house I make sure the safety is on. You can't be too careful.

March 9, 2010, 03:53 PM
Maybe it was a rebel musket, and wanted to destroy the North.

LOTS of these old smoke poles are loaded. Some have been loaded for 100 years or more, and are still able to shoot.

March 9, 2010, 03:57 PM
Oh man... I know it is bad, but I just laughed out loud... thats funny stuff....

Whenever anyone asks me how do I unload my ML'er it's always the same... with the trigger. I have never loaded it and NOT shot it :)

March 9, 2010, 05:31 PM
Just curious since I know next to squat about muzzle loaders, but how would you unload one, without firing it?

Can you push the load and ball back out the front via some port in the back? or do you need some long extracter on a pole similar to the ramrod?

March 9, 2010, 05:35 PM
...via some port in the back?

With inline muzzleloaders, yes. Remove the breech plug and remove in either direction that you prefer.
Otherwise, you'll have to use an accessory that fits on the end of the ramrod, and will pull the bullet out.$main-Medium$

March 9, 2010, 05:37 PM
To unload, there is a corkscrew-like device that grabs the projectile to pull it back out the muzzle.

March 9, 2010, 05:47 PM
Maybe it was a rebel musket, and wanted to destroy the North.

Very likely.

March 9, 2010, 05:51 PM
what is kind of funny is how everyone seemed to be like "lol, that poor ol' Mr. Haggard, blowing a hole in the wall like a dumb****" instead of bringing in countless school officials to talk about zero tolerance and criminal charges.

March 9, 2010, 05:58 PM
I believe there are also CO2-powered devices out there which allow you to unload muzzle-loaders by pressing a CO2 canister against the flash hole and blowing out the powder and ball without firing anything.

Scary situation, considering I had a history teacher that would do the same thing. He would come into class one day for the Civil War potion in full uniform, fire a cap at the wall during his explanation of weaponry, then we'd go outside and time him firing blanks. If I remember right, he said a good soldier could load and shoot three shots in a minute.

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