"Saving one" in the chamber: competitive shooting


February 7, 2011, 05:28 PM
I had a thought, and I'm curious to know if anyone already utilizes this technique. For competitive shooters, every second counts, and I'm sure that reloading is no exception. I bet some guys can swap in a fresh mag in a second or less. Here's my thought:

Wouldn't it make sense to just fire 29 rounds (your final round would be in the chamber) instead of 30? That way, there would be no reason to release the bolt catch, and you're still putting all 30 rounds downrange. That would save precious seconds on the clock without diminishing firepower. It would actually increase it, since every stream would consist of 31 rounds at a time!

Does anyone do this?

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February 7, 2011, 05:41 PM
Yes people do this

Sam Cade
February 7, 2011, 05:44 PM
What discipline do you mean when you say "competitive shooter"?

...and something for you to peruse.


If you can help it you never want to have to reload on a locked bolt, of course, depending on how the stage is set up it might be mandatory.

Andrew Wyatt
February 7, 2011, 05:47 PM
yes. i totally do this in Duty Calls. It helped me reach the rank of major major sergeant sergeant shooter sergeant.

February 7, 2011, 05:52 PM

You're nobody until you've reached the rank of major major sergeant sergeant shooter sergeant extreme to the max.

February 7, 2011, 05:53 PM
You may find there is some small difficulty in keeping track of how many rounds you've fired once you shoot more than ... oh, about two shots ... under time (or combat) pressure. Most shooters will be looking for a time/place that is convenient to reload well in advance of running the gun dry.

But, yes, reloading prior to running the gun dry is a very common technique used by shooters in almost all disciplines of practical shooting.

February 7, 2011, 06:03 PM
I do this all the time when shooting 10/22s. One of mine in particular will put the first hand chambered round about 1/2" out of the group at 50 yards. If I want to shoot good groups, I waste the first round into the berm, then keep track and don't let it go dry. Of course, I'm only loading five rounds at a time.

February 7, 2011, 06:48 PM
First shot out of the group with a 10-22 is due to the action handle being tight in the bolt slot and putting pressure on the firing pin.

Relieve the handle by filing the sides and deepening/widening the notch a bit, so it doesn't touch the firing pin and your first shot flyers will disappear. I discovered this cure a few years ago and posted it in my 10-22 accurizing tips on RimfireCentral.com.


February 7, 2011, 07:05 PM
When I shot competitive pistol (before I had kids), I had the slide stops on my super and limited guns detented. This way the slide stops couldn't be accidentally activated by my thumb. The idea was the you should never run the gun dry, therefore, you don't need a slide stop.

February 9, 2011, 06:57 PM
I am impressed if you can actually keep track of 29 vs. "other" round count. I know I can't. Theoretically, you are correct. Also, unless you are a top 10% type competitior, I wouldn't worry about competiion time tricks and IMO I would focus on self defense. At times, the two can be quite different. I wouldn't want to learn any bad competition habits that might get me in trouble if I even need to defend myself in real life. Just my two cents.

February 9, 2011, 07:10 PM
I've always wondered if a disconnect was made where if the magazine is empty but a round in the chamber you couldn't fire to help speed up reloading in competition.

451 Detonics
February 9, 2011, 08:03 PM
In competition I do count rounds and I will also perform a reload anytime I am moving regardless of how many rounds are still in the magazine or cylinder.

February 9, 2011, 08:15 PM
It`s a no-no in NRA High Power. They call it a "hot reload". The rules say you get a goose egg for the string if you do it.

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