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Keeping HD weapon loaded?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Hunter125, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. Hunter125

    Hunter125 Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. WC145

    WC145 Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. flrfh213

    flrfh213 Well-Known Member

    personal opinion...

    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....
  6. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  8. texas bulldog

    texas bulldog Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. MinnMooney

    MinnMooney Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. [Pb]

    [Pb] Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. General Geoff

    General Geoff Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. GojuBrian

    GojuBrian Well-Known Member

    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
  13. TonyDedo

    TonyDedo Well-Known Member

    An unloaded gun is a useless gun.
  14. Sediment

    Sediment Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. Boba Fett

    Boba Fett Well-Known Member


    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.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  16. Hunter125

    Hunter125 Well-Known Member

    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.
  17. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Well-Known Member

    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. :)
  18. flintlock62

    flintlock62 Well-Known Member

    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!
  19. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Well-Known Member

    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.

    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.
  20. KingEdward

    KingEdward Active Member

    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.

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