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Safety 101....

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dave McCracken, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    Let's start with the general rules for gun safety. Sometimes phrased differently, they boil down to these...

    Treat all firearms as loaded.

    Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

    Do not put your fingers near the trigger or inside the trigger guard until you mean to shoot.

    Be aware of not only what may be near your target but beyond it.

    Any questions?....

    Next, some shotgun specific ones,and commentary.

    Use only the ammunition for which that shotgun was designed for. No Magnums in 2 3/4" chambered shotguns. No 16 gauge in 12s and so on.

    Be advised that if a 20 gauge shell is dropped into a 12 gauge chamber, it'll move forward far enough for a 12 gauge shell to be chambered behind it, and fired. Shotguns and hand grenades have similar working pressures, and the thing will blow up between your face and front hand. Same thing will happen in a 10 gauge with a 16 gauge shell.

    If one is shooting and an odd sounding report is heard, do NOT fire another round until the barrel is checked for an obstruction. Sometimes on a "blooper" round, loaded without powder, the wad will still be in the bore. Same results if fired as with the situation in the above paragraph. Matter of fact, check the bore for obstructions before shooting.

    Hearing loss starts with the first unprotected shot, and despite what Lee Majors may tell you, there's no bionic replacements for eyes.

    Use eye and ear protection religiously.

    Wash your hands thoroughly after shooting and before eating, drinking,smoking, etc. Not only is there some lead contamination, but the free radicals left after combustion probably won't do your organs a bit of good either.

    In the field, take no shots close to your companions, or dogs. Nobody will rag you about passing these up. When in doubt, do not shoot.

    All for now, any questions?
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2003
  2. PJR

    PJR Participating Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    No questions. Just a comment.


    Follow these rules like your life depends on it. Because it actually does.

    Because I followed these these rules I avoided a 12/20 burst. When my semi auto 12 gauge didn't go bang I didn't jam another shell into the breach. With the action open I tapped the butt on the concrete pad and felt sick when a 20 gauge shell rolled out. My wife and two very close friends were standing 6 feet away.

    At a sporting clays competition where factory ammo was mandated, the shell sounded odd and I stopped immediately. There was a wad solidly jammed into bottom barrel of my o/u. This was factory fresh, Winchester AA target grade ammunition. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't checked the barrel and had loaded and fired another shell.

    I have averaged about ten thousand rounds a year for the last decade. I have had precisely one negligent discharge. While shooting trap, I loaded the wrong barrel. Because I broke a rule (keeping the finger off the trigger) I drove a load into the back of the trap house as I lowered the gun from my shoulder. Because I followed a rule (the gun was in a safe direction) no one was hurt.

    Here are my additions to Dave's message: If you are shooting a semi auto remember that it's sometimes difficult to see that the action is open. Keep your barrels pointed in a safe direction. Just because you know it's safe doesn't mean that I do.

    If you are shooting a breaking gun, open the gun with the barrels in the air when you take it from the rack. I picked up my o/u from the gun rack at the club after a very spirited competition and when I opened the gun a shell dropped out and hit the deck. I was flabbergasted. It meant that a gun that was off safe with a round in the chamber sat on the rack for about half an hour. Fortunately, my habit of opening the gun with the barrels pointed skyward meant nothing more than an moment of embarassment. It's a good habit to get into if you shoot a breaking gun.

    Safety rules are meant to followed. Your life depends on it and if you shoot with me, so does mine.

  3. Ringer

    Ringer Participating Member

    Mar 31, 2003
    North Georgia
    I'm glad to see you mention this. At the range I belong to it amazes me how most people just checkout and leave. First thing I do when done is hit the restroom and wash up, they have soap better suited for getting the black off my fingers than at my office anyway (shoot on my lunch hour a lot).
  4. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Senior Member

    Jan 29, 2003
    All good advice, and words that even experienced shooters need to read once in a while.

    Let's cover my pet peeve...

    Shotgunning is frequently very social -- in fact, it is often compared to golf. Unlike golf, however, it is NOT OK to toss a few cold ones back prior to hitting the course (or stepping up to the line). If you want to shoot and enjoy adult beverages, make sure that you are done and everything is unloaded and cased before you grab for the frosty mug.

    On one occasion, I was squaded for a round of trap with some guys I didn't know. We were called, and I watched the other four (all obviously friends) put their beers down and head for the line. I complained loudly to the folks organizing the league and refused to shoot with that group.

    A cold beer tastes great. Just wait until you're done with the loud thing that can punch lots of holes in stuff.
  5. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Another Good Thread Topic !
    Good input
    4 rules always...
  6. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    Thanks, folks.

    Alcohol is a no-no when shooting. The tall frosties can wait until the weapons are cased.

    Lead is as toxic as Hate. I wash religiously after using the reloader, handling shells, etc.

    Safety devices should be used, but they never can substitute for careful and safe gun handling.

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