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hiking with a loaded rifle?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by mainecoon, Dec 13, 2013.

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  1. mainecoon

    mainecoon Member

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    Maybe this is a dumb question, but when hunting, is it common to load the rifle with a round in the chamber and then just use the safety to prevent accidental discharge while walking with the rifle slung over your shoulder? Sounds kind of sketchy.
     
  2. easy

    easy Member

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    Chambered with safety on, or empty chamber, either way the only true safety is between your ears.

    It's a personal preference. For a 'hike' I would have an empty chamber. Hunting, loaded chamber with mechanical safety engaged.
     
  3. WayBeau

    WayBeau Member

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    I hunt my way to my stands since I've had too many deer catch me unprepared without a round in the chamber. When I'm walking in, I'm moving very slowly with the rifle's safety on. If I was hiking, in the true sense of the word, I would have the rifle loaded (rounds in the magazine) without a round in the chamber.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    +1
    Hiking / hunting at the same time when a shot might present itself??
    Loaded, safety on.

    Hiking & not actually hunting?
    Loaded mag, Empty chamber, with safety on.

    rc
     
  5. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Either one, loaded chamber, safety on.
     
  6. gspn

    gspn Member

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    +1. That is exactly how I do it, and exactly why I do it.
     
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Regional preferences. You will find a lot of Western hunters that do not load the chamber until they see game. In most of the Eastern states the custom is to load the chamber as soon as you step off the road. Lots of exceptions, but this is the way I see it. I've seen some hotly debated threads among folks who feel strongly both ways.

    As a hunter safety instructor we have always taught that if the terrain is likely to result in a fall, when crossing a fence, ditch, or climbing into a stand the chamber should be unloaded. That is how I do it. Normally the chamber is loaded, but it is easy and fast enough to open the bolt, remove the round from the chamber, push it into the magazine and close the bolt on an empty chamber until the obstacle is crossed. Once on fairly good terrain the round can be rechambered.
     
  8. interlock

    interlock Member

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    I still hunt (in your language) mostly. I carry my rifle slung upside down over my right shoulder loaded and round chambered safety on.
     
  9. curtste

    curtste Member

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    Round in the chamber, safety on, from the minute I leave the truck until I unload at the truck at the end of the day, regardless of the weapon of choice. I simply follow the standard rules of firearm safety. An unloaded firearm is of no use to me in the field.
     
  10. bob4

    bob4 Member

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    Chambered with safety on from daylight on. Exception, if anyone is with me and single file the person behind DOES NOT chamber a round. If they insist I move to the back and tell them "pray I don't trip". :evil:
     
  11. josiewales

    josiewales Member

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    This. If your are hunting you HAVE to have the ability to fire a quick shot, and to aim silently. Working the action on a gun is a sure way to go home empty handed.
     
  12. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    Loaded with safety on. I also carry the rifle in front of me, not slung over the back. I've been surprised by game too many times in the past when I was lax, walking in the woods with my mind elsewhere. The hunt starts from the time I leave the truck until I climb back in.
     
  13. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    And the answer is............................................it depends.

    Seriously, there are times, depending on terrain, that the chamber is empty for safety. I NEVER use a gun's safety, either the gun is ready to fire or I have the action open or empty - no matter if shotgun or rifle. Mechanical safeties re dangerous to trust, so either you are ready and prepared to shoot or the gun's chamber is empty
     
  14. plmitch

    plmitch Member

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    Loaded safety on....
     
  15. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    If I'm carrying a gun, it's loaded. I unload long guns when I'm getting into a vehicle. If I'm going from one hunting area to another, the magazine will still have rounds in it, but the chamber will be empty.
     
  16. Nickb45

    Nickb45 Member

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    This. The only time the rifles are unloaded is when in the truck. Usually slung over my shoulder when walking/hiking.
     
  17. skiking

    skiking Member

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    I always have one in the chamber and safety on. I hope that I will have the chance to plan a stalk or get ready for a shot, but many times something pops out of the trees at close range and you need to shoot quick. For example, this fall I was glassing across a draw watching some deer about 600 yards away and I heard some noise below me, by the time I looked down a bull elk was coming out of the trees 50 yards from me, I shouldered the rifle flipped the safety off and pulled the trigger. If I didn't have a round un the chamber he may have spooked while I was working the bolt. Who knows but I have meat in the freezer.

    If I am crossing a fence or navigating terrain where there is a significant possibility of falling(climbing up or down a cliff) and losing control of the direction the gun is pointing, I unload the thing. I also don't carry my rifle slung over my shoulder, if a fall occurs you have no control over the muzzle.

    I don't think it makes much difference, if you are following the safety rules. If you tend to point your rifle at people and walk around with your finger on the trigger by all means don't put one in the chamber and please get your head in the game.
     
  18. Rayzor

    Rayzor Member

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    Chambered, Safety on and my head about me at all times.
     
  19. JJHACK

    JJHACK Member

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    Be aware that only Mauser designs, Winchester, and Ruger, have sear block three position safeties. All others are trigger block.

    This means a jarring fall can discharge all but three mentioned. This is just stated as a point if interest for those that care.

    There is a huge difference between preventing the trigger from being pulled, and preventing the firing pin from moving.
     
  20. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    If I'm hiking or hunting. To or from my hunting site or anytime I'm in the forest, mountains or afield. Chamber loaded and safety on.
     
  21. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    +1
    When I filled my fall turkey permit 2 yrs ago, my 12 ga flung the empty into my jeep. I had just returned to it after hunting and was ready to unload when I saw the turkeys feeding 40 yds in front of the jeep. The jeep was sitting at the edge of our remote property....not by a road btw.
     
  22. AKElroy

    AKElroy Member

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    I used to follow this, but on a big-horn sheep hunt 18 years ago, I had a scare that changed my mind. I was carrying a model 70 7mm mag, left hand. Since I am right handed but left eye dominant, I carry my lefty bolt guns on my right shoulder. After 5 miles or so of brisk hiking & climbing, we finally saw some sheep on a hill side across a canyon. We glassed them for awhile, and they were easily 1000+ yards away. Obviously no shot, but I wanted to rehearse a shooting stance anyway. As I got into position, I grabbed the safety to ensure it was still on, and it was off. Must have hung-up on my belt.

    The thought of walking around the entire day with a loaded chamber and the safety off just made me sick.

    It does not take much time to rack a bolt or lever. When I get into any blind, chamber is empty. When I sit, it gets quietly loaded. Before I leave, that round gets shucked, stuffed back on top, and the bolt slid forward on an empty chamber. I fill my tag every year just fine, and have yet to have a deer bolt when I work the bolt.
     
  23. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I think that is a perfect example of the "it depends" train of thought. In sheep country you are walking in some of the most rugged country imaginable and the risk of a fall is pretty good. You aren't going to get a snap shot anyway. Many Western guides won't allow you to carry with a chambered round.

    In other places a quick snap shot is far more likely and the footing much more predictable.
     
  24. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    it's called "still hunting". Always wondered why it was called that since you ain't still, you're moving slowly through the woods, but you can't still hunt with an unloaded rifle. I shoot lefty, carry my rifle upside down over my right shouilder, can swing it up into position instantly this way. Meanwhile, I'm carrying muzzle down.
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    BTW, I also bird hunt with a loaded shotgun, safety on (or hammer down). Kill more birds that way. Quail hunters can load up when the dogs are let out. Duck hunters load up before shooting time. Dove hunters just load up. :D
     
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