A word of caution regarding safety catches...


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Morning all, out yesterday with my rifle, a Sauer 100, new the other year.

I always check my safety at regular intervals. I normally carry it on my right shoulder, muzzle up (right handed bolt) and have never found my safety catch to have inadvertently come off, probably due to the fact it is on the non-body side when carried like this.
Yesterday, for some reason, I decided to carry the rifle on my left shoulder, muzzle up. I was absolutely horrified to find on one of my 'safety catch checks' that the safety had slid all the way off (3 position) to the FIRE position with a cartridge up the spout. Safe to say I rapidly reapplied it and counted my blessings.
I was stalking through a wood, had a branch or twig hit the rifle in the wrong place etc. I dread to think about what could have happened.
Another lesson learnt... Carry the rifle in a way that means the safety catch does not rub against your coat. Secondly, if you have a Sauer 100 which I can't fault in any other way, be extra careful!
I fully appreciate that safety catches are, on most rifles, merely trigger blocks and therefore muzzle awareness is of paramount importance at all time. Still though, nobody ever wants to risk the gun going off accidentally in any situation.


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It’s happened with me on both my Tikka and Sako! Makes you feel a bit weird afterwards, but always so relieved that I also check on a regular basis!

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Holy feck! As you say, muzzle awareness is key. Even if it had discharged, at least your handling would've meant it was a brown-trouser moment, rather than a heli-med or body recovery!

My A-Bolt has a tang-mounted safety, thankfully


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Real glad that worked out ok especially walking through woodland with all the risks with twigs branches as you already mentioned, I always carry my rifle muzzle down with the bolt not fully closed for the added safety factor it gives, the rifle especially with a moderator is actually easier to carry the only concern I then have is watching that the muzzle is not obstructed by debris especially when going to the kneeling position or crossing other hazards I never use the safety catch and really forget that's its there, to the OP good thread anything to do with our/everyones safety always is.



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This just highlight, yet again, you can never trust a safety on your gun, (alone) always follow a tried and trusted procedure
and always be " muzzle aware" especially when you know 110% " you are safe"
There is a saying when working with explosives and I think it applies to guns as well

The same goes for guns
Be safe


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Coming from a target shooting world, having a round in the chamber when not actually about to take a shot, feels very uncomfortable still.
And I'm always having a bit of a play with the safety/trigger, whith the chamber empty, before actually chambering a round. Out of paranoia over it not actually working. Especially on a loan rifle. As I've seen enough manky safeties, worn or tinkered with sears etc. on guns, over the years.

Had one ND in my life. Was on a range and the shot went into the backstop, as that was where I intentionally was pointing.
And that was a mechanical fault with a safety, ish. Safety off, but suspect that the firing pin had hung up on some debris in the safety notch. As I started to open the bolt, the FP dropped. And so did the contents of my lower intestine!


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ND now there's a scary thought I remember reading and or being told the following.


Which one are you ?

For me I the former and have suffered that terrifying fate, thankfully I may add no injuries but a fast lesson in that bitter school called experience!!


paul o'

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Long while ago I was out with my then sako 85, and while bringing it up it let go ! much to my shock ? I unloaded cleaned pants removed bolt stopped shooting all in around 3 sec, back at the motor and after I removed the stock I found a small bit of twig had found its way and was preventing the lever operating as it should ,So now when iam on the move my bolt is not closed all the way down , I don't trust catches at all ? and the best safety catch iv found is an uncock'd bolt and palm covering the trigger guard or indeed a round under the bolt .IMO unless your walking up to a shot I can't see the point in carrying a loaded rifle when it can be made ready in under a few seconds . ND's or the old AD's are horrific and send you into a what if spin !!! and just ruin a nice outing ? so why put it to chance relying on another's handy work a few thou miles away after all are you that quick of a shot you must have it loaded :-| hmmm prob not I would say ;)


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Hope I never have one. I think I’ll start carrying with the bolt slightly open from now on, or, closed on an empty chamber. Much of my shooting is in highseat a where you’re less likely to inadvertently knock the catch off. Thanks for all of your replies.


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My first FAC rifle, an Air Arms PCP, had no safety catch at all, good for enforcing muzzle awareness but it is unnerving and one of the reasons I went for a Blaser R93 and later an R8 with their cocker/de-cocker safety catch system.

The one on the Finnfire is very straightforward but also fairly easy to inadvertently knock off with clothing/undergrowth especially if I carry it muzzle down on my left shoulder like I do with the Blasers.

I bought a second AYA Yeoman o/u recently and was shocked that it didn't have an automatic safety like the first one...it does now, I made the link rod. But in my ignorance of clay shooting I had no idea that they were optional on some shotguns.

However logical/auto/good they are though, safeties all are prone to be being forgotten about in a momentary mind slip...and being mechanical they can all fail...I agree with others above, muzzle awareness is always our best protection.

Threads like this to keep us on our toes are also valuable. Thank you OP.



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There's no need for a safety catch if you are muzzle aware. In fact many fine guns were built without them. Such as the Winchester 1892 and 1894 rifles and 1897 and 1912 shotguns and most all Greener, Boss or Purdey "live pigeon" guns for the Monte Carlo trap circuit. The best safety catch isn't the one on located on your gun it's the one located between your ears. And if you are in a situation where you think you need to have it applied "in case the gun fires accidentally" then you are actually in a situation where the gun shouldn't have a cartridge in the chamber(s).
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one of the reasons I went for a Blaser R93 and later an R8 with their cocker/de-cocker safety catch system.
I've only ever owned an R93 as I only need one rifle but must say that I think the cocking system is a good idea and, apart from the slightly greater effort required to operate it, I can't see any disadvantages over a conventional safety but I can see that it potentially offers an additional safety advantage. In the context of this discussion the rather positive effort needed to cock it could be seen as a good thing.

However, I spend some part of my life within view of the slipways where they built the Titanic and in the past I've had some abuse from particular fans of Blaser for pointing out that it was a ship that engineering wisdom said couldn't sink, and which sank the first time they took it out. I would be certain that there will be a mode of failure, perhaps convoluted, that can result in the Blaser firing without appearing to have been cocked by the user. So while I think the Blaser has progressed safety with its cocking mechanism I keep the unsinkable boat in my mind as well.