A word of caution regarding safety catches...


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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. 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).
I was certainly muzzle aware at all times. I’m sure I’m also not alone in carrying my rifle with a round up the spout and the safety catch applied. After all, this is how it’s taught in DSC1 etc. regardless of ones personal views on the course.
I’ll be rethinking how I carry my rifle now (in terms of round in chamber etc).
Just thought I should post honestly so that it reminds people to be careful!


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There's no need for a safety catch if you are muzzle aware.
In principle I agree with this, as you can see from what I've just posted, but in practice a "safety" could be viewed as something that is there to help should you make a mistake, or perhaps even do something without being fully aware of the complete range of consequences. What if you fall over and catch the trigger on a branch as you go down? A safety might just save you here. I'm sure there are a million other examples. So, while it is unwise to rely on any safety system it is also unwise to assume that every human being, no matter how smart and careful, will always work at 100% and never encounter an unforeseen event where an additional safety device might not have saved the day. The key is getting a safety system that people will use as if you add too many complexities you eventually get that people "leave it off" because it is too hard to use. With rifles, and especially those requiring manual cocking, I think we've got it pretty close to right in the sense that most use all the fitted safety mechanisms and accidents involving injury appear, to my limited knowledge, to be very rare indeed.


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What if you fall over and catch the trigger on a branch as you go down?
I did think about that. Problem is on many many guns as the OP said the safety catch merely blocks the triggers (as on my Henry Clarke boxlock) and doesn't (as on my Boss) stop the strikers from falling. So if you are going to fall over then best to do so with a gun where the strikers are blocked and not just the trigger or triggers. LOL!

hendrix's rifle

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Bolt closed then mag in, only chamber a round if I'm taking a shot, if I don't take it for whatever reason I'l open the bolt, remove mag, put round back then bolt closed and mag in. In my eyes the extra second it takes to chamber a round doesn't warrant the risk! Glad it ended with the best possible outcome, realising before it's too late!


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New Zealand’s Seven Firearms Safety Rules

Seven Rules

Rule 1: Treat every firearm as loaded
Rule 2: Always point firearms in a safe direction
Rule 3: Load a firearm only when ready to fire
Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt
Rule 5: Check your firing zone
Rule 6: Store firearms and ammunition safely
Rule 7: Avoid both alcohol and drugs when handling firearms

Clearly it is rule 3 we are talking about here.

I have never been able to get my head around the willingness of those in the UK and elsewhere in Europe to carry a rifle with a chambered round reliant on the safety catch, especially when so many UK shooters seem so anal and fussy about so many other non-life threatening “rules”, be they actual law, regulations, principles or in particular traditions.

On a great many properties here, and on public land if collared by a ranger or another hunter, you’ll get your arse kicked and you’ll be disarmed and sent home in shame if you willfully break Rule 3. **** off, don’t come back.

Yeah yeah chambering a round is noisy, what-ev-er... so is fecking around with your bloody shooting sticks.

The half open bolt is only legitimate (barely) when the bolt has been modified to allow the safety catch to lock it, as in the Tikka “half cock”.

Its a remarkable contradiction, this endless forum waffle about safety... when one of the most elementary aspects of firearm safety is so blatantly ignored by so many.


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Spot on as Rule 3 is DODGYKNEES for woodland stalking as in the UK it won't work. Or rather in much woodland stalking you need to be ready to fire almost as soon as you've arrived at your permission.

Also I'd forgotten the bleedin' obvious. Hammer shotguns, of course, never had safety catches. Hammer ejectors did but they are rare...King George V had a pair of Purdey hammer ejectors...and the exception to the rule.
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I now NEVER carry my K250, that has a Jewel trigger with safety within the poorly named guard, on my left shoulder even when not wearing a Maxpedition fanny pack as the rucked and stiff fabric does have the potential to both disengage the safety and set off the trigger!



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Personal choice of course but if I'm with anyone ( friend/ professional stalker) l carry the rifle slung, with the bolt closed on an empty chamber
I'd rather loose the beast for the sake of spending the 60 seconds it takes to load than a mishap that harms the person with me.
Now if stalking alone, Yes, ready to fire as soon as possible

Edinburgh Rifles

Well-Known Member
no rifle is entirely safe when in the hands of a human
Safety on or not
Blaser safety system or not

Its not the rifle's fault...ever

Had three ADs in 30 years
each one went into the ground
each one my fault
each one did not cause issue because muzzle awareness is a muscle memory having had it drummed into me from a very early age

Sadly not something everyone has.
Guided stalks especially highlight this.....


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I am deliberately posting a "near miss" story. If you want to google those that have a different ending, be my guest. There is another recent very well documented tale from NZ of a father shooting his son in the back, after tripping with a loaded rifle. That one had a very different ending.

Over the years the vast majority of woodland and bush shooters here have accepted that this business of saying that chambering a round is either too noisy or too slow, is just an excuse.

Fathers shoots son

Obviously the reader is free to disagree. At the end of the day we make our own decisions, and live with the consequences.


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Intentions are frequently perfect but perfect actions are better. Why take the chance?

Chamber a round when you want to shoot it and not before. Im amazed so many people do the opposite. I wasn't taught that. It just makes sense doesn't it.

If you walk around for 40yrs with a loaded rifle, you will at some point slip, trip, catch it on something, suffer mechanical failure or some other issue whereby that rifle does something you don't intend.

25 Sharps

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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.

Do you carry with a round in the chamber in that manner?


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Never had an AD or an ND, or whatever you want to call it, but then I’m not daft enough to wander the countryside with one up the spout !
I certainly won't be from now on! For someone relatively new to the stalking game though, I have, until now, just done what I was taught to do by others, including the BDS! I therefore will not be alone...

Hornet 6

Well-Known Member
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.
I have never ever been able to work out why a break barrel shotgun needs a safety, auto safe or not.
Nearly all proper clay guns don's have an auto safe, no need for it, its a carry over from game guns, still not sure why they have one though.
A broken gun cannot fire.



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Auto safety on side by side game guns is likely because of people using a pair of guns. Where when you had your gun to your loader the safety is put to on safe. Certainly most side by side live pigeon guns. as I've mentioned, didn't have a safety.


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That’s always Scary

don’t get that with a Blaser

really brings it home when your out stalking with a potential voluntary discharge waiting in the shadows - i can’t help check my rifle on a regular basis when out - it’s a built in thing i guess. whatever the make


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Do you carry with a round in the chamber in that manner?

Yes this is exactly what I do, I am right landed so the rifle is slung muzzle down over my left shoulder so the bolt is not inadvertently closed against my body, on my ground you most certainly don't get much time for the shot when it presents itself.

Sika for me may be less than 50yds away when one is found the rifle is moved slowly into position the bolt is then closed slowly and silently and if the shot is a safe one I take aim and squeeze the trigger, on more open ground where shots are say 100yds or more keeping the chamber empty until the shot is presented is good practice.

No matter whichever way we handle a rifle when stalking and as has been mentioned by many already it is good muzzle awareness at all times which is most important, when we handle any firearm "ESPECIALLY" when it is unloaded that muzzle awareness must play rule no "ONE" get into that habit at all times and it increases safety margins for all concerned.