A word of caution regarding safety catches...

25 Sharps

Well-Known Member
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.


D
I would be worried of the bolt catching and ejecting a live round without the bolt locked, I carry muzzle up safety on and part of the reason for this is that I with my right hand I can check the safety is on by checking the bolt is locked down, which I do very regularly. The other reason is from this position I can quickly and smoothly get on to the quads I carry in my left hand whilst having complete control of the muzzle, I don't just shoot deer and being able to quick, whilst still safe, is sometimes needed.
 

Alantoo

Well-Known Member
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 !
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.
Risk and hazard...I would have thought that unless your rifle has a decocking system à la MO3 or Blaser or a 3 position / firing-pin-locked safety, the most likely time to get a mechanical failure AD or ND is when chambering a round. Once chambered with the safety engaged and with no bolt/mechanism movement involved, there is lower risk.

So if you are carrying with no round chambered the risk of not focussing on muzzle awareness whilst chambering and setting safety before aligning the rifle with the target is likely higher...purely through giving some attention to your quarry and notwithstanding "buck fever".

Alan
 
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Alantoo

Well-Known Member
Sorry, not meant to be inflammatory WS, just my opinion. Police firearm training stuck with me, “the only safe weapon is an empty one”
Without being paranoid I find it slightly worrying to be thinking that a weapon is safe at any time.

What about the saying that most accidents happen with "unloaded" weapons?

Alan
 
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Big Jim

Well-Known Member
I don't carry with one up the spout. Done it once and was so paranoid that I didn't enjoy the hunt. Even when foxing I don't keep one in the spout.
 

oxfordshirestalker

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all of your replies, it's clearly a subject which attracts a multitude of differing opinions!

A quick question relating to this and especially to the rifle that prompted all of this, the Sauer 100.
In terms of the Sauer, the safety catch actually completely locks the sear rather than being a trigger block alone. Am I right in saying that, assuming the safety catch were to remain in the right place, the firing pin is locked back too? I don't know a huge amount about the workings inside a bolt.
Thanks
 

levigsp

Well-Known Member
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.
If I carried my gun without a round in the chamber I would be down at the very least 50% of my cull.
A lot of my shots are taken quickly as animals cross in front of me across rides, its a case of look to check its safe -fire. If I needed to chamber a round the noise alone would frighten the animal never mind the time it takes.
There is also the fact that the Deer commission, Dsc1 etc all teach you to carry the rife loaded and safety aware.
I was taught as a child that a loaded gun should always be carried muzzle down, so any projectile hits the ground not up in the air where it could end up anywhere.
The gun should have the hammer down or safety applied and be carried on the right shoulder and all dogs, children etc left side ONLY.
I have stood by these rules al my life and think they make sence.
I have taken a lot of shooters out over the years and EVERYTIME ive seen a gun go off accidentaly its been when someone is trying to chamber a round in a hurry, so in my book carrying a gun stalking and expecting to load and fire is dangerous.
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
Sorry, not meant to be inflammatory WS, just my opinion. Police firearm training stuck with me, “the only safe weapon is an empty one”
I'm guessing you never carried a revolver then , I have . I normally don't hunt with a chambered round myself , but sometimes it will be necessary to have a loaded firearm in hand when crossing rough terrain . When guiding , I was the lucky fella who had to go in after bears after the shot . When doing so , I had a round chambered and the safety off . I can understand how some would disagree , but sometimes things happened that fast a safety might have slowed me down . An old friend of mine , now gone , got his ass rattled by a smallish Black Bear . His younger brother had shot it , unfortunately they went in after it before it had expired . When the Bear spotted Eric , it charged him . He had a round chambered but forgot to disengage the safety , luckily the bear was close to death and only managed to break his arm and tear him up a little . I guess I'm saying , there are no absolutes . The best safety is the one between your ears .

AB
 

dodgyknees

Well-Known Member
English foxes aren't quite at the level of wounded bears, @alberta boy. Interesting story, but not much harm gonna come your way after wounding a roe deer or a rabbit.
 

alberta boy

Well-Known Member
None at all . The point I was trying to make is that there are different types of hunting . I hunt with a muzzle loader , not relevant in the UK I know , so hunting with an empty rifle would be a bit pointless . I also Still Hunt a lot , woodland stalking in the UK ? , I do hunt with a chambered round then because it will be up close and fast . I'm not saying you should or shouldn't hunt with a chambered round , I just have a distrust of absolute statements , they will usually prove to be false , just saying .

AB
 

rem284

Well-Known Member
Muzzle awareness is very important. I had a tikka T3. Unknown to me, the single screw that holds the trigger unit on had came loose. So one day I chambered a round and then put the safety on. Upon doing so the rifle discharged. Thankfully I had followed procedure and had the rifle pointing in a safe direction. I had a trainee out with me when this happened so I think he got a very good lesson on safety due to this.

I have also had similar instance with a remington factory trigger and a sauer 202. So as they say, a safety catch is merely a mechanical device and as such any mechanical device can fail.
 

25 Sharps

Well-Known Member
If I carried my gun without a round in the chamber I would be down at the very least 50% of my cull.
A lot of my shots are taken quickly as animals cross in front of me across rides, its a case of look to check its safe -fire. If I needed to chamber a round the noise alone would frighten the animal never mind the time it takes.
Exactly this! Not just for deer but for some of the other shooting I do, the noise of chambering a round nearly always and the time it takes quite often will cost animals.

Fair enough if you have no pressure to take numbers but farmers have me on the ground to take the animals whether that's deer, foxes, rabbits or whatever. If I started bumping every other one they'd soon start asking why they are seeing so many about
 

kennyc

Well-Known Member
Sorry, not meant to be inflammatory WS, just my opinion. Police firearm training stuck with me, “the only safe weapon is an empty one”
Hmm like the Police have never shot anyone by accident ? (a telephone operator in Oxfordshire comes to mind ) loaded guns are dangerous, that is why muzzle awareness is/should be drummed into people from the day they start, a lot of people have been shot by "empty" guns, most of those people wouldn't have been shot if the muzzle had been pointed somewhere safe.
safety in weapons handling is not single layered, it consists of many connected layers, and assuming because you have done one thing that you are safe is no guarantee.
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
All Guns are Always Loaded.

I have only once carried a rifle with one up the spout and safety catch on. This was at the insistance of a guide. We were pushing through some pine trees, the safety catch was moved off and something caught the trigger - it went off - fortunately the rifle was pointing towards the open sea. I will never carry a rifle loaded and muzzle pointing vertically.

I have also had a rifle go off when setting a trigger - a grass seed had got into the mechanism. The rifle was pointing at the ground.

If one is up the spout then I carry muzzle forward and down so it is always under control. Its only loaded if I am expecting to take a shot - often this will be for a period of time when walking quietly and expecting something to pop out - but the rifle is under control.

I will not follow somebody who stalks with one up the spout and rifle on shoulder, especially if it has a moderator. I have followed a few like this and looked down the barrel too many times.

If I am stalking with somebody else and we are together, I much prefer to have both rifles empty, or if there is the potential for a shot then one rifle is loaded, and it is in the front and under control. If helping a novice then rifle is only loaded when necessary.
 

CarlW

Well-Known Member
All Guns are Always Loaded.

I have only once carried a rifle with one up the spout and safety catch on. This was at the insistance of a guide. We were pushing through some pine trees, the safety catch was moved off and something caught the trigger - it went off - fortunately the rifle was pointing towards the open sea. I will never carry a rifle loaded and muzzle pointing vertically.

I have also had a rifle go off when setting a trigger - a grass seed had got into the mechanism. The rifle was pointing at the ground.

If one is up the spout then I carry muzzle forward and down so it is always under control. Its only loaded if I am expecting to take a shot - often this will be for a period of time when walking quietly and expecting something to pop out - but the rifle is under control.

I will not follow somebody who stalks with one up the spout and rifle on shoulder, especially if it has a moderator. I have followed a few like this and looked down the barrel too many times.

If I am stalking with somebody else and we are together, I much prefer to have both rifles empty, or if there is the potential for a shot then one rifle is loaded, and it is in the front and under control. If helping a novice then rifle is only loaded when necessary.
Although I am of the one-up-the-spout school, I have to concede your point about following someone with a moderated rifle: it can be scary at times...
 

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