When to load up when stalking

Leica Amplus 6

When to load up - ie chamber a round

  • Total voters

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Interested in peoples views. When woodland / farm stalking I tend to laod up when I leave the car and start stalking down the field edges even if I have n't spied a beast. Inevitably I will sling the rifle on occasion to use binoculars etc. but muzzle will be pointing down and forwards.

This is in the guidelines of Hugh Rose and DSC 1 - indeed I recall he even said to laod up and put rifle back in slip if on the hill.

Or should we only load at last minute, ie as part of the process of taking sight on a beast.

I am not sure there is a right way or wrong way.

As far as I am concerned ALL RIFLES ARE ALWAYS LOADED, and thus handling must always keep muzzle pointing in safe direction.


Site Staff
Get there, load up, chamber a round, safety on, always exercise muzzle awareness, combined with relevant safety measures when negotiating obstacles etc. you are then IMHO good to go.


Andy L

Well-Known Member
All depends on the terrain I think. For my stalking, which is very easy going, I pop one up the spout as soon as I start, pop safety on and then rifle slung on shoulder. I believe that the highlands can often be different as when I have been it has been practice to pop the magazine in but not chamber a round until the final stages of the stalk. I guess everyone is different.


Well-Known Member
Get to the place where i am stalking, Mod on, fill the mag, one up the chamber and safety on with the rifle then slung over my shoulder barrel pointing up, doing as Jayb says, practicing muzzle awareness at all times.

I carry my rifle this way as i personally find it easier and quicker to get it from my shoulder if i was to bump a deer and needed a quick shot. :rolleyes:



Distinguished Member
I suppose it would depend on where you are stalking and if accompanied, experience etc...

When I stalk it is always as soon as we are out of the car, suited and booted, or vails and gloved I load (I have fingerless gloves). If we come to an obsticle, the one without a rifle (Not me in this case) crosses the obsticle first, I will then hand the rifle over, but telling them the state of the rifle, "loaded with safety applied", if we both have rifles, we just pass to each other in this fashion.

It works for us on his shoot, on other stalking outings on different ground I always ask the way they want things doing as it's their "Shoot".

If you were with a complete novice who had never shot a deer before, would you be happy with them incharge of a loaded rifle. Not meaning to be harsh on novice "Stalkers/Shooters", especially if they are using an estate rifle? I check every few steps that my safety is applied even slung on my shoulder. I like all I would hope can tell which is safety on and safety off without looking at it.

An awful lot of factors to consider on this, but if you are stalking with a rifle without one up the spout, how many deer would you not have shot especially in a wood when there is little or no wind, you see a deer, you then have to open, chamber and close the bolt in a second without noise. It's difficult enough to walk through a wood and just release the safety catch, I still use thumb and forefinger for this just incase the click gets heard I have T3's.

Good Poll!!


The Mole

Well-Known Member
On the hill - load mag, bolt forward over the rounds (ie empty chamber), rifle in the slip. Out of slip and load fully for the final stalk in (I think this is what they teach on DSC)
Normally - one up the spout, safety on, rifle on the shoulder. No time for mucking around when woodland or hedgerow stalking when a beast can just as easily step out in front of you.


Well-Known Member
as soon as i start stalking i put one up the spout and safety on then proceed
if taking out another stalker then they are loaded ready to go and my chamber is empty untill i feel it is nessecary to load up


Well-Known Member
Whrn to load up when stalking

Like all of you.
Out of car, load and chamber, safety on and barrel down.


Well-Known Member
Ok I always New I was Different

I always like to put one in the chamber after i see something , I don't think I have ever been caught out as i don't like to be rushed . Sounds silly I Know but i think it has now become a bit of a ritual thing like a golfers pre swing
it allows me to think .

See told you i was different


Nick Gordon

Well-Known Member
Like the vast majority of you , I load up after I'm out the car but only after I've put my wellies and the rest of my gear on.


Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Thanks everybody - its good to confirm that my practices are in line with most people.

I have now added a further poll on when to release the safety catch.


Well-Known Member
I fill my mag but don't chamber until I start to get to a likely place, then I chamber and put the safety catch on...muzzle aware

I attended a fire arms safety course last year and that was also how the instructor tells you to do it, and does it himself.

His opinion is that flighty fallow will speed off at the sound of a chambering round, even from a distance.

He is PH and that is good enough for me.

Seems to confirm what everyone else is doing also.


Site Staff
Much depends on where I am and what I am stalking. On the open hill, its load the mag but not the breach and put the rifle in the slip. You will only need to load the rifle when you are on the stag. Also I only let clients or whom so ever is with me crawl to the side of me with a rifle, or I carry it, for obvious reasons.

Sika its load the rifle and put the safety on, woodland stalking you need to get a shot off straight away, and Sika will not wait around. Roe much the same.

Much has to be said about who you are with, and how much experiance they have had. With clients over the years, anyone who turns up with new rifle, new coat, new boots, new knife, etc etc its be careful as they are probably not that experianced. And no matter who I am with I always ask them if the rifle is unloaded before we get back to the car, and most times when I am at the car. You can never be too careful ;)

Offroad Gary

Well-Known Member
always load up when out of vehicle, or off highway.

3 in the mag, one up the spout in the r93, uncocked (there is no traditional safety catch). cock it when on target and pull the trigger.

in the prohunter, one up the spout, 3 in mag with 2nd stage safety on and bolt locked down, back to first stage safety on final approach, release when on target, then fire.

unload r93 and push rounds under bolt before climbing into seat, with prohunter unload and pull mag, bolt closed.

paul k

Well-Known Member
Same as pretty much everyone else. Get out of the car, suit up, binos and knife stowed, then load the mag with 4 rounds, work one up the spout, safety on and announce to any colleagues that I have done that. Then pick up stick and walk muzzle up.

When crossing obstacles with others, pass the rifle through having advised of its condition.

I have recently started to walk muzzle down as I think that I can get a rifle up with less movement if needed.


Well-Known Member
After this weekend, load up as soon as I get to the ground. The roe doe accompanying the buck we spied didn't take too kindly to the unfortunately loud noise of the tikka cycling a round and skipped off. The buck didn't seem too bothered, but did as he was told and followed her.

A fortune surely awaits the man who invents a 'slient-cycle' action on a rifle!

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
They already have albeit the patent has long expired - it was whoever invented the break action gun - like a side by side shotgun or double rifle or a break action single shot like the continentals use. You can load them silently.

The single shots such as the Ruger No1 are also pretty quiet to load as well.
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