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Kentucky Bob

Firearm Safety

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Since we have several threads dealing with firearms, I thought that since we have several members who haven't had much experience with them we should start this thread.  This list of safety rules has been around for YEARS and has a number of variations.  These rules are the ones I learned an eon ago, and still work well today.  I highly recommend a hunter education course or NRA firearms course for anyone who has a firearm.  Most of us who post about firearms are pretty well experienced with firearms, and it is our duty to share safety advice and educate those who are still learning about them.  This would also be a good thread for those stories of accidents or mistakes made (humorous or otherwise).

 

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FIREARM SAFETY

 

 

1.  Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm.

2.  Control the direction of your firearm's muzzle.

3.  Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

4.  Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.

5.  Unload firearms when not in use.

6.  Never point a firearm at anything you do not want to shoot.

7.  Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm.

8.  Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water.

9.  Store firearms and ammunition separately.

10. Avoid alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while shooting.

 

I will expand on each of these as this thread develops, and explain the reasoning behind each.  I will start RIGHT NOW with rule #1. 

 

TREAT EVERY FIREARM WITH THE RESPECT DUE A LOADED FIREARM. 

 

In other words, IT'S LOADED!  I don't care if your own father hands you a gun and tells you "It isn't loaded," DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT!  Always check for yourself.  And once you have, go on the principle that you may have made a mistake.  If you KNOW a gun is loaded, you don't point it at someone, the dog or cat, the tv, or anything you don't want destroyed.  You don't use it for a backscratcher, a hammer, or a Q-tip.  My point is, when you know a gun is loaded, you handle it with more caution! Therefore, if you treat every gun as if it were loaded, you will be extra cautious the entire time you handle one.  Remember--treat all guns as if they were loaded.

 

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Good post good information and timely K Bob Thank you.  :thumbsup:

 

I just can't help it, I've been a Hunter Education Instructor for way too long (next year will be 20yrs).  I feel that if we are going to have so many enthusiastic posts about the USE of firearms, we need to be responsible about this aspect as well.

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Number 2: Control the direction of your firearm's muzzle.

 

For those who don't know, the muzzle is the end of the barrel where the bullet comes out (this isn't meant to be condescending, there ARE those out there who have no idea).  The idea here is to handle a firearm so you always have control over where that muzzle points.  There are many different opinions on how best to hold a gun, but basically you want both hands on the gun for best control.  You need to always pay attention to where you have that gun pointed, and it's especially difficult to keep it pointing in a safe direction when a) you're with a group, and b) you're walking along a trail that may be rough, muddy, or icy (how many of you have tripped on level ground, let alone a trail?).

 

From what I've seen over the years, during many a hunting trip or time at the range, it's best to hold the gun in a 'ready' position.  In other words both hands on the gun, muzzle pointing UP.  In this way, you have the ability to bring the gun to shoulder if a shot presents itself.  In addition, if you should trip and fall you will have enough control over the gun to be able to get it pointing away from yourself and others in your group when you fall.

 

More to come!  :thumbup:

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Number 3:  Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

 

This applies to hunting and target shooting equally.  If hunting, you have to first identify your target (is that a deer or Ol' Man Johnson's Jersey cow?).  Legally speaking, if you hunt and your tag says "antlerless only" and you pop a 6-pointer, you might be in trouble.  If there is any brush or cover between you and that deer, you're better off finding a way to get a clean line of sight on your prey.  Now, once that target is identified, what's beyond it?  If you miss or your bullet goes all the way through, where does that bullet go?  Into the hillside?  Or over a ridge and into someone's home?  Into a car moving down a highway a mile away?  Line your shot up with a good backstop behind your target--a hillside, a berm, earthen bank.  Something that will prevent the bullet from travelling.

 

When target shooting, make sure you have a good backstop and be responsible enough to realize that even a .22 rifle round can travel over a mile.  Make sure your target is safe to shoot at!  Shooting at steel or other metals may be dangerous (swinging metal plates are designed to angle a bullet into the dirt, so they're generally safe).  BB guns especially!  "You'll shoot your eye out!"  It can and will happen with the wrong kind of target.  WEAR EYE AND EAR PROTECTION---EVERY TIME!

 

Remember this:  once that bullet leaves the muzzle, it's too late to stop it.  Make sure you shoot in a safe direction at safe targets.

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Kentucky Bob, what a timely post and such a good one! :thumbsup:

 

I don't want to scare you guys, but I just signed up for the NC Concealed Carry Permit class next month! :woot: 

 

(Holly hears Kentucky Bob screaming in the background "Holly's packing!  Everybody RUN!!!")

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Kentucky Bob, what a timely post and such a good one! :thumbsup:

 

I don't want to scare you guys, but I just signed up for the NC Concealed Carry Permit class next month! :woot: 

 

(Holly hears Kentucky Bob screaming in the background "Holly's packing!  Everybody RUN!!!")

 

 

scared011.gif  EEeEEEeeeeKKKKkkk !!!      :scared:

 

 

Seriously, though, it should provide some good training.  Hopefully, any training videos they use will be better than those they use here in Kentucky.  The versions they used when I went through my class were wonderful cures for insominia..... :yawn:

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The man teaching the class is a riot!  Well, he doesn't mean to be, but he's really intense and for some reason, people like that just make me giggle! :woot:

 

Here's a link to his website.  He appears on one of our local TV stations with Personal Safety advice.  He is ALL about self-defense and protection.  I like the fact that he has impeccable references and extensive teaching experience.  I figure if he's good enough for the "men in black", he's good enough for me! :thumbsup:

 

www.danstarks.com

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Number 4:  Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.

 

If there is any sort of object in the barrel when you fire the gun, it's very likey that the gun barrel will explode.  Almost anything can cause this to happen: mud or dirt, snow, an object of any kind. 

 

When you first take that firearm out of the safe, cabinet or case, check the barrel.  Maybe the last time it was cleaned a piece of cleaning patch or swab was left behind.  If the gun has been on an open rack maybe a mud-dauber or spider has built a nest or egg case. 

 

On any hunt, the chance of plugging a barrel is always there.  A simple slip or trip can cause the gun to come into contact with the ground.  If you suspect that this may have happened, unload the gun and check the barrel.

 

Another thing that may happen is what is known as a "squib,"  or a bullet that doesn't leave the barrel and becomes lodged there.  If the powder in the cartridge doesn't ignite or if there just isn't enough powder loaded into the cartridge, the bullet may not leave the barrel.  The person firing the gun may not notice the difference in the feel of the shot, or may just think that the shot was a miss.  Then they fire the next round.  This may cause the barrel to burst, but not always (it's just about guaranteed to put a "ring" or bulge in the barrel).

 

One other thing I should tell you about.  It's generally called a "12/20 blast."  When you own more than one type of shotgun, say a 12 gauge and a 20 gauge, make sure that the shells are stored in the original boxes.  What can (and  has) happened is this:  Say a fellow goes out hunting rabbits with his 20 guage one day, comes home, and empties his pockets out into a dresser drawer.  Another day he goes grouse hunting with his 12 gauge, and when he gets home he empties his pockets out into the same dresser drawer.  After a few seasons, you can imagine what a jumble of shells may be laying in that drawer.  Then one day this fellow gets ready to go hunting with his 12 gauge, and he grabs a handfull of loose shells from the dresser drawer and pockets them.  When he gets into the field, he loads the gun, maybe not really paying attention because he's distracted by the hunting dogs or his buddies.  Without realizing it, he loads a 20 gauge shell into the 12 gauge gun.  A 20 gauge shell will slide a little way down the barrel of the gun, away from the chamber.  When he tries to fire, he only gets a "CLICK!"  When this fellow checks the chamber, he can't see a shell!  He thinks to himself, "Hmmm!  I could've sworn I loaded one into the chamber!"  Of course his buddies are ribbing him, he's embarrassed, and he loads another round into his gun.  Now, he has a 12 gauge round loaded into the chamber, and the 20 gauge is down the barrel, between 6 and 8 inches in front of the chamber.  The next time he shoots, the 12 gauge fires into the back of the 20 gauge which also fires, AND acts as an obstruction in the barrel.  The gun will explode right at the obstruction, generally right where the supporting hand is holding the gun!  If the guy survives, at the very least he'll be short a few fingers.

 

Always check the barrel before you fire it after it's been in storage, if it's been dropped, or if something odd happens ("click" instead of "bang" for example).  Be sure to store ammunition separately (see #9) and in the original box.

Splitbarrel1.jpg.31142e5272d354981aa97dd53aa315c7.jpg

Splitbarrel2.jpg.ecc5e0d9fa4914f5b8a3c84330fdce9e.jpg

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I saw that bottom one K Bob the guy forgot to take the bore sight out of the barrel.  :scared:

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Thanks K-bob. This is a great post for everyone.

 

I have always been a firm believer that firearms do exactly and only what they were made to do... kill/destroy things and although one can enjoy themselves going to the range to practice, they shouldn't be just fun toys to play with on the weekends.

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Along with the 20/12ga mishaps sometime ago, though not personaly verified, a 7mmRem Express was inserted into a 7mmRem Mag and fired. the ensuing discharge apperently caused the reciever to crack. maybe someone else has heard or would know if this is possible?

But never the less identifying the proper cartridge to the receiver would be a good safety point.

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I saw that bottom one K Bob the guy forgot to take the bore sight out of the barrel.   :scared:

 

Yeah, Big Blue sent me a link to it.  You can imagine some of the language flying around that range!  :ranting:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to mention some underwear that would need changing....

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Along with the 20/12ga mishaps sometime ago, though not personaly verified, a 7mmRem Express was inserted into a 7mmRem Mag and fired. the ensuing discharge apperently caused the reciever to crack. maybe someone else has heard or would know if this is possible?

But never the less identifying the proper cartridge to the receiver would be a good safety point.

 

100% right!  There are a number of ways to get the wrong cartridge into a gun.  Many cartridges are very similar in shape and size.  I have personally been on the range when a guy loaded a .300 Winchester magnum with a 7mm Remington magnum cartridge.  Luckily, the only damage done was to the neck of the cartridge case, but we all knew something was up when we could see the fireball that came from the barrel and action (semi-automatic rifle).

 

The best thing to do is have ONE firearm out at a time, and ONE caliber of ammuntion.  Limit the clutter that's laying on the bench, and keep those cartridges in the original boxes.  If you own several similar calibers (for example, a 7mm Rem Mag, a 7mm Mauser, a 7mm Weatherby, etc), be VERY certain of the cartridge you place into the gun!

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Number 5:  Unload firearms when not in use.

 

If you have a gun stored in the home--whether in a safe, cabinet, or gun rack--unload it to prevent an accident.  If the gun is accidentally dropped or knocked over, it could fire if loaded.  This is especially important when there are children present, and doubly so if your kids ever bring their friends over.  My dad taught me early on to leave his guns alone (he kept them unloaded) or get a good switching.  Not all kids (or adults for that matter) are taught to respect firearms and to leave them alone.  There are plenty of people who would simply ASSUME that a gun would be unloaded (refer to rule #1), and would pick up a firearm and never think to check.

 

It's also best to keep firearms unloaded while transporting them to or from the range or the field.  I know of a couple of accidents here in Kentucky that would have been prevented if the firearms involved had been unloaded:  One:  THis  happened to a high schooler who had a loaded .30-30 rifle in the gun rack of his truck.  It was deer season, and this was back in the days a rifle in a truck on school property would only cause the principal to say, "What, you haven't gotten a deer yet?"  The boy had an accident on the way to school, rolled the truck over, and the rifle went off.  It blew his head apart. Two:  An elderly man did several things wrong. He kept a loaded single-shot shotgun behind the seat of the truck. He was trying to get the loaded shotgun out from behind the seat by pulling on the barrel (this means the gun was pointing at him).  The hammer snagged on the seat, and then fell forward, firing the shotgun directly into his chest. 

 

If it isn't in use, make sure you unload it.  If hunting, load in the field.  At the range, load when you are ready to fire at the target.  Otherwise, unload it and keep it secured.

 

Defensive weaponry is another topic, and I'll only say that "you pays yer money, and you takes yer chances."  If you keep a loaded defensive firearm, you must be resonsible about it: caution and vigilance!

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Number  6:  Never point a firearm at anything you do not want to shoot.

 

Now, this sounds like common sense, right?  But you'd be surprised at some of the stunts people pull off.  Lots of tv's have died early deaths because someone has pointed an "unloaded" gun at something on the screen.  You may have seen people aim a rifle, shotgun or pistol at something like a pet, livestock, or what have you while they try the gun for fit or feel.  You will probably notice another thing most people seem to do when they pick up a gun:  That finger goes directly to the trigger!  What does the trigger do?  It fires the gun!  But most inexperienced people seem to forget this when they handle a gun.  "But the safety is on!"  HOGWASH!  A safety is a mechanical device that is designed to prevent the gun from firing when the trigger is pulled.  Mechanical devices do have a habit of breaking at the worst time possible, say when a knot-head has Bubba's rifle pointed at Ol' Man Johnson's Jersey.  Keep yer grubby, booger-encrusted finger off'n that trigger until you want the gun to go BANG!

 

Another issue:  telescopic sights, or "scopes."  A scope is an optical sight to help aid in aiming at a target.  It is NOT a spotting scope or pair of binoculars!  Some people have a habit of searching for game with a scope mounted on their rifle.  "Hey!  What's that moving over there?  Oh, that's just Ol' Man Johnson!"  Now if that scope is pointed at Ol' Man Johnson, the rifle is pointed at Ol' Man Johnson.  STUPID!!!  Use a pair of binoculars to search with, use the scope to aim at the target you have already identified.

 

Don't ever point a gun at anything you don't want destroyed.

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Number  6:  Never point a firearm at anything you do not want to shoot.

 

Is the rule that Dick Cheney forgot? :unsure:

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Guest taken by the wind...

~ great post K-Bob. :thumbup: We've had several kids killed in our town, due to firearms laying around.

 

Twelve to Thirteen seems to be the magic age... even if you don't own a gun, you need to teach your kids these basic rules. We've had several teen's shot by accident at their friend's house... whose parent's DO have a gun. Many teens that age are being left alone after school. (for the first time).. couple that with boredom, and exploring around the house with friends, wanting to impress their peers... scared011.gif You would think that EVERY kid would know things like that. But some kids are way out of touch with the reality of what firearms can do. :'(

 

Do you know where your kids hang out? All it takes is one stupid moment.

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~ great post K-Bob.  :thumbup:  We've had several kids killed in our town, due to firearms laying around.

 

Twelve to Thirteen seems to be the magic age...  even if you don't own a gun, you need to teach your kids these basic rules. We've had several teen's shot by accident at their friend's house... whose parent's DO have a gun. Many teens that age are being left alone after school. (for the first time).. couple that with boredom, and exploring around the house with friends, wanting to impress their peers...  scared011.gif   You would think that EVERY kid would know things like that. But some kids are way out of touch with the reality of what firearms can do.  :'(

 

Do you know where your kids hang out? All it takes is one stupid moment.

 

Absolutely, Taken!  If your kids go to their friends' house, you just don't know what's laying around in that home.  Kids need to be taught EARLY on about safety.  The NRA's Eddie Eagle Program is an excellent example.  It teaches children that if they find a firearm (in a home, car, outside, etc) to:  Stop, Leave the Area, and Tell an Adult. 

 

It's also OK to ask the parents of your kids' friends about firearms in the home.  Any reasonable parent would understand another parent's concern about a child's safety.

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Number 7:  Never climb a fence or tree, or jump a ditch or log, with a loaded firearm.

 

This has to do with negotiating obstacles that could cause you to fall with your firearm.  Juggling a loaded gun while trying to cross an obstacle like a fence is a good recipe for disaster. 

 

Sometimes when hunting, you may need to cross a fenceline, say while grouse hunting.  Grouse won't wait for you to load a gun, so you walk with it loaded and ready for a shot (same for rabbits, squirrels, etc).  If you are hunting with a buddy, unload the gun, hand it to him/her, cross the fence, then take your gun and his/her UNloaded gun to let them cross.  If by yourself, unload the gun, lay it UNDER the fence (don't prop it against a fence post--it may fall over), cross and then get the gun--check for debris/obstructions when you pick it up.

 

Deer hunting from a tree stand is common.  Imagine trying to climb a tree with the gun, not to mention trying to climb a tree with a LOADED gun!  If you drop the gun it may go off, and maybe you break the gun, maybe you get shot. Tie a rope to the gun, leave the gun on the ground, UNloaded, while you climb the tree,  haul it up into the tree when you're settled into the stand.  When you've brought the gun up, check it for obstructions, then you can load and get ready for Bambi.

 

Ditches and streams are great places to fall down.  You don't want to fall down and go "BOOM!"  Muddy banks, rocks, weeds and vines will make it very easy for a slip or trip to occur.  Unload the gun and cross as carefully as you can.

 

Other obstacles will present themselves as you go, whether a log, a rocky slope, or a tangle of honeysuckle or kudzu vines.  Any time you have to negotiate obstacles or really rough terrain, unload your gun until you get clear of those obstacles.

 

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Thanks, Holly.  I've done this alot, just about have it memorized!

 

Number 8:  Never shoot a bullet at a flat, hard surface or water.

 

 

It's a good way of causing a ricochet.  You can prevent a ricochet by placing your shot into an earthen bank, stopping it from traveling any farther.  If you shoot into rocks, you have no control over where that shot is going after it ricochets.  When you hunt or target shoot, try your best to choose an area clear of surfaces that will cause ricochet.

 

Water can also cause a ricochet if a shot is fired at the right angle.  You can skip rocks, right?  To make a rock skip, you have to throw it fast at the right angle and spin it.  A fast moving spinning bullet can skip in the same way, and even a .22 can travel over a mile.   

 

This goes back to rule number 3: Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

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