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Old 01-15-2010, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default Rule one of firearms

Everybody knows Rule 1- Right? You may remember something like this-
"1. Assume That Any Gun, at Any Time, is Loaded.
When someone tells you a gun is not loaded, that's fine - but don't believe it until you see it for yourself. If you offend your buddy by checking a gun after he's told you it's unloaded, then so be it. Better safe than dead. Make it a habit to check no matter what.
"

So why am I posting here? Was at my local gun shop- the staff are friends, and when you are as addicted as I am, they know your name. Young man brought in an older muzzle loading firearm, looking for some info. Staff was swamped w/ customers, so one of the folks asked if I could look at what he had, and talk with him for a minute.

What he had was a single barreled percussion shotgun, about 12 gauge, in fair condition- damacus barrel, nice stock w/ brass cap box, etc. He had just been given firearm by grandmother. He was showing me the shotgun- when it struck me- "Sir, have you checked that this is not loaded?" Well, he did not know how to check a muzzleloader. I spoke to one of the staff "Charlie- weapon is not cleared yet." He stopped, walked over, and held the barrel, and we pulled ramrod. Measured ramrod against the barrel, slid the rod home- and it stopped about 2 inches from where it should. Charlie got wide eyed, gently removed the ramrod, and being certain the muzzle was up, informed the customer that, by all indications, the shotgun was still loaded. He had been in the store about 5-10 minutes holding the gun at port arms. The shotgun (not in condition to be fired) was left in the care of the gunsmith, who would pull the load and wash out the charge.

No, there was no cap on the nipple- but muzzleloaders HAVE fired from a spark when the steel hammer strikes a steel nipple. And while most of us have had Rule 1 drilled into us by a father, uncle, or Drill Sgt- here a young man walked around a busy store with a loaded shotgun. Think about that for a minute.

Oh- my two boxes of ammo were "on the house".

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Old 01-15-2010, 11:08 PM   #2
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Great point, C3 as always.

I would add that today's modern in-lines are more likely to be left 'uncleared'. Powder pellets, saboted bullets and 'waterproof' 209 primer seals make it easier to just not discharge it in leiu of cleaning. I have my ramrod scribed at the empty mark.

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Old 01-16-2010, 12:24 AM   #3
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Good on you c3!

Here is an 'interesting' situation I experienced several years ago:

Was at a family gathering (holiday) at my mom's house. A few of us were standing in the kitchen and talking about this and that. Present was my older sister and her fairly new 'significant other' - who happened to be a LEO. He was off duty, in civvies, but carrying his duty pistol in a belt holster.

Naturally I inquired about what he was carrying.
So he un-holsters the gun and removes the magazine, then hands me the pistol and asks "What do you think?" So of course the first thing I do is make sure the muzzle is pointed to my left, toward the outside wall (away from anyone else) and rack the slide open to check the chamber.

Surprise, surprise! A .40 caliber hollow point round pops out, and smacks my mom square in the forehead in front of me!

Now this guy knew I was a "gun nut". He also knew the pistol was equipped with a magazine disconnect. So I don't know if he was just trying to test me or what, but I think it was a pretty *** - poor way to do it!
Disconnect or not - I would NEVER hand someone a gun with a round in the chamber around other people. I'm thinking.... what the H E double hockey sticks is WRONG with this guy???

Thankfully my sister parted ways with him eventually.

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Old 01-16-2010, 12:30 AM   #4
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People can never be reminded enough to check and double check the condition of a weapon. Even after watching someone clear a weapon I check it again when it's handed to me. It happens all the time..."I didn't know it was loaded...." or something stupid. Thanks for the reminder c3.

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Old 01-16-2010, 12:00 PM   #5
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Excellent post, c3. This cannot be overemphasised.


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People can never be reminded enough to check and double check the condition of a weapon. Even after watching someone clear a weapon I check it again when it's handed to me. It happens all the time..."I didn't know it was loaded...." or something stupid. Thanks for the reminder c3.

Spot-on, spittin. This is exactly what was drilled into us during the compulsory pistol/longarms courses...even if you've just seen someone examine & clear a firearm before they hand it to you, do you that again when you take possession. And they do it again after you hand it back to them, purely as an automatic matter-of-course.

Every gun shop I've ever been to this is followed to the absolute letter...I think if you did NOT follow this they would be pretty damn leery of letting you handle any weapon in stock whatsoever. One reason I do think our insanely strict licensing/compulsory safety course laws pre-licence issue are actually a damn good idea. You don't get any dropkicks just walking into a shop who haven't been thoroughly trained.
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zhuk View Post
Excellent post, c3. This cannot be overemphasised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spittinfire View Post
People can never be reminded enough to check and double check the condition of a weapon. Even after watching someone clear a weapon I check it again when it's handed to me. It happens all the time..."I didn't know it was loaded...." or something stupid. Thanks for the reminder c3.
Spot-on, spittin. This is exactly what was drilled into us during the compulsory pistol/longarms courses...even if you've just seen someone examine & clear a firearm before they hand it to you, do you that again when you take possession. And they do it again after you hand it back to them, purely as an automatic matter-of-course.

Every gun shop I've ever been to this is followed to the absolute letter...I think if you did NOT follow this they would be pretty damn leery of letting you handle any weapon in stock whatsoever. One reason I do think our insanely strict licensing/compulsory safety course laws pre-licence issue are actually a damn good idea. You don't get any dropkicks just walking into a shop who haven't been thoroughly trained.

Something like gun safety and awareness can never be overemphasized, as we ALL know. At all the gun shops I visit, I always rack the slide back on a weapon the clerk is showing me even though I saw HIM do it. I've never gotten any nasty looks from any clerk. At the small Mom & Pop shooter's supply I use for FFL transfers from online purchases, the owner even smiles and nods when I perform this simple, easy safety check, especially when I've ordered a weapon online and I've just removed it from its shipping box.
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:01 PM   #7
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my husband gets so annoyed with me because I won't take a weapon from him unless he shows me its clear. I also ask him to prove that any he lays down to clean (in the living room) are clear. He thinks I should trust him, I think I should only trust my own eyes

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Old 01-16-2010, 03:14 PM   #8
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Actually it is fairly common to find antique percussion muzzleloading shotguns loaded with no cap on the nipple. They were left this way to be immediately available with just the addition of the cap. I have seen several loaded this way.

Had one brought in to have the nipples replaced. As usual I checked with ramrod and it was loaded. Pulled the newspaper wadding and dumped shot. Dug around and dumped the powder. Nipples resisted penetrating oil. I decided to heat with propane torch. BOOM !!! I had not dug all the powder out. No damage except to my nerves

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Old 01-16-2010, 03:53 PM   #9
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Actually there is a BIG difference in leaving a firearm in that condition in ones own personal hunting shack - v.s. where the gun is around OTHER bodies that might not be aware of its condition.

And you damn sure don't transport a weapon in that condition in a vehicle or walk into a place of business with it! I don't care how the 'good ol boys' are used to doing things...

Just sayin.

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Old 01-16-2010, 04:02 PM   #10
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Scary, reminds me of the local deputy who shot himself in the toe at a local gunshow with a .22 magnum rifle that his 9 year old kid had been toting around the show for an hour or so. I can't recall if the deputy bought the gun for the kid or if it was the kid's grandfather. Pretty pitiful if neither grown man checked the rifle closely enough to notice it was still loaded, much less the condition of the rifling/barrel. IIRC, the deputy was/is a firearms safety instructor when needed; i don't think i will need stumpy's help.

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