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".