WHEN DO I LOAD AND LOCK?
Yep, after years and years of hunting i now have something 'niggling':hmmmer: me and i will appreciate your comments / convictions on this, please.
When hunting, when do you load and lock your rifle?
For myself, since i started hunting many moons ago - my chamber remains empty untill i arrive at the designated place where we get off the vehicle to continue further on foot. Then i load and lock and safety on, carrying my rifle in hand (not slung over shoulder) with the barrel quartering away to my left side. My reason - I do not want to be surprised by a sudden appearance of my quarry (happens every year) and then still have to load and lock and aim. Seasoned hunters will agree with me that Oryx / Kudu and Eland (what i hunt annually) allows the hunter 3-5 seconds when you are spotted, and then they make dust in the opposite direction:elch: - not leaving time to load and lock and aim.
On a very recent hunt i had a hunting partner - also no novice to hunting -but first time we were hunting together. He keeps his chamber empty untill the guide spots the game or both parties spot each other, and then he load and lock and aim. I became very frustrated :doh2:as he had 3-4 good opportunities with Kudu and Oryx standing 50-80 metres away staring at us. When he then loaded and locked, the action-sound made them depart rapidlly and we 'footed' it on and on to repeat the same thing 3 times in one morning from 6 to 11 with no shot fired and ample opportunity.:banghead:
I will sincerely appreciate response from the PH members and seasoned hunters here on AH please.
What is your take on the condition of your rifle while afoot in your immediate hunting area?
If I am hunting my gun is locked and loaded just on safe.That is not when in a vechile though just when on foot walking and hunting.To much movement and noise to me to do that after you spotted the animal.You never know when you will see or walk up on what your hunting.Never had any problems with a gun on saftey and finger off the trigger till your ready to shoot.If I am on a guide hunt I ask how they like to handle this.I have found all my guides to think the same way.
I load my gun once I'm out of the vehicle and put the safety on...a lot of guides have had problems with guys, carrying a loaded gun---accidentally shooting!---I guess it can happen if you don't know how to carry and handle a gun. I hate carrying a empty gun!!!
I agree with you guys, once on the hunt one in the chamber and safety on. Now for the other side of the coin. I have actually taken the bolt away from one client while guiding them on an elk hunt in Colorado because they were so unsafe and I didn't want to get shot. This client had the gun go off before the hunt even started at the pickup and he just would get way to excited. I started out by not letting him put a shell in the chamber, but every time I would check there would be one in with the safety off and he was always pointing the gun in the wrong direction. So I took the bolt from his gun and that was that. Can't shoot me without a bolt. The guy still got an elk even with having to put the bolt in, but I never took him on a hunt again. I'm sure the PH and guides on here have plenty of stories like this. So while I agree with you guys on the shell in and on safe I don't believe this applies to everyone.
I agree with the following exceptions. Having your gun unloaded while in a vehicle is a given. Outside of the vehicle it should be loaded and the safety on (clicked back all the way to lock the firing pin on 3 position safeties) If on scrambly ground, climbing mountains or traversing any difficult terrain, unload it. And finally if you are inexperienced, have physical problems that may cause balance issues or others in the group feel unsafe with your gun handling skills either keep it unloaded or let someone safe and competent carry it for you.
WST416, I agree with you, anyone that doesn't practice safe gun skills around me, won't go hunting with me in the future. And will get a polite lecture is gun safety. You wish you could take their bullets away and the clip, until a suitable animal showed up...but you never know, a guy might still put one in the chamber....a lost bolt, takes care of that problem.
I feel for the guides and PH's out there. There must be a lot of close calls.
Here is what i PH wanted and i followed every day after the first day of hunting...
Have double rifles unloaded in the case and when on the ground the tracker would put 2 in the chamber and put the gun safety on and show the PH.
By the way no double rifles were allowed in the field that you manually had to cock...there were no safety on these rifles and the PH did not allow them...this was a safety issue...
Bolt action rifle was to have rounds placed in the magazine, none in the chamber until i was told to load a round and put the safety on. Safety only came off after the rifle was in the shooting sticks or in a rest to make a shot.
Rifle safety was atop priority at all times...
Those were the rules in the hunting camp i was in.
I'll tell you there is not many things as unnerving as some body thats unsafe with a firearm. There is no animal worth getting someone shot or hurt. Commonsense needs to be applied on this issue in the field based on the circumstances, unfortunately a lot of people have very little!!
One more twist on the loaded/safe rifle a buddy showed me;
Load one in the pipe, but "pull the trigger" as you slowly close the bolt.
In his rifle this releases the cocked bolt. So, no possibility of a accidental discharge. All you have to do is lift the bolt up and back down to cock the rifle and you are ready to go.
Now, this always made me nervous so, I am with everyone else here one in the pipe safety on until you are ready to shoot.
Boy Brickburn I don't agree with your buddy at all on that one. All a person is doing when they do this is to slowly control the engagement of the firing pin without letting the spring snap the primer. The firing pin could even come to rest on the primer and just set there touching it. There are many pitfalls to this. 1 Basically you now have a loaded gun that the trigger has been depressed on. 2 Most models once the trigger has been pulled you can not put the safety on and even if you can it doesn't do any good. 3 The possibility of of falling down or bumping the gun somehow making the firing pin strike the primer hard enough to make it fire. 4 In certain instances the firing pin may not release fully and still be cocked with a released trigger just waiting for a time to go off- Let me give you an example I have a whitworth 458 I have taken elk hunting a few times just for fun. One year in a ranchers season it was bitter cold, I pulled up to shoot a cow and pulled the trigger, nothing happened. Keeping the gun pointing in a safe position I had my father lift the bolt a little bit and bang the gun went off. You want to talk about no fun with a 458! Tried it again same results. Went home, gun warmed up, shot it worked fine.Turns out the grease or lube that was in the bolt was thick enough at that cold temp it could hang the firing pin just enough that it took a bolt wiggle to release it. I just would not recommend this procedure to anyone. By the way fixed the lube in the bolt on the 458, works fine now! I'm not trying to put your friend down, just not safe IMO.
I'm not recommending that one. Just mentioning it, he thinks that is safer and does it. I tried it once and could not feel comfortable with it at all. I don't do that method, just mentioning it.
My favourite method is one I use with my O/U shotgun, shells in the chamber and the action open over my shoulder. No safety on. Close it, mount it and shoot the bird after everyone else has has their chance.
I know this was your PH's rule, not yours, but I am trying to figure out the ban on SXS's which had to be cocked. Are you referring to the Krieghoff design? The cocking lever is in the place of the safety. Push it forward and the rifle is off safe and cocked ready to fire. Push it off safety and the rifle is uncoked and unfirable. It is not my favorite double design, but it is, in my opinion, the safest system ever devised.
Originally Posted by James.Grage
That is a classic case of somebody who does not understand how something works but condemns it based on rumors.
On my first hunt in Africa I asked my PH if he wanted me to load a live round in the chamber. His answer was unless I intended on beating the buffalo to death with the stock he felt it was a good idea to load the rifle. I never asked again. BTW he carried a Krieghoff double.
Thank you gentlemen for your valuable inputs - appreciated.
Personally - I feel competent and safe with my rifle loaded / locked safety on when i enter the bush on foot. Also while I walk / stalk I remain continuously very-very aware of where my guide is and where my rifle is pointing - especially if you have to crawl, duck for thorny branches, go through ditches, etc.
I guess my old man's on-and-on-and-ongoing repetitions day-in and year out, and the couple smacks in the head about gun-safety, paid off for me.
However, i can appreciate the fact that some guides / PH's will feel very unsafe with a incompetent client behind him with a loaded rifle - I can only imagine...finding out your client is incompetent may be on the brink of 'too late' or too late anyway.
Then again, you guys are experienced and know what to look for in clients in this regard and will pick-up quickly still at base camp before the hunt - hopefully - whether a client is familiar / safe / unsafe / incompetent with his rifle and take the appropriate decision on mode of carry.
As a point of interest to me, do PH's / guides "presume" their clients are familiar with gun safety? Or is there a written / unwritten rule before a hunt to check out the competency level on gun-safety with your client and to discuss and make a decission on the mode of carry?