Bolt up instead of safety switch?

CD24

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Open bolt always gives me the heebie-jeibbies.
It is not a weapon condition. Every time I have ever hunted in the United States, my rifle stays in one of two conditions, 4 or 1. I take the safety off when I have the animal in my crosshairs to take it to condition 0.

It is extremely disconcerting to me to have a rifle that is in a grey area of either loaded or not loaded. Especially since my .375 has to have the safety on anyway with an unlocked bolt. If the bolt is not completely lifted, pulling the trigger causes the bolt to snap down and releases the firing pin. That is a potential OOB if the trigger snags on something when crawling through dense brush. Yes, you should be carrying your rifle so that the trigger guard is covered... but it seems like a bad idea to me.

In my opinion, leaving the bolt handle up is a crutch to cover up poor maintenance and weapon handling skills.

The other side of the story is the PH/tracker/ect. I know every once in a while one gets shot by a client, and logic suggest for every time someone gets shot, there are many more unreported close calls.

I booked my last hunt with a PH I had hunted with 2x before. I trust him, I hope he trust me. We were hunting Buffalo on a consesion that required a representative of the landowner with us that is fine by me. On the first day, we were returning to the truck in the evening when I stopped 15 ft from the truck, spun 180 degrees around so that no one was in front of me, and proceeded to unload my rifle. I think the representative about had a heart attack when he heard the rifle action.

I guess he had worked with enough idiot clients that he was extremely uncomfortable with a rifle action being worked behind his back.

To summerize, I have worked for years to develope good weapon handling skills and mentality so that it is second nature to me, and anything other that routine is very disconcerting to me.
I thought memorizing weapon conditions was stupid until I realized how efficiently you can communicate to another hunter/shooter/police/whatever. I agree that condition 4 or condition 1 are appropriate in almost every hunting application. Very well said in my opinion.
 
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My Mauser has the flag safety which can’t be used with the scope on.

This isn’t a problem here in Australia because I only chamber a round when I’m about to shoot (buffalo, mostly) or else I chamber a round but keep the bolt open with my hand jammed firmly underneath. This is habit. Safety buttons make me uncomfortable (but I have used them at times on other kinds of rifles).

My question is, is my way of doing things acceptable or unacceptable on a plains game hunt in RSA? Bad manners, perhaps?

And, is a safety switch better to use on antelopes because of less noise (though lowering the bolt is quiet too).

I do prefer to keep my rifle as is, but am contemplating whether installing a horizontal safety is the right thing to do.
@BenKK
Personally I don't chamber a round until ready to shoot. The exception to this is if I'm hunting on my own then I will carry my rifle loaded with the safety on.
If I'm on my own in the only person I can injure but with others it's always an empty chamber.
Bob
 

bruce moulds

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yes bob,
it is better for an animal to escape unshot at than get a human.
very few taxidermists would tackle a full head mount of a human, especially with a large calibre wound in it.
maybe goering's taxidermist during the holocaust, but he is probably long gone.
bruce.
 

roverandbrew

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I am curious how many hunters / PH have personally seen an accidental manipulation of the trigger coupled with a failed safety on a hunt. I did 25 years of active service with 19 of those during GWOT and know of only one. An assaulter was struggling to put a combative detainee on a helo and his slung long gun was pushed into his kit and he had an AD. I was in an organization where an AD meant you left the unit so maybe I just never saw it. The vast majority were conventional army privates with little weapons experience who were unloading. The odds of a safety failing coupled with brush setting off the weapon seem pretty slim to me if the hunter has some situational awareness. Lots of belt feds (fired from an open bolt) were "Africa carried" throughout the last few wars. I guess its all tied to personal responsibility.
 

roverandbrew

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The Pig gets heavy humping all day!

WW2.jpg
Vietnam.jpg
GWOT.jpg
 
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bruce moulds

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i had a sako whos trigger came adrift from the action when a retaining pin fell out.
luckily i picked up on it when it failed to cock.
but then i never walk around with a chambered round, so maybe it was good management, or that you make good luck.
bruce.
 

Red Leg

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I am curious how many hunters / PH have personally seen an accidental manipulation of the trigger coupled with a failed safety on a hunt. I did 25 years of active service with 19 of those during GWOT and know of only one. An assaulter was struggling to put a combative detainee on a helo and his slung long gun was pushed into his kit and he had an AD. I was in an organization where an AD meant you left the unit so maybe I just never saw it. The vast majority were conventional army privates with little weapons experience who were unloading. The odds of a safety failing coupled with brush setting off the weapon seem pretty slim to me if the hunter has some situational awareness. Lots of belt feds (fired from an open bolt) were "Africa carried" throughout the last few wars. I guess its all tied to personal responsibility.
A number of PH's known to several on this site have been shot in recent years.

Five years ago, Stu Taylor was shot with a .458 solid through the back and his shoulder blade in Mozambique during a buffalo follow-up by a well known outdoor personality. It is a no small miracle that he survived at all and his struggle to hunt and guide again has been extraordinarily difficult.

Another young PH had his arm taken off at the elbow by a client trailing him with a .500 double in the "African carry."

A third young man, who guided me in Namibia ten years ago, had, a few weeks later, half his right hand shot off by a client's .300 Win Mag when they were charged by the client's wounded leopard.

I have had more than one PH say to me that there are always at least two dangerous game animals on every stalk.
 

roverandbrew

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A number of PH's known to several on this site have been shot in recent years.

Five years ago, Stu Taylor was shot with a .458 solid through the back and his shoulder blade in Mozambique during a buffalo follow-up by a well known outdoor personality. It is a no small miracle that he survived at all and his struggle to hunt and guide again has been extraordinarily difficult.

Another young PH had his arm taken off at the elbow by a client trailing him with a .500 double in the "African carry."

A third young man, who guided me in Namibia ten years ago, had, a few weeks later, half his right hand shot off by a client's .300 Win Mag when they were charged by the client's wounded leopard.

I have had more than one PH say to me that there are always at least two dangerous game animals on every stalk.
Were they shot through a failure of the weapon or inexperienced hunter.
 

Red Leg

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Were they shot through a failure of the weapon or inexperienced hunter.
One was an experienced hunter who managed to trip and drill his PH through the back - No one knows precisely how it happened, but if I had to guess, the rifle was not on safe. To his credit, the outdoor personality chronicled the incident on his program. Whether his actions in the months following the incident were to his credit is a story for others to tell.

"My" young PH was maimed by a client firing wildly during the charge. To his credit, the client assumed responsibility for the young man's medical bills and reconstructive surgery.

I do not have specific details of the double rifle incident.
 
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lwaters

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In Africa I always hunted with an empty chamber. It not take that long to chamber a round. Now if I take my Ruger No. 1 what would you guys recommend empty chamber here too. That may be best.
 

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Loaded chamber is never allowed in our camps until we are finishing a stalk. Can’t have someone walking, crawling, stumbling or falling down behind me with a round in the pipe. I have my clients load the magazine and then leave it alone for the entire hunt - even back at camp or in a lodge. In Colorado, it’s legal to have magazines loaded in a vehicle. Most AD happen when loading or unloading or when someone thought the gun was unloaded.

In Alaska in a tent camp, I load my chamber with safety on at night in case a bear comes by. In SE Alaska where the beaches can be small and spaces tight, I was taught to load my chamber with safety on as soon as I step out of the skiff but that’s only because I am in the lead. Client behind me is loaded in magazine only.
 

mark-hunter

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I am member of target shooting club (3) and hunting club (1).

AD incidents with or without injury/fatality get noticed in firearm owners community.

The incident if it happens, in police or army also gets reported in public media and newspapers.

So, my observation from my community is estimated as follows:

- sport target shooters (up to 5.000 national members), any discipline, fire thousands of rounds at target yearly, ZERO accidents. Fact. (no record of incident in last few decades)

- hunters, high number of AD, without casualties, with severe injuries or with fatalities, generally within 55.000 registered hunters, there is 4-6 fatalities per year in my country, possibly same number of injuries. In most cases during group hunting, mostly driven boar hunt.

- police and army (professionals), AD very rare, estimating from various newspaper reports, less then 1 accident per year.

Africa:
For DG hunt, the last fatality I know from my local community- croatian hunter killed during lion hunt in south Africa. (also the only fatality from Croatia, in africa, that I know)

Allegedly - from what is published in news then: After first lion was killed, they were hunting second lion, and during final stalk, loaded rifle has been handed over to the hunter, and during handing over, the rifle went off. (probably the safety was off). Rifle does not just "go off", and at the time it was speculated the trigger was touched off by branch in the bush during handling... But it was speculation at the time.

Up till now, in local media, it has never been clarified who handled the rifle, nor some police report was published - at least, not to my knowledge.

 
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Pondoro

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I will carry my Krieghoff Big Five .470 loaded but de-cocked, african carry..I consider it to be completely safe. I will however NOT do it with a conventional double a ka pre-war british..do not trust the safety.

When hunting DG with a Mauser derivate I have a full magazine, a chambered round and an open bolt..
 

bruce moulds

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I will carry my Krieghoff Big Five .470 loaded but de-cocked, african carry..I consider it to be completely safe. I will however NOT do it with a conventional double a ka pre-war british..do not trust the safety.

When hunting DG with a Mauser derivate I have a full magazine, a chambered round and an open bolt..
you are carrying the gun so the risk is mostly to another person.
not your problem.
bruce.
 

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I well remember one afternoon returning to camp. We had had some discussions regarding gun safety. I use a 500 Jeff on a ZKK602 action.
Outfitter who was a whenwe used a 505 GIBBS on a p14 action.

He had the bad habit of loading the rifle, chambering a round and then before letting the bolt handle down he would depress the trigger lowering the firing pin on the chambered round....

I said this was unsafe he insisted that it was totally safe, I mentiined again that if the rifle was dropped it could fire....
He then stomped off and duelly arrived with mentioned 505, did his thing and then proceded to bang the butt on the ground. First try and the 505 Went off he lost control of his grip on the barrel and the rifle fell on the ground.....he picked it up and sulking left without eating and only surfaced the next morning....it was a quite night around the campfire and it took a few days of glares received before I was spoken to again.....
 

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