Firearms Safety First - Page 2

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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Ammunition that has become very wet or has been submerged in water should be discarded in a safe manner. Do not spray oil or solvents on ammunition or place ammunition in excessively lubricated firearms. Poor ignition, unsatisfactory performance or damage to your firearm and harm to yourself or others could result from using such ammunition.

Form the habit of examining every cartridge you put into your gun. Never use damaged or substandard ammunition-the money you save is not worth the risk of possible injury or a ruined gun.

6. If Your Gun Fails To Fire When The Trigger Is Pulled, Handle With Care!
Occasionally, a cartridge may not fire when the trigger is pulled. If this occurs, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your face away from the breech. Then, carefully open the action, unload the firearm and dispose of the cartridge in a safe way.

Any time there is a cartridge in the chamber, your gun is loaded and ready to fire-even if you’ve tried to shoot and it did not go off. It could go off at any time, so you must always remember Rule #1 and watch that muzzle!

7. Always Wear Eye And Ear Protection When Shooting
All shooters should wear protective shooting glasses and some form of hearing protectors while shooting. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing, and adequate vision protection is essential. Shooting glasses guard against twigs, falling shot, clay target chips and the rare ruptured case or firearm malfunction. Wearing eye protection when disassembling and cleaning any gun will also help prevent the possibility of springs, spring tension parts, solvents or other agents from contacting your eyes. There is a wide variety of eye and ear protectors available. No target shooter, plinker or hunter should ever be without them.

Most rules of shooting safety are intended to protect you and others around you, but this rule is for your protection alone. Furthermore, having your hearing and eyes protected will make your shooting easier and will help improve your enjoyment of the shooting sports.

8. Be Sure The Barrel Is Clear Of Obstructions Before Shooting
Before you load your firearm, open the action and be certain that no ammunition is in the chamber or magazine. Then glance through the barrel to be sure it is clear of any obstruction.

Even a small bit of mud, snow, excess lubricating oil or grease in the bore can cause dangerously increased pressures, causing the barrel to bulge or even burst on firing, which can cause injury to the shooter and bystanders.

Make it a habit to clean the bore with a cleaning rod and patch to wipe away anti-rust compounds in the gun each time immediately before you shoot it.

If the noise or recoil on firing seems weak or doesn’t seem quite "right," cease firing immediately and be sure to check that no obstruction or projectile has become lodged in the barrel.

Placing a smaller gauge or caliber cartridge into a gun (such as a 20 gauge shell in a 12 gauge shotgun) can result in the smaller cartridge falling into the barrel and acting as a bore obstruction when a cartridge of proper size is fired.

This is a dangerous situation that can result in a burst barrel or worse, and is really a case where "haste makes waste." You can easily avoid this type of accident by paying close attention to each cartridge you insert into your firearm.

9. Don’t Alter Or Modify Your Gun, and Have Guns Serviced Regularly
Firearms are complicated mechanisms, which are designed by experts to function properly in their original condition. Any alteration or change made to a firearm after manufactured can make the gun dangerous and will usually void any factory warranties. Do not jeopardize your safety or the safety of others by altering the trigger, safety or other mechanism of any firearm or allowing unqualified persons to repair or modify a gun. You’ll usually ruin an expensive gun. Don’t do it!

Your gun is a mechanical device, which will not last forever and is subject to wear. As such, it requires periodic inspection, adjustment and service. Check with the manufacturer of your firearm for recommended servicing.

10. Learn the Mechanical and Handling Characteristics of the Firearm You Are Using
Not all firearms are the same. The method of carrying and handling firearms varies in accordance with the mechanical characteristics of each gun. Since guns can be so different, never handle any firearm without first having thoroughly familiarized yourself with the particular type of firearm you are using, the safe gun handling rules for loading, unloading, carrying and handling that firearm, and the rules of safe gun handling,
in general.

For example, many handgun manufacturers recommend that their handguns always be carried with the hammer down on an empty chamber. This is particularly true for older single-action revolvers, but applies equally to some double-action revolvers or semiautomatic pistols. You should always read and refer to the instruction manual you received with your gun, or if you have misplaced the manual, simply contact the manufacturer for a free copy.

Having a gun in your possession is a full-time job. You cannot guess; you cannot forget. You must know how to use, handle and store your firearm safely. Do not use any firearm without having a complete understanding of its particular characteristics and safe use. There is no such thing as a foolproof gun.

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