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I hunt exclusivly in brushy woods, mostly squrilles some times deer. Now I have read that a lot of hunters hunt with their break actions empty, bolt actions, levers, autos, pumps etc with empty chambers. It seems to me that you would have difficulty making a timely shot that way on jumped up game. I know some BS but others seem to be telling the gospel truth. I usually carry a brake action with a hammer, but some times another action. Is any gun safe to carry with the chamber loaded? What is the safest type? Which is to be avoided? Other comments are welcome. I would like to hear evaluations of cross bolt, tang safeties, trigger blocking, sear blocking, hammers, hammerless, bolts strikers, inertial fireing pins etc.
 

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I hunt by myself almost exclusively. When I'm "in the woods", or otherwise actively hunting, of course a round is in the chamber. Whatever the safety mechanism is for that rifle, it's engaged. If I'm by myself, in a tower stand or ground blind, on private land, I'll likely have the safety off as soon as I get set up. I know some won't agree with either choice.

If some folks hunt with an empty chamber, I'm OK with that.
 

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olafhafdt---

You have hit on the questions I tried to answer in my book. WHAT so-called safety is actually that?

The answers are as varied as the guns. Just remember the gun companies do NOT have to do anything. NOBODY is watching, so they can call something a "safety", like the cross button on M870/100/742/760 etc, but it does NOT have to prevent the gun from firing.
 

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I generally hunt with my Ruger No.1 in 7x57. There's always one in the chamber otherwise I'd be walking around with an empty rifle.
 

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Lets watch how we go at this one, it's got the probability of going poop storm any second.

I hunt with one in the chamber and safety on as well.

RJ
 

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Chamber loaded safety on here. I trust all mine. The Ruger m77 has a good safety as do most Ruger firearms though. I know modern Henry lever actions can be safely carried with the hammer lowered on a loaded chamber as they have a sort of firing pin block like a Glock or other pistol. Only way it can fire is if trigger is pulled and lever is squeezed. So don't do those two things and bump the back of the hammer and you should be fine. Shotguns are always ready to go with safeties on. We hunt in smaller groups of 2-4 at most so it's easy to know where a safe direction is.

Generally speaking, I've always believed if a firearm is designed right, there isn't much of a way it will fire without someone pulling the trigger somehow. And that's generally correct, but there are some exemptions.
 

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olafhafdt Now I have read that a lot of hunters hunt with their break actions empty said:
In my over 6 decades of hunting, I've not known any hunters that hunted with an empty chamber. Empty chamber when crossing fences or climbing to tree-stands yes, but while actually hunting no. I once met an old guy (in NY in the early '70s) at an informal trap shoot who insisted that was the way to hunt and even had his shotgun open when calling for the clay target. He was a "self-proclaimed" expert with various pins, patches etc wearing a "home tie-died camo" jacket. The other shooters felt he was borderline senile, but very safe with his gun handling.

One time when I was a pre-teen, there was one individual who tried hunting pheasants with our group in Pennsylvania with an exposed hammer shotgun with the hammers cocked. My father told him to hunt elsewhere and not on our farm.

The bolt up when hunting with a bolt action as described by MontyF is the way my late hunting buddy carried his in the woods. Although I don't think he hunted there, he claimed that is the way they carry it in Africa - Perhaps MusgraveMan can confirm or correct that.
 

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I hunt with several types of rifle actions and a lot of different rifles and always hunt with a loaded chamber and some type of safety on. I used a semi-auto for the first time in a while to kill my Kentucky buck this past season and got caught with the safety on after shooting, watching the deer fall and 20 seconds later get back up and run off. I don't think I would do things differently with a "do-over", but putting the safety back on so quickly after dropping that deer ultimately cost me an additional hour+ and 400 yards or so of trailing that wounded deer.

Of all the different types of safeties I have on my rifles, I prefer two types the most. I do a lot of hunting with lever rifles and I like a half-cock safety using the hammer (I'm not a huge fan of the HBS on newer Marlins, but understand it's function) and I like three position safeties on my bolt guns like the M70, M77 (MKII & Hawkeye) and the M70 type on my M98 custom rifle. I like the option of opening the bolt with the safety on plus being able to lock the bolt with the safety on. I also feel that with the safety fully to the rear on those bolt guns with 3 position safeties, it's much more difficult for the safety to be accidentally bumped and pushed forward to the fire position.

Most any time I read a thread similar to this one and with hunters talking of hunting with lever rifles, I'm surprised at the number of them who claim to hunt with traditional lever designs like the Marlin 336 & 1895 and hunt with the hammer full down on a loaded chamber. While I understand that my BLRs would be safe with hammer down on a loaded chamber, I still use a half-cock position on all my lever guns with exposed hammers.
 
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Depends

For the majority of the time I hunt with one in the chamber, safety on. Once on a deer hunt in Co I was climbing a steep rocky ridge. Having to pull myself up from ledge to ledge. I had unloaded my rifle because of the safety issue if a slip and fall occurred. As I reached one of the ledges and pulled myself up found myself looking eye to eye with a big buck! Couldn't have done anything even if the gun had one in the chamber.
If Walking into my stand in the dark or out from it in the dark, Gun has an empty chamber.
 

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Any gun/platform is only as safe as the user.

IT DEPENDS kinda nailed it for me. If hunting big game close, sound can spook game so always 1 in the chamber & safety on. The hammer on a revolver or lever is a definite sound issue but I'd never hunt with a hammer back, anywhere. Hunting birds over good dogs with a broken sxs or o/u, yes loaded. If a sudden flush is possible, action closed & loaded, safety on. About 1 safety being safer than another??? I'm not a smithy, refer to safe gun handling/hunting rules.
 

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Chamber loaded, safety on

That is how I hunt and have never had a problem. I watch the muzzle at all times and make certain of my target and background before I shoot. All the best...
Gil
 

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Regardless of what type of action I'm using I generally hunt with one in the chamber and safety on, unless I'm hunting with my mother-in-law, then I hunt with one in the chamber safety off, finger on the trigger walking directly behind her.
 

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Does this follow up the "inadvertent discharge" thread? Well ,I never do and don't see any need. I will chamber a round when needed.
 

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Only time I really unchamber the rifle is up/down trees. Gun is loaded, safety applied and follow muzzle awareness.


CD
 

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As far as safe firearm handling practices, I'm very well in tune to what I'm doing while the firearm is in my hands, or in my control as I refer to it. That said, I hunt with one in the chamber, but with some exceptions, such as when climbing a fence, tree, steep or slippery slope, I'm pretty sure you get the idea here.

Under no circumstances what so ever do I transport a hunting weapon with one in the chamber while in a means of conveyance. Be it a quad or in the truck, I see no good reason to drive with one in the chamber. I've seem or heard of quite a few negligent discharges by hunters who do this.

As far as carrying any firearm with the bolt or other type action open, this to me adds an unnecessary step to safe firearm handling, which IMO should be kept as simplistic as possible, IMO. It can kind of be like driving with two feet, one on the brake the other on the accelerator, my Dad drove through our garage door because of this bad habit. You see your quarry get up in front of you, your Adrenalin kicks in, this is when things start to go south. The safety gets unintentionally disengaged before the bolt/action gets closed, next you're trying to hold the weapon with one hand while closing the action, your finger unintentionally ends up on the trigger or your coat or shirt gets in the way, and by this time who knows where the barrel is pointing, boom, you have a negligent/accidental discharge! I'd rather just shoulder the weapon, disengage the safety, aim and then shoot, not much that can go wrong with this process IMO.

I've seen a couple of mishaps first hand over the years that were at least in part due to the action being carried open. Most recent was when my son and I took a dad and his son hunting couple years back, and the dad insisted his boy keep the action open while in the field. Actually, he initially insisted he carry the rifle with the magazine completely empty. After physically demonstrating and carefully explaining the multiple reasons why this isn't a particularly good idea, I convinced him to let him keep the mag. loaded. First thing that happened on day one when he attempted to chamber a round, the bolt picked up a round from the mag., but there was already a round in the chamber, which he didn't remember dropping one in. That was easy to clear, but by the time we did the shot was history, I accepted all the responsibility, after all I was the one who convinced him to allow the magazine to be loaded, even though I knew all would have been fine if the rifle had been loaded with safety on in the first place. Folks who have a serious lack of confidence in their firearm handling practices are their own worst enemy. All to often by the time they incorporate what they think is fool proof safety protocol, all they've really accomplished is 10 ways to turn simple and safe firearm handling practices into a complex accident prone process. Just my opinion really, and I don't know a whole lot, probably just enough to get by or get myself in trouble.

Next, that same day, we spotted a nice buck, he was far enough away that we had time to use the Caldwell field rest, we got him situated in an orderly fashion, but when he tried to chamber a round the bolt wouldn't close. I tried, but nothing I did would get the bolt closed, I figured something was in the chamber, but I didn't have a cleaning rod with me to clear the chamber. When we got back to camp I tried again to chamber one, no go, so removed the round and inspected the brass, sure enough there was a very obvious scratch and dent on the shoulder. I took the bolt out, looked into the chamber, but I couldn't see anything, so I slowly ran a patch through and found a tiny grain of sand on the patch, problem solved. Next day he had the exact same failure, this time it was a tiny piece of what appeared to be bark or shrubbery.

It doesn't take much to prevent an action from going into battery, best to keep the action closed.

SMOA
 

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Folks who have a serious lack of confidence in their firearm handling practices are their own worst enemy.
SMOA
Those same folks generally fail to understand that the only REAL safety is the one between your ears. When all other safeties fail, as they are wont to do, if safe gun handling is strictly observed, the inadvertent discharge does not result in an injury or fatality.

Every gun is loaded, ALL the time. That's what my dad taught me, and it's what I taught my kids. Treat a gun as such and when the unlikely occurs, it is an alarming event, not a tragedy.
 

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Those same folks generally fail to understand that the only REAL safety is the one between your ears. When all other safeties fail, as they are wont to do, if safe gun handling is strictly observed, the inadvertent discharge does not result in an injury or fatality.

Every gun is loaded, ALL the time. That's what my dad taught me, and it's what I taught my kids. Treat a gun as such and when the unlikely occurs, it is an alarming event, not a tragedy.
This is the absolute truth. I've seen or heard about people with a cavalier attutude on firearms safety. Some figure if the safety is on the rest can be forgotten.
 
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