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A brief discussion in another thread got me thinking about this one, and I thought I'd put it out there to guage people's opinions on this potential safety issue. Let's not get all fired up about this though, each to his own, right?

This applies to all guns I guess but as the subject broached earlier was rifles, I thought I'd post in here.

Basically we were talking about the accidental discharge of a rifle at the hunting car, due to a defective safety mechanism which released the sear as it was taken off safe. The rifle was rightfully treated as loaded, kept pointed in a safe direction and nobody suffered any injuries, escept perhaps the need for a change of pants when it fired! The thing that surprised me a bit I guess was that it was carried around like that with a round in the breech.

I personally won't hunt with anyone who carries a rifle with a round in the chamber, except for in a couple of situations: A, when the game is sighted, and the stalk begins, or
B, moving carefully through thick country where you suspect the game is about to be encountered, where ranges will be extremely short and reaction time has to be fast.

I wouldn't walk around with a rifle slung over my shoulder with a round in the chamber, or trek through fairly sterile country carrying one in the same condition, and I don't take new hunters out without first telling them my rule. Yes, you keep the rifle pointed in a safe direction all the time anyway, and yes you treat it as loaded, but from my experience people can lose concentration as they get tired leading to mistakes, and people also fall over from time to time in the bush, and it can be hard to watch your muzzle direction as you go flat on your face down an incline. :rolleyes:

I can't say that the time taken to work the action of a rifle has ever cost me a shot at game; if I was aware of the presence of the animal, then I would have chambered a round before I began my stalk, and if one came running out because I hadn't seen it but instead spooked it, then the noise of the bolt isn't a concern and neither is the fraction of a second needed to work it.

It'll be interesting to hear everyone's take on this, and I expect there will be a split in opinions. There is no right or wrong, really, as long as all other safety precautions are adhered to, so let's not get fired up about it. But I've stated my case.

The second scariest sound I've heard while hunting was that of a rifle bolt closing just behind me while out hunting with a friend for the first time. There was no game around, we were just walking along and he'd decided to chamber a round "just in case." I told him to take it out, he did. The scariest sound I've heard was on a subsequent trip with the same person, when he slipped over in mud and the gun went off, in what direction is anyone's guess! There was no third trip.
 

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I operate with three "rules": 1) for tree stands and similar situations regarding awkward positions & balance the pack and unloaded rifle stay on the ground while I do the climbing then pull up the gear with a haul rope. Rifle is then loaded with round in the chamber and the safety is set..unloaded before being lowered back to the ground, 2) Long distance hiking with or without partners/guide...the rifle magazine is loaded but no round is chambered until immediate action is anticipated, 3) Still hunting...magazine and chamber are loaded and the safety is set.
 

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I guess the part that scares me the most is someone hunting with a scoped rifle, but not having binoculars. With that addition, now I really get paranoid because the rifle scope gets used as a monocular, and if there's a round in the chamber, then whatever gets looked at is in imminent danger. I've no doubt that many so-called hunting accidents went down exactly that way, but no one's the wiser except the shooter, and blames it on mistaken identity to maybe lessen the certain forthcoming charges.

For many years, I was cautious, but a loaded round, on safe was reasonable, if I knew my fellow hunters, and the area was either remote, or not expected to be crawling with hunters. Recently the problem of rifles firing when the safety as manipulated, due to design flaws, has caused me to be extremely cautious in every respect. I now agree with what you wrote. I have a brother who was shot in the leg by a nephew when the nephew was walking behind him and slipped in the mud.

Except as you described, I don't see a hunting situation where a chambered round makes sense. I don't even trust myself to be 100% right all the time, so I'm not going to trust someone else more than myself.
 

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I treat every firearm as if it were loaded, so they are loaded whether or not.

Rugers have awesome safety mechanisms that really can't fail short of a nuclear holocaust, so I am comfortable walking in the woods with a round in the chamber. Muzzle control is an important component of my personal safety, if I'm hunting with somebody that waves the muzzle around, I let them know.
 

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When I'm out hunting, I have a round chambered. When I'm traversing difficult terrain with unsure footing, I don't have a round chambered. In most of my hunting situations (not just traveling), me and my hunting partners are not walking single-file, and have rounds chambered. When walking out on a trail after the hunt, or packing game, rounds are not chambered. And never, ever, a chambered round while riding horses, or while driving.

I don't agree with 'NEVER' having a round chambered while hunting (that wasn't advocated here, but some believe in that). I grew up hunting whitetails, jumping them in thick cover, and not having a round chambered meant no shooting. Some of my elk hunting is still like that; most is not. I keep my muzzle in a safe direction, the safety on, and finger off the trigger until I'm ready to shoot.

We each have our own comfort level of what is safe and make those choices, including who we hunt with. After many years hunting with the same people, I'm comfortable around them. New people get scrutinized by everyone in camp.
 

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I hunt with a round in the chamber, safety on, and finger outside the trigger guard. That coupled with muzzle control is good enough for me. When hunting things can and do happen fast, never made sense to me to not have a round ready.
 

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I always wait till I'm well situated in a stand before loading. If walking about then one will be chambered. When I am headed back from a hunt, I'm unloaded. I keep my .22 loaded at all times unless in a vehicle or in the house.

At home, all my rifles are unloaded.
 

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I treat every gun if it was loaded always. Except for storage or transportation, guns get loaded and put on safe, finger outside trigger guard/or holstered. I carry loaded guns daily either, CCW, hunting or work. Very few times I'll unloaded before a perticuliar activity/task. Climbing a tree stand, rapelling, jumping out of airplanes and hunting rifles get unloaded at the vehicle. I always stress muzzle awarness at all times.

CD
 

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I've been hunting since I was a young kid, about 8 or so.............that would make it over 50 years. I have never came across a reason to carry a round in the chamber while hunting until game is spotted and I'm ready to take the shot.

I dont ever remember a case where I didnt get a shot off because I didnt have one in the chamber.

I guess hunting dangerous game in Africa would be differant but I havet had that pleasure.
 

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Yeah, Right ??

.....like the guys that carry a Glock without a round chambered.

I carry my hunting weapons LOADED. LOADED all the way. Ready to fire except for the safety features that are as much common sense as tying your shoe laces before walking.

My T/C Encore and Contender have a round chambered and hammer forward. The G2 Contender is NOT carried with the little "safety" lever in the center position. It's always selected to centerfire. My lever action rifles are carried with a round chambered and hammer forward. My bolt guns are carried with a round chambered and the appropriate safety engaged. Simi-auto's....round chambered,carrier forward,safety on. Shotgun's....round chambered,safety engaged. Glock's on hip,in bedroom and other places throughout the house and truck.....round chambered. 1911,primary CCW,C1. Revo's all chambers loaded(well yeah) hammer down. NEF's,round chambered,hammer forward.

ANY weapon with a half cock,that position is used. Any weapon with a loaded chamber indicator(newer Glocks,etc)is constantly felt for or eyeballed.

I do not constantly worry about other persons around me who I associate with. Boy,oh boy,you people living in open carry states must be in a real sense of panic until you return safely home. I will not hunt or shoot with anyone that has not had the level of training that comes up to the "common practices" level. Take a close look and listen to the conversation. You should be able to tell if someone is trained to a level that is at least safe. I do not care(somewhat)if someone is a good shot,knows everything there is to know about his firearm,or knows how to clean it after he shoots it. Is that person safe enough to be allowed around me and my family ??

While guiding in Maine,before a hunt,I would ALWAYS take my sport to the range to ensure his weapon(s)were properly sighted in. This would give me the chance to observe his or her safety procedures and sense how serious they were about them. I had to "council" several about the standard/reccomended safety procedures. Two different sports seemed to not want to comply so money was returned and they were gone.

Some of the safest hunters that I have ever seen were the younger hunters with parents that stressed safety. A 14 year old girl was at the top of the list. She carried her T/C Contender with a round chambered. I survived this encounter without dieing of fright,having a heart attack,or getting shot. Imagine that !! -----pruhdlr
 

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When hunting from elevated, fixed blinds, I don't even chamber a round until getting ready to shoot. Needless to say it's unloaded on the trip up and down the ladder.

When on the ground, calling coyotes, or bird hunting, round is chambered, safety on, gun pointed in the general direction where I expect game and away from any other hunters.
 

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In NY I hunt deer w/ a muzzleloader. Loaded, primed, hammer down, finger outside of the trigger guard, and muzzle in a safe direction. When climbing into a treestand I remove the primer, climb the tree, hoist up my gun and gear, and re-prime the gun. When hunting PA I carry a rifle, loaded, safe on, finger outside trigger guard, muzzle in a safe direction.

As a side note: My carry pistol is carried cocked and locked. My shotgun in the bedroom has an empty chamber. The sound of a round being racked into the chamber has no language barriers, and conveys my intentions to any would be intruder that I am serious about defending my family and home.
 

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My guns always have a round in the chamber (while hunting) unless:

1) It's dark when I leave the truck or at end of hunt.
2) I'm climbing into a treestand
3) I'm crossing as fence or other obstruction
4) I'm taking pictures of gun and game
 

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As a child, the only gun I was allowed to point at a person was the one I made by pointing my thumb up, my finger forward and yelling, "BANG!" I could shoot the dog or chickens with my trusty six-shooter or tommy gun, but if my cousins and I played cowboys n' indians (my cousins were actual 1/4 Cherokee indians) we had to shoot each other with our fingers. My dad was very serious about muzzle control.

I had a semi-auto pistol apart the other day, cleaning it, and as I was holding just the barrel, looking down it to see if I was done, my step-daughter walked in front of me...scared the crap out of me! The muzzle of a gun is like a powerful laser that can't be turned off...that's how I see it.

Whenever I am hunting, a round is chambered and the gun is on safe. If I'm at the house, camp or vehicle, it is unloaded, entirely. In recent years, this question has become almost academic, as I will carry my gun to the stand/blind location in a case, empty. Once up in the stand, or seated comfortably in the blind, the gun is loaded, and placed on safe. Prior to coming down from the stand, or just AFTER exiting the blind, the gun is emptied and secured in the case. (This, because I spooked 2 does and a small buck one afternoon, getting out of the blind with my gun already put away...dumb, dumb, dumb!)

How many of you hunt with a round chambered while you're in a tree stand or a ground blind?

In short, what hillestadj said is how I feel, because in the heavy cover areas where I prefer to hunt deer, the sound, movement or time spent cycling a round into the chamber could very well cost you an opportunity. More importantly, it makes no difference if a gun is loaded or on safe, or even disassembled...muzzle control is always what matters most.
 

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When big game hunting I always have a round chambered and the safety on unless I'm climbing in or out of my deer stand. When duck hunting, round chambered safety on until I start to throw gun up to my shoulder to shoot.
 

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Great thread!

I mostly stand hunt, so I go to the stand with the gun totally unloaded. When I get settled, then I load the weapon, chamber a round with the safety on.

When hunting I do carry a sidearm for protection and that is holstered, loaded, and chambered. My sidearms are such that when holstered they are safe.
 

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Since the woods that I usually hunt are extremely dense and shots are typically 50 yards or less (or was that feet) I walk with a round chambered, hammer forward and finger off the trigger, scopes set to minimum power, binos handy. My thumb is usually on the hammer stud ready to knock it back if a shot presents itself. Rifles get unloaded when difficult terrain is encountered. Side arms are always holstered and loaded round in the chamber safties engaged.
 
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