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View Full Version : Safety Is Everyone's Job.....


Dave McC
November 13, 2011, 11:16 PM
Yesterday I was getting ready to coach some fairly new shooters at Range 4 at PGC. This is a wobble trap and popular with casual shotgunners, though the hardcore skeet and trap guys are shunning it.

Then, a 40-ish guy in jeans and camo walked up carrying a Mossberg pump. The action WAS open as it should have been and the muzzle pointed straight up.

That was the good part.

The bad part was I could see a round in the receiver through the ejection port.

Alarms went off in my head and I spoke to the owner, took the Mossberg and removed the shell. The guy was totally embarrased, and apologized to all.

I pulled for his squad and otherwise he was observant of the Four Rules, range rules and procedures. So was everyone else, the close call reminded all of us what can go wrong.

A tragedy averted? Perhaps.

Bad publicity for law abiding gun owners averted? Certainly.

A day at the range and perhaps lives changed for the worse averted?

Possibly.

Let's all observe ourselves and everyone else when shooting, because the life you save.......

zippy13
November 13, 2011, 11:42 PM
Happy to hear you were diligent, Dave. Every shooter should consider himself a safety officer -- the life you save may be yours. It's my experience that most safety violations are by newbies who don't understand the rules, or are unfamiliar with their gun.

TheGoldenState
November 13, 2011, 11:51 PM
Happy to hear you were diligent, Dave. Every shooter should consider himself a safety officer -- the life you save may be yours. It's my experience that most safety violations are by newbies who don't understand the rules, or are unfamiliar with their gun.


For the most part I may be apt to agree with you. BUT...
There's plenty of old timers and well experienced gunners out there who've made plenty of mistakes.

(I just like to post in safety threads so my signature shows ):D

idek
November 14, 2011, 01:22 AM
I see what TheGoldenState is saying. For me personally, I was very nervous, and therefore cautious, when I first started using guns. As I became more comfortable with guns, it was easier for me to not think about my actions as much. That's not to say I'm less safe now. But now I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself sometimes, whereas when I was a newbie, safety was on my mind constantly, because frankly, the guns still scared me then.

TheGoldenState
November 14, 2011, 01:33 AM
As I became more comfortable with guns, it was easier for me to not think about my actions as much. That's not to say I'm less safe now. But now I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself sometimes, whereas when I was a newbie, safety was on my mind constantly, because frankly, the guns still scared me then.

Exactly.

I don't think a little fear is a bad thing. You shouldn't be afraid your gun (guns don't kill people, people kill people) but it keeps you with a healthy respect for the power they entail.

TheKlawMan
November 14, 2011, 02:33 AM
An example of safety being everyone's job. I was talking with a couple of guys from the range staff who's back was to a shooter. The guy shooting trao was filling this magazine of his Mossberg. Nothing hapened but when I finally brought the staff's attention to that guy they were a little sore that I hadn't mentioned him sooner. Staff can't catch everything.

Poodleshooter
November 14, 2011, 11:25 AM
Did the owner know there was a shell on the lifter? If not, I suppose that's the real safety issue (that is, not knowing the status of one's firearm is a bad, bad thing).

Other than that, the guy had a shell in a shotgun, pointed in a safe direction, finger off of the trigger, with the action open. IOW, far safer than the routine loaded, safety on, muzzle up status that everyone would accept as completely normal when going hunting.

I know that range rules have to be more strict due to the number of participants, but it's always interested me that the same trap shooters who would be positively aghast at a shell sitting on a lifter before it was one's turn at trap or skeet wouldn't bat an eye at being surrounded by 3 friends walking side by side across a field with loaded shotguns during a pheasant or rabbit hunt, or sitting side by side with a fellow shooter and loaded shotgun in a duck boat or blind.

For those who have spent more time afield, or in backyard trap shooting rather than in crowded competitive trap/skeet/sporting clays fields, the more stringent rules of a formal range environment may sometimes clash with the long experience of what is considered completely safe when carrying a shotgun afield.

bejay
November 14, 2011, 12:13 PM
Did the owner know there was a shell on the lifter? If not, I suppose that's the real safety issue (that is, not knowing the status of one's firearm is a bad, bad thing).

Other than that, the guy had a shell in a shotgun, pointed in a safe direction, finger off of the trigger, with the action open. IOW, far safer than the routine loaded, safety on, muzzle up status that everyone would accept as completely normal when going hunting.

I know that range rules have to be more strict due to the number of participants, but it's always interested me that the same trap shooters who would be positively aghast at a shell sitting on a lifter before it was one's turn at trap or skeet wouldn't bat an eye at being surrounded by 3 friends walking side by side across a field with loaded shotguns during a pheasant or rabbit hunt, or sitting side by side with a fellow shooter and loaded shotgun in a duck boat or blind.

For those who have spent more time afield, or in backyard trap shooting rather than in crowded competitive trap/skeet/sporting clays fields, the more stringent rules of a formal range environment may sometimes clash with the long experience of what is considered completely safe when carrying a shotgun afield.
that would be my opinion also sure it was a good that you seen it I guess a rule violation.

Technosavant
November 14, 2011, 01:10 PM
Good catch.

When you see a safety violation, inform the person. The catch is, do it politely but also be firm. There's no need to be a jerk, but the error does have to be remedied. When someone tells you that you have violated the rules, be apologetic, remedy the error, and use it as a reminder to be more vigilant.

Unless someone is being extremely unsafe (action closed, finger on trigger, pointing it in unsafe directions), there's no need to be a jerk about it. It's easy to have a brain fart and have your action closed accidentally (one I was shooting a pump gun and closed the action before stepping out of the box; one member of the party reminded me; I thanked him, apologized, and opened the action) or commit some other error.

The problem comes when the person who caught the violation feels the need to belittle the other shooter or the person who committed the violation feels the need to justify and perpetuate the behavior. If our heads have swollen that much, we need to take some time off and reevaluate.

Dave McC
November 14, 2011, 02:48 PM
Thanks,folks.

I did not ream him a new one. The first thing out of my mouth was "Sir, I see there's a shell in your shotgun. Allow me"....

When I removed the shell, I checked to see if there were any in the magazine.

There's a range I quit using nigh B-more because the ROs were jerks. They did not yell at me, but I got tired of them abusing new shooters. They're gone now, but I haven't rejoined.

This time, no one was a jerk. The violation was addressed. lessons learned, and the day proceeded safely.

As to field shooting, what little bird hunting I do is done only with two other hutners at most. Goose hunting maybe three, but we're not moving around.

And, most of the folks I've hunted with have been OCD about safety.

Poodleshooter
November 14, 2011, 04:02 PM
There's a range I quit using nigh B-more because the ROs were jerks. They did not yell at me, but I got tired of them abusing new shooters. They're gone now, but I haven't rejoined.
There's a lot of that these days and not just in shotgunning. With the various new shooting games of the past few decades have come a plethora of new safety rules that an average shooter who practices the basic 3 commandments of firearms safety, but is not a competitor, may find unusual or unexpected.
To use an earlier example, the fellow loading his Mossberg while standing at a trap station: he's just doing exactly what he would do in the field. While common practice shooting singles trap is to load one only when it's your station's turn to fire, and to otherwise keep your action open, that's not common practice for anyone shooting "backyard trap", nor is it practice for hunting with any repeating shotgun.
Furthermore, I would challenge that his actions were actually unsafe. Were they contrary to the rules of singles trap at the range? Certainly! But it is not necessarily unsafe behavior, and an accordingly measured response should be given by ROs or fellow shooters.

Technosavant
November 14, 2011, 04:46 PM
I did not ream him a new one. The first thing out of my mouth was "Sir, I see there's a shell in your shotgun. Allow me"....


Yeah, I apologize if I sounded like I suspected you might have been. That was more of a generic "you." :)

I sometimes see some folks on TFL almost beside themselves with glee over calling out some unsafe bozo, and it appears that they were just thrilled at showing how much better they were because they stopped this heinous safety threat. :rolleyes: Not that we shouldn't call each other out when warranted, just putting out a reminder that some gentleness is warranted because we ALL get called out from time to time.

Dave McC
November 14, 2011, 07:50 PM
Poodleshooter, he wasn't on the line. He was joining some people behind the line while another squad shot.

Tech, I've seen that myself. Some folks think cutting the feet off someone makes themselves taller.

McCracken's Axiom of Personal Deportment states....

When someone is acting like a jackass, it does not grant me or anyone else permission to do likewise"...

I thought that one up in a Maximum Security prison a few decades back. I knew quite a few jerks then.

Slugo
November 14, 2011, 08:40 PM
you did exactly what needed to be done, and without embarrassing the guy...

Hardcase
November 15, 2011, 10:02 AM
A few months ago, I was shooting skeet with my old Winchester '97. We took a break and were chatting a little, when the owner of the range drove up in one of those little not-quite-a-car, not-quite-a-four-wheeler things. The action of my gun had closed while we were standing there, so he said, "I know that those '97s are ugly as sin when they're open, but if you don't mind..."

We all had a good chuckle. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that old honey versus vinegar thing is true.

Dave McC
November 15, 2011, 02:28 PM
Slugo, I doubt I'd have gotten those results if I had played DI or acted like a jerk.

Hardcase, exactly....