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Old November 25, 2010, 01:22 PM   #1
JohnKSa
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Safety Rules--How many GET it?

I think a lot of folks don't really get it when it comes to the safety rules.

Anytime someone says that the gun isn't loaded as an excuse for pointing it in an unsafe direction they're proving that they don't get it.

You ALWAYS keep a gun pointed in a safe direction so that it becomes second nature. The goal is that even if your concentration slips your good habits will prevent an incident.

You ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot so that it becomes habit. It's a form of training. Every time you exercise trigger finger discipline you're helping train yourself to be safe via repetition.

Yes, it's important for the safety of those currently present that muzzle and trigger finger discipline are exercised, but it's just as important to understand that by doing the right thing EVERY TIME you're helping to insure that you'll do the right thing the next time and the next time and even that time in a few years when you're really tired and the TV is blaring and the car just broke down and you just can't think about safety rules right this minute...
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Old November 25, 2010, 01:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
I think a lot of folks don't really get it when it comes to the safety rules.

Anytime someone says that the gun isn't loaded as an excuse for pointing it in an unsafe direction they're proving that they don't get it....
Absolutely. Jeff Cooper vehemently insisted that Rule One be stated, "All guns are always loaded.", rather than in some other way. With Rule One thus stated, "it's not loaded" is never an excuse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
...Yes, it's important for the safety of those currently present that muzzle and trigger finger discipline are exercised, but it's just as important to understand that by doing the right thing EVERY TIME you're helping to insure that you'll do the right thing the next time and the next time and even that time in a few years when you're really tired and the TV is blaring and the car just broke down and you just can't think about safety rules right this minute...
Well said, and I agree completely.
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Old November 25, 2010, 02:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
I think a lot of folks don't really get it when it comes to the safety rules.
Most, mostly do. Some often do and then too many will never get it. We teach and preach but it has to be a way of life. I teach Hunter Safety at our M/L station and we post the safety rules. Also challenge the students to catch us on any violations. There are instructors that do not appreciate it but will never argue the point. I hand out a business card to all students with the four main safety rules printed on the back. I suspect some wind up in the trash. Can't save the world but sure can do some in my neck of the woods. Thanks for your post. ......



Be Safe !!!
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Old November 25, 2010, 02:14 PM   #4
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JohnKSa: I'll march to that as well. I was once handed a rifle by a buddy. He noticed that the first thing I did [besides my muzzle discipline and not having my finger near the trigger] was begin to check it's status [loaded or not]. He said, with a hint of contempt in his voice, "It's okay, it's not loaded." Those words always send a chill up my spine, regardless of who says them. My examination revealed a FULLY LOADED rifle, full magazine, round in the chamber. Both of us saw this. I remember our eyes silently meeting at this point. Nothing was said; the visual aide was more than enough. We both got a refresher course in the 4 basic safety rules that day; thankfully the only casualty was his pride.
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Old November 25, 2010, 02:16 PM   #5
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I get it....And when im in a place where guns exist i correct anyone who steps out of line when it comes to safety.

No if's.....and's......or butt's.I'm comming home.

BTW......i agree with the OP.
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Old November 25, 2010, 02:29 PM   #6
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Many teenagers (and others) often believe that they are immortal based upon their own experiences, actions, skills and knowledge.

Revelations to the contrary typically involve significant amounts of disbelief, emotion, and the authorities.

Maybe there's a reason for the Darwin awards, for firearms as well as other 'genius' acts.
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Old November 25, 2010, 03:48 PM   #7
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Unfortunately not enough. Those that do not understand, or listen make a bad name for gun owners who are safe.
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Old November 25, 2010, 04:15 PM   #8
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Long ago,as a teen,I shot my first antelope. I approached the antelope at the ready. it was quite dead:the 160 gr Sierra from a 7mag had hit shoulder.I dressed the animal,we loaded it in the trunk of a Mustang,and the rifle was laid on the back seat.We got home,and were in the process of hanging up the antelope.
I handed my little brother the rifle and asked him to take it to the house.
Then,as he was walking away,I thought"I should have opened the bolt before I handed it to him"
I called him back,and opened the bolt..This was over 40 years ago and I can still see that loaded round spinning through the air.Only luck prevented tragedy.Luck comes in two flavors.Sometimes its bad.
If its pointed safe,nobody gets hurt.If we don't touch the trigger,it likely won't go off.
I'll add the courtesy checking the chamber as a firearm is picked up,or passed.It tells me something if a person opens,or fails to open,an action before handing me a firearm.
As pheasant season is upon us,we are likely to have ten guys converging on the trucks from the field with shotguns that were loaded minutes before.Break actions are obvious in being open.Its one reason I like double guns.
Please do not be the guy with a closed shotgun at some form of shoulder arms walking around unaware of all the people behind you that see your bore
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Old November 25, 2010, 07:38 PM   #9
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it happens way too often. i went to the range about 3 weeks ago with a friend, who had recently purchased a handgun, and wanted to shoot some rounds through it for an accuracy check. he emptied a mag, and left the gun facing backwards, slide closed. i noticed it as i walked up to shoot in the lane...needless to say, i will NEVER go to the range with him again.
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Old November 25, 2010, 07:49 PM   #10
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Instead of just avoiding the guy, does it make sense to edumacate him?

--Wag--
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Old November 25, 2010, 08:31 PM   #11
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Man, for sure, some get it and some don't. They're so repeated and so obvious, I almost hate to list them:

1. Never point it at something you don't want to shoot. A couple of years ago we had a horror story about a teenager getting back to the car after a deer hunt. He was working the shells through a .270, unloading it, and blasted his grandfather through the guts at a range of 2 feet. The best advice I ever heard was, "'always handle a gun as if you KNOW it's going to go off unexpectedly at any moment."

2. I see a LOT of people ignoring this. SAFETY ON at ALL times until you're ready to pull the trigger. And flip it back on as soon as you fire. Make flipping the safety off and back on part of the whole trigger pull process.

3. NEVER mix alcohol and guns. NEVER. NEVER. EVER. Not even a single beer around the campfire. Guns are cleaned and put away before touching that first drink. NO exceptions.

4. Always check to see if a gun's loaded before handling it. I remember watching some expert IPSC shooters admiring a guy's new IPSC pistol. Bill picks up the gun, checks it, and hands it to Mike. Mike checks it, and says "nice pistol, handles good." Mike hands it to Bob. Bob checks it, and says "yeah, I like it" and hands it to Mark. Mark checks it, and.... you get the picture. This is how professionals handle their guns, or should.
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Old November 25, 2010, 08:47 PM   #12
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A sixgun or automatic pistol is a tool, and a deadly one; handle them as such. From the start, consider all guns as being loaded whether you know them to be empty or not. Treat them as loaded guns and you will never have an accident. I am scared of empty guns and keep mine loaded at all times. The family knows the guns are loaded and treats them with respect. Loaded guns cause few accidents; "empty guns" kill people every year.
--Elmer Keith, Sixguns, p.87
Some days, I wonder if the last words I hear in this world will be, "ohmigod, I didn't think it was loaded."

I've noticed a trend the last few years of a very cavalier attitude regarding safety. It runs hand-in-hand with a reluctance among new shooters to seek out adequate instruction.

We now live in a world where someone will spend an afternoon at the quarry shooting rocks with their friends, and they assume they're ready. I've met people who've spent thousands of dollars on high-end gear, but who claim not to have the time or funds to take a class of any sort.

(Youtube vidoes do not count!)
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Old November 25, 2010, 08:57 PM   #13
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All it takes is one trip to the local firearm retailer to see that this is completely true.

I was there shopping for a pistol just before the Wisconsin gun deer season and so of
course rifle sales are booming. I was swept by so many rifle muzzles I had to tell the
sales associate to remind his gun counter staff to start asking their patrons to practice
the basic rules.

I'm sure the odds are about nil that I was n any danger. The point is that these people
are proof positive of what John says. They do not adhere to the rules ALL of the time
and most likely this is due to the excuse that the gun is "unloaded".
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Old November 25, 2010, 09:23 PM   #14
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Ruark,

Training to automatically put the safety on after every shot or string might be great at the range, but could be not so great for hostilities.
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Old November 25, 2010, 10:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wag
Instead of just avoiding the guy, does it make sense to edumacate him?

--Wag--
oh i havent avoided him, actually hung out with him 4-5 times since, but he makes me really nervous about gun safety. funny (ironic funny, not ha ha) is that a few of us will meet to "talk guns" and he's fairly knowledgeable, and his father owns a few gems.
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Old November 26, 2010, 02:08 AM   #16
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I'll admit I got a little sloppy when at a range by myself.

I've decided not to let that happen again. It's too risky to develop bad safety habits.
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Old November 26, 2010, 05:05 AM   #17
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I need to play devil's advocate here.

How many of you "shoot" at dots on your wall or practice with snap caps just for trigger practice? I don't intend to shoot a wall in my apartment. A lot of guns require cleaning from the muzzle. I have a couple of them, and when I clean them, the muzzle is pointed at my hands. I don't intend to shoot my hands either. I also look down the barrel from the muzzle end to inspect bores from time to time. I certainly don't intend to shoot myself in the head. Given proper protocols, these things can all be done safely.

I understand what you all are saying, though...at the range or when hunting, anyone that sweeps me or shows lack of respect of firearms is on a black list of mine. But...there are always exceptions to the rules, don't you think?
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Old November 26, 2010, 05:33 AM   #18
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JohnKSa,

I happen to agree with your post, and find it spot on mate.

Going off on a tangent, that is related, it makes me wonder how many don't get it when they have a weapon mounted light? How many go looking for what made that "bump in the night" and end up pointing their gun at Grandma when she got up to go potty?

Around here, if you want to be muzzled, go to a gunstore. I would venture that most folks don't even bother to check the cylinders or chambers after the clerk hands them the weapon. I break out in hives every time I go to a gunstore, as I really hate being muzzled, and I'm expecting to get shot by somebody's "unloaded gun".

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Old November 26, 2010, 05:53 AM   #19
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Two incidents whilst helping out at a Friends Gun Shop.

One, .270 in original box, brought back in, as the customer started to un-box the Rifle "hang on a bit, just put the box on the end counter" ME.

"It isn't loaded" HIM. I slide it out of box, "The bolt is stuck" HIM.

Took it down stairs, cleaning rod test, loaded (Workshop, non scratch vice, plastic mallet, WHACK! pull back on now free bolt, live round comes flipping out) Charged $25.00, then brought rifle back, asked him what rounds he had used on his Deer hunt.

He pointed them out on the shelf, I opened a box, let him examine one out of the box, gave him it's twin to go home with. He was bone white.

Two, not a safety violation, just funny, short Rossy? Double barrel 12 gage.

Would not close, down stairs, again, dismantled the gun, little curl of metal inside action, shook it out, click! Fixed, this is an un-fired new purchase.


I bashed the metal bench with big hammer, threw some rods on the floor, jumped on them, big noise. He took it off me, open, big eyes, looking for marks, none, what do I owe you, he had not bought it from Harry's, min: charge, $7.00, bought the Coffees, and a two muffins.
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Old November 26, 2010, 07:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
How many of you "shoot" at dots on your wall or practice with snap caps just for trigger practice? I don't intend to shoot a wall in my apartment. A lot of guns require cleaning from the muzzle. I have a couple of them, and when I clean them, the muzzle is pointed at my hands. I don't intend to shoot my hands either. I also look down the barrel from the muzzle end to inspect bores from time to time. I certainly don't intend to shoot myself in the head.
All important points.

Dryfire practice can be very dangerous because to perform dryfire one must violate the trigger discipline rule. Experts recommend what may seem to some to be rather elaborate routines that a shooter should go through to insure that dryfire practice is carefully set aside in the shooter's mind as a clear exception. But what many people miss is that these routines are designed to emphasize to the shooter that what he is doing is dangerous and that special precautions MUST be taken to prevent injury or death. This website has a good set of steps to go through to make sure that dryfire is performed safely. http://corneredcat.com/Practice/dryfire.aspx

Cleaning guns can be very dangerous because to perform cleaning sometimes requires the shooter to violate the muzzle discipline rule. Experts recommend that special precautions be exercised when cleaning guns to mitigate the potential for danger. Things like removing magazines and ammunition and putting it in a separate room for the duration of the cleaning exercise. Of course some of this potential for danger can also be eliminated by disabling the gun so it is impossible for it to fire by disassembling it or disassembling it partially and leaving it in that condition until the task is complete.

It is sometimes necessary to look down the muzzle of a gun to inspect a bore. If possible the bolt should be removed or the gun should otherwise be completely disabled, making it impossible to fire. If that is totally impractical the magazine should be removed, the action should be opened and the firearm placed on safe. If bore inspection is a common task, consider purchasing a bore inspection device that doesn't require you to put your head in front of the muzzle. Not only do you get added safety, you get the bonus of a better view of the bore. The link below has an example. http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=181455

It's important that when it truly becomes necessary to violate the basic rules of firearm safety that we do two things:

1. Make a clear delineation in our minds so that we understand that this is NOT routine. It's very dangerous to fall into the habit of disregarding the basic rules without really thinking about it--to make breaking the rules a routine thing. EACH time circumstances require the violation of a basic safety rule the shooter should take the time to affirm that what is being done is potentially very dangerous because he is bypassing one or more basic safeguards that are in place to prevent injury or death.

2. Take OTHER steps to do whatever is possible to put other rules/procedures in place to help try to reinstate the safety margin that is lost by disregarding a basic rule of firearm safety. Steps such as disabling a gun so that it is totally impossible for it to fire before peeking down the muzzle to inspect a bore. Or like picking a wall or object in your house that can actually function as an adequate backstop when you dryfire.
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Old November 26, 2010, 08:41 AM   #21
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I teach the NRA Basic Pistol Course at a gun shop, we are in a back room, but customers still have access to the room for there is merchandise back there. I will have the class take a break every hour or so, and its always after I go through the proper way to pick up and inspect and the proper hand-off/receiving techniques I will walk out into the shop to see some of my students receiving firearms from one of the owners friends (who helps him from time to time) complete opposite of what I just physically showed and had them execute themselves. The excuse from the student is usually, " Well he has to know what he is doing right, he is standing behind the counter" the excuse from the friend is "I know it's not loaded, I have been around guns all my life and never had ND "

ND's happen due to carelessness and ignorance, the problem is that most people that pick up or go to pick a firearm for the first time dont think they need instruction. Or they have been taught by a family member who may have instilled bad habbits from the get go. I have seen it time and time again, please get someone you know proper instruction from someone who teaches on a regular bassis that way there nothing has been left out.

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Old November 26, 2010, 09:43 AM   #22
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The last gun show I went to I was jittery as all get out. Nearly every other table had some idiot sighting a firearm in to the crowd. I was swept by at least a dozen rifles and shotguns. Those are just the ones I noticed.

I kept thinking about a story I heard. At some gun show a couple of kids were arrested. They had brought several individual bullets and were loading them in to guns. I was hoping that some kids here hadn't had a similar idea.

Anytime I feel like I need to put my finger on the trigger I check the chamber. Even though the guns are sitting without a clip, and a zip tie around the slide, I check. You can usually only get the slide back an inch or so, but safe is better than in jail or dead.

I also keep the gun at low ready. The gun is usually pointe at the box it sits on. That way if I did miss anything the bullet would go through the box and table. Then it will hit the floor. I never pull the gun up and sight in to the crowd.
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Old November 26, 2010, 10:44 AM   #23
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Quote:
I've noticed a trend the last few years of a very cavalier attitude regarding safety. It runs hand-in-hand with a reluctance among new shooters to seek out adequate instruction.
+1 Complacency kills every time, approximately 1200 times in the USA every year.

I'm lucky, I have an outdoor range on my property, my adult Son’s friend’s all want to come over and shoot. My Son will bring his pals over to shoot; however, he tells them under no uncertain terms that his Dad will be there and that they must recite the four basic laws of weapons safety off by wrote and that any transgression means they leave and never come back; needless, out of a dozen people that have asked him only two come regularly.

Most gun owners do not truly “Get It” and I mean TRULY until they look into the eyes of a dying comrade. That may seem a bit melodramatic but I believe it to be true.
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Old November 26, 2010, 12:07 PM   #24
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Quote:
Anytime someone says that the gun isn't loaded as an excuse for pointing it in an unsafe direction they're proving that they don't get it.

You ALWAYS keep a gun pointed in a safe direction so that it becomes second nature. The goal is that even if your concentration slips your good habits will prevent an incident.
Funny thing, from several different gun schools and instructors, I have been repeatedly taught that during a magazine pistol change that the pistol is to be rotated in the hand and canted upward (usually at about a 30-45 degree angle) so that the strong hand thumb (for right handers) can reach the magazine release. The mag is dropped as a new mag is extracted from the mag pouch and inserted in the gun, with the gun still rotated and pointed skyward. The slide is dropped (either by release or slingshot) and the gun is returned on target.

What just happened? In every outdoor class I have been in, it means that the gun isn't pointed at the backstop, but over it and somewhere off to the left and the impact area will be some place that the shooter does not know to be safe. By teaching this technique in that manner, it means shooters are being taught an unsafe procedure despite the safety rules and that it is okay to violate the safety rules for the purpose of making a more expedient magazine change.

When I queried one instructor about this during a class, I was told that I had nothing to worry about because there wasn't anything in that direction other than cattle. So I guess it was okay to shoot somebody else's cattle (), but that doesn't do jack for if I have to do it in real life, on a city street, where canting my gun up and left means it may be pointing in some apartment window or travel down range and hit somebody several streets away.

Another instructor pointed out that changing mags in that manner is no more unsafe than carrying the gun in high ready position, hence not to worry about it. Personally, I never thought high ready was all that safe.

So what I get from this is that violations of the safety rules is just fine and dandy when the violation occurs as a result of a standardized procedure approved by the instructor. However, you can bet that if a ND happens and someone is harmed as a result of the practice, the instructor will be at the front of the line to condemn the unsafe gun handling.

In the CNBC/Rem 700 threads, many people were quick to point out that injuries and deaths resulting from the Rem 700 problem would not have occurred had the gun handler kept the gun pointed in a safe direction at all times. In multiple cases, the gun handlers thought the guns were pointed in a safe direction as they did not perceive anyone immediately being covered by the muzzle. So people were shot through walls, on higher floors, behind a horse trailer, etc.

In 10 years, I have seen two people shoot high left during the process of a mag change. The round was not kept within the safe confines of the range.

Clint Smith gets it, but notes its advantage in regard to self defense concerns.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVGQQhkjzec
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Old November 26, 2010, 02:38 PM   #25
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DNS,

That's always been a puzzler to me too. I've seen people do that on ranges. I've seen people do it in televised/videotaped competitions. I've seen instructors do it in tutorials on televised programs showing exactly what you describe. When I teach reloads, I tell the student to keep the muzzle downrange--I don't understand how anyone could, in good conscience do otherwise. So far I've seen one of my students have an unintentional discharge during a reload. The shot went into the backstop--in fact it actually hit the target. Had I taught him the typical muzzle up reload that unintentional discharge would have almost certainly left the range.

Here's a thread on another forum where I asked the question that you just asked and was told that it's not a problem at all to point a loaded gun over the backstop. Why did they say it is ok? Because USPSA allows it. Because it makes the reload faster and easier. An interesting and disturbing message to send. "Muzzle control is critical unless disregarding it makes something a little faster and/or a little easier." "Muzzle control is very important but it's a total non issue in certain situations if you can find an example of a large organization that allows you to violate the rule in some cases." Wow.

http://www.thehighroad.us/showthread.php?t=186785

Some folks pointed out that in a real shooting (where there is no backstop) muzzle up isn't such a bad idea. That's makes some sense, I suppose, in a real shooting, but everyone I know has to practice on ranges with backstops of finite height and are constrained (legally, morally and ethically) to keep all their rounds on the range.

I have shot at one range where the RSO/RO will chide shooters for EVER letting their muzzle stray above or near the top of the berm--even during a reload and even when the gun is empty. As it should be.

Thanks for the video link. Clint apparently teaches his students to reload using a technique remarkably similar to what I teach. I may be screwed up but at least I have company.
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