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Old March 13, 2013, 03:23 AM   #1
dakota.potts
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Why set a rifle down with the barrel up?

So recently we bought a couple rifles, two in .22 and one in .308. When holding them I went to set one down. I immediately went to set it down with the barrel on the floor and immediately got yelled at as if I was going to shoot somebody and told never to put a rifle barrel down.

However, I follow the "death laser" rule where I treat the gun as if it's constantly firing a laser that will kill people instantly if it crosses them. I know for a fact that in a small room these rifles aiming up have crossed peoples' heads before and this makes me very scared. I am conflicted. Just curious what the thoughts are here?
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Old March 13, 2013, 03:37 AM   #2
WeedWacker
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If on concrete and int he event of a negligent discharge the bullet could splatter shrapnel and cause injury to those in the vicinity. (Most ranges have unloaded and empty actions to prevent this)

If there is something sharp and hard enough on the ground you could screw up your muzzle crown.

Some debris could cause a barrel obstruction leading to ruined firearms and the risk of chunks of metal lodging in bystanders.

Just some thoughts on the reasoning behind the request. Take it for what it is (speculation). I'm partial to the second one myself and would be quite irate if someone took my Kidd 10/22 and decided the muzzle should rest on the floor...
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Old March 13, 2013, 03:39 AM   #3
dakota.potts
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I see your points and also considered that you have better control over the trigger if it's away from you but in the event of a negligent discharge isn't the barrel pointed up much more dangerous? I know it should be unloaded and cleared but you always treat a firearm as if it isn't. This is what conflicts me. I believe in following safety rules very very closely with something like this and I have a hard time feeling comfortable with rifle barrels pointed up.
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Old March 13, 2013, 04:31 AM   #4
Bud Helms
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A rifle at rest with the muzzle up will be retrieved with a grasp of the forearm and then brought to bear in a safe manner.

A rifle at rest with the muzzle down will be grasped naturally by the "grip" with the real possibility of placing a finger on the trigger. Then it will be brought to bear with the possibility of sweeping the muzzle through bystanders. Avoidable with caution, but why take he chance?

These are the reasons I always prop my rifle with the muzzle up or leave it on the bench with the muzzle down range (action open).

For most rifles it is easier to leave the rifle in a stable position with the muzzle up. Less likely to fall, except for those really heavy bull barrels.

Then there is the muzzle crown as mentioned. 'Need to protect that from being scruffed up.
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:28 AM   #5
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I was told: It keeps the ball & powder from rolling out of the barrel.
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:53 AM   #6
hardworker
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The gun will not go off sitting propped up in a corner. What would you rather damage? A replaceable stock or a non replaceable barrel?
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:08 AM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
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Why set a rifle down with the barrel up?

The "death laser" you imagine shuts off when your hand leaves the gun. Guns don't spontaneously discharge. It's dangerous because you're touching it. A gun propped in a corner is no more dangerous than a broomstick.

I have never seen, or even heard of, anyone placing a gun muzzle down.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:17 AM   #8
horatioo
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Quote:
Why set a rifle down with the barrel up?
The "death laser" you imagine shuts off when your hand leaves the gun. Guns don't spontaneously discharge. It's dangerous because you're touching it. A gun propped in a corner is no more dangerous than a broomstick.

I have never seen, or even heard of, anyone placing a gun muzzle down.
A broomstick never fires in a house fire. Of course a gun is more dangerous then a broom stick.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:21 AM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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It's no exaggeration.

A gun, absent human intervention, is no more dangerous than a broomstick.

That don't just decide to shoot people. It's sitting there in the corner, not pointing at anyone, how could it be exactly? It's pointing at a corner. It's a piece of wood/plastic and steel. Completely inert. It doesn't do anything at all until a person touches it again. It will sit there completely safe for 1000 years or the building falls down, at which point it will lay on the ground in the rubble, still completely inert.

The gun is dangerous while you're carrying it and setting it down and until the moment your hand leaves it but as soon as you let go, it is completely and utterly harmless until another human being interacts with it.

Is a gun in a shoulder holster dangerous? It's pointed at people all day long! Is a SOB holster suddenly dangerous if the wearer bends down and the gun points at people behind them? NO! Guns are dangerous when they're handled. They are inert on their own.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; March 13, 2013 at 10:05 AM.
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Old March 13, 2013, 10:05 AM   #10
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The only thing of like that I can think of is that we were instructed to sling our M-16s down ward whilst road marching in the rain. For obvious reasons.
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Old March 13, 2013, 10:50 AM   #11
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Obviously if the floor or ground is dirt than you wouldn't want to rest the gun barrel down. Now that houses have wood or concrete instead of dirt for a floor this doesn't always apply.

In some circumstances it may not be so bad to park the gun barrel down especially if their is a lot of dust in the air or debris that could fall into the gun barrel.
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Old March 13, 2013, 11:20 AM   #12
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I always considered it a disciple thing. if you don't set a gun barrel down on a hard surface, you don't set it barrel down in the mud or dirt, which could become an obstruction.
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Old March 13, 2013, 11:45 AM   #13
buck460XVR
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My grandpa taught me to put the muzzle down....when putting the gun away in storage, such as in a case in a closet or gun safe. The reasoning behind this was because of the oil used to protect the bore and the other parts would drain/seep down onto the stock. One reason you see so many old '94s with a dark stain where the stock meets the receiver. We never did it while hunting or shooting tho.......
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Old March 13, 2013, 12:02 PM   #14
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Barrel down can damage the crown, which is bad news for accuracy.

Barrel down, as mentioned, can lead to sweeping people when picking up the gun.

Barrel down will cause the action to close (well, boltguns that is), and I prefer to see the open action.

If you stick the barrel into mud, and admittedly you would need to be a compete idiot, but still, a plugged barrel will be an interesting experience next time you pull the trigger.

The stock is heavier, so barrel down is unstable -- more likely to fall over.

The only reason I know of for *storing* a rifle barrel down is the oil thing, which does make a lot of sense.

Quote:
A broomstick never fires in a house fire.
You store your guns loaded? Well, not for me to criticize your choices, around here that's illegal, but... really?
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Old March 13, 2013, 02:04 PM   #15
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Gun safety is about habits...

All the points in this thread are good & valid. Either up or down can be safe. But I suggest that the best thing is to get in the habit of always storing with muzzle up. If not for safety, then muzzle protection. If I store a gun or barreled action muzzle down for any reason, I slip a koosie over the end.
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Old March 13, 2013, 02:39 PM   #16
dakota.potts
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For clarification, this is setting it down at rest with one hand around it.Not just sitting in a corner
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Old March 13, 2013, 03:29 PM   #17
Brian Pfleuger
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If you're setting a gun down with your hand still on it, there's absolutely no reason to be pointing it at any people. You still have control of the muzzle. If you're STANDING there, holding a gun, you simply don't put it on the ground. You hold it and move it in such a way as to maintain proper muzzle control. If you do put it on the ground, the only reasonable way I can see would be with your hand far up the barrel, not far from the muzzle, still maintaining muzzle control.

In any case, I can see no good reason to put the muzzle of a gun on the ground. At the very least, you could easily damage the muzzle or end up plugging the barrel with dirt. Besides that, if you DID somehow manage to discharge the gun with it's muzzle touching the ground, the results would be... somewhere between exciting and disastrous.
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Old March 13, 2013, 05:07 PM   #18
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Of course...it's obvious when hunting {even according to Maryland law} --- never prop your firearm up against a tree or car --- with the muzzle up or down. Some dog can trip over your gun, or having the rifle or shotgun, slide off the metal of the car --- possibly causing an unintentional discharge.

I had a polite confrontation at our gun range, {a few months ago} with a member who insisted that the muzzle of the rifle should be pointed down while going to the gun rack --- and being placed muzzle down on the gun rack.

I showed the member the written rules of our gun range...which stipulated: "that all guns must be pointed upwards while in the gun rack" but the rules did not explictly state --- that the muzzle should be pointed upwards while in the gun rack.

The member told me that he was going to follow the way he was trained in the military, and not the written rules of our gun range. The member was training his two approx. 10 and 11 year old sons to do the same thing.

So I went to the president {AGC} who was sitting at a table in our range house; along with a copy of the written range rules. The president was sitting with a few other senior members of our gun range.

The member --- who I had a safety disagreement {muzzle down} with --- followed me in --- and accused me of verbally harassing him and other members caused by there {so called} misuse of safety rule's

The senior member's told the member the advantages of keeping the muzzle up. But again he insisted ... that he was going to follow the way he was trained in the military.

The president...probably thinking the best way to avoid a confrontation --- told the member to do the way he {member} thought was the safest way.

I walked out the door, packed my bags, sleeved my gun's, grabbed my target during the ceasefire, called it an early day and drove off in my car.

I saw the member again, a month later, and he proceeded to rack his guns with the muzzle down. I performed another early departure from the range; without saying a word to the member.

I talked about the event with a former military contractor who was staged in Iraq, and yes, he told me, "that's the way they trained the military --- with the muzzle down --- because the general's were usually upstairs in a house, and they did not want there tails blown off. Also...they keep the muzzles down in helicopter's --- so as to not blow off important engine parts in case of a negligent discharge."

Last edited by Erno86; March 13, 2013 at 05:22 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:13 PM   #19
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I was in the military, and a small arms repairman. I have seen thousands of racked weapons in hundreds of racks, and the ONLY ones I ever saw that were muzzle down were for pistols, and only a few of those.

We store rifles in racks muzzle up so that in the event one is stupidly left loaded and some other moron pulls the trigger, a bullet fired going "up" has the least potential to cause harm.

Modern military style rifles with flash suppressors/muzzle brakes don't run the risk of crown damage stored muzzle down like most huntng rifles do.

Personally, I think the "I'm gonna do it my way, no matter what the club rules are" guy ought to be in a club of his own, not mine. And your club Pres. should have encouraged that when it was clear that fellow had no intention of following the rules.
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Old March 13, 2013, 11:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
You store your guns loaded? Well, not for me to criticize your choices, around here that's illegal, but... really?
I was always taught to always treat a gun as if it is loaded. So why not just keep them loaded?
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Old March 14, 2013, 12:59 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefr View Post
I was told: It keeps the ball & powder from rolling out of the barrel.
A holdover from the olden days. These days there is no chance of that happening.

Placing a firearm which fires from an open bolt muzzle down is not a good idea. One bump and you could have an AD. Ever notice that soldiers always jump off of a truck or obstacle with the muzzle up if they are holding a firearm that fires from an open bolt? Bad idea to do so with the muzzle down. Gravity and inertia are not your friend.

A plugged barrel will always have the potential for harm. Muzzle up is just all around the best idea.
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Old March 14, 2013, 01:58 AM   #22
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Mine are stored some muzzle up and some muzzle down to minimize overall space taken up by them.

At the range it's muzzle up, but I wouldn't get bent out of shape if someone wanted to rack one muzzle down. I see no safety issue with the latter.
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Old March 14, 2013, 03:19 AM   #23
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Simply a matter of of gravity and friction. The butt is generally heavier and broader, so the rifle is far less likely to tip over if leaning against a wall with butt on the floor. If leaning into a corner the barrel has no place to go.

A loaded, cocked weapon with safety disengaged can "go off by itself" with no finger on the trigger. The brother of a aquaintance lost his jaw and much of his face to a shotgun that tipped over when an door was wrenched open then slammed closed.
Worn sears and/or crud in the mechanism can result in a creeping disengagement several seconds to a minute or more after a gun is cocked.
There are many factors that can result in a spontaneous discharge.

I sometimes hang a unloaded cased rifle with muzzle down, and after cleaning and oiling I place the rifle on its rack upside down so oil doesn't seep into the wood.

I don't lean a loaded gun against a wall, and don't lean a rifle against a log or stump in the woods for even a minute unless the safety is on or chamber empty and prefer to leave the action open. Any longer than a few minutes and I'd unload the rifle.

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The problem of AD when jumping from a truck with an autoloader is when the muzzle is up. Inertia caused the bolt to retract far enough to pick up a round but not far enough for the sear to engage.
The STEN, the MP38, and the PPSH all suffered from this until the bolt tracks or knobs were redesigned.
The early production models of the M1 Carbine were also subject to this.
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Old March 14, 2013, 09:36 AM   #24
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Up, thought of another reason I've put a weapon muzzle down before.

Army aircrews got real persnickety when we clamored onto to thier Blackhawks. They always asked us nicely to put the muzzles of air weapons on the deck of the helicopter.

A crew chief explained it to me that in the even of an ND, there is a lot less breakable stuff in the bottom of the helicopter than the top.
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Old March 14, 2013, 10:23 AM   #25
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A friend stores muzzle down (strange to me, since I had never seen this done). His reasoning was the "oil and wood" thing and had to wonder how much oil you'd have to slather on to soak the wood with oil. Then he takes a spray can of Rem-oil and sprays everything in the rack! WHAT? Stored muzzle up and a regular wipe-down works for me.
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