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Old August 23, 2013, 11:05 PM   #1
Rikakiah
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Sling carry

What are the safety concerns for carrying a slung rifle muzzle down?

I just finished the hunter ed course and haven't really needed to carry my rifle outside of its carry bag. The course showed a couple "safe" sling methods, but they were all muzzle up. However, it seems the fastest response, 2-point sling carry is muzzle down on your weak shoulder. I'm not seeing any major issues with this, as the muzzle will always be pointed at the dirt (unless, I guess there's some chance your foot will cross under it).
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Old August 24, 2013, 01:54 AM   #2
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Some concerns about muzzle down carry:
Jamming the muzzle into the dirt/mud/snow.
Muzzle down is still pointed at someone next to you, if you hunt in a group.
Ricochets if the rifle goes off.
Remember that you are not in combat, and you need to identify your target before shooting, rather than react and fire.

Some advantages:
Quick to get into action, especially if you carry over the left shoulder and do the jungle squat.
One-armed control of the rifle, especially handy if crossing fences or climbing up or down rocky areas.
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Old August 24, 2013, 02:10 AM   #3
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""Remember that you are not in combat, and you need to identify your target before shooting, rather than react and fire.""

Reread what the wise man posted a couple of times.

And mind you there have been times I've carried mine in a down position......like when it's raining like heck.......but then I don't carry it loaded to and from a stand. While stalking/slipping it's loaded, but then it's in my hands.

One of the joys of getting old and telling hunting stories will be NOT having any about how someone got shot. Keep that in mind......and have fun.
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Old August 24, 2013, 09:32 AM   #4
Rikakiah
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I was figuring target identification happened before I moved the rifle from any position, not simply hear a noise, react and fire. The muzzle down seems the fastest and quietest at this point, especially while keeping eyes on said identified target. Even without a gun, if I'm out in wildlife and I hear a noise, my first reaction is to freeze and identify the sound before reacting (usually get to see some deer or something before they see me and run off or whatever).

I guess different carries for different situations. If I'm actually stalking, I'd probably go to a 1-point setup to keep retention while keeping the rifle in my hands (and keep the sling out of the way or hanging to catch brush).

I'm mostly planning to hunt alone, so probably just muzzle down carry if I'm well in the field and just relocating a short bit, but muzzle up if I'm actually travelling any distance, not planning to encounter any game.

Was just curious why a muzzle down carry wasn't even mention (pro or con) in the course material.

Last edited by Rikakiah; August 24, 2013 at 09:37 AM.
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Old August 24, 2013, 10:26 AM   #5
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A gun can't reason !!!

Quote:
the muzzle will always be pointed at the dirt
No guarantees here and there will be times when it's pointed at your heels, foot or other "stuff". The closer your muzzle is to something, the greater opportunity there is to getting into trouble. A hunting situation always presents changing conditions. ....
Quote:
Was just curious why a muzzle down carry wasn't even mention (pro or con) in the course material.
Not sure what your state presents but in ours and most Midwest states, the default is "Up and Away" on the muzzle. There are no absolutes and at times, "Up and Away" may not be safe. Your class may have also mentioned four or five safe carrying positions. Some are safer than others. ....


Be Safe !!!
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Old August 24, 2013, 02:28 PM   #6
AllenJ
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Something you might like is a Safari Sling. I've been using one for about 20 years and have no plans on replacing it. It allows excellent muzzle control and you can quickly adjust it so that you can sling carry your rifle like with a normal sling. Here is a link: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Safar...FWfhQgodJQoACA
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Old August 25, 2013, 01:20 AM   #7
Rikakiah
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I already have the magpul ms4. Got it because I liked their other gear (namely foregrips and pistol grips, but the stock of theirs I have is pretty solid, too). However, I've got 2 big gripes with it. The biggest is that while it's ingeniously smooth to loosen, it's absolutely impossible to tighten with any kind of efficiency or grace. The other may just be due to my small frame (although I'd expect it to be worse on a big guy), but the range from tight to loose isn't enough for me. If I set it so it rides high in single-point, I can't quite loosen it enough for it to be comfortable in 2-point. I love everything else about it, though-hardware and construction seem like they could survive anything.
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Old August 26, 2013, 03:13 PM   #8
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Muzzle up unless it is raining hard.
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Old August 27, 2013, 07:53 AM   #9
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You are wanting to carry like you see soldiers on TV carrying. DON'T DO IT. That is for a combat situation. YOU AREN'T IN COMBAT.
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Old August 27, 2013, 11:01 AM   #10
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Even in the rain ???

Quote:
Muzzle up unless it is raining hard.
In a recent magazine article, under "Helpful Tips" they listed that you can cut the finger tips, off a latex glove and place it over the muzzle, for rain protection. Now, here is the good part, it said that you can shoot right through them. Man, that raised a red-flag with me but more important, could not believe that a magazine would take on that liability..

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 27, 2013, 11:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
In a recent magazine article, under "Helpful Tips" they listed that you can cut the finger tips, off a latex glove and place it over the muzzle, for rain protection. Now, here is the good part, it said that you can shoot right through them. Man, that raised a red-flag with me but more important, could not believe that a magazine would take on that liability..
I apologize if this question is stupid, but what red flag and what liability? Latex glove material is typically thinner than a balloon. What resulting danger do you foresee?
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Old August 27, 2013, 11:30 AM   #12
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Glad you asked, I think?

Quote:
I apologize if this question is stupid, but what red flag and what liability?
No apologies necessary and you are understanding this from your "positive" perspective but information like this, can be dangerous in weaker minds. There are rubber latex glove and rubber gloves. I would have been more comfortable if they had listed condoms. .....

Secondly, it goes against what is taught about obstructing a barrel. For many years now, small condom like caps have been available for M/L's but ya just can't trust them. .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 27, 2013, 01:31 PM   #13
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I am with pahoo on this one, I don't want to have to worry about any, and I do mean any obstruction in or on the muzzle of my firearm. Way too risky IMHO.
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Old August 27, 2013, 02:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
You are wanting to carry like you see soldiers on TV carrying.
Actually, most "soldiers on TV" I see already have their weapons in their hands at the ready. I'm simply wanting to carry in a manner that allows a swift and efficient transition from carry to sighted in, without needing to take my eyes off my (already identified) target. I can't find a way to use muzzle up that's not awkward and requires more attention just on the motions.

But really, why does everyone respond with "you're not a soldier in combat, don't carry like one"? I didn't realize soldiers carried their weapons in such an unsafe manner that they may accidentally wipe out their entire squad at any given moment... Yes, they carry more for readiness than pure Murphy's Law safety, but if you deem how or what you're hunting requires a bit more readiness, what imminent danger are you really putting yourself in by using a more efficient carry method?

I think Scorch really covered it from what I'm seeing:

Jamming the muzzle into the dirt/mud/snow. --A definite higher risk, although the increased control this carry affords alleviates much of this.

Muzzle down is still pointed at someone next to you, if you hunt in a group. --I wouldn't consider carrying this way in a group, but don't really plan to group hunt anyway.

Ricochets if the rifle goes off. --Another big valid concern. However, muzzle up also has the concern of the bullet hitting someone a mile away, if it's across your back, not straight up (which is an "approved" safe method). Heck, my M4 rides low on my back just from the weight of it in a straight up muzzle up carry, so it's possible the bullet my graze or impact the back of my skull if I'm looking the right way. Admittedly, a ricochet has a higher chance of hitting someone (me in that case) due to proximity of impact, but in either case, an accidental discharge has an equal chance of happening and really is equally bad from a "shouldn't happen" standpoint.

Remember that you are not in combat, and you need to identify your target before shooting, rather than react and fire. --Indeed, but especially then, you need to be able to get your sights on target as smoothly as possible as excess movement and bumbling may spook your game.
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Old August 27, 2013, 03:00 PM   #15
Doyle
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Just how much game have you ever shot in you life? Please take advise of those with MANY years of hunting experience. Quick action does NOT result in better shots at game. It DOES result in accidents. In hunting, stealth and smoothness win every time.
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Old August 27, 2013, 03:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backwoodsboy
I am with pahoo on this one, I don't want to have to worry about any, and I do mean any obstruction in or on the muzzle of my firearm. Way too risky IMHO.
I do believe that is the point of a muzzle cap, to keep any obstruction from entering the barrel.

Last edited by zukiphile; August 27, 2013 at 03:37 PM.
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Old August 27, 2013, 03:44 PM   #17
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Rain protection only !!

Quote:
I do believe that is the point of a muzzle cap, to keep any obstruction from entering the barrel.
Not really and as stated, in the article and the ones they sell for M/L's. This is a rain cap. Keeping the muzzle clear of obstruction, is up to me. ...

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 27, 2013, 04:02 PM   #18
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Whichever carry if comfortable for you as long as you do it safely and understand it limitations. I seldom carry the same way all day long if still hunting, I'll alternate between several different carries and as long as I do my part I've never had a problem. I don't think muzzle down is any more dangerous to others than muzzle up maybe pointed at my feet but one elses unless trying to do it with a single point sling which I don't have. When I do carry muzzle down I normally have my hand on the rifle as well keeping control of it, as I don't like it bouncing around, if carrying muzzle up I usually keep my arm tucked in tight against it or hook a thumb in the bottom of the sling. Muzzle down can be a help if raining or maneuvering through low limbs, usually I will end up in a 2 hand ready carry at those times. I guess I'm saying carry it anyway you like as long as you keep the muzzle control and understand the limitations. As for covering the muzzle, I have used fingers from rubber gloves and pieces of electrical tape. I even keep extra electrical tape wrapped around the barrel a few inches back from the muzzle. Usually after a shot I wonder "what happened to the tape", usually just gone, blown off I assume, never had a problem don't ever expect to have one unless electrical tape gets a lot stronger and tougher than it is now.
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Old August 27, 2013, 04:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
I am with pahoo on this one, I don't want to have to worry about any, and I do mean any obstruction in or on the muzzle of my firearm. Way too risky IMHO.
Betcha this guy wishes he had put something over his muzzle to keep the rain out of it ....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fkz_Zuo8g0U


Here's a suggestion: carry the gun in your hands when you are hunting. That way you'll be ready to shoot if an opportunity presents itself.

Slings are nice for the drag back to the truck .......

Another use for a sling is as a shooting aid, if you have 5 seconds to loop up and get into position:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqUh4ed7xGg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaRCFpH27-w
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Old August 27, 2013, 04:17 PM   #20
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I've used finger cots for years to keep debris like snow outta my gun barrels when hunting in heavy snow. Folks that hunt after a big snowstorm in the woods know snow from brush and trees may fill the barrel or crouching in deep snow may make for an unintentional barrel plug. Wet snow/rain and a cold barrel can make for a ice plug that's hard to remove in the field and a 'ell f a lot more dangerous than a finger cot. The cots easily shoot off and generally you find them downrange without a hole in them. I assume this is because the moving air in front of the bullet blows them off the barrel before the bullet gets there. I remember my dad telling me they used tape over their barrels on Iwo to keep that black volcanic sand outta them.
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Old August 27, 2013, 05:20 PM   #21
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Back in the late 1940's my Papa had a Winchester model 97 with a 30" barrel and full choke. In the 1960's when I first saw the gun when I was a kid it had a 22" barrel and no choke. He said he had a mishap while duck hunting once and got mud in the barrel but did not know it. He said that shot nearly broke his shoulder and he had to saw 8" off the barrel. The duck gun became a quail gun!
Unfortunately I did not get that particular gun when he passed away in 1986. Had I known how collectable they have become I would have fought over it more at the time.
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Old August 27, 2013, 05:53 PM   #22
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Have used a small square of electrical tape(m/l), small balloons, as well as the finger tips cut out of surgical latex gloves over the end of the bbls. for many years while hunting in the rain with no issue's.

Far as carry...up and away is the way I carry and the way I've taught my kids(now adults) to carry. They learned this at very young ages when we used to sweep fields while rabbit/pheasant/quail hunting or doing deer drives.

Sling carry... muzzle up.

Last edited by shortwave; August 29, 2013 at 07:33 PM.
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Old August 27, 2013, 08:14 PM   #23
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I was watching Tracks across Africa on the Outdoor Channel the other day. The hunters were walking in single file with double rifles across their shoulders with their hand on the barrels, and the barrels pointing directly at the back of the hunter walking ahead of them. Looked terribly unsafe to me. Not setting a very good example for the tv audience either.
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Old August 28, 2013, 03:36 AM   #24
Rikakiah
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I'm sure they were unloaded. (That was humor.)

But, back on topic, I got a new receiver/stock plate attachment for my .22 416. Have an MS3 sling for it and it tightens a bit better than my aforementioned MS4 on my M4. I decided to play around with it a bit and turned it around (so the 1-point hardware was at the barrel end). In this setup, I can drop the rifle over my right shoulder so it crosses my back (from right shoulder to left thigh). It hangs REALLY low (muzzle is actually around the bottom of my shoulder blade), but since the cinch loop is in front, I can snug it up a decent amount (using 2 hands if needed, which isn't too cumbersome with the reversed arrangement). Then, to bring it ready, I grab the buttstock with my left hand and swing it around forward while my right hand pulls the cinch loop loose, then handles the pistol grip and finishes the process.

I feel like it can snag more in brush, since the muzzle sticks out my right side a bit and I don't have the control of grabbing the barrel in my preferred muzzle down carry, but it's probably better for longer treks, especially one I get my suppressor in, which would definitely put it in the ground in a muzzle down carry. Can't use this method with a group, though, as the muzzle sweeps a pretty decent arc.

It's not *quite* as smooth and clean of a transition, either, but it's sure as heck more efficient than any other muzzle up carry I've tried. I obviously can't put it in 1-point configuration anymore, but that would be a rare occasion anyway-the M4 will take the room clearing role in the event I get into any tactical classes/events anyway. I think I'll get a VTAC and adapt it to my MS4 hardware for the M4 and see what that does for my carry options on that rifle.

Last edited by Rikakiah; August 28, 2013 at 03:43 AM.
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