View Full Version : When is my shotgun loaded?

September 9, 2009, 11:28 PM

September 10, 2009, 12:58 AM
Depends on where you are and the time of year. Last I knew here if you are hunting you can have the tube loaded but not the chamber while going from one area to another in a vehicle. If you are in a no hunting area no ammo in or affixed to the weapon.

September 10, 2009, 01:07 AM
It depends on the state you are in. In many states, if there is a round in the magazine, it's loaded. In others, it's not. Check your hunting regulations, it probably tells you there.

September 10, 2009, 06:36 AM
Yes its State by state. The hunting book would be a good place to start. Here in Pa, if there are rounds, in a detectable magazine or tube. its loaded.

September 10, 2009, 06:43 AM
I was always taught that loaded means there's ammo in the mag and chambered means there's a round in the chamber. I am not a lawyer.

September 10, 2009, 07:10 AM
In the ignorance of my youth, over 40 years ago, I had my shotgun seized and my hunting license suspended for one year by a judge at a prosecution/trial, when/after a Game Warden stopped me for a check - because I thought the gun was "unloaded" with an empty chamber, but with shells in the (attached) tube mag - while transporting it, driving my car from one hunting area to another in a state game management area.


Please check thoroughly with all your local jurisdictions and your state's Fish & Game Dept or it's equivilant.


September 10, 2009, 07:26 AM
Check your Florida State gun/hunting laws cause gun laws vary from states to state.

September 10, 2009, 08:30 AM
Obviously, there's no simple answer to the legally loaded question.

For safety's sake, treat any shotgun with a closed breech as loaded until you determine otherwise.

September 10, 2009, 09:44 AM
Sounds to me like a very bad idea and an accident waiting to happen:eek:

September 10, 2009, 09:48 AM
One way to be sure - unload the chamber AND the magazine, keep the action open. That way EVERYONE knows it's unloaded

September 10, 2009, 09:51 AM
Petah, it sounds like the gendarmes in your area don't have a lick of common sense. It may be the law but enforcement is at the discretion of the officer and the prosecutor. I spent a lot of years as a cop and I'd say that your game warden's unofficial "quota" wasn't met for the month. Yes! There is an unofficial quota. You write the expected number of citations or you are history. You can ask one of the smart alecky cops about their quotas and they will say that they have no quota, that they can write all the tickets that they want to.

September 10, 2009, 10:13 AM
Sorry to disagree EV, when I lived in NV, the wardens each had a 10,000 square mile territory to patrol where poaching, and rustling were common. Many of their areas were so remote, they had no means to communicate if they needed help. They KNEW every camp they were going into had armed suspects, armed with more than a 9mm, so body armor was pretty pointless.

My dad was NYPD, even he said he wouldn't take the risks associated with that type of job.

I give them a lot of credit for doing a thankless job. Some can be real pricks, sure, but most are friendly and easy-going as long as you don't come off as a smart-azz, or make them feel threatened.

September 10, 2009, 10:53 AM
Have to disagree with ebutler, at least my experience with them. In Oregon, they are State Troopers, and there is a waiting list for those positions.

Our guys here can write as many citations as they care to. The ones I have talked to use as much discretion as allowed in order to focus less on the "oops" and more on the chronic hardcore poachers.

They do an important job but I'd sell apples on the street before I'd pin on a "possum police" badge. Most of them that I've known over the past 50 years couldn't have hacked it in a real LE job. :barf:

Really nice. Way to back-up others in uniform doing a thankless job where everyone they encounter is armed...

September 10, 2009, 11:06 AM
Around here the Game Wardens have the most common sense of any LEO I have been exposed to. They have more power to make arrests for more types of violations, but use a lot of discretion. I have always been impressed with their professionalism and hard work they do.

Uncle Buck
September 10, 2009, 11:18 AM
Here in Missouri it takes a bit more than a GED to become a wildlife conservation officer. My WCO is a wonderful young kid who has a lot of common sense and discretion. ("Now Mr. Buck, you know you are supposed to have a permit to have them quail...")

OP: Either read or call the conservation officer in your area and ask him or her your question and ask for the appropriate reference. Tell him/her that you need the reference so that you can show it to your hunting buddies.

September 10, 2009, 06:02 PM

If you are hunting either raccoons or possum in Florida, the state regulations there require that your firearm be completely unloaded while stalking or chasing the animal.

You can only legally load your gun AFTER the animal has been treed.


September 10, 2009, 06:26 PM

If you are hunting either raccoons or possum in Florida, the state regulations there require that your firearm be completely unloaded while stalking or chasing the animal.

You can only legally load your gun AFTER the animal has been treed.
Only partially true...
If hunting either specie with dogs at night the .22 or .410 must remain unloaded until under the tree with the treed animal. You may use a hand light to illuminate the prey before shooting. This is the only gun/light/night allowed hunting in the state. They also specify the .410 shot size be no larger than #6.

September 10, 2009, 10:00 PM
The whole "hunting" thing aside (since, based on your original post, you did not necessarily make a distinction between "hunting," "HD," or "general use"), I always consider a shotgun "loaded" when there is ammo within the mag tube. If there is a round within the chamber, then I usually refer to it as a "chamber loaded weapon"...ie., a "hot" weapon. Either way, in both cases, the gun should be considered as loaded.

Ditto when it comes to a handgun, semi-auto rifle or whatever.