View Full Version : Accidental Discharge at Range

July 3, 2012, 07:26 PM
A newbie trap shooter almost took his head off on the trap line today on the field next to me. Apparently he was resing his butt pad on his foot and holding the barrel of his gun with the muzzle pointed up WITH A ROUND IN THE CHAMBER AND A CLOSED ACTION. BOOM:eek:

Just a reminder that accidental discharges happen. Also, for those that think ballistic resistance shooting glasses are a waste of money, all it takes is one pellet and you have lost the use of an eye.:(

July 3, 2012, 07:29 PM
Chances are he won't be loading his gun till it's his turn on line to fire from now on.

July 3, 2012, 07:30 PM
Perhaps you should start another thread: How many safety rules was this guy breaking?

July 3, 2012, 07:47 PM
The weird thing was that the guy and his young buddies jsut went on with their line of trap as if nothing happened. A staff guy was walming over to them and hopefully educated them on certain rules. I would have sent the guy packing.

Not more than a half hour before the RO had told the lone staff guy on trap end of the range to get some help out there, that there were a lot of people needing supervision. He was right about that and lucky that no one was injured. Even if the range did everything reasonable, it would have been sued.

July 3, 2012, 08:06 PM
I was vilified at 'Another Site' a few years back for suggesting that as a 'Hunter Safety Instructor' I would have failed some people and their kids for resting the muzzle of their shotgun on the toe of their boot...

Nothing against 'That Other Site', but I had to stop and take stock after reading such vehement prose directed at me for teaching what the State (and prudence) required...

The situation in the OP of this thread would be a permanent ban from any organization I was associated with, including private informal shooting...

Not around me...

July 3, 2012, 08:23 PM
Its not bad to rest the butt of the gun on your foot is it? I have done this my whole life to keep it from getting muddy. I NEVER HAVE THE MUZZLE POINTED IN AN UNSAFE DIRECTION. I just point it towards the sky away from my head and everyone elses. This is safe right?

July 3, 2012, 08:52 PM
I will let someone answer whether it is safe to rest a shotgun's butt on your foot to keep it out of the mud and try my hand at the Socratic method.

Are you talking about a gun with a live round in the chamber?

Is the action closed so that it is impossible to see if the chamber is loaded?

Might the gun slip from your hand and discharge in the direction of yourself or a third person? Perhaps some clummsy oaf falls against you?

Are you asking about a hunting situation whereas this incident occurred while that shooter was staniding on a concrete trap line?

July 3, 2012, 09:04 PM
I use my toe rest a lot - especially when there are 5 or 6 shooters in the team or if we are at 5-stand. Trap moves too quick to rest a gun so... Anyway - the O/U toe-resting crowd leave their gun's action open (even the over the shoulder folks - barrel end forward please) so a loaded gun on the toe is not an issue. For the 'other kind(s) of guns folks - yep, the action should be cleared - but should someone be stupid enough to leave a round in the chamber and figure out how to pull the trigger -- better a foot or toe than your head. I also don't like to see the 'other gun' folks throw their guns up on their shoulders so that the barrel is pointed back and becomes something to clunk somebody, or something, with - not to mention the 'bang' factor.

July 3, 2012, 09:17 PM
@ Minevan - if you are asking about hunting as Klawman says - there are the usual practices when bird hunting in a group (two outside carry pointing out left and right respectively, inside guys to the front or skyward, etc). When I hunt shotgun and I am alone - I cradle it. I also unload if I have to charge some brush or vines etc. If hunting with rifle - I am the odd duck. I carry over my left shoulder on my back with muzzle down. I then swing it up with my left hand grabbing the grip with my right and my sling catches perfectly on my left elbow - steady rifle in mere seconds.

July 3, 2012, 09:55 PM
On the trap line where I have shot the gun must be empty until right before its your turn to shoot. You load, close action, and then either "PULL" or shoulder the gun then "PULL".

Pump gun actions are open and same for semi's. O/U or SxS are broke open also.

I am still curious how the guy managed to shoot his gun while the butt of it was on his foot. Was he bent over? Slam fire somehow? No Comprende.

July 3, 2012, 10:53 PM
That was not an accidental discharge, that was a negligent discharge and he should have been told to leave immediately and return with an EMPTY gun next week and prepare for a long safety session!

An accidental discharge is a loaded gun firing without the trigger being pulled.

On a Trap line if it is not your turn to shoot then why the he!! do you have a round in a closed chamber?????????????

July 3, 2012, 11:21 PM
Like I beleive I said, I am not a hunter but,

Is it safer to point a gun upwards and away from your group than point it down range when you don't know if others are located in that direction? At a trap range, the field down range is clear.

I was taught that guns are inherently dangerous, which means that there is no way to make them absolutely safe while at the same time enjoying the benefit of their use. All you can do is take precautions to ensure that the inherent risks are reasonably curtailed by exercising reasonable care for the safety of yourself and others. So much for the sermon from mount TKL.

July 3, 2012, 11:27 PM
I am still curious how the guy managed to shoot his gun while the butt of it was on his foot. Was he bent over? Slam fire somehow? No Comprende.

I don't know. Perhaps it was bumped or he set it down roughly. There is another recent thread on TFL about how shotguns can fire without pulling the trigger, and even if the trrigger is blocked by a safety, for mechanical reasons such as a worn sear, a bad trigger job, or a dirty firing mechanism.

July 4, 2012, 09:35 AM
I'm sorry, but as a former RO, there's no way I would characterize that incident as an accidental discharge.

The action shouldn't have been closed (locked/loaded) until the shooter was both "on station" and ready to call for his bird (IOW, his turn to shoot).


July 4, 2012, 11:24 AM
I would say that guy needs to be educated, but not banned permanently. Who cares what you call it; it was a needless incident. I was taught people are inherently dangerous, not guns. If you doubt it, look around you on the road, but no one is even going to suggest tightening the driving requirements on all those VOTERS.
I have had two accidental discharges, and while no one was injured and nothing was damaged because the gun was pointed in a safe direction, they both also left a lasting impression.

July 4, 2012, 11:28 AM
No such thing as accidental discharge. Only neglectful discharge.

July 4, 2012, 11:54 AM
The action shouldn't have been closed (locked/loaded) until the shooter was both "on station" and ready to call for his bird (IOW, his turn to shoot).
I probably shouldn't mention it here; but, there is nothing in the ATA's rules that says you must wait until it's your turn to shoot before you load. PetahW expressed a common misconception about the trapshooting rules. In many shooting sports you can't load until it's your turn; however, in ATA, the majority of trapshooters load before it's their turn to shoot. Here's an extract from the rules:
IV. ATA Tournaments, I. Safety
12. A contestant shall place a live shell in his/her gun only when on a post facing the traps. In Singles and Handicap shooting he/she may place only one (1) live shell in his/her gun at a time and must remove it or the empty shell(s) before moving from one post to another. In Doubles shooting he/she may place two (2) live shells in his/her gun at a time and must remove both live or empty shells before moving from one (1) post to another. In changing from one (1) post to another, the shooter shall not walk in front of the other competitors.
If you've not shot registered targets, the pace is more rapid and rhythmic than in casual practice trap. Here's how it works: When the shooter immediately before me shoots, I start mounting my already loaded gun. The whole squad follows this practice… shoot, load and wait (with the gun down) until the guy before you fires and then mount your gun. With the 5th shot, at each post, you don't load so you can move to the next post with the action already open and empty.

If a club (typically where they don't have ATA events) enforces the "Don't load until it's your turn to shoot" rule, I typically won't practice there because it's a waste of my time since the much slower pace throws off my rhythm.

July 4, 2012, 04:47 PM
Interesting Zippy. What I have been doing is shooting, reloading but with the action open resting the muzzle on the top of my shoe until the shooter to my left mounts. Then I bring my gun up but do not close my break action, so as not to possibly distract them, until they shoot. The I mount and call for a target.

If I am shooting with a gap on my left, I will close the action earlier and be ready to mount as soon as the next shooter immediately to the left fires.

One thing that drives me crazy is when the mate to my left fires his fifth and immediately starts to walk towards me as I am shooting.

July 4, 2012, 05:39 PM
One thing that drives me crazy is when the mate to my left fires his fifth and immediately starts to walk towards me as I am shooting.
That's poor form and violates the spirit of the "observable distraction" rule. It's not going to move the squad any quicker because the shooter moving from post 5 to 1 is the governing factor.

TKM, the next time I see you, remind me to tell you how one shooter, who was having a bad day, purposefully distracted 3 of us out of possible 100-straights in an ATA singles event.

July 4, 2012, 06:51 PM
No such thing as accidental discharge. Only neglectful discharge.
I beg to differ. When a small piece of brass comes off a shell base and lodges in the notch where the hammer is engaged by the sear (I know, what are the odds), and the hammer slips off the sear with no fingers nowhere near any trigger, I call that an accidental discharge. You do not stand around with an unloaded gun waiting for doves.

Brian Pfleuger
July 4, 2012, 06:58 PM

There's has hardly ever been a more over-argued, esoteric, pointless, divisive, over-blown and irrelevant argument than "accidental" versus "negligent" discharge.

We've been down that road. Hundreds of times.

It's not the topic of the thread.