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sdwolfden's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Custer, SD
Joined: 09/07/2010
Posts: 83
chamber empty or not?

I always have a full clip when I heading out to the woods, If I'm walking into the forest, I'll keep the chamber empty until I'm clear of all buildings, and rack a shell into the chamber and flip on the safety, once it is safe.  Usually I don't walk far to any of the stands I use.  Same with Muzzleloading, I have my barrel loaded. but don't put a primer in until it's safe.  If we are driving to the woods to hunt, no shells are racked until we get out of the truck (we have had many instances where there are deer almost within shooting range from the truck and we have a chance if we rack a shell as soon as we get out).  We do get away from the truck and try to get closer to the deer before we shoot.  Some are spooked but some are curious.  Many times we have walked in and come upon a buck that will just stand there and look at us(usually when we have doe tags).  This is in a place where on Christmas Day, I walked into the woods(Scruffy had driven around and set up on a ridge to ambush anything I spooked) and within 3/4 of a mile from our house, I spooked up 15 deer just in the area that is one of our favorite hunting spots.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
There have been quite a few

There have been quite a few times that if I didn't have a round in the chamber I would of never gotten a shot off at the animal that I took.  It all comes down to basic gun safty, you need to treat every gun as if it is loader weather there is a round in the chamber or not. 

buckykm1's picture
Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
Posts: 366

When i am in the field, my gun is always loaded, when a game animal is in front of you, most of the time you don't have the time to chamber a round. jmo


Topgun 30-06's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Allegan, MI
Joined: 12/11/2010
Posts: 693
If I'm hunting alone I always

If I'm hunting alone I always have a round in the chamber from the time I leave camp or my truck.  If I'm hunting with others it is always our policy not to have one in the chamber until we separate and then we remove our shell from the chamber as we get back together.  It seems like a pretty safe way of doing things and it's just old hat for as long as we've been doing it that way. 

rowdycwby1's picture
Location: Hobbs NM
Joined: 05/22/2010
Posts: 99
Is there reallt a right answer?

I always gave my gun loaded unless I'm in camp or traveling to and from in a vehicle.....but it always pointed in a sage direction and the safety on. It really boils down why yur preference is and what you think is safest.

ndemiter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: lawrence, KS
Joined: 05/17/2007
Posts: 647
for the most part, i keep my

for the most part, i keep my rifle unloaded. when i get to a point i expect to see game, i load and carry my rifle in the ready position at my chest, not on the sling.

to tell you the truth, this technique has gotten me more turkeys and coyotes than anything else i've ever tried. it has helped with antelope as well, but when you pop over that ridge, the coyotes annd the turke almost always see you before you see them!

groovy mike's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2539
full chamber

I always hunt with a full chamber.  It is plenty risky enough trying to click off a safety and not spook game that might eb within 50 yards before you see them let alone rack the action.  I guess if you were hunting wide open spaces it would be different than if you are hunting in thick cover or rolling terrainw where sight distances are limited.  This sort of reminds me of the whether you use a sling or not question.  I never use a sling when hunting.  The rifle should be ready to use in my hands, not slung and out of play.  Just my 2 cents.  BUT if you are hunting with people you don't trust with a loaded gun while walking behind you (TV types?) then you have to insist on them having an empty chamber....

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
what's the point?

I don't see any point in hunting with an empty chamber.  I will however have my chamber clear, but magazine loaded and wait to chamber a round once I'm off a road or nearing the area I plan to hunt.  After the shot I simply extract my empty then press the rest of the cartridges down in the magazine while ridding the bolt over the top of them when closing the action, safety on.  Loaded or not I treat all guns as if they are chambered and ready to fire, even if that firearm is brand new still in a sealed factory box.

Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 924
I hunt with a muzzleloader.

I hunt with a muzzleloader. I've read that there's 2 million ML hunters. Sounds like a lot, but anyway. I bet if you asked everyone of them, they'd say they hunt with a loaded gun. I'm not sure why a CF gun should be different.

arrowflipper's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 01/03/2011
Posts: 578
just for TV

I have hunted for 53 years and have always had my chamber loaded.  I currently hunt in the West where we have wide open terrain and often have lots of time to chamber a round, but I also have taken bucks that had I not been loaded, those bucks would be breeding does today. 

I think most TV hunts are filmed and then staged again.  The chambering and taking it off safety are filmed after the kill and used for two reasons.... to show safety and for filler.  I love watching hunting shows but I often find them surreal.  I have been to many hunter safety courses and have taught some, and our number one emphasis is "muzzle control".  Do not point that muzzle at anyone.  We are assuming that while hunting, people have their rifle loaded.  I can tell you that it doesn't make me feel one bit better if you tell me there's nothing in the chamber. 

I do believe that whatever makes a person feel safe, that's what they should do.