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hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
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CVC wrote: "hunting out west

CVC wrote: "hunting out west there isn't a need to chamber the round until you get into shooting distance."

I am going to have to disagree with you on that one. All of my hunting experience is here in the west. I have hunted mule deer above timberline, pronghorn on the plains and elk in the spruce and fir. I'll tell you right now... there is a need to chamber a round before getting into shooting range of your quarry. I always think its funny how people from out east tend to think that all western hunting is wide open. Sure we definitely have more open country than out east and shots tend to be longer but that does not mean that is the only terrain we have out here. And even in the wide open country, things can happen fast and an animal can appear and be gone in no time leaving the hunter that wasn't prepared with a round in the chamber to go home empty handed. I was never taught to hunt with an empty chamber, in fact this just seems crazy to me except in the situations that you all have already mentioned like CVC's situation.

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Location: NE NV
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I'd have to agree Hawkeye. 

I'd have to agree Hawkeye.  Funny thing is that after watching the one millionth back east hunting show with the hunter sitting in some form of blind waiting for some critter to amble by, I often think that if there was ever a situation where the gun remains unloaded until the target is identified, it's when hunting out of a blind.  In fact, this is often the method used, regardless of type of weapon.  Admittedly, I'm speaking out of ignorance, never having had the opportunity to hunt this way.  Most likely, my weapon would be loaded & safe while I wait patiently(?) up in that oak tree.

CVC's picture
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Location: Kansas
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I have been reading the posts

I have been reading the posts about the problem with accidental discharges with remington rifles.  For those of you who have followed that story and all the accounts of guns discharging when the safety is moved or for no apparent reason, does it make you reconsider carrying the rifle loaded?

Joined: 03/14/2011
Posts: 1

My rifle is loaded as soon as I get my boots on the ground, and bullets in the rifle. I am in hunting mode, the moment I leave town, and hunting as soon as I leave the truck. I have had a whiteail buck walk past the truck before my facemask and winter gloves were on, that was a chilly experience, waiting for him to crest the little hill in front of me. I have jumped coyotes on the way back to the truck. It was unloaded that time, but never again. I expect to see game before I get where I'm going, so why not expect them when I arrive?

I agree on the point of having a safety, so I use mine. I have taught 4 new hunters in the last 3 years, and I really empahasize firearm safety with them. One of them is my 14 yr old nephew. So I made sure he knew about firearm safe handling before I even gave him a gun. I took him bear hunting last spring and gave him the emergency 12 gauge just in case. It had live rounds in the tube, but not the chamber. It seemed safer that way, and if things got bad with a bear, then the nano second to chuck a round in would hardly matter. I took him gopher hunting in the summer and let him find the gopher get ready, take the safety off, shoot, put it back on. When I felt he was listening and being safe. I walked a few feet away, and pretented to do my own thing. He continued acting safely, so I started shooting a few gopehers, but watching him nevertheless. He continued following the steps I laid down. So I sat back and wacthed him pick his own gophers and enjoy his trip.

I don't understand the not chambered thing. It's like not putting water skis on until you hit top speed and then climbing out to do it.

Interesting topic

expatriate's picture
Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3206
Loaded or unloaded?

I always carry loaded and on safe.  I'm not going to wait until a creature with the best set of ears in the animal kingdom is standing in front of me to cycle the bolt.  But then again, there are circumstances when I unload -- like going into a tree stand or possibly even crossing a fence.  Although I will say than when I'm stepping over an electric fence, the accidental discharge I worry about most is electrical.  Please, Lord, don't let that wire snap up when I step over...

I suspect the issue with this is lawyers.  If someone on a hunting show carries without a round in the chamber, they don't have to worry about someone blaming the show for an accidental discharge while carrying in the field.  By delaying chambering until the last possible moment, they minimize their exposure to lawsuits.

hunter25's picture
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I'm glad I found this thread

I'm glad I found this thread as I thought until now that I was in the minority with carrying my rifle chambered. As soon as I leave the truck and start walking I chamber a round and engage the safety. Even in the dark so that I don't have to make any noise just as the sun comes up while I'm waiting.

It all comes down to basic safety. Muzzle control and never put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire.

And as far as hunting out west goes, I can be sneaking through the oak brush and get a shot as close as 10 yards one minute and then pop out of the brush and catch one going up the far hillside at 400 yards the next. You gotta be ready at all times.

Joined: 01/27/2011
Posts: 10
Depends on the situation.

Depends on the situation. Loaded when alone and moving slowly while stalking in heavy timber,  sitting in a stand, or hunting in griz country( while exercising perfect muzzle control).   Unloaded when in traveling mode where trips and falls may occur. Also when hunting with others, except for the shooter leading a stalk.  Why take the risk.  It only takes a second to put a round in the chamber. 

I think CA_Vermonster got it right. Once you stop, why not load a round. You never know when something is going to sneak up on you. Common sense is the rule. Trip and fall while moving fast, without knowing your safety is off, and you or your buddy is dead. It has happened. How many stories of guys shooting themselves  do we have to read before we realize that a loaded gun in the wrong situation can have devastating effects. 

Just do a Google search if you don't believe me.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Sorry, but I don't agree with

Sorry, but I don't agree with that.  I could do a google search and find 10 times the amount of people that die from peanut allergies than do from accidental gunshots out in the field.

Even if there are 10 a year, compare that to the extreme amount of hunters in the field, and it's a miniscule percentage.

And, furthermore, look at how the accidents happened.  Crossing a fence, using your loaded shotgun to bust a hole in some ice (Yes, it happened), and other neglegent stuff like that.  If you use common sense, I see absolutely no reason to walk around with an unloaded weapon.

Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 363
I am locked and loaded DURING

I am locked and loaded DURING LEGAL SHOOTING HOURS!  In some states, if you are in the field after legal shooting hours it is a violation of hunting laws to have a loaded firearm. (Example: tracking a wounded animal after shooting hours). Now if I am heading to a waterfowl blind, I do not load until I am in the blind. Jump shooting, however, my gun is loaded.  The exception to having a loaded weapon after legal shooting hours is my handgun(s) but I have a concealed carry permit. I do unload/open the action when crossing fences or crossing  bad terraine.  One of the reasons that I hunt wih a break action shotgun is because it is so easy to be safe by opening the action, even if I do not remove the shells from the chambers. I do this so often during hunts that it seems that I have the gun open more than closed but I never have missed a shoot opportunity because of the action being open.

arrowflipper's picture
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NOT out West

Vermonster my man, it is NOT a Western practice!  And I consider myself "Western".  I live in the far northwest tip of the continental US.  And I mean the TIP.  One mile either direction (North or West) and I'm in Canada or the Pacific Ocean. 

When I get to my hunting grounds, I load my rifle and that means the chamber too.  I believe what you're seeing on those shows is staged.  Kind of like a lot of reality shows.  I don't believe that in many of the cases you are seeing the actual footage of the event as it unfolds.  They go back and video segments and put them in.  I believe the loading of the rifle is one of those.  Maybe it's done to show safety. 

But like you, I was taught gun handling safety and practice it.  We are different here in Washington that in some other states however.  We are not allowed to have any shells in the gun at any time other than out in the field.  We can not have them in rifle at all, especially in a vehicle.  It is considered a loaded gun and you will be ticketed for it.  And that ticket is a stiff one.

I hunt in the wide open where we see deer at over a thousand yards, but also see them at 20.  I first saw my last two bucks at under 20 yards, and I was out in the open.  Those mule deer buck will hold as long as they can before bolting.  And you had better be ready.  For me to have worked my bolt to put a cartridge in, would have given the buck time to duck into a draw or over a ridge and be gone.  It's amazing how quickly they can disappear in this seemingly wide open country.

Put a cartridge in the chamber and BE READY!

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