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Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580

"Looking down the barrels" of guns on your cart

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I've seen several responses to various gun cart threads recently saying how people don't like having their own guns pointed at them when they're pushing their gun cart. Maybe I'm just dense this morning, and I'll probably get flamed for asking, but what's the big deal? You know that your long guns are unloaded, the actions are open, and there's no way that they can possibly fire a shot without a great deal of human intervention. So why is everybody so worried about it? As I said, maybe I'm just dense this morning...

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Charlie Mac, I don't think you're dense at all.  Having been on both the wrong and right end of a gun I sometimes wonder why some folks get so nervous around obviously empty guns.  I'm sure it's so that we're all protected from an AD or from someone who just "brain farted", better safe then sorry.  But I've never been concerned about my guns on my cart, I trust me with me and I'm confident that they're safe before I put them down.

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Yep, not only am I confident my guns aren't loaded, I'm too short to be looking down the barrels when they're in my Rugged Gear Cart anyways.

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I don't see the Rub.  Guns go back in the Kart "Open and Empty" and incapable of doing harm.  Perhaps those whom fret about their own guns are simply trolling for some form of recognition.  If one doesn't like "Barrels Up" perhaps they should switch to "Barrels Down" and try to figure that out without sweeping anyone.

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Well, if as you leave the unloading table, you swing the barrels down, you've not swept anyone.   They go muzzle down into the cart.   Then they stay down till you swing them up onto the loading table.

 

That being said, I don't see what the big deal with barrels up is.  Open and empty is perfectly safe.  And do you really want to try to push your cart around on uneven ground with the barrels down?   Sounds like a sure fire way for them to fall to me.

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I reckon they never shot skeet.....

 

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I reckon it goes back to the 4 safety rules of handling a firearm. 

Kinda like that trigger discipline that's been branded into my brainpan 40 some years ago.

 

Having said that, it is what it is.

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PLUS ONE too Goody by golly!!

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43 minutes ago, Hendo said:

I reckon it goes back to the 4 safety rules of handling a firearm. 

Kinda like that trigger discipline that's been branded into my brainpan 40 some years ago.

 

Having said that, it is what it is.

I figure that all the safety stuff we grew up with is still in our heads.  I have a Ruged Cart and my barrels are straight up.  I also shoot Skeet and we sweep others all the time.

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I don't think you're "dense" by any means. If one is dense enough to believe that guns that are open, empty and NOT touched by human hands can somehow harm them......well.....(insert non offensive metaphor here). 

 

When they walk across a parking lot, do they think that the parked cars are going to come to life and run them over? I guess some might. For those folks, get a sleeve for the long gun or get a blindfold for your eyes.......but in any case get a life.

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Posted (edited)

In a match, we have safeguards in place to assure that guns get emptied after a stage.  But occasionally, spent rounds do get through the inspection.  Most of us have probably had that SDQ at least once, often after we have a gun problem on a stage, or a disputed call discussion.  We do get distracted. 

 

So if a spent round can escape a lax inspection, then a live round in a rifle or 97 chamber could also POSSIBLY do so.   I do thoroughly understand all the back-up safety mechanics of open actions, etc., so you don't need to counsel  me here that they provide back-up assurance.   The action being open certainly is a second level of protection-- as long as the lever or slide doesn't get knocked closed, during between-stage gun cleaning, or other gear handling.  Most of us have seen more than one inadvertently closed action resting in a cart. 

 

And all of that is in a match.  But some of us also use our carts for carrying convenience when practicing, which is an entirely different situation.  Then there is no ULTO and usually no secondary inspection.  No other eyes are watching our levers or slides in our carts.  And at the conclusion of practice and roll-up of gear, we usually have a variety of distracting tasks to think about, 

 

Not too long ago, a couple days after a practice, I finally got around to cleaning up my guns.  I picked up my '73, squirted in some Hoppes No 9, and started to run a swab down the barrel, but I remembered I needed to open the bolt to do so.  When I lowered the lever, a LIVE round fell out of the chamber.   At the conclusion of practicing I sure thought I had confirmed the guns to be empty.  But humans make errors.  I certainly did.  I had wheeled the gun 100+ yards in the cart, pointed at me.  Then I had loaded it into the pickup, likely pointing it at my wife, who was loading gear into the passenger side.   I have no way to know if the hammer ever became cocked or bumped in putting the gun into a sleeve and placing it in the truck.  That has happened before, though, when sleeve drags back the hammer or a gun in a sleeve gets bumped. 

 

I mention this experience because I believe I am ordinarily extremely careful.  In my former work, I was involved in many investigations following hunting accidents.  So I was called to the active scene of a number of them.   Nearly all of them occurred at or near vehicles, either at the beginning or end of a hunt, when people were loading or unloading their guns, putting them into slip cases, or loading them into vehicles.  Many of the injured/deceased were family members, and the rest were "best friends" of the shooter.  Few accidents ever occurred while in the field hunting, I believe because while hunting people paid higher attention to the status of their guns. 

 

But IN EVERY SINGLE CASE OF THOSE ACCIDENTS, safe pointing of the muzzle would have prevented the accident, regardless of any other errors made.   People had relied too much on "gun safeties", open actions, and on errantly being positive the guns were unloaded.  But muzzle direction always has to be paramount. 

 

So please believe that it really can happen to ANY of us, especially as we age, and our memory and attention become lessened. 

 

My cart has guns pointing upward, toward whoever pushes the cart.  It gives me nightmares, after my recent experience.  I certainly do want to modify it to point down.

I believe I can more positively keep track of my muzzle direction when I'm handling the gun in my hands, enroute to or from, or at the ULT or LT, to be sure nobody is swept.  And downward pointing is much easier to maintain the open breach, on my SxS SG. 

JMHO. 

But please never convince yourself that the safety rules alone are enough.  Safety takes all of those rules, plus 100% attention to all of the steps and details of the day, and that is very difficult to do 100% of the time.    

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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Somebody mentioned Skeet.   I can't comment on that, but I can say that prior to CAS, the only organized shooting I had ever done was Trap.   And in that context, muzzle down is the rule.  So when I started this game, I have to admit that it was something of a surprise to me that muzzle up was the rule.  Maybe that's where some of the misgivings come from.   I can't be the only one who initially learned that the rule was muzzle down when moving to and from the firing line.   I sometime wonder what will happen when I go shoot a round of trap again someday and walk around muzzle up.   

 

How do other three gun sports handle the muzzle direction rule?  I know in Zoot that it's muzzle up, but that's the only other one I've done.

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

Somebody mentioned Skeet.   I can't comment on that, but I can say that prior to CAS, the only organized shooting I had ever done was Trap.   And in that context, muzzle down is the rule.  So when I started this game, I have to admit that it was something of a surprise to me that muzzle up was the rule.  Maybe that's where some of the misgivings come from.   I can't be the only one who initially learned that the rule was muzzle down when moving to and from the firing line.   I sometime wonder what will happen when I go shoot a round of trap again someday and walk around muzzle up.   

 

How do other three gun sports handle the muzzle direction rule?  I know in Zoot that it's muzzle up, but that's the only other one I've done.

I don't think it is any kind of SASS  "rule" per se., except to maintain 170 and not sweep anybody except yourself.  Some individual clubs might have muzzle-up rules, so it is wise to check. 

Like you, I started in trap, and learned as you did.  

 

Further, I watched Annie Get Your Gun (1950) last night, again, and she pointed her rifle with total abandon, and swept anybody and everybody who happened to be available at the time/place. 

MDQ for sure.  

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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If someone is that concerned; I have seen carts that the long gun rack part swivels keeping the muzzles straight up at all times, a waste of time if you ask me.

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7 minutes ago, COAL CAR KID, SASS #15921 said:

If someone is that concerned; I have seen carts that the long gun rack part swivels keeping the muzzles straight up at all times, a waste of time if you ask me.

Sounds very interesting.  Do you recall how the swivel mechanics worked? 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, COAL CAR KID, SASS #15921 said:

If someone is that concerned; I have seen carts that the long gun rack part swivels keeping the muzzles straight up at all times, a waste of time if you ask me.

Having had the sobering official experience to see the results of a 12 ga. blast at a 11 y-o daughter across a pickup cab, followed by an obvious dad suicide, I can assure you that muzzle direction attention is not a waste of time.   Sorry if this is too explicit, but I'm a serious bug about muzzle direction, and always will be.  I am welled up, just trying to type this and it was over 25 years ago. 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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Be man enough to check your firearms before you leave the unloading table for your own safety, satisfaction, and peace of mind, and not just to please the person who is standing there to check them and babysit your #&%......

 

That is nothing more than you would do if you were out hunting/ shooting by yourself all day and ready to head home.

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26 minutes ago, Fence Cutter said:

Be man enough to check your firearms before you leave the unloading table for your own safety, satisfaction, and peace of mind, and not just to please the person who is standing there to check them and babysit your #&%......

 

That is nothing more than you would do if you were out hunting/ shooting by yourself all day and ready to head home.

Fully agree.  Maintaining safe muzzle direction afterwards is also important.  Thought to be  "unloaded guns" have accidentally killed many, many people.  Guns safely pointed away from people have never killed anyone, unless they blew up.  

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The 5 Basic Principles of Gun Safety:
  • Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  • Always point your gun in a safe direction.
  • Never point your gun at anything you don't intend to shoot.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until your ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target and what's beyond.
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38 minutes ago, Matthew Duncan said:
The 5 Basic Principles of Gun Safety:
  • Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  • Always point your gun in a safe direction.
  • Never point your gun at anything you don't intend to shoot.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until your ready to shoot.
  • Be sure of your target and what's beyond.

 I've been taught that ever since I was eight years old, 62 years ago,  when I had my first NRA gun safety course.   Older folks here will remember it being called the "Ten Commandments of Gun Safety".   Some of the commandments have been removed and treated elsewhere or condensed, such as: "Never use ammunition other than what the gun is labeled to shoot". But regardless of changes, the message is the same.  Follow the rules and you will enjoy safe shooting.  

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Posted (edited)

Only direction guaranteed safe "by NRA definition" on an NRA rifle or pistol range is "muzzle up".   You will be "asked"  to leave some ranges that run  as NRA instructs Range Safety Officers to do.  Only direction that is always safe per Hunter Safety instruction is muzzles up.   Only direction that is always safe (except on the firing line) for SASS is muzzles up.

 

As always, find what the shooting discipline requires, and FOLLOW THOSE INSTRUCTIONS.    But sweeping folks with a muzzle will NEVER be the right thing to do.   "Sweeping" yourself, usually discouraged but allowed, but the consequences are going to be something you own, forever.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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If the people that worry about this stuff ever went to a skeet shoot they might vapor lock on the spot...........lol. 

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Talking about practicing by yourself is kind of a no-note start with.  I went to our police range by myself Saturday. I was the only one there.  I started shooting revolvers. When I got home and opened the action on a new double action I was shooting for the first time a live sixth cartridge fell out with five empties.  My brain is so used to hearing five shoots I completely forgot I had put six in the cylinder!

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1 hour ago, Irish-Pat said:

Talking about practicing by yourself is kind of a no-note start with.  I went to our police range by myself Saturday. I was the only one there.  I started shooting revolvers. When I got home and opened the action on a new double action I was shooting for the first time a live sixth cartridge fell out with five empties.  My brain is so used to hearing five shoots I completely forgot I had put six in the cylinder!

 

SDQ

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10 hours ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Only direction guaranteed safe "by NRA definition" on an NRA rifle or pistol range is "muzzle up".   You will be "asked"  to leave some ranges that run  as NRA instructs Range Safety Officers to do.  Only direction that is always safe per Hunter Safety instruction is muzzles up.   Only direction that is always safe (except on the firing line) for SASS is muzzles up.

 

As always, find what the shooting discipline requires, and FOLLOW THOSE INSTRUCTIONS.    But sweeping folks with a muzzle will NEVER be the right thing to do.   "Sweeping" yourself, usually discouraged but allowed, but the consequences are going to be something you own, forever.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

I don't disagree.  That is why I asked about the cart mentioned here, that rotates the log guns muzzle up all of the time.  I like muzzle up, but I don't like looking down barrels.  There has to be an engineering  solution. 

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4 hours ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

  There has to be an engineering  solution. 

4 (or 3) wheels is the answer, guns pointed straight up at all times me safely behind pushing.  Compliant to number 2 and 3 of the 5 gun safety rules above.

 

Fordyce

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21 hours ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

Sounds very interesting.  Do you recall how the swivel mechanics worked? 

The long gun rack was separate from the frame and had a swivel point in the middle; it had a spring loaded pin to secure it when upright.

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30 minutes ago, COAL CAR KID, SASS #15921 said:

The long gun rack was separate from the frame and had a swivel point in the middle; it had a spring loaded pin to secure it when upright.

I really like that concept.  Thank you.  I think I'll try to build one.  

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58 minutes ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

I really like that concept.  Thank you.  I think I'll try to build one.  

If ya don't mind, might I suggest putting the pivot a bit closer to the top instead of the middle?

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1 hour ago, Hendo said:

If ya don't mind, might I suggest putting the pivot a bit closer to the top instead of the middle?

I was actually thinking of hanging the long gun rack from a pair of vertically extended members attached at the top of the cart, with most of gun weight and possibly the ammo box weight hanging below, kind of like a swing.  Wheels and handle on one frame, everything else suspended on the swing.  This should be fun to design/build.  The pivot only really needs to allow 10-15 degrees of swing.  

 

If I was into Steampunk, I might stabilize it with a fancy gyro of some kind, mounted atop the cart.  Would that be over-the-top? (pun intended) 

 

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Someone that thinks they can turn their long guns upside down so their barrels are pointing down without sweeping either never intends nor have they ever attended a match with 3-400 people... everyone milling about willy-nilly all over the range.  And after the day is done... do they somehow magically become inert tools as you pick them up and point them into the gun case?  As you stuff them in the back seat, truck or SUV cargo area... and which way do you have them pointing?  Across the vehicle, pointed at other motorists as you blissfully drive home;  toward the front, at the back of your own seat;  or rearward, toward the motorists behind you?  My gawd, what if you failed in your cursory examination at the unloading table, back at your cart, then again as you cased 'em... :ph34r:

 

You're only kidding yourself.  You're either safety conscious, or you're not.  If you are, then you take all precautions to ensure that yourself and others around are under no threat from your firearms.  If you're not... well, stay the heck home!  But, not matter what manner of carry you adopt, someone, somewhere is downrange of your gun when you handle it.  Hopefully, it's far enough that whatever minor blimp occurred in your safety regimen, that round can't reach that far.  But, as a competitive shooter since 1971, I've learned that sooner or later you'll have that "aw shyte" moment, and when you do, if you've followed all the precepts of safe gun-handling, it will be pointed in the least dangerous possible and everyone will come away, thinking... "that could've been bad!"  Which means it wasn't.  And hopefully, you become much more stringent in your gun handling.

 

No offense to the OP, but... this was a pointless topic... IMO.  :rolleyes:

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25 minutes ago, Griff said:

And after the day is done... do they somehow magically become inert tools as you pick them up and point them into the gun case?  As you stuff them in the back seat, truck or SUV cargo area... and which way do you have them pointing?  Across the vehicle, pointed at other motorists as you blissfully drive home;  toward the front, at the back of your own seat;  or rearward, toward the motorists behind you?  My gawd, what if you failed in your cursory examination at the unloading table, back at your cart, then again as you cased 'em... :ph34r:

 

You're only kidding yourself.  You're either safety conscious, or you're not.  If you are, then you take all precautions to ensure that yourself and others around are under no threat from your firearms.  If you're not... well, stay the heck home!  But, not matter what manner of carry you adopt, someone, somewhere is downrange of your gun when you handle it. 

Hopefully will agree that there is a risk difference between a cased gun in a vehicle, and a free gun rattling around in the rack of a cart. 

Putting a gun into a case muzzle down isn't really that difficult, after you develop the habit of doing it that way.  I guess I am used to shooting where there are separator berms.  Taking a down-pointing gun from a cart and carrying it that way until you reach the LT, then raising it pointing at the berm, or downrange doesn't seem impossible.  Same re the ULT to cart leg of a stage.  

I think it is quite doable.  

 

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Stay at your home range then, not quite as "doable" when there are no barriers between ranges, 10-12 ranges all in a line, with hundreds of non-shooting people milling around, spectating, visiting with their shooting pards, etc.  

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