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Firearms safety is everyone's responsibility but I though I would list a few useful items

General Safety

  • Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded, even if you know that it is not
  • Always ensure that the rifle is unloaded with the bolt removed or a breach flag inserted before leaving the firing point
  • Never point a firearm at anything unless you would be prepared to put a hole in it
  • Keep your finger off the trigger unless you are ready to shoot
  • Be certain of your intended target, and what is beyond it
  • Never load a firearm except at the firing point
  • Even on the firing point the rifle must not be loaded until the Range Officer has given the command to start shooting
  • Always keep the firearm pointed down the range whilst shooting is in progress
  • Always wear ear defenders in the vicinity of the firing point
  • Do not attempt to walk forward of the firing point until the range officer has declared that it is safe to do so, waking up in hospital the next day with a bullet in the bum because you were "in the zone" and ignoring everyone is not a good excuse 

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Moderators

  • Due to health and safety reasons moderators are becoming more prevalent, they do bring with them a number of additional issues
  • Sighting - They completely change the characteristics of where your bullet is going to land so you will need to re zero and if you ever decide to shoot without it will need to re zero again
  • Maintenance - Due to their location they pick up all of the crud at the end of the barrel so take a lot more cleaning than any other part of your rifle (especially on smallbore using certain types of ammo) . They also increase back pressure so if you are using a semi-auto then you will discover that you need to strip & clean your magazines more often (at least every hundred rounds) or it will jam in the middle of a competition.
  • You will also need to verify how secure it is fitted, I would recommend at the completion of each target. I have seen competitions lost due to a loose moderator on smallbore, I have also seen  the result of bullets attempting to eat their way through the side on fullbore.

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Procedure for dealing with misfires / problem rounds

  • Inform the Range Officer or RCO plus any competitors next to you and wait at least 30 seconds with the rifle still in your shoulder pointing downrange at your target
  • Make sure that no one is in close proximity then
  • Move your head out of the way in case the friction of undoing the bolt activates the primer which would sent the bolt back at a rate of knots.
  • Make sure that no one is behind you in a position where they could be hit by the bold in the event that the round explodes during release.
  • Whilst keeping the rifle steady with your trigger hand, reach over the top of the rifle with the other to release the bolt
  • Slide the bolt back slowly so as not to cause friction until the cartridge is released and make sure that the bullet is still attached
  • If the bullet is not attached it may be stuck in the barrel DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CLEAR IT WITH ANOTHER shell as the barrel could explode and YOU MAY DIE
  • If the bullet is attached DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE IT AGAIN or you will have a repeat issue, wouldn't that be embarrassing. The wall of the shell could also be damaged causing it to burst during ignition. Keep it separate from your other live ammo and hand it in for safe disposal.
  • If the round is stuck in the action and the bolt is unable to capture it the RCO will advise on the next step that should be taken, if you are at Bisley a call must be placed to the range office to request that the armourer attends with a removal tool. 

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