Shotgun Safety & Care



Fundamental Safety Rules

1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

This is the primary rule of gun safety. A "safe direction" means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.

 

2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

When holding a gun, people have a natural tendency to place their finger on the trigger. Don't do it! Rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.

 

3. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately open the action and look into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. (If the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and make sure it is empty.) If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.

 

Use

Know your target and what is beyond. Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap. Think first. Shoot second.

 

Be sure the shotgun is safe to operate. Just like other tools, shotguns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun's general upkeep. If there is any question concerning a gun's ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.

 

Know how to use the gun safely. Before handling a gun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts, how to safely open and close the action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine. Remember, a gun's mechanical safety device is never foolproof. Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling.

 

Use only the correct ammunition for your gun. Only BBs, pellets, cartridges or shells designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that gun. Shell type stamped on your gun's barrel. Shell can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge. Do not shoot the gun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.

 

Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate. Shotguns are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage. They can also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye injury. For these reasons, shooting glasses and hearing protectors should be worn by shooters and spectators.

 

Never use alcohol or drugs before or while shooting. Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.

 

Be aware that certain types of guns and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions.

 

Maintenance

Regular cleaning is important in order for your gun to operate correctly and safely. Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life. Your shotgun should be cleaned every time that it is used.

A gun brought out of prolonged storage should also be cleaned before shooting. Accumulated moisture and dirt, or solidified grease and oil, can prevent the gun from operating properly.

Before cleaning your gun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded. The gun's action should be open during the cleaning process. Also be sure that no ammunition is present.

 

After shooting, clean and lubricate your shotgun. At the end of a hunting season, or annually, have your gun completely cleaned, including internal mechanisms, by a competent gunsmith. Proper periodic maintenance is important for the reliable functioning of any firearm.

Before cleaning, make sure the gun is unloaded. Keep the chamber open.

To minimize the possibility of damage to the screw-in choke inserts and the barrel threads, it is recommended that a set of choke inserts be kept correctly tightened into the barrel at all times, including storage and cleaning. Cleaning the barrels without the choke inserts in place can push dirt and other fouling into the barrel threads, which will interfere with proper installation of the choke inserts.

1. Disassemble the firearm.
2. Clean the bore with care by passing a cleaning rod with a cotton patch coated with gun oil to remove combustion residues. If necessary, use a bronze brush. Also include the chambers in your cleaning operation.
3. Run a clean dry patch through the bore to remove oil residues.
4. Lightly oil the inside of the barrels with a clean cotton patch coated in gun oil.
5. With similar procedure, clean the internal face of the action body (especially around the firing pin holes) and lubricate lightly.
Do not pour lubricant into the firing pin holes.

6. Clean and lubricate lightly the mechanism of the forend iron and relative hook of the barrels.
The hinge pin area is a very important mating surface. The receiver and forend iron are subject to very high loads. Improper lubrication of these components can cause seizing of parts or malfunctioning of the shotgun. Before using the shotgun, make sure that lubricant is present as instructed.

7. Clean with care the external surfaces of the gun to remove any trace of dirt, sweat and fingerprints. Apply a thin film of gun oil with a cotton patch.
Use lubricants properly: you are responsible for the proper care and maintenance of your firearm. Do not apply excess oil. Accumulation of oil attracts dirt, which can interfere with the functioning and reliability of the gun.

Excessive oil and grease obstructing the bore - even partially - is very dangerous when firing and may cause damage to the shotgun and serious injury to the shooter and bystanders.

Never spray or apply oil to the shotshells. If the shotshell charge is affected by the lubricant, it may not be ignited, but the primer firing may push shot into the bore where they may be lodged. Firing a subsequent shot into the obstructed bore may damage the gun and cause serious injury or death to the shooter and those nearby.

Once disassembled, the firearm (barrel/forend and receiver/stock) should be stored in the supplied case or box. Before storage, always check the conditions of the gun and its case or box. Make sure that they are perfectly dry. Moisture and water could cause damage to the shotgun.

 
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