To Avoid A Catastrophe

ALWAYS keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Never point any gun - loaded or unloaded - at anything you are not willing to see destroyed.

ALWAYS assume every gun is loaded until you personally prove otherwise. Don't trust your memory, and never take anyone's word for it.

ALWAYS hold your gun so that you can control the direction of the muzzle if you fall or stumble.

ALWAYS keep the safety "ON" and your finger outside the trigger guard until the muzzle is pointed at the target and you are ready to fire.

ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until it must be ready for use. If there is no need to load it until later, don't.

ALWAYS pay attention where the muzzle is pointing when you (or others nearby) are handling any gun, especially while operating any part of its mechanism. Don't let anyone point the muzzle in an unsafe direction (for example: at you).

ALWAYS check for any obstruction in the barrel before loading or if there is any reason to suspect blockage. Bore obstructions are a major source of gun explosions.

ALWAYS positively identify your target and be sure there is a safe backstop before you shoot. It's far better than making pathetic excuses afterward.

ALWAYS hold your gun so that you can control the direction of the muzzle if you fall or stumble.

ALWAYS use high quality ammunition made to American industry standards. Make sure it is clean, dry, in good condition, and of the proper type and caliber for your gun. Defective or improper ammunition is responsible for most malfunctions and blown-up guns.

NEVER mix alcohol or drugs with shooting. There is enough danger without the added hazard of fuzzy judgment.

NEVER pull a gun toward you by grasping its muzzle end. If the rifle snags on something and fires, the bullet probably won't miss.

NEVER attempt to load or unload a gun inside a vehicle or building (except a properly constructed indoor range); there usually is no safe direction to point the muzzle.

NEVER shoot at a hard object or at water except under carefully controlled conditions. Bullets can glance off hard materials like rock, glass or steel, or skip off the surface of water, fly in unpredictable directions - and kill.

NEVER leave an unattended gun loaded. Guns and ammunition should be stored separately, locked and beyond the reach of children and careless > adults.

1. Use only high quality, original factory-manufactured ammunition. Do not use cartridges that are dirty, wet, corroded, bent, or damaged. Use only ammunition of the caliber for which your firearm is chambered. The proper caliber is permanently engraved on your firearm; never attempt to use ammunition of any other caliber.

2. Do not oil cartridges, or spray aerosol lubricants, preservatives or cleaners directly onto cartridges or where excess spray might come into contact with them. Highly penetrative lubricants can migrate inside cartridge cases and contaminate the primer and/or propellant powder. Either a misfire or a failure of the powder to ignite may result. If only the primer ignites, there is danger that the bullet may not exit the barrel, and obstruct the bore.

3. Store ammunition in a cool, dry place, away from sources of heat. Heat shortens the shelf life of ammunition by accelerating the chemical decomposition of primer and propellant.

4. Make a habit of regularly examining your fired cartridge cases, particularly when trying different ammunition. Watch for abnormalities: punctured, loose, or excessively flattened primers; split, deformed or partially separated cases; rough or cratered firing pin indents, torn rims, etc. "Reading" the cases can reveal a lot about the quality of the ammunition and the condition of the rifle, allowing corrective steps to be taken before something ugly happens.

5. Don't mix up ammunition. Keep cartridges in their original box until you are ready to load them. When afield, carry only one caliber of ammunition in your pockets. At the range, put only the ammunition for the firearm you are currently using on the shooting bench. Don't put ammunition of different calibers or loads in the same box or loose in a range bag. It is too easy to pick up and load the wrong cartridge, with potentially disastrous results.

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