1. ALWAYS KEEP THE MUZZLE POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION
This is the most basic safety rule. If everyone handled a firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something they didn't intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearm accidents. It's as simple as that, and It's up to you.
Never point your gun at anything you do not intend to shoot. A safe direction means a direction In which a bullet can not possibly strike anyone, taking Into account possible ricochets and the fact that bullets can penetrate walls and ceilings. Even when "dry firing" with an unloaded gun, you should never point the gun at an unintended target.
This is your responsibility, and only you can control
2. FIREARMS SHOULD BE UNLOADED WHEN NOT ACTUALLY IN USE
Firearms should be loaded only when you are In the field or on the target range or shooting area, ready to shoot. When not in use, firearms and ammunition should be secured In a safe place, separate from each other. It Is your responsibility to prevent children and Inexperienced adults from gaining access to firearms or ammunition. A loaded gun has no place In or near a vehicle or building.
Whenever you handle a firearm or hand it to someone, always open the action immediately, and visually check the chamber, receiver and magazine to be certain they do not contain any ammunition. Never assume a gun Is unloaded - check for yourself! While In the field, there will be times when common sense and the basic rules of firearms safety will require you to unload your gun for maximum safety. When in doubt, unload your gun!
3. DON'T RELY ON YOUR GUN'S "SAFETY"
Treat every gun as though It can fire at any time, regardless of pressure on the trigger. The "safety" on any gun is a mechanical device, which, like any such device, can become Inoperable at the worst possible time. The safety serves as a supplement to proper gun handling but cannot possibly serve as a substitute for common sense.
Never touch the trigger on a firearm until you actually Intend to shoot.
Your firearm Is a precision instrument. Regardless of the position of the safety, any bump strong enough to actuate the firing mechanism of a gun can cause It to fire. The only time you can be absolutely certain that a gun cannot fire Is when the action Is open and it Is completely empty. You and the safe gun handling procedures you have learned are your gun's primary safeties.
4. BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND IT
No one can call a bullet back. Don't shoot unless you know exactly what your bullet Is going to strike. Be sure that your bullet will not Injure anyone or anything beyond your target. You should keep In mind how far a bullet will travel If It misses your Intended target or ricochets In another direction.
Be aware that even a .22 short bullet can travel over 1% miles and a high velocity cartridge, such as a 30-06, can project a bullet more than 3 miles. Shotgun pellets can travel 500 yards, and shotgun slugs have a range of over a half-mile.
You must assume the serious responsibility of using only the correct ammunition foryour firearm. Read and heed all warnings, Including those that appear In the gun's Instruction manual and on the ammunition boxes. Using Improper or Incorrect ammunition can destroy a gun and cause serious personal Injury. It only takes one cartridge of Improper caliber or gauge to wreck your gun, and only a second to check each one as you load It. Be absolutely certain that the ammunition you are using matches the specifications that are contained within the gun's Instruction manual and the manufacturer's markings on the firearm barrel.
Handloaded or reloaded ammunition deviating from pressures generated by factory loads or from competent recommendations specified In reputable handloadlng manuals can be dangerous, and can cause severe damage to guns and serious Injury to the shooter.
Ammunition that has become very wet or has been submerged in water should be discarded in a safe manner. Do not spray oil or solvents on ammunition or place ammunition in excessively lubricated firearms.
Form the habit of examining every cartridge you put in your gun. Never use damaged, old or questionable ammunition - the money you save is not worth the risk of possible injury or a ruined gun.
Discharging firearms in poorly ventilated areas, cleaning firearms or handling ammunition may result in exposure to lead and other substances known to cause birth defects, reproductive harm and other serious physical injury. Have adequate ventilation at all times. Wash hands thoroughly after exposure.
6. IF YOUR GUN FAILS TO FIRE WHEN THE TRIGGER IS PULLED, HANDLE WITH CARE!
Occasionally, a gun may not fire when the trigger is pulled. If this occurs, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your face away from the breech. Then, carefully open the action, unload the firearm and dispose of the cartridge in a safe way.
Any time there is a cartridge in the chamber, your gun is loaded and ready to fire- even if you've tried to shoot and it did not go off. It could go off at any time, so you must always remember RULE #1 and WATCH THAT MUZZLE!
All shooters should wear protective shooting glasses and some form of hearing protectors while shooting. Exposure to shooting noise can damage hearing, and adequate vision protection is essential. Wearing eye protection when disassembling and cleaning any gun will also help prevent the possibility of springs, spring tension parts, solvents or other agents from contacting your eyes. No target shooter, plinker or hunter should ever be without them.
8. BE SURE THE BARREL IS CLEAR OF
Before you load your firearm, open the action and be certain that no cartridge is in the chamber. Then glance through the barrel to be sure it is clear of any obstruction. Even a small bit of mud, snow, excess lubricating oil or grease in the bore can cause dangerously increased pressure, causing the barrel to bulge or even burst when firing, which can cause injury to the shooter and bystanders. Make it a habit to clean the bore with a cleaning rod and patch to wipe away anti-rust compounds in the gun each time immediately before you shoot it. If the noise or recoil on firing seems weak or doesn't seem quite "right", cease firing immediately and be sure to check that no obstruction or projectile has become lodged in the barrel.
9. DON'T ALTER OR MODIFY YOUR GUN, AND
Firearms are complicated mechanisms, which are designed by experts to function properly in their original condition. Any alteration or change made to a firearm after manufacture can make the gun dangerous and will usually void any factory warranties. Do not jeopardize your safety or the safety of others by altering the
trigger, safety or other mechanism of any firearm or allowing unqualified person's to repair or modify a gun.
Your gun Is a mechanical device, which will not last forever and Is subject to wear. As such, it requires periodic Inspection, adjustment and service.
10. LEARN THE MECHANISM AND HANDLING
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FIREARM YOU ARE
Not all firearms are the same. Consequently, never handle any firearm without first having thoroughly familiarized yourself with the particular type of firearm you are using, the safe gun handling rules for loading, unloading, carrying and handling that firearm, and the rules of safe gun handling In general.
You should always read and refer to the Instruction manual you received with your gun, or If you have misplaced the manual, simply contact the manufacturer for a free copy.
Having a gun In your possession Is a full-time job. You cannot guess; you cannot forget. You must know how to use, handle and store your firearm safely. Do not use any firearm without having a complete understanding of Its particular characteristics and safe use. There Is no such thing as a foolproof gun.
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