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From Outdoor Wire:
To a waterfowl hunter, a duck band is a treasured find. Affixed to a duck call lanyard, these rare small metal rings become testaments of the hunter’s skill or luck and reinforce the conservation success story they represent. Not all bird bands are viewed as prizes, however. In fact, the ones affixed to the migratory game bird that gets the lion’s share of hunting attention in Texas are not being viewed at all. This summer, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. has been trapping mourning doves and attaching tiny metal leg bands to them as part of a larger national effort coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. White-winged doves are also being banded across the state and TPWD will be banding approximately 3,000 whitewings. Banding began June 1 and concludes Aug. 15.
As whitewings continue to expand across the state, keeping tabs on these dove populations is becoming increasingly important. Only three states are consistently banding white-winged dove, with the Texas banding program being the most comprehensive. Dove band recoveries are revealing extensive travel records and offer interesting insight into the ecology of this prominent migrant. For instance:
Most banded mourning doves in Texas do not survive to see a second year and extremely few live past three years of age. The oldest mourning dove ever recovered in Texas was 9 years old and the oldest mourner ever recovered was banded in Georgia and was a whopping 31 years old!
Mourning dove shot in Texas come from 21 states including Texas, with the most out-of-state banded birds coming from Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. A few banded birds traveled all the way from Pennsylvania and Ohio.
The oldest white-winged dove ever recorded in Texas was 17 years old and the oldest whitewing ever recovered was banded in Arizona and was 21 years old!
White-winged doves banded in Texas have been recovered in four states including Texas, four countries, and one in international waters (oil rig). The farthest recovered white-winged dove banded in Texas originated in Hidalgo County and was recovered in Nicaragua, 1,242 miles from the original band site. For Texas, the implications of dove management are significant considering the Lone Star State boasts fall dove populations in excess of 40 million birds and its 300,000 dove hunters harvest about 6 million birds annually or roughly 30 percent of all doves taken in the United States. Dove hunting also has a major economic impact, contributing more than $300 million to the state economy. But, despite having more dove hunters than any other state and harvesting more birds than any other state, Texas has the lowest dove band recovery rate in the nation.
“I think most dove hunters aren’t aware of the banding effort,” said Corey Mason, TPWD’s dove program leader. “Unlike with ducks, hunters aren’t looking for bands and because dove bands are only about the size of a bead they don’t stand out.”
Size does not diminish the importance of these bands and the information they provide wildlife biologists. Data obtained from banding are used to estimate survival and harvest rates and population abundance. These estimates are then used in population and harvest models to determine hunting regulations. The complete 2003-2010 Dove Banding Summary is available for review online.
CLEANING A HANDGUN
If you keep your handgun clean it will operate at its best and won’t have any of the malfunctions associated with poor maintenance. A good rule to follow is to clean your handgun every time you use it. If you plan to clean it after every five hundred rounds, for example, you probably won’t keep track of how many rounds you shoot and won’t clean it according to your planned schedule. The result will be lack of cleaning and a lot of residue buildup in your handgun.
This can be a good opportunity to teach gun safety to children and other family members. You can teach the parts of the gun and demonstrate safety rules such as keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and always keeping your finger off the trigger.
Make your own cleaning kit. You will need to supplement any kit you buy by adding some additional items. You will want to combine all the items you get into a basic cleaning kit special kits for each caliber handgun you have.
A basic cleaning kit should include:
(1) nylon bristle and stainless steel brushes
(2) a rod in segments
(3) patch holders that screw into the rod
(4) a dental pick
(5) nitro solvent
(6) gun oil.
The special kit for each caliber should include:
(1) bore brushes in the correct caliber. For a semi-automatic pistol you need two bore brushes, one brass and one stainless steel. For a revolver you need two sets. A long one to use on the chambers and a short one to use on the bore, one set in brass and one set in stainless steel.
(2) patches of a size that will fit through the bore.
(3) Keep the special kit for each caliber in a zip lock plastic bag. You could put a card in each bag with the caliber written on it for easy reference.
Keep your cleaning kit in a box or container that you can carry with you to the range if you want to clean your gun there before bringing it home.
Gun cleaning safety
Follow all the rules of safe gun handling while you are cleaning your gun.
Before you start to clean your handgun, unload it and put all live ammunition in another room. Re-check to make sure it is unloaded. Clean your handgun in a place where you are alone and won’t be pointing the muzzle at someone else. Don’t have the television on or any other distraction that may take your attention away from the task of cleaning your gun.
Cleaning a revolver
Most of the problems with revolvers come from poor maintenance that allows lead shavings and gunpowder residue to build up around the forcing cone, under the star, in the chambers, and in the bore. Cleaning your revolver every time you shoot, no matter how many or few rounds you shoot, will eliminate these problems.
The bore and cylinder will have residue and blow-back from the discharge. There will also be residue inside the bottom of the frame and the front of the cylinder. If you shoot lead bullets there will also be lead shavings on the forcing cone and in the bore.
Start by cleaning the bore.
(1) Look inside. If it is a mirrored surface it won’t need the heavy stainless brush, as double passes with the brass bore brush will do. Use the short brush so it will pass all the way through the bore into the cylinder opening.
(2) Dip the bore brush into the solvent, then push it all the way through the bore.
(3) Be careful that you don’t strike the rod against the edge of the muzzle. This can cause scratches that will affect the accuracy of the gun. Also be careful not to push the end of the bore brush against the firing pin on the inside back of the frame. Place a folded patch or small piece of leather over this area to help protect it.
(4) Push the brush all the way through the bore so the bristles all leave the bore. If you do this you won’t be trying to pull the bore brush out with the bristles bent backwards inside the bore.
Where ever you put solvent, it has to come off. Don’t let solvent run down inside the revolver; it won’t come out by itself. Hold the revolver so solvent doesn’t run down inside the hole around the firing pin.
Clean around the forcing cone. Dip a brush into solvent and brush this area. Then clean it using a dental pick to remove small lead shavings. Then brush it again.
Next, use the patch holder on the rod and the proper size patch. Run it through the bore a few times. It will come out dirty. Keep changing the patch until one comes out clean. Then use clean patches around the forcing cone and wipe this area until the patches come off clean.
Use the long bore brush in the chambers. There are two reasons for this. First, after cleaning the bore the brush you used will be compressed and it won’t clean as well. Second, the chambers are much dirtier than the bore since this is where the cartridge detonates. The brush will get very dirty and you shouldn’t use it on the bore next time you clean the revolver. If you use a long bore brush in the chambers you will easily tell it apart from the short bore brush.
It doesn’t matter which direction you clean the chambers from, front or back. Dip the brush into the solvent and run the brush all the way through and back a couple of times in each chamber.
Clean any residue from under the star. Use a dental pick around each space under the star and follow this with the nylon brush.
Then run clean, dry patches through each chamber, changing them until they come out clean from each one. Wipe off the whole cylinder including the ejector rod and under the star with clean patches.
Clean off the frame with solvent on a bristle brush. Wipe it clean with patches. Brush around the trigger with a nylon brush.
Put a few drops of oil on a patch and push it through the bore then wipe it on the frame and cylinder. Don’t leave excess oil on the gun because it will attract dust and lint. Take it off with a clean patch. Put a drop of oil on the shaft under the star and one drop on the front of the extractor rod. Work the rod a few times then wipe off any excess oil.
Wipe off all the cleaning equipment and put it away.
Cleaning a semi-automatic pistol
You need to disassemble a semi-automatic pistol to clean it. Follow the instructions in the gun’s manual manual. You generally only need to remove the slide, barrel, guide rod, and guide rod spring.
Clean the barrel first. Look inside the bore. If it is a mirrored surface it won’t need the heavy stainless brush, double passes with the brass bore brush will do. Dip the bore brush into the solvent, then push it all the way through the bore. Push the brush all the way through the bore so the bristles all leave the bore. If you do this you won’t be trying to pull the bore brush out with the bristles bent backwards.
Next, use the patch holder on the rod and the proper size patch. Run it through the bore a few times. It will come out dirty. Keep changing the patch until one comes out clean. Wipe off the outside of the barrel with a clean patch.
Next clean the slide using a bristle brush dipped into solvent. Clean all along the guide rails. Use a dental pick on the area around the firing pin; there will be a lot of residue build-up. Use a bristle brush in this area. Finally clean off the solvent with clean patches.
Wipe the guide rod and guide rod spring with patches wiping off any residue and oil. Wipe clean any other parts that you need to disassemble for your pistol.
Using a brush dipped into solvent clean the frame, around the hammer, along the rails, and other exposed parts. Be careful that solvent doesn’t run into parts where it will be difficult to remove it. Use the dental pick to remove residue build-up. Remove the solvent with patches until the patches lift off clean. Brush around the trigger with a nylon brush. Wipe inside the magazine well with patches.
Put a few drops of oil on a patch and push it through the bore then wipe it on the barrel, guide rod, slide, and frame. Don’t leave excess oil on the gun because it will attract dust and lint. Take it off with a clean patch. Reassemble the barrel into the slide. Put a drop of oil on each rail then reassemble the slide onto the frame. Rack the slide back and forth a few times to disperse the oil. Wipe off all excess oil.
Wipe off all the cleaning equipment and put it away.
The following information was provided by
The Colt Model 1911 was the product of John Moses Browning, father of several modern firearms.
The pistol was designed to comply with the requirements of the U.S. Army, which, during its campaign against the Moros in Philippines, had seen its trusty .38 revolver to be incapable of stopping attackers. An Ordnance Board headed by Col. John T. Thomson (inventor of the Thomson sub-machine-gun) and Col. Louis A. La Garde, had reached the conclusion that the army needed a .45″ caliber cartridge, to provide adequate stopping power. In the mean time, J. Browning who was working for Colt, had already designed an auto loading pistol, around a cartridge similar to contemporary .38 Super (dimension-wise). When the Army announced its interest in a new handgun, Browning re-engineered this handgun to accommodate a .45″ diameter cartridge of his own design (with a 230 gr. FMJ bullet), and submitted the pistol to the Army for evaluation.
In the selection process, which started at 1906 with firearms submitted by Colt, Luger, Savage, Knoble, Bergmann, White-Merrill and Smith & Wesson, Browning’s design was selected, together with the Savage design in 1907. However, the U.S. Army pressed for some service tests, which revealed that neither pistol (Colt’s or Savage’s) had reached the desired perfection. The Ordnance Department instituted a series of further tests and experiments, which eventually resulted in the appointment of a selection committee, in 1911.
Browning was determined to prove the superiority of its handgun, so he went to Hartford to personally supervise the production of the gun. There he met Fred Moore, a young Colt employee with whom he worked in close cooperation trying to make sure that each part that was produced for the test guns was simply the best possible. The guns produced were submitted again for evaluation, to the committee. A torture test was conducted, on March 3rd, 1911. The test consisted of having each gun fire 6000 rounds. One hundred shots would be fired and the pistol would be allowed to cool for 5 minutes. After every 1000 rounds, the pistol would be cleaned and oiled. After firing those 6000 rounds, the pistol would be tested with deformed cartridges, some seated too deeply, some not seated enough, etc. The gun would then be rusted in acid or submerged in sand and mud and some more tests would then be conducted.
Browning’s pistols passed the whole test series with flying colors. It was the first firearm to undergo such a test, firing continuously 6000 cartridges, a record broken only in 1917 when Browning’s recoil-operated machine gun fired a 40000 rounds test.
The report of the evaluation committee (taken from ‘The .45 Automatic, An American Rifleman Reprint’, published by the National Rifle Association of America) released on the 20th of March 1911 stated :
“Of the two pistols, the board was of the opinion
that the Colt is superior, because it is more
reliable, more enduring, more easily disassembled
when there are broken parts to be replaced, and
On March 29th, 1911, the Browning-designed,Colt Produced 1911 Pistol, was selected as the official sidearm of the Armed Forces of U.S.A., and named Model 1911.
Again a special thanks toJohn Caradimas of www.m1911.org for the pictures and information.
Disassembly of the 1911 Auto
The following information was provided by
Disassembling the M-1911 type of pistols is a straight forward and simple process. It requires a minimum of tools (actually before Colt’s Series 80 pistols, it was possible to completely disassemble and re-assemble the pistol without ANY tools), like a pair of tweezers, a punch, etc, althought you can improvise!
Before starting to take the pistols apart, follow one simple safety rule. Make sure the gun is empty. Remove the magazine and pull the slide back and lock it in the open position. Check that the barrel’s chamber is empty. Always think safety first.
Before you proceed any further, please remember that at some time, you will have to reassemble the pistol. So please, for your own sanity, before you start taking things apart, study how things look when the gun is still intact. You might also want to read some Reassembling Notices, I ‘ve put together. OK, here we go!
Taking it apart
After making sure that the pistol is empty, release the slide manually and let it slide slowly forward. You can release the slide, using the slide release lever, but some authorities recommend against doing it with an empty gun. With the slide forward, and facing the muzzle of the pistol, press the recoil spring plug inwards until the barrel bushing is free to be twisted clockwise, until it uncovers completely the recoil spring plug. BE CAREFUL, the recoil spring plug is under pressure from the recoil spring, so if you do not keep it pressed when twisting the bushing, it can fly away (I learned that the hard way!).
Remove the recoil spring plug and the recoil spring. Cock the pistol’s hammer to the full-cock position (NEVER EVER cock the hammer to the half-cock position. It is an unsafe condition and should be avoided at all cost). Now pull the slide to the rear, until the slide release lever end is aligned with the small circular notch, on the left side of the slide.
Push the axis of the slide release lever from the right side of the gun, towards the left side. The slide release lever will pop out. Pull it completely off the frame of the gun.
Hold the gun upside down and push the slide forward and remove it from the frame. You can remove the recoil spring guide now.
Facing the muzzle of the barrel again, twist the barrel bushing anticlockwise and pull it out. Move the barrel link forward towards the muzzle and remove the barrel from the front opening of the slide.
This completes the every-day field stripping procedure. It is normally not recommended to proceed any further, unless you are sure of what you are doing, in which case you wouldn’t be reading this anyway, but let’s go on.
We shall continue, by removing whatever is left on the slide. If your gun has a Colt Series 80 safety, push the Firing Pin Lock Plunger up and using a punch push the Firing pin inwards. Release the Firing Pin Lock Plunger so that it keeps the Firing Pin inside its opening. If your gun does not have a Firing Pin Locking mechanism, simply push the firing pin inside its opening, using a punch (or other pointing tool).
Using the punch, pull down the Firing Pin Stop and remove it. Cover the Firing Pin opening with your thumb, and press the Firing Pin Lock Plunger again, to release the Firing Pin. This action will allow the Firing Pin to move back against the pressure of the Firing Pin Spring. Remove the Firing Pin together with its Spring. Pushing the Firing Pin Lock Plunger inwards, pull the extractor slightly backwards. You must pull it enough, so that the Firing Pin Lock Plunger can be freely removed from the bottom of the slide.
Remove it and then remove the extractor completely.
This completes the stripping of the slide.
You are now ready to continue. Grasp the hammer with the fingers of your left hand and release the trigger, while holding the hammer. Do not simply release the trigger, allowing the hammer to fall forward. This practice can destroy your gun.
The next step will require that you remove the Mainspring Housing. To do so, use a punch and a hammer (or any relatively heavy object you can find, like a shoe) and punch the Mainspring Housing Pin out, towards the right side of the pistol. Be careful not to punch to forcefully and have the pin fly to the next room. The removal of the pin will be helped if you exercise a slight pressure at the bottom of the Mainspring Housing, towards the upper of the gun.
After removing the Mainspring Housing Pin, pull the Mainspring Housing down and remove it from the frame. I would not suggest that you disassemble the Mainspring Housing.
However, if you do want to do it, use a thin puch to push the Mainspring Cap Pin out, by pushing it from the outside of the Mainspring Housing to the inner side. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL, as the mainspring is under considerable tension and it can fly away, hitting you on the face.
After removing the pin, you can remove the Mainspring, its cap and the Mainspring Retainer.
Cock the hammer again and move the Safety Lock upwards, while in the same time pulling it out of the frame. NOTE that the Safety Lock cannot be removed with the hammer uncocked.
When you remove the Safety Lock, the Grip safety can also be removed.
You may now remove the 3-prong Sear Spring at the rear of the grip. To do that lift the hammer strut first.
Push the Hammer Pin from the right side of the gun, towards the left. This will allow you to remove the hammer. Simply push the pin out, do not punch it. BE CAREFUL as the removal of the Hammer Pin, will also allow the removal of the Upper Sear Lever (if your gun is a Series 80 one), so make sure you don’t drop it and loose it.
Before proceeding any further, take some time to familiarize yourself with the arrangement of the Lower Sear Lever and the Upper Sear Lever, which form the Colt Series 80 firing pin safety mechanism (if, of course your gun is so equipped). You may now remove the Sear Pin. Slowly push it out from the right side of the frame to the left.
When removed, the Lower Sear Lever (for Series 80 guns), the Sear and the Disconnector can be removed. Turn the pistol upside down and let the parts drop into your palm.
Using one of the prongs of the Sear Spring you can unscrew the Magazine Catch Assembly. To do so, push the Mag Catch Assembly in, as if you were releasing a magazine, while in the same time unscrewing the small screw on the right side of the Magazine Release Assembly. Push the Assembly to the right side of the gun and remove it.
Push the Trigger to the rear and remove it from the rear of the gun.
Slowly pull the Safety Lock Plunger, the Plunger Spring and the Slide Release Plunger off the Plunger tube.
Finally, find a screwdriver, which exactly matches the slots of the stock screws on your gun and unscrew the four stock screws. It is important that the screwdriver is of the proper size, as if it is not, it might slip and you could end up with scratched screws. Sometimes, when you remove the stock screws, a stock screw burshing might get unscrewed, instead of the screw. In that case, get a pair of plyers, hold the bushing with them tight and unscrew the stock screw from the bushing.
That completes the disassembly of the pistol. The ejector and the plunger tube should not be normally removed from the frame. If you do want them removed, use a small punch to push out the corresponding pin, which holds them in place. The pin is located in the slide rails, right under the ejector. Push it out and then lift the ejector. Now the plunger tube can be removed.
If you want to disassemble an M-1911 magazine, press the follower down, with a small stick (I usually use the full-length guide rod) and insert a pin (possibly the hammer strut) thru one of the magazine hole’s, in order to keep the mag spring down. Turn the mag upside down and shake it until the follower falls off. Remove the pin that holds the mag and remove it.
Not difficult, was it?
Reversing the above procedure, you can put the gun together.
Again a special thanks toJohn Caradimas of www.m1911.org for the pictures and information.
GUN SAFETY FOR GUN OWNERS
Safety is the most important issue regarding gun ownership, possession and use. A gun accident can happen in a fraction of a second, and may result in a tragic injury or death. Safe handling of guns can reduce gun accidents. Safe gun handling can be learned and incorporated into gun handling and shooting procedures. Gun safety rules must always be practiced, there is never an exception.
Adults who own a gun should learn and practice gun safety every time you handle a gun: in your home to store it, clean it, or put it into a case to take to the range, in a vehicle to transport a gun to the range or hunting area, and when shooting at a range or when hunting.
a. Learn gun safety rules
There are many rules for safe gun handling. Two very important gun safety rules are:
(1) Always control the direction of the muzzle and point it in a safe direction.
(2) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Always control the direction of the muzzle means that whenever you pick up, put down, shoot, clean, store, transport, or touch a gun in any way, make sure the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. A safe direction is any direction away from people and animals and away from any object you don’t want to shoot. At a range it is down range or towards the berm or backstop. At home it means away from walls, ceilings, or floors that are between you and other people. A safe direction always depends on where you are and where other people are. If you don’t know, or aren’t sure, where other people are, assume people will be in places that people normally are or might be. For example, if there is a building in sight, assume people are in it; if there is a wooded area, assume people are hiking in it. You need to check safe directions before handling a gun. The reason for this rule is, if the gun goes off accidentally it is less likely to hurt anyone if it is pointed in a safe direction.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot means just that. Don’t put your finger on the trigger, or even into the trigger guard, as you pick up a gun. Keep your finger out straight along the frame of the gun. When you are on the firing line at a shooting range, in your shooting stance and have the gun up pointed at the target, then you can put your finger on the trigger. If you aren’t ready to shoot a target at a shooting range or ready to shoot while hunting, you have no reason to have your finger on the trigger. The reason for this rule is, if you don’t have your finger on the trigger, the gun is not likely to go off accidentally.
There are many other rules for safe gun handling and they can be found in hunter safety, gun and shooting books and pamphlets. They are all important and should be followed. The range where you practice will also have some of its own safety rules. You must read and observe all of these. Gun safety saves lives and accidental shootings. Gun safety is the responsibility of every person who owns, possesses or uses a gun.
Gun Safety Rules
These are not all the rules that should be followed to be safe with a gun. They are, however, many of the basic rules. Add to this list when you find new rules in other books and material. Keep incorporating into your safe gun handling practice new gun safety rules as you learn them.
Always control the direction of the muzzle, and keep it pointed in a safe direction away from any person, animal, thing or direction you don’t want to shoot.
Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Treat all gun as though they are loaded.
Keep the gun’s safety on until you are ready to shoot.
Keep guns unloaded when you aren’t using them.
Lock guns and ammunition away from children and careless adults.
Never point a gun at anything that you do not intend to shoot.
Never treat guns as toys.
Don’t use alcohol or drugs (including non-prescription drugs) when you are using a gun.
Never pull a gun toward you by the muzzle.
Range safety rules
Always keep the muzzle pointed down range.
Always wear eye and ear protection.
Obey all posted range rules.
Leave the action open when you put your gun down for any reason.
Don’t handle your gun or any of your equipment when the range is cold or when anyone is downrange changing targets.
If you need to clear a malfunction, turn your body, not your gun, so you can keep the muzzle downrange at all times.
Immediately follow all commands of the range officer.
Avoid talking on the firing line, so everyone can hear the range officer.
Carry guns to and from the range in a carrying case.
Only take ammunition for the gun you are using.
Know how to safely decock your gun.
Practice with an experienced and knowledgeable shooter for safety and coaching.
Never step or reach in front of the firing line to pick up your empty cases if the line is hot (people are still shooting).
Make sure the barrel and action of your gun are clean and free from any obstructions.
b. Read the gun’s manual
New guns come with a manual. Thoroughly read the manual for each gun you own or are going to shoot. They contain safety information about the particular gun you have. There usually is some information about the safety features and mechanisms on the particular gun the manual is describing. Pay particular attention to this because some models have special safety features that you will need to know about. Knowing, and using, the safety features of the gun you have is as important as the general safety rules.
c. Take courses
Take as many shooting courses as you can. Each course you take will reinforce the general safety rules and will give you an opportunity to practice them under supervision. Courses will also let you practice different shooting techniques and styles and let you see how the safety rules are integrated into each. The more you shoot, the safer you should become.
Consider taking a hunter safety class, even if you aren’t a hunter. These classes generally provide good information about gun safety, gun handling, gun laws and how guns work. In addition you will likely learn interesting things about the environment, ecology, wildlife and other topics.
Practice shooting whenever you can. The more you handle your gun, load and unload it, and shoot it, the more comfortable you will be with it and the safer you will become. If you leave your gun in a case from one year to the next, you won’t be familiar with it and its safety devices the next time you take it out of the case. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about handling the gun, you won’t be as safe with it. If it has been a long time since you handled your gun, take it in its case to a course or gun club and get some more instruction and help with handling it.
e. Join a gun club
Gun clubs generally stress safety. They are a great place for you to practice shooting in a safe place with people who appreciate your gun-safety attitude. Before you join a gun club attend one or more meetings, visit their gun range and notice how they practice and enforce gun safety and talk to members of the club to learn their attitudes about gun safety. If the club practices good gun safety, join it.
Joining a gun club can give you the opportunity to make shooting a hobby, let you meet other people with a common interest and can lead you to opportunities for competition if you like to compete.
f. Teach your family gun safety
Teach gun safety to everyone living in your home. The rules will be different for other adults who may use the gun from time to time and for children, who should never handle a gun without adult training and supervision.
Teach your children gun safety rules and that they should never handle a gun, no matter where or when they see one, but they should always tell a trusted adult about seeing a gun. Talk to your children about the dangers of guns and how they can be safe.
Gun Safety Rules
Gun safety can prevent gun accidents. Learning and always following gun safety rules will make everyone safer—gun owners, shooters, hunters, collectors, and the adult and child friends, family, and neighbors of gun owners.
These are basis gun safety rules. There are no magic three or ten or any number of gun safety rules. Everything you can do that contributes to gun safety is as important as any other gun safety rule. Practicing gun safety will make it a part of the way you handle a gun every time you handle one.
Teach gun safety rules to children. The first rule for children is NEVER TOUCH A GUN. Teach children to never touch a gun and to tell a trusted adult any and every time they see a gun, or what they think might be a gun. Teaching gun safety to children can involve teaching them how to load, unload, and shoot a gun under the close supervision of a competent adult (of course, with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian)l.
Here are basic Gun Safety Rules:
Always keep the muzzle of a gun pointed in a safe direction.
Don’t touch the trigger until you have the gun pointed at a safe target and you are ready to fire.
Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
Use the safety, but never rely on it.
Never load a gun until you are in a safe place where you can use it.
Unload a gun immediately after you use it.
Only use ammunition which exactly matches the markings on your gun.
Always read a gun’s manual and follow the manual’s instructions exactly.
At a shooting range, always keep a gun pointed downrange.
Always obey a range officer’s commands immediately.
Always wear adequate eye and ear protection when shooting.
Be certain of your target and what is beyond it before you pull the trigger.
If a gun doesn’t shoot when you pull the trigger: keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and take your finger off the trigger; wait thirty seconds in case of a delayed firing; unload the gun carefully, hold up your free arm while facing down range to ask the range officer for help if you need it.
Keep the barrel and action clear of obstructions.
Store guns with the action open.
Store ammunition and guns separately out of reach of children and careless adults.
Never horseplay with a gun or use it as a toy.
Never handle a gun belonging to anyone else or before you have read the gun’s manual.
Practice operating a gun empty before you attempt to load and shoot it.
When you transport a gun in a vehicle, make sure it is unloaded and safely contained in a gun case.
Never lean a firearm where it may slip and fall.
Do not use alcohol or mood-altering drugs, including medication, when you are handling guns.
When loading or unloading a gun, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
When you are cleaning a gun, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
When unloading semi-automatic guns by removing the magazine a live round, ready to fire, may still be in the chamber. Always rack the slide after removing the magazine and look for an empty chamber.
If you need corrective lenses, always wearing them when handling a gun.
Know the effective range and the maximum range of a firearm and the ammunition you have.
When cleaning a gun, make sure it is unloaded and all ammunition is in a different room or in a closed container away from the cleaning area.
Clean firearms every time they have been used.
Teaching Young Children Gun Safety
This article sets out one way to teach gun safety rules to children. However, this is not the only way to teach gun safety rules. Every parent and adult knows his or her child’s abilities, propensities, personality, and characteristics that make this or any other learning technique suitable for each child. Each parent and adult who uses this article must interpret and apply the information to suit the training needs of his or her child and assume the responsibility for so doing.
Safety rules for children
Gun safety for young children should include the basic gun safety rules:
If you find a gun don’t touch it.
Go and tell an adult you trust that you found a gun.
These rules, if followed, can keep a child from picking up a gun, get them away from the gun (in case a playmate picks it up), and will alert an adult to the situation.
Rules for teaching children gun safety
Follow basic rules for teaching children gun safety:
NEVER USE REAL GUNS OR AMMUNITION AS TRAINING AIDS.
NEVER KEEP A REAL GUN IN YOUR HOME WHERE A CHILD MAY FIND IT.
DON’T LET THE CHILDREN PLAY WITH TOY GUNS.
DON’T TEACH A CHILD WHO IS NOT YOUR CHILD UNLESS YOU HAVE THE EXPRESS, WRITTEN CONSENT OF THAT CHILD’S PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN.
Teaching gun safety
Role playing can be used to teach gun safety rules to children. Here is one way to do this.
1. Cut out photos of guns from magazines to use as props. If you don’t have gun magazines in your home, ask a friend for an old issue or buy a gun magazine at the news stand. (It’s a small investment to help keep your child safe.) Choose photos of different looking handguns that are approximately the size of real guns. Cut around the outline of the gun removing the background from the photo.
2. Set a time to talk to your child about guns and gun safety. If you are a gun owner: Explain your views on guns (you are a hunter and enjoy a sport that provides food for the family, you have a gun for protection, you have a gun as a tool required for your law enforcement job, you are a gun collector, gun dealer, or gunsmith, or whatever). Also explain that other people have different views about guns and that some people don’t like guns and feel they are bad things.
If you don’t own a gun: Explain why you don’t have a gun in your home (you don’t like guns and think they are dangerous items, you don’t think guns should be in homes with children, or what ever your reason is). Also explain that other people have different views about guns than you have and that they may have guns for some lawful reason (even if you don’t agree with it) and that your child may be in a friend’s home where the parents do own guns.
Explain that guns are not toys and that they can cause very serious injury and can kill people and that children should never touch or play with guns. (Each parent must decide if they want their child to learn how to shoot a BB gun or air gun under appropriate training and supervision, but this is a different topic.) Explain that gun accidents can happen very quickly and easily.
Explain that what they see on television isn’t real and that violence isn’t glamorous or fun.
Ask your child what he or she knows about guns. If your child has questions about guns, that you can’t answer, find a hunter safety class or gun safety class that is appropriate for the age of your child and attend it together, even if you don’t own guns the more you know about them the safer you and your child can be if you encounter a gun at a friend’s home.
3. Explain the gun safety rules to your child. Get your child to repeat the rule back to you. Ask if he or she has any questions about the rule.
Prepare ahead of time how you will address issues such as:
Will your child get into trouble for “snooping” in your home or that of a friend or neighbor? Will this fear prevent your child from reporting finding a gun? Will you punish your child for snooping or reward him or her for reporting finding a gun?
If your child is at a friend’s home and find a gun, should your child tell his or her friend’s parents or come home and tell you?
If your child finds a gun outside, on the street, in a park, or any place at all, should your child tell you, a teacher, a police officer, or someone else? What situations will help your child make the decision who to go to and tell about finding the gun?
If your child is with friends who want to play with a gun, how can your child leave and tell on their friends without being viewed as a tattle-tale or afraid?
If your child can’t find an adult, or an adult they trust, what should she or he do?
4. Set a time to role play. Show your child the photos of the guns you cut from the magazine. Don’t let the child hold the photos, treat the photos like guns, keeping them pointed away from yourself and the child. Explain that you are going to put these “guns” in places that people may keep guns and when the child sees one, he or she must not touch it and immediately come and tell you or another adult in your home.
For young children you can start the practice by putting the “gun” in an obvious place in the room you are in and let them practice seeing it and coming to tell you. Then place it in a different room and let them go and discover it and come and tell you. Make sure the child never touches the gun. You can do this by having him or her say aloud “Don’t touch” when they see the gun. Repeat the role play two or three times a day, a couple days a week, for a month or so. Repeat it every few weeks for a few more months. Then monthly thereafter.
If your child picks up the gun during the game, immediately, calmly say “Stop, gently put the gun on the floor, come here to me.” Then talk about the danger of touching guns and repeat the gun safety rule. Have your child repeat the rule and answer any questions about the rule. Do the role play again.
When you think your child has learned the safety rule, put the gun photo in a place the child will likely come across it at a time when you haven’t set up a role playing session. If your child comes and tells you he or she found a gun, congratulate him or her. If he or she comes to you carrying the gun, you need to start over from the guns-are-dangerous lesson.
You can use toy guns instead of cut-out magazine photos of guns. If you do this, whenever you handle the gun you must follow basic gun safety rules of:
Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction when you pick up, hold, and set down the gun.
Keep your finger off the trigger.
Treat it like a real gun.
Store it in a safe place when it isn’t being used for learning the gun safety rules.
Never let your child play with the gun as a toy.
Your child will see how you handle the gun. If you are careless and let the muzzle hang down and point at your leg as you walk, put your finger on the trigger, point it at the dog and say “bang,” or some other un-safe behavior, that is what your child will learn.
Robert Ruark knew what he was talking about when wrote the seminal piece on big-game hunting in Africa, Use Enough Gun. Sure, you can kill tough game with light rounds, but if you want to consistently be successful in difficult situations, you need to use enough gun in order to get the job done.
While late season birdhunting in pheasant country isn’t the same as stalking the plains of Tanzania, it is a demanding business. Roosters are well educated and aren’t going to wait around to see if quartering dogs and approaching humans are out for stroll, they are going to run and break long. These birds are up early and rarely relax on the roost 30 minutes after sunrise unless the weather is foul. And by foul, I mean bone chilling cold with snow piled around them . I know this, but for some reason I thought I would be clever on my January 16th outing and carry a 20 gauge. The allure of carrying a gun that is light, some decent shooting during the season on my part and the fact that we were heading into country where we were more likely to see quail than pheasant convinced me that I could get by without my trusty SKB 12 gauge. That decision might have also been influenced by 2 days of heavy labor digging out a terrace for a new dog kennel . Sore shoulders can certainly sing a siren song.
Whatever my motivations might have been, the decision was made and I headed out early with 2 griffs and a great birdhunting partner. As we approached the area we were going to push first, a covey of quail scurried across the ditch. I patted myself on the back for having the foresight to save my sore arms the trouble of carrying the 12 gauge.
We started in a CRP field bordering a cut corn field. Definitely a promising spot for birds. The dogs went to work, but it was obvious early on that they were on a pheasant. They moved quickly and pushed hard through a patch of sunflower that had to be 10 feet tall. No covey on the planet moves like a rooster looking to see what is happening on the other side of the county. My partner and I kept pace and as we approached the end of the field a big gaudy ditch chicken broke out past the 40 yard mark. It is amazing how such a big bird can blast out of heavy cover and move when he has a reason. Needless to say, this crossing shot was not to be had. By the time I gathered myself for the shot, he was moving at top speed and 50 yards away. Undergunned for that one. With that defeat under our belts, Matt and I headed to the next field.
The next field was considerable larger and we worked the edges where the CRP met the corn. While the dogs covered ground and indicated that birds had been there, nothing was seen. As we came to the end of the field we made the determination that this place was vacated. This was public land and there was every reason to believe that we were too late. Well, you know what they say about assumptions. With no birds and no birdy dogs, I decided to add to the soil’s moisture profile. About the time I was ready to commence relief, my partner’s shotgun barked and a lone quail sailed onto the bordering private ground. Quickly I collected myself and walked over to him. “Did you see any others?” I asked.
“Nope,” he responded. We stood there a few minutes scratching our heads. I call the dogs over but they didn’t really hit on anything. Now the wind was against us and it was a dry morning, so I’ll give them a pass. But as I stepped into the brush and resumed my efforts at irrigation, that lone quail’s covey mates boiled up around me just when I was really getting going. Guess I need to be more careful where I aim that thing.
With the shotgun broken over my shoulder and the fact that I was a bit exposed, my chance at a shot was handicapped to say the least. Missed again and this time my red face had less to do with my shooting than it did with my particular position for the shot. We moved on to the next field. These birds had been traumatized enough.
The following spot we hit was less promising, but there was a brushy creek weaving through corn, so it couldn’t be passed up. As we shuffled along, I noticed a little finger of cover weaving up an old waterway in the middle of the corn. Matt and I changed course and the dogs closed in on it. Immediately Sam locked up on the one spot of brush in this patch. BB came up behind him and locked up as well. Matt and I closed in quickly. As if out of a hunting show, we walked in on the point and a nice covey broke. This time everything worked out and I made a nice shot on a bobwhite. The covey headed for thick cover and we followed. We put up a few more, but they were in thick enough stuff that neither of us a shot.
My lone quail, with Sam and BB
The day progressed and after a late lunch, we hit one last field where we had a score to settle with a particularly wily rooster. This 80 acre piece was all CRP, with brush along the borders. We worked the entire piece and had some nice dog work on a hen. As we approached the last clump of plum brush, the dogs put up another hen. After Matt and I watched her sail away, we took about 4 more steps….now you know what happened next. Our wily adversary broke cover at 50 yards flying faster than any bird should naturally move. Undergunned again. I might have had a chance with a fast moving 1 ¼ ounce load of 4’s out of an improved modified choke, but my fateful decision at the beginning of this trip sealed my fate.
What did I learn from this trip? Always trust the advice Robert Ruark when it comes to hunting tough game and don’t take a leak in the spot where a lone quail flushes.