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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Coming from the rock climbing community where every accident and incident is analysed thoroughly for lessons, I thought I'd share an experience I had yesterday at the club.

While shooting on the line, a shooter two spots to my left fired and I heard a very muffled report. I turned over to look at him when I noticed he broke open the shotgun. Being an NRA RSO the first thing going though my head was "wow...you should have waited 30 seconds for that!"

Next, I hear him say, "I just forgot to change out the old shell", removed the shell and reached for a new one. Immediately, the shooter to my immediate left who appears to be a very experienced shooter told him to check his barrels before he reload. Sure enough, a wad was stuck in the barrel.

All of this was so casual that I am still processing how this could have turned real ugly, real quick. Being new to trap shooting (not shooting in general), it was a reminder to always stay aware and in the moment.
 

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There are some people who have absolutely no business reloading. But mistakes happen, even in factory ammo. A lot of guys carry brass "wad knockers" for dislodging stuck wads in just such a situation. There is generally enough energy in a primer to push the wad and shot down the barrel far enough to get it stuck. There is even a rule in ATA shooting that when the wad doesn't clear the barrel it is considered a failure to fire (FTF) and the competitor is entitled to call for another bird.

If we think about it, opening the chamber probably isn't all that bad, especially in a break open gun. At that point there is no way to contain any pressure, so even if a round were to "cook off" there would be no pressure.

With all of that said, checking for a clear barrel during these incidents should be part of anyone's routine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks Avaldes. Learned something new.

We were just shooting practice, so he stepped away to clear the obstruction while we waited. No big deal.

But during competition, what is the procedure? Would you be allowed to step off the line? Do the others wait? Or is the wad knocker the required tool to do the job on the line. Time limit?

I'll download the ATA rule book and look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had also seen many ISSF shooters blow into their barrels. Thought it was annoying habit, but then read on here that they do it to have a clear sight down their barrel for obstructions. I now do this in my routine (yet don't always blow).
 

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Glad nobody was hurt, once I started seeing all the threads a while back about guns blowing up and everything else I started checking my barrel after every single shot. I used to blow in my barrel here and there but it has been a habit in my routine throughout this years league season. Stay safe boys and girls.
 

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Many clubs provide a dowel around the fence behind a field. During a shoot you just pause for a minute while the guy pokes the wad out of his barrel. I personally have never done it but those who do seem to be quite proficient at it :)

There are a few benefits to blowing out your barrel. Including enjoying the smell of burnt powder:)
 

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It is incumbent on all of us to make sure people are being safe, and that safe procedures are followed on the range.

It is difficult for new shooters, because they are reluctant to speak up.

But us old farts have (or SHOULD have) no problem telling people "Hey, stop, wait a minute!" and correcting poor safety. I've done it plenty of times.

The shooting sports are safe, and we need to keep it that way.

We especially need to make sure that our clubs stay open and we don't allow ourselves to be shut down over something that is RIGHT THERE in the club rules that we didn't enforce.

Safety glasses comes to mind.
 

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Rick, in ATA competition, you are most certainly allowed a moment to clear your barrel. Everyone knows it is a safety issue and nobody has any problem with taking a few moments to stop the proceedings and clear the barrel.

We can wait.
 
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If we think about it, opening the chamber probably isn't all that bad, especially in a break open gun. At that point there is no way to contain any pressure, so even if a round were to "cook off" there would be no pressure.
This is just not correct. The shotgun shell will "contain" the pressure and if there is a hangfire pressure can eject the shell forcefully enough to cause injury. In this instance, another shooter (the OP) heard "a very muffled report". This was the primer firing, but very little or no powder burn. So, here the risk of hangfire was minimal to non existant. But any time someone pulls the trigger and does not get the expected result, it is wise to wait a few seconds before opening the action and checking the shell's status and looking for a stuck wad in the barrel. -Ed
 

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Always put a rod down the barrel. I use to think this was over kill where I learned trap. BUT it was protocol and one time a reloader assured us it was clear. When the rod went down out popped a clear plastic wad. This occurred several times with different shooters.
 

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I used to blow thru the barrel. Then I took up revolver shooting and had a light shot during a match. I opened the cylinder and blew through the barrel to see if a bullet was stuck without thinking. The RO had a heart attack right there! I told him "it's OK, it's a trapshootin' thing"
 

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Always help out a new shooter. Sometimes you get the reply as they know everything. But sometimes its really nice to avert a incident.

DGH
 

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Checking my barrel and taking a close look at the shell is now a part of my pre shoot routine.
Can't be too safe.
Bill
 

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A small correction, ,, A stuck wad is not a FTF, it is considered a NO FIRE and you are allowed a re-shot, with no charge against you score.
 

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A "muffled report" means that the shell fired. What me and my mates generally call a light load or light report. So no problem in my mind with the shooter opening the gun.

Not checking for barrel obstruction after any kind of odd report is another story and indeed an issue. We all forget something at sometime. I would expect exactly what occurred, other shooters reminded the fellow to check his barrels.
 

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A small correction, ,, A stuck wad is not a FTF, it is considered a NO FIRE and you are allowed a re-shot, with no charge against you score.
SECTION VII, Paragraph C., 7 says,

"A soft load where the over powder wad or shot remain in the barrel shall be deemed a "Failure to Fire" and the "Failure to Fire Rules apply."
 

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I consider myself to be a fairly safety conscious shooter, but I did the same thing a couple of years ago.
I don't remember if I was tired or distracted or what but I came damn close to firing my gun with a wad in the barrel.
All I heard was a click when I pulled the trigger. I broke open the gun pulled out the spent shell thinking.... Huh, must not have put in a live one after the last shot.
Just as I was going to put in a live shell my buddy on the next station said "you're not really going to do that are you?"
Apparently there was a small bang but for some reason I didn't hear it.
Embarrassed is better than injured I guess.
Bill
 

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This thread has described soft load several times where there is not enough powder and the wad gets stuck in the barrel and must be cleared. I have been shooting for many years and never had a hang-fire where there was a delay in the shell going off because of primer detonation. This year I had a couple of hang-fires in one Event because of my Release trigger not going off but just hanging there. I didn't know what the problem was and I am in the habit of opening the gun to unset the release trigger like when there is a broken target. This time the gun fired while I was attempting to open it and the shot went into the dirt. I changed guns and later found out that I need a little grease on the release trigger hook to prevent hang-fire but it still is a scary thing and the muzzle must always be pointed in a safe direction down range.
 

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A few years ago I was watching a squad of shooters at league. A young lady shooting factory shells & saving her empties had the shell separate & she had only the brass in her hand.......she looked confused but was preparing to load for her next turn when we stopped her. The plastic had been driven into the bore of the gun about half way to the muzzle........looking down the barrel you could barely see it & attempts to drive it out failed....it was stuck that hard. It later had to be removed by a gunsmith.

Had she not been saving her empties & just ejected what was left of the hull no one including the shooter would have noticed & the next shot could have been disaster.

Since that time I have caught all my hulls & put them in my hull bag even if I don't want to keep them & just chuck them after I'm done.
 
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