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June 11, 2008

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Why Die When You Can Leave?

Two years ago, just after our beloved Vice President shot a fellow quail hunter in the face, I found myself explaining to a couple of non-hunting friends just how such a thing could occur. Quail hunting, I said, is a sport in which things happen very quickly and often don't go the way you expect. I told them that quail often fly toward you, or between shooters, or that dogs jump at the birds, and that all things considered, in 40 years of hunting quail, I'd probably held off firing as many times as I'd shot.

I've also walked off hunts and away from shoots where I thought the participants might blow my head off. Many years ago, at a shoot put on for gun writers by what was then a major firearms maker, the genius running the affair put a brand-new shooter in the number one spot on a trap squad with four very experienced shooters. I was in the number two spot. A fast trap squad can unhinge some people, and it unhinged this guy. He put a shot into the ground right in front of me; a foot closer and I would have had no foot.

I didn't yell at him but I did yell at some length at the guy who put him there and then I walked off the squad. I've also walked off a quail hunt in Texas, and off a whitetail drive on a cottonwood island in Montana, and off a nilgai hunt in Texas after the hunter behind me sent a rifle bullet past my head.

If you would like to see the kind of stuff you should walk away from, take a look at this video clip. Despite its intent, it ain't funny. These clowns could have shot themselves or someone else. I would not stay within a mile of morons like these.


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Steve Shaffer

Here, here. Good advice.

Steve Shaffer

oops, I meant "hear, hear." Don't want the language police to get me...

Mike Diehl

What's the deal with all those rifles flying out of peoples' arms?


The flying rifle is chambered in .577 Tyrannosaur and is apparently quite mighty. You can read about it at http://www.accuratereloading.com/577tyr.html . I personally wouldn't set one of those off unless I was hoping to get my wife arrested for spousal abuse.

Dan D.

I was hunting with a guy who "checked his safety", only it wasn't on. Needless to say, having a .30-06 pop off 5 ft behind you gets your attention. He was actually pretty shaken up about it and went back to camp for the day so I didn't say to much. Of the 8 guys I deer hunt with, only 2 of us handle guns on a regualr basis. I'm sure unfamiliarity and just plain ignorance account for most of the "accidental" discharges.

The guy with the pistol grip shotgun brought back memories for me. When I was in my ealry teens my father and I would hang around the local shooting range. One guy came out with blood all over his short and face....apparently he knocked out his 2 front teeth with a 12 ga.



thanks Dave! I laughed so loud my co-workers had to stop by to check things out, ...and these days any time you can get a good deep gut laugh out it is a blessing.
...and you wonder why the muslims prefer IED's

Dr. Ralph

Why do people let others shoot their guns without a few words to the wise? Most of these idiots were holding the gun off their shoulders in an attemp to reduce recoil which in fact just gives the rifle and scope a running start at your shoulder and face respectively... the lab coat/skirt/camel rapers are supposedly shooting a .577 T.Rex or .50 BMG so they can be excused.

When I was about 10 I decided I would not hunt with my 16 year old brother anymore because we hunted quail and at the covey rise he would unload five shots in every direction imaginable without a thought to anyone's safety. He also had a problem with keeping his muzzle pointed in a safe direction when not firing. My dad stopped hunting with my brother when he was 18 bacause he fired so near my father's face he could not hear for several days. Some people are just not able to accept the responsibility of loaded weapons.

I have made mistakes myself... I put a new stock on a rifle and it functioned perfectly in the house. The first time I drove two hours with it in the back of a truck at 20 something degrees I got out, loaded it and closed the bolt. BANG! Thank god I had it pointed straight in the ground or I would have killed my best friend who was beside me.


The pistols hit there heads! Funny! I cant believe the recoil was sobig that it flipped out of there arms. If the recoil is that big, why arent they using a bypod and/or lying down? some of these scare me. Glad Im nowere near those people.


An unrelated question if you do not mind. I have recently been given a box of ammo that in 25-06. I can not be certain of its storage history. When the rounds are shaken I can hear powder shifting what seems to be far too much. Safe to shoot or trash can fodder? Is this caused by heat, cold or just age. Thanks,

Jim in Mo

It was obvious some of those people were new to firearms and some ignoramous gave them far to powerful a gun for their personnal pleasure.
I witnessed an event that could have made this video. Was at the range and boyfriend hands his girl a 454 Casul and tells her its his new 357. Her arm spun backward a full 360 with muzzle crossing several bystanders. She was pissed and so were we.

Blue Ox

I would LOVE to try out that .577 Tyrannosaur.
Stuff like this is interesting to look at, and yea, I did laugh mightily at most of 'em. But then you gotta stop and think about someone getting badly hurt or dead from being careless.
Then it ain't so funny.

Ralph the Rifleman

I have a story to tell that happened to me a number of years ago, during the "put and take" Michigan bird season, while hunting with a couple of X-friends of mine.
I had gone trap shooting a number of times with these two guys before going hunting so I had no reason to not trust them to hunt safely. BIG MISTAKE.
While we were hunting thru a small patch of corn, I heard a bird flush but no shooting at it. When we stopped after the drive, I noticed them both engage the safety on their shotguns.I questioned what they were doing, and they both told me they don't carry the safety engaged, that's why they didn't get a shot off at the flushed bird!(They had set the safety and forgot to disengage it before walking into the field) I told them they were both accidents waiting to happen, called my dog into the truck, and that was the last time I hunted with those two idiots...that was over 28 years ago.

WA Mtnhunter


You didn't mention if they were handloads or factory fodder.

If they are handloads and old or from an unknown source, I would either pull the bullets and powder and reuse brass and bullets (snap the primers in a rifle before resizing) or dispose of them.

If they are clean factory loads, shoot them for target practice. Bring along a stiff cleaning rod to clear the bore if one doesn't go bang with gusto. JMHO


The most dramatic events I’ve seen have been slam fires upon the action closing in both rifles and shotguns. Fortunately every case I saw had the person in question handling the gun/rifle safely.

The most reckless and unsafe acts I see in the field are during overlapping bird and archery big game seasons here in NY. Unless it’s waterfowl or turkey hunting I see the lack of blaze orange on all other hunters has a hazard of the first order.

I had a situation with a young bowhunter while pheasant hunting that left me so shaken I went home for the day. I discovered I have very good shooting discipline and target ID, but it was close.... too close.

Jim in Mo

I agree with WAMH, if your sure its factory loads and not handloads. If your friend ever experimented with reloading pull the bullets and dispose.
Factory ammo has a long shelf life and will shoot fine. Your hearing the powder shake which is normal unless its a compressed load and factorys don't do that. Thats why some people handload.
I didn't respond earlier because you addressed this to Dave but I've heard he's in DC trying to console a dear friend who just lost an election.

Dr. Ralph

Oh you're a bad one Jim... I love it! Yeah Pete shake most factory rounds and it sounds like there is barely any powder in them. They are safe if they are factory loads. If they are hand loads and I were you I'd close my eyes and rapid fire them out of a semi-auto, but if I were me I'd toss them.


That video reminds me of when I went to see a friend in Silicon Valley who'd never shot a gun before. I asked if he wanted to go to a range and doing some shooting, and he said yes. I said, "Great! Let's spend an hour going over gun safety and how these guns operate." So we did, and he was perfectly safe. He turned out to be a pretty good shot, and now he and his girlfriend want to learn more about the sport.

I imagine this kind of thing happens all the time -- I'm sure many of you have helped get new people interested in shooting and showed them how to be safe. Unfortunately, you don't see many YouTube clips of the one-hour safety lesson. That's a shame, because I can just see videos like the one Dave linked being trotted out in congressional hearings for new gun regulations.


One of the stupidest things I seen was a couple of kids setting off .22LR shells with bricks. They would place the shells on concrete then heave a cinder block on top of them. It would make a loud bang, I think that was what alerted me to the kids.

Tom the Troll


Very cool but I like this one better:


At least two of those clips were fakes - the one with the guy falling and "accidentally" firing off the gun (he has several videos on YouTube involving "accidental" discharges that were faked; he apparently finds them funny, for some stupid reason), and the one with the kid "playing" with the 1911 and having it go off accidentally.

Most of the real incidents in there (aside from the "I'm the only one professional enough" clip) had one thing in common: the person who was handling the firearm either had little to no experience with the firearms in general, or they didn't have any experience with the particular firearm they were using.


Even quail hunting isn't worth dying for! Scary how stupid some people can be, not surprising, just scary.

Growing up in New Jersey and hunting public land we learned early to watch out for ourselves. Sometimes it meant getting in the car and driving to a different tract, other times just protecting our eyes when a barrage of shot from every direction chased an escaping pheasant into the next county.

New Jersey was among the first states to mandate blaze orange for just about all hunting. I believe it helped tremendously in raising awareness of where the next hunter was.


Sorry to hear you had to grow up in NJ too. But yeah, Hear a near shot and you automatically duck around there. Got rained on by bird shot many times, my bosses son had the bad luck, twice got hit in the cheek by a single piece of bird shot, one just passed thru and he just spit it out, the other had to be dug out by a Doc.

My 10 year old son HAD to try my 1911 at the range, (I don't have light loads for it either) I only put 1 round in it for safety and when he touched it off the gun came within a quarter of an inch of smacking him right between the eyes! He did hold onto it though! He's been happy with the 22's since then.


I probably could have been featured in this clip. This spring I decided to try my hand at turkey hunting, having been successful on 3 quail hunts and two seasons on skeet and trap shooting I felt very comfortable with my trusty 12ga. Imagine my surprise when I first touched off a 3 1/2 mag. turkey load?! All was very safe, but I was leaning against my tailgate in a partial stance with my rear end as an anchor, I ended up sitting on my tailgate, and judging by the uproarious laughter coming from my buddies must have given quite the sight. I was amazed at the down range power of the shot, at 40 yds the force of the shot knocked down a large wooded Politcal campaign sign we used to pin our sighting target, a second blast broke the darn thing!


What a great way to introduce new people to shooting sports!!! What idiots.

I agree with DR Ralph, this kind of thing should not happen. One bad experience and we have lost a possible future shooting sports enthusiast for life and who knows how many more they tell about their bad experience.

The other part of this is complacency, negligence discharges are due to just that negligence, and if you have ever seen one or but unfortunate enough to be negligent yourself you know what I mean.

And although I admit watching others in pain and Darwin's process at work, can be funny. In the end it can give shooters a bad name.

Just my .02



Mr. Smith

Most of these incidents are setups by IDIOTS who think it will be funny to have a friend, girl friend etc. get knocked on their @ss by some cannon. Other people are just careless or inattentive. The most upsetting where the police officers. Hopefully the training officer is pickup change from parking meters right now. The second officer almost took that "presumed innocent" fellow head off. Not to mention a very possible richochet? (spelling?) The .577 Trex must be a monster, although I've seen a few "real" men make it look easy...

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