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Chamber Empty or Loaded

Blue Rope

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Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
42
I recently had a discussion with a co-worker that got me curious about this subject. How many of you carry your rifle without a round in the chamber when you're hunting? I've noticed a couple of "professional" hunters (the Meateater crew) doing it, and my co-worker said today that he does the same and taught his kids to do it. He has no formal weapons training, while I've had extensive training in fighting with firearms and obviously in that application, an empty chamber is a recipe for disaster. I assume the difference in background has something to do with it, but I was just curious what the general opinion was on the topic?
 

WestKyHunt

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2020
Messages
624
Location
COS
It is completely situational for me.
If I am walking great distance to get into a place, chamber is empty. If I'm sitting a stand I chamber a round once I'm settled in. If I'm still hunting with my lever action I am chambered with hammer up.
 

np307

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Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
623
Location
North Carolina
Depends a lot on the situation. Deer hunting game lands around here, definitely have one in the chamber. Wouldn't have killed the nice buck I did this past year if I didn't. Out west, usually I'm going to be in a position where I have a chance to chamber a round without blowing an opportunity.
 

Bullshot

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Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
635
Location
Two days into the rising sun
In chamber, safety on. Mostly I am
still hunting or on stand. Rarely glassing or with a long view, especially around here. If there is an overt risk of a fall like a steep rockface, stream or log crossing, then often remove the round. Otherwise, I’m hunting and ready to shoot. I’ll bet there is hardly a hunter east of the Mississippi that would consider hunting with an empty chamber. Never knew an upland bird hunter, turkey hunter, small gamer, or waterfowler to hunt on an empty chamber either. Same for muzzleloaders - never saw anyone cap their rifle only as game approached. Open mountain / desert hunting with long range shooting predominantly from a rest is an environment it can make sense in though.

Last mule deer buck I shot in Idaho I jumped from its bed at about 40 yards while stillhunting, he paused just long enough to raise the rifle offhand, slip safety off, and was gone out of sight after the shot. There was no setting up, or getting a rest. It was that opportunity or no buck.

Last elk in Colorado was with muzzleloader, ran into around a bend on a game trail while stillhunting and raised gun, 1/4 second to @#)(# the hammer, pow! No cover between us, no time to do anything else.

edit…. we can’t say “@#)(#” the hammer on here? ugh

hen pheasant
@#)(# pheasant

shuttlecock

gamecocks

double ugh
 
Last edited:

mdunc8

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
3,546
Location
Not Virginia anymore!
I kept mine loaded growing up until my sling busted and my gun ended up on the ground pointed right at me. Now, I don’t chamber one until I’m ready to shoot. The exception is similar to what Oak mentioned about being in thick timber but I’ve got both hands on the gun when that’s happening.
 

Dakotakid

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Messages
502
Chamber empty until I can smell them.
My father carried his with chamber loaded but bolt up out of battery. Not sure why.
 

winmag

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
761
Location
Colorado
Rifle - empty chamber unless actively on a stalk or still hunting

Shotgun - loaded chamber, on safe

Muzzleloader - unloaded unless actively on a stalk

Handgun - loaded chamber, usually no safety but holstered
 

Spedray

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2018
Messages
48
Location
Bozeman, mt
Always unloaded. And everyone that wants to hunt with me unloaded too. We hike a lot of miles a day 10+ and you never know when the safety gets snagged on your pack and then later a branch gets in the trigger guard. I have been around twice when that has happened. Once was more than enough. We practice safe carry (don't point the gun anywhere it not supposed to be) and the barrels where pointed up at the time but No animal is worth taking that chance. I will say though that the rifles are usually not in our hands but strapped to our packs most of the time and it's harder to realize what position the safety is in. Out here in the West we typically have time to quickly chamber a round. I have never missed in opportunitiy because of it. I don't like to be rushed for a shot anyways and would much rather spot and stalk an animal from miles away with an intended target.
 

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