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 Post subject: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:08 am
Posts: 28
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
This is not a complaint, just an interesting difference!

During my last guided walk, a trip out of Letaba, I noticed that both guides were much more casual about "muzzle sweeping" the guests that I would expect. Rifles were carried horizontally across the torso, so that when they turned to check on something the barrel would track across everyone in the line. When she stopped to talk about something the head guide would place the butt of her rifle between her feet and tilt the barrel out with her hands over the end. This also had the effect of pointing the barrel at the head of whoever stood in front of her.

I do not think this is a safety issue, I would have spoken up or made a complaint if I did. In America it is very bad etiquette to ever allow your firearm to point at anyone. When I am at a shooting range firearms point straight up or straight at the targets. If you set a pistol down pointing at someone next to you it would be common for them to comment on it. Of course, in the bush it may not be safe to keep a rifle slung on your back, but there are safe carries that also keep the rifle ready for use.

Is what I noticed common, or is that unusual in your country as well? I'm not saying that it is wrong. After all, Africa is no place for sissies, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:32 pm 
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Winnidpu, the worn old cliche "Africa is no place for sissies" is irrelevant here. Having a weapon pointing at someone is just simply wrong and you should have complained at the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:05 pm 
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Hi winnydpu

Fire arm safety is of utmost importance and should be taken extremely seriously.

Some guides do become overly relaxed and should sharpen up on basic rifle management. A part of this is actualy to inform the guests on what the situation is regarding the rifle, so as to set everyone at rest. But it is also important that the guide should avoid pointing the rifle at guests. That is not good practice.

Having said that, it is important to point out the basic situation during such a walk. A rifle may not be loaded with a bullet in the chaimber of the rifle. The bullets are loaded in the magazine, but not in the chaimber. This means that no accidental shot can be fired, as the bullet must first be chaimbered before the shot can be fired.

The way a rifle is carried during a walk is actually very important. Many guides have bad carrying styles. This is because many of our guides learned their rifle skills not from proper guide trainers but by hunting or from watching other people. I have seen horrific styles, with some guides throwing the rifle over the one shoulder and grabing it by the barrel, or even hanging it over both shoulders.

The safest and most effective way of carrying a rifle, which completely avoids any barrel pointing at guests, is actually carrying it with a sling over the left shoulder (if right handed) pointing down. This also offers the fastest and simplest way to get the rifle on target.

If any guest feel unsafe in such a situation, they should approach the guide and make him / her aware of the concerns.

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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:07 pm 
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Very well spoken. I hope the guides see this and start doing this.


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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:42 pm 
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Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Imberbe wrote:

The safest and most effective way of carrying a rifle, which completely avoids any barrel pointing at guests, is actually carrying it with a sling over the left shoulder (if right handed) pointing down. This also offers the fastest and simplest way to get the rifle on target.


I completely agree with this, and in a previous walk the guides carried with the rifle slung. The guides I referred to did not have a round chambered, which is why my question was one of courtesy and "how do you things in your country?", rather than a safety issue. I would have spoken up otherwise.


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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:24 am 
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One should NEVER become casual about using a firearm.

No matter where the ammunition is loaded.

The principle of NEVER point a firearm at a body unless you want to shoot that body should always apply.

This type of carelessness has resulted in many "accidental" deaths or injuries.

I have been on a few trails in the KNP and have NEVER seen poor firearm discipline.

Just maybe the VHRs should bring this matter to the attention of the walks authorities and see to it that it is immediately addressed and give us a report back.

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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:40 am 
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Nothing wrong in this:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:44 am 
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What Imberbe and gmlsmit have said is absolutely true. I am also a hunter and before you go on a hunt, the guide/owner of the place informs everybody how to handle a rifle in a safe way. I have experienced a situation where a hunter thought he knew better and put a round in the chamber without even putting the safety catch on. He was ordered to leave the hunting area immediately.

Before the Klaserie area became part of the bigger Kruger area, we used to hunt there. A guy came back from a hunt, entered the bungalow and threw his .458 on the bed. The trigger caught a piece if the bedding and a shot went off, making a big hole in the wall. Needless to say, he was sent packing there and then.

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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:54 am 
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On me recent walk the guides carried their rifles as per example in glmsmits photo :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:18 am 
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Don`t want to labour the point, but Gerhard, the way the guide is carrying the rifle in the photo is not right. He will have a problem should he need that rifle quickly. I agree with Imberbe. Perhaps basic rifle management should be sharpened up.


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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:32 am 
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Oryx I agree with you, it is not ideal but often one has to change positions, ones shoulder gets tired and sore, sometimes even the "hoogvoor" has to change.

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No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:37 am 
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I have learned to carry my rifle in such a way that it points to the ground about a metre at most in front of my feet at all times. It is easily swung into position, and the way I carry it also means I can use both hands if need be to explain something too. Other guides have noticed my method and try to copy me!

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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:38 am 
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EJ is a pretty small person, so if she can manage, so can others.

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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:20 pm 
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A few comments, as a firing guide and with other related experience:

As stated above, when not in use - a rifle should be carried with a shoulder strap over the left shoulder (for right handed), either in front with the Barrel pointing straight down or on the back with the barrel pointing straight up, with the safety on - that way both hands are free and no one is in the line of fire at any time.

when in use the rifle should be carried with the shoulder strap (to avoid losing it upon a fall or following an attack) but now both hand should be on the rifle - with no target in sight the barrel should point front wise and down (with the shooting finger out of the trigger chamber) when all other persons are in line with a rifle holder or behind it - that way when a target is visible one can point the rifle in a matter of a fraction of a second toward the target and shot only if necessary.

One other very important thing - a rifle should always be assumed to be loaded (no matter what!!!!!!) and it is forbidden to point the barrel (even of an empty rifle!!!) to any living thing (man or animal). that is to avoid any possible accident - even if the rifle is empty, even if the magazine is out and even if there are no bullets in miles!!!.

BTW - the man in the pic above is holding the rifle wrong - you do not want any one holding the rifle like this to turn around and face you with the barrel in your face - no matter what!!! the fact that the rifle is heavy is right but not right enough to hold the rifle wrong.

stay safe!!

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 Post subject: Re: Firearm control during guided walks
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:32 pm 
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Rifle safety on walks and trails is of utmost importance.
I would not feel comfortable challenging a guide or ranger on his technique.
I expect him/her to adhere to all safety rules re firearms.
I think we need some reassurance with regard to training of those handling rifles and their competency.


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