Project ChildSafe is a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation to promote firearm safety and education. We are committed to promoting genuine firearm safety through the distribution of safety education messages and free firearm safety kits to communities across the U.S.
Safety is a habit.
Every day we make a series of choices that make up our personal safety routine. Firearm safety is no different. Safety securing your firearms when not in use is the #1 way to prevent accidents.
You are only as good as your equipment—this is gun ownership 101. Not only do you need to know how to handle it safely, you must also keep it maintained and cleaned thoroughly and often. 90 percent of the time, a dirty gun is the cause of a mechanical malfunction. In many cases, it is because of improper cleaning.
An unclean gun is an unsafe one—it’s as simple as that.
Powder residue and dirt build up in the barrel of the gun every time you fire off a round. So cleaning your gun after every use is important as it can affect the accuracy and reliability of your shot. Crud can build up in the breech of the chamber and the chamber itself and the longer you put off any maintenance, the more likely your gun will malfunction. It can prevent the cartridge to fully load and may cause light firing on the pin strike or even a misfire. This buildup can cause movement between two surfaces that are suppose to be stable, which could cause critical errors in your long-range shot.
Many guns are easy to clean, yet many are not, thus it is never a bad idea to bring your gun to a professional gunsmith to have it cleaned if needed. If you want to learn on your own, take a hunter education course or join a shooting range club. These clubs and classes can provide you with assistance from experts and seasoned members.
Areas that are crucial to keep clean are the crown, locking lugs and recesses, bolt face and the barreled action or stock contact. The crown is vital, as any buildup or dirt on the muzzle of your gun throws off your accuracy and your shot. Buildup behind your locking lugs or recesses during ignition will weaken a stable lockup, which again will affect your accuracy. The same goes for your bolt face and barrel action and stock.
Step 1: The first step in cleaning your gun is making sure it is unloaded. Open the action to be sure it’s unloaded. Thoroughly reading through your owner’s manual is a good idea, as well. Next, remove the clips or magazines and take out the bolt (if it’s a rifle), or lock open the action of your shotgun, pistol or semi-auto rifle. Once that’s done, use solvent for brushing the bolt, then clean and dry it off. Be sure to brush the extractor and ejector, too.
Step 2: Using a cleaning rod with a bronze brush soaked in a cleaning solvent, work from the breech or chamber end and brush down the barrel and out the muzzle until it is clean. Let it dry for 15 minutes to let the solvent dissolve and soften the bullet jacket material, powder fowling and lead. After 15 minutes, run the bronze brush soaked with solvent down the barrel again, repeating several times until the gunk in the barrel is loosened. Once this is complete, take a cloth patch down the bore to clean up any remaining carbon out of the muzzle.
One bit of caution, however, is to not pull the patch back out. Instead, take it off the road and put a clean one on and then pull the road back out of the chamber end. Run the brush through at least 25 times.
Step 3: The next step is running a few solvent soaked patches down the barrel and out the muzzle end. Be sure to replace with a clean patch, pull back up and replace the patch again each time. If the patches are still really black, keep cleaning. If it continues, the barrel may need to be soaked and dried again.
Step 4: Coat your barrel and bolt with a bit of rust prevention oil. With a clean, soft cotton cloth, dabbed with oil, wipe down all the metal surfaces of your gun, making sure not to over-oil it. Wearing cotton gloves can prevent any fingerprints from getting on the surfaces while oiling your gun down.
Step 5: The final step is an important one. After cleaning be sure to store your firearms in a safe place. Always use a gun case or safe to store your weapons.
It’s a fact: 82% of the people who have a treestand accident are not wearing a harness or any form of fall arrest. With that in mind, the solution seems pretty simple, right?
Why don’t hunters using elevated stands wear a harness? Every manufactured treestand since 2004 has been sold with a full body harness … and who hasn’t purchased a new stand since then? There are more that a million sold every year!
The truth is, most elevated stand users – hunters like you and me – think an accident just won’t happen to them. They are willing to play roulette with their lives. Treestand accidents (unlike firearm-related accidents) are not required to be reported to any clearinghouse or Federal or State entity. So who knows the actual statistics? No one! And if we did know, what would the magic number be to make you wear your harness … 10%, 25%, 50%?
At what percentage would you say, “Whoa…I better wear that harness because everyone is falling?” The point is, ANY number is too high when it comes to human life. And that doesn’t take into account the negative impact to hunting when accidents are mentioned in the news. Especially when we know how to prevent the largest percentage of these accidents. Now, let’s concentrate on that statistic.
Wearing a harness won’t by itself keep you safe, but it certainly is one of the most important steps you can take along the way. Here are a few additional strategies:
– Stay attached to the tree from the time you leave the ground until you get back down. This may involve changing how you currently ascend and descend a tree. But I can tell you, once you use this technique you will feel so safe, you won’t ever hunt from an elevated stand without doing it.
– Your harness probably came with a lineman’s belt. If it didn’t, you need to purchase one. A lineman’s belt helps you maintain three points of contact when you are hanging a stand and when you are ascending or descending your stand. Also, there is a technique with the lineman’s belt that allows you to be doubly attached when getting into and out of your stand (which is when a significant number of accidents occur each year). You can also use your lineman’s belt as a suspension trauma relief strap if you do happen to fall. Handy, yet simple gizmo that once you use it, you will wonder how you ever hunted without it. Who knows, you might also need it to help you drag that deer out of the woods!
– When you are out setting stands, do yourself a favor by selecting a couple sites for ground blinds. There are times you just don’t need to be climbing, like frosty mornings, days when there is a sheet of ice on everything, mornings when you are exceedingly tired or maybe times when you are groggy from medication. By already having a ground blind set up or at least a spot in mind, you are giving yourself permission to not climb that tree when you really shouldn’t be.
In bowhunter education one of our lessons is to “plan for the hunt and hunt with a plan.” That doesn’t just mean arranging the plane ticket or making sure you have the right camo! That also means you have to plan to be safe; safety isn’t an accident.
Let someone know where you are going, what time to expect your return, take along emergency notification devices (cell phone, PLB, radios) in case you encounter have a problem. Plan a “practice” day with your buddies where you get out the type of stands you will be hunting from. With assistance close by, practice at ground level all the techniques you will be using in the woods including putting on that harness! This way there won’t be any surprises when you are 12 feet in the air not wearing your harness or you discover the top and bottom of your climber isn’t attached to one another!
Being an elevated stand accident statistic is not cool. All accidents reflect poorly on our sport as well as on your better judgment. Do yourself, your sport and your buddies a favor this year: Hunt Smart and Hunt Safe.
This article was provided by Marilyn Bentz, executive director of the National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF).
You’ve probably seen lots of videos about guns – but never one like this:
A gun safety advocacy group is using sex toys to start a conversation around gun safety and responsibility.
An ad released Thursday titled “Playthings” shows two young boys running around, playing with large, brightly colored dildos as if they’re swords.
“If they find it, they’ll play with it,” the narrator says, “so always lock up your guns.”
The ad’s creator is a group called Evolve, which promotes gun safety but doesn’t take a side in the gun control debate. Co-founder Rebecca Bond said, “We don’t think that safety’s a side. Safety in the gun category should be inspiring, people should be inspired to make good choices, and safety should be cool.”
While the video may promote gun safety in an extremely unconventional way, it’s lighthearted and memorable and gets the point across: Kids are going to grab anything that’s within their reach. As responsible gun owners, it’s up to us to make sure that a firearm isn’t one of those things.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — Demand for the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) safety and education materials skyrocketed in 2013, with more than 3.6 million safety literature items and safety DVDs being ordered, an increase of 47 percent compared to 2012.
Orders for NSSF’s popular educational brochure “Firearms Safety Depends on You” reached 2 million in 2013, while orders for another popular NSSF brochure, “Firearms Responsibility in the Home,” reached more than 1.3 million.
NSSF provides a number of educational materials that help gun owners and non-owners make informed decisions when it comes to firearms safety.
The safety brochures “Firearms Safety Depends on YouSM,” “Firearms Responsibility in the HomeSM,” “A Parents Guide to Recreational Shooting For YoungstersSM” and the Project ChildSafe® safety booklet. View the brochures at nssf.org/safety and projectchildsafe.org. Spanish-language versions are available online.
NSSF’s Firearm Safety DVD offers these four videos — “McGruff the Crime Dog on Gun Safety” for students in kindergarten through grade 6; “It’s Your Call: Playing It Safe Around GunsSM” for students in grades 6 through 9; “Firearms Safety Depends on YouSM,” which covers the ten commandments of gun safety and is for audiences of all ages; and “Introduction to Range Safety and Etiquette.” The first two titles help teach students how to respond if they should encounter a firearm in an unsupervised situation at school, at home or at a friend’s home. Any educator can request the Firearm Safety DVD free of charge by visiting nssf.org/safety/video.
Through its Project ChildSafe program, NSSF provides firearm safety kits that include a gun locking device and safety education brochure available free of charge to gun owners through law enforcement departments. Check projectchildsafe.org to see if your local law enforcement agency is a Project ChildSafe partner. Only law enforcement departments can request shipments of the safety kits.