by Gun Club of America Member
In the 35 years I worked in power stations, it was pounded into our heads that “there’s no such thing as an accident, just failures to adhere to safety protocols “. I always took exception to that and thought of it as a way to always put the blame on the employees but never being the fault of the employer, or an equipment manufacturer. There’s always a scenario where an accident can occur. Always!
But in the case of firearms that is rarely, if ever the case. And ultimately it is YOU who is responsible for the condition of the firearm you are holding, no one else. But even taking all the right steps and being cautious, an A.D can occur.
Case in point. I am very fortunate to not have had an A.D in my nearly 45+ years being around firearms. But due to an incident nearly 25 years ago I doubled down on my efforts to always be gun safe and A.D free.
I had spent the day plinking with one of my favorite. 22’s, a Winchester 62 pump. I love this gun! She’s not really much to look at, but man can she shoot! An added bonus is that the 62 is a split receiver style of take down rifle. So after the days shooting of nearly 350 rounds, of various makes and styles, I cleared the action and brought her inside. I was visiting relatives in Virginia and as such was bunking in a spare bedroom. That evening I set up in the bedroom to clean the old 62. I did what I have done dozens of times before. Opened the action, checked the chamber and the magazine. Did the take down, cleaned the bore from the breach till my patches were clean. Ran a lightly oiled patch through the bore. Wiped her down inside and out. Then put her back together. Then I cycled the action half a dozen times alternating lowering the hammer with my thumb and dry firing.
Now ready to put her back in the gunny sack, I cycled the action open, preparing to then cycle it closed and dry fire one last time as I aimed at a picture on the wall. And as I was about to close the action I saw a glint of brass in the end of the mag tube! I lowered the rifle to look inside the action and was overcome with the most frightening cold chill and a weakness in my knees. I was looking at a CCI MINI MAG round that would have happily gone into the chamber and fired!
How the heck could that be? After the checks, the cleaning, the inspection, the cycling of the action, the dry firing, how? HOW??? Well inspection revealed that due to wax, or crud, or dirt, or something. This round got held up in the magazine tube, and that even with spring tension from the magazine tubes follower it remained held inside the tube. And after all the “movement “of the action during cleaning, this round chose this moment to free itself and move into position ready to be fired. At a picture on a wall which my or may not have been adjacent to an occupied room. Which doesn’t really matter as it would have been BAD regardless of the circumstances.
Well, after clearing the rifle, again. I make it a point now to always make sure the mag tube is empty. I don’t know how I overlooked not seeing the mag tubes follower, perhaps not seeing a round there satisfied my brain into thinking all was O.K. But I am just so glad that I was able to pick up that glint of brass before something irreversible happened.
This reinforced my goal to always put safety first and to never assume a gun is not loaded. As this proved, even checking 2, or 3 or more times. NEVER TAKE THINGS FOR GRANTED, AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS, TREAT EVERY GUN ALL THE TIME AS IF IT IS LOADED. Adhering to this may just saveoyou untold mountains of grief. My job was right about one thing , safety is a perpetual state of mind.