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Thread: Shotgun Drop Safety Question

  1. #1
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    Shotgun Drop Safety Question

    I need the forum's help with a question concerning drop safeties on shotguns and rifles. I searched for the answer, but I didn't get exactly what I was looking for and I am tired of digging.

    Help me understand whether or not shotguns and rifles have drop safeties, because I have been told not to keep a round in the chamber of either unless I am about to shoot because it isn't safe. I have followed this rule for years. In fact, I just accepted it as it was taught to me.

    The other day I found myself explaining gun safety to another person and realized that telling someone, "That's just how I have always done it" wasn't good enough to make them want to do it too. That person needed a reason.

    So, please tell me why a shotgun or rifle's safety is insufficient to keep the firearm "safe" when a round is in the chamber so that I may be better prepared to give a more detailed explanation the next time I am asked.

    Thanks
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  2. #2
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    Because rifles and shotguns don't have active hammer/striker blocks like handguns do. The safety on a rifle/shotgun just blocks the trigger from being pulled, it does nothing to stop a discharge if an impact causes the hammer/striker to slip off the sear.

    A VA State Policeman (Kevin Manion) was killed in 2006 while investigating a single vehicle accident. A pickup truck turned over and when the tow truck pulled it back upright, a rifle in the cab discharged striking Trooper Manion in the chest. No one pulled the trigger, the jarring impact of the truck being uprighted was enough for the hammer to slip off the sear and discharge.

    Every year in VA at least one hunter is killed in a deer stand when he drops his rifle and it discharges. Often, they've climbed into the stand and are hoisting the gun up by rope (muzzle pointed straight up, of course) when the rope comes loose and the rifle falls straight down and discharges. An ugly way to die.

  3. #3
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    Thank you. This is a great explanation. I appreciate you taking the time to educate me.
    "Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money..." - Margaret Thatcher

  4. #4
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    I believe the Benelli Nova pump shotgun supposedly has an internal firing-pin safety. I have not seen it called a "drop safety," and Benelli seems quiet about it. I've yet to see a detailed schematic, but the bolt seems like their standard rotating lock-up-type; I'm not sure how that would accommodate a firing-pin safety, and what would deactivate it so the gun could fire normally.

  5. #5
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    The safe way to store a pump shotgun if you want rounds in it is with an empty chamber and full magazine. I believe the H&R single shot shotguns have a transfer bar system that does in fact make them drop safe. Very similar to the system used in Ruger revolvers if I am not mistaken.
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  6. #6
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    Saiga shotguns and Saiga rifles have a transfer bar safety system (blocks the hammer).

    AR15s have the external safety which internally blocks the hammer. I believe this would preclude a drop fire scenario.

    Most classic style rifles and/or shotguns do not have these safety features. (Just another reason why people need to upgrade to newer technology )

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