July 25th, 2021

5 Degrees of Doom — The Real Risk of Unintended Down-Range Impacts from Slightly Elevated Muzzles

Gun Angle long range

In our Shooters’ Forum, there was an discussion about a range that was threatened with closure because rifle over-shoots were hitting a farm building over two miles from the firing line. One reader was skeptical of this, asking “how’s that possible — were these guys aiming at the stars?” Actually, you may be surprised. It doesn’t take much up-angle on a rifle to have a bullet land miles down-range. That’s why it’s so important that hunters and target shooters always orient their barrels in a safe direction (and angle). Shooters may not realize how much a small tilt of the barrel (above horizontal) can alter a bullet’s trajectory.

How many degrees of muzzle elevation do you think it would take to hit a barn at 3000 yards? Ten Degrees? Twenty Degrees? Actually the answer is much less — for a typical hunting cartridge, five to seven degrees of up-angle on the rifle is enough to create a trajectory that will have your bullet impacting at 3000 yards — that’s 1.7 miles away!

Gun Angle long range

Five degrees isn’t much at all. Look at the diagram above. The angle actually displayed for the up-tilted rifle is a true 5.07 degrees (above horizontal). Using JBM Ballistics, we calculated 5.07° as the angle that would produce a 3000-yard impact with a 185gr .30-caliber bullet launched at 2850 fps MV. That would be a moderate “book load” for a .300 Win Mag deer rifle.

Here’s how we derived the angle value. Using Litz-derived BCs for a 185gr Berger Hunting VLD launched at 2850 fps, the drop at 3000 yards is 304.1 MOA (Minutes of Angle), assuming a 100-yard zero. This was calculated using a G7 BC with the JBM Ballistics Program. There are 60 MOA for each 1 degree of Angle. Thus, 304.1 MOA equals 5.068 degrees. So, that means that if you tilt up your muzzle just slightly over five degrees, your 185gr bullet (2850 fps MV) will impact 3000 yards down-range.

Figuring Trajectories with Different Bullets and MVs
If the bullet travels slower, or if you shoot a bullet with a lower BC, the angle elevation required for a 3000-yard impact goes up, but the principle is the same. Let’s say you have a 168gr HPBT MatchKing launched at 2750 fps MV from a .308 Winchester. (That’s a typical tactical load.) With a 100-yard zero, the total drop is 440.1 MOA, or 7.335 degrees. That’s more up-tilt than our example above, but seven degrees is still not that much, when you consider how a rifle might be handled during a negligent discharge.

Think about a hunter getting into position for a prone shot. If careless, he could easily touch off the trigger with a muzzle up-angle of 10 degrees or more. Even when shooting from the bench, there is the possibility of discharging a rifle before the gun is leveled, sending the shot over the berm and, potentially, thousands of yards down-range.

Hopefully this article has shown folks that a very small amount of barrel elevation can make a huge difference in your bullet’s trajectory, and where it eventually lands. Nobody wants to put holes in a distant neighbor’s house, or worse yet, have the shot cause injury.

Let’s go back to our original example of a 185gr bullet with a MV of 2850 fps. According to JBM, this projectile will still be traveling 687 fps at 3000 yards, with 193.7 ft/lbs of retained energy at that distance. That’s more than enough energy to be deadly.

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June 2nd, 2021

Gun Safety at Home — National Safety Month

NSSF Safety message Videos

June is National Safety Month. In summer, when children are home from school and more likely to be unattended, it’s especially important to store firearms securely. The No. 1 way to help prevent accidents is to securely store your firearms when they’re not in use. The NSSF says: “Whether you own a gun or not, firearm safety is your responsibility. Take a moment to watch the videos below on how to safely handle and store firearms.” Along with these videos, the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program offers a host of gun safety materials on its resources webpage.

Firearm Safety: First, Last, Always

There are Ten Key Rules for Firearm Safety and the first four are the big ones. Remember, while at the shooting range or anywhere you handle a firearm, safety always comes first.

This is a Good Video that Covers the Key Principles of Gun Safety. Worth Watching:

Storing a Gun Safely and Securely

For those who have guns in the home, this video reviews a variety of gun storage options. To learn more about storing firearms safely and securely, visit ProjectChildSafe.org.


Message from the National Shooting Sports Foundation

The last thing any gun owner wants is for their firearms to fall into the hands of an unsupervised child, a thief or someone going through a difficult period in their life. That’s why we urge individuals to store firearms responsibly when they’re not in use. [That is] the number one way to help prevent accidents, thefts and misuse –including suicides. The vast majority of gun owners are safe and responsible, which is why fatal firearms accidents are at historic lows. We’re proud that our safety programs, including Project ChildSafe® have contributed to that decline.

… We provide gun safety resources for all ages through our award-winning Project ChildSafe program and our new suicide prevention program. We remind gun owners there’s a storage option that will fit into their lifestyle, such as a fast-opening lock box for those who keep a firearm for home security.

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April 16th, 2021

First Trip to the Shooting Range — Good Nosler Video

Nosler first day range safety video

To support the growing community of new shooters and hunters, Nosler has released a useful, informative video that can help prepare beginners for their first experience at a shooting range. This video was filmed at the Redmond Rod & Gun Club in Central Oregon.

Editor: Regular readers — if you have a friend or family member who is new to shooting, have them watch this video. It does a good job outlining important range etiquette along with safe practices.

Training at a gun range is critical to building foundational firearms skills. Unfortunately, this process can be intimidating for new shooters who are unsure of what a trip to the range fully entails. In this video Randy Newberg (Nosler Pro-Staffer) illustrates key points to help shooters feel safe and confident at any range.

Nosler first day range safety video

The 7-minute First Trip to the Shooting Range video covers key considerations that apply to all ranges: necessary equipment, firearm safety, range commands, and range etiquette. Differences between indoor and outdoor ranges, as well as range restrictions to consider before your visit are also covered. Newberg also notes: “Before you leave your house, double-check to make sure your firearm is empty”. (Editor: Yes we’ve seen people open their gun cases only to discover their rifle, pistol, or shotgun WAS loaded!)

Nosler first day range safety video

Important Firearms Safety Rules at the Range
Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.
Never point your firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot.
Always keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to fire.
Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it. (Do NOT shoot unless you know exactly what your shot is going to strike.)

Always comply with ALL Range Commands (and make sure you can hear commands).
Nosler first day range safety video

Experienced Shooters Should Help Newcomers Learn Safe Procedures
Nosler’s video includes a call-to-action for experienced hunters and shooters to help mentor those new to the sport. As a seasoned shooter you can accompany a new shooter to the range, showing him or her the right procedures. This includes placing rifles on the bench, setting up targets during cease-fires, and properly unloading and clearing weapons. As a mentor, you can also share educational resources that benefit newcomers, and share your effective/safe reloading methods.

Nosler first day range safety video

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March 13th, 2021

Download Free Firearms Safety Resources

firearms Safety Gun Safety Rules Pamphlet manual Remington NSSF

Do you have a family member who has recently acquired his or her first firearm? Do you have friends or neighbors who keep firearms in a home with small children? It is important to know and practice the principles of firearms safety, ALL the time. Here are two well-written gun safety manuals in printable PDF format. All firearms owners, even experienced hunters and competitors, can benefit from reviewing these resources from time to time. And new gun owners, in particular, should take the time to read both these guides. The Remington Safety Manual includes the “Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety”. Here’s the First Commandment:

firearms Safety Gun Safety Rules Pamphlet manual Remington NSSF


Click Image to Download Printable PDF Versions:

firearms Safety Gun Safety Rules Pamphlet manual Remington NSSF firearms Safety Gun Safety Rules Pamphlet manual Remington NSSF
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March 6th, 2021

NRA Home Firearm Safety Resources

home gun safety NRA Blog

This article based on story by Jason J. Brown, Editor NRABlog.com
Americans are purchasing firearms at historically high levels, with more than 7 million new gun owners in 2020 and gun sales setting new records. There were over 2 million NICS-adjusted gun buyer background checks in January 2021, a 75% increase compared to January 2020.

NICS gun background checks NSSF

Gun ownership is a great responsibility, entailing not only a well-formed understanding of the basic rules of gun safety while shooting, but at all times. Gun safety is never more important than inside your own home. Gun safety isn’t just for gun owners — it’s a critical skill for everyone.

NRA’s Home Firearm Safety Course covers safe gun handling and storage fundamentals. The course requires no time on the range, and can be accomplished in as little as four hours. NRA Certified Instructors teach students the NRA three rules of safe gun handling, explore the types and basic function of firearms, and discuss primary causes of firearm-related accidents.

In the Home Firearm Safety Course, students will also learn about gun parts, ammunition, basic gun cleaning and care, and provide hands-on training on how to safely unload select types of guns. Each participant receives the NRA Home Firearm Safety handbook, NRA Gun Safety Rules brochure, Basic Firearm Training Program brochure, and a course completion certificate.

home gun safety NRA Blog

The NRA’s network of more than 128,000 NRA Certified Instructors delivers the Home Firearm Safety Course at locations nationwide. To find a course near you or learn about other NRA Training programs, visit the NRA Training portal.

home gun safety NRA Blog

This story appears courtesy the NRA Blog.

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February 12th, 2021

Gun Safety Extra Important Now with Many Schools Still Closed

NSSF gun storage safe safety locks NSSF

In school districts in many states, public schools remain closed due to concerns over COVID-19. That means kids are home, and in the Northern States with snow on the ground, those kids are stuck inside all day long. With more gun owners at home with their kids for extended periods, firearms safety is more important than ever. Given that fact, the NSSF reminds gun owners to keep their guns locked up so they cannot be accessed by children.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and its partners urge gun owners to keep firearm safety a top priority and are making safety resources widely available as gun and ammunition sales increase, especially among first-time firearm purchasers.

NSSF gun storage safe safety locks NSSF

“During this stressful time and with children spending more time at home, the firearm industry reminds gun owners that protecting yourself and your family includes making sure your firearms are stored securely when not in use”, said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “The last thing any firearm owner wants is to have their gun fall into the wrong hands, particularly those of a child or someone at risk of harming themselves.”

For anyone considering buying a gun, Project ChildSafe’s Road To Responsible Firearm OwnershipMany Paths to Firearm Safety video series helps gun owners determine the best safe storage device for their home/lifestyle. You also view the Safe Storage Options chart.

NSSF gun storage safe safety locks NSSF

NSSF encourages gun owners and non-gun owners to use the firearm safety resources available on its Project ChildSafe website. These include the McGruff Gun Safety videos for young children and this educational video explaining how to discuss gun safety with children:

“More parents are assuming the role of educators in their homes, so it’s a good to time have a talk with your kids about gun safety, even if you don’t own a gun”, Bartozzi said. “If you do own a firearm, be sure your family understands the safety rules regarding firearms in your home, and always store guns responsibly when not in use.”

For more information on firearm safety, visit ProjectChildSafe.org.

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December 19th, 2020

Firearms Safety Info from NSSF — Resources for Gun Owners

NSSF childsafe safe storage

The NSSF, as part of its ChildSafe Program, has just released a 26-page PDF document covering all aspects of firearms safety and safe storage. We recommend that new gun owners review this Safety Brochure. In addition, NSSF and Project ChildSafe offer a variety of other educational materials and resources:

1. Safety infographic for First-time Gun Buyers
2. Tips for Firearms Safety in the Home
3. A brochure and two videos highlighting Firearms Safety in Vehicles
4. An infographic detailing Safe Storage Options
5. A guide for parents to help Understand Youth Mental Health
6. A resource for military families for Veteran Suicide Prevention

Message from the NSSF:
“With the holiday season upon us, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reminds Americans to practice responsible safety measures at home, including safe and responsible firearm handling and storage. “It’s important to remember that the holidays can be a challenging time of year for many, and that may be especially true this year — particularly for those who are unable to see loved ones due to the pandemic, or who may be feeling isolated or alone for other reasons,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “We want to ensure families are practicing safe firearm storage habits to reduce the chance of a firearm accident this holiday season.”

NSSF childsafe safe storage

NSSF childsafe safe storage

SAFETY QUIZ — NSSF has created Firearm Storage and Safety Assessment Quiz. This walks gun owners through questions related to safe handling and storage of firearms. Click Link below to take the Quiz.

Take Gun Storage and Safety Quiz »

NSSF childsafe safe storage

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November 21st, 2019

Don’t Be This Stupid — Cautionary Tale About Stuck Live Round

Live round stuck loaded jam hammer dowel brock norris gunsmith rifles UK England united kingdom

What would you do if you had a LIVE Round stuck in a chamber? Well, don’t hammer a wood dowel in the barrel, that’s for sure. Here is a tale of stupidity that could have injured the rifle owner. This account appeared on the Facebook Page of Brock & Norris Custom Rifles, a gunsmith shop in the United Kingdom.

Live, Loaded Round Stuck in Chamber — What NOT to Do!

Commentary by gunsmith Mike Norris
Here is a cautionary tale. A client came into the workshop with a problem which could have had very serious [even deadly] consequences. And it is not the first time we have seen this. Firing neck-sized-only ammunition, the client attempted to load a round which then jammed solid in the chamber. The bolt would not close and the round was unable to be extracted.

The problem was compounded by various attempts to push the loaded round from the chamber with cleaning rods and the assistance of a hammer (I kid you not!). All of which damaged the bore and the crown, culminating in a wooden dowel being hammered into the barrel which subsequently broke off in the bore. The end result was a barrel that was totally wrecked.

Live round stuck loaded jam hammer dowel brock norris gunsmith rifles UK England united kingdom

One Facebook friend posted: “Fortunate avoidance of a ‘Darwin Award’. I can hear it: ‘Go on hammer the bolt, she’ll go!’. We’re missing a ‘face palm’ emoji here.”

The Problem Started with a Neck-Sized Case
The moral of this story is DO NOT NECK SIZE cases. Mike advises: “Full-length size cases correctly. You only move the shoulder back 1 to 1.5 thousandths and the case will feed and extract EVERY TIME. Yes you will have to trim cases occasionally but it is one hell of a site cheaper and safer than jamming a live round in the barrel and wrecking the barrel trying to remove it. Not to mention the risk to life and limb!”

What Should Have Been Done in this Situation?
Mike was asked the best method for removing a stuck round. He stated: “The Grease Gun Method on a threaded barrel works*. However, in this case, this was not remotely possible due to 20 inches of wooden dowel being broken off in the bore as well. The live round (yes it was live!) was attempted to be removed by hammering on a brass cleaning rod (an actual hammer was used) to try to dislodge it. That brass rod broke, so then a wooden dowel was employed, and THAT broke as well.”

Mike cautions that, when a live, loaded round is involved you must be very careful: “Do not be taking chances with your own safety or others around you. When it is safe to do so, get the rifle to a professional. By the way he WILL [chide you] for being daft in the first place and then bringing the problem into his premises. Expect to be charged for the expertise to remove said obstruction, In the past I even had a client send me a loading die with a live .338 Lapua round in it through the Post no less!”


* This YouTube Video shows the successful removal of a jammed FIRED (not live) case from an AR15 barrel. You can see the fired case eject at 15:35 time-mark, after the primer pops out first. But note, this was NOT a live, loaded round. Extreme caution must be excercised with live rounds.

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October 6th, 2018

Safe Gun Handling — Get FREE Firearms Safety Resources

firearms Safety Gun Safety Rules Pamphlet manual Remington NSSF

Do you have a family member who has recently acquired his or her first firearm? Do you have friends or neighbors who keep firearms in a home with small children? It is important to know and practice the principles of firearms safety, ALL the time. Here are two well-written gun safety manuals in printable PDF format. All firearms owners, even experienced hunters and competitors, can benefit from reviewing these resources from time to time. And new gun owners, in particular, should take the time to read both these guides. The Remington Safety Manual includes the “Ten Commandments of Firearms Safety”. Here’s the First Commandment:

firearms Safety Gun Safety Rules Pamphlet manual Remington NSSF


Click Image to Download Printable PDF Versions:

firearms Safety Gun Safety Rules Pamphlet manual Remington NSSF firearms Safety Gun Safety Rules Pamphlet manual Remington NSSF
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June 16th, 2017

NSSF Programs Promote Firearms Safety

NSSF Safety message Videos

June is National Safety Month. In summer, when children are home from school and more likely to be unattended, it’s especially important to store firearms securely. The No. 1 way to help prevent accidents is to securely store your firearms when they’re not in use. The NSSF says: “Whether you own a gun or not, firearm safety is your responsibility. Take a moment to watch the videos below on how to safely handle and store firearms.” Along with these videos, the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program offers a host of gun safety materials on its resources webpage.

Firearm Safety: First, Last, Always

There are “10 Commandments” to firearm safety and the first four are the big ones. Remember, while at the shooting range or anywhere you handle a firearm, safety always comes first.

This is a Good Video that Covers the Key Principles of Gun Safety. Worth Watching:

Storing a Gun Safely and Securely

For those who do have a gun in the home, now is also good time to review some gun storage options that fit your lifestyle. For more information on storing your firearms safely and securely, visit ProjectChildSafe.org.


Project ChildSafe’s 3rd Annual Friends and Family Campaign

Share Project ChildSafe resources, messages and gun safety tips for your chance to win prizes from NSSF partners. Enter HERE!

Spread the message of firearm safety with your friends and family

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August 25th, 2016

NSSF Expands Suicide Prevention Programs

NSSF Suicide Prevention AFSP death depression firearms

With suicide accounting for nearly two-thirds of all firearm fatalities annually, the topic of suicide prevention deserves our attention. In recent years NSSF has worked with the Veterans Administration, the State of Utah, and mental health agencies to help educate gun owners and the public on how to keep firearms safely out of reach of those who, during a period of despair, decide to do themselves harm.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data:

1. Nearly half of all suicides were by firearm in 2014.
2. Suicide accounted for almost two-thirds of gun deaths in 2014.
3. 90 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal.

The NSSF has committed to broaden its efforts, in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Recently, NSSF and AFSP announced a partnership to embark on a first-of-its-kind national plan to build and implement public education resources for firearms retailers, shooting ranges, and the firearms-owning community about suicide prevention and firearms.

Experts say that suicide results from the culmination of several health and life factors, with the decision to act often being made in minutes. Keeping firearms securely stored puts space between the period of risk and the means to act, and sometimes that … can help save a life.

AFSP has commenced a four-state pilot program that will involve firearms retailers and shooting ranges. This pilot program employs AFSP/NSSF jointly-developed strategies and resources to inform firearm owners about warning signs, prevention resources and secure firearms storage options. The NSSF also supports AFSP’s Project 2025, an initiative to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. You will be hearing more about AFSP and NSSF efforts in this area.

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December 14th, 2012

Clint Smith Gun Safety Video from FMG Publications

Clint SmithFMG Publications has partnered with renowned firearms instructor Clint Smith in a timely video covering the precepts of safe gun-handling. Commonly known as the “Four Gun Safety Rules,” these simple steps act as a safeguard, helping to prevent tragedy.

“I was heartbroken to read about the father who accidentally shot his son in Mercer, PA, earlier this week,” said FMG Publications Director Randy Molde. “If he would have observed just one of the four gun safety rules, his son would still be alive. It’s a sobering reminder that we can never take gun safety for granted. Hopefully our viewers will share this video and, more importantly, remind friends and family of the four gun safety rules.”

Clint Smith, Director of the Thunder Ranch training facility in Oregon, is widely recognized as one of the top shooting instructors in the nation.

Click to Watch Gun Safety Video

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