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SHOTGUNSHOOTING

How to Use This PamphletThe secret to successfully earning a merit badge is for you to use boththe pamphlet and the suggestions of your counselor.Your counselor can be as important to you as a coach is to an athlete.Use all of the resources your counselor can make available to you.This may be the best chance you will have to learn about this particularsubject. Make it count.If you or your counselor feels that any information in this pamphlet isincorrect, please let us know. Please state your source of information.Merit badge pamphlets are reprinted annually and requirementsupdated regularly. Your suggestions for improvement are welcome.Send comments along with a brief statement about yourself to YouthDevelopment, S209 Boy Scouts of America 1325 West Walnut HillLane P.O. Box 152079 Irving, TX 75015-2079.Who Pays for This Pamphlet?This merit badge pamphlet is one in a series of more than 100 coveringall kinds of hobby and career subjects. It is made available for youto buy as a service of the national and local councils, Boy Scouts ofAmerica. The costs of the development, writing, and editing of themerit badge pamphlets are paid for by the Boy Scouts of America inorder to bring you the best book at a reasonable price.

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICAMERIT BADGE SERIESShotgunShooting

Note to the CounselorBoy Scout StandardsBoy Scouts are permitted to fire .22-caliber bolt-action,single-shot rifles, air rifles, shotguns, and muzzleloading long guns under the direction of a certifiedinstructor, 21 years of age or older, within the standards outlined in current Scouting literature andbulletins. BSA policy does not permit the use ofhandguns in Boy Scouting.ShotgunsThe following standards are established for shotgunsto be used by Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, or Explorers:1. It is recommended that either 20-, 16-, or 12-gaugesemiautomatic shotguns be used. Gas-operatedshotguns are recommended.2. Ammunition containing No. 8 shot or smaller isrecommended on ranges with protected downrange of 600 feet. Additional down range distanceof 150 feet (total 750 feet) is required for No. 6shot size. Shot larger than No. 6 is not to be used.These distances are for ranges at sea level. Longerdistances will be required at higher elevations.3. Shooting safety glasses and hearing protection arerequired on shotgun ranges.4. All training and shooting activities must besupervised by a currently certified National RifleAssociation shotgun instructor or coach whois 21 years of age or older.35948ISBN 978-0-8395-3331-3 2005 Boy Scouts of America2010 PrintingBANG/Brainerd, MN4-2010/059733

MuzzleloadersThe following standards pertain to use of muzzleloading long guns by members of the BSA:1. Muzzleloading shotguns must be recentlymanufactured. Percussion guns of no smallerthan 20 gauge and no larger than 10 gauge arerecommended. Shotguns made from kits mustbe checked by a qualified gunsmith.2. Recommended loads are the lighter of thoseshown in the gun owner’s manual or this pamphlet.3. Shooting safety glasses and hearing protectionare required.4. All training and shooting activities must be supervised by a currently certified NRA and NationalMuzzle Loading Rifle Association muzzleloadingshotgun instructor over 21 years of age.5. Each pupil must have one adult supervisinginstructor or coach when loading or firing.Shotgun Shooting3

Requirements1. Do the following:a. Explain why BB and pellet air guns must always betreated with the same respect as firearms.b. Describe how you would react if a friend visiting yourhome asked to see your or your family’s firearm(s).c. Explain the need for and use and types of eye andhearing protection.d. Explain the main points of the laws for owning andusing guns in your community and state.e. Explain how hunting is related to the wise use ofrenewable wildlife resources.f. Successfully complete a state hunter education course,or obtain a copy of the hunting laws for your state, thendo the following.(1) Explain the main points of hunting laws in yourstate and give any special laws on the use of guns andammunition, and(2) List the kinds of wildlife that can be legally huntedin your state.g. Explain to your counselor the proper hygienicguidelines used in shooting.h. Identify and explain three shotgun sports. Identifyplaces in your community where you could shootthese sports and explain how you can join or be apart of shooting sports activities.i. Give your counselor a list of sources that you couldcontact for information on firearms and their use.4     shotgun shooting

2. Do ONE of the following options:Option A—Shotgun Shooting(Modern Shotshell Type)a. Identify the principal parts of a shotgun, action types,and how they function.b. Identify and demonstrate the rules for safely handlinga shotgun.c. Identify the parts of a shotgun shell and their functions.d. Identify the various gauges of shotguns. Explain whichone you would pick for use and why.e. Identify and explain the fundamentals of safelyshooting a shotgun. Explain what a misfire, hangfire,and squib fire are, and explain the procedures to followin response to each.f. Identify and explain each rule for safely shootinga shotgun.g. Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessaryto safely shoot moving targets, using the fundamentalsof shotgun shooting.h. Identify the materials needed to clean a shotgun.i. Demonstrate how to clean a shotgun properly and safely.j. Discuss what points you would consider in selectinga shotgun.k. Shooting score required—Hit at least 12 out of 25 targets(48 percent) in two 25-target groups. The two groupsneed not be shot in consecutive order.Shooting skill rules: Targets may be thrown by a hand trap, manual mechanical trap, or on any trap or skeet field. Note: If using ahand trap or manual mechanical trap, the trap operatorshould be at least 5 feet to the right and 3 feet to therear of the shooter. If throwing left-handed with a handtrap, the trap operator should be at least 5 feet to the leftand 3 feet to the rear of the shooter.Shotgun Shooting5

All targets should be thrown at a reasonable speed andin the same direction. Targets should be generally thrown so as to climb inthe air after leaving the trap. Scores may be fired at any time, either in formalcompetition or in practice. Any gauge shotgun not exceeding 12 gauge may be used. Any ammunition, either factory or hand loaded, maybe used. Shooters must shoot in rounds of 25. Rounds need notbe shot continuously or on the same day (the term“round” refers to a single series of 25 shots). If using a trap field, shoot station 3 with traps set tothrow straightaway targets. If using a skeet field, shoot station 7 low house.Option B—Muzzleloading Shotgun Shootinga. Discuss a brief history of the development of themuzzleloading shotgun.b. Identify principal parts of percussion and flintlockshotguns and discuss how they function.c. Demonstrate and explain the rules of safely handlinga muzzleloading shotgun.d. Identify the various grades of black powder and theirproper and safe use.e. Discuss proper safety procedures pertaining to blackpowder use and storage.f. Discuss proper components of a load.g. Identify proper procedures and accessories used forsafely loading a muzzleloading shotgun.6     shotgun shooting

h. Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudenecessary to safely shoot a muzzleloading shotgunon a range, including range procedures. Explain whata misfire, hangfire, and squibfire are, and explain theprocedures to follow in response to each.i. Shoot a moving target with a muzzleloading shotgunusing the five fundamentals of firing the shot.j. Identify the materials needed to clean a muzzleloadingshotgun properly and safely.k. Demonstrate how to clean to clear a muzzleloadingshotgun’s failure to fire and explain or demonstrateproper correction procedures.l. Identify the causes of a muzzleloading shotgun’sfailure to fire and explain or demonstrate properpreventive procedures.m. Discuss what points you would consider in selectinga muzzleloading shotgun.n. Shooting score required—Hit at least 5 out of 15 targetsin two 15-target groups. The two groups need not beshot in consecutive order. Shooting skill rules: Targets may be thrown by a hand trap, manualmechanical trap, or on any trap or skeet field.Note: If using a hand trap or manual mechanicaltrap, the trap operator should be at least 5 feet tothe right and 3 feet to the rear of the shooter. Ifthrowing left-handed with a hand trap, the trapoperator should be at least 5 feet to the left and3 feet to the rear of the shooter. All targets should be thrown at a reasonable speedand in the same direction. Targets should be generally thrown so as to climb inthe air after leaving the trap. Scores may be fired at any time, either in formalcompetition or in practice.Shotgun Shooting7

Any gauge shotgun not exceeding 10 gauge maybe used. Standard clay targets customarily used for trap andskeet are to be used. On a standard trap field, the shooter should bepositioned 8 yards behind the trap house. The trapshould be set to throw only straightaway targets. On a skeet field, use station 7 low house.8     shotgun shooting

ContentsShotgun Parts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10Shotgun Ammunition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18Shotgun Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Fundamentals of Shotgun Shooting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34Choosing a Shotgun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46Clay Target Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51Muzzleloading Shotguns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61Conservation and Hunting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81Glossary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86Shotgun Shooting Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94Shotgun Shooting9

Shotgun Parts.Shotgun PartsA shotgun is a precision instrument, designed to shoot a shotcharge in a specific pattern to cover a designated area at acertain distance. Unlike a rifle, the bore of the shotgun is notrifled, so the shot emerging from the muzzle is not spinning.A shotgun is built to last a lifetime. By itself, the shotgunposes no greater threat to person or property than any othermachine. If you understand your gun—how it works, how touse it safely, and how to care for it—shooting will bepleasurable and rewarding.RibBeadReceiverBarrelSafetyMagazineComb ofstockButt ofstockMuzzleForearm(fore-end)of stockTriggerguardTriggerReleaseStockGrip ofstockShotgun partsThe StockThe stock is the gun’s handle. It has a special significance inproper shooting. It is designed to let you point and shootaccurately. Each part of the stock has a special name.The butt is the rear end of the stock. It’s the part that restsagainst your shoulder when you point the shotgun.The comb is the part of the stock that is brought to yourcheek as you assume the shooting position.The grip is the part of the stock held with the triggerhand. It sometimes is referred to as the small of the stockbecause it is where the stock narrows.10     shotgun shooting

.Shotgun PartsThe part of the stock that lies under the barrel is calledthe forearm, or fore-end. On most shotguns, the forearm isseparate from the rest of the stock.The BarrelThe barrel is the metal tube through which the shot passes onits way to the target. The inside portion of the barrel is calledthe bore, and its diameter will vary depending on the size ofthe gun. Most shotgun bores are designated by a term knownas gauge. The smaller the gauge number, the larger thebore diameter.Starting with the largest bore, most modern shotguns areavailable in 10, 12, 16, 20, and 28 gauge. The lone exceptionto this measuring system is the .410 bore shotgun, the smallestof the modern shotguns. It has a bore measured by the samestandards as rifles and pistols.Modern shotguns are loaded at the rear, or breech, end ofthe barrel by inserting a round of ammunition known as theshotshell into the part of the barrel called the chamber. Thefront of the barrel—where the shot exits the gun—is calledthe muzzle.10 gauge12 gauge16 gauge20 gaugeThe .410 shotgunhas a borethat is 410/1,000of an inch indiameter. Whileit is commonlyreferred to asthe .410 gauge,the gun actuallyis a 67 gauge.28 gauge.410 borePopular shotshell gauges, with circles representing the shell’s actual diameter.Shotgun Shooting11

Shotgun Parts.The ChokeMost shotguns have, near the muzzle, an important constrictioncalled the choke. Shot begins to spread out as soon as it exitsthe muzzle, so the more constricted the shot is at the timeit’s expelled, the farther it will travel as a compact group. Thechoke’s function is to constrict the shot. The greater the choke,the greater the constriction and generally the greater the effective range of the gun and shot pattern.Most commonly, a full-choke shotgun barrel has the mostconstriction and the greatest range. However, at close range afull-choke pattern may be too small to consistently hit movingtargets or so dense that game is ruined by blanket shot.While the mostcommon chokesFull chokeare discussed42-inch optimumpattern at 40 to45 yardshere, there aremany variationsin between. Forinformation aboutthe choke on yourModified chokeshotgun, consultthe manufacturer’suser manual.42-inch optimumpattern at 35 yards45 yardsImproved cylinderchoke42-inch optimumpattern at 25 yards12     shotgun shooting35 yards45 yards

.Shotgun PartsModified choke creates somewhat less constriction than fullchoke. Improved cylinder choke creates even less constriction,providing a shot pattern that widens out more quickly thanthe preceding two. A shotgun barrel that has no choke at all isreferred to as a cylinder bore. Generally, choke designations areindicated on the outside of the barrel.Many companies today manufacture shotguns with interchangeable screw-in chokes. Or, a device known as an adjustable choke can be placed on the end of the barrel to allow theuser to adjust choke selections. Both of these options are goodif one gun is to serve multiple purposes.The sighting mechanism on shotguns is rather simple. One or sometimes two beads are positioned on the top of the barrel to help theshooter point at the target. Some shotguns also have a rib that runsthe length of the barrel and gives the shooter an added tracking aid.The ribbed surface also helps keep the barrel cooler during heavy fire.The ActionThe moving parts that permit you to load, fire, and unloadyour shotgun are known as the action. Most of these partsare housed in a metal frame called a receiver. Many differentmethods have been designed for operating the action. Amongthe most common types are break action, pump, and semiautomatic. In each case, the ultimate function is the same.By opening the action, you usually are causing the firingpin spring to compress and allowing a shotshell to be loadedinto the chamber at the breech end of the barrel. Closing theaction on most shotguns means the gun is cocked and readyfor firing.When the gun has been loaded and the action closed,place the safety in the “on” position. Move the safety to the“off” position right before firing. Once the gun is cocked andthe safety off, you can point the shotgun at the target andpull the trigger, which drives the firing pin forward. When thefiring pin strikes the primer in the base of the shell case, theshotshell will fire.Once the shot is fired, you can reopen the action to eithereject or remove the fired case. On most shotguns, opening theaction will eject the fired case automatically. Then, a new shotshell can be loaded, the action closed, and the gun fired again.To open or closethe action onmany firearmsafter loading, youmust activate theaction releasebutton or lever.Shotgun Shooting13

Shotgun Parts.Action TypesPump. The actions of the pump-type shotguns are opened andclosed by pumping the forearm of the stock back and forth.Pump actions are sometimes called slide actions.Pump action shotgunHinge. Similar to the movement of a door hinge, a shotgun’sbreak action can be opened when the release lever on topof the action is pushed to one side, separating the standingbreechblock from the barrel. Based on placement, these actionsare referred to as either “over and unders” or “side by sides.”Over and under(hinge) shotgunand action14     shotgun shooting

.Shotgun PartsSide-by-side (hinge) shotgun and actionSemiautomatic, or autoloading. The semiautomatic actionoperates automatically when the shot is fired. In most semiautomatic shotguns, gas from the burning gunpowder provides theenergy needed to operate the action and load the next shell.This type of action delivers less recoil, or kick, to the shooter.Semiautomatic shotgun and actionShotgun Shooting15

Shotgun Parts.The MagazineMost shotgun actions can be loaded manually, one shell at atime. Many, however, have a magazine to help speed up loading. The magazine is a container attached to the gun into whichseveral shells can be placed. Closing the action on loaded shotguns equipped with a magazine will allow a new shell to beplaced in the chamber. The gun can be fired successively untilthe magazine is empty.Of the two basic types of magazines, the most common is a tube type positionedunder the barrel, as shown. The second is a box type located directly under the receiver.16     shotgun shooting

.Shotgun PartsSafetyAction releaseWhile they serve two distinct functions, the safety and action release of a shotgunare both small levers that can be located at varying places on the gun.The SafetyRegardless of the type of action employed, all modern shotguns come equipped with a mechanical safety to help guardagainst unwanted firing. A loaded shotgun should be carriedonly when the safety is on.Under no circumstances should a gun’ssafety be substituted for a shooter’s goodsafety habits. As mechanical devices, safetiesare subject to malfunction and shooter error.Therefore, even when the safety is in the“on” position, the responsible shooter alwaystreats his gun as if firing were possible.On shotguns withtwo barrels andonly one trigger,the safety buttonusually also functions as a selectorto determine whichbarrel will fire first.Shotgun Shooting17

Shotgun Ammunition.Shotgun AmmunitionThe modern shotgun shell contains the five componentsrequired for firing the shot: the case, primer, powder charge,wad, and shot. The shell case is the outer container for all other ammunitionparts. It typically is made of plasticor paper with a metal base.CaseShotWadPowderPrimer The primer is the detonatingagent contained in the middle ofthe shell’s base. When the firingpin strikes the primer, a chain ofevents begins to fire the gun. A powder charge above theprimer allows easy combustionfrom the flame created when theprimer detonates. A plastic or fiber wad separatesthe shot from the powder, forminga seal that allows the gases createdby the burning powder to push theshot down the barrel. Shot are small round projectilesusually made of lead or steel andare located at the front end ofthe shell. Depending on the gaugeand shot size, one shell maycontain anywhere from nine to700 of them.To understand these components, youmust understand the way modernfirearms work.18     shotgun shooting

.Shotgun AmmunitionShot SizeIdentificationNo.Shot diameter(inches)Number of leadshot in an ounceCommonusesNo. 9.08585No. 8.09410Trap, skeet, dove, quail,woodcockNo. 71 2.095350Trap, dove, grouse, quail,pheasant, crowNo. 6.11225Grouse, pheasant, rabbit,squirrel, crowNo. 5.12170Pheasant, grouse, rabbit,squirrel, turkeyNo. 4.13135No. 2.1590Skeet, woodcock, quailDucks, turkeyTurkey, ducksHow Shotgun Ammunition FiresA shot begins when the shotgun’s trigger is pulled and endswhen the shot are expelled from the barrel. The first stepoccurs when the trigger is pulled and the firing pin strikes theprimer, causing its priming compound to detonate. The flamegenerated by the primer ignites the powder charge. The rapidly burning powder generates a high volume of gases undertremendous pressure. Because the breech end of a shotgun isblocked and the muzzle is open, the gases will seek the pathof least resistance through the bore and out the muzzle. In theway of these gases are the wad and shot, but because theygive the least resistance, the gases push them along and outthe muzzle. All this is done in a split second—at a velocity ofabout 1,250 feet per second. This velocity diminishes as theshot travels until it falls to Earth at a range of about 300 yards.After 50 to 60 yards, however, the shot has lost velocity andenergy, and the pattern has become so widely dispersed that itis not likely to be effective on moving targets.Shotgun Shooting19

Shotgun Ammunition.Firing pin strikes primer.The length of ashotshell is itsPrimer detonates.length in a firedcondition. Using aPowder is ignited.shotshell longerthan that forBurning powder forms gases.which the gunExpanding hot gases propel shot.is designed candestroy the gunand may causeserious injuryto the shooterand bystanders.Using the Right AmmunitionThe kind of ammunition you use will depend on the gaugeof the gun and the kind of shooting you will do. Use only theshotshells that are right for your shotgun. Usually, modernshotguns are stamped on the barrel to indicate the gauge andthe length of the shotshell. The base of the shell case is alsocommonly marked with the gauge of the cartridge and itsmanufacturer. Be sure the gauges on the gun and shotshellmatch. Ammunition manufacturers mark the boxes in whichthey pack their products with the gauge, shot size, powdercharge, and shell length. Buy only the gauge and lengthappropriate for the gun, and the shot size and powder chargesuitable for the intended use.Use the proper gauge of ammunition for your shotgun. Take the time to ensure thatthe proper gauge is the same on the ammunition box, shells, and shotgun.20     shotgun shooting

.Shotgun AmmunitionAmmunition MalfunctionsWhile modern ammunition generally is very reliable,the shooter occasionally may encounter a shotshellmalfunction. There are three types of shotshellmalfunctions: hangfire, misfire, and squib load.The waiting time after an apparent misfire isto ensure that you actually have not experienceda hangfire—a perceptible delay in the ignition of ashotshell after the firing pin strikes the primer. Bykeeping the gun pointed in a safe direction, no onewill be harmed and no property damaged by thedelayed ignition.A misfire is a total failure of the shotshell to fireafter the primer has been struck by the firing pin.When the trigger is pulled and nothing happens,keep the shotgun pointed in a safe direction for atleast 30 seconds before opening the action.A squib load is the development of less thannormal pressure or velocity after ignition of theshotshell. If anything unusual is noticed when a shotis fired, such as a difference in recoil or noise, stopfiring immediately. The wad may still be in the barrel.Firing another shotshell in a barrel obstructed bya stuck wad could cause serious injury or damage.Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction andunload the gun. Check to be certain that the chamberis empty, then with the action open, check to seethat the wad has not remained in the bore. With abreak action shotgun you will be able to simply lookinto the breech end of the barrel. With other actiontypes you will need to run a cleaning rod into thebarrel from the muzzle end to assure that the boreis clear. Do not look through the muzzle! If the wadremains in the barrel, push it out with the cleaningrod before reloading.Shotgun Shooting21

.Shotgun SafetyShotgun SafetyIn marksmanship, nothing is more important than safety.Participants in shooting sports assume a vital responsibilitythat affects the lives of others. It is critically important to learnand practice all of the shotgun safety rules.The Scout Marksman’s CodeA Scout: Always follows the rules for firearms safety. Accepts the responsibility that goes with the use and possessionof firearms. Follows the laws that govern the use and possession of firearms inhis community. Practices wildlife conservation. Follows the spirit and the letter of the game laws. Is especially careful to be a true sportsman when using firearms.When handled correctly and used properly, a shotgun isnot dangerous. A shotgun, like any other precision machine,instrument, or piece of sports equipment, is manufactured toperform a specific task and can do so at no risk to the user orothers. If a shotgun is handled incorrectly or recklessly, withoutregard for the safety rules, then accidents can happen.Shotgun safety is a simple but ongoing process. You mustfirst acquire knowledge of how to handle shotguns safely, thendevelop and maintain proper safe-handling skills through practice. The most important element to being safe is attitude. Beingsafe means consciously keeping the gun under control. Alwaysbe alert to, and conscious of, the shotgun’s capabilities, and beaware of what might happen if it is used improperly.Basic gun safety rules fall into two major categories: safegun handling and safe use and storage.Safety knowledgeand skills are oflittle value withouta determinationto use them all ofthe time.Shotgun Shooting23

Shotgun Safety.Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun HandlingThree basic rules apply to handling a shotgun—underany circumstances.1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safedirection. Never point the muzzle at yourselfor others. Common sense will tell you whichdirection is safest depending on your locationand other conditions. Generally it’s safest topoint the gun upward or toward the ground.2. Always keep your finger off the triggeruntil you are ready to shoot. There’s a natural tendency to put your finger on the triggerwhen picking up or handling a gun. Don’t doit! Your gun has a trigger guard. It’s there toprotect your trigger—to enable you to holdthe gun comfortably with your finger offthe trigger.3. Always keep the action open and your gun unloadeduntil ready to use. Treat any gun as if it were loaded andready to go off. Treat every gun as if it were loaded whetherat home, on the range, or in the field. This means younever let the gun point at you or anyone else. Wheneveryou pick up a gun, open the action and check (visually, ifpossible) to see that the chamber is unloaded. If the gunhas a magazine, make sure it’s empty. If you don’t knowhow to open the action, leave it alone or get help fromsomeone who’s knowledgeable.24     shotgun shooting

.Shotgun SafetyRemember, even if you’re sure that it’s not loaded, alwayspoint the gun in a safe direction. By handling unloaded gunsin the same manner as loaded ones, you’re helping establishsound handling habits and will never have to say, “I thoughtthe gun was empty.”An open, empty gun is safe! Open the action and removethe magazine, or be sure it’s empty. Be sure the chamber isempty. Leave the action open. When the gun is in this conditionit is safe. But the moment you close the action, you must treatthe gun as if it were loaded and ready to fire whether there isammunition in it or not.BB and Pellet Air GunsAir guns are not toys. Today’s air gun is a technicallysophisticated and precise instrument. Everything inthis merit badge pamphlet—on safe gun handling,shooting stance, fundamentals of firing, hygiene, andetiquette—also applies to air guns.Always wear eye protection when shooting a BBor pellet air gun. Steel BBs can ricochet off woodenor metal target frames, causing injury and propertydamage. It’s best to hang BB targets from a stringsuspended between two posts, secured at the topand bottom.Shotgun Shooting25

Shotgun Safety.Be aware that removing the magazine from the gun doesnot unload it! Removing the magazine does not take the cartridge out of the chamber.Most of this discussion has centered on using the moderncartridge type of firearm. Additional safety rules apply for themuzzleloader. It is loaded by putting a measured amount ofpowder down the muzzle. The shot is also put through themuzzle on top of a wad that separates the powder and shot.Then another wad is inserted to hold the shot in place.There’s no way your eye can tell whether the muzzleloader is loaded. The best way to determine this is to put theramrod down through the muzzle when there’s no charge inthe gun. Mark the ramrod at the muzzle. From this point on,you can tell whether the gun is loaded. Put the gun on halfcock and carefully remove the cap if there is one on the nipple.Put the ramrod down through the muzzle until it hits bottom.Check the position of the marking on the ramrod. If the markis above the muzzle, the gun is loaded.If your shotgun is a flintlock, remove all powder from theflash pan. This is the powder lighted by the flint flash. Thenconduct the ramrod test to see if it is loaded.Rules for Using or Storing a ShotgunWhen actually engaged in shooting—whether in hunting, recreational practice, or competition—always follow these rules. Know your target and what’s beyond. Be absolutely sureyou have identified your target without any doubt. Also besure of the area beyond your target. This means observingthe prospective firing area before you shoot. Never fire in adirection where there are people or where any other potentialfor mishap might exist. Think first. Shoot second. Know how to use a shotgun safely. Before handling yourgun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts and howto safely open, load, and close the action, and remove anyammunition from the chamber or magazine if it is loaded.Remember, a gun’s mechanical safety device is never foolproof. The safety device can never replace safe gun handling.26     shotgun shooti

3. Shooting safety glasses and hearing protection are required on shotgun ranges. 4. All training and shooting activities must be supervised by a currently certified National Rifle Association shotgun instructor or coach who is 21 years of age or older. 35948 ISBN 978--8395-3331-3 2005 Boy Scouts of America 2010 Printing BANG/Brainerd, MN 4 .

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