In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

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supersubes
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In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by supersubes » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:29 am

Ive got an elk hunt coming up in a few weeks. I'd like to know how you carry the rifle. Loaded on half cock, or chamber empty? If chamber empty, do you load for the stalk, or just before the shot.

Thanks in advance,
Aaron

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O-1A
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by O-1A » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:38 pm

[quote="supersubes"]Ive got an elk hunt coming up in a few weeks. I'd like to know how you carry the rifle. Loaded on half cock, or chamber empty? If chamber empty, do you load for the stalk, or just before the shot.

Thanks in advance,
Aaron[/quote]

Aaron,
It makes me nervous to carry my Shiloh Sharps loaded while I walk especially over rough terrain. I do not trust the half cock. I hunted elk for the first time last year in Montana with a bolt action rifle and did not chamber a cartridge until it was time to shoot.
Bad Man Jose'

Bill Quantrill
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by Bill Quantrill » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:43 am

I've hunted the Midwest and Mountains of Montana with my Sharps Rifles. I carry a chambered round, and one click back on the hammer to keep the hammer off of the firing pin.

I even have a horror story for you...............

THERE I WAS.. I just got up in my tree stand, 25 feet off the ground, Pulled up my rifle "UNLOADED" and pack. Hooked my rifle on my rifle hook, my pack on the pack hook, Loaded my rifle, and put it back on the hook by the sling. Anyway.. I needed to get in my pack. I opened, pulled out my big jacket and bumped my rifle. It slipped off the hook and in slow motion, as I cringed, it fell, loaded, 25 feet, and landed on it's side in the dirt.

It Didn't fire, and didn't put a scratch on it. ..............VERY LUCKY MAN.

LRE 45-110

And yes, I changed the position of my rifle hook so this would never happen again.

Bill Quantrill
"I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender. They have him pulling a wagon up in Kansas I bet."

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Tebbeman
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by Tebbeman » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:01 am

Aaron,

I hunt with a Sharps multiple times each year. If I'm on a stand (stump, tripod, etc) I'll load after I get set up, place on half cock and be very mindful of the rifle and it's condition. If I'm stalking, I will keep it empty until my game is in sight, then load, half-cock, and place my hand around the trigger guard to protect them from any intrusion of sticks or vines. Several years of hunting this way with zero problems, just don't ask me about my "unloaded" Redhawk and an unlucky wall. Enjoy your hunting season.

K. Tebbe
Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you...Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul & the other for your Freedom!

jackrabbit
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by jackrabbit » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:17 am

It's usually the unloaded ones that get you. I carry one in the chamber when stalking with the hammer on half cock. In my opinion, complacency is the problem. Nearly all of the accidents I have been involved in or even heard of are due to someone not paying attention (myself included). Personally, I try to treat all guns like they have one in the chamber all the time. Carrying the gun empty and then fumbling around tried to load it in a hurry only compounds the opportunity for a problem. Of course, I think it is a good idea to unload your gun while you climb into your stand, crawl in your pickup, or come into the house at night. But when you are out hunting the idea is to kill you game. It is awful hard to do that with an empty gun.
Good luck and safe hunting, Cody

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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by Marathonman » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:53 am

It's important to comply with the law in your hunting area and to be safe is even more important so check if your hunting regulations have information. It's also very easy to operate the action on your rifle quietly with practice. Keep this in mind unless you're trap shooting with your Sharps rifle! :)

What I do depends on the situation but I can't remember a single time in over 40 years of hunting where I lost an opportunity because I was carrying a rifle with an empty chamber.
I had gotten possession of a big "50" gun early in the fight, and was making considerable noise with it.

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Don McDowell
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by Don McDowell » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:15 am

When on foot, and actually hunting, I carry the rifle with a chambered round and use the halfcock.
Somehow I've never had an elk,deer or antelope stand up, and say "well now chap, you go ahead and load your rifle, I'll wait to take off and start running until you've had time to fumble around find a round, chamber it , cock the hammer and gain your sight picture" :roll: And have never ever had an elk come busting thru the timber and say, "oh hi there , let me stop while you find your cartridge and get ready to shoot"
AKA Donny Ray Rockslinger :?

jackrabbit
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by jackrabbit » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:55 am

Marathonman wrote:It's important to comply with the law in your hunting area and to be safe is even more important so check if your hunting regulations have information. It's also very easy to operate the action on your rifle quietly with practice. Keep this in mind unless you're trap shooting with your Sharps rifle! :)

What I do depends on the situation but I can't remember a single time in over 40 years of hunting where I lost an opportunity because I was carrying a rifle with an empty chamber.

What have you been hunting, beef cows? :lol: Apparently you are a much better hunter than I am as I can think of very few animals I have killed that I would have had time to load my rifle. I carry a bolt gun a lot of times with the chamber empty and some in the magazine. Even then the noise of working the bolt has spooked a couple of critters before I could get a good shot off.

Marathonman please don't view this as disrespectful as I know you are an accomplished hunter and I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing the pictures of your latest adventure. I have to agree with Don as things never seem to go as well for me as they seem to on TV.
Take care, Cody

jdb3
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by jdb3 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:36 am

Reminds me of a time when a local unloaded his firearm while walking out on a closed road. He was almost back to his truck when he ran nose-to-nose with a brown bear guarding a kill. Somehow he was able to get one round in his rifle and kill the bear, firing from the hip, it dropped 5 feet in front of him. At that time brown bears were not known to exist on Mitkof Island, someone forgot to tell that to the bears. Consequently, I carry my single shot rifles with one in the chamber and on half-cock of safety on. If you are really worried about it lower the lever so the firing pin is not on the live round. Jim
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" Benjamin Franklin.

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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by Orville » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:39 pm

Carry it loaded on half cock, situation awareness, always know where the muzzle is pointed and that it is loaded. Like flying IFR get complacent that airplane will kill you.
It is better to have your subconscious mind telling you the gun is loaded not unloaded.
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Shooting grease groove bullets in a sharps is new technology and just a passing fad.

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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by Marathonman » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:30 pm

Cody, I'm not the guy who hunts beef cows with a Sharps. That's somebody else who posts on this forum! :lol:

Don, do you really hear animals talking to you! (Ok kidding, I know what you meant) :wink:

Orville, situational awareness is great and thinking the gun is loaded is what you should always be thinking. Oh, and I actually am a pilot so I agree with you on the killer airplane point too!

Like I said, what I do depends on the situation. Yes, the times I've hunted the big bears of Alaska I always had a round chambered. That came in handy on my last trip where the biggest one I've ever seen alive took a dislike to me. The best advice I would give any hunter with unknown experience is to carry empty for ungulates including beef cows. My final point is if you can't load quickly and quietly you shouldn't be out hunting in the first place. Filling a tag at any cost is not what it's supposed to be about.
I had gotten possession of a big "50" gun early in the fight, and was making considerable noise with it.

~Billy Dixon~

Adobe Walls 1874

Constable Bill Manning
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by Constable Bill Manning » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:36 am

I have used my Sharps to hunt antelope and when walking long distances I ended up switching from shoulder to shoulder and from hand to hand because of the weight. Lots of juggling around. I didn't carry it loaded. Left divots in my shoulders. I don't like to shoot animals that are running so most animals that I have shot over the years have been standing, either unaware or confused. This generally allows to load a round either from a magazine or, as with my Sharps, to lever it open, drop in a round, and cock it. With the rainbow trajectory that these rounds have, I haven't felt good about snap shooting anything with my Sharps as I needed to adjust the sight to compensate for distance. On my last antelope, we saw them working up a draw about a mile below us, we hurried over to the head of the draw where I ranged a point by a bush at 220 yards. Laid my 45 - 2 7/8 over a "Y" branch in a sagebrush patch, and when the herd walked through totally unaware, the buck stepped right up to where I had ranged and stopped. Picture perfect! Punched an almost 1/2" hole through his chest.

One other suggestion I would make is to refrain from using your set trigger (if you have one) while hunting. If you have gloves on or are "in the heat of battle", a set trigger is too easy to accidentally touch and cause a misfire. The normal trigger works fine for hunting. Happened to me when I was elk hunting last year. Gun was pointed in a safe direction but it went off before I wanted due to wearing a pair of light gloves and I undershot a nice bull.

No animal is worth having a misfire that shoots your buddy or child or even your truck. I showed my Grampa Dixon a Model 25 S&W 45 Long Colt pistol I had just bought back in the 70's and he admired it for a minute, then made the point to tell me to carry it only on an empty chamber. Not being aware of newer style safety blocks, it was his opinion that you not have a loaded round under an exposed hammer at all unless you were going to fire it. I have been told stories about guys on horses that have had exposed hammers on lever guns on half cock that got hit hard enough to break the half cock or hooked it to full cock and fired the rifle and killed their horses. I guess I agree with my Grampa that unless you're ready to fire an exposed hammer firearm, you should have it empty. Try wandering around a competitive shoot with a rifle with a closed action. Those fella's don't trust a half cock or you and they want to see the action open and an open bolt indicator in it. A bit of overkill for a hunting situation with the OBI but and an exposed hammer lends itself to being hooked or hit which can cause a misfire.

In my opinion, a Sharps should only be used to shoot standing, quiet game that allows you to set yourself up, range and assess the distance, then load and fire. If you want to snap shoot stuff, there are much better firearms to use for that. We have a responsibility to properly dispatch animals we shoot and we should take that responsibility seriously and to misapply a firearm to the intended use just for the fun of it is being irresponsible. Hunting dangerous game with a Sharps is rather foolhardy as well but so is using a bow and arrow on Brown or Polar Bears or Cape Buffalo. Guys do it to prove something but a bolt action is a better choice. A Sharps works great on Buffalo, set up with cross sticks, etc. Limit your hunting to this sort of scenario and you will have lots of time to drop in a round, lever it shut, cock the trigger, and make a good shot. My opinion..

supersubes
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by supersubes » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:35 pm

Thank you all, that was the kind of feedback I was looking for.

Aaron

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desert deuce
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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by desert deuce » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:17 am

Set up hunting scenarios with partially hidden targets in the type of terrain you plan to hunt.

Wear the clothing and carry the gear you will carry while hunting. Practice moving and stalking in full hunting garb.

Practice under these field conditions, over and over and over and over again.

For elk, your shooting at game accuracy will likely be less than shooting at paper. Forget what you see and hear on TV.

Limit yourself on paper to a measured five inch circle.

Your effective game range is the distance you can place three consecutive shots out of 3 shots in that five inch circle, off hand if you are using standard sights.

Know your limitations........the problem usually is insufficient or improper hunt preparation. The rifle and ammo being the least of the problem.

practice, practice, practice, practice............which includes learning how to cock the sharps 74 without putting the herd to flight. Handle the rifle daily. Become thoroughly familiar with it.
Sometimes you get the chicken, and sometimes you get the feathers!

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Re: In what condition do you carry the sharps while hunting?

Post by Woody » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:34 pm

Remember that half-cock notch has a fly designed to lift the sear and let the hammer fall. Had a ML do that to me as I was leaving camp and the hammer caught on my clothing. Very distressing to have a firearm go off when you were not expecting it. The set trigger mentioned earlier is another truth that I can speak of from experience. :oops: There are no accidental discharges, only negligent ones. One of the last cases I worked on as a LEO, was a idiot who killed his lifelong friend an hour before dawn with a purposely aimed shot. You make your choice after fully understanding the consequences of your actions.

Personally, the animals I have hunted, rarely were aware that I was in the field. The exception being flushed birds or rabbits.

Woody
Richard A. Wood
If you are surrounded. You are in a target rich environment.

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