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Why do people always seem to be cleaning loaded guns?


A man cleaning his muzzle-loading rifle shot the gun into the air, accidentally killing a 15-year-old Amish girl driving a horse-drawn buggy more than a mile away, a sheriff said Tuesday.

20 Responses to “Why do people always seem to be cleaning loaded guns?”

  1. Pol Mordreth Says:

    Its a muzzleloader. You can’t unload it any other way than firing it. The idiot fired it up instead of in a safe direction so he could start cleaning it.


  2. Sebastian The Blogless Says:

    Today’s lesson: don’t be an idiot and murder a piece of paper with a dirt backstop instead.

  3. Tam Says:

    I was going to answer, but Pol already did.

  4. Tam Says:

    (Actually, you can unload it with compressed air and the right fitting for the nipple, but most folks don’t have that kind of stuff just lying around.)

  5. rightisright Says:

    I don’t have a muzzle loader and have only shot one a few times so color me ig’nant on the subject. But why would you need to keep it loaded? Does anyone actually use one for home defense???

    My hunting, target and clay guns are always kept unloaded.

  6. Mopar Says:

    Right: It takes a fair amount of time and effort to load a muzzleloader. If you were using one for hunting and waited until you had a clear shot to fire your prey would be in the next county before you got off a shot. So the dood loaded his gun and sat in his tree stand all day and never saw a deer. Then, instead of firing it in a safe direction, using compressed air/co2 or even removing the nipple and pouring out the powder then using a bullet puller, the asshat discharged into the air to clear it before cleaning. Now, I guess we don’t really know the whole story. It’s possible he didnt know the gun was loaded. The only way to safely check many muzzle loaders before cleaning is to “snap caps”, ie install a percussion cap and fire it (in a safe direction). Even if that’s the case, he still didnt follow the 4 rules.

  7. rightisright Says:

    Makes sense… I assumed he was cleaning it at home and should have previously discharged it into the ground or a tree before leaving his hunting ground. Either way, he’s an asshat.

  8. rightisright Says:

    Ooops. Only “assumed” was supposed to be italicized.

  9. Marq Says:

    The story I read said the discharge happened 1.5 miles from the victim. Either a typo or the longest shot with any black powder rifle I ever heard of. Laws of physics as they are I find the distance to be questionable. Does not change the idiot’s practice of intentionally discharging a rifle in an unsafe manner.

  10. Paul Says:

    When deer hunting with muzzle loaders we always fired the shot in the gun in the evening before cleaning it with soap and hot water. BUT, we always tested the sights by shooting at a tree (which stopped the bullet.)

    This fool not only shot the gun in the air, but he HAD to shoot it at less than 45 degrees for it to reach a mile and still have the power to kill.

    That is negligence. Anyone knows you never shoot a gun at a low angle as it will reach a very long distance and still be deadly.

  11. Paul Says:

    And my heart goes out for the family of the 14 year old girl. It will be a tough Christmas for them. I bet they had presents for her.


  12. TIM Says:

    A mile and a half that’s pretty crazy.I guess her number was defiantly up I mean the odds 1.5 mile black powder gun thru a buggy and hitting her in the head.I hope this guy thinks twice next time fire into the ground.Maybe you get lucky and hit that damn gopher.

  13. adam Says:

    “Either a typo or the longest shot with any black powder rifle I ever heard of.”

    No joke. That puts Gunny Hathcock’s .50BMG shot to shame.

  14. Kevin Baker Says:

    Negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter. I’m sorry, but he should be charged and tried. Someone is dead because of his asshattery.

  15. Kristopher Says:

    Tam: Google up bullet worm.

    They cost about 2 bucks. They’ve been around forever.Add a tee-handle and that to your loading rod and you can unload.

    If you buy a muzzle-loader, you need to learn how to unload it as well as load it.

  16. SPQR Says:

    Kristopher, bullet worms are problematic. As Tam mentions, there is a CO2 cartridge powered device that blows through the nipple and blows out the charge and bullet safely. Some people can’t make those work reliably and those people have to either fire it or worm it out.

  17. blindshooter Says:

    A friend showed up one day with a “dry ball” in his muzzle loader wanting me to help him get it out. I have some zerk grease fittings that fit in place of the nipple so a lever grease gun can be used to push the ball out of the bore. The rifle needs to be pointed in a safe direction because even with this method it will launch the ball with some force. I have also rmoved the nipple and added a small amount of fffg reinstalled nipple, cap and fire usually driving the ball out of the bore. Again into a safe backstop.

  18. comatus Says:

    blindshooter, “Brilliant!” and thank you for that grease-gun tip. I hope somebody[!] writes it up into a headlining how-to article. Now I’m thinking about a grease-cartridge full of bore-butter. Mmmm.

  19. Andrew Says:

    He has to live with this for the rest of his life. Well deserved in my opinion. Idiot!

  20. Crotalus Says:

    What does one do to unload a flintlock? I’ve never fired mine; it just decorates my fireplace. It is real though, and I have wondered how to remove a ball in the event of wet powder, or at the end of the day.

    I can’t see using one for home defense with so many modern weapons available, unless one has been convicted of something, and has lost his 2A rights. Then, it’s the only gun he may keep, unless I’m mistaken.