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How should you deal with a cartridge misfire?

What's the best way to handle this

best cartridge for a shotgun

Finding the right cartridge combination for your gun is an art

I occasionally join a few friends for an informal clayshoot on a farm and last time out one of my cartridges failed to fire after I pulled the trigger. There was some debate as to the correct procedure for dealing with a misfire, so what’s the official version?

Key advice

Twenty five years ago this subject came up when I attended a CPSA safety officers course. The advice remains the same today – wait for at least 30 seconds with the gun pointed in a safe direction before removing the faulty cartridge.

This is in case you get what is called a ‘hang fire,’ in which the primer finally ignites several seconds after it has been struck by the firing pin.

The real danger is if the cartridge fires as it is being ejected, in which case it can go off very close to your face.

shotgun cartridges in different bores

Shotgun cartridge safety rules

Every responsible shooter should be aware of the all-important cartridge safety rules. You must NEVER  mix cartridges of different calibres.…

However, this is very rare, and I can only recall a single instance being reported. The shooter was injured, but fortunately only slightly.