TIFU by forgetting there was a shell chambered in my shotgun

TIFU by forgetting there was a shell chambered in my shotgun

This happened a few years ago and it still makes me feel ashamed because I’m the first to tell anyone about the importance of gun safety and how to appropriately and respectfully handle a firearm.

Any who, I went to the shooting range with my friends to let off some steam. At the time, I owned a few handguns but recently purchased a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun with a pistol grip for a little over $200 (what a steal) and wanted to christen it. The rules at the range for shotguns is that you can only use slug rounds (a singular, heavy projectile) not birdshot (basically, a bunch of bb’s). So we get there, go into our own lanes, load up and fire away.

Since I had the newest gun, all my friends who came wanted a go at it. I obliged, loaded the shotgun up, and people took turns blowing holes in the target 25 yards away. I remember putting the gun down on the table after my last friend had a go with it thinking it was empty. I switched it up and began having fun with my other firearms.

Time passed and we start unloading and clearing everything and locking our firearms up. Traditionally, I always unload and to be sure, aim the gun down range and pull the trigger to clear it. After locking up my handguns, I grabbed my shotgun by the grip with one hand, tilted it downward to where the barrel is pointing at the ground, and pulled the trigger to clear it. BANG! To my surprise, there was a round chambered in the gun and it blew the table into flying splinters and made a huge crater in the floor. Everyone in the range jumped and the range officer came running over screaming his head off.

To make a long story short, the owner revoked my membership and banned me from the range and I had to pay for the damages. No one was hurt, but the fact that I didn’t correctly handle my firearm was the worst fuck up of all.

TL;DR: Went to the shooting range with my friends. Recently bought a shotgun and wanted to christen it. Forgot shotgun was chambered and blew up the table into smithereens and left a nice crater in the floor. Got banned from the range and had to pay the damages.

Should have just explained to the RSO that you were just doing a desk pop.

But seriously. Hard lesson to learn, but atleast no one was hurt.

I just did my first desk pop! That's a thing right??

ah, the $250 Mossberg 500. No collection complete without one

You can clear a gun without pulling the trigger. With a pump, you press the little button next to the trigger and pump the gun and it will clear the chamber. With a non revolving pistol you just take out the magazine and pull back the slide and the chambered round should come out.

I know. What happened to me goes to show you the negative effect of being lazy and not caring about the basics.

Amen to that

Pulling the trigger is the absolute worst way to check if a gun is clear; nor does it provide any real insight as the magazine may still have a shell. Finally, firing a pin dry just can't be good for the mechanics.

A desk pop?! No, that's not real!

Oh man, reading that last bit gave me goosebumps. Glad no one got hurt, damn that's a funny story!

BUT I THOUGHT FOR SURE IT WAS! They were so convincing!

I miss my Remington 870. Had to sell when times were tough...

You wouldn't. OP pulled the trigger as a way of releasing the slide mechanism, but there is also a button to do this that doesn't fire the weapon. Before packing a firearm for storage or transport, it is always a good idea to ensure it is not loaded. By pressing the slide release button, you are able to remove any live rounds from the chamber and verify that the gun is unloaded and safe. OP knew they needed to make the weapon safe, but went about it in a very unsafe way.

These things happen. My buddy was a coach on the Marine Corps rifle team and a current police swat guy, hands me a rifle in a case, I pull out a beautiful 700 BDL -06 and open the bolt. A round flies out and breaks a ceramic bowl on his wife's curio cabinet. We were both in a bunch of trouble and man was he embarrassed. Last guy in the world.......

Glad no one go hurt.

Im'a peacock Sarge ya gotta let me fly!

I'm glad too!

My friends were all laughing while I was getting screamed at.

I have an old 870 and a new 887. It's crazy how much better made Remington's used to be.

Yes, because he says opens the bolt, you know the round was ejected and not fired.

That could have turned out a lot worse than it did lol

Considering he said this was years ago I'm guessing he knows this.

Gators bitches better be wearin jimmies

and pulled the trigger to clear it.

Can you explain to those of us unfamiliar with gun safety? What does "clear" mean, in this context? Why would you pull the trigger on a gun if you didn't have intent to fire it?

yeah some extractors chuck spent rounds with a vengeance, and a loaded round weighs more, obviously.

And I bet you'll never do it again! That shit sticks with you. Source: similar story with an AR and have never done it again.


By a "round flies out" you mean that a cartridge was ejected, not fired, right?

Pardon my ignorance - it ejects that forcefully?!

Thanks, Freedom Group

My newest rifle. My husband let me get it for my birthday. Not my favorite but is my second favorite. (My judge will probably always be my favorite). It's a slick shotgun. I took it to my dads house to shoot, I told him I had never shot slugs, he had two left from when he had been breaking his new pump in (I always forget what his is but it's a pretty expensive one, around $500 or $600). Later that night my mom was cooking dinner for all of us and we got on the topic of the shotgun choke. He decided he'd take his out and show me what it was. Well, he couldn't. Lol. Turned out he had a model that it was supposed to be removed before shooting slugs. So he proceeded to freak out for three hours before he was able to pry it out, and then was scared that I'd need a new one so he took it to his little workshop in the house (my old room) and it popped right out. He was so pissed at himself. Funnest thing ever. Almost as good as when I rib him about when I was 3 or 4 years old and was sitting in the floor while he was about to clean his .22lr and he "cleared the chamber" assuming it was already clear and put a hole in the ceiling of a trailer we were renting. His face always gets the darkest shade of red. Just makes me go that extra mile to being a safe gun owner. Even when I load snapcaps, I still get wary of pulling the trigger in the house even though I know it's harmless.

TL;DR Just a couple stories about my father's duh moments

the fact that "The Other Guys" is still referenced makes me so happy.

Guess what, you've wandered into our school of tuna, and we now have a taste for lion, pal!

Good thing all these people are here to repeat what you said in your original post and point out your mistake!

Ohhhh yea

I was wondering, "Who would roast a dog's asshole and feed it to their husband?". You would.

Very negligent.

But I followed, and always will follow, rule number 1.

Never point the gun at anyone!

I mean this in the nicest way possible, "you're an idiot." Always treat a gun as if it's loaded and always clear a weapon before handing it to someone/ before putting it away.

Pulling the trigger is not "clearing" it. Although it most certainly will clear it if there is a round chambered, only it'll be through barrel. The proper procedure for clearing is to "rack" the slide a few times to draw out any remaining rounds. Once the chamber has been inspected visually through the slide port then and only then may you pull the trigger. OP was very negligent and could have killed someone.

You feel stupid because you are stupid. No to any argue about that.

Gator don't play no shit!

Honestly, I'm glad to hear you were banned. We've had a couple ADs over the years at my club, and a ban is the only way to go. You forgot the first rule....it's ALWAYS loaded.

Glad you chose to share this, as if one or two more people are "more safe" at the range then you won in the end.

What I've found is that usually people who are new to guns (assuming they've been taught safety rules) treat them with much more respect than people who are used to them. At first guns are "scary", so people are extra careful. After a while many people get comfortable and stop respecting the weapons. Of course I realize this is not everyone, just my experience in general.

Golden rule right there. When I first started shooting I didn't realize the pistol slide would stay open when the magazine was empty. I pulled the trigger before it fully cycled so the gun didn't shoot. I thought it was empty and let my arm fall to my side only to be surprised when I accidentally shot a round 3 inches from my toe. Poor trigger discipline.

Finally, firing a pin dry just can't be good for the mechanics.

This is what snap caps are for, because you're absolutely right. But leaving the gun cocked isn't good either.

Plus they have the added bonus of after you clear the chamber and magazine by working the action, you manually load a snap cap, you know you don't have a live round in the chamber when you pull the trigger.

My understanding was that modern firearms, especially pistols, were safe to dry fire. Am I mistaken?

I dry fired the hell out of my Springfield xd. It was my carry pistol so I was very serious about becoming proficient with it- got the laser sight integrated in the spring and dry fired at a wall to the point that my trigger pull was perfect. That was many moon ago now.

As per the thread topic. Granddaddy famously discharged his hunting rifle into the bed as that was his routine to de-cock. Seems like lots of families have these stories. Check your chambers my dudes.

Shit man, went to clean my Glock, forgot to check the chamber and blew a hole through about 4 walls in my house. Felt real fucking stupid

Or, as some others like to say it, "Sing into Kurt Cobain's microphone".

If at any point in your life you can remember seeing a mistake you've made and thought to yourself, "How in the hell did I miss that?" think really, really hard about that mistake you missed anytime you touch a gun. People make mistakes and if you're reading this, then you're a people. A gun mistake is not a typo or an autocorrect you miss, but they're just as easy to make. Trust me, I know...autocorrect is my worst enema.

The fact that "Daddy's Home" is getting a sequel and "The Other Guys" is not makes me so sad.

The question here is, why would you clear it by aiming at the ground and firing it instead of just attempting to fire it downrange before they put the range on safe?

Clearing most certainly involves pulling the trigger on rifles, it's one of the last steps.

Source: 6 years in the military where I did it hundreds of times.

My 870 started rusting so quickly

Anything you say can and will be used as a flotation device.

Still informative for those of us who don't know shit.

because more expensive walls are worth the money you might save if you accidentally discharge a firearm in your house?

Generally speaking, modern firearms are safe to dry fire. The only notable exception is rimfire weapons (.22lr and the like) which have a higher chance of damaging the firing pin during a dry fire. That said, it's good to research a tad before doing it. Might just save yourself $15 for a new firing pin.

I think maybe he wanted to make sure the hammer wasn't cocked?

Either way, "cleared" is not used correctly in this context.

"Clearing the chamber" means to make sure there is not a round in the chamber. This would mean, sliding the pump back, and visually checking the chamber, and magazine tube to be sure that it is empty. No trigger pulling required.

I got this lesson early in life when I was a kid out shooting targets by my pond almost shot my self in the foot. Then the military really helped drill the rest in. I just stay away from ranges. Lol prefer to not have to be around people untrained, familiar or just down right retarded.

Glad you didn't get hurt. Be safe have fun! Smash some clays! Now I know what I'm doing this weekend

Got an SKS. I'm more likely to hit the Target with the spent casing than the actual round.

Clearing a weapon involves placing the weapon on safe, dropping the ammunition source if there is one, visually and sometimes physucally verifying that there is no round in the chamber, nor one that will be chambered in the case of internal magazines. Trigger pulling is not necessary, and usually not encouraged anyway. During clear and check operations, we generally want booger hooks off the bang switch. One place I trained at, their policy for semiauto pistols was to clear and holster with the slide locked back.

The military is quite a bit different and they're generally well behind the curve when it comes to firearms safety. The CTT Skill Level 1 task "Unload an M16 series rifle", the last step is to pull the trigger, but that's the ONLY org I've ever been to that requires that. If you pulled the trigger on one of my rimfires on an empty chamber, I'd probably slap you anyway.

Source: 5 years infantry, 7 years NRA certified RSO, Rifle and Pistol instructor

It could be the best range or the worst range. I'm the one who made the mistake.

I let my dad, uncle and little brother borrow my car to go bird hunting once. They came home with a few birds, we had a nice dinner and all seemed well... Until about a month later I was cleaning my car and noticed that the passenger side floormat (made of rubber) had a puncture in it, weird. So I lifted it up to vacuum and low and behold there's a quarter sized hole right through my floor! Didn't really think much of it at the time, it was an old '99 Hyundai Accent and I didn't really care.

Turns out my uncle accidentally shot a #4 bird shell through my floor board while getting back into my car! My brother didn't tell me until I sold the car, and neither my dad or uncle have ever mentioned it, im guessing the embarrassment was too much so I never brought it up to them either.

My godfather also shot his .308 rifle right through his steering column and the windshield while getting back into his truck. Needed a whole new steering column and windshield, smh. We may or may not have put deer antlers on his truck as a joke for the next few hunting seasons lol.

TL;DR: had 2 different family members accidentally discharge a firearm inside of a vehicle while getting back in it. Lesson being always assume a gun is loaded!

Same goes for a lot of dangerous things, like driving, operating machines like lathes, mills, etc. At the start you suck so you're dangerous. After a bit you're good at it, but still cautious. The longer you go without incident, some people start to get lax in their attention and then that's where you get in trouble.

Paper bitch! papppperrr biiitttchhh

Man, I got an sks that'll throw brass (or steel, in this case) a good 10 - 15 yards. I also got a .22lr bolt action that doesn't always eject. It'll extract, but if you don't pull the bolt hard enough it might drop the brass on top of the mag and if you didn't notice it'll jam up if you try to load the next round.

True. Just don't dry fire when using someone else's gun or you might end up having to explain this logic to someone who has been told their entire life not to dry fire. Depending on the person... this could be more of a headache than it's worth.

No. The OP is more at fault for actually pulling the trigger and not having it pointed downrange. His friends are at fault for negligence but he is the one who pulled the trigger.

These things happen

Referring to accidentally destroying furniture with guns and saying 'these things happen' is so bizarre to non-Americans


They taste terrible.

Clearing the chamber is still only referring to physically removing ammunition. Some people choose to decock, other's don't and other choose to leave the chamber open which is the best method.

Source: Competitive shooting for the past 14 years.

That's what I always do...at least twice...And then with striker fire guns aim downrange and pull the trigger to release the firing pin. And even after that, I treat the gun like it's loaded. You really can never be too careful

booger hooks off the bang switch


Maybe, but you kinda earned it. A gun is always loaded.

Yes. Casing (or round) ejection is quite forceful so as to get the hot shell far away from the shooter reliably and quickly. If the ejection wasn't decisive, you risk leaving the spent casing lodged in the mechanism.

I definitely oil my Remington's more than any other. I also take them into the worst conditions of any of my guns and they rarely act up.

but was it an 870 Magnum?


If it's a heavy round and a weak vase thing, yeah.

There are two kinds of gun owners. Those who have had a Negligent Discharge, and those who will.

Lucky nobody was injured.

Real funny. I've never Miranda'ed anyone before.

My dad taught me to shoot when I was eleven. He practically brainwashed shit like this into my brain because he was so sure accidents like this we're just stupid easy to make.. I knew for sure he was getting me a rifle for Xmas because for six months prior, he would ask me once a week or so about one of his guns (he had three).

He'd make me get one of the little gun cases each of the pistols was in, and bring it to him. He'd ask 'is that case locked?' and if I did anything but answer no, he make me put it back.

Otherwise, he'd give me the keys and let me unlock the case. Then, he'd ask 'is that safety on?' and even if I was looking at the lock and knew the safety was on, the answer is no.

If I answered no, he'd ask 'is that gun loaded?'. The answer is always yes. Even if you just checked it. Even if you know there's no bullet in it. Id pull the gun apart looking for a bullet (safety on), clean it, put it back together, tell him 'yes this gun is loaded', put it away, lock the case up, and put it back.

This crap is why I'm so scared at crappy gun ranges. Too many people not following basic gun safety.

Dropping the hammer is not basic firearm discipline. Clearing the weapon is. You DO NOT clear a weapon by pulling the trigger. You clear it by pressing the slide release button, which opens the action but does not drop the hammer.

Tough lesson to learn. Thankfully no one was hurt. But I do have quite the issue with pulling the trigger to clear the chamber. It what way does that make sense? "I'm pretty sure I've just unloaded this weapon. Let me just pull the trigger and see if it fires to make sure." Doesn't seem like a logical thought process. You should just need to rack through a few times and then do the basic visual inspection of the barrel and camber. It takes just as long and just as much effort but is an infinite amount safer. Not to mention that the chamber should be left open when not in use regardless. On the other hand, if you do want to close the chamber for storage and don't want the firing pin cocked (which is reasonable) you should never dry fire the weapon any how. On hammerless guns you will have to blindly pull the trigger. But after doing a proper clear, there are things called snap caps which are essentially fake shells. Load one of them in after the clear and pull. It will prevent a lot of unnecessary wear in the rifle. Sorry for the rant. And I know you admit that you messed up. I'm not trying to scold, just provide information.

There's only 2 parts involved in last round hold open. Either the slide release is worn down or shaped wrong. Or more likely the magazine is bad. Cheap aftermarket magazines or the spring being worn out in old magazines are usually the culprit.

I hate to tell you, but most criminals don't legally purchase their rooty tooty point and shooties.

I honestly can't imagine pulling the trigger of a gun while pointing it at something I wasn't trying to shoot. OP violated at least 3 laws of gun safety simultaneously. It's completely his fault and I would've slapped him upside the head if I had witnessed it.

OP, sorry to hear of your troubles and all that. Glad no one was hurt.

But... The bigger FUp was all of the clearly knowledge gun owners who commented on this thread but didn't share the 4 rules of gun safety (of which you certainly broke two, arguably three).

Four Rules of Gun Safety:

All guns are always loaded. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. Be sureof your target and what is beyond it. 1 and #3 mean don't pull the trigger at the ground when you think it's empty/cleared. This are two that OP certainly didn't follow. 2 might be arguable, OP did break a table he had to pay for that he likely didn't intend to break.

But this is not even about OP.

This is just for the random reader. Follow the above rules 100% of the time! (And you won't end up posting to TIFU or legaladvice)

Yeah I'm not sure why you would clear it by firing it, that's a waste of ammo, not to mention the likelihood of dry fire. When I'm finished with my shotguns I always leave the chamber open just to be sure. It's muscle memory now. Harder to do with my bolt actions but I just use a different but equally safe procedure.

That's not to say I haven't fucked up personally. It only takes a second to learn a lifelong lesson


Am I on Punk'd?

A round flies out and breaks a ceramic bowl

destroying furniture

Perhaps you're using your plateware incorrectly.

From anybody who has any shooting experience, it is perhaps the nicest of the possible things to say.

Just look in the damn chamber instead next time bud.

The person who says

I will never have a negligent discharge because I'm not a fucking idiot

is the person who is most likly to have a negligent discharge, beause the think they are above the possibility.

Please, don't turn this fuck-up into a political argument.

I own A LOT of guns and that instant has been the only incident I've ever had. Am I lucky I didn't hurt/kill anyone? Yes Was what I did stupid and irresponsible? Absolutely Should there be stricter gun laws to avoid accidents like that one I had? Absolutely fucking not. Accidents happen and always will happen. Take my experience as a lesson.

I learned my lesson!


I have some issues with my glock 17 (it could need a quick oiling) where I'll fire a complete magazine but the slide wont lock back.

Ok, that aligns with my understanding of firearm safety.

So, once again, why would you pull the trigger on a gun if you didn't have intent to fire it? Wouldn't "clearing" always assume that the gun WAS loaded?

Breathing apparatus? Just add kelp!

Oh my

I agree with this post. There is no need to pull the trigger unless you are releasing the hammer for storage in which case you can drop the hammer gently to avoid a dry-fire on the firing pin.

I carry every day and clear my gun when I get home but never dry fire my weapon. 1911's can be tricky to release the hammer on one handed until you get the hang of it but you should always be comfortable with every function and action you make with your gun. Practice is imperative when it comes time to really use your weapon.

They were just as much as fault for not locking the breach nopen when they were done shooting it.

How did the RSO never yell at you guys for having a gun on the table with the breach not open?

I just keep the bolt open, magazine out whenever not actively firing the weapon... Open bolt can't have a round chambered, and can be visually confirmed at a distance to be safe.

ACTS and PROVE. I don't know if you have a gun safety equivalent in the States but it goes:

Assume the firearm is loaded

Control muzzle direction at all times

Trigger finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard

See that the firearm is unloaded and prove it safe

Point the firearm in the safest available direction

Remove all ammunition

Observe the chamber

Verify the feeding path

Examine the bore

Remembering this should mean you'll never make mistakes like that ever again

*Maverick 88

High gun death rate? Yes. Homicide rate with guns purchased legally? Not really. Take out suicide and homicides related to drugs or gangs, and the whole "guns are bad" idea is lost. We have all the proof that we need guns. It's the Constitution. Deal with the criminals, not the guns.

I'm kinda a gun noob, when you say that you don't mean looking down the barrel right?

Username checks out.

and those who will.

Was a range officer for some years, and have seen SOOOOOOO many of these. Always immediately kicked em out and suspended their shooting privileges. Depending on their response we sometimes let them return after a safety class.