HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 04 - SHOTGUNS 101


Follow these steps to safely unload your pump action shotgun:

Illustration of a hunter's hands turning on a pump action shotgun's safety.

STEP 1: Point the firearm in a safe direction.

Illustration of a hunter's hands holding a pump action shotgun.

STEP 2: Turn the safety ‘ON’ (if it can be engaged during the unloading process).

Illustration of a hunter's hands holding a forward facing pump action shotgun.

STEP 3: Make sure nothing touches the trigger area during this process.

Illustration of a hunter's hands opening the action of a pump action shotgun to remove ammunition.

STEP 4: Remove all ammunition as follows:

  • Open the action by pressing the action release and sliding the forestock to the rear—this movement should eject any empty casings or hull from the chamber (remove it by hand if it doesn’t eject on it’s own).
  • If ammunition cannot be removed in any other way, cycle all the cartridges through the chamber to remove them.
  • Leave the action open.

Illustration of a hunter's hands holding a pump action shotgun on its side with the action open.

STEP 5: Look in the chamber to confirm that there’s no ammunition, hull or empty casings in there. 

Illustration of a hunter's finger checking the feeding path for ammunition.

STEP 6: Verify that there is no ammunition by inspecting the feeding path for any objects. Feel for the follower (if applicable).

Illustration of the view down the smooth barrel of a pump action shotgun.

STEP 7: Place the butt of the shotgun on the ground and make sure the action is open, then look down the bore for lubricant, rust, or any obstructions. Now you’re officially UNLOADED.

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