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Accidental discharge....

ltcdotyltcdoty Member Posts: 4,080 ✭✭✭
edited April 2019 in Ask the Experts
We had an AD in our rifle shed range. An older disabled gentleman with his son . The older gent was shooting a lever action deer rifle from his wheel chair. He was bringing the rifle up to shoot and as he did he apparently cocked the hammer and it slipped and fired the rifle through the lower front wall. Only he and his son were on the range....I give him credit for calling and reporting the incident and offered to pay for damages.

My question is..on older lever action rifles, or new ones for that matter, Winchester or Marlin...if you start to cock the hammer and it slips from under your thumb, will the rifle fire?


  • MobuckMobuck Member Posts: 12,673 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I thought that was what the half cock notch was supposed to help prevent. Maybe he squeezed the lever and the trigger while cocking the hammer.
  • navc130navc130 Member Posts: 970 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I tested my two older model Marlins. In my opinion, if the hammer is released just before the safety notch is engaged the hammer will fall with enough force to fire the round. Also, if the hammer falls before engaging the full cock notch, it is possible to break the safety notch off. I often observe people with their finger inside the trigger guard before it should be, while manipulating the action of firearms.
  • mark christianmark christian Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 24,466 ******
    edited November -1
    I can't speak about Winchesters, but I once owned an early Model 39a and putting the hammer to half-cock and pulling the trigger would cause the hammer to fall. It wasn?t enough to fire a round, but it put a slight dent in the cartridge rim. Just because it didn't fire (that time), doesn't mean that the next time, and using deferent ammunition, it wouldn't! This was a rimfire rifle, a centerfire would have a much heavier hammer and since many pistol primers are "soft", I wouldn't be at all surprised if a rifle chambered for a pistol cartridge would fire from half cock. Later Marlins have a shelf on the half-cock notch which prevents hammer fall when the trigger is pulled.
  • 1873man1873man Member Posts: 109 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    In older Winchesters the most common problem with hammers is broken half cocks. A hammer with a good half cock it wouldn't happen but if someone abused the guns the half cock busted off leaving a second sear notch but just lower.

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  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Not enough information IMHO. Awesome the muzzle was pointed in a safe direction. Was it cold out? Glove on hand can be tricky with triggers especially in tight places, hammers might slip out under a gloved thumb. Grease or crud in the action could slow the sear from engaging fast enough, weak or broken sear spring.

    I think the rifle needs to taken apart for a good cleaning and lube plus a good inspection of the working surfaces/parts.
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