HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 03 - RIFLES 101


Follow these steps to safely unload your lever action rifle:

Illustration of a hunter's hands holding a forward facing lever action rifle.

STEP 1: Point the firearm in a safe direction.

Illustration of a hunter's hands keeping off of a lever action rifle's trigger.

STEP 2: Make sure nothing touches the trigger throughout this procedure.

Illustration of a hunter's hands turning on a lever action rifle's safety.

STEP 3: Turn the safety on (if it can be engaged during the unloading process).

Illustration of a hunter's hands opening a lever action rifle's action to remove any spent cartridges.

STEP 4: Remove all cartridges as follows:

  • Open the action by operating the lever—this movement should eject any empty casing or hull from the chamber (remove it by hand if it doesn’t eject on it’s own).
  • Remove any ammunition from the tubular magazine (use gravity—let it fall into your hand).
  • 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 lever action rifle 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 chamber and feeding path for any obstructions.

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

Illustration of a view down the barrel of a lever action rifle.

STEP 7:  Place the butt of the firearm 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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