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Poll: Where Do You Like Your Safety?

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December 15, 2011

Poll: Where Do You Like Your Safety?

By Phil Bourjaily

Where is the best place for a shotgun’s safety – at the front of the trigger guard or at the back? My gut feeling is that a safety should be at the back, if only because my first gun, an Auto 5, had a safety at the rear of the trigger guard. However, today I hunt waterfowl with guns having safeties in front, behind and on top. I switch among them all without much difficulty. Teaching yourself to use different safeties is just like learning to go back and forth between single and double triggers: shoot a couple of rounds of skeet calling for the bird with the safety on and you’ll get the knack in a hurry.

And, while safeties behind the trigger just look right to me, from an ease of use standpoint, a safety at the front of the trigger guard (as shown here on a Winchester SXP) is the quickest to reach. I was taught to carry a gun with my index finger extended across the trigger guard to help keep branches and twigs from snagging the trigger. It’s a habit now, and as a result I only have to move my trigger finger a fraction of an inch to reach a safety at the front of the trigger guard.

The best safety at the front of the trigger from ease of use standpoint is the Beretta 390/391. The worst was the one on my Benelli Nova, which was both tiny and tucked up against the bottom of the receiver where it wasn’t easy to find in a hurry. It cost me a couple of chances at teal buzzing the decoys while I had it, although otherwise I liked the gun.

The best safety behind the trigger guard was the big triangular button on the Browning Gold which was huge, easy to switch off, and the easiest ever to change to left-handed.

Since I have no strong feelings on this question, we’ll take a poll. Safety in front of the trigger guard, at the rear, or no opinion?

Comments (101)

Top Rated
All Comments
from ckRich wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

It doesn't really matter to me, a little practice and you will figure it out quick.

Now, where the bolt release is located on a pump shotgun is a different matter. Being a southpaw, the behind the trigger gaurd bolt release of Mossberg pump shotguns has cost me a shot more than once. If you don't pay attention, just holding the gun can cause you to unknowingly depress the release, and when pulling up on a shot you open the slide. Not a fan of that location.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ALJoe wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Put the safety where it is suppose to be, behind the trigger!. I too grew up shooting an Browning A-5 so it is just what is natural to me. It is so simple-shoulder, press, click, bang.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I prefer it in front of the trigger guard. When I'm bird hunting I keep my finger on the trigger guard, so when a bird flushes it's much easier to release the safety and get a shot off in one fluid motion.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan01 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Being a lefty, I prefer it on top of the receiver.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MikeD wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

On top always! It's naturally under your thumb, is fast to release and easy to make sure it's on. However, if I can't have a tang safety, I'll take one behind the trigger guard - like the big Browning Gold safety.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bruce E. Matthews wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Lefty. On top.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ron Martell wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

On top. I like to be able to see the safety. Plus my son is a lefty. I'd like to be able to pass it down.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I shoot a Beretta 391 and a Remington 870 regularly so I can do in front or behind. I think I like the 391 better. It's much more fluid when I'm hunting with my shotgun to flip the safety and now my finger is right there in front of the trigger. With the behind the trigger safety I have push the safety, then reach forward for the trigger. On top of the receiver seems to make the most sense and seems like it would be the most convenient, but I've never owned a gun with a top safety.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I like it on top.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ggmack wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

my vote says between the ears. all other saftey locations can be taught and learned with time. the first saftey anyone handling a gun should learn is in between the ears.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ga hunter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I prefer mine behind the trigger guard like my 870 are and my 11-87 I shot a friends shotgun with a safety on top and it was just awkward to me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I agree the best location for a safety is between your ears, but on a gun I like top mounted safety best.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gxx9sdb wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I only have one shotgun (mossberg) so I have grown to like it on top of the receiver

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckstopper wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

How about on the top of the grip like on a O/U?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buriti wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

As the majority of my shooting is done with "proper" side-by-side shotguns, the logical locations for a safety is on the back strap, on top of the grip.

I also love the A-5's and consider the Remington 870 as one the best shotguns ever made, but I just can't operate their safeties as fast as those of side-by-sides.

Please, read my blog at http://awildbeastatheart.blogspot.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My first shotgun came with a safety sledom seen anymore. It was mounted forward of the stock and behind the barrel. It's called a"hammer" and will soon be training the fourth generation of our family. Also have a side-by-side with mule ears. They may not be as convenient as the new stuff, but they sure are fun to use.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from timvance8 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Great question Phil. I learned to shotgunning on a predecessor to the SXP pictured, a Ted Williams Model 200. It seems intuitive to me to have the safety in front of the trigger guard. Once the safety is turned off, your finger is already correctly positioned to continue rearward and depress the trigger. It's one fluid motion.
Tang mounted safeties are great too. Again, one fluid motion to articulate the safely and continue moving the thumb around the grip.
Having said this, I've never owned a firearm with a safety at the rear of the trigger guard. I have long fingers and trying to push the safety off with my index finger is a real challenge. The shooting motion should be fluid and simple. For me, a rear mounted safety doesn't make it so.

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from tpbesone wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I grew up learning on Remington shotguns which have the safety behind the trigger guard but after buying my Beretta 391 with the trigger guard in front I would never go back for winged shooting. Much more fluid motion. I still use an 870 for turkeys but safety speed is not an issue there.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michigan Gunner wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I like the behind the trigger safety on a pump or auto. Of course, on top for a double. That said, I hunt a lot with Winchester Model 12's, it's safety is in front as you know!

MG

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from PawPaw wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I've been shooting Winchesters since I was old enough to shoulder a shotgun. You can put me in the "front" category.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

As a die hard Mod 12 front safety man, I lost a shot at my first buck with a borrowed Ithaca auto 40 years ago. I had to bring the gun down and look to find the safety. I never have and never will forget that feeling of being unable to shoot that buck because the safety wasn't where I was expecting it to be. That was a one time issue, but it still brings a ruefull smile to my face.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I build butstocks, mostly for the old beretta auto's, parrallel, cast off, toe out. I put more raidious on the grip, than factory, not unlike a 425 browning. This moves my hand forward, so that, in order to go from safety to trigger, I do not have to regrip. 35 yard flushes, of wind driven pheasants, in December, are a lot different, than young October birds. You can kill those birds at your leasure, with anything. The safety, on the sxp, pictured, is to FAR forward, for my tast. Top tang, is also fine, but I like three, nothing quite like a tripple, on sharpies.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

All safetys should be on the top of the reciever, why would you have a safety in front or back of the trigger in the first place? That is just screaming for a accidental discharge to happen, especially with a glove on! Index finger should pull the trigger, nothing more!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

If you are accustomed to having it on the back, behind the trigger on the guard then that is the best place for you, especially if you shoot multiple guns for different birds like I do. Anyone know why Benelli puts theirs in the front of the guard? I found out why from a dealer yesterday. And I, for one, do not like it there. You guys said "on top". I thought you were talking about an O/U tang safety which I like as well as on the back of the guard behind the trigger.

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from abiddle013 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I like for the safety to be on top of the receiver just because thats how it was on the Steven's side-by-side that I learned to shoot with. However, I was later trained to keep my finger on the frame (handguns) or receiver in this case until I was ready to shoot which makes the safety in front of the trigger in a handy spot.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I have gotten used to them whether front or rear, but it would be great if they all were on top at the tang. My over and under works great.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wags wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Front or rear is fine, as long as it is on a rifle. Give me a top tang safety every time on a shotgun. Right under my thumb when I bring the shotgun up on a rising bird.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

It does not matter at all where it is to me, I have learned to find the safety before loading the gun no matter which type or who made it,Shotgun,rifle or pistol.

Anyone who has many guns, should look it over find the safety and "Dry Fire" before loading. JMNSVHO!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hoytshooter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

1 st.) Top
2 nd.) Behind
3 rd.) In front

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hoski wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My preference is on top of the tang.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

For years I hunted upland game with a 1200/WIN pump with a safety in front of the trigger guard, which was perfect for me in snap shooting over a single barrel..NOW I hunt with an o/u with a top tang/selective safety..for this gun it works better then a t-guard sfty.
My Slug gun has a top tang safety which I think is perfect for this type of gun.

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from Owl W wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I'd prefer it on top. Thumb is always right there so it's quick. And for me it's the quickest to check both by vision and feel.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

No question, to me anyway, the best place is the top. A tang safety is ambidextrous and visible. Your thumb easily moves forward taking the safety off as the gun is raised.

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from Brian W. Thair wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I expect to be able to SEE it. On top. Visible at all times. Cleverly tucked in underneath does nothing for me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chris Cowan wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

On top, ambidetrous, and with three, count 'em three, lefties in the house, it's nice to be able to just trade guns.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

As far as safeties on the trigger guard go, it just makes sense to me that it's in front. It's one quick motion to flip it off and be on the trigger. It would be nice if all long gun safeties were on the tang.

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from Doug6136 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I grew up using an A5 as well, so behind the trigger guard feels most instinctive to me. The problem I have with a tang safety is not so much its location but the fact that it tends to get hung up in the "middle" position on my Citori. A few birds lived to see another day because of that particular safety design.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My old 870 was infront I like that. My Mossberg 500 has it on top I like that to. On a tactical shotgun I would prefer it up front so I can use it with my pistol grip buttstock, on a bird gun I like both

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Must be more expensive to install a "Tang" safety. That would work for everyone. And I guess no one knows why the Benelli's, for example place the safety at the front of the trigger guard.

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from makersman wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

in the on position!!

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from George Szaszvari wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Being right handed and left eye dominant (further confused by wearing glasses for monocular vision) means sometimes switching between left and right sides, depending on several factors like if the gun is scoped LER or not, if I'm wearing my glasses or not and the target is near or distant with open sights, etc... a safety on top that simply goes forward for "hot" or back for "safe" does away with all left-right confusion issues.

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Although I prefer the tang safety on a shotgun OR a rifle, I recall with some fondness a very old Belgian Browning Auto 5 16 ga.that was brought back from Europe at the end of WWII that had the safety on the front and INSIDE of the trigger guard. You merely had to push your trigger finger forward to release it. Very handy and I liked it. I don't recall seeing another one like it in the U.S., although there may be a few of them around. That gun is still in service and has killed countless birds of every kind, although it's close to being worn out.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

In the back, like a Mossberg. As a lefty, the push-button style goes the wrong way. Just like the M16, it's never convenient to my finger.

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from spuddog wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

this was a deciding factor for me when I bought my first shotgun. I went with a Mossberg over a Rem due to the tang safety and location of the slide release. I prefer a tang safety first and a triggerguard forward second. I use a straight finger, too.

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from Puffy wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Despite all the comments, I haven't seen that many discussing technique for use. I prefer an oversized safety on the trigger guard at the rear. Starting with my trigger finger straight along the bottom of the receiver (usual carry position), I transition by wrapping said finger into the guard and over the trigger. As I transition the inside of my finger at the base contacts the safety and disengages it. This is one fluid motion, and with practice it's automatic. Granted, with this method I am using the crook of my finger to actuate the trigger rather the pad, but as it's a shotgun at close range verses rifle at distance I don't think it matters. Occasionally I wrap my finger in behind the trigger guard on long walks, but this doesn't really affect the procedure. In variably as things get birdy I go to a high port carry with my finger straight. Used to hunting in a group of excellent shooters, if you’re not fast (and accurate) you’ll have no birds at the end of the day.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

In most shooting situations the safety location is not of great coincidence. However, I also grew up with A-5s so am very accustomed to the rear of the trigger guard. Releasing the safety and pulling the trigger in almost one motion is very handy in immediate situations such as quail covey rise. The big head on the Browning safety also helped with speed over the smaller Remington M-870, M-11, or M-1100 version. The front of trigger guard situation like a M-12 seems to take more time and is a distinctly different thought process from the trigger pull. Perhaps this location is safer. The thumb safety is really as fast and handy as the rear trigger guard site but sometimes can accidentally be bumped off without the shooter being aware. Same old deal, don't rely on a mechanical safety but always use good gun handling to prevent ADs.
Tom Warner: The older Browning through the front of the trigger guard does function quite well once a fellow becomes accustomed to it. Odd that it never more widely accepted by the other manufacturers as it is a fast and safe location. Thanks for bringing back fond memories of the quail fields of the old south to me.
Concerning rifles I have witnessed more fumbling around with the wing safety as on a M-70 than any other type or location.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Ideally, a tang safety on top just forward of the buttstock. But it's not a particularly big deal as long as I know where it is.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Knowing where the safety is has little to do with the fact it has to be a motor skill, and not a conscious act when a pheasant flushes, and you raise the gun and pull the trigger. Who remembers taking the safety off? I don't even remember it. It just happens as the gun is raised. It becomes all part of the rhythm of swinging/mounting and shooting. Place it somewhere in a position you are not accustomed to, but saying, "I know where it is" will just screw up my rhythm for me anyway, until I don't have to think about it.

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from dneaster3 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I've had all three configurations, plus hammer guns with no safety but a hammer that you pull back on the flush. It comes down to practice and muscle memory.

One beef I do have is with double guns who have a combination of safety and selector in one switch. Drives me nuts when I go to push the safety forward and it is stuck half-way between the Over and Under options!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My go to gun for birds since 1968 has been my 870 3" mag. Recently I have been forcing myself to use the Browning A-5 for pheasants. No problem since the safety is in the same place for both guns - i.e. at the back of trigger guard. The only difficulty was that some second shots were delayed because I was trying to pump in a round that was automatically already in the chamber.

For the first time in more than 25 years I took my old 16 gauge Model 12 out for grouse this year. The safety is in the front of the trigger guard as opposed to the back. Was it a problem? Absolutely not. I adapted immediately as far as I could tell. Everyone's different. One thing that might account for my adaptability is that I hunt over dogs. When they're birdy I get ready. My finger is on the safety and ready to go. Someone who is simply walking the brush might be at a significant disadvantage. Anybody on the trap/skeet range who is whining about the position of a gun's safety is just looking for something to cry about. Silly! They should be utterly prepared for every "bird" that hits the air before they say pull. Anybody who can't figure out where the safety is in time to shoot clays probably can't chew gum and walk at the same time.

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

The Best place is on top of the receiver, thats a big selling point for the Mossberg 500. It is very natural and easy to slide it off with your thumb as you bring the gun up.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Ontario. You've got the mind, and the skill of a surgeon! Every trap range I ever went to the preferred method is to leave the safety OFF at all times. No need to put the safety on safety. The gun barrel is pointed down range at all times, and when it is not, the action is open. Those are the rules.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Well, sure, the safety is in the OFF position but that doesn't mean when the clay flies the shooter shouldn't be ready to flick it off, i.e. with his finger resting on the safety. And I can't imagine someone saying "pull" with their gun broken open! Not unless they are some kind of hotshot in the mood to challenge themselves unduly. When it's time to shoot, most trap shooters I know have the gun loaded, up to their shoulder, and finger on the safety. So what's the problem with safety location? Their finger should already be there. I have watched Olympic competitors on TV and that appears to be the way they do it too.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Sayfu, I misread your post, sorry. When shooting trap (a rare occurrance) I personally kept my gun on safe until I was ready to say pull. It goes without saying that the barrel was always pointed downrange. After firing each shot it went back on safe until I was ready to say pull again. Returning to SAFE position after firing a round is just force of habit from hunting in the field. Best to keep my slippery mind on the same page all the time so I wouldn't change my SAFETY mechanism habits for a trap range.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Oops, that should read "... sure the safety is in the ON position." Where did I put my cup of coffee ...

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from madmike98 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

on top is the only way to go sliding your thumb forward helps you point at your target. Also the only thing your trigger finger should do is move from an indexing position to the trigger. on top is forward for fire on the guard is left on or off or wait is it red UHHH. on top simple to use and form functional

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from madmike98 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

make sure you send these comments to gun manufacturers they may as well learn what their customers want.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Absolutely prefer my safety on the tang. It's the most natural placement and requires no shift of your trigger hand. Your thumb's already in place and you just slide the safety forward as you raise the gun. I've shot and owned plenty of shotguns with the safety in the trigger guard and you can get used to anything, but I grew up shooting doubles and there's no comparison to having the safety up top, by your thumb, where it should be.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Ontario...WoooooooW a minute...step by step. I get out of the car, and onto the clay target range. My action HAS TO BE OPEN! I pay to shoot, walk up to the shooting station with my ACTION OPEN. Now it is my turn to shoot. I load, the action is closed, and my safety is off...no need to enter the property, and have the safety on at any point in time. No one loads their gun until it is their turn to shoot, the barrel is pointed out front, and the safety is always off.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I never chamber a round until my turn to shoot at the trap club. I sometimes click on the safety out of habit, but try to click it off before calling "pull". I NEVER engage the safety on my O/U at the trap range. While dinking around the club, actions are always open, except O/Us in the outside standup racks.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Honker: Many of us old trap shooters don't use the safety at all when on the line. In fact some of the more expensive trap guns don't have a safety. You simply don't load until ready to shoot, the remainder of the time the action is open. Exception is like WAM said about O/Us and unsingles when stored on the outside gunracks.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I should modify that to be correct. A person can shoot at a club range, and use the safety out of habit like Ontario says. Competitive shooters in competition do not, but you can, and I do while practicing. I practice bird hunting mechanics a lot, and shoot by myself, or with one other person, and shoot with my gun down, and the safety on. Then it is pull, mount, and take off the safety, and shoot, just as I would do in the field.

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from micko77 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

On top of the receiver, where my thumb can use it, same as my thumb manages the safety on the 1911 and the AR. I want my trigger finger to have one primary job, otherwise to stay in a safe place-- straight.

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from Trapper Vic wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Thumb safty on top makes the transition from auto loaders to over and unders to side by sides to rifles easier. When ever I look at a new gun, first I check the fit and second the safty for the transition of mounting etc.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Had a fella come to our camp on ATV carrying a 03-A3, bullet in the chamber, firing pin down and safety off. He said it was safer to carry it that way and faster to get a round off until I took his rifle pointed it in a safe direction and gave the back of the bolt a sharp rap with my Buck Model 110. Should have seen the expression on his face, "A KODAK MOMENT"!

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Phil, I thought my vote would be in the minority, I'm glad others felt the same.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Coop,
What was this guy's age? Or should I ask the stupid question and ask if this guy was our age and had ever been in the military. Geez

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My God Jim, age hasn't anything to do with it, just luck they lived that long because they haven't taken themselves or some else out of the gene pool!

My first Hunter Safety clans I taught, I flunked a fella in his early 60's telling me (age 21 back then) that sound shots is the best way to get a deer with buckshot. You listen and if it sounds like a deer, you blast away! He made a complaint with Arkansas Game & Fish and they backed me on not passing him. CRAZY FOLKS OUT DAR!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

WAM trap?

Station 8 is when you run and take cover when green horns turn to shoot!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

If someone is shooting from Station 8 in trap, you are in big trouble!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

WAM I do it all the time! When no one is there I take the speaker/audio release, and cart it out to station 8, and get some extreme angles. Least I figure it would be about station 8.

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from sarg wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I like the safety on top within quick operation by my thumb, If the safety is small to you, a larger one is available with one screw attachment. I realy don't trust safteies on any gun, but if hunting with a friend, I'll use it. I realy like a hammer.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

No one has mentioned the danger side of a tang safety. And it happened to me for the first time this year. If you push the safety off with your thumb, and that is what takes it off, your shooting finger had better not be INSIDE the trigger guard when you take it off!!!! It took me a day of thinking as to why I shoot a hole in the bank not 10 ft from me, but I figured it out. When the covey flushed I swung mounting the gun, and pushed off the tang safety at the same time I entered the trigger guard with my shooting finger. Now, without a gun in your hand, semi close your hand, and push your thumb forward as if you were taking off the safety....understand now what happened? It is virtually impossible to push your thumb forward WITHOUT your shooting finger pulling in towards the trigger. Luckily I didn't shoot one of my hunting dogs. Now I make my self keep my grip on the stock, push the safety off, and then enter the trigger guard with my shooting finger. Experience can be a tough way to learn.

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from Mac Dorton wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Mossberg got it right when they put it on top of the receiver. Righty or lefty in one fluid motion you can go from gun down safe, to on shoulder hot, ready to shoot. Genius. Going from a Mossberg 500 to a Remington 1187 sportsmen is a little to get used to in terms of safety location. Bottom line: On top receiver safety should be an industry standard.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

i like the safety on top but it really doesnt matter to me all to much...as the gun comes up the safety comes off all in one motion.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Mac, you can have that Mossberg and all its plastic parts INCLUDING THE SAFETY. I just did a search on line for Mossberg 500 safety and found a couple of pages of complaints about this feature. It certainly looks to me like the reciever safety is so far forward that it will require disengaging BEFORE the wrist is seated in the pistol grip, i.e. BEFORE the gun can be raised to the shoulder. I WOULD NOT want my Remington 760 pump rifle's safety on the top of the reciever as some have suggested. Last thing I want is my thumb stuck up there in my field of vision when I'm trying to get a bead on a deer.

I also agree with Safu's safety concerns. I don't want to have to be worried about my thumb and trigger finger getting coordinated when I'm in the heat of taking a snap shot. It's much safer to have the safety situated so that the trigger finger can only be on EITHER the safety OR the trigger. With a trigger gaurd safety it's not possible to make the mistake he did with that tang safety.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Mac, you can have that Mossberg and all its plastic parts INCLUDING THE SAFETY. I just did a search on line for Mossberg 500 safety and found a couple of pages of complaints about this feature. It certainly looks to me like the reciever safety is so far forward that it will require disengaging BEFORE the wrist is seated in the pistol grip, i.e. BEFORE the gun can be raised to the shoulder. I WOULD NOT want my Remington 760 pump rifle's safety on the top of the reciever as some have suggested. Last thing I want is my thumb stuck up there in my field of vision when I'm trying to get a bead on a deer.

I also agree with Safu's safety concerns. I don't want to have to be worried about my thumb and trigger finger getting coordinated when I'm in the heat of taking a snap shot. It's much safer to have the safety situated so that the trigger finger can only be on EITHER the safety OR the trigger. With a trigger gaurd safety it's not possible to make the mistake he did with that tang safety.

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from JohnR wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

FWIW Mossberg's safety button is metal for all you gun snobs out there. The Mossberg safety button has been metal for some time now. The older Mossberg's did have a plastic safety slide, but Mossberg will gladly replace it for free (although you do have to send them the shotgun). I don't know of any other plastic parts on a Mossberg and I disassemble mine regularly.
The tang safety on my Mossberg is located in the same place as the tang safety of my Browning BPS. (Gee, I wonder if the Browning BPS is considered "junk" too?)I find no safety issues whatsoever with either shotgun and its tang safety. Actually it's quite handy. I also have a Winchester Model 1400 semi-auto with the safety located at the trigger guard. I seem to have no difficulty switching back and forth between my shotguns and using the different safety locations.
This is sort of a ridiculous subject to debate IMHO.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

FYI, the Mossberg and the BPS do not have tangs. Their safeties are on the receiver. I understand the trigger guard was also platic. Did they fix that too?

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Well, already I stand corrected. Sorry, again. It looks like these safeties on the top of the receivers are commonly called tang safeties, although the tang, the highest part of the gun that the hand grips when the gun is fired is typically behind the reciver, i.e. where the old tang sights were situated on lever actions. Or where the safeties are typically located on O/U or doubles. Anyway, it's hardly worth debating.

I did not say the Mossberg 500 was "junk". However, the gun was originally manufactured with a safety system that regularly, it seems, engaged on its own when the bolt was closed with emphasis. Doesn't say much for their quality control.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Pay fur what you get. When I grew up, and that was a long time ago, few regarded Mossberg as a quality gun. It was a gun that was inexpensive, and you could get through low cost outlets.

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from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

The fastest for me is the one on top of the receiver. My shotgun has the safety in front of the trigger though and that is just fine. I shoot a right handed 670 so I installed a left handed oversized safety pin. I like the oversized safety a lot. It is easy to hit as I raise my shotgun.

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from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Sorry 870 of course.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

WAM and Sayfu,
The safeties on my 1100 skeet guns were not located on the tang or in the trigger guard. They were in the parts box I brought with me for tournaments. If they are not in the gun, a fellow 'competitor' cannot push it to the 'on' position. When it comes to your attention is right after you call for a High 1 and the trigger don't pull, and then the referee makes not of this and says, 'Lost bird, option please'.
Likewise, when I switched to o/u tube guns, the safety was always locked down in the off position for the same reason. Bear in mind, these were dedicated clay target guns and not used for hunting. They were either unloaded with the action open or loaded and closed when on the station.
The absolute WORST safety was on Remington 3200's. A three position tang safety and barrel selector all in one. If you wanted to shoot the lower barrel (which most all clay target shooter do) the safety was rotated to left of center (safe position) and you would push the toplever to the right to open the gun to eject empties, you would invariable move the safety to the 'safe' position. Luckily, the safety was easily removed with an Allen wrench and could be locked down to fire your choice of barrel first.
I digress, my apologies,,,

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I said that RES1956...competitive shooters do not use a safety. Totally different on the clay target range, and in competition then when hunting. I have to remember that when I enter the property to just shoot, that my action is open when I bring the gun out of the car.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

As far as safeties go, I prefer behind the trigger guard, like remingtons have and the Ithaca pumps used to have. Being a lefty my dad made me get a mossberg pump in 1975 (my own money too) that I never liked, I thought it was cheaply made. Having a big hand enables me to use a right-handed safety with no trouble.My Grandfather had a old rem model 11 with the inside trigger safety, an L.C. Smith sxs and a Ithaca sxs with 3-position safties(still in the family).My dad didn't want us young hunters with those guns for a long time. I wonder when Browning and Remington ditched that inside safety because I have 2 model 11's with the rear trigger safe. For my young hunter I prefer a o/u with a thumb safety.

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from fitch270 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I have two 12gauges, a Beretta BL-3 and a Mossberg 835.
The only thing they have in common(other than gauge)is the safety location. I don't have to tell you which is the nicer gun, but the 835 kills turkeys just fine (and was about $100 less than an 870 when I bought it).
My vote was top of receiver.

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from JohnR wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Sayfu when I grew up was probably as long ago as when you grew up and I agree. Back then Mossberg was not very popular and was known (at least by me and my circle of friends) primarily for their cheap bolt action shotguns. When they (Mossberg) started focusing on their pump, the 500 series they started to become more accepted as an inexpensive but adequate shotgun.
I have been using my Mossberg 500 pump I bought used for 17 years now and it still works great. I did send it off and have the plastic safety slider replaced with a metal one. I have hunted everything from doves to deer with it and stopped using it for deer when I bought my BPS 10 gauge stalker. The main reason is the 10 gauge 31/2" shell holds more buckshot.
It makes no difference to me where the safety is on any of my firearms, but I do like the top of the receiver safety the best.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Send off today costs money, and you probably will also pay for the send back. It staggers me that a company would want to make a decent product, and then put a plastic slider piece in the gun? I paid $250.00 for a simple fly reel, click drag that I like sold by SAGE, a top of the line fly rod, and supposedly reel maker. It had a plastic drag piece in the reel that worked very poorly. I called them, and they said here is 6 other of these plastic pieces (a pawl) we will send you, and some are more rigid than others, give them a try, one may work for you. They couldn't have put a metal piece for a pawl in the darn thing?!!!! That did it for me, and SAGE, and now I will tell others about their products. And for many gun owners, reputation of the co. is everything. You should be able to make a functional pump gun that pumps shells into the chamber, and fires every time! Take ZEBCO for instance. What kind of fishing tackle do they make?...well, at one time, they made one of the best spinning reels on the market, the ZEBCO CARDINAL, but at the same time they made packaged $2.98 outfits, rod,and reel included, and sold in K-Mart, and that was their reputation.

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from Hookturnr wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I'm a top tang safety guy..not because its what i grew up with or being lefty though. I grew up with an H&R Jr. topper 20 ga. single shot with a hammer up there! Shot that gun til it was unusable before I bought my first pump gun. mossberg 835....it's just what feels natural. Nowadays I'm hooked on my stack barrels, Franchi and Beretta but it's still top tang all the way.

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from duckcreekdick wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Glad you mentioned the 3-position L.C.Smith safety, ITHACASXS. For all of you who may be unfamiliar with it, the shotgun is on safe with the safety in the middle position. Push it forward to fire and when you open the gun the safety goes back automatically to the middle safe position. Push it backwards to fire and when you break open the gun, the safety remains in the fire position. Very spooky to use in the field and it seems I'm always checking to see if the safety is in the middle position.

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from Woods Walker wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I have all three safety locations on my firearms. The tang safety is on my bolt action deer rifle and I like it there. I usually have a lot more time to prepare for the shot when hunting deer.

However, for shooting the shotguns, I prefer the safety in front of the trigger for faster reaction shots at grouse, etc. As a law enforcement officer, I am trained to keep my finger out of the trigger guard until I am ready to fire and I find it easier/quicker to find/use the safety in front of the trigger, then insert my finger in the trigger guard for the firing. I find that when the safety is behind the trigger, especially wearing gloves, I find it difficult to find it quickly and sometimes with gloves on I find it difficult to feel when/if the safety goes to the fire position.

We tend to shoot as we train which is why I always use the safety when shooting trap, skeet or sporting clays. I have seen trap shooters forget and then fumble around with their safeties when duck hunting.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Woods..A number of hunters fumble around at crunch time...called Buck Fever. I thought I trained myself to keep my trigger finger from inside the trigger guard until time to fire, and do with the safeties on the trigger guard, but inserted the trigger finger at the same time I pushed off the tang safety, because the thumb pushes that off independent of the trigger finger. Won't happen again, and fortunately no one got hurt. And a rule I have is NO glove covered trigger finger goes inside the trigger guard. If I wear gloves the trigger finger has to be exposed when time to shoot. Feel means a lot to me.

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from micko77 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Regarding the plastic vs. metal safety on Mossberg, when I bought mine 25 or so years ago it was plastic, but I bought a bag of ten steel ones with accompanying detents, springs, spacers, etc. from Brownell's. I don't recall what I spent on them, but as the years have gone by I've picked up a couple more for the family, and my brother bought one. I switched them over with a bit of cussing and chasing, but we're all happy with them. dar sight cheaper than what seems to be today's solution of shipping your gun, and they only take 10 minutes to replace--- provided you don't drop a detent ball between the boards on your deck, etc...

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from micko77 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Regarding the plastic vs. metal safety on Mossberg, when I bought mine 25 or so years ago it was plastic, but I bought a bag of ten steel ones with accompanying detents, springs, spacers, etc. from Brownell's. I don't recall what I spent on them, but as the years have gone by I've picked up a couple more for the family, and my brother bought one. I switched them over with a bit of cussing and chasing, but we're all happy with them. dar sight cheaper than what seems to be today's solution of shipping your gun, and they only take 10 minutes to replace--- provided you don't drop a detent ball between the boards on your deck, etc...

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

What about RES's vote for no safety at all!!! Looks like he was intentionally left out!

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from Pa deer hunter wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

I was too late to vote but I'm glad to see that on top won! (I'm a south paw too.)

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

the thumb using the safety is the most positive and quick safety.. once u build it into your pull to unsafe when the gun is flying to your shoulder, it becomes natural and positive every time :)

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I like it on top the reciver. I like being able to look at the gun in the rack and knowing its safe or on fire. What do you think about the trigger safties like savage is incorperating in there rifles?

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Does not matter

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from mauser78 wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I prefer the safety to be on the top of the receiver where Mossberg puts it. It is able to be used easily when shooting from either hand and more than anything, it is just what I've gotten used to. Nearly all of my weapons have a safety on the top. All of my bolt guns have it on top next to the bolt with the Mauser being the exception, being no the bolt itself.

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from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I prefer it in front of the trigger guard. When I'm bird hunting I keep my finger on the trigger guard, so when a bird flushes it's much easier to release the safety and get a shot off in one fluid motion.

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from ggmack wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

my vote says between the ears. all other saftey locations can be taught and learned with time. the first saftey anyone handling a gun should learn is in between the ears.

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from buckstopper wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

How about on the top of the grip like on a O/U?

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

All safetys should be on the top of the reciever, why would you have a safety in front or back of the trigger in the first place? That is just screaming for a accidental discharge to happen, especially with a glove on! Index finger should pull the trigger, nothing more!

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I have gotten used to them whether front or rear, but it would be great if they all were on top at the tang. My over and under works great.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

For years I hunted upland game with a 1200/WIN pump with a safety in front of the trigger guard, which was perfect for me in snap shooting over a single barrel..NOW I hunt with an o/u with a top tang/selective safety..for this gun it works better then a t-guard sfty.
My Slug gun has a top tang safety which I think is perfect for this type of gun.

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from makersman wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

in the on position!!

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Although I prefer the tang safety on a shotgun OR a rifle, I recall with some fondness a very old Belgian Browning Auto 5 16 ga.that was brought back from Europe at the end of WWII that had the safety on the front and INSIDE of the trigger guard. You merely had to push your trigger finger forward to release it. Very handy and I liked it. I don't recall seeing another one like it in the U.S., although there may be a few of them around. That gun is still in service and has killed countless birds of every kind, although it's close to being worn out.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

In the back, like a Mossberg. As a lefty, the push-button style goes the wrong way. Just like the M16, it's never convenient to my finger.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Ideally, a tang safety on top just forward of the buttstock. But it's not a particularly big deal as long as I know where it is.

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from dneaster3 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I've had all three configurations, plus hammer guns with no safety but a hammer that you pull back on the flush. It comes down to practice and muscle memory.

One beef I do have is with double guns who have a combination of safety and selector in one switch. Drives me nuts when I go to push the safety forward and it is stuck half-way between the Over and Under options!

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Well, sure, the safety is in the OFF position but that doesn't mean when the clay flies the shooter shouldn't be ready to flick it off, i.e. with his finger resting on the safety. And I can't imagine someone saying "pull" with their gun broken open! Not unless they are some kind of hotshot in the mood to challenge themselves unduly. When it's time to shoot, most trap shooters I know have the gun loaded, up to their shoulder, and finger on the safety. So what's the problem with safety location? Their finger should already be there. I have watched Olympic competitors on TV and that appears to be the way they do it too.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Sayfu, I misread your post, sorry. When shooting trap (a rare occurrance) I personally kept my gun on safe until I was ready to say pull. It goes without saying that the barrel was always pointed downrange. After firing each shot it went back on safe until I was ready to say pull again. Returning to SAFE position after firing a round is just force of habit from hunting in the field. Best to keep my slippery mind on the same page all the time so I wouldn't change my SAFETY mechanism habits for a trap range.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Send off today costs money, and you probably will also pay for the send back. It staggers me that a company would want to make a decent product, and then put a plastic slider piece in the gun? I paid $250.00 for a simple fly reel, click drag that I like sold by SAGE, a top of the line fly rod, and supposedly reel maker. It had a plastic drag piece in the reel that worked very poorly. I called them, and they said here is 6 other of these plastic pieces (a pawl) we will send you, and some are more rigid than others, give them a try, one may work for you. They couldn't have put a metal piece for a pawl in the darn thing?!!!! That did it for me, and SAGE, and now I will tell others about their products. And for many gun owners, reputation of the co. is everything. You should be able to make a functional pump gun that pumps shells into the chamber, and fires every time! Take ZEBCO for instance. What kind of fishing tackle do they make?...well, at one time, they made one of the best spinning reels on the market, the ZEBCO CARDINAL, but at the same time they made packaged $2.98 outfits, rod,and reel included, and sold in K-Mart, and that was their reputation.

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from ckRich wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

It doesn't really matter to me, a little practice and you will figure it out quick.

Now, where the bolt release is located on a pump shotgun is a different matter. Being a southpaw, the behind the trigger gaurd bolt release of Mossberg pump shotguns has cost me a shot more than once. If you don't pay attention, just holding the gun can cause you to unknowingly depress the release, and when pulling up on a shot you open the slide. Not a fan of that location.

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from ALJoe wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Put the safety where it is suppose to be, behind the trigger!. I too grew up shooting an Browning A-5 so it is just what is natural to me. It is so simple-shoulder, press, click, bang.

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from Bryan01 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Being a lefty, I prefer it on top of the receiver.

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from MikeD wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

On top always! It's naturally under your thumb, is fast to release and easy to make sure it's on. However, if I can't have a tang safety, I'll take one behind the trigger guard - like the big Browning Gold safety.

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from Bruce E. Matthews wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Lefty. On top.

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from Ron Martell wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

On top. I like to be able to see the safety. Plus my son is a lefty. I'd like to be able to pass it down.

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from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I shoot a Beretta 391 and a Remington 870 regularly so I can do in front or behind. I think I like the 391 better. It's much more fluid when I'm hunting with my shotgun to flip the safety and now my finger is right there in front of the trigger. With the behind the trigger safety I have push the safety, then reach forward for the trigger. On top of the receiver seems to make the most sense and seems like it would be the most convenient, but I've never owned a gun with a top safety.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I like it on top.

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from jjas wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I agree the best location for a safety is between your ears, but on a gun I like top mounted safety best.

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from gxx9sdb wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I only have one shotgun (mossberg) so I have grown to like it on top of the receiver

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from buriti wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

As the majority of my shooting is done with "proper" side-by-side shotguns, the logical locations for a safety is on the back strap, on top of the grip.

I also love the A-5's and consider the Remington 870 as one the best shotguns ever made, but I just can't operate their safeties as fast as those of side-by-sides.

Please, read my blog at http://awildbeastatheart.blogspot.com

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from Tom-Tom wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My first shotgun came with a safety sledom seen anymore. It was mounted forward of the stock and behind the barrel. It's called a"hammer" and will soon be training the fourth generation of our family. Also have a side-by-side with mule ears. They may not be as convenient as the new stuff, but they sure are fun to use.

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from timvance8 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Great question Phil. I learned to shotgunning on a predecessor to the SXP pictured, a Ted Williams Model 200. It seems intuitive to me to have the safety in front of the trigger guard. Once the safety is turned off, your finger is already correctly positioned to continue rearward and depress the trigger. It's one fluid motion.
Tang mounted safeties are great too. Again, one fluid motion to articulate the safely and continue moving the thumb around the grip.
Having said this, I've never owned a firearm with a safety at the rear of the trigger guard. I have long fingers and trying to push the safety off with my index finger is a real challenge. The shooting motion should be fluid and simple. For me, a rear mounted safety doesn't make it so.

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from tpbesone wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I grew up learning on Remington shotguns which have the safety behind the trigger guard but after buying my Beretta 391 with the trigger guard in front I would never go back for winged shooting. Much more fluid motion. I still use an 870 for turkeys but safety speed is not an issue there.

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from PawPaw wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I've been shooting Winchesters since I was old enough to shoulder a shotgun. You can put me in the "front" category.

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from labrador12 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

As a die hard Mod 12 front safety man, I lost a shot at my first buck with a borrowed Ithaca auto 40 years ago. I had to bring the gun down and look to find the safety. I never have and never will forget that feeling of being unable to shoot that buck because the safety wasn't where I was expecting it to be. That was a one time issue, but it still brings a ruefull smile to my face.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

If you are accustomed to having it on the back, behind the trigger on the guard then that is the best place for you, especially if you shoot multiple guns for different birds like I do. Anyone know why Benelli puts theirs in the front of the guard? I found out why from a dealer yesterday. And I, for one, do not like it there. You guys said "on top". I thought you were talking about an O/U tang safety which I like as well as on the back of the guard behind the trigger.

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from abiddle013 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I like for the safety to be on top of the receiver just because thats how it was on the Steven's side-by-side that I learned to shoot with. However, I was later trained to keep my finger on the frame (handguns) or receiver in this case until I was ready to shoot which makes the safety in front of the trigger in a handy spot.

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from Wags wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Front or rear is fine, as long as it is on a rifle. Give me a top tang safety every time on a shotgun. Right under my thumb when I bring the shotgun up on a rising bird.

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from hoytshooter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

1 st.) Top
2 nd.) Behind
3 rd.) In front

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from Hoski wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My preference is on top of the tang.

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from Owl W wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I'd prefer it on top. Thumb is always right there so it's quick. And for me it's the quickest to check both by vision and feel.

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

No question, to me anyway, the best place is the top. A tang safety is ambidextrous and visible. Your thumb easily moves forward taking the safety off as the gun is raised.

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from Brian W. Thair wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I expect to be able to SEE it. On top. Visible at all times. Cleverly tucked in underneath does nothing for me.

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from Chris Cowan wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

On top, ambidetrous, and with three, count 'em three, lefties in the house, it's nice to be able to just trade guns.

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from shane wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

As far as safeties on the trigger guard go, it just makes sense to me that it's in front. It's one quick motion to flip it off and be on the trigger. It would be nice if all long gun safeties were on the tang.

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from Doug6136 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I grew up using an A5 as well, so behind the trigger guard feels most instinctive to me. The problem I have with a tang safety is not so much its location but the fact that it tends to get hung up in the "middle" position on my Citori. A few birds lived to see another day because of that particular safety design.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My old 870 was infront I like that. My Mossberg 500 has it on top I like that to. On a tactical shotgun I would prefer it up front so I can use it with my pistol grip buttstock, on a bird gun I like both

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Must be more expensive to install a "Tang" safety. That would work for everyone. And I guess no one knows why the Benelli's, for example place the safety at the front of the trigger guard.

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from George Szaszvari wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Being right handed and left eye dominant (further confused by wearing glasses for monocular vision) means sometimes switching between left and right sides, depending on several factors like if the gun is scoped LER or not, if I'm wearing my glasses or not and the target is near or distant with open sights, etc... a safety on top that simply goes forward for "hot" or back for "safe" does away with all left-right confusion issues.

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from spuddog wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

this was a deciding factor for me when I bought my first shotgun. I went with a Mossberg over a Rem due to the tang safety and location of the slide release. I prefer a tang safety first and a triggerguard forward second. I use a straight finger, too.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

In most shooting situations the safety location is not of great coincidence. However, I also grew up with A-5s so am very accustomed to the rear of the trigger guard. Releasing the safety and pulling the trigger in almost one motion is very handy in immediate situations such as quail covey rise. The big head on the Browning safety also helped with speed over the smaller Remington M-870, M-11, or M-1100 version. The front of trigger guard situation like a M-12 seems to take more time and is a distinctly different thought process from the trigger pull. Perhaps this location is safer. The thumb safety is really as fast and handy as the rear trigger guard site but sometimes can accidentally be bumped off without the shooter being aware. Same old deal, don't rely on a mechanical safety but always use good gun handling to prevent ADs.
Tom Warner: The older Browning through the front of the trigger guard does function quite well once a fellow becomes accustomed to it. Odd that it never more widely accepted by the other manufacturers as it is a fast and safe location. Thanks for bringing back fond memories of the quail fields of the old south to me.
Concerning rifles I have witnessed more fumbling around with the wing safety as on a M-70 than any other type or location.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My go to gun for birds since 1968 has been my 870 3" mag. Recently I have been forcing myself to use the Browning A-5 for pheasants. No problem since the safety is in the same place for both guns - i.e. at the back of trigger guard. The only difficulty was that some second shots were delayed because I was trying to pump in a round that was automatically already in the chamber.

For the first time in more than 25 years I took my old 16 gauge Model 12 out for grouse this year. The safety is in the front of the trigger guard as opposed to the back. Was it a problem? Absolutely not. I adapted immediately as far as I could tell. Everyone's different. One thing that might account for my adaptability is that I hunt over dogs. When they're birdy I get ready. My finger is on the safety and ready to go. Someone who is simply walking the brush might be at a significant disadvantage. Anybody on the trap/skeet range who is whining about the position of a gun's safety is just looking for something to cry about. Silly! They should be utterly prepared for every "bird" that hits the air before they say pull. Anybody who can't figure out where the safety is in time to shoot clays probably can't chew gum and walk at the same time.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Honker: Many of us old trap shooters don't use the safety at all when on the line. In fact some of the more expensive trap guns don't have a safety. You simply don't load until ready to shoot, the remainder of the time the action is open. Exception is like WAM said about O/Us and unsingles when stored on the outside gunracks.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I should modify that to be correct. A person can shoot at a club range, and use the safety out of habit like Ontario says. Competitive shooters in competition do not, but you can, and I do while practicing. I practice bird hunting mechanics a lot, and shoot by myself, or with one other person, and shoot with my gun down, and the safety on. Then it is pull, mount, and take off the safety, and shoot, just as I would do in the field.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Had a fella come to our camp on ATV carrying a 03-A3, bullet in the chamber, firing pin down and safety off. He said it was safer to carry it that way and faster to get a round off until I took his rifle pointed it in a safe direction and gave the back of the bolt a sharp rap with my Buck Model 110. Should have seen the expression on his face, "A KODAK MOMENT"!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

My God Jim, age hasn't anything to do with it, just luck they lived that long because they haven't taken themselves or some else out of the gene pool!

My first Hunter Safety clans I taught, I flunked a fella in his early 60's telling me (age 21 back then) that sound shots is the best way to get a deer with buckshot. You listen and if it sounds like a deer, you blast away! He made a complaint with Arkansas Game & Fish and they backed me on not passing him. CRAZY FOLKS OUT DAR!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

If someone is shooting from Station 8 in trap, you are in big trouble!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

No one has mentioned the danger side of a tang safety. And it happened to me for the first time this year. If you push the safety off with your thumb, and that is what takes it off, your shooting finger had better not be INSIDE the trigger guard when you take it off!!!! It took me a day of thinking as to why I shoot a hole in the bank not 10 ft from me, but I figured it out. When the covey flushed I swung mounting the gun, and pushed off the tang safety at the same time I entered the trigger guard with my shooting finger. Now, without a gun in your hand, semi close your hand, and push your thumb forward as if you were taking off the safety....understand now what happened? It is virtually impossible to push your thumb forward WITHOUT your shooting finger pulling in towards the trigger. Luckily I didn't shoot one of my hunting dogs. Now I make my self keep my grip on the stock, push the safety off, and then enter the trigger guard with my shooting finger. Experience can be a tough way to learn.

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from Mac Dorton wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Mossberg got it right when they put it on top of the receiver. Righty or lefty in one fluid motion you can go from gun down safe, to on shoulder hot, ready to shoot. Genius. Going from a Mossberg 500 to a Remington 1187 sportsmen is a little to get used to in terms of safety location. Bottom line: On top receiver safety should be an industry standard.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Pay fur what you get. When I grew up, and that was a long time ago, few regarded Mossberg as a quality gun. It was a gun that was inexpensive, and you could get through low cost outlets.

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from duckcreekdick wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Glad you mentioned the 3-position L.C.Smith safety, ITHACASXS. For all of you who may be unfamiliar with it, the shotgun is on safe with the safety in the middle position. Push it forward to fire and when you open the gun the safety goes back automatically to the middle safe position. Push it backwards to fire and when you break open the gun, the safety remains in the fire position. Very spooky to use in the field and it seems I'm always checking to see if the safety is in the middle position.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Woods..A number of hunters fumble around at crunch time...called Buck Fever. I thought I trained myself to keep my trigger finger from inside the trigger guard until time to fire, and do with the safeties on the trigger guard, but inserted the trigger finger at the same time I pushed off the tang safety, because the thumb pushes that off independent of the trigger finger. Won't happen again, and fortunately no one got hurt. And a rule I have is NO glove covered trigger finger goes inside the trigger guard. If I wear gloves the trigger finger has to be exposed when time to shoot. Feel means a lot to me.

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

the thumb using the safety is the most positive and quick safety.. once u build it into your pull to unsafe when the gun is flying to your shoulder, it becomes natural and positive every time :)

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from mauser78 wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

I prefer the safety to be on the top of the receiver where Mossberg puts it. It is able to be used easily when shooting from either hand and more than anything, it is just what I've gotten used to. Nearly all of my weapons have a safety on the top. All of my bolt guns have it on top next to the bolt with the Mauser being the exception, being no the bolt itself.

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from Ga hunter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I prefer mine behind the trigger guard like my 870 are and my 11-87 I shot a friends shotgun with a safety on top and it was just awkward to me.

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from Michigan Gunner wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I like the behind the trigger safety on a pump or auto. Of course, on top for a double. That said, I hunt a lot with Winchester Model 12's, it's safety is in front as you know!

MG

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from sdditchpig wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I build butstocks, mostly for the old beretta auto's, parrallel, cast off, toe out. I put more raidious on the grip, than factory, not unlike a 425 browning. This moves my hand forward, so that, in order to go from safety to trigger, I do not have to regrip. 35 yard flushes, of wind driven pheasants, in December, are a lot different, than young October birds. You can kill those birds at your leasure, with anything. The safety, on the sxp, pictured, is to FAR forward, for my tast. Top tang, is also fine, but I like three, nothing quite like a tripple, on sharpies.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

It does not matter at all where it is to me, I have learned to find the safety before loading the gun no matter which type or who made it,Shotgun,rifle or pistol.

Anyone who has many guns, should look it over find the safety and "Dry Fire" before loading. JMNSVHO!

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from Puffy wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Despite all the comments, I haven't seen that many discussing technique for use. I prefer an oversized safety on the trigger guard at the rear. Starting with my trigger finger straight along the bottom of the receiver (usual carry position), I transition by wrapping said finger into the guard and over the trigger. As I transition the inside of my finger at the base contacts the safety and disengages it. This is one fluid motion, and with practice it's automatic. Granted, with this method I am using the crook of my finger to actuate the trigger rather the pad, but as it's a shotgun at close range verses rifle at distance I don't think it matters. Occasionally I wrap my finger in behind the trigger guard on long walks, but this doesn't really affect the procedure. In variably as things get birdy I go to a high port carry with my finger straight. Used to hunting in a group of excellent shooters, if you’re not fast (and accurate) you’ll have no birds at the end of the day.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Knowing where the safety is has little to do with the fact it has to be a motor skill, and not a conscious act when a pheasant flushes, and you raise the gun and pull the trigger. Who remembers taking the safety off? I don't even remember it. It just happens as the gun is raised. It becomes all part of the rhythm of swinging/mounting and shooting. Place it somewhere in a position you are not accustomed to, but saying, "I know where it is" will just screw up my rhythm for me anyway, until I don't have to think about it.

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

The Best place is on top of the receiver, thats a big selling point for the Mossberg 500. It is very natural and easy to slide it off with your thumb as you bring the gun up.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Ontario. You've got the mind, and the skill of a surgeon! Every trap range I ever went to the preferred method is to leave the safety OFF at all times. No need to put the safety on safety. The gun barrel is pointed down range at all times, and when it is not, the action is open. Those are the rules.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Oops, that should read "... sure the safety is in the ON position." Where did I put my cup of coffee ...

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from madmike98 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

on top is the only way to go sliding your thumb forward helps you point at your target. Also the only thing your trigger finger should do is move from an indexing position to the trigger. on top is forward for fire on the guard is left on or off or wait is it red UHHH. on top simple to use and form functional

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from madmike98 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

make sure you send these comments to gun manufacturers they may as well learn what their customers want.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Absolutely prefer my safety on the tang. It's the most natural placement and requires no shift of your trigger hand. Your thumb's already in place and you just slide the safety forward as you raise the gun. I've shot and owned plenty of shotguns with the safety in the trigger guard and you can get used to anything, but I grew up shooting doubles and there's no comparison to having the safety up top, by your thumb, where it should be.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Ontario...WoooooooW a minute...step by step. I get out of the car, and onto the clay target range. My action HAS TO BE OPEN! I pay to shoot, walk up to the shooting station with my ACTION OPEN. Now it is my turn to shoot. I load, the action is closed, and my safety is off...no need to enter the property, and have the safety on at any point in time. No one loads their gun until it is their turn to shoot, the barrel is pointed out front, and the safety is always off.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I never chamber a round until my turn to shoot at the trap club. I sometimes click on the safety out of habit, but try to click it off before calling "pull". I NEVER engage the safety on my O/U at the trap range. While dinking around the club, actions are always open, except O/Us in the outside standup racks.

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from micko77 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

On top of the receiver, where my thumb can use it, same as my thumb manages the safety on the 1911 and the AR. I want my trigger finger to have one primary job, otherwise to stay in a safe place-- straight.

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from Trapper Vic wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Thumb safty on top makes the transition from auto loaders to over and unders to side by sides to rifles easier. When ever I look at a new gun, first I check the fit and second the safty for the transition of mounting etc.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Phil, I thought my vote would be in the minority, I'm glad others felt the same.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Coop,
What was this guy's age? Or should I ask the stupid question and ask if this guy was our age and had ever been in the military. Geez

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from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

WAM trap?

Station 8 is when you run and take cover when green horns turn to shoot!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

WAM I do it all the time! When no one is there I take the speaker/audio release, and cart it out to station 8, and get some extreme angles. Least I figure it would be about station 8.

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from sarg wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I like the safety on top within quick operation by my thumb, If the safety is small to you, a larger one is available with one screw attachment. I realy don't trust safteies on any gun, but if hunting with a friend, I'll use it. I realy like a hammer.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

i like the safety on top but it really doesnt matter to me all to much...as the gun comes up the safety comes off all in one motion.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Mac, you can have that Mossberg and all its plastic parts INCLUDING THE SAFETY. I just did a search on line for Mossberg 500 safety and found a couple of pages of complaints about this feature. It certainly looks to me like the reciever safety is so far forward that it will require disengaging BEFORE the wrist is seated in the pistol grip, i.e. BEFORE the gun can be raised to the shoulder. I WOULD NOT want my Remington 760 pump rifle's safety on the top of the reciever as some have suggested. Last thing I want is my thumb stuck up there in my field of vision when I'm trying to get a bead on a deer.

I also agree with Safu's safety concerns. I don't want to have to be worried about my thumb and trigger finger getting coordinated when I'm in the heat of taking a snap shot. It's much safer to have the safety situated so that the trigger finger can only be on EITHER the safety OR the trigger. With a trigger gaurd safety it's not possible to make the mistake he did with that tang safety.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Mac, you can have that Mossberg and all its plastic parts INCLUDING THE SAFETY. I just did a search on line for Mossberg 500 safety and found a couple of pages of complaints about this feature. It certainly looks to me like the reciever safety is so far forward that it will require disengaging BEFORE the wrist is seated in the pistol grip, i.e. BEFORE the gun can be raised to the shoulder. I WOULD NOT want my Remington 760 pump rifle's safety on the top of the reciever as some have suggested. Last thing I want is my thumb stuck up there in my field of vision when I'm trying to get a bead on a deer.

I also agree with Safu's safety concerns. I don't want to have to be worried about my thumb and trigger finger getting coordinated when I'm in the heat of taking a snap shot. It's much safer to have the safety situated so that the trigger finger can only be on EITHER the safety OR the trigger. With a trigger gaurd safety it's not possible to make the mistake he did with that tang safety.

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from JohnR wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

FWIW Mossberg's safety button is metal for all you gun snobs out there. The Mossberg safety button has been metal for some time now. The older Mossberg's did have a plastic safety slide, but Mossberg will gladly replace it for free (although you do have to send them the shotgun). I don't know of any other plastic parts on a Mossberg and I disassemble mine regularly.
The tang safety on my Mossberg is located in the same place as the tang safety of my Browning BPS. (Gee, I wonder if the Browning BPS is considered "junk" too?)I find no safety issues whatsoever with either shotgun and its tang safety. Actually it's quite handy. I also have a Winchester Model 1400 semi-auto with the safety located at the trigger guard. I seem to have no difficulty switching back and forth between my shotguns and using the different safety locations.
This is sort of a ridiculous subject to debate IMHO.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

FYI, the Mossberg and the BPS do not have tangs. Their safeties are on the receiver. I understand the trigger guard was also platic. Did they fix that too?

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Well, already I stand corrected. Sorry, again. It looks like these safeties on the top of the receivers are commonly called tang safeties, although the tang, the highest part of the gun that the hand grips when the gun is fired is typically behind the reciver, i.e. where the old tang sights were situated on lever actions. Or where the safeties are typically located on O/U or doubles. Anyway, it's hardly worth debating.

I did not say the Mossberg 500 was "junk". However, the gun was originally manufactured with a safety system that regularly, it seems, engaged on its own when the bolt was closed with emphasis. Doesn't say much for their quality control.

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from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

The fastest for me is the one on top of the receiver. My shotgun has the safety in front of the trigger though and that is just fine. I shoot a right handed 670 so I installed a left handed oversized safety pin. I like the oversized safety a lot. It is easy to hit as I raise my shotgun.

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from DakotaMan wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Sorry 870 of course.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

WAM and Sayfu,
The safeties on my 1100 skeet guns were not located on the tang or in the trigger guard. They were in the parts box I brought with me for tournaments. If they are not in the gun, a fellow 'competitor' cannot push it to the 'on' position. When it comes to your attention is right after you call for a High 1 and the trigger don't pull, and then the referee makes not of this and says, 'Lost bird, option please'.
Likewise, when I switched to o/u tube guns, the safety was always locked down in the off position for the same reason. Bear in mind, these were dedicated clay target guns and not used for hunting. They were either unloaded with the action open or loaded and closed when on the station.
The absolute WORST safety was on Remington 3200's. A three position tang safety and barrel selector all in one. If you wanted to shoot the lower barrel (which most all clay target shooter do) the safety was rotated to left of center (safe position) and you would push the toplever to the right to open the gun to eject empties, you would invariable move the safety to the 'safe' position. Luckily, the safety was easily removed with an Allen wrench and could be locked down to fire your choice of barrel first.
I digress, my apologies,,,

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I said that RES1956...competitive shooters do not use a safety. Totally different on the clay target range, and in competition then when hunting. I have to remember that when I enter the property to just shoot, that my action is open when I bring the gun out of the car.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

As far as safeties go, I prefer behind the trigger guard, like remingtons have and the Ithaca pumps used to have. Being a lefty my dad made me get a mossberg pump in 1975 (my own money too) that I never liked, I thought it was cheaply made. Having a big hand enables me to use a right-handed safety with no trouble.My Grandfather had a old rem model 11 with the inside trigger safety, an L.C. Smith sxs and a Ithaca sxs with 3-position safties(still in the family).My dad didn't want us young hunters with those guns for a long time. I wonder when Browning and Remington ditched that inside safety because I have 2 model 11's with the rear trigger safe. For my young hunter I prefer a o/u with a thumb safety.

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from fitch270 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I have two 12gauges, a Beretta BL-3 and a Mossberg 835.
The only thing they have in common(other than gauge)is the safety location. I don't have to tell you which is the nicer gun, but the 835 kills turkeys just fine (and was about $100 less than an 870 when I bought it).
My vote was top of receiver.

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from JohnR wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Sayfu when I grew up was probably as long ago as when you grew up and I agree. Back then Mossberg was not very popular and was known (at least by me and my circle of friends) primarily for their cheap bolt action shotguns. When they (Mossberg) started focusing on their pump, the 500 series they started to become more accepted as an inexpensive but adequate shotgun.
I have been using my Mossberg 500 pump I bought used for 17 years now and it still works great. I did send it off and have the plastic safety slider replaced with a metal one. I have hunted everything from doves to deer with it and stopped using it for deer when I bought my BPS 10 gauge stalker. The main reason is the 10 gauge 31/2" shell holds more buckshot.
It makes no difference to me where the safety is on any of my firearms, but I do like the top of the receiver safety the best.

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from Hookturnr wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I'm a top tang safety guy..not because its what i grew up with or being lefty though. I grew up with an H&R Jr. topper 20 ga. single shot with a hammer up there! Shot that gun til it was unusable before I bought my first pump gun. mossberg 835....it's just what feels natural. Nowadays I'm hooked on my stack barrels, Franchi and Beretta but it's still top tang all the way.

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from Woods Walker wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I have all three safety locations on my firearms. The tang safety is on my bolt action deer rifle and I like it there. I usually have a lot more time to prepare for the shot when hunting deer.

However, for shooting the shotguns, I prefer the safety in front of the trigger for faster reaction shots at grouse, etc. As a law enforcement officer, I am trained to keep my finger out of the trigger guard until I am ready to fire and I find it easier/quicker to find/use the safety in front of the trigger, then insert my finger in the trigger guard for the firing. I find that when the safety is behind the trigger, especially wearing gloves, I find it difficult to find it quickly and sometimes with gloves on I find it difficult to feel when/if the safety goes to the fire position.

We tend to shoot as we train which is why I always use the safety when shooting trap, skeet or sporting clays. I have seen trap shooters forget and then fumble around with their safeties when duck hunting.

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from micko77 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Regarding the plastic vs. metal safety on Mossberg, when I bought mine 25 or so years ago it was plastic, but I bought a bag of ten steel ones with accompanying detents, springs, spacers, etc. from Brownell's. I don't recall what I spent on them, but as the years have gone by I've picked up a couple more for the family, and my brother bought one. I switched them over with a bit of cussing and chasing, but we're all happy with them. dar sight cheaper than what seems to be today's solution of shipping your gun, and they only take 10 minutes to replace--- provided you don't drop a detent ball between the boards on your deck, etc...

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from micko77 wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Regarding the plastic vs. metal safety on Mossberg, when I bought mine 25 or so years ago it was plastic, but I bought a bag of ten steel ones with accompanying detents, springs, spacers, etc. from Brownell's. I don't recall what I spent on them, but as the years have gone by I've picked up a couple more for the family, and my brother bought one. I switched them over with a bit of cussing and chasing, but we're all happy with them. dar sight cheaper than what seems to be today's solution of shipping your gun, and they only take 10 minutes to replace--- provided you don't drop a detent ball between the boards on your deck, etc...

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

What about RES's vote for no safety at all!!! Looks like he was intentionally left out!

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from Pa deer hunter wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

I was too late to vote but I'm glad to see that on top won! (I'm a south paw too.)

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I like it on top the reciver. I like being able to look at the gun in the rack and knowing its safe or on fire. What do you think about the trigger safties like savage is incorperating in there rifles?

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Does not matter

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