Proposed changes to under-lever loading rules for 2025.

Where a COF requires competitors to reload an under-lever,  it is common safe practice to fire 6 shots, load 6 rounds through the gate and then rack the action and carry on shooting. However, there are still a small minority that eject their fired 6th round, then place a Live round into the open chamber, before closing the action and loading 5 more rounds through the gate. This significantly increases the possibility of a negligent discharge (ND) through accidently touching the trigger, or catching the trigger on clothing / belts etc. The same risk of course applies to the initial load if you are then loading subsequent rounds through the gate. This is not just a theoretical exercise – there is already evidence that this has occurred in recent matches so this proposal seeks to minimise this risk as far as possible. In all likelihood, if an ND occurs under these circumstances, the barrel of the under-lever will not intentionally be aimed at a target and may even escape the range danger area. Clearly, that both compromises range safety and potentially the sport – should a significant accident occur.

It is therefore proposed that everybody adopts the same commonly used practice of loading / reloading ALL live rounds through the gate, and then racking the firearms. (i.e. LOAD, then MAKE READY, rather than MAKE READY – with a live rounds in the chamber – then continue to LOAD). The only exception to this would be for Precision shooters, who load a single round into the chamber for each shot (on the basis that the articulated risk of an ND is effectively negated, as there are no further rounds to load via the gate, before firing the single shot).

This enhances the safety rules that require competitors to only rack a Live round into the chamber when they have adopted their required shooting position and are ready to shoot. Therefore this change will significantly minimise the chances of an ND whenever a shooter is either loading, reloading, or moving position.

Unless there is strong evidence to the contrary, this proposal will be introduced into the GR&P Handbook in 2025 – with failure to comply receiving a warning. Then, from 2026, this will be the only accepted practice, with penalties for non-compliance. Feedback on this proposal is welcome.



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