About the Study Guide

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No matter where you shoot, there are certain rules that apply.

Hunter with rifle
  • Never case, uncase, or handle firearms in any manner if someone is downrange from you.
  • Always keep firearms pointed in a safe direction—either uprange or downrange.
  • Make sure your backstop is larger than your target. A backstop must:
    • Be able to stop and contain the bullet/shot after it passes through or misses the target.
    • Not be made of or contain any material that could cause the bullet/shot to ricochet toward you or others.
  • Do not shoot at a target placed on the ground. Bullets fired this way tend to ricochet up and over backstops and can travel half of their maximum range, striking someone or something with deadly energy. For example, a 180-grain, .30-06 caliber boat tail bullet can travel a little over three miles and its ricochet can travel up to one and one-half miles.
  • Unless you have special training and guidance, only shoot at paper or cardboard targets. These targets do not produce ricochets.
  • Do not smoke or have an open flame within 50 feet of a firing line.
    • There is always unburned powder left from shooting.
    • If you are shooting muzzleloaders, there is a danger of igniting the powder.
  • Do not allow pets/hunting dogs within 50 yards of a rifle/handgun. An animal’s hearing is more sensitive than human hearing and can be damaged easily by the noise from these firearms.
    • Always wear proper hearing and eye protection. With most rifle firing, you should consider wearing both earplugs and earmuffs.
    • Eye protection should include protection at the side of the eyes.
  • Never use alcohol or drugs prior to handling or shooting a firearm. These can impair your good judgment and your safe-handling ability.
  • Always practice good hygiene after shooting. Wash your face and hands before eating, drinking, or smoking to prevent ingestion of lead or other chemical residue from shooting or cleaning firearms.
  • Take precautions to protect the health of the very young. Due to lead’s potential effect on brain development in young children, pregnant women and children under six years of age should not:
    • Handle ammunition made from lead or…
    • Stay in the area around the firing line at a shooting range.