Hang fires happen when the firing pin has struck the primer and there is a delay before the gun fires. This can occur for several reasons, such as a faulty firing pin or spring, defective primer, or other cartridge-related problems. A misfire is when the primer fails to ignite the powder. Hang fires and misfires can happen with any kind of firearm.
To handle a hang fire or misfire:
- Maintain safe muzzle control at all times.
- Keep the action closed and the muzzle pointed at a safe backstop.
- Wait to see if the firearm fires. With a rifle, handgun, or shotgun, wait 15 seconds. With a muzzleloader, wait 60 seconds.
- If the firearm still has not fired, remove the cartridge or shotshell from the chamber.