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Checking a firearm for a hang fire

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.