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Follow the steps below to safely unload a firearm.


Point the firearm in a safe direction.Normally this is at the ground or in the air, in a direction away from others and yourself. Maintain constant control of the muzzle direction.


Remove all ammunition.Open the action to remove any cartridges from the chamber. If the firearm is a semi-automatic with a detachable magazine, remove the magazine from the firearm first. This prevents the semi-automatic from chambering another round if the action closes. For virtually all other actions, open the action to remove any cartridges from the chamber first. Remove any detachable magazine and all other cartridges from the firearm. If your firearm does not have a removable magazine, it may be necessary to activate a latch button or other device, or work the action several times to remove the ammunition. Once all ammunition has been removed, leave the action open.


Observe that the chamber is empty. Check your firearm’s chamber to ensure no ammunition or empty casings are present. If so, remove by hand or by working the firearm’s action.


Verify that the feed path is empty.A firearm’s feed path is the route by which ammunition stored in its magazine is moved to the chamber where it will be fired. Only repeating firearms will have a mechanical feed path. To verify it is free of ammunition and obstructions, you must work the firearm’s action and visually check the feed mechanism and magazine.


Examine the bore for rust, excessive oil, or obstructions. If present, clean the firearm before it is fired or stored.