The most important rules to follow in any range or target shooting activity are safety rules. This applies equally for air rifles as well as for all types of firearms. These air rifle safety rules must be enforced at all shooting ranges by competition officials and coaches and followed by all athletes. All athletes, coaches and competition officials are responsible for knowing and following these rules.*
The Safety Rules for Air Rifle Ranges is reprinted with permission from the National Three-Position Air Rifle Council.
1. MUZZLE Always keep rifle muzzles pointed in a safe direction. Rifle muzzles must never be pointed at other persons under any circumstances. On a range, the safest direction to point a rifle muzzle is usually up, or downrange towards the targets.
2. CLEAR BARREL INDICATOR (CBI) Clear Barrel Indicators or CBIs are synthetic monofilament cords (0.065 0.095 dia.) in fluorescent orange or a similar bright color that are inserted into air rifle bores so that the ends of the CBI protrude out of both the muzzle and open breech. CBIs confirm that air rifles are unloaded. CBIs must be inserted in all air rifles when they are brought to a range or removed from a gun case on a range. CBIs may be removed only during preparation and sighting, sighting and record firing times. The use of CBIs is mandatory in all Three-Position Air Rifle competitions.
3. RIFLE ACTION Always keep rifle actions open, with CBIs inserted, except when the rifle is on the firing line between the beginning of the Preparation and Sighting Stage and the end of record firing. When firing is finished or the rifle is laid down for any reason, the action must be opened and a CBI inserted. The action may be closed when an air rifle is placed in a gun case, but the action must be opened and a CBI inserted when it is removed from the case.
4. TRIGGER Keep your finger off of the trigger until after shouldering the rifle and beginning to aim at the target. It is especially important to keep the finger outside of the trigger guard when loading the rifle and when lifting it up into position.
5. RANGE OFFICER A Range Officer is in charge of firing on every range. The com- mands and instructions of the Range Officer or person in charge of firing must be obeyed. Range Officers must check rifles brought to the range to be sure actions are open with CBIs inserted. When shooting is finished, range officers must check rifles to be sure actions are open with CBIs inserted.
6. GROUNDED RIFLES Grounding a rifle means opening its action, inserting a CBI in it and placing it on the firing point. Grounded rifles may not be touched until a Range Officer authorizes you to handle your rifle. Then you may pick up your rifle and get into a firing position with it. You may not, however, remove the CBI, close the action or dry fire until the Preparation and Sighting Stage begins. When you finish firing, open the action, insert a CBI and ground your rifle on the firing line. Leave the rifle grounded on your firing point until the Range Officer instructs you to handle it again.
7. GUN CASES Many air rifles are transported to and from ranges in gun cases. The Range Officer on any range will determine whether athletes may open gun cases and remove air rifles from them or replace air rifles in them behind the firing line or whether this may only be done on the firing line. When a gun case is opened, the first thing that must be done is to open the action and insert a CBI. When an air rifle is replaced in a gun case, the CBI may be removed, the action closed and the trigger released before closing the gun case. Closing the action and releasing the trigger to discharge gas after the line has been cleared may only be done when authorized by the Range Officer.
8. RANGE COMMANDS Know the range commands that are used in Three-Position Air Rifle shooting. No athlete may load a pellet in an air rifle until after the command LOAD or START is given. No athlete may fire a shot until after the command START is given. When the command STOP is given, no further attempt to fire a shot may be made; the rifle must be taken down immediately and the action must be opened. If a pellet remains in the rifle, ask the range officer for instructions.
9. LOADING Rifle muzzles must remain pointed downrange or up towards the ceil- ing whenever the rifle is charged and loaded. Special care must be taken during charging and loading to ensure that a rifle muzzle is never pointed at another ath- lete or at any area behind the firing line.
10. TARGET Shoot only at your designated target. Be sure the target is properly placed in front of a safe backstop. Shooting at any object on a range besides your own target is strictly forbidden.
11. GOING DOWN RANGE Whenever it is necessary for anyone to go down range to hang or retrieve targets or for any other purpose, all air rifle actions must be open with CBIs inserted and all rifles must be grounded on the floor or shooting bench. No one may go down range until authorized to do so by the Range Officer. No one may handle rifles while anyone is downrange.
12. EYE PROTECTION Eye protection is recommended for air rifle shooting especially if there is any possibility of a pellet or pellet fragment bouncing back from the back- stop. Eye and/or hearing protection may be required on some ranges.
13. TREAT EVERY RIFLE AS IF IT WERE LOADED Even if you are sure your rifle is unloaded and it has a CBI inserted and even if a Range Officer has checked your rifle; treat it as if it were loaded at all times. Be sure it is never pointed at another person. Remember the first rule of gun safety, keep the muzzle under control and pointed in a safe direction!