Q What should I do if I have a misfire when on a busy game drive?

A WILL EDWARDS replies: So you have taken your shot and nothing has happened, no ‘bang’, and maybe just a click from the firing pin. What do we do next? Most people’s natural reaction would be to open the gun to reload immediately... wrong! You must keep your barrels up and finger off the trigger for 30 seconds – the reason being that you could have a ‘slow burn’ or ‘hang fire,’ where the cartridge may still detonate. If you did happen to bring the barrels down to the horizontal and it went off, you may possibly have beaters in close proximity in front of you. We suggest a 30-second wait, because the general rule is that if the cartridge hasn’t detonated by then, it won’t.

I’d suggest putting the cartridge in question to one side for safe disposal (some would suggest carefully removing the shot, by cutting the cartridge in half). Frankly, I’d pass it to your shoot host or clay ground owner and ask them kindly if they wouldn’t mind doing this for you. If this happens again within a few shots, the chances are it’s a mechanical failure of your gun and not the cartridge.

To minimise the chance of problems with your cartridges, don’t forget to store them off the ground, in a dry and secure area.