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BillChunn

Cased Rifles - When is it OK to Unzip?

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The reason for this post is this seems to be a slightly gray area.  Competitor comes to the line with a cased rimfire rifle or a PCC and the case is zipped closed.  They place the cased gun on the table / barrel next to the shooting box.  It is understood that 5.1.2 and 5.1.3 deal with casing / uncasing and they state:

 

5.1.2

"When casing or uncasing any firearm at the firing position, the muzzle of the firearm must always be pointed downrange."

 

5.1.3

"The on-deck competitor, if shooting a Rimfire Rifle or PCC, may unbag or remove their firearm from the 3-gun cart or case into a side berm or staging area provided the bay being used has sufficient side-berm space to permit this practice. Once the firearm is removed from the case or cart the muzzle must remain pointed reasonably vertical (up or down), at all times, with a chamber flag inserted, until the Make Ready command is issued."

 

Appendix G / Glossary

Gun Case/Bag   A carrying device that does not allow access to, or manipulation of, the trigger while fully encasing the firearm.
Handling
(As in “handling a firearm”) The act of manipulating, holding, or gripping a firearm while the trigger is functionally accessible. Note exceptions for casing/uncasing PCC and rimfire.

 

Appendix H7 - Rimfire Pistol Division

11 Handling requirements:  Handgun to be transported in closed case or holstered at all times until the Make Ready command is given.

 

Appendix H8 - Rimfire Rifle Division

11 Handling requirements:  Rifle to be transported in a closed case, scabbard, or “3-gun” cart. Chamber flag must be used regardless of method of transport.

 

Appendix H9 - Pistol Caliber Carbine Division

13 Handling requirements:  Rifle to be transported in a closed case, scabbard, or “3-gun” cart. Chamber flags must be used regardless of method of transport.

 

Exactly when can the competitor unzip their rimfire rifle / PCC case?  It is clearly described in Appendix H7 for rimfire pistol as the Make Ready command, but what is meant by "Note exceptions for casing/uncasing PCC and rimfire."

 

Is unzipping the case considered "handling" the firearm and the competitor must wait until until the "Make Ready" command which is the start of the course of fire?

If they do unzip before "Make Ready" is that 8.1.1.1 Unsafe Gun Handling and a trip to the Dairy Queen?

What if they come to the line with an unzipped case?

 

Regards,

BC

 

 

 

Edited by BillChunn

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Consider a case to be the same as a holster.  You do not draw (have functional access to the trigger) until you get the command.  Same with a case.  You cannot have access to the trigger either.  Do not unzip until "Make Ready".  Then, "Range is Clear" cannot be declared until the firearm is cased AND the zipper is closed.

The other thing to keep in mind is the potential for sweeping during uncasing and casing.  If you sweep yourself AND you are in contact with the gun, it's a DQ.  If you are not in contact with the gun, it's not a DQ.  I never completely unzip a case to avoid the potential for sweeping my other hand or arm.

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25 minutes ago, George Jones said:

Consider a case to be the same as a holster.  You do not draw (have functional access to the trigger) until you get the command.  Same with a case.  You cannot have access to the trigger either.  Do not unzip until "Make Ready".  Then, "Range is Clear" cannot be declared until the firearm is cased AND the zipper is closed.

The other thing to keep in mind is the potential for sweeping during uncasing and casing.  If you sweep yourself AND you are in contact with the gun, it's a DQ.  If you are not in contact with the gun, it's not a DQ.  I never completely unzip a case to avoid the potential for sweeping my other hand or arm.

 

Thanks George.... much appreciated.

Just to be perfectly clear regarding what George stated in his last sentence:

 

8.1.1.6 Sweeping or pointing the muzzle of a firearm at any part of any person’s body during the course of fire. If the firearm is in a case and not in the competitor’s hands, sweeping does not apply. Reaching forward of the muzzle of a cased firearm to close the case is not a sweeping infraction, provided the competitor’s hands are completely clear of the firearm itself.
 

So if they come to the line with an unzipped case (they took the cased rifle to the safe area, unzipped it and put the chamber flag in, then didn't zip the case closed) then arrived on their first stage, should the RO instruct them to return to the Safe Area and zip the case?

 

Cheers,

BC

Edited by BillChunn
next question.... what to do...

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That's a tough call.  (IMO) It would depend on how it's being carried.  If vertical, a case can be made that it complies with 5.1.3

 

If not vertical, then (even though flagged) then it would most likely be UGH (no different than having drawn a handgun prior to command) and/or sweeping someone if that applies.  

 

Those long guns do provide a number of different opportunities for DQs.  Tread lightly.  ☠️

 

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at our local club for action pistol and 3 gun, if you bring a firearm up to the line in a bag you don't unzip until the make ready command. if you do it is treated like a holstered pistol and DQ for you for upholstering before the make ready.

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This varies from club to club.  No one bends any rules, but some clubs add them.  For example, all three clubs I shoot SCSA at require you to bring your gun (of any kind) to the table in a zipped case. You cannot unzip the case until Make Ready.

 

For USPSA, it is slightly more varied.  One club uses orange cones placed to the side of the berm up-range from the COF.  When you are on deck you may remove your gun from a 3-gun cart or uncase it while the PCC muzzle is pointed at the cone.  You still have to observe the 180 rule.  Then carry it vertically to the shooting box.  Reverse when done shooting.  They also mandate all PCC shooters are in the same squad.  A second club allows you to bring your carted, naked, chamber flagged gun or case up to the box and uncart or uncase it while pointed down range.  Both clubs are very good at explaining the correct procedures at the Match Briefing.   Both clubs require 'reasonably vertically UPWARDS'.  I've never understood why downwards was permitted, because of the possibility of sweeping your foot.

 

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ZZT,

The procedures you mention for USPSA are logical and are used at many clubs.  The only variation I have seen is at clubs that do not have adequate side berms for uncasing the long guns.  In those places, they restrict the handling to the safety area (uncasing/casing only) or at the start position.

For SCSA, many clubs expect CF handguns to arrive at the box already holstered to save time.  The uncasing/casing of CF handguns can be a significant time waster when the match is full and daylight is limited.

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I asked a similar question to Troy about PCC and USPSA.

Here was his response

While a PCC *can* be uncased at the line, muzzle downrange (pointing at the backstop) under RO supervision, there is no requirement in the rules for it, and there is no allowance for an MD or RM to require it be done that way.  Casing/uncasing is covered in several sections of the rules, and specifically addressed with regards to direction and distance from the berm/backstop.  You can carry the PCC muzzle down, as long as you aren't sweeping yourself with it when you walk.  We prefer muzzle up, but muzzle down isn't specifically prohibited.  You do not have to wait until the RO calls you up to uncase, but you must do it safely and within the rules.
 
Troy
 
Here was question to Troy.
Saturday at a local match, the match director approached our squad to explain the rules for PCC. He stated that PCC had to be removed from the cart only under direct supervision of the RO and that the cart had to be wheeled close to the line and removed from the cart. After completing the stage, It had to be placed back on the cart and then it cold be wheeled away.
I cited rule 5.2.1.7 and stated that the PCC must be cased/uncased within 6 feet of the side berm.
I'm also under the impression that I can uncase my PCC as stated in rule 5.2.1.7 and carry my PCC muzzle down to the shooting line.
I have two questions:
1) Am I correct that I can uncase my PCC and carry it to the line when I'm next to shoot? Or
2) Do I have to wait until the RO calls me to the line, at which point, I can retrieve my PCC from the cart which is within 6 feet of the berm?

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On ‎10‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 6:05 PM, stick said:

I asked a similar question to Troy about PCC and USPSA.

Here was his response

While a PCC *can* be uncased at the line, muzzle downrange (pointing at the backstop) under RO supervision, there is no requirement in the rules for it, and there is no allowance for an MD or RM to require it be done that way.  Casing/uncasing is covered in several sections of the rules, and specifically addressed with regards to direction and distance from the berm/backstop.  You can carry the PCC muzzle down, as long as you aren't sweeping yourself with it when you walk.  We prefer muzzle up, but muzzle down isn't specifically prohibited.  You do not have to wait until the RO calls you up to uncase, but you must do it safely and within the rules.
 
Troy
 
Here was question to Troy.
Saturday at a local match, the match director approached our squad to explain the rules for PCC. He stated that PCC had to be removed from the cart only under direct supervision of the RO and that the cart had to be wheeled close to the line and removed from the cart. After completing the stage, It had to be placed back on the cart and then it cold be wheeled away.
I cited rule 5.2.1.7 and stated that the PCC must be cased/uncased within 6 feet of the side berm.
I'm also under the impression that I can uncase my PCC as stated in rule 5.2.1.7 and carry my PCC muzzle down to the shooting line.
I have two questions:
1) Am I correct that I can uncase my PCC and carry it to the line when I'm next to shoot? Or
2) Do I have to wait until the RO calls me to the line, at which point, I can retrieve my PCC from the cart which is within 6 feet of the berm?

 

The OP was asking about at the line with a cased firearm.  Troy is answering a question about unbagging or uncarting and coming to the line

 

this is a good conversation and could use some clarification.  For anyone attending matches, all I have been to, most of the area matches and Worlds, its a DQ.  So consider waiting for the make ready.  Although it seems grey, its ultimately going to be a losing argument.

Edited by Hammer002

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I mis-spoke above.  I should have said all three clubs require you to bring any firearm 'that isn't holstered' to the table in a zipped case.

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3 hours ago, Hammer002 said:

 

The OP was asking about at the line with a cased firearm.  Troy is answering a question about unbagging or uncarting and coming to the line

 

this is a good conversation and could use some clarification.  For anyone attending matches, all I have been to, most of the area matches and Worlds, its a DQ.  So consider waiting for the make ready.  Although it seems grey, its ultimately going to be a losing argument.

I stand there until they say make ready.  It would be a huge bummer to get a DQ over unzipping my case.

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Yes, and just as big a bummer is getting DQ'd while zipping it.  SCSA Rule 8.1.1.6 is pretty clear.  DO NOT touch the gun when zipping the case, or you risk sweeping yourself.  That problem is mostly with pistols and triangular cases.

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I have heard of shooters being DQed for fully unzipping their case and having their hand cross the muzzle (while the case was laying on the bench with the muzzle pointing downrange) and while their other hand was not touching the gun. If this is... as has been indicated above... not a DQ offense... maybe some RO education is in order.

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3 hours ago, GOF said:

maybe some RO education is in order.

 

Agreed.  At one club two matches ago the MD specifically called that out in the match briefing.  Someone had been DQ'd at a match he attended for just that.  He told everyone to be careful about that, because some ROs don't know that.  There are no cases in USPSA, so the issue doesn't come up.  We now tell everyone using those triangular cases not to unzip them all the way.  You can still easily get the gun out or put it in.  Then when you go to zip it, your fingers are not near the muzzle.

 

Once at a Level II match I was shooting RFPO with a 1911 and a conversion, holstered.  On one stage I was told 'hammer down and holster.  I dropped the hammer manually and the RO objected.  He told me I had to point it at the berm and pull the trigger.  I told him that was not required for rimfire.  He said because I was wearing it in a holster I had to do it that way.  He went and got the MD, who agreed with him.  Now I carry a copy of the rule book with me to every match.

 

Right now the most common infraction is ROs not requiring hammer down before flagging a PC.  I've had to correct several, including at a Level II match.  When I RO I get a lot of guff about that.  I say so what, it's a rule, do it.

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6 hours ago, GOF said:

I have heard of shooters being DQed for fully unzipping their case and having their hand cross the muzzle (while the case was laying on the bench with the muzzle pointing downrange) and while their other hand was not touching the gun. If this is... as has been indicated above... not a DQ offense... maybe some RO education is in order.

8.1.1.6 specifically states that "Sweeping or pointing the muzzle of a firearm at any part of any 
person’s body during the course of fire. If the firearm is in a case 
and not in the competitor’s hands, sweeping does not apply.  
Reaching forward of the muzzle of a cased firearm to close the 
case is not a sweeping infraction, provided the competitor’s hands 
are completely clear of the firearm itself."

To avoid any issues with this, I never unzip my case past the muzzle.  

 

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I'll make a note to make this clearer with the next rules update. As long as the case is completely closed and you are not touching the rifle you can reach forward to zip/unzip the case and it's not a sweeping violation. 

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Zack, it is already perfectly clear.  The point is some USPSA ROs are not aware of it.  BTW, the issue came up with pistol cases, particularly those that are triangular.

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From reading this thread so far can it be that I'm the only person who unbags at a table at the side berm and walks to the starting position with the PCC flagged and vertical when it's my turn to shoot?

 

After the stage is completed, I flag and then carry the PCC back to the table (vertical, of course) and rebag and zip closed.

 

I do not bring my entire bag/case to the line, just the PCC.

 

AD

 

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10 hours ago, ADulay said:

From reading this thread so far can it be that I'm the only person who unbags at a table at the side berm and walks to the starting position with the PCC flagged and vertical when it's my turn to shoot?

 

No.  As George wrote above, it depends on the berms.  For USPSA what you do is generally the case.  For SCSA some clubs do not have bays deep enough to handle a 35 yard Classifier and still have room for a cone, etc.  So they mandate you bring your rifle to the start table in a zipped case.

 

Here is an example.  One club has only 25 yard bays.  For Showdown and Outer Limits the start box would be at, or beyond the concrete walls of the bay.  You can't be uncasing or uncarting downrange, so the only option is to bring the rifle to the start table or box and uncase or uncart after Make Ready.

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6 hours ago, zzt said:

 

No.  As George wrote above, it depends on the berms.  For USPSA what you do is generally the case.  For SCSA some clubs do not have bays deep enough to handle a 35 yard Classifier and still have room for a cone, etc.  So they mandate you bring your rifle to the start table in a zipped case.

 

Here is an example.  One club has only 25 yard bays.  For Showdown and Outer Limits the start box would be at, or beyond the concrete walls of the bay.  You can't be uncasing or uncarting downrange, so the only option is to bring the rifle to the start table or box and uncase or uncart after Make Ready.

 

OK.  That makes perfect sense.

Thanks.

 

AD

 

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