Teenager Killed by Polar Bear Because Adult Forgot To Turn Off Mauser 98K Safety

Horatio Chapple

Horatio Chapple

A British Teenager on vacation with the British Schools Exploring Society was killed by a Polar Bear in the Svalbard islands. The Guardian reports

Horatio Chapple, 17, was on an adventure holiday to the remote Svalbard islands in Norway with the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) on 5 August 2011 when the bear ripped open his tent and dragged him out, causing mortal head injuries. Four others were hurt and the bear was shot dead by one of the group leaders in the attack which lasted just a few minutes.

Svalbard Tundra

Svalbard Tundra

One of the expedition leaders forgot to turn off the safety. He/she attempted to fire the camp Mauser 98K four or five times, each time squeezing the trigger and cycling the bolt, ejecting unfired rounds onto the ground.

The expedition’s science leader [identified in the report as L2] emerged from another tent. He grabbed the rifle and fired four or five times. On each occasion a bullet was simply ejected on to the ground leaving the rifle empty. The bear then turned on L2 and mauled him about the head, causing him to drop the gun.

“The mountain leader of the expedition [identified in the report as L1] did not know where the spare bullets were and shouted for help in finding them. He diverted the bear from L2 by throwing a stone at it. The bear turned on L1 and mauled him badly.

“Other team members were attacked by the bear until L2 found one of the bullets that had been ejected, loaded the rifle and shot the animal dead.”

Training in the use of the Mauser 98 K rifle had been limited to some general handling and the firing of four shots. “Good rifle drill is essential as the present case demonstrates. Likewise the party appears to have been unaware of where the spare ammunition was stored.

This tragedy might have been prevented if a few dollars had been spent on ammunition and training.




Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Dave

    Shitty :(

    …train with what you use! I personally almost never carry a rifle/shotgun CHAMBERED unless I am actively hunting or shooting. I Carry them “loaded” (with the safety offf) so all I have to do is work the action and start shooting…maybe that is what should have been done here?

    It is easier to know you HAVE to work the action for the shot/s (especially in something that is not semi-auto) then forgetting about/not sure if the safety is on/off. As well as working the action is easier/quicker and more natural (as you do it all them time) then hunting for a small button or switch, say at night or with gloves on, when cold, tired and so on.

    • flyingburgers

      Actually the report says the instructions said to do exactly what you say: safety off, no round chambered. Then you run the risk that somebody fiddles with the safety or it gets knocked out of position, then disaster ensues.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      At least be consistent in whichever method you use.

    • Gallan

      Yeah I agree, but with the added proviso in this case that they needed to disable the safety by welding/glueing it to off.

  • Tom – UK

    I cannot believe any adult held responsible for the lives of others from wild animals would be so stupid as to ensure they are familiar with the means of protecting them. Failing to be familiar with and capable of using the rifle effectively in this sort of expedition is the same as not thinking to take warm clothing.

    The rifle was to be used in an emergency, would you be happy driving a car in an emergency with only a general handling lesson and test driving for 400m?

    • Zachary marrs

      They’re British, a good amount of them think guns are icky

      • The Forty ‘Twa

        I knew somebody would chime in with a stupid comment like this.

        The kinds of people going to these parts of the world where humans aren’t top dog are generally happy to carry firearms regardless of their nationality!

        • Zachary marrs

          I said that the mausers kick probably made them not want to train with it as much. And lots of British people dint like guns, same here in america. Carrying a gun is only the first step. They should have recived more training. This was entirely preventable

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            It is a childish and ill informed to presume that because the party involved was British that they feared guns. A lot of us here in the UK engage in shooting and indeed a lot of the young people and leaders on the trip were from schools where shooting is actively encouraged and very much a part of the curriculum. Training may have been an issue but I’m not so sure that their nationality is a factor at all.

            I don’t think you really know what you are talking about, you are just blindly speculating without knowing the first thing about the circumstances and making hackneyed assumptions about Brits.

          • Zachary marrs

            Chill man, im just bringing it up as a point, if this had happened here in the usa, or russia, id be saying the exact same thing. Training “MAY” have been an issue

            Training was an issue telling someone how to work a bolt and letting them pop off 4 rounds is not enough when you are in bear country.

      • Ken

        Since they were in Norway, their guides could have been Norwegian.

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      Because I am sure most people here would have been cool as a cucumber if they were to wake up with a bear in your face. There is no amount of training that somebody can be given in the short term that would prepare them adequately for this situation. The big failing here was the lack of a bear watch and the fact that the trip wires were not set up correctly, neither of which are mentioned in this article. By the time the guy with the rifle was out of his tent, the kid was most likely already dead so the lack of weapons handling training and the safety catch issue cannot be blamed for this. Also, as others have said the rifle was stored with the chamber empty and the safety off, and at no point does the guy using the rifle recollect doing anything to the safety catch to get it from a non-firing to firing state so I do not think a malfunction of some sort is out of the question (which may indicate improper storage though).

      • Martin Grønsdal

        humid tent – frozen firing pin?

        • Zachary marrs

          Might be a bad primer, using an old mauser “for emergencies” as a camp gun screams (at least to me) bad ammo

          • Ken

            Norway converted it’s K98k’s to .30/06, and many later to 7.62 NATO. They were most likely using modern soft point ammo, not surplus ball ammo.

          • Zachary marrs

            It might just be me, but all ammo related failures were with hunting ammo. No trouble with milsurp. But I do know that some old military bolt actions can pop primers, as ive had that issue with my mosin and k98, but that never lead to a jam.

          • G

            8x57IS doesn’t mean surplus ammunition. 8x57IS is quite popular in Europe. Sauer, Tikka, Sako and Blaser make new hunting rifles in that caliber. Sako, Norma, RWS and Blaser make hunting ammunition in 8x57IS.

        • 7.62 Precision

          Not likely in August.

          • Martin Grønsdal

            this was on Svalbard

          • 7.62 Precision

            I understand. I live in Alaska and do a lot of shooting in Arctic conditions. It isn’t likely that the firing pin was frozen in August when temps are low 50s F. to high 30s F.

          • Martin Grønsdal

            On the 5th of August, 2011, Bjørnøya weather station recorded 35 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. These guys were probably higher up in the terrain, and temperature may have been a lot lower. Add wrong type of lubrication, and an unclean and wet Mauser may not fire.
            Also, it apparently fired at the 6th attempt, which could be just when the firing pin became unstuck.

    • allannon

      First, there’s the issue of panic. You can practice and prep hours a day, then freeze up when it comes down to it. Ask any police officer, soldier, or even paramedic or doctor: you know your skills as well as possible, but the first time you need them they go right out the window.

      Even that aside, even in the US I’ve had people tell me they see no reason whatsoever to learn anything about firearms. The leader (or both, though it sounds like L2 was handling it better) may well have assumed that carrying a rifle at all was some kind of paranoia.

      And third, people don’t know wild animals. They really don’t understand why I get upset at people feeding deer and the like. “It’s cute, and look, they’re friendly!”. Then it’s in the news because it kicked the crap out of someone because it’s no longer afraid of people, and everyone’s surprised.

      • Zachary marrs

        This, this, this.

        • Sulaco

          +1 and I think for many not familiar with firearms they think it (gun) is a magic talisman that its mere presence will ward off evil and bad things. The idea of actually training with same gives them hives because it puts them in it’s presence longer…

  • Callum King-Underwood

    SHould be noted that although evidence does point to this being the case, the inquest has not concluded its investigation and not confirmed this as being the case, to say otherwise is here-say at this time. The investigation so far seems to have found that between L2 dropping the rifle and picking it up again nowhere was the safety lever manipulated and yet it has gone between not firing and successful firing so the rifle may well have been at fault (in cold climates)

    • Cymond

      Because dropping a Mauser could never bump the safety into a different position, especially from the middle position to “fire”.

  • The Forty ‘Twa

    The whole thing was a bit of a disaster to be honest, it wasn’t just the poor firearms handling that lead to this. It was a catalogue of errors including nobody on watch, a defective tripwire system and poor planning.

    I know this is mainly a firearms blog but trying to pin it on that alone is pretty poor form. Sadly the quality of this blog seems to be heading downhill rapidly.

    • iksnilol

      1+

      Blaming it on the rifle is too simple, many cases in Svalbard where people defended themselves against bear using the Mauser.

      Reading into it the entire expedition was bound for disaster.

    • Callum King-Underwood

      note how the operator did absolutely nothing going between the gun not firing and the gun firing fine. I dont think its just poor handling, sounds to me like a genuine malfunction

      • Cymond

        “The bear then turned on L2 and mauled him about the head, causing him to drop the gun. […] Other team members were attacked by the bear until L2 found one of the bullets that had been ejected, loaded the rifle and shot the animal dead.”
        .
        So what do we know? We know that the bolt cycled fine but the rifle didn’t fire. We know that “L2″ dropped the rifle, picked it up, loaded it, and then in fired. If the Mauser’s safety was in the middle position, it would allow the bolt to cycle but not fire. It’s quite possible the safety got bumped from the middle position to ‘fire’ when the rifle was dropped.

    • Phillip Cooper

      This blog is “heading” downhill?

      You haven’t been paying attention. Or you need to work on verb tense…

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Being a firearm blog the editor was keeping our viewpoint strictly related to the firearms portion of this tragedy.
      As far as quality of the blog is concerned that’s your opinion but incorrect based on the emails we get.

      • The Forty ‘Twa

        So rather than provide the full story you focus on a small part of the incident and totally fail to mention any of the other contributing factors? I’d prefer to see TFB posts that are accurate and include other factors where appropriate rather than ignoring them in pursuit of a titillating headline. If there were political issues in the background I would understand but that is not the case here.

        I really do think this blog is not as good as it once was. We have accuracy sacraficed for a titillating headline, old stories reported as if they were new because the writer hasn’t checked the dates and other errors which just didn’t occur in the past.

        Reading the comments underneath other articles suggests that there are others who agree with me whether the staff wish to acknowledge that or not. I really would like to see the quality of this blog return to what it once was but with the totally dismissive attitude you are displaying here I don’t hold out much hope. It is a shame because I enjoy reading this blog but I’m finding myself going elsewhere.

        • Zapp Brannigan

          You are bending over backwards in order to find a reason to complain. This is a firearm blog. If you want objective news, then go to a place that provides that. In short; lighten up, Francis.

      • Michael R. Zupcak

        “that’s your opinion but incorrect”. Not a good sentence regardless of your argument.

        • Guest

          Opinions can’t be incorrect?

          • Yellow Devil

            Not when I had to do interrogations in theater.

      • JSmath

        Even if you take just a firearms blog standpoint, it’s more than obvious that weapon training and range ammunition wouldn’t have done a single thing in this situation. Kid was attacked and dragged out of his tent first, lasting several minutes. “Four others were injured.” If you are capable of basic math, you can figure out pretty easily that by the time the L2, the science leader, emerged from his tent, Horatio was already dead or mortally wounded.

        The fact that the same person, L2, picks up one of the “fired” cartridges, reloaded it, and used it to shoot the bear is telling about the condition of the firearm and it’s ability to fire. Unless the rifle’s frozen firing pin thawed during the 5 minutes of scuffling with the rest of the party, then it wasn’t on the rifle’s end that malfunctions were occurring.

        Sucks that lives were lost. Panic or unfamiliarity with their defense weapons could have cost more lives, but it just didn’t in this case. Lucky sons of bitches, that that’s the case.

        And I realize this is a quoted excerpt, but the quote should have been cleaned or identified as misstating a fact (“fired the weapon” that never fired). ex: Using “(Sic)”; Especially being that this is The Firearm Blog, it’d be a damned shame to let people go thinking that a “FAILURE TO FIRE” or, more likely, a firearm that does not fire due to it’s safety being engaged and functioning properly, could possibly be the same thing as firing a weapon.

        • Gallan

          Nope. If someone was sufficiently trained to carry the weapon 24/7, he would have heard a scream, got out of his tent and shot the bear, probably saving the kids life.

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            The report mentioned in the original post seems to suggest the young man in question was mortally wounded before L1 or L2 had made it out of their tent.

    • 7.62 Precision

      This is quite appropriate for a firearms blog. Maybe nothing could be done to save the life of the boy who was killed. What about the others that were mauled afterward? Their injuries may have been prevented with a bit of training.

      Many people travel in bear country around the world. Few ever use fancy trip-wire alarm systems. I never have. People do carry firearms, however, so the concern about the use of the Mauser is relevant to far more readers than the faulty tripwire system.

      When I read the article, there are two things that I focused on; the lack of training and preparedness with the rifle, and the failure to set up a watch after previously seeing a bear in the area. The alarm system is irrelevant to me; the most important lesson for most people is the failure with the rifle.

  • flyingburgers

    I’m not sure its “forgot to turn of safety” but rather set safety in the wrong position. The Mauser has a 3 position safety, safe and bolt locked, safe and bolt unlocked, fire. Even if you’re used to modern rifles, this can trip you up.

    A important question is why are they using a surplus rifle that’s older than all of the adults there and uses harder to find ammo when people’s lives are at stake?

    • kipy

      I would be pissing my pants if I was in a tent in polar bear territory and there was only a mauser for the whole group. Should have at least had a couple Glock 20s available.

      • Eric S

        Does a Glock 20 hurt less when the bear shoves it up your bum? Or is the plan to throw it at the bear at hope the explosion scares it away?

        Seems a simple case of poor planing and panic. It’s also a reminder that humans are not at the top of the food chain.

        • valorius

          The norwegian military used sig 210s vs polar bears for many years. Just saying.

        • Tadatadum

          We are when the safety is off. ; )

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Bring enough gun–that would exclude the Glock 20.

        • kipy

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sl%C3%A6depatruljen_Sirius#Equipment The Danish special forces carry them specifically in case of a run in with a polar bear.

          • Drew

            Looks like the Danish prefer to be eaten then.

          • JSmath

            Polar bears are gargantuan beasts – some as heavy as 1500 lbs. Honestly, a 10mm isn’t going to have much effect on that, but having a Glock would beat the hell out of throwing rocks at it, too.

            As far as that wikipedia article/reference – just what were those assholes doing using their 9mms on polar bears, exactly…? Ya, let’s just cut to the chase, probably just dicking around and proving the ineffectiveness of the 9mm. Again, though, that’s just reiterating what’s said over and over: Pistol cartridges suck.

            Maybe if you were wanting to shoot a cub in the face, but a full size adult polar bear is going to be more pissed off than threatened by any pistol cartridge. ‘Cept maybe 357mag/44mag out of a Mare’s Leg, but then you’re going off into crazy town anyway.

          • DelQ

            12 Gauge Pump with 1 oz High Velocity saboted, slugs – 8 round mag. At close range, shooting into the crock pot sized head? Even a Polar Bear would be rocked backwards or slowed enough to allow 2 or more follow on shots.

          • 7.62 Precision

            What you have to hit in the head is not as large as you would think.

            Often it is better to break shoulders and hips than to try for head shots, if you have projectiles that are big and heavy and penetrate well. I wouldn’t reduce the size of the projectile by using the saboted stuff.

            No firearm projectile can move a bear back – they just push through the bear.

          • Giolli Joker

            “No firearm projectile can move a bear back – they just push through the bear.”

            Maybe from 25mm cannon rounds and above…

          • 7.62 Precision

            I shot a deer with a 25mm. It was beautiful thing through the thermal sight – chunks of heat sailing in all directions leaving heat trails behind. I would say a 25mm would do more than move a bear – it would disassemble it.

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            I participated in a training exercise in Canada many years ago and our Canadian counterparts were taught to aim for the chest or shoulder on polar bears. The head was too small and too tough apparently although I’m glad to say I never had an encounter with a polar bear so I’ve never seen that advice tested.

          • DelQ

            I imagine that is true at distances over 50 or 75 ft – but, at close range, say, inside 30 ft – that Polar Bear’s head would have to be made out of 1/4 inch plate steel to shake off a High Velocity 12 ga slug – and to miss that sized head, at that range? Even a hit to the neck, shoulder or chest area – that bear would have to be an alien life form to just keep on keepin on…I’ve seen full grown, enraged White faced bulls dropped in their tracks with a 12 gauge slug fired from a Remington 870 – at less than 50 feet (hit right below left eye)…That caliber was my choice to carry as a backup (mine was a Mossberg 500, pistol grip, extended tube mag loaded with 2 3/4″, 1 0z slugs) when I hunted Elk in Grizzly country in NW United States.

          • 7.62 Precision

            If faced with a bear, I’d rather have a rifle than a pistol and I would rather have a pistol than nothing. I know someone who hunted and killed a polar bear with a .223 bolt action. I know someone who’s brother hunted and killed a polar bear with a .22. I know a guy who hunted and killed a black bear with a 5.7mm. A guy near here shot and killed an attacking brown bear with a 9mm pistol after his buddy panicked and threw the shotgun at the bear instead of firing, and then jumped into the river.
            There are a number of cases in which a .44 mag or similar cartridge has been used on large bears with great success. I carry a .45 Colt Old Vaquero with heavy loads for bear protection.

            A 10mm isn’t a bad choice, maybe not the best choice, but can’t compare with a rifle of the right caliber.

            All that said, I would much prefer a rifle shooting heavy bullets if I have a bear coming at me.

          • Geodkyt

            Yup — Eskimos on bear watch during seal and whale hunts (where they are worried about POLAR BEARS) often rely on 5.56mm.

            As I understand it, since the guys in question get all their “Lower 48″ supplies by AIR, the weight (and thus cost) of the cartridges is the driver there, and they just carry a full magazine and aim really, really carefully. Good for them.

            Personally, I wouldn’t want to face a hungry polar bear with less than a Ma Deuce. :D

          • Politically incorrect

            I was nodding my head to all that you wrote down until I got to vaquero. Seriosuly? You’re going to go with an antiquated design from 1873 to defend your life from dangerous man-killers? Leave the single actions for cowboy shooting, if you HAVE to have a wheel gun, plea please get a double action. You don’t even need to change calibres, get or Governor or Judge in 45 long. SA will get you killed when you need it to fire fast

          • 7.62 Precision

            Seriously. I shoot a single-action better than a double action. I have never fired a double action revolver quickly or at an animal that I did not cock the pistol and fire it single action without thinking about it. I can fire a single-action fast. The Old Vaqueros are very strong and can handle very hot, heavy loads.

            Both the Governor and Judge are poor choices. There are much better-balanced, stronger, more practical DA revolvers. The .45 Colt/.410 revolvers have some uses, but are little more than novelties for most people. A standard-model S&W or Ruger DA revolver would be a much better choice.

          • iksnilol

            No offense but those are Danes, the scariest animals they will ever meet are runaway deer (not moose).

            I would say no pistola is sufficent for polar bear, maybe some of the fast stuff (7.62×25, 10mm auto, 357 SIG, etc.) loaded with steel tipped hollow pointss or “rifle-pistols” like the .500 S&W using hunting ammo. Now as I know very few have access to steel tipped hollow points.

          • Kurtz

            I’ve heard that .44 mag hollow points is the absolute minimum for grizzlies. Now, a polar bear is a different story..

          • 7.62 Precision

            You don’t want hollow points for big bears – you need solids.
            Not sure what iksnilol is on about, maybe intended as a joke?

          • Giolli Joker

            “No offense but those are Danes, the scariest animals they will ever meet are runaway deer (not moose).”
            In Greenland? Because that’s where they are issued Glock 20’s against bears.
            (They even have .30-06 rifles)

          • RawDawg

            And here I thought it used to be done with an arrow made of wood with a sharpened piece of rock on the end. Silly me.

          • Sulaco

            What the heck is a “steel tipped hollow point”? Never heard of it and it sounds like a contradiction in terms……The whole point to a HP is expansion which will not happen if its “steel tipped”…source please.

        • Herp

          A glock 20 is not enough for polar bears but it beats the heck out of a Mauser nobody knows how to use. Explain how a 20 would have performed worse in this situation. The guy’s got a point. A backup could have saved a life.

          • Cymond

            I don’t think a Glock 20 would have performed any better, considering that the gun wasn’t the problem. It doesn’t matter what gun is used if the person doesn’t know how to use it.

          • RawDawg

            Well, point, pull, bang. Or, point, the safety is in the wrong position, cock, is the safety in the wrong position, cock, why isnt this shooting, cock, I wish I had learned how to use this unusual safety mechanism, mauled by bear.

      • 7.62 Precision

        I’d rather have a .30-06 or a .308 Mauser, against a bear, than a Glock 20.

        • kipy

          As would I, but if your gonna carry a side arm to complement your main rifle the glock 20 is an excellent choice. 3x 15 round mags of full power Underwood ammo is nothing to scoff at.

          • iksnilol

            Better a side arm than nothing but I would prefer to be the one carrying the rifle.

          • 7.62 Precision

            The 10mm is not as good a choice as some revolver cartridges when it comes to bears, but is one of the better choices in an auto pistol, as you get some penetration. Several extra mags are rarely a consideration when dealing with bears – few people will get that many shots off before the animal is incapacitated, leaves, or incapacitates the shooter.

          • john huscio

            I could live with being arrested for that if it meant saving someone else’s life

        • RawDawg

          Real predators jump on bears from trees and stab them to death with knives.

      • Bubba

        You’re not allowed to own handguns for self defense or hunting in Norway. They’re only allowed to be owned for sporting and competitions. Carrying one on you is illegal, even if you have a license to own it. Killing a bear with it would also be illegal.

    • Martin Grønsdal

      they probably had surplus army rifles from the Norwegian military, or police, and they are .308

      • iksnilol

        Yup, 30-06/308 Mausers are the Mosin equivalent in Norway. Cheap, reliable, decent accuracy.

    • CrankyFool

      Probably because they think of it as one of those situations that will never, ever happen, and the rifle is just there as a way to make people more comfortable / feel better. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, mind you.

      When I was a child growing up in Israel, when we’d go on school field trips they’d ask parents to join as trip chaperones (I think the generally same thing happens here in the US as well). Only there, being a chaperone means you were issued a rifle and ammunition and were expected to carry loaded (I don’t know if there were rules/suggestions about loaded vs chambered, safety, etc). My dad, being independently employed, quite often was a chaperone; on multi-day trips, when we encamped for the night (always in a safe, guarded place so he was no longer on duty), he’d show me and my friends how to disassemble and reassemble the rifle. Fun times.

      Anyway, this was in the late 70’s. The rifle he was issued? M1 Garand. Now, mind you, I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about the M1 Garand — It won us WWII — but I don’t even know if he got more than one clip of ammo with it, and it certainly wouldn’t be my personal choice for giving a school chaperone in the late 70’s. But Israel was lousy with surplus Garands at the time, and that’s what the cops had, and nobody ever expected he’d have to use it.

      The one time we went on a school field trip where there was an inkling there may be an issue, we had armed security guards with Uzis with us. A very different feel.

      • Phillip Cooper

        Sounds to me like a country that has its priorities in order.

        We guard our money, gold, executives, leaders, celebrities- hell, even our ANTI-gun leaders… with guns.

        Our children? The single most valuable thing we have? With a cute little “no guns here, free fire zone!” sticker.

        How’s that been working out for us?

      • Sulaco

        Spoke one time with a “grandparent guard” from Israel and he said when it was his turn to guard the elementary school (coming soon to the USA thanks O) he would “Just go to the local police station and check out an Uzis”. He could not understand why we (US) did not do the same thing and stop the fight over guns. Took a long time to explain that.

      • Dallas Doc

        When I lived in Israel (mid-1960’s) I never saw a Garand. I saw Uzis everywhere along with an occasional BAR toted by an active-duty soldier. I assume the rifles on Cranky’s tour group were loaded but NOT chambered. For anyone licensed to carry a handgun in Israel, they may have the magazine in the pistol, but it is illegal to have a round chambered. If you need to defend your life or shoot a terrorist who has commandeered a bulldozer in Jerusalem and is crushing civilian cars with it (yeah, it happened last year), you chamber and fire in one swift move. I’ve seen trained guys do it, and boy are they fast (and accurate).

        • DelQ

          But not as fast as I can thumb the safety off of my 1911, or take up the slack in my XD or my Glock(s)…it’s one thing to have the time to draw, chamber and fire at someone in a bulldozer – big difference when someone is lining you up in the sights of their firearm or stopping a charging predator.

          • 7.62 Precision

            Yeah, with training it is pretty much as fast. The charge is part of the draw and presentation. I have a friend who used to guard the Israeli Prime Minister (also guarded Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwartzenegger, and other VIPs when they were in Israel.

            The times he could get drawing, charging, firing, and hitting the target were every bit as fast as top pistol competitors in the US drawing and firing with a loaded chamber and no safety. He had people in his unit that were faster than him.

          • Gallan

            Well obviously not as fast or reliable. Racking the slide requires two hands, is more prone to fumbling and requires more training to do. But this is all justified and appropriate in the israeli experience since they had civilians and poorly trained conscripts carrying weapons all the time everywhere, tons of NDs.

            Unfortunately this practice has gone into Israeli civilian self defense teaching. Where they have forgotten the original reason for not carrying a bullet in the chamber.

          • 7.62 Precision

            Speed is not an issue. With the right technique, it can be as fast.
            Other things can be an issue, for example, it requires more training, and two hands, as you said.
            The idea that the IDF has to carry with an empty chamber because they have poor training is a myth. They shoot more than most equivalent US units. They have simply found that it works for them, and the objections most people raise have proven to be non-issues.
            Oh, and the rate of NDs in Israel (outside of training where the round goes downrange) is very, very low.

          • HSR47

            “The idea that the IDF has to carry with an empty chamber because they have poor training is a myth.”

            The origin of the “Israeli” method of pistol carry is quite simple: In the early days they were trying to get the most munitions for their money. Often, this meant purchasing a multitude of different surplus firearms.

            Not all methods of carry are universally safe: Some guns don’t have safeties or decockers; Some have one, the other, or both. The ideal manual of arms with each type can vary: Do you decock? Do you put it on safe? Both? Neither?

            For the most part, the oddity that is “Israeli carry” originated from this question: They were looking for a simple manual of arms that was consistent across a wide variety of handguns, and so they decided to go with “safeties off, chamber empty, full mag.” That way, you could pick up *any* pistol in inventory and use the same manual of arms.

            At the time, it was the expedient (and somewhat elegant) solution; At present, it has grossly outlived it’s usefulness, and stands as a textbook example of bureaucratic institutional dogma.

            The technique persists not because there’s any real tangible benefit to it, but because “this is the way we’ve *always* done things.”

          • valorius

            There are videos of people being shot to death online while trying to rack their slide.

          • DelQ

            Sorry, but having been a Operator in SF for over 28 years, a competitive shooter for 20, and a firearms safety and CCH instructor for 15 – I will say you are absolutely wrong. There may be individual exceptions – but take the experienced handgun shooter, whether police, military or civilian – give them the choice, and guess what? They will indeed choose the chambered round Glock, XD, 1911, Sig etc etc etc..Now, one more thing to think about – what about if your non-shooting hand is occupied there bud? Like shielding the person you are protecting? Opening or closing a door, carrying a kid, a package or, heaven for bid – injured? Think about it…

          • 7.62 Precision

            Yes, I mentioned the same thing in my reply above . . .

          • DelQ

            One other point – I’ve heard more stories about legendary, almost Mythical Israeli, British SAS, Ninja Like Spetznaz, GSG9 – it’s amazing how many individuals, units and “friends” I have heard about that are just head and shoulders above our operators..funny thing though, with 36 years of my life spent in the “business” , I have YET to meet any of these superheroes…hmmmm

          • 7.62 Precision

            Nobody is head and shoulders above our operators, in my experience. There are of organizations that are very good – on the same level, even. Different organizations use different equipment and tactics – there is not only one way of doing things. Anyone with the experience you claim would know that. The SEALs I know who spent time in that part of the world think highly of their Israeli counterparts.

          • http://mazeworld.net/ Hebizuka Jinkou

            Oh you’d be surprised. Some of the people trained to do the Israeli Draw are lightning fast, and not people I’d want to fuck with on a pistol draw contest. Never understimate skill.

        • Sulaco

          This empty chamber draw is standard regulation for the military also even with DA Pistols…just an Israel thing I guess.

    • Callum King-Underwood

      The operator has no recollection of fiddling with the safety between the rifle not firing, being reloaded and then firing fine. If the safety was actually on but with the bolt unlocked and was untouched, then it shouldnt have eventually fired. Sounds to me that it was more like a genuine fail to fire

      • Phillip Cooper

        So you’re saying it’s FTF multiple times? Doubtful.

        • 7.62 Precision

          Yes, I know several people who, in the heat of the moment, have had failures to fire on every round in the magazine of a Marlin 1895.
          It was because the safety was engaged. :)

          • Phillip Cooper

            Well played, sir! ;)

      • Zachary marrs

        Im willing to bet, all that adrenaline pumping, he couldn’t tell. He wasn’t 200 yards away peering through a scope, he was in the bears face.

      • Geodkyt

        It’s WAY easy to knock a Mauser safety from the middle position to one side or the other, especially on an older gun.

        So, having the safety in the “bolt unlocked, but safety on” position is plausible from that POV.

        However, if he even ATTEMPTED to use the sights, he should have noticed the safety wing sticking straight up.

        OTOH, I have heard plenty of tales (mostly out of Alaska, by experienced hunters I trust) of people faced with a bear, methodically cycling their magazine empty without ever pulling the trigger, and “remembering” afterwards that they were firing.

    • John

      Sounds like he was cycling the bolt so my guess was that the 98k was on in the middle position (bolt unlocked, safe)
      http://www.ltwerner.com/wwii/images/mauser-safety.gif

      He was cycling the bolt fruitlessly, and got charged and dropped the rifle, the safety snapped off from being dropped and was ready to fire

      • Geodkyt

        It’s WAY easy to knock a Mauser safety from the middle position to one side or the other, especially on an older gun.

        So, having the safety in the “bolt unlocked, but safety on” position is plausible from that POV.

        However, if he even ATTEMPTED to use the sights, he should have noticed the safety wing sticking straight up.

        OTOH, I have heard plenty of tales (mostly out of Alaska, by experienced hunters I trust) of people faced with a bear, methodically cycling their magazine empty without ever pulling the trigger, and “remembering” afterwards that they were firing.

        (Repeated from below, because it’s just as relevant here)

        • John

          At such close range, and with that little training, he might have as easily been just pointing, not aiming, but I agree with you.

          On Combat by Dave Grossman describes police officers involved shootings so stressed that they do not hear their gun fire, only a click and cannot understand why their gun is cycling. They think they have misfired when in fact they’ve emptied their entire magazine.

          • 7.62 Precision

            I shot a moose in self-defense at ten feet. I did not hear the shot, only had a glimpse of aligned rifle sights, a memory of seeing a hoof against the sky, and the moose was gone from my line of sight. I did not think about shooting, I did not know where the moose had gone, I did not hear a shot, and I was actually bewildered (it was a very fast attack – the unseen moose came out of heavy brush only 20m away without warning at a dead charge). I had to check my rifle to see if I had actually fired a shot. I was actually looking around to see which direction the moose was going to charge from again, when I realized it was laying at my feet.

          • RawDawg

            I’ve shot a bunch of people. I hear the bang.

          • Mr Mxyzptlk

            In the inquest he made a point of saying that he carefully aimed at the centre of the bear’s chest before first attempting to fire due to the fact that it was near a person, so I would have thought he would have noticed if the safety was on the middle position. Even if he did not fully understand the safety, this would have prevented him from using the sights and he would have remembered about it after the fact.

          • 7.62 Precision

            What people say also depends on how they remember it and what they want people to think of them or to stay out of trouble. He may have not aimed until the last shot, but truly remembers aiming every shot, or he may have not aimed any shots and been lucky on the last one, or he may have aimed with the safety itself instead of sights, or any number of things.

          • HSR47

            You’re assuming that he was familiar with how to properly sight the rifle.

            If he didn’t understand how the safety worked, there’s a good chance he didn’t have a particularly good understanding of what a proper sight picture looks like.

    • Gallan

      Really shouldn’t fiddle with the safety. Safety should have been welded/glued on off, with no round in the chamber. Rifle should have been modified for combat use like a Glock. Hopefully they do this to all their rifles in the future.

      • JSmath

        Where did you learn (or conceive) that notion?

        I’ve personally met two people that were adamant about safeties not being on any of their weapons. Those two are great examples of sub-100 IQ human adults.

        • iksnilol

          I

          • JSmath

            I am certainly familiar that some (nearly or absolutely no modern ones) combat weapons were available without safeties. That’s not what was saying or asking. I was inquiring where the notion that “safeties are for soldiers” on top of “Glocks were modified for combat use (for civilians)”, with this implied message that military weapons have their safeties removed when they are converted for civilian use…. Which just isn’t true, I give no fucks if this was once a tradition between 1890 and 1927, or any combination of dates preceding … (Arbitrary) 1930.

            Weapons used to not have safeties, guys. Flintlocks didn’t have safeties. Cutlasses didnt have safeties! Rocks didnt have safeties!! Let’s take it back. No safeties on all the guns! Because that’s how firearms were intended. Cuz America.

          • M

            Is he talking about all guns, or the mauser, whose design is from the 1800s.
            Is the safety catch referring to the mauser 98’s catch, or for all rifles.
            He also uses rifle in the singular term (referring the rifle they were using), not rifles referring to all rifles

          • Nicks87

            “most people who accidentaly shoot themselves do so with a gun without a safety”
            Where did you get that statistic from? Sounds like something made up by people who hate Glocks.

          • iksnilol

            Most people who shoot themselves in the US are police (AKA 5-0, po-po, etc.). Most police in the US use Glocks. Most ND (negligent discharges) were when something tripped the trigger upon reholstering. When you turn on a safety it isn’t as bad when reholsteing if something trips it.

          • Sulaco

            Source please.

          • DelQ

            Where do you get your information there sparky? “Most people who shoot themselves in the US are police”? Are you just commenting while stoned or just that stupid? Go check your “facts” there Mr BSA..which either stands for Boy Scouts of America or “Bullsh-tters of America..

          • DelQ

            So you’re not a Glock owner I take it?

        • John

          Manually operated firearms, like lever guns, and early pump action shotguns traditionally did not have safeties. The action was operated before firing, leaving the chamber empty is considered ‘safe’

          • 7.62 Precision

            Many of these types of weapons had safeties – they used half-cock safeties.

      • Gallan

        Safeties are just another layer of protection from a negligent discharge. They require more training to operate. And were designed for soldiers who carry there weapons on a sling 99.9999% of the time. That gives alot of opportunity for a ND.

        In contrast a civilian rarely carries his weapon on a sling. (it’s either holstered or in his gun safe). So there is very little chance of an ND. And due to his poorer training there’s alot more chance of the gun not firing cause he forgot about the safety.

        Safeties probably came about with the formation of professional armies who trained alot with their weapons slinged. Previously civilians and militias were the focus of firearm designers. They had alot less training than professional soldiers or conscripts.

        • 7.62 Precision

          Pretty much all civilians I know use slings with their rifles. So you could say they rarely carry without a sling.

          Also, pretty much all firearm designs and innovations were driven by military arms and then moved to sporting arms. Military weapons have always been the focus of most firearm designers.

          • Gallan

            I’ll try to be super clear. The safety catch is either a liability for combat or an asset against negligent discharge. In our case

            – Rifle was carried little
            – Virtually no firearms training
            – Very unlikely to face combat.
            Naturally when they faced combat they were completely unprepared to operate the rifle properly, and failed to turn off the safety.

            If they had glued/welded the safety off, the rifle would have worked in combat. And since they rarely carried it, the chance of ND would not have significantly grown. (Even less so if they weren’t carrying a round in the chamber)

            Firearms were first made for the aristocracy who could afford them. And designers/gunmakers would have catered primarily for the private market. This is still the case in Pakistan, India, Philippines basically anywhere where a gun for self defense is needed, the private gunmaker/designer market is larger than than the military one. Just because civilians follow military trends doesn’t change this.

          • Sulaco

            “Naturally in the U.S where they are more educated on weapons, the most popular gun for civilian self defense are pistols without safeties.”
            Umm you mean like revolvers for over 8 decades?

          • BeGe1

            Sorry, but what you say applies to handguns, where they are carried holstered. Not rifles.

            Carrying a chambered rifle at all without a safety is not advisable. To have the non-pulling of the trigger be the only thing stopping an ND on a gun when it’s going to be carried without a covered and isolated trigger guard is not very smart.

            And your mention of carrying with no round chambered is a little nonsensical, because the chambering of a round under stress almost universally takes more familiarity and complex motion than taking off a safety. So advocating to remove the safety for simplicity of use under pressure, but then carrying without one in the chamber to make up for the lack of safety…is just bass-ackwards.

        • Geodkyt

          Actually, safeties first appeared on civilian arms. MATCHLOCK “sporting” arms were often equipped with safeties.

        • David Sharpe

          Actually the Israelis carry without a round chambered because in 1948 they could not equip their army with modern weapons, they only had old, worn out guns. And on many of those the safeties were worn out, so instead of potentially having an ND, they just left the chamber empty until it was needed.

    • Ken

      The K98k is just as capable as any modern hunting rifle in .30/06 if not more so since many modern rifles do not have a controlled feed extractor. Also, the original Mauser design has a much simpler trigger than many modern hunting rifles, which could make a difference in the cold. Since polar bear defense will likely be close range, the rugged iron sights are desirable over a scope.

      • John

        Controlled-feed is desired for dangerous game rifles due to its perceived higher reliability.
        The mauser iron sights, however, are not conducive to fast target acquisition and anything other than mid-day brightness… at close range, you’re better off forgetting about the V-notch and just using the front sight as a bead like a shotgun

      • HSR47

        To say that the K98k is “just as capable as any modern hunting rifle” seems to me to ignore the fact that, as bolt-actions go, the Mauser 98 action is still pretty much the state of the art.

        • Ken

          Which is where the “if not more so” comes in. Yes, modern rifles may have fancy scopes and polymer stocks, but the Mauser 98 action itself basically has not been improved upon performance wise.

    • swede1986

      Because Mausers are reliable, affordable and common. 8×57 is also one of the most common calibers in Scandinavia.

    • BeGe1

      To be honest, if its for defense and I’m limited to bolt actions, surplus is the ONLY way I’d go. Modern hunting rifles are designed for precision, or weight, or sometimes just for being cheap. Usually not for ruggedness. They are nowhere near as solid, way easier to break, and not nearly as reliable as people like to think they are, especially under pressure (I’ve had many a jam or failure to strip a round off the mag on modern bolt actions). Surplus military bolt actions are often significantly more rugged and reliable than modern hunting bolt actions, as they were designed for military usage.

      Also, what ammo is available is a function of where you are. As far as I’ve been able to tell, ammo for that gun is pretty common there.

      But the 3 position safety, I’ll cede that one to ya. They’d have been better off without that.

    • Fed24

      The Mauser 98K is very common in Norway for this role, many were left behind by the Germans as the end of WW2 and the Norwegian government re-chambered them for 30-06 before making them available to civilians.

    • AD_Rtr_OS

      What ‘harder to find ammo’?
      I guess no one should venture out into the field with a Garand then or an ’03, should they?

      • flyingburgers

        I was assuming they have the original 8 mm Mauser. You try to get that in the US, it’s all Soviet stuff. Good luck trying to find lead-free if you need that.

  • Rich Guy

    Hmm… Glock 20 like the Dutch use for polar bear protection? No safety at least.

    • 7.62 Precision

      A safety on a rifle is not a problem. (Unless it is a safety that allows the hammer to drop, like some of the new lever gun safeties.)
      Training is the big issue here. Up here, we have many organizations that take groups of kids or students into the wilderness. Many have someone designated to carry a revolver or shotgun. Most I am aware of only give that person a quick “familiarization” with the weapon, and little to no realistic training.
      Bear attacks are close and fast and scary. It takes training to deal with that kind of situation professionally.

      • Sulaco

        Have a similar problem on the west coast in CA, OR and WA. Mountain lion/couger attack increase at least in numbers as hunting rates go down. Course they are ambush hunters supreme and time from attack start vs response time is VERY low, like couple of seconds or less. Bear attacks on campers is also a factor but the number of actual attacks is very low. Still had a councilman from City of Bellevue WA attacked and badly mauled in Eastern WA in a house driveway last year. As has been said we are not top of the food chain.

      • Gallan

        Two things are harder to remember than one. Racking the slide on a empty chamber is a better safety, as it also serves to load another round in the chamber.

    • Graham2

      I’m confused, or maybe you are. Are there really polar bears in Holland?

      • Rich Guy

        Misspoke, my bad. Denmark uses them.

    • BeGe1

      Still has a manual of arms. A person completely untrained (a) couldn’t be trusted to have the weapon with one in the pipe and (b) could very well have just as much issue knowing to rack the slide as these guys had knowing to turn off the safety.

      No matter how you slice it, no weapon is usable without proper understanding the manual of arms. If there’s not safety devices, then people without said knowledge can’t be fully trusted to be carrying it, and if there are safety devices, people without said knowledge can’t be fully trusted to be able to utilize it.

      They simply made a huge error when they set out: they thought that having the gun made them safer, when really its a combination of having it and knowing how to use it that makes them safer. That applies to pretty much any gun. It doesn’t take long to teach a manual of arms…and they only did it half-way.

  • Phillip Cooper

    I love how they say the rifle was “fired” then “unfired rounds were ejected”.

    Idiots.

  • Paul Hacker

    So I guess it’s a no-no to carry handguns there, right? Like a good Ruger Redhawk .44 or .454? I mean no safeties to worry about. Oh yea, UK where everyone shits a brick if they see a gun. Figures. Yea the Norwegians are a bit more sane but I dunno of they allow handguns.

    Or that Mauser. Surely they kept it chamber empty and magazine loaded WITH SAFETY OFF, right? No? I mean chamber empty by itself will be quite safe. Or hey, a buttstock band carrier with 4 or so rounds of EXTRA ammo would have helped to.

    Well unfamiliarity with one’s defensive devices will get you killed (or someone else in this case.)

    • J

      Only rifles and shotguns are allowed for polar bear defence on Svalbard (which is the only place in Norway where any defensive gun use is allowed). Handguns are only allowed for sport shooting, and you will not be granted a purchase permit (which is required for every firearm you buy) for a handgun unless you are an active competition shooter. Some people on Svalbard do bring their magnum handguns along, but they are usually “on the way to the shooting range” or “out training” if anyone asks…

      • Cymond

        How can you be an active competition shooter without a gun? Do the rent guns?

        • EsEf

          As a norwegian sport-shooter you may have a handgun. You can bring it along to Svalbard with a written invitation to a shooting competition. See this:

          http://oldweb.sysselmannen.no/hovedEnkel.aspx?m=58146&amid=2828912

          • Cymond

            I don’t think my question was clear.
            .
            “Firearm permits for practice or competitive shooting may be issued to applicants that can document membership and activity in an association that is affiliated with an approved shooting club or organisation. […] In order to acquire a permit for a pistol or revolver the applicant must be able to document six months’ active membership.”
            .
            How can you be a member of a shooting club for 6 months if you do not own a gun? What do they shoot at the club before they buy a gun? Here in the US, owning a gun usually comes before joining a shooting club.

          • J

            All clubs that recruit new shooters have guns (typically Ruger Mk2/3, Buckmark etc.) available for rent or loan.

          • EsEf

            Ah – now I understand ;)
            You have to practice with guns owned by the clubs (or guns from other club members) until you are eligible to buy your own gun. In Norway it’s 6 month. In Germany 12 Month. In Europe the gun laws are very tight in most countries. Often, you can’t own a gun without being member of a shooting club or being a hunter (with an official accepted exam).

            You have to pass a theoretical and a practical test (laws, security rules, mechanics related to weapons and some ballistics knowledge, safe handling, etc.). Government does a thorough background check on your person which is repeated every 3 or 6 or 12 Month (dependent from laws in your home country). In Germany government controls even the storage of your guns which has to be in a safe and apart from the ammo. You have all your guns to be registered on a license card. If your’re caught driving drunk (or because of another small misdemeanor), your license can be revoked for a couple of years and your guns may be drawn-in without compensation.

  • Renegade

    I disagree with the author’s stance and here is why:

    Reading the article on The Guardian, the kid would have been dead regardless of L2’s (the Leader with the Mauser) actions. An improper warning system allowed the bear to come into the camp and start tearing into the tent and, in turn, the kid. This commotion, along with the shouts of other people, is what caused the leaders to go into action. The way the Guardian article is read, this kid was dead before L2 attempted to fire the first round.

    I know this is strictly a firearms blog. I know you are trying to concentrate on the firearms-related portion of the story. But in the title and body text of the TFB article, the kid’s death is being blamed solely on insufficient familiarity with the Mauser. While there is a strong case to be made that sufficient firearms training would have prevented further injury, it is incorrect to blame the kid’s death solely on L2’s lack of familiarity with the Mauser.

    • 7.62 Precision

      Maybe, maybe not. Bears rarely kill people quickly, though polar bears are pretty efficient. The investigation found that they could not say whether or not he would have survived had the rifle fired. There are always a lot of variables, and we can’t say what would have happened. From that statement, though, it is likely that they believe he still was alive while the leader was trying to fire.

  • Cameron

    Wait, if it was stock safety, you wouldn’t be able to look down the sights with the safety on. That was supposed to keep people from making this mistake.

    • 7.62 Precision

      That was the first thought I had, but it may not have a stock safety, and even if it did, when a polar bear is ripping people up, someone with little training is less likely to actually use the sights, or notice that they are blocked.

      In these situations, you have to be experienced enough that the use of the sights is instinctive. I shot a moose that was charged me unexpectedly without even thinking about shooting. What I thought was, “This thing is going to kill me.” What I saw was sights appearing between myself and the moose, which was 10 feet away by that point, and a muzzle flash. I never thought about shooting or using sights, it just happened. http://762precision.wordpress.com/articles/death-and-the-model-71/

      Training makes a big difference.

  • Fruitbat44

    Vis-à-vis the blog entry title: reading the report it sounds as if L2 had been able to get off a shot then it’s possible that Horatio *might* have been saved. But it also reads as if by the time L2 was trying to shoot the bear, Horatio *may* have already been dead.
    It sounds as if the Mauser was intended to be the last line of defence; after a bear watch and an alarm wire. But instead it ended up being the only line of defence. :-(

  • SD3

    “He/she”? Who the frick are these people?

  • 7.62 Precision

    People in these situations often feel that the firearms are unneeded. They make these trips over and over, maybe even have some contact with bears that turns out OK. The firearm becomes sort of a comfort and sort of a burden, but isn’t really taken seriously. As in the case of many who carry firearms for self defense, the presence of the firearm sometimes makes them feel unrealistically safe. On the other hand, many people really don’t see the need.
    I was once fishing with my kids and ran into a group of tourists. I was carrying a revolver for bear protection, and they all ridiculed me, laughing at me for carrying a pistol and calling me John Wayne, telling me how I must feel like a big man if I can carry a gun to shoot defenseless bears, just because I’m a wimp and they scare me. Besides bears don’t come around people.
    We walked away from them and crossed a feeder stream about 50 meters upriver. At the feeder stream were half-eaten salmon and bear tracks still filling with water.

    • Yellow Devil

      “What you can’t teach with virtue, you have to leave to consequence.”

  • EsEf

    It’s not understandable for me how the bear could come so close without being spotted long before he approached the camp. Svalbard is a treeless tundra. Sure – you cannot shoot a polar bear in Spitsbergen on long distance. They’re under protection. But if a bear gets as near as 20 meters you are allowed to shoot – you have to shoot.

    I’ve been to a 12 day hiking trip on Svalbard 8 years ago and had to rent a rifle (it’s the law – you must carry a rifle outside town for protection). The rifles to rent where all Mauser M98 chambered in .30-06
    I got mine from here: http://www.sportscenteret.no/V_pen/

    On bear watch I kept my rifle loaded, with safety off and chamber open. If a bear had approached, I would have been ready. I own a Mauser 98 myself and know how to operate it and we were about 20 Persons with 6 Guns (two of them big game rifles in .375, one 12/76, a Mauser .30-06 and 2 Revolvers in .454 Casull).

    We had a permanent bear watch – no flares, no trip wires. But a bear could’nt have moved closer than 400 meters to our tents without being spotted by the guard. (All we saw was fresh bear tracks – but no bears).

  • matthew_carberry

    Here in Alaska it is common to use inexpensive electric fences to surround a campsite. Won’t stop a persistent bruin but discourages casual investigation. Easy enough to add an alarm function.

    In any event, sounds like complacency and cheapness (not calling off/delaying the trip once the failed alarm system was discovered and could be replaced), failure to post a watch even though the alarm failure was known, and failure to train on the rifle.

    If I were the parents I’d soon own the company, no way any of that negligence was per policy.

  • Mike

    When the polar bear rips through the tent is kind of like the enemy is at the gates…not the time to figure out the manual of arms of a simple to use WWII bolt-action.

  • Mark Hillard

    Where was the Ruger Alasken 454, S&W 500 mag. ?Where’s the bear spray?

  • gipbmac

    SOOOOO glad I live in America… how retardedly stupid this accident was…..

  • dan citizen

    oops.

  • Lar Atwork

    People who go into the wilderness and don’t know how to use or have a firearm become part of the food chain. Yes it is that simple

  • Burst

    Polar bear article- cmd F ‘glock’
    15 results.

    Really, guys?

  • AK™

    In my house,the Remington 870 is unloaded,safety off and there are 5 shells of 3″ magnum in the tube,with 5 more 3″ magnum shells on the sidesaddle carrier. I don’t believe in using the velcro cards because I want something a little more durable.

    In the event that it’s needed,all one needs to do is shoulder it,rack it,and pull the trigger and continue to work the action,pull the trigger..until the tube is empty or the threat is done.

    My AR15 and my 9mm are loaded,with one in the chamber. Safety is on,on the AR,and my 9mm is DAO. Im the only one that carries my 9mm,and Ive put many rounds downrange,both strong and weak hand.
    My mom’s protection is her dad’s M1 carbine and her SIG P238.

    If whatever is trying to get in,gets past 10 rounds of magnum shotgun slugs, 110 rounds of 5.56, 45 rounds of .30Carbine, 6 rounds of .380ACP, 32 rounds of 9mm…then by God,we’ll give them the contents of the house.

    I had one encounter with a brown bear while I live here in Alaska, so far.
    I was grilling steaks on the back deck (it’s elevated about 6 feet off the ground,and there’s a ramp for my brothers wheelchair) and I went inside to get a new plate because the one in my hand was covered in steak juice (blood) and I wanted a clean plate for the steaks. I walk back out,immediately scream like a girl..because not more than 150 feet away (property has 10 acres) was a huge,dark,lumbering bear that decided my scream wasn’t worth the enticing smell of hot steaks.

    I sold my Rock Island Armory 1911 during the panic buy and used the money to get my 12 ga.

    What my point is,everyone in my family knows how to work all the guns in the house. I tend to go shooting more than the rest of my family (the joy of having 2 shooting pits) but everyone gets a refresher course at least once a year.
    I’d love to have my dads Marlin 1895 guide gun in .45-70 with the HSM Bear Load rounds…little bit more boom than my 12 gauge.

    • Andrew LeCody

      I recommend against leaving a round in the chamber for a semi-auto you aren’t carrying. In the event of a fire the round could cook off, cycling the weapon and causing all the rounds from the magazine to be loaded and then cooked off.

      That’s why only my daily carry pistol has a round in the chamber.

      • BeGe1

        That’s a valid point, at least for the 1 round. I really have my doubts that at the temperatures that would cook off a round the gun would cycle reliably (or at all) and I also have doubts that the cooking of the rounds would happen in the precise order needed to do what you describe (the ones in the mag are going to be subject to the same temps as the one in the chamber). I think a whole lot of things would have to go just right (or wrong) for the scenario you describe of it actually emptying a mag, cooking them one at a time. But the 1 in the chamber going off and actually being dangerous since it’s in a chamber is a good point.

        However, that’s only 1 side of the story. As someone that has been on the receiving end of an attempted home invasion, I can tell you that when in your home in the dark trying to not to make noise on pain of being killed by a home invader that moments ago was breaking in your door, having no round in the chamber of your weapon seems, in those moments, like the worst decision of your entire life.

        • Andrew LeCody

          I agree that it’s unlikely all the rounds would fire off. You made some good points, I think tonight I’ll revisit my defense plans.

  • ThomasD

    A tragic, and largely preventable series of events.

    But I don’t think it is at all clear that the boy died because the adult mishandled the weapon. It is quite possible the boy was effectively dead when the bear first pulled him from the tent – particularly if the bear pulled him out by his head, or that he was lost before the first shot was even attempted. Given the brief nature of the encounter such a truth may never be known.

    To be certain though, both adults were mauled due to a failure to properly fire the rifle.

    I’d also like to point out the report’s “he grabbed the rifle and fired four or five times” phrase. He may have pulled the trigger, but in no way to he manage to fire the rifle, a distinction apparently lost on the firearms ignorant writer.

  • SNNNN

    Not to beat this topic to death but….having shot various 98k versions sense
    I could pick up a rifle I can see how this might happen. If the user has modest
    familiarity, shoots rarely and uses the safety very little, or the person thinks
    having the safety like this is some advantage (you can never tell how folks
    may think).

    I DO think this is relevant to TFB for this reason…KNOW YOUR FIREARM !

  • Arch Stanton

    One never knows how you will react until you are under great pressure. Evan well seasoned hunters have done this very same thing.

  • TyroneAlfonso

    Title should “Expedition Leader Gets Teen Killed”.

    The fault lies with the expedition science leader… the bear was just being a bear.

  • MartinWoodhead

    The expedition had messed up not having enough flares or trip wires,total incompetance as niether bit of kit is expensive or difficult to aquire before you set off.
    The mausers can be hired from the norwegian goverment for a small fee its meant to be a last resort they get a sad on if you end up killing a bear as generally that means you messed up big time.

  • Billca

    The gun prohibitionists have blood on their hands with this lad’s death.
    By demonizing and banning most guns in the UK, they have effectively made people ignorant of firearms usage. There are no “experts” in the use of weapons this old or civilian hunting rifles anymore.

  • Jamie Clemons

    Use the Mosin Nagant nobody ever uses the safety on it because its too hard to operate.

  • maodeedee

    Safeties are not what makes you safe. In fact they make you less safe. That’s why I like Glocks and dislike any striker-fired pistol with an added safety.
    Winchester and Marlin lever actions are two more examplse of guns that could have caused a tragedy like this one.
    What makes a gun safe is keeping your finger off the trigger until the moment you’re ready to fire an dnever pointing a gun in an unsafe direction. The human brain is the best safety but it must be fully engaged at all times. This boy should have been given more training.

  • AD_Rtr_OS

    Eew….firearms are scary!
    Next time someone gets their knickers knotted over having to handle firearms, just show them the pictures of what this bear was allowed to do due to shear incompetency.

  • jcitizen

    Idiots!