Minnesota Hunter Safety Course


Rifle and Shotgun Actions

Since there are many firearm styles available for sale, your choices can be overwhelming. To help you find the right firearm to suit your needs, let's review the most common firearm actions available and how each operates. Take note, however, that you must always read the owner's manual of any firearm you buy for a detailed explanation on how to operate it safely.

Bolt Action

This firearm has a reputation for high accuracy. It is the strongest action. It is operated by moving the bolt handle up and to the rear to open the action. When the bolt is moved forward, it picks up a fresh cartridge. With the bolt fully forward, push down on it to lock the bolt in place. Engage the safety and you are ready to hunt. Grasp the bolt handle after firing, lifting it up while pulling it towards you. This will eject the spent cartridge from the chamber.

Unloading and Inspection

To unload the bolt action, point the muzzle in a safe direction and pull the bolt back until the cartridge comes out and push the bolt forward again. Do this until no more cartridges come out of the chamber, then leave the action open. Inspect the chamber both with your eyes and with your fingers to ensure there is no cartridge in the chamber. Say the word "empty" when you are convinced the firearm is unloaded.

Safety first! When loading any firearm, always engage the safety and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. To check if your firearm is unloaded, do so only by looking into the chamber.