Keep the Muzzle Pointed in a Safe Direction (Part 2)

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin

As it turns out, there is one more story to tell, and this one didn’t have a happy ending.

A boy about the age of 10 years went hunting with his father and took a double barrel 12 gauge as they normally did. On this day, if I remember the story correctly, they were walking the fence row for rabbits and come to a spot they could cross. The father leaned the firearm up against the fence as they both crossed. Because of the boy’s eagerness, he was the first through the fence and had walked a few steps ahead. Back in this time frame, double barreled shotguns had exposed hammers and one of those hammers just happened to snag a wire as it passed over. As the gun was pulled, the hammer slipped off the wire and came down on a loaded chamber causing it to fire. At point blank distance, the shot was one solid mass moving out of the barrel and went into the father’s side, killing him.

The gentleman’s name was James M. Durrill and he passed away on November 12, 1905 at the age of 52. He was my Great Great Grandfather, Grandfather to my late Grandmother, Ruby (Durrill) Mahin. This story was told to me by my Great Uncle, Kenneth Durrill, so I thought it fitting to add it here. The shotgun has had several lifetimes of use and as far as I know, they still have it as a family heirloom.

Till next time, tell the ones you love the most that you do while you can.


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2 Responses to Keep the Muzzle Pointed in a Safe Direction (Part 2)

  1. I’m working on a court case of an organization which refuses to comply with safety rules both police and the Army which controls the range. Having been on the technical which was to have enforcement powers the organization then turned on the Technical committee and got rid of 3 of the 4 members so that range violation could continue unabated. In preparation for the case I have recorded some 22 accidents on ranges which include death of a 14yr girl and Chief Butts officer being shot in the head, this organization is a national body and doesn’t teach any safety or small arms firing schooling as is available in the US. After reviewing US and international accidents it becomes obvious that incidents and accidents are not being made known to the shooting community. An old saying tells it all, its cheaper to learn from someone else’s mistake than to have the mistake your self. Seeing an unsafe situation and saying nothing, makes you a party to the accident when it occurs.


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