Cartridge misfires are a very rare occurrence these days with the superior technology, primers, propellants and materials we now have readily on the market.
The primary cause of cartridge misfires is in instances where the primer ignites the propellant charge several seconds after the firing pin has struck it. This is what is termed a ‘hang fire’ it is usually caused when the primer is damp and the shells have not been stored indoors a dry storage container. Leaving them in a damp bag from last season hanging in the garage, or worse in the back of your truck or Land Rover is asking for trouble; it is also unsafe and illegal in some countries.
or worse detonates during the ejection of the cartridge
The real dangers when game bird shooting is lowering the shotgun from its mounted position and inspecting your shotgun whereby the cartridge then goes off injuring one of your companions or worse detonates during the ejection of the cartridge the vibration setting off the charge, in which case it can ignite very close to your face and injure you terribly.
This is very rare thank goodness, but is a significant risk if you had to deal with a cartridge misfire. Misfires need to be dealt with utmost respect as you don’t want to ruin your day.
Fortunately dealing with a cartridge misfire is very easy:
The procedure is simple, wait for at least 30 seconds counting 1-30 slowly whilst the gun remains mounted in your shoulder and pointing away skywards and from everyone in a safe direction before removing the cartridge.
Once you have done this put the cartridge on the ground in front of you. You can now load your shotgun with a fresh cartridge and get back to enjoying the drive and getting your shots in. When the drive is over, keep the faulty cartridge apart from your empty shells for safe disposal. Do not put it into your loading bag or pocket for obvious reasons! Inform the shoot Captain and ask where it is to be disposed.