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9950085

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Feb 23 10 11:22 PM

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Targetzone recently cited the icarly show for "questionable" safety practices (understatement) with paintball blowguns.
Smp showed us the hazards of letting somebody shoot things out of one's hand with a blowgun dart.
Sphingid mentioned the hazards of using one's finger/thumb as a "muzzle valve"...
I thought it might not be a bad thing to have a dedicated "safety tips" thread, which might be useful for blowgunners of all experience levels, and especially to those just entering the sport...

I'll throw out a few other thoughts just to help get things started.  
1.  Do not walk or run or do gymnastics while holding a blowgun to your mouth.  This seems to be something else that the icarly show is doing with blowguns, that's really not advisable.  If you trip or slip and the blowgun muzzle hits the floor/ground, or if you "walk into" something like a wall with the muzzle, the mouthpiece is going to get pushed very hard against or even into your mouth.  Let's not find out if it's possible to knock teeth out this way, or to find out just why the "soft palate" is called the SOFT palate...

2.  Remember those warning signs on aluminum ladders, that caution against carrying the ladder in a way that could cause it to come in contact with an overhead electrical power-line?  Remember that a blowgun (even a wooden or fiberglass one) can be an electrical conductor too, so never carry it in a way that would cause it to come in contact with an overhead power supply line.  Remember that moisture collected inside a blowgun may enhance its conductivity.

3.  Wear eye protection when shooting.  Strong plastic shooting glasses are easy to find and don't cost that much.  Blowgun darts usually don't bounce off of a properly made target.  HOWEVER, every once in a blue moon, they do. Later I'll explain in more detail a couple of situations where I've had a wire target dart bounce back towards me off a target I would have thought was bounce-proof.  For now, though, trust me, it's possible.  

4.  Never expect a tree or a bush to stop a blowgun dart (or an arrow, or slingshot pellet, or bullet).  Even though all the leaves on the tree make it look like a "solid mass", there are plenty of spaces between twigs and branches for a dart to go zipping through and hit something past the far side of the tree, something that you didn't see because of the tree.  When I was a teenager I had my target bow "grounded" because I thought a tree would stop a target arrow---but what really happened is that the arrow went on "through" (between) the tree branches, and continued through a chain link fence, and ended up in a neighboring yard...luckily hitting only the ground.  You must always have a REAL backstop behind any target you shoot at.  The dart doesn't know it's "supposed" to be stopped by something like a tree or fence that has gaps in it.

5.  NEVER shoot a dart high into the air with no idea of where it's going to land.  Whatever goes up, must come down.  With bullets, arrows, slingshot pellets, and blowgun darts, the speed coming down is usually somewhat slower than the speed going up, but even so there IS still enough speed to cause damage, injury, and worse.  Never imitate those TV "cops" who dramatically fire a handgun into the air several times to draw the attention of a crowd.  In real life, those bullets would be all too likely to punch through the top of someone's skull as the bullets fell back to earth.   If you want to try shooting for distance with a blowgun (flight shooting) then you must locate a shooting range or other location with plenty of open space that is secure from persons wandering into the range unannounced.  I would suggest consulting flight shooting experts (maybe archers) to get very detailed advice on how to proceed safely.

Well, that's all I have energy for right now....
Any other safety tips anyone's got to share?
Or any snappy re-wordings that would make them more fun to learn, and easier to remember?

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#2 [url]

Feb 24 10 1:58 AM

I think a safety tip is a thing that is plugged into blowgun muzzle to prevent the tube from discharge. A finger tip is a good one. Just kidding :-) Yes, snappy words are very good idea. They ease the remembering.

If you say that it isn't a signature, you are terribly wrong (There are 42 characters remaining. I'm thinking more...)

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#3 [url]

Feb 24 10 4:17 PM

I totally like the safety tips. Ive always put safety first when it comes to shooting. i follow all the safety tips above except wearing safety eye protection. Darts do have a tendency to bounce back at you, that is why i always shoot at an angle when there is a solid back-stop in front of me.
Oh and the mouth piece, i dont have one. so it could do some serious hurt if im not careful. Thanks for the tips.grin

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smp

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#5 [url]

Feb 24 10 10:37 PM

good idea for a topic. glad to see i got a mention although not something to be proud of loll. i discovered first hand why the  soft palate is called soft. my blowgun doesnt have a mouthepeice either. and yes it did hurt.   and also with number 5, iv tried shooting a dart nearly straight up. i didnt realise how windy  it was and my dart ened up about 15 metres away from where it should of landed. definetly could be dangerous.

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9950085

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#7 [url]

Feb 25 10 10:49 PM

Ron, thanks for the IFA links,
Josephlys, there must be something rather good about shooting without a mouthpiece, because Sphingid and Crossliner also feel no need for a mouthpiece, and I believe Fukiyaman and a lot of Fukiyado shooters use a very minimal mouthpiece only... do you (or any of the others) have any "How-to" tips on how to shoot strongly without a mouthpiece?
Username, your "safety" tip on (literal) "safety tips" is the funniest so far... and a muzzle plug (though preferably not supplied by a finger...LOL) could be a useful accessory/safety measure
Billy, with your firearms/airguns experience you could probably adapt safety rules and tips for blowgunning in your sleep... ;0)
smp, you are like a blowgunning stunt double! hee hee... just kidding... i appreciate your honesty... i think everybody here has done at least one thing they wish they hadn't, but are glad to have lived to tell about it.  Experience is the best teacher, some say, and we all learn from each other's experiences too.  The wierdest thing I've ever survived was not with a blowgun, but during a ceramics class I took one summer back in my college days.  I was using a potter wheel with a great big concrete "kick wheel" attached below (there was a vertical axle connecting the two wheels).  Instead of using an electric motor, you had to kick the kick wheel with your foot and get it spinning, which would also spin the potter wheel which was set on the axle at about waist level when you were seated.  You had to kick from time to time to keep the wheel spinning fast enough so you could work with the clay on the pottery wheel.  Anyway, one day I accidently let my foot slip down off the footrest and onto the spinning kick wheel.  The wheel, which must have outweighed me by quite a lot, "grabbed" the bottom of my foot and in the blink of an eye it pulled me down off my seat and onto a seated position on top of the kick wheel itself, spinning around slowly with my head just below the bottom of the pottery wheel.  A girl in the class happened to see this happen, and her jaw hit the floor as she watched me slowly spin to a halt.  I wasn't hurt at all, very luckily.  For the first and only time in my life I was like a (completely accidental and extremely lucky) Jackie Chan stunt.
Crossliner, thanks for the dialect lesson... hee hee, (and for the A ok sentiment itself)... I've been meaning to ask about that "Ngee" that you use from time to time too.  Good evening to you too.

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#8 [url]

Feb 26 10 2:52 AM

Hola my friend. Ngee means like WT? in your LANGUAGE. Yes I don't use a mouthpiece as it impedes w/ my consistency and reduces my power...I use my tongue not only for pleasuring  the pleasure seeker hehe but to seal the tube like a valve ( V_LVA ohh hehe) and retract it when my cheeks and lungs are rotund w/ air. Good evening.

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#9 [url]

Feb 26 10 8:14 AM

Yeah c50, most of the firearms safety rules apply.  However, I'm not going to attempt to do this in my sleep, but here goes:   There are 10 basic safety rules publishd by the NRA, but the ones about keeping your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot (unless you are Pime with a blowing machine), wearing proper hearing protection and making sure that you the proper caliber or gauge of ammo don't really apply here.  You are probably in no danger of damaging your blowgun, your surroundings or yourself if you accidentally slip a .40 dart into a .50 blowgun.  However, the rest of them do apply quite nicely to this sport as well... 

Always keep your blowgun pointed in safe direction.  Know what a safe direction is depending on your surroundings.

Don't load it until ready to shoot.

Make sure you have a safe backstop, and know what lies beyond it in case you miss or shoot through.

Wear proper eye protection.

Don't use your blowgun if you under the influence of alcohol, or any drug or medicine that could impair your judgment.  This includes many over-the-counter medicines too.

Know and obey all range commands if shooting in a controlled environment such as a shooting match or a public range.

Be aware of any other specific rules or regulations that the shooting facility may have.


It's all pretty much common sense, but it's very useful to review stuff like this from time to time.  Be careful guys!  The FAA's motto to pilots, printed on the front of my private pilot's license, says "Safety is no accident". 

Billy

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neondog

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#10 [url]

Feb 26 10 5:11 PM

I don't recall seeing anything about shooting through a "blind intersection." Anybody shooting paper darts in a windy region or shooting indoors for other weather related reasons might resort to using a hallway as a range in order to maximize the possible distance to the target.

Unless there are no doorways or blind corners down range, it is extremely important to take what ever measures needed to insure that no one can suddenly and unexpectedly step into your line of fire. Telling other inhabitants that you will be shooting is not sufficient!

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#11 [url]

Feb 26 10 11:15 PM

Neondog-- 
Excellent point, and one I don't recall seeing anything about before either.  Even if one tells the "other inhabitants", they're probably prone to forgetfulness... and anyway, it should be assumed that they WILL forget.  

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#13 [url]

Feb 28 10 8:02 AM

heheh... i have some of this "hallway" problem here... i am thinking about  puting a "gyrolight" (like police cars) at the hallway... more then once the "identify friend-or-foe brain automatic dispositive" saved milady from getting another ear piercing :D
i must do something else i´ll have my precious bgs thrown window down...

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neondog

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#14 [url]

Feb 28 10 2:38 PM

If you have only one person to worry about as I do, know where they are. If possible, position a target on each end of the shooting lane so you can always be on the same end they are on and monitor their activities while you shoot.

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#15 [url]

Apr 21 10 7:29 PM

All i got to say about safety is, do not ever ever EVER suck your dart into your blowgun. Im suprised i still have all my teeth. ive made the stupid mistake so many times. Its instant relief from feeling smart.

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#16 [url]

Apr 22 10 10:26 PM

loll iv sucked my dart up if the cone is a lil too small and its slid down the barrel a little bit. but thats only if im actually hunting and trying to avoid swinging my blowgun around

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#17 [url]

May 2 10 6:36 PM

Another blowgun safety tip:  

Keep in mind that a typical wire target dart could easily pierce the tough insulation covering around electrical wiring such as "Romex".  

This type of electrical wiring may be run within walls, behind drywall for instance, or in some cases may even be found run on the outside of a building, sometimes held in place by staples.  If a metallic dart shaft/tip pierces the cable insulation and makes contact with the metal conductor inside, then the dart could become "energized".  

If you touch an "energized" dart, you may get a severe shock--possibly strong enough to stop your heart.  Also, remember that any cable that has been pierced in such a way will need to be repaired or replaced.  

Keep in mind that when wiring is stapled or clamped to an exterior wall, people often paint over it so that it blends in.  Maybe even worse, if you're shooting inside and a dart appears to have completely penetrated a layer of drywall, it's impossible to see if it may have also pierced an electrical cable within the wall.  

Of course, it's best not to shoot at buildings and walls.  But sometimes--hopefully rarely-- a dart may unintentionally arrive at such destinations.  So be sure to take care when retrieving darts.  

This is probably a statistically rare occurence I'm describing.  But I'd been thinking about it off and on for awhile, and recently saw an article about airguns in which the writer was talking about a certain fairly low-powered pellet rifle still having enough power to penetrate electrical wiring insulation.  So it probably does happen from time to time.

There's an old saying:  "Electricity wants the ground, not you..."
However, always remember that "if it can't get ground, it'll take what it can get".  Kind of like that song Mick Jagger sings...

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#20 [url]

May 10 10 6:59 PM

Another tip:

DON'T SHOOT AT "THINGS THAT BOUNCE"

Such as:  basket balls, soccer balls, red rubber playground balls, volley balls, beach balls, high-energy bounce balls, etc etc.

The reason I know that shooting at "high energy" targets is asking for trouble is because of something stupid I did back during my high school years.  I was shooting a fairly weak target bow... it only had a 20 or 25 pound draw weight.  Even so, the cedar target arrows I was shooting must have weighed at least 250 - 300 grains or more, and they could punch right through both sides of a steel bucket.  So I figured that I'd have no trouble shooting one of my arrows right through one of those cheap plastic playballs that you used to see in a big "cage" in grocery stores... you could buy them for a dollar or two.  Well, I got a surprise.  I was shooting from about 20 yards away and my aim happened to be good.... the arrow nailed the ball squarely and then--- here's where things got surprising--- the arrow bounced off the ball, flipped a few times as it headed back through the air towards me, and landed almost at my feet.  I'm not sure if I would have reacted and dodged if it it had travelled a little higher and farther.  It's not that it was moving that fast, just that I wasn't expecting it.  But if I'd been standing 5 yards away instead of 20, the whole thing really would have seemed to happen very fast.

Also, I have to confess:  the ball really belonged to my younger brother, so I really didn't have any business shooting at it in the first place.  However, the ball itself seemed to suffer no permanent damage at all, and I never mentioned this particular piece of tomfoolery to anybody until now.

So again, never ever shoot at anything like a ball that's designed to bounce energetically and that could cause a dart, arrow, pellet, etc, to bounce back at you way too energetically.  Also remember that a ball could bounce a dart a lot of other directions besides back at you, so it could also injure or scare somebody else.

--c50

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