Cartridge Box Blues in 2010?

by Mike Kendra on January 18, 2010

Looking out the window, I can’t help but think that it’s too darn cold out for skirmishing in my neck of the city…

However, amongst my many weekly chores and my preparations toward the upcoming season, I’ve come across a note I left for myself from last season.

I don’t know if you noticed any difference on the line, particularly at the Fort last year, but there seemed to be a new round of enforcement of what I call the “keep your toes behind the line” rule. It seems some individuals and entire teams needed a refresher course on where the firing line is located, and that when a shooter stands “on-the-line” that individual should actually keep his or her feet behind it.

Now I know that rules are rules, and breaking bad habits is important.

One rumor I heard floated for 2010 is that there may be a crackdown on open cartridge boxes this year. Specifically, I heard that all cartridge boxes must be kept closed and secured until the command “load and come to the ready” is given. I guess that means that someone had an issue during snap caps? I wonder if this is more about general safety than rules enforcement?

I also wonder if this is in response to many of those shooters who I’ve seen tuck their upper cartridge box flap under a belt for quicker/easier access to ammo (note open cap box in photo above!)…. or maybe someone just has too much time on their hands….

I don’t want to be spreading unsubstantiated rumors around, so perhaps at some point I’ll get clarification by someone in the National food chain. (wow, I just used a $7 word!)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

jfb2md January 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm

I had to dig but I found the answer to your question in the Skirmish Rules.
17.6 Cartridges
a. ——— On the line at least one flap of the cartridge box must cover the cartridges at all times except when a skirmisher is actually reaching into the box or looking into the box to examine ammunition.
17.7 Percussion Caps and Primers
b. Caps shall be carried only in regulation cap boxes and at no time shall the caps be exposed by either allowing the box to remain open while fining or by use of non-regulation cap holders.
So this would be a rules enforcement of a rule that was put into effect for safety reasons. I have many times had a minie ball pop out when I grabbed it spilling black powder into my cartridge box. With carbines, many of the cartridges have only tissue paper covering the hole in the cartridges and Sharps paper cartridges. The last thing we need is an explosion of a cartridge box on the firing line.
I am not someone in the National food chain, just someone who has been skirmishing since 1971

R.K. Hanson January 18, 2010 at 1:42 pm

How many times do you go to the line and see individuals taking loads out of their cartridge boxes while people are still snapping caps? The command for order arms and come to the ready not yet given ? I believe this to be a safety issue. And yes I do say something to the shooter if I notice this whether on another team or my own. I’ve seen it happen both ways (most recently at the Snowball).

Tom Magno January 20, 2010 at 9:11 am

Taking a cartridge out of your cartridge box while others are still snapping caps is no more a safety hazard than pulling out the next round to load during a course of fire – your partner on either side of you may be firing the instant you open your box to grab the next round. As long as you have one flap over both the cartridge box and your cap box, you are complying with the rules.

Keith Davis January 20, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Tom, you are exactly right. This rumor, if true, is an over-reaction to a non-problem. If holding a round in your hands while someone is firing a cap is such a safety issue, then we would be outlawing rapid fire events.

Phil Spaugy January 22, 2010 at 10:33 am

Its a non issue. I would rather see our energies put into having our safety officers correctly do their jobs, instead of standing in place watching targets break.

A good, knowledgeable safety officer is the first line of defense on the firing line, and can have a major impact on the eduction of our members as to the correct handling of firearms in our matches.

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