ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY THE FIRST STEP
The first step in the safe handling of any firearmis to know how to CLEAR it.The Howa rifle is considered CLEAR whenthere is no ammunition in the chamber or in themagazine, the bolt is open and the safety is "on".
To clear the rifle:
Point the muzzle in a safe direction. lift the bolthandle and pull the bolt fully to the rear. This shouldeject any cartridge that may be present in thechamber, but LOOK in the chamber anyway to besure it is empty. The magazine also is now exposed.If it con-tains any cartridges, remove them (seepage 17). Leave the bolt open and put the safety"on".Always clear your rifle before handing it toanother person. If someone hands a firearm to you,person-ally determine whether it is clear before anyfurther handling.Never assume any firearm to be unloaded, anddon't accept anyone's assurance. LOOK inside ityour-self. When entering or leaving a range orhunting area, or when showing the rifle to others,make sure the bolt is open, the safety is "on", andall ammunition has been removed. That way otherscan see, without need to operate its mechanism,that the rifle is clear.
THESE WARNINGS ARE IMPORTANT
Firearms, by their nature and intended function,are lethal weapons. By understanding the dangersinherent in the use of any firearm, and by takingproper precautions, you can enjoy complete safetyin the use of your firearm. Failure to heed any ofthese warnings may result in accidental death orserious injury to you or others, as well as severedamage to the firearm or other property.
NOT JUST FOR BEGINNERS
Even if you are familiar with other firearms,don't assume there is no need to study this manual.Accidents happen to experienced shooters aswell as beginners. Most of them could have beenavoided if the shooter had read and followed theinstructions and observed the basic rules of gunsafety.
IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
Having a firearm in your possession is likebeing the captain of a ship: it's a seriousresponsibility, and yours alone. It's up to you toKNOW how to keep and use your firearm safely,and up to you to always TAKE the necessaryprecautions - all of them. If you fail to do so, andsomeone gets hurt, the blame rests on you.