As I’ve seen this particular rule come to the fore in a few different matches lately, I’ll be highlighting it as my first Rule of the Week post.
From pages 17-18 of version 24.2 of the SASS Shooter’s Handbook (emphasis mine):
Long guns will be emptied and discarded with their barrels pointed safely downrange. This condition may be corrected on the clock, prior to the next round being fired. If the long gun is not discarded empty prior to the next firearm being fired, only the shooter may return to open and/or clear the firearm at the end of the stage under the observation of the CRO/TO. Should an empty casing/hull be ejected or found in the action or chamber, or a live round on the carrier of an open action, a Minor Safety Violation (MSV) will be assessed. However, if the action is opened, and a live/unfired round is ejected, a Stage DQ (SDQ) will be assessed for a long gun with a “live round under a cocked hammer having left the shooter’s hands”. In this case, there is no opportunity to correct this condition before firing the next firearm, as the penalty takes effect upon leaving the shooter’s hands.
–If the long gun is the last firearm used, it must be cleared prior to it leaving the shooters hand(s) at the unloading area.
–This does not apply to firearms shot out of sequence, made safe, and then restaged.Shooters Handbook Vers 24_2 MASTER (sassnet.com)
A recent example: A shooter fires nine shots from their rifle and sets the firearm down, barrels pointing down range, action open, but with a live round on the carrier. In this case, the shooter may return to the rifle before the next round is fired, engage the final target, then proceed with the stage and this would be a No Call. If, however, the shooter proceeded to fire their next gun (or were to place the rifle on the reloading table prior to clearing it if it were their last firearm used), then the shooter would be assessed a Minor Safety Violation.
A quick reference to this rule can also be found on the RO Pocket Card as the first item listed. The RO Pocket Card can be found as Section 8 of the Shooter’s Handbook.