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View Full Version : A new 870 Express and Federal Special Purpose shotshells; 870 carrier interferes with


Jeff, CA
January 11, 2001, 09:16 PM
That's "interferes with unloading".


A newbie buddy and I tried his new 870 Express on our local informal trap range this past weekend. I brought along some PMC Quail & Dove; he had a 100-pack of Federal "Special Purpose" (2 3/4", 1 1/4 oz. of #7 1/2, 3 dram, I think - hardly "special"). The PMC worked fine in his gun and mine, but with the Federal, on at least half the shots, his gun would seize up just as the bolt unlocked, and had to be butt-stroked to get the empty out.

The fact that the gun worked fine with PMC led me to think his ammo was probably the problem. Has anyone heard of Federal "Special Purpose"? Is this the code name for "cheap crap"? He said it was priced about the same as the PMC, about $4 per 25.

On the same gun, when unloading manually (pushing shell stop aside to let each round out of the magazine), the carrier seemed to stick down too far, and it was preventing the round from popping out. It took several thumb-busting tries to get each round to clear the carrier. Will this get better with use, or should it be easier even when it's brand new?

K80Geoff
January 11, 2001, 09:57 PM
The Federal shells use quality components in a cheap hull. The box states that the shells have limited reloading capability. It is possible that the shells expanded in the chamber after firing and this caused the problem. The PMC hulls are of higher quality.

I have used thousands of these Federal cheapies in my O/U and never had a problem. But I have had other brands of "economy" shells swell up after firing and cause difficulty in extraction.

About the carrier problem I have no clue, maybe Dave can help?


Geoff Ross

Dave McC
January 12, 2001, 09:27 AM
I went downstairs and rummmaged through the ammo cache until I located the 100 pack of Fed stuff I bought last summer on sale. It's called MULTI-purpose, and it's 3 dram, 1 1/8 oz, 7 1/2 shot and the package has a thing about limited reloadability. Sound like the stuff?

I shot some of this on a dove foray w/o a glitch through my bird 870, and may have used some on a demo session in one of the others. Sorry, I tend to grab cheap and handy ammo for blasting chores w/o paying much attention. I recall no glitches then either.

Here's my opinion on this incident,Jeff. New 870s tend to be harder to unload through the loading port than older ones, and I THINK it's a breakin thing.However, it's not that hard at its hardest for me.My gut feeling here is that a little breakin period is all that's needed, and maybe an ammo change, possibly of a temporary nature. If the problem is still there after say 200 more rounds, find the closest Remington Warranty center and let them fix it.

Be sure to press both shell stop detents, there's one on each side.Check the carrier where it hooks into the trigger group and see if there's either dirt or a machining burr limiting the arc of its travel.A squirt of CLP here too isn;t a bad idea.

And, try lubing the action bars just north of the receiver with a drop or two of CLP. For reasons that defy my ken, this seems to aid feeding whatever the problem.Also, dismount the bolt, clean and lube the inside of the receiver and the bolt parts, and check the ejector for a broken corner on the front.

And while you said the PMC worked fine in both your shotguns, did you try the Fed stuff in yours?

On rare occasions, shotguns and ammo have incompatability problems. The cure,different ammo.

Hope this helps...

Jeff, CA
January 12, 2001, 10:31 AM
Dave, multi-purpose sounds right. We did try some in my gun, but just a few, maybe a dozen. No problems.

I've never owned an 870 - I assume the usual trigger-group-drop takedown is all that's necessary to do what you suggest?

Intel6
January 12, 2001, 10:40 AM
I have shot lots of these through my 870, 1100, and my 11-87 Police without any problems? Not sure what the problem is, make sure the chamber is clean and check for roughness?

Dave McC
January 12, 2001, 02:44 PM
Jeff, just a little more will do everything I covered, here's the technique....

Remove the bbl as usual, then press on those shell stops and pull the forearm forward. As the bolt leaves the receiver, note position on the action bars. Drive out the two pins and drop the trigger group. You're done.

Check the ejector with your finger, the front corner should be smooth with just a touch of rounding. Clean, lube and reassemble. It can be frustrating to get the bolt back in at first, but it gets easier with a little practice.

I know you were loading the mag,since you had to unload it. Were there any problems getting the shells in? And, if you loaded from the mag into an empty chamber, were there any glitches then?

Hope this helps...

Jeff, CA
January 12, 2001, 06:01 PM
Dave, yes, it was difficult getting the rounds into the magazine. There seemed to be a lot of resistance, plus it was hard to hear and feel the shell stop click into place. Chambering from the magazine worked fine.

Dave McC
January 13, 2001, 10:45 AM
There may be a couple of problems, tho why it only happens with one brand is a mystery to me. A combination of a strong mag spring and a weaker shell stop spring could be a contributing factor here. And, try emptying the mag of all parts and seeing if there's anything in there that may be hanging up the mag spring and causing more pressure than usual. Again, more use may clear this up.

old hawk
January 13, 2001, 01:21 PM
yep i think i know what it is,if its a black matte express mag like mine what ya gotta do is break it down and clean all the black matte crap out of the mag tube and barrel and chamber.had same prob but with rem dove and qauil loads.after i did that it worked fine for me.also the crap gets in the mag tube as well hence the loading probs.i used auto quik start ether spray outside ran a series of scrubs and patches then came in and dosed out on it with scrubs and hoppes #9 solvent and more patches.good luck........

Jeff, CA
January 13, 2001, 03:29 PM
Actually, the difficult loading & unloading happened with both brands. The hard extraction was only with the Federal.

I'll try all the above suggestions. The only problem is, I can't go to his house. His wife thinks I'm a bad influence, making him buy guns. :D

Sling Shot
January 13, 2001, 06:29 PM
Jeff, I bought my son a 870 express magnum for Christmas, and a case of Federal just like you described. We just got to shoot it today, and we did not have any problems with the ammo or the gun except with three shells that were hard to extract for some reason or another. We just used firm pressure on the forend, and pulled back hard, and the three shells ejected. I inspected the hard to extract cases, and I did not find any flattened primers or swollen brass. The other 97 shells worked flawlessly. I would not hesitate to buy it again. I am sorry I can not help you with your problems. Good luck. Sling Shot

Dave McC
January 14, 2001, 07:06 AM
My memory is getting fuzzy,but something did come back to me finally about the newer matte finish Expresses.

My use of these is limited to the 20 ga I picked up for the kids. First box or two of ammo, I noted that it would be harder to shuck sometimes, and as usual, I applied a few drops of CLP to the action bars and proceeded. Since I still have forearms like my blacksmith ancestors, there wasn't any problem round I couldn't cycle. After a deep cleaning and a few sessions in front of the TV pumping it, it's worked in smooth. Never did have trouble with extraction, ejection or feeding but it took longer than a smooth finish 870 to break in.