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Old September 23, 2009, 06:07 PM   #1
colostomyclown
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Your personal method of breaking in a pump shotgun

There hasn't really been a thread about this for awhile. Describe your method of fully breaking in a pump shotgun. I'll chime in after a few replies.
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Old September 23, 2009, 06:17 PM   #2
shark71
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I didn't know shotguns needed to be broken in. All I did with my new shotgun was wipe off any excess lube, then commenced shooting.

Breaking in a rifle, I know about. But a shotgun?

This is a good time for me to see this thread, I guess.
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Old September 23, 2009, 06:52 PM   #3
inSight-NEO
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This is how I "broke in" my pump shotgun:

A. I completely disassembled it (within reason), cleaned it and lubed it after taking it out of the box for the first time.

B. I took it to a local range and shot it. Again, and again, and again....Roughly 30 rounds or so.

C. Brought it home and proceeded with point "A" once more.

D. Took it out a few week later and implemented point "B" yet again.

Add, rinse, repeat.

Im not sure if this is the "proper" way, but from what I gather, unless we are dealing with a high-end rifle (essentially, weapons intended to remain accurate over vast distances) or something of that nature, no real "break-in" period is truly necessary (including modern handguns).

To be a bit more precise, I once spoke to various manufacturers about this very topic (Sig, Benelli, Mossberg, Springfield Armory, etc.) and not one of them mentioned any real necessary "break-in" methodology as pertaining to their guns. The closest was a Benelli rep who said that after roughly 25-30 rounds of ammo I could consider the "break-in" period over. Even then, it was mentioned that this "break-in" period was not really all that necessary.

Now, Ive heard various accounts (particularly concerning handguns...rifles notwithstanding) of those prefer methods similar to the following: shoot 10 rounds, clean, shoot 20 rounds, clean, shoot 40 to 50, then clean again, ad nauseum. Meh....I just do not think this is necessary. Upon first shooting any of my current weapons (roughly 100 rounds for handguns and 25 rounds for shotguns) I simply deep cleaned the weapon...paying particular attention to the bore. Then, I did it again for the next outing or two. After that, basic maintenance took over and "deep cleaning" then only happened (and still does) once or twice a year. This, of course, is all depending on how often the weapon is fired and what is fired through it.

In essence, the "break-in" period simply involves keeping the weapon clean and shooting it...over and over. The only caveat being that I tend to avoid using the "hotter" loads until I have broken the 100+ round barrier. Im not sure this is even necessary for the most part. But, I tend to do this as "lighter" loads help me become more acquainted with the weapon and its various nuances.
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Last edited by inSight-NEO; September 23, 2009 at 07:13 PM.
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Old September 23, 2009, 07:05 PM   #4
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I agree with Insight to a point. But I'm talking about an adequate period procedure for an HD gun or gun you really have no interest in using outside of a time when you should need it. Personally, it isn't a whole lot of fun for me to take out a 500 dollar HD shotgun like my 590a1 with extension or a Sig Sauer pistol and beat it up, beyond the prescribed break in/evaluation period. I have my Mosin Nagant, my 22's and my single shot New England firearms shotguns and soon a simple blued 500 for wanton shooting/hillbilly skeet.

Here's a method I'm starting to like. I'd like you guys to chime in and let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts here.

Let's say we have a new simple, 18.5" Mossberg 500 persuader. I will NOT clean the cosmoline and bore out before shooting. I'll do this because I believe the added gunk inside the receiver will help the gun more to wear in faster...more friction on the moving parts. It obviously won't be as smoothe, but that's the tradeoff.

I'll take out said gun in factory condition and put a solid 500 shells through it in one afternoon. That's over a hundred dollars worth of ammo. As before, I will NOT clean the receiver. I'll scrub and oil the bore smoothe and clean and take the gun out the following weekend. I'll put 50 rounds of HEAVY loads (2 and 3/4" slugs and buck at the least, but preferably 3" for that extra oomph) and 50 more rounds of loaw base klead target rounds. I'll then fully disassemble, deep clean and go over any rough spots with an abrasive and get it smoothe. I'll then lubricate and store the firearm.



How do you guys feel about this method?
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Old September 23, 2009, 07:13 PM   #5
shark71
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Well, I am absolutely not any kind of SG expert, so maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see what you're trying to accomplish.

For one thing, why clean the barrel but not the receiver? If there's any part of a shotgun that doesn't need to be cleaned, it seems like it would be the barrel. (I'm not saying I don't think the barrel should be cleaned, but it seems like the component least in need of it.)

I'm also not clear on what the HEAVY loads are supposed to do, with respect to breaking in the gun.

Again, I'm largely ignorant of shotguns, but I'm not seeing the point here.
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Old September 23, 2009, 07:17 PM   #6
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I believe shooting heavy loads are apt to expose any deficiencies in the shotguns...especially a rough chamber. Rough chambers are much more likely to show themselves with heavy loads upon extraction. I think it's because of the pressure expenditure.


I don't recommend not cleaning the receiver at all, just during the break in period. I clean the barrel and not the receiver in order to avoid corrosion and pitting. I believe it's more susceptible than the receiver. I also feel the added gunk and carbon build up will help smoothe out the bolt, action bars, elevator, etc.
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Old September 23, 2009, 07:17 PM   #7
inSight-NEO
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Quote:
Personally, it isn't a whole lot of fun for me to take out a 500 dollar HD shotgun like my 590a1 with extension or a Sig Sauer pistol and beat it up, beyond the prescribed break in/evaluation period.
But, this is my point....No such "break in" period is generally necessary when dealing with todays weapons. Everything I mentioned I have done with my 590 (A1 convert), my Benelli SNT, my Sig P220, my Springfield, etc.,...all with no negative affects.

Quote:
I will NOT clean the cosmoline and bore out before shooting.
This, from what I understand, is not a good idea. Ditto with the rest of the gun (particularly the receiver and all components within) as leaving this "gunk" in the weapon can, upon firing it, lead to malfunctions, minute damage to the bore (not such a big deal with a smoothbore shotgun, however) or other parts, and so forth. Besides, Im of the mind that leaving a bunch of gunk in the bore, just prior shooting it, is simply dangerous if nothing else. Bad things could happen....

From what I gather, "breaking in" a weapon mainly concerns the bore. Why? For possibly enhancing/maintaining accuracy and helping in the attainment of that much desired "mirror smooth" finish. I guess you call this "seasoning" the barrel. But, again, unless we are speaking of extremely long range weapons such a rifles, I just dont see the point. I mean most handguns and shotguns only have an effective range of less than 100 yards, give or take.

Now sure, my weapons may not have acheived that "mirror smooth" look as of yet, but then again, I havent blasted through 1000s of rounds. But, after a "deep" cleaning, they look pretty good to me. Sure, I may not win any awards, but all of my guns are meant to be used rather than simply being stored away for posterity. Plus, they are all more accurate than I am

To sum up...from what I have been told by various weapons manufacturers, most guns of today (mainly handguns and shotguns) simply do not require a "break in" period as they might have before. Better metals, better methods, better tolerances? I dont know. But, it does make sense.

Ive personally never heard of a (fairly current to current) handgun or shotgun going south due to the lack of any strict "break in" method. Most pump shotguns, by nature, are brutes and should be capable of withstanding much abuse. To me, a nice, thorough cleaning and 20 to 30 rounds of low to mid strength ammo (through a new gun) is far from abuse and is certainly all that is truly necessary to "break in" the thing. Frankly, Id be more concerned about the inherent reliability/durability of the weapon. If a weapon needed to be treated with "kid gloves" in order to remain reliable, well...I wouldnt own it.

Now, once again, for that $1500-$3000 rifle which is expected to remain accurate around 500-1000 yards or so....then yes, I would be much more concerned with the "break in" thing. All else falls within the category of clean, shoot, maintain and enjoy.
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Last edited by inSight-NEO; September 23, 2009 at 07:54 PM.
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Old September 23, 2009, 07:24 PM   #8
colostomyclown
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I should mention this particular process is a little bit heavier than I'd go on a Remington. Mossbergs, even my 590a1, are considerably stiffer out of the box. And while I know what you mean about today's weapons not particularly NEEDING a break in period, I believe in it to evaluate the reliability and to smoothen the action.
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Old September 23, 2009, 07:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Personally, it isn't a whole lot of fun for me to take out a 500 dollar HD shotgun like my 590a1 with extension or a Sig Sauer pistol and beat it up, beyond the prescribed break in/evaluation period.
How is shooting it "beating it up"? After cleaning there is no "break in period" too many semi pistol shooter seem to think every gun needs a break in period - just not the case. A pump will handle many, many thousands of rounds - how are you going to "become one with the gun" if you don't shoot it?

And $500 for a gun is not a lot of money, especially if you'll be depending on it to save your life.....or is your life not worth that much??????

Last edited by oneounceload; September 23, 2009 at 07:56 PM. Reason: added comment
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Old September 23, 2009, 07:27 PM   #10
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Why not just go out and put 30-50 shells through it. Go home, clean it. Take it to the range next time and put another 50 shells through it. Go home, clean it.

Repeat

Seems like your thinking wayyy too much into the whole 'break in' definition.
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Old September 23, 2009, 07:58 PM   #11
inSight-NEO
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Quote:
And while I know what you mean about today's weapons not particularly NEEDING a break in period, I believe in it to evaluate the reliability and to smoothen the action.
I understand what you are saying. However, chances are, the action will not smooth out due to any specific break in technique. Rather, this is going to occur with consistent use, a bit of oil and nothing else IMHO.

In terms of evaluating reliability...again, the only way to do this is by putting the rounds through it. Clean it (thoroughly) and then run some ammo through it. Clean it again...then maybe try different loads/brands of ammo. Then you will start to figure out the weak/strong spots as pertaining to your particular weapon of choice. I only mentioned "weaker" loads in case one was afraid of putting his/her weapon through its paces right out of the gate. I mean, 30 rounds of the lighter stuff will go by quickly. For me, however, I tend to start off with my HD load of choice and go from there. After all, its rounds such as these that I truly care about in terms of weapon reliability. After this, the practice stuff comes into play.

Quote:
I clean the barrel and not the receiver in order to avoid corrosion and pitting. I believe it's more susceptible than the receiver. I also feel the added gunk and carbon build up will help smoothe out the bolt, action bars, elevator, etc.
That factory stuff is a nightmare to clean off when left on a fired weapon. Also, avoiding corrosion comes from diligent cleaning and proper lubrication...not that factory gunk. In addition, keep in mind that the Mossbergs receiver is aluminum and thus, not nearly as prone to rust. Clean your weapon before shooting it and clean it after....you will be fine. As far as "smoothing things out"...running rounds through it would be your best bet (along with a good coat of lube and if necessary, a bit of polishing here and there).
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Last edited by inSight-NEO; September 23, 2009 at 09:47 PM.
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Old September 23, 2009, 08:10 PM   #12
Dave McC
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Two methods...

ONE:

Run a couple thousand shells through your pump. Shoot clays, starlings, landfill rats, tombstone targets, steel popdowns, Estancia doves in Argentina, whatever.

Just shoot the thing.

Clean and lube religiously.

TWO:

After ensuring it's unloaded, hold the slide release down and cycle the action through a whole episode of Jeopardy.

Disassemble, then use a crockstick, hard Arkansas stone, etc, on the wear marks until they are glassy smooth. Radius the edges of the bars and smooth up the flashing left from stamping the part. Make sure the bars are straight and parallel.

Lube with the wipe on,wipe off method shown in The Karate Kid, then reassemble. Note how much smoother it is.

Finish up by running a couple thousand rounds through it.

NOTE:

Frankenstein, my over publicized parts 870, is very smooth. The receiver and action bars came from the MD Pen, where tower weapons were loaded and unloaded every shift change. With ten years of that before I came into the picture, work polishing did enough where I never had to use Method Two.

10K rounds since didn't hurt either.

My oldest 870, which has a round count into five figures, and for the life of me I cannot guess how far, never got the treatment either. It has a a glassy shuck also.

HTH....
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Old September 23, 2009, 08:21 PM   #13
inSight-NEO
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Oh...picking up where Dave left off... In terms of the Mossberg, I would consider smoothing/polishing the "tongue" of the elevator. I noticed on my 590 that when inserting rounds straight into the tube I would experience a bit of "hang" every once in a while. So, I took a bit of fine grit sandpaper and Flitz polish and hit this area for a bit. Now, the ammo slides in as smooth as butter.
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Last edited by inSight-NEO; September 23, 2009 at 08:39 PM.
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Old September 23, 2009, 08:31 PM   #14
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I've put a number of new shotguns into service as issued weapons.

I checked the bore for obstructions, took them to the range and ran a several full magazines of shotshells through them to insure that they functioned properly and patterned where they looked. Repeat with slugs at 25 & 50 yards; confirm zero/adjust sights as necessary, if so equipped.

Clean. Reload. Issue.

A sporting shotgun? Shoot the dickens out of it.
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Old September 23, 2009, 08:36 PM   #15
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buy some shells and shoot it.
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Old September 23, 2009, 09:25 PM   #16
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Especially Mossbergs, take it apart and degrease it, then properly lube it and go unload a few hendred round value boxes
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Old September 23, 2009, 09:58 PM   #17
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Excellent thread and very much to the point for me. I just purchased a 590A1 and am in the beginning stages of this process.

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Old September 24, 2009, 04:30 AM   #18
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After close to sixty years around shotguns I've found the best way to break them in is:
#1 strip and clean/re-oil.
#2 shoot..............as much ammo as you can.

It's that simple!
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Old September 24, 2009, 10:04 AM   #19
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#1 Bring it home.

#2 Clean the heck out of it.

#3 Shoot and shoot and shoot and cycle the action and then clean it and shoot some more.

I have fed my Mossberg 500 at least a couple thousand rounds in the two years that I have had it and it just keeps getting smoother and refuses to skip a beat.
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Old September 24, 2009, 10:57 AM   #20
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One of these days I'll probably get around to cleaning my Mossberg, is that what you mean by breaking it in?
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Old September 24, 2009, 11:22 AM   #21
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Just clean the gun before firing. Pump shotguns do not have to be broken in. After cleaning it shoot all you want, and then just keep her clean after each range use. And then you dont even really have to clean her.

A semi-auto you should break in by shooting in the heavier loads, which will allow you to shoot the lighter loads without problems later.

The rifle break in is debatable because of the copper getting into the grooves of the rifled barrel. I still believe in just cleaning beforehand and then cleaning after shooting and just making sure to clean out all the copper good. After this it is broken in even with a precision rifle imo.
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Old September 24, 2009, 11:46 AM   #22
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BA/UU/R
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Old September 24, 2009, 12:00 PM   #23
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Shoot a couple of boxes. Take barrel off and take trigger group out. Clean and lube.
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