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Old September 22, 2013, 07:13 PM   #1
Beretta686
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870 jamming

I was out bird hunting this weekend and in the middle of my ranch sounding like Sadr City, my 870 started locking up to the point where I had to slam the butt on the ground to cycle it.

I've had this 870 for about 20 years of hard field use and have never had this happen before. It didn't happen every time, but rather about every third shot.

I couldn't find anything mechanically wrong with the gun, but the gun was getting pretty hot as I was blasting with it.

Does anyone have any advice on what could be going on here?
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Last edited by Vanya; September 22, 2013 at 10:35 PM. Reason: language.
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Old September 22, 2013, 07:16 PM   #2
mehavey
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What ammunition were you using (and did it have steel "silver-colored") bases)?
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Old September 22, 2013, 07:24 PM   #3
Dfariswheel
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As above, people are having trouble with cheaper ammo these days.
The case heads are swelling and sticking in the chamber.
Winchester bulk pack ammo is especially notorious.

Another possible cause is a fouled chamber. Buy a bronze shotgun chamber brush from Brownell's and scrub the chamber with the brush and solvent.

After using the chamber brush, inspect the chamber. If you see any corrosion or stubborn fouling, you can wrap some 0000 steel wool around a used bore brush, chuck the rod in a drill and running the drill at medium speeds, polish the chamber.
You can also polish the bore too, but make sure you have a choke screwed in and don't polish the choke much at all.
Put oil on the steel wool.
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Old September 22, 2013, 07:30 PM   #4
Beretta686
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It was shooting cheapo Walmart ammo. Both Federal and Winchester.

I may have to actually clean it out. Though I spray it down for corrosion and such after each hunt, I've never bothered to actually "clean" it as it's a total field gun that is banged to hell.

The last time I actually properly cleaned it was about 14 years ago after it went swimming in the water on a duck hunt. So that could indeed be the culprit.
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Old September 22, 2013, 07:33 PM   #5
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Better ammo and a good chamber cleaning should fix you right up.
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Old September 22, 2013, 07:35 PM   #6
BigD_in_FL
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Steel cases expand but do not contract as easily as brass ones do resulting in stuck or hard to extract cases. If your chamber is a little rough, that will do it also - that is easily corrected with some oil, 0000 steel wool and a wooden dowel chucked in a cordless drill.

You might try shooting some better ammo first to see if it still does it (STS or AA)
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Old September 22, 2013, 07:43 PM   #7
ZentetsukenVII
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I had the issue a few times with my tactical express 870. It only happened with the Winchester bulk. I use Federal bulk now and have not had the issue. I worry about this problem because it seems like a great way to break your extractor claw.
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Old September 22, 2013, 07:47 PM   #8
mehavey
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See this post to a thread (mine) about this exact same problem -- and solution.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...7&postcount=25

Note especially the last line starting "Note to myself..."
That is your problem.




*
Actually, the whole thread is (pre) deja-vu to your problem
http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...hlight=express
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Old September 22, 2013, 09:34 PM   #9
Virginian-in-LA
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Not cleaned in 14 years could indeed be your problem.
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Old September 23, 2013, 11:54 AM   #10
BigJimP
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I don't care if its a part time boat paddle gun, a field gun or a $5,000 target gun......they all have to be cleaned, and lubed properly, if you expect them to operate reliably !!

If you choose to run those cheap promo shells thru it ...especially with steel bases...you may have an ammo problem as well.
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Old September 23, 2013, 12:06 PM   #11
Dreaming100Straight
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Clean like they said, but don't feel bad about your gun. The new 870 expresses do that with the WalMart ammunition until their chambers are polished with some steel wool. Not so much with the Federal as the Winchester from WM.
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Old September 23, 2013, 12:13 PM   #12
mehavey
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Even when polished to a mirror, the Winchester "Super Target" 12ga 2-3/4 1-1/8oz #8s 100-pack ('Silver' brass)
will not go back into the barrel once fired.
Again, see http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...7&postcount=25

The 870's chamber may be 10% of the problems, but the steel-based shells now being sold as "bargain" are all the rest.

(When a bargain is just too good to be true -- depend on it being just that....)
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Old September 23, 2013, 12:32 PM   #13
Beretta686
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Quote:
The 870's chamber may be 10% of the problems, but the steel-based shells now being sold as "bargain" are all the rest.
I shoot quite a bit of these cheapo shells through everything from my O/U to my 12-inch Saiga 12 and have never had an issue before. So it could indeed be an 870 specific issue.

Quote:
I don't care if its a part time boat paddle gun, a field gun or a $5,000 target gun......they all have to be cleaned, and lubed properly, if you expect them to operate reliably !!
lol. I've probably taken my 870 to any extreme, but I've never really bought into the need to clean everything too often, especially if it's a range gun or field gun. I'll usually just break them down and wipe the big pieces off, spray them down and go back to shooting. The only ones I do a detail cleaning on, are the ones I use for self-defense.

Aside from now, I've never had a gun quite working and it may not even be due it being dirty. But either way, I'll finally properly clean the 870 this time.
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Old September 23, 2013, 03:57 PM   #14
Shadi Khalil
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Re: 870 jamming

Interesting. My mossberg 500 has no problems with the Wal-Mart Winchester stuff and I can't remember the last time I cleaned it.
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Old September 23, 2013, 04:17 PM   #15
semi_problomatic
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My h&r pardner doesn't either, but I've cleaned it a time or two...
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Old September 23, 2013, 06:37 PM   #16
Virginian-in-LA
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I have personally seen Mossbergs, Novas, Expresses, Pardners, and even a BPS being beat on the ground with the Winchester Universals, so if you have no issues, good for you, but that is not a 100% sample of any of them. 10 minutes with a drum brake wheel cylinder hone will likely solve the problem. Works on Mossbergs and Expresses I know.
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Old September 23, 2013, 07:16 PM   #17
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Beretta686 you did not mention which model of 870 you have. There seems to be more posts about jamming with the Express model vs the Wingmaster.

First the Winchester steel headed shells expand and do not contract like a brass headed shell.
Second as everyone has said rough/dirty chambers add to the sticky shells.
The plastic shells nicer than the old paper do not have the wax that the paper had. That wax in the paper and usually sealing the crimp was/is a lubricant and rust preventer for the chamber.

Third the barrel extension on the Express models have very rough tooling marks and the shell rims will drag and cause jams.

Best cure is to use better shells.
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Old September 23, 2013, 08:38 PM   #18
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Fourteen years of not cleaning and shooting cheap shells to boot???


That's just its way of beggin for a bath and a steak.

Bein' a field gun, there's probably enough sticks and cottonseed down in that action to choke my X.

Last edited by shortwave; September 23, 2013 at 08:45 PM.
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Old September 24, 2013, 12:26 AM   #19
Dreaming100Straight
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JD McGuire explains how to polish the rough chamber of a new 870 Express with a piece of dowling and some steel wool here. http://www.aiptactical.com/Page_2.html
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Old September 24, 2013, 06:41 AM   #20
Beretta686
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Quote:
Beretta686 you did not mention which model of 870 you have. There seems to be more posts about jamming with the Express model vs the Wingmaster.
It's a synthetic stocked Express model.
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Old September 24, 2013, 03:55 PM   #21
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I have boycotted Winchester's bulk .12ga universal loads. I've seen them jam in a very broken in, and clean 1187. I stick to Federal now and don't have problems. My 870 is an express so I thought I'd have more problems. Maybe just cycle lots of spent shells through your gun, or shoot it a lot to work in the chamber. I'm sure the polishing will help too, just a suggestion.

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Old September 24, 2013, 04:08 PM   #22
Destructo6
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Question about the failure: would the spent shell stick with the bolt fully closed or would it extract partially, then stick?
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Old September 24, 2013, 06:21 PM   #23
Dfariswheel
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What is it with people thinking shotguns don't need any cleaning or maintenance?

The absolute dirtiest guns I've ever seen were shotguns, some of them expensive guns.
I've seen 1890's rifles that had been through ever war from then to today, used by child soldiers, and never cleaned that were in better shape then some shotguns.
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Old September 24, 2013, 06:44 PM   #24
semi_problomatic
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Two things fellas, it hasn't been cleaned in 14 years, so unless he's also got a delorian with a flux capacitor I severely doubt he's running into NEW 870 problems. Also, IT HASN'T BEEN CLEANED IN 14 YEARS!! Can you explain what running some steel wool on a stick is going to do that hasn't been accomplished in over 14 years of shooting?

Also, I haven't found any pardners choking on anything. Even when I google it it just pops of where people are complaining about 870's jamming on threads about the pardners....weird. The only failures I've seen are pardners getting rounds stuck in the feed tube if racked slowly...
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Old September 24, 2013, 08:10 PM   #25
Beretta686
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Quote:
Question about the failure: would the spent shell stick with the bolt fully closed or would it extract partially, then stick?
It wouldn't open at all. I'd fire and try to cycle the gun, but the handle wouldn't budge at all.

On anther note, I'm very amused at the horror and awe of my 870 not being detail cleaned in years. Folks, it's a field gun, that I got in High School 20 years ago, explicitly to bang around in the field and generally treat like crap. A gun that I can literally drop in salt water and not worry too much about.

Sure I probably "should" clean it more often, but until now I've never had a problem.

Certainly my Drill Sergeant from Sand Hill many, many moons ago would lose his mind if he were to see the weapon like that, while unleashing his PhD in creatively combining 4-letter words and I'd be doing "Little Man in the Woods" all night long, but fortunately that's no longer the case.

Some guns were meant to be babied and I certainly do baby them, cleaning them, talking to them and caressing them (my Skeet O/U, my S&W Model 17 and other high-end guns), but this isn't one of those.
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