View Full Version : Ever seen an 870 (or other SG) drop-fire?

June 15, 2000, 08:50 AM
This is directed to Dave in the first instance, but also to any of you who've used 870s or other SGs as duty arms.

The safety on the 870, like on almost all SGs, does not lock the firing pin but only blocks the trigger. In theory, an unlucky drop could fire the SG if there's a round in the chamber. Aside from urban legends and the like, has anyone got any reliable experiences or reports of this happening?

Dave McC
June 15, 2000, 11:17 AM
Nope, though one mentally challenged CO claimed it did, putting a roughly .729 inch hole driectly above the toilet in the SW tower of the Md House of Correction.

'Nother time, a rather clumsy CO dropped an 870 from another tower, going down about 30-40 feet and landing butt down on a concrete walk. The 870 was kept Cruiser ready, and when I arrived to check it out, it was still like that. If the hammer had dropped, the action would have unlocked. it wasn't.

Also, had a guy we let hunt with us drop a Mossy out of a tree once. No AD there either.

While I'm sure it CAN happen,during the ten years I instructed for DOC, and the 40 years I've used shotguns, I've not seen it.

June 15, 2000, 12:44 PM
Hmmm, interesting.

First case sounds like a bad excuse (as in: a lie) for an AD? (Make that ND...)

Second case -- whoa. Not that I haven't done stupid things...but I'm amazed that the 870 survived 30' onto concrete. Did it? I mean, did it work? was it functional?

I guess I'll take some comfort from these stories. There has been much brouhaha (sp?) about inertial discharges with 1911s. I don' recall anyone ever having had such a case. Seems like most firearms accidents take place due to much less mysterious causes and agents. :-(

If anyone else has anecdotes about this, I'd love to hear them. I figured Dave would have some good stories, based on his (former?) line of employment -- thanks!

Rosco Benson
June 15, 2000, 06:11 PM
Not to say it absolutely COULDN'T happen, but I've never seen it. John Farnam seems extremely skittish about this and his book on shotgun and rifle use contains warnings about this and suggests chamber-empty carry.

It is well to remember that most everything in life is a trade-off. Perhaps one could avoid ANY chance of the shotgun firing if dropped by carrying it chamber empty, but one then assumes additional risk in it taking longer to fire the piece if it is required. Chamber-empty carry may not be very much slower from port arms or a ready position, but what if the need to fire comes when you're opening a door with your left hand? What if the problem you're presented is best solved without making any pre-shot noise? What if you NEED the one round that you are being short-changed?

If you select chamber-empty carry, WHEN will you chamber a round?...when you have a target on which to fire?...when you confront a person who may fight OR surrender?...when you think you're "getting close" to needing it? If you chamber a round and then do not fire, can you quickly and positively return the gun to your preferred chamber-empty "stalking" state? Can you do it quietly and "eyes-off" so you don't lose track of your surroundings?

If you consider each of these points (and any others you might think of) and decide that chamber-empty carry best serves your needs, I wouldn't presume to quibble. However, adopting a less ready condition for one's weapon, based solely on concern for it discharging if dropped, seems unwise to me.


Dave McC
June 16, 2000, 05:28 AM
First case was a lie,J,and that CO was nicknamed "Buckshot" for the brief duration of his career.

The stock was splintered beyond repair, and we took it off line until a armorer checked it out. The thing did hit butt first.

Retired 1 Jan, 98,and a happier man never left Jessup...

Harley Nolden
June 16, 2000, 07:09 AM
I would have a sneaking suspission that you have crossed my firing line at Glynco


Dave McC
June 16, 2000, 05:32 PM
C'est possible, Harley. When/where? Was an instructor in Jessup, MHC/MCIJ 81-91. Shot the tournaments until I got these $%^&* bifocals....

Harley Nolden
June 18, 2000, 06:48 AM
I was in firearms from 1989-1999, not BOP however, Coordinated many of their classes and courses.


[This message has been edited by Harley Nolden (edited June 18, 2000).]

Dave McC
June 18, 2000, 08:09 AM
I got an idea that we'd look familiar to each other Harley. Gonna E you a phone #....