View Full Version : New 870 Express -- Jamming

December 25, 2010, 06:56 PM
Got one for my son-in-law this XMas and quickly had extraction problems within the first half-dozen rounds using (yeah, I know) bargain Winchester "Super Target" 12ga 2-3/4 1-1/8oz #8s 100-pack. ('Silver' brass)

This is my 3rd 870 over the many (30) years and I'd gotten it based on a well-deserved reliability reputation. Now I understand that (1) Remington has slipped a bit -- especially on the Express series/chamber polish -- and (2) these bargain/non-brass shells are notorious for expanding out to the chamber walls... and staying there. (In fact a fired case will very definitely stick in the chamber...hard, just from thumb pressure after pulling the barrel out of the receiver. So much so it took a cleaning rod to break it free.

While the chamber doesn't "feel" rough, it's still got blueing all in through it and hasn't been polished in the least. I'm going to take some drill-driven 00/0000 steel wool/Break-Freeto the chamber tomorrow to fix *that* problem....


From those who've had this experience, is it really just a chamber finishing problem exacerbated by poor shell materials? Or have problems persisted after these fixes?

December 25, 2010, 07:39 PM
100% chamber... yes the shells have soft metal but not an issue in a smooth chamber... You will find this and rust to be the only repeated problems in the express. Polish chamber. Rust... not so easy to fix...


December 25, 2010, 08:02 PM
Things can happen in production, but when a problem becomes clear, such as with rough chambers and poor bluing, why doesn't a company like Remington, with a brand to protect, fix the problem. I kind of want to buy a Remington over a Mossberg but don't want to buy trouble.

Even the cheap ChiCom Remington clones supposedly have no problem with the cheap shells. It makes spending $220 for a Chinese clone awful tempting even when I would like to buy American.

December 25, 2010, 08:07 PM
+1 on Brent's comment about polishing the chamber.
Just out of curiosity, have you put a magnet to that "Silver" brass?

December 25, 2010, 08:48 PM
…rough chambers and poor bluing…
The R-870 Express chamber finishing has been the topic of previous threads. It seems Remington's production specifications for the lower grade gun are… well, lower grade.

I don't recall any complaints about the bluing on the 870 Wingmasters. Finish is another area where Remington saves production costs between the Wingmaster and Express. Obviously, the black matte Express finish requires less production time than polishing and bluing the Wingmasters. Has anyone who's purchased a Model 870 not wondered what the price difference, between the Express and Wingmaster, really represents? Then they make their choice and ante up accordingly?

Just a thought… does anyone remember hearing/seeing a comment along the lines of, "I bought a Wingmaster last year. I should have saved some money and got an Express," or something similar?

December 25, 2010, 09:39 PM
I dunno, zippy13. I am trying to find out how much more I would have to pay fro a wingmaster short barrel sythetic and if it isn't a great deal more it may be the way to go. I just wonder if it made good business sense to market a gun that supposedly rusts on new in the box. I suppose it depends on how much the price was lowered and whether the brand is damaged. I imagine it hasn't been a problem for Remington, as they have been selling the lower standard express for several years.

December 25, 2010, 10:30 PM
If you've been following the Remington catalog for any length of time, you'll have noticed, every year there seem to be more Express varieties and fewer Wingmasters offered -- it seems most folks are buying based on price. Don't fall into the Express or Wingmaster mentality, there are other 870s out there. Have you checked out the Remington LE (http://www.remingtonle.com/) catalog? In your case, a legal sized 870-P(police) turn-in gun might be a better choice over the civilian 870's.

December 25, 2010, 10:41 PM
have you put a magnet to that "Silver" brass?
Oh yes......... "Click"
Big-time steel.

First I've ever fired steel in a shotgun hull. ("Where have you been...?" comes the faint Greek Chorus.) But given the economy and continually-increasing dominence of cheap/foreign-made everything, not the last.

It's really too bad, and I need to fire a letter off to Remington Monday telling them that the brand damage is not worth the small profit margine they gain,

Of course these days the MBAs and FM types run companies into the ground to squeeze every nickel out before they move on to someone else's pasture and start the cycle all over again. It would take so little to make sure the functional parts are properly finished and still have a rough & tumble goose gun.....

Have you checked out the Remington LE catalog?`Got a Model 37 for that particular need. But for those who do buy a Rem/LE model, I sure hope someone's polshed the chambers.

December 25, 2010, 11:02 PM
Zippy13. Your suggestion may be a good one, especially as my wife's boss represents some local PDs and her old boss is ex PD. (On that old H&R Model 1900, a guy on the Smithing thread is giving me some pointers and I almost have the receiver apart. It will just be a wall hanger but I want it capable of being used and besides, I love to work with my hands.) Still, it is hard sitting on buying something now that the Wife will let me. The Chinese Hawk (870 clone) is $200, the Bennelli Nova is $400 but may be too long and difficult to adjust. If I don't do anything tomorrow, I will look into the Police guns.

December 25, 2010, 11:20 PM
Common causes of extraction in the Express are failure to clean factory preservative out of the chamber and bore before firing, cheap shells, and the slightly rougher chamber of the Express.

Remember that Remington is trying to compete in an aggressive market where people like Mossberg are selling cheaper to make cast aluminum and stamped internals guns, and we're seeing more and more imports from places like China that can be made far cheaper than American.

People tend to buy based on price, and Remington has to try to keep their Express price down to at least ball park range of all these cheaper guns.
We complain that the Express is being made to lower standards, but fail to understand that it's hard to sell an American made forged steel gun against guns that cost so much less.
This is simply a case of market forces pulling the quality downward in order to stay in the market.

If Remington did a better job polishing the bores and applied a better quality blue finish, the price would be significantly higher, and Mossberg, China, and Turkey would devour Remington's market share on the lower end.

Sorry folks, it's a new global market. Unfair as it is competing against a factory in China that's owned by the Red Army, you either compete or die.

December 25, 2010, 11:36 PM
If Remington did a better job polishing the bores....
As I said... functional finishing

If I in any way receive a reply from Remingtion that indicates they are unable to grasp this concept, I will do everything in my power to make others understand that Remington has taken such a stance. That will be far more damaging than the cost of an extra 10-12 minutes of a manufacturer's time to ensure the heart of a reliably functional firearm.

The japanese always understand this concept
Ford finally understood this concept.
GM never understood this concept.

Let's all hope that Remington does not falter.
That name's been in my memory since the very early 50s
I'd hate to see it happen.

December 26, 2010, 04:22 AM
The japanese always understand this concept
Ford finally understood this concept.
GM never understood this concept.

really? turn a gun discussion into a car discussion. Funny how I have never had a single problem with a GM product, but have sent countless Fords to the dealerships for problems with electronics, 6.0 and 6.4 Powerjoke failures, and transmission failure.

That said, I have never had a problem with my express shotguns. I have seen a couple that have, but a couple minutes with a polishing wheel and jewelers polish on the end of a dremel extension took care of it. Try that. By the way all our shotguns at work are express models with the exception of a few Sgt's and Lt's guns, theirs are wingmaster models...

December 26, 2010, 08:26 AM
I had a Buick, a Jeep, another Buick, a Chevy F/S Blazer, and another Buick before I gave up and the last two have been Honda/Toyota.

I do have to admit the MGB was the worst -- but when you buy British, you know what you're getting. (My `71 Norton has been an emotional attachment for most of the last 40 years, not a sensible one. My wife says the same thing about me,) :D

a couple minutes with a polishing wheel and jewelers polish on the end of a dremel extension took care of it
As many have suggsted, I'm going to do just that and get my Son-in-Law's gift straight. (I still have an emotional attachment to the great American gun names too -- and my previous two older 870s have been trouble free.) That said, it rocked me back when I googled "...870 jamming..." last night and the results went on page-after-page-after-page about the Express.

Remington needs to take note.

December 26, 2010, 11:08 AM
While the chamber doesn't "feel" rough,
Doesn't take much. The last one I worked on had a very small ding at the 6-oclock location. When I first shot it, I was expecting the possibility of a jam and sure enough, after three rounds, if jammed. Located the ding or nick, removed it and polish the chamber with 0000 and bore shine. it's been fine, ever since and Grandson has taken a bunch of ducks and geese this past season,

Some Expresses jam out of the box and some don't. Eventually all or most will work out of it. ..... ;)

Be Safe !!!

Dave McC
December 26, 2010, 11:09 AM
Mehavey, in the last couple years I've had my hands on and shot at least 20 Expresses, maybe 30. Most of these I checked for function and shot a few rounds from.

Zero probs. I offered here to BUY any Expresses I could not make work, but no takers. Positive responses were overwhelming, and once the input from some few inveterate Express bashers was discounted, little hard evidence was there about real problems.

Some folks seemed to think that since they had issues, all Expresses were steaming piles of excrement. These absolutists tend to be quite vocal, and obscure the fact that there's millions of happy Express owners out there.

Are there legitimate issues? Yes, but most Expresses cleaned and lubed per the manual and fed decent ammo are boringly reliable. A few need a bit of chamber polishing and some work polishing sure does slick up the shuck.


December 26, 2010, 11:16 AM
It could be a number of things but Id look at the extractor and see if somethings missing, I had one that was missing a part completly. Remington expresses arnt what they used to be and I personally wont own one. Just to chintzy these days. A sps or 870 super mag action is slightly different but makes a great gun. The express is what it is. For less than 300 bucks you get what you get, but yes I know from experiance times are tough so you should expect Remington to offer you a well made cheaper model gun for those that cant afford the 1100s or Benellis or Beretta shotguns. Id try and have Remington fix the issue and if not just take it to a good smith and have it fixed right

December 26, 2010, 12:32 PM
No extractor problems, Pabuckslayer. It was stuck/hard-to-extract case head fit. Extractor is doing its job.

I offered here to BUY any Expresses I could not make work, ...Some folks seemed to think that since they had issues, all Expresses were steaming piles of excrement.
I always make things work eventually. But then I have both the equipment and the aptitude. The vast majority of the GAP, however, aren't necessarily so inclined. It is they who fill the Google search page(s) with complaint-after-complaint about the Express.

To then intimate that these people are simply to be discounted is a terminal mistake if Remington were to do it.

December 26, 2010, 01:13 PM
Dremmel, the best tool I ever got!

December 26, 2010, 01:15 PM
Right after the hammer and the cordless drill.... :D

December 26, 2010, 02:41 PM
That is odd, I wouldnt mess with it even if you do know what your doing. If its Remingtons fault let them cover it

December 26, 2010, 03:11 PM
How many who have had issues with the Express bothered to spend a few dollars more for high quality ammo? I am thinking not too many, since these folks place price as the ultimate priority, and buying those steel-head wally world promo loads fits their priority..........shooting a low price-point gun with the cheapest, crappiest ammo, and then wondering why they have issues is something I just shake my head and chuckle at.

December 26, 2010, 03:54 PM
Metal expanding into grooves isn't a fault of the ammo. It is a fault of the chamber having grooves...


December 26, 2010, 03:58 PM
shooting a low price-point gun with the cheapest, crappiest ammo, and then wondering why they have issues is something I just shake my head and chuckle at.
Well, I have to shake my head and wonder why any "Pump" can't handle any and all ammo.
This is not a semi-auto !! ..... :rolleyes:

I had an older 1100 that ate everything at the same loading. Most of the problems that have been brought to light, have little or nothing to do with the ammo. After reworking our latest 870 Express, the ejection problems were corrected. Even with the winter we have been having, it now performs well without any operational issues. ...... :)

Some of you can look at the comments posted as strickly bashing but most folks are posting "real" problems and concerns. Indeed, thay are valid. ... ;)

As I have posted before, I would recommend buying these Expresses but the buyer should be aware of the potential problems. His money, his call !! :D

Be Safe !!!

December 26, 2010, 04:18 PM
Some of the current production 870 Express exhibit a lack of pride and attention to detail. No one can deny that the majority of current production870 Express Grade shotguns will function out of the box. But, just like the "Golckites" who deny any problems, ever, there are "Ka-Booms" and there are some 870s that are jam-o-matics. I would like to get a Police Grade 870 and if I got an express I would be prepared to send it back to Remington to make it right. Don't understand the head in the sand attitude that ignores reality.

December 26, 2010, 05:01 PM

Two 20ga brass brush/tightly wrapped-oiled '00' sessions w/ drill....
Two oiled '0000' sessions....
One silver polish '0000' session later....

Four boxes of the junky steel-base Winchester "SuperTarget" later...
3 harder-to-shuck/but still hand-shuckable shells,
while the the rest were "normal."

Note to myself: The once-fired steel stuff had such residual expansion that they would not go back into the chamber w/o thumb force. The once-fired AAs dropped right in.

The wonders of metallugy.....

December 26, 2010, 05:30 PM
Good job, mehavy. I am not too concerned with the mechnical aspects of the express and may even end up replacing a few parts down the road if I get one. Just how bad is the standard finish (not sure if it should be called bluing or not). It may be more of a problem in a wet weather state, which CA ususally is not, and just be something to deal with if and when I ever get to use it in a marshy area. For that matter, if I really hated the finish how much of a problem is it to have it stripped and refinished?

Earlier you mentioned the cordless drill. I finally got one just yesterday from my son and would love its first use to be polishing the chamber of a new express. (He is warning me that I still need to go slow and the women are still upset if they even hear the word gun or see me working on my ancient model 1900.

December 26, 2010, 05:49 PM
Actually, the rough`n ready matte finish (akin to parkerizing in look) was a plus for me as I was looking for a gun with guts/for rough times, not fine looks. (I have my grandfather's Model-12 for that). :)

I have a feeling that to properly prep such a gun as gthe Express for a classic blueing job, it would take more metal polishing than normal for guns with a smooth finish to start

December 26, 2010, 05:57 PM
I think wet sanding starting with 100 or so grit advancing to 1,000 would result in a nice finish...

The problem with the express finish is that it will rust easier than a smooth blue job. The humidity has all the pits to collect in.


Dave McC
December 27, 2010, 08:26 AM
Re Express finishes, some Eastern Shore Goose Guides melt paraffin in with heat guns to rustproof theirs. Johnson's Paste wax and Turtle Wax also have their adherents.

The one Express here, an early 90s 20 gauge, does fine with any oil applied frequently.

December 27, 2010, 09:25 AM
Had a problem with an 870 Tactical jamming up on me last year, with less than two boxes of shells through it.

Gave it to a friend, as a project gun. We'll see if he gets it running.

Meanwhile, my 20 year old Express keeps chugging along.

December 27, 2010, 05:50 PM
Just called the wife's nephew back in Virginia. He has no complaints about his older Express but knows nothing about the newer ones. Paid about $250 for it 10 - 15 years ago. Gun laws back there are a lot different than Cal.

December 29, 2010, 01:41 PM
Follow this mans instructions you'll be fine.