View Full Version : Fully loading 870 HD

October 5, 2012, 04:37 PM
Is there any reason not to load an 870 home defense gun with the mazimum shells in the magazine and one on the feed ramp (not un der it as in ghost loading). I just realized that if I load 6 in the pipe, then chamber one of them, load another in the pipe, and then pull the forend back not quite all the way, it holds 7 but nothing is chambered.

Of course if you pick it up by the forend it locks and loads that round. If I wish, I can pick it up without chambering that 7th shell.

Some debate the prudence of warning off intruders with the shuck/shuck sound of racking a pump. I tend to lean towards keeping quiet. This way there is a single shuck.

I think I like this, since I store it with the ejection port facing out so that the shell and its high brass is clearly visible to anyone that might pick it up. I don't want anyone to forget that they should treat guns in my home as being loaded at all times. (There are no children in my home.)

I store it with the safety on.

.300 Weatherby Mag
October 6, 2012, 01:17 AM

How I like to do it is to have the mag tube loaded with the bolt closed on an empty chamber... The gun absolutely cannot go off unless somebody cycles the slide and chambers a round and then pulls the trigger...

October 6, 2012, 01:48 AM
Hi Weatherby. What you do is a good way to go. I kind of like it this way since

1. It makes less trhan half as much noise to chamber the first round.
2. Anyone needing the gun quick can see that a shell is on the ramp. Otherwise they may think one is chambered to find out the truth the hard way.
3. We are talking about a split second, but it takes less time to chamber the first shell.
4. The gun takes 7 instead of 6 rounds. If I closed the action on an empty chamber, it would only hold 7.
5. Though the risk of a discharge from a dropped gun is remote, it is still present with a round chambered but not here with one just sitting on the elevator.
6. Anyone that may erroneously thing the gun is empty should see from the shell sitting on the elavator, which is visible as the gun is stored with the open action facing out, that the gun is loaded.

October 6, 2012, 02:04 AM
I store mine with the tube magazine full, chamber empty. It's not my primary HD weapon.

I do keep my primary weapon fully loaded at all times. I guess if it was my primary, it would be loaded at all times.

October 6, 2012, 08:23 AM
I keep mine hammer down on an empty chamber.

Dave McC
October 6, 2012, 06:24 PM
Old Skul....

Mag loaded to capacity minus one. Chamber empty, action locked closed. Safety on. IOW, darn near impossible for someone who hasn't practiced it to make fire.

This is the way my old Agency did it, and I can make this go boom as fast as anyone else using a less secure system.

I don't demand everyone do this, but maybe you should check it out and see if it fits your skill levels and use environment.....

October 6, 2012, 11:31 PM
Focusing on our skill levels is logically primary, but I kind of like the idea that it is impossible not to look at the gun, see the high brass shot shell on the elevator, and know it is loaded. I have to consider not just my skills, but those of my wife, daughter, son and the occassional adult visitor. I don't want anyone mistakingly thinking the gun is not loaded.

In the event of an emergency, I also don't want anyone having to guess whether or not they need to shuck it to chamber a round. If the action is open and they see the shot shell, they know all they have to do is close the action to go.

I would hate to be away when someting bad happened, someone grabbed the 870 but when they pulled the trigger it went click.

Your old agency system was geared toward professionals. That isn't me or my family.

.300 Weatherby Mag
October 7, 2012, 02:27 AM
This is the way my old Agency did it, and I can make this go boom as fast as anyone else using a less secure system.


Is this referred to as "patrol carry" or "squad-car" carry???

October 7, 2012, 02:33 AM
Nowadays, it's called "cruiser ready".

October 7, 2012, 08:43 AM
I do what Dave McC said. I go one or two down depending on capacity. Don't want to fully compress shells or springs for that matter. With six I would go five and with 9 I would go 7.

Dave McC
October 7, 2012, 06:23 PM
Klaw, I'm the only shotgunner here. Son shoots some, but he's living nearby.

W/W has other options she prefers, including a fine First Model Colt Trooper.

Like I said,YMMV....

Lee Lapin
October 9, 2012, 09:38 AM
I keep house guns loaded one shell short in the magazine with an empty chamber, hammer cocked and safety on. The magazine is loaded with 00 buckshot, the Sidesaddle with slugs, and there's a space in the magazine in the unlikely event I need to load slug so it's first up. And yes, that means in conventional 4-round magazine 870s, there are 'only' three rounds in the magazine.

I see no need to cram every possible round in any firearm, especially tube magazine fed shotguns. If I don't fix the problem with the number of rounds available in the gun, one more round is unlikely to make any difference. Gotta learn to reload 'em, as Clint Smith says.

October 9, 2012, 03:42 PM
I feel pleased with my configuration for my particular home, with a couple of modifications. I am going to drop one shell from the magazine to reduce the possibiity of shell compression/deformation and, to allow for the option of inserting a slug as per Lee. True, as I have buck shot on the elevator I would have to do a shuck and and half (perhaps I should be dancing with the stars), but I think that could only reduce load time by no more than a few tenths of a second (beyond time taken to slip a slug in the tube). Given my circumstances, I believe any threat is incredibly remote but you know the Boy Scout motto.

October 10, 2012, 05:20 AM
This is a very interesting thread and thank you all for your comments. It's incredible to see so many different "gun loaded" scenarios. I myself have two Mossberg 500s in a secure cabinet. Since both would be the go-to defense weapon in the home, they are both loaded to the hilt with full chambers and safeties on. OO Buck in 2 3/4" only.

October 10, 2012, 04:19 PM
Party of the actual question that commenced this thread was if there was any reason not to keep a home defense 870 with a full tube and a partially open action showing a round on the carrier (I have been calling it the elevator). When I went to reduce my full tube by one, as per Lee and Dave, my 870 answered my question. If, instead of sliding the forend to the front you pull it back just a bit, your action is locked up when a round spits out of the tube and onto the carrier to jam up against the round that had been sitting on the carrier. That round is held in the action by the extractor and it can be cleared with some work, but I wouldn't want to have to do it in an emermency situation.

So the way I am keeping my 7 round 870 (6+1) is bolt closed on an empty chamber, hammer down, safety on, and 5 shells in a 6 shell magazine. Cruiser ready. For my household I think that the best balance between readiness and safety. If I lived near Fort Apache, I might go with a full seven but thankfully I live in boring middle America. IOW, like Dave McC says, YMMD.

October 10, 2012, 06:54 PM
There are some wise shotgunners on this forum.