View Full Version : 870 malfunction - is it unusual?

Major Dave (retired)
October 23, 2012, 10:36 PM
I took my 20 ga 870 Wingmaster LW Magnum on a Sporting clays shoot, and I had about 50% of my second shots fail to feed.

Here's the sequence of events, over and over, again:

Before announcing "pull", I would put 2 rounds in the magazine, then shuck one round into the chamber, shoulder the gun, click off the safety, then shoot at the first clay, ATTEMPT to shuck the second round into the chamber, with 50/50 success.

At first, I thought maybe I was short stroking it, but I concentrated on full strokes, with no improvement.

After a 100 round sporting clays course, I had fired only about 80 rounds.

I took the 870 to a gunsmith Monday, and he seemed somewhat puzzled about the cause. He did depress a couple of different springs in the action, and stated he thought one of them was a little weak. Said he was back logged about a month, so I will have to wait to see what the problem is.:(

Has anyone else had a similar experience with an 870 Wingmaster?

I have a 12 ga 870 Wingmaster also, so I am not sitting home waiting for the 20 ga. The 12 ga doesn't have any problems.

Major Dave (retired)
October 23, 2012, 11:37 PM
The 870 is a 3 inch chamber, and I was shooting 2 & 3/4 inch, high base brass (actually steel) loads labelled "Top Gun" Federal shells.

The shells were hitting the chamber walls, instead of centering on the chamber, when I tried to feed them from the magazine into the chamber.:confused:

October 24, 2012, 12:29 AM
Not at all a common problem. If you tilt it to the side to watch and work the action slowly any number of weird things can happen, so do not judge by that.
1) When you fire one and then pull the fore end back, does it release a shell from the magazine into the receiver rather forcefully?
2) If so, when you go to move the fore end forward, does the shell bind stopping your forward motion?
If it's 1, it's likely a bent shell latch - I believe the right one looking from the top rear, or it could be a badly worn latch or action bars, but that's not at all common. If you were loading two in the magazine and it wasn't releasing the second shell, it would likely be the left shell latch. I know that is what you said you were doing but I have never loaded an 870 that way in 50 years so I can't relate. Try putting one in the ejection port and closing the action and then put one in the magazine and see what happens if you are indeed starting with two in the magazine and an empty chamber now.
If it's #2 I would have to see it to try to diagnose anything, but if the shell is already in the receiver, the shell latches are out of the picture.

October 24, 2012, 02:02 AM
The 870 has a stellar reputation for reliability, but I have seen trouble with some, including a half dozen or so 12 ga "Magums" used as patrol guns. My ol'reliable has been burping a bit too.

The prob with all has been the carrier not raising the shell sufficiently to allow the bolt to push a live round at the correct angle into the chamber. I suppose correctly called a "failuure to feed". The solution for the patrol guns was a new "carrier dog spring". I have not addressed my old gun, but will by next spring turkey season.

October 24, 2012, 06:56 AM
Failures to extract a spent hull can cause all sorts of issues with feeding the next. Were I you, I'd try a different brand of quality ammo (STS, AA) before doing anything else.

I took the 870 to a gunsmith Monday, and he seemed somewhat puzzled about the cause. He did depress a couple of different springs in the action, and stated he thought one of them was a little weak.No offense intended, but that doesn't sound, um, like a highly qualified diagnosis.

October 24, 2012, 12:54 PM
I'd try a different shell too ...and a higher quality shell with a brass base..like a Remington STS ....and see if it cycles better.

I suspect its more of a shell problem - than a gun problem.

October 24, 2012, 07:55 PM
More than one has suffered from a bent shell latch when someone tried reassembling it with brute force and not reading the manual. And sometimes in the bending they pop them out of the staking too.

October 25, 2012, 01:26 PM
What happens if you load its magazine to capacity? do you only encounter the problem when trying to feed the last shell? Does the problem only occur when you fire, attempt to eject the spent hull and feed the new round? Is there a problem if you top load round 1, close the action, load #2 into the mag, shoot and then try shucking. The guys suggestion to try different ammo sounds like a good one. How long has it been since your trigger assembly group has been dropped and everything cleaned and lubricated? My wild ass guess is that bamaranger is right on.

October 25, 2012, 02:02 PM
Until you can have the gun looked at by another smith, or serviced by the one you are waiting on, it might be worth trying another brand of shells; just to see if they are more reliable.

I have seen some very bad batchs of ammo. One box of buckshot I bought was so out of spec that I had trouble forcing a round into the chamber or the magazine. The brass base was not entirely round, and/or some of the bases seemed slightly flared and sharp lipped. They kept catching in the gun and not feeding well at all.
Though if that was your problem, you would have probably noticed it while loading the gun or cycling the first round.
I'm just say that badly out of spec shells do happen.

October 25, 2012, 05:40 PM
Shell issues are much more common with autos or when it is sticking in the chamber. I still think this one is a latch issue of some kind. We may never know as it seems Major Dave has retired.

October 28, 2012, 07:59 PM
i have had 2 remingtons with this problem.one was new out of the box and the rail or the fore arm tube was the problem.got rail from remington and problem solved as it was just enough off as in 2 short to work correctly.second one was shell latch rh side.replaced that and that one was working again two.The shell latch was just bent enough it didnt work as it should.Good Luck!

Major Dave (retired)
October 28, 2012, 08:12 PM
still waiting on the gunsmith to get around to my problem.

Since he still has my gun, I can't try any of the suggestions you have all given - but I appreciate all of the input.

One question was about how successful loading the first round went. The answer is that it was 100% reliable, coming out of the magazine and going into the chamber.

Also, the first round always ejected perfectly.

I'm wondering if the 2 & 3/4 inch shell cycling into a 3 inch chamber has anything to do with it?

Meanwhile, my 12 ga 870 WM, with 2&3/4 inch chamber cyles perfectly. I am shooting rifled slug loads in it, trying to find a brand it likes. So far, I have tried Fed Truball (Foster) slugs, and a Winchester PD (Foster) slug.

I get about a 3 inch group @ 50 yards with both of them, but I will try some Rem (Foster) slugs, also. The Win PD slugs shoot about 9 inches higher than the Fed Truballs @ 50 yards.

The barrel is a 1970's vintage smooth bore, 20 Inch (IIRC) with a Bushnel Magnum Phantom pistol scope mounted on it.

October 28, 2012, 08:26 PM
Haven't had any malfunctions with my Mossberg 500..:cool:

October 29, 2012, 02:04 AM
I doubt that the 3" chamber has a thing to do with the problem.

October 29, 2012, 05:42 AM
I have had Six 3" Magnum models, and all of them saw a lot more cheap 2-3/4" fodder than they ever did 3". No issues. They haven't even made 2-3/4" guns for close to 3 decades now.

October 29, 2012, 07:09 AM
Please note Remington lists the "Wingmaster" as a 2 3/4 inch chamber, it also comes in 3 inch chamber in the lesser gauges (20,28,410).

There are shooters that do not want a 3 inch gun, they have no need for the sport they shoot.

October 29, 2012, 12:56 PM
Jaguar, The 12 gauge WingMaster (28" vent rib with remchokes) has a 3" chamber.

Colorado Redneck
October 29, 2012, 04:04 PM
My 870 does not like some kinds of shells. Estate target loads will often lock up the slide when trying to chamber a round. Remington, Federal and Winchester Super X all work fine.

Big Pard
October 29, 2012, 08:03 PM
A 3" gun should cycle both 2 3/4" and 3" shells without fail. It "may" be that the follower is binding a little in the magazine tube or the magazine spring is a little weak. Might want to try loading the magazine tube to capacity and seeing if it cycles them all or if it is just the last one hanging up. If the first one cycles fine then it isn't the shells. A way to check, once you get the gun back, is the push on the follower and see how much spring tension it has or if it acts like it wants to bind.

Sometimes cleaning and applying a light film of oil to the inside on the magazine tube will help with feeding issues

October 30, 2012, 05:28 AM
i had 2 remington 870 12 ga and they both would jam up pretty often. sold them and bought 3 mossbergs over the years. no problems. i always blamed myself and not the 870 though. mossbergs just fit me better i figure.

October 30, 2012, 08:36 AM
If the first one chambers without a problem so should the second.

Are you doing something different like tilting the gun to the side when trying to make that second shot?

Major Dave (retired)
October 30, 2012, 04:53 PM
for the second shot.

In preparation for shooting at a "true double" Sporting Clays pair, I would step into the shooting cage with the 870 empty, on safe, then turn it upside down and put 2 shells into the magazine. Then, I would turn the 870 upright, without tilt, push the magazine release in, and shuck the first round from the magazine into the chamber, with 100 % good function. Then I would go to high ready, click the safety into the "fire" position, and call "pull".

"True pair" comes out, I track and fire at first clay, then, keeping the butt pressed into my shoulder, try to rack the action - resulting in 100% ejection of first, fired, round, but only about 50% seating of 2nd round into chamber. Sometimes, after FTF of 2nd round, I would "double shuck", and succeed in chambering the 2nd round, and firing at the second clay, usually at about the time (or a fraction of a second after) it hit the ground.

At the end of the shoot, I had 14 unfired shells. I'm guessing I had 8 or 10 "double shucked", but fired 2nd rounds.

Needless to say, I "won" low scorer of the day prize - a new Zebco 33 rod and reel. I think they were saying that if I expected to put any meat on the table, I would have a better chance at fish than fowl.:p

Yet, most dove seasons, I can usually get my 15 bird limit with one box (25) of shells.:) Using my 12 ga 870 Wingmaster. I decided not to use the 12 ga for Sporting Clays because I didn't want to bruise my shoulder with 100 rounds fired. I had already been shooting rifled slugs with the 12 ga, in preparation for deer season, and had some minor bruising as a result. So, I used my 20 ga, for Sporting Clays, not realizing that it was going to be a problem.