View Full Version : 870's are not so perfect

January 22, 2001, 12:19 AM
I'm new and I think everyone is going to hate me for saying this.

When shooting 3" magnum shells in my 870 special purpose, it jams A LOT!! Probably about 1 failure to eject out of every 8 - 10 shots. I have asked every 870 owner that I met, and without exception, they tell me that theirs do the same thing, at least occasionally.

It has been suggested that I am "short-shucking" the action. Don't think so. I've been shooting pump shotguns for 35 years, though they weren't 3". Still, since the 7 or 8 others I have asked complain of the same problem, I believe the problem is elsewhere.

One of the goose hunters I asked said that he sent his back to Remington, but that it continues to jam occasionally.

Only one traded his for a different brand. That is strange, isn't it. I've kept mine because "everyone knows that the Remington 870's are the best shotguns in the world"! (Mine has never jammed on a 2 3/4" shell.

Any comments?


January 22, 2001, 12:49 AM
The closest I've come to a jam with my 870 was after shooting some extremely hot 3" slugs a friend had loaded, the last one was extremely tough to eject. But besides that, I don't have problems with 3", or 2 3/4".

But, no one said they were perfect, anyway :)

January 22, 2001, 01:18 AM
The problem is that the 870 was designed as a 2 3/4" gun. The only modification to make it a 3" gun was a barrel with a longer chamber and an ejector that is set back about 1/4".
On most of the 3" 870s that I have looked at a 3" fired shell just barely clears the ejection port. On many, the mouth of the shell hits the ejection port. I don't hear any complaints about this because most of our customers fire
2 3/4" shell only.

Nothing is perfect, but the 870 is about as good as it gets even with some of the dumb things that Remington has done lately.

Dave McC
January 22, 2001, 06:45 AM
I don't hate you, Mike....

Both the "Deer" 870 and Frankenstein were converted to 3" by Mike Thomas, the Mad Scientist of shotgundom. Neither has had multitudes of 3" shells through them,tho one has had some 3" slugs and the other has had both goose and turkey loads. No glitches w/ either.

My guess is that some 3" shells are slightly longer than the nominal length. Try different ammo and see if there's improvement.

Second guess, the ejection port may need some slight enlargement, a job for a trained pro. Ever see how the EP is done on a 1911? Something like that.

Also,how new is the weapon? Some shotguns need more break in than others.

Finally, nothing made by the hand of man is perfect. The 870 merely comes closer than most...

January 22, 2001, 07:13 AM
Thanks for the feedback, all.

My 870 is about 5 years old, so is well broken in. I agree completely that the problem is that the gun was designed for 2 3/4" shell.

All of the 3" ammo I've shot has been Federal, so the comment about trying different ammo is a very good suggestion. My local supply of non-Federal 3" ammo is very poor.

My title, "not so perfect", is a reflection of the constant praise heaped on this shotgun in this forum as well as in the field and gunshops. My experience has been very disappointing. I never expected this kind of performance from ANY name-brand shotgun, let alone from one that sits on such a high throne.

January 22, 2001, 07:54 AM
I've experienced the same thing but only a couple times.
I think Dave is right about some shell hulls cut longer.

January 22, 2001, 09:57 AM
As another data point, I'll just add that I've put a good number of 3" shells for waterfowl, and a good number of slugs too, through 870s and I never had any problems. Brands have been mostly Winchester and Federal, with a smaller number of Remington.

January 22, 2001, 11:35 AM
Hell...wanna hear something stupid?

Back when I was really young and dumb (I'm no longer really young) I was out blasting away with my faithful 870 Wingmaster with a bunch of friends, just converting money into noise. It wasn't until AFTER we had gone through a box or five of these shells that my buddy had bought did we notice:

They were 3" shells.

The Wingmaster is chambered in 2 3/4.

Hey, it didn't blow up, or even hiccup. The good Lord has a soft spot in his heart for idiots and children, it would seem :P


January 22, 2001, 04:11 PM
That story makes me mad, Mike. Your gun isn't designed for 3" shells, yet it works fine. Mine is designed for 3" shells, and it won't handle them well. Where is the justice?

Mike, too

Dave McC
January 22, 2001, 06:13 PM
This may or may not be pertinent, but...
I went down stairs and rummaged around until I found a couple of 3" empties and ran them through Frankenstein. If I eased the slide back and forth, I had a hangup or two with maybe 12-14 tries. When I racked it hard, it didn't. Most pumps may or may not work when lightly stroked,they're designed to be worked under the influence of adrenaline and excitement.

As I said,it may not be pertinent,Mike,and you say you're experienced with pumps. But just for fun, try running a few 3" empties through vigorously and see what happens...

January 22, 2001, 06:27 PM
2-3/4" Buck is the way to go for home defense. My 870 has a 20" slug barrel with 2-3/4 inch chamber so I'm not tempted to go to 3" shells, but what I've got seems plenty potent. 00 Buck from a 2-3/4 inch 12 gauge is plenty of power for home defense and you don't have the magnum blast and recoil to contend with.

January 22, 2001, 07:51 PM
Mike50-You have cast a pebble into my pond of perception and sent ripples across my sense of reality. I HATE YOU. Sorry

January 22, 2001, 09:57 PM
I suppose I'm one of those that heaps praise on the 870, but in all honesty I can't remember the last time I used a 3 inch shell. :) Nothing I shoot at seems to notice the difference.

January 23, 2001, 12:31 AM
Well, most of the guys I hunt geese with are all using 3 1/2" 12 gauge or else 10 gauge. It may be perception, but I would be laughed out of the pit if I shot 2 3/4" shells.

I will try the empties as soon as expedient. It seems, though, that it usually jams when the geese are landing furiously. You would think the adreneline would fling those hulls out!

I agree that 2 3/4" is plenty for home defense!

Thanks again,for all the replies.


Dave McC
January 23, 2001, 07:46 AM
Mike, the first 40 geese or so I killed went down before dinky li'l 2 3/4" shells. The big reason for the 3 inch, etc, is steel shot, and I use 3" mag loads of same on the rare occasions I'm after waterfowl these days.

January 23, 2001, 08:11 AM
I have to try shooting some 3 inchers.

Great advice above.

old hawk
January 23, 2001, 09:11 AM
hmmmmmm, i just ran some 3" thru mine allreddy shot thru it, no probs at all,maybe the ports cut short, then i shoot the feds and rems 3", no sweat no probs?

January 23, 2001, 06:28 PM
My 870 is chambered for 3 1/2" mags. So anyone care to take a guess as to whether or not it should have extraction problems with either 3" or 3 1/2" shells. I have maybe put 300 rounds though it so far. (Light 2 3/4" shells only.) Extraction was sometimes difficult for perhaps the first hundred rounds but seems to have improved considerably. The only other "problem" I've noticed is that it is sometimes hard to load rounds into the magazine tube. The lifter(?) can catch on the inside of the loading port. (Too much side to side play apparently.)