View Full Version : Post season cleaning...

Dave McC
December 9, 2001, 10:26 AM
Saturday was the closer for Md's gun season. I hunted Friday in the heat w/o getting a shot, tho best buddy took a nice 8, a whitefaced old buck with scars and on his way downhill.

Work (Phetui!!) interfered with hunting on Saturday, so I used some time between runs to take the Deer 870 down, give it a full cleaning and lube up before it went back into the cache. This one only gets used for deer and a fun shoot or two most years. It serves as a backup for the HD 870 out of the season, and mostly sits, unlike the Trap 870 and Frankenstein.

So, surrounded by 4 cleaning rods, divers bottles of solvent and lube, rags that used to be favorite shirts, etc, I began to take the weapon down and fell into a revery. Some of my earliest memories are of watching Pop cleaning his guns. Like him, I try to only use rags from clothes I liked for cleaning guns. In my youth, this often meant Flannel (Chamois) shirts from Bean. That meant a long wait, the things wore like iron, and still do. Like Pop again, the smell of the Hoppe's brought back lots of enjoyable memories.

Anyway, I removed the extension with padded Channelocks, dropped out the spring and follower, took off the bbl, forearm and bolt and gave the bbl a shot of #9. Then the trigger group had its pins punched and it got cleaned and lubed. I noted the hammer portion had a bit of peening on the front, and decided to keep an eye on it. There's been maybe 1000 rounds through this one since I put it together in the late 80s, early 90s, and maybe the part's a bit soft. A simple fix, tho not easy for a klutz like me. I'm no smith.Meanwhile, at the present use rate, it'll last longer than I will.

With everything out of the receiver, I got busy with the rags and wiped off all the surfaces inside. I inspected the ejector and found no damage, they can break off the front corner when racked "Enthusiastically" and often. I used SLIP 2000 to lube everything, with the wipe on/wipe off method that lubes and protects everything, but leaves no excess to give grunge a home.

The bolt was next, a wipe or two cleaned the face, and the extractor was checked, no grunge, and the hook was not worn. The travel on the hook was checked, a rough spot can mean trouble down the road. It moved freely, so all's well.

The mag tube and extension got cleaned inside and out,the forearm was disassembled and got the same.

All metal surfaces were wiped off, then wiped with SLIP. A drop went on the threads of the big nut that holds the forearm together before reassembly.On "using" guns,this is often the first place rust happens. It's out of sight and rarely thought of.'Nother place this happens is the threads on the end of the mag tube that secure the bbl in place.

The mag tube showed that it wasn't quite straight, the wear marks were heavier on the top side. Rather than try to fix it, I swapped the forearm with the one from Frankenstein. The looser fit from those worn parts may "Fix" the prob, tho time will tell.

The bbl got the electric drill and 4/0 steel wool trick, grunge gone in 60 seconds. The bbl recess got some special attention, and the chamber was scrubbed out and all was lubed. The rifled tube was swapped for the IC one it has outside the season, and those threads also got a drop of lube.

Both tubes got drilled, then lubed again.

Before putting it all back together, I tried wiggling the stock to see if there was any play between it and the receiver.None,so back together it all went. I used the Channelocks again to tighten the mag extension ONE click past hand tight, and it all was done.

And maybe Pop was looking over my shoulder saying, "Good job, take care of your guns and they will take care of you".

A few notes here....

This is the kind of cleaning that should be done at least once a year on shotguns, more often if used heavily and under adverse conditions. This is why the HD 870 upstairs is 51 years old and has zero rust. It's been in and out of goose blinds, deer stands, salt marches and on hot range days where rivers of perspiration poured off me. It's been cleaned and maintained with everything from water pump grease to SLIP to 10-40W, but it's been cleaned and maintained.Result, no rust, and an heirloom of great practical value is kept in trust for future generations.

870s are easy to break down. For the inept, and those who have fine doubles, etc, a yearly trip to the gun shop to have the smith do it is not expensive and cheap insurance. Do this after the season, not right before. The smith's less busy then.Prices here run $25-40 for this.

Once I had that bbl off the weapon, my zero for slugs was history. No prob, a rezero takes little time, and it's not far off, if my experience counts.The most it's moved in years past has been a few inches at 50 yards. YMMV.

For light use, say up to 1000 rounds/yr, a quick bore cleaning after each range or hunting trip and wipe off of all exposed metal should take care of things.


Will Beararms
December 9, 2001, 03:36 PM
God,Family,Country,Company,Hunting,Shooting and Cleaning Firearms-----------------in that order. I love to clean guns and that's why I do it after every hunting or range trip.

December 9, 2001, 06:26 PM
I also enjoy the peaceful time of cleaning my weapons after a day of shooting. Very relaxing, better than Yoga!
One of Dave's comments has led me to pose this question though. Am I ruining my patterning work by removing my barrel after every trip to the range? I rarely shoot slugs and it never occurred to me that the barrel would not go back into the same spot when I put it together, at least not enough of a difference to matter with bird & buck.

Dave McC
December 10, 2001, 06:23 AM
Thanks, guys.

Mike, I never did this with an 870 that didn't vary zero a bit, but none I've done varied enough to take it off the paper at 50 yards. Most time it shifts, WEG,3-6". It's simple to rezero.

And, shot loads are imprecise by definition. IOW, it doesn't matter with them, not enough variation to affect POA/POI.

And, most cleaning can be done without taking the bbl off. Clean very carefully from the muzzle to not damage the crown, and use a wooden cleaning rod. Or a Boresnake.

Dave McC
January 21, 2002, 04:55 PM
On request, back up. It's that time again...