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Old April 3, 2009, 11:17 PM   #1
Willie D
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Mossberg Maverick 88 Problem

My wife has a Mossberg Maverick 88 that she bought for HD a few years ago and never fired. I took it to the range the other day to try it out.

Chambered the first round, pulled trigger, "click".

Checked the primer, not so much as a scratch. All I could think was "glad she never needed to use this for defense and have it not fire."

Repeated procedure and then it fired but also had two more non-fires in 10 rounds.

Hammer spring doesn't seem particularly strong, firing pin spring is VERY strong. This could be an reliability issue to some degree but I don't think it is the culprit.

After reading the above post and examining the trigger group, what I think is happening here (and to the other guy) is that the hammer is getting stuck on the half-cock notch. If the trigger isn't held firmly after the initial break, it seems to be possible for the sear to return in time to catch on the half cock notch (which is more like 1/8 cocked in terms of hammer position).

This seems like a design flaw. I've never had a pistol that I able to do this on. Do shotguns even need a half cock? I suppose it's for drop safety.

Solution wise:

I'm very tempted to file off the half cock notch on the hammer. Having the chance of the hammer not completely falling when the trigger is pulled seems unacceptable on an HD gun. Assuming I do a professional job is there any reason not to do this? The gun never sits with a round chambered and unless there is a zombie holocaust it's not taking any trips except to the range.

Also: what about cutting a coil off the firing pin spring? I can barely push the firing pin beyond the bolt face with my bare hand and that can't be helping things and may be a problem in its own right.

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Old April 3, 2009, 11:37 PM   #2
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Since it is a brand new gun, I'd clean it thoroughly and take it out and shoot another 50 rounds or so through it and then evaluate it. You may be exactly right in your diagnosis, but I wouldn't alter anything after only 10-12 rounds. And even if the issue was still there after another range session, I'd get a gunsmith's opinion rather than filing anything. Home gunsmithing, to the extent of altering a weapon's design, is generally a very bad idea IMO, even if a 'talented' amateur is doing it.

Just my thoughts on it. I do know a few people with Mavericks and they don't seem to have any problems with 'em.

Last edited by TxGun; April 4, 2009 at 12:55 AM.
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Old April 4, 2009, 01:16 PM   #3
Evan Thomas
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TxGun has it exactly right: clean it, try again, take it to a gunsmith if there's still a problem.

Clean it really thoroughly: My Mossberg 500 came out of the box slathered in sticky grease... if the Mav. 88 is packed in the same condition, I'd hate to think what that stuff would be like after sitting for a few years, if your wife not only never fired it, but also didn't clean it after taking it out of the box... :barf:
Never let anything mechanical know you're in a hurry.
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Old April 5, 2009, 05:36 PM   #4
Willie D
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Did the spring mod but took your collective advice and didn't fool with the trigger group. Put everything back together, dry fired it a few times and finally figured out definitively what is causing the non-fire problem.

If you put ANY inward pressure on the forearm/pump, the bolt slide moves back enough to block the hammer before it completes a full strike. A tiny amount of tension towards the rear of the gun and it will not fire. A slight amount of twisting tension on the forearm and it won't fire. If the gun is pointed upwards and you don't have a hand pushing the forearm towards the muzzle, gravity is enough to move the forearm and bolt slide far enough to prevent firing.

I realize you don't want the gun to fire out of battery but this seems ridiculous. I need to pull back with considerable force to replicate this on my Remington. Searching the net I've found a 4 or 5 other cases of Maverick owners have had the same no-strike problem and it doesn't seem that any have hit upon the real cause.

I guess the only solution is forcefully holding the pump forward at all times or getting a new gun.
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Old April 5, 2009, 05:45 PM   #5
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This sounds like a clearance issue. Too much end play in the rear of the opening on the barrel "Locking Lug Hole" for lack of a better term. You could possibly form a very thin shim of shim stock from a machine stock and secure it with a super duper tuff glue of some sort... Just a redneck guess. I wold try it and clamp it very tight to cure to avoid it being too thick.
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Old April 5, 2009, 05:49 PM   #6
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One other thought is to send it off after discussing this issue with mossberg. It may be an improperly made bolt slide or bolt allowing excessive head space.
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Old April 13, 2009, 10:41 PM   #7
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I bought a 500 Mariner several years ago that didn't fire out of the box. Mossberg provided me with the name of a smith who handled the warranty repair at no cost.
Disapointing to have trouble out of the box but it was fixed locally at no charge.
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Old April 14, 2009, 11:43 AM   #8
Willie D
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Final Diagnosis and Fix:

After a heck of a lot of dry firing and trying to replicate the malfunction at will, I finally figured out exactly what was happening.

Pulling the trigger moves the 'trigger bar' (don't know the real name) forward. The second 'step' on the Trigger Bar pushes the sear forward, which releases the hammer.

The problem occurs because there is a small amount of play in Bolt Slide when the bolt is in battery (the actual bolt does not move). If the bolt slide is back far enough, it contacts the angled portion of the trigger bar making the entire trigger bar move DOWN as it moves forward. The 2nd step slips from the sear immediately after the trigger is pulled, after which there is nothing holding the sear so it cannot clear the half cock notch on the hammer.

I filed a very small amount of material off the angled portion of the trigger bar so that it would no longer contact the bolt slide while the bolt was in battery.

I can no longer make the gun half strike or malfunction.

Also, for some reason the bolt stays locked up better after the trigger is pulled where as before if I pointed the gun upwards and pulled the trigger, the bolt would just fall open.

Anyhow, I need to do a full function test at the range but so far everything seems better. Maybe an out of spec part or just loose tolerances were to blame.

Of course, I accept no responsibility if others attempt this fix.
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Old April 14, 2009, 06:24 PM   #9
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Glad you were able to figure it out and hopefully your fix will do it once and for all. I just got my Maverick 88 security (8shot) this week and will try it out this weekend.
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Old July 14, 2009, 12:47 PM   #10
Join Date: September 10, 2007
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I just wanted to say thank you Willie D! This is exactly the same problem I have with my Moss 600. I'll be doing the same and attempting to remove a bit of material from the trigger bar.

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Old July 14, 2009, 07:15 PM   #11
Katrina Guy
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I love Brent!

If ANYbody knows Mossbergs is Brent, HotDOG!
Tempted to send you my Persuader Brent to run it through the hoops, oil it back up as I haven't to date fired the dang thing. Mind if if just start calling you Mister Mossberg? *w*, no fooling guys, Brent knows his Mossbergs!
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Old July 15, 2009, 02:52 PM   #12
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Willie D - thank you for the inforamtion. I have a model 88 I bought a couple of years ago. And if it misfires I'll keep this thread in mind.

Its really my daughters shotgun. I bought it a little over a year ago, but we have not had any problems.

And thank you for the drawing.
survival gear
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Old July 17, 2009, 06:18 AM   #13
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Which brings us back to the first rule of self defense guns. When you buy one, immediately shoot it a bunch of times to make sure it works. Some manufacturers have fairly short warranties, and it would be nice to find out if the gun works before the warranty expires. Not al of us are as talented at home gunsmithing as the OP.
Not testing a self defense firearm can lead to clicking sounds and bullet holes in ones body in time of need.
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Old September 18, 2010, 01:07 PM   #14
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Any follow ups to this modification? Did this solve the problem or cause new ones? I've got an 88 with the same symptoms. How much to take off the trigger bar, a few file strokes or much more?

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Old October 18, 2010, 03:09 PM   #15
Sportsman 12
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Problem solved... Maverick is now using a different hammer which essentially does away with the halfcock notch. They offered to replace mine if sent the Trigger Group in.

This solved the problem. I am wondering if they had some groups with mismatched hammers or something. Speedy service, aproximately 10 days from sending it in, I received my trigger group.
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