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Old December 20, 2001, 12:33 AM   #1
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Receiver Wear, Alloy and Steel

I've been wading through the Moss 500 vs. Rem 870 debates for the past few weeks both on and over at rec.guns. Aside from the noisy forearm of the 500, the main complaint from people is the Al. alloy receiver not being up to snuff with steel ones. I was wondering how much of a difference is there in durability as lots of people (here more so then rec.guns) say the steel one lasts longer but no one begins/ends one of those posts with "I actually wore out an alloy receiver on a Brand X pump shotgun before swearing by my new Brand Y shotguns steel receiver". Or are alloy receivers just more prone to breakage from your accidental ding and drop?

I'm also wondering what constitutes normal receiver (of any material) wear. Do they crack from all the pressure of firing X amount of rounds? Does the bolt start seeing a lot of play to where it no longer reliably locks up to the barrel. Or do parts of it just fly off one day when shooting?

Also, to me it just seems odd that something that doesn't see as much pressure as the barrel/chamber does, or as much movement and impact as the bolt does be where most of the talk is on wear. Doesn't the receiver just hold everything together? A very important part sure, but it doesn't look to take that much abuse other than from a careless operator. Actually, if I was completely new to shotguns and saw all this talk about receiver wear I'd make up my mind to go buy the shotgun with the most durable finish . Sorry, lame joke.

New gun, same ol' shot.
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Old December 20, 2001, 02:03 AM   #2
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Not sure about the receiver actually wearing out, but when you think of steel guide rods sliding against steel, the aluminum is going to wear first. I did have a Mossberg 500 years ago and was very interested in trying it out on geese. I did like the feel of the Mossberg stock as it was wider and seemed to recoil less than my 870. The action bars separated from the forearm handle in less than 10 rounds. They were spot welded. Back in the truck it went, the 870 came back out and I have been happy ever since. If I were looking at an inexpensive aluminum framed shotgun, I would probably look at the Winchester 1200. Rather than locking on a barrel tang, it uses a rotary bolt which seems strong and long lasting IMO.
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Old December 20, 2001, 08:05 AM   #3
Dave McC
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Old smith buddy once told me he's seen worn out 500s, but not many. I've seen dinged up turnin 500s that fired fine,including one I owned briefly. I sold it for other reasons than thinking it was junk, BTW. It wasn't.

I doubt that either alloy or steel, given good design and construction, will wear out under normal conditions in one lifetime. Heavy use, like dedicated Gamer guns, may see the steel frame hold up a lot longer.

If you shoot more than say, 200 rounds a month, year in and out, a steel frame may be the better choice. Or, just reconcile yourself to buying a new 500,1200 etc, every decade or so.Cost per use is very low either way.

Adam, on 870s, according to Kuhnhausen, wear shows up on the bolt lug and notch in the bbl extension. New parts rectify this.IOW, an 870 receiver is well nigh immortal. Some 870 hammers peen slightly, and I may have to replace the one on my TB in a few years with a better hardened one. Right now, the only sign of the 4000 or so loads I've put through it in the last year is wear marks on the mag tube, action bars, and a super smooth finish on the bearing surfaces of the shell holders.
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Old December 20, 2001, 11:58 AM   #4
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Cost per round fired. Interestin way to look at it. My custom Maruko trap single has so far cost a little under .001 cents a round fired. That is just amortizing the cost of gun and maintenance, ammo not included.

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Old December 20, 2001, 12:39 PM   #5
Brian Newbill
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My .02 worth.

If aluminum frames were a problem then we should hear about alot of problems with Benelli. The M1 has an aluminum reciever and it works off of recoil so there is no reduction in forces like in the Browning Gold shotguns which also have an aluminum reciever.

The only thing I could see is if you wanted to use it for a club or something. (Although a friend of mine was using his 835 to knock dead limbs out of the way and he didn't break his, it is still going strong)

In my part of the country it is said if a Martin can't break it it can't be broke. They have been accused of being able to break an anvil with a rubber mallet.

It might scratch a little easier but of course it won't rust.

I really wouldn't worry about it, shoot what feels the best.
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