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Old 09-29-2007, 12:44 PM   #1
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Rem 870 reliability/shell lifter

Took one of my 870s out the range today to play around with after my time on the rifle line. It had been a while since I'd run any loads thru a shotgun, so I wanted to re-acquaint myself to the recoil and see how fast I could get back on target. Only brought 50 rounds with me; 25 S&B 2-3/4" 00 shells and a box of Federal skeet rounds (#7.5 IIRC). I set a target stand about 15 yards out and let fly with the 00 loads. I couldn't get through a 7 round string without one of the shells hanging up on feed. The shell would "stub" against the bottom lip of the chamber, as if it wasn't being properly aligned. I was making sure to fully cycle the slide, bringing it firmly and quickly to the rear before shucking the action closed, or rather trying to. The jams were cleared by retracting the action a fraction of an inch, then closing it again. In each case, the shell chambered on the second try. This only happened with the 00 rounds; all 25 of the lighter Federal skeet loads chambered without a hitch, totally reliable. This was not a double feed. Was more like the shell just wasn't quite being lifted high enough at the right time. So I got to thinking maybe the shell lifter spring needs to be replaced? As I understand it, the 870 Police model uses a stronger shell lifter spring than the standard Express model like mine. Can I install a Police lifter spring on an Express, and if so, where can I get one? This is a gun I would like to use as a dedicated home-defense weapon, but I need to resolve this issue before trusting it with heavy loads. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Here's the equipment particulars: Remington Express magnum action, Mossberg 18.5" aftermarket barrel (designed specifically for the Remington 870 action, sold at Academy Outdoor stores), Sellier and Bellot 2 3/4" 00 shells (the clear ones, can't recall if they were 9 or 12 pellet).
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Old 09-29-2007, 04:08 PM   #2
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The problem can be caused by "short stroking" the gun during rapid fire or by "lifter bounce".

Short stroking means simply that you're failing to pull the slide fully to the rear, and the lifter isn't rising up far enough.

Lifter bounce "can" happen if you have a weak spring and you're banging the slide back and forth TOO hard.

I'd recommend cleaning and lubing the trigger assembly by liberally spraying the entire assembly with Rem-Oil.
Stand it up and allow the excess to drain out for 30 minutes.
Then, shake off and wipe off the excess and reassemble the gun.

If it still does it, buy a new spring.
Remington calls it a "Carrier dog spring".

You can get a Police weight spring direct from Remington.
There are other sources for the standard carrier dog spring, including Brownell's, Midway USA, and Gun Parts Corporation.
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Old 09-29-2007, 06:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfariswheel
The problem can be caused by "short stroking" the gun during rapid fire...
I'm positive this isn't my problem. I got through the whole box of Federal rounds with zero issues. Only happened with the 00 shells which weighed more, making me think this is probably mechanical. After the first time it hung up, I payed close attention to how I was cycling the action. In each case I encountered the problem, the slide had been fully retracted before forward motion began. I'll try thoroughly cleaning and lubing the trigger group, and if that doesn't solve it, I'll look into the police-weight spring. I found the standard weight spring at Midway, but if I'm swapping it out, might as well upgrade in the process.
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Old 09-30-2007, 07:02 AM   #4
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It could be the ammo. S&B uses a roll crimp that gives their 2 3/4 shells a longer overall length. The S&B 2 3/4 00 buck I have is about 1/8 inch longer than Remington #6 upland loads. The S&B works fine in my FN with a 3 inch chamber but jams my Remington 1100. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:22 AM   #5
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Also not the problem. Got a three inch chamber as well (I should have specified that originally, my bad). I disassembled the gun, removed the trigger group, sprayed it liberally with a degreaser to remove all the accumulated debris and gunk, then re-lubed it. Action seems smooth enough, but I think I'm going to get on the phone to Remington on Monday and see if they'll sell a couple of the police carrier dog springs to a mere mortal.
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Old 09-30-2007, 08:29 AM   #6
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At what point did Remington switch from a metal trigger group in the Express to the plastic? My older Remington Express Mag has an aluminum trigger housing which lacks the J-lock in the safety. The newer Express Mag has a plastic housing with a J-lock safety. Just curious...
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Old 09-30-2007, 04:04 PM   #7
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Remington went to the plastic trigger guard in the Express fairly early on.

They added the "J-lock" safety lock sometime in the late 1990's-early 2000's.
Last year they discontinued the J-lock due to customer complaints.

Truth is, the aluminum trigger guard is actually made of compressed powdered aluminum.
The plastic guard has proved to be just as tough, strong, durable, and long lasting as the aluminum version.
It actually has some advantages. as example there is no finish to wear off and look ratty, it's non corroding and self-lubricating, and a blow that will bend or break the aluminum guard will only cause the plastic to flex and return to shape.

On another forum we had a request for anyone with broken plastic shotgun parts to post the item and how it broke.
Other than a couple of plastic magazine followers and the infamous Mossberg tang safety there wasn't much.

The only broken Remington trigger group I ever saw was a catastrophic incident that actually bent the receiver. In that case a steel guard would have failed.
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