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I was just looking at stuff on the net when I encountered this great article by someone smarter than me.

It's a clearance drill especially for all 870 users, even those with the flextab on your shotgun. Please reference author for credit as this is not my writing.....


870 CLEARANCE/LOADING DRILLS, by Dave McCracken
I got an email from a member of TheFiringLine forum about the Flextab his 870 didn't have and it led into some other stuff, as things oft do. Here's a coupla things everyone should know about their 870s, and some applies to other brands also.

First, the Flextab is a few small modifications that eliminate one kind of malfunction that locks up the weapon big time. Your 870 has one if there's a slot in the shell carrier. Until I started instructing, I knew little about it, despite thousands of rounds fired through 870s. The Flextab is a nice thing to have, but proper loading technique makes it not a must have.

EXCEPTION:
It's close to a must-have for agency weapons, that may have to be employed by lackadaisical, half trained, unmotivated personnel under stressful conditions. And my "Social" Shotguns have them, since I'm really cautious.

The problem:
If, in a pre-Flextab 870, one fails to insert a shell far enough to get past the shell stop,it can come back behind the carrier and jam the action. For your information, I never had this happen, until I induced it a couple of times on purpose.

Solution:
Train so that one inserts the shells firmly. The method we taught was to turn the shotgun over so the loading port was up, while controlling the weapon with the support hand. Place the butt on your thigh, and place the shell on the first two fingers of your firing hand, with the thumb on the brass controlling the round. Insert firmly and push it as far as you can reach. You should hear/feel a small click as it goes past the shell stop.

Solution II:
Get it changed to a Flextab, and STILL use the above method to load. This part's optional.

OF COURSE, you're practicing this with snap caps, safety on, muzzle controlled and pointing in a safe direction.

Loading while shooting:
In a Serious Scenario, when shooting, this is a good way to reload, so it's a great way in practice. Keeping the weapon at the shoulder and pushed into the cup with the firing hand, use the support hand to load back up to full,while keeping the muzzle covering the area.

Is holding up a 7-10 lb shotgun with one hand fatiguing? Yup, do it anyway.

Loading after running dry:
Despite your best efforts and a mag extension, you've shot it empty and the area still has an unacceptable threat level. Keep the weapon at the shoulder as above, rack it open, and use the support hand to load a shell through the EJECTION port. Rack it forward. As long as the brass end is towards the butt, it WILL chamber and fire just fine.Then, with a round up the spout if needed, top it off as above.

Clearance drills and techniques:
Despite your best efforts, there's a round behind the carrier. What happens next depends on the threat level and situation.

If training, and no threat exists in the area, make the weapon safe, unscrew the mag cap, and take everything out of the mag tube, including the follower and ammo. Gravity should get the stuck round out, and it can be urged by lightly tapping the butt. Reassemble and continue.

If it's a real crisis, safe the weapon, GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF THE TRIGGERGUARD, and depress the slide release and keep it depressed. Swing the weapon and hit the butt on a hard surface, goodnhard. This should clear it immediately. If not transit to your backup, or retreat. I've busted pieces of stock off doing this, so be warned it's rough on the weapon.

Dave McCracken has been shotgunning longer than many shooters have been alive. He regularly posts on TheHighRoad.org and TheFiringLine.com. This article is reprinted here with his permission; reprinting or redistributing this article without his permission is expressly prohibited.
 

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I'm missing something here.
The Flexitab was designed for instant clearing when a shell lodges behind the carrier. With it, there's no need to remove the mag cap or to hit the butt on a hard surface.

On my Flexitab equipped 870s, if a shell pulls that trick, it's just a matter of racking the fore-end back smartly, and running it forward again. That clears the jam immediately, with a round in the chamber (where you do need to depress the slide release), without a round in the chamber, and with or without additional rounds in the magazine.

You don't disassemble anything and you don't smack anything on the ground. With the Flexitab, it's just like running the gun normally, at least in the old veteran 870 I have right here.
Without, yes, you do have a problem, and that's why I wouldn't have an 870 without a Flexitab. It's been a regular feature to prevent the famous Rem Jam in defensive 870s for at least two decades.

So-called "combat loading", by rolling one into the ejection port with the left hand (or loading with the right hand into the port for lefties) has been taught for well over 25 years.
How old is this excerpt?

Denis
 

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I really don't know how old the article is. I just thought it would be helpfull to those infamiliar with clearance of the 870.

All mine have the flextab. I wouldn't own one w/o it. I'm sure some will find value in the article anyway.

I've personally never had this problem at all. But I always load shells with good thumb pressure and push past the latch's click and rack the thing with good force.

I notice half hearted racks leave a shell hanging at the ejection port. :barf:
 

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ER,
The rest of the piece is good, I'm just wondering why McCracken advises disassembly or stock banging when the Flexitab renders both totally unnecessary. :)
Prior to the introduction of the tab, the Rem Jam was a known occurance and instructors taught to load deliberately making sure each shell that went into the tube was well past the shell catch. Occasionally, loading in a hurry under stress and/or worn shell catches could result in a shell slipping back and tying up the carrier, in which case you were screwed as far as instant action corrections went.
The Flexitab changed that, and it was one of the best design developments for the 870 since its inception.
It's money well spent to retrofit with one if anybody has an older gun without it.
Denis
 

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I am new to the 870 so this is interesting information. In December I came across a used Wingmaster for $120 and figured why not for the price. Before this I have owned a couple Mossbergs and presently own a 590A1.

The 870 is an older model, probably from the 70's or earlier, and does not have the split follower. I have only shot it a couple times so far but have not had any issues. Maybe it's because I am used to loading a pump shotgun.

I shot about 10 rounds through the gun without cleaning it first. When I took it apart to clean it I found a very neglected gun. Nothing was damaged but the amount of crud took a couple of applications of Mpro to get it clean and I completely disassembled the trigger assy. to get all the crud out of it. I was impressed by the fact that the gun still ran in the cruddy condition. :rock:
 

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OK, to clear up any confusion....

The clearance drill is for those 870s NOT equipped with a Flextab. As stated, shell carriers with a slot cut in them are Flextabbed and will not hang up if a shell slips by the latches or is not pushed up past them.

The best method for not needing the drilll in older 870s is good loading technique.

Kaptain K, 870s just plain keep on working. Congrats on yours.

Any questions, sing out.
 
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