View Full Version : Short-stroking an 870

December 04, 2011, 10:24
I feel like a golfer that's developed a slice :eek:

For years and years I've shot this 870 and never had a problem. Now suddenly I find myself pulling the trigger and getting a "click" every so often. I'm thinking I'm just really pushing to shoot faster (for 3-gun) right now, and short-stroking it in the process sometimes.

Short of just "stop doing that, dumba$$", are there any drills to help me get out of this?

Is there anything mechanical I should check that could exhibit the same symptoms? This is a well-used shotgun, but it stays clean and maintained and has never had a mechanical failure before.

December 04, 2011, 11:57
When it goes "click", I'm assuming the chamber is empty? No particular expertize here, but I don't see how it could be "short-stroked" if the fired shell was ejected from the last round.

Test cycling my 870, it would seem that possibly your "Lifter" wasn't working every time. That's the only way I can see how you would have an empty chamber to click on.

You have put a lot of wear on your 870 so I would look for some worn parts, especially the one that actuates the shell lifter, if that's the right name for it. :rolleyes:

Don't know of any drills, maybe thinking "CHUNK_CHUNK" would work. :wink: It seems that you've become so proficient that you've finally outgunned yourself. :]
Maybe time for you to move to a Semi, those Benelli's are pretty slick. :biggrin:

RG Coburn
December 04, 2011, 17:12
I've done it deer hunting.Get excited,shooting at a nice buck,don't rack it fully...CLICK...

December 04, 2011, 18:13
Well, I believe that we need more information. The "click" you describe, is it on an empty chamber, on the previously fired empty cartridge or a new, loaded cartridge?


December 04, 2011, 22:47
The click is on an empty chamber. I looked over the action in detail tonight, and it is all in good condition. There is normal wear, but everything functions just fine. I paid special attention to where the action bars actuate the shell releases on each side, and the lifter mechanism. I could replicate the ejection of a round and the lack of release of the new round from the magazine (causing the bolt to close on an empty chamber) by reversing the action 1/4" to 1/2" from it's most rearward point (simulating a short stroke).

I was surprised to see how far back the shell release actuated, but it perfectly explains what is happening. Now if I can just stop doing it...

December 04, 2011, 23:32
I have done it attempting to pick up doubles on skeet.

Never short stroked the 870 running buck or slugs, tho.

December 05, 2011, 06:07
Fairly common under stress; practice slamming the forend back until it reaches mechanical stop. Or switch to a gas-gun.

December 05, 2011, 06:46
Under stress is right. I short stroked an 870 getting out of the car on an armed robbery in progress with an officer down. Turned it into a club.

December 05, 2011, 07:48
Wow! That must have been the loudest "click" you ever heard, GSP228.:uhoh:

I'm glad to know it's mechanically sound, but it's a whole lot easier to fix a mechanical issue than a mental issue!

December 05, 2011, 09:24
I never got to the "click" part. The action seized about half-way the return stroke. Locked up tighter than Dick's hat band.

December 05, 2011, 14:16
Originally posted by TerryN
Fairly common under stress; practice slamming the forend back until it reaches mechanical stop. Or switch to a gas-gun.
I have done the same thing when doing dry fire practice. My shotgun is a Mossberg 590, but the advise is good for any brand. The body does funny things under stress.

Andy the Aussie
December 05, 2011, 18:29
I got my first 870 when I was about 13 so ten years later when the Govt decided to 'teach me how to use it" I was pretty adept at it already. That said under pressure I saw and had the short stroke and click go on. I still have the sound of an instructor yelling at me to "mash it, all the way back, don't pump it like it is your dick, mash it back so the gun knows it had been worked" the idea (besides sounding somewhat super cool) was to get the operator use to the feeling of the slide mechanism hitting back hard before the forward stroke was commenced. Nothing graceful about it and yes it probably slows one down just a little but it sure beats the hell out of the loud resonating "CLICK" at the critical moment...!!!