11-87 won't cycle light loads! HELP!


November 18, 2012, 10:37 AM
Is this something I just need to live with? I thought that the changes that were made when the 11-87 was developed were supposed to fix issues with cycling light loads....

I'm using an older 11-87 (early 90's) with a 21" non rifled slug barrel. I was hoping to have the best of both worlds and use one barrel for occasional clay shooting, general pest control, as well as deer. I'm able to cycle heavy loads just fine, but light (2 3/4, 1 1/8oz, #8) loads just plain won't cycle for anything. After firing, the spent shell isn't ejected at all. Is there anything I can do to fix this? I've made sure everything is clean and lubricated, but not sure what else to try.

Any ideas?:cuss:

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November 18, 2012, 10:51 AM
You might try a different brand of ammo with the same shot charge. I had a benelli sbe that would not cycle Estate 1 1/8 oz loads but would cycle Federal or Rio just fine.

Also check to make sure your gas piston and o-ring are in good condition and installed properly!

I have an 1100 that has cycled everything I've ever fed it but I have heard that the shorter barrels in both the 1100 and 11-87 can be persnickety with light loads. So yes, it may be something you have to live with

November 18, 2012, 12:08 PM
If everyting is cleaned and in proper order as you say, IMO your problem is most likey the gas system is not properly set up for the barrel and loads you are using. The gas ports have to be sized correctly. This could be true especially if the barrel is not OEM and/or has been shortened at some point. btw...this is NOT a willy nillly job with a battery drill. The 1187 is not necessarily a shoot everything generation of shotgun like the more recent models, but it can be adjusted by someone who knows how.

Read up on gas operation of shotguns and the light will be revealed to you. Your problem can be solved, but other options may be cheaper. A good gunsmith will be helpful to you. Keep us posted as your remedy progresses.

November 18, 2012, 12:28 PM
I believe the short slug barrels will only function with heavy slug like loads. Check and see if your barrel has the relief ports in the gas ring, as many of those did not. Short barrels are a problem for a lot of gas guns. Your best course of action would probably be to get a regular 26", 28", or 30" 11-87 barrel.
BTW, the 11-87 was not developed to fix any issues with light loads with an 1100, because there were no issues. An 11-87 with a field barrel is designed to handle everything from a 2-3/4" 1-1/8 ounce field load up through 3" loads. You might want to go to www.remington.com and download an owner's manual if you don't have one.

November 18, 2012, 12:30 PM
Try changing the gas rings. Remington changed design of the gas rings after introducing the 11-87 so the new design might help. Put in a new o-ring too. If all else fails, have a good Remington smith enlarge the gas holes. There is not as much risk as with the 1100 since the 11-87 has a regulator that vents excess gas.

November 18, 2012, 01:29 PM
Barrels of less than 26" are designed to only work with heavy loads. I had problems with light loads with a 26" barrrel. It is possible to enlarge the gas ports to make the gun work with light loads, but run the risk of damage from heavy loads.

November 18, 2012, 01:43 PM
BTW, the 11-87 was not developed to fix any issues with light loads with an 1100, because there were no issues.

Amen! I actually prefer the 1100 myself. But that is another thread:)

November 18, 2012, 03:03 PM
The "new" design gas piston and piston seal does NOT seal nearly as well as the original in my opinion. If you have any knowledge of dynamics one look will tell you why. It is cheaper to manufacture I bet. Remington is no longer making the old style, by Nu-Line makes a clone.

AI&P Tactical
November 18, 2012, 03:21 PM
that barrel is not made for light loads. Sorry, but you can't use it for that. There is nothing wrong with your weapon.

November 18, 2012, 03:30 PM

November 18, 2012, 04:00 PM
It probably wont cycle 7/8 oz loads regardless of what you do. Shoot a heavier low brass shell and you should be fine.

November 18, 2012, 04:35 PM
From Remingtons website.


Note that all barrels with an "*" beside them say.

* These Model 11-87 12 ga. barrels are not equipped with a pressure compensation gas system.

These are all 21" turkey or deer barrels.

If you want an all purpose SG with a shorter barrel you'll have to go with another brand, or an 870 pump.

November 18, 2012, 05:06 PM
Remington started making the 1100 Special Field in 1983 - straight stock, 21" vent rib barrel, available in 12 and 20.


November 18, 2012, 06:05 PM
Unless you dip your buttstock in salt water regularly I think the aftermarket springs are a waste of time and money. Please tell me why a replacement action spring that they imply is stronger would make it work better with lighter loads.

AI&P Tactical
November 18, 2012, 08:22 PM
$60 for an action spring? This is not an upgrade in any reasonable terms. Not even sure how an action spring would rust. I have both an 11-87 and an 1100 and have yet to even need to change the action spring. When I do the OEM spring is $3.80 and that is retail which I don't pay.

November 19, 2012, 10:17 AM
Thanks for all the responses!

I believe that I do have a factory barrel, and it does have two gas ports inside the lug that fits over the magazine tube. From the looks of things though, it sounds like that barrel isn't going to cycle the light clay loads unless I really butcher it up (which I don't want to do).

If I'm reading correctly, my best bet is probably going to be to just get a different barrel that was designed for lighter loads and swap them around depending on what I'm doing.

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