Why do 870's freeze?


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gamestalker
October 23, 2013, 05:54 PM
Myself and numerous others have experienced frozen 870's when they are exposed to the deadly Midwest winter element. I'm not talking about snow or moisture getting into the gun and freezing. What happens is a dry, well cleaned, and properly lubed 870 that will absolutely fail to drop the FP when the trigger is pulled after only a couple of minutes of exposure to -20 degree's and colder. The good old $60 single shotguns don't freeze?

GS

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Redlg155
October 23, 2013, 06:14 PM
I would think you would want to use a dry lube at that temperature extreme.

The old single shots have more inrtia with the external hammer and less distance for the firing pin to travel as it is not contained within a bolt assembly.

Fred Fuller
October 23, 2013, 06:19 PM
Should be easy enough to degrease the bolt assembly and relube with dry lube ...

Virginian
October 23, 2013, 06:44 PM
I have never seen or experienced this problem on any of my guns, or any of my hunting companions' guns. That's in conditions down to minus 11 degrees F. What the heck are you using for lubrication?

gamestalker
October 23, 2013, 07:10 PM
Just #9 for lube.

But on a bad day the temps are often way colder than -20 with the wind chill. I've hunted in -70 or -80 degrees with the wind chill, it's brutal but pheasant hunting is an addiction. The only success we've had is when we slip a heavy insulating sock over the receiver, which is a pain when the birds start busting. At -.10 we don't have any problems, none ziltch, so I think it has something to do with the lube? I've tried no lube, in other words a dry bolt, and they still freeze.

GS

dogtown tom
October 23, 2013, 07:20 PM
gamestalker ..... I've hunted in -70 or -80 degrees with the wind chill....
Where was this?
I can't imagine any bird short of a penguin coming out in that weather.:D


As far as the effect wind chill has on a shotgun receiver?
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/windchill/windchillfaq.shtml

2. Can wind chill impact my car's radiator or exposed water pipe?
A. The only effect wind chill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to shorten the amount of time for the object to cool. The inanimate object will not cool below the actual air temperature. For example, if the temperature outside is -5 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill temperature is -31 degrees Fahrenheit, then your car's radiator will not drop lower than -5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Riomouse911
October 23, 2013, 07:25 PM
Many firearms will freeze up at that temp; there are tons of Korean war tales of Garands, 1911's and Carbines freezing during engagements; in some cases they were urinated on to unlock their actions. All of these have longer firing pins than the hammer guns do so that explanation makes sense, especially if the oil on the firing pin and hammer area freezes up.

My South Dakota buddies use dry lube on their bolt guns, as these will also freeze shut on them.

DM~
October 23, 2013, 08:09 PM
I guess i've had several of my firearms in -35F or so, on a sno-machine, so you can guess what the windchill was.

I clean/lube them with Breakfree and i've never had one freeze or fail to fire. The stuff works for me, so i keep using it.

I knew a guy that had a Mark V Wby. freeze up, when ice formed in those "9 little locking lugs" on the bolt. I have no idea what he was using for lube at the time though. After that happened, i suggested to him that he clean/lube with Breakfree and he did.

DM

LeonCarr
October 23, 2013, 08:15 PM
I have shot 870s in 17 degree weather and single digit wind chill with no malfunctions. It was lubed the same way I lube in 100 degree heat, with Break-Free or Mobil 1 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil.

I have never heard of an 870 freezing up until reading this thread.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Buzznrose
October 23, 2013, 09:26 PM
Not trying to distract the thread, but wind chill is a measurement that only affects things that generate heat, or are inherently warm and may make them cool to the ambient temp a little faster.

If it's 20 degrees and a 15 mph wind makes it "feel like" it's 10 degrees (example only, I didn't pull up a wind chill chart), then your vehicle, gun, tools, etc. get no colder than 20 degrees.

Your body feels colder because the heat generated by your body that forms a sort of micro warm layer over your skin is disrupted and removed by wind, thus the term "wind chill".

mljdeckard
October 23, 2013, 09:38 PM
.......never heard of it.

ugaarguy
October 23, 2013, 09:47 PM
Just #9 for lube.
That's very likely the culprit. Hoppes #9 was never intended for extreme cold. THR member Float Pilot has done some pretty extensive extreme cold weapon lubricant testing in Alaska. He posted some results here on THR (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=6543483&postcount=12) in 2010. He also posted some updated results on SB (http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=212418) in 2012. I'd start with that list to get some ideas on a better cold weather lube.

rcmodel
October 23, 2013, 09:55 PM
-20 degree's and colder.I have never heard of an 870 freezing in my life.

Course you are in Arizona.

Here in Kansas, about as cold as it gets is -25, and that's only a few times every lifetime, in the middle of the night.

And when it's -20 in a blizzard in the daytime while I should be hunting?
I set by the fire and wait for it to get up to a more comfortable 0 or so.


Were I you, and if I ever had that problem with an 870?
I would do the same.

Or, wash the whole thing out with white gas, or hot soap & water.
Blow dry.
And re-lube with Remington Dry-Lube spray, or lock graphite.

http://www.basspro.com/Remington-RemDriLube-Dry-Aerosol-Spray-Lubricant/product/67642/



rc

frankenstein406
October 23, 2013, 10:02 PM
Never had a problem with a mossberg 500 or any rifles in the cold. I used clp but switched to slip evil.

btg3
October 23, 2013, 10:59 PM
If your vehicle starts in the extreme cold, lube your gun with that motor oil 'cuz it won't be the lube that's frozen.

However, if it's too cold to drive anywhere and you're in and out of the house to shoot off the back deck... well then, your cold gun is condensing moisture which quickly ices up when you go back out.

As for the thick sock, it's insulation which helps keep a warm gun warm, but will also keep a cold gun cold. It won't warm up a cold gun.

Water is possibly a by product of gun powder combustion. After the first shot, you may no longer have a dry gun -- which is why a water displacement lube may be a good idea in extreme cold.

Let's also clarify "fail to drop the firing pin". Perhaps you meant to say the hammer does not strike the firing pin? This leads to thinking about the amount of ice (if present) and how much force this ice can withstand to...
1. Prevent the firing pin from moving if struck by the hammer.
2. Prevent the hammer from moving if released by the sear.
3. Prevent the trigger from moving???
4. What about the link between the trigger and the sear? If that gets stuck/frozen, then the trigger will not engage or move the sear. But the trigger will move.

I pulled a couple of spare 870 trigger groups out to examine while typing and it's just not adding up.

Best to eliminate water/condensate with a displacement lube. If it still happens, think through the firing cycle and trigger mechanics to better isolate the specific component that's out of commission and then work on a solution for it.

FWIW, I was given an Express trigger group from a new gun that did not work from the factory. It just needed a couple of touches with a file to allow trigger/sear engagement and was good-to-go. Perhaps extreme cold could cause a tolerance issue on your gun which likely could be adjusted to allow operation over the wide temperature range which is not a problem for the vast majority of 870s. If you can take apart the trigger assembly, git 'er done -- or get a gunsmith to do it.

rule303
October 23, 2013, 11:30 PM
I have seen all different types of failures on 870's, but freezing up is not one of them, and we hunt in plenty of cold weather here. The hammer in the trigger group is what "drops", so it sounds like whatever issue you are having lies there rather than the bolt. Maybe there is some dried lube or grease getting so thick in the cold that the hammer isn't falling fast enough to dimple the primer? We need more info.

PapaG
October 23, 2013, 11:44 PM
300,000 plus rounds through my TB, another 100K through a few other 870s and the only failure to drop the pin was when the pin broke (at 200,000 plus). Clean, dry, and some old DriSlide has always worked for me from 100 plus to 18 minus.

Virginian
October 24, 2013, 03:21 AM
If you are getting in and out of a warm car with the gun, that may be your problem. The cold gun will collect sweat when it gets in the warm environment, and then when it gets back in the cold the condensation will freeze. I don't worry about the freezing down here, but I don't want rust, so when I take my guns out of the air conditioning I have to make sure and leave the case unzipped or open and the gun in the air until it warms up and dries out. When I lived in Ohio - and ran afoul of those minus 11 conditions - I used to have to deal with this issue too.

AI&P Tactical
October 24, 2013, 11:40 PM
I would guess anyone not having lived, worked outside and hunted here in Michigan would take my word for it that it gets cold here. So, I know cold. In any condition that you would be out hunting in, it is not going to get cold enough to affect an 870 or any firearm or you would not be outside in it. I have never heard of the issue that the OP mentioned and can not accept it as being an issue with an 870. The question is worded to give the impression that this happens with 870 shotguns. That is not true but it may have happened with his and I could not even begin to explain why this happened with his 870. I would recommend he consider the ammo he was using may have gotten damp because it was taken from a heated auto or Cabin right out in to the cold. I don't know but maybe this could have caused moisture to develop around the primer. Maybe some of the guys that reload and know shot shells better then me could answer if this was possible.


Also a comment about wind chill is illrelevent as wind chill does not objects, only living things.

Virginian
October 25, 2013, 01:09 AM
The cold never affected my reloads at all. I used to seal the crimp on my super stuffed Remington 3" reloads with candle wax as an extra precaution. I totally agree, it certainly is not a Remington specific problem.

Omaha-BeenGlockin
October 25, 2013, 01:39 AM
It used to be a common issue back in the day---not so much anymore with the modern lubes that came to the market since the 80's or so.

rcmodel
October 25, 2013, 02:41 AM
may have gotten damp because it was taken from a heated auto or Cabin right out in to the cold.It doesn't work that way.

Moisture forms on cold metal or other things when it is taken from the dry cold air into a heated humid environment.

Besides, ammo is sealed well enough that condensation simply does not occur inside the primer, or inside the loaded shell casing.

I have fished shotgun shells out of the bottom of a flooded duck blind at the end of the season and shot them successfully.

Just to see if they would fire.

And they did.

rc

AI&P Tactical
October 25, 2013, 08:23 PM
Can't agree. Pull your gun out of the truck and by the time you tromp through the snow to your blind it is damp. Haven't seen much dry cold air up here. Maybe snow in KS is dry but ours is wet and a wet cold Michigan day makes for horrid hunting conditions, unless you know how to dress. The humidity up here is different then where you are for sure as we are surrounded by water on three sides of this state. Michigan has the second most cost line in the United states with Alaska being number 1. Michigan is hummid all four seasons up here.

The OP had an issue and is claiming it is common with the 870. It is not, so I was trying to find another reason. If it is not the ammo then It has to be something he has done. As for lube, I don't lube the internals of an 870 except for three very, very, very, very small drops. And none of them are on the breech bolt. So if the OP has fouled up the inside of the weapon with something that does not belong in there then that could be the issue. Remember, he is claiming the 870 breech bolt freezes up in cold weather and will not strike his round and discharge it. I believe him that it happened but it is not the 870 that caused it.

gamestalker
October 26, 2013, 05:42 PM
AI&P Tactical, I agree it is likely not isolated to the 870, as I have heard others complain about their firearms experiencing the same thing. Myself, my 5 Son's and I all shoot 870's, and they all freeze up in those conditions. I have no doubt it has little to do with the 870's, and everything to do with the lube we use down here in Arizona. We shoot box after box down here in the SW desert, and we have never had a malfunction, so something is definitely freezing.

I'll try a dry lube this year and see what happens.

GS

jon_in_wv
October 27, 2013, 01:24 PM
I use Mobile 1 synthetic on all my firearms. Mobile 1 thickens at a much colder temperature than regular oils. I would suspect if you lube your weapons with it you won't have to worry about the cold.

barnbwt
October 27, 2013, 02:02 PM
Cold affects stuff in firearms by two mechanisms; thickening/stiffening of liquid/flexible compounds, and thermal expansion (or contraction, rather).

If your bolt is dry, that doesn't change things for the firing pin. If the FP channel and spring are dry, the only remaining physical mechanism for a change in operation from temperature is thermal expansion. The FP, channel, and spring are all the same material (steel) and have the same expansion factor, so the cold cannot affect their fitment to one another.

It's either gunk left in the FP channel, or nothing. Or maybe water if you give the guns a good soak before stepping out :D. Graphite or bare are the only "lubes" that won't have long since clouded/thickened at subzero. I don't suppose the gun is held (in a blind or something) in such a way that your moisture-laden breath can condense/freeze onto it?

I'll also ask "why the heck" are you outside in those temps? True <-20 weather will frostbite exposed skin almost instantly, and winds causing -80 would be so high that you couldn't possibly keep yourself stable when aiming :confused:. How do you expose a finger to pull a trigger without frostbite or crippling numbness, since gloves don't insulate well enough at those temps?

Why not just keep a chemical "hot pack" between your mitten and the receiver? :D

TCB

Deltaboy
October 27, 2013, 11:07 PM
Never had it happen but I never hunted in weather much below zero in The mid South.

JohnKSa
October 27, 2013, 11:22 PM
Mobile 1 thickens at a much colder temperature than regular oils. I would suspect if you lube your weapons with it you won't have to worry about the cold.It should perform about like BreakFree CLP in the cold. They both use the same synthetic oil as a base unless one or the other has been reformulated.

oneounceload
October 28, 2013, 12:18 AM
At those temps, I would be more concerned with my ammo giving me bloopers before the gun malfunctioning........;)

Having previously lived in ND where winter temps were averaging -35 regularly, there was no way I would be outside. Our safety guy showed us what happened to your skin after 20 seconds or so if it wasn't covered completely - the risk of not only frostbite, but serious risks including death aren't worth it- even for a pheasant.

Add a little moisture as has been mentioned, and the gun can freeze together, like licking the flagpole in A Christmas Story

DM~
October 28, 2013, 12:44 AM
Can't agree. Pull your gun out of the truck and by the time you tromp through the snow to your blind it is damp. Haven't seen much dry cold air up here. Maybe snow in KS is dry but ours is wet and a wet cold Michigan day makes for horrid hunting conditions, unless you know how to dress. The humidity up here is different then where you are for sure as we are surrounded by water on three sides of this state. Michigan has the second most cost line in the United states with Alaska being number 1. Michigan is hummid all four seasons up here.


You keep saying "up here", would that be in the UP??? Because Michigan being "humid" for all four seasons, isn't what i've experienced in Michigan.

DM

blarby
October 28, 2013, 01:12 AM
Easy fix ?

Zip tie one of those "shake and bake" hand warmers to the receiver !

You could loop behind the trigger guard very easily. Not permanent, not pretty, but i'm dang sure it would work.

Cryogaijin
October 28, 2013, 01:58 PM
Errr, lolwut?

I know it is anecdotal, but having taken my 870 out numerous times between -40 and -50 in Fairbanks, I've never had a failure to fire.

AI&P Tactical
October 28, 2013, 08:42 PM
Don't know about the UP as I am in the middle of the state about 8 miles inland from lake Michigan. Winter humidity can be high as in 90's to a low in the upper 60's depending on what systems come through. Anyone can verify this on any weather site. Seldom if every do we have dry air. The lakes are wet and snow is wet. Yet, our 870's never freeze up which is the point of the OP. More mis-information against a model that has been around for over 63 for a very good reason, it works when needed.

Uniquedot
October 28, 2013, 09:20 PM
I've never had anything like this happen, but I can see how it could happen with any weapon of the sort in the right conditions and improper lube.

45_auto
October 28, 2013, 09:33 PM
I would recommend he consider the ammo he was using may have gotten damp because it was taken from a heated auto or Cabin right out in to the cold.

You believe that heated objects cause condensation to form on them in the cold?

You really believe that those electric defroster strips in the rear window of your car eliminate the condensation on the window by causing the window to get COLDER? :rolleyes:

Kernel
October 28, 2013, 09:47 PM
At -20 F there is essentially zero water in the air. I don't care where, or what part of Michigan, you live in. It's physically impossible for air that cold to hold any appreciable amount of water. As an illustration - a cubic foot of air would have less than one drop from the tip of a sharp sewing needle – less than 1/10th of a grain of water. (That's the same “grain” we use in reloading. 7000 to a pound.)

And the term “relative humidity” is virtually meaningless at that temperature.

If it's that cold, and water is getting into your action, it's not coming from the outdoor atmosphere. I suspect The Virginian was on the right track. Taking a cold gun into a warm house, or car, will cause condensation to form on it. Not just the outside. Deep inside the action as well.

When the temps get low it's best to keep your guns in the cold all the time - instead of taking them back and forth from cold to hot. Leave them in the trunk of your car, a shed or and unheated garage.

DM~
October 28, 2013, 10:24 PM
Don't know about the UP as I am in the middle of the state about 8 miles inland from lake Michigan. Winter humidity can be high as in 90's to a low in the upper 60's depending on what systems come through. Anyone can verify this on any weather site. Seldom if every do we have dry air. The lakes are wet and snow is wet.


I'm a little further inland from Lake Mi. than you, and i don't have the humidity problem you do. I'm just outside of the lake affect snow too, so i don't get all that extra snow either...

In fact, i hang cloths out on the cloths line all winter long, and they dry quite fast MOST days. If there was a humidity problem, i'd have trouble getting them dry, and i don't...

I guess i'm glad i'm not closer to the lake!

As for 870's, i've NEVER had one freeze up....not here, and not in Alaska, out in some very cold weather.

DM

jon_in_wv
November 11, 2013, 10:18 PM
It should perform about like BreakFree CLP in the cold. They both use the same synthetic oil as a base unless one or the other has been reformulated.

I agree that it "should" but in my experience that doesn't play out in reality. While CLP is supposed to be good to -50 I remember the numbers being a lot warmer than that in my combat training. (I don't remember the exact temp that was 20 years ago) I stuck with CLP for a long time after the Marine Corps because I figured if it was good enough for the Marines it was good enough for me but I noticed that CLP does in fact gum up and leave residue in my weapons. Mobile 1 is supposed to flow to about -35 degree, doesn't leave any gum or residue and my weapons feel "slippery" and clean up much easier with Mobile 1. CLP worked fine for me for a lot of years but I just prefer the performance of Mobile 1 and its a lot cheaper too.

When I lived in Minnesota I tried Mobile 1 in my car and even down to -30 degrees I noticed the care turned over like it normal. Regular oil, even other synthetics I tried, would turn over much harder. Regardless of the numbers, I'll stick with Mobile 1 for my cars and my guns.

Virginian
November 11, 2013, 10:53 PM
The thermal coefficient of expansion for carbon steel is 7.3 x 10 to the minus 6 power inches per inch/degree F. 400 Stainless is about 4.5 x 10 to the minus 6 inches per inch/degree F. That ain't the problem.

herrwalther
November 12, 2013, 08:37 PM
Mil-tec has been the standard for cold weather firearm use in the military that I have used. I have used it in the -30 and -40 range with no lockup or freezing issues.

rcmodel
November 12, 2013, 08:47 PM
The thermal coefficient of expansion for carbon steel is 7.3 x 10 to the minus 6 power inches per inch/degree F. 400 Stainless is about 4.5 x 10 to the minus 6 inches per inch/degree F. That ain't the problem.+1 This!



I have never heard of an 870 freezing in my life.And that!

rc

d2wing
November 12, 2013, 09:07 PM
This is really a bogus post, if this guy has no idea of what he is talking about. I live in real cold weather and have never heard of that problem, I have been hunting with 870s for 40 years and in actual freezing temps with no problems. Wind chill has no effect on guns. He has no idea what wind chills of -85 or even -20 would be like. I do. He would not be hunting pheasants for sure.
He possibly could have dirt in the bolt that forms a crud that is worse with cold temps. But hard to say what conditions are in that world.

AI&P Tactical
November 13, 2013, 12:53 PM
Ditto to what d2wing said.

gpb
November 14, 2013, 09:52 AM
Thank heavens for the internet. Without it I wouldn't know that guns I have used without problems for decades are prone to all kinds of problems that I have never experienced.

marcclarke
November 19, 2013, 02:48 AM
I use Mobile 1 synthetic on all my firearms. Mobile 1 thickens at a much colder temperature than regular oils. I would suspect if you lube your weapons with it you won't have to worry about the cold.
I use Mobil-1 0W-40 in my car. Yes, there is such a thing as a "0W" oil It ought to flow very well at low temperatures.

stressed
November 19, 2013, 03:15 AM
Many firearms will freeze up at that temp; there are tons of Korean war tales of Garands, 1911's and Carbines freezing during engagements; in some cases they were urinated on to unlock their actions. All of these have longer firing pins than the hammer guns do so that explanation makes sense, especially if the oil on the firing pin and hammer area freezes up.

My South Dakota buddies use dry lube on their bolt guns, as these will also freeze shut on them.
Same issue the Germans had after invading the Soviet Union. the weapons failed and the lube gunked up. MP40 held strong due to fixed firing pin and bolt slamming forward and could be run with minimal to no lube. Soviet weapons fared far better.

Never heard of this with the 870. Use dry lube.

ugaarguy
November 19, 2013, 05:22 AM
This one has run its course.

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