870 Wingmaster trigger reset fail?


December 9, 2013, 05:58 PM
Not sure what else to call it..

Early 70's vintage wingmaster. Took it pheasant hunting last weekend, shot a bird, reloaded, and attempted to reengage the safety. The safety button was stuck on fire. The slide and slide release were working normally.

Unloaded the shotgun, tried to dry fire it. Nothing happened.

Racked the slide to the rear as hard as I could, shotgun worked normally. Finished the hunt that day and took it out again the next day and it worked perfectly. I was walking with an empty chamber out of paranoia though.

Any ideas what the heck that was all about?

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December 9, 2013, 06:16 PM
I had that same thing happen to my .410 870. I chalked it up to not working the slide "with authority". It only happened that one day, but was fine the next time I tried it.

December 9, 2013, 06:40 PM
Possibly a fouled trigger unit from years of crud.

Take the trigger guard assembly out and use something like Rem-Oil to liberally spray out the unit to flush out fouling.
Shake off the excess and stand it up so it can fully drain.

AI&P Tactical
December 9, 2013, 07:50 PM
If you clean the trigger plate assembly use anything but oil. The oil will collect gunk and you will be worse off. I use tool and break cleaner like you get at an auto parts store. Use the non flamable kind. Blast it out and if you have access to a compressor blow it out also. If not then let it set as the break cleaner will evaportate. Then put one very, very, very small drop of oil on the hammer plunger and the one very, very, very small drop on carrier dog follower plunger. You are done.

However, check your sear spring and make sure you are getting lock back on the hammer. Hold the trigger plate assembly in your hand and cock the hammer back and make sure you get solid lock up. Look at the spot where the sear catches the hammer and make sure nothing is chipped or worn.

I would not use that weapon until it is checked out by a gun smith as the issue you describe could be a couple things and none of them are safe to use a weapon with.

December 10, 2013, 12:33 AM
Had the same thing happen with my '76 WM. Cleaned the trigger group real good and 2000rds later I haven't had an issue.

December 10, 2013, 02:06 PM
Sounds like short stroking to me. the hammer is cocked by the rearward movement of the bolt. The hammer can fail to latch if not pulled back far enough. Also either the trigger group or receiver can be gunked up preventing full stroke or sear catching the hammer.

December 10, 2013, 02:15 PM
I think I wasn't clear. I fully cycled the action a few times and it did not reset. Then I slammed the slide to the rear which "fixed it."

AI&P Tactical
December 10, 2013, 05:44 PM
That's clear and if some gunk was on the sear or the hammer where it locks up to the sear you have an issue and need to at least have it looked at. This is why some of the guys said clean the trigger plate assembly. I agree to clean it and also to examin the sear and I go further and have a gun smith examin it. It could be a safety issue and if you over look it and something happens, that would be hard to live with. If an 870 will not lock up I consider that serious. If look at my signature line you will see I am qualified to give this advise and I become rather pushy when it could be a safety issue that could endanger you or others.

If some crud was there it was keeping the weapon from locking up. You may have racked it back very hard and cleared it but it can happen again. If there is crud on the sear and you get just enough lock up to hold the hammer back but not complete lock up, anything could jar the weapon and release the hammer. Understand this is not possible with an undamaged sear and hammer as my video of me pounding the hell out of loaded 870 with the safety off and hitting it so hard with a rubber mallet I was knocking the trigger pins out, and still it would not fire. But have a damaged sear or hammer, or crud between the two where they lock up and it can be bad news.

December 11, 2013, 02:03 AM
About once a year I boil my trigger assemblies for a few minutes in soapy water, and then re-lube. They get pretty gunked up.

Also, what was the temperature when you were hunting? I have had multiple 870's on the same hunt / day that froze up while hunting in extreme sub zero weather.

And last, sometimes, and probably especially if things aren't super clean, temps are very cold and, or, wet, it can be necessary to work the action with extreme authority, as someone else mentioned.


December 11, 2013, 08:38 PM
Temp was maybe 20 degrees.

I'm putting the shotgun up for the rest of bird season, switching to an alternate.

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