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Best way to regularly unload shotgun

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by psyprofessor, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. psyprofessor

    psyprofessor Well-Known Member

    I plan on keeping SG loaded (none in the chamber but 8 in the ammo tube). The safety is on at all times...until ready to fire.

    But during the time that I am not at home, I want to unload the SG (Mossberg 500). My normal procedure is to pump the action and keep on repeating this process until all the shells are expended.

    What troubles me is that in the process, the chamber is loaded 8 times...daily...just to "unload" the gun. Yes, the safety is on....I follow the 4 rules religiously...but that's a lot of times that SG is loaded in the chamber and AD is a possibility.

    Is there another safer way to unload that would run a lower risk of AD?
  2. with a little modification you can do it by removing the tube cap
  3. peetee32

    peetee32 Well-Known Member

    my remington 870 manual describes the following unloading procedure (when a shell is in the chamber ready to fire):

    1. point in safe direction
    2. engage saftey
    3. unlock action
    4. pull fore end rearward slowly until shell is even with ejection port
    5. lift front of shell outward and remove from ejection port
    6. pull fore end fully rearward until the next shell is released from magazine
    7. tip firearm sideways to allow shell to drop from ejection port

    you of course will start at step 6. you have a mossberg but im guessing the same procedure can be followed.
  4. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    With the Model 870, you can partially open the action enough to move the carrier up, and reach into the loading port and first release the shell latch on the left side with your finger, and then release the shell latch on the right side with your finger and the round will fall into your hand. Repeat until the magazine is empty.

    I don't know if the Mossberg will empty this way or not, but over 26 years of loading and unloading Model 870's at the beginning and end of each shift, this is how it was done.

    Hope this helps.

  5. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    In response to Reloader Freds post,

    you can also do that on Mossbergs, Browning BPSs, Benelli Novas, and most automatics the same way.
  6. dak0ta

    dak0ta Well-Known Member

    M500 can unload by pressing the left shell latch in front of the magazine tube.
  7. mgregg85

    mgregg85 Well-Known Member

    +1 on pushing the shell latch, you can do it with your finger or with a shotgun shell. Its pretty fast too, I do this when I practice loading the shotgun.
  8. foghornl

    foghornl Well-Known Member

    Other guys posted it first, but the Mossbergs can be unloaded (magazine) by pressing on the cartridge stop in the loading port.
  9. sbarkowski

    sbarkowski Well-Known Member

    Benelli says to use the shell stop button to remove the chambered round then close the action and depress the shell stop through the loading port. Works really nice and really fast. Dont see why you couldnt do this with other SG's. Not that experienced with the Mossbergs though, not sure if that technique will work.
  10. inSight-NEO

    inSight-NEO Well-Known Member

    Im just wondering....why the need to unload/reload so often, other than what you stated? Is it because of family? Are you just afraid of coming home and finding someone holding your loaded shotgun (understandable)? Have you considered purchasing a quality shotgun rack (locking) or safe? This is assuming, of course, that you do not already have such an item. The daily loading/unloading of a shotgun seems somewhat impractical to me.

    Try these links. In my opinion, this product is a good alternative to the very expensive and somewhat space-hogging gun safes/vaults. These locks are essentially the same as those used in patrol cars. These arent for everyone, but its a good place to start.


  11. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus


    We unload the 'house guns' here only when it's time to put in fresh ammo (about every year or so). And they get unloaded by being shot empty. IMHO it's a good idea to replace the ammo in a tubular magazine shotgun every so often, simply because the pressure from the compressed magazine spring sometimes causes individual shells to bulge enough not to chamber readily. I've even seen one shell that split its hull (plastic) lengthwise for about an inch and a quarter when left under pressure in a magazine for too long (years). The shell in question is an old Sears 20 gauge 3" magnum load of #4 shot, the hull split from the crimp down to the top of the wad and gapped open about 1/8", only the plastic collar around the shot load is keeping everything together.

    I still have this shell- I use it as an object lesson to demonstrate why defensive shotguns shouldn't be left loaded with the same ammo for too long a time. I also use it to demonstrate the best reason to not buy hyperexpensive 'gimmick' ammunition for defensive purposes, but to stick to conventional buckshot and slugs that one can afford to shoot up and replace every so often, as well as to practice with and pattern as needed.

    How do you secure your shotgun when it isn't attended? Do you have a security cabinet? A safe? Mossberg makes a Loc-Box that works well to secure a home defense shotgun- see http://www.mossberg.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=97 for more info. We have one here for demonstration purposes- it works well.


  12. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    I can't speak for the original poster, but in my case, it was a necessity. The shotguns didn't stay in the patrol cars. They were issued at the beginning of each shift and turned in at the end of the shift. The rounds were loaded and unloaded each time.

    At the beginning of the shift, the shotgun was inspected for broken parts, functioning, etc. The ammunition was inspected for leaking crimps, crumpled walls, etc. Anything noted as being out of the ordinary was either replaced or tagged for repair. We very seldom got the same shotgun two shifts in a row, or the same ammunition.

    My life depended on the shotgun being in good order, along with the ammunition. It was my sole responsibility to make sure they were. The only way to do that was to use the system we had developed, loading and unloading them up to 3 times per day, per gun.

    When I was rangemaster for our department, I went through all 300 shotguns and found several with broken firing pins, which was probably caused by dry firing them. Some people thought it better to pull the trigger on an empty chamber before putting the shotgun in the rack in the car, than learning to use the action release. I instituted a training program to correct this problem and the broken firing pin situation cleared up......

    Hope this helps.

  13. Jenrick

    Jenrick Well-Known Member

    Fred: What type of shotgun were you folks using? Reason I ask is the way we are trained to make our shotguns cruiser ready is to dry fire them. We are using Remington 870's like most agencies currently.

  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Maybe a "trigger guard" or "cable through the barrel" gun lock would be a better solution to the OP's problem.

    Leave the magazine loaded, and lock it & take the key, so it cannot possibly be fired in your absence.

  15. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member


    We used Remington Model 870's exclusively. The firing pin in the 870 is about the size of a 16 penny nail. They would break about half way through their length and usually stay in place. I only found one that one half of the pin had fallen out of, but the others had both pieces still inside the bolt.

    I discovered it when we took a shotgun out of a patrol car one day to use in an exercise, rather than one of my range guns. It fired once and then wouldn't fire twice, then fired the last round. When I took it apart, I found the broken firing pin.

    That started me going through all the guns and found several more. It was enough to make me start the training program and issue memos on what I had found.

    When I talked to the Remington rep, he told me they weren't aware of a problem with the 870's in that regard, but I was able to readily buy extra firing pins, so there must have been a need for them.

    Don't get me wrong, the 870 is my shotgun of choice, and own one today for a house gun. I've been retired for almost 14 years and all those guns I worked on in the late 1970's are still in service today. They are a great gun, but like anything else mechanical, they can break, so they need to be taken care of.

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
  16. psyprofessor

    psyprofessor Well-Known Member

    Hmmm....thanks for all the advice. Learned two things today: 1) I will use the shell latch to unload.... I did not even know this option existed. 2) The shell pressure from the magazine spring was new to me. I'll keep it in mind.

    Of course, from reading all the posts on this site...I won't be keeping the same ammo in the magazine for long. The will be constant cycling of ammo due to regular trips at the range.
  17. Jenrick

    Jenrick Well-Known Member

    ReloaderFred: Interesting good to know. I've just kinda been leary of any procedure where I'm supposed to dry fire my weapon into my car's seat to "minimize damager to the vehicle in the event of a negligent discharge." Would seem better to just not do it in the first place.

    Fortunately we shoot qualifications with our cars shotgun every year so they at least get a work out once a year.

  18. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member


    I'm sorry to hear that your department has chosen pulling the trigger on an empty chamber, rather than teaching the use of the action release button. With very little training, the action release becomes second nature and it's much easier on the guns. It's only a matter of time before an officer gets distracted and ends up pulling the trigger on a loaded chamber.

    I know a guy who went to work for Austin PD last year as an evidence tech. His dad was a friend of mine, and passed away last year.

    Take care,
  19. psyprofessor

    psyprofessor Well-Known Member

    Got a question about the action release button...

    If my SG is unloaded...and I work the action...that would technically cock the hammer. I know that pressing the action release button would allow a person to be able to rack the action again. But would it also decock the hammer? I am curious to know...because when I store my SG long term in the safe (unloaded) I dont want to accidentally store it for weeks with the hammer cocked.
  20. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    The action release won't decock the hammer. It only releases the bolt and slide so the action can be opened.

    From my experience, you don't have to worry about leaving the hammer cocked, since I'm assuming you're concerned about weakening the hammer spring. I've seen shotguns (Model 870's) that have had the hammers cocked for about 40 years, and never seen one weakened to the point it wouldn't fire.

    My own personal house gun is an 870, and it stays cocked all the time. It shoots each and every time I take it to the range, which is about every two years, just to shoot up the ammunition in the magazine tube and to test it. I bought this gun used at an auction and I don't have any idea how long it had been cocked when I bought it, but it was cocked.

    Modern springs are strong and resilient, so I wouldn't worry about it.

    Hope this helps.


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