870 Reassembly problems


Jan 1, 2003
The great state of Arkansas
I am trying to put a 20 gauge 870 and am not able to get the forend, bolt, and carrier reinstalled. I cannot get the shell latches pushed in at the right time to get the action bars in if the bolt and carrier are riding on the action bars. If I do it without the bolt and carrier, the action bars go right in. Any clues as to a secret way to hold my tongue that I might be missing. The carrier and bolt always seem to get elevated too high off of the action bars.
Do you have a copy of the owners manual, that shows the correct orientation on the parts? One thing that comes to mind is perhaps your carrier is upside down, or backwards. Don't ask me how I know...you can download the manual from Remington for free
If everything was in properly it would function. I’ve taken 870’s apart more times than I can remember and never had the issue you describe. In your case, YouTube is your friend.
The 20 gauge is harder than a 12 in my experience. My buddy has one, and if you aren’t careful you will get the action bar under the shell latch. Best I recall, the right side latch needs depressing first. Then left. So what happens is, you depress the first latch and the action bars insert further in the gun. But it goes too far and goes under the other side latch. So what you have to do is carefully move the action bars forward after you get pst the first latch, so that it’ll clear the second latch when depressed. Of course without moving it too far that the first latch pops back out.
After playing with it for quite a while tonight I still could not get it to work. I tried doing it the way the video showed. I even cut and sized a small piece of dowel rod to hold both of the shell latches pushed closed at the same time. After looking it over pretty well, I think that the left shell latch may be ever so slightly bent keeping it from going in correctly.
Wish i could help, its been too long since i had my 20ga apart. I do remember struggling with it. I kind of remember having to kinda slide the bolt and action rods in at the same time but with different pressure or speed or something.

Good luck!
I’ve seen where if you catch the action bars under the shell latch you can bend the latch enough to cause difficult reassembly. That is likely you’re problem.

Pad the side of the receiver with a piece of leather and use channel locks to pinch the shell latch back. Make sure to leave the trigger group in or you can pop the latch loose from the receiver. It’s held in by a couple folded over places. Personally, I’d modify a pair of channel locks to be smooth jawed on the end so I didn’t mar the latch, Or you can use a penny as a spacer. Get a third hand or two when doing that and it won’t take 2 minutes.

I’ve repaired that too once. Held it in place and peened the groove to hold the latch.
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Geez, send it to me. I have patience, nimble fingers, 70 years of 870 experience and a big dead blow hammer.
I need a bush hog and tractor myself. I plan to leave plenty of brambles for animal habitat. Clean fence rows kill the rabbit population ya know.