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Why do 870's freeze?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by gamestalker, Oct 23, 2013.

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  1. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    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
     
  2. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

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    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.
     
  3. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Should be easy enough to degrease the bolt assembly and relube with dry lube ...
     
  4. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    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?
     
  5. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    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
     
  6. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    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

     
  7. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    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.
     
  8. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    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
     
  9. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    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
     
  10. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    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".
     
  11. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    .......never heard of it.
     
  12. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    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 in 2010. He also posted some updated results on SB in 2012. I'd start with that list to get some ideas on a better cold weather lube.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  14. frankenstein406

    frankenstein406 Member

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    Never had a problem with a mossberg 500 or any rifles in the cold. I used clp but switched to slip evil.
     
  15. btg3

    btg3 Member

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    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.
     
  16. rule303

    rule303 Member

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    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.
     
  17. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    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.
     
  18. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    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.
     
  19. AI&P Tactical

    AI&P Tactical Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  20. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    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.
     
  21. Omaha-BeenGlockin

    Omaha-BeenGlockin Member

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    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.
     
  22. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  23. AI&P Tactical

    AI&P Tactical Member

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    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.
     
  24. MattShlock

    MattShlock Member

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    I chalk it up to average design and poor manufacture in the more recent past.
     
  25. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    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
     
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