A friend of mine was having some issues with his pump action shotgun when we were hunting in the marshlands of Ladner BC. The shell latch would fail which would cause a double feed in the shotgun essentially jamming the action open and rendering fire firearm inoperable. He explained to me that this was happening on a regular basis and that he would have to use his knife or a stick to pry the round out.
I showed him a simple stoppage clearance drill that we commonly teach on our shotgun courses.
Prior to writing this post, I thought I would search with Google to find an article or video that I could point to but was surprised to find that while many people have talked about stoppage clearance on their handguns and rifles I was unable to find anything relating to shotgun clearance drills. Even some of the major training companies seem to overlook this essential piece of information.
It is important to note that we use Remington 870 shotguns on our courses and this technique will not work on every type of pump action shotgun so you should experiment with yours to test for function.
I will outline the procedure in the same context as if it were being taught to a military or law enforcement personal as it this will encompass the larger spectrum of dealing with a shotgun stoppage. For some readers, the knowledge presented here will allow them to get a clay bird or duck before its out of range; for others it could save their life.
Stoppage Clearance on the Remington 870 Shotgun
- If you experience a stoppage, MOVE and seek cover.
- Transition to your pistol.
- Consider tactical repositioning.
- Only attempt to clear a stoppage from the safety of cover.
The two major stoppages you will find on the 870 platform are:
1- Rounds loaded backwards into magazine.
2- Double Feed, whereby the shell latch released two rounds onto carrier.
To clear follow the three P’s in Push-Pinch-Pull
- Turn the shotgun upside down.
- With your support hand push the fore-end forward towards the muzzle.
- Pinch the carrier down with the shooting hand and maintain that downward pressure.
- Pull the fore-end to the rear. All the while maintaining the pinch on the carrier. This will free one of the shells.
- Maintain the pinch of the carrier and remove one of the shells from the receiver.
- Simultaneously push the backward shell back into magazine tube as you release the pinch pressure on the carrier.
- Push the carrier down into the receiver and allow the shell to pop out. Lift up on the end of the shell releasing the rim from the shell catch. Clearing the backward round.
Of course if you didn’t have a backwards round but instead had a true double feed, once the first round was cleared from the shotgun you could then pump the shotgun closed and would be back in the game.
When shown together the whole operation will look like this:
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