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 Post subject: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:12 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 9:05 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Southern PRC
Questions about repairing the safety on the Mossberg 500 series come up every so often. Since I had to take a buddy’s 500A apart to fix the safety, I figured I’d take some pictures and write down what I’ve learned about this particular job.

The location of the safety button on the 500 is ideal, but the design leaves a lot to be desired. Fixing the safety is probably the most common repair on the 500 series. There are two reasons why you might have to fix the safety on a 500:
1. The safety button, which is plastic on some 500 models, broke.
2. The shotgun performed the Mossberg “disappearing safety button” trick. The safety button is held in place by a single short screw that goes through the safety button and threads into the top of the safety block inside the receiver. If this screw works loose, the safety button and some of its ancillary parts will go flying.

The one piece of good news is that repairing the safety is fairly simple, although thanks to some silliness on Mossberg’s part it takes a fair amount of time and labor to really do it right. But if you can detail-strip and reassemble the gun, and if you’ve got a Dremel or other rotary tool handy, you should be able to make the repair no problem.

Image
These are the parts that make up the safety mechanism. From left to right, they are:

Safety button screw
Safety button
Safety detent plate
Safety detent spring and safety detent ball
Safety block

Note that the screw shown here is not a factory part. More on that later.

If the gun performs the “disappearing safety button” trick, it’s often possible to recover the screw, the button and sometimes even the detent plate. Most of the time, the spring remains in its hole (check the detent spring hole in the top of the receiver before you order one). The detent ball is pretty hard to find, because it’s so small and it goes flying under spring pressure. The safety block will stay inside the receiver.

Image
A look at the top of the 500’s receiver gives you an idea of how they all fit together. The top of the safety block fits up through the slot in the top of the receiver. Note that the safety block is shaped kind of like a hook. During reassembly, the opening of the hook needs to face forward.

The detent spring goes into the hole in the receiver, just forward of the red dot. The detent ball will sit on top of it. The detent plate and then the safety button need to be laid gingerly on top of the safety block and detent ball so that the hole in the button is aligned with the screw hole in the safety block. The screw then goes down through the safety button and detent plate and threads into the safety block.

Because the safety button can go flying off the gun if the screw works loose, you’ll want to use some blue Loctite on the threads. Reassemble the gun right away and make sure the safety works properly before the Loctite sets.

Two words about the parts to use. First, Brownell’s lists two safety buttons. Except for the part number and the price, you won’t see any difference listed. In fact, if you were to order both you’d see that they look almost identical from the top. But the $6 button is plastic, and the $16 button is aluminum. The plastic buttons have a reputation for breakage, so $16 for the aluminum button is money well spent.

Second, I recommend that you DON’T ORDER A FACTORY SAFETY BUTTON SCREW FROM BROWNELL’S OR MOSSBERG. The screw that Mossberg currently sells is a one-way screw—half of each side of the slot is rounded in such a way that you can tighten it just fine but you can’t loosen it--the screwdriver will just skip out of the slot. This means that if you ever did have to take the screw out—to replace the safety button, for example, or to replace the safety block—you’d have a problem on your hands.

Instead, order a packet of #6-32 “Fillister Head” screws from Brownells. They sell a whole kit made up of these screws, but you’ll really just want to order one of the refill packs of #6-32s. These are 1” blued-steel screws, and they’re $5-$6 a pack. If you want to cut corners, you can pick up a #6-32 x ½" hex-head screw from a hardware store, but be warned that the head of the screw will stick up above the safety button a little bit.

The correct length for the screw’s shaft is roughly 5/16”, so whether you buy a 1” screw from Brownell’s or a ½” screw from the hardware store you’ll need to shorten it. This is where the Dremel tool comes in. With a 1” screw you’ll want to cut it off close to the final length and then grind it down the rest of the way; with a ½” hardware-store screw, you’ll probably just want to grind it. The screws from Brownell's are nice and hard, so be patient when cutting and grinding.

Once you’ve got it down to the correct length—in other words, when it’s just short enough to screw all the way down into the safety block—you’ll want to use some cold bluing on the tip where you’ve exposed bare metal. If you don’t already have some, be sure to order it when you’re ordering the parts. The screw shown above is a #6-32x1" fillister-head screw from Brownell's that's been shortened and had its tip re-blued.


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 Post subject: re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:06 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:16 pm
Posts: 207
Location: Philadelphia burbs
Thanks for the helpful photos! Excellent and very helpful post.

If I may piggyback on this a bit. . .I suggest spending a little extra money and getting the Vang oversized aluminum safety button. You can get it from Brownells [url=http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=19517&title=MOSSBERG%20500/590%20OVERSIZED%20SAFETY#specs]here or from www.vangcomp.com.

I used one on my old Mossberg 500, but I just ordered one for my new 930. The button is significantly larger than the Mossberg part, and I find it very comfortable and positive to use. Comes with it's own detent plate and screw, but keep the spring and detent ball!

My old one came with a one-way screw, as described, however that didn't bother me. I used it with some blue loctite. If I ever needed to get it off, I could alway by the tools to do so, and I figured it's easier than grinding down a screw to put it on, but YMMV.

In the photo on Vang's website, the kit is shown with a small allen wrench, so he may be packaging these with a removable screw now. However, it could still be a crap shoot with what version you get from Brownells.

TIP: When removing the parts, put the gun in a plastic bag. I cut a hole in the bag to poke the magtube through, but my hands and the action were inside the bag when removing the old button. That's an old trick I learned from pistol sites, and if I'm ever disassembling small pistol parts with springs, I do it inside a large plastic bag. If the part goes flying, it doesn't fly very far and is easy to retrieve! 8)


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 Post subject: re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:11 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:16 pm
Posts: 207
Location: Philadelphia burbs
Hmm, cannot edit for some reason. Sorry about that Brownells link above. :oops:

Here is is here

That one is a little cleaner.


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:59 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:44 pm
Posts: 4
Apologies for bumping a post that's nearly two years old. The information in this one is quite helpful in describing the trouble I'm having.

First post time: Today I decided to try and swap out the plastic safety for an all metal one on a brand new 590. Getting the one way screw out was actually really easy, a little downward pressure and it almost fell out. The problem is with that blasted detent ball. It isn't that I lost it, rather the instant I lifted the safety off of the receiver that ball rolled downward and got itself lodged within the red painted cutout to show you that the safety is disengaged. Thing is, that little bearing got itself -so- tightly lodged into that spot that I can't get it out of there! Tried a tiny screwdriver, powerful magnets, pliers, even angled wire cutters to try and dig into the base of it. The really weird thing is that it doesn't look like that ball is even halfway into the depression, yet it is not budging at all.

This is an obvious problem on two levels. It completely disables the safety, which in turn disables the shotgun. I have no idea how to remove this thing without damaging the softer aluminum of the receiver. Would it be safe to use heat and try to expand the aluminum so the ball might fall out? Problem there is we can't remove the bolt holding the stock in, so that would probably melt from such an attempt. I'd much prefer avoiding permanent alterations but another option could be to drill a small channel beneath it then try to pry it free from beneath, but before I do anything I want to get some outside opinions from folks that might have run into such an issue before.

If need be I can take pictures of it but the problem is as stupidly simple as it sounds, the ball's stuck in the wrong hole. I'm still amazed that it could get stuck in there as easily as it had! Any help here would be greatly appreciated!

-Lynx


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 4:34 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:58 pm
Posts: 439
TranceLynx wrote:
The really weird thing is that it doesn't look like that ball is even halfway into the depression, yet it is not budging at all.

This is an obvious problem on two levels. It completely disables the safety, which in turn disables the shotgun. I have no idea how to remove this thing without damaging the softer aluminum of the receiver. Would it be safe to use heat and try to expand the aluminum so the ball might fall out? Problem there is we can't remove the bolt holding the stock in, so that would probably melt from such an attempt. I'd much prefer avoiding permanent alterations but another option could be to drill a small channel beneath it then try to pry it free from beneath, but before I do anything I want to get some outside opinions from folks that might have run into such an issue before.

If need be I can take pictures of it but the problem is as stupidly simple as it sounds, the ball's stuck in the wrong hole. I'm still amazed that it could get stuck in there as easily as it had! Any help here would be greatly appreciated!

-Lynx


Wow, that is a weird one!

If you do try heat, use a hair dryer so you can easily control the amount of heat applied.

I'd love to see pictures.


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 10:28 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:44 pm
Posts: 4
I've never posted a picture before, hopefully this'll work.
Okay, doesn't work locally so ImageShack it is:
Image

The hair dryer's an interesting idea, I'll have to give that a try. Certainly less invasive than other ideas that came to mind, like using a soldering iron to warm things up. Thanks!

----------------

Just heated the receiver up so much that I couldn't touch it, even the mag tube was getting pretty toasty. Couldn't pop it out, magnet did nothing. That guy's really in there...


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 11:33 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:58 pm
Posts: 439
That's about the darndest thing I've ever seen. Did it get pressed in somehow? I can't believe it just fell in that tight.

Try heating it again and then turning the receiver upside down and then swing it by the mag tube like a hammer, giving it a brisk blow onto a padded surface. Use some discretion in how hard you hit it.

If that doesn't work I'd drill a hole in the ball before I drilled one in the receiver.


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:44 pm
Posts: 4
natman,

It did get pushed in a little bit, correct. When I first saw the ball was loose I tried to hold things together so no tiny pieces would get lost, after getting better situated it seemed so comfy in there I thought that's where it was meant to be. Plus I had recently read about the ball being staked in place or such so it wouldn't get lost. Since it stayed put when I turned it upside down I figured that's what the case was.

Agreed, I'd much, much prefer drilling or cutting the ball first as it's a simple piece to replace, however that ball is hardened steel. Even getting a drill started on it would be impossible for me, only way I could see doing it is with a drill press in which case I'd have to find someone that could do it for me.

Think a 'smith with more experience could figure something out for this? Also, I'm curious about whether heating the aluminum body would weaken it any or not.

-Lynx


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 2:35 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:16 am
Posts: 1168
Location: Mi.
Lynx, The receiver is soft alum. ball bearing very hard. Put a piece of masking tape over the ball and take an awl and put it at the side of the ball and give it a wak with a hammer and the awl will go right under the ball!! Job done.
Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 6:46 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:08 pm
Posts: 105
This is a crazy problem as you cannot directly tap the underside of the receiver, but you can get close.....how about tapping the area with a punch from the underside to see if it will pop out.

Alternatively, rather than heat you could use the old pirate principle of "freezing the balls off the brass monkey" (the iron cannon balls would pop up out of the brass monkey holder on deck when the weather turned cold, due to the difference in expansion coefficients between the monkey and the cannon balls),
SO, why not put a piece of tape over the ball and place the receiver in the freezer for a few hours and see if you can "freeze the detent ball off the monkey!"


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 10:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:44 pm
Posts: 4
Lots of interesting ideas for this issue, thanks everyone!

The freezer route had crossed my mind as well, figured that the receiver would shrink and sort of push the ball out on its own. I just finished tossing it into a bag with a desiccant pack then put the whole works in, with any luck..! Could even go at it with the hair dryer from underneath right after taking it out, I'm thinking the aluminum would warm up faster than the steel.

The awl idea sounds pretty good as well, not sure if we have one on hand but they can't be that difficult to find. Always good to have a plan B if chilling it doesn't work!

-Lynx

---------------------------
Update: Freezing it didn't do the trick, nor did heating the area immediately after (though the frost looked neat getting cooked off by the hair dryer.) Argh!

---------------------------
Second update: Success! Unfortunately it did require drilling a small hole just above the safety dot but the drill bit kept catching on the edge of the ball and popped it loose. The ball's still intact, too. A little red or black paint to fill the hole and everything should be good again. Careful that this doesn't happen to any of you, it's frustrating!

We did try a heat gun from two different angles beforehand along with a strong magnet but that didn't do any good, either.


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1
Excellent posts all around, especially the pix. The detent bearing sneaked out of my Mossberg 500 safety and went into hiding. I was unable to get a suitable bearing immediately, so I cut one of the beads from a standard lighting pull-chain and used that until I could get the proper size solid bearing. Incidentally, this "bearing" also fell immediately into the red-dot dent, but luckily did not get stuck.

And no this is NOT NOT NOTa permanent fix, but it worked fine for me and was still solid when I finally got a replacement bearing (150 rounds at the range and countless test-clicks later).

And yes, I too am mystified about the purpose of the one-way screw and am considering milling my own as indicated in lead post on this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Mossberg 500 safety button repairs
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:05 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:32 pm
Posts: 28
I just switched my blown off plastic safety on my 500 to metal.
Turned the gun upside down on the kitchen counter, held the spring plate with one hand and removed the screw gently.
Girl friend loaded the screw through the new metal buttton.....then gently inserted the screw and the button and caught the threads inside.....done...5 min.
Hope this helps someone.
Kenny s


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