Shotgun Forum banner
1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday I was showing one of my friends how to use my Remington 870 shotgun before we went to the range. I was showing him outside in freezing, sub-zero weather here in Akron, Ohio. Everything was fine for the first couple minutes and then... then gun didn't want to open up after pulling the trigger. I could only pull the bolt back about half way. I tried many times and occasionally I could get it to open if I pumped it a few times with the slide lock release very quickly. But then it would happen again. I disassembled the gun, nothing was wrong with the parts, and reassembled. Same problem. Very wierd.

My immediate thought was that the oil was gumming up in the extreme cold and binding some of the parts in the gun, jamming the action.

As soon as we got to the range (indoor) the gun functioned perfectly 100%. No problems whatsoever.

What experience do you guys have with guns malfunctioning due to extreme cold and what are the remedies? Is this normal?

Thanks ahead of time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,198 Posts
i would guess it isn't just the oil, but it mixed with contaminants.

when it does this have you tried dropping out the trigger to see if the load is there/

i would start with a thorough cleaning---flush with brake parts cleaner--if you can find it, try a light coat of either amzoil or mobil 1 0w-20 synthetic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,475 Posts
For the most part I don't oil the working parts of my guns in the winter. I have had guns well oiled that you could hear the firing pin hardly fall on the primer. In my opinion, the few times you shoot in a hunting situation or in extreme cold will not hurt the gun to have little lube on them. It isn't the same as trying to run you car with no oil. I DO oil the exterior but have VERY little lube on the moving parts, just a little Rem Oil.
I do have to agree on the fact you may have some contaminents along with the oil that is making it sluggish. The fact the gun works ok when warm tell me it is either dirty ,, over oiled or both. As suggested, flush it out with brake or carb cleaner and lube VERY sparingly
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
When you went from inside (heated) to outside (cold) could be condensation formed during temp change and one "contamination I suppose in this case could have been condensation. Certainly this would cause serious functioning problems outside, then remedied itself during the warm (assumbing car/truck heater works) drive to the range. Then functioned at indoor "range". Back outside problem might/probably occur again.

For cold weather Remington advises: remove oil from moving parts and apply Rem dry lube or graghite type lube.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll take the gun apart and clean it really good. Does solvent work? That's all I have right now.
 
G

·
Your shotgun when exposed to the cold air which i assume was below freezing, as already suggested had condensation form that then turned to ice. When back indoors, no ice. Degrease your 870 and use Remington Teflon Spray. I do that with any of my firearms that are used below freezing including 870's and Model 7's. -Dick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,160 Posts
Condensation forms when you bring a cold gun into a warm, damp environment, not when you take a warm gun out into cold air.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
Seamus O'Caiside said:
Condensation forms when you bring a cold gun into a warm, damp environment, not when you take a warm gun out into cold air.
I see your point if damp environment includes high humidity but conversly. On a warm summer day, evening temp cools and by morning...walla grass is damp with dew. That is warm to cold. Cold grass to warm sunny day dew evaporates.

Take a water glass at room temp and put cold water in it, glass is dripping with condensation in seconds. Water glass at room temp poor in hot water, no condensation

When you get in your vehicle on a cold morning, start it up, as you wait for warm up your breathing and body heat fogs inside glass only until air temp rises above inside temp.

I wonder if you have it backwards Leo. I am going to side with budrichard on this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,103 Posts
Had a lot of experience in the sub-zero weather during the Korean Conflict. Oil and conventional lubes caused our M-1s, BARs, etc to freeze up and jam! And the oil gets so thick, it cushions the firing pin fall, and they won't fire! Not too much fun when the Chinese are coming at you in a massed charge! We had to keep our firearms CLEAN and DRY to work reasonably well! For BARs, for some unknown reason, VITALIS worked well (it's a hair grease!)

One other point - make sure that you don't have water in your firing pin hole in the bolt from an earlier hunt!

Anyway, a safe method is to degrease the bolt and other parts prior to cold winter weather.

And basically, keep oil off gun actions in the winter!

BobK
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,026 Posts
BobK said:
For BARs, for some unknown reason, VITALIS worked well (it's a hair grease!)

BobK
Vitalis is not a grease. Vitalis is primarily ALCOHOL. That's why it worked. The alcohol lowered the freezing point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,136 Posts
Hard to believe any reasonable oil, even if it got a bit gummy in cold weather would totally lock up a pump shotgun,an auto could start malfunctioning as they're more finicky and rely on a good timing sequence.
Obviously, something else is occuring.
Make sure the wood on the pump handle isn't shrinking due to the cold and lockin up the works.
I'd suspect it's some dissimilar mat'l,something other than steel, (wood/plastic) that shrinks much more than steel does in cold temps thats lockin it up.
I read on some forum,may have been this one where the wood pump handle on a guys 870 got real wet, the wood swelled, locking it up, the cold could perhaps do the same.
Although, i was looking at a guys synthetic 870 at the trap range last year that was doing something similar in the summer heat,and i couldn't figure out what was causing it thru casual observation and partial disassembly, although his gun looked BONE DRY, like it hadn't seen oil since it came off the shelf.
I'd still use some shooters choice FP-10 in the gun, it won't freeze or gum up in the cold.
I never run my guns dry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
UltraMag said:
Hard to believe any reasonable oil, even if it got a bit gummy in cold weather would totally lock up a pump shotgun,an auto could start malfunctioning as they're more finicky and rely on a good timing sequence.
Obviously, something else is occuring.
Make sure the wood on the pump handle isn't shrinking due to the cold and lockin up the works.
I'd suspect it's some dissimilar mat'l,something other than steel, (wood/plastic) that shrinks much more than steel does in cold temps thats lockin it up.
I read on some forum,may have been this one where the wood pump handle on a guys 870 got real wet, the wood swelled, locking it up, the cold could perhaps do the same.
Although, i was looking at a guys synthetic 870 at the trap range last year that was doing something similar in the summer heat,and i couldn't figure out what was causing it thru casual observation and partial disassembly, although his gun looked BONE DRY, like it hadn't seen oil since it came off the shelf.
I'd still use some shooters choice FP-10 in the gun, it won't freeze or gum up in the cold.
I never run my guns dry.
Remington 870 Express Home Defense model, 18 inch barrel, black synthetic stock.

This is the first time I've ever had a problem like this. It is also the first time I ever took my shotgun out in below freezing weather. That's why I figured the cold had something to do with it.

Anyway, I disassembled the gun and there was a lot of excess oil on the slide rails (Hoppes #9 lubricating oil) and some on the trigger group. There was also a lot of oil in the slide rail grooves. I wiped it all dry with a paper towel.

The problem ONLY occured after pulling the trigger and attempting to pump back (and even still it didn't happen all the time). It DID NOT occur when pumping back using the slide release tab. So I suspect either the hammer or the slide release tab was sticky. Or something to do with the slide or bolt coming back in general. I don't know. If I got it to work and pulled the trigger and pumped and repeated quickly, it wouldn't happen. It would only happen if I paused for a bit and THEN tried to cycle the action. SOMETHING was freezing/gumming.

I'm driving back down to Florida today. So I hope that's the last I'll ever see of the problem.
 
G

·
Seamus O'Caiside said:
Condensation forms when you bring a cold gun into a warm, damp environment, not when you take a warm gun out into cold air.
A little physics lesson:

Warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air.
You can see this clearly if frost forms in the morning. The air has cooled and the water vapor not only comes out of solution but forms on the grass etc as ice(frost) if the temp of the surface is 32F or below.
When you take your warm gun from a warm environment to the outside below 32F, the air in the action and other tight places can not hold the water vapor and it condenses and if the surface gets to 32F or below, ice is the product.
When you take a cold gun into a warm environment, the cold surface of the gun lowers the temp of the air at the surface again causing water to come out of solution and vapor forms.
-Dick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,160 Posts
Dick, air trapped inside the gun could theoretically form condensation as you describe, but I think it is highly unlikely. There is very lilttle air (and thus, very little moisture) inside the gun, and what is there will mix with outside air as soon as the action is opened.

Most of the condensation that occurs will be from the moisture in the ambient air, condensing on the outer surface of the gun. When you bring a cold gun into a warm, moist interior, you can get condensation on the outside of the gun just like you do on the outside surface of a glass containing ice water.

The kind of condensation I'm describing is often a problem in the real world. It can cause severe corrosion if a cold gun is put away without being warmed and dried, especially if it is in a cloth case (the case tends to hold the moisture against the metal). Putting the gun in an airtight case before bringing it in would avoid the problem, but few cases are truly airtight.

The kind of condensation you describe, in air that is trapped inside the gun, might be theoretically possible, but I don't think it is ever likely to be a problem in the real world.

The bottom line is this: Taking a cold gun indoors is a problem, but taking a warm gun out into the cold is not. Not as far as condensation is concerned, anyway.
 
G

·
I certainly understand the physics of a cold gun into a warm room. No need to belittle the point.
Time and time again I have seen a warm firearm brought out into freezing temps and not function correctly. The temperature difference is not enought change the dimensional aspects of steel/aluminmum/plastic or whatever the firearm was constructed of over that temp range. Modern lubricants are fine for all but severe temps. Inside the action, especially around the firing pin, the tolreances are close, close enough for ice to form very quickly. Apply a little heat and the firearm functions normally. Keep the firearm outside and it will function normally. I don't 'think' this occurs, I know this occurs.EOT-Dick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So you think there was ice in my gun? Or was it the oil that gummed up enough to keep a part from moving freely?
 
G

·
Purchase a pressure degreaser and some Remington Teflon spray lubricant. Degrease your action, spray on the teflon lubricant. Let dry and assemble. Verify gun works normally. When the outside temperature drops to below 32F say 25F, put the gun outside. After an hour, cycle the action. No problem, then it is fixed although the exact cause may not be known. If the gun jams/binds. Disassemble and degrease and relube in the cold. Reassemble. If you still have problem it may be a spring or some interference but I doubt you will get to this condition. Speculation will not cure/fix the problem. You need to experiment/test for the solution. -Dick
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top