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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few weeks ago I inherited a well used 11-87 'Special Purpose' model 12 ga.
It came to me from a relative who passed away last fall.
I know he shot clays, and its the only shot gun he had without a slug barrel.
The problem I'm having with it is that it won't feed shells from the mag tube.
I replaced the spring and follower, cleaned and oiled the tube, but no change. When I rack the bolt, the shell just sits there, still held in place
by the shell stop on the left side. Its barely being held, if I shake the gun right side down or touch the shell ever so slightly it pops out and
chambers, but the next shell does th same thing. I also notice it leaving a scratch mark on that side of the shell along the plastic too.
The shell stop rail is not loose, it don't appear bent, either when I compare it to my 1100.
What appears to be happening is that the shell stop lets the shell start to move then catches it on the side pinning it sideways holding it in the tube.
I tried swapping out parts from my 1100 just to see if I can ID the fault by process of elimination but nothing changes the issue which appears to be with the tube, receiver, or shell stop somehow.
I can't feel any burrs or rough spots on the tube, but shell stop definitely seems to be dragging down the side of the shells too hard for some reason even though it looks identical to the one in my 1100.

I read a few old posts on other sites about the same type of problem but didn't see a solution in those posts
Has anyone every dealt with one of these with this issue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
With the trigger group out, I can see what's going on, the rails do not go forward enough to engage (or disengage) the shell stop. I can't tell if its a matter of wear on the rails or the shell stop, both parts are pretty much without any wear marks compared to my 1100. It comes super close, another .010" and the shell flies out of the mag and loads. Its almost as if the rails aren't being pushed far enough forward but they are moving to the maximum distance.
The shell does one of two things, either it never moves, or if I rack it really hard or rack it with the gun leaning toward the right, it gets stuck as in the picture. The shell stop is what's digging into the side of the shell. It pops out and loads if I even so much as tickle the shell, its not hanging on by much.
If put a small piece of tape on the part of the shell stop that contacts the right rail as its racked it pops the shell loose from the mag every time but then it don't kick it up and into place, it just gets jammed.. The funny thing is nothing looks shiny or worn. I may see if I can find another shell stop and stake it in place to see that changes anything.
I did notice that with the trigger group out, and with the shell stop slid slightly rearward, (to the point where the front trigger group pin is about half way blocked), the shell pops out every time the gun is racked. That tells me its a timing issue when the rails are fully forward.
 

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· Mr.
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Remove the trigger group and bolt and clean all the rest of the receiver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK - So if I'm seeing and understanding you correctly;

The shell hangs up after coming more than 1/2 way out of magazine.
Sometimes... if it moves at all, it gets stuck part way out like in the pic, other times it never releases the shell. When it won't move, I can rack it 50 times and it won't release the shell.
The shell stopper never gets depressed. There's a raised section on the right rail that has to contact the shell holder when its moved fully forward, but it's not rebounding that far.
The rails are fully forward, they can't go any farther but they don't hit the shell stopper tang.

I did clean the gun, I've had it completely apart two dozen times. It had some light rust here and there but nothing major inside.
With the trigger group out, the shell stopper will slid forward ever so slightly under the peened tabs, when it does, the shell is released every time but the shell stopper is held in its place both by the peened crimps on the side and the forward trigger group pin.

Its as if something is missing off the tang or rail but I swapped in those from my working 1100 and its no different.
The gun looks well worn, or abused but I can't see any signs of wear in the receiver or on any parts. Just cosmetic neglect externally.
I'm told this was his 'truck' gun, so it likely got carried under the seat or in the tool box for 20+ years. It was loaded when I got it, jammed with a shell released but not chambered locking the action.
It seems to do better with high brass shells but that shouldn't be such an issue.
The area that contacts the shell as it passes feels smooth, but its still leaving a cut line partway up the shell. Once in a while it hangs on and I have to pry the shell free while holding the action open.
Any movement of the shell holder releases the locked open action.
With the action rods out, I see no beveling or shiny wear on the rods where they need to contact the shell holder, there is no bluing loss at all on the rails. The shell holder also has a cleanly stamped look with no shiny wear patterns that would make me think its worn beyond spec.
I did remove it from the receiver to clean behind it but it's snapped back in firmly in between the crimps. Besides, once the trigger group is back in its pinned in place and held from sliding by the front pin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I did ask a local gun smith about it, even took it in to show him. He told me its not worth the trouble, just buy a new one.
I'm also not without a semi auto 12ga, I've got two Remington 1100's, one in 2 3/4", and one in 3". Plus I've got an older
Browning A-5, a Barretta A390, and a Mossberg 930. All were handed down to me over the years except the 930.
At $48/hr, paying someone to fix a 'well used' looking older shotgun just don't make sense.

The problem lies with the point where the rail depresses the shell holder, for some reason its as if there's too much space between the farthest rearward point of the fork link, to the the rail assembly. With the rails forward at rest, there's a good 3/16" between the fork and the rail edge. Then even with the rail pushed by hand all the way forward, it never makes contact with the shell holder tang to release it.
Its as if the shell holder is either too short or the rails aren't moving far enough forward somehow.
I pretty much need to see another one from the bottom with the trigger group out with the rails forward. There are few cutouts on the rail that are obviously meant to pass by and trip the shell holder to release the shell, but for some reason they never reach the shell holder. Either the rails are somehow out of position or the shell holder is too short somehow. If remove the front pin, slide the shell holder up every so slightly, it cycles just fine, at least till the point where the shell holder drifts forward due to the lack of the pin in place.
 

· Mr.
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You've got something in it together wrong. Search for one of those 11-87 assembly videos and take the thing apart. CLEAN IT ALL really good. Look for any burs or parts that look like they have been abused.

If it all looks good, watch the video a few times. Then mark it so you can pause it at any point and get your gun parts together and start assembly. At every point or question at all, go back and watch the video to see how they do it.

I have had 11-87 for decades now. BTDT. There is nothing wrong with the gun that someone didn't DO TO IT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You've got something in it together wrong. Search for one of those 11-87 assembly videos and take the thing apart. CLEAN IT ALL really good. Look for any burs or parts that look like they have been abused.

If it all looks good, watch the video a few times. Then mark it so you can pause it at any point and get your gun parts together and start assembly. At every point or question at all, go back and watch the video to see how they do it.

I have had 11-87 for decades now. BTDT. There is nothing wrong with the gun that someone didn't DO TO IT.
I have two 1100's that I've had apart dozens of times for cleaning.
I can't see where I've got anything together wrong on this one, its basically the same gun.
There just isn't that many parts here to put it together wrong.
When I got this gun, the barrel was off it, the fork link was loose in the case, and I never found the operation handle.
I have an aftermarket handle in it how, but that has nothing to do with the timing of the slide vs. the shell stopper.
With the trigger group out, and a temporary bolt holding the shell stop in place, (It will slide a bit under the peened crimps when the forward pin is removed),
I can watch the rods come back and forth as I pull back and work the action, The little cut outs on the slide don't reach the point where they would push the shell holder back and release the shell. It stops short by about 1/8".
I looked to see if something was stopping the slide from moving as well as disassembled one of my 1100's to compare it to. I've also swapped parts between the two guns and all of the parts out of the 11-87 function fine in the 1100's receiver. The 1100's parts do the same thing in the 11-87's receiver. That's telling me there's something wrong with the receiver itself but I can't see or measure any differences.

When it comes to the idea of paying someone to fix this, its not worth it to me, for any amount of money, let alone paying someone $40+/hr to fix it. I don't need it, its not pretty, and I can easily go buy a working one used in better shape for very little money. I looked at one at a pawn shop the other day for $200, same gun, but working without all the rust pits all over it. I'm sure if I look around a bit I could find one cheaper. I paid less than that for both of my 1100's at an auction. Both of them have worked flawlessly over the past couple years.
These things aren't rocket science, it shouldn't be too big a deal to figure this out.
I have basic machine tools here, I am capable of taking accurate measurements and comparing both the 1100 and 1187 receivers and other parts and the differences between the two are less than a few thousandth's of an inch and the 1100's both actually show more wear than the 1187 in question does.

The only part in these guns i don't understand is the sheet metal slide or clip across the back of the action slide rails. It sort of floats around with no purpose on all three of these guns. If the gun is unloaded and un-cocked, I can here it sliding around under the fore grip. With the gun locked back, it rattles, but not when a shell is in the chamber and its ready to fire.

The 1187 will fire, it fires the first round that I put in the chamber by hand, and locks back as if empty leaving the next round just sitting there in the tube. About 1 in 20 times, the round will slip past the shell holder and get stuck about half way out of the tube.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Got it working!
I took the thing apart again, this time without worrying about how it should be or how the other's fit together. I just went at it with the intention of making what was supposed to happen, happen.
I watched the position and movement of the shell stop vs. the round, (using a dummy round), and the position of the shell stop finger vs. the action rail.
I removed the shell stop, put the thing in a vice and twisted it in a way to lessen how far onto the face of the shell it sat and how much it was depressed when the rail came in contact with it.
I made small adjustments, at first it did nothing but at about 8° it would kick out the shell if I racked it really hard, so I went another, degree, then another, till finally I had bent the thing about 11°.
At that point it ejects the shell every time, regardless of how hard I rack the slide, and it still is a good 1/8" onto the shell face when holding the shell in the magazine.
I took it out back and ran about a dozen shells through it an all seems fine now.
Now I can deal with the cosmetic issues, mainly a badly pitted barrel and the forend and stock are faded to a dull gray color.
The barrel is likely safe, the inside is clean and shiny, but the outside has some deep pitting on the bottom of the barrel near the chamber and at the point just above where my thumb sits when holding it.
The pits are deep but likely not deep enough to cause a safety issue, but I suppose only time will tell. I've shot both 2 3/4 and 3" shells out of it now, with no issues. I'll just keep an eye out for a good used barrel without pitting unless someone has a good way to fix pitting other than filling them and painting it.
I did de-rust the whole barrel to stop any rust that was on it, then re-blued the barrel. I used some stuff for car bumpers on the stock but it only lasted a few hours before turning gray again.
I really like this gun, its got a super long length of pull, which works well for me, it measures out at 15 1/4" LOP with a 3.3lb trigger pull weight. The stock is over an inch longer than either of my 1100's.
I'm not a big fan of plastic furniture but I'll leave it unless I stumble on something nicer for cheap. Right now I've got nothing but time in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, if I can find a nice clean barrel for this I'd feel a lot better about it. I made a temporary handle for the action, and made two trigger pins from bar stock. I had been borrowing those bits from one of my 1100's.
The barrel has some pretty deep pits but the deepest pits aren't near the chamber itself. Most of the pitting is hidden. Although its likely still safe I'm leery about firing hot 3" rounds.
I also inherited a trash barrel full of reloaded 3" rounds he had. I've got no idea what most of them are, only that most are likely bird shot. He had forty bags of 7.5 led shot, a Mec 500 loader, eleven and a half five gallon buckets of .177" copper plated steel shot or BB's, and an assortment of powder in both one pound and eight pound containers. Some of the powder is pretty old, old enough to still be in square steel cans with the round lids.
The problem I'm running into is that I have no idea how most of the shells are loaded, They're not marked and most are just dumped in huge plastic bins with several hundred in each bin. They're not sorted in any way, he had 2 3/4" mixed in the same bins with 3", and an array of hulls. I did notice that all of them are sealed somehow, both the primer and crimp are sealed with some sort of sealer. The primers are sealed with a clear/red coating, the crimps are sealed with a hard, clear sealer. I have no idea how old some of the shells are, he's been reloading for decades and apparently reloaded far more than he shot. I found the Mec loader box with a receipt in it from 1970. He also was doing slugs, both lead and copper. Those look to be the most recent.
There is also two full refrigerator boxes of used hulls, mostly red Federal high brass in 2 3/4" and Remington Peters high brass in 3".
I also found some 10 gauge rounds on a shelf that went with his long barrel Spiegel (Marlin 55) with a 36" barrel.
 

· Ancient Gaseous Emanation
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NEVER - Under no circumstances - Never ever - Shoot unknown reloads. Refuse to do it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
NEVER - Under no circumstances - Never ever - Shoot unknown reloads. Refuse to do it.
I hear ya but what to do with buckets of unknown reloads that were likely reloaded with these guns I inherited with them in mind.
The big problem is that I have no clue as to what each is, When I fire one, it could be bird shot, buck shot, and of any size. The only thing I have to go on is that all I found in his reloading area is lead bird shot and steel bb's. I did dump out a few of the rusty 3" shells and found them loaded with 1 1/2 oz of lead shot and about 39 grains of what looks the most like Blue Dot powder, but I didn't compare it to all the different powders I found there, only what was on the bench at the time.
That seemed to be a reasonable load to me. I did open a few with steel shot loaded the same way. Nearly all of the hulls are high brass, with the exception of some Remington/Peter's 2 3/4" rounds.
There may also be some factory ammo in the lot, but I can't say for sure. There's enough empty new hulls to assemble another twenty thousand or so shells and likely enough powder as well. My guess is that once he retired he did nothing but sit there and reload shells and on occasion go shooting, but it had been 5 years or more since he was physically able to shoot, but he kept loading as if he was still shooting.
Unloading all these would take a year or more and I feel would be a terrible waste since the only way I know to unload is to cut the hull open. 3" shells could of course become 2 3/4" rounds after wards but I may be doing it all for nothing. So far, everything I've shot of his was strong but nothing seemed unsafe.
I do plan to take a box of the 10ga rounds out along with the goose gun to try it out this weekend if the weather is clear. My only other 10ga is an old H&R single shot I've had for 40 or so years. I can't wait to try a bolt action 10ga.

One method I found to sort out the steel shot shells in the lot is to use a big magnet, although the hulls are often steel, the difference between steel shot and lead against the magnet is very obvious. (Nearly all the 'High Brass' shells are really steel plated with brass, some are even slightly rusty. The low brass shells are non magnetic. at the base but he's got most of them loaded with steel shot.
 

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I bought an estate sale including some handloads for guns I have. Lots of it. The record keeping on it appears meticulous but you just never know........

I won't shoot any of it but I can't bring myself to go through the effort of disassembling any of it.

So it sits and it always will.

--Wag--
 

· Mr.
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Sounds like he was loading duck loads. I'd shoot a few of those on a range to test 'em. If they are good, I'd use them to hunt with.

The guy had the guns for years. He shot the guns for years. He reloaded and shot his own reloads for years. SOMEBODY loads every other shell you shoot and you don't know a THING about them. Unless a gun blew up and killed the guy, I'd shoot his reloads.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sounds like he was loading duck loads. I'd shoot a few of those on a range to test 'em. If they are good, I'd use them to hunt with.

The guy had the guns for years. He shot the guns for years. He reloaded and shot his own reloads for years. SOMEBODY loads every other shell you shoot and you don't know a THING about them. Unless a gun blew up and killed the guy, I'd shoot his reloads.
This is pretty much how I feel about these here. He hunted his entire life, he loaded and reloaded everything he shot himself till he took ill in his mid 70's.
He mostly duck hunted, he owned several hundred acres of prime hunting area as well as over 800 acres of deer woods.
He also shot clay targets, along with the reloading equipment, ammo, and shotguns, I also got his two launchers and a pallet and a half of clay targets.

There were 9 guns in all, (besides a handful of guns we deemed as just parts or antiques), three were side by side shot guns, all of which are in such bad shape they are unlikely to be salvageable due to rust and pitting. The pump and semi auto shotguns all were stored with the barrels in a separate bag, several were apart.
I have the means to chemical strip the rust, as I did on the 11-87, but the side by side barrels seem to have taken the worst of the damage. The bag they were in either got wet or had something corrosive spilled on them. The receivers and stocks are in decent shape.
He was never one to worry about how they looked, he kept his hunting guns in the truck, one on the rack behind him, and the rest loose in the steel tool box across the bed, usually sliding around on the bottom of the box with various other tools, hammers, jacks, etc. He did keep them functional or at least oiled and internally clean.
Years ago I went duck hunting with him, all of the guns we used were his, with his ammo. While trudging through the swampy area where he had his blind set up he dropped his side by side AH Fox in the slop, when we got to the blind, he pulled the barrel, rinsed it in the water and put it back on, He wiped the rest of it down with a wet handkerchief. After shooting our limit, we headed back, he lined up all the shot guns along the side of the truck and turned a garden hose on them. He took each one and thumped it hard on the butt end to 'shake' off any water. He wiped them down quickly with a greasy old rag he had in the truck and left them to dry while we cleaned the ducks. Later he just sprayed them down a bit with some WD40 and back in the truck they went.
The 11-87 was likely the gun that rode in the cab on the rear window rack, its faded more on the right side than the left from exposure to the sun there. The one 870 wasn't so lucky, the lower hooks on the in-cab gun rack were broken so it rode on the floor behind the seat. Its far worse for wear externally.

In his later years his eyesight suffered a lot, so he quit hunting and only shot targets on occasion but he never stopped reloading. He would go to auctions and buy used hulls to reload, often by the pallet load. I found two 4ft x4ft wooden crates full of Federal AA and Remington High brass 3" hulls, and one box full of 2 3/4" low brass yellow hulls. Plus there's buckets of other unsorted hulls. There's also some 20ga hulls, and there was one 20ga single shot gun in the barn that he likely used for varmint shooting, plus an array of old .22 rifles. He lived there for 44 years, so he accumulated a lot of stuff over that time. I've still got boxes of stuff I have to sort through that I removed and kept. .I'm still hoping to find some of the missing parts to a few of the shotguns in one of these boxes here. I've even found some gun parts in the bottom of the shot shell boxes. I found the trigger group for the 11-87 in his tackle box, the barrel was in a bag with a half dozen other rusty barrels, and the trigger group pins, handle, and gas seals are still MIA. The forend grip was sitting on the dash of his truck. The 870 was complete except for the barrel, which was under the seat of the truck, one Mossberg 500 was complete and standing in the corner of the kitchen behind the door. He had several black powder Hawkin rifles all leaning against the wall in the corner of the living room but each one had its ram rod thimbles removed and all were loaded. I found the thimbles in a coffee cup on the window sill next to his chair. I found the screws for them in his tackle box out in the garage.
I found two .50cal ammo cans with the black powder and other black powder accessories sitting on the bottom shelf of the TV stand in front of his arm chair in the living room. In the basement, next to the furnace, he had several cases of IMR and Hodgdon powder in various types, plus the 5 and 8 lb cans he was loading from in the back room.

His loading bench overlooked the woods and back field and was pretty much an all glass room. The room was about 70ft x 16ft and ran along the back of the house with the entire rear wall being nearly all one big bay window with a sitting ledge about 36" high. He would sit there for hours prepping shells and reloading ammo.
While I think that room was originally supposed to be my aunts plant room, it slowly became his work shop. He even moved one of the ultrasonic cleaners and added many cabinets on the back wall to store the ammo he loaded. When I cleaned that all out, it took many trips with my van to get it all moved out.
 
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