How To Break In A Pump Shotgun, by Dave McCracken

OK, you just got home with your new purchase, taken it out of the box and admired it. Do you go shooting immediately? Well, not quite yet....

Following the directions in the owner's manual, remove the bbl and further disassemble as far as you can. Note the heavy lube on everything. There's probably some metal grindings in there, and if left, will accellerate wear a bit. The lube will trap grunge, and things will gum up faster than they should. SO, using paper towels, rags, etc, wipe out as much as you can.Do all of the inside of the receiver. There's still a coat of lube on the parts, but it should be minimal.

I also recommend carefuly taking off the stock and lightly lubing the rear of the receiver and any metalwork there. Use a little wax or other sealant on the open grain of the stock while it's apart to stop water migrating.

Once reassembled, now you take it out and shoot it. I suggest light loads until you are accustomed to the kick and feel of the weapon.

And do yourself a favor if the bbl's equipped with tube chokes.Make sure the tube is screwed in tight. A gap at the base of the tube will bulge your bbl and ruin your day PDQ.When shooting, keep checking tightness.

After 100 rounds or so, take apart again and deep clean. Once clean, note the wear marks on the action bars and other parts.Using Emery cloth, a crockstick,fine Arkansas machinist's stone or Jeweler's rouge on a felt wheel, polish the marks until they're glassy smooth. Use the crockstick or stone to lightly radius the sharp edges of the action bars and remove any "flash" left from the stamping.

Next, relube with CLP, SLIP 2000 or similar, reassemble and pump it a few times. Note it's much smoother. Now go have fun and shoot it some more.

Unless you shoot it in the rain or under wet conditions,a deep clean like this is only needed about once yearly for light use shotguns and every 1K rounds for those shot more often.


Dave McCracken has been shotgunning longer than many shooters have been alive. He regularly posts on TheHighRoad.org and TheFiringLine.com. This article is reprinted here with his permission; reprinting or redistributing this article without his permission is expressly prohibited.

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