SLR15 Law Enforcement Shotgun Armorer Course, Springfield IL


When: January 7-8, 2019

Where: Springfield, Illinois

We conducted a Law Enforcement Shotgun Armorer Course that was hosted by the Springfield Police Dept. This was our second time doing a course at this location, and we look forward to future ones. The onsite facilities offer plenty of table space, great lighting, and a projection & screen that we were able to project powerpoint and graphics onto. In this course we cover the Remington 870, Mossberg 500/590, and Benelli M1-90/M2.

The student base was a mix of Local and State Law Enforcement Officers from Illinois.

Shotguns present in this course were about half Remington 870's, and the other half a mix of Mossberg 500/590's, and a couple of Benelli M1-90/M2's. Students bring shotguns to work on, and we always recommend that Officers bring shotguns that are not working correctly or broken, as we look at this as a learning opportunity to figure out what is not working correctly, and Officers can make repairs onsite to get them back into working condition.

Note: One agency sent the Officer with an 870 that had the forend and a small plastic bag taped to it, and a note stating the the extractor was broken. Upon inspection, the bag had a broken off ejector spring. Looking at the forend assembly, the spanner nut was off, and the threaded end of the action bare tube for the spanner nut had been broken off with only about 1/8" of threads left, but the other part of the broken threads was missing.

We started with an introduction of all present. Everyone was supplied with a course manual, inspection forms, and supplier lists of where to obtain parts, tools and accessories. We supplied every student with their own set of basic tools that are necessary to do most of the general work on the shotguns. Everyone was introduced and supplied with Slip2000 "EWL" Extreme Weapons Lubricant and #725 Cleaner Degreaser.

We showed our procedure of a series of checks that we use to make sure everything is working correctly, and why we use this series of checks. Everyone was taught a hands on session of the eight cycles of function on the shotguns. From there we broke the same eight cycles down further in greater detail.

We went through the proper way to remove barrels from each type of shotgun. With the barrels removed, they were inspected, in this class I think every barrel was heavily fouled. The fouling inside the barrel is generally plastic from the shot wadding, mixed with powder and shot residue. Everyone was shown that they needed to clean the chamber and bore, as these are different diameters and require different brushes. They were also shown all the other hidden areas of the barrel that need to be kept clean for proper functioning of the bolt assembly and barrel to receiver fit for lock up etc. Also shown were a multitude of tools, brushes, and jags for cleaning the barrel. Everyone with fouled barrels were allowed to clean them, as a hands on session of trying the different methods and tools shows what works better. Everyone was supplied with Slip2000 #725 Cleaner/Degreaser, and Choke Tube Cleaner, which help to cut through the fouling rather quickly. After a short session of barrel cleaning, the fouling was removed.

Note: One agency present had a couple of 870's that had been used as a less lethal trainers, and hadn't been cleaned for years. The fouling was the heaviest build up I have ever seen, which also had lots of heavy corrosion. With a little elbow grease, and the cleaning products we supplied, these shotguns were cleaned thoroughly.

Note: Another agency had a Benelli M1-90 used for SWAT, that nobody had done maintenance on due to nobody knowing how to field strip it. The internals of the entire shotgun, to include the barrel were heavily fouled, to the point that when you manually cycled the action it would sound like it was full of sand & gravel. The Officer who brought was happy to give it a thorough break down and cleaning. After it was cleaned, the action was like glass smooth.

Barrels were inspected for damage, stress, missing parts etc. We also showed the differences between old and new styles of Remington 870 retaining cap designs, and showed why these shouldn't be intermixed.

Note: One Officers 870P model had the barrel lug magazine cap retaining detent come out due to light staking. We supplied him a special punch, that he used to reinsert and stake the detent & spring back into the barrel lug. This lead to the discussion of our preference for the proper tools for this job, and our recommendation of lubricating this assembly for corrosion protection.

Next we showed how to remove the bolt assemblies from each of the different weapon systems. Everyone learned that the Mossberg system is more involved when compared to the Remington and Benelli systems. We generally get at least one Officer per class that fights with the Benelli bolt handle removal, and in this course we had one Officer who fought with it, until he followed directions, and now he can remove it without any struggling.

We then moved into the bolt assemblies, slides, action bar assemblies, and how they integrate together. Bolts were disassembled and reassembled, and inspections were done, showing where debris and corrosion is found, and why we recommend that certain things be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. Students were introduced to splined pins, and shown the proper way to remove and install them. The 870's were inspected for old versus new parts, the difference in era's of 870 parts, and shown a hands on difference of forged vs MIM (metal injection molded) parts and why we recommend using the forged parts on police 870's. The 500/590 bolts were disassmbled, and people were shown the changes in eras of these parts, and that there is a difference in the right & left extractor assemblies and why.

Magazine tubes and their internals were gone through. When we allow people to clean the magazine tubes using a magazine tube brush, it’s always amazing to see how much crud comes out, and IMHO the magazine tube should be scrubbed clean of debris on a regular basis. Magazine springs were covered, and there were a few students that had sporting shotgun springs, of which were replaced with heavier springs. Students were also shown why we recommend tactical magazine tube followers over the stock cup shaped ones. No magazine tubes were found to be bent or damaged.

After lunch we moved into forend assembles, stocks receivers and trigger groups. Forend assemblies (action bar assemblies) were taken apart using the proper wrenches, then the forends were inspected, action bars inspected, and things were reassembled and indexed correctly. It was shown how the action bars have a timing that controls the shell latches, and if the action bars are damaged or bent that the timing could be off. We also showed variations and evolution changes in the forends.

Note: Several of the shotguns in this class had loose forends, and a few also had aftermarket forends that when installed were out of proper alignment which was causing feeding issues and stress. Everyone was supplied with a forend wrench, and was able to make the needed adjustments.

We removed the butt stocks. Once removed, we showed the different bolts and washers that are used. Stocks were inspected for cracks, and all made sure they had stock bearing plates and were shown their importance. We went through stock repair on wood and synthetic stocks, to include alterations. Receivers were inspected where stocks mount to, and replacement and repair was covered.

At the end of the day all shotguns were reassembled, and inspected to make sure things were back in proper working order. We then did a review of what was covered up to this point, and with a short Q&A session before we broke off for the night.

Day-2 started with a review of everything that we covered the previous day. We then moved into trigger groups, starting with the Remington 870, followed by the Mossberg, and ending with the Benelli. Everyone was shown how the entire trigger groups work, what can be disassembled and what cannot due to availability of parts, inspections, maintenance, mechanical safeties, changes in designs, Police/Military models vs sporting models, and how the carrier integrates during cycling. We also showed common mistakes that people make with trigger groups, the problems in function, and how to correct any issues. After trigger groups were put back together, we showed how the carriers integrate, how the slides with action bars work, and how/why the lock forward cycle works.

Shell Latches on the Remington system was next. We covered proper staking and why, how they get damaged or misaligned, and their replacement. We demonstrated, and then allowed people to use several different staking tools that we brought.

Note: One Officers 870 had a loose shell latch, that was still partially in its track, but was crooked. Upon inspection it appeared have been caused by the forend assembly, which had a misaligned forend on the action bar tube. This misalignment was causing the action bars to twist into the shell latches. The forend was realigned, and tightened down. The shell latch was realigned in its track, and restaked into place. After making these repairs, everything worked just fine.

The next thing we covered was the ejector systems. We showed the 4 piece system of the 870, 2 piece system of the Mossberg, and how simple the Benelli system is. We covered how these are replaced, tuned, and proper inspections, showing several variations of tools and methods of how to perform repair & replacement.

Note: The Officer who brought the 870 that had the ejector spring in a bag, found that his ejector was fine, that it was only the ejector spring that had been broken off. This gave everyone a hands on opportunity to see the damage, and also make the repair, as we supplied him with a new ejector spring and the tools to repair it. He was able to install the new ejector spring and adjust it for proper function.

Then end of the day was a review, followed by all shotguns being reassembled, then inspected and gauged to make sure everything was in spec and ready to go back into service.

Here is a brief overview of what is covered:
Headspace and wear inspections
Action and function
Barrel inspections
Fore-end assembly & action bars
Bolt assembly (extraction & spring, firing pin, retractor spring, flexitab cuts)
Ejector inspection, repair & replacement
Slide assembly inspection
Stem adjustments
Hook Space
Magazine spring, retainer & followers
Shell latches, inspections, adjustment & replacement
Custom accessories & enhancements

Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
(763) 712-0123