What do we learn in the first 50 rounds of shooting a cheap shotgun? That cheap isn’t always a good thing. The gun itself is relatively smooth to operate and easy to run, when it runs correctly. In the first 50 rounds of shooting, I noted that I was getting regular instances of the shell not feeding from the magazine tube onto the lifter. I had actually noted this issue before even firing any live ammunition in the few dry fire reps I had done to verify function. As I went through the 155 rounds, it seemed to be less of a problem. Not sure I would ever completely trust the gun though.
What is happening is that the rim of shell is catching on the small lip at the end of the magazine tube that retains the follower. When the shell catches on that lip, it does not engage the shell catches at all, as noted in the picture below.
Usually what this means is that the gun fails to feed, but will feed on the next cycle of the gun. I guess the vibration caused by running the pump is enough to dislodge the lip of the shotshell rim off the ledge so that it feeds correctly.
So the question becomes, how to fix it? Honestly, I am not certain. I suppose someone who is brave enough could take a file to it and try to get it to blend a little better. The problem is, too much and it won’t retain the follower. Since this is a part of the receiver, it is a pretty big risk for a less than $200 shotgun.
The second option would just be to keep running the gun as is and see if the problem ever fixes itself. While that might happen, I really kind of doubt it. The brass or soft metal rims on shotshells probably will not cause much wear on those steel surfaces.
Option three would be to test how good H&R’s warranty is. This might at least be worth exploring to see how responsive they are, and whether or not they are even willing to take a look at it. I have a feeling though I would be covering shipping cost. Given the intended purpose of the shotgun is not for serious use, another $50 added to the cost of the gun may not be worth it.
The other issue I had with the shotgun was the bead coming loose and starting to back out. I had noted the loose bead on my initial inspection of the shotgun and had tightened it as well as I could before shooting. Knowing that it had been loose out of the box, I checked it after the 25 round mark. Just in time, because it was about to go for an extended vacation I have a feeling. Hopefully a little loctite will fix that problem. Hopefully.
Other than those two issues, the gun ran fine. The recoil impulse with 2 3/4” budget birdshot was more than manageable. I would put it at about 75%-80% of the recoil of a similar 12ga load. Same is true with 3″ #2 shotshells. I felt the recoil was definitely not abusive. Even with the handful of #4 buck that I shot it was very manageable.
More to come. We are at 155 rounds, just getting started. I have another 100 already stacked up ready to go. It has taken longer than I hoped to get this far. Maybe the next couple hundred will come a bit quicker.