Failure to feed is a pretty rare problem which is also difficult to identify. I didn’t understand what happened first times when I experienced it. You feel that you hit something when you push forend forward trying to feed another round and when you check what happened you see a shotshell on a carrier and everything looks normal.

But I was able to make a photo when it happened to me on one of the trainings. Here is how it looks like:

Remington 870 Failure to Feed
Remington 870 Failure to Feed

That is very rare malfunction which can happen only if you shoot very fast, I had it when time between shots was less than 0.4-0.35 seconds.

How to fix Remington 870 Failure to Feed Problem

The fix is very simple. You need to upgrade the carrier latch spring. A carrier latch spring serves an important purpose in a Remington 870 shotgun. Every time you fire your weapon, a new shell from the magazine tube must be lifted into the chamber. The carrier latch spring is what does all this lifting. There are two types of carrier latch springs that have various effects on its feeding capabilities. For example, if you use a heavy carrier latch spring (which is used in Remington 1100 and Remington 870 Police), you will have fewer feeding problems and a lot more reliability. The only difference is that it is little harder to depress the carrier when you load a round into a magazine tube. On the other hand, a standard Remington 870 carrier latch spring will be easier to depress but more unreliable at lifting a shotshell. This could end up causing failure to feed if you try to shoot too fast with a standard carrier latch spring installed.

There is a carrier latch spring that is used in the Remington 1100 model which has the best reliability. The good news is that you can upgrade your Remington 870 shotgun to have this spring as well. If you are interested in finding this part, just search for the Part # F16966. But if you don’t upgrade your Remington 870, you are just going to be left with the carrier latch spring that was installed by the factory. If you have a Remington 870 Express then it will have a silver spring. For those with a Remington 870 Police model, you will have a black spring in there. This black spring is the heavier one that was just discussed so you wouldn’t have to upgrade an 870 Police model if that’s the shotgun you have. Only with the 870 Express would you have to worry about that.

To get started with the installation of the carrier latch spring, remove all ammo from the weapon and then disassemble the shotgun. Take a screwdriver and use it to push out the carrier tube. Next, pull out the screwdriver, remove the carrier, remove the carrier latch, and then finally remove the carrier latch spring. Now you’ll want to reverse this whole process with the new carrier latch spring that you have. So, insert the new spring followed by the carrier latch, carrier, and carrier tube. Reassemble your weapon and go test it out to see how the feeding feels. You should now have the desired feeding that you want.

Remington 870 Carrier Dog Follower Spring Removal and Installation:

The price of the heavier carrier dog spring is just $6.99, so this upgrade is cheap and will make your shotgun more reliable.

Recommended Product:
Heavier Carrier Dog Spring for Remington 870
Heavier Carrier Dog Spring for Remington 870
Get heavier carrier dog spring on Brownells


  1. 870s don’t have carrier latch springs, they have carrier dog follower springs. Semi-auto shotguns like the Remington 1100 have both a carrier dog follower spring and a carrier latch spring (and the 1100 carrier dog follower spring is the same part as the standard 870 carrier dog follower spring). What you’re doing here is taking an 1100 carrier latch spring and using it as a carrier dog follower spring in an 870.

    Also, what condition was your original carrier dog follower spring in? How many rounds had been cycled through the gun with it? I’d be interested to know if installing a new standard carrier dog follower spring would have also solved your feed problem, since the carrier dog follower spring isn’t actually what lifts the carrier.

  2. I’ve had this happen a few times with my brand new Rem Express 870. It has less than 100 shells through it. Seemed to happen quite a few times with cheap target loads 10 bucks for 100 shells. Im wondering if the chamber needs to be worn a bit, finger-banged with sandpaper and steel wool? Any thoughts?

  3. Bryan Roseberry

    Mine is having issues when I switch from my standard smooth bore barrel to my rifled barrel. The shell lifter or follower or dog works with the smooth bore barrel it came with but, it will not work when I have the rifled barrel, and it feels stiff when I try to rack it.

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