One of shotgunning’s most common and best liked over/unders—Browning’s Citori models—require specialized service to make it perform at its peak. The most common mechanical reasons a Citori fails to eject are:
(1) A broken ejector hammer or a broken ejector hammer sear;
(2) A broken ejector or ejector extension;
(3) An improperly timed or broken trip rod, or a trip rod failing to cam forward off the pins attaching them to the receiver.
In the text below, I’ll explain how to repair each problem quickly and simply.
Citori Ejector Function
When you begin to open a Citori’s action, the hammers are being pushed to the rear by the gun’s cocking lever. At the same time, pins on the sides of each hammer cam the ejector trip rods forward to protrude about 3/32 of an inch from the receiver, and the ejector extensions are being cammed rearward by lugs inside the receiver. This partially lifts the spent shells from both barrel chambers.
As you open the action further, the extended trip rods engage the ejector hammer sears to release the ejector hammers. Driven by powerful springs in the forearm assembly, the hammers strike the ejector extensions, which are butted to the ejectors. The ejectors, in turn, flip the shells from the gun.
The ejectors are limited in their rearward travel by the ejector extensions. The extensions’ rearward travel is limited by striking lugs inside the receiver. These same lugs cam the extensions forward as the action is closed to recock the ejector hammers. Simultaneously, camming surfaces located inside the forearm bracket and below the ejector hammer sears move the ejector trip rods back into the receiver.
Ejector Hammers and Sears
It’s a good idea to take a look at the forearm assembly and eliminate reasons for ejector troubles there before turning to the barrel assembly.
If the problem is “up front” with the ejector hammers or sears, you’ll have to separate the forearm assembly from the forearm. To do so, take out the three or four screws holding the assembly in place and remove it toward the rear.
To take down the assembly itself, grasp it in your left hand and press your thumb against the rear of either ejector hammer. Use a punch to depress the corresponding ejector sear, maintain pressure against the rear of the hammer and ease it to its lowered position. After you’ve done the same with the other ejector hammer, place the assembly in a padded vise. With a tack puller or some other small tool you concoct for the purpose, compress the ejector hammer springs one at a time to remove them and the ejector hammer spring plungers. The springs are extremely strong, so be careful. With the springs and plungers set aside, inspect each ejector hammer pin and drive it out from the side opposite its knurled end. If it’s necessary to remove the ejector sears, remember they are both under spring tension. “Up front” ejector problems caused by breakage are solved by replacement. Stuck or balky ejector hammer sears, and their springs, have to be closely examined to determine the cause, such as burrs, dirt, and broken coils.
Let’s assume you check these problem areas and find no probable cause for a gun’s malfunction. Then the problem could be with the Citori shotgun’s ejectors or the gun’s ejector extensions.
Ejectors, Ejector Extensions
The extensions are held in the barrels by two screws, one on each side. Insert a small screwdriver through the hole in one extension and completely loosen the screw. Rest the side you have loosened on the bench and tap the opposite side with the palm of your hand to dislodge the screw. Do the same with the second screw, then slide the ejectors and extensions out of the barrel flats. If the parts aren’t already marked, put an “L” on the left ejector and extension so you won’t get them mixed up during reassembly.
If you find any cracks in the parts you’ve removed, you’ll have to replace them. This calls for considerable fitting, and you may not be able to secure replacement ejectors from the factory if you’re not an authorized Browning repair center.
In fitting new extensions, it is best to obtain as close a fit as possible with no binding. The surfaces to adjust in achieving that fit are the flat surface that mates with the bottom of the barrel flat slot and the two adjoining angled edges of the extension. You remove any material by hand with a fine file, and you work slowly, checking your progress often. After installation, check that corner “A” in the accompanying diagram clears the forearm bracket by relieving and polishing it as required. To prevent galling during closing of the action, surface “B” in the same diagram should be polished and its two adjoining surfaces slightly chamfered.
Finally, polish all exposed surfaces to match the grade of the gun under repair.
The goal in fitting a new ejector blank is the same as with ejector extensions: To make it fit as close as possible without binding. If it is loosely fit, the ejector can ride over the rim of a fired shell and cause malfunctions. You begin to fit a blank to either barrel by adjusting its flat side to mate with the bottom of the barrel flat slot and the two, adjoining, angled edges of the extension. The next adjustment is made to the sear’s edges, allowing it to fit into the recess of the breech face. In addition, the sear’s outside surface must be dressed down to flush, or slightly below flush, with the barrel flat to prevent interference with the receiver. The face of the blank should now be dressed flush, or slightly below, with the breech face. Lock the blank in a padded vise for the initial cuts. Make your next to final cuts with the blank installed in the barrel, the barrel secured in the same padded vise, and use extreme care not to file into the breech.
The next step is to dress down the ejector’s edge to match the contour of the chamber. Use a half-round file, not a chamber reamer.
Finally, the proper headspace must be cut in with a headspace reamer identical to those used by the factory and Browning repair centers. If you can’t get one from the factory, or if there’s no repair center close by that will cut in the headspace for you, check with Brownells. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to make this adjustment without the proper tooling. After the adjustment has been made, radius the sear’s corners as shown in the diagram to prevent damage to the standing breech.
Diagnose: Trip Rods
If the problem with ejection is timing related, that is, the shells are ejected too soon or not soon enough, the solution lies in the ejector trip rods or the ejector sears.
To delay ejection and make it necessary to open the action further before the ejectors are tripped, focus on the trip rods. They must be relieved at the place indicated in the accompanying trip-rod diagram. To speed up ejector release, thus kicking out empties sooner, focus on the ejector sears. To accelerate their function, you must remove material on the sears as indicated.
If the problem turns out to be broken or balky trip rods, replace the rods if they’re broken and double check the timing before completing the job. Just remember that the front end of a new trip rod is cut off square. It must be shortened and rounded to match the contour of the forearm bracket before you make timing adjustments.
If the trip rod isn’t camming forward, examine it, the area around it, and its pin closely for burrs or rough spots and clean them up. If the pin’s slot in the rod is excessively worn, replace it.
Admittedly, most of the ejection problems I’ve encountered with Citori shotguns were cured by a thorough, detailed cleaning of the entire gun. It never ceases to amaze me how some owners allow crud to build up and still expect their sorely neglected gun to work.