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So I was recently looking at a used 686 SP1 for a really good price. However, I noticed the gun opens very easy and has slight side to side play when the gun is open. However, when it's closed, it locks up tight as a bank vault. The lever is well to the right of center when closed. Should I be worried about the slight side to side play when it's open? What causes it and what's the fix, if necessary?
 

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I have shot 680 series shotguns since the mid 90's I have never had to tighten one up. From the looks of the design, the lever pushes the piece with the two pins forwad all the way untill it bottoms on the reciever. How ever much tapered pin is sticking out is the lock. My levers stop in the middle even without a barrel set on the gun if you push the little interlock pin.
 

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With the barrel closed, take the forend wood off and hold the gun by the pistol grip and wiggle it side to side. If it has play then, the locking system needs attention. I doubt that you will find this to be the case. When I shot my Beretta, I used to take it to the Beretta booth at the Grand every year for a tune up. When it opened loose like that, they would "massage" the metal on the lug on the bottom of the barrel.
 

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Leo, that's almost correct, the 2 pins are actually a single piece that's shaped like a "U". It should stop when the bottom surfaces of the 2 sides of the bolt contact the bottom of the recesses in the monoblock. As the bolt and recesses wear, the bolt continues to move forward more and more to maintain this contact. Eventually, the bolt reaches it's end of travel and can no longer maintain the zero clearance necessary between the top of the monoblock and the top of the receiver face. When this occurs, the gun is "loose" and with each firing, the barrels are driven first forward by the firing pins and then rearward by the gas pressure in the barrel. If this condition is allowed to persist, battering of the breach by the monoblock and eventually, physical damage will occur.

If your top lever is in the same position with the barrels installed as it is without when you release the bolt, it needs to be fitted with a new bolt to insure proper locking action.

-Scot
 

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I believe the OP is talking about the gun swinging open like an old barn door hinge.

Yes it can be repaired correctly by adding material the the back of the forend lug and refitting the fore assy
 
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